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Pharaoh Who?

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

In 1896, the British archaeologist Flinders Petrie located the oldest extra-biblical reference to Israel during his excavations at the ancient capital of Thebes. He discovered the Merneptah Stele, which contains many lines of hieroglyphic text.

"The princes are prostrate, saying, 'Mercy!' Not one raises his head among the Nine Bows. Desolation is for Tehenu; Hatti is pacified; Plundered is Canaan with every evil; Carried off is Ashkelon; seized upon is Gezer; Yanoam is made as that which does not exist; Israel is laid waste, its seed is no more; Hurru is become a widow because of Egypt."

The voice of the text is that of Pharaoh Merneptah himself, proclaiming his greatness. The psychologist of today would be happy to know that this Pharaoh did not suffer from self-esteem issues. Secondly, I draw attention to "Israel is laid waste."

There have always been forces, people, and organizations vehemently opposed to God's people. The Nazi Party (National Socialist German Workers' Party), the Soviet Union, and the Anti-Semitic League of France in the late 19th century are all examples.

I will never understand the psychology of someone offended or condemned by another's way of life so intensely that they actively and forcefully seek out a way to destroy it or them. That said, many wake up every day with enough vitriol in their heart to do just that. We, as Christians, have confirmed and tangible help for life's and eternity's most significant questions. While we are against heinous acts of murder and other atrocities, we, as a whole, are not scheming ways to imprison and impoverish those who disagree with the message of Christ.

With that said, I have a question. Before today, have you heard of Pharaoh Merneptah? I would wager not. I am sure during his day, the murder of those was drastic and outlandish. Real people wept and felt the sting of persecution just as they do today.

Yet here we are today, knowing Israel as the carrier of God's law and prophets. Having all the law and prophets fulfilled in Christ (Matt 5:17) and are actively making disciples of all Nations. (Matt 28:19).

Psalms 2:1: "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain?"

I once heard a preacher, a truck driver before his conversion, put it this way. "Let the dogs bark and let the trucks roll." He emphasized the inevitability of the victory of God's will for his people and painted a picture of what may happen to any "dogs" who get in God's way.

Pharaoh Merneptah, for all his blustering, is largely forgotten.

The accounts of Israel and its fulfillment into Christianity continue in the hearts and minds of the whole world!

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