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Seti I Inscription Beth Shean

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Seti I Inscription Beth Shean
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Photo Comments

This large, basalt stele was found at Beth Shean.  It commemorates a military expedition of Seti I (r. 1289–1278 BC) to Canaan.  This would be during the period of the Judges.  The stele fragment was found in a later stratum, in secondary use as a doorsill which explains the worn state of the Egyptian hieroglyphs.

This picture was taken while the object was on display in the Rockefeller Museum in East Jerusalem.  Part of the description of the stele above is from a sign in the museum.


Translation of lines 9-19 of the total of 20 lines — from John A. Wilson in ANET, p. 255.

"On this day, lo [one came to tell] his [majesty]: The Apiru of Mount Yarmuta, with Teyer ..., [have ari]sen in attack upon the Asiatics of Rehem.  Then [his majesty] said: How can this wretched Asiatics think [of taking] their [arms] for further disorder? ...

... Then his majesty commanded a certain number of people from his [infantry and his] numerous chariotry that their faces turn back to the foreign country Djahi.  The space of two days elapsed, [and they returned in triumph from] the country Ye .... having [their] levy [consisting of} living [captives] as plunder ...."

"Djahi" is another word used for Canaan.  Mount Yarmuta is probably in the vicinity of Beth Shean.  "Apiru" is another name for "Habiru"—that some relate to the Hebrews.