Shoshenq Was Here

Photo Credit:, Israel, Rockefeller Museum

In Exodus 23, God prepares Israel for their entry into Canaan.  “See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared. Pay attention to him and listen to what he says. Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him. If you listen carefully to what he says and do all that I say, I will be an enemy to your enemies and will oppose those who oppose you. My angel will go ahead of you and bring you into the land of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites, and I will wipe them out. Do not bow down before their gods or worship them or follow their practices. You must demolish them and break their sacred stones to pieces.”

In 2 Chronicles 12, Israel did not follow God’s ways, and the Egyptian pharaoh Shishak attacked the land that once belonged to the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hivites and Jebusites. “After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had become strong, he and all Israel with him abandoned the law of the Lord. Because they had been unfaithful to the Lord, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem in the fifth year of King Rehoboam. With twelve hundred chariots and sixty thousand horsemen and the innumerable troops of Libyans, Sukkites and Cushites that came with him from Egypt, he captured the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem.”

The Book of Chronicles focuses on events in the southern Kingdom of Judah, and pays less attention to events in the northern Kingdom of Israel. There is no mention in Chronicles of Shishak’s northerly excursion. But if Shishak and the Egyptian pharaoh Shoshenq I are one and the same, then evidence points to Shoshenq I’s presence in the north. The Karnak Temple lists Megiddo as one of the cities Shoshenq I captured in his invasion of the north. A destruction layer at Megiddo may have been left by Shoshenq I’s troops.

A common practice was for kings to leave monuments of their conquests at the sites they captured. The New Kingdom 19th Dynasty Egyptian ruler Seti I left a monument at Beth Shean that recorded his defeat of local Canaanites. The fragments that remain of the Tel Dan Stele belonged to a monument recording the Aramean king’s triumph there. Shoshenq I appears have done the same at Megiddo.

A small fragment of a monument to Shoshenq I was unearthed at Megiddo. The king’s name appears in a cartouche, an oval containing hieroglyphs with the king’s name, along with incomplete praises to the king. This fragment further solidifies the likelihood that Shoshenq I made his way to northern Israel, and that he asserted his power enough to set up a monument in his own honor.

An image of the fragment is shown in the image above. It is on display at the Rockefeller Museum in Jerusalem.

For this last of the posts on Shoshenq, the closing music to Shawshank: