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Yahweh Soleb Inscription - A Testament to the Exodus Account

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

The historicity and dating of the Exodus, a significant event in biblical history, have long been debated among scholars. Some argue for an "early" Exodus around the mid-15th century BC based on biblical information, while others suggest it happened later based on select archaeological evidence. Many even believe the Exodus never occurred. A critical archaeological discovery at the ruins of Soleb in northern Sudan provides intriguing evidence that supports the biblical Exodus account, particularly the early, Bible-literal date.

The Soleb excavation focused on a temple complex built during the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, who reigned in the late 15th to early 14th centuries BC. This temple celebrated the pharaoh's supposed military conquests, although most of these claims are likely exaggerated or fabricated. However, the temple inscriptions accurately identify Egypt's enemies, and one pillar bears a damaged cartouche that reads "The land of the shasu of Yahweh."

The term "shasu" is typically translated as "cattle-herding nomads," and "Yahweh" refers to the God of the Hebrews. This raises the question of whether the "nomads of Yahweh" could be associated with the early Israelites before they settled in Canaan.

The Soleb inscription's significance becomes more apparent when considering the biblical Exodus narrative, which suggests the Exodus occurred around 1446 BC. If the inscription indeed refers to the Israelites, it implies that the Egyptians had knowledge of the Israelites and their God by at least the end of the 15th century BC.

The inscription also suggests that Egypt viewed the Israelites as a threat, which implies they were numerous and had done something to provoke Egypt's hostility. The Israelites are distinct from other shasu people mentioned at Soleb as they are not associated with a specific region but identified solely by their worship of Yahweh. Additionally, the inscription indicates that the "nomads of Yahweh" lived north of Soleb.

In summary, the Soleb inscription, dating back to around 1400 BCE, provides compelling evidence that a nomadic people associated with Yahweh were known and feared in Egypt, were numerous, and lived to the north of Soleb. This supports the historical credibility of an early biblical Exodus account.

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