Archaeology, Bible, Main, Uncategorized, z272
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Egyptian farmer stumbles upon tablet of obscure Pharaoh mentioned in the Bible


Sphinx of the Egyptian Pharaoh, Apries, at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The sculpture is 17.5 inches (43 cm) long. Credit: Rama/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 2.0

There have been hundreds of archaeological discoveries confirming the accuracy of the Old and New Testaments, but the ones I appreciate the most are those that confirm the obscure mentions, where an individual whose name is only mentioned once in the Bible is confirmed by archaeology.

Even the smallest of details is accurate.

In the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet warned Judah that with Babylon poised to invade the country as part of God’s judgment, the Jews should simply give up, and they would be treated mercifully by their Babylonian captors.

However, false prophets rose up who told the King of Judah to resist the Babylonians and God would bring a great victory. They were wrong.

Part of this resistance included King Zedekiah asking an Egyptian Pharaoh by the name of Hophra to help Judah resist Babylon. Hophra failed and Jerusalem was conquered and the people of Judah were hauled off into captivity.

30 This is what the Lord says: ‘I am going to deliver Pharaoh Hophra king of Egypt into the hands of his enemies who want to kill him, just as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the enemy who wanted to kill him.’” (Jeremiah 44:30 NIV)

And just recently, a farmer tilling his field just north of Cairo, Egypt, stumbled upon a stone tablet over seven feet tall (91 inches) and over three feet wide (41 inches) that talked about Apries, the Egyptian Pharaoh who ruled Egypt between 589 BC and 570 BC.

He is the Hophra of the Bible. The difference in spellings is due to the fact, when translating foreign names, the Jews developed Hebrew words that sounded like the name did in the originating language.

The Astone stele, as it is now called, has a picture of Egypt’s sun god (Ra) and Hophra at the top and appears to be discussing a military campaign. Egyptologists have not fully translated the tablet, so they are not sure if it is discussing his failed defence of Jerusalem.

But in the prophecy about Hophra, the prophet Jeremiah stated God would deliver the pharaoh to his enemies in the same way that Judah was delivered over to its enemy, Babylon.

In other words, the verse suggests that Hophra would not be killed by the Babylonians, but rather other enemies.

Hophra’s unsuccessful defence of Jerusalem was par for the course of the pharaoh, who suffered several military defeats during his 19-year reign.

And this wasn’t the only time that the pharaoh came to the aid of an ally. Hophra also suffered a massive defeat, when he tried to help the Libyans, who were being attacked by the Dorian Greeks. This humiliating defeat resulted in the deaths of thousands of Egyptian soldiers, and led to a civil war as the Egyptians questioned his leadership.

While some believe Hophra was killed during a battle with one of his revolting generals, according to Herodotus, a Greek historian, Hophra was strangled to death by his subjects after he returned to Egypt’s capital city Memphis after the unsuccessful Greek campaign.

According to the Daily Mail, up to this point, the Bible and Herodotus have provided the most detailed information on Hophra.

But there have been a couple other archaeological discoveries confirming this obscure Pharaoh’s existence, including a small sculpture of his head on the top of a small sphinx now found at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

READ: Egyptian farmer stumbles across 2,600-year-old stone tablet carved during reign of pharaoh mentioned in the Bible who was strangled to death by his own subjects

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