Papyrus Anastasi VI 1205 BC mentions the "Bedouin tribes of Edom"
"We have finished letting the Bedouin tribes of Edom pass the Fortress" (ANET, 259)

Translation of Anastasi 6:

 

"Some 60 or more years later, in the eighth year of Merenptah, c. 1206 BC, the term Edom appears for the first time. Papyrus Anastasi VI contains the following well-known report (lines 51-61): "We have finished with allowing the Shasu clansfolk of Edom to pass the fort of Merenptah that is in Succoth ['Tjeku'], to the pools (brkt) of Pi-Atum of Merenptah that (is/are) in Succoth, to keep them alive and to keep alive their livestock, by the will of Pharaoh, LPH, the good Sun of Egypt, along with the names from the other days on which the fort of Merenptah that is in Succoth was passed [by such people...] (text, Gardiner 1937:76-77; translations, e.g. ANET:259; with notes, Caminos 1954:293)." (Early Edom And Moab,  Egyptian evidence on Ancient Jordan; K. A. Kitchen, Editor: Piotr Bienkowski, 1992 AD)

  

 

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Digging up Bible stories!

 

"We have finished letting the Bedouin tribes of Edom pass the Fortress."

 

Detailed outline on Edom.

 

 

Introduction:

  1. The Papyrus Anastasi VI dates to 1205 BC (the 8th year of Merneptah) and is one of several manuscripts purchased around 1839 AD from an Armenian antiquity dealer named Giovanni Anastasi (1765-1860).
  2. The suggestion that "Tjeku" be equated with Biblical Succoth of the exodus is absurd since the exodus was in 1446 BC, a full 241 years before the date of this manuscript in the 8th year of Merneptah: 1205 BC.  
  3. What we do find that that the River El-Arish is the border between Egypt and Israel in 1200 BC where we see Egypt exercising its historic control and possession of the Sinai Peninsula. This effectively rules out any Mount Sinai located in the Sinai Peninsula, since they were "out of Egypt" at Sinai.
  4. The fanciful notion that this is part of a collection of training letters for school boys is highly questionable and speculative and the letter should be taken at face value as a genuine field report.
    1. Papyrus manuscripts of this quality are exceedingly rare and to find an entire collection of school curriculum used to train children, is like winning two lottery tickets at the same time.
    2. The fact that there are four different letters on a single papyrus sheet is better explained as genuine field reports or first generation copies produced to assist in organizing the Royal archive in a kind of "paperwork reduction" exercise.
    3. These are real letters founded in real historical events and should be taken seriously as such as a window into the past on the same scale as Josephus or the Babylonian Chronicles of Nebuchadnezzar.
  5. Map of ancient Edom: (Detailed outline on Edom)

 

I. Translation of Papyrus Manuscript Anastasi VI:

1.      "The Scribe Inena communicating to his lord, the Scribe of the Treasury Qa-g[abu], …:—In life, prosperity, health! This is a letter [to] let [my lord] know: An [other communication to] my lord, to wit: [I] have carried out every commission laid upon me, in good shape and strong as metal. I have not been lax. Another communication to my [lord], to [wit: We] have finished letting the Bedouin tribes of Edom pass the Fortress [of] Mer-ne-Ptah Hotep-hir-Maat—life, prosperity, health!—which is (in) Tjeku,3 (56) to the pools of Per-Atum5 [of] Mer-[ne]-Ptah Hotep-hir-Maat, which are (in) Tjeku, to keep them alive and to keep their cattle alive, through the great ka of Pharaoh—life, prosperity, health!—the good sun of every land, in the year 8, 5 [intercalary] days, [the Birth of] Seth. I have had them brought in a copy of the report to the [place where] my lord is, as well as the other names of days when the Fortress of Mer-ne-Ptah Hotep-hir-Maat—life, prosperity, health!—which is (in) [Tj]ek[u], may be passed." (Papyrus Anastasi VI, British Museum 10245, lines 51–61, = iv ii–v 5, late Nineteenth Dynasty, end of the 13th century BC, and presumably from Memphis, ANET, p. 259)

 

  1. "(4.11) Scribe Inena informing his lord, treasury scribe Kagab […] in LPH. It is word sent to let my lord know. Another information for my lord that I am doing every mission assigned me well and firm as brass. I am not being lax. (4.13) Another information for my lord that we have just let the Shasu [Bedouin] tribes of Edom pass the Fortress of Merneptah-hetephermaat, LPH, of Tjeku, to the pool of Pithom of Merneptah-hetephermaat, of Tjeku, in order to revive themselves and revive their flocks from the great life force of Pharaoh, LPH, the perfect Sun of every land, in Regnal Year 8, third epagomenal day, the birth of Seth. (5.2) I have sent them in a copy of report to where my lord is, together with the other names of days on which the Fortress of Merneptah-hetephermaat, LPH, of Tjeku, was passed […]. It is word sent to let my lord know." (A Report of Bedouin, COS 3.5, Papyrus Anastasi VI, James P. Allen, lines 4.11-5.2/51–61, 2003 AD)
  2. "Scribe Inena informing his lord, treasury scribe Kagab […] in LPH. It is word sent to let my lord know. Another information for my lord that I am doing every mission assigned me well and firm as brass. I am not being lax. Another information for my lord that we have just let the Shasu [Bedouin] tribes of Edom pass the Fortress of Merneptah-hetephermaat, LPH, of Tjeku, to the pool of Pithom of Merneptah-hetephermaat, of Tjeku, in order to revive themselves and revive their flocks from the great life force of Pharaoh, LPH, the perfect Sun of every land, in Regnal Year 8, third epagomenal day, the birth of Seth. I have sent them in a copy of report to where my lord is, together with the other names of days on which the Fortress of Merneptah-hetephermaat, LPH, of Tjeku, was passed […]. It is word sent to let my lord know." (COS 3.5)

 

II. Authorities on Papyrus Manuscript Anastasi VI:

  1. "The earliest reference to Edom comes from Egypt, where Papyrus Anastasi VI preserves the report of an official from the reign of Merneptah (c. 1220 BC). He noted that the Bedouin tribes of Edom were trying to pass an Egyptian fortress to “the pools of Per-Atum” to keep themselves and their cattle alive. It is possible that the Semitic place name was in use as early as the fifteenth century BC, if Edom is identified with one of the place names (’i-d-má) from the list of Thutmose III (1490–1436 BC). (The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Edom, 2013 AD)
  2. "A reference to the Shasu in Papyrus Anastasi VI, dating to the reign of Pharaoh Merneptah (1213–1203 bc), includes a reference to place called ’A-du-ma, which Giveon interpreted as a reference to biblical Edom (Giveon, Les Bédouins, 132). The passage states: “We have completed the transfer of the Shasu tribes of ’A-du-ma (Edom?) past the fortress ‘Merneptah-hotep-her-Ma‘at, life, prosperity, and health,’ which is in Tjeku to the pools of Per-Atum of ‘Merneptah-hotep-her-Ma‘at,’ which are in Tjeku, in order to keep them alive and in order to keep their cattle alive” (Papyrus Anastasi VI, lines 51–57; Giveon, Les Bédouins, 130–34; translation adapted from Rainey and Notley, /Sacred Bridge 103)." (LBD, Shasu, 2015 AD)
  3. "The Papyrus Anastasi VI: 51–61, dated to the eighth year of Merneptah’s reign (1213–1203), located the shasu in Edom—the first Egyptian mention of this land. In this text, shasu clans from Edom gained permission to pass by a fortress in eastern Egypt in order to water their livestock (Weippert 1979:27; Bartlett 1989:77–79; MacDonald 1994:231–33)." (Near Eastern Archaeology, Volume 62, Nos. 1–4, p 105, 1999 AD)
  4. "In a group of letters which served as models for schoolboys [unlikely, see note above], one communication presents the form in which an official on the eastern frontier of Egypt might report the passage of Asiatic tribes into the better pasturage of the Delta." (Papyrus Anastasi VI, British Museum 10245, ANET 259)
  5. "This model letter is one of four unique scribal exercises  [unlikely, see note above] compiled in a single papyrus, now in the British Museum (EA 10245). The opening protocol of the papyrus is dated to the reign of Seti II, but the regnal year mentioned in the letter translated here is probably that of his predecessor, Merneptah. The letter refers to the arrival of bedouin and their flocks from the northern Sinai desert at one of the Egyptian border fortresses erected during the Ramesside period. As such it reflects the careful control that Egypt exercised during this period on traffic in and out of the eastern Delta." (A Report of Bedouin, COS 3.5, Papyrus Anastasi VI, James P. Allen, 2003 AD)

 

Conclusion:

  1. 150 years ago, bible scoffers chortled that Edom as a nation was "Just another Bible myth but once again the Bible is proven as a record of real history.
  2. What we read in the book, we find in the ground, or in this case in a papyrus manuscript that dates to 1205 BC.

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

 

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