A farmer living near Egypt's Ismailia Governate made the discovery of a lifetime when he accidentally found a stele dating back 2,600 years which may shed light on important biblical events, Live Science reported on Friday, citing the Egyptian Tourism and Antiquities Ministry.
Adorned with a carving of a winged sun disk often associated with the god Ra at its top, the stele dates back to the rule of the pharaoh Apries, who ruled from approximately 589 BCE to 570 BCE, and of whom a cartouche of is present on the slab accompanied by 15 lines of hieroglyphics, the news site reported.
The sandstone slab was discovered on the farmer's land almost 100 km. northeast of Egypt's capital Cairo, and measures 230 cm. long and 45 cm. thick, according to Live Science.
It is currently unclear what the hieroglyphics say. However, it is currently estimated that it relates to a military campaign the pharaoh carried out east of Egypt, according to Supreme Council of Antiquities secretary-general Mostafa Waziri, the site reported.
The details of the military campaign are hazy.
The pharaoh Apries, also known as Wahibre Haaibre and identified in the Bible as Hophra, was the fourth ruler in the 26th dynasty.During his reign, Apries had conflicts in the Levant, east of Egypt. In one such occasion, he led a campaign to Jerusalem to defend it from the Babylonian Empire's Nebuchadnezzar II. This was unsuccessful, however, and the Babylonians would eventually breach Jerusalem and destroy much of the city, including the First Temple. These events were described in the biblical Book of Jeremiah.
It is unclear if this is the campaign discussed in the stele. However, the slab does have the potential to shed light on biblical events, most notably the events surrounding the destruction of the First Temple.It is also possible it could refer to another event, specifically a civil war. According to ancient Greek historian Herodotus, a coup took place in Egypt and a general named Amasis was declared pharaoh. Apries supposedly gathered Babylonian allies to help him retake the throne, but this ultimately failed, as recounted in Herodotus's Historie.