Jaffa: Egyptian presence



Long before the Hebrews came to their Promised Land from Egypt, Egypt controlled Canaan. The invasion of Canaan by Thutmoses III (c.a. 1482–1428 B.C.) marked the start of a quarter of a millennium of Egyptian presence there. And some of the most obvious and graphic evidence of such are some of the finds that have come out of archaeological digs in Jaffa (Joppa; Yofa).

Witness, for example, as did we, the huge, carved, stone frame for the gate of an Egyptian fortress that was excavated from the eastern quarter of Jaffa’s tel. Pictured here is a re-creation of that frame set up in the 1990’s where the original gate stood. The tourist information sign in front of this gate reads:

“One of the monumental gates that was discovered here dates from the period of the rule of Ramesses II (during the 13th century BCE) and attests to the fact that at that time Jaffa hosted a permanent Egyptian garrison. The inscription on one of the many gates includes the many honorific titles of Ramesses II. An earlier gate, the earliest Egyptian gate ever uncovered in Canaan, was found beneath the Ramesses gate and may have been destroyed during Thutmoses’ conquest of Jaffa.”

If you favor “the late date” (ca. 1290 B.C.) of Israel’s exodus from Egypt over “the early date” (ca. 1441 B.C.) – the interpretation of the evidence that seems most persuasive to me – then Rameses II (ruling from c.a. 1264–1198 B.C.) was the builder of these gates in Jaffa and was the pharaoh in Egypt when Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan in c.a. 1250 B.C.

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