Seed of Israel
“Look to Me, and be
saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. I have
sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall
not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath.
He shall say, ‘Surely in the LORD I have righteousness and strength. To Him
men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the
LORD all the seed (KJV) of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.’”
(Isaiah 45:22-25, NKJV).
The Bible tells us about a man of faith named Abraham whose
grandson Jacob was named “Israel” (Genesis 32:28). The descendants of
the twelve sons of Israel became the ancient nation of Israel. While the text
above promises salvation, strength and glory to the “seed of Israel,” the New
Testament tells us that such promises do not refer simply to the physical “seed
of Israel.” Galatians 3:7 tells us “it is those who are of faith who are
sons of Abraham” (NASB). Paul contrasts what he calls “Israel after the flesh”
(1 Corinthians 10:18, NKJV) with “the Israel of God” (Galatians
6:16). Romans 9:6 shows clearly “they are not all Israel who are of Israel” because
“he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, … but he is a Jew who is one inwardly”
(Romans 2:28,29). As a result, the Bible promises that “all Israel will
be saved” (Romans 11:26) because “God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus”
Victory Hymn of Merneptah II
In 1896 working in Thebes, Sir W. F. Petrie
discovered a black granite stele in the funerary temple of the Egyptian Pharaoh
Merneptah II. The 7 ½ ft. monument was inscribed with a hymn memorializing Merneptah’s
campaign into Canaan.1 Merneptah was the fourteenth son,
and successor of Rameses (II) known as “the Great,” the Pharaoh believed to
have ruled when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.2
His campaign was made to suppress a rebellion which broke out after the death
of his father.
Just as we see in other examples of literature
praising the military greatness of an ancient leader, the claims are
exaggerated to propagate fear and submission. The text reads:
rejoicing has arisen in Egypt, jubilation has issued from the towns of To-Meri
[another name for Egypt]; they recount the victories which Merneptah wrought in
Tehenu [i.e. Lybia] How beloved he is, the victorious ruler! How exalted is the
king among the gods!3 … The princes lie prostrate, saying
“Mercy!” No one raises his head among the Nine Bows [an Egyptian idiom for all
subjugated peoples]. Desolation is for Tehenu [Lybia]. Hatti [i.e. the Hittites] is pacified. Plundered is the Canaan with every evil; carried off is Ashkelon; seized upon is Gezer. Yanoam [an unknown town] is made as that which does not exist … All lands together, they are pacified; everyone who was restless, he has been bound by the king…4
The text claims Canaan was made a “widow” for Egypt, making a word
play between kh’rw the Egyptian name for part of Canaan and kh’rt the
Egyptian word for widow.
The most significant feature of this inscription is
not the arrogant boasts of a pagan king, but a small line in the middle of his
list of Canaanite victories. The line reads “Israel lies desolate, its seed is
no more” (Thomas). This constitutes the first historical reference to Israel outside
of the Bible. Most of the victories listed have the hieroglyphic sign of a throwing
stick and three mountains indicating a foreign established nation. The
hieroglyphic used with Israel, a throwing stick and a seated man and woman,
indicates a foreign ethnic group.5 This matches the Biblical account which
puts Israel near Canaan, but not yet an established nation. Obviously,
Merneptah’s claim was false. Israel would go on to become an established
nation, controlling much of Canaan themselves. Little could he have known that
long after the Egyptian kings were swallowed up by the sands “the seed of
Israel” would continue in the spiritual Israel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 E. A. Wallis Budge.
The Mummy: A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archaeology. New York: Dover
Publications Inc. reprint of 1925 ed. p. 66.
Brugsch-Bey. Egypt Under the Pharaohs. London: Bracken Books, reprint of
1902 ed. pp. 301,309.
3 D. Winton Thomas. Documents
from Old Testament Times. New York: Harper & Row Publishers. 1958. pp.
4 James B.
Pritchard. The Ancient Near East. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
1958. Vol. 1, p. 231.
5 James P.
Allen. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of
Hieroglyphs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2000. pp. 423, 425,