Serabit el-Khadim Sinai Peninsula, Egypt Tour – Rare Site

By Jennifer Bartlett

Serabit El Khadim Asiatics in Egypt 1
Serabit El Khadim Asiatics in Egypt

In the Northwest of Sinai’s sea coast, you will see very compelling Asiatic (Hebrew) stela features of nobles and soldiers who have the tell-tale mushroom hairstyles of the early Israelites. They are located at a turquoise mine site owned by the Pharoah of Joseph’s time. The context of the stela suggests that these Asiatics were involved in the mining expeditions. The site name is Serabit el Khadim. One such stela, Sinai Inscription 112, depicts “the brother of the prince of Retenu… a very general term for the region of Syria-Palestine during the period of the Middle Kingdom.”[1] There is evidence of the similar mushroom-haired royalty (Joseph) living at Tell el-Dab’a (Avaris) which is in the eastern delta region of Egypt – the area the Hebrews were enslaved just prior to the Exodus. Archaeologist Manfred Bietak has identified royal Semitics in this area as the Hyksos Dynasty, which was overthrown by Ahmose of the native Egyptian 18th Dynasty. According to several biblical scholars, these Semitic people bear a striking resemblance to the Israelites who likely were sojourning in Egypt at this time, and in fact, Douglas Petrovich makes a case that in Sinai Inscription 112, “the brother of the prince” is Manasseh, the son of Joseph, whose right of the firstborn was passed on to his younger brother, as mentioned in Genesis 48:17-20.[2] Evidence of similar alphabetic script discovered recently in Israel[3] suggests that these texts are actually Paleo-Hebrew.

[1] Bietak, 1996, Avaris: The Capital of the Hyksos. British Museum Press.

[2] Petrovich, 2019, “Ephraim and Manasseh” in ANE History and Archaeology Notes, Session 5C.

[3] Stripling, et al., 2023, “You are Cursed by the God YHW:” An Early Hebrew Inscription from Mt. Ebal,“ Herit Sci.

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