Shasu of Yahweh

By: Corie Hembree-Bobechko

There is a scholarly storm that rages over the accuracy of the Bible’s account. Many have passed off the Bible’s history until after the time of Solomon, History is accepted at this point because the narrative can then be verified over and over again by non-biblical sources. However, the earlier biblical histories are becoming increasingly difficult to deny outright.

Many years ago, three Egyptian inscriptions were identified, the oldest dating from 1400 B.C. From a biblical standpoint, this would be about 50 years after the Exodus from Egypt and so six years into the conquest of Canaan in the days of Joshua. Remember that the conquest did not immediately include city building and an organized state. The books of Joshua and Judges portray Israelites living in already built Canaanite cities, often semi-nomadically until the time of the kings. These 3,400-year-old Egyptian hieroglyphs were found in a temple at Soleb in modern day Sudan. They are a listing of people groups in and around the land of Canaan. The term “Shasu” is used of these different peoples. It means, “Semi-nomadic.” Remarkable mention needs to be given to the “Shasu of Yahweh.” Despite the fierce battle over the Bible’s history, it is acknowledged by all sides that these hieroglyphs clear indicate the proper name of the God of the Hebrew Bible.

This means a few things:

  1. There was a semi-nomadic group of people living in Canaan distinguishable only by their devotion to the God of the Hebrew Bible during the period of Joshua-Judges.
  2. This pushes scholarship in the direction that the Exodus would have occurred before 1400 B.C.
  3. The Shasu of Yahweh seem to be treated differently in Egypt. Shasu groups were given a land designation. Instead, these Shasu were given a God designation.

Hear O Israel, the LORD your God, the LORD is One.