Gérard Gertoux (Professor of National Education in France, President of the Association Biblique de Recherche d'Anciens Manuscrits, Hebrew scholar, specialist of the Tetragram


Two schields were found at Soleb (J. Leclant - Les fouilles de Soleb in: Annuaire du Collčge de France 1980-1981 pp. 474-475) with a short inscription dated about the time of Amenophis III (-1391 -1353). Additionally, this short inscription is engraved in a shield used for subjugated peoples, according to the Egyptian way of describing.


This inscription is easy to decipher (J. Leclant* - Le "Tétragramme" ŕ l'époque d'Aménophis III in: Near Eastern Studies. Wiesbaden 1991 Ed. Otto Harrassowitz pp. 215-219). It can be transcribed:

ta sha-su-w y-eh-ua-w   (conventional vocalization)

'Land of the Bedouins those of Yehua'   (literal translation)


If a recording in an Egyptian temple had mentioned the name Yehoua, after the departure of the Hebrews, it would inevitably have been chiseled out to remove it. However, a good specimen was found at Soleb; a short inscription dated about the time of Amenophis III (-1391 -1353).

It is interesting to note that the Shasus (Bedouins) would have meant to the Egyptians specific Bedouins staying with their bundles, in the region North of the Sinai.


From the fifteenth to twelfth century BCE, the Hebrew settlers conquering Palestine were pejoratively called the Hapirus by the Egyptians (The word ‘Apiru/ Ôabiru means ‘wanderings’ in Semitic languages.) These hieroglyphic shields were short enough to escape possible erasure.


Some specialists prefer to identify Yehua with an unknown toponym but it is unlikely. Additionally, there is a very good agreement with the conventional vocalization and all the Semitic names (see the work of J. Simons - Handbook for the study of Egyptian topographical lists relating to western Asia E.J. Brill 1937 et l'ouvrage de S. Ahituv - Canaanite toponyms in ancient Egyptian documents E.J. Brill 1984). In any case, this distinction is impossible to prove, as in the cases of biblical toponyms like: ‘land of Judah’ (Dt 34:2); ‘land of Rameses’ (Gn 47:11); or with the Asiatic toponyms of this period (15th century BCE) found in several Egyptian lists as ‘[land of] Jacob-El’; ‘[land of] Josep-El’, ‘[land of] Lewi-El’, etc., which obviously are also personal names. This document is interesting because of its antiquity and also because of its vocalization.

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