© Charles Chandler
Merneptah continued the campaign into Canaan, to destroy the power-base of the coalition. In the long list of his exploits, it was said that "Israel's seed is no more". The hieroglyphics show Israel as a personal name, suffixed by the symbol for a group of people, as in "Israel's clan" (i.e., Jacob's descendants). Scholars have always assumed that this meant the destruction of Israel in Israel (i.e., in Canaan). But we also have Israelites in the delta, and some of them sided with the Sea Peoples against the pharaoh. So the epitaph might have meant that Merneptah went after Israelites wherever he could find them. Obviously he missed a few, since the Israelites persisted underground, and re-emerged later. But for the time being, they were suppressed.
Shortly thereafter, Merneptah abandoned Pi-Ramses, thus eliminating all of the jobs that had been provided by the public works projects. All of those from Canaan were then "free" to return home. As descendants of Abraham & Sarah, who had been granted the land by Amenhotep III, these delta dwellers returned to Canaan to claim their inheritance. From this "Exodus" we get the stories of the Israelites leaving Goshen and being pursued across the desert by the pharaoh. Once again, it's possible that a pharaoh released people from bondage, publicly showing magnanimity, only to attempt to slaughter them in the wilderness. So they weren't just freed — they were freed with a vengeance.1
The brutal conquest of Canaan described in the Book of Joshua actually isn't such a good fit for Joshua's exploits in


1. Exodus 6:1 (E)

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