The papyrus describes the escape of runaway slaves during the reign of Seti II (New Kingdom). It is interesting to note that their escape route mirrors that of the fleeing Israelites during the Exodus from Egypt (which is sometimes ascribed to the reign of Ramesses II). However, the documents only refers to the escape of two slaves, their ethnic background is not confirmed, and there are difficulties in tying together geographical details (such as the connection between Pi-Ramesses with the Biblical reference to “Ramesess”.
The Chief of Bowmen of Tjeku, KaKemwer, to the Chief of Bowmen Ani and the Chief of Bowmen BakenPtah: In life, prosperity, health! In the favor of Amon-Re, King of the Gods, and of the ka of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt: UserkheperuRe SetepenRe (Seti II), life, prosperity and health, our good lord, life, prosperity and health! I say to the ReHarakhti: “Keep Pharaoh, life, prosperity, health! our good lord, life, prosperity and health, in health! Let him celebrate millions of jubilees, while we are in his favor daily!” Another matter, to wit: I was sent forth from the broad-halls of the palace, life, prosperity and health, in the 3rd month of the third season, day 9, at the time of evening, following after these two slaves. Now when I reached the enclosure wall of Tjeku on the 3rd month of the third season, day 10, they told [me] they were saying to the south that they had passed by on the 3rd month of the third season, day 10. [Now] when [I] reached the fortress, they told me that the scout had come from the desert [saying that] they had passed the walled place north of the Migdol of Seti MernePtah, life, prosperity and health. Beloved like Seth.” When my letter reaches you, write to me about all that has happened to [them]. Who found their tracks? Which watch found their tracks? What people are after them? Write to me about all that has happened to them and how many people you send out after them. [May your health] be good!
- Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience (Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences) (2015) Thomas E. Levy
- Ancient Near Eastern Texts (1969) James B. Pritchard,
copyright J Hill 2015