The Ipuwer Papyrus

In 1822 an ancient papyrus document was found near the pyramids of Saqqara. The Swedish consul to Egypt, Giovanni Anastasi, purchased the papyrus and later sold it to the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Netherlands, in 1828. This ancient artifact has been dated to about 1300 B.C. This is about the time of the Exodus of the Children of Israel from Egypt.

The papyrus lay in the museum until 1909 when Egyptologist Sir Alan Gardiner translated it into English. The translation of the 1300 B.C. document revealed that it was an indictment against an unnamed pharaoh, who had been responsible for turmoil and tragedy in Egypt. The apparent author, Ipuwer, chronicled events that had occurred and they mirror the account of the Exodus.

You will recall that Moses, through the power of the Lord, turned the Nile River into blood. Here is what Ipuwer says; Section 2:5,6 “Plague is throughout the land. Blood is everywhere.” Section 2:10 “The river is blood.”

And then there was the plague of hail and fire. The barley and flax crops, which mature early, were destroyed. Again, Ipuwer says; Section 2:10 “Forsooth, gates, columns and walls are consumed by fire.” Section 6:3 “Forsooth, grain has perished on every side.”

In addition, there was a plague against livestock. According to Ipuwer; Section 5:5 “All animals, their hearts weep. Cattle moan...” Section 9:2,3 “Behold, cattle are left to stray, and there is none to gather them together.”

Ipuwer speaks of the result of the Passover; Section 2:13 “He who places his brother in the ground is everywhere.” Section 3:14 “It is groaning throughout the land, mingled with lamentations.”

The Children of Israel were told to ask the Egyptians for jewelry and “they plundered the Egyptians.” Ipuwer speaks of “gold and lapis lazuli, silver and malachite, carnelian and bronze... are fastened on the necks of female slaves.” (Section 3:2)

This fascinating document is historic confirmation of the Biblical account. It is interesting that in 1909 the papyrus was translated and interpreted literally. Now, one hundred years later, modernist scholars attempt to explain away the statements of Ipuwer by saying that they should be interpreted poetically or figuratively. That is exactly how modernists attempt to explain away the Word of God, the Bible.

It is also interesting that this remarkable document has not been trumpeted on PBS or the History Channel. It is probably because they do not wish to confirm the accuracy of the Bible, or to give God the glory. But I hope to give God all glory and praise for Eternity!

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