Joseph Davidovits claims that the word "iisii-r-iar", "ysrỉar" or however you want to transcribe it, that appears on the Merneptah Stele is an Egyptian phrase meaning "those who are exiled for their sins".

Now, this word is usually assumed mean "Israel", and since the pharao says that the Israelites are exiled for their sins in the bible, this sounds just a little bit to good to be true.

What are the basis for his claims? Does he have anything real to base this on?

  • 3
    I am confused by your question "What are the basis for his claims?" The original web-site describes how he believes there is an error (which he ascribes to forgery) in the interpretation of one of the symbols as a vulture instead of an owl. He shows photographs to support his interpretation. I am not saying he is right - I cannot interpret it myself and have found no scholarly analysis - but doesn't that answer this question?
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 27, 2011 at 12:34
  • pharao says that the Israelites are exiled for their sins in the bible - do you have citation? And why would it be to good to be true.? Good for whom and why? Oct 27, 2011 at 15:59
  • @Oddthinking: No, that article contains the claim, but he makes no attempt to prove it, the article is about something different. Oct 27, 2011 at 17:18
  • @userunknown: Sorry, my bad, it is god who says so. Ezekiel 39:23. Oct 27, 2011 at 17:20
  • 4
    The stele inscription is in a language that is the direct ancestor to Coptic; Israel is Hebrew (a Semitic language). The two languages are both Afro-Asiatic, but they're related about as closely as, say, Italian and Icelandic (both Indo-European). Sometimes things that sound sort of the same merely sound sort of the same -- it doesn't mean they're cognates -- and this pair barely meets the "sort of the same" criterion. Oct 28, 2011 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


This is almost an exact duplicate of this sister SE site question: https://history.stackexchange.com/questions/633/what-is-the-basis-for-the-claims-that-israel-mean-exiled-for-their-sins

The answer is similar to what I posted here earlier (got deleted for lack of sources)

But it is basically the same answer:

Israel is the name given to Jacob, and means in Hebrew (my native language):

  • "persevere with God" (1)
  • "striven with God" (2)
  • "Contended with God" - the word שרה in hebrew (3)

The verse:

“Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but [n]Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed.” 29

The footnote:

n. Genesis 32:28 I.e. he who strives with God; or God strives


(1) Wells, John C. (1990). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, England: Longman. p. 381. ISBN 0-582-05383-8. entry "Jacob" and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacob#cite_note-0

(2) The Bible, Genesis 32 (http://www.biblica.com/bibles/chapter/?verse=Genesis+32&version=nasb#fen-NASB-957n)

(3) http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%A9%D7%A8%D7%94

  • Please do not duplicate your content.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 5, 2012 at 8:15
  • What do you mean? I tried to edit and un-delete the post you removed, and the prompt said "this was deleted by a moderator and cannot be undone", please explain
    – Eran Medan
    Nov 5, 2012 at 8:24
  • Understood. You normally flag the deleted post after the edit and a moderator is going to re-instate it. We would like to avoid duplicate content - normally I would delete this version and undelete the other - however this version (above) has more up votes and thus I'll leave it.
    – Sklivvz
    Nov 5, 2012 at 8:48

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