This eight-meter-high (26 ft) hieroglyphic relief is near an entryway to the ancient Egyptian temple of the god Amun in Karnak. According to scholars, the relief portrays Pharaoh Shishak’s conquests in lands northeast of Egypt, including Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel.
The relief shows Amun presenting over 150 bound captives to Shishak, or Sheshonk. a Each captive represents one of the conquered towns or peoples. The names of the towns are inscribed in the oval shapes on the body of each captive. A number of the names are still legible, and some are well-known to Bible readers. They include Beth-shean, Gibeon, Megiddo, and Shunem.
The campaign into Judah is mentioned in the Bible. (1 Kings 14:25, 26) In fact, the Bible gives specific details about Shishak’s invasion. We read: “In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, King Shishak of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. . . . He had 1,200 chariots, 60,000 horsemen, and countless troops who came with him from Egypt . . . He captured the fortified cities of Judah and finally reached Jerusalem.”—2 Chronicles 12:2-4.
The Karnak relief is not the only archaeological evidence of Shishak’s campaign into Israelite territory. A fragment of a stone monument, or stela, found at the site of the Biblical town of Megiddo also bears the name “Sheshonk.”
The Bible’s accurate record of Shishak’s conquest of Judah is an example of the integrity of the Bible writers. They truthfully documented their own nation’s conquests and defeats. Such honesty is not generally found among other ancient writers.
a The Biblical spelling “Shishak” reflects the Hebrew pronunciation of the name.