In 1887 a store of 382 ancient letters was discovered in Egypt at the site of Tell el-Amarna.


The clay tablets had been written by two pharaohs (Amenophis III and IV) around 1390 BC’


The writers were officials of the Canaanite cities of Palestine about the time that the people of Israel were settling in the land. Palestine was then part of the Egyptian empire.


Soon after 1380 BC Amenophis IV moved the Egyptian capital from Thebes to Amarna. The official files would have also been relocated.


Many of the letters refer to a group called the Apiru. The ‘Apiru’ were a marauding nomadic people who had been in Canaan before the arrival of the Israelites but the names would also have applied to the Israelites.


The governor of Jerusalem wrote several letters to pharaoh requesting help to resist these invaders.


Quote from one of the letters;


‘The ‘Apiru plunder all the lands of the king. If archers are here this year then the lands of the king, my lord, will remain. But if the archers are not here, then the lands of the king, my lord, are lost….
All the lands of the king, my lord,  are going to ruin’