Battle of Bitter Lakes
|Battle of Bitter Lakes|
|Egypt||nomads, possibly Bedouins|
|Commanders and leaders|
|Casualties and losses|
The battle of Bitter Lakes was a part of the military campaign of Shoshenq I to the Kingdom of Judah in 925 BC where he conquered many cities and towns including Jerusalem. The location of the conflict was at Bitter Lakes, that we can identify with the lakes to the north by the frontier channel that was developed in part to guard the eastern border of Egypt, although it is not certain that the channel reached that far south. The fortresses at the boundary served as a checkpoints for Asiatics who attempted to enter Egypt. This would also serve to block the attacks such as this one mentioned in a stele of Shoshenq I in Karnak.
The battle begun as a result of a border incursion by nomads. According to some scholars, Shoshenq used these forays as an excuse to launch an invasion to Judah. Paul Ash suggests that they may have been marauding nomads in the area of the shores of the Bitter Lakes, in present-day Egypt. The pharaoh was followed by his royal scribe Hori, and chariotry, to the battlefield. Not much is known about the actual battle besides the fact that Shoshenq won after surprising the enemy at the shores of Bitter Lakes.
Records of the battle
Previously mentioned stele of Shoshenq I, discovered at Karnak, mentions this much about the battle:
"Now, My Majesty found that [ ... they] were killing [ ... ] army-leaders. His Majesty was upset about them Š [His Majesty went forth,] his chariotry accompanying him without (the enemy's) knowing it. His Majesty made great slaughter among them, Š at the edge of the Bitter Lakes." A contemporary, Hori, had been a "real royal scribe, [following] the king at his incursions into the foreign lands
Sheshonk I is frequently identified with the Egyptian king "Shishaq" (שׁישׁק Šîšaq, transliterated), who, according to the Books of Kings, invaded Judah in the time of king Jeroboam. The biblical record in 1 Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 deal with Jerusalem's perspective on the attack, but the record of Sheshonk I gives greater detail of other battle grounds.
- Ash, Paul S (November 1999). David, Solomon and Egypt: A Reassessment (JSOT Supplement). Sheffield Academic Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-1-84127-021-0.