Several months ago, I proposed that the purposes of Shoshenq’s Palestinian campaign(s) were to take over strategic settlements on trade routes and turn them into fortresses for their use as tax-collection centers for the kings ruling these fortresses and, of course, his kingdom. I find this option unlikely, since Palestine could not, by Shoshenq’s time have an established statehood to build fortresses. However, Shoshenq could set up a framework for such an activity, which would certainly not mature in his time.
To help us find out the purposes of Shoshenq’s campaign, we must first know the areas which his campaign visited. There were four main areas to which Shoshenq I campaigned:
1. The Tulkarm-Megiddo-Taanach-Rehob-Hapharaim crescent. (#s 14-18, 27-38)
2. Benjamin (#s 23-26, 57)
3. The Jabbok area and Tirzah (#s 22, 53-6, 59)
4. The Negev and North Sinai (#s 66-150)
The archaeological evidence shows clearly that Benjamin (Gibeon, et-Tell, and some single period sites) was severely negatively affected by this campaign, Gibeon being desolated. This was probably also so for the Jabbok area, and was likely due to the destruction of a rebellious Saulide polity. Tirzah should probably be excluded from this punitive action, since it was likely a tribute-paying city-state, no part of Samaria proper besides Tirzah being mentioned throughout the list.
The Jezreel Valley and the Negev, meanwhile, show not a single sign of discontinuity. The reason for the fact the Negev is mentioned in the list is clear: The chiefdom of Tel Masos, functioning by producing copper from Khirbet en-Nahas, Punon, and places even farther beyond, by way of the Mampsis road, was a polity any aspiring Egyptian ruler would control and protect. However, why was the Jezreel Valley and the cities of the Aruna road campaigned to (and it was campaigned to-a stele fragment of Shoshenq’s was found at Megiddo). The reasons for a campaign to the Jezreel Valley, whose Canaanite city-states were already broken in the early-to-mid 10th century, possibly by the Saulide polity, possibly by groups of Israelite chiefdoms, are obscure, at best. Perhaps it was for the putting down of a revolt of these regions from an Egyptian-friendly Hill-Country polity, perhaps it was a commemoration of the accomplishments of Shoshenq’s predecessors. We will, perhaps, never know the true reason for the Jezreel campaign.