The Amarna diplomatic letters exposed vassal relationships between field commanders, acting as local kings and Pharaoh their Egyptian ruler. Field garrisons, who defended Egyptian territories sometimes expressed conflicting interests that often triggered a spate of letter writing. Victories, defeats or political turmoil weighed heavily on the writings.
The tablets appear to have been buried with Akhenaten at El Amarna, but are not originals, mostly made of clay from areas east of the Jordan River they are deemed authentic. One such letter #254 titled "Neither Rebel nor Delinquent" by Labaya commander of the Samaria region, from Sakmu, the biblical city of Shechem exposed serious allegations against him for having surrendered land to the Habiru. The letter and the connected letters further south at Uru-Salem, biblical Jerusalem discuss battles waged by the Habiru.
Dating and sources of the Amarna letters are not yet firmly established, but thought to span Egyptian Pharaoh's Amenhotep III, Akhenaten, through possibly Smenkhkare or Tutankhamun around 150 years. These Pharaoh's may overlap Biblical Hebrew or Israelite presence, enslavement in and exile from Egypt. However, the chronologies leave much open to speculation. The Labaya tablet #254 and others reference Pharaoh in his 32nd year of reign leaving only Amenhotep III who held power for 36-38 years during the Amarna period.
The Bible describes Israel's 40 year sojourn before entering the land of Canaan and Joshua, the Israelite leader is said to have ruled 32 years after that. If there is a Biblical overlap and the Habiru, even if only some were Hebrew Israelite's raiding Canaan then letter #254 must have been written during the overlap of Amenhotep III and Joshua's 32 year reign, which according to the Biblical record ended in 1245 BCE.
Prince Thutmose, the eldest son of Amenhotep III is said to have died in the third decade of his fathers reign. His younger brother Akhenaten became the "strange" Pharaoh as depicted in uncharacteristically abstract art from his reign. From evidence at Amarna we know the state of health among those buried elite of Egypt was poor despite opposite representations reflected in artwork of the time. Amarna depicts how the tyranny of distance upheld diplomatic facade, appearance of control and power, yet reality was always different. For Akhenaten losing control of Retjenu (Canaan) may have been his diplomatic inheritance and artistic downfall.
Evidence dated toward the end of the 13th century BCE, from Papyrus Anastasi III, Merneptah Stele (1203 BCE), Egyptian late bronze age temple at Jerusalem's École biblique and tombs north and north-west of Jerusalem's Mount Moriah describe a prolonged Egyptian commitment and interest in Canaan during the approximately 250 years of military activity from Amenhotep III to Merneptah. In addition to strategic and regional benefits, a long term commitment to Canaan may have been etched in the psyche of Egyptian leaders by Egypt's founder and first Pharaoh Khem. According to the Biblical record he may have incestuously fathered Canaan. The place name Canaan is common in Egyptian and Biblical records.
This most tumultuous military period directly overlaps Israelite tribes who were displacing local Canaanite leaders and populations long connected with Egypt by settling their indigenous land and entitlements east and west of the Jordan River. This re-settlement spanned a period of 300 years from Joshua until King David culminating the Israelite inheritance consistent with biblical teachings and tribal agreements.
In a desperate plea Adonizedek requested Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) take the coastal route to rescue the dire situation in Jerusalem, but one critical Amarna letter, early in the reign of Akhenaten shows that the coast road was still open when King Dusratta wrote to his son-in-law Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) twenty years later. Joshua must then have overlapped Amenhotep III and Akhenaten, which if we wind back 40 years, makes Thumose IV the prime candidate for the Israelite Exodus led by Moses.
Despite that the lower Galilee was, for some few years with Philistia and Syria it was reconquered by Rameses II, who never entered the Judæan mountains. The events placed in these time frames may help us to better understand that Pithom and Rameses, Egyptian cities built by Israelite slaves could have provided the political impetus that promoted ascension of the House of Rameses to the status of Pharaoh over Egypt. When Rameses II appeared on the scene it was already the latter period of Israel's settlement during the period recorded in its Book of Judges.