Is Bible God's Words?

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Old Testament Archaeology New Testament Reliability Biblical Prophecies

Old Testament archaeology
continues to shed light on the historicity of the Old Testament as Biblical history enters the period of the Judges and the Monarchy, when the descendents of Abraham grew to be a nation, Israel, on the world stage. Many direct archaeological findings attest the historicity of Bible as well. In 1947, the discovery of Dead Sea Scroll further attests the reliability of the transmission of the Old Testament.

Israel Stele from Thebe by Merneptah,  1220B.C.

In the stele, the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah boasted of his conquest of Palestine. On the 27th line of the stele, the name of Israel is mentioned for the first and only time in Egyptian records. Merneptah said Israel is 'laid to waste, his seed is not'.  The name Israel is mentioned as a group of people instead of as a nation. Some suggest that this is because it had only been a short time since the Israelites had left Egypt and as such, so they were not yet recognized as a nation. This may be the period of Judges in Bible (from the Book of Joshua to the Book of I Samuel) when the Israel did not have a king. 
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Jericho - ancient city. Situated 670 feet below sea level, there was a  settlement at Jericho as early as 8000 B.C. It is the worlds oldest and lowest city. Several important discoveries collaborate with the Biblical narratives in the Book of Joshua: Jericho2.jpg (37874 bytes)
The city was attacked and the city walls fell and leveled, and the walls tumbled down outward. Jericho wall.jpg (47508 bytes) "So the people shouted, and priests blew the trumpets; and when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people shouted with a great shout and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight ahead, and they took the city.." (Joshua 6:20) Jerichowall_sketch.jpg (23261 bytes)

Dozens of storage jars full of grain were discovered, indicating that the attack on Jericho was during harvest time; the attack was not a siege. It was quick, and the city was not plundered. It was also discovered that the city had been burned. As such, the archaeological record fits the biblical record at this point precisely.  

"But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it." (Joshua 6:18)

"Then they burned the whole city and everything in it... "(Joshua 6:24)

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Ai ( tell et):  Archaeologists have discovered that there was general destruction in the town of Ai during the time period when Joshua and the Israelites invaded Canaan. The town lay in ruins. In fact, the name Ai means ruins. It is possible that Ai was only a military outpost for Bethel at that time.

"So Joshua and the whole army moved out to attack Ai. He chose thirty thousand of his best fighting men and sent them out at night" (Joshua 8:3)

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Hazor : The city of Hazor was destroyed early on during the time of Johsua. Also, Bethel, Debir and Lachish shared the same fate during this time, which may indicate the overall destruction of Palestine in this period. And in the town of Lachish and Hazor, the old Canaanite temples were destroyed and not rebuilt showing a new people moving in. In the early Iron age, starting around 1200 B.C., the towns  destroyed were rebuilt by people whose skills were inferior to the old Canaanites. (Israelite nomadic culture was indeed inferior to Canaanites). In the central and northern parts of Israel, findings of inscriptions in Hebrew were discovered showing the presence of the Hebrew people in these areas from roughly 1200 to 1000 B.C.

"At that time Joshua turned back and captured Hazor ....They totally destroyed them, not sparing anything that breathed, and he burned up Hazor itself." (Joshua 11:10-11)

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The Monarchy Period

From tenth century B.C. on, Israel firmly established its borders, starting the period of Monarchy with Kings Saul and David. Direct archaeological evidence continues to affirm the factuality of Biblical record.

About 50 non-Jewish kings and rulers and more than half of the Jewish kings mentioned in the Bible have had their existence independently confirmed from inscriptions, tombs and monuments. Hundreds of geographical locations and events referred to in Scripture have also been identified and verified.

Solomon’s Gates in Hazor, Gezer,  Meggido:  

The gates in these three cities are similar. They are dated at the time of Solomon and were fortified which agrees with the Biblical record.

"Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the LORD's temple, his own palace, the supporting terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer." (I King 9: 15)

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Shilshak’s  inscription - 918 B.C.

The inscription on the temple of Amon at Karnak, Egypt, records the Shilshak's attack on Palestine, comprised of both Israel and Judah. Shilshak won 150 cities, including Meggido and Gezar. (1 Kings 14:25-28). This direct connection between Egyptian and biblical history once again affirms the factuality of the Old Testament record.  Later, Zerah, the general of Shilshak's army, attacked Judah and was defeated by Asa ( 2 Chron 14: 9-14).

"In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt attacked Jerusalem. 26 He carried off the treasures of the temple of the LORD and the treasures of the royal palace. He took everything, including all the gold shields Solomon had made." ( 1 King 14:25-28). 

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Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser III - 853 B.C. 

The Assyrian stele records the battle at Qarqar with a coalition of the Israelite king Ahab and the Aramean king Hadadazer (Benhadad II) in which Ahab is said to have sent 2,000 chariots and 10,000 foot soldiers. This kind of non-Israelite record once again confirms the historicity of the Biblical record. More than 15 Jewish kings' names were discovered in this fashion.

"The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel.  When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them." (I King 20;26-27)

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 Mesha Stone - Moabite rebellion against Israel.  ( 850B.C.)

Mesha, king of the Moabites, took advantage of the conflict between Ahab of Israel and the Arameans to rebel against Israel to recover its independence. The stele boasts about his victory over Israel.  The stone had been broken into three pieces so that it could be sold for more money. Later, all the pieces ended up in the Louve Museum in France. There is an inscription showing the phrase 'House of David' on the broken portion of the stele. The record of this event matches the Biblical record.

"Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to supply the king of Israel with a hundred thousand lambs and with the wool of a hundred thousand rams. 5 But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel." (2 King 3:4-5)

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Dan Stele, “ House of David” 850 B.C.  

The stele found in Tel Dan in 1993, dated at the first half of the ninth century B.C. was erected by an Aramean military commander to commemorate the victory over the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. It may have described events in the war of Ben-Hadad I against King Baasha of Israel ( I kings 15: 16-22, 2Chron 16 : 1-6). The stele was later broken and used as building material for a wall. The inscription shows the phrase "House of David" which is an important extra-biblical record of the existence of King David who has long been regarded by some as a fictional, rather than historical, character in the Bible. Hence, the historicity of the Bible is once again confirmed.

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Black  Obelisk of  Shalmaneser III - 841B.C.

The Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, king at Qarqar in 852 B.C. again invaded Palestine 12 years after the war with the Israelite kings Ahab and Aramean. He exacted heavy tribute from Jehu of Israel and the king of Tyre. This extra-biblical record attests to Biblical historicity. In the second panel of the Black Obelisk, it shows Jehu bowing down in submission..jehu .jpg (96287 bytes)

Assyrian kings : Sargon II  ( 722-705)and Sennacherib ( 705-681)( right)

Sargon II ended the Northern Kingdom in 722B.C, after Shalmaneser V besieged Samaria for three years, and deported 27,000 Israelites to Assyria near Nineveh.

Sennacherib attacked Judah in 701 B.C. during Hezekiah's reign, destroying 46 cities, including Lachish, and besieged Jerusalem without success ( 2 King 18-19, Isa 36-37,  II Chron 32)"

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Sennacherib’s capture of Latish - 701 B.C. 

A relief in Sennacherib's palace at Nineveh records a clear picture of the seize of the Judean city Lachish. It was one of the 46 Judean cities destroyed, according to the Assyrian records. The event took place before Sennacherib's army marched into Jerusalem during Hezekiah's reign. (2 King 18:13). Seize machines being used against the defending city's wall are shown. Archaeological findings confirm a desperate struggle between the people in the city and the invaders as well as serious destruction of the city.

"In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah's reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.  So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish..." (2 King 18:13)

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Prism of Sennacherib - 701 B.C.  

This Assyrian clay inscription records the attack on Jerusalem in 701B.C.: "As for the Hezekiah the Judahite, he did not submit to my yoke. I laid siege to forty six of his strong cities, walled forts, and to countless villages in their vicinity, and conquered them. I drove out over 200,000 people. Hezekiah himself I made prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage." But Sennacherib was not able to seize the city, so instead, they withdrew and left, just as recorded in the Bible.

"Then the angel of the LORD went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies! So Sennacherib king of Assyria broke camp and withdrew. He returned to Nineveh and stayed there." (Isaiah 37: 36-37)

Hezekiah tunnel. - about 701 B.C.

 In preparation for war with Assyrian king Sennacherib, Hezekiah built a tunnel to get a water supply from the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam inside the city. The tunnel is 1,750 feet long, dug into the rock from both sides. There were Hebrew inscriptions Hezekiah tunnel carved in the side of the tunnel hazecha tunnel inscription.jpg (103501 bytes) commemorating the accomplishment of the project. 

"As for the other events of Hezekiah's reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?" (2King 20:20, 2Chr 32:30)

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Babylonian Chronicle (604- 594B.C.) and Cyrus Cylinder - (538B.C.)

The Babylonian Chronicle records the Babylonian conquest of Nineveh and Syro-Palestine (2 Kings 24) and lists the tribute received from the kings of these lands. It also records the first capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C., the exile of Jehoiachin and the appointment of Zedekiah.

The Cyrus Cylinder records, Cyrus, the Persian king allowing the Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their temple with the help of money from the Persian government. The decree was publicly announced and circulated by royal messengers.(Ezra 1:1-2.)

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Six Royal Seals confirms Biblical Figures.  6th century BC. 

 In the ancient world, when royal letters were written on scrolls, they were rolled up,  folded and tied with a string. A wet lump of clay was used to seal the document by impressing a seal on it. The clay was later dried and hardened, and the document was stored in an archive. Very often, during wartime, cities or palaces were burnt to the ground. Documents were destroyed but their seals, however, were baked and became indestructible. Hundreds of seals were found in Palestine, but only six can be confidently identified from the impression on the seals. 1. Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, who appears in Jer 32:12 and 43:1-7,36,45. The inscription reads 'Belonging to Baruch/ Son of Neri/ The scribe'. 2. Yerahmeel, an official who went out with a royal order to arrest Jeremiah and Baruch in Jer 36:26.  3. Gemariah in Jer 36:10. It was at his chamber, the message of Jeremiah was read to the king. The description and the date of the seal matches exactly the Biblical data. 4. Baruch'brother, Seriah, Jer 32:12, 51:59 who was a royal official to king Zedekiah. 5. The ring of Hanan, son of Hilkiah, from the 7th century B.C. as recorded in 2 Kings 22:8.  6. The high Priest Azariah (1 Chron 6:13,9:11, Ezra 7:1). This bulla, found together with that of Gemariah in the city of David, is accurately dated. These seals are solid evidence for the historicity of the Biblical record. 

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The Dead Sea Scrolls - found in 1947, dated about 100 B.C.

When the scrolls were first discovered in Qumram near the Dead Sea in 1947, the scrolls were stored in big clay jars found in the caves carved out of the cliffs. It was a library of a sect in Qumram in which 20% of the scroll's content are Biblical texts, and 80% are non-biblical texts. The Biblical portion of the content include all the books of Old Testament with the exception of the Book of Esther. This is the oldest manuscript of the Bible ever found; they are from between 250 BC to 65 AD. The significance of this discovery is not only its tremendous archaeological value for understanding the religious life around first centuries B.C. and A.D., but also its confirming the accuracy of the transmission of the Old Testament. Comparing the content of the Old Testament Bible contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls to the previous earliest manuscript, the Masoratic text from the 10th century A.D., the accuracy of the text is very high. That shows the transmission of the Old Testament was very accurate even over a period of 1,000 years. The scrolls are now stored in, the Shrine of the Book, the Dead Sea Scrolls Museum, in Jerusalem.

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Accumulative archaeological discoveries attest to the historicity of the Old Testament Bible. 

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