Is Bible God's
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
of Bible as well. In 1947, the discovery of Dead Sea Scroll further
attests the reliability of the transmission of the Old Testament.
Stele from Thebe by Merneptah,
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
- ancient city. Situated
670 feet below sea level, there was a
settlement at Jericho as early as 8000 B.C. It is the world’s
oldest and lowest city. Several important discoveries collaborate with the Biblical
narratives in the Book of Joshua:
city was attacked and the city walls fell
and leveled, and the walls tumbled down outward.
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.."
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
"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
"Then they burned the whole
city and everything in it... "(Joshua
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)
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
The Monarchy Period
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.
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
have also been identified and verified.
Gates in Hazor, Gezer, Meggido:
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)
inscription - 918 B.C.
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:
"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).
Stele of Shalmaneser III - 853 B.C.
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
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)
Stone - Moabite rebellion against Israel.
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)
Stele, “ House of David”
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.
Obelisk of Shalmaneser
III - 841B.C.
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
kings : Sargon
II ( 722-705)and
Sennacherib ( 705-681)( right)
II ended the Northern Kingdom in 722B.C, after Shalmaneser V besieged
Samaria for three years, and deported 27,000 Israelites to Assyria near
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)"
capture of Latish
- 701 B.C.
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
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
of Sennacherib - 701 B.C.
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
- about 701 B.C.
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
the accomplishment of the
"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)
Chronicle (604- 594B.C.) and Cyrus
Cylinder - (538B.C.)
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.
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
decree was publicly announced and circulated by royal messengers.(Ezra 1:1-2.)
Royal Seals confirms Biblical Figures. 6th century BC.
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
Sea Scrolls - found in 1947, dated about 100
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
Accumulative archaeological discoveries attest to the historicity of the Old
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