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Author Topic: Biblical Archaeology  (Read 5605 times)
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« on: January 29, 2006, 04:42:35 PM »

Archaeologists are those researchers who go directly to the source and analyze ancient cultures through artifacts, inscriptions, and other remains. As humans, we rely on archaeology as one of the main sources of uncovering history.


Ark of the Covenant: Mystical Object or Historical Artifact?
The Ark of the Covenant means different things to different people. For some, the Ark is a mystical object that contains supernatural powers too terrifying to comprehend. For the pop-culture minded, it is the priceless treasure sought after by the fearless Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. To others, it is an ancient artifact that is highly coveted for its "religious" significance, similar to the "holy grail." With all the societal myths surrounding the Ark, it is worthwhile to take a moment to investigate its true origin and purpose. Is the Ark of the Covenant as powerful and terrifying as some have portrayed it to be? Is it merely something dreamt up by Hollywood to lure our movie-going dollars? Or could there be more to this ancient object that has relevance for us today?

Ark of the Covenant: The History Behind it
The Ark of the Covenant is first mentioned in the Bible in Exodus 25. Following Israel's deliverance from slavery in Egypt, God instructs Moses to build a Tabernacle (or tent) in which the Israelites will worship God. Placed in a special area known as "the Holy of Holies," the Ark of the Covenant was the most sacred object in the Tabernacle. Detailed instructions were given by God to construct the Ark. It was to be made with acacia wood and overlaid with gold. Dimensionally, the Ark was to be 2.5 cubits (1 cubit is approximately 18 in.) long and 1.5 cubits wide and high. Atop the Ark were two gold cherubs that stood with their wings covering an area of the Ark known as the "Mercy Seat."

The Ark of the Covenant contained three items of extreme significance to the Israelites. The first was two stone tablets bearing the divine inscription of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments formed the foundation of God's covenant with Israel, commonly referred to as "The Law" (Exodus 31). The second item in the Ark was the rod of Aaron. God miraculously caused Aaron's rod to bud with blossoms to show the rest of the tribes of Israel that it was God's will for Aaron to be in charge of the Priesthood (Numbers 17). The last item was a golden pot of manna. Manna was the starchy food God miraculously provided for the Israelites during their 40 years of desert wanderings (Exodus 16).

The Ark of the Covenant was where God manifested His presence on earth. The Ark went ahead of the Israelites wherever they traveled. Not only was it the center of worship when it resided in the tabernacle, but the Ark also protected the Israelites in battle, supernaturally defeating any adversaries that came before them (Joshua 6:3-4). The Israelites also went to the Ark to seek God's guidance and wisdom for the nation (Numbers 7:89, Exodus 25:22).

Ark of the Covenant: A Temporary Means of ForgivenessThe Ark of the Covenant was more than just a special furnishing with supernatural powers -- It was also the Israelites' means of relating to God. The Ark of the Covenant could only be approached once a year by the high priest on "Yum Kippur"- the Jewish Day of Atonement. On this day, the high priest would enter the Holy of Holies with the blood of a sacrificed lamb. It was also only on this day that God's presence manifested between the two Cherubs. The high priest would sprinkle the blood of the sacrificed lamb on the Mercy Seat. Once received by God, the blood of the lamb atoned (covered) for the sins of the high priest and the entire nation of Israel. This ritual was performed continuously, year after year. The Ark of the Covenant played a key role in the forgiveness of sins.

Ark of the Covenant: Foreshadowing the Coming MessiahAt first glance, the blood sacrifices associated with the history of the Ark of the Covenant may seem somewhat disturbing. Slaughtering animals and offering their blood on an altar begs of the occult. It is important to note, however, that these sacrifices were not intended to appease the wrath of a bloodthirsty deity. God does not desire the blood and suffering of helpless lambs (Hebrews 10:Cool. The biblical text repeatedly shows that where there is sin, the unavoidable result is death. The sacrifice of the lamb points to the severity of sin. Sin must always be atoned (paid) for in order for God to be just (Hebrews 9:22). God's compassion enabled the sins of Israel to be transferred upon the lamb. More importantly, these sacrifices were foreshadowing a greater sacrifice yet to take place -- the sacrifice of the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ. God knew that these continual sacrifices would be insufficient to pay for the sins of Israel, much less the sins of all humanity. Therefore, God provided Jesus Christ as the ultimate sacrificial lamb, which became the greatest act of love in all history. A Roman cross became the ark on which Christ was sacrificed. The blood of Christ, once and for all, atoned for the wrongs of all who would accept Him as their Savior (John 3:16).

Ark of the Covenant: Replaced by God's New CovenantThe Ark of the Covenant disappeared from the Jewish Temple somewhere before or during the Babylonian invasion of Jerusalem in 586 BC. In anticipation of the Ark's disappearance, the prophet Jeremiah wrote: "And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more" (Jeremiah 3:16). Even before Jesus, Jeremiah's prophecy revealed that there would be no more need for the Ark of the Covenant in the future. God had a better covenant He would bring to pass -- the new covenant in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2006, 04:43:59 PM »

Biblical Archaeology: Ancient Civilization
Biblical archaeology really begins with the Sumerian civilization of about 2500 BC. To date, numerous sites and artifacts have been uncovered that reveal a great deal about the ancient Mesopotamian culture. One of the most dramatic finds is the Sumerian King List, which dates to approximately 2100 BC. This collection of clay tablets and prisms is most exciting because it divides the Sumerian kings into two categories; those who reigned before the "great flood" and those who reigned after it. The lists are also dramatic because they include the ages of the kings before and after the "great flood," which show the same phenomenal life span changes mentioned in the Bible. Actually, records of a global flood are found throughout most ancient cultures. For instance, the Epic of Gilgamesh from the ancient Babylonians contains an extensive flood story. Discovered on clay tablets in locations such as Ninevah and Megiddo, the Epic even includes a hero who built a great ship, filled it with animals, and used birds to see if the water had receded (see Genesis 7-8).

Biblical Archaeology: Ancient Law & Culture
Biblical archaeology continues with the great military civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and their ultimate impact on law and culture throughout the region. One significant find is the Law Code of Hammurabi, which is a seven foot tall, black diorite carving containing about 300 laws of Babylon's King Hammurabi (Hammurapi). Dated to about 1750 BC, the Law Code contains many civil laws that are similar to those found in the first five books of the Bible. Another find at the ancient city of Nuzi near the Tigris River uncovered approximately 20,000 clay tablets. Dated between 1500 and 1400 BC, these cuneiform texts explain the culture and customs of the time, many of which are similar to those found in the early books of the Bible.

Biblical Archaeology: Ancient Israel
Biblical archaeology then turns to the evidence for the early Israelites. The Merneptah Stele (also known as the Israel Stele) is an upright stone slab measuring over seven feet tall that contains carved hieroglyphic text dating to approximately 1230 BC. The Egyptian stele describes the military victories of Pharaoh Merneptah and includes the earliest mention of "Israel" outside the Bible. Although the specific battles covered by the stele are not included in the Bible, the stele establishes extra-biblical evidence that the Israelites were already living as a people in ancient Canaan by 1230 BC. In addition to the Stele, a large wall picture was discovered in the great Karnak Temple of Luxor (ancient Thebes), which shows battle scenes between the Egyptians and Israelites. These scenes have also been attributed to Pharaoh Merneptah and date to approximately 1209 BC. The Karnak Temple also contains records of Pharaoh Shishak's military victories about 280 years later. Specifically, the Shishak Relief depicts Egypt's victory over King Rehoboam in about 925 BC, when Solomon's Temple in Judah was plundered. This is the exact event mentioned in 1 Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12.

Outside Egypt, we also discover a wealth of evidence for the early Israelites. The Moabite Stone (Mesha Stele) is a three-foot stone slab discovered near Dibon ,East of the Dead Sea, that describes the reign of Mesha, King of Moab, around 850 BC. According to Genesis 19, the Moabites were neighbors of the Israelites. The stele covers victories by King Omri and Ahab of Israel against Moab, and Mesha's later victories on behalf of Moab against King Ahab's descendants (2 Kings 3). The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser is a seven-foot, four-sided pillar of basalt that describes the victories of King Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Dated to about 841 BC, the Obelisk was discovered in the ancient palace of Nimrud and shows Israel's King Jehu kneeling before the Assyrian king in humble tribute (see 2 Kings 9-10).

Biblical Archaeology: The House of David and Solomon's Temple
Biblical archaeology covering ancient Israeli kings and culture received a huge lift in 1994 when archaeologists discovered a stone inscription at the ancient city of Dan, which refers to the "House of David." The House of David Inscription (Tel Dan Inscription) is important because it's the first ancient reference to King David outside the Bible. Specifically, the stone is a victory pillar of a King in Damascus dated about 250 years after David's reign, which mentions a "king of Israel" (probably Joram, son of Ahab) and a king of the "House of David" (probably Ahaziah of Judah). Another important find is the House of Yahweh Ostracon, which is a pottery shard dated to about 800 BC that contains a written receipt for a donation of silver shekels to Solomon's Temple. Written approximately 130 years after the completion of the Temple, this appears to be the earliest mention of Solomon's Temple outside the Bible.

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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2006, 04:44:30 PM »

What is the Sumerian King List?

The Sumerian King List is an ancient list of Mesopotamian rulers: their names, their seat of power and the length of their reigns. The list as we have it today is actually a critical reconstruction of nearly 20 ancient fragments published in 1939 by the renowned Danish, Sumerologist Thorkild Jacobson.

The list is of special interest to the biblical archaeological community, particularly because of its antediluvian (pre-flood) portion. The list of pre-flood kings is interesting for two reasons. First, because it mentions an antediluvian civilization and a cataclysmic deluge, and second, because the pre-flood kings have really long life-spans (as is evidenced by their really long reigns). After the flood, the life-spans drop dramatically but remain inordinately long for a time. The length of monarchial reigns gradually decreases until they reflect ordinary life-spans.

This parallels the biblical account somewhat, except that the life-spans represented in the Sumerian King List are a lot longer than those in the biblical account. The average reign of the antediluvian king in the Sumerian King List was 30,150 years. The average life-span of the biblical antediluvian patriarch recorded in Genesis was 858 years (no where near as long but still inordinately long).

Dr. Raul Lopez believes that the information contained in the antediluvian portion of the Sumerian King List may have originated with the Semitic “Noah’s Flood” tradition and thus supports the Genesis account. He believes that the gross discrepancies in the ages can be accounted for quite simply by a major difference between the Semitic numbering system and the Sumerian’s, and the fact that both civilizations used the same symbols to express numbers.

The Semitic people used a decimal (base 10) system like the one we use today. The Sumerians used a sexagesimal (base 60) system. Dr. Lopez believes that the two people groups used the same symbols to express numbers (so that the Semitic “10” shared the same symbol as the Sumerian “60,” etc.) and that when a Sumerian scribe came across a Semitic tablet (or perhaps an oral tradition) purporting to document details concerning the antediluvian kings, he misinterpreted the numbers and his error was passed on.


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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2006, 04:47:06 PM »

Epic of Gilgamesh

The Epic of Gilgamesh may be the oldest written story unearthed to date. It depicts the adventures of the historical King Gilgamesh of Uruk in Babylonia on the Euphrates River in modern-day Iraq. The Epic of Gilgamesh dates to about 2700 BC and was originally written on 12 clay tablets in the cuneiform script of ancient Sumeria.

Tablet 11 of the Epic of Gilgamesh contains an extensive flood story that’s similar in many ways to the biblical account in Genesis.



Why was the Hammurabi Code of Law such an important archaeological discovery?

The Law Code of Hammurabi is significant because it is one of the oldest set of laws yet discovered by modern archaeologists. It dates back to around the 18th century B.C. Hammurabi was the Babylonian king who conquered the Sumerian dynasty of Isin, thus bringing an end to the centuries-long Sumerian domination of Mesopotamia. His own dynasty collapsed following his death, but the code of laws which he instituted endured.

The Code of Hammurabi is of special interest to biblical archaeologists because of the similarities between it and the Mosaic Law. Instances of correspondence include the famous "eye for an eye" principle. This has led some scholars to speculate that Moses, who lived around three centuries after Hammurabi, borrowed his law from the Babylonian monarch. This view has been discredited however. The similarities are limited and often superficial. For example, in the Mosaic Law, the "eye for an eye" principle is universal. In the Hammurabi Law the "eye for an eye" principle only applies if both parties are of equal status (i.e. lower class, middle class, upper class, clerical, nobility, etc.).

The Law Code of Hammurabi shown below is preserved on a seven-foot-tall, black diorite stele, which depicts the king himself receiving the law from Shamash, the Babylonian god of justice. The Law Code of Hammurabi provides incredible insight into the civil laws and customs of the ancient world, and shows similarities to the laws contained in the Torah (first five books) of the Bible.

The Law Code of Hammurabi currently resides in the Louvre Museum, Paris.


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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2006, 04:48:24 PM »

What do ancient cuneiform tablets teach us about biblical times and the biblical record?

Cuneiform was a system of writing used by different language groups in the ancient Near and Middle Eastern regions to inscribe information in a variety of languages. It was used for over three thousand years, from the dawn of the postdiluvial civilizations until after the Jewish Diaspora in A.D. 70. The word “cuneiform” derives from the Latin word “cuneus” which means “wedge.” “Cuneiform” literally means “wedge form,” or “wedge shaped.” The wedge-shaped letters were pressed into a clay tablet using a stylus usually made of reed. The wet clay was then baked or left to dry. Cuneiform was for the most part deciphered by archaeologists Sir Henry Creswicke Rawlinson and Georg Friedrich Grotefend in the mid to late 19th century, though there are many cuneiform tablets written in languages which are yet to be deciphered.

Archaeologists have discovered vast libraries of cuneiform tablets in archaeological sites across the Near and Middle East. King Ashurbanipal’s library in Nineveh, for example, yielded over 22,000 cuneiform documents. The tablets from these libraries have taught archaeologists a great deal about the cultures of the ancient Middle Eastern region. Of more importance to biblical archaeologists, cuneiform tablets have served to verify various aspects of the biblical account, especially names and places.

Critics of the book of Daniel once believed that King Belshazzar of Babylon was an imaginary figure made up by the book’s author. This was because at that time there were no references to Belshazzar outside of Jewish literature. That was until cuneiform tablets discovered in the Mesopotamian region were deciphered and found to contain mention of the Babylonian king. Now Belshazzar is universally recognized to be a historical character.

A Babylonian tablet contains a reference to the seizure of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar during the reign of Jehoiachin.

Perhaps the most significant instance where we find a cuneiform reference corroborating a biblical event, is the mention of a Noah’s flood-like event in the Sumerian Gilgamesh epic. The Gilgamesh epic, written in cuneiform, discovered in Nineveh, recounts the adventures of a Sumerian king, Gilgamesh. Upon the death of his friend, Enkidu, Gilgamesh embarks upon an adventure to obtain immortality. He comes across a Noah-like figure, Utnapishtim, who along with his wife survived a global deluge. This is not the only extra-biblical reference to a worldwide deluge (there are in fact hundreds of them from all over the world), nor is it the only cuneiform reference to the flood (the Sumerian King List for example). It merely serves as an intriguing example of how an ancient cuneiform reference corroborates an important biblical event. Perhaps as more and more cuneiform artifacts are deciphered and translated we will see more such as examples as this.


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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2006, 04:49:24 PM »

The Flood - Biblical Story
The Flood (a.k.a. Noah's Flood) is the worldwide cataclysmic event that utterly devastated the earth sometime between 2,000 and 3,000 BC. According to Genesis, chapters 6 through 9, earth's humanity had degenerated into such a cesspool that God, in His sovereignty, decided to purge the earth. He graciously chose to spare a single human family and a variety of representatives from the animal kingdom to repopulate the earth after the Flood waters receded. Noah, the patriarchal head of this chosen family, the man who "found grace in the eyes of the LORD" (Genesis 6:Cool, was commanded to build a massive ark. This ark (a.k.a. Noah's Ark) was the implement of their salvation. In the aftermath, eight human survivors disembarked from the ark. These eight were all that remained of the human race: Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their sons' three wives.

The Flood - Universal Tradition
According to the Bible, every human to have lived since the Flood is a direct descendent of Noah's small remnant. It logically follows that despite the relative isolation of the various cultures that have thrived since the Flood, because every culture descended directly from the flood's survivors, traditions of this traumatic event ought to be abundant and universal, having been passed down generation to generation. Indeed, Flood traditions are both abundant and universal. Literally hundreds of Flood traditions have been preserved throughout the world, abounding in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and the Americas. Collectively, these Flood traditions serve to corroborate the Bible's Genesis Flood account. These surviving Flood traditions include two of the oldest known stories to have survived the ravishment of time's passage: China's "Hihking Classic" and Babylon's "Epic of Gilgamesh." These Flood traditions are remarkably consistent, considering the relative isolation of the cultures, the length of time since the Flood, and the human tendency to embellish and exaggerate stories over time.

The Flood - Physical Evidences
The Flood "myth" is not just some ancient allegory meant to teach us about God's judgment on sin. The Flood was a real historical event and earth's crust bears witness to this in many compelling ways. Consider the fossil record: billions of dead things buried in sedimentation ("laid-down-by-water rock") found all over the earth. Geologist Dr. John Morris explains, "Sedimentary rocks, by definition, are laid down as sediments by moving fluids, are made up of pieces of rock or other material which existed somewhere else, and were eroded or dissolved and redeposited in their present location." [1] Over 70% of the earth's surface rock is sedimentary rock (the rest of earth's surface rock is volcanic igneous and metamorphic rock). In these sedimentary rock layers, geologists find some very odd features. For example, fossilized trees buried at all angles, upside-down and right-side-up, often passing through multiple rock layers, obviously the result of a marine cataclysm. These "polystrate" fossils (poly, meaning more than one; strate, meaning rock layer) are a worldwide phenomenon.

Consider the ratios of dead things we find buried in this sedimentary rock: "95% of all fossils are marine invertebrates, particularly shellfish. Of the remaining 5%, 95% are algae and plant fossils (4.74%). 95% of the remaining 0.25% consists of the other invertebrates, including insects (0.2375%). The remaining 0.0125% includes all vertebrates, mostly fish. 95% of the few land vertebrates consist of less than one bone. (For example, only about 1,200 dinosaur skeletons have been found.)" [2]

Also consider the abundant fossil remains of marine life found atop every mountain range in the world. For example, clusters of hundreds of gigantic (300kg/650lbs) oysters found atop the Andes Mountains in South America. [3]

The Flood - We've Just Scratched the Surface
We've barely even begun to consider the available evidences for the Flood. Dr. Walt Brown writes, "The origin of each of the following is a subject of controversy with the earth sciences. Each has many aspects inconsistent with standard explanations. Yet all appear to be consequences of a sudden and unrepeatable event - a cataclysmic flood whose waters erupted from worldwide, subterranean, and interconnected chambers with an energy release exceeding the explosion of ten billion hydrogen bombs. Consequences of this event included the rapid formation of the features listed below. The mechanisms involved are well-understood." [1] Dr. Brown then goes on to list and explain these features [2]:

    * The Grand Canyon and Other Canyons
    * Mid-oceanic Ridge
    * Continental Shelves and Slopes
    * Ocean Trenches
    * Seamounts and Tablemounts
    * Earthquakes
    * Magnetic Variations on the Ocean Floor
    * Submarine Canyons
    * Coal and Oil Formations
    * Methane Hydrates
    * Ice Age
    * Frozen Mammoths
    * Major Mountain Ranges
    * Overthrusts
    * Volcanoes and Lava
    * Geothermal Heat
    * Strata and Layered Fossils
    * Metamorphic Rock
    * Limestone
    * Plateaus
    * Salt Domes
    * Jigsaw Fit of the Continents
    * Changing Axis Tilt
    * Comets
    * Asteroids and Meteroids

The Flood - Explore the Evidence for Yourself
When it comes to the Flood evidences listed above, we highly recommend Dr. Brown's comprehensive and highly referenced treatise, In the Beginning. Dr. Brown is a highly respected member of the scientific community. "Walt Brown received a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he was a National Science Foundation Fellow. He has taught college courses in physics, mathematics, and computer science. Brown is a retired full colonel (Air Force), West Point graduate, and former Army ranger and paratrooper. Assignments during his 21 years in the military included: Director of Benet Research, Development, and Engineering Laboratories in Albany, New York; tenured associate professor at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Chief of Science and Technology Studies at the Air War College. For much of his life, Walt Brown was an evolutionist, but after many years of study, he became convinced of the scientific validity of creation and a global flood. Since retiring from the military in 1980, Dr. Brown has been the Director of the Center for Scientific Creation and has worked full time in research, writing, and speaking on origins." [3]

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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2006, 04:50:20 PM »

Why was the Merneptah Stele a significant archaeological discovery?

Merneptah was a Pharaoh who ruled over Egypt in the late 13th century B.C. The son of Ramesses the Great (Ramesses II), Merneptah was the fourth Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty.

The “Merneptah Stele” is the name given to a stone slab engraved with a description of Merneptah’s military victories in Africa and the Near East. It was discovered by renowned British archaeologist Flinders Petrie at Thebes in 1896.

The Merneptah Stele is significant to biblical archaeologists because it is the earliest extra-biblical reference to the nation of Israel yet to be discovered. The mention of Israel is very short; it simply says, “Israel is laid waste, its seed is not.” Nevertheless, despite its brevity, the reference is very telling. It indicates that at the time the inscription was engraved, the nation of Israel was significant enough to be included by name among the other major city-states which were defeated by Merneptah in the late 13th century B.C. This implies that Israel was a major player in the region during the late 13th century, serving to corroborate to a degree the biblical narrative.

Because it remains the earliest known extra-biblical reference to the nation of Israel, the Merneptah Stele is also commonly known as the Israel Stele, or the Israel Stela (stela being another way to say and write stele). It is currently housed in the Cairo Museum in Cairo, Egypt.

The Merneptah Stele, which dates to about 1230 BC, was discovered in Thebes, Egypt in the late 1800’s. The Inscription contains a hymn and a list of the Pharaoh's military victories. The Nation of Israel is on the list of conquests, which scholars believe is the earliest reference to Israel outside the Bible.

The Merneptah Stele currently resides in the Cairo Museum, Egypt.

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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2006, 04:51:24 PM »

Shishak Relief

Pharaoh Shishak (945-924 B.C.) invaded Israel and Judah in 925 B.C. and carried off the treasures of Jerusalem's temple. The Bible records the attack from Judah's perspective in 2 Chronicles 12, but the Shishak Relief in the Karnak Temple gives much greater detail. Most scholars agree that the following biblical cities are mentioned: Arad, Beth-Horon, Beth-Shean, Gibeon, Mahanaim, Megiddo, Rehob, and Taanach.


Moabite Stone

Mesha was the king of the Moabites who was forced to pay tribute to his neighbor, the Nation of Israel. The Bible tells us that this tribute suddenly stopped: "Mesha, king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel..." (2 Kings 3:5).

Mesha’s account of his rebellion against Israel is found on a large stone monument known as the Moabite Stone (Mesha Stele). The stone inscription was discovered by a German missionary in 1868 at Dibon (ancient Moab; present-day Jordan).

The Moabite Stone is a dark-colored, basalt monument about four feet high by two feet wide, dating to the reign of King Mesha in about 850 B.C. This artifact is another important source that corroborates the biblical account of the early Israelites. It currently resides in the Louvre Museum, Paris.

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« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2006, 04:53:21 PM »

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser was erected as a victory stele by the Assyrian King Shalmaneser III (858-824 BC) in about 841 BC. The nearly seven-foot, four-sided, limestone monument contains numerous images and approximately 190 lines of text. The image below shows Israel’s King Jehu bowing in humble tribute after Israel’s defeat to Assyria (2 Kings 9-10).

This artifact is another important source that corroborates the biblical account of the early Israelites. The depiction of Jehu is one of the earliest surviving pictures of an Israelite. Discovered in 1846 in Nimrud, Iraq, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser currently resides in the British Museum.


The House of David Inscription

The House of David Inscription (also known as the “Tel Dan Inscription”) was discovered in 1994 during excavations at the ancient city of Dan. It is considered by many to be the first reference to the "House of David" discovered outside the biblical text.

The House of David Inscription appears to be a fragment of a victory monument erected by a king of Damascus (Aram) during the 9th century BC, some 250 years after King David’s reign. The fragment specifically mentions victories over a “king of Israel” (probably Joram) and a king of the “House of David” (probably Ahaziah).
The House of David Inscription (Tel Dan Inscription) currently resides in the Israel Museum, Jerusalem.



House of Yahweh Ostracon

The House of Yahweh Ostracon (a writing on pottery also known as the “House of God Ostracon”) was discovered in Arad, an ancient Judean city. Written in ancient Hebrew and dated to the early 6th century BC, it is considered to be one of the earliest references to the Temple in Jerusalem outside of the biblical accounts.

The House of Yahweh Ostracon reads, in part, as follows: "To my lord Elyashib, may the Lord seek your welfare…and as to the matter which you command me-it is well; he is in the House of Yahweh [God]."


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« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2006, 04:54:50 PM »

Dead Sea Scrolls: What are They?
The Dead Sea Scrolls have been called the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times. They were discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves along the northwest shore of the Dead Sea. This is an arid region 13 miles east of Jerusalem and 1,300 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea Scrolls are comprised of the remains of approximately 825 to 870 separate scrolls, represented by tens of thousands of fragments. The texts are most commonly made of animal skins, but also papyrus and one of copper. They are written with a carbon-based ink, from right to left, using no punctuation except for an occasional paragraph indentation.

Dead Sea Scrolls: Why are they Important?
The Dead Sea Scrolls can be divided into two categories—biblical and non-biblical. Fragments of every book of the Old Testament (Hebrew canon) have been discovered, except for the book of Esther. Now identified among the scrolls are 19 fragments of Isaiah, 25 fragments of Deuteronomy and 30 fragments of the Psalms. The virtually intact Isaiah Scroll, which contains some of the most dramatic Messianic prophecy, is 1,000 years older than any previously known copy of Isaiah.

In addition to the biblical manuscripts, there are commentaries on the Hebrew canon, paraphrases that expand on the Torah, community standards and regulations, rules of war, non-canonical psalms, hymnals and sermons. Most of the texts are written in Hebrew and Aramaic, with a few in Greek.

The Dead Sea Scrolls appear to be the library of a Jewish sect, considered most likely the Essenes. Near the caves are the ancient ruins of Qumran, a village excavated in the early 1950’s that shows connections to both the Essenes and the scrolls. The Essenes were strictly observant Jewish scribes, who appear Messianic and apocalyptic in thinking. The library appears to have been hidden away in caves around the outbreak of the First Jewish Revolt (66-70 A.D.) as the Roman army advanced against the Jews.

Based on various dating methods, including carbon 14, paleographic and scribal, the Dead Sea Scrolls were written during the period from about 200 B.C. to 68 A.D. Many crucial biblical manuscripts (such as Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 61) date to at least 100 B.C. As such, the Dead Sea Scrolls have revolutionized textual criticism of the Old Testament. Phenomenally, we find the biblical texts in substantial agreement with the Masoretic text, as well as variant translations of the Old Testament used today.

Dead Sea Scrolls: Dramatic Evidence for the Reliability of Messianic Prophecy
The Dead Sea Scrolls comprise the oldest group of Old Testament manuscripts ever found, dating back to 100--200 B.C. This is dramatic, because we now have absolute evidence that Messianic prophecies contained in today’s Old Testament (both Jewish and Christian) are the same Messianic prophecies that existed prior to the time Jesus walked on this earth. It goes without saying, manuscript reliability and textual criticism have taken cosmic steps forward! Check it out – There is no question that Jesus Christ was the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for!

Dead Sea Scrolls - The Book of Isaiah
Over 200 fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls are housed at the Shrine of the Book Museum in Jerusalem. Remarkably, the only fully intact scroll displayed at the Shrine of the Book is the "Great Isaiah Scroll" (1Qls-a), which contains the entire book of Isaiah that we read today -- all 66 chapters! A number of scholars, from a number of religions and professional disciplines, have analyzed this major find.

The Great Isaiah Scroll was discovered in Cave 1 in 1947. It was identified as the Biblical Book of Isaiah in 1948, and purchased by the Syrian Orthodox Church at that time. Israel reacquired the Great Isaiah Scroll in 1954 to study it and preserve it as a national treasure. It has been displayed as the centerpiece exhibit at the Shrine of the Book museum since 1965. A second partial Isaiah scroll (1Qls-b) was also discovered in Cave 1 in 1947. Since that time, approximately 17 other fragments of Isaiah scripture have been discovered in other caves at Qumran.

As far as dating, it appears that pieces of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1Qls-a) have been carbon-14 dated at least four times, including a study at the University of Arizona in 1995 and a study at ETH-zurich in 1990-91. The four studies produced calibrated date ranges between 335-324 BC and 202-107 BC. There have also been numerous paleographic and scribal dating studies conducted that place 1Qls-a at a date range of approximately 150-100 BC. (See Price, Secrets of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1996; Eisenman & Wise, The Dead Sea Scrolls Uncovered, 1994; Golb, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?, 1995; Wise, Abegg & Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls, A New Translation, 1999.)

Dead Sea Scrolls - Isaiah 53
The Dead Sea Scrolls have provided phenomenal evidence for the credibility of biblical scripture. Specifically, the nearly intact Great Isaiah Scroll is almost identical to the most recent manuscript version of the Masoretic text from the 900's AD. (Scholars have discovered a handful of spelling and tense-oriented scribal errors, but nothing of significance.) In light of Isaiah's rich Messianic prophecy, we thought it would be rewarding to reproduce a portion of the English translation of the actual Hebrew text found in the Great Isaiah Scroll. Specifically, the following corresponds to Isaiah 53 in today's Old Testament. Remember, this text was dated 100 to 335 years before the birth of Jesus Christ!

Translation of the actual Great Isaiah Scroll (Isaiah 53), beginning with line 5 of Column 44:

5. Who has believed our report and the arm of YHWH to whom has it been revealed And he shall come up like a suckling before him
6. and as a root from dry ground there is no form to him and no beauty [+to him+] and in his being seen and there is no appearance
7. that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and knowing grief
8. and as though hiding faces from him he was despised and we did not esteem him. Surely our griefs he
9. is bearing and our sorrows he carried them and we esteemed him beaten and struck by God
10. and afflicted. and he is wounded for our transgressions, and crushed for our iniquities, the correction
11. of our peace was upon him and by his wounds he has healed us. All of us like sheep have wandered each man to his own way
12. we have turned and YHWH has caused to light on him the iniquity of all of us He was oppressed and he was afflicted and he did not
13. open his mouth, as a lamb to the slaughter he is brought and as a ewe before her shearers is made dumb he did not open
14. his mouth. From prison and from judgment he was taken and his generation who shall discuss it because he was cut off from the land of
15. the living. Because from the transgressions of his people a wound was to him
16. And they gave wicked ones to be his grave and [a scribbled word probably accusative sign "eth"] rich ones in his death
17. although he worked no violence neither deceit in his mouth And YHWH was pleased to crush him and He has caused him grief.
18. If you will appoint his soul a sin offering he will see his seed and he will lengthen his days and the pleasure of YHWH
19. in his hand will advance. Of the toil of his soul he shall see {+light+} and he shall be satisfied and by his knowledge shall he make righteous
20. even my righteous servant for many and their iniquities he will bear. Therefore I will apportion to him among the great ones
21. and with the mighty ones he shall divide the spoil because he laid bare to death his soul and with the transgressors
22. he was numbered, and he, the sins of many, he bore, and for their transgressions he entreated.


cont'd on page two


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« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2006, 04:55:41 PM »

Page Two

Dead Sea Scrolls - The Comparison to Today's Biblical Text
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a powerful tool for answering textual critics of biblical scripture. Even though the first scrolls were discovered in 1947, it was only recently that much of the research and many of the translations were released to the public. Here's Isaiah 53 from the King James Version of the Bible, which was translated from the Masoretic text of the Hebrew scripture. Compare it to the portion of the Great Isaiah Scroll reproduced on the prior page - it's dramatic!

Isaiah 53 in the King James Version of the Holy Bible:

1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

Dead Sea Scrolls - A Remarkable Time in History
The Dead Sea Scrolls sat untouched in a perfect, arid environment for approximately 2,000 years. In 1947, a Bedouin shepherd stumbles upon arguably the most important archaeological find in history, and then, one year later, the Jewish people return to their homeland as a formal nation for the first time since 70 AD. As prophetic events in the Middle East appear to be accelerating, it's remarkable to read prior Messianic prophecy with absolute assurance like no other time in history. We now have utmost confidence that the Old Testament (Jewish Tanakh) that we read today is the same as existed in 100 to 200 BC. This means that the over 300 Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah preexisted the birth of Jesus Christ. It's up to each of us to determine what to do with this reality!


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« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2006, 04:56:24 PM »

Bible Archaeology: Cities of Abraham's Time
Bible Archaeology often begins with the early cities of Abraham and the Patriarchs. Abraham's ancestral home of Ur, a powerful city-state of southern Mesopotamia, is mentioned four times in the Old Testament. Located in modern Iraq, Ur has been excavated on and off since the 1800s and has revealed a wealth of information about the pagan culture of Abraham's time. In Genesis 11:31, Abraham's father, Terah, moved his family north to Haran, an ancient city that exists in modern-day Turkey. Also found in that same area of Turkey are villages that still have the names of Abraham's grandfather and great grandfather, Nahor and Serug (Genesis 11:22).

Bible Archaeology: Cities of Ancient Empires
Bible Archaeology includes the capital cities of the major ancient empires. For instance, the Hittite civilization is mentioned throughout the Old Testament as ruling the area of present-day Turkey, Syria and Lebanon, yet nothing was known of these people outside of the Bible. About 100 years ago, ancient Boghazkoy was discovered east of Ankara, Turkey, which revealed itself as the expansive capital city of the Hittite Empire. Since then, archaeologists have uncovered a wealth of information about the history, language and culture of a people considered "imaginary" to many scholars prior to that time. Babylon, the ancient capital of the Babylonian Empire, covers nearly 3,000 acres about 55 miles south of current-day Baghdad in Iraq. The ruins include the famous ziggurat structures (ex., the Tower of Babel), the Palace of King Nebuchadnezzar, and the enormous walls that measured 80 feet thick (wide enough to allow a four-horse chariot to turn). The Bible tells us that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC and exiled the Jews to Babylon for 70 years. The Philistines were known as one of the "Sea Peoples" that constantly warred against the Israelites for control of early Canaan. Mentioned over 200 times in the Old Testament, the Philistines had a major fortified seaport at Ashkelon on the Mediterranean Sea, which was discovered just north of present-day Gaza. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Ashkelon in 604 BC, as predicted by Jeremiah and other prophets.

Bible Archaeology: Cities of Ancient Israel
Bible archaeology finds its ultimate significance in the cities of ancient Israel. Mentioned more than 50 times in the Bible, Jericho was the initial entry point into the Promised Land for the Israelite people (Joshua 6). Archaeology has now confirmed the location of this fortified city of walls and towers that guarded entry to the land of Canaan from the east. Shechem was an important city throughout the Old Testament. In fact, Jeroboam made it the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 10th century BC (1 Kings 12:25). Excavations have uncovered huge walls and a fortified gate system containing such important finds as the temple of Baal from the story of Abimelech (Judges 9:46). Excavations in the north have also revealed the city of Dan, which was a Canaanite stronghold conquered by Israel (specifically, the tribe of Dan) around 1150 BC (Judges 18). The rebuilt city, which became the northern boundary of Israel, has delivered a wealth of artifacts with biblical importance. The southern boundary of Israel was Beersheba, which became a fortified city during the period of King Solomon (1 Kings 4:25). Excavations between 1969 and 1976 have revealed massive walls, gates, wells and storehouses consistent with biblical accounts. The ancient city of Jerusalem, dating to the time of King David's initial conquest, was discovered and excavated between 1978 and 1985. Prior to this time, nothing apart from the Bible was known about King David's Jerusalem, which has now revealed a palace, towers and the famous Siloam spring (2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles). The ancient ruins of Gibeah were discovered about three miles north of Jerusalem. Gibeah was the home to Saul and the tribe of Benjamin, and later became King Saul's capital city (Judges 19 and 1 Samuel 10-15). Excavations have revealed Saul's fortress palace dated to about 1100 BC. Megiddo was a Canaanite city conquered by Israel in the north. It was a walled fortress that sat on a hill near an expansive plain that witnessed many battles of historical significance. In the 900s BC, King Solomon fortified the city (1 Kings 4:12), and later in the 600s BC, King Josiah lost a battle to the Egyptians there. According to Revelation 16:16, Megiddo (also known as Armageddon) is the location for the final world battle, where Jesus Christ will defeat the forces of Satan and establish His glorious kingdom for all time.

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« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2006, 04:57:12 PM »

History of Israel: The Descendants of Abraham
The history of Israel commences with God's covenant with Abraham in approximately 2000 B.C., "I will make you into a great nation" (Genesis 12:2). The name "Israel" (meaning either "one who fights victoriously with God" or "a prevailing prince with God") comes from the new name God gave Abraham's grandson Jacob, after Jacob withstood a spiritual struggle at Jabbok (Genesis 32:28). It is at this point that the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are often referred to as the "Children of Israel."

History of Israel: Its Selection as a Special Nation
The history of Israel goes back even further than 2000 BC. In fact, the selection of Israel as a special nation was part of God's plan from the beginning of time. God's choice of Israel as His "chosen people" did not lie in any special size, nature or attraction. Actually, the nation of Israel was the least in number among all the nations (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). Rather, God chose these people because of His love for them and His unconditional covenant with Abraham. This doesn't mean that God loved Israel more than other people, it was just that He intended to use Israel as His means to love and bless everyone. It was God's plan from the beginning to bring forth the Messiah through Israel to act as the savior for the entire world.

History of Israel: The Biblical Record
The history of Israel as detailed in the Bible encompasses around 1800 years. It proclaims a dynamic account of God's miracles, judgments, promises, and blessings. Israel begins as a unilateral promise to one man, Abraham. For more than 400 years, Abraham and his descendants rely on that promise, even during a significant period of slavery in Egypt. Then, by means of an amazing series of miraculous events, God delivers the Israelites of out Egypt in the Exodus (Hebrew: "a going out"). The Exodus is the occasion that most Jews look to as the foundation of the nation of Israel. The Exodus is the act of deliverance which Israelites dwell on as the demonstration of God's love and protection of Israel. Once the Exodus was completed, God established a conditional covenant with the Israelites at the Mountain of Sinai. It is there that God proclaimed His Law (the Ten Commandments). It is there that God promises blessings for adherence to His Law and curses for noncompliance. The rest of Israel's history as recorded in the Bible is a continuing cycle of blessing and punishment for Israel's obedience and disobedience to God's Law. Throughout times of victory and defeat, king and judges, priests and prophets, restoration and exile - the Israelites are blessed when they obey God and disciplined when they do not. As a nation, Israel was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. At that time, the Jews scattered throughout the whole world, keeping the hope based on prophetic promises of an eventual regathering to the chosen land God gave to Israel. In 1948, after almost 1900 years had passed, Israel was again declared a sovereign nation and officially reestablished in the promised land. Through a series of miraculous events, including the Jews retaking of Jerusalem in 1967, this generation is witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy with respect to God's special nation.

History of Israel: God's Ultimate Purpose
Why is so much of the Bible focused on the history of Israel and the future of its people? Why was one nation called out as "God's chosen people"? These questions are answered when we examine God's ultimate purpose for Israel. When God made His unconditional promise to Abraham that He would make his descendants a great nation, God also promised to bless all people through that nation (Genesis 12:1-3). Therefore, Israel was never considered a sole recipient of God's blessings, but rather, a channel for God's blessings to all mankind. God's miracles for Israel, such as their dramatic deliverance from Egypt, were intended not only for the Israelites themselves, but as evidence of God's absolute power and uniqueness for a watching polytheistic world (Exodus 7:5; 14:18; Joshua 2:9-11). The Messiah that would come through the nation of Israel was always intended to be the Savior for all mankind (Isaiah 49:6). The Old Testament also contains many invitations to the entire world to come and worship the one living God in Israel (Psalm 2:10-12; 117:1).

Based on recent events in the Holy Land, it is clear that God's promise to Abraham is still being fulfilled. Accordingly, God's promise to bless all peoples through Israel is still absolutely apparent. The teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the growth and influence of His church, were made possible through God's choice of Israel as His people. All people who accept Jesus as their Messiah, whether Jew or Gentile, receive the great blessings of God channeled through His chosen people, the nation of Israel.

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« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2006, 04:59:08 PM »

The city of Ur - Why was it such an important find?

Why was the discovery of the city of Ur such an important find? The city of Ur was important, not only because it produced many valuable artifacts of extreme antiquity (including an inscription bearing the name of Belshazzar, the king of Daniel chapter 5), but also because it is the birthplace of the patriarch Abraham. The city of Ur is mentioned four times by name in the Old Testament, three times in the book of Genesis and once in the book of Nehemiah.

In Genesis 11, verses 28 and 31 we read, "Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his birth, in Ur of the Chaldeans. …Terah took Abram his son [i.e. Abraham; see Nehemiah 9:7 below], and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went out together from Ur of the Chaldeans in order to enter the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Haran, and settled there."

Again in Genesis 15 we read of God saying to Abraham, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it" (Genesis 15:7).

And finally, in Nehemiah chapter 9, in a prayer to God we read, "You are the LORD God, who chose Abram and brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees, and gave him the name Abraham" (Nehemiah 9:7).

The remains of Ur are called today "Tell el-Mukayyar" and can be found near the city of Nasiriyah, south of Baghdad in modern day Iraq.


How did the discovery of the lost Hittite civilization provide evidence in support of the biblical record?

How did the discovery of the lost Hittite civilization provide evidence in support of the biblical record? The Old Testament mentions the ancient Hittite civilization more than 50 times, either by their Hebrew name "Chitti" or by their designation as the sons and daughters Heth. However, prior to their rediscovery in the 19th century, there appeared to be no evidence for their existence outside of the Bible. Skeptics cited the missing evidence as evidence that the Bible actually fabricated their existence. This called the reliability of the biblical account into question. Basically the skeptics said, "We can't find any evidence for the Hittite civilization outside of the Bible. This demonstrates that the Bible cannot be trusted as an historical source."

Then, in the 19th and 20th centuries archaeologists hit the jackpot, not only identifying extrabiblical references to the Hittite civilization, but by actually finding and excavating the ancient Hittite capital city of Hattusa (modern day Boðazköy in northern Turkey). The rediscovery of this ancient civilization vindicated the Biblical record.

Evidence for the Hittites was bolstered in Egypt with the discovery of a treaty between Pharaoh Ramses II and the Hittite Empire. Originally written on silver tablets in Heliopolis and Hattusus, a huge copy was found on a wall of the great Karnak Temple. After years of fighting between the Hittites and the Egyptians, Ramses II and the Hittite king settled on a treaty whereby the territory of Syria and Canaan would be divided between them.



Babylon and the Ishtar Gate

The Ishtar Gate of Babylon was built during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar II (604- 562 BC). The foundations of the gate were discovered between 1899 and 1914, including numerous glazed bricks and unglazed figures. The entire Ishtar Gate was reconstructed to a height of 47 feet and now resides at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.

The Ishtar Gate is one of the most dramatic finds from ancient Babylonia. Covered with dragons and bulls, Nebuchadnezzar dedicated the huge, ceremonial gate to the goddess Ishtar. It was the main entrance to the inner streets and temples of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar II was known for awesome building projects such as the restored temple of Marduk and the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, which was considered one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

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« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2006, 05:01:15 PM »

Ancient Jericho

Ancient Jericho is one of the most excavated sites in Israel. Starting in the early 1900’s, archaeologists exposed a huge retaining wall that has supported the foundation of the great city since the Middle Bronze Age. This stone foundation held a large, structural wall of mud bricks that defined ancient Jericho.

Throughout the last century, no less than four separate excavation teams have found remains of a collapsed mud brick wall at the base of the stone retaining wall. Scholars now agree that the wall fell down, but they differ on the date. Bryant Wood and other highly-regarded archaeologists date the destruction of the wall to the time of Joshua in about 1400 BC.

In the 1930’s and 1950’s, teams discovered numerous store jars still full of grain from the last Canaanite city that existed at ancient Jericho. The conclusion of many scholars is that the city was conquered at the time of the harvest, but was burned, instead of looted. This evidence matches the biblical account of Joshua 6.


Why was the city of Shechem an important find?

Why was the city of Shechem an important archaeological find? The ancient city of Shechem plays a prominent role in the Bible. The Lord spoke to Abraham near Shechem after commanding him to leave his home in Haran (Genesis 12:1-7). Jacob later settled near Shechem after leaving his father-in-law Laban in Padan Aram (Genesis 33:18). Simeon and Levi killed all the males of Shechem after the rape of their sister Dinah (Genesis 34). Shechem was allotted to the tribe of Ephraim following the Israelite conquest of the Promised Land (Joshua 20:7). Joseph was buried in Shechem after his body was exhumed and brought from Egypt (Joshua 24:32). Rehoboam was crowned in Shechem following the death of Solomon (1 Kings 12:1). Shechem briefly served as Jeroboam's capital following the division of the Kingdom into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms (1 Kings 12:25). And although the city no longer existed in Jesus' day, it was the original site of Jacob's Well where Jesus spoke with the woman of Samaria (John 4:1-42).

The city of Shechem is mentioned by name in Genesis, Joshua, Judges, 1 Kings, 1 Chronicles, 2 Chronicles, Psalms, Jeremiah, and Hosea. When the city of Shechem was discovered it was thus a great source of vindication for the biblical record.

Shechem is mentioned by other historical sources outside of the Bible including an Egyptian Stele and the writings of Josephus.

This excavation has been identified as the Temple of Baal Berith (Judges 9). Funds generated at this temple financed Abimelech’s government. It’s also the building where Shechem’s people took refuge during Abimelech's attack.


Tel Dan

Tel Dan marks the northern frontier of the kingdom of Israel. Originally fortified with walls and gates by the early Canaanites in about 1800 BC, Dan was conquered by the Israelites around 1150 BC (Judges 18). Israel reinforced the city by adding additional walls and ramparts.

The gatehouse below dates to the ninth century BC, and was probably constructed by King Ahab. It’s this exact area where the “House of David” Inscription (Tel Dan Inscription) was discovered in 1994.


Ancient Jerusalem – The City of David

David conquered ancient Jerusalem in approximately 1004 BC and it became known as the City of David. He brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem and it became the religious and governmental hub of the United Kingdom of Israel (Judah and Israel).

David’s son, Solomon, built the First Temple of the Jewish People in Jerusalem, but the City of David served as the capital of the United Kingdom for only two generations. After years of civil war and division, Jerusalem was restored to its central role after the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in 722 BC.

In 586 BC, the City of David was totally destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. Ancient Jerusalem was burned, the First Temple was obliterated, and the Jewish people were taken into Babylonian exile for 70 years. The ruins of ancient Jerusalem (the City of David) have now been located just outside the present-day walls of Jerusalem.


Megiddo

Megiddo is an ancient city located in the Jezreel Valley of northern Israel. With approximately 26 layers of civilization at the archeological site, Megiddo has assumed a huge role throughout history, from the earliest recorded conflicts, through the Israelite conquest of Canaan, to the decisive battle between the British and the Ottomans in 1918. Also known in the biblical text as Armageddon, Megiddo is the location of the final battle between Jesus Christ and his enemies (Revelation 16).


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