Chapters 1-2: Archeological Confirmation of Truthfulness of the Old Testament

Biblical

Archaeological Confirmation

1.       Flood of Noah’s Day

         (Genesis 7-8)

         Great life spans prior, then decreasing.

Surviving copies of Sumerian Kings date to 2100 BC (before flood)

 

“After the flood had swept over the earth and when kingship was lowered again from heaven.”

 

We must also include that Chinese, Central and South American, Egyptian, Assyrian, Persian, Hindu, Greek, and also every world civilization has flood traditions about the wrath of God bring it on mankind; also a hero told to build a ship to take every kind of animal and bird.   Pictures of fragment 6 inches high, a copy of Gilgamesh epic from 7th century BC found in Nineveh, found at Megiddo.

 

2.       The Fall of Man (Gen. 3)

 

This is recorded in the so-called “Temptation Seal,” dated about 3500 BC and found near Ninevah.   It was discovered by Speiser in 1932.   It shows a naked man and woman, bent over, as if broken-hearted, followed by a serpent.

 

3.       Ur (in Iraq), home of Abraham (Gen. 11:28-31), was once thought by critics to be either non-existent myth or only some kind of rural village.   It was a giant city, occupied from 4th millennium, continued since 1800s, and considered perhaps the most magnificent city of the ancient world.  

 

Its ruins show one city on top of another, those of Abraham’s day being at the bottom.   The British Museum and University of Pennsylvania had teams under Wooley excavating there between 1922-1934.   The ziggurat or Temple Tower remains are there, along with two main temples, one to the moon god and the other to the moon goddess.   It may have been that at one time, before God’s call to leave this place, Abraham was a worshipper of these “moon gods.”

 

4.       OT people from the time of Abraham (2000 BC) were caravanning into Egypt carrying merchandise like eye paint to sell, armed with bows and arrows (Genesis 14).

 

Egyptian Deni-Hasan tomb painting dated from 1900 BC shows how these people looked:   hair styles, lyres, bows and arrows.

 

5.    The Ten Commandments    (Ex. 21:24; Ex. 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21; Lev. 19:1-18; Lev.26:2-3; Lev. 24:17).   The commandments were not borrowed from Hammurabi but originally given by God in 1446 BC.

 

Law Code of Hammurabi; carved on block diorite 7-foot stone slab by Hammurabi king of Babylon, found in Susa, Persia, today, taken as loot in 12th century BC.   Phrases like “eye for an eye” are found in both OT and this code (Lev. 24:20).   The phrase was known in both Babylon and Rabbinic sources.  

 

 

6.    The Hittite people – about 50 references in Genesis (23:10; 15:20, etc.), Exodus (3:17; 13:5, etc.), Numbers (13:29), Deuteronomy (7:1; 20:17, etc.), Joshua (1:4; 12:8, etc.), also 7 other OT books.

 

Hittite artifacts in Anatolian Museum, Ankara, Turkey (from main city, Boghazkoy) fell 1300 BC.   One hundred years ago, critics thought Hittites were imaginary people; this claim was later withdrawn.

 

 

7.    Customs in the time of Moses (1500-1401 BC).

 

Nuzi Tablets east of Tigris River (Iraq) show 20,000 baked clay tablets, dated 1500-1401 BC (Moses’ time), show customs, messages, herbs, surrogate mother inheritance like Bible times.

 

 

8.    Haran, home of Patriarchs (Abraham, etc.) Gen. 11:22-31 where, like in Ur, they worshipped the “moon god” as did Terah, Abraham’s father (Josh.24:2).

 

Haran exists in Turkey today.   The names of Abraham’s grandfather and great grandfather are mentioned in excavated remains (Nahor, Serug).

 

 

9.    Shechem, where Abraham and Jacob built an altar to God (Gen. 12:33); one of the cities of refuge, the capital of Israel ( Northern Kingdom) (I Kings 12:25).

 

Excavations at Shechem this century revealed the ancient city with its wall and fortress-temple of Baal from story of Abimelech (Judges 9:46).

 

 

10. Pithom and Raamses, store cities of Pharaoh, where Hebrews were slaves, forcing them to make bricks without straw (Exodus 1:14a – 5:7-19).

 

Excavations at Raamses tell of prosperous ancient city.   This was once thought to be after time given in Bible, but such is no repudiated by Mosaic dates (1400-1446 BC).

 

 

11. Horned altars (I Kings 1:50; Ex. 27:2) The OT speaks of these about 20 times.   They were used in the Tabernacle.

 

Excavations have turned up excellent examples of horned altars (picture available).

 

 

12. Merneptah stele called “ Israel stele” (stone slab).

 

This was questioned by critics.   Now it is recognized by the Merneptah stele portrayed at Karnak Temple, Thebes, dated 1209 BC.

 

 

13. An even older stele from Egypt was found recently in Berlin, having the name “ Israel” written on it between the 15th and 12th centuries BC.   This shows Israelites’ existence going back before 1209 BC.   Hieroglyphic signs in Hebrew pre-exilic ostraca point to the early Egyptian background of a united Israel.   Other nations virtually never used such steles.

 

Hieroglyphic text of stele discovered victories of Pharaoh (brags of victory over Israel) 1213 BC; contains earliest known name “ Israel” said by critics to be non-existent then.

 

 

14. Jericho – Its importance and fall are recorded in Joshua 6.   Did the “walls fall” as the Bible says, asked many critics.

 

It has been debated whether ancient walls have been found.   Certain levels show massive erosion and melted brick walls.   Jericho stood as a key city to enter Israel from the East.   Its earliest ruins date back before Abraham’s time.

 

 

15. Temple of the Philistines and of Raameses III.   The Philistines are mentioned about 200 times in OT (Judges 14-16, I Sam. 17).

 

Carved in wall of Egyptian Temple at Thebes:   Philistines whose existence was once denied by critics are both listed and pictured as one of “Sea Peoples” invading from Egypt to Israel ( Palestine) shows dress, armor of soldiers.

 

 

16. Canaanite gods and goddesses – They were a challenge to Israel by syncretism worship of pagan gods.   They were utterly destroyed to prevent defilement, evil from spreading to “the chosen people.”

 

Between 1929-1939 excavations found hundreds of stories about Canaanite gods, goddesses (Baal, Asherah or Astarti) false, wicked, sensual (Num. 25, I Kings 11, Jer. 23, Hosea 13).

 

 

17. Dan, Israel’s northernmost city, once Canaanite; Judges 18; 20:1 – I Kings 12:28-31.

 

Excavation shows a large, fortified city destroyed about 1250 BC, then rebuilt by Israel.

 

 

18. Megiddo (giving us the name Armageddon or “hill of Megiddo”)(Joshua 12:21) where Joshua defeated Canaanites.   In Solomon’s time, it came under Israel’s control.   It is the site of the future great final battle (Rev.16:16).

 

Firmly established in location, importance by extensive archaeology – ideal for strategic location, guarding against invaders from East and North.   The nearby plains are ideal for military operations, Napoleon said.

 

 

19. Ashkelan, Philistine seaport.   Nebuchadnezzar destroyed this ancient city in 604 BC.   The prophets condemned the city (Joshua 13:3, I Sam. 6:17).

 

Excavations since 1985 unearthed this large, ancient city.

 

 

20. Gezer, a gift to Solomon by Pharaoh.   (Joshua 16:10, Judges 1:29, I Kings 9:15-17) *see section #34.

 

Archaeologists excavated this city, finding clear evidence of destruction by Egyptians with a similar gateway, relationships with Megiddo, as built by Solomon.

 

 

21. Shiloh, the first home of ark of covenant, where Philistines captured, then relinquished, the ark (Joshua 18, I Sam. 1-4).  

 

Archaeology discovered Shiloh with evidence of destruction by fire.   Much archeological work there between 1962-1969.

 

 

22. Ashdod, where Dagon god statue fell (I Sam. 5) faded during 700s BC as Amos prophesied (Amos 1:8).

 

Statue of Dagon found in the 1800s in Assyria.

 

 

23. Pharaoh Shishak’s invasion effort against Jerusalem and Judah during Rehoboam’s reign (I Kings 14, II Chron. 12).

 

Recorded on wall at Karnak Temple ( Thebes, Luxor today in Egypt).

 

 

24. Bethshemesh, where Philistines returned the ark (I Sam. 6:12-15).  

 

Excavations are now underway.   Pictures show ruins, massive fortification, and water supply.

 

 

25. Pool at Gibeon dated from 1000 BC (II Sam. 2:13, Jer. 4:12).   Great water pool there as the Bible shows effort to secure water supply for Jerusalem (II Sam. 2:13).

 

Pool discovered in 1956, six miles north of Jerusalem.

 

 

26. Gibeah – King Saul’s capital (Judges 19:11-13; I Sam. 10:26; 11:4).

 

Ruins have been found three miles north of Jerusalem.   Excavations show habitation from 1100 BC.

 

 

27. Beth-Shean – Occupied by both Philistines and Canaanites until King Saul; Israelites never conquered it.   Saul fought Philistines here at Mt. Gilboah (Judges 1:27; I Sam. 38:16).

 

Coffins of Philistines found – pictures available.

 

 

28. King David’s Jerusalem, when it was his (II Sam, 1 Chron.).

 

Much of buried remains of this Jerusalem found 1978-1985.

 

Siloam springs there guarded by towers.   David’s very existence denied by critics for a long time.

 

 

29. “House of David”

 

Inscription in black basalt stone in Aramaic unearthed, testifying to “house of David” (denied by critics) unearthed in 1993-94 on 3 pieces of stone, found at Dan ,dated centuries after David- mentions a “king of Israel” Joram and Ahaziah in David’s line.

 

 

30. Beersheba – Southern boundary of Israel (I Kings 4:28) “from Dan to Beersheba” is a familiar Biblical phrase indicating north to south, meaning full extent.

 

Excavated 1969-1976

Uncovered city, built after David’s time dated from 1st millennium BC (500-1000 BC).

It had strong walls and gates, and supports Biblical accounts.

 

 

31. Samaria – Capital of Northern Kingdom (Fortified by Ahab and Omri), mentioned many times in O.T. (I Kings 16:24; II Kings 6:20, II Chron. 18, Amos 3:12; 6:1).

 

Many excavations here uncovered a prosperous, strong city.

 

 

 

32. Hazor, key to Israelite victory

Bible calls it “the head” (Joshua 11).

 

Hazor was a city which Joshua “burned with fire” (Josh. 11:11).   Garstang found the ashes of the fire and evidence of its occurrence around 1400 BC (shortly after the time of the Exodus and 40 years of wandering).   In the Amarna Tablets, written to Pharaoh in 1380 by the Egyptian representative to Northern Israel, he said, “Let my lord the king recall what Hazor and its king have already had to endure” (destroyed in 1888).   More recently, excavations by the Israeli archaeologist Mazar showed evidence of the later period of Solomon’s reign confirming Old Testament accounts.

 

 

33. Ivory ornaments – These objects show Solomon’s throne made of ivory (I Kings 10:18, II Chron 9:17).   The hymn phrase “Out of the ivory palaces” commemorates this.

 

Found in several cities ( Megiddo, Samaria), discovered in a dealer’s shop.

 

 

34. Gezer calendar – Found at Gezer, one of Solomon’s fortresses (see #20) (Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, I, II Kings, Psalms, Isaiah).

 

First example of Hebrew writing (971-913 BC) shows literacy in 10th cent. BC.

 

 

35. “House of Yahweh” (the Temple).

 

Ostracon writing on a piece of pottery found between 835-796 BC, 120 years after Temple built.   It is the oldest mention of Solomon’s Temple outside the Bible (about 950 BC).

 

 

36. Seals from royal courts of Israel and Judah (I and II Kings).   Nearly 2000 jar handles of wine jars from the time of Hezekiah with the inscription “to the king.”   The inscriptions tell us from what winery they came (in Israel).   Hezekiah built up large storehouses to be able to resist the Assyrian invasion.

 

Excavations and antiquity show how it produced carved, semi-precious stones belonging to royal causes dated from 900-600 BC.   Pictures of seal with name Shlomo (Solomon).   Picture available.   One found at Megiddo depicts a lion saying, “belonging to Shema, servant of Jeroboam.”

 

 

37. “The Moabite stone” (Mesha stele) picture available.   Moabites related to Israel, Gen. 37:36.   King Mesha bragged that he expelled Israelites, II Kings 3.

 

In 1868, found by German missionary in Gibon, east of Dead Sea.   Inscribed Mesha, King of Moab in 850 BC, one of the earliest finds of Biblical people, also said to contain reference to “house of David.”

 

 

38. “Black Obelisk” of Shalmanesar

6½' tall (II Kings 9-11), only contemporary pictures of a Hebrew king.

 

Discovered in palace at Nimrod in 1846, shows Biblical King Jehu, kneeling to Shalmanesar (dated from 841 BC).   It may also be a member of his embassy.

 

 

39. King Uzziah’s burial.   He ruled Israel for 52 years when Hosea and Isaiah prophesied of him.   Inscription celebrates completion of tunnel mentioned in Bible (II Kings 20:20; II Chronicles 26).

 

Stone plaque found on grounds of Russian Orthodox Church, Mt. of Olives, said, “Here the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought.   Do not open,” is inscribed about 792-740 BC when he became king.

 

 

40. Siloam Tunnel – Waters go through here from Jerusalem (still open) to man-made Siloam Springs.   It provided water for Jerusalem during siege of Sennacherib, King of Assyria.

 

Inscription in ancient Hebrew discovered by 2 boys as they waded through tunnel’s waters in 1880.   Inscription dates from days of Hezekiah (701 BC).

 

 

41. “Lachish Reliefs” 62 feet long (II Kings 18:14, 17; II Chronicles 32).

 

Carvings at Nineveh palace amplify Biblical record of siege of Judah during Hezekiah’s reign.   II Kings 18:14 (701 BC).

Picture available.

 

 

42. “Sennacherib prism” – When Hezekiah was besieged in Jerusalem like “bird in the cage,” city was not conquered due to intervention of God (185,000 Assyrians slain in one night) (II Kings 18-19; Isa.  36-37, II Chron. 32).  

 

A 15-inch tall baked clay picture contains story of invasion of Judah by Sennacherib (701 BC) found at Nineveh, added to “Lachish Reliefs.”   Adds details to Biblical account.   It also shows Hebrews fleeing from Lachish when it was under siege.  

 

 

43. Tomb of priestly Hezir family – Three generations are mentioned in the list of Levitical kings (I Chron. 24:15; Neh. 10:20).  

 

Elaborate tomb complex in Jerusalem’s Kidron Valley has been excavated.

 

 

44.       Carchemish – Where history changed course in 586 BC when Nebuchadnezzar defeated Egyptian and Assyrian armies, then stormed Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple (Jer. 46, II Chron. 35-36).

 

Archaeology discovered it was a strategic location and locale of battles.

 

 

45. Lachish letters” – This city, southwest of Jerusalem, was conquered before letters sent to get help (Jer. 34:2-7; II Kings 24‑25).

 

In 1979 archaeologists excavated sixth century tombs in Jerusalem written about 588 BC on 21 pottery pieces.   Among ruins of Lachish, Judah’s defenders pleading for help are shown.  

 

 

46.       Silver amulets – Contain oldest example of Scripture found (II Chronicles 36).

 

In 1979, while excavating tombs in Jerusalem, excavators found 2 small amulets dating to Jehoiakim’s reign.   They contained the prayer from Num. 6:24-26.

 

 

47.       Babylon, capital of Babylon, palace of Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:29).

 

Ruins to be seen today covering 2,000-3,000 acres, 56 miles south of Baghdad, including ziggurats (stepped towers).   Pictures available.   Ruins echo Jeremiah 25:12, Jeremiah 51 “It will be destroyed forever” (Isaiah 13:19-20).

 

 

48.       Cyrus Cylinder – “Return home” a decree (II Chron. 36:23; Ezra 1, Isa. 44:28) shown.

 

A 9-inch clay cylinder found in Babylon, dated at time of Cyrus,539 BC, tells of Cyrus’ decree to let captives (including Jews) return to land, restore Temple.

 

 

49.       Susa (Shusan in Hebrew) – The royal city of Queen Esther in Modern Iran ( Persia) one of 3 major cities in reign of Cyrus.   Xerxes and Artaxerxes carried on the building of the palace.   Queen Esther (478 BC) married Ahasueras.   Ezra and Nehemiah were sent to rebuild Jerusalem (Dan. 8:2, about 557 BC; Ezra 7:14-21; Neh. 13:5-8).

 

Ruins excavated by several teams.   Artifacts and elaborate stone columns found at site of Susa.   Inscribed silver bowl pictures are preserved.

 

 

50.       Dead Sea Scrolls – These are in hundreds of scraps dated 300 BC-70 AD, near Qumran, by Dead Sea, 7 miles south of Jericho.   They are said to have originated with Essene sect of Jews (ascetic, ultra-orthodox).  

 

The scrolls were found in jars.   One third of them contain full copies (Isaiah) or parts of every OT book except Esther; 1,000 years older than any other OT manuscript and one of the greatest archaeological finds.