Archaeological Evidence for the Bible
The following are extra-Biblical evidences supporting the Biblical account, for archaeological discoveries verifying the exact text of the Bible see Manuscript Evidence for the Bible. At least 50 figures from the Old Testament have been confirmed from archaeology.
|Noah's Ark||2,650 B.C.||Noah's Ark National Park; Durupinar, Turkey||Ground Penetrating Radar/LiDAR scans released in September 2021 show a framework of ship timbers matching the Biblical dimensions of the Ark, over 6,000 feet in elevation near Mount Ararat. The site has been formally recognized as the location of the Ark by the government of Turkey since 1987, and top Turkish scientists helped produce the scans, including Dr. Fethi Ahmet Yüksel and Dr. Salih Bahraktutan.|
|Tower/Walls of Jericho||2,400 B.C.||Tell es-Sultan||Walls destroyed around 1,400 B.C. by an earthquake and a city destroyed by fire matching the Bible perfectly. A preserved tower connected to the destroyed walls has been dated at 8,000 B.C.|
|Ebla Tablets||2500-2250 B.C.||Syrian Museums||17,000 tablet library confirming names of Biblical cities (e.g. Jerusalem, Ashdod, Sidon, Carchemish), individuals (e.g. Adam, Michael, Esau), and early ritual sacrifice. The tablets provide evidence defeating the claims of Biblical critics such as a complex legal code and mention of both Canaan and the Hittites; critics claimed all were later revisions. The alphabet is strikingly similar to Hebrew. There is also a creation account similar to that of Genesis.|
|Code of Ur-Nammu||2100-2050 B.C.||Iraq National Museum||Ancient law code of Mesopotamia similar to the Laws of Eshnunna and Code of Hammurabi, it helped disprove the claims of critics who'd accused the Mosaic Law of being fictional, saying such a complex law could not have existed so long ago. Several laws are strikingly similar to the Mosaic Law, it may be that the Mosaic Law was actually based on similar ancient laws of Mesopotamia (where Abraham once lived). For detail on Moses' creation of the Law, see Exodus 18:13-27, John 1:17, and Matthew 19:7-9.|
|Laws of Eshnunna||1930 B.C.||Iraq National Museum||Ancient law similar to the Mosaic Law like the better-known Code of Hammurabi and Code of Ur-Nammu.|
|Ark Tablet||1900-1700 B.C.||The ancient Babylonian tablet is virtually identical to the Biblical flood account in many respects. God commands a prophet to build a huge ark to avoid a massive flood, animals go in two by two, and the boat was reinforced with wooden ribs and covered in bitumen. While the atheistic translator Irving Finkel translated the ark's description as circular, he admits in his book that the decision to do so was based upon his knowledge of a separate ancient Babylonian geometry textbook dating to roughly the same period.|
|Execration Texts||1878-1630 B.C.||Inscribed Egyptian bowls and figurines with early mention of Biblical locations and names such as Jerusalem, Abraham, Canaan, Job, Shechem, Hazor, Tyre, etc.|
|Lipit-Ishtar||1860 B.C.||An early code with commandments similar to those in the Mosaic Law, disproving critics who claimed so complex a code could not have existed at the time.|
|Shiphrah Slave List||1809-1743 B.C.||Brooklyn Museum||The name of a midwife who saved Moses in Exodus 1:15-21, Shiphrah, appears in this Egyptian slave list. While the list is several centuries too early to refer to the actual midwife who saved Moses, it does show that the name was in use in Egypt around the time Moses was born. The midwife who saved Moses may have even been descended from the woman named in this list.|
|Code of Hammurabi||1790 B.C.||The Louvre||Ancient law with rules identical in numerous places to the Bible's Mosaic Law, silencing an early criticism by liberal scholars that a law as complex as the Mosaic could not have existed so early. The Bible's 'eye for an eye' is preserved, making this the oldest Biblical manuscript.|
|Atra-Hasis Tablets||1650 B.C.||British Museum||Ancient Babylonian account with detail similar to the Garden of Eden and Noahic Flood, part of the Epic of Gilgamesh.|
|Hazor Excavations||1500 B.C.||Tel Hazor||The excavations confirm Hazor to be the most prominent of the Canaanite settlements captured by the Israelites at the time, per Joshua 11:10. An intricate staircase discovered at the site is unique in its degree of exacting engineering. Additionally, shattered pottery vessels and other evidence attests to the destruction of the city in 732 B.C. mentioned in 2 Kings 15:29.|
|Soleb Inscription||1400 B.C.||The earliest reference to the Biblical God Yahweh, the inscription refers to the "land of the Shasu of Yahweh." It has been discovered in two Egyptian locations, the temple of Soleb built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1400 B.C.) and Amarah-West built by Rameses II (1250 B.C.), both of which are in modern-day Sudan. As such, this is a powerful evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan by 1400 B.C. in support of an early date for the Biblical Exodus.|
|Amarna Tablets||1370-1350 B.C.||British Museum, Vorderasiatisches Museum, Cairo Museum, et. al.||Letters between Egyptian pharaohs and Canaanite kings mentioning the takeover of Canaan by the Habiru/Hebrews and disproving an early criticism of the Bible that the Canaanites were not as advanced as the Bible claimed.|
|Ipuwer Papyrus||1275 B.C.||Dutch National Museum of Antiquities||Egyptian account mentioning the plagues of Egypt (e.g. rivers turning to blood, death of firstborn children, plagues of hail/fire/darkness, etc.) and the exodus of Jews from Egypt.|
|Ugarit Cuneiform Tablets||1250 B.C.||Institute for Antiquity and Christianity||Ancient texts similar to the Bible suggesting Abraham did live in Canaan (Genesis 11:31) and verifying numerous Biblical details about ancient Canaan such as its prevalence of animal sacrifice.|
|Merneptah Stele||1209 B.C.||Cairo Museum||Long regarded as the earliest recorded explicit mention of Israel, the stele mentions Egypt's attack on Israel as part of a campaign in Canaan, and appears related to the Amarna Tablets. When discovered it refuted the claim that Israel had not existed so early.|
|Gath Excavations||1100 B.C.||The new excavations debunk earlier Biblical minimalist claims by Finkelstein et. al. that assumed Philistine was a small group of villages, rather than the empire described in the Bible; establishing that a massive fortress with a complexity almost unparalleled for the time period existed in ancient Gath. Furthermore, the architecture was unusually massive, with walls over 13 feet thick in some areas, consistent with the Bible's claims that the Philistines included giants; although academics relating the findings interpret such massive architecture as evidence, not for the existence of giants, but as a basis for legends that they existed.|
|Jerubbaal Inscription||1100 B.C.||The pottery bears the name of Jerubbaal, better known in the Bible as Gideon, a judge of Israel referred to in Judges chapters 6-8.|
|Tell es-Safi Potsherd||1075-925 B.C.||Bar Ilan University||Proved the name Goliath (1 Samuel 17:4-10) was used in Israel close to the time the Bible said Goliath existed, with the possible hometown of Goliath (Gath) now excavated at Tell Es-Safi.|
|Timna Copper Mines||1050-850 B.C.||An extensive copper mining network dating back to the time of King Solomon's reign established that a massive empire matching that described by the Bible existed at the time, contradicting the claims of Israel Finkelstein and Biblical minimalists who had for decades falsely insisted 11th-century Israel was nothing more than a few small villages.|
|Ophel Inscription||1000-900 B.C.||Discovered by Eilat Mazar at the palace of David, it contains the earliest undisputed use of the Hebrew alphabet in Jerusalem, as well as evidence that a Hebrew monarchy existed near the time of David and Solomon (Petrovich). It provides another powerful evidence against the criticism of Biblical minimalists that insinuate Israel was not the powerful kingdom under David and Solomon that the Bible claims.|
|Bubastite Portal||945-924 B.C.||Karnak, Egypt||Verifies the campaign of Shishaq I against Israel described in 1 Kings 14:25-28 and 2 Chronicles 12:2-12, as well as Biblical cities such as Megiddo and Ajalon. The 'field of Abram' is mentioned as a location.|
|Gezer Almanac||925 B.C.||Istanbul Archaeological Museums||Early example of Israelite writing, an agricultural calendar.|
|Balaam Inscription||880-770 B.C.||The Balaam Inscription, also called the Deir 'Alla Inscription (for the name of the town where it was found), is an ancient inscription written in ink on a plaster wall referring to the name Balaam the son of Beor as described in Numbers 22-24.|
|Amman Citadel Inscription||875 B.C.||Jordan Archaeological Museum||The Amman Citadel Inscription verifies the existence of the Ammonites as mentioned in the Bible, namely a powerful early empire, including the existence of the idol they worshiped, Milcom. (1 Kings 11:5, 33; 2 Kings 23:13)|
|Tel Dan Stele||870-750 B.C.||Israel Museum||Refers to an Aramean king's victory over Israel and the "House of David," thus disproving critics who had claimed King David was a literary invention. Many Biblical scholars believe the stele mentions the defeat of King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah by Hazael of Damascus as mentioned in 2 Kings 8-9.|
|Omride Palace||858-824 B.C.||Israel National Parks Authority||In the early 1900s, King Omri's ivory palace located in Samaria (also inhabited by King Ahab and later kings) was excavated by Harvard University. Also discovered at the site were dozens of oastraca (pottery fragments) with ancient Hebrew script bearing many Biblical names including those of the prophets Elisha and Nathan. A total of 102 Samaria Oastraca were found.|
|Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III||858-824 B.C.||British Museum||Contains the earliest undisputed image of an Israelite, Omri, son of Jehu, a king of Israel. (1 Kings 16:16-28)|
|Kurkh Stele||852 B.C.||British Museum||An early reference to the nation of Israel and King Ahab, as well as mention of his army (2,000 chariots 10,000 foot soldiers), which contradicts the claims of Biblical minimalists/critics who assert Israel had no such fighting force at the time. The Shalmaneser lineage is mentioned as rulers of Assyria in 2 Kings 17:3 and 18:9.|
|Mesha Stele||840 B.C.||Louvre Museum||Moabite monument mentioning Yahweh, Israel and its king, Omri, David, and the kingdom of Judah. When discovered it dealt a serious blow to the claims of critics who'd said David had not existed.|
|Tell al-Rimah Stele||811-783 B.C.||Mentions King Jehoash of Israel paying tribute to Assyria. (2 Kings 12:18)|
|Zakkur Stele||805-775 B.C.||Louvre Museum||The stone stele refers to the son of King Hazael, either Ben-Hadad II or III, who are both mentioned in the books of 1st and 2nd Kings. It mentions Zakkur's annexation of Hadrach (Zechariah 9:1) and provides the earliest reference to Baal.|
|Ataroth Altar Inscriptions||800 B.C.||Ataroth, Jordan||The two inscriptions confirm the Moabite Rebellion against Israel mentioned in 2 Kings 3:4-5, while also establishing for the first time that there was a distinctive Moabite script written by Moabite scribes.|
|Nathan-Melech Seal||775 B.C.||The seal of an official in King Josiah's court, Nathan-Melech, has been discovered. Nathan-Melech is named in 2 Kings 23:11 as one of King Josiah's officials. According to the Times of Israel, "The multi-room large structure bears clear signs of destruction in the sixth century BCE, which likely corresponds to the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, according to the IAA press release. The destruction is evident through large stone debris, burnt wooden beams and numerous charred pottery shards, 'all indications that they had survived an immense fire.'”|
|Amos Earthquake||775 B.C.||Archaeologists were able to identify a layer of destruction perfectly matching that of the earthquake mentioned in Amos 1:1 and Zechariah 14:5. The evidence was found across multiple locations dating to the time period establishing an earthquake event that shattered tools and pottery and damaged infrastructure.|
|Kuntillet ‘Ajrud Inscription||750 B.C.||Tel Aviv University||Verifies the name Yahweh as well as Israelite idolatry to Asherah as mentioned in Judges 6:25-30.|
|Hezekiah Era Clay Bullae||750 B.C.||Clay bullae with the names of King Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet have been found within a few feet of one another at a Jerusalem excavation. Over 100 clay bullae were found at the site, demonstrating a large and complex government bureaucracy in Judea at the time.|
|Nimrud Tablet||733 B.C.||British Museum||One of the earliest references to the Kingdom of Judah, it mentions Ahaz as the ruler of Judah being forced to pay tribute to Syria's Tiglath-Pileser. It also mentions Hoshea being selected by Syria as his replacement per 2 Kings 17-18.|
|Nimrud Prism||720 B.C.||British Museum||Mentions the deportation of Israelites to Babylon captured from Samaria by King Sargon II, the Babylonian Exodus. It also confirms the specific location of Assyria that Israelites were deported to, Halah in Assyria.|
|Pool of Siloam||701 B.C.||Archaeological Museum of Istanbul||The Pool of Siloam was originally built by King Hezekiah in the 8th century B.C. but is best-known for its role in the Gospels as the place where Jesus healed the blind man.|
|Siloam Inscription||701 B.C.||Archaeological Museum of Istanbul||Verifies the existence of Hezekiah's tunnel mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20 and 2 Chronicles 32:30. It was found in 1880 and is one of the oldest Hebrew inscriptions yet discovered.|
|Azekah Inscription||700 B.C.||British Museum||Further verification of the campaign by Sennacherib against King Hezekiah of Judah, including mention of the conquest of Azekah.|
|Lachish Relief||700-681 B.C.||British Museum||Drawings of Assyria's King Sennacherib defeating King Hezekiah of Judah and capturing numerous cities, discovered in his palace at Nineveh. Provides a visual recording of the Biblical account mentioned in 2 Chronicles 32, 2 Kings 18-19, and Isaiah 36-37. Lachish has also been excavated, providing additional evidence of the siege.|
|Shebna Inscription||700-600 B.C.||British Museum.||The Shebna Inscription is from the tomb of the royal steward, Shebna, and verifies the account in Isaiah 22:15-16 of a royal steward who was reprimanded for constructing himself an overly ornate tomb.|
|Bethlehem Seal||700 B.C.||The Bethlehem Seal reveals that the Biblical Bethlehem where Jesus was likely born is not the Bethlehem known today, and existed as far back as the 8th century B.C. As new excavations occur, evidence for Jesus' life is likely to increase, as archaeologists were not looking in the actual city where Jesus was born.|
|Sennacherib's Annals||690 B.C.||British Museum, Oriental Institute of Chicago, Israel Museum||Also known as the Taylor Prism, the annals were discovered in the Assyrian capital of Nineveh. They describe Assyria's King Sennacherib defeating King Hezekiah of Judah and provide evidence for the Biblical account (Chronicles, Kings, Isaiah) as well as some verification of the Angel of the Lord's destruction of Sennacherib's army per Isaiah 37:33-38.|
|Treaty of Esarhaddon with Baal of Tyre||675 B.C.||British Museum||The Treaty confirms the existence of King Esarhaddon, who is mentioned three times in the Bible. (2 Kings 19:37; Ezra 4:2; Isaiah 37:38)|
|Flood Tablet||650 B.C.||British Museum||Ancient Babylonian account with detail similar to the Noahic Flood, part of the Epic of Gilgamesh.|
|Ekron Inscription||650 B.C.||Israel Museum||The Ekron Inscription verifies the existence of Ekron, a Philistine city mentioned in Joshua 13:3 and 1 Samuel 6:17.|
|Pim Weight||607 B.C.||Scholars did not know how to translate the word 'pim' used in 1 Samuel 13:21, used to refer to a weight-based price for sharpening in ancient Israel/Judah, until pim weights were discovered from the archaeological record. The shekel system which used pim weights stopped being used after the fall of the kingdom of Judah in 607 B.C. The existence of pim weights as referenced in the book of Samuel is a strong evidence that the book of Samuel is of early origin, in contrast to the claims of Biblical minimalists/critics who attempt to assert it was written much later.|
|Zedekiah Era Clay Bullae||597-587 B.C.||Herbert W. Armstrong College||Discovered at King David's Palace underneath Nehemiah's Northern Tower by Eilat Mazar in 2015, the clay bullae bear royal seal impressions with the names of King Zedekiah's royal ministers, Jehucal the son of Shelemiah, and Gedaliah, notable for their role in having the prophet Jeremiah thrown into a pit because of his public preaching of a need for repentance.|
|Jehoiachin's Rations Tablet||595-575 B.C.||Pergamon Museum||The Babylonian Tablet verifies the Biblical accounts of 2 Kings 24:10–17 and Jeremiah 52:31–34 which describe King Jeconiah and his sons being imprisoned. The tablet details what rations were given to the king and his sons.|
|Lachish Letters||588 B.C.||British Museum||Letters between military officers Joash and Hoshaiah before Lachish fell to the Babylonian army during the rule of Zedekiah, King of Judah. The Old Testament name for God, YHWH, is repeatedly used, and the letters verify the Bible's account of the Babylonian attack (Jer. 34:7). Elnathan of Jer. 26:22 is also mentioned.|
|Khirbet Beit Lei Inscription||587 B.C.||Israel Museum||Ancient Hebrew text mentioning Yahweh and Jerusalem has been found at the archaeological site of Khirbet Beit Lei.|
|Nebo Sarsekim Tablet||587 B.C.||British Museum||The Babylonian Tablet verifies the Biblical account of one of Nebuchadnezzar's chief officers, Nebo-Sarsekim, as described in Jeremiah 39:2-3.|
|Zion Jewelry||586 B.C.||The gold and silver jewelry discovered on Mount Zion confirms the siege of Jerusalem by Babylon described in Daniel 11:1-2, while establishing that Israel was the massive, complex empire the Bible describes, rather than a few hilltop villages as falsely claimed by Biblical minimalists such as Israel Finkelstein.|
|Nabonidus Cylinder||555-540 B.C.||British Museum and Pergamon Museum||Clay cylinders of King Nabonidus of Babylon that mention Belshazzar and other details similar to the book of Daniel. The cylinders disprove the claims of critics who'd denied Belshazzar's historicity or that he was the child of Nabonidus and reveal the Nabonidus shared coregency with his son Belshazzar, thus explaining why Daniel could be appointed "third ruler of the kingdom." (Daniel 5:16)|
|Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle||555-540 B.C.||British Museum||The Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle briefly addresses Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Judah and how he imprisoned King Jeconiah, replacing him instead with King Zedekiah. The tablet continues a history of Nebuchadnezzar from another Babylonian Chronicle Tablet, the Late Years of Nabopolassar, which details Nebuchadnezzar's early life as crown prince before he became the ruler of Babylon.|
|Cyrus Cylinder||539-530 B.C.||British Museum||Clay cylinder by King Cyrus the Great verifying the return of exiled people from Babylon, such as the Jews after the Babylonian captivity, to their respective lands, and supporting the rebuilding of Jerusalem's temple. (e.g. Ezra 1:1) The cylinders are considered the world's first charter of human rights and are considered one of the most important artifacts in history. They may also provide evidence of King Cyrus praising the God of the Bible as mentioned in 2 Chronicles 36:22-23.|
|Nabonidus Chronicle||250-150 B.C.||British Museum||The Nabonidus Chronicle provides a detailed account of the fall of Babylon and its takeover by King Cyrus as described in the book of Daniel. Belshazzar is also mentioned.|
|Temple Warning Inscription||23 B.C.-70 A.D.||Israel Museum||The inscription by King Herod reveals that the ancient Temple at Jerusalem allowed Gentiles (non-Jews) to visit the Temple at the time, so long as they did not enter the inner sanctum, the Temple Mount, under penalty of death, due to its sanctity.|
|King Herod Wine Jug||19 B.C.||While excavating King Herod's palace (Fortress Masada) archaeologists in 1996 discovered a wine jug bearing Herod's full title, Herod King of Judea. Herod's mausoleum, a royal theater box, and coins bearing his image have since been discovered as well.|
|Jerusalem Inscription||0 B.C.||Israel Museum||A 2,000 year-old stone inscription with the full name 'Jerusalem' spelled the same as it is today was discovered in Israel.|
|Lapis Tiburtinus Inscription||15 A.D.||The Lapis Tiburtinus inscription provides evidence for a Roman consul having two separate governorships, one near the time of Jesus' birth. It has long been questioned how Quirinius could have been Governor of Syria as Luke 2:2 states, since he is not listed in Roman records as being Governor until 6 A.D., 9 years after the death of Herod the Great, who had attempted to kill Jesus when Jesus was born by massacring all infants in Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:16) However, the Propraetorial Imperial Legate of Roman Syria is not listed in Roman records during the time of Jesus' birth (4-1 B.C.), a glaring omission given that all other Roman rulers for the next 400 years are known. The Lapis Tiburtinus inscription is missing the name of the Roman Governor involved, but perfectly fits with Quirinius having a second, earlier Governorship, thus removing all claims of a contradiction from the Bible.|
|Pilate Inscription||26-37 A.D.||Israel Museum||Contains the name Pontius Pilate, verifying his existence after minimalists claimed the Bible invented him. Pilate's name has since been discovered inscribed on Roman coins as well.|
|Caiaphas Ossuary||36-50 A.D.||Israel Museum||Burial chamber of Caiaphas, the Jewish high priest at the time of Jesus as mentioned in Matthew 26:3, John 18:13-28, and Acts 4:6. Its discovery was a major blow to Biblical critics who claimed the Gospel's accounts of Jesus were mythical. A separate ossuary of Caiaphas' daughter Miriam was authenticated in 2011.|
|Huqoq Mosaics||450 A.D.||Biblical mosaics discovered in Israel's ancient city of Huqoq (located in the Galileean region) show numerous Biblical stories, including Samson, Noah's Ark, Jonah being swallowed, the parting of the Red Sea, building of the tower of Babel, and spies sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan. In the words of FOX News' James Rogers, "Experts say that the wealth of mosaics show that Jewish life in the surrounding village flourished during Christian rule in the fifth century A.D. This challenges a widely held view that Jewish settlement in the area declined during that period."|
|Ophel Treasure||613 A.D.||Israel Museum||The prize find of the Ophel excavations by Eilat Mazar was a gold medallion engraved with Jewish holy symbols, a menorah (candlestick) and Torah scroll. The treasure dates to the 7th century A.D. and shows that practicing Jews were in Israel 1,400 years ago.|
- The earliest mention of the Biblical God, Yahweh, has been discovered from two Egyptian descriptions, with the oldest, the Soleb Inscription, dating to 1400 B.C. In mentioning a list of lands campaigned against by Egypt, the Soleb Inscription refers to the "land of the Shasu of Yahweh" so it is clear Israel had become a nation by that time. This provides strong evidence that the Israelite Exodus had completed by 1400 B.C. The Merneptah Stele (1209 B.C.) provides additional early corroboration for an early establishment of the nation of Israel.
- The Shiphrah Slave List (1809-1743 B.C.) preserves the name of Moses' midwife, showing that it was in use among Egyptian slaves before Moses was born.
- The Amarna Tablets record the Israelite takeover of Canaan. Letters such as those by Abdu-Heba and Rib-Addi show Canaanite kings pleading with Egypt to send them military aid to stop the Israelites from conquering the land. Dating to the 14th century B.C., they provide strong evidence for an early date to the Exodus.
- The Ipuwer Papyrus provides evidence of the Biblical plagues.
- The distinctive 4-room Israelite house has been discovered in Tell el-Daba, Egypt dating back to 1175 A.D. What is more, found among these distinctive Israelite houses was one which may have been Joseph's containing a tomb that very unusually had the skeleton removed consistent with Exodus 13:19 and Genesis 50:25. A 3rd century B.C. Egyptian historian named Manetho wrote that the Hyksos founded their capital at Avaris, also known as Tell el-Daba, where the Israelite houses were found. As noted by Noah Wiener of the Biblical Archaeological Society, "After the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt, Manetho reports that they wandered the desert before establishing the city of Jerusalem... The Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut (1489–1469 B.C.E.) recorded the banishment of a group of Asiatics from Avaris, the former Hyksos capital."
|“||One of the tombs was monumental in construction and totally unique in finds. Inside were found stone fragments of a colossal statue of a man who was clearly Asiatic, based on the yellow painted skin, the red-painted mushroom-shaped hairstyle and a throwstick on his right shoulder (the hieroglyph for foreigner). The statue had been intentionally broken in antiquity. While the other tombs nearby had intact skeletons, the only finds in the monumental tomb were fragments of an inscribed limestone sarcophagus and a few bone fragments. The body was gone! While it was common to plunder tombs in ancient Egypt, the bodies were usually not taken. Could this be the tomb of Joseph, from which he commanded his bones to be carried back to Canaan (Gn 50:25; Ex 13:19)?
~ Gary Byers, Associates for Biblical Research
- See also Route of the Exodus
Those claiming the Exodus lacks graves evidencing the Exodus are not finding the graves because they are looking on the wrong peninsula, the Sinai Peninsula. The Exodus occurred across Saudi Arabia/the Arabian Peninsula, which does have thousands, possibly millions, of ancient graves supporting the Biblical Exodus. There are also hundreds of massive and mysterious stone structures in the Saudi Desert, which cannot be properly investigated due to restrictions by the Saudi government. In October 2017 an archaeologist, David Kennedy, was finally invited to photograph them from a helicopter for the first time, previously they could only be viewed from satellite photos.
For the location of the Biblical Mount Sinai, see Jebel al-Madhbah. The Bible makes plain that Mount Sinai is in Seir, also known as Edom (located in modern-day Jordan and parts of Israel). (Deuteronomy 33:2, Judges 5:4-5) Edom is well-established from archeology as being in Jordan, so had archaeologists just taken the Bible at face value instead of assuming a Red Sea crossing to be impossible because of their disbelief in the supernatural, they would have recognized from the beginning that the Exodus occurred on the Arabian Peninsula, not the Sinai Peninsula, given that the Bible plainly says Mount Sinai/Seir is in Edom.
As an interesting note, Edom or Esau literally means "red" and Jebel al-Madhbah is in Petra, a city that is one of the 7 wonders of the world, renowned for its blood-red stone and architecture. The Apostle Paul said that Mount Sinai is in Arabia. (Galatians 4:25) Ancient Egyptian lists show that the Egyptians at the time of Moses controlled the Sinai Peninsula, so Moses could not have undergone the Exodus after leaving Egypt on the Sinai Peninsula, for he would have still been in Egypt! Per the Amarna Letters, the Egyptians had conquered even parts of Canaan at the time. As difficult as Biblical minimalists may find it, the Bible was entirely accurate in saying Moses and the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, not the Reed Sea--which would indeed have required divine intervention, not a naturalistic tidal explanation.
The Exodus clearly occurred on the Arabian Peninsula, not the Sinai Peninsula for the following reasons:
- The Bible plainly states that Mount Sinai, central to the Exodus route, was also known as Mount Seir, and in Edom. Edom is in Jordan on the Arabian Peninsula. (Deuteronomy 33:2, Judges 5:4-5)
- It is now known from ancient military annals like the Military Annals of Pharaoh Thutmose III and the Moabite Stone that the Sinai Peninsula was inhabited by the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus. Indeed the Egyptians ruled all the way up to Canaan (modern-day Israel) itself, per the Amarna Letters. If the Exodus had occurred on the Sinai Peninsula then the Israelites would have never even left Egypt.
- Numerous locations along the Route of the Exodus were in or near modern-day Jordan on the Arabian Peninsula, not the Sinai Peninsula. Examples include Edrei/Daraa, Bamoth-Baal, Hebron, Rehob, and Medeba.
- There is no evidence of ancient graves for millions of Israelites in the Sinai Peninsula, where archaeologists have been futilely, incorrectly searching for the last century. There are thousands of ancient graves and landmarks in the Arabian Desert.
- See also Bible Chronology
A strict, Biblically-based dating of the Exodus results in a date for the Exodus of roughly 1489 B.C. James Ussher arrived at a similar date of 1491 B.C.
Another favorite attack of atheists in recent years is the claim that David and Solomon were not historical figures, and that ancient Israel at the time was merely a collection of small villages, not the vast empire mentioned in the Bible.
- The credibility of critics asserting David was ahistorical was dealt a serious blow when the Mesha Stele and Tel Dan Stele were discovered, as both provide early reference to David.
- King David's Palace was discovered by Eilat Mazar using the Biblical account in 2 Samuel 5:17; archaeologically it is commonly called the Large Stone Structure. Clay bullae, royal seals for officials mentioned in the book of Jeremiah, were discovered at the site, and luxury goods were carbon dated as old as the 11th century B.C. matching the reigns of David and Solomon.
- Early evidence for Goliath can be seen from the Tell es-Safi Potsherd, and excavations at Gath show unusually massive architecture consistent with Biblical descriptions of giants.
The Solomonic Gates at Tel Hazor, Tel Megiddo, and Tel Gezer have been excavated with dates of construction perfectly matching Solomon's reign, which I determined to be approximately from 1012-973 B.C. The construction of the Gates by Solomon is mentioned in 1 Ki. 9:15 and the association of the Gates with the Biblical account was pointed out by Yigael Yadin. Critics have attempted to cast doubt on the Gates' construction by Solomon by arguing they were constructed too early, but this is because Solomon's reign is commonly misdated too early by several decades due to scholars not taking the Biblical genealogies at face value.
- The Timna Copper Mines provide evidence for a massive monarchy during the time of Solomon in contrast to the assertions of Biblical minimalists like Israel Finkelstein.
- The Merneptah Stele provides evidence Israel was sizable enough to merit military confrontation with Egypt in the 13th century B.C.
- The Mesha Stele shows Israel had a massive fighting force in the 9th century B.C. (2,000 chariots, 10,000 horsemen) inconsistent with minimalist claims.
- The Amarna Letters show the invading Habiru (Hebrews) were defeating the Canaanites en masse, as the Canaanite begged their Egyptian overlords for reinforcements.
- The Tower of Jericho at Tel es-Sultan remains standing as one of humanity's oldest stone monuments, with destroyed walls dating to 1400 B.C. perfectly matching the Biblical account.
- The Soleb Inscription provides evidence that Israel was already the land of Yahweh under the Israelites by 1400 B.C. and was acknowledged as such by other nations. Biblical minimalists have attempted to explain this away by suggesting Yahweh was a Canaanite deity and not just Israelite.
The ancient city of Israel contains the world's oldest known gated archway and is known today as Tell el-Qadi. An inscription found on site reads "To the God who is in Dan, Zoilos made a vow." Identified in 1838, the best-known excavations began in 1966, continuing to the present day. The Tell Dan Stele was discovered here, along with an elaborate gate, a pottery shard with the name Zechariah on it, and a series of huge defensive ramparts. Settlement appears to have begun as early as 4500 B.C.
The probable location of King David's palace and the nearby site known as Millo (City of David) are currently being excavated after their discovery in 2005 which seriously damaged the claims of Bible minimalist Israel Finkelstein who had claimed Israel at the time was little more than a "typical hill-country village." Archaeologist Eilat Mazar found the site through careful analysis of the Biblical account. It contains earthen pottery dating from the 12th-11th centuries B.C. and some clay bullae (seal impressions) with the names Jehuchal ben Shelemyahu [Shelemiah] and Gedalyahu [Gedaliah] ben Pashur, the names of King Zedekiah's royal ministers (597-587 B.C.) as mentioned in Jeremiah 37:3 and 38:1. The bullae are currently on display at Herbert W. Armstrong College.
|“||"It has long been the case that those who read the Bible hold it to a much higher standard—it would not be unfair to call it a double standard—than other sources of information. For instance, when archaeologist Eilat Mazar discovered and identified what she considered to be the palace of David in Jerusalem based partially on her reading of the Bible (Mazar, 2006), Finkelstein and several colleagues disputed her findings (Finkelstein, et al., 2007). When the Khirbet Qeiyafa inscription was discovered, Finkelstein warned against the “revival in the belief that what’s written in the Bible is accurate like a newspaper” (Friedman, 2008). In other words, he argues that we cannot expect the Bible to report factual details with any great degree of certainty. For the last two hundred years scholars have mined ancient texts, including mythological texts, for details that might help with locating ancient sites. Finkelstein apparently believes that this cannot be done with the Bible."
-Dewayne Bryant, Apologetics Press
Biblical minimalists such as Israel Finkelstein and Ronny Reich have sought to downplay and disparage Mazar's discovery despite the dating of pottery, carved ivory utensils, pavement, and the nearby Stepped Stone Structure (a 60-foot tall terrace leading to the palace) to the time of David in the 12th-10th centuries B.C. The area contains massive boulders and the palace walls are 16 feet thick. The burnt clay bullae, arrowheads, and large amounts of ashes support the burning of the city by fire around 586 B.C. consistent with the Babylonian invasion mentioned in the Bible. An ancient escape tunnel and what may be Nehemiah's Wall have also been discovered at the site.
In 2013 a piece of pottery with a mysterious inscription discovered by Mazar, known as the Ophel Inscription, was deciphered, revealing it to be the earliest undisputed use of the Hebrew alphabet in Jerusalem. It is dated to around 950 B.C.
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