Archaeology and the Bible

Posted: March 10, 2011 in Arguments, Bible Related, History Related
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

If the stories in the Bible were of real people and places, then shouldn’t there be archaeological evidence? Here are some great examples of archaeological discoveries of places or persons that are mentioned in the Bible that support the authenticity of the Bible:

 

Genesis 10:10- The City of Babylon

   

Genesis 10:11- The City of Nineveh

   

Genesis 10:14- The Philistines

The existence of the Philistines in the bible was once doubted. Today there have been 28 sites and 5 major Philistine cities discovered in Palestine.

 Genesis 10:15- The Hittite Culture

It was once believed that the Hittite culture was not in existence during the time of Abraham as the bible mentions. But recently, evidence of an early Hittite culture has been uncovered with so many artifacts, that an entire museum has been dedicated to it in Israel.

Genesis 10:19- “Canaan”

The OT’s reference of “Canaan” was once considered in error. It was believed that name was not used as early as the OT suggests. The discovery of the Ebla archive in northern Syria in the 1970s revealed the land of Canaan was named as such during the time the OT suggests.

Genesis 11:8-10- The Tower of Babel

Ziggurats are high brick towers with shrines on the top. Many of these have been found near Babylon. However one clay tablet in the area has an inscription that speaks of a temple that so “offended the Gods” that it was destroyed in one night, and the people scattered with their “speech made strange.” Fragments of an Assyrian tablet were discovered at Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard during the middle of the 18th century that closely parallel the Biblical account. The artifacts now reside in the British Museum (registration number K.3657) and reads as follows: “his heart was evil against the father of all the gods . . . Babylon was brought into subjection, small and great alike. He confounded their speech . . . their strong palace (tower) all the days they built; to their strong place in the night He completely made an end . . . In His anger His word was poured out . . . to scatter aboard He set his face, He gave this command, and their counsel was confused. . .He saw them and the earth. . . of stopping not . . . Bitterly they wept at Babi(l). . very much they grieved . . at their misfortune.”

Genesis 11:28- The City of Ur

 

Genesis 19:24- Sodom and Gomorrah

The ruins of both cities have been discovered. Although archeologists say they don’t know exactly what caused their destruction, the ruins show evidence of fire damage. The Bible says God destroyed them with fire from the sky.

   

 

Genesis 24:10- Domesticated Camels

It was believed that there were no domesticated camels during the time of Abraham as the bible states. Archeologists later found paintings of domesticated camels on the walls of the temple of Hatshepsut, which dated back to Abraham’s period.

Genesis 41:41-44- Joseph’s Egyptian Seal

The Bible says Joseph (son of Jacob) was given the seal of Pharaoh. Numerous Scarab Seals have been unearthed dating to the 18th century BC that say “son of Yaqub” (Egyptian for Jacob, who was Joseph’s father). In the Egyptian ruins of Avaris, nine seals were found with the same inscription of Jacob, which is not an Egyptian name, but a Hebrew one.

Genesis 46:26-27- Israelites move to Egypt

At the Tomb of Ben Hassan there is large picture showing a mass migration into Egypt inside. The people in the picture have beards and are wearing brightly colored and patterned clothing, all of which was the typical traditional style at the time for Israelites, but not of Egyptians. But more importantly, a hieroglyphic says the people are “Ammo” which translated means, “God’s People” (singular)[1]. The tomb is dated to the 18-17th century which is the same period of time that the Israelites migrated to Egypt per the Bible’s account.

   

Exodus 3:20- God’s Wrath against Egypt

Fragments of the Ahmose Stele (AKA Tempest Stele) speaks of great destruction to the land of Egypt from the wrath of God (singular). Which is particular interesting because Egyptians believe in multiple Gods, not one God, in which the Israelites did. The stele is dated to the 15th Century BC, during the same time the Exodus occurred. Of the devastation, hail is mentioned, which Exodus 9:18 states, “I will send a hailstorm more devastating than any in all the history of Egypt.” (NLT)

Exodus 11:5- Death of firstborn males.

Dated to the same time of the Exodus, have been found multiple gravesites in Egypt containing the bones of mostly young men in mass burial. Even the son of Pharaoh Ahmose,[2] died at a very young age of 12, his tomb kept in the Cairo museum.

Exodus 14:27- Egyptians chase Israelites into the parted sea.

The 3-piece Grave Stele of Mycenae actually shows Egyptians on chariots chasing unarmed people into a parted body of water, with the people emerging on high ground and the Egyptians being drowned in the last stele.

Numbers 22:1- City of Jericho

   

 

The Book of Joshua- Joshua’s Conquests

 The Amarna Tablets were written by the Kings of Palestine and Syria to the kings of Egypt. The letters discussed the conquering and military success of Joshua.

Joshua 11:1- City of Hazor

Joshua 16:3- City of Gezer

   

Judges 17:7- City of Bethlehem

1 Samuel 5:2- The Temple of Dagon

1 Samuel 16:1- King David

David was thought to be a myth until 1993 when a stone monument fragment was found in Tel Dan, near Israel and Syria. This fragment mentions King David and the “House of David.”

   

2 Samuel 2:12-32 – Pool of Gibeon

   

1 Kings 4:28- Solomon’s Horse Stables in Maggido

   

1 Kings 14:25-26- King Shisak of Egypt

1 Kings 16:16- King Omri

The Meesha Stele dated to 846 BC records the revolt of Meesha (Moab’s King), Yahweh (the Hebrew name of God), and King Omri, a king of Israel!

2 Kings 9:1-10- King Jehu of Israel

2 Kings 19:37- King Esarhaddon of Assyria

2 Kings 24:12- King Jehoiachin captured.

The Ration Tablet from Babylon describes the exile of King Jehoiachin to Babylon.

1 Chronicles 36:22- Cyrus allows exile’s return.

The bible prophesized many things, one of which was that a man named “Cyrus” would be responsible for the Jewish return from exile. The Cyrus Cylinder found in Babylon recorded this proclamation as well as other prophesies from the Bible.

   

Book of Esther- King Xerxes I of Persia

Ezra 4:24- King Darius I of Persia

Daniel 1:1-7, Israelites Deported to Babylon

There where three separate phases to the exile of Israel to Babylon. The first phase (605 B.C.- Daniel deported) is confirmed by the “Babylon Chronicle,” found in the court records of Babylon.

Daniel 5:1-3- King Belshazzar

King Nabonidus of Babylonia left a magnificent cuneiform cylinder (wedge-shaped letters inscribed on a clay cylinder) mentioning his elder son, Belshazzar by name. Critics of the Bible had claimed for many years that the account in the book of Daniel was wrong; they said Belshazzar was never a king in Babylon and that Nabonidus was not his father. The discovery of this cylinder clearly showed that these scholars were dead wrong.

Isaiah 20:1- King Sargon of Assyria

   

Isaiah 23:1-17- Destruction of Tyre

The bible prophesized the double destruction of the city of Tyre which archeologists found records of it being destroyed twice. First (and impartially) in 586 B.C. and second in 330 B.C.

   

 

Jeremiah 39:3- Nabu-sharrussu-ukin the Chief Preist

Nabu-sharrussu-ukin was identified on a Babylonian clay tablet as a Chief Priest. He is also mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3. The tablet is dated to 595 BC.

Book of Ezekiel- Ezekiel the Prophet

Stone tablets have been discovered containing the entire book of Ezekiel. The tablets have been dated to 600 to 500 B.C.  Which was during the time of Ezekiel, with that, some speculate the he himself may have chiseled some of the tablets. 

Ezekiel 1:3, Israelites Deported to Babylon again

The second phase of deportation (597 B.C.- Ezekiel captured) is mentioned in the “Chronicles of the Chaldean Kings.” 10 years later when Jerusalem was destroyed is recorded in the “Lachish Letters.”

   

Matthew 2:23- The City of Nazareth

   

Matthew 4:13- The City of Capernaum

   

Matthew 21:17- The City of Bethany

Matthew 22:17- Roman Emperor Tiberius

Matthew 26:3- Caiaphas the High Priest

In the Peace Forest section of Jerusalem was discovered a burial cave containing twelve ossuaries, one of them being none other than that of Caiaphas, the high priest who presided at the trial of Jesus.

Matthew 27:50-51- Earthquake after Jesus dies

Phlegon of Tralles, a non-Christian Greek writer (AD 80-140) wrote of Jesus being crucified and great earthquakes taking place.

Mark 15:12-13- King of Jews crucified by Jews

Syrian historian Mara-Bar Serapion (non-Christian) wrote of Jews executing their “wise king,” in A.D. 70.

Mark 15:1- Pontius Pilate and Tiberieum  

Pilate himself was long thought of as a fictional character that never existed. That is until the discovery of the Pilate dedication limestone found in 1961. An inscription on the stone mentions both Pilate and Tiberieum (who ruled Rome at the time). Testifying to Pilate indeed being a real person!

Mark 15:15- Jesus suffering under Pontius Pilate.

Cornelius Tacitus (non-Christian), the “greatest historian of Rome” A.D. 56-120, wrote of Jesus suffering under Pontius Pilate.

Luke 2:1- Roman Emperor Augustus

Luke 3:1- Lysanias, the Tetrarch

The bible says that Lysanias, the Tetrarch of Abilene ruled Syria and Palestine during the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry in A.D. 27. But the only Lysanias known by historians and archeologists alike was one that was killed in 36 B.C. Since then, an inscription was found near Damascus refers to “Freedman of Lysanias of Tetrarch.” This inscription has been dated between A.D. 14 to A.D. 29.

Luke 7:11- The Village of Nain

 

Luke  23:33- Crucifixion of Jesus

Samaritan Historian Thallus (non-Christian) wrote of Jesus’ crucifixion in AD 52.

Luke 24:13- The Village of Emmaus

John 4:5- The Village of Sychar

John 5:36- Miracles of Jesus

Jewish historian Josephus wrote of Jesus as a real man who performed miracles in the 1st century.

John 9:1-4- The Pool of Siloam

John 19:13- The Roman Paved Platform/Court

The bible’s description of Jesus tried by Pilate on a paved court was proposed to be an error because no such ancient paved area had ever been found in Jerusalem. Unearthed later was the Tower of Antonia, an ancient Roman military headquarters in Jerusalem. At this site they found a paved court, the only one in Jerusalem (at the time). This leads archaeologists to believe it is the one Pilate tried Christ at.

Acts 11:28- Roman Emperor Claudius

Acts 12:1-23- King Herod Agrippa I of Judea

Acts 19:29- The Ampi-theater of Ephesus

“I know of no finding in archaeology that’s properly confirmed which is in opposition to the Scriptures. The Bible is the most accurate history textbook the world has ever seen.” Dr Clifford Wilson, formerly director of the Australian Institute of Archaeology.

 “The mantra that ‘archaeology disproves the Bible’ is simple to refute if only people would check out the evidence.” –Brian Edwards, Apologist.

“Through the wealth of data uncovered by historical and archaeological research, we are able to measure the Bible’s historical accuracy. In every case where its claims can thus be tested, the Bible proves to be accurate and reliable.” – Dr. Jack Cottrell, Professor of Theology

“In every instance where the findings of archaeology pertain to the Biblical record, the archaeological evidence confirms, sometimes in detailed fashion, the historical accuracy of Scripture. In those instances where the archaeological findings seem to be at variance with the Bible, the discrepancy lies with the archaeological evidence, i.e., improper interpretation, lack of evidence, etc. — not with the Bible.” – Dr. Bryant C. Wood, Archaeologist.

  “I have excavated for thirty years with a Bible in one hand and a trowel in the other, and in matters of historical perspective I have never found the Bible to be in error.” Professor Nelson Glueck, Director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem

“There can be no doubt that archaeology has confirmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.” – Dr. William F. Albright, premier archaeologist for Institute for Archaeological Research in Jerusalem

“It is therefore legitimate to say that, in respect of that part of the Old Testament against which the disintegrating criticism of the last half of the nineteenth century was chiefly directed, the evidence of archaeology has been to reestablish its authority and likewise to augment its value by rendering it more intelligible through a fuller knowledge of its background and setting. Archaeology has not yet said its last word, but the results already achieved confirm what faith would suggest – that the Bible can do nothing but gain from an increase in knowledge.” – Sir Frederic Kenyon, a former director of the British Museum.

“On the whole, however, archaeological work has unquestionably strengthened confidence in the reliability of the Scriptural record. More than one archaeologist has found his respect for the Bible increased by the experience of excavation in Palestine….Archaeology has in many cases refuted the views of modern critics. It has shown, in a number of instances, that these views rest on false assumptions and unreal, artificial schemes of historical development. This is a real contribution and not to be minimized.” – Millar Burrows, Professor of Archaeology at Yale University


[1] Keep in mind, Egyptians worshipped multiple Gods.

[2] Ahmose is the proposed Pharaoh of the Exodus.

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Comments
  1. matthew2262 says:

    Inteview with Dr. Clifford Wilson; http://creation.com/archaeologist-confirms-creation-and-the-bible

    “There have been plenty of claims that things contradict the biblical account, but the Bible has a habit of being proved right after all.”

  2. Paula says:

    I believe the Bible from cover to cover.

  3. All written AFTER the FACT. So, what.

    Now pay attention. Jesus came from Nazareth. The problem with this bogus bible BS is that Nazareth was not a city or a place name till 300 AD. Who ever wrote the Nazareth myth did not know his archeology.

    • matthew2262 says:

      Hello again christianpsychology2014, and thank you for your comment. After reading your post here are my thoughts. What do you mean all written after the fact? Are you trying to say that since the dating of scripture follows the dates of the artifacts that somehow negates the accuracy of the scripture? You might need to clarify this because I’m not seeing the issue. It is not like scripture could have mentioned places and people before they existed, unless we were talking about prophecy. Naturally all historical records are recorded AFTER the events, people and places in question.

      As far as the city of Nazareth originating from 300 AD, where are you getting this information? I see that the first non-Christian reference came from 300AD, but there are many extrabiblical references originating prior to 300 AD. Additionally, the 300AD reference is just the date of the artifact mentioning Nazareth, not the date of the city’s origin. We wouldn’t want to propose that a city didn’t exist until its name was recorded somewhere would we? Furthermore, 1st century Jewish village homes have been found in Nazareth. See: http://www.antiquities.org.il/article_eng.aspx?sec_id=25&subj_id=240&id=1638&module_id=#as, or http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/12/30/First-Century-House-Unearthed-in-Nazareth.aspx

      Based on these facts alone, it becomes rather fallacious to argue that Nazareth did not exist prior to 300 AD.

  4. Note: There is not one single ORIGINAL (key word) Christian document before the third century AD that gives any indication that anyone knew of Jesus or Christianity.

    Christianity is a third and fourth century FORGERY. If you can find one single ORIGINAL authenticated document that Jesus and Christianity was known by anyone in the first two centuries, I’ll send him or her a check for $10,000.

    I know my money is safe.

    • matthew2262 says:

      Hello again,

      I apologize, but I’m going to have to again ask where you’re getting this information? Granted we have many very early manuscripts of the gospels, I’m going to focus on your key word: original. And I’m going to ask, what other “original” manuscripts we have of any ancient history. If you’re going to disregard copied manuscripts (to which there is ample evidence that they were diligently copied with the utmost accuracy possible) then you might as well throw out almost all of ancient human history because we hardly have any original manuscripts of any history from the ancient world. So if you’re going to be skeptical of Christianity’s history because of that, then I hope you plan on extending that skepticism to the remainder of non-Christian history. Secondly, when you say that there was no original document prior to 300AD, are you saying that there were original documents AFTER 300 AD? I will need you to clarify that.

      I am very worried about your forgery and $10,000 bet remarks. I fear for your financial future. I hope you’re not serious and I hope you haven’t told that to anyone else. We have documents dating many documents dated prior to the third century. I encourage you to research Papyrus 4, 52, 63, 66, 75, 90, 103, and 104. Especially look into Papyrus 52 which originated from the late 1st to early 2nd century. These are highly prized AUTHENTICATED documents. Furthermore, Church leaders of the 2nd and 3rd century quoted the New Testament extensively in their own personal writings. Justin Martyr (AD 100-165) quoted the NT 330 times, Irenaeus (AD 120-202) quoted the NT 1,819 times. Clement (AD 150-216) did the same 2,406 times. Origen (AD 185-253) 17,922 times. Tertullian (AD 155-220) 7,258 times. Lastly, Hippolytus (AD 170-236) quoted the NT 1,378 times. In fact, you could destroy ever New Testament manuscript in the world, and re-create it from the quotes of these men alone! That’s how many times they quoted the NT. Just going off Justin Martyr alone, who died prior to the 3rd century, how could he have written so much about Jesus if the story was constructed in the 3rd in 4th century after Martyr died? Martyr alone was someone who knew and wrote about Jesus and Christianity in the first two centuries.

      But wait, there’s more! In A.D. 155 Bishops Anicetus and Victor of the Roman church demanded that all Christians observe Easter, the holiday celebrating the bodily resurrection of Christ. Ignatius of Antioch wrote of the bodily resurrection of Jesus in a letter to the church in Smyrna in the end of the first century. All recorded outside of the Bible. Lastly, the most damaging evidence to your theory are the tons of extrabiblical historical documents describing the persecution of Christians in the 1st and 2nd centuries. Look up Nero and Domitian’s persecution of Christians for example. Why would Romans be writing of killing Jesus believing Christians in the 1st and 2nd centuries if Christianity didn’t exist prior to the 3rd century? In fact, the word “Christian” comes from the non-Christian gentiles of the 1st century.

      So… I wouldn’t be guaranteeing anyone you’re going to give them $10,000, because it is not safe. I definitely wouldn’t make that remark to an archaeologist or historian.

  5. Josephus, Tacitus, and Pliny’s references to Jesus are KNOWN FORGERIES.

    Funny how Christians keep using known forgeries in an attempt to prove their bogus, silly claims that imaginary god thingies who magic tricks exist.

    • matthew2262 says:

      Hello once more. My you sure enjoy my page, I’m glad you find it interesting enough to comment so extensively over. After reading your comment here are my remarks. Regarding Josephus, my understanding is that SOME of the remarks made of Jesus have been deemed forgeries, but that there are other remarks of Jesus and of other Biblical characters (John the Baptist) that have been confirmed as authentic. The history in particular I have mentioned is within that which has been authenticated. Regarding Tacitus, my research from secular history sites has shown the work to be authentic, so you’ll need to share with me your resources stating it is not authentic. Same goes for Pliny, the history I mentioned from him as been authenticated.

      Knowing this, I do not fall under the category of Christians referencing forgeries to prove our beliefs which you find so funny. Until you can provide me with adequate resources showing these accounts to be false, I’ll in turn find your disregard of the extrabiblical evidence for Christ and Christians to be “funny.”

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