So much scientific research today is done under the assumption that God does not exist, that faith in God is a crutch for the “unlearned” to lean on. Many of these scientists believe that Christians, or anyone who allows for the existence of God, is incapable of any real scientific research or discovery, however, the field of archaeology has done more to prove the historical significance of the Bible than any religious teacher.
As a reader of the Bible you should be familiar with the names of the kings of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah – David, Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Joash, Jeroboam, Uzziah, Menahem, Ahaz, Pekahiah, Hosea, Hezekiah, Manasseh and Jehoiachin. But do you know that their existence has been verified through scientific discovery by the most stringent of analytical independently, through archaeology?
Several years ago, the personal seal impression of King Hezekiah was found during excavations on Jerusalem’s Ophel mound. The tiny stamped clay piece reads: “Belonging to Hezekiah, [son of] Ahaz, king of Judah.” This impressive find is one of many that refer to King Hezekiah. His name also turns up in inscriptions belonging to his arch-nemesis, Assyria’s King Sennacherib.
King David’s existence has been a sticking point for critics until the Tel Dan Stele, the “victory stone,” was found in 1993. The ninth-century BC Stele inscription contains a phrase that reads: “I killed [Ahaz]yahu son of [Joram kin]g of the house of David.” This was not only a reference to David, but an established kingly line that descended from him. This inscription also depicted the events of 2 Kings 8, which led to the deaths of kings Ahaziah and Joram.
We now have further references to King David – one on the Mesha Stele, a 9th Century BC stone inscription that parallels a story in 2 Kings 3 and an Egyptian Negev inscription of the 10th Century BC. And beyond just finding the name of King David, we also have several constructions that the Bible attributes directly to him.
These Israelite kings were the contemporaries of many leaders in other regions described accurately in the Bible, likewise verified through archaeology. Among them are the pharaohs Shishak, So, Tirhakah, Necho and Hophra, the Syrian kings Hadadezer, Ben-hadad, Hazael and Rezin, the Moabite King Mesha, the Assyrian kings Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmaneser, Sargon, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, the Babylonian kings Merodach-Baladan, Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach and Belshazzar, and the Persian kings Cyrus, Darius i, Xerxes, Artaxerxes and Darius ii. Not only were these kings described accurately in the Bible, but their accomplishments were also described. That is a lot for a supposedly “fallacious” book to get right.
And it’s not just the kings. Archaeology has shed light on the Prophet Isaiah, the false prophet Balaam and even a tantalizing artifact that may well refer to the Prophet Elisha.
Then there is the unusual, specific description of the 6th Century BC individual named Tatnai: “governor on this side the river” (Ezra 6:13). This man and his office have likewise been confirmed through a number of inscriptions, recorded as “Tattenai, Governor of Across-the-River.”
The Bible contains many descriptions of towns and cities along with the events that happened there. Just how accurate are these descriptions? Over the last century, archaeology has had much to say.
Remember the walls of Jericho that “came tumbling down”? The remains of those crumbled city walls have been discovered – they litter the base of the ancient site of Jericho, providing remarkable insight into the beginning of Joshua’s conquests.
The great city of Jerusalem has been known for millennia and documented in many historical sources. But the Bible’s description of the city, and what happened there, has been confirmed repeatedly through archaeology. The tunnel of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 32:3-4, 30; 2 Kings 20:20) was found snaking 1,750 deep into the bedrock of Jerusalem. The palace of David, Jerusalem’s wall built by King Solomon (1Kings 3:1), and the wall Nehemiah constructed in the 5th century BC has also been found.
1 Kings 9:15 states that Solomon built not only the wall of Jerusalem, but of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.” Construction has been found at these sites dating to Solomon’s period showing exactly the same building patterns. These architectural features known as “Solomon’s Gates” or “Six-Chambered Gates,” help confirm that during this time there was a strong, centralized government regulating the building programs over the wider region of Israel.
Many cities have also been found – cities that include Samaria, Megiddo, Hazor, Shecem, Dan, Beth Shean, Jericho, Gezer and Shiloh, Hebron, Lachish, and Beersheba. Also found were the five Philistine cities of Gath, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Ekron, and Gaza, along with cities of Egypt, Babylon, and Persia.
Scripture describes Abraham burying Sarah in land purchased from the Hittite merchant. But until the 20th century, science questioned the existence of the Hittites. In 1906, a fortified city was found in modern Turkey and confirmed to have been the Hittite capital Hattusha. A royal library of around 10,000 tablets helped to prove that these people were indeed the people of the land of Hatti, the Kingdom of Kheta in the Egyptian texts and the Hittites of the Bible. This massive empire controlled what became modern-day Turkey, and its power and influence expanded as far south as Syria and around parts of northern Canaan, just as described in the Bible.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for all good works.” -2 Timothy 3:16-17