The Truth about the Bible » Archaeology » Archaeology Part 1

Archaeology Part 1

Archaeology also provides extra proof of Biblical events. Consider the example of Belshazzar (Daniel 5). Daniel tells us that Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon. Yet for centuries Belshazzar's name was found nowhere outside of the Bible. Historical records named Nabonidus as Babylon's final king. Some scholars of the last century, therefore, rejected Daniel's account, labeling it one of the Bible's many "historical mistakes."

But in 1853, archaeologists discovered four small clay cylinders at Ur in Mesopotamia, inscribed with accounts of the rebuilding of Ur's ziggurat (temple tower) by King Nabonidus. The inscriptions concluded with prayers for Nabonidus' health—and for his eldest son and co-regent, Belshazzar! Other texts that have been found show numerous treaties and contracts that mention this as well.

References to the Hittites (as in 2 Kings 7) were also once regarded as scriptural inaccuracies. Until a little more than a century ago nothing was known of the Hittites outside of the Bible. Some suggested there had been a scribal error and that Assyrians were actually intended.

The Bible was vindicated when Hittite monuments were discovered in the 1870s at Carchemish on the Euphrates River in Syria. In 1906, excavations at Boghazkoy in Turkey uncovered thousands of Hittite documents.

A more recent example: Some scholars doubted that Biblical King David actually lived. But in 1993, Israeli archaeologist Avraham Biran discovered a ninth-century B.C. stone tablet among the rubble of a wall at Tel Dan in northern Israel. The 13 lines of script on the tablet commemorate the defeat of Baasha, king of Israel, by Asa of "the House of David." This provided not only the first corroboration of their warfare (described in 1 Kings 15), but also the first mention of the name David outside the Bible.

BOGHAZKOY, HITTITE CAPITAL:

The ancient Hittite's large capital city has been recovered about 90 miles east of Ankara, Turkey. The Hittite's rule extended to Syria and Lebanon. Although Hittite's are mentioned often in the Old Testament, almost nothing was known about them until modern times. One hundred years ago, critics thought the Hittite's were an imaginary people made up by the Biblical authors. Finding the Hittite's empire forced that claim to be withdrawn and supported the Biblical record. The find also helps explain the language, history and literature of people who appear in the Old Testament and ruled in the 2nd millennium B.C.

HARAN, HOME OF THE PATRIARCHS:

A village of Harran (Haran) exists in Turkey today, and has been found to stand atop the ancient one from the Old Testament. Also found near Haran are villages that still bear the names of Abraham's great-grandfather and grandfather, Serug and Nahor, as mentioned in Genesis11:22-26. Haran was the father of Lot (Genesis11:27).

The cities of Ur and Haran both had the moon god as their main deity. Terah, father of Abraham, worshipped "other gods" (Joshua 24:2) and moved his family from Ur, in southern Mesopotamia (Iraq today), to Haran in the north (Genesis 11:27-31).

THE MOABITE (MESHA STELE) STONE:

The ancient Moabites were relatives of the Israelites according to Genesis19:37. On this stone King Mesha brags of having driven the Israelites out of his land. 2 Kings 3 tells that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel after the death of King Ahab of Israel.

The Moabite stone is one of the earliest finds that mention Biblical people. The stone says that King Omri and his son Ahab "humbled" Moab for many years. After Ahab's death, King Mesha said he had "triumphed" over Ahab's family and that Israel had "perished forever." Some scholars say that the stone also contains a reference to the "house of David."

THE BLACK OBELISK OF SHALMANESER:

This 6 and a half foot tall black basalt obelisk (four-sided pillar) reports in pictures and words the conquests of Assyrian King Shalmaneser III, enemy of the Israelites. The Black Obelisk was discovered in the palace at Nimrud in 1846 and shows the Biblical Jehu, King of Israel, kneeling down and bringing tribute to the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser. Dating from 841 B.C., this important find is the only picture we have so far of an Israelite king. This is the first mention of tribute paid to Assyria by Israel. King Jehu's reign is mentioned in 2 Kings 9-10, even though the tribute is not.

PITHOM AND RAAMSES:

The book of Exodus tells how the Egyptians forced their Israelite slaves to build these two storage cities, yet the critics said it was a fable for children. But archaeologist Sir Flinders Petrie discovered the site of these cities and found that the buildings were the only ones in Egypt built with mortar. Interestingly enough, the lowest levels of the building were built with brick and straw, the next levels were built with bricks and stubble, and the upper layers were built with no straw or stubble at all! A perfect parallel to the Biblical account.
Over 25,000 sites have been discovered by archaeology pertaining to the Bible, as well as the records of tens of thousands of individuals and events. Nelson Glueck, the renowned Jewish archaeologist, said,

"It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery
has ever controverted its Biblical reference."

Many archaeologists have been convinced by their own findings that the Bible is an astonishing book - some even to the point of becoming Christians. Sir William Ramsay, for, example, was a wealthy atheistic English archaeologist who was determined to disprove the Bible. He spent many decades over his diggings and published book after book, detailing his findings which all confirm the Word of God. Sir William finally declared that the Bible is accurate and is the Word of God as a result of his findings!

Of course, the unbelieving world was aghast! That's because, as Yale archaeologist Miller Burroughs states, "The excessive skepticism of many liberal theologians stems not from a careful evaluation of the available data, but from an enormous predisposition against the super-natural." Our media today chooses to splash any apparent findings that contradict the Bible across every magazine cover and newspaper, but ignores the numerous findings that support it.