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Biblical Archaeology Discoveries

Introduction:

What follows is a list of archaeological discoveries that are related to the Bible. The list is only partial as we cannot possibly list all of the items discovered over the past 200 years. The NT has over 5,000 manuscripts and there are innumerable pottery finds so use this page as a starting point as you investigate the evidence for the biblical record.

Just keep in mind that we believers have the evidence although many of the finds are contested by unbelieving archaeologists and scholars. Because part 2 of this page is taken from my curriculum textbooks, the sources are too many to list here.
 

#1. Ancient Inscriptions CD by Biblical Archaeology Society

Manuscripts: Egyptian Coffin Text; story of Sinuhe; The Tale of Two Brothers;Papyrus Harris I of Ramesses III; Report of Wenamun; Eyptian book of the dead; Two line blessing from Kuntillet Ajrud; Dead Sea scrolls; Nag Hammadi Library; Elephantine Island scrolls; Nash Papyrus; Damascus Document; Scroll of Ben Sira from Masada; Codex Vaticanus; Codex Sinaiticus; Codex Alexandrinus; Aleppo Codex; Leningrad Codex

Artifacts: Ebla Archives; letter from King of Mari; cylinder from Sargon the Great era; seal of the scribe Ibni-sharrum; 2 statues of Gudea a governor of Lagash; the Amarna Letters; Assyrian Eponym lot; Babylonian boundary stone; Babylonian map of the world; Execration Text; Hyksos Scarabs; Hieratic Ostracon (From Kingdom of Judah); Shabaka Stone; Gezer alphabet sherd; Ugarit library (0ver 3,000 tablets found); Keret Epic from Ugarit; Ba’al Epic from Ugarit; Lachish Ewer; Izbet Sartah Ostracon (Israeli Village near Philistines); El Khadr arrowhead (writing on it); Kingdom of Amurru 3 generation arrowheads; Sarcophagus of Ahiram, king of Byblos; Horvat ‘Uza Edomite ostracon; Plain of Sharon Temple metal bowls etc; Samaria ostracon; Barley Letter (Hebrew); Pithos of Yahweh and his Asherah; Ivory Pomegranate Scepter head (from Solomon’s temple); Yavneh Yam Hebrew ostracon; Lachish Prophet ostracon; Lachish letters; Arad ostracon; Silver scrolls (oldest known biblical inscription); Ossuary of Caiaphas; Simon the temple builder ossuary; Synagogue Inscription (over 400 Synagogues existed in Jesus’ time in Jerusalem); Wine Jar handles from Gibeon; Jar handles stamped LMLK- belonging to the King (Judah); Nahum Jar Handle (8th century BC); Seals & Scarabs & Bullae (7th & 8th century BC etc.); many different coins;

Inscriptions: Behistun of Darius the Great; Sumerian King’s list; Administrative tablet from Ebla; prophet’s dream (letter from Mari); statue of story of Idrimi, king of Alalakh; Babylonian ‘Job’ Tablet; Gilgamesh epic fragment; flood story from Gilgamesh; Babylonian Flood story; bilingual tablet of creation account (Babylonian & Sumerian); The Taylor Prism (Sennacherib record); The oriental Institute Prism (Sennacherib annals); Cyrus cylinder; Rosetta Stone; Namer Palette; Pepy I inscription; Hatshepsut’s Hyksos Inscription; Proto-Sinaitic found at Mine L at Serabit el-Khadem; Alphabet inscription from Wadi el-Hol; Ugarit abecedary; Tel Dan Stele (House of David); Tell Siran metal bottle; Padi Inscription from Ekron (Philistine city); Gezer calendar; Uriah Epitaph; Khirbet el-Qom Stone cutters’ inscription; Siloam Tunnel Inscription (Hezekiah); Royal Steward inscription; Votive Inscription- The God who is in Dan; Balustrade Inscription (Temple warning to Gentiles); Place of trumpeting inscription; Paleo-Hebrew Abba inscription; Uzziah Plaque; Isaiah Inscription;  En Gedi & Rehob Synagogue Inscriptions;

Monuments: Stela of the Vultures; of Ibbit-lim king of Ebla; code of Hammurabi; Shalmaneser’s black obelisk found at Nimrud (contains Israelite King panel); Zinjirli stele of Esarhaddon; Stele of Seti I; Stele of Ramesses II; 400 Year Anniversary Stele; Merneptah Stele (Israel is mentioned); Karnak (we call it a museum but archaeologists call it a temple); Sea Peoples Inscription of Ramesses III; Alphabet stele; Nora Stone; Tell Fakhariyeh Statue (bilingual Akkadian & Aramaic); Noabite Stone (Omri King of Israel); Amman Citadel Inscription; Sefire treaty; Burial Cambers at Khirbet el-Qom; Punic Tophet Monuments from North Africa; Roster of God-fearers from Aphrodisias; Madeba Map
 

#2. Taken From The Curriculum CD of Trinity Graduate School Of Apologetics and Theology

- pseudepigraphy & apocrypha works: The Psalter of Solomon, The Book of Enoch, The Assumption of Moses, The Apocalypse of Baruch, The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, The Book of Jubilees, The Ascension of Isaiah, The Sibylline Oracles (to name a few)

-Professor Harold W. Clark, in his work, Fossils, Flood and Fire, discussed the important fact that flood stories abound in practically every known culture.

Preserved in the myths and legends of almost every people on the face of the globe is the memory of the great catastrophe. While myths may not have any scientific value, yet they are significant in indicating the fact that an impression was left in the minds of the races of mankind that could not be erased (1968, p.45).

The account of the Genesis Flood hardly stands alone in human history. Researchers have described over 100 flood traditions from Europe, Asia, Australia, the East Indies, the Americas, East Africa, and many other places. Rehwinkel wrote:

Traditions similar to this record are found among nearly all the nations and tribes of the human race. And this is as one would expect it to be. If that awful world catastrophe, as described in the Bible, actually happened, the existence of the Flood traditions among the widely separated and primitive people is just what is to be expected. It is only natural that the memory of such an event was rehearsed in the ears of the children of the survivors again and again and possibly made the basis of some religious observances (1951, pp. 127-128).

Kearley has observed that “these traditions agree in too many vital points not to have originated from the same factual event” (1979, p. 11).

-10th Century BC alphabet stone—Biblical archaeologist Dr Ron Tappy spoke about his fairly recent discovery of a thirty-eight pound limestone rock with a 2,900 year old alphabet inscription

-Nebo-Sarsekim—The British museum unveiled a clay tablet that references a court official of King Nebuchadnezzar found in the Book of Jeremiah.2 The cuneiform inscription translates as Nebo-Sarsekim and is dated to around 595 BC.

-Nehemiah’s wall—Eilat Mazar, head of the Institute of Archaeology at the Shalem Center, and her team of archaeologists have discovered evidence for what they believe to be part of the wall rebuilt by Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:17–6:15).4 Artifacts including pottery shards and arrowheads, dating to the 5th century BC, were discovered adjacent to a tower and wall which appear to match Nehemiah’s description and time period.

-James ossuary—The debate regarding the authenticity of the first century ossuary with the inscription ‘James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus’ appears to be diminishing. In a recent report, Hershel Shanks, of the Biblical Archaeological Society, records that there is broad agreement among various scholars that the inscription is truly authentic

-Seal of Jezebel—Dutch researcher Marjo Korpel presented a strong case for having identified the official seal of the wicked Queen Jezebel on an opal signet.6 Korpel’s work seems to confirm the suspicions of the late pioneering archaeologist, Nahman Avigad, who believed the royal seal belonged to Jezebel, a name documented nowhere outside the Old Testament.

-The land of Cabul—In 1 Kings 9:11–13, King Solomon gave Hiram, king of Tyre (city of Phoenicia), twenty cities in the land of Galilee in exchange for cedar, cypress and gold. When Hiram came to see his cities that Solomon had given him, he was displeased and called the land ‘Cabul’. Mordechai Aviam, director of the Galilee Archaeological Institute, stated excavations by Dr Zvi Gal revealed a significant, Phoenician administrative and military complex atop private dwellings dating to the time of King Solomon,7 consistent with the biblical account.

-Beehives—Amihai Mazar, Professor of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, revealed the first beehive colony, dating to the biblical era, has been excavated at Tel Rehov, Israel.8 Dating from the 9th to 10th centuries BC, it is the earliest known beehive colony in the archaeological record. In sixteen different places, the Bible describes Israel as the ‘land of milk and honey’. And more specifically, Judges 14:8–9 describes how Samson took bee honey from inside the carcass of a lion and 1 Samuel 14:27 describes how Jonathan, King Saul’s son, dipped his hand into a honeycomb during a battle

-Palace of David—Eilat Mazar (see #4), continues to stand by her claim that her team has likely discovered the remains of the palace of King David.9 Arduous digging, pottery dating, and careful consideration of biblical history have led Mazar to the conclusion that this massive building likely dates to the time of King David.

-The quantity of New Testament manuscripts is unparalleled in ancient literature. There are over 5,000 Greek manuscripts, about 8,000 Latin manuscripts, and another 1,000 manuscripts in other languages (Syriac, Coptic, etc.). In addition to this extraordinary number, there are tens of thousands of citations of New Testament passages by the early church fathers

-Excavations at Nuzi (1925-41), Mari (discovered in 1933), and Alalakh (1937-39; 1946-49) provide helpful background information that fits well with the Genesis stories of the patriarchal period. The Nuzi tablets and Mari letters illustrate the patriarchal customs in great detail, and the Ras Shamra tablets discovered in ancient Ugarit in Syria shed much light on Hebrew prose and poetry and Canaanite culture. The Ebla tablets discovered recently in northern Syria also affirm the antiquity and accuracy of the Book of Genesis

-The Story of Adapa tells of a test for immortality involving food, similar to the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Sumerian tablets record the confusion of language as we have in the Biblical account of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9). There was a golden age when all mankind spoke the same language. Speech was then confused by the god Enki, lord of wisdom. The Babylonians had a similar account in which the gods destroyed a temple tower and “scattered them abroad and made strange their speech

-Campaign into Israel by Pharaoh Shishak (1 Kings 14:25-26), recorded on the walls of the Temple of Amun in Thebes, Egypt.

Revolt of Moab against Israel (2 Kings 1:1; 3:4-27), recorded on the Mesha Inscription.

Fall of Samaria (2 Kings 17:3-6, 24; 18:9-11) to Sargon II, king of Assyria, as recorded on his palace walls.

Defeat of Ashdod by Sargon II (Isaiah 20:1), as recorded on his palace walls.

-Fall of Nineveh as predicted by the prophets Nahum and Zephaniah (2:13-15), recorded on the Tablet of Nabopolasar.

Fall of Jerusalem to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:10-14), as recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles.

Captivity of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, in Babylon (2 Kings 24:15-16), as recorded on the Babylonian Ration Records.

-The Hittites were once thought to be a Biblical legend, until their capital and records were discovered at Bogazkoy, Turkey

-Another king who was in doubt was Belshazzar, king of Babylon, named in Daniel 5. The last king of Babylon was Nabonidus according to recorded history. Tablets were found showing that Belshazzar was Nabonidus' son who served as coregent in Babylon. Thus, Belshazzar could offer to make Daniel “third highest ruler in the kingdom” (Dan. 5:16) for reading the handwriting on the wall, the highest available position. Here we see the “eye-witness” nature of the Biblical record, as is so often brought out by the discoveries of archaeology.

**Quite a number of Biblical structures have been excavated. Some of the most interesting are the following:

-The palace at Jericho where Eglon, king of Moab, was assassinated by Ehud (Judges 3:15-30).

-The east gate of Shechem where Gaal and Zebul watched the forces of Abimelech approach the city (Judges 9:34-38).

-The Temple of Baal/El-Berith in Shechem, where funds were obtained to finance Abimelech's kingship, and where the citizens of Shechem took refuge when Abimelech attacked the city (Judges 9:4, 46-49).

-The pool of Gibeon where the forces of David and Ishbosheth fought during the struggle for the kingship of Israel (2 Samuel 2:12-32).

-The Pool of Heshbon, likened to the eyes of the Shulammite woman (Song of Songs 7:4).

-The royal palace at Samaria where the kings of Israel lived (1 Kings 20:43; 21:1, 2; 22:39; 2 Kings 1:2; 15:25).

-The Pool of Samaria where King Ahab's chariot was washed after his death (1 Kings 22:29-38).

-The water tunnel beneath Jerusalem dug by King Hezekiah to provide water during the Assyrian siege (2 Kings 20:20; 2 Chronicles 32:30).

-The royal palace in Babylon where King Belshazzar held the feast and Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5)

-The royal palace in Susa where Esther was queen of the Persian king Xerxes (Esther 1:2; 2:3, 5, 9, 16).

-The royal gate at Susa where Mordecai, Esther's cousin, sat (Esther 2:19, 21; 3:2, 3; 4:2; 5:9, 13; 6:10, 12).

-The Square in front of the royal gate at Susa where Mordecai met with Halthach, Xerxes' eunuch (Esther 4:6).

-The foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where Jesus cured a man with an unclean spirit (Mark 1:21-28) and delivered the sermon on the bread of life (John 6:25-59).

-The house of Peter at Capernaum where Jesus healed Peter's mother-in-law and others (Matthew 8:14-16).

-Jacob's well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman (John 4).

-The Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a crippled man (John 5:1-14).

-The Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-4).

-The tribunal at Corinth where Paul was tried (Acts 18:12-17).

-The theater at Ephesus where the riot of silversmiths occurred (Acts 19:29).

-Herod's palace at Caesarea where Paul was kept under guard (Acts 23:33-35).

***More Discoveries

-The following is a record of a census taken in the year 104 A.D. which contains similar wording to that found in the Gospel: "From the Prefect of Egypt, Gaius Vibius Maximus. Being that the time has come for the house to house census, it is mandatory that all men who are living outside of their districts return to their own homelands, that the census may be carried out."

-Another census was uncovered from 48 A.D. which also records a return of the people to their native land for the census. It reads as follows:

"I Thermoutharion along with Apollonius, my guardian, pledge an oath to Tiberius Claudius Caesar that the preceding document gives an accurate account of those returning, who live in my household, and that there is no one else living with me, neither a foreigner, nor an Alexandrian, nor a freedman, nor a Roman citizen, nor an Egyptian. If I am telling the truth, may it be well with me, but if falsely, the reverse. In the ninth year of the reign of Tiberius Claudius Augustus Germanicus Emperor."

-And as for Quirinius being the governor of Syria during this census, it is worth noting that the Bible never calls him the governor, at least the New King James Version doesn't. It says he was governing in Syria. And we know that Quirinius was indeed governing in some capacity in this region at this time.

Records also indicate that Quirinius was no minor figure in Roman politics. His name is mentioned in “Res Gestae - The Deeds of Augustus by Augustus” placing him as consul as early as 12 B.C.

The Roman historian Tacitus also mentions that Quirinius was appointed by Augustus to be an advisor to his young son Caius Caesar in Armenia well before the second census of 6 A.D.

-The Bible also states that Gamaliel was highly regarded by the people, one of their great rabbis, and Jewish writings verify this.

An early passage from the Talmud states: "Since Rabbi Gamaliel died, the glory of the law has ceased." Writings found in the Mishnah states: "Since Rabbi Gamaliel the elder died, there has been no more respect for the law. And purity and abstinence died out at the same time."

One of Gamaliel's favorite sayings was "for the benefit of humanity" So respected was he by the people of his day that when Gamaliel died, over seventy pounds of perfumes and ointments were burned in respect for him as the Jews came and paid him tribute

-Another person mentioned in Acts chapter 5 verse 37 is Judas of Galilee, the founding father of the zealots. This man is mentioned by the historian Josephus; who gives us a detailed statement concerning him in the following paragraph from his work entitled Jewish Antiquities

-In 1975, a collection of nearly 250 clay seals were found about 44 miles southwest of Jerusalem. These small lumps of clay that are impressed with a seal, in ancient times served as an official signature for an individual. The clay seals were then attached to documents to identify the sender. Amazingly, among the seals that were found were the names of three Biblical figures mentioned in the 36th chapter of the book of Jeremiah.

The first clay seal is impressed with the following inscription: Berekhyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe

-A second clay seal has been found that was impressed with the name of the scribe Elishama. It reads as follows: ‘Elishama’ servant of the king. According to the Bible, Elishama was a scribe who served the king. He is recorded in Jeremiah 36:10-12

-The third clay seal that was found is inscribed with the name of king Jehoiakim's son, Jerahmeel. It reads as follows: ‘Yerahme'el, son of the king.’ He is recorded in Jeremiah 36:26.

-In 1961 an Italian excavation uncovered an inscription bearing the name Pontius Pilate. This was first physical evidence found outside of the Bible to confirm his existence. The huge block of limestone which carried the inscription was found at the city of Caesarea and is engraved with the words:

. . . . . . S TIBERIEVM (Tiberieum)

. . [PO]NTIVS PILATVS (Pontius Pilate)

[PRA]ECTVS IVDA[EA]E (Perfect Judea)

The first word, Tiberieum, probably refers to a temple dedicated to the emperor Tiberius. Pilate’s name was also recorded by the well known Roman historian, Cornelius Tacitus, who mentioned that Pilate crucified Christ just as recorded in the Bible.

-Another Biblical event confirmed in the pages of history regarding Claudius is found in the book of Acts chapter 11 verses 27-28: “And in these days prophets came from Jerusalem to Antioch.”

“Then one of them, named Agabus, stood up and showed by the Spirit that there was going to be a great famine throughout all the world, which also happened in the days of Claudius Caesar.”

The fifth century historian Orosius mentions this famine in Syria which occurred in 46 and 47 A.D. A translation of Orosius was later made by King Alfred of England during the middle ages and was quoted in what is known as “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”. The Chronicle lists British history from 1 A.D. to 1154 A.D.

-One of the most amazing finds uncovered in Akkad was that of a seal which possibly shows that the Akkadians knew of the story of the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. George Smith of the British Museum, who lived during the middle 1800's, wrote: “One striking and important specimen of early type in the British Museum has two figures sitting one on each side of a tree, holding out their hands to the fruit, while at the back of one (the woman) is stretched a serpent.

-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 Tower of Babel 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. .

-Sumer’s oldest and most important capital city was Uruk (biblical Erech). Present day Iraq possibly derived its name from this ancient city. Uruk is recorded on an artifact known as the ‘Sumerian Kings List’ which also mentions the Elamites. The very same Elamites who descended from Elam, the son of Shem, the son of Noah as listed in Genesis 10:22.

-One fascinating archeological find at Ur is that of a temple tower which the Akkadians called a ziggurat. This tower found at UR was later rebuilt by king Nabonidus of Babylon who reigned between 555-539 B.C. On inscriptions found at this ziggurat, Nabonidus states that he had rebuilt the structure which he learned was originally constructed by two kings who lived 1,500 years prior to himself. One inscription also bears the name of another Biblical Babylonian prince by the name of Belshazzar who would live to see God’s handwriting on the walls of Babylon as recorded in Daniel chapter 5.

This ziggurat which resembled a four sided stepped pyramid was probably similar to that of the Biblical tower built at Babel. Other towers in Mesopotamia such as the one at Ur have been found at Calah (Nimrud), Assur, Akkad (Sippar), Uruk, Cush (Kish), Borsippa, Aqarquf, Khorabad and Eridu, a city near Ur .

Inscriptions from various Babylonian kings also record the construction of these temple towers which they say reached to the sky with similar wording to that found in the Bible’s tower of Babel account.

-According to Genesis 11:1-9, Nimrod’s cities which included the region of Babel, Erech, Akkad and Calneh was known as the land of Shinar The name Shinar is found in Egyptian records from Pharaoh Amenhotep II who wrote: “Now when the prince of the land of Naharin, the Prince of Hatti, and the prince of Shinar heard of my great victory, . . . they asked me to spare their lives.”

-Another one of his cities mentioned in Genesis 10:11 is Calah. The existence of this city has been found on a Royal Inscription from Assurnasirpal II, an early king of Assyria, who states “I took over again the city of Calah” The Biblical city of Resen mentioned in Genesis 10:12 is believed to be city known as Larsia, for in Hebrew Resen means “fortified place.” The historian Xenophon recorded that Larissa was a great fortress located between the cities of Nineveh and Calneh.

-This city, which many viewers of the movie are probably unaware of, is the rock fortress of Petra, a major city of the Biblical Edomites. And although in reality the Holy Grail has never been found, the city of Petra remains as one of the greatest discoveries in the annals of biblical archaeology. Not just because of its finding, but because of the prophecy it fulfills…Did the Lord lay waste this Edomite stronghold and give it to the jackels?

Oh yes. You see from 550 B.C. to 400 B.C. the Edomites were overrun by Nabatean Arabs who ransacked their territory. And although Petra was inhabited by others up until the time the Crusaders conquered it, afterwards the city was completely deserted to the jackals until being rediscovered by archaeologists in the late 1800's. Once a mighty fortress situated on a major trade route between North Africa and Europe. Now all that is left is a bunch of empty stones, a wasteland of thorns and thistles, crawling with snakes, lizards, and owls by night, while birds of prey can be seen circling the sky’s overhead by day.

Another account can be found in the historical texts of the book of Maccabees: “At the same time the Idumeans, who held some important strongholds, were harassing the Jews; ...Maccabeus and his companions, after public prayers asking God to be their ally, moved quickly against the strongholds of the Idumeans (the Edomites). Attacking vigorously, they gained control of the places, drove back all who manned the walls, and cut down those who opposed them, killing as many as twenty thousand men.” (2 Maccabees 10:15-17)

-After Lot fled the city of Sodom, which God destroyed with fire and brimstone because of their sins of homosexuality, he had a son named Ben- Ammi. According to Genesis 19:38 he was the father of the Ammonites…A mention of the Ammonite’s was also found on a bronze bottle near Amman Jordan. The relic belonged to Amminadab the first, the king of the Ammonites (650 B.C.) It is engraved with the words “The Sons of Ammon.”

Another famous artifact known as the monolith inscription, from Shalmaneser the third, mentions the leader of an Ammonite army along with Ahab the king of Israel. The inscription reads: “To strengthen his forces he was assisted by Hadazer of Damascus who had 1,200 chariots and cavalrymen, along with 20,000 soldiers on foot . . . 2,000 chariots and 10,000 troops of Ahab from Israel . . . military forces of Basa, the son of Ruhubi, the Ammonite. Combined they numbered twelve kings.”

-In 1931 news was published of the discovery of a collection of papyrus texts of the Greek Scriptures which have come to be known as the “Chester Beatty Biblical Papyri.” This collection evidently formed the Bible of some outlying church in Egypt; it comprises eleven fragmentary codices, three of which in their complete state contained most of the New Testament. One contained the Gospels and Acts, another Paul’s nine letters to churches and the Epistle to the Hebrews, and a third the Revelation. All three were written in the third century; the Pauline codex, the oldest of the three, was written at the beginning of that century. Even in their present mutilated state, these papyri bear most important testimony to the early textual history of the New Testament; they have provided most valuable evidence for the identification of the “Caesarean” text-type.

-The oldest known fragment of any part of the New Testament is a scrap from a codex of St. John’s Gospel, to be dated in the first half of the second century, and therefore probably less than fifty years later than the actual composition of that Gospel. One side exhibits John 18:31-33, the other side verses 37 and 38 of the same chapter. It was included in a miscellaneous lot of Egyptian papyri bought for the John Rylands Library in Manchester in 1920, and was published in An Unpublished Fragment of the Fourth Gospel in the John Rylands Library, edited by C. H. Roberts (Manchester, 1935).

-More recently another papyrus text of St. John’s Gospel has been discovered and published, later in date than the Rylands fragment (for it belongs to the end of the second century) but much more comprehensive (for it preserves most of John 1-14, while fragments of the following Chapters have also been identified). This text has been published by V. Martin in Papyrus Bodmer Évangile de Jean, Chap. 1-14 (Bibliotheca Bodmeriana, 1956), Chap. 15-21 (1958). For two-thirds of this Gospel it adds to our knowledge of the text current in Egypt a century and a half before the date of the great vellum uncials, Vaticanus and Sinaiticus.

-In 1923 an ossuary of the same period was found in the Yemenite quarter near Bezalel in Jerusalem, bearing the name Sapphira in Hebrew and Greek letters. Joseph Klausner proposes to identify this Sapphira with the wife of Ananias in Acts 5:1 (From Jesus to Paul, London, 1944, pp. 289 f.), but we cannot be sure of the identification

-0N February 13, 1918, in the closing phases of the first World War, Viscount Allemby, the commander of the British Army in the Middle East, was outlining to his officers a plan of frontal attack on the village of Michmash. One of his officers, Major Petrie, felt sure that he had heard the name Michmash before, but could not remember where or when. That night he could not sleep, for turning the word over in his mind. Michmash, Michmash he mused. At last it occurred to him. Michmash was the name of a place mentioned in the Bible. Quickly finding the passage in 1 Samuel 13 and 14, the major rushed to his superior officer, roused him from sleep, and excitedly pointed out the verses describing a battle in that very place 3,000 years before.

The Biblical account tells how Jonathan and his armor bearer climbed up a steep path by two sharp rocks and subdued the Philistines in their rocky stronghold. The general decided it was worth investigating, and sent out scouts at once to check on the accuracy of the Bible description. When the scouts located the sharp rocks and other landmarks, they reported their findings. The commander and major studied the Bible account more carefully, and that night changed their plan of attack. The next morning a small detachment of British soldiers followed Jonathan’s route, surprised the Turks, and routed them with ease.

-Compare Moses' description in the Bible below about the events surrounding the escape from Egypt, with the following 8 ancient inscriptions found on different cliffs in the Wadi Sidra area of the Sinai. Wadi Sidra is a possible natural route the Jews may have chosen in the Sinai after escaping Egypt. The exact route remains uncertain.

In 518 A.D. Cosmas Indicopleustes, a Byzantine Christian writer, also mentions the ancient inscriptions. Concerning them he stated that they appeared "at all halting places, all the stones in that region which were broken off from the mountains, written with carved Hebrew characters."288/49 Cosmos came to the conclusion that they were made by the Israelites fleeing Egypt.

Other explorers which confirmed these inscriptions were Bishop Robert Clayton of Ireland (1753) and Rev. Charles Forster who published these findings in a book in 1862. He came to the conclusion that these inscriptions were a combination of both Hebrew and Egyptian alphabets describing Israel’s exodus out of Egypt. In 1761 a German explorer Barthold Niebuhr found an extensive ruined cemetery grave site of Jews which was discovered in the Sinai with inscriptions confirming they died as a result of Yehovah’s supernatural plague mentioned in Numbers 11:34-35.

-In 1761, Barthold Niebuhr, a German explorer, found a huge cemetery with tombs and a sepulcher atop an inaccessible mountain called Sarbut-el-Khaden. Inscriptions were found on the tombs and inside the sepulcher. (Voyage en Arabie, tom. i. p. 191). Niebuhr offered his doubts that the inscriptions were made by Egyptians as no carved inscriptions were ever found in Egypt; rather they were partial to painting images on plaster. He also found legible inscriptions not only on the tombs but also within a small temple carved out of rock, all found to be of the same written language as the Hebrew Exodus inscriptions. In another book, Niebuhr remarked "the wonderful preservation of the inscriptions upon this softsandstone, exposed as they have been to the air and weather during the lapse of so many ages. On some of the stones they are quite perfect" (Niebuhr, Biblical Researches, vol. i. pp. 113-114). He found, as in the other Sinai inscriptions, that the hieroglyph-like writings were significantly different in form from Egyptian hieroglyphics, yet sharing similarities nonetheless. Also, no mention of Egyptian gods or common Egyptian symbols are to be found in the mountain-top graveyard.

In addition to all of this, Niebuhr found numerous engravings of quails on the tombstones "standing, flying and apparently, even trussed and cooked" (Rev. Charles Forster, Sinai Photographed [London: Richard Bentley, 1862], p. 62) and noted that the Bedouins refer to this graveyard as the "Turbet es Yahoud" (grave of the Jews).

-GALILEE BOAT [9]

A severe drought in 1985-86 brought the Sea of Galilee to unusually low levels, exposing large areas of the lakebed along the shoreline. Two brothers–Moshe and Yuval Lufan--from Kibbutz Ginnosar, near Tiberias along the northwest shore of the sea, discovered the remains of a 2,000 year old boat buried in the mud along the shore. Israeli archaeologist Shelley Wachsman, an expert in marine archaeology, examined the sunken boat in situ and was able to confirm that it was an ancient rather than a modern craft. His judgment was based on a construction technique used in antiquity in which the planks of the hull were edge-joined with mortise and tendon joints held together by wooden pegs.

This was the first time an ancient boat had been discovered in the Sea of Galilee. The boat measured approximately 30 feet long and 8 feet wide at its greatest width. It was excavated during February, 1986, and carefully moved some 1600 yards to a specially constructed conservation pool where it remained for several years undergoing treatment for its preservation. On the basis of pottery fragments found in the boat, it has been dated between the latter part of the first century BC to approximately the mid-century AD. Seventeen pieces of pottery were used in the analysis, including a complete lamp and cooking pot, as well as identifiable fragments of cooking pots, store jars, a jug and juglets. The pottery was identifiable as a part of the assemblage known from other Galilee excavation sites. In addition, carbon 14 dating gave corroborating dates between 120 BC and AD 40.

Evidence was found that the boat could be both sailed and/or rowed. Apparently the boat could accommodate four oarsmen plus a helmsman. It is estimated that the boat could hold some fifteen individuals, similar to the boats in which Jesus and his twelve disciples traveled across the sea (See Matt 8:18, 23-27, 9:1, 14:13- 14, 22-32, 15:39, 16:5; Mark 4;35-41, 5:18, 21, 6:32-34, 45-51, 8:9-10, 13-14; Luke 6:1, 8:22-25, 37, 40; John 6:16-21).

-MOUNT EBAL ALTAR [17]

This is a controversial pick, because the interpretation of the discovery is far from settled; nevertheless, Israeli archaeologist Adam Zertal, who came across the ruins during an archaeological survey of the tribal region of Manasseh in 1980, still adheres to his interpretation. He went on to excavate the site located on Mt Ebal, the mountain from which Joshua pronounced the curses, [18] lying opposite Mt. Gerizim, the mountain of blessings, and separated by the valley in which the ruins of ancient Shechem lie near modern Nablus. He determined to excavate the site because in the survey he had found a great quantity of pottery sherds lying around the large pile of stones. The sherds dated to Iron Age I, ca. 1220-1000 BC, the period in which Israelites apparently settled in Canaan, as well as the period of the Judges.

Further, though many Iron Age I sites were discovered in the survey, this was the only such site on Mt. Ebal. Excavations began in the fall of 1982 and were concluded after six seasons. What was revealed was a compound consisting of enclosure walls, a large rectangular structure built of unhewn stones, including spaces deliberately filled with four distinct layers of earth, stones, ashes, animal bones, potsherds, or combinations of each. In the ash layers were 962 animal bones which were burned or scorched. These included the remains of four species: sheep, goats, domesticated cattle and fallow deer.

These faunal remains differ from those found in typical Iron Age I sites because the range of animals represented is quite narrow. Usually evidence of the donkey and the dog are also found in Iron Age sites. Further, the pig, which is attracted to the same environment as fallow deer, is lacking at this site. All this suggests that the Mt. Ebal ruins was a cultic site where animals were sacrificed and eaten.

The place was abandoned by 1130 BC Because of its unique location and singular characteristics, Zertal believes this was the altar built and used when Joshua fulfilled Moses' command to build an altar to Yahweh on Mt. Ebal (8:30-35).

-A revolution of thought about the historicity of the patriarchal period is now being brought about following the discovery of more than 70,000 inscribed clay tablets from ancient Alalakh and Mari in Syrian (eighteenth to seventeenth centuries B.C.) and Nuzi in C. Iraq (fifteenth century B.C.). These now provide a detailed view of the historical, social, legal and economic background of these times.

-This same text of Sargon bears an account of the desolation of Babylon strongly reminiscent of the language of Isaiah 13. Sargon records the resettlement of Samaria with persons brought from other parts of his empire (cf. II Kings 17:24) and tablets from Guzana (Gozan, Tell Halaf) show that Jewish exiles were later living there. Israel was now broken and absorbed into the Assyrian provincial system so that Judah faced Assyria alone

-Babylonian tablets also help to elucidate the history of Judah before the Exile. The Babylonian Chronicle, a unique, reliable and contemporary historical source, recounts the movement of Egyptian troops to support the Assyrian rearguard action at Harran after the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C., graphically described as in Nahum. It will be observed that, as often, the non-Hebrew texts and the historical interpretation of Scripture (II Kings 23:29 as an instance of ‘al with the force of ’el “against”) are explained now by details given of the Battle of Carchemish in 605 B.C. The same chronicle records the attacks on the Arab tribes of Qedar and Hazor prophesied by Jeremiah (Jer. 49:28 ff.).

-The Midianites would have brought Joseph to Egypt by way of the Horus Road (Gn 37:28; 39:1). Once in Egypt, he was sold to Potiphar, a high Egyptian official, and apparently worked as a slave on Potiphar’s estate in the delta (Gn 39:1, 2). Interestingly, Egyptian history indicates that slavery first appeared at  this very time period (Aling 2002: 35–37).

-Recent excavations in the eastern Nile delta may have actually identified the location of Joseph’s residence in retirement, and even his tomb. At a site known as Tell el-Daba today, the Rameses of the Old Testament, extensive excavations have been carried out under the direction of Manfred Bietak of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, Cairo, since 1966. This site was strategically located at the eastern starting point to the Horus Road to Canaan and along the Nile’s easternmost branch, the Pelusiac. That may explain its name, Rowaty (“the door of the two roads”) in the days of Joseph and Jacob. The site has evidence for Asiatics as early as the mid-12th Dynasty (mid-19th century BC), the general period when Jacob entered Egypt.

It was an unfortified rural settlement, although numerous enclosure walls probably kept animals. Living quarters consisted ofrectangular huts built of sand bricks (Wood 1997: 55). Not all residents of Tell el-Daba’s first Asiatic settlement lived in huts. One, evidently an important official, lived in a small villa. While the Bible tells us that Joseph was given the title “Ruler of all Egypt” (Hebrew) or vizier, it does not mention where he lived while serving in the Egyptian bureaucracy. It seems logical that after he discharged his duties associated with the famine, he would have moved to Rowaty to be near his father and brothers. It is possible the villa in Rowaty and the surrounding semi-circle of poorer two-room houses are the homes of Joseph and his brothers (Wood 1997: 56).

A cemetery with artifacts that connected it to the houses was also excavated in the open space to the southwest. 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)? Without an inscription, it cannot be proven; but this site suggests the first material evidence of Israelites in Egypt. It is the right culture in the right place at the right time (see Wood 1997: 56-58).

The town known as Rowaty, where Joseph and his family probably lived, had its name changed to Avaris toward the end of the 18th century BC. This was during Egypt’s 14th Dynasty and the new name meant “the (royal) foundation of the district.” Same site, different era, different name—Avaris would continue to be the site’s name even through the period of the Hyksos (Wood 2004: 45).

-The first explicit information about the Hittites outside the Biblical narrative was that derived in the nineteenth century from the Egyptian monuments, from which it was learned that the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom who extended their dominion into Syria came into conflict there with a people whose name was represented by the consonants Kh-t-’.2 In particular, the story of the valour of Rameses II as he led his army against the Hittite king at the Battle of Kadesh on the Orontes (1297 B.C.) was found to be described in graphic language in the Poem of Pentaur, which was engraved on the walls of various temples, and to be portrayed in sculptured relief on the walls of others. The Egyptian text of the treaty which Rameses made with one of that Hittite king’s successors was also discovered, inscribed on the walls of the Temple of Karnak and of the Ramesseum.

Then the Assyrian records, too, were found to make frequent references at a later date to several kingdoms of people called the Khatti, who lived in various parts of Syria—kingdoms which successively fell before the onslaught of the Assyrian kings in the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.

Further light was thrown upon the Hittites by the discovery in 1887 of the Tell el-Amarna tablets, which included a letter to the Egyptian king Akhnaton from the Hittite king Suppiluliumas to congratulate him on his accession to the throne (1377 B.C.).

Various sculptured stones and hieroglyphic inscriptions in Syria and Asia Minor were ascribed to the Hittites by W. Wright, A. H. Sayce, and other scholars,3 because they were found in the territory where the Hittites were known to have lived; but the many attempts to decipher the hieroglyphs have until recently proved unsuccessful.4

In the last decade of the nineteenth century fragments of cuneiform tablets were discovered at the village of BoOEgaz-köy in East-central Asia Minor, written in an unknown language which Pere Scheil, who published them, took to be the language of the Hittites—rightly, as it turned out. In 1906-7 the German archaeologist Hugo Winckler uncovered at BoOEgaz-köy a record office of the Hittite Empire, containing the royal archives, amounting to some 10,000 clay tablets. For BoOEgaz-köy (“Village of the Pass”) marks the site of Khattusas, which was for about four centuries (c. 1600-1200 B.C.) the capital city of the Hittite Empire

It was proved that this language—the official language of the Hittite Empire—was Indo-European, that it belonged to the great family of languages which embraces the Indic, Iranian, “Tocharian", Thraco-Phrygian, Greek, Illyrian, Italic, Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, and Slavonic linguistic groups.7 Another interesting fact which emerged was that this Hittite language was identical with a language hitherto called Arzawan, known from two letters in the Tell el-Amarna collection, one of which was a letter from Amenhotep III of Egypt to Tarkhuntaraba, “king of the land of Arzawa” (in Cilicia).

Now that the nature of the principal Hittite language was discovered, a number of scholars of

various nations gave their attention to the reading and interpretation of the BoOEgaz-köy archives, with the result that the history of the Hittite Empire, previously known in fragmentary fashion from the records of Egypt and Assyria, was now learned at first hand.

- Megiddo is a hill in Israel near the modern settlement of Megiddo, known for theological, historical and geographical reasons. In ancient times Megiddo was an important city state. It is also known alternatively as Tel Megiddo (Hebrew) and Tell al-Mutesellim (Arabic). Megiddo was a site of great importance in the ancient world, as it guarded the western branch of a narrow pass and an ancient trade route which connected the lands of Egypt and Assyria. Because of its strategic location at the crossroads of several major routes, Megiddo and its environs have witnessed several major battles throughout history.

Megiddo is also mentioned in Ancient Egyptian writings because one of Egypt's mighty kings, Thutmose III, waged war upon the city in 1478 BC. The battle is described in detail in the hieroglyphics found on the walls of his temple in Upper Egypt.

2 Kings 23:29 In his days Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt went up against the king of Assyria to the river Euphrates: and king Josiah went against him; and he slew him at Megiddo, when he had seen him. 2 Chronicles 35:22 Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. 2 Kings 23:30 And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem

-When outside confirmation of the minor characters surfaces, it lends great strength to those who firmly believe in the veracity and accuracy of the Biblical narrative.

- AHAB

According to the Bible, Ahab’s rule was prosperous and he was a great builder. The findings of archaeology bear this out. We are told that he built a palace at Samaria and decorated it with ivory (1 Kgs 22:39).

Excavations at Samaria have laid bare Ahab’s palace. An earlier palace was built on the acropolis by Ahab’s father Omri (1 Kgs 16:24). It was surrounded by a wall 5 ft thick. The royal quarter was later expanded by building a casemate (hollow) wall 32 ft wide outside the earlier wall. This is believed to be the work of Ahab.

Within the compound was a building dubbed “the ivory house” where many fragments of carved ivory plaques were found (see cover). This represents the most important collection of miniature art from the kingdom period found in Israel. The ivories appear to be remains of inlay originally placed on furniture in the palace of Ahab and later Israelite kings. Another interesting feature found in the royal compound was a pool in the northwest corner which could possibly be the pool referred to in Scripture where Ahab’s chariot was washed.

Ahab is credited with fortifying a number of cities in his kingdom (1 Kgs 22:39). At Megiddo, Stratum IVA has been attributed to this king. There were a number of prominent structures associated with Stratum IVA, including an offset-inset fortification wall 12 ft wide, large pillared buildings, a palace, and a water system which included a 260 ft long tunnel. At Hazor, Stratum VIII is dated to the time of Ahab. As at Megiddo, the city was totally rebuilt at this time. A solid fortification wall 10 ft wide was constructed, along with a citadel, a large pillared building, and an underground water system.

At Tel Dan, a well-preserved city gate was constructed in the days of Ahab in Stratum III. The high place, originally constructed by Jeroboam I (1 Kgs 12:28–30) and destroyed by Ben-Hadad king of Aram (1 Kgs 15:20), was reconstructed at this time.

All in all, archaeology has provided a great deal of evidence illuminating the reign of Ahab. It encompasses written, artifactual and architectural evidence, and fully substantiates the Biblical portrayal of this wicked, yet powerful, king
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The List

(*minor Biblical character)

Ahab (I Kings 16-22; II Kings 1,3-10; II Chronicles 19.21.22, etc) infamous king of Israel. Mentioned in the Assyrian Annalistic Reports, 2,000 chariots, 10,000 soldiers of Ahab the Israelite, defeated by Shalmaneser1, alluded to on the Mesha Stele. 2

Ahaz (II Kings 15-18,20,23; Isaiah 1,7,14,38; Hoshea 1; Micha 1; I Chronicles 3,8, etc.) King of Judah Mentioned in the cuneiform Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. 3 Several seals and bullae bearing the name of the king Ahaz. 4

Ahikam son of Shaphan (II Kings 22,25; Jeremiah 26,29,36, 39-41,43; II Chronicles 34) contemporary of Jeremiah Bullae bearing the name Ahikam son of Shaphan. 5

Ashurbanipal/Asnappar (Ezra 4) king of Assyria. 4:10. Asnappar Identified in Mentioned in numerous contemporary inscriptions. 6

*Azaliah son of Meshullam (II Kings 22; II Chronicles 34) "And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of the Lord, saying..." (II Kings 22:3) Bullae bearing the name of Azaliah son of Meshullum found in Jerusalem. 7

Azariah/Uzziah (II Kings 14,15) king of Judah. Aramaic inscription on a stone plaque, found on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem, reads "Here were brought the bones of

Uzziah, King of Judah." 8 Possibly the King Azariau of Yaudi mentioned in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. 9

Azariah son of Hilkiah (Ezra 7; I Chronicles 5) grandfather of Ezra, high priest. A bulla found in Jerusalem bears the name Azariah son of Hilkiah. 10

*Baalis (Jeremiah 40) king of Ammon. Attested to by two seals found in Jordan, the Milqom Seal and the Baalisha Seal which reads Baalisha (Baalis) king of the sons of Ammon. 11

*Baruch ben Neriah (Jeremiah 32,36,43,45) a scribe, a disciple of the prophet Jeremiah. Several bullae bearing the name Baruch ben Neriah have been found in the archaeological City of David. One bulla bears the inscription "Baruch ben Neriah the Scribe." The stratum in which the seals were found is contemporaneous with Jeremiah. 12

Belshazzar (Daniel 5,7,8) king of Babylon. Mentioned in numerous contemporary inscriptions. 13 Ben-hadad Dynasty (I Kings 15, 20; II Kings 6,8,13; Jeremiah 49, etc.) king of Aram Melqart Stele mentions king of Aram, Bir-hadad. Bir corressopnds to the Hebrew Ben. Zakkur Stele attests to an Aramean royal name of Ben-hadad. 14

Ben-hadad III (II Kings 13) king of Aram, son of Hazael. Ben-hadad son of Hazael mentioned in Zakkur Stele. 15 David (Davidic Dynasty) (Mentioned more than 1,000 times in the books of the Prophets.) Several references in extra-Biblical sources to the Davidic dynasty have been found in recent years. 16

*Elishama (Jeremiah 36,41) scribe and servant to king Jehoiakim. A bulla dating from that time period bears the stamp, "Elishama, servant of the king." 17

Esarhaddon (II Kings 19, Isaiah 37, Ezra 4) Assyrian king , son of Nebucadnezer. Attested to in many cuneiform chronicles. Bronze plague in Louvre depicts Esarhaddon and his mother Nagia. 18

*Ethbaal (I Kings 16) king of Sidon. Attested by Menander of Ephesus, summarized in Josephus' Contra Apion. 19

Gedalyahu ben Pashur (Jeremiah 38:1) antagonist of Jeremiah Attested by bulla found in Jerusalem by Prof. E. Mazar. 20

*Gemariahu the son of Shaphan (Jeremiah 29,36) servant of king Jehoiakim. Bulla found with the name Gemariahu the son of Shaphan. 21

Hazael (I Kings 19; II Kings 8,9,10,12,13) king of Aram, enemy of Israel. Attested by ivory fragments found in Arslan Tash22 and Nimrud. Mentioned several times in Zakkur Stele. 23

Hezekiah (II Kings 16,18-21; Isaiah 1,36-39; Jeremiah 15,26; Hoshea 1; Micha 1; etc) Renown king of Judah. Hezekiah was unsuccessfully besieged in Jerusalem by Sennecherib. Mentioned several times in Annals of Sennacherib. The Annals refer to the siege of Jerusalem. 24 A number of seals and bullae bear the king's name. 25

Hezion (II Kings 15) king of Aram. Attested to in the Melqart Stele. 26

*Hilkiah (II Kings 22,23; Jeremiah 1,29; Ezra 7; Nechemiah 11,12; II Chronicles 34,35) a high priest, contemporary of Jeremiah. A signet ring bears the name of Hilkiah the priest. Dated to the era of Jeremiah. 27

Hiram (II Samuel 5; I Kings 5,7.9.10) king of Tyre, contemporary of Solomon. Attested by Menander of Ephesus, summarized in Josephus' Contra Apion. 28

*Hopra (Jeremiah 44) king of Egypt. Identified with 'Apries, pharaoh of 26th Dynasty. 29

Hoshea (II Kings 15,17,18) last king of Israel. Attested to twice in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. "They overthrew their king Pekah and I (Tiglath-pileser) placed Hoshea as king over them." 30 Name found on a seal that reads, "Abdi, servant of Hoshea." 31

Jehoash (II Kings 12-14) Israelite king. Mentioned in the Annals of Adad-nirari of Assyria and on the Tel Rimah Stele. 32

*Jehoiachin (II Kings 24,25; Jeremiah 52; II Chronicles 36). One of the last kings of Judah. Mentioned in the Ration Tables of Babylon. 33

Jehoram II (I Kings 22, II Kings 1,3,6,9,12; II Chronicles 17,21,22) king of Israel, son of Ahab. Alluded to on Tel Dan Stele. 34

Jotham (II Kings 15,16; Isaiah 1,7; Hoshea 1; Micha 1; II Chronicles 26,27) King of Judah. This king is attested to by a seal recently uncovered that reads, "Belonging to Ahaz (son of) Jotham, King of Judah." 35

Jehu (I Kings 16,19; II Kings 9,10,12,13-15; Hoshea 1, I Chronicles 2,4, 12, etc) Mentioned and depicted on the Black Obelisk

*Jehucal the son of Shelemiah (Jeremiah 37) official in the court of Zedekiah. A bulla bearing the name "Jehucal the son of Shelemiah" was discovered in the archaeological city of David in Jerusalem together with other bullae dating to the period of Zedekiah. 37

*Jerahme'el, son of king Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 36) Bulla found with the imprint, "Jerahme'el, the king's son." 38

Jeroboam II (II Kings 9,10,13-15,17,23; Hoshea 1; Amos 7; II Chronicles 9-13) King of Israel. Seal of Jasper found at Megiddo depicting a roaring lion and bears the inscription "to Shema, servant of Jeroboam." 39

Jezebel (I Kings 16,18,21; II Kings 9) daughter of Ethbaal king of Sidon (Phoenicia), wife of king Ahab of Israel. Name found on Phoenician royal seal dated to the era of Ahab.

Menachem (II Kings 15) Israelite king. Mentioned twice in the annals of Tiglath-pileser III as Menachem of Samariah (the capital of Israel). 41

Manasseh (II Kings 20,21,23,24; Jeremiah 9,15; II Chronicles 33,34) infamous king of Judah, son of Hezekiah. Attested to in the annals of Esarhaddon and the annals of Assurbanipal. 42 Name very possibly appears on a royal seal, which reads Manasseh son of the king (referring to Hezekiah).

Merodach-baladan II (II Kings 20; Isaiah 39) king of Babylonia, on friendly terms with Hezekiah king of Judah. Mentioned in the cuneiform texts of Tiglath-pileser III, Sargon II, and Sennacherib. 44

*Mesha (II Kings 3) king of Moab contemporary with Omri dynasty of Israel, waged war with Israel. Attested to in Mesha Stele, Mesha waged war with an Omri dynasty king. 45

Nebuchadnezzar II (II Kings 24,25; Jeremiah 27,282934,39; Daniel 1.2.3,4,5, etc) king of Babylon, captures Judah and exiles the Israelites. Well attested to. 46 *Sarsekim (Jeremiah 39:3) official of Nebuchadnezzar II, name recently deciphered on cuneiform tablet by Michael Jursa of the University of Vienna. 47

Necho II (II Kings 23; Jeremiah 46, II Chronicles 35,36) Egyptian pharaoh during the final years of the Davidic monarchy in Judah. Well known pharaoh of the 26th Dynasty.

Omri (I Kings 16, II Kings 8, Micha 6, I Chronicles 7,9, 27; II Chronicles 22)King of Israel, founder of Omride Dynasty Name mentioned on Mesha Stele, dynasty (House of Omri) referred to in several Assyrian cuneiform texts. 48

Pekah (II Kings 15,16; Isaiah 7; II Chronicles 28) next to the last king of Israel. Attested twice in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. "They overthrew their king Pekah and I (Tiglath-pileser) placed Hoshea as king over them." 49

Rezin (II Kings 15,16; Isaiah 7,8,9, Ezra 2; Nechemia 7) Last Aramean king of Damascus, fought with Pekah king of Israel. Attested in the Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. 50

*Samgarnebo (Jeremiah 39) high official serving in the court of Nebucadnezzar. A cuneiform tablet discovered in 1920 near Bagdad states that

Samgarnebo was a chief official in the court of Nebucadnezzar

Sargon II (Isaiah 20) king of Assyria. Attested to in countless cuneiform chronicles. 52

Sennacherib (II Kings 18,19; Isaiah 35,37; II Chronicles 32) king of Assyria, invades Israel captures Lachish, besieges Jerusalem. Sennacherib's own chronicles and palace engravings attest to the invasion of Israel, the capture of Lachish and the siege of Jerusalem. 53

*Seraiah the son of Neriah, (Jeremiah 51) brother of Baruch ben Neriah. Bulla bearing the name Seraiah ben Neriah found. 54

Shallum (II Kings 15) King of Israel. Very possibly this king is the "Shallum" whose name is found on a cylindrical seal. 55

Shalmaneser V (II Kings 17,18) conquers Israel, exiles ten tribes. Attested to in the Babylonian Chronicles and in the Babylonian King List. 56

*Shaphan (II Kings 22,25; Jeremiah 26,29, 36,40,41,43; II Chronicles 34) contemporary of Jeremiah. Name found on a number of bullae dated to the period of Jeremiah. 57

*Shebna (II Kings 18,19; Isaiah 22,36,37) Servant (minister) of king Azariah. Called the "one over the house," referring to his position as the one in charge of the affairs of the house of the king. Engraving above a burial cave bears his name and the phrase, "The one over the house." 58 A seal also bears the engraving, "Shebna, servant of the king."

Shishak (I Kings 11,14; II Chronicles 12) king of Egypt, invaded Canaan during reign of Rehoboam king of Judah. Invasion of Canaan by Egyptian king Shishak (Shoshenq I) attested to in Megiddo Stele. 59 So (II Kings 17) king of Egypt, contemporary with Shalmaneser V of Babylon and Hoshea, last king of Israel. Most probably to be identified with Osorkon, king of Egypt, contemporaneously with Shalmaneser V of Babylon. 60

*Sanballat the Horonite (Nechemia 2-4,6,13) governor in Judah, contemporary of Nechemia. Sanballat the Horonite is mentioned several times in the Elephantine Papyrus which chronicles the time period of Nechemia. 61

Tabrimon (II Kings 15) king of Aram Mentioned in the Melqart Stele. 62

Tiglath-pileser III, also called Pul (II Kings 15,16; Isaiah 66; I Chronicles 5) Attested to in countless cuneiform chronicles. 63

*Tirhakah (II Kings 19; Isaiah 37) Egyptian king, contemporary of Hezekiah king of Judah. Well known 25th Dynasty Egyptian pharaoh.

*Tobiah the Ammonite (Nehemiah 2-4,6,7,13) antagonist of Ezra and Nehemiah. Tobiah the Ammonite is mentioned several times in the Elephantine Papyrus which chronicles the time period of Ezra and Nechemia. Stanley A. Cook, The Significance of the Elephantine Papyri for the History of Hebrew Religion The American Journal of Theology, Vol. 19, No. 3 (Jul., 1915), pp. 346-38264

Zedekiah (II Kings 24,25; Jeremiah 1,21,24,27-29, 32,34,36-39,44.49.51.52 Nechemiah 10, I Chronicles 3, II Chronicles 36) last king of Judah, installed by Nebucadnesser. Referred to in the Babylonian Chronicles of Nebucadnesser, and mentions that Nebucadnesser installed the Judean king. 65 Zedekiah the son of Hananiah (Jeremiah 36) official in the court of king Jehoiakim of Judah. Bulla found in archaeological city of David bearing the name

Zedekiah the son of Hananiah. The strata was contemporary with Jehoiakim. 6
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-Archeologists have discovered a stone seal that includes the name of a family who were servants during the First Temple, were exiled to Babylonia and then returned to Jerusalem. Dr. Eliot Mazar, who was involved in the recent discovery that may have revealed King David's palace, announced the discovery and said, "One cannot help being astonished by the credibility of the biblical source as seen by the archaeological find."

The family name "Temech" is engraved on the stone seal, which was found near the Dung Gate walls of the Old City. The Book of Nehemiah, which refers to the Temech family by name in chaper 7, states, "These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city."

-One of the apostle Paul’s most eloquent presentations of the Gospel, along with his own personal testimony, occurs when he has an audience before King Agrippa and his sister Bernice.

An inscription found in Beirut mentions the following:

“Queen Bernice and the great King A[grippa] in regards to King Herod, their great grandfather, who constructed the marbles as well as the six columns.”

-The Nazareth Inscription is a Greek inscription on a marble tablet measuring approximately 24 inches by 15 inches. The exact time and place of its discovery is not known. In 1878 it became an addition to the private Froehner Collection of ancient inscriptions and manuscripts, but the details of its acquisition are unknown. Froehner’s inventory of this Inscription simply states: “This marble was sent from Nazareth in 1878.” This is all that is known about the time and place of its discovery (Cumont 241-242, Zelueta 1-2). While Froehner did make a Greek miniscule transcription of the original Greek uncial version of the Nazareth Inscription, he never published either the miniscule or the uncial version, and the contents of the Nazareth Inscription remained unknown to the scholarly world for more than fifty years.

Cumont’s publication of the Nazareth Inscription led to a snowstorm of scholarly articles; more than twenty were published by the end of 1932. None of these early articles questioned the authenticity of the Nazareth Inscription. It is highly unlikely that it is a forgery. As will be seen, the Greek text of this Inscription and its historical connections provide strong support for its authenticity. However, its interpretation and possible connection to the story of the resurrection of Christ are still hotly debated today.

As was seen in Part One of this study, the textual evidence strongly suggests that the Nazareth Inscription was written by the Emperor Claudius. Claudius had an excellent source of knowledge of all events that were happening in Palestine, and especially what was happening in Palestine as related to the development of Christianity. This source was the Jewish King Herod Agrippa I. Herod Agrippa I was a childhood friend of Claudius and was also a close personal friend of Claudius’ predecessor the Emperor Caligula. As will be seen, Herod Agrippa I also had an intimate knowledge of Christ and of early Christianity. King Herod Agrippa I was almost certainly the one who motivated the Emperor Claudius to issue the Nazareth Inscription in response to the story of the resurrection of Christ.

-The mound, or “tell,” of Jericho was surrounded by a great earthen rampart, or embankment, with a stone retaining wall at its base. The retaining wall was some 12–15 ft high. On top of that was a mudbrick wall 6 ft thick and about 20–26 ft high (Sellin and Watzinger 1973: 58). At the crest of the embankment was a similar mudbrick wall whose base was roughly 46 ft above the ground level outside the retaining wall. This is what loomed high above the Israelites as they marched around the city each day for seven days. Humanly speaking, it was impossible for the Israelites to  penetrate the impregnable bastion of Jericho.

The citizens of Jericho were well prepared for a siege. A copious spring which provided water for ancient, as well as modern, Jericho lay inside the city walls. At the time of the attack, the harvest had just been taken in (Jos 3:15), so the citizens had an abundant supply of food. This has been borne out by many large jars full of grain found in the Canaanite homes by John Garstang in his excavation in the 1930s and also by Kenyon. With a plentiful food supply and ample water, the inhabitants of Jericho could have held out for several years.

After the seventh trip around the city on the seventh day, Scripture tells us that the wall “fell flat” (Jos 6:20). A more accurate rendering of the Hebrew word here would be “fell beneath itself.” Is there evidence for such an event at Jericho? It turns out that there is ample evidence that the mudbrick city wall collapsed and was deposited at the base of the stone retaining wall at the time the city met its end.

In other words, she found a heap of bricks from the fallen city walls! The renewed Italian-Palestinian excavations found exactly the same thing at the southern end of the mound in 1997. According to the Bible, Rahab’s house was incorporated into the fortification system (Jos 2:15). If the walls fell, how was her house spared? As you recall, the spies had instructed Rahab to bring her family into her house and they would be rescued. When the Israelites stormed the city, Rahab and her family were saved as promised (Jos 6:17, 22–23). At the north end of the tell of Jericho, archaeologists made some astounding discoveries that seem to relate to Rahab.

The German excavation of 1907-1909 found that on the north a short stretch of the lower city wall did not fall as everywhere else. A portion of that mudbrick wall was still standing to a height of 8 ft (Sellin and Watzinger 1973: 58). What is more, there were houses built against the wall! It is quite possible that this is where Rahab’s house was located. Since the city wall formed the back wall of the houses, the spies could have readily escaped. From this location on the north side of the city, it was only a short distance to the hills of the Judean wilderness where the spies hid for three days (Jos 2:16, 22). Real estate values must have been low here, since the houses were positioned on the embankment between the upper and lower city walls. Not the best place to live in time of war! This area was no doubt the overflow from the upper city and the poor part of town, perhaps even a slum district

After the city walls fell, how could the Israelites surmount the 12–15 foot high retaining wall at the base of the tell? Excavations have shown that the bricks from the collapsed walls fell in such a way as to form a ramp against the retaining wall. The Israelites could merely climb up over the pile of rubble, up the embankment, and enter the city. The Bible is very precise in its description of how the Israelites entered the city.

The Israelites “burned the whole city and everything in it” (Jos 6: 24). Once again, the discoveries of archaeology have verified the truth of this record. A portion of the city destroyed by the Israelites was excavated on the east side of the tell. Wherever the archaeologists reached this level they found a layer of burned ash and debris about 3 ft thick

Both Garstang and Kenyon found many storage jars full of grain that had been caught in the fiery destruction. This is a unique find in the annals of archaeology. Grain was valuable, not only as a source of food, but also as a commodity which could be bartered. Under normal circumstances, valuables such as grain would have been plundered by the conquerors. Why was the grain left to be burned at Jericho? The Bible provides the answer. Joshua commanded the Israelites:

The city and all that is in it are to be devoted to the Lord. Only Rahab the prostitute and all who are with her in her house shall be spared, because she hid the spies we sent. But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it. All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into His treasury (Jos 6:17–19)