Archaeological Evidence for the Old Testament as the Word of God

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Archaeological Evidence for the Old Testament as the Word of God

Resources Presenting Evidence that the Bible is God’s Word

More Resources on Evidence for Christianity and Christian Apologetics

The Book of Daniel:  Proof that the Bible is the Word of God

Archaeological Evidence for the New Testament as the Word of God

The Dan Barker – Thomas Ross Debates on the Old Testament and Archaeology

 

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Note: the PDF file has many pictures that are not in the text below.  Also, the pictures make the PDF file large, so you will probably have to download it to see it.  If you can do this, it is probably worth doing, because the pictures are very beneficial.

     

      

Note that this is a work in progress that has not yet been completed. Please check back in a few months, Lord willing, for the completed book which will include the archaeological evidence for both the Old and New Testaments. While the work below has enough useful information in it that its author believes it deserves to be made public, it is not yet in its completed state, as is evident at a variety of points. 

Archaeology and the Bible:

Do Archaeological Discoveries Confirm Biblical Claims?

The Evidence and the Old Testament

Archaeological evidence continues to regular validate the Bible as historically accurate. Furthermore, no archaeological discovery has ever disproven any statement of Scripture.The further back in time one moves, the scantier evidence historical evidence of any kind tends to grow.

The Patriarchal Period and Earlier

            The period of the Biblical patriarchs dates to c. 4,000 years ago. Furthermore, it is unreasonable to expect or demand direct archaeological direct confirmation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and their households. “We should not expect . . . tent-dwelling pastoral nomads living such a lifestyle between 3,500 and 4,000 years ago to have left any archaeological evidence of their existence, and ancient texts from urban centers are unlikely to specifically document their presence.”[1] Nevertheless, the Biblical text strongly bears the marks of an authentic and accurate record of those times.

Genesis 2:10-14 refers to a river called Pishon that was said to connect the Tigris and Euphrates, flowing through northern Arabia (in Hebrew, the land of Havilah). No evidence of such a river existed until 1994, when radar images from the Space Shuttle Endeavour uncovered evidence of a defunct river that traversed the region Genesis 2 specifies for the Pishon. Environmental studies indicated that the river dried up c. 3,500—2,000 B. C., probably a millennium or more before the time of Moses.

This discovery provides evidence that Genesis accurately preserves very ancient traditions from far before the time of Moses.[2]

The narrative of the great Flood recorded in Genesis 6-9 was passed down among nations around the world. Not only ancient peoples geographically close to ancient Israel such as the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians passed down a record of the Flood, but knowledge of the great Flood appears among the Hindus, the Chinese, the native Hawaiians, the Mexican Indians, the Algonquin, the aborigines of the Andaman Islands, the Battaks of Sumatra, the Kurnai aborigines in Australia, the Fiji Islanders, the natives of Polynesia, Micronesia, New Guinea, New Zealand, New Hebrides, the ancient Celts of Wales, the tribesmen of Lake Caudie in the Sudan, the Hottentots, and the Greenlanders, among others.[3] This kind of universal, worldwide tradition is what one would expect if the events recorded in Genesis 6-9 are historically accurate.

Names such as Jacob, Isaac, Ishmael, and Joseph are formed after an Amorite pattern present in places such as the Mari archives of the eighteenth century B. C. This Amorite type of name was most common in the first half of the second millennium B. C., when Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived. (The name-type of Abraham is also attested.) Indeed, a survey of over 6,000 relevant ancient names reveals that the popularity of names formed after this Amorite pattern cannot be paralleled in any other period. Both earlier and later periods evidence a precipitous drop in popularity of names of the type possessed by the patriarchs.[4]

  1. “Amorite Impfs.” against all other names.

Early 2nd millennium: 16% of all Late 2nd: drops to 2%/0.5%;

Early 1st: 6%/0.25%

  1. “Amorite Imperfects.” against other names beginning with I/Y.

Early 2nd millennium: 55% of these. Late 2nd: only 30%/25%;

Early 1st: merely 12%/1.6%.

NB!: These figures are NOT random. They derive from scrutiny of a vast corpus of over 6,000 Early 2nd millennium names, and the current corpora for later periods of many hundreds more names.[5]

The archaeological record evidences the existence of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as centers of commerce geographically located where Genesis indicates. A trade list from Ebla, a thriving commercial center at the time the Bible specifies for the existence of the five Cities of the Plain mentioned in Genesis 14, records the names of the cities, spelled exactly as they are found in the Hebrew Bible. Furthermore, evidence points to their destruction through earthquake activity in which layers of earth were hurled into the air, accompanied by intense heat that molded together layers of sedimentary rock and severe burning, probably when a basin of oil beneath the Dead Sea ignited and erupted. Brimstone (bituminous pitch) is also found plentifully in the area, along with abundant salt, sulfur, and natural gas deposits.[6] An explosion of the natural gas and oil lifted the salts and sulfur and bitumen high into the air, causing them to rain upon the city, destroying it. One portion of the falling deposits fell upon Lot’s wife, who had stopped fleeing to look back longingly upon the city, turning her into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26).[7]

Careful stratigraphic excavation of houses in the Cities of the Plain evidences that they were destroyed by fire that started on the roof and spread to the interior when the roof collapsed, supporting Genesis 19:24: “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven.”[8]

The Biblical record of the existence and destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is accurate.

The dominant anti-supernaturalist theory of the composition of the Pentateuch is that it was not written (as it claims) by Moses, but created from four documents called J, E, D, and P. Known as the Documentary Hypothesis and receiving its classical formulation from Julius Wellhausen, the JEDP theory claims that these four documents were allegedly composed by unknown parties many centuries after the time of Moses, and then mixed together at an even later date. No manuscript of J, E, D, or P has ever been discovered, and no ancient writer ever gives the slightest evidence that he is aware of their alleged existence—they are, in fact, simply a product of the imagination of anti-supernaturalist rationalists of the modern era. Despite the lack of evidence for J, E, D or P, modern non-Christians who are unwilling to admit the possibility that Jehovah, the God of the Bible, can intervene in history and perform miracles must deny the Pentateuch to Moses and adopt a theory such as JEDP or abandon their anti-supernaturalism. Since the Pentateuch contains clear predictions of events that took place over 1,000 years after Moses lived (e. g., Deuteronomy 28), admitting the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch involves a recognition of the reality of plain predictive prophecy in the Bible, the reality of the God who is the Author of Scripture, and the accountability of all people to Him. Nevertheless, despite the anti-supernaturalist need to deny Moses the Pentateuch, increasing numbers of rationalists are despairing of the JEDP theory. For example, R. N. Whybray, a modern anti-supernaturalist scholar who is not at all close to Bible-believing views, wrote:

The Documentary Hypothesis in its classical form . . . has predominated [among anti-supernaturalists] for many years. . . . Its supporters claimed that it accounted for almost all the material in the Pentateuch. But in practice Wellhausen [the key anti-supernaturalist in the development of the JEDP theory] himself admitted that certain sections—notably law-codes—could not be satisfactorily accommodated within it. It was also universally admitted that the distinction between the earliest documents, J and E, was frequently blurred. . . . The authors of the documents are credited with a consistency in the avoidance of repetitions and contradictions which is unparalleled in ancient literature (and even in modern fiction), and which ignores the possibility of the deliberate use of such features for aesthetic and literary purposes. At the same time, the documentary critics were themselves frequently inconsistent in that they ignored such features within the documents which they had reconstructed. . . . No allowance was made for the possibility that repetitions, doublets and [other such features] might have already been present in the oral stage of the transmission of the material used by the authors of the written text. . . . The breaking up of narratives into separate documents by a “scissors and paste” method not only lacks true analogies in the ancient literary world, but also often destroys the literary and aesthetic qualities of these narratives, which are themselves important data which ought not to be ignored. . . . Too much reliance was placed, in view of our relative ignorance of the history of the Hebrew language, on differences of language and style. Other explanations of variations of language and style are available, e.g. differences of subject-matter requiring special or distinctive vocabulary, alternations of vocabulary introduced for literary reasons, and unconscious variation of vocabulary. . . . The hypothesis depends on the occurrence of “constants,” i.e. the presence throughout each of the documents of a single style, purpose and point of view or theology, and of an unbroken narrative thread. These constants are not to be found. . . . Subsequent modifications of the Documentary Hypothesis have not increased its plausibility. The postulation of additional documents, which are of limited scope, marks the breakdown of a hypothesis which is essentially one of continuous documents running through the Pentateuch. Attempts to make the hypothesis more flexible by speaking rather vaguely of “strata” and the like rather than of documents are essentially denials of a purely literary hypothesis.[9]

The failure of anti-supernaturalist theories to successfully explain the composition of the Bible validates its truthfulness.[10]

The narrative about Joseph in Genesis 37-50 receives significant confirmation from the archaeological record.[11] During the period specified by the Bible for Joseph’s life (c. 1875 B. C.), Asiatic slaves (such as Joseph was) were common in Egypt. For example, the Annals of Amenemhat II, c. 1900 B. C., refer to 1,554 “Asiatics” brought from foreign lands, along with 1,002 “Asiatics” brought as a slave-tribute.[12] One of the most common positions assigned to such foreign slaves was ery-per or household servant, Joseph’s specific initial position.[13] He was later elevated (as archaeological evidence attests took place among other foreign slaves at that period) to a higher position, namely, imy-r pr or “steward,” a well-known period title.[14]

Group of Western Semites visiting Egypt, c. 1873 BC. . . . The Sec.’s board: “Year 6 of King Sesotris II [title]; a note of the “Asiatics” brought by the son of the Governor Khnumhotep . . . “Asiatics of the land of Shu[t]u (= Moab), their total, 37.” [15]

Hieratic papyrus listing slaves, including several with Northwest Semitic names, in Egypt about the time of Joseph (ca 1700 B. C.) (Brooklyn Museum) . . . On the reverse of Papyrus Brooklyn 35.1446 is a list of some seventy-nine servants bequeathed by a man to his wife, ca 1740 B. C. More than forty of these servants are explicitly labeled “Asiatics,” and must at one time have been sold into Egypt as slaves like Joseph (but perhaps less dramatically), as the 13th Dynasty then reigning is not known to have fought in Asia, and so these would not be prisoners of war. Many of these slaves in Papyrus Brooklyn bear good Northwest Semitic names like Menahem or Aqabtu (related to “Jacob”).[16]

Furthermore, Joseph was sold for twenty shekels of silver (Genesis 37:28), the exact average price for a slave at that time and place, as attested by the laws of Hammurabi, real life transactions at Mari, and other contemporary sources. In earlier centuries, slaves were cheaper (e. g., in the Third Dynasty at Ur they sold for ten shekels), and in later times they became steadily more expensive. In the fifteenth through thirteenth centuries, the price had crept up to 30 shekels (cf. Exodus 21:32), while in the early first millennium 50-60 shekels was the average price (cf. 2 Kings 15:20). After Israel’s exile in the Persian period—when anti-supernaturalists skeptics regularly claim the Pentateuch was invented—prices soared to 90-120 shekels. “Thus our biblical figures in each case closely correspond to the relevant averages for their periods: 20 shekels for Joseph in the early second millennium, 30 shekels under Moses in the later second millennium, and 50 shekels for Assyria under Menahem in the eighth century.”[17]

The Rising Price of Slaves through 2000 Years[18]

What is more, the names found in the Joseph narrative—Potiphar, Asenath, Potiphera, and Zaphenath-paneah (Genesis 39:1; 41:45)—are incontrovertibly Egyptian.[19] In addition, when the Bible omits the name of the Pharaoh in Joseph’s day and the Pharaoh of the Exodus, but records the names of Pharaohs in later centuries (Genesis 40-50; Exodus 2-15; 2 Chronicles 13; 35) it follows the exact Egyptian practice of the times. “The lack of naming the pharaoh of the exodus is specifically a feature of the [appropriate] period, in scores of ostraca, papyri, and inscriptions—but not from the eleventh century onward when the king’s name is either given (like Shishak) or added to the title (like Pharaoh Necho/Hophra).”[20] Hoffmeier explains:

Throughout Genesis and Exodus, the well-known title “Pharaoh” . . . is used. . . . From its inception until the tenth century, the term “Pharaoh” stood alone, without juxtaposed personal name. In subsequent periods, the name of the monarch was generally added on. This precise practice is found in the Old Testament; in the period covered from Genesis and Exodus to Solomon and Rehoboam, the term “pharaoh” occurs alone, while after Shishak (ca. 925 B. C.), the title and name appear together (e. g., Pharaoh Necho, Pharaoh Hophra). . . . Thus, the usage of “pharaoh” in Genesis and Exodus does accord well with the Egyptian practice fro the fifteenth through the tenth centuries.[21]

The use and non-use of a name attached to “Pharaoh” constitutes a strong argument in favor of the Biblical accounts’ historicity.

Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dreams possesses historical plausibility. Egypt in Joseph’s day took dream interpretation very seriously. Indeed, a dream interpretation manual, Chester Beatty papyrus BM 10683, possesses contents that have been dated to Joseph’s time.[22]

Chester Beatty papyrus BM 10683, britishmuseum.org.

The reward and investiture of Joseph to his exalted position in Egypt following his interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream (Genesis 41:42-43) contains elements found abundantly in the proper, early period of Egyptian history and absent in later periods when anti-supernaturalists claim the story was invented.[23] Also, an inscription testifies to a seven-year period of famine in Egypt—that such a famine could have taken place in Joseph’s lifetime is reasonable.[24]

Furthermore, the proto-consonantal Hebrew inscription Sinai 376, dating to c. 1775 B. C. and discovered in Wadi Nasb, refers to “the house of the vineyard of Asenath,”[25] a highly likely reference by name to Joseph’s high-status wife, given to him by Pharaoh (Genesis 41:45, 50; 46:20).

Sinai 376 mentions by name Joseph’s wife, validating the Biblical narrative in Genesis.[26]

The inscription provides powerful support for the historicity of the Mosaic narrative about Joseph and his relatives.[27]

In the providence of God, Joseph lived to be 110 (Genesis 50:26), which was considered to be the ideal length of life in ancient Egypt, but not in ancient Israel (cf. Psalm 90:10; Deuteronomy 34:7).[28] Such a length of life would have been a confirmation of Joseph’s faith in the God of Israel to the Egyptians. What is more, the tomb of an Asiatic official in Pharaoh’s palace has been discovered. This tomb, dating to Joseph’s era, is of “a very important official in the Egyptian government . . . important enough to have lived in a major palace complex and to have equipped a tomb for himself in its garden, and to have [possessed] a more than life-sized statue of himself for his tomb chapel.” While there is insufficient evidence to prove that this tomb belonged to Joseph, it does clearly demonstrate that “an Asiatic could . . . rise to a position of prominence in [the] . . . period . . . that Joseph served a king of the Middle Kingdom.”[29]

According to the anti-supernaturalist Documentary Hypothesis / JEDP theory, the Joseph narrative is supposedly cut-and-pasted together from the (in fact, imaginary) J and E documents. The classic theorist of JEDP, Julius Wellhausen, wrote concerning Genesis 37-50: “The main source even for this latter part of Genesis is JE. Presumably this work has here as everywhere been put together from J and E; our previous results demand this assumption and would be badly shaken, were they to be proved wrong.”[30] However, just as the external evidence strongly favors the historical accuracy of the Joseph narrative and its composition by Moses many centuries before the alleged J and E documents, so the internal, literary structure of Genesis 37-50 renders the JEDP hypothesis an impossible explanation of the passage.

The Joseph story is a chiastic unit with complementing themes and theme-words that link the episodes in the mirrored sections. . . . [the] macro- and microstructural chiasms . . . [indicate] the incredible complexity of the story and its literary unity . . . [and] literary genius[.] . . . [It is] impossib[le] [to] discer[n] so-called secondary strands in the story[.][31]

That is, modern literary analysis has “pu[t] to an end . . . the futile, subjective quest for different sources that comprise the story.”[32] Both the external archaeological evidence and the internal literary evidence support the historical accuracy of the Joseph narrative as recorded in Genesis by Moses.

The Days and Writings of Moses as well as

Israel’s Entrance into and Early Settlement in Canaan

As the Biblical record of the patriarchal period is validated by the testimony of archaeology, so likewise does the Biblical record concerning Moses and Israel’s exodus from Egypt and settlement in Canaan receives external support from archaeology. Representative evidences are examined below.

The tomb of Rekhmire, a vizier of Pharaoh Thutmose III (very possibly the Pharaoh during the time of Israel’s Exodus), shows Asiatic slaves making bricks while Egyptian taskmasters carrying rods look on, confirming the record of Exodus 5:

A painting from the tomb of Rekhmire at Thebes depicting Asiatic slaves making bricks.[33]

An Egyptian text dated close to the period of the Exodus likewise reports that ‘Habiru (a word derived from the same root as Hebrew)[34] foreigners were moving blocks for building projects in the city of Pi-Ramesses (cf. Exodus 1:11).[35] Scholars note: “Obviously Exodus 5 was written by someone who actually saw the brickfields along the Nile. . . . This section reflects a remarkably accurate historical knowledge of Egyptian slave-labor organization and its building techniques.” In other words:

[R]esearch . . . attests [t]o the very scenario portrayed in the Exodus narratives: a two-tiered administrative structure, the assignment of sometimes unattainable quotas, the problems of making bricks without straw, and the issue of allowing time off from work to worship one’s deity. . . . [T]he book of Exodus comes to us straight from the world of ancient Egypt. The story of the exodus is not fantasy but history . . . it is accurate down to the last piece of straw.[36]

Such facts and the archaeological evidence for “Asiatics escaping servitude in Egypt, and even for the knowledge in Egyptian texts of the Late Bronze Age of a deity called ‘Yhw’ [Jehovah, Hebrew Yehowah] in connection with the Shasu nomads” in Canaan where the Bible records that Abraham and his descendants that became Israel dwelt explain why “even some rather radical[ly] [skeptical] scholars . . . take seriously the notion that . . . ‘Shasu of Yhw’ . . . became early Israel, and that they may indeed have been guided through the desert by a charismatic, sheikh-like leader with the Egyptian name of ‘Moses.’”[37] Indeed, as the Bible records that Moses received his name from the Egyptian daughter of Pharaoh, not from the Hebrews (Exodus 2:10), so “Moses is an Egyptian name. . . . The name Moses derives from an Egyptian verb . . . and is a common element in Egyptian names such as Ramesses . . . Thutmosis, Amenmosis, Ptahmosis and numerous others.”[38]

Indeed, a 15th century Hebrew inscription from the Egyptian mines at Serabit el-Khadim refers by name to “Moses” and the events recorded in the Bible in association with Israel’s slavery in Egypt.

The 15th century Hebrew inscription Sinai 361 from Serabit el-Khadim refers by name to “Moses.”[39]

The relevant portion of the inscription reads: “Our bound servitude had lingered. At that time, Moses provoked astonishment.”[40] The scholar who translated the inscription comments:

[T]he writer was communicating that the Hebrew people had endured bound servitude under compulsion . . . several contemporary Sinaitic inscriptions from the same turquoise mines strongly suggest that Egyptian authorities were the culprits. . . . This scenario matches well with the historical narrative of Exodus[.] . . . Moses [is the] only plausible reading [of the inscription] in this context. . . . The astonishment that Moses provoked almost certainly followed Moses’ return to Egypt . . . [and] the plagues reported in the Bible[.] . . . [T]he details of Sinai 361 match those of Exodus 1-5 remarkably well . . . cogent epigraphical attestation to Moses dating to the fifteenth century now stands in print[.] . . . [The] biblical writer called Moses most likely is the individual named on Sinai 361.”[41]

Archaeology powerfully corroborates the Biblical narrative concerning Moses and the Exodus, providing contemporary extra-biblical confirmation of Israel’s bondage in Egypt and the astonishing acts of Moses.

In addition to inscriptional evidence specifically mentioning “Moses,” more obscure figures referenced in the Pentateuch receive archaeological confirmation. A 15th century Hebrew inscription associated with an Egyptian turquoise mine in the Sinai peninsula mentions “The overseers of minerals, Ahisamach,” corroborating the Biblical references to Ahisamach (Exodus 31:6; 35:34; 38:23), whose son Aholiab was one of the two primary metalworkers and craftsmen who built Israel’s tabernacle. External evidence dates the inscription to the very time at which the Bible indicates that this person lived.[42]

The 15th century Hebrew inscription Sinai 375A refers to the Biblical figure Ahisamach (Exodus 31:6; 35:34; 38:23).[43]

“The combination of chronological synchronization and occupational overlap . . . [support the] strong probability . . . [that] the Ahisamach of Sinai 375a [is the very Ahisamach of the book of Exodus . . . [an] identification of an obscure biblical character . . . [in] the middle of the fifteenth century BC.”[44] Thus, the “corpus of inscriptions from Serabit includes the names of two biblical figures—on two different inscriptions . . . Ahisamach . . . and Moses.”[45]

What is more, the overwhelming number of references in every portion of the Old Testament, without the slightest whisper of any alternative origin for the nation, provides strong internal evidence for historical reality explaining the account of Israel’s origin as slaves escaped from Egypt. In the words of anti-inerrantist scholars:

[H]ow can we account for . . . Israel’s foundational narrative? Indeed, no other event figures as prominently in the Bible as Israel’s liberation from Egyptian bondage. It is pervasive not only in the historical narratives, but even in the Prophets and the Psalms.

Had Israel . . . never been enslaved in Egypt, a biblical writer would have had no reason to conceal that fact and could surely have devised an appropriate narrative to accommodate that reality. We are simply at a loss to explain the need to fabricate such an uncomfortable account of Israel’s disreputable national origins. Nor can we explain how such a falsity could so pervade the national psyche as to eliminate all other traditions and historical memories, let along become the dominant and controlling theme in the national religion.[46]

In the words of Sir Alan Gardiner, perhaps the “best-known and most highly respected Egyptologist of the 20th century”: “That Israel was in Egypt under one form or another no historian could possibly doubt; a legend of such tenacity representing the early fortunes of a people under so unfavorable an aspect could not have arisen save as a reflection . . . of real occurrences.”[47]

Furthermore, approximately one-hundred treaties and law codes have been discovered and translated of comparative value to the Sinai covenant the Bible declares that God gave to Moses.[48] The covenants from the third millennium B. C. differ in structure from those of the second, and those of the second differ in structure from those of the first. Exodus 20-24 and Deuteronomy are written in a covenant structure employed in the second half of the second millennium B. C., that is, the Biblical time of Moses.[49] This structure, known as a Suzerainty Vassal treaty, “was consciously followed in both Exodus and Deuteronomy.”[50] Treaties from a thousand years later—when skeptics must date the Pentateuch if they wish to explain away its predictive prophecies—are “radically different in format”[51] from those of the time of Moses and in which the Sinai covenant was composed. The Biblical text “shares intimate distinctions with the late-second-millennium documents not found in the first-millennium.”[52] Thus:

[W]ithout any doubt the Book of Deuteronomy belongs to the classic stage in this documentary evolution. . . the second millennium B. C. . . . Here then is significant confirmation of the prima facie case for the Mosaic origin of the Deuteronomic treaty of the great King. . . . [T]he form critical data compel the recognition of the antiquity not merely of this or that element within Deuteronomy but of the Deuteronomic treaty in its integrity.[53]

Bronze tablet testifying to the suzerain-vassal treaty between Tudhaliya IV and Kurunata of Tarhuntassa (Hittite), 1235 B. C.[54]

Indeed, the literary structure of the Pentateuch not only supports its ancient origin, but it very strongly supports its Mosaic authorship. The testimony of Dr. Kenneth Kitchen is highly noteworthy. Dr. Kitchen is considered “in Egyptological circles as the leading . . . expert”[55] for the period of Egyptian history during which Israel’s exodus took place. Furthermore, in conjunction with Paul Lawrence, Dr. Kitchen has transcribed and translated “every known law code and treaty text from the third through the first millenniums B. C., be they Sumerian, Eblaite, Akkadian, Hittite, Egyptian, Hebrew, or Aramean” in his “magisterial three-volume magnum opus, Treaty, Law and Covenant in the Ancient Near East.”[56] Concerning the historicity of the books of Moses and the Exodus, Dr. Kitchen notes:

The particular and special form of covenant evidenced by Exodus-Leviticus and in Deuteronomy (and mirrored in Josh. 24) could not possibly have been reinvented even in the fourteenth/thirteenth centuries by a runaway rabble of brick-making slaves under some uncouth leader no more educated than themselves. The formal agreeing, formatting, and issuing of treaty documents belongs to governments and (in antiquity) to royal courts. Private citizens had no part in, and no firsthand knowledge of, such arcane, diplomatic procedures. Their only role was to hear the content of a treaty (if they were vassals of a suzerain-overlord), and obey it through their own ruler. So also today, treaties are agreed to by heads of state, and implemented by them; and any bills are picked up by the long-suffering taxpayers with never a sight of the original interstate document responsible for the cost.

So, how come documents such as Exodus-Leviticus and Deuteronomy just happen to embody very closely the framework and order and much of the nature of the contents of such treaties and law collections established by kings and their scribal staffs at court in their respective capital cities in the late second millennium? This is socially and conceptually a million miles away from serfs struggling to build thirteenth-century Pi-Ramesse (and Pithom) in the sweaty, earthy brickfields of Exod. 1:11–14 and 5:6–20! No Hebrew there could know of, or would care about, such high-level diplomatic abstractions.

Even a runaway rabble inevitably needs a leader. To exploit such concepts and formats for his people’s use at that time, the Hebrews’ leader would necessarily had to have been in a position to know of such documents at first hand—either because he knew people who shared such information with him or because he was himself involved with such documents. There is no other option.

In short, to explain what exists in our Hebrew documents we need a Hebrew leader who had had experience of life at the Egyptian court, mainly in the East Delta (hence at Pi-Ramesse), including knowledge of treaty-type documents and their format, as well as of traditional Semitic legal/social usage more familiar to his own folk. In other words, somebody distressingly like that old “hero” of biblical tradition, Moses, is badly needed at this point, to make any sense of the situation as we have it. Or somebody in his position of the same or another name. On the basis of the series of features in Exodus to Deuteronomy that belong to the late second millennium and not later, there is, again, no other viable option.[57]

Summarizing the historical evidence:

(1) Exoduses happened in the second millennium, and the Israelite one is echoed all over the Hebrew Bible’s writings as a key event. (2) Israel (as a people group) and neighbors Edom and Moab are mentioned in firsthand Egyptian sources shortly before 1200; they were for real then. (3) The Ramesside Nineteenth Dynasty was a particularly cosmopolitan epoch in Egyptian history and culture; Semites and others abounded in Egyptian society at all levels, from Pharaoh’s court down to slaves. (4) The Hebrew narratives in Exodus to Deuteronomy directly reflect earthy reality, not burgeoning fantasy. Salt-tolerant reeds, water from rock, habits of quails, kewirs, etc. reflect real local conditions, requiring local knowledge (not book learning in Babylon or Jerusalem). These narratives are thus in total contrast to such texts as the “King of Battle” tale of Sargon of Akkad, with mountains bounded with gold and boulders of lapis lazuli gemstone, and trees with thorns sixty cubits (100 feet) long! (5) The ban on going by a north route to Canaan [Exodus 13:17] is a direct response to Egyptian military presence there in precisely the thirteenth century. (6) The tabernacle is an ancient Semitic concept, here with Egyptian technology involved, all from pre-1000, even centuries earlier. (7) The form and content of the Sinai covenant fit only the late second millennium, on the evidence of ample firsthand sources. (8) Brick-slaves were not diplomats; the format of covenant demands a leader from court circles at that time who did learn of such things there. We would be obliged to invent a Moses if one were not already available. . . . [T]he exodus and Sinai events . . . the tabernacle and covenant, etc., . . . [possess a] correspondence not just with attested realities . . . but with known usage of the late second millennium B. C. and earlier [which] favor[s] acceptance of their having had a definite historical basis.[58]

Since the Pentateuch contains plain prophecies that were fulfilled many centuries after Moses lived, Biblical skeptics must deny the Pentateuch to Moses if they wish to reject Jehovah as the real God who can miraculously reveal the future centuries before events take place. However, archaeology strongly undermines the skeptical position and confirms that Moses, under Divine inspiration, wrote the Pentateuch, including its historically accurate account of the real historical events connected with Israel’s exodus from Egypt.

The earliest extant portions of the Pentateuch likewise present major difficulties for opponents of the Bible and powerful validation of Scripture as God’s Word. Two small silver scrolls, found in Ketef Hinnom on the western side of Jerusalem and “dated to the mid-seventh century B. C.,”[59] contain parts of Deuteronomy 7:9 and Numbers 6:22-27[60] on two small silver sheets.[61] (When unrolled the larger is about 1 inch wide by 4 inches long and the smaller is about 1/2 inch wide by 1–1/2 inches long). The scrolls were discovered with other items in the burial cave of a wealthy and prominent family. Pottery in the cave dates as far back as the seventh century,[62] confirming the 7th century date for the scrolls. Furthermore, scroll one’s outer edges were worn and split, implying it had been used for a long time before being buried.[63] Paleography likewise indicates a date between the 9th-7th centuries, and “before the sixth century B.C., hence somewhere in the eighth and seventh.”[64] In conclusion, “the convergence of archaeological, paleographic, and orthographic data favors a date around the seventh century B.C. for the composition of this document.”[65]

A picture of scroll #1:[66]

Two pictures of scroll #2:[67]

The significance (in part) of these silver scrolls can be illustrated in the following way. Imagine that someone claimed that the Greek historian Herodotus did not write his Histories c. 440 B. C., but that an anonymous person who used sources called J, E, D, and P compiled his histories 1,000 years later. Advocates of this (imaginary) view might point out that the earliest actual substantial manuscripts of Herodotus date to the 10th-14th centuries A. D. Therefore, they could argue, Herodotus’s Histories were not really written by him c. 440 B. C., but were compiled c. A. D. 560 from the J, E, D, and P sources, composed by anonymous writers who lied and pretended that Herodotus composed their forgeries. However, suppose that some time later a number of fragments of Herodotus were discovered, each of which are papyri that are “fragments of a page”[68] and dating to the 1st-3rd centuries A. D. What is the natural conclusion from the existence of fragmentary papyri of Herodotus that date to the 1st-3rd centuries A. D.? The natural conclusion is that it is impossible to date the composition of Herodotus’s Histories any later than the 1st century A. D., and that perhaps advocates of the JEDP theory of Herodotus ought to consider that the work might just have been written by “Herodotus of Halicarnassus”[69] as it claims.

How does this Herodotus thought-experiment relate to the text of Scripture? Advocates of the JEDP theory of the Bible argue that the Pentateuch was compiled largely from four alleged source documents—J, E, D, and P—and that these four documents were patched together by an unknown editor or editors “to produce JEDP by about 400 B.C.; and the Pentateuch in its extant form emerged about 200 B.C.”[70] There are huge numbers of fatal problems to the JEDP theory. For example, it is utterly contrary to the internal evidence of the books of Moses.[71] The early inscriptional evidence validating the prominent Biblical figure “Moses” by name, as well as the obscure Biblical figures “Ahisamach” and “Asenath,” cannot be accounted for on the JEDP theory:

[T]here is no conceivable way in which a hypothetical [forger] . . . after 1000 BC could have dreamed up mythical figures such as Asenath, Ahisamach, and Moses, all of whom were actual, historical figures over 500-1000 years prior to that. . . . The congruence between the biblical text and the epigraphical evidence powerfully demonstrates the historical veracity of . . . the [Biblical] narrative . . . substantiating that the biblical accounts are highly unlikely to have been composed one thousand years after they occurred[.][72]

What is more, no fragment of J, E, D, or P has ever been found. No extant work of history, or any other extant document of any kind, breaths the slightest hint of the existence of these mythical documents until modern times when it was developed by rationalists with a bias against Biblical inspiration.

The Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls constitute another extremely difficult problem for opponents of Mosaic authorship and advocates of JEDP. Why are fragments of the Pentateuch extant centuries before it was supposedly created? An advocate of JEDP might reply that Numbers 6:24-26 and Deuteronomy 1:7 existed in some hypothetical source, but the Pentateuch as a whole did not exist. This reply is fraught with the same sort of extremely serious problems plaguing the JEDP theory as a whole. First, Deuteronomy 1:7 was allegedly part of a D document forged not earlier than c. 621 B. C. and falsely ascribed to Moses.[73] But how could the scrolls quote Deuteronomy 1:7 before the alleged D document was created? Second, Numbers 6:21-27 allegedly “formed part of P,”[74] but P was allegedly composed centuries after the date of the silver scrolls.[75] How could the scrolls quote from P if P did not come into existence until centuries later? Third, the presence of both passages in a single scroll indicates that they were viewed as part of a single document—the Pentateuch. Rather than being the product of hypothetical source documents that have not a scintilla of extant archaeological evidence for them, the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls are very strong evidence in favor of the claim that the Pentateuch is exactly what it repeatedly and regularly claims—the product of Moses, writing under the inspiration of the one true God, Jehovah, after the exodus of Israel from Egypt.

Of course, when the JEDP theory received its classical formulation from Wellhausen in the 1800s, the many archaeological proofs against the Documentary Hypothesis did not yet exist. Those who wish to maintain JEDP against the ever-growing tide of archaeological evidence to the contrary might argue that Deuteronomy 1:7 existed, and Numbers 6:24-26 existed, but the book in which they are found—the Pentateuch—did not exist. Such a contrived answer, however, manifests extremely inconsistent historiography. Would the JEDP advocate make the same claim for Herodotus? Would they make it for any other ancient writer for whom we possess small early fragments and much later larger manuscripts? Why are fragments from Herodotus proof that his Histories existed, but fragments from the Pentateuch are not that the Pentateuch existed?

Furthermore, the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls validate the existence of predictive prophecy in the Bible. The Pentateuch very plainly predicts the Israel’s exile, an event that took place many years after these silver scrolls were made. Moses warned, c. 1400 B. C.:

When thou shalt beget children, and children’s children, and ye shall have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, . . . and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger: I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it; ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed. And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you. . . . The LORD shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone. . . . The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young: And he shall eat the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruit of thy land, until thou be destroyed: which also shall not leave thee either corn, wine, or oil, or the increase of thy kine, or flocks of thy sheep, until he have destroyed thee. And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the LORD thy God hath given thee. . . . And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone. And among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest . . . And the LORD shall bring thee into Egypt again with ships . . . and there ye shall be sold unto your enemies for bondmen and bondwomen, and no man shall buy you. (Deuteronomy 4:25-27; 28:36, 49-52; 64-68)

This text contains some of the numerous predictive prophecies in the Pentateuch. Among other predictions, Moses prophesies:

1.) Israel would be removed from Canaan on account of her sins.

2.) This exile would take place a long time after her entry into the land.

3.) Israel would be scattered among the heathen nations when she is exiled.

4.) Although God had set up a republic in Israel, the nation would have rejected republican government for monarchy at the time when the exile takes place.

5.) The Israeli population would be greatly reduced through the trials of the exile.

6.) The nation bringing about the exile would have a language unintelligible to Israel.

7.) The nation causing the exile would have armies that are very fast moving.

8.) The exile would take place through the agency of a nation that Israel was not familiar with (and thus, e. g., Israel would not be exiled into Egypt, where Israel had been living years before the time of Moses).

9.) The exile would move Israel to a nation which was far away from Canaan (and thus would not be into a nearby nation such as Edom, Moab, etc.)

10.) Some of the Israelis would be brought into Egypt in ships to be sold as slaves, but nobody would buy them.

11.) The Israelis would not have peace in the land of their exile, but would remain as a distinct people-group and receive continuing persecution.

In fact, Moses predicts Israel’s exile in A. D. 70 at the hand of the Romans, through which all of these predictions were fulfilled:

It becomes apparent that this passage predicts a . . . captivity or exile from Palestine, for the invaders . . . come from a region remote from the Middle East, speaking a language not at all Semitic (as was the language of Babylon) and having an eagle for their military symbol.[76] This strongly suggests the Roman invasion and the dreadful events of the First Revolt (A. D. 67–70). Quite decisive for this identification is [Deuteronomy chapter 28] verse 68[.] . . . Josephus records that (Wars 6.9) when Titus finally stormed Jerusalem in A. D. 70, he had the 97,000 survivors dragged down to Joppa and put aboard cargo ships, to be sold in Alexandria, Egypt (which was the largest slave market in the Roman Empire) in order to be offered at bargain prices to whoever wanted to buy them. But such an enormous number of slaves proved to be a glut on the market, and so finally there were no bidders left to purchase them. All of the details of this prediction point so strongly to the events of A. D. 70 as to make any other interpretation incapable of successful defense. It should be noticed that this fulfillment could not have been a mere vaticinium ex eventu [fake prediction after the fact], for this would postpone the composition of Deuteronomy until the late first century A. D., and we have many fragments of Deuteronomy preserved in the Qumran caves dating . . . [centuries] earlier.[77]

While the fact that Deuteronomy predicts Israel’s exile after the nation’s rejection of the Messiah, those who are unwilling to grant the reality of predictive prophecy must attempt to date the books of Moses after the events mentioned took place: “The explicit references to deportation and, especially, to the expulsion of a king (v. 36) . . . it is argued . . . must be a reflex of those (already historical) events . . . if one finds the possibility of predictive prophecy intolerable.”[78] As a result, some attempt to date the text to after the Babylonian exile in 586 B. C.[79] However, such a date is made highly problematic by the Ketef Hinnom scrolls, since they predate the Babylonian exile. No solid anti-supernaturalist explanation exists for the Pentateuchal predictions of events that took place far after the composition of the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls.[80] The scrolls from Ketef Hinnom evidence that the Pentateuch existed in the seventh century B. C., and, therefore, that predictive prophecy exists in the Bible, validating Scripture as the Word of God.

Archaeology likewise documents Canaanite rulers asking desperately for help to fight the invading ‘Habiru in the period of time the Bible records for Israel’s battles in Canaan recorded in Joshua and Judges.

Request by Yapau ruler of Gezer (Amarna Tablet 299) for assistance against the Habiru.[81]

Similarly, archaeology supports and is universally consistent with the Biblical account of Israel’s entry into Canaan as recorded in the books of Joshua and Judges. For example, the city of Hazor is one of only three cities that Joshua was said to have burned during the Israel’s struggle for control over territory in Canaan after the exodus from Egypt (Joshua 11:13).[82] Excavations at Hazor have revealed that the city was destroyed by fire at the time specified by the Biblical narrative—a clear burn layer is present, consisting of ashes and fallen mud-bricks, as well as the remains of a burned palace. Furthermore, the temples and pagan religious items at Hazor were singled out for especially harsh treatment by the conquerors—numbers of severely mutilated idols and other religious objects have been unearthed, in accordance with Moses’s command to Joshua and Israel to destroy Canaanite idols, religious objects, and idolatry (Deuteronomy 12:1-4).

Defaced statue of Baal standing on a bull: This broken statue of Baal depicts him with a crescent moon and sun-disk on his chest to show his preeminence in the Canaanite pantheon. The head and right arm are missing. Discovered broken and buried in a pit at Hazor, it probably came from the Orthostat Temple’s Holy of Holies. It dates to the second half of the second millennium BC.[83]

What is more, the mutilation of these idols not only fits with a conquest by Joshua, but it eliminates alternative options for the destruction of Hazor:

The deliberately vandalized religious artifacts at Hazor actually represent both Canaanite and Egyptian religions. This indicates that the city was not destroyed by either the Canaanites or Egyptians, since both of these pagan ancient peoples adopted the deities and temples of conquered cities rather than destroying them. The other nearby people group, known as the Sea Peoples, did not invade as far inland as Hazor’s location. Thus . . . neither the Egyptians, Canaanites, nor Sea Peoples destroyed . . . Hazor—the early Hebrews remain the feasible option[.] . . . [I]t becomes clear that . . . the . . . conquest of the city can be attributed to Joshua’s conquest.[84]

Archaeology validates the Biblical narrative of Israel’s entry into Canaan following the exodus.

Early Israel’s presence in the land of Canaan is validated by a stele erected by the Egyptian Pharaoh Merneptah (who ruled c. 1224-1214 B. C.). Boasting of victories over a variety of foreign nations to his north, the Pharaoh claims to have badly defeated “Israel” in a series of comments about victories over groups in “Canaan.”[85] It constitutes “an official recognition of a people called Israel in extra-biblical documents.”[86] The word “Israel” is preceded by the Egyptian determinative for “people” or “ethnic group,”[87] and Israel’s presence on the stele indicates that the Israelites were an important enough political force in Canaan at this early date for a Pharaoh in the 1200s B. C. to boast about a victory over them. “Israel was well enough established by that time among the other peoples of Canaan to have been perceived by Egyptian intelligence as a possible challenge to Egyptian hegemony.”[88]

The Merneptah Stele, found in the Cairo Museum in Egypt, dates to c. 1220 B. C. and specifically mentions “Israel” as an important people group inhabiting Canaan.[89]

Thus, “Israel was definitely in Palestine by ca 1220 B. C.”[90] “The Merneptah Stele is . . . just what skeptics, mistrusting the Hebrew Bible (and archaeology), have always insisted upon as corroborative evidence: an extrabiblical text, securely dated, and free of biblical or pro-Israel bias. What more would it take to convince the naysayers?”[91]

The Merneptah Stele does not stand alone—an inscription on a column base from the time of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramessess II (1303-1213 B. C.) refers to “Israel” in a captive list also mentioning Ashkelon and Canaan, while two captive lists found in the Egyptian Soleb temple in the time of Amenhotep III (1390-1352 B. C.) mention a people in a “land” that is associated with characters that “represen[t] exactly the way the Hebrew divine name would appear in hieroglyphic . . . leading many scholars to associate these inscriptions with Israel.”[92] Thus, the Merneptah Stele and other Egyptian sources provide “documentary extrabiblical evidence for . . . a ‘people’ called ‘Israel,’ living in Canaan, and [their] God” as “known in the Egyptian sphere of influence no later than Merneptah and probably much earlier . . . the pre-Amarna period.”[93]

What is more, the arrival of Israel in Canaan is validated by a dramatic increase in the native population—the archaeological evidence indicates an approximately “ten-fold growth in population” that cannot be accounted for by a natural population growth among the Canaanite inhabitants—“not even if every family produced 50 surviving children! There must have been a very sizable population increment from somewhere else.”[94]

A model of a typical Israelite four-room house, the common dwelling for the typical Israelite family in the period following the nation’s entry into Canaan, and an example of this ubiquitous housing structure from Dothan dating to the Iron I period.[95]

The fact that Israel was speaking Hebrew at this point is also validated, not only by the powerful internal evidences discussed above that require that the Pentateuch is a Hebrew product dating to the times of Moses, but also by external evidence. The Izbet Sartah ostracon, discovered in 1976 and paleographically dated to c. 1200 B. C., demonstrates “the existence of a written tradition and original Hebrew alphabetic order already at the beginning of the 12th century.”[96]

The Izbet Sartah ostracon: Hebrew c. 1200 B. C.[97]

This ostracon, which appears to be an instance of a schoolboy practicing his letters, found in a humble village on obscure bit of pottery in a typical Israelite house, supports both the existence of spoken and written Hebrew by 1200 B. C. and literacy among the common people. The Gezer Calendar, which is also probably an educational item used for teaching children,[98] provides similar corroboratory evidence for early Hebrew.

The limestone Gezer Calendar, dating to the 10th century B. C., recites the months of the year in relation to their respective agricultural activities.[99]

Thus, “we now have archaeologically attested evidence of widespread literacy in early Israel . . . in the ‘Izbet Sartah abecedary of the twelfth century BCE, corroborating the long-known tenth-century ‘Gezer calendar,’ also a schoolboy’s exercise . . . inscriptions . . . [that] are decisive.”[100] From the time that that “[t]he Israelites tribes that settled in Canaan from the fourteenth . . . centur[y] BCE . . . [they] used Hebrew as a spoken and literary language.”[101]

Indeed, recent breakthroughs in deciphering the proto-consonantal Semitic script indicates that “Hebrew . . . [was] used before [Israel’s] state formation, throughout the entire period of the Israelite and Judahite monarchies, and even after the Babylonian captivity.”[102] Evidence for the Hebrew language appears in Sinai 115, an inscription from Serabit el-Khadim dating to c. 1842 B. C. The inscription contains the words: “Six Levantines: Hebrews of Bethel, the beloved,”[103] confirming the “ancient, Biblical account of the location of Israel’s origin,”[104] namely, the references to Heber the ancestor of the Hebrews (Genesis 10:21-24), Abraham the Hebrew (Genesis 14:13) and Bethel, the city in Canaan where a key early Hebrew shrine was located (Genesis 12:8; 13:3; 28:19; 31:13; 35:1, etc.).

Sinai 115, with its reference to “six Levantines: Hebrews of Bethel, the beloved,” provides evidence for the existence of the Hebrew people and written Hebrew language in 1842 B. C.[105]

Further inscriptional evidence of Hebrew appears in Sinai 377, which dates to 1840 B. C.,[106] while Hebrew inscriptions at Wadi el-Hol dating to the 19th century B. C. likewise have been uncovered, as have substantial further evidence of the Hebrew language centuries before the times of Moses.[107] Indeed, the earliest known alphabetic script “can be equated with Hebrew confidently . . . Hebrew has the distinction of being the world’s first alphabet, the one from which Phoenecian and every other alphabetic script in . . . history . . . has been derived.”[108]

The Biblical account of the days of Moses, as well as the Biblical narratives about the Hebrew people’s entrance into and early settlement of Canaan, are confirmed by archaeological evidence.

The Israelite United Monarchy

The future king David became well known to Israel through his defeat of the Philistine champion Goliath using a stone and a sling (1 Samuel 17). Dueling warriors are attested in Egyptian and Hittite records far before the times of David. Furthermore, in David’s day a sling was not a child’s toy, but a lethal distance weapon. Early 2nd millennium B. C. paintings in a tomb from Beni Hasan, Egypt depict slingers standing beside archers in a battle scene.[109] Similarly, the Lachish reliefs from Nineveh now in the British Museum depict Assyrian slingers launching stones at the Judean defenders of Lachish in 701 B. C.

A relief of Assyrian slingers assaulting the Judean city of Lachish.[110]

Slingers would hurl stones at up to 100-150 miles per hour, constituting the stone and sling a deadly weapon used by warriors of the future king David’s day, and also used by David himself in his victory over Goliath.[111] Furthermore, excavations at the Philistine city of Gath (Tel es-Safi), the hometown of Goliath, have uncovered part of a clay bowl with the name Goliath etched on the inside, dating to 950 B. C.[112] While there is no way to prove that the bowl belonged to the family of the “Goliath of Gath” (1 Samuel 17:4) mentioned in the Bible, it does evidence that 1 Samuel 17’s record contains a Philistine name extant at the time of David in the Philistine city of Gath.

The Bible records that David fled from Saul to the Philistine ruler Achish (1 Samuel 27-29), a ruler of one of a five-city alliance that included the city of Ekron (1 Samuel 6:16-18). The city of Ekron has been excavated, and an inscription discovered there within a Philistine temple that specifies the Philistine equivalent to the Hebrew word “Achish” as the person who was ruler of Ekron.

A royal dedicatory temple inscription from the excavation of Tel Miqne or Ekron, bearing the name Ekron and mentioning king Achish.[113]

King David’s status as the founder of the dynasty of the kings of Israel and of Judah is validated by the Tel Dan stele, which specifically mentions the kingly line or “house of David.”

The Tel Dan Stele, Fragments A and B.[114]

The inscription appears to have been recorded by the Aramean King Hazael of Damascus to commemorate his victory in battle over Jehoram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah (both of whom are also mentioned on the stele) of the “house of David.” Scholars recognize that the Tel Dan Stele powerfully affirms the historicity of the Bible:[115]

There was a dynasty called . . . “the house of David” . . . a dynastic and geopolitical entity referred to as such by the Arameans in the characteristic terminology they used for naming such entities of that era. . . . The house of David was important enough to be recognized internationally and was considered significant enough to be mentioned in a public monument . . . as an enemy whose military power was recognized, so that any leader who could defeat it could justly boast. . . . David’s name . . . existence and his status as the founder of a dynasty now stand documented both in [this] excavated inscription and in the Bible.[116]

However, the Tel Dan Stele is not alone in its validating the historicity of king David and his dynasty. The Moabite Stone or Mesha Stela does so as well.

The Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone, dating to 830 B. C., is a large stone slab inscribed with an account of the Moabite king Mesha’s revolt against Israel.[117]

The Moabite king Mesha erected the basalt slab known as the Moabite Stone to commemorate his revolt from the control of the Israelite dynasty of Omri (2 Kings 3),[118] allegedly through the blessing of the Moabite god Chemosh. It reads: “Omri was king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab many days because Chemosh was angry with the land of his. And his son succeeded him, and he also said, ‘I shall oppress Moab.’” The stone goes on to mention the “vessels of Jehovah [YHWH],” an early extrabiblical reference to the Name of Israel’s God, and the “house of David” that had previously occupied one of Moab’s cities.[119] “Calling Chemosh the national god of Moab and mentioning three Biblical kings, including David in the phrase “House of David,” and 13 Biblical towns, Mesha’s inscription reads like a chapter from the Bible.”[120]

In addition to the Tel Dan Stele and the Moabite Stone, a third reference to king David appears in the Shishak inscription in the Temple of Amun at Karnak, Egypt.[121] Clearly, the Davidic dynasty discussed in great depth in the Bible receives substantial archaeological confirmation.

The massive building projects the Bible specifies as conducted by king David’s wise son Solomon also receive archaeological confirmation. For example, the Bible records Solomon’s extensive fortification of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer (1 Kings 9:15) and his creation of “cities of store” (1 Kings 9:19), places where extensive storage of supplies could take place.

Hazor’s ancient city gate area, built up by King Solomon.[122]

Hazor’s Solomonic store-rooms.[123]

Archaeology supports the accuracy of the Biblical account of the united Israelite monarchy under king David and king Solomon.

The Divided Monarchies of Israel and Judah: The Northern & Southern Kingdoms

Many of the rulers and events in the Old Testament period of the divided monarchy, the portion of time when Israel split into a northern kingdom (often called “the kingdom of Israel” after this time and referring to the ten northern tribes) and a southern kingdom (often called “the kingdom of Judah” after this time and referring to the two southern tribes) receive clear archaeological corroboration. For example, the infamous northern location where Jeroboam rejected pure and Biblical Jehovah worship and instead established a worship of golden calves (1 Kings 12) has been discovered.

The worship center established by Jeroboam for the worship of a golden calf at Tel-Dan. The idolatrous altar itself was nearly entirely destroyed, but the steps leading up to it have survived, and one of the horned corners has been found.[124]

Likewise, the Egyptian king Shishak’s invasion of Israel and Judah in 925 B. C. (1 Kings 14) is corroborated by a relief carved on the walls of Karnak Temple in Thebes to commemorate the occasion.

A portion of the record of Shishak’s Palestinian campaign carved on the wall of the Temple of Amun in Karnak, ancient Thebes. Shishak invaded the kingdoms of Judah and Israel in ca. 925 BC and commissioned a huge triumphal relief to commemorate the event. The portion shown in the photo depicts the god Amun leading captive cities by ropes. Each city is represented by a cartouche (oval), with the name of the city written inside, topped by the upper body of a bound Israelite captive. Well over 100 names are preserved in the list, most of them in the Negev. In addition to Judahite cities, Israelite cities are listed as well, showing that the campaign was directed against both the Southern Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom of Israel.[125]

The influential northern king Ahab (1 Kings 17-22) receives corroboration in the Assyrian annals of the battle of Qarqar, where he constituted part of the opposition to the Assyrian monarch Shalmanezer III.[126]

This stele of Shalmaneser III discovered at Kurkh in Turkey, recounts his military campaigns up until the battle of Qarqar in 853 B. C., where Shalmaneser met a coalition of nations led by Hadadezer of Aram that included Ahab of Israel.[127]

While Shalmaneser III did not gain a decisive victory over the united opposition that included Ahab king of Israel, he was able to make Israel into a vassal state underneath the next Israelite king, Jehu, who took power and exterminated his predecessor’s dynasty, as indicated on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III found in the Assyrian capital of Nimrud.[128]

A section of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. Beneath the bowing Israelite figure are the words “Jehu of the House of Omri.”[129]

King Jehu’s dynasty grew more successful underneath his descendant Jeroboam II (2 Kings 14). This Israelite king is mentioned by name in a seal discovered at Megiddo containing the words: “[belonging] to Shema, Servant of Jeroboam.”[130] In a “seal, the servant’s title ‘ebed, unequivocally identifies that the master was a king,”[131] so Jeroboam is here specified as a king of Israel.

Bronze cast of the Shema seal containing the words “[belonging] to Shema, Servant of Jeroboam.”[132]

In the troubled final years of the northern kingdom, the Bible records that Menahem king of Israel made a large tribute payment to the king of Assyria for the purpose of obtaining Assyrian support for the weak Israelite sovereign (2 Kings 15:18-20). This action of Menahem is confirmed in an Assyrian inscription.

A dolomite stele of Tiglath-Pileser III from the Zagros mountains of western Iran. It contains an inscription stating that he received tribute from Menahem of Israel and allowed him to remain as king in Samaria.[133]

Only a few years after the reign of Menahem the Assyrian Empire conquered the northern kingdom of Israel and exiled its population (2 Kings 17), an event that also receives substantial extrabiblical confirmation.[134]

The southern kingdom of Judah receives the same sort of uniform and extensive corroboration that the northern kingdom receives. For example, the Bible records not only that God punished the northern kingdom for its idolatry by sending it into exile at the hand of Assyria but also records that Jehovah would miraculously deliver the southern kingdom and its capital, Jerusalem, in accordance with His great mercy, during the reign of the godly Judean king Hezekiah, son of Ahaz (2 Kings 18). A seal bearing the inscription “(belonging) to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah” has been discovered that dates to the time when the Bible indicates the king lived.

The seal impression bearing the Hebrew inscription that reads “(belonging) to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah.”[135]

Furthermore, archaeology validates the extensive preparation the Bible records Hezekiah making for the anticipated assault by Assyria (2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36-37). The “broad wall” (2 Chronicles 32:5; Nehemiah 3:8) that Hezekiah built to strengthen the defenses of Jerusalem has been unearthed. Pottery discovered in association with the wall ties it to Hezekiah’s building efforts.[136]

Hezekiah’s 23-foot-thick “broad wall,” an important fortification for Jerusalem in the king’s day.[137]

The Bible states that Hezekiah likewise redirected Jerusalem’s water supply so that it could be controlled from with the city walls, building a conduit or tunnel into the city and stopping up its external water source (2 Chronicles 32:2-4, 30; 2 Kings 20:20).[138]   Hezekiah’s tunnel has been discovered in Jerusalem, and people can still walk its c. 1,800 feet through knee-to-waist high water.[139]

Hezekiah’s tunnel flows underneath Jerusalem for a distance of c. 1800 feet, descending a mere 12.5 inches along that entire length. This gradual decline is nevertheless enough to keep water flowing from the Gihon spring outside of Hezekiah’s city to the Pool of Siloam within.[140]

Furthermore, an inscription discovered in the middle portion of the tunnel has been discovered that describes the moment when the two teams of workers, who had started on the far ends of the tunnel, met in the middle.

The Siloam Inscription, which describes the completion of Hezekiah’s tunnel. [141]

Paleography dates the style of writing on the inscription to the period of Hezekiah, and pottery discovered in excavations likewise tie the tunnel to Hezekiah’s time.[142]

Most significantly, Assyrian inscriptional evidence validates the deliverance Jehovah supernaturally affected for Hezekiah from the massive Assyrian army. The Assyrians had boasted that none of the gods of the nations Assyria had conquered had been able to deliver their worshippers from the armies of the Assyrian empire, and, in the same manner, Jehovah would not be able to deliver Jerusalem from the hand of the king of Assyria (2 Kings 18-19). For the glory of God’s character and in answer to Hezekiah’s prayer, Jehovah conveyed through the prophet Isaiah His promise to Hezekiah that Jerusalem would be delivered, and the massive invading Assyrian force would not even begin to fight against the Jewish capital:

Therefore thus saith the LORD concerning the king of Assyria, He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there, nor come before it with shields, nor cast a bank against it. By the way that he came, by the same shall he return, and shall not come into this city, saith the LORD. For I will defend this city to save it for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. (Isaiah 37:33-35)

Consequently, “it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh. And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.” (2 Kings 19:35-37; 2 Chronicles 32:21).

This Biblical account receives confirmation from Assyrian annals. “The Assyrian annals . . . never record any reverse or defeat,”[143] for they are that empire’s propaganda claiming that Assyria and its gods are invincible. In a never-ending sequence of boastful triumph after boastful triumph, spanning centuries of Assyrian history, not a single defeat in battle is ever recorded—such losses are always passed over in silence. Consequently, such a grievous defeat of the greatest empire of the ancient world at the hands of the God of the tiny Judean kingdom, evidencing the failure of both the Assyrian gods and the humiliation of its empire, would never be recorded in straight-forward terms in the Assyrian records. What do the Assyrian annals say about Assyria’s invasion of Judah? They contain extensive depictions of the Assyrian assault upon the Judean town of Laish, with pictures of Assyrian soldiers raining down projectiles on Judean defenders, the raising of Assyrian siege works, and other depictions of the Empire’s assaults.

A portion of the elaborate and detailed relief depicting Sennacherib’s assault on Laish. The piece once decorated a room of the king’s palace at Nineveh.[144]

However, no depictions of any such an assault upon Jerusalem appear. Furthermore, a clay prism containing cuneiform records of Sennacherib’s first eight military campaigns has been found—the campaign against Judah is included. As always, no defeats are recorded. Do the Assyrian records boast of Sennacherib’s destruction of Jerusalem, as they boast of Assyrian conquests of many other peoples? Do they specify that he came into the city, or came before it with shields, or shot arrows against it, in contrast to what God had promised? No—instead, they read: “As to Hezekiah, the Jew, he did not submit to my yoke . . . Himself I made a prisoner in Jerusalem, his royal residence, like a bird in a cage.”[145]

The Taylor Prism, discovered by the British Colonel R. Taylor. It is a six-sided clay prism inscribed in cuneiform at Nineveh. The Assyrian record boasts: “Hezekiah . . . I made a prisoner in Jerusalem in his royal residence, like a bird in a cage,” but it says nothing about fighting against Jerusalem nor about the capture of the city.[146]

Why did the army of the mighty Assyrian empire not conquer Jerusalem, kill Hezekiah, and deport the inhabitants of the capital city? Why is the end of the Assyrian campaign against Jerusalem passed over in silence? For Hezekiah to be able to defeat the Assyrians would be comparable the army of the Island of Malta destroying the military of the United States. The Assyrian records confirm the Biblical text in their affirmations about the advance of Assyria, and then in the Assyrian annals’ silence about the conquest of Jerusalem confirm Jehovah’s miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem and annihilation of 185,000 members of the brutal Assyrian military.

Indeed, Assyrian records likewise validate the Biblical text’s declaration of Sennacherib’s assassination at the hands of his own sons. The Bible records that Sennacherib was murdered while he worshipping his god (which could not protect the Assyrian king the way that Jehovah delivered Hezekiah). Assyrian records from Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon recounted: “I made my joyful entrance into the royal palace . . . A firm determination fell upon my brothers. They . . . turned to their deeds of violence, plotting evil . . . they slew Sennacherib, their father.”[147]

In king Josiah’s day an ancient copy of the Pentateuch was rediscovered (2 Kings 22) in the temple at Jerusalem, many copies of the Law having been destroyed in the reign of Josiah’s ungodly father, Manasseh. Skeptics of the Bible who advocate the JEDP theory (discussed above) claim that the alleged “D” document was forged at this time and passed off as being written by Moses. Therefore, they argue, Josiah did not recover an ancient copy of the Law, but the first copy that had ever existed of the Book of Deuteronomy was fabricated during his reign. However, in addition to the fact that Deuteronomy is quoted, alluded to, and referenced in other books of the Bible that predate Josiah’s reign, so that it is impossible that the book was forged c. 621 B. C. under king Josiah,[148] and the evidence of the Ketef Hinnom silver scrolls discussed above, archaeology provides a much better explanation for the discovery of an ancient copy of the Law than the skeptical assumption. Joseph Free notes:

[A]rchaeological discoveries [demonstrate] . . . that it was customary to place documents in the foundations of ancient buildings, just as papers and documents are placed in the cornerstones of buildings at the present time. . . . [For example,] Nabonidus, king of Babylon in the middle of the 6th century B. C. . . . delighted in digging into foundations of buildings ancient in his time and finding the records placed there centuries earlier.[149]

Thus, when Nabonidus excavated the temple of Shamash at Sippar, he dug down deeply to uncover the foundation record of the temple. Nabonidus recounted:

When I had brought out Shamash from within it, and made him dwell in another house, that house I pulled down, and I made search for its old foundation record; and I dug to a depth of eighteen cubits, and the foundation record of Naram-Sin the son of Sargon (I), which for 3,200 years no king that preceded me had discovered, Shamash . . . permitted me, even me, to behold.[150]

The foundation record of Naram-Sin, retrieved by Nabonidus from the temple of Shamash at Sippar.[151]

The practice of placing ancient documents in the foundations of temples leads to the following considerations:

If a copy of the law had been placed in the foundation of Solomon’s temple (tenth century B. C.), as is likely from the archaeological evidence . . . then this document would necessarily date back nearly three hundred years before the time of the supposed forgery . . . of Deuteronomy . . . in the . . . critical theory[.] . . . The implications of the archaeological evidence do not support this critical view of Deuteronomy.[152]

Such an explanation of the events in 2 Kings 22 receives fits the ancient evidence far better than the anti-inspiration JEDP hypothesis. Once again, the Bible receives confirmation from archaeology.

Sadly, later rulers of Judah did not follow the godly examples of Hezekiah and Josiah, and as a result the Babylonians took the nation into captivity. During the troubled final years of the kingdom of Judah, the prophet Jeremiah, author of the Biblical book of Jeremiah, was fulfilling his prophetic office, predicting the future fall of Judah to Babylon (Jeremiah 21) and calling on the nation to repent. Baruch the son of Neriah served as Jeremiah’s scribe, so that “Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the LORD, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book” (Jeremiah 36:4). A bulla or clay seal dating to the time of Jeremiah and Baruch has been discovered in Jerusalem specifically mentioning Baruch the son of Neriah by name.

The seal impression of Baruch the son of Neriah or “Beruchiah the son of Neriah.” Two bullae stamped with the identical seal are now known.[153]

Furthermore, the Bible records that Jehoiachin king of Judah was taken into captivity along with 10,000 of the upper class in Judah, leaving only “the poorest sort of the people of the land” behind (2 Kings 24:14). Archaeology has uncovered several ration records in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace at Babylon on cuneiform-inscribed clay tablets. Dating to Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, they mention people captured from all over the ancient Near East living in the palace and receiving provisions of grain and oil from the king. Four different tablets specify “Jehoiachin, king of Judah” and his family as among the recipients.

Babylonian ration record mentioning “Jehoiachin king of Judah.”[154]

Furthermore, the Bible records that when Nebuchadnezzar carried away Jehoiachin king of Judah, Zedekiah, his uncle, was appointed in Jehoiachin’s place. Zedekiah was Judah’s last king—his ungodliness and rebellion against Babylon led, in the judgment of God, to the end of kingdom of Judah and the exile of the people to Babylon (2 Kings 24-25). The Babylonian Chronicle for the years 605-595 B. C. confirms the Biblical narrative; it speaks of the removal of Jehoiachin of Judah as king of Israel and the appointment of his uncle, Zedekiah, in his place, as well as the siege and destruction of Jerusalem when Zedekiah rebelled in 586.[155]

The tablet pictured above from the Babylonian Chronicles records the last (21st) year of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, and the first 11 years of his son Nebuchadnezzar. The table refers to Jehoiachin and Zedekiah, the kings of Judah, as well as the fall of Jerusalem before Nebuchadnezzar’s army.[156]

Clearly, the entire period of Biblical history during which Israel and Judah were divided into two kingdoms receives abundant confirmation from archaeology.

The Exile and the Return to Canaan

Extensive archaeological evidence confirms the Biblical narrative of the destruction of Solomon’s temple and the burning of Jerusalem. Clear signs of siege warfare, conflagration, and destruction have been uncovered in almost every part of the city. Thus, archaeologists have concluded: “The destruction of Jerusalem at the beginning of the 6th century is one of the prominent archaeological finds to appear in the many years of excavation of the city, and evidence of it has been unearthed all over the city at the twilight of the First Temple period.”[157] Similarly, cuneiform tablets discovered at Nippur, an important city just south of Babylon, reveal the presence of a sizeable Jewish population after the time of the Biblical exile.[158]

The prophet Isaiah, writing in the eighth century B. C.,[159] predicted the Babylonian exile of the nation (Isaiah 13; 39) and that a Persian king named Cyrus would allow the Jews to return to Canaan and rebuild their temple. Indeed, through the prophet Isaiah, Jehovah declared that He was the only true God because He could predict the future, while the idols of the nations could not, and then He specified by name the actions of king Cyrus, specifically mentioned by name, approximately one hundred and fifty years in advance:

Isaiah wrote:

Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. . . . Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.

Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut. . . For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. (Isaiah 44:7-8, 24-28; 45:6)

Isaiah 44:24-28 constitutes a very carefully constructed poem emphasizing the transcendence of the God of Israel and revealing the name “Cyrus” at its dramatic climax.[160] The Persian Cyrus would conquer the “two leaved gates” of the city of Babylon[161] and would decree the return of the Jews to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of Jehovah’s temple (44:28). The pagan king would do these things, not because he had rejected polytheism and idolatry for personal and exclusive faith in Jehovah, but that Israel and those who cared for the truth might know that the God of Israel is the true God, and there is none else (45:1-6). In accordance with Isaiah’s prediction, 150 years later, c. 536 B. C., the name of the king of the Persians who conquered Babylon and then issued a decree to restore Jerusalem and allow the Jewish temple to be rebuilt was indeed Cyrus. The ancient historian Josephus records:

In the first year of the reign of Cyrus . . . [he wrote] this throughout all Asia:—“Thus saith Cyrus the King:—Since God Almighty hath appointed me to be king of the habitable earth, I believe that he is that God which the nation of the Israelites worship; for indeed he foretold my name by the prophets; and that I should build him a house at Jerusalem, in the country of Judea.”

This was known to Cyrus by his reading the book which Isaiah left behind him of his prophecies . . . foretold by Isaiah one hundred and forty years before the temple was demolished. Accordingly, when Cyrus read this, and admired the divine power, an earnest desire and ambition seized upon him to fulfill what was so written; so he called for the most eminent Jews that were in Babylon, and said to them, that he gave them leave to go back to their own country, and to rebuild their city Jerusalem, and the temple of God, for that he would be their assistant, and that he would write to the rulers and governors that were in the neighborhood of their country of Judea, that they should contribute to them gold and silver for the building of the temple, and, beside that, beasts for their sacrifices.[162]

Furthermore, the Cyrus Cylinder provides archaeological confirmation of Cyrus’s fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. The clay cylinder records Cyrus’s policy of returning captive gods to their own temples and captive peoples to their own lands.

The Cyrus Cylinder contains an account of Cyrus the Great’s conquest and restoration of Babylon. In it, Cyrus recounts his policy of restoring the captured deities of other cities to their original homes—a policy which was also extended to the captive Jews (2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4).[163]

The cuneiform text reads: “I returned to [the] sacred cities . . . the sanctuaries which have been ruins for a long time . . . I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations.”[164] Cyrus could well have read Isaiah’s prophecy mentioning his name and been impressed, contributing to his liberality towards Israel. However, as a savvy politician, Cyrus also knew that showing generosity towards the peoples Babylon had subjugated, and respect to their gods, would endear them to his Persian throne. “An astute politician, Cyrus made it a practice publicly to worship the gods of each kingdom he conquered. In so doing he won the hearts of his subjects and kept down revolt.”[165] Specifically, “Cyrus was enough of a politician to cultivate the friendship of the Jews by making the assertion that Jehovah the God of heaven had given him all the kingdoms of the earth (Ezra. 1:2).”[166] Acknowledging the God of Israel and allowing the Jews to return to their land and rebuild their temple was, to Cyrus, a wise political move, and the polytheistic king likely also thought that Jehovah might bless him for his good deed in the way other (alleged) gods might bless those who act well towards them.

Thus, Isaiah’s astonishingly specific prophecies were fulfilled with perfect accuracy. Babylon took the Jews into exile, as Isaiah had predicted. A Medo-Persian king (cf. Isaiah 21) specifically named “Cyrus” then conquered Babylon and allowed the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple, although Cyrus was not personally a monotheistic servant of Jehovah. Predicting multiple specific conquests and actions of Cyrus, and even specifically naming him, is as impossible to mere men without supernatural help as it would have been for a person living in the Renaissance to predict by name that Abraham Lincoln would lead the north to victory in the American Civil War over the course of two terms in office. Archaeology and ancient historical records validate, once again, the Bible’s accuracy and Divine origin. Through such specific predictions, approximately a century and a half ahead of time, Jehovah gave force to His Words through Isaiah: “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people?” (Isaiah 44:7-8).

During the exilic period, the prophet Ezekiel likewise gave some astonishingly specific prophecies that clearly validate the Bible as the Word of God. Numbers of his prophecies concerning the city of Tyre, for example, are confirmed by extrabiblical archaeological and historical evidence and cannot be adequately explained by those who deny the supernatural inspiration of Scripture.

Throughout the overwhelming majority of the history of Judaism and Christianity Ezekiel’s authorship of the book bearing his name was never seriously questioned. Even into the 20th century,[167] after centuries of skeptical attacks on the authorship and date of the Biblical books since the start of the Enlightenment, leading anti-inspiration critics who questioned the traditional authorship of vast numbers of other Biblical books recognized the early sixth-century date of Ezekiel without question[168] and could write: “[Concerning the] book of Ezekiel . . . [t]he dates of the several prophecies are in many cases stated with precision. No critical question arises in connexion with the authorship of the book, the whole from beginning to end bearing unmistakably the stamp of a single mind.”[169] It was the “consensus of critical opinion”[170] that “no other book of the Old Testament is distinguished by such decisive marks of unity of authorship and integrity as this,”[171] even extremely skeptical critics admitted. “That the prophecy constituted a composition that did not admit of . . . distribution among several hands was a view held by liberal and conservative scholars alike, showing an unusual degree of unanimity concerning an Old Testament book.”[172] Ezekiel’s authorship of the book of Ezekiel has been recognized for over 2,500 years for reasons such as the following:

There are [numbers of] . . . reasons the Book of Ezekiel was not widely challenged for so many centuries. First, it is a well-organized unit that has a balanced structure. There are no breaks in the flow of the messages and arrangement of the text of chaps. 1–48. Second, there is a uniformity of language and style that is characteristic of books with a single author. At least forty-seven phrases have been identified that recur throughout the book. This phenomenon . . . [supports] a unity of authorship. Third, the book is autobiographical throughout, written in first person singular (except 1:3; 24:24). . . . Fourth, the consistent chronological sequence of messages in Ezekiel is unique, with at least fourteen dated prophecies. No other prophet’s book gives such careful and ordered chronological information. Fifth, the content of the book is consistent with its structural balance. For example, the first half of the book contains messages of judgment and concludes with the announcement of the fall of Jerusalem (24:21–24). The second half of the book contains messages of hope and encouragement and concludes with the establishment of the new Jerusalem (48:31–35). Sixth, both the character and the personality of the prophet remain constant throughout the book. . . . [Seventh, the] book of Ezekiel . . . if removed from Babylonia and the exilic era to Judea and a later century, becomes a purposeless and unintelligible piece of writing. . . . More recently, the language of Ezekiel has undergone detailed analysis and has been shown to be a model of . . . [Ezekiel’s] period in the development of the Hebrew language . . . [in] the last days of Judah and the exile. As we would expect of a book written in that period . . . [the] vocabulary, linguistic patterns, and style of the book su[pport] that it is a product of the sixth century B. C. when Ezekiel performed his ministry.[173]

Thus, “Ezekiel . . . can be dated without question in the early sixth century B.C.”[174]

What did the sixth century prophet Ezekiel predict? Writing around 587 B. C., Ezekiel predicted that the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar (or “Nebuchadrezzar”) would devastate the city of Tyre: “For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee” (Ezekiel 26:7-8). Ezekiel predicted that many nations would come against Tyre in successive waves: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up” (Ezekiel 26:3). He predicted that the city would be made bare like the top of a rock: “And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock” (Ezekiel 26:4). He predicted that fishermen would spread nets to fish over the site of the city, which would somehow be in the sea: “It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations” (Ezekiel 26:5). A related prediction was that the debris from the city would be thrown into the water: “And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water” (Ezekiel 26:12). The Lord said: “I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee” (Ezekiel 26:19). The city would also never be rebuilt to its former glory: “And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 26:14). Some of these predictions would have sounded, when they were made, far-fetched and contradictory. How, for example, could Nebuchadnezzar, the king of the nation of Babylon, crush the city, but “many nations” come against it in successive waves? How could a city end up in the sea while fishermen spread nets over it? And would it be likely that the great and famous city of Tyre, the capital of the great Phoenician empire, would never again be rebuilt and restored to its former status?

Future history, however, confirmed the accuracy of Ezekiel’s prediction in an amazing way. In 573 B. C., Nebuchadnezzar broke down the gates of the mainland city of Tyre and subdued it after a long and difficult siege. While some Biblical skeptics used to doubt that Nebuchadnezzar had ever besieged Tyre, the discovery of a tablet that was an official receipt of provisions “for the king and his soldiers who went with him against the land of Tyre”[175] brought those doubts to an end. While Nebuchadnezzar did subdue the mainland city, he found it almost empty upon his conquest; the majority of the remaining populace had moved by ship to an island a half-mile off the coast and fortified the island city of Tyre there. Despite the defeat of the mainland city and the slaughter of the Phoenicians who were in the “fields” on land, the island city of Tyre remained powerful for several hundred years, unsubdued by Nebuchadnezzar or other Babylonian rulers (cf. Ezekiel 29:18-20).

Approximately 250 years later in 332 B. C., Alexander the Great sought to subdue the island city of Tyre, the next wave of the “many nations” Ezekiel had predicted. To subdue the island city, he took the stones of the old mainland city and built a land bridge with them to reach the island city, which he then defeated. He made the site of the mainland city bare as the top of a rock, as the Bible had predicted. The debris of the city was thrown into the water, as Ezekiel had foretold.

A map of ancient Tyre showing the causeway Alexander the Great built from the mainland to the island city.[176]

The land bridge is used even to this day for fishing, and fishermen spread their nets out to dry over the rocks of old Tyre. (It should be noted that the Old Testament book of Chronicles contains citations from or allusions to Ezekiel,[177] yet Chronicles was written before the time that Alexander the Great conquered the island city of Tyre,[178] providing yet another evidence that the prophecy could not have been forged after the fact.)

An inscription at the city of Tyre containing the names of nine Greek generals who accompanied Alexander the Great when he destroyed the city about 333 B. C.[179]

Fishermen spreading their nets on the land bridge formed from the mainland city of Tyre in connection with Alexander the Great’s conquest.[180]

After being sacked by Alexander the Great, Tyre’s mainland managed to recover somewhat, but was again reduced by Antigonus in 314 B. C. Over time, the city was contested by the Babylonians, Syrians, Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Persians, Armenians, and others—truly “many nations” fought over it. In A. D. 638 the Arabs wrested Tyre from the control of the Roman empire and the city fell into decline. In A. D. 1124 the Crusaders conquered it. Finally, in A. D. 1291 the Mameluke Muslims took it and reduced it to ashes. It was the policy of these invaders to make their destruction so severe that Crusaders would not be tempted to ever reoccupy it.[181] After that time, the former capital of the great Phoenician empire was never built up again—the final “wave” of Ezekiel’s predicted “many nations” brought the city to its final end:

[T]he island city . . . sank below the surface of the Mediterranean, in the same subsidence that submerged the port of Caesarea that Herod had built up with such expense and care. All that remains of it is a series of black reefs offshore . . . which surely could not have been there in the first and second millennia B.C., since they pose such a threat to navigation. The promontory that now juts out from the coastline probably was washed up along the barrier of Alexander’s causeway, but the island itself broke off and sank away when the subsidence took place; and we have no evidence at all that it ever was built up again after Alexander’s terrible act of vengeance. In the light of these data, then, the predictions of chapter 26, improbable though they must have seemed in Ezekiel’s time, were duly fulfilled to the letter.[182]

Ezekiel’s predictions concerning Tyre were very specific and exactly accurate. Some were fulfilled hundreds of years after the book of Ezekiel was written, and the final portions of the prophecy took place in A. D. 1291, approximately 2,000 years after Ezekiel was written by the inspiration of God. No naturalistic explanation for these facts is intellectually credible—Ezekiel could predict specific events centuries and even millennia in advance because he was a true prophet of the living God who has given the Bible to humankind.

Likewise writing during Israel’s exile, the book of Daniel contains well over one hundred astonishingly specific predictive prophecies validating the Bible as the Word of God. Daniel’s authorship of the book bearing his name is confirmed by overwhelming archaeological, historical, and literary evidence. The reader is highly recommended to download a free copy of The Book of Daniel: Proof that the Bible is the Word of the Living God and examine the evidence[183] or purchase a physical copy or one for Kindle at a retailer such as Amazon.com. The powerful evidence from Daniel will not be repeated in this study.

The Old Testament also contains prophecies about Jesus Christ recorded many hundreds of years before the time of their fulfillment. The mathematician Peter Stoner, in his book Science Speaks, in conjunction with research from over 600 of his students, calculated the probability of just eight Messianic prophecies being fulfilled:

  1. Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
  2. Messiah will be preceded by a messenger (Malachi 3:1).
  3. Messiah will come to Jerusalem riding on a colt (Zechariah 9:9).
  4. Messiah will be betrayed by a friend (Zechariah 13:6).
  5. Messiah will be betrayed for thirty silver pieces (Zechariah 11:2).
  6. Messiah’s betrayer will try to return the thirty silver pieces but they will be refused. The betrayer will then throw them on the floor of the temple (Zechariah 11:13).
  7. Messiah will not speak in His own defense (Isaiah 53:7).
  8. Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced (Psalm 22:16).27

Stoner and his students found that in considering these eight prophecies, the odds that they would be fulfilled by any man who has lived between the writing of the prophecies and today is 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000 (or 100 quadrillion, expressed as 1 x 1017). Professor Stoner employed the following illustration Put Texas pic in?:

Suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar and say that this is the right one. What chance would he have of getting the right one? Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man, from their day to the present time, providing they wrote using their own wisdom.29

Stoner then calculated the odds of fulfilling forty-eight prophecies. Assuming the forty additional prophecies have similar odds as the first set of prophecies, the chances that any one man would fulfill all forty-eight is 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 (or 10157). Stoner tried to convey this staggering number in this way:

Let us make a solid ball of electrons, extending in all directions from the earth to the distance of six billion light-years. Have we used up our 10157 electrons? No, we have made such a small hole in the mass that we cannot see it. We can make this solid ball of electrons, extending in all directions to the distance of six billion light-years 6 × 1028 times.30

As incredibly large as this number is, it must be remembered that there are over 100 major messianic prophecies. If the odds of 48 prophecies being fulfilled are statistically close to zero, how much greater are the odds of over 100 prophecies? The improbability is overwhelming.[184] Consider the representative list below of over 100 Messianic prophecies fulfilled by Jesus Christ

The fact is that Jesus Christ is predicted all over the Old Testament in incredibly specific detail. Such facts indubitably validate the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God.

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[1]           James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 40. However, there is a probable, although not certain, reference to an area of the Negev named after Abraham in the topographical list of Shoshenq I (Sishak) of Egypt in 925 B. C. See Kenneth. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006) 313–314.

[2]           James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 34-35.

[3]           Gleason Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 220–221.

[4]           Kenneth. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006) 341-342; James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 42.

[5]           Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 639.

[6]           Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 50–51; “Sodom and Gomorrah Update.” Bible and Spade 6 (1977): 25-30.

[7]           D. James Kennedy, “Archaeology And The Bible.” Bible and Spade 24 (2011): 34.

[8]           Wood, Bryant G. “Locating Sodom: A Critique of the Northern Proposal.” Bible and Spade 20 (2007): 80.

[9]           R. N. Whybray, The Making of the Pentateuch: A Methodological Study, vol. 53, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1994), 129–131.

[10]         See Gleason Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 89-187 for a comprehensive and devastating critique of the JEDP/Documentary Hypothesis; cf. Umberto Cassuto, The Documentary Hypothesis and the Composition of the Pentateuch (Jerusalem: Shalem Press, 2006) for a devastating critique from a professor of Biblical studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

[11]         Joseph is not mentioned by name in any currently extant contemporary extrabiblical record, but that period “is not well documented in Egyptian history. In fact some kings of this period are not even known from contemporary sources[.]” (James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible [Oxford: Lion Books, 2008] 46). If even some of the kings are not mentioned in currently extant contemporary Egyptian documents, it is clearly unreasonable to expect that the names of the officials of these kings would be preserved. Thus, the current absence of any mention of Joseph’s name does not in any way undermine the historicity of the Genesis narrative.

[12]          Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 636.

[13]          Charles F. Aling, “The Historicity Of The Joseph Story.” Bible and Spade 9 (1996): 19.

[14]          Geoffrey W Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 1127.

[15]          Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 636.

[16]          Geoffrey W Bromiley, ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 1127.

[17]          Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 344–345.

[18]          Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 639.

[19]         Note the discussion in James K. Hoffmeier, Israel In Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 84-87. See also Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 35, 44-45, for the presence of identical Hebrew in the Joseph dream narrative and in the inscription Wadi el-Hol 1, which dates to the time of Joseph. The inscription may also provide inscriptional support for the record in Genesis of the Egyptians’ sale of their lands and bodies to Pharaoh in Joseph’s day (Genesis 47:20-26). See further Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 64.

[20]          K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 467. Italics reproduced from the original.

[21]          James A. Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Wilderness Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996) 87-88.

[22]         See James K. Hoffmeier, Israel In Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 88-89 & Figure 4.

[23]         James K. Hoffmeier, Israel In Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 91-93.

[24]          Joseph A. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2008) 47-48.

[25]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 65-74.

[26]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016) 71-74 & George Gerster, Sinai: Land der Offenbarung (Berlin: Darmstadt, 1961) 65.

[27]         The positive tenor of Egyptian Middle Kingdom Hebrew inscriptions, in which Joseph’s wife receives mention, and the negative tenor of the New Kingdom Hebrew inscriptions, in which Moses and Ahisamach are mentioned, corresponds with the Biblical description of Israel’s prosperity under Joseph and oppression in the days of Moses (Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script [Jerusalem: Carta, 2016] 196-199).

[28]          James K. Hoffmeier, Israel In Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 95.

[29]         Charles F. Aling, “The Historicity Of The Joseph Story.” Bible and Spade 9 (1996): 21.

[30]          See Julius Wellhausen, Die Composition des Hexateuchs und der historischen Bücher des Alten Testaments, 3rd ed., 1899 (reprint: Berlin 1963) 52, cited in Friedemann W. Golka, The Leopard’s Spots: Biblical and African Wisdom in Proverbs (New York: T&T Clark, 2004), 123–125.

[31]          James K. Hoffmeier, Israel In Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 80. Compare William D. Ramey, The Joseph Narrative (Winter 1988), 527. Elec. acc. http://www.inthebeginning.org/oldtestament/JosedphNarrativePDF.pdf.

[32]          James K. Hoffmeier, Israel In Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press) 83.

[33]          Thomas V. Brisco, Holman Bible Atlas, Holman Reference (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 61–62; cf. James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2008) 51.

[34]         While “[e]vidence abounds that the Hebrews and Habiru are related” (Matthew Akers, “What’s In A Name? An Examination Of The Usage Of The Term ‘Hebrew’ In The Old Testament.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 55 [2012]: 687), not all of the references to the Habiru strictly designate the children of Israel, even as in the Bible the term is not specifically restricted to the sons of Jacob but is employed for the broader grouping of the descendants of Eber (Genesis 10). That is: “All Israelites were probably Hebrews . . . [or] Habiru . . . to their neighbors, but all Hebrews were not Israelites” (F. F. Bruce, ed., New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology. Accordance electronic edition, version 1.5. [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983], “Amarna Letters.”). See also Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 74.

[35]          James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2008) 51.

[36]          Philip Graham Ryken and R. Kent Hughes, Exodus (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 2005), 151–152. Consider also that mudbricks were the standard construction material in the Nile Delta, but stones were not, while stone was the material of choice centuries later in Canaan and would have been the natural choice had the narrative been a fictional one invented centuries after the fact. What is more, straw was not typically used to make mudbricks in Canaan, while it was in Egypt (cf. Hershel Shanks, ed., Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple [Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011] 41). Furthermore, Sinai 349 & 357 may provide ancient inscriptional evidence for Pharaoh’s decree concerning the murder of male Hebrew children (Exodus 1-2); see Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 101-117, 140-153.

[37]          William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006), 236–237. Such statements by Dr. Dever are especially noteworthy since he is a non-Christian scholar “who has often described himself as agnostic at best” (http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=124&article=3814/).   He has even been “on a “well-known campaign against . . . [using] archaeology [as proof for the Bible] for more than thirty years” (John Day, ed., In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar [London: T & T Clark, 2014], 70). Note, however, that Dr. Dever makes various qualifications to his statement quoted above in the context of pgs. 236-237. Radical skeptics are, of course, still unwilling to acknowledge that the one true God miraculously delivered Israel in the manner described in the Pentateuch.

[38]          Hershel Shanks, ed., Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple (Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011) 56-57.

[39]          Sinai 361 (Cairo Museum); see Romain F. Butin, “The Protosinaitic Inscriptions,” Harvard Theological Review 25:2 (1932) plate 19.

[40]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 169; cf. 158-172.

[41]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 169-172.

[42]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 193.

[43]          HSM 1935.4.7 or Sinai 375A (Harvard Semitic Museum). See Christopher Woods, ed., Visible Language: Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond (Chicago, IL: Oriental Institute Museum Publications, 2015) 196 & Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 172-182.

Sinai 361 (Cairo Museum); see Romain F. Butin, “The Protosinaitic Inscriptions,” Harvard Theological Review 25:2 (1932) plate 19.

[44]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 181-182.

[45]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 191.

[46]          Hershel Shanks, ed., Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple (Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011) 49.

[47]          Hershel Shanks, ed., Ancient Israel: From Abraham to the Roman Destruction of the Temple (Boston: Prentice Hall, 2011) 331; Alan Gardiner, “The Geography of the Exodus” in Recueil d’études égyptologiques dediées à la mémoire de Jean-François Champollion (Paris: Bibliothèque de l’école des hautes études, 1922) 205.

[48]          James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2008) 62.

[49]          James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2008) 62.

[50]          James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2008) 62.

[51]          K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 290.

[52]          K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 294.

[53]          Meredith G. Kline, Treaty of the Great King: The Covenant Structure of Deuteronomy: Studies and Commentary (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012), 43–44.

[54]         “Suzerain-Vassal Treaties,” Nathan Wright. Elec. acc. http://viceregency.blogspot.com/2009/02/suzerain-vassal-treaty-pictures.html.

[55]          Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider & William H. C. Propp, eds., Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience. (New York: Springer, 2015) 202.

[56]          Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider & William H. C. Propp, eds., Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience. (New York: Springer, 2015) 202.

[57]          K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006), 295. Italics reproduced from the original.

[58]          Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 295, 311–312, 459-460. Italics and capitalization are found in the original.

[59]          Paul D. Wegner, A Student’s Guide to Textual Criticism of the Bible: Its History, Methods & Results (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2006), 140–141.

[60]          Deuteronomy 7:9:

Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

:rwíø;d PRl¶RaVl wDtOwVxIm yñérVmOvVl…w wy¢DbShOaVl dRs#RjAh◊w tyâîrV;bAh rªEmOv N$DmTa‰…n`Ah ‹ lEaDh My¡IhølTaèDh a…wâh ÔKy™RhølTa h¶DOwh◊y_y`I;k $D;tVoåd∞Dy◊w

Numbers 6:24-26:

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:

The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:

The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

:ÔKá®rVmVvˆy◊w h™DOwh◊y ñÔKVk®rDb◊y

:D;K`R…nUjy`Iw ÔKy™RlEa wy¢DnDÚp —hOªDwh◊y r°EaÎy

:MwáølDv äÔKVl M¶EcÎy◊w ÔKy$RlEa ‹wyÎnDÚp —h§ODwh◊y a°DÚcˆy

[61]          Elias Brasil de Souza, “The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls: A Suggestive Reading of Text and Artifact,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 49 (2004): 27.

[62]          Elias Brasil de Souza, “The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls: A Suggestive Reading of Text and Artifact,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 49 (2004): 27.

[63]          Elias Brasil de Souza, “The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls: A Suggestive Reading of Text and Artifact,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 49 (2004): 28.

[64]          Elias Brasil de Souza, “The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls: A Suggestive Reading of Text and Artifact,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 49 (2004): 30.

[65]          Elias Brasil de Souza, “The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls: A Suggestive Reading of Text and Artifact,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 49 (2004): 34.

[66]          Elias Brasil de Souza, “The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls: A Suggestive Reading of Text and Artifact,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 49 (2004): 28–30.

[67]          Scroll #2, with drawing and transliteration of ll. 5–12 according to G. Barkay, “The Priestly Benediction on the Ketef Hinnom Plaques,” Cathedra 52 (1989) 37–76 (Heb.), cited from Emmanuel Tov, Textual Criticism of the Hebrew Bible, 3rd ed. (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012) 383; David Lang, The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Paleo-Hebrew Inscriptions.”

[68]          http://www.tertullian.org/rpeares/manuscripts/greek_classics.htm#Herodotus/.

[69]          Herodotus, Herodotus, with an English Translation by A. D. Godley, ed. A. D. Godley (Medford, MA: Harvard University Press, 1920), 1:1:0.

[70]          R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969), 501.

[71]         For example, Dr. K. A. Kitchen (Professor Emeritus of Egyptology and Honorary Research Fellow of the School of Archaeology, Classics, and Oriental Studies at the University of Liverpool, England) notes:

[O]n the basis of real, genuinely ancient, firsthand documentation from the third to late first millennia b.c. we must [note that] . . . the literary profile of Gen. 1–11 basically identical with the profiles of comparable Mesopotamian literature relating to creation, flood-catastrophe, and long “linkup” human successions—and, as a search of the ancient literatures shows, as a topos in vogue creatively only in the early second millennium b.c. (and earlie[r]), not later[.] . . . [M]ain features in the much-maligned patriarchal narratives fit so well (and often, exclusively) into the framework supplied by the independent, objective data of the early second millennium[.] (E.g., details in Gen. 14; Elamite activity in the west, uniquely then; basic slave price of twenty shekels for Joseph; etc.) This . . . comes straight from a huge matrix of field-produced data. . . [T]he human and other phenomena at the exodus show clearly Egyptian traits (not Palestinian, not Neo-Babylonian . . . of the thirteenth century . . . AND NOT LATER. . . . Tabernacle-type worship structures are known in the Semitic world (Mari, Ugarit, Timna) specifically for the nineteenth to twelfth centuries; the Sinai tabernacle is based directly on Egyptian technology of the thirtieth to thirteenth centuries (with the concept extending into the eleventh). The Sinai/plains of Moab covenant (much of Exodus-Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Josh. 24) is squarely tied in format and content exclusively to the massively documented format of the fourteenth–thirteenth centuries . . . after which the formats were wholly different; we have over ninety original exemplars that settle the matter decisively[.] . . .

In short, to explain what exists in our Hebrew documents we need a Hebrew leader who had had experience of life at the Egyptian court, mainly in the East Delta . . . including knowledge of treaty-type documents and their format, as well as of traditional Semitic legal/social usage more familiar to his own folk. In other words, somebody distressingly like that old “hero” of biblical tradition, Moses, is badly needed at this point, to make any sense of the situation as we have it. Or somebody in his position of the same or another name. On the basis of the series of features in Exodus to Deuteronomy that belong to the late second millennium and not later, there is, again, no other viable option. (K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament [Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006], 459–460, 295)

[72]          Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 194, 199.

[73]          Gleason Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 97.

[74]          George Buchanan Gray, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on Numbers, International Critical Commentary (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1903), 71.

[75]          Gleason Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 98.

[76]          Note that the eagle was the symbol of the Roman legions that marched against and conquered Jerusalem in A. D. 70, as it was the emblem of Roman legions in general. See Josephus, The Wars of the Jews 3:6:2 & 5:2:1.

[77]          Gleason Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 566.

[78]          Eugene H. Merrill, Deuteronomy, vol. 4, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 362.

[79]          See Lewis Bayles Paton, “The Case For the Post-Exilic Origin of Deuteronomy,” Journal of Biblical Literature 47 (1928) 322-357 for a history of this view. Although written from an anti-inerrancy perspective, the article concludes: “[T]he advocates of the post-exilic date of Deuteronomy . . . fail to produce any convincing evidence of its origin in the fifth century . . . Deuteronomy . . . is not post-exilic” (ibid, 357).

[80]          An attempt to refer Deuteronomy 28 and related Pentateuchal predictions to merely the Assyrian invasion of Israel fail for a number of reasons: 1.) The entire Jewish nation was never deported—Assyria’s attempts to take Jerusalem were repulsed when God destroyed a massive invading Assyrian army (2 Kings 18) in an astonishing blessing upon His people, and all twelve tribes continued to be represented in Canaan. 2.) Deuteronomy also plainly predicts a restoration from exile (Deuteronomy 30), but the portion of the nation taken away by Assyria never returned (unlike after the Babylonian captivity and unlike the current process of return from the Roman captivity that began with the restoration of Israel as a nation in A. D. 1948). 3.) Those deported by the Assyrians did not remain a separate people, but were assimilated into the pagan nations. 4.) They were not brought by the Assyrians in ships into Egypt to be sold as slaves while the Egyptians refused to buy them.

[81]          R. F. Youngblood, “Amarna Tablets,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 108.

[82]          The other two cities are Jericho and Ai, and in each case the archaeological record is consistent with the Biblical narrative. In relation to Jericho, the original excavator of the city, John Garstang, “found something so startling that he and two other members of the team prepared and signed a statement describing what was found.” Garstang relates:

As to the main fact, then, there remains no doubt: the walls fell outwards so completely that the attackers would be able to clamber up and over their ruins into the city. Why so unusual? Because the walls of cities do not fall outwards, they fall inwards. And yet in Joshua 6:20 we read, “The wall fell down flat. Then the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.” The walls were made to fall outward.

Similarly, Bryant Wood noted strong corroboration between the archaeological evidence and the Biblical narrative concerning Jericho:

  1. The city was strongly fortified (Josh. 2:5, 7, 15; 6:5, 20).
  2. The attack occurred just after harvest time in the spring (Josh. 2:1; 3:15; 5:16).
  3. The inhabitants had no opportunity to flee with their foodstuffs (Josh. 6:1).
  4. The siege was short (Josh. 6:15).
  5. The walls were leveled, possibly by an earthquake (Josh. 6:20).
  6. The city was not plundered (Josh. 6:17, 18).
  7. The city was burned (Josh. 6:24) (See Josh McDowell, Evidence for Christianity [Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2006], 136–137 for Garstang & Wood).

It should be noted that skeptics sometimes demand, before they are willing to believe that the Biblical narratives are accurate, that many cities that neither Joshua nor Judges state were destroyed should manifest archaeological evidence of destruction at the hands of Israel. However, the Bible specifically indicates that Israel was commanded to inhabit the cities and houses of Canaan, not burn them all to the ground (Deuteronomy 6:10-11; 19:1), and Israel obeyed this command (Joshua 24:13). It is neither Biblically required nor rationally reasonable to think that the Israelites would destroy and burn to the ground all the towns that they conquered when they could instead, in accordance with God’s command, live in “houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not” (6:11).

For further sources, note “Uncovering the Truth at Jericho,” Brian Wood, Bible and Spade (1987) 6-16; “The Walls of Jericho,” Brian Wood, Bible and Spade 12:2 (Spring 1999) 35-42; “Jericho: Does the Evidence Disprove or Prove the Bible?” Scott Ashley & Jerold Aust, Bible and Spade 16:2 (Spring 2003) 54-57; The Foundations of Bible History: Joshua, Judges John Garstang (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1978 [repr. ed.]); “From Israel ‘“Ai’ Ain’t Ai!’” Raymond Cox, Bible and Spade 2:3 (Summer 1973) 83-89; “Where is Bethel and Ai?” David Livingstone, Bible and Spade 1:1 (Winter 1988) 24-34.

[83]          Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, parag. 128 of 1625.

[84]          Cambria Jones, “Contested Conflagration: Joshua And The Conquest Of Hazor.” Bible and Spade 24 (2011) 79-80; cf. Kenneth A. Kitchen, “Hazor and Egypt: An Egyptological & Ancient Near-Eastern Perspective,” Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament 16:2 (2002) 312.

[85]          For the text of the stela, see James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. with Supplement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969) 376-378.

[86]          Davis, John J. New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology (Accordance electronic edition, version 1.5. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), “Israel Stele.”

[87]          Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider & William H. C. Propp, eds., Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience. (New York: Springer, 2015) 203.

[88]          William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2006), 206.

[89]          Picture from Billington, Clyde E. “The Curious History Of The “Editor” In Biblical Criticism: A Review Of The Edited Bible, By John Van Seters (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2006).” Bible and Spade 22 (2009) 115.

ca circa, about

[90]          C. F. Pfeiffer, “Israel, History of the People of,” ed. Geoffrey W Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 911.

[91]          William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006), 206.

[92]          Lawson G. Stone, “Early Israel and Its Appearance in Canaan,” in Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources, ed. Bill T. Arnold and Richard S. Hess (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 143; cf. e. g., Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan and Israel in Ancient Times (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992) 272–273.

[93]          Lawson G. Stone, “Early Israel and Its Appearance in Canaan,” in Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources, ed. Bill T. Arnold and Richard S. Hess (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 142–143. See also Peter van der Veen, Christoffer Theis, & Manfred Görg, “Israel in Canaan (Long) Before Pharaoh Merneptah? A Fresh Look at Berlin Statue Pedestal Relief 21687,” Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 2:4 (2010) 15-25.

[94]          William G. Dever, Who Were the Early Israelites and Where Did They Come From? (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2006), 157–158.

[95]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Israelite Four Room House” & Robert D. Miller II, “The Judges and the Early Iron Age,” in Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources, ed. Bill T. Arnold and Richard S. Hess (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014) 183.

[96]          “From Israel: The Earliest Known Hebrew Writing,” Bible and Spade 7:1 (Winter 1978) 27.

[97]          S. Segert, “Writing,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 1147.

[98]         H. W. Perkin and G. A. Lee, “Gezer Calendar,” ed. Geoffrey W Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 460.

[99]          Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “The Gezer Inscription.”

[100]         John Day, ed., In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar (London: T & T Clark, 2014), 84.

[101]         Angel Sáenz-Badillos, A History of the Hebrew Language, trans. John Elwolde. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), 52.

[102]         Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 6. It should be noted that Dr. Petrovich’s work is, as of the time of this publication, very recently published, so a detailed process of peer-review for his work among similarly competent scholars has not yet taken place. Nevertheless, his cumulative case appears to be very strong.

[103]         Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 28.

[104]         Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 28.

[105]         See the discussion in Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 15-29. The picture’s copyright is held by the Egyptian Exploration Society.

[106]         Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 35. Sinai 337 is mainly middle Egyptian, not Hebrew; Sinai 115 is entirely in Hebrew.

[107]         Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 29ff.

[108]         Douglas Petrovich, The World’s Oldest Alphabet: Hebrew as the Language of the Proto-Consonantal Script (Jerusalem: Carta, 2016), 191-192.

[109]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 84-85.

[110]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Assyrian Slingers.” Note that Goliath’s height, as recorded in the Bible, was very great, but he was shorter than two people mentioned by the Roman historian Pliny, as well as shorter than a Jew mentioned by the Jewish historian Josephus; see Pliny the Elder, The Natural History, ed. John Bostock (Medford, MA: Taylor and Francis, Red Lion Court, Fleet Street, 1855), 7:16f.; Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987) 18:5. Furthermore, the “Egyptian letter on Papyrus Anastasi I (thirteenth century B. C.) describes fierce warriors in Canaan who are seven to nine feet tall. Additionally, two female skeletons about seven feet tall from the twelfth century have been found at Tell es-Sa’ideyeh in Transjordan” (Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. [Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000], 1 Samuel 17:4). In more recent history, John Middleton (c. AD 1600) was reported to have been nine feet three inches tall; he is buried near Liverpool, England. In modern times, Goliath’s height is paralleled by reports concerning Robert Pershing Wadlow, who was eight feet eleven inches tall at the time of his death on July 15, 1940 (See Youngblood, Ronald F., 1 and 2 Samuel. Expositor’s Bible Commentary 3., ed. Frank E. Gaebelein & J. D. Douglas [Accordance electronic edition, version 2.1. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992], 1 Samuel 17:4 & David Tsumura, The First Book of Samuel, The New International Commentary on the Old Testament [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007], 441). Furthermore, the Biblical text does not state whether Goliath’s height was of him in armor and headgear or without it. There is no solid reason whatsoever to discount the accuracy of the Biblical narrative.

[111]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 84-85.

[112]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 85.

[113]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Philistine Inscriptions” & S. Thomas Parker, “Royal Temple Inscription Found at Philistine Ekron,” Biblical Archaeologist: Volume 59 1-4 (Philadelphia: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2001), 181. Note that “Achish” was not the name of only one Philistine ruler, but was “a dynastic name/title that goes at least as far back as David’s time” (Ronald Youngblood, “Review of 100 Years of American Archaeology in the Middle East: Proceedings of the American Schools of Oriental Research Centennial Celebration, Washington, DC, April 2000 Edited by Douglas R. Clark and Victor H. Matthews,” The Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin 50 [2005]: 70), and the Philistine inscription under discussion refers to a later “Achish” than the one to whom David fled.

[114]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Tel Dan Inscription.” The words “house of David” have been highlighted in white.

[115]         Cf. “The Tel Dan Stela and the Kings of Aram and Israel,” Bryant G. Wood, Bible and Spade 13:2 (2000) 59-65.

[116]         Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B. C. E. (Leiden: Brill, 2004) 132. See the comprehensive discussion on 110-132.

[117]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Mesha Stele.”

[118]         See Northwest Semitic Inscriptions, English Translation, William M. Schniedewind (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2005) for a translation of the Moabite Stone. An older translation is found in William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, Context of Scripture (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000), 137-138; note the comment on the reference to the “house of David” in James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 88.

[119]        See the detailed discussion in Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B. C. E. (Leiden: Brill, 2004) 265-277.

[120]         Maier, Paul L. “Archaeology — Biblical Ally or Adversary?” Bible and Spade 17 (2004): 91.

[121]        Bryant G. Wood, “The Tel Dan Stela and the Kings of Aram and Israel.” Bible and Spade 13 (2000): 59.

[122]         Wood, Bryant G. “David Rohl’s Revised Egyptian Chronology: A View From Palestine.” Bible and Spade 14 (2001): 78.

[123]         Lang, David, The Accordance Bible Lands PhotoGuide (Accordance electronic edition, version 3.8. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2008), “Hazor.”

[124]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Lands PhotoGuide (Accordance electronic edition, version 3.8. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2008), “Dan.”

[125]         Maier, Paul L., “Archaeology — Biblical Ally or Adversary?.” Bible and Spade 17 (2004) 90.

[126]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 102.

[127]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Neo-Assyrian Empire.”

[128]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 103-104. Jehu is called “of the house of Omri” because: “[Although] Jehu was not literally Omri’s son[,] many times the Assyrians referred to countries by the name of the founder of the ruling dynasty at the time of their first acquaintance with it, regardless of which dynasty was currently in power” (Roger C. Young, “Evidence for Inerrancy from an Unexpected Source: OT Chronology 1.” Bible and Spade 21 [2008] 59).

[129]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Neo-Assyrian Empire.”

[130]         See Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B. C. E. (Leiden: Brill, 2004) 133-139.

[131]         Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B. C. E. (Leiden: Brill, 2004) 65, 207-210.

[132]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Lions.”

[133]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Late Assyrian Empire.”

[134]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 104-106.

[135]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum (Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Paleo-Hebrew Inscriptions.”

[136]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 108.

[137]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Hezekiah of Judah.”

[138]        See also Sirach 48:17 in the Apocrypha.

[139]        James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 104-106.

[140]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Hezekiah of Judah.”

[141]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Hezekiah of Judah.”

[142]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible (Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 108.

[143]         H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Isaiah, vol. 2, The Pulpit Commentary (London: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1910), 2.

[144]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic edition, version 2.0. Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013, “Late Assyrian Empire.”

[145]         James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament , 3rd ed. with Supplement. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 288.

[146]         Paul L. Maier, Paul L. “Archaeology — Biblical Ally or Adversary?” Bible and Spade 17 (2004) 92. Image by David Stork from Wikimedia.

[147]         Daniel David Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, vol. II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1927) 200-201 (sec. 501-502); cf. Joseph Free, Archaeology and Bible History, rev. & exp. Howard F. Vos (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992) 180.

[148]        See E. W. Hengstenberg, Dissertations on the Genuineness of the Pentateuch I, trans. J. E. Ryland (John D. Lowe: Edinburgh: 1847) 107-212 for an extremely detailed evaluation of Pentateuchal quotations and allusions in Biblical books that predate the time allowed for them in the JEDP theory. Thus, for example, in the Book of Hosea, written c. 750 B. C., “There is no passage in the book that does not have the Mosaic scripture as its basis” (Douglas Stuart, “The Old Testament Prophets’ Self Understanding of Their Prophecy,” Themelios 6:1 [1980] 11). Cf. also Mark E. Rooker, “The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Hosea,” Criswell Theological Review 7:1 (1993) 51-66.

[149]         Joseph Free, Archaeology and Bible History, rev. & exp. Howard F. Vos (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992) 186.

[150]         Ira M. Price, The Monuments and the Old Testament: Evidence from Ancient Records (Chicago, IL: Christian Culture Press, 1900), 221. Note that the records had actually been buried less than 3,200 years earlier—Nabonidus’s chronology is off, although the records were indubitably ancient.

[151]         Elec. acc. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5e/Naram-Sin_inscription_AO6782_stitched.jpg.

[152]         Joseph Free, Archaeology and Bible History, rev. & exp. Howard F. Vos (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992) 186.

[153]         Larry G. Herr, “The Iron Age II Period: Emerging Nations,” Biblical Archaeologist: Volume 60:1-4 (Philadelphia: American Schools of Oriental Research, 2001), 159. Commenting on the authenticity of this testimony to the Biblical Baruch, the non-Christian, agnostic archaeologist William Dever notes:

We now have at least 65 other late Iron Age bullae, however, some from well-controlled archaeological contexts, like those from Jerusalem and Lachish. It would be almost impossible for a modern forger to duplicate bullae like these, not only because there is no way that a forger could know the authentic early scripts that well, not to mention “inventing” nonbiblical personal names that are precisely of biblical type, but because of technological difficulties. Where would a modern forger get the right kind of papyrus to make the papyrus impressions that are clearly visible on the backs of the bullae? (William G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It? What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel [Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002], 208)

[154]         Ermal C. Allen, “Jerusalem Fell in 587 Not 586 BC.” Bible and Spade 18 (2005): 28.

[155]         Laurie E. Pearce, “Babylon,” ed. Mark Allan Powell, The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated) (New York: HarperCollins, 2011), 76.

[156]         Allen, C. Ermal, “Jerusalem Fell in 587 Not 586 BC.” Bible and Spade 18 (2005) 26.

[157]         Peter Van der Veen, “Sixth-Century Issues: The Fall of Jerusalem, the Exile, and the Return,” in Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources, ed. Bill T. Arnold and Richard S. Hess (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2014), 391–392, citing Oded Lipschits, “Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple 586–539 B.C.,” Transeu 22 (2001): 132.

[158]         James K. Hoffmeier, The Archaeology of the Bible Oxford: Lion Books, 2015) 115.

[159]        For a scholarly analysis and justification of Isaiah’s authorship of the book bearing his name in the Old Testament, see Gleason Archer Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, 3rd. ed. (Chicago: Moody Press, 1994), 361-390.

[160]         Grogan, Geoffrey W., Isaiah, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein & J. D. Douglas, vol. 6 of Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Accordance electronic ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986), on Isaiah 44:24ff.

[161]         John Gill notes:

[This text is] very remarkably true of the gates of the palace of the king of Babylon, when the army of Cyrus by a stratagem had got into the city, and were come up to the king’s palace, they found the gates shut; but a clamour and noise being made, the king ordered to see what was the matter; the gates being opened for that purpose, the soldiers of Cyrus rushed in to the king, and slew him; but, what is more remarkable, the gates of brass, which shut up the descents from the keys to the river, were left open that night Babylon was taken, whilst the inhabitants were feasting and revelling; which, had they been shut, would have defeated the enterprise of Cyrus; but God in his providence ordered it to be so. (John Gill, An Exposition of the Old Testament, vol. 5, The Baptist Commentary Series [London: Mathews and Leigh, 1810], 261; see Herodotus and Thucydides, The History of Herodotus and The History of the Peloponnesian War, ed. Mortimer J. Adler and Philip W. Goetz, Second Edition., vol. 5, Great Books of the Western World [Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 1990], 43 & Xenophon, Xenophon in Seven Volumes, 5 and 6, trans. Walter Miller [Medford, MA: Harvard University Press, 1914] 7:2)

[162]         Flavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987), Antiquities 11:1-3. Josephus records the text of Cyrus’s decree in the following section of his history.

[163]         Lang, David. The Accordance Bible Times PhotoMuseum. Accordance electronic ed., version 2.0. (Altamonte Springs: OakTree Software, 2013), “Mesopotamian Inscriptions.”

[164]         James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament , 3rd ed. with Supplement. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 316.

[165]         Mike Mitchell, “Cyrus,” ed. Chad Brand et al., Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003), 378.

[166]         Benjamin Reno Downer, “The Added Years of Hezekiah’s Life: An Inquiry into the Significance of This Period for Isaiah Criticism,” Bibliotheca Sacra 80:319 (1923) 363.

[167]              H. L. Ellison, “Ezekiel, Book of,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 354.

[168]        E. g., the specific prediction about Tyre examined below is recognized by leading anti-inspiration and theological skeptic S. R. Driver as dating to 586 B. C. without any question (An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament [New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914] 287).

[169]         S. R. Driver, An Introduction to the Literature of the Old Testament. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1914) 279.

[170]         R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969) 824.

[171]         George Buchannan Gray, A Critical Introduction to the Old Testament (London: Duckworth, 1913) 198.

[172]         R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969) 831.

[173]         Lamar Eugene Cooper, Ezekiel, vol. 17, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994) 30–37.

[174]         R. K. Harrison, Introduction to the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1969) 849.

[175]         Paul Ferguson, “Ezekiel 26:1–14 A Proof text for Inerrancy or Fallibility of the Old Testament?” Bible and Spade 19 (2006) 52.

[176]         Michael G. Hasel, “Was the Prophecy against Tyre Actually Fulfilled?,” in Interpreting Scripture: Bible Questions and Answers, ed. Gerhard Pfandl, vol. 2, Biblical Research Institute Studies (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 2010), 236.

[177]         Gary N. Knoppers, I Chronicles 1–9: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, vol. 12, Anchor Yale Bible (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008), 68.

[178]        See the discussion in Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, vol. 3 (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996), 383-387. The lack of evidence for Greek influence or terminology in the Hebrew of Chronicles supports a date before the time of Alexander the Great and the fall of the Persian empire (cf. Ralph W. Klein, 1 Chronicles: A Commentary, ed. Thomas Krüger, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible [Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2006], 16.)

[179]         Ronald F. Youngblood, F. F. Bruce, and R. K. Harrison, Thomas Nelson Publishers, eds., Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1995).

[180]         Jesse Lyman Hurlbut, Traveling in the Holy Land through the Stereoscope: A Tour Personally Conducted by Jesse Lyman Hurlbut. (Ottawa, KN: Underwood & Underwood, 1900), 166–167.

[181]         Paul Ferguson, “Ezekiel 26:1–14 A Proof text for Inerrancy or Fallibility of the Old Testament?” Bible and Spade 19 (2006) 55.

[182]         Gleason L. Archer, New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Zondervan’s Understand the Bible Reference Series (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982), 277.

[183]         Elec. acc. http://faithsaves.net/Daniel/.

27          Peter Stoner, Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969), 101–105.

29          Ibid., 106–107.

30          Ibid., 111.

[184]         Doug Powell, Holman QuickSource Guide to Christian Apologetics (Nashville, TN: Holman Reference, 2006), 252–255.

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