But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
THE BIBLE AND ARCHAEOLOGY
Archaeology is a science based on the excavation, deciphering and critical evaluation of records of the past. The patient work of archaeologists, with their picks and shovels, has opened volumes of ancient history for us in the ancient Near East.
These excavators have given us graphic accounts of the languages, religions, institutions, and conquests of nations long forgotten -- except as they were mentioned in the Bible. They have found records chiseled in stone, burnt into clay brick tablets and written on papyrus.
Dr. Nelson Glueck, a prominent archaeologist and President of the Hebrew Union College, wrote, “.... no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference.”
He goes on to say, “Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or exact detail historical statements in the Bible.”(1) Bible critics have no more relentless foe than the science of archaeology.
CASE OF THE HITTITES
For example, before the 19th Century, Biblical references to the “Hittites” (an otherwise unknown people) were viewed with critical suspicion. Then in 1906-1907 and 1911-1912 Professor Hugo Winckler of Berlin discovered about 10,000 clay tablets at Boghazkeui.(2)
Boghazkeui was the site of ancient Hattushash, an important Hittite capital. This vast store of clay tablets revealed the Hittites to be a people of extended empire in Asia Minor and Syria, both around 1900 BC and again from about 1400 to 1200 B.C.(3)
Hittite power is also referred to in the “Amarna Letters”, in the correspondence of the Hittite Emperor Subbiluliuma with the Egyptian Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (Akhnaton) about 1375 B.C.(4) Thus archaeology confirmed, as historically accurate, the Biblical mention of the Hittites.
CITIES IN ANCIENT ISRAEL
The Bible often mentions certain towns, with rough geographic markers that were unknown in recent times -- until the archaeologist's spade uncovered them. Excavations at Shiloh, Gibeah, Megiddo, Samaria and other sites have fully confirmed the Biblical mention of them.
Excavations at Jericho went even further. They fully corroborated the Biblical account of the massive walls surrounding Jericho -- and their COLLAPSE during the Hebrew conquest.(5) This miraculous collapse is recorded in the Book of Joshua, chapter 6.
CASE OF MISSING RULERS
Daniel, chapter 5, names Belshazzar as king of Babylon at the time of its conquest by the Medes and Persians. Critics scorned this as inaccurate, since ancient cuneiform records list Nabonidus as the last Babylonian king -- NOT Belshazzar.
Then evidence was uncovered showing that during the last part of his reign, Nabonidus resided in Arabia. It went on to demonstrate that he had left the conduct of his kingdom to his eldest son -- you guessed it -- Belshazzar.(6)
Isaiah 20:1 mentions Sargon, king of Assyria. Prior to the advent of modern archaeology, the name of Sargon did not appear anywhere else. This led Bible critics to question the historical accuracy of Isaiah the Prophet.
The discovery of Sargon's palace at Khorsabad (Dur-Sharrukin or Sargonsburg) in 1843 by Paul Emile Botta changed that perception. So did further explorations of the site in more recent years by the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago.(7)
Archaeology confirms the historical accuracy of the Bible. This article has listed only a few examples.
(1) Henry M. Morris, THE BIBLE HAS THE ANSWER (Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1971) pp. 71-72.
(2) Merrill F. Unger, ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE OLD TESTAMENT (Zondervan Publishing House: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1954) p. 92.
(5) Ibid. pp. 146-148.
(6) Ibid. p. 16.
George Theiss is a combat veteran of Vietnam who now follows Lamb of God. He and his wife, Christy, have been married 42 years (in 2019). They have 8 grown children. You can contact George at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2002 through 2019 by George Theiss