For centuries, people have attacked the Bible and attempted to discredit it. Historians and archeologists have determined that it is a collection of myths and legends. The Bible has been compared with other historical and religious documents, like Homer’s writings, Hindu’s Vedas, and Taoism’s Tao Te Ching. In their opinion, the content might be helpful in a spiritual/personal sense, but the historicity of the Bible is flawed and errant.
What does the evidence tell us? Well, what we see from archeological finds in the Middle East is the historical accuracy of the Bible. What archaeology has done in the past 100 years is verify the history contained in the Bible. In this blog, I would like to highlight some of the more famous historical finds. I hope this strengthens your faith and helps you place more trust in the book that defines our faith.
Few biblical archaeology discoveries have attracted as much attention as the Tel Dan Stela—the ninth-century BC inscription that furnished the first historical evidence outside the Bible of King David. This in-depth chapter describes the historical moment when an excavation assistant stumbled upon the stela bearing the inscription in a newly excavated wall.
Abraham’s Genealogy Found in Mari
Abraham’s story begins with him and his family living in the Mesopotamian city of Ur, where he begins his journey to Canaan. In the second half of Genesis 11, we have a detailed account of Abraham’s family tree mentioning dozens of names. During excavations at Mari, an ancient city on the Euphrates in present-day Syria, an impressive royal palace was discovered that yielded thousands of inscribed tablets that were once part of a proud royal archive.
Modern estimations on Abraham’s chronology fall somewhere between 2000 and 1500 BC: The archive found at Mari was in use from around 2300 to 1760 BC, and the names on these tablets show that the names in Abraham’s genealogy were in use in this area during this time.
The Bible talked about the Assyrian kingdom. For a long time, the presence of Assyria was doubted. The Bible account states that in 701 BC, the Assyrian king Sennacherib invaded Judah. Many cities fell to the invading army, including the southern city of Lachish mentioned in 2 Kings 18:13-17. After a siege, the city was captured by the Assyrians, and several archaeological finds are consistent with this event.
At the site of Lachish, archaeologists have uncovered arrowheads, a siege ramp, a counter-ramp, the crest of a helmet, and a chain used by the defenders against the siege ram. At the site of the ancient Assyrian city of Nineveh (northern Iraq), a relief sculpture depicting the capture of Lachish was retrieved from the palace of Sennacherib and is currently displayed in the British Museum.
These examples are widely accepted. As OT sites are continually being discovered, NT places like the existence of Nazareth and Capernaum, people like Herod the Great, and obscure Bible characters like Erastus and Gallio further credit the biblical writings.
Have a little fun this week and do some searches of your own. Look around at the evidence that confirms over and over the historical reliability of the Bible. We read a truly amazing book!