Session 3 – Archeology and the Bible Because the New Testament is well attested from extra Biblical sources of the time, we will focus primarily on claims made in the Old Testament, and how archeology supports them.
AMULET SCROLL In 1979 Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay, working with a group of students from the Institute of Holy Land Studies (now Jerusalem University College), excavated several tombs in Jerusalem on the "Shoulder of Hinnom," In one burial cave a repository for grave goods was found, containing approximately 700 items, including burial gifts of pottery vessels, over 100 pieces of silver jewelry, arrowheads, bone and ivory artifacts, alabaster vessels, 150 beads and a rare, early coin.
Among the silver items was a rolled-up amulet bearing the tetragrammaton, the name of God (the consonantal letters yod, he, waw, he), YHWH. The tomb dates to the end of the Davidic dynasty, approximately the seventh century BC. The silver amulet thus dates to the end of the seventh or early sixth century. The prayer-like inscription containing the divine name provides the oldest extra-biblical evidence for the name of God thus far archaeologically recovered in Jerusalem.
THE HOUSE OF DAVID INSCRIPTION On July 21, 1993, Dr. Avraham Biran, distinguished Israeli archaeologist discovered this stone It reads: 1. [ ... ...] and cut [ ... ] 2. [ ... ] my father went up [against him when] he fought at 3. And my father lay down, he went to his [ancestors]. And the king of I [s-] 4. rael entered previously in my father's land. [And] Hadad made me king. 5. And Hadad went in front of me, [and] I departed from [the] seven [ ...-] 2 Kings 9
6. s of my kingdom, and I slew [seve]nty kin[gs], who harnessed thou[sands of cha-] 7. Riots and thousands of horsemen (or: horses). [I killed Jeho]ram son of [Ahab] 8. king of Israel, and [I] killed [Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin-] 9. g of the House of David. And I set [their towns into ruins and turned] 10. their land into [desolation ... ] 11. other [ ... and Jehu ru-] 12. led over Is[rael ... and I laid ] 13. siege upon [ ... ] 
Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. King Hezekiah of Judah ruled from 721 to 686 BC. Fearing a siege by the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, Hezekiah preserved Jerusalem’s water supply by cutting a tunnel through 1,750 feet of solid rock from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls (2 Kings 20; 2 Chron. 32). At the Siloam end of the tunnel, an inscription, presently in the archaeological museum at Istanbul, Turkey, celebrates this remarkable accomplishment. The tunnel is probably the only biblical site that has not changed its appearance in 2,700 years.
The Moabite Stone. Second Kings 3 reports that Mesha, the king of Moab, rebelled against the king of Israel following the death of Ahab. A three-foot stone slab, also called the Mesha Stele, confirms the revolt by claiming triumph over Ahab’s family, c. 850 BC
Shishak’s Invasion of Judah. First Kings 14 and 2 Chronicles 12 tell of Pharaoh Shishak’s conquest of Judah in the fifth year of the reign of King Rehoboam, the brainless son of Solomon, and how Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem was robbed of its treasures on that occasion. This victory is also commemorated in hieroglyphic wall carvings on the Temple of Amon at Thebes.
The Merneptah Stele. A seven-foot slab engraved with hieroglyphics, also called the Israel Stele, boasts of the Egyptian pharaoh’s conquest of Libyans and peoples in Palestine, including the Israelites: “Israel — his seed is not.” This is the earliest reference to Israel in nonbiblical sources and demonstrates that, as of c. 1230 BC, the Hebrews were already living in the Promised Land.
According to the Bible there was a worldwide flood about 4400 years ago that completely destroyed the world There are over 250 ancient cultures who have flood legends from all around the world! Is there a favored family? 88% Were they forewarned? 66% Is flood due to wickedness of man? 66% Is catastrophe only a flood? 95% Was flood global? 95% Is survival due to a boat? 70% Were animals also saved? 67% Were birds sent out? 35%
What does the Bible say? Exodus 14:5 “And it was told the king of Egypt that the people fled: and the heart of Pharaoh and of his servants was turned against the people, and they said, Why have we done this, that we have let Israel go from serving us?” Exodus 14:3 “For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.”
Exodus 15:23 “And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.” Exodus 15:27 “And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.”
A golden calf alter Exodus 32:1-5 And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Numbers 20:11 “And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”
Exodus 20:25 “And if thou wilt make me an altar of stone, thou shalt not build it of hewn stone: for if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it.” Exodus 19:23 “And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.”
1 Kings 19:8 “And he arose, and did eat and drink, and went in the strength of that meat forty days and forty nights unto Horeb the mount of God.” 1 Kings 19:13 “And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”
Exodus 19:18 “And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.”
The Existence of Hittites. Genesis 23 reports that Abraham buried Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah, which he purchased from Ephron the Hittite. Second Samuel 11 tells of David’s adultery with Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah the Hittite. A century ago the Hittites were unknown outside of the Old Testament, and critics claimed that they were a figment of biblical imagination. In 1906, however, archaeologists digging east of Ankara, Turkey, discovered the ruins of Hattusas, the ancient Hittite capital at what is today called Boghazkoy,…
as well as its vast collection of Hittite historical records, which showed an empire flourishing in the mid-second millennium BC. This critical challenge, among many others, was immediately proved worthless — a pattern that would often be repeated in the decades to come.
The some 20,000 cuneiform clay tablets discovered at the ruins of Nuzi, east of the Tigris River and datable to c. 1500 BC, reveal institutions, practices, and customs remarkably congruent to those found in Genesis. These tablets include treaties, marriage arrangements, rules regarding inheritance, adoption, and the like.
Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. In 2 Kings 9–10, Jehu is mentioned as King of Israel (841–814 BC). That the growing power of Assyria was already encroaching on the northern kings prior to their ultimate conquest in 722 BC is demonstrated by a six-and-a-half-foot black obelisk discovered in the ruins of the palace at Nimrud in 1846. On it, Jehu is shown kneeling before Shalmaneser III and offering tribute to the Assyrian king.
Burial Plaque of King Uzziah. Down in Judah, King Uzziah ruled from 792 to 740 BC, a contemporary of Amos, Hosea, and Isaiah. Like Solomon, he began well and ended badly. In 2 Chronicles 26 his sin is recorded, which resulted in his being struck with leprosy later in life. When Uzziah died, he was interred in a “field of burial that belonged to the kings.” His stone burial plaque has been discovered on the Mount of Olives, and it reads: “Here, the bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, were brought. Do not open.”
It seems whatever we find from the time period of the Old Testament, seems to support what it says! There are many other finds (hundreds if not thousands) we could have discussed, but time only permits a limited few Memory verse: 2 Samuel 7:28: “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant.