Through archaeology, we can reveal events that happened in the Bible.
We recently were able to put together a video series on Shiloh where the tabernacle came to rest in the period of the Judges of the Bible. We were able to participate in a dig of Shiloh., with, Archaeologist Dr. Scott Stripling. He has been in the news a lot lately. His work has circled the globe, especially concerning the work his team was doing at Mt. Ebal.
See the entire series: Bible Land Passages
Remember when the Israelites went to Mount Ebal, God told them to come into the land and recite the blessings and the cursing? Dr. Stripling went there and did a dig with a wet sifting method. This isn't typical outside of digs around Jerusalem. Usually, when they dig through the tels, sometimes they find larger objects that are visible to the naked eye. Other objects are small and get sifted, most often through a dry sifting method. And, this can lead to small items being overlooked.
Scott Stripling and his team chose to do a wet sifting method. Through this method, he was able to reveal a lead object. And, looking at that through a scientific process they were able to look inside and find an ancient "curse tablet." This may have been an object like a necklace, that reminded one of something. Some cultures, would write or inscribe it on lead, and say a prayer, stating we're no longer bound by the pagan gods of the area.
On this lead, early reports show that it has the earliest mention of YHWH, the Hebrew name for God, and also the ancient Canaanite name, El, which is also the word for God.
If that's true, this piece of lead "curse tablet" is the earliest form of Hebrew scripture writing that mentions God. That is highly significant.
It also shows the people of Israel were literate long before some critics say that they were. We know, because the Bible says, that the law of God was written down on tablets in 1446 BC, when the children of Israel came out of Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, that they were literate at least by that point.
But, critics say this isn't true, that they were not a literate nation. That the emergence of Israel as a people in the land of Palestine didn't occur until the late Bronze age, the 1150 - 1050 BC era. If this artifact is true, dated at about 1200 BC then it shows they really were literate and shows the Bible is true.
There is a lot of data and information out there that we should be using in our classrooms to show that we can have confidence in scripture.
We live in a blessed age in which information is at our fingertips. As we think about archaeology and the Bible we can see that we have a reason to believe.
See the Sermon Slide Presentation Here
Bible Land Passages: The Bible and Archaeology
How Do We Prove History?
As we begin, I want to start with World War 2. We're familiar with what took place in Europe between 1939 and 1945 and the terrible things that occurred during the Nazi regime. One of which was the holocaust. One of the most horrific events of human history. Some six million Jews were murdered, slaughtered, in concentration camps, and in other ways. It was a terrible blight on human history and the German nation.
World War 2 and the Holocaust - Did it Happen?
There are some who deny the holocaust. Books have been written denying that the holocaust occurred. Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made a statement recently that it didn't occur, that the Jews made it up.
Most people would understand and know that it really did occur.
But, a hundred years from now, if you had a friend who said it didn't occur, how would you go about convincing them that it did? How does one go about verifying the historical claims? Especially, given that neither you nor I were there to witness them? Few Holocaust survivors are still living today. But, 100 years from now, how would you go about proving that it did occur?
- Images, photographs
These things remind us that these things were actual events. These four areas act as evidence of what was being witnessed at the time. You could share the Diary of Anne Frank. You can view the artifacts, and images, and even visit the concentration camps that display that these things did occur.
You would be able to build a pretty strong case that the events of the holocaust took place.
Did the Events of Scripture Happen?
What about the events of scripture? None of us today were there to see it with our own eyes. We don't know of anybody, right, that's 2000 years old that witnessed the resurrection of Christ and let alone to the kingdom of David. How could we convince someone that the claims of scripture are to be trusted? Archeology provides us with a lot of helpful answers. We can help people to see that the scripture is reliable.
So how do we do it?
I'm suggesting the same way through testimony, pictures, or images by visiting sites and the places and examining the artifacts.
The Bible wasn't written in a vacuum. The Bible story took place in a real geographical place, and a real historical time, with real individuals that have been verified by history. Shouldn't we find some things that parallel the events and people mentioned in scripture?
Oh, not every single individual written in scripture has an inscription about them. Or, has a name recorded on a piece of pottery somewhere. But if the Bible is true, we ought to at least find a few of those. Right? I mean, all these people that are mentioned, not only people that were not Jews, but many of them that are, shouldn't we find evidence of their existence? Shouldn't there be evidence of when the Bible itself tells stories about maybe Abraham and his journeys? Or, evidence of Joseph going down to Egypt and his family going there seeking food.
Shouldn't we find something in the historical record that would parallel those accounts? Wouldn't there be evidence that would suggest that these are things that were consistent with the cultural record? Evidence that's been documented showing that the thing's occurring at a certain time in history that have been found by archaeology is also something that we read in scripture that parallel.
Folks, we could literally stay here for weeks talking about the data and the information associated with that evidence. I want to share with you just a few pieces tonight.
The Evidence of Written Testimony
The written testimony, which in and of itself, is the most powerful of all the things that we. We forget that this book that we have within our hands tonight is a library of books that we have in its common form today of 66 books. But, in the first century, it didn't circulate like that, especially during the time of David. These books were written over a period of some 1500 years by 40 different authors.
They are in fact records of the past, testimony from people who lived then and lived in those areas, who were writing down what they saw or what had been reported to them.
They are making a claim, especially as we think about it from a Christian perspective. Claims that they said the information came directly to them from God.
Well, if a book that claims to be from God is recording information about the history, shouldn't it be accurate? Shouldn't it be correct? There ought not to be errors.
It ought to be true and reliable. And when we begin to study these copies of the Bible, sometimes the question arises, if this is a record of the ancient past, how old are the copies?
You know I had a professor in college at Texas state university, a history teacher, that said that the Jews had a nasty habit of writing something and then dating it much older than it really was. In other words, she was saying that anybody could predict prophecy if you already knew what the prophecies were. If you could look back in history at all the events, write them down and put an older date as it were, and make people think that you had written them down before they actually occurred.
And that's been one of the arguments that have been levied against the Bible by critics.
Is that really true?
Well, you need to know that we have thousands of manuscripts that are available to us. Now, this is could be a whole series of lessons, just on manuscripts in and of itself. I don't have time to talk about all of them.
I just need you to know that there is an unbroken chain of manuscripts.
Yes, human endeavors at the time, individuals may be, didn't copy it down right, here and there. But, because we have such a plethora of them, then the actual text can be deduced from all of those manuscripts.
The Text of the Old Testament
What about Old Testament manuscripts? One of the arguments that was made for a number of years is that we just don't have old copies of the old Testament and particularly prophecies about Jesus before Jesus lived. Now I know that we have the Septuagint, which is the translation that is the Greek translation of the old Testament. But, the oldest extant copy doesn't date until around the 3rd or 4th century AD.
- Septuagint -- 3rd to 4th Century AD
- Cairo Codex -- AD 895
- Aleppo manuscript - 950 AD
Well, what about Hebrew manuscripts? This is interesting. One of the oldest was the Cairo codex of 895 AD. In fact, up until the 1940s, the late 1940s, the oldest Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament was only dated to 895. And then there was the Aleppo manuscript that dated to about 950 AD.
So what was the criticism?
Again, that the information was written after the fact, or that the Bible had changed over the centuries. Critics claim that we don't have the same Bible that they did back at the time of Christ let alone before.
The Evidence found at Qumran - The Dead Sea Scrolls
You know what happened out at Qumran with the discovery of the dead sea scrolls. In what has been called the most important and most significant archeological discovery of the 20th century. That discovery took place on the Northwestern corner of the Dead Sea and near the Qumran community. Where in a number of cases, and this is a fascinating story, a Bedouin boy found an earthenware jar with these ancient scrolls in them. Many years later, archeologists then descended on this valley and examined these caves and they found thousands and thousands of manuscripts.
The most well-known one, cave four, had most of the Bible manuscripts in them. But manuscripts are also about daily life and about the Qumran community and commentaries on scripture. It was a find like no other!
As they looked into these jars and as they picked them up, some of them literally on the dry climate of these caves and began to examine them, epigraphers determined that based on the style of pottery that was there, but more than that, based on the material itself and the style of writing that these ancient scrolls dated to roughly 150, some say even older years before Christ.
One of the most intact scrolls, of course, was the Isaiah scroll. And as you read the Isaiah scroll, what you see is just what we read in our Bibles today.
And what that says is, is you look at a timeline that Isaiah wrote in 700 BC. Until 1947-48, when the dead sea scrolls were discovered, the Aleppo and the Cairo codex were the oldest Hebrew scriptures that we had. But, when the Isaiah scroll of the Dead Sea was discovered, and we'll give it a very or a conservative date, I should save 125 BC, It shows that all the prophecies were there before Christ ever came to the earth.
It shows also that the Bible had not changed. That the copyist was meticulously careful about how they copied God's word and preserved it over time.
- Original Isaiah Scroll 700 BC
- Dead Sea Scroll - 125 BC
- Cairo Codex - 850 AD
- Aleppo Codes 930 AD
They are virtually the same.
So you have the testimony of 40 different authors. How do we know about Jesus, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and David? You have a record in your hands of the ancient past. So don't think that this is simply just a book of dos and don'ts. It is also meant to give you faith and confidence in what these men said about how we should live because it shows that they were reliable and could be trusted.
How do we know? Today, when you read the texts of the Bible it is exactly the text that God intended for you to have. The evidence shows they are reliable and can be trusted.
Pictures and Images in Archaeology
What then, is another way we can verify these historical events? They can be verified through pictures and images. Obviously, people didn't have cameras back then. But, there ought to be some image of some Jew or some particular person that the Bible describes.
Now, this is going to be a little harder because you remember that in scripture, the Jews were opposed to images. God told them to not make graven images. He meant of course of Him. But, they also took it to mean themselves.
And so, there just weren't very many depictions, at all, of the Israelite people. They were done by nations outside of Judaism, like the Assyrians, the Moabites, and others that lived around them.
- A painting in the tomb of Khnumhotep II at Beni Hasan, dating to ca.
- 1890 BC, portrays a group of 37 Asiatics from Shut (the area of Sinai
- and southern Canaan) traveling to Egypt to do trade.
- Abraham in Genesis 12:10
- Jacob and his sons in Genesis 42:5, 43:11, 46:5—7
There is, however, a lot of information, that is also found in scripture. The information reveals through these pictographs found on tombs in Egypt various cultural practices and Semitic people that are shown coming from the Lavat area or what we sometimes day called Palestine or Israel. And they were on their way in a migration down where to Egypt.
The tombs in Egypt depict this period that is parallel the patriarchal period families that were very Semitic looking, coming down to this area, migrating, and living there. And of course, that's exactly how the Bible describes it.
Well, what about other images that were found on some of the walls of these tombs?
- Images on the tomb of vizier Rekhimire, ca. 1450 BC, show foreign slaves making bricks.
Images dating to around 1450 BC Semitic people making bricks made out of mud and straw. Wow. That's pretty fascinating. Isn't it? Because we know that, going back just a few years before that, before the Exodus of 1446 BC, God's people were told to make their bricks out of straw. And then when Moses came, they had to gather their own straw. You see the parallels and the connections, these aren't stories that are mythological or allegorical, they're real substantiated by history.
I'm not suggesting that's Joseph's family or, you know, Moses and his kinsmen up there, they're being depicted there, but it shows again a parallel between the events of history and what's recorded in scripture.
- The Egyptian Pharaoh Shishak invaded the lands of Judah and Israel in 926 BC.
What about this Egyptian Pharaoh named Shishak? The Bible actually mentioned him when he invaded the lands of Judah and Israel in 926 BC.
- 1 Kings 11:40; 14:25-26
- 2 Chronicles 12:2-9
And he had a record of his victories, inscribed on a wall of a great temple at Karnak. And in there he was boasting about the cities that he had conquered. Well, over 150 places are in these name rings that are called cartouches that he had inscribed on this temple. Guess what? What were some of the places he had conquered?
Again, the Bible mentions this king, this Pharaoh coming into the land, Shishak, and raiding some of their towns and destroying some of their cities. Sure enough, he goes back and he brags about his exploits, and you can see some of those cartouches there that represent those cities and some of the rumors.
So whether it's that, or this particular one that is called an obelisk, called the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser. It is making reference to King Jehu whom he had conquered. And this is the only image that we have of an Israelite king. And unfortunately, he's not at his best. there. He is actually bowing down, uh, before Shalmaneser.
- The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, dated 841 BCE. It is the earliest preserved depiction of an Israelite.
- 2 Kings 9-10 Jehu son of Omri bows before the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III.
- 2 Kings 8:7-15
- 2 Kings 10:32
So the Bible mentions it. And, there's a record in history associated with it.
We can show our friends, these images.
What about these Jewish people who were carried off, away into slavery by the Assyrians? When King Sennacherib accurately came down and destroyed the city of Lachish, the Bible just gives a few verses about this battle.
- Lachish was besieged by Sennacherib - the Lachish reliefs are a set of carvings in an Assyrian palace carved around 700 BC, narrating the story of the Assyrian victory
- over the kingdom of Judah during the siege of Lachish in the 8th Century BC.
- 2 Chronicles 32:9-10
And yet, this king was so proud of his exploits, he went back home to his capital city of Nineveh and he had inscribed on his palace walls, the entire story of how he conquered Lachish is this town in the Southwestern area, this shfela area of the foothills near the Philistine coastline in Israel. And he shows these Jewish people. We can get an idea a little bit about what they look like.
In the relief images, their hair is cropped short and they had beards. It tells about the terrible atrocities that they committed against these Jews.
So how does one go about verifying historical claims? Especially, given that neither you nor I were there to witness them? With images, pictures, and testimony.
The Archaeological Evidence of Sites, Places, and Artifacts
Well, what about sites? Places in artifacts? Can you go and visit these sites today? I have absolutely been amazed at not only the sites that you can visit but the discoveries that have been made over time.
I've already mentioned one, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III.
The Discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder
What about the Cyrus cylinder? You know, the book of Ezra mentions God's people in captivity and that a Persian king came to the throne, Cyrus. And he said to the Jews that you can go home and build your temples and I'll finance it.
You return, he let the captains go free. The book of Ezra records that, and guess what happened? Over the 1800s when modernism really began to gain a foothold in a number of, of, uh, schools of theology in the late 1800s. Guess what? They criticized that chapter saying who has ever thought of letting their captives go free like that and then say, we're going to build your temples. That's just one of those inflated sorts of hyperbolic statements made in the book of Ezra. And then the Cyrus cylinder was discovered.
- The Cyrus Cylinder found in Babylon in 1897
- Ezra 1:1-8, 6:22
In fact, several cylinders, this one, the Cyrus Cylinder, tells about this very event. It doesn't mention the Hebrews, but it does say that these captives from the Babylonian empire that now the Persians had taken control of could be set free. And not only that but Cyrus was showing great diplomacy and to gain favor, to garner support among those he had set free so that he could govern them, said, I'm going to build your temples. An event described in scripture, affirmed by archeological discoveries.
The Discovery of the Moabite Stone
- The Moabite Stone
- 2 Kings 3
The Moabite stone tells about the exploits of the Moabites and the interrelationship or the exchange of wars that took place between the people of Judah people and the people of Israel and the Moabites. The stone also actually mentions Israel and also mentions the kingdom of David.
- The Hezekiah Tunnel
- 2 Kings 20:20
- 2 Chronicles 32:30
The Hezekiah tunnel that scripture mentions about a large tunnel that Hezekiah built from the Gihon spring, under the city of David, to what bring water into the central valley at the pool of Siloam to where the city had been enclosed.
The tunnel was discovered by God, the name of Edward Robinson in the year 1827, or the 1820s and he's over there and he finds this tunnel.
I mean, on and on, we could talk about the artifacts or the places. I've been blessed to be able to travel extensively in Israel and some in Jordan. We, Carla and I lived there for two different summers and I decided I was going to try to find as many of these sites and document them as I could and we were able to visit over 80 different sites.
Now I know there is debate and discussion about as you go to a site, whether or not that's the site that scripture says it is, because after all, you don't always find a population sign that identifies the site. You don't find necessarily a sign that says, uh, maybe Lachish, and here it is.
But after a while, when you look at scripture, the other valleys that it identifies and mountains and hills and the area that it places it in, you can pretty well pinpoint a lot of these sites. And then you especially are excited when maybe an inscription is found on a piece of pottery that has the name of that city or an individual who was a king there. And, then you begin to do your detective work in scripture.
Archeological Revelations Found in Lachish
There are all these places and people continue to dig and look for them.
- Lachish - besieged by Sennacherib
- Joshua 10
- 2 Chronicles 32:9-10
- 2 Kings 14:19 - Amaziah murdered
One of them I've mentioned a few times tonight has an interesting sort of history associated with it. Joshua conquered it as revealed in Joshua chapter 10. There's also a mention of it in 1 Chronicles 32 when King Sennacherib came down after the Northern tribes had been decimated. Now later, King Sennacherib comes down to bring Judah under its yolk.
This is when Hezekiah is raining and he laid siege to the city. The Bible says that he laid siege to the city. Well, what all was discovered there in this little town right here on one of these valleys, that's called the Lachish, a series of valleys that run east to west, between the Philistine coastline and the area of the territory, belonging to Judah up in the hill county. Several Kings of Judah had an outpost there to guard their Southwestern corner. And you can go there today and see the remains of that ancient city. Again, just mentioned in scripture, in a few places, but the Bible mentions it, and archeology has confirmed it because that's exactly true.
The Bible was written to be trusted.
There are, on one side, the remains of this ancient siege ramp that was built. This is how the Assyrians got inside the city. But then something was discovered as another sort of interesting intersect between scripture and history.
They found, what is known as a six-chamber gate. Now gates in the ancient world were entryways. It was not like the gate that I had to open every day when I was in high school. You know, the kind you drive the car through, and you have to get out and open, drive through, and then close the gate.
That's not the kind of gate we're talking about here. Although they had those big gates the wooden kind that would close over this area. But these gates were chambered. And these chambered areas were sort of a stronghold or fortification to protect that gate.
But also, there were these areas where grain maybe was stored, or where a king could come and have an official place to make a ruling. Or a place where maybe detainees would be placed as potential spies.
We also know from ancient Canaanite culture, that this is sometimes where some of their gods, their idols were placed. And so as you came into the city and this city had a god that protected their city and protected them, they might pay homage to that god and lay some food or whatever at his feet. And then maybe as you leave the same thing.
Well, interestingly enough, now notice in this Israelite city of the iron age period during the divided kingdom period, as archeologists are digging down through this gate they find this ancient shrine. They find an altar in it and they also find, of all things, a toilet seat. What on earth? A toilet seat?
Well, they also find, altars and the horns that had been on the altar had been lopped off. Now, if you know your Israelite history, you know, that God's people at times had problems with idolatry, that they had assimilated into the culture.
And some of the kings, even in Judah, began to adopt these practices and had these high places. Not only, literally out on hills in their surrounding communities, but sometimes at a high place like this at their main gate.
And guess what? That horn, those horns had been lopped off. Do you remember the reforms of Josiah and Hezekiah when they destroyed the altars when they tried to rid the idolatrous practices of Israel?
What did they do? They not only, evidently, lopped off the corners of those things, but it seems as though they had the practice of putting a toilet in those worship areas, afterward. You want to desecrate a site? You want to say, this is nothing but refuge? Put a toilet in there.
We know it happened in Samaria.
- 2 Kings 10:27
When Jehu in his reforms in the north tried to destroy the Baal worship, they did burn that temple. And then, the Bible clearly says that he erected a latrine at the temple location of Baal. It was a way of saying this is not a true God, don't you come here and worship any longer. You find again, a parallel at Lachish where a toilet was found in an alter site at a Hebrew city.
We could go on and on talking about places mentioned in scripture.
Findings in the Chariot City of Megiddo
What about the city of Megiddo from whence our word Armageddon comes, right up here in the Jezreel valley, just below the Mount Carmel range. There is an old city dating back to the Canaanite period that Solomon, I mean, Joshua conquered and that Solomon built his chariot cities in. And later on, Ahab also had a chariot city there, a military outfit.
- Joshua 12:21
- Judges 5:19
- 1 Kings 9:15
The Bible clearly makes reference to the way that Solomon fortified his Western border down this international north-south route that we talked about this morning. Well, guess what has been discovered in one of them, the greatest tel digs that's been going on literally since the 1920s. They discovered altars dating back to the Canaanite period.
They've found stables where lots of horses could be housed and lots of mangers, troughs, where animals could be fed. And by the way, on the side of one of these mangers you can see a hole down at the bottom right-hand side where an animal could have been tied up and they would pour in their grain or their hay. It just happens to be the right size for a little baby, if you remember your New Testament story about Jesus being laid in a manger.
- The Megiddo Seal - Servant of Jeroboam
- 2 Kings 14:23
Do you know what else they discovered there? They discovered this particular inscription with the name of Jeroboam on it. Jeroboam was a king of Northern Israel who had control of these cities. Reminding us again, that what the Bible mentions and what you read in scripture is often found in the dirt in Israel.
Archaeologists Discover Evidence of King David
There are critics and there continued to be people like this particular individual, Israel Finkelstein of Israel. He said, well, for a while, some of the critics did, that David really didn't exist. It's just a mythological character of the Bible and an inflated story to give the Jews some sort of hero to look up to that he didn't really exist for many years.
Nothing archeological had even been discovered that would substantiate his existence. I mean, that's a pretty good criticism. Isn't it? To, you know, lay on a young person, who's reading the Bible and one of the great all-time heroes of the Bible, and they heard stories growing up of David and Goliath.
And, and up until the early 1990s, some of the critics were saying, David, didn't really exist. They then used this to claim that there's nothing in the archeological world and historical record that would suggest that King David was real. That's a pretty big thing for a young person to try to get their mind around.
Various archeological discoveries though began to change the minds of critics. Somewhat, as you'll see here in just a moment, one of the discoveries was made at a place called Dan.
- The Location of Tel Dan
- Genesis 14:14
- Judges 18:31
- 1 Kings 12:27-30; 15:20
We call it, tel, it's just an Arabic word, meaning a mound. And in this mound of these ancient cities built one on top of the other. Just at the Northern end of the Hula Basin area, a site that the Danites, had moved to after they got tired of dealing with the Philistines, they moved up there and conquered that city that was known as Laish. They rename it, Dan.
They built a large iron age, that is Hebrew city of the Israelite divided kingdom period. It was large and fortified.
Guess what else they found, archeologists, up there? An altar, an altar of the great size represented now by ironwork because they found the horns of this altar. Well, if you know your history from reading Kings and Chronicles, you'll remember that the kingdom had been divided by Jeroboam and Rehoboam.
Jeroboam was so concerned as the northern leader, that the people of Israel would go down to Jerusalem to worship and his kingdom would dissolve. So he erected an altar at Dan and at Bethel. Well guess what, there's an altar that's been discovered there, again, affirming that these kingdoms did exist.
There's something else that was found right here, outside the gate of the city, and it was this ancient stone. The second part of it was found in the second season. It was a stone that was found in secondary use. In other words, it was some sort of monument that had been then sort of desecrated in some way and reused as building stone in the wall of the city.
The stone was describing this Syrian king bragging about his exploits over nations that he'd had conquered. And guess what one of the nations was that he was bragging about?
The house of David.
Now it's 845 BC that's 200 years after David lived. But the point is that even though David was dead, there was enough of his ancestry that was so significant in terms of their rulership that an Assyrian king said, look at the nations I have conquered. And he lists the kingdom that belongs to the house of David.
- Tel Dan Inscription was discovered in 1994, dated 800 to 845 BC
- "I killed Joram, the son of Ahab, king of Israel, that's to the north.
- And I killed Ahaziah, the son of Jehoram king of the house of David."
- 2 Kings 8:28-29
- 2 Kings 9:21-24
Well, you know what some began to say, the critics, the minimalist said, well, he mentions David, okay, we'll give you that. Okay, David does exist, but he was nothing more than a chieftain. He was nothing more than a nomadic sort of shepherd that would bring together some tribes of people and nothing more. They were not sophisticated, as the Bible says, they did not have a highly organized system of government. They didn't have the ability to build big buildings and so forth. Yeah, okay, it mentioned him, but the Bible story is rather inflated.
The Epic Battle Between David and Goliath
- 1 Samuel 17
Well, guess what archeologists began to discover at sites associated with the story of King David and his battle with Goliath? Stories that remind us, whether it is about the Philistine people, as described in scripture as being a formidable foe. Archeologists reveal that.
- Archaeologist reveals the religious and warlike culture of the Philistines
Or, this valley is known as the valley of Elah, and the accurate careful description in 1 Samuel 17 of where the Philistines were camped between Socoh and Azekah, and a city called Shaaraim, mentioned in first Samuel 17. That the children of Israel pushed the Philistines past.
You know what? Shaaraim has been identified as this a ruin that's known as Khirbet Qeiyafa, again, an Arabic term, that's there right on top of a hill. And as archeologists began to dig down into this tel above where the Brook of Elah, where David could have gotten his stones. And then after he killed Goliath, he chased them past Gath. And you can go to Gath and see that today.
Guess what was discovered here at Khirbet Qeiyafa. They found a highly fortified city with these casement walls. They found a gate structure.
But guess what? They didn't find just one gate entryway as was typical of Israelite culture. But a student who was working on the site one day began to examine another part of the city. And he said these are our huge stones that looked like they might be another gate entryway. And they kind of thought no, there's no way we've already found the gate. And he kept after them and they came over and they began to kind of look and goes, you know, you may be right. And they began to dig some more and they discovered a second gate system in this town.
Oh, did I tell you that the word, Shaaraim, means the city of two gates?
- 1 Samuel 17:52
Events in scripture, found there, not only have two gates but also have an ostracon with Hebraic writing, a Proto-Hebraic script. They also found a palatial structure, a palace-like building.
There's so much more I wish I could share with you of discoveries that were made in Jerusalem, of what some believe to be King David's palace. The nice capitals that archeologists have unearthed showing a Phoenician style of an artistic sort of inscription on the top of those capitals. By the way, who helped David build his palace? Hiram the Phoenician.
- 2 Samuel 5:6-12
On and on we go, artifact after artifact, structure after structure, site after site that continues to remind us of just how reliable this book, the Bible, is.
Well, God has not left Himself without excuse. He has given us information that will allow us to have confidence that this actually came from him, put into the mouth of prophets, inspired penman, who wrote down, not just, and this is important now, not just the facts of history, but the facts of what we need to do to become a Christian.
And the facts about what awaits us beyond this life. They wrote the facts and information about morality, about right and wrong, how to rear your family, about how to govern a nation. All the spiritual truths that are surrounded by these facts. Facts that, as Brother Thomas Warren said years ago, make the commands of God, both rational and possible.
A lot of commands in scripture, but how do I know they really come from God? God clothed them in all of this data and information that then gives us the confidence to know that this is a book like no other. It is not a book that came from man, but a book that came from God. Mankind could not write such a book if he wanted to. And let me tell you, even if he could, he wouldn't write a book like this.
God tonight is calling to you through the pages of this ancient document, written by great heroes of faith, men of God, who loved God and are calling upon you to love him as well, to walk in faith and confidence, and to look forward to being with him forever. If you're not a Christian, why don't you become one tonight through faith, repentance, confession, and New Testament water baptism, you can experience that. Having been born of water and of the Spirit, you become a part of the kingdom of God. You could be in a saved relationship with Christ. And then as you walk in faith, you walk in the light as he is in the light, the blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse you from all unrighteousness and you can face death with hope and optimism, And again, look forward to that wonderful celestial city that we spoke about.
Can we help you in some way, if we can? If we can assist you in growing faith in God, we invite you to contact us.
— John Moore, Director of Bible Land Passages and Bible Passages.