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Recent Finds in Israel Continue to Affirm Biblical Accounts

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5 Aug 2021
Recent Finds in Israel Continue to Affirm Biblical Accounts

There were rising hopes that Israel would soon open up once again for Christian tourists, but a fourth wave of the coronavirus has the new government heading back towards tightening restrictions, including a likely one-week quarantine requirement for all incoming foreign visitors – vaccinated or not. But until the country does begin welcoming tour groups again, the Land of the Bible continues to divulge its hidden treasures proving the accuracy of God’s word.

Just in recent months, there have been numerous amazing archaeological finds verifying the accounts in both the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures.

In the latest news, for instance, excavations in the ancient City of David have uncovered a layer of destruction in Jerusalem dating back some 2,800 years which does not correspond to any battle or conquest of the city, leaving archaeologists to surmise that it may be proof of the major earthquake which struck the city mentioned in the prophetic books of Amos and Zechariah. The unearthed ruins include shattered clay vessels, lamps, cooking utensils, bowls, and storage containers which were damaged when the walls of an ancient building collapsed. The books of Amos (1:1) and Zechariah (14:5) both make reference to a great earthquake which shook Israel “in the days of Uzziah king of Judah.”

Archaeologists from the Israel Antiquities Authority continue to find many fascinating artifacts in the City of David which build on the overwhelming evidence collected so far that the walled area indeed served as the capital of the Davidic dynasty ruling over Israel and the Kingdom of Judah in the time period outlined in the Hebrew Bible. For instance, recent digs have uncovered a missing eastern section of the outer city wall of Jerusalem that the Babylonians encountered on the eve of its destruction in 586 BC. Other finds are adding to our knowledge of the same area in Second Temple times, including recently unearthed arrowheads and other weaponry from the Roman conquest in 70 AD.

Meantime, two large, magnificent domed rooms were recently unveiled in the area of the Western Wall tunnels which are believed to have been part of an ornate public hall used by local Judean officials to welcome and host very important visitors before they ascended to the Temple courts above. The Western Wall Heritage Foundation will add the rooms to the tour options when visiting the Kotel tunnels complex in future.

Elsewhere, an ancient clay jug was recently found in a dig at Khirbet al-Ra‘I, believed to be biblical Ziklag (e.g., 1 Samuel 30), with a very interesting ink inscription of the name ‘Jerubbaal.” This is the name given to Gideon in Judges 6:31-32 and can mean “Let Baal plead against him” or “May the lord be great”. The jug and inscription in an ancient Canaanite script date back 3,100 years to the time of the judges, when Gideon destroyed the altar of Baal on Mt Gilboa and led the Israelites in defeating the Amalekites in the Jezreel Valley below. While it is not certain that the inscribed piece of pottery has a direct connection to Gideon, experts say it does reveal how the Bible preserves authentic names from this early period in Israel’s history.

In recent months, the excavations at Tel Azekah (where David slew Goliath) have revealed not only pottery and walls of the fortified Israelite city, but also skeletons of troops who fell in battle there. The human remains are believed to date to when King Sennacherib destroyed Azekah at the time of the Assyrian invasion of the Kingdom of Judah more than 2,700 years ago (see 2 Kings 18-19; 2 Chronicles 32; Isaiah 36:1).

Several months ago, archaeologists reported finding dozens of fragments of a biblical scroll dating to the Bar Kokhba period in 135 AD – the first such discovery of an ancient biblical parchment in some 60 years. The scroll, written in Greek, includes portions of the Twelve Minor Prophets, including the books of Zechariah and Nahum. The rare find was uncovered during a concerted national effort to locate and preserve any remaining ancient parchments from looters of antiquities operating in the Judean Desert and Dead Sea basin.

Finally, at Timna, near the southern tip of Israel, evidence has recently been discovered which indicates that Israelites were indeed working the copper mines located there in the time of King Solomon, as the Bible suggests. Until now, many archaeologists and scholars had dated the copper mining activities at the site almost exclusively to an earlier Egyptian presence in the area. Among the groundbreaking new finds, archaeologists have recovered scraps of fabric dyed in royal purple from the times of King David and King Solomon.
 

David Parsons is an author, attorney, journalist, and ordained minister who serves as Vice President and senior spokesman for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem; www.icej.org/

 

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