Archaeology IIImportant Finds Old Testament Backgrounds
Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III Caption: Tribute of Jehu, son of Omri. I received from him: silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden beaker, golden goblets, pitchers of gold, lead, staves for the hand of the king, javelins. Compare with 2 Kings 9-10
Gezer Calendar • Dates to 10th century B.C. • Translation: • His two months are (olive) harvest; • His two months are grain planting; • His two months are late planting; • His month is hoeing up of flax; • His month is barley harvest • His month is harvest and festivity • His two months are vine tending • His month is summer-fruit • Name on Plaque: Abijah
Siloam Inscription • [The Day] of the tunnel. This is the record of how the tunnel was breached: while [the excavators were wielding] • their axes, one crew progressing towards the other, and while there were yet three cubits for the brea[ching to take place] the voices of the men [were hea]rd ca • lling to each other for there was a fissure (?) in the rock extending from south [to north]. So on the day the • tunnel was breached the excavators struck, crew progressing towards crew, axe against [a]xe. Finally, the water flowed • from the spring to the pool, a distance of one thousand and two hundred cubits. One hun[d] • red cubits was the height of the rock above the heads of the excavat[ors]
Sennacherib’s invasion of Jerusalem 701 B.C.
Sennacherib’s Annul I approached Ekron and slew the governors and nobles 9who had rebelled, and 10hung their bodies on stakes around the city….18As for Hezekiah the Judahite, 19who did not submit to my yoke: forty-six of his strong, walled cities, as well as 20the small towns in their area, 21which were without number, by levelling with battering-rams 22and by bringing up seige-engines, and by attacking and storming on foot, 23by mines, tunnels, and breeches, I besieged and took them. 24200,150 people, great and small, male and female, 25horses, mules, asses, camels, 26cattle and sheep without number, I brought away from them 27and counted as spoil. (Hezekiah) himself, like a caged bird 28I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city.
Sennacherib’s Annul (con’t) 29I threw up earthworks against him— 30the one coming out of the city-gate, I turned back to his misery. 31His cities, which I had despoiled, I cut off from his land… for Hezekiah, 38the terrifying splendor of my majesty overcame him, and 39the Arabs and his mercenary troops which he had brought in to strengthen 40Jerusalem, his royal city, 41deserted him. In addition to the thirty talents of gold and 42eight hundred talents of silver, gems, antimony, 43jewels, large carnelians, ivory-inlaid couches, 44ivory-inlaid chairs, elephant hides, elephant tusks, 45ebony, boxwood, all kinds of valuable treasures, 46as well as his daughters, his harem, his male and female 47musicians, which he had brought after me 48to Nineveh, my royal city. To pay tribute 49and to accept servitude, he dispatched his messengers. THE END
Herodotus' Account 141. After this, Sanacharib king of the Arabians and of the Assyrians marched a great host against Egypt….and encamped in Pelusion, for by this way the invasion came: and not one of the warrior class followed him, but shop-keepers and artisans and men of the market. Then after they came, there swarmed by night upon their enemies mice of the fields, and ate up their quivers and their bows, and moreover the handles of their shields, so that on the next day they fled, and being without defence of arms great numbers fell. .” - Herodotus, Histories, 2.141 Greek Historian, 484 – 425 B.C.
Because you have raged against Me and your arrogance has come to my ears, I will put My hook in your nose and My bit in your mouth,and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.’ (Isaiah 37:29
Tel Dan Inscription 1. [................] and cut [.....................] 2. [.........] my father went up [against him when] he fought at[....] 3. And my father lay down, he went to his [fathers]. 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[.....] 6. of my kingdom, and I slew [seve]ntykin[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 [Jehoramkin]g 9. 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 [...............................] “House of David” From 9th Century B.C.
Moabite Stone (Mesha Stela) • Contains King Mesha’s account of his rebellion against Israel. • Dates to the reign of King Mesha in about 850 B.C. • 2 Kings 3:4-5 “4Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. 5But when Ahab died,the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.”
Cyrus Cylinder Ancient Persian clay cylinder with a declaration from Cyrus the Great. Written in Akkadian cuneiform. Dates from 6th Century B.C. Found in 1879 in the ruins of Babylon. Contrary to some contentions, it does not directly corroborate Cyrus’ repatriation of Judah following the Babylonian captivity. It does however note that Cyrus had a general policy of repatriation and re-establishment of cult locations / temples. Size: about 9 in. x 4 in. Contained at the British Museum.
Baruch Bulla A “Bulla” (Pl. Bullae) is a clay piece that was attached to documents and impressed with a seal. The Hebrew script dates this Bulla to the time of Jeremiah. There has been speculation that this is Baruch, the Scribe of Jeremiah. “(Belonging) to Berekhyahu, the son of Neriyahu, the scribe.”
MerneptahStelaa.k.a Israel Stela or Victory of MerneptahStela Inscription was written by King Merneptah of Egypt (1213-1203 B.C.). Discovered in 1896 at Thebes. Primarily recounting Merneptah’s victories over Libyans, but at the end it talks about a previous campaign in Canaan where he says he defeated Ashkelon, Gezer, Yanoam, and Israel. Significance: the oldest reference to Israel.
Babylonian Chronicle (Nebuchadnezzar) This clay tablet is a Babylonian chronicle recording events from 605-594BC. It was first translated in 1956 and is now in the British Museum. The cuneiform text on this clay tablet tells, among other things, 3 main events: 1. The Battle of Carchemish (famous battle where Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Pharaoh Neco of Egypt, 605 BC.), 2. The accession to the throne of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Chaldean, and 3. The capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC "In the seventh month (of Nebuchadnezzar-599 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid siege to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adara ( 16th of March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jehoiachin) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon.” Compare with 2 Kings 24
Babylonian Chronicle (Nabonidus) Explains how Belshazzar was the last king of Babylon as Daniel 5, 7, 8 indicates (instead of Nabonidus as was previously thought). Nabonidus left the kingdom to Belshazzar and went on a long journey, leaving Belshazzar in charge. This is why Daniel could only be offered the position of “third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:16)
Ketef Hinnom Inscription (Silver Scrolls / Amulet Scrolls) Gabriel Barkay found these two tiny scrolls made of silver inside amulets in a burial cave outside Jerusalem in an area known as “KetefHinnom” (the shoulder of Hinnom) in 1979. They are written in an ancient Hebrew script dated to the 7th Cent. B.C. They thus are the oldest known fragment of a Biblical Text. Contents: A form of the priestly blessing from Numbers 6:24-26 It also contains the Tetragrammaton (YHWH). Sizes: 1” x 3.75” 0.5” x 1.5”
Dead Sea Scrolls • Discovered in 1947 • Today, all of the manuscripts have been translated. • Many portions of BIBLICAL manuscripts • Significance? • Many portions of NON-BIBLICAL manuscripts • Significance?
Ugarit / Tel RasShamra • In 1928, French archaeologists identified Tel RasShamra (in modern Syria) as the ancient city of Ugarit. • Ugarit was at its height around 1450-1200 B.C. but inhabited as early as 6000 B.C. • They came upon a large collection of tablets written in Sumerian, Akkadian, Hurritic, and Ugaritic. • The texts provide amazing background for understanding Canaanite religion, poetry, language, etc.
Jericho Conquest? Late date vs. early date Kathleen Kenyon says Jericho was not inhabited around 1400 (early date) Bryant Wood argues differently—1400. Neolithic tower at Jericho
Temple to Amon (Amun) at KarnakShishak’s Invasion Pharaoh Shishak (945-924 B.C.) invaded Israel and Judah in 925 B.C. and carried off the treasures of Jerusalem’s temple. The Bible records the attack in 2 Chronicles 12, but the Shishak Relief in the Karnak Temple in Egypt gives much greater detail. Victors tend to offer greater detail about battles than the defeated.