Skepticism concering the Bible has been rife in modern times. Higher Critics have assigned incredulity to Biblical records and claimed that certain persons mentioned such as Abraham, Joseph, and David were all imaginary. Hence, tying the Genesis account of 20 shekels as the price of slaves with the period of time when Joseph was young is an important corroboration of the Bible
There also is another inscription on the Mesha Stele which mentions the house of David, though not as clearly as the inscription found in Dan in 1993. Archaeological evidence, likewise, has been found as to the existence of the Philistines and their possible origin. These people appeared to have migrated from the island of Crete, and other islands in the Agean Sea. Modern archaeology has uncovered a wealth of information regarding the Philistines, 'sea people,' which is consistent with Biblical records, confirming that they were not the figment of imagination of some priestly scribes.
Why is it necessary to establish that David actually existed? The answer is, because so many prophecies invlolve David and his offspring. The name David, appears in the scriptures 1273 times (either as David or David's). For example, the geneaology of Jesus is given at the beginning of the Gospel according to Matthew, saying, "The book of generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham." (MATTHEW 1:1) The Matthew geneaology is that of Joseph, and proceeds through Solomon. Both Joseph and Mary were of the house of David, and Mary's is given in LUKE 3:23-38 through Nathan, son of David . Since Mary was used by the father to provide human organism for the Messiah, our Lord Jesus, he could properly be called the Son of David.
When Jesus began his ministry, many in Israel called him "Son of David." For example two blind men followed him saying, "Son of David, have mercy on us." (MATTHEW 9:27) Jesus had just raised Jairus' daughter from death (MATTHEW 9:23-26), and his "fame hereof went abroad into all that land." (vs. 26) When he perfomed more miracles, again they asked, "Is not this the son of David?." (MATTHEW 15:22) The angel who was sent to tell Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus said of him, "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David."-LUKE 1:32. David being Jesus father here on earth, his ancestor.
Critics eat crow
Modern archaeology has provided solid extrabiblical corroboration of historical fact otherwise known to us only from scripture. It has proved beyond all reasonable doubt the accuracy of the Bible as a historical document.
Even still, it should come as no surprise that some scholars remain determined to discredit the Bible as a divinely inspired historical record, stubbornly overlooking the overwhelming array of proof and documentation. Carnal man is disiclined to accept and submit to God's Word.
These critics will blithely gloss over mounds of facts and plain evidence rather than accept the Bible for what it is. Some few have even chosen to pervert and twist the clear testimony of archaeology to suit thier own purposes-deliberately misinterpreting and misrepresenting that facts rather than concede the authenticity of scripture!
Nevertheless, the past 150 years have witnessed remarkable archaeological confirmation of the Old Testament.
Let us briefly examine a few of the scores of archaeological discoveries that bear upon the history of biblical times-finds that have provided dramatic corroboration of the millennia-old Bible record.
Not all archaeological finds have been as highly publicized over the decades as the spectacular discovery in 1922 of the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt by Howard Carter and Lord Carnavaron. Yet many less-heralded finds have proved infinitely more important to the evaluation of the Bible record.
Without question the most vital of these early discoveries was the unlocking of the secret of Behistun Rock. This momentous breakthrough opened wide the door to further inquiry, which has since confirmed and reconfirmed Bible history many times over.
Located on a cliff on Behistun Mountain at the foot of Zagros Range in Persia is a smoothed rock surface with ancient cuneiform carvings in three languages-Old Persian, Elamite and Babylonian. Cuneiform was a mode of writing, employing wedge-shaped marks, used by many ancient peoples of western Asia.
The Behistun Inscription, dating from 516 B.C., is an account of the assumption of the Persian throne by Darius the Great (550-486). Beginning in 1835, Sir Henry C. Rawlinson, an officer in the British East India Company, painstakingly copied the three inscriptions from the rock face. He then set to work unlocking their secrets. By 1846 he had deciphered the Persian part of the inscription. As a result of this achievement, he and other scholars were able to translate the Babylonian and Elamite portions soon afterwards. The trilingual Behidtun Inscription thus proved to be the vital key to ancient cuneiform writing-just as the famous Rosetta Stone had unlocked the mysteries of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. The writings unearthed at Near East could now be understood!
Excavation, however, is slow, painstaking work
A single site may be worked for a decade or more. Subsequent analysis of finds can take even longer. For this reason, Mr Rawlinson's success did not have an immediate impact on biblical studies. Translation of previously unearthed cuneiform tablets-as well as those uncovered later-was a prolonged and time consuming task. But gradually year by year, decade by decade- a clear picture began to emerge.
The "mythical" Hittites
Bible critics had long scoffed at references in the biblical record to a people called the Hittites (Gen. 15:20, Ex. 3:8,17, Num. 13:29, Josh. 1:4, Judg. 1:26 and elsewhere). Their evaluation was that the Hittites were simply "one of the many mythical peoples" fabricated by Bible writers--or, at best a small and unimportant tribe. But critics were wrong! In the latter half of the 19th century, Hittite monuments were discovered at Carchemish on the Euphrates River in Syria, amply vindicating the Bible narrative. Later, in 1906, excavations at Boghazkoy (ancient Hattusas, capital of the Hittite empire) in Turkey uncovered thousands of Hittite documents, revealing a wealth of information about Hittite history and culture. The Hittites, it is now known, were a very real abd formidable power. They were once one of the dominant peoples of Asia Minor and the Near East, at times exercising control over Syria and parts of Palestine. The Bible had been correct after all! Today, books abound on the history, art, culture and society of the Hittites--a strong witness by competent scholars against those critics who had once been so quick to challeng the Word of God!
Many critics have ridiculed the idea that writing had been in existence in the days of Moses. writing was unknown at that time they asserted, implying that the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) could not possibly have been recorded by Moses or his near contemporaries, but rather were oral traditions recorded at a much later time. With the flowering of Near Eastern archaeology, however, came overwhelming proof that writing was in common use for centuries before the time of Moses! In both Egypt and Mesopotamia multiple thousands of inscriptions have been uncovered, unquestionably antedating Moses by many hundreds of years. Moreover, pre-flood (Early Bronze) inscriptions and writings abound, now known to antedate by many generations the Noachian Deluge of the 24th century B.C. The 17,000 cuneiform tablets and the fragments unearthed by Italian archaeologists in 1974 and thereafter at the site of ancient Ebla in northern Syria exemplify the plethora of pre-flood and post-flood writings.
Another Jewish "myth"?
some critics had also disputed the historicity of the Babylonian captivity. The Bible recounts, in great detail, the carrying away into slavery of the nation of Judah by the armies of Babylon early in the 6th century B.C. (II Kings 24-25) . "Another Jewish myth" was their scholarly consensus.
In 1935 to 1938, however, an important discovery was made at a site thought to be ancient Lachish, 30 miles southwest of Jerusalem. Lachish was one of the cities recorded in the Bible as having being besieged by the king of Babylon at the same time as the siege of Jerusalem (Jer. 34:7).
Twenty one pottery fragments inscribed in the ancient Hebrew script were unearthed in the latest preexilic levels of the site. Commonly called the Lachish Ostraca, they were written during the very time of the Babylonian siege. Some of the them proved to be communiques exchanged between the city's military commander of an outlying observation post, vividly picturing the final days of Judah's desperate struggle against Babylon!
Subsequent finds in Mesopotamia of Babylonian historical tests describing the conquest of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar have provided additional proof. The historical fact of the Babylonian captivity has been firmly established.
Other important corroborative discoveries can be briefly mentioned:
*Many critics had scoffed at the assertion that Joseph shaved before being presented to the Pharaoh (GENESIS 41:14). They asserted that the razor was not known in Egypt until many centuries later. But, as usual, archaeology uncovered proof to the contrary, demonstrating that razors were known in Egypt long before the time of Joseph (the 17th century B.C.). Solid gold and copper razors have been found in Egyptian tombs dating as early as the fourth millennium B.C.
*At one time the 39 kings of ancient Israel and Judah during the period of the divided monarchy were known only from the biblical books of kings and Chronicles. Some critics charged fabrication. But then emerged a large number of cuneiform records from the excavated libraries of numerous Assyrian kings, mentioning many of the kings of Israel and Judah including Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Menahem, Hoshea, Pekah, Hezekiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoram and Jehoshaphat. The biblical record was again proved correct.
*The biblical account of the destruction of the Egyptian firstborn on the night before Exodus is well known to even the casual student of the Bible. Scripture states, "It came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharoah that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon" (EXODUS 12:29).
Archaeology has revealed that Thutmose IV-successor to Amenhotep (Amenophis) II, pharaoh of the Exodus-was not Amenhotep's firstborn nor the heir apparent. He rather succeeded to the throne after his elder brother's death-just as required by the biblical account.
*The campaign of Sennacherib of Assyria against Judah is recorded in Kings II 18-19 and Chronicles II 32. The biblical account states that he besieged Jerusalem, but returned without taking the city after his army was miraculously destroyed. Sennacherib's own account of the invasion has been found on a clay prism. Though the boasts of numerous other victories, he does not claim to have captured Jerusalem. Again the Bible has been confirmed.
Literally scores of additional discoveries of archaeology could be cited as corroboration of Bible history. Examples of archaeological illustration of the Old Testament are continually increasing as new discoveies are being made.
The claims of disbelieving critics have been completely exploded Archaeology has abundantly confirmed Bible history many times over. The clear message is that we can rely on the Bible record. It is consistently historical in every detail.
The Bible challenges disbelieving critics to prove it false. Many have tried desperately to do so-and failed. God's Word cannot be broken (John 10:35)!
The Bible in not the work of fallible man. It is not a book of ancient fables.It is truly the infallible word of God! "Thy word is truth," Jesus declared in John 17:17. Archaeology has lent its voice in support of this unassailable fact!
History proves the Bible.