In the latest centuries, there have been many archaeological discoveries proving the historicity and authenticity of the Bible; these have been accumulating as time passes and more and more is discovered.
While some like to cast a shadow of a doubt regarding the historicity and authenticity of the Bible. We will discuss how the Bible is historically accurate and authentic.
As more and more evidence accumulates with more recent discoveries, skeptics will have a harder time refuting the cogent veracity and authenticity of the Bible.
The following evidence that will be discussed is so strong and agreed upon by so many scholars, that even skeptical scholars have changed their minds in light of these discoveries.
We have a great God who has done great things throughout many periods of history, so of course He has left us crumbs here and there, that we can follow.
As Christians, it is salient to state however, that we don’t need these archaeological discoveries at all, our faith does NOT depend on them; we shouldn’t rely on them in any way, but instead on the power of God and the revelation of Jesus Christ, which is the same today as it was many years ago.
Think of the archaeological evidence that confirms the Bible as a cherry on top of a cake.
With that said, let’s take a look at the cherry on top of the cake, the archaeological discoveries that support the Bible in a beautiful manner:
1. The Tel Dan Stele
This archaeological find deals with king David, one of the most conspicuous figures of the Bible. Previously, skeptics loved to refer to the conspicuous figure of king David as a mythological figure similar to Hercules, and enjoyed claiming that king David never actually existed, let alone the kingdom that he ruled over. That was until the Tel Dan Inscription.
The inscription was found in the city of Tel Dan in northern Israel in 1993 by Gila Cook, an archaeologist. The writings in the inscription relays that an individual killed Jehoram, son of the Biblical Ahab, king of Israel and the king of the “house of David.” Remembering the Hebrew expression “House of” a person is expression that means “dynasty,” the finding is shocking for skeptics as it confirms the existence of the historical David and his kingdom. The stele is written in Aramaic and dates to 9th century B.C.
Concomitantly, the inscription also confirms the account of 2 Kings 8:16 and 2 Kings 8:25-28, where the Biblical Jehoram(also Joram) is referred to.
2. The Nimrud Tablet
The Assyrian annals are an incredible epigraphic discovery and astonishing evidence for the book of Isaiah. The backdrop to most of the book of Isaiah is the impending Assyrian threat under the Assyrian king Tiglath-Pileser III, who were extending their control over the region of Mesopotamia and were approaching Israel.
As a result of the Assyrian threat, the northern kingdom of Israel allied itself with the neighboring Arameans in order to stave off the Assyrian threat, and expected the southern kingdom of Judah to join them in this coalition against Assyria. But the king of Judah refused to join. Isaiah chapter 7 details that as a result, both the northern kingdom of Israel and the Arameans were upset about this and decided to siege Jerusalem in order to force Judah to join the coalition.
2 Chronicles 28 and 2 Kings 16 details that king Ahaz decided to submit to the Assyrians as a vassal and appealed to them for help regarding the Arameans and the northern kingdom of Israel, who were sieging Jerusalem. A tribute was paid to Assyria in gold and silver, who then defended Judah and conquered the northern kingdom and the Arameans.
This action was strongly condemned by the prophets, as it was vehement proof of the king’s utter lack of trust in God to defend his people from the Assyrians, and any other threat.
We have an excellent record of this tribute in the Assyrian annals of 734 B.C. of Tiglath-Pileser III, the Nimrud Tablet, which details the tribute of king Ahaz to the Assyrian king in gold and silver.
3. The Annals of Thutmosis III
Going to the description of the Promised Land in the Bible, in Deuteronomy 8:8, the land of Canaan is described as “8 a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; 9 a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.”
The Egyptians who dominated Canaan before Israel conquered it, who fully exploited the economic richness of the Canaanite land, left us various lists in which the goods destined for export to Egypt from Canaan are shown. These lists contain statistical data, all the booty and tribute extracted from Canaan.
They show us the rich prosperity of the Canaanite land, which the Bible refers to. Grain, oil, construction timber, copper, semi-precious stones, luxury wares, art products, horses and exotic creatures are among the products of Canaan.
As shown by the transportation of economic goods on the Egyptian lists of Thutmosis III, we see a clear portrait of the blessings of Canaan as they were mentioned in the Bible.
4. The Annals of Sennacherib
The same skeptics who criticized the historical figure of David, had a particularly hard time with this compelling, astonishing evidence as well, as it confirmed the existence of the kingdom of Judah in the Ancient Near East in 701 B.C.
2 Kings 18-20 and Isaiah 36-39 detail that after king Ahaz decided to submit to Assyria as a vassal, which again, was extremely condemned by the prophets as depicting a lack of trust in God, Ahaz’s son Hezekiah decided to assert the nation’s independence. This angered the Assyrians who by this time were under king Sennacherib who then laid siege to Jerusalem.
2 Kings 18:13-14 details that tribute was paid to the Assyrians, and this is recorded in king Sennacherib’s Annals, which was found in 1830.
5. The Babylonian Chronicles
With all of the sources that have been discussed, we now turn to the Babylonian events in Biblical history, which happened after the Assyrian ones.
2 Kings 24:1-15 describes the fall of Jerusalem to Babylonian hands, as a result of Israel’s sin, including deporting the current king of Jerusalem at that time and appointing a new king, according to his wishes.
This event is recorded in the Babylonian Chronicles, which state verbatim: “On the second day of the month of Adar he seized the city and captured the king. He appointed there a king of his own choice.”
6. Tel Hazor
Hazor was a city mentioned in the Bible in relation to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan, and its petty kingdoms. In the book of Joshua, we find a description of the Canaanite city of Hazor in chapter 11:10:
10 “Joshua turned back at that time and took Hazor, and struck its king with the sword; for Hazor was formerly the head of all those kingdoms.”
As the book of Joshua relays, there were quite a few Canaanite strongholds, and the book details that Hazor was “the head of all those kingdoms.”
Archaeology supports the comment described in the book of Joshua, of Hazor being “the head of all of these kingdoms,” with flying colors.
Modern archaeology estimates that the population of Hazor consisted of around 20,000 people, which makes it the largest and the most important city of the time, in Canaan.
Excavations reveal impressive Canaanite palatial structures and temple; the dimensions, building techniques and decorative architectural elements of one palace complex are all unusual in Canaan.
In addition, recently in 2019, Egyptian statues that are the size of a full-grown man were discovered at Hazor. These are thought to have been sent as gifts to the king of Hazor and help illuminate the grandeur that the ancient Canaanite city possessed.
7. The Mesha Stele
2 Kings 3:4-5 details that Mesha, king of Moab was a vassal of the king of Israel, Ahab, and regularly paid livestock tributes to him. The Ahab here is the same in the story of the evil queen Jezebel. He was the son of the Biblical Omri who is mentioned in 1 Kings 16:21-28.
2 Kings 3:4-5 states:
4 “Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams. 5 But it happened, when Ahab died, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.”
As we can see, the king of Israel had subjugated the king of Moab and forced him to pay tribute.
Amazingly, in the Mesha Stele found in modern Jordan in 1868, the king of Moab complained about this oppresion, and he expresses that it had been in place during the time of Ahab’s father, king Omri. Mesha wrote:
“I am Mesha, son of Chemosh-gad, king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I have reigned after my father…Omri was king of Israel, and oppressed Moab during many days, and Chemosh[The pagan god of king Mesha] was angry with his aggressions. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab.”
The Mesha Stele supports the account of 2 Kings 3, the oppresion of Moab and confirms the existence of the Biblical Omri. Scholars believe Omri was one of the most important kings of Israel, and we see him being referred directly by name in the Stele of Mesha.
The Stele dates to ca. 860 B.C, and is the longest Iron Age inscription found in Palestine.
8. The Lachish Letters
The Babylonian capture of Jerusalem that sent many Jews into exile is an event that is recorded both in the Bible and in the Babylonian Chronicles. In the book of Jeremiah, regarding a city that was mentioned in the context of the Babylonian campaigns against Jerusalem, the Lachish Letters stand as evidence for the book of Jeremiah.
As the Babylonian campaigns proceeded, the book of Jeremiah mentions the towns of Lachish and Azekah, and the finding of the Lachish Ostraca stands in support of their existence before their destruction.
Jeremiah 34:6-7 details:
6 “Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, 7 when the king of Babylon’s army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah; for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah.”
The Lachish Letters, or Lachish Ostraca (pottery sherds), were discovered in 1935 by archaeologist James Leslie Starkey and date to ca. 590 B.C, the time of Jeremiah. They were found in a small room adjoining the outer gateway of the city of Lachish (modern Tel ed-Duweir), beneath a layer of charcoal and ashes.
The letters depict a vast correspondence between an army commander stationed at the city of Lachish and a man named Hoshaiah, who was in command of a garrison stationed in one of the towns between Lachish and Jerusalem.
The ostracon or letter #4, depicts: “And may (my lord) be apprised that we are watching for the fire signals of Lachish according to all the signs which my lord has given, because we cannot see Azekah.”
This discovery is significant because of its reference to the town of Azekah; for the skeptics who claim that the Bible is all mythology, this ostracon is one additional piece standing strong against them. It supports the existence of the town of Azekah that is mentioned in the book of Jeremiah.
Additionally, scholars presume that in its time, this letter signaled the start of Azekah’s and Lachish’s vicissitudes concerning their final Babylonian conquest, as Hoshaiah relays in Ostracon or letter #4 the following: “We are watching for the fire signals of Lachish, according to all the signs my lord gave, because we do not see Azekah.”
Remember, the archaeological discoveries that support the Bible are just the cherry on top of the cake. We have an amazing God.