Bible and Archeology
Biblical archeology

THE PAST QUARTER OF A CENTURY A NEW SUBJECT HAS ENTERED the curriculum of Bible colleges and theological colleges. It is Biblical Archaeology, Its importance is beyond dispute.

It is a vital branch of general Biblical research, which has made tremendous progress in recent years. There are few fields of human knowledge where the progress discovery makes a constant revision of handbooks and other aids to study more necessary than in biblical research. Biblical archaeology has all the fascination of the science of which see is to marvel the story-of passages by digging materials and remains. But it has the added interest that through we are better able to understand and interpret the texts. studies are that they go far towards authenticating the history, Of course, it is impossible to authenticate archaeologists in all that is in the Bible. Many of its statements lie beyond the sphere of archaeological investigation. No excavator can comment, in terms of his science, on the simple statement: “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” But in its sphere, this science does much for the student of the sacred record.


When we extract from the field of general, archaeology ‘all the. material that is relevant to the Bible, and then organize our material into a Norma! the study, we have the substance of a. course. In at least four ways.

In the first place, it provides the general background of the history of the Bible. It is not sufficient merely to read the Bible if we wish to appreciate the significance of its narratives. The men of Bible history lived in an environment. Abraham, for example, moved into a world that had its peculiar customs. We must learn from non-Biblical information what this world of his was like if we would understand more clearly the significance of the things he said and did. We realize that the picture we get of Abraham is not artificial, for the archaeologist shows that he was. typical .of tens of thousands long ago. The same kind of thing could be. said of Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and the whole family of Bible personalities.

Secondly, the Bible is by no means a complete record. It would take a whole library to recount all the events give a–complete account of the experiences of God’s people. But there, is now a vast amount of non-bread material available to supple¬ment our Bible story. The Bible historians selected -only certain

.aspects of the life of a man. They did not aim to give us a complete picture complete. picture. They simply wrote about -what was important for their purpose .and passed-over other things-in silence: The archaeologist helps us to fill out the picture. We learn, for example, that -King dismissed in six verses in the book. Of King has He Assyrian’s answer was the conqueror of Moab, We discover that King Ahab sent a large contingent of troops to a great battle against the Assyrians. Neither of these facts is mentioned in the Bible. These

Biblical Archaeology Today

and many other items of information are made available to us by archaeologists.

Then, thirdly. Biblical archaeology helps us in the translation and explanation of many passages in the Bible that are hard to understand. Sometimes we find a word in a kindred language that gives an alternative meaning which will suit the Bible context better. Sometimes we learn that the Bible has preserved valuable geographical ‘ information which we have missed because we did not understand. At other times we gain a completely new impression Of a passage in the light of fuller historical knowledge.

Finally, it is perfectly true To say that Biblical archaeology has done a great deal to correct the “impression that was abroad at the close of the last.-century and in the early part of this century,

If one impression stands out more clearly than any other today*, ‘it is that on all hands the overall historicity of the Old Testament tradition is admitted. In this connection, the words of W. F. Albright lay be quoted: “There can be no doubt that archaeology has con¬firmed the substantial historicity of Old Testament tradition.

Even if some writers- want to speak of divergences from the -historical picture, they do so with caution and admit that there is no serious modification of that picture.


The archaeologist obtains his information from the material objects behind. by.the people of those far-off days. They are to be found;m the mined towns, graves, and inscriptions of the people. The objects now investigated by the excavator may be either quite human view even today, or covered up “completely or

Numerous structures are still quite exposed. We refer to the pyramids and temples of Egypt, the Parthenon structures on the Acropolis.-In Athens the great ziggurat, the Chaldees variants Roman temples, .aqueducts, roads, And Battered all over the East as well as in Europe, and the sadder castles still to be seen in many lands. These buildings.

And general architectural features are readily available to the archaeologist.

Some buildings are partly covered and need to be cleaned up. . Perhaps debris has gathered about their lower portions. This has to be cleared away before the complete structure is visible. Some buildings already referred to required a certain amount of ‘ clearing before they could be made to tell their story.

The completely covered remains, however, are the ones that require the skill of the trained excavator. How did they become covered? By a variety of means. Perhaps the buildings lay in the lower part of a town in early times. Once the town was deserted, -. The rains -brought silt down from the hills around, which, in centuries, covered the town. The marketplace at Athens and the forum Ron were co his WHY Perhaps a town would be overwhelmed by such means as volcanic ash. This was the fate of Pompeii and Herculaneum near to modern Naples, in A. D. 79. Today the archaeologist can clear away the ash and view a Roman town of the first century A. D.

Some covered remains are in tombs and graves. These are very important because when people in the ancient world buried

Ruins of an early Christian church in Fans East, Sudan.

(Courtesy, UNESCO/X thing)

Their dead, they placed in the grave objects that they believed would be needed ‘by their departed friends in the afterlife. It is from. ..graves that we obtain many of our fine museum pieces. There was no reason for them to be broken since they were protected by the walls of the tomb.

The most important type of covered ruin is that in which we find the remains of several towns one on top of the other. To us moderns this is strange. But in the ancient world, when a walled ‘town was burned, or beaten down by battering rams, or destroyed by an earthquake, the newcomers who rebuilt the town did not remove – the debris and the foundations of -the old city. They selected the best material for re-use, levelled off the remains, and rebuilt on top then) fluid led from does town work is be sealed or “The general pattern of houses and streets would remain, and a great many small items would be left in the rubbish. Most of the towns in Palestine, known to us in the Bible are, of this type Bethel, Jericho, Samaria. Jerusalem, Megiddo, Bethshan, Beths the meshes, Debit Gezer, and so on. Some of these towns had ten or twelve or even twenty strata of destroyed towns. Each recounts its own story. When the whole is excavated by cutting large trenches across the mound and comparing the finds, the story of •the. Town slowly emerges. These sites are known to the archaeologist as “tells” or “mounds.”

These then are the sources from which the excavator recon¬structs his story. The items that speak are the ruined buildings with their walls and rooms and floors, the pottery, the meta implements arid fools, the weapons, the Ivory work the glass, coins, jewellery, the bed and written material, whether it be on stone, Burn or ………baked clay indeed, have an item at all. contributes to the final picture.

Among the -most significant of the finds in an excavation are the Written records letters, receipts, census lists, contracts, and literary pieces, written on stone, broken pottery, leather, or papyrus. Material like this has been found in caves, wrapped around mummies.

About in ruined buildings, or cast out on a rubbish heap. Perishable “material as the and pay us requires a dry climate, lat it is normally found only in Egypt above the level of the odds, on the dry arts of Palestine inscriptions in Stone are really to be found anywhere. Often inscriptions were filled with ads, but sometimes they were little more than scratches on the rock. Occasionally written information was painted on the wall of a tomb, or marked in carbon on a coffin or a wall. Although this written material lacks “popular appeal, it is possibly the most important of all the information that can be recovered from an ancient civilization, for it records the names of people and places and gives detailed information of events, laws, and customs.

Coins fall into a special class, for they are of value, not only in dating remains, but they also contain in themselves valuable historical material. They were important instruments of the propaganda machine in the ancient world, and a study of them gives us a good deal of information -about the appearance of kings and emperors, as well as about events. There are several references to coins in the New Testament, for example, the one where Jesus was questioned about the payment of taxes and He asked to see a coin. This was the meanings write arc Caesars; mid unto Goa the things that are God’s” (Matt. 22:21).

Finally, after several seasons of work, the story is told. The Biblical archaeologist hastens to discover whether there are important items in the report of the excavator that bear on Bible history, and that will be of use in one of the ways we have suggested above.


The average Bible reader sometimes gains the impression that the spectacular discoveries of the archaeologist apply only to the Old Testament. This is a serious misunderstanding. The New Testa¬ment, too, has benefited greatly from archaeological discovery)”. There lies to the credit of the modern excavator an impressive array of material that has not only thrown light on the history of the New Testament period but-that has-also had important .repercussions in the field of New Testament study generally. It is not too much to claim that there have been important modifications brought about in scholarly theories about the New Testament, almost entirely as a result of archaeological discovery. We shall notice some of these’ in this volume. ”

There is probably a good reason for the development -of the idea that archaeology has little to say about the New Testament. The ready significant discoveries that bear upon it are not nearly striking as those that refer to the Old Testament. Many people who know very little about Bible history would nevertheless have heard of Sir Leonard Woolley and his excavations at Ur, the home of Abraham, or Professor Gars tang and his work at Jericho. Again,

Biblical Archaeology. Today’.

The excavations of Professor Koldewey at Babylon, the capital of the famous Nebuchadnezzar, seem to be commonplace in history books. The achievements of the great Assyrians have been known for. .over a century now since Sir Henry Layard, H. Rassam, and George Smith carried out their remarkable research in the ruins of Nineveh and Nimrod. But all of these are of interest chiefly to the Old Testament scholar. Even the casual visitor to Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and other countries in the East sees before his eyes massive structures like the pyramids of Egypt, the great ziggurat of Ur, the widespread ruins of Babylon, the -Assyrian palaces, Khorsabad, and Nimrod, and the palaces of the Persians, all of which are of specific interest to the Old Testament reader. All of these, are so old and carry with them so much of the contrary man ‘remains to seem to come from yesterday and to lack a Sciriation of the more ancient past. Without this glamour, the antiquities of New Testament times have made less appeal to the issue and so the impression has grown that there is little of value to found “in the excavation of remains of New Testament times. Despite the absence of a popular appeal, archaeological finds in the New Testament are by no means lacking. Most of them are written records, inscriptions, and papyri. But are some “building remains and a considerable variety of others which have their special interest.

For many of the towns mentioned in the New Testament, there are considerable remains above the ground. For others, there is a deal that has become covered through the ages and needs to ted. The important town of Jerusalem, which live shall us tail Slater, “-is rich in archaeological material…….. .but this has not aviated .:because the city is at present “inhabited” gay people use to stand above the rains of earlier centuries. However, towns, are laid bare by the archaeologist, there is much to erred, both about the life that was lived in these towns and me of the buildings that are mentioned in the New Testament led glorify call “to’ mind- the great, the temple of Diana or, the marketplace at Athens. There are other towns, though not mentioned in the British’ ‘ School of Archaeology under Dr Kathleen Kenyon, and in other bodies, will commence some excavation in the old Jewish walls at an early dare.

Bible, nevertheless tell us much about the life of the times. Such a town is Pompeii, which was overwhelmed by Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. Here we have s. typical town of Paul’s day, rand at the study of its remains will give us a clear idea of the sore of towns in which Pan delivered his message.



typical portraits of Hammurabi, king of Babylon, c. 1792-1750 B.C., surrounded by J.U.V’s well-known Code of Laws. The portrait to the left is cut in limestone (Courtesy, The-‘British Museum); the diorite stele to the right is eighty inches high and depicts receiving the symbols not authority from the god Marduk. The steel is scribed with,282 laws (Courtesy, Consulate General of the Republic to Iraq)

Nazi documents in due course. For the present, it should believe that in ‘the Bible the Hurrians are known as Horites. The Hittites which was the third group that became active about a time when the Israelite patriarchs were moving about This was a group of peoples that originated somewhere in and formed part of the great Indo-European migration that as-far as India. The group that is of special interest to the men settled in Asia Minor. Here they found a more ancient “‘ Own as the “Hatti people. The newcomers took over their

Is -not always clear whether the” early records in” the Bible

die original Hittites or to the new Hittites. Abraham

glad in Machpelah from the Hittite. It is possible

here is one of the earlier Hittites is between brief they”

couple that did travel around the East. They traded

Archaeology and the Old Testament Story up to 581 B.C.

with the people in Assyria as early as about 2DOCf B.C. according to baked clay documents found in Asia Minor and no\v known as the Cappadocian Documents.4 It would have been possible for Abraham to have had dealings with Hittites of one kind or another in -the period 2000-1700 B.C., which is almost, certainly the period in which he lived. In the days of the Israelite exodus, the Hittites of the ‘Bible were, of course, the Indo-European Hittites.

When we add to these three main groups several other smaller groups which were -to be -found in the lands where Abraham moved, we see that it was a busy world indeed. In Palestine, there was already a mixed population comprising- such peoples as Canaanites and: other related groups. The Canaanites had already “been in the land for perhaps a thousand years.


The Bible describes the journeys of Abraham in some detail. Leaving Ur, he first travelled north to the town of Haran where -he lived for several years before setting out again to journey to ‘ Palestine (Gen. 12). A later writer in the Bible described this first journey of Abraham as one in which “he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Heb. 8b). Recent research suggests quite strongly that it is not in a physical sense that this verse must be applied. There were well-trodden trade routes throughout these lands and we have no .reason to think that Abraham left the usual roads when he made his journey. We should rather interpret this verse in a spiritual sense, namely, that having set out at the call of God, he did not. quite know where this response was likely to lead him in. The end.

: Not only were their great roads from Ur to Haran, but other roads connected northern Mesopotamia with the Mediterranean coast and with Palestine. Still, others connected Palestine with Egypt, There was a good deal of traffic between these latter two lands; This is shown by the numerous Egyptian items found in the tombs of Palestine dating to the years 2000-1800:B. c. It was the period of the great Twelfth Dynasty which seems to have existed ‘some s6rt-tJf\ control over Syria and Palestine The Execration Texts, already re- valuable-set- from tombs found at Beni Hasan, 250 miles down the Nile, in which the artist has portrayed -for us a group of semi-nomads who,

Professor Nelson Glueck examined a piece of pottery that dates pom the time of Abraham. (Courtesy, Israel Office of Information)


One of the most important contributions of modern archaeology to our understanding of the Bible is the information which “is given, about the laws and customs of the people. This material comes either from the formal law codes or from the many incidental references to the customs of the people to be found on the document of everyday life such as receipts, letters, contracts, licenses, and like.

From patriarchal times in particular we now have a great of this kind of •material. In the first place, we know of ‘at list three Amorite law code one. Of which is complete, namely, code of the great Hammurabi. But this code was but the last expression of the earlier codes of the town of Eshunna and of the”Irr the seldom place, we have a great variety J. B. I’op, tit., pp. 159-163

A beautiful example of Akkadian craftsmanship, dating from c. Z40Q B.C. This brome head o/ Saigon the Great is rather stylized and nearly perfectly.’ symmetrical, yet note the realism of ‘the combed waves of the beard. (Courtesy, Consulate General of the Republic of Iraq)

tablets which give us remarkable glimpses into the customs itinerary people of the day.

is the most important of these written records are those ident Human town of Nuzi which lay to the east of the River, Its modern name is Yorghan Tepe. Here, in the years LlSH ‘Professor Chiera and his colleagues. Of the American of Oriental Research found some 20*000 clay documents in lily “archives -of several of the villas of the town. The date documents are somewhat later than the time of Christ, Telling placed by the excavators in. The fifteenth-century Viay “be as much as four or five hundred years after the Late of the patriarchs, but because customs persist, the inc lant evidence about the legal and’1 social structure lands previous -centuries

and E. A. Spelser, One Hundred New Selected Nitzi Texts

When the Nuzi tablets were translated it became apparent at once that there were many very close parallels between the customs in” this town and those to be found in the society of the patriarchs. In other cases, the parallels were not so. dose, but the same general pattern could be observed with modifications in detail. At last, it was possible for the Bible student -to look into an ancient form of society closely resembling the society of the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What was particularly significant was that the town of Nuzi lay in the genera) area of northern Mesopotamia which was the home of Abraham for a considerable time. The Bible records indicate that Abraham’s descendants kept their contact with this area for quite a time, Isaac found a wife here, and Jacob lived here for twenty years. Perhaps there were other contacts be¬tween the family living in Palestine and their relatives living in ‘norrtteeh Mesay precisely his wrong a period is represented we have. In the first chapter of Exodus. It must occupy unruled years in all. if we have been right in linking. between the Hyksos conquerors of Egypt and the” think of. The days of Joseph as being somewhere

but as a most significant group in the mind of God. We have to on to the days of the Exodus before we find more tangible evidence.

In the vicinity of 1 700 B.C. It is evident that the court of the ruler at the time was not far from the land of Goshen, for the narrative in Genesis 46 and 47 suggests an easy passage from the Pharaoh and Joseph to the land of Goshen. This would mean that the capital was in the delta area, a circumstance that would suit the times of the Hyksos rulers. Both before and after these times the capital was at Thebes, well down the Nile. The sojourn in Egypt thus lasted for some four hundred years. This lapse of time is referred to more than once in the Bible. Thus Exodus 12:40 states that

the sojourning of -the children of Israel, <u)ho is this ‘”ruler was a more closed religious form that in the maintenance of his Asiatic empire. As a result of “His neglect, there were inroads’-into his domains on all sides. The local governors and princes who remained loyal to Egypt wrote letters to Akhenaton pleading for help from the Pharaoh who had removed his capital “to Amarna some distance up the Nile. Late in the nineteenth century a peasant woman, rummaging in the ruins of Amarna, discovered some of these letters.! written on baked clay. Others were found later. They are n known as the Amarna letters. They give a very good insight I the state of Palestine about a century before the Israelites came In particular they tell us of several of these walled towns and of hi -they were being taken over by the invaders. At one time it was thought that the picture given in these letters -was a portrayal of the Israelite invasion, but further information now available shows that the event was quite a different one. The Israelites vaded violently and destroyed towns, whereas, in the Amarna lei we see the local inhabitants selling out to the invading peoples, Aramaeans, the Habiru (not to be confused with the Israelis and so on.

A second aspect of the report of the spies is their reference to the mixed races of the land (Num. 1:29). Documents from “Palestine of that period have ‘preserved many names which give a general idea of the elements in the population, in much the way as Times “like Macke rizie Page, Schmidt, K.wei-14 Ramamurrhi in an American town give some indication of raff origins.

And finally the description of the land as one that with milk and honey” had been given to the same land by Egypt

Amama were found several letters from city governors who opted to the Egyptian pharaoh for help against incoming Habiru. In the small teaetwotottm, the governor of Gubbu informs the king that everything is uat and that he, with his men and Chariots, is ready to join Pharaoh’s needed. (Courtesy, The British Museum)

iters; of an earlier day. There are extant today at least two accounts -.the .land on the general area of Palestine, and “both give a glowing at least some of its territory. We refer to the tale ofer,12 dated to about 1900 B.C., and the account of Pharaoh People I,13 about 2550 B. c. Israel’s fear at the report of the spies-and ‘of to proceed with the conquest at that time is well known, turned back and remained in. The wilderness for many in they finally decided to move, they proceeded at once skirting Edom and Moab, were able to launch their the east.


ruts. Moses had fled to their land in an earlier day a Kenite woman, daughter of the priest of Median op., pp. 18-22.

Egypt to Canaan

(Exod. 2:16ff.). The name Kenite suggests the Hebrew word quitting which means “smith.” That there may be significance in this name is shown by the fact that the area below the Dead Sea was, and still is, an area rich in minerals, an -area ‘” whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig harass” (Deut. 8:9). The research of archaeologists like Nelson Glueck has shown that copper was mined in this area at a very, early date. The great Solomon had wonderful smelting works here at Ezion. Geber, as we shall see. These have now been excavated. It becomes a point of great interest to find that it was precisely in this region that Moses had the serpent of brass prepared (Num. 21:9). Moreover, one of the towns passed “way. The land of Eden (‘Numb 3:42.), This modern Asian is an area that has been carried out various times in the past.

Another point of interest on which modern discovery has shed light is the reference to Israel’s success over some of the foes they” met on the way. The Bible states that the people- of Israel smote the enemy “with the edge of the sword” (Exod.’ 17:13, Deut. 13:l5j 20:13, Num. 21:24). In Hebrew this phrase is literally “to the input of the sword.” This now turns out to be a most precise description Archaeological work has brought to light a great variety of swords-daggers, battle axes, and the like. Many of these have the representation of an animal mouth at the top of the blade, so that the bale appears to issue from the jaws of a wild beast14 The phrase devour to the mouth of the sword1′ is a very vivid one indeed It was during the wilderness period that the Israelites beg? to learn the significance of the laws that Moses had drawn up fr them. It used to be the opinion of some scholars in the last certified that not only were these laws largely the invention of a later but that even the figure of Moses was largely legendary. Few wp hold either, of these positions today.15 It has become -increasing evidence that in the thirteenth century B. c. legal and religious codes were very, well developed. The discovery of the ancient site of Ugarit (root Ras Shamra) opposite modern Cyprus on the coast of “Signal was given to. The world a great insight into the religious practices the Canaanites. Baked clay documents found here have” stowed even before the days of Moses the Canaanites had the most co

14. T, J. Meek, “Archaeology and a Point to Hebrew Syntax,

(Eng 70

(April 1951) . . 15. M. Moth, The History of Israel (Engl. transl., 2nd ed.) pp. tS5t. S

by name chair of Tat-ankh-Awm antechamber of we catered in This panel, wisely of gold, shows to ymm; h>» K unit hit miff in tornado royal attire and terrain when he-still wvrxhippnti Atim, it fant the symboleQueen Ankhr, perfume while she it. Monish frrsuwl (Chum’, The Metro-,

In prances and rituals, many of them bearing at least some ‘place to those of the Israelites. W§ may rguf. that if the |f, Canaan had such development &t the time, there is no way the people of Israel should not have hail there is also. –

it applies the now codes of file ancient East. thought that the earliest law code was that of flick great, who was supposed to live about 2100 H. c. We know that are to 1700 B.C. And that there were law codes before ^Mesopotamia. In very recent years at least two codes in excavations, namely, the codes of the town

Archaeology and the Old Testament Story up to 581 B.C.

Of Eshnunna and King Lipit Ishtar.16 Both of these precede the code of Hammurabi in time, and both show remarkable resemblances to it. There is no serious reason, therefore, why the Israelites should not have had a code of their own, There are, of course, several very remarkable resemblances between the code of Moses and that of Hammurabi. This is not to be wondered at since the patriarchal family came from Mesopotamia and would naturally bring with them something of the legal structure of the society which had been theirs until the time of their migration. Many of these is would be necessary for any system, and we can understand that it would have divine approval.

Ships a few -words-about would be in order here.17 The idea of 3 travelling sacred ark was not peculiar to Israel. Tent shrines are depicted in the third-century s. c.’ and the writer Diodorus tells of Phoenicians taking tent shrines into battle in the seventh century B. c. These are, of course, later that the Israelite period, but they provide a hint that this sort of thing was not unknown in the ancient world.

The shape and structure of the Tabernacle were both familiar to other peoples at the time, particularly to the Canaanites. The| materials used were all such as could be obtained in the areas where the Israelites were wandering. Recent discussion has inclined scholars, in general, to take the Biblical accounts of-the Tabernacle in the wilderness more seriously than they have for the past century.


Then came a day when Moses and the children-of Israel decide to move on. But the decision was to go indirectly. The was a well-known trade road that wound its way through Trans the King’s Highway (Num. 20:17, 21:22, Deut. 2:27, etc.). now established that this road existed from early times. It was

.much -earlier; that the days of the Exodus. A. string of Bronze j fortresses, scattered here and there fairly close to the modern hi highway, shows that the road was in use even before 2000. It-was -probably-the. conquest .of .this. road..that lay. behind the version of the four kings of the east mentioned in Genesis 16. J. B. Pritchard, op. cit., pp. 159-163,

17. F. M. Cross, “The Tabernacle,” BA, X (1947), pp. 45-68; W. F. Alb BASOR, No. 91 (1943), pp. 39-44, and No. 93,-pp. .23-25. 18. N. Glueck, AASOR, Vol. XV, p. 104; etc.

In the days when the Israelites were passing by, this road was again protected by small walled fortresses which stood at strategic points .such as at the descent into the wadis and at the edges of the plateaux inhere the road carne up again from the deep valleys. It is interesting to learn that the Romans used the same path for their great road -through Transjordan in the days of Trajan,

Having decided to proceed to the promised land, i message was sent to the king of Edom asking permission to pass along the King’s Highway. The promise was made that all food and -water used would be paid for. The king of Edom refused passage $o:Israel (Num..20:14-22). It may be asked why Israel did not attack that at office site MsawsiijiMi’ that Eaek use vomits a “little later on. They had no intention of settling there because they were forbidden by an injunction from God to abhor Edom, who was their brother {Deut. 23:7). There was one strong physical “reason why Edom was not attacked at this time. This has become:Blear .only in recent years, largely. owing to the work of Professor Jelson Glueck, who has made a thorough surface survey of the,wh6Ie of Transjordan.18 He has been able to show that Edom was a .small, well-defined and self-contained kingdom surrounded on,dw west, the east and the north by fortresses strategically placed. -was no need to have them on the south for there was no Singer .of invasion from this direction. Israel would have been foolish o attempt to scale the heights of the Edomite plateau which v-ypr1 three thousand feet above the beds of the alleys that EFL die )and. So Israel had to move north up the valley of all to the west of Edom, then enter the Wadi Zered which n -boundary of Edom, and proceed in an easterly in, ‘skirting Edom to the north (Num. 21:4; 11-13; Judg. The king of Edom would not worry unduly about the real to the east, away down there in the valley. Their idea of room for the people and their flocks and herds f. through. Incidentally, -it was about this time that the incidents serpent arid the’ death of” ‘Aaron took place (Num.9),

-refused Israel – the right to pass along the King’s tips”Moab”w6uIB allow her to pass. Messengers sent e aiet by the same refusal. Israel did not attempt to get-for..much the same reasons. The land of Moab

AASOR, Vois. 4, 15, 16-19, 25-28; “The Other Side of s, 19.

had been given to the Moabites by God and was not for the possession of Israel at this stage (Dent. 2:9)……. Moab, like Edom, was surrounded by fortresses and stood securely on her plateau. So Israel moved along the Wad Zered to the east. •

Then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land o-f Moab, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, but came not -within the border of Moab; for Arnon was; the border of Moab (Judg.- 11:18).

Next.,.2 -message- was sent to Amoiiife king Sihon. He, too, refused to allow Israel to pass along the ‘King’s Highway, but he made one foolish mistake. He left the shelter of his fortresses and came out to the plains in front of his kingdom. This gave Israeli the chance she wanted. Sihon was defeated in battle and the way was open for the Israelites to move up to the highlands of the; Transjordan plateau. Very soon the whole of Transjordan was ml the hands of Israel, The two kingdoms of Sihon and Of were! subdued and their lands were given to the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and ^ the tribe of Manasseh (Num. 21:21-35; 32).


Little will be said about the period of Israel’s settlement in western Palestine. The Bible pictures two main phases of the opi dons Carried out by Joshua during the. conquest. There was a campaign in the south and one in the north.

In the south such towns as Jericho, AJ, Lachish, Debir, -Eglon Libnah was taken and destroyed. Archaeological work has-b did in nearly all of these, and insofar as there is a consistent picture anywhere, it would seem that there was considerable destruction, in these towns about 1250 B.C. There are, of course, some problems –yet to be -solved. • The town of Ai poses, its peculiar pro because it seems that the site that has been identified with Ai was destroyed about 2350 B.C. And lay in ruins at the time of -Israelite -conquest. its very .name means run in.” Various suggestions have been offered to -account for the fact that Ai is meritiohei being taken by Joshua. One is that it was merely an outpost. Bethel was under the control of a military captain. He is styled “k but this need occasion no difficulty as the Hebrew root is simply a bit

20. W. F. Albright, Archaeology of Palestine (London, 1954), p. .74.

ruler.” If was only a military outpost there may not have ‘ been any substantial buildings there and so nothing tangible would ‘ remain. However, this is one of the problems remaining to be solved. The general picture in the south is clear.

In the north one town, Hazor (Josh. II), is singled out for ‘.special mention. Here a coalition of Canaanite kings was defeated. : It is of great interest to us that only recently the excavation of Hazor .'” was undertaken and the excavator has discovered that there was the continuous Canaanite occupation of the town till the middle of the fifteenth century.31.” this, of.Bourse., it’s well with dying’ picture-Two have; give mom_ culture, by ‘pottery, appear in these towns. The Bible has quite represented the conquest of the land by Israel as being in at the time of Joshua.

The story of the conquest we ‘have already entered the Judges- The land was divided among the east and to the west of the Jordan.

thanks for joining this intense study. I shall stop here for now till the next update.

From this part of the world, It is all thanks and be rupturable, from pastor Godstrong.



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  1. Great article; this is the first time I heard a biblical perspective from an archaeologist.  Throughout my years of personal study,  I believed the bible was complete.  Events were accurate; the people and places were exact. But as I read the value of biblical Archaeology,  I am convinced there is a different view that can fill in the blanks and provides a greater truth for what occurred centuries ago. Again the entire article excellent.

  2. In the respect of every human being, every religion and believes out there.
    here is my simple oppoin,
    Bible is truth because is the word of God almighty, heven and earth will pass away but his word remain the same,, in holy Bible scripture, it is written John chapter 14, vs 6, quot.. JESUS CHRIST Siad I am the way the truth and light, therefore no one come to the father aspect ture him

  3. Hi Nathan, 

    It’s evident you are passionate about your niche (Life’s work)–you’ve spent a great deal of time and energy researching, writing, and teaching. I found the posts on scriptural context, doctrine of the church, trinity, and the bible and archaeology quite interesting. 

    I also am a Christian. And I strongly agree that this life is about helping others problem-solve and learn truth along the journey. We all want love, respect, and brotherhood. The world is a miraculous, exquisite place; there are good people everywhere living good lives and doing the best they can. But there are many people who use and hurt others. Sadly, people live without the knowledge of a loving God and the Spirit which helps us develop hope and faith and testimony. 

    I respect your goal to share your knowledge and beliefs with others. And wish you the very best. 



  4. Thanks once more, Tamara. Thanks for the time you put to go through this post and a whole lot of others. Our goal is to achieve God’s purpose in our life and time. May God bring you to success.


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