Archaeological Affirmations (7/10)

A few weeks ago, we published a post on confirmation of the Bible offered by Archaeology. The post was purposefully general. However, I would like to start addressing specific archaeological finds that affirm the biblical record and give us more evidence to believe. I cannot say how frequent or how consistent these will be, but I guess we’ll see.  

Evidence from Ebla

Ebla TabletTwo professors from the University of Rome, archaeologist Dr. Paolo Matthiae and epigrapher Dr. Giovanni Pettinato, began their work in 1964 excavating a site at Tell Mardikh in Syria. By 1968, they had uncovered a statue of King Ibbit-Lim with an inscription referencing Ishtar, the godess who “shines brightly in Ebla.” This was the first of many phenomenal discoveries to come.

As it turns out Dr. Matthiae and Dr. Petinato had struck the surface of a considerably large civilization. Ebla had a population of some 260,000 people at its height of power in 2300 BC. Within 50 years this kingdom over a quarter of a million strong was destroyed by Naram-Sin, the grandson of Sargon the Great. For over 3 thousand years this once great Kingdom waited to be discovered by the Italian professors.

Since 1974, over 17,000 tablets have been found at the Ebla site. They are all confirmed to be from the time of the Kingdom of Ebla. There is little known of any direct relationship of Ebla to the Biblical world, but there is a wealth of contributions made in the field of biblical criticism. The Tablets reveal invaluable insight to the historical context of the Patriarchal period (the lives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) as well as confirmation of the historical reliability of the first five books of the Bible written by Moses about 1400 BC, a thousand years after the Elba Kingdom.

Advocates of the Documentary Hypothesis teach that the period described in the Mosaic narrative had to have been prior to all knowledge of writing. But, the findings at Ebla show that there were laws, customs and events recorded in writing a thousand years before Moses, in the same area of the world in which Moses and the patriarchs lived.

Critics have not only taught that it was a time prior to writing but also that priestly code and social laws recorded in the Pentateuch were too far developed to have been written by Moses. It was said that the Israelites were too primitive at that time to have written such intricate legislation and code. Higher criticism taught that it was not until about the 6th century BC during the rule of the Persian empire (538-331 BC) that such detailed law making was recorded.

However, the tablets found at Ebla contain law codes that record elaborate judicial proceedings and case law. Many are comparable to the Deuteronomy law code which critics claim could not have been written as early as the Biblical record depicts.

Another example of the contribution of the Ebla tablets is in relation to Genesis 14. This chapter was for years considered to be historically unreliable. The victory of Abraham over Chedorlaomer and the Mesopotamian kings has been described as fictitious. The five Cities of the Plain – Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboiim and Zoar – were said to be only legend.

Yet the Ebla archives refer to all five Cities of the Plain from the Genesis account. On one table the cities are listed in the exact same sequence as Genesis 14! The context set by the tablets echo the culture of the patriarchal period and depict that, before the catastrophe recorded in Genesis 14, the area was a prosperous area experiencing prosperity and success, as described by Genesis.

A final contribution of the Ebla archives is concerning Biblical names. These writings verified many names of people and places mentioned in Genesis and other Old Testament books that were, prior to these discoveries, thought to be mythical in nature. The authorship of many Old Testament books came into question because many of these names were formerly thought to be younger than the Biblical record would have them appear.

For example, the name “Canaan” was in use in the Ebla writings, a name skeptics once said was not used as early as the Biblical record depicts. However, not only is the name used, but the geographic depiction coincides with the Bible as well. Also, the word “tehom” (Genesis 1:2) was said to be a word used in much later civilizations than those spoken of in Genesis. It was therefore argued that Genesis must have been written much later then the time of Moses. However, in the writings of the Elba archive, tehom appeared repeatedly as a regular word in their vocabulary, proving its usage some 800 years before Moses.

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7 comments so far

  1. paarsurrey on

    Hi

    This may interest you.
    Jesus did not die on Cross. Please don’t mind. In my opinion he survived death on Cross, as he promised to show sign of Jonah. And Jonah entered the belly of fish alive, remained alive in the belly of the fish and came out alive from the belly of the fish. Similarly Jesus entered the tomb where he was laid after he was delivered from the Cross, in a precarious condition but nevertheless alive. Jesus remained alive in the tomb and came out of it alive. Since he never died on the Cross, there is no question of his resurrection from the dead. This has been proved by the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908 from several arguments from the Quran, NTBible and the medical and the history.
    Second Coming has already taken place in the form of the PromisedMessiah1835-1908 as was prophesised in the scriptures.
    Kindly visit my blogsite for your comments and/or discussions on the posts/pages there if you like. Differing opinions are also welcome.
    I love Jesus, Mary and Muhammad.
    Thanks
    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

  2. TJ on

    I don’t see the connection between the post and your comment, but far be it from me to refuse an answer.
    I have read about a “Swoon Theory” which teaches that Jesus didn’t really die at His crucifixion, but was merely unconscious when He was laid in the tomb and there He resuscitated.
    I also know of the comparison Jesus made in Matthew 12:40 of His death and the story of Jonah.
    However, the idea that Jesus somehow survived the crucifixion simply does not align with Scripture primarily and plain reason secondarily.
    What did Jesus mean exactly in John 10:15-18 when He said, “I lay down my life for the sheep” and the other three times He says it in the following verses? Then, of course, He even said that He would take His life back after having laid it down of His own volition, being as how no man could take it from Him.
    If He did not truly die then what could these verses possibly mean?
    I’m not sure of your position on the valitity of the NT record, so just in case these verses don’t hold much weight for you I also would suggest you think about all the people who were counting on the successful execution of Jesus.
    The Sanhedrin’s credibility and future authority (both of which the cared about tremendously) depended upon it. The Roman soldiers, both the group in charge of execution and in charge of protecting the tomb, had their livelyhood and in some cases their lives on the line.
    That said, these groups were saticefied with the crucifixion.
    One last thought, if Jesus did survive the crucifixion, do you think he would have had the strength to do what He was reported to have done after being disfigured beyond recognition?
    I’m interested to see your blog. Thanks for commenting. Perhaps you might see a post here on this topic soon.
    God Bless.

  3. TJ on

    By the way, who exactly are referring to by saying “PromisedMessiah 1835-1908”?

  4. paarsurrey on

    Hi

    You may kindly access the following links and use the research engine for knowing about the PromisedMessiah 1835-1908 :
    http://www.alislam.org/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claims_of_Mirza_Ghulam_Ahmad

    Thanks

    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim

  5. DT on

    Admittedly I know very little of your particular brand of Islam, paarsurrey, but that doesn’t keep me from saying it is a false religion, for any sect led by a man called the Promised Messiah, who isn’t Jesus of Nazareth, goes against the Bible which I believe to be God’s Word. It seems that you, in typical Islamic fashion, pick and choose which scriptures of the Bible to believe. Would you say that anything that contradicts your assumptions, fo example the scriptures TJ pointed out speak of Christ’s literal death, are simply evidence of corruption? That’s the current mainstream Muslim apologetic approach. Perhaps yours is different.

    Anyway, we appreciate this dialogue. As TJ said, perhaps we’ll post on this topic soon. Thank you.

  6. paarsurrey on

    Hi DT!

    I appreciate your comments. You know that Jesus used to talk in parables; hence in my opinion those who wan to take his Second Coming as physical and literal don’t understand him and his person fully. Perhaps they are the ones who take things arbitrarily; especially the things he had himself explained.

    Jews believed in the Second Coming of Elijah before advent of Jesus; and one should not forget that Jesus and Mary were Jews and the were followers of Moses. Elijaj was the person who went to skies alongwith his Chariot and horses to skies; the Jews believed in this. Jews waited for the descent of Elijah from the skies before Jesus’ arrival. They asked this question from Jesus and he replied that John the Baptist was the Elijah; of course not physically and literally, but metaphorically.

    In this is the reply of Seond Coming of Jesus. I love Jesus and therefore I would side with Jesus instead of siding with Paul who wanted to take it physically and literally. Paul does not follow Jesus in the guidance Jesus provided in this connection. I don’t think the Christians are correct in believing such mythical concepts. This way they only become irrational whereas Jesus was a rational person.

    This is my opinion; one may differ with it but with reasons.

    Thanks

    I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim.

  7. […] The Ebla Archive In the 1970’s excavations of the Ebla archive in northern Syria uncovered writings dating back to ca. 2300 B.C. These writings verified many names of people and places mentioned in Genesis and other Old Testament books that were, prior to these discoveries, thought to be mythical in nature. The authorship of many Old Testament books came into question because many of these names were formerly thought to be younger than the Biblical record would have them appear. For example, the name “Canaan” was in use in the Ebla writings, a name skeptics once said was not used as early as the Biblical record depicts. However, not only is the name used, but the geographic depiction coincides with the Bible as well. Also, the word “tehom” (Genesis 1:2) was said to be a word used in much later civilizations than those spoken of in Genesis. It was therefore argued that Genesis must have been written much later then the time of Moses. However, in the writings of the Elba archive, tehom appeared repeatedly as a regular word in their vocabulary, proving its usage some 800 years before Moses. […]


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