I always find it interesting and encouraging when archaeological discoveries are made which confirm the truth of the Bible. Although our faith ultimately does not rest on such discoveries, they can be important as a testimony to the truth of the Scriptures. I read recently of two significant discoveries which have been made…
1. Has Queen Jezebel’s royal seal been found?
One of the most notorious figures in the Old Testament is Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Israel, who was opposed by Elijah. A large official seal has been in the Israel Museum since 1964, which belonged to someone called Jezebel, but it was not certain if this was Queen Jezebel. Recent study by Dr. Marjo Korpel from the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands has made the identification more certain. Dr. Korpel noted that seal was twice the size of other seals, which would suggest it belonged to an important person. It is also inscribed with royal symbols: a crowned sphinx, two cobras and a falcon. The name on the seal is “l’yzbl”, meaning “belonging to Jezebel”, although two characters are missing through damage.
It is interesting to note that this seal has pagan symbols, and contains no symbols connected with God’s people of Israel. Jezebel was the daughter of King Ethbaal of the Sidonians, and as therefore a pagan Gentile (1 Kg 16:31). She had a profoundly negative influence on her husband King Ahab, increasing the level of the worship of Baal in Israel, since her father was also a priest of Baal (1 Kg 16:32). She also seized Naboth’s vineyard for her husband, writing false letters as from Ahab, and sealing them with her husband’s seal (1 Kg 21:8).
You can read more about this discovery at www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/070126210336.htm
2. Evidence for the Edomites
The nation of Edom, the descendants from Jacob’s brother Esau, was one of the enemies of Judah through much of their history. The enmity that began between the twin brothers continued for nearly a thousand years, as enmity between the neighbouring nations. Until recently, scholars had no evidence for the existence of the nation of Edom before the 8th century BC. This was used by certain scholars to support their claim that the Bible was inaccurate. However, recent excavations have found artifacts from as early as 1200 BC, before the time of David and Solomon, pushing evidence for the Edomites back by three hundred years, and confirming the accuracy of the Bible. Early in his reign, David defeated the Edomites, put military garrisons in Edom, so the Edomites became his servants (2 Sam 8:14). This allowed Solomon to exploit the copper, and to build a navy on the Gulf of Aqaba (1 Kg 9:26).
In the arid Edomite lowlands, evidence has been found of large military fortifications and of two phases of copper production on an industrial scale between the 12th and 11th centuries BC, and between the 10th and 9th centuries BC. These would indicate that a complex society, or even a kingdom existed in Edom at this time.
You can read more about this discovery at www.sincedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050222113412.htm