Quiz 16 on Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible
Take this short self-quiz to test your knowledge of weeks nine and ten lessons on Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible.
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Take this short self-quiz to test your knowledge of weeks nine and ten lessons on Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible.
In 1847, a year after he discovered the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III at Nimrud, archaeologist Henry Lanyard made another amazing discovery at nearby ancient Nineveh in modern day Iraq. He found Sennacherib’s seventy room palace, buried for 2,500 years.
Sennacherib was an Assyrian king who ruled 705 B.C. – 681 B.C., 150 years after Shalmaneser III.
Layard discovered that the seventy rooms in the palace were lined with limestone slabs with carved scenes of Sennacherib’s exploits. One room in particular depicted a single exploit: the conquest of the city of Lachish in Israel. Sennacherib and Lachish are mentioned in the Bible:
2 Kings 18: 13-16: In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah’s reign, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 14 So Hezekiah king of Judah sent this message to the king of Assyria at Lachish: “I have done wrong. Withdraw from me, and I will pay whatever you demand of me.” The king of Assyria exacted from Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 So Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the temple of the LORD and in the treasuries of the royal palace. 16 At this time Hezekiah king of Judah stripped off the gold with which he had covered the doors and doorposts of the temple of the LORD, and gave it to the king of Assyria.
Later, (2 Kings 18: 17) Sennacherib threatens Jerusalem: “The king of Assyria sent his supreme commander, his chief officer and his field commander with a large army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem.” However, Sennacherib not able to capture Jerusalem through a siege, partly because of the tunnel Hezekiah dug to route water inside the city gates (2 Kings 20:20; http://lessonsforus.com/2013/06/hezekiahs-tunnel/).
Therefore, Sennacherib conquers Lachish but not Jerusalem. He memorializes his conquest of Lachish in a room of his palace. Now housed in the British Museum in London are the walls taken from what is termed “Room 36” of that palace.
The stone panel shows Assyrians impaling three men outside the gate (left), and Assyrians advancing up artificial ramps (right). Their soldiers wear tall pointed helmets.
This stone panel show the people of Lachish being exiled from their city. They move through the countryside to be resettled elsewhere in the Assyrian Empire. Below them high officials and foreigners are being tortured and executed.
Who was Sennacherib? He was king of Assyria from 704 B.C to 681 B.C and the son of the previous ruler, Sargaon II. The Assyrians were a dominant world power during 2400 B.C. to 612 B.C., when they were conquered by the Medes.
Sennacherib shifted the capital from Dur-Sharrukin (modern Khorsabad) to the ancient city of Nineveh. His great palace is known today as the South-West Palace. Many rooms were decorated with alabaster wall reliefs.
Nineveh was one of the oldest and greatest cities in antiquity. The area was settled as early as 6000 BC and, by 3000 BC, had become an important religious center for worship of the Assyrian goddess Ishtar.
Sennacherib’s main opponent was a Babylonian leader called Marduk-apla-iddina II (the biblical Marduk-baladan). 2 Kings 20:12 “At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of Hezekiah’s illness.”
From 703-689 BC Sennacherib fought to control south Mesopotamia until finally the city of Babylon was captured and sacked. In 701 BC Sennacherib sacked the city of Lachish in Judah but failed to take the capital Jerusalem. In 681 BC Sennacherib was assassinated by two of his sons while he prayed in a temple.
In 1846 archaeologist Henry Lanyard was excavating the ancient Assyrian capital of Nimrud (also known as Kalhu) in modern day Iraq.
They uncovered a six foot tall black obelisk (four-sided, narrow tapering monument with a pyramid-like shape at the top-much like the Washington Monument). The obelisk contained carved images and a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III. It served as a monument and listed the military campaigns of King Shalmaneser III. The obelisk is called the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III and is housed in the British Museum, London.
One of the images shows a man bowing to a ruler. The ruler is Shalmaneser III. The ancient Assyrian cuneiform inscription associated with that image translated reads: “The tribute of Yahua (Jehu) son of Khumri (Omri): silver, gold, bowls of gold, vessels of gold, goblets of gold, pitchers of gold, lead, sceptres for the King’s hand, (and) staves: I received.” 1
Who was Shalmaneser III? He was king of Assyria from 859 B.C to 824 B.C and the son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II. The Assyrians were a dominant world power during 2400 B.C. to 612 B.C., when there were conquered by the Medes.
Assyrians have practiced two religions throughout their history: Ashurism and Christianity. The word “Assyrian,” derives from the name of Ashur, the Assyrian god. In fact on the Black Obelisk the first cuneiform inscription translated reads: “Assur, the great Lord, the King of all the great gods…” 2
Assyrians continued to practice Ashurism until 256 A.D. By then, most Assyrians had accepted Christianity. Assyrians were the first nation to accept Christianity, and the Assyrian Church was founded in 33 A.D. by Thomas, Bartholomew and Thaddeus. 3 Today most Assyrians live in Irag, Syria, and the United States.)
Shalmaneser III conducted a series of military campaigns against the eastern tribes. In 853 B.C. Shalmaneser III lost the Battle of Qarqar (in northwest Syria near the Mediterranean Sea), where he faced a coalition of Egypt, Hamath, Arvad, the Ammonites, and “Ahab of Israel.” Yes, King Ahab of Israel’s Northern Kingdom ( 1 Kings 16:28). 4 A seven foot tall monument was discovered by John George Taylor in 1861 called the Kurkh Stela (a round topped stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide).
On this monument are inscribed the coalition members (including Ahab).
“I approached the city of Qarqar. I razed, destroyed and burned the city of Qarqar , his royal city. 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalry, and 20,000 troops of Hadad-ezer of Damascus; 700 chariots, 700 cavalry, 10,000 troops of Irhuleni, the Hamathite; 2,000 chariots, and 10,000 troops of Ahab, the Israelite;….” 5
In 842 BC, Shalmaneser III campaigned against Hazael of Damascus and Jehu of Israel (represented on the Black Obelisk). Jehu and the Phoenician cities sent tribute to Shalmaneser III in 841 BC. Shalmaneser III continued military campaigns throughout his life and also had to suppress, along with his sons, a civil war in his own country.
Shalmaneser III was a contemporary of Kings Ahazia and Jehoram (sons of Ahab and Jezebel, two of the most wicked rulers in the history of Israel) and King Jehu of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. At the time Israel was divided into two kingdoms: the northern kingdom and southern kingdom.
The capital of the Northern Kingdom was Samaria and the Southern Kingdom was Jerusalem. Jehu was anointed as king in 2 Kings 9: 1-3. He was something of an executioner (even called a “hitman” by one Bible skeptic) because he was ordered by God to destroy Jezebel and her entire household, including her two sons Ahaziah and Jehoram. Ahab had earlier died in battle ( 1 Kings 22:29-40).
Both the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III and The Kurkh Stela confirm Kings Ahab and Jehu of the Bible and are but a few of the many archeological discoveries that confirm details of the Bible. Exodus 29.
Take this short self-quiz to test your knowledge of weeks seven and eight lessons on Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible.
In 1990 construction workers uncovered a burial cave and an ossuary marked “Joseph, son of Caiaphas.” Did this contain the bones of the high priest that questioned Jesus?
An exciting archaeological discovery was announced in 1990. Workers constructing a new park within the Peace Forest about two miles south of the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem accidentally uncovered a burial cave. The cave is located in an area where many other similar tombs have been discovered.
In the cave were a dozen limestone chests that contained bones. These chests, called ossuaries, were primarily used in the first century A.D. The ossuary is only used to store the bones after the body has decomposed. A family member would come into the chamber about a year after the death, take the bones, and place them in an ossuary in order to make room for the next deceased family member.
The bones were that of a man that had died at approximately the age of sixty. These bones are thought to be the bones of Caiaphas the high priest – the one who charged Jesus with blasphemy because:
Caiaphas and Annas are the two high priests mentioned during Jesus’ ministry. The first high priest was Aaron, an elder brother of Moses ( Exodus 29). He wore the ephod, ornamented with bells and gold and purple. The shoulder-straps were adorned with precious stones, on which the names of the twelve tribes were engraved. Only the high priest was permitted to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple, which he did once a year, on the great Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) ( Leviticus 16:29) The high priest entered the Holy of Holies alone, and made expiation, by sprinkling the blood of the sin offering on the mercy seat, and offering up incense. 1
19 Meanwhile, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. 20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret. 21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.” 22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded. 23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, “You know nothing at all! 50 You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” 51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 52 and not only for that nation but also for the scattered children of God, to bring them together and make them one. 53 So from that day on they plotted to take his life.
63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.” 64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.” 65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” 31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. 32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.
In summary, Caiaphas was high priest during the ministry of Jesus. He was son-in-law of Annas, who had previously been the high priest. Caiaphas prophesied that it was necessary for Jesus to die for the nation. When Jesus was arrested He was led to Annas first, then Caiaphas. Caiaphas charged Jesus with blasphemy and sent Him away to Pilate. After Jesus’ death and resurrection Caiaphas persecuted Jesus’ disciples.
The first-century historian Josephus corroborates this information. He identifies the high priest at the time of Jesus as not only Caiaphas but “Joseph Caiaphas.” Antiquities of the Jews – Book XVIII Chapter 2:2
2. Tiberius Nero…sent Valerius Gratus to be procurator of Judea, and to succeed Annius Rufus. This man deprived Ananus of the high priesthood, and appointed Ismael, the son of Phabi, to be high priest. He also deprived him in a little time, and ordained Eleazar, the son of Ananus, who had been high priest before, to be high priest; which office, when he had held for a year, Gratus deprived him of it, and gave the high priesthood to Simon, the son of Camithus; and when he had possessed that dignity no longer than a year, Joseph Caiaphas was made his successor. When Gratus had done those things, he went back to Rome, after he had tarried in Judea eleven years, when Pontius Pilate came as his successor.
Further down in Chapter 4 Josephus again calls Joseph, who was also called Caiaphas, the high priest. Antiquities of the Jews – Book XVIII Chapter 4:3“Besides which, he also deprived Joseph, who was also called Caiaphas, of the high priesthood, and appointed Jonathan the son of Ananus, the former high priest, to succeed him.”
Therefore, the high priests as identified by Josephus during Jesus’ lifetime were the following3:
Again, archaeology and other ancient documents confirm details of the Bible.
In 2 Kings 20:20 there is reference to an ancient hidden tunnel dug by King Hezekiah. Does it really exist? Who really dug it and when? Read on to find out more. Source: Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hezekiah%27s_Tunnel
In the following two Bible verses there is a reference to a tunnel beginning at the Gihon spring and ending at the west side of the city:
Did such a tunnel exist? Did Hezekiah dig it? When? Who was Hezekiah?
Such a tunnel does exist. It was discovered in 1838 by an American explorer Edward Robinson. It measured 1,750 feet and followed a strange S-shaped course 1
The tunnel begins at the Gihon Spring and ends at the Pool of Siloam as shown in the diagram below
Source: The Guild of Bezalel http://guildofbezalel.blogspot.com/2010/12/hcsbsb-hezekiahs-tunnel.html
Clearly there is a tunnel. When was it built? According to Tim Kimberley of the Parchment & Pen Blog:
Scientists have used several techniques to confirm the 8th century date of the tunnel…. Analysis of the ancient writing; Carbon 14 dating of the plant life disrupted by the tunnel; uranium-thorium dating of the stalactites and stalagmites that grew after completion of the tunnel have all supported a date of around 700BC, the date given in the Bible for these events.2
The writing referred to is an inscription, discovered by a child in 1880, carved into a wall at the Siloam end of the tunnel (see photo below). It says,
[...when] (the tunnel) was driven through. And this was the way in which it was cut through: While [...] (were) still [...] axe(s), each man toward his fellow, and while there were still three cubits to be cut through, [there was heard] the voice of a man calling to his fellows, for there was an overlap in the rock on the right [and on the left]. And when the tunnel was driven through, the quarrymen hewed (the rock), each man toward his fellow, axe against axe; and the water flowed from the spring toward the reservoir for 1200 cubits, and the height of the rock above the head(s) of the quarrymen was 100 cubits.3
Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Shiloach.jpg
All this confirms the passages in the Bible cited above, but just who was King Hezekiah? According to BibleWise.com3, Hezekiah was the son of King Ahaz, was 25 years old when he inherited the throne, and reigned in Jerusalem for 29 years, from about 715 to 687 BC. He was a friend of the prophet, Isaiah and restored proper sacrifice and worship, thus being considered a good king. In the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign Assyrian king, Sennacherib invaded. Hezekiah agreed to pay tribute if Sennacherib would withdraw. Sennacherib demanded “three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold” ( 2 Kings 18:13-16 ). Then, Sennacherib dealt treacherously with Hezekiah ( Isaiah 33:1 ), and within two years reinvaded ( 2 Kings 18:17). However, Hezehiah had built a tunnel redirecting an outside spring inside the city walls so Jerusalem could hold out. ( 2 Kings 20:20: , 2 Chronicles 32:30). Hezekiah prayed to God, and the angel of the Lord destroyed Sennacherib’s army ( 2 Kings 19:35-36).
In 1961 a group of archaeologists were excavating an ancient Roman theater near Caesarea Maritima. Caesarea was a leading city in the first century located on the Mediterranean Sea. The region was called Judea, and the governor was called a prefect. The prefect usually lived in Caesarea and traveled to Jerusalem for special events.
A limestone block was found there with a three line inscription, reading:
The inscription is believed to be part of a larger inscription dedicating a temple in Caesarea to the emperor Tiberius. The inscription clearly states, “Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea.” 1Tiberius lived from 42 BC to 37 AD and reigned from 14 AD to 37 AD, during the time of Jesus.
Pilate was the Prefect (governor) of the Roman province of Judea from 26-36 AD. This confirms there was a governor of Judea called Pontius Pilate just as the biblical account tells us and places Pilate at the same place and time as Jesus.
Pontius Pilate enters the biblical account of the crucifixion of Jesus because the Jewish high priests at the time were unable to legally sentence a man to death. Only the Roman rulers could do that. The Jewish leaders needed Pontius Pilate to condemn Jesus to death. Pilate interviews Jesus as reported in John 18:33-38:
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
Pilate hoped to be relieved of the responsibility of Jesus by asking the crowd to free one prisoner, thinking they would ask to free Jesus. But the crowd asks for Barabbus. This didn’t work, so Pilate had Jesus flogged and hoped that would appease the crowd. But this didn’t work either. The Jewish leaders insisted that he be crucified, saying, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
The account continues in John 19:8-16:
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” 13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
Cornelius Tacitus (c. AD 55 – c. AD 120) was a Roman historian and senator who wrote about Jesus Christ, His execution, and Nero’s persecution of Christians in first century Rome. This can be found in Tacitus’s book The Annals, Book XV, Chapter 44:
Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.
Flavius Josephus (37-101 A.D) was a Jewish priest at the time of the Jewish Revolt of A.D. 66. He was captured by the Romans, imprisoned, set free and then retired to Rome where he wrote a history of the Jewish Revolt called the “Jewish War.” Later he wrote “Antiquities of the Jews” as a history of the Jews. He wrote about Jesus and Pontius Pilate in Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3
Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
The Pontius Pilate inscription is just one of the many archeological discoveries that confirm the Bible
In 1968 an ossuary (bone box) was discovered in Jewish tomb. Inside the bone box was found the skeleton of a man crucified around the time of Jesus. The man still had a nail driven through his right heel.
In 1968 construction workers were working on a project in a suburb north of Jerusalem called Giv’at ha-Mivtar. They accidentally uncovered a Jewish tomb. Inside, five ossuaries were discovered. One contained the skeletons of two men and a child. One of the men had a 4 ½ inch spike driven through his heel. He had been crucified. The bones found in the ossuary were dated to a time very close to the time of Jesus. This young man was crucified in a way slightly different from Jesus. His feet were nailed to the outside of the cross, and his arms were tied, not nailed, to the cross.
Lee Strobel in his 1998 book The Case For Christ 1interviews Doctor Alexander Metherell, a former research scientist. Metherell explains the medical causes of death by crucifixion.
Often the condemned were first scourged. Metherell explains,
Roman floggings were known to be terribly brutal. They usually consisted of 39 lashes but frequently were a lot more than that, depending on the mood of the soldier applying the blows. The soldier would use a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls woven into them. When the whip would strike the flash, those balls would cause deep bruises or contusions, which would break open with further blows. And the whip had pieces of sharp bone as well, which would cut the flesh severely. The back would be so shredded that part of the spine was sometimes exposed by the deep, deep cuts. The whipping would have gone all the way from the shoulders down to the back, the buttocks, and the back of the legs. It was terrible. 2
Many people would die from the beating before they were crucified. Metherell explains, “At the least, the victim would experience tremendous pain and go into hypovolemic shock.”3 This occurs when a person has lost a large amount of blood. The blood pressure drops causing fainting, and the person becomes very thirsty as the body craves fluids to replace the blood.
The Romans used spikes that were 5 to 7 inches long and were driven through the wrists. Metherell explains that the nails would have crushed the median nerve, creating extreme pain. The word “excruciating” means “out of the cross.” Most people died by asphyxiation when crucified. With the arms stretched out, the chest is locked into the inhale position. To exhale, you have to push up with your feet. However this is extremely difficult if your feet are nailed to the cross. According to Metherell a victim would die from cardiac arrest. Hypovolemic shock would have caused a rapid heart rate that would have contributed to heart failure, resulting in the collection of fluid in the membrane around the heart, called pericardial effusion, as well as around the lungs, pleural effusion.
Take this short self-quiz to test your knowledge of week’s three and four lessons on Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible.
Take this short self-quiz to test your knowledge of the first two week’s lessons on Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible.