Continuing with the theme of my last post, here I post part of my comments, slightly edited, about the evidence for the Bible’s truth. Now we turn to archeology: Does its discoveries support the Bible? There are so many examples that can be given that this post would become exceedingly long, especially if I were to expound them each in detail. So I have only concentrated on one particular archeological discovery in the Sinai Peninsula that stunningly supports the miraculous events of the Biblical Exodus. I quote heavily from The Signature of God by Grant Jeffrey, who describes these amazing discoveries:

Ancient Inscriptions

The Bible describes the exodus of God’s people Israel from Egypt with miracles, such as the Red Sea opening up and the Israelites being fed with quails from heaven in large number. All this is supposed to have taken place in the Sinai peninsular thousands of years ago. Though this event is from such long ago, evidence in the Sinai shows that it happened (as described in The Signature of God, Jeffrey, pp. 48-68).

Ancient inscriptions in the high mountains in the Sinai Peninsula were rediscovered and deciphered. Here I quote from Jeffrey’s book above:

“We know these inscriptions are truly ancient because they were first described by the historian Diodorus Siculus before the time of Christ (10 B.C.) in his Library of History. In describing the Sinai Peninsula, Diodorus wrote: ‘Moreover, an altar is there built of hard stone and very old in years, bearing an inscription in ancient letters of an unknown tongue. . . .’ (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, bk. 3, sect. 42, Loeb Classical Library, C. H. Oldfather, trans. [Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1993], p. 211). This passage by Diodorus and a parallel description by the Greek writer Strabo (A.D. 24) in his seventeen volume Geography confirm that these inscriptions were so ancient in their own day that the language was unknown to those living at the time of Christ” (p. 48).

“Carved Hebrew Characters”

Byzantine Christian writer Cosmos Indicopleustes in A.D. 518 “wrote that the engravings appeared ‘at all halting places, all the stones in that region which were broken off from the mountains, written with carved Hebrew characters.’ It is fascinating that his Jewish companions confirmed the Hebrew nature of the script” (p. 49).

“The native Arabs claimed these inscriptions were written in a language that was lost to them and of very great antiquity. Since the Arabs of the Sinai Peninsula had not suffered under foreign conquest during the five centuries between the time of Christ and A.D. 518 when Cosmos visited the site, it is safe to conclude that these inscriptions must have been written long before the time of Christ. Otherwise, the Arab natives would not have described them as written in a lost language and unknown character” (p. 49).

In 1862, after his explorations of the inscriptions on Sinai, Rev. Charles Forster “concluded that these writings were original records of an ancient Hebrew-Egyptian alphabet describing the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. Professor Arthur Penrhyn Stanley, in his Sinai and Palestine, explained that Rev. Forster and Dr. Stewart concluded that ‘a Sinaitic inscription has been found contemporaneous with a tablet of Egyptian hieroglyphics'” (p. 49).

An Original Account

“One of the strongest reasons for believing that some of these inscriptions may have been composed by Israelites in the time of the Exodus is that the language appears to be an original account of the Exodus events rather than an attempt to copy Exodus passages from the inspired pages of the Torah. Although these incredible rock inscriptions describe in great detail many of the supernatural events that occurred during the Exodus from Egypt, the writers did not use any of the words or characteristic language of Moses . . . If this conclusion is correct, then these inscriptions would be an important independent confirmation of the truth of the biblical account” (p. 50).

“Consider the words of this ancient inscription about the Israelites’ escape from Egypt. Six ancient inscriptions were found on different cliffs in the Wadi Sidri, located on one of the natural routes the Jews would have chosen when entering the interior of the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt” (p. 54).

Here is inscription 41, describing the Israelite flight from Egypt through the Red Sea: “Moses causeth the people to haste like a fleet-winged she-ostrich crying aloud; the cloud shining bright, a mighty army propelled into the Red sea is gathered into one; they go jumping and skipping. Journeying through the open channel, taking flight from the face of the enemy. The surge of the sea is divided” (p. 55).

This description of the Exodus talks about the same event in the Bible mentioned in Exodus 14:21-29, but the wording is different, like it is an independent witness.

 Another Ancient Witness

“The ancient Greek historian Diodorus Siculus wrote an extraordinary ancient report about the tribes in Egypt and the miraculous drying up of the Red Sea: ‘It is an ancient report among the Ichtheophagi, who inhabit the shores of the Red Sea, that by a mighty reflux of the sea which happened in former days, the whole gulf became dry land, and appeared green all over; and that the water overflowed the opposite shore, and that all the ground continued bare to the very lowest depth of the gulf, until the water, by an extraordinary high tide, returned to its former channel.’ (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, lib. iii., c. 40)” (p. 58).

 Both Egyptian and Hebrew

Another amazing aspect of these inscriptions is that they are written in a Hebrew-Egyptian language — just like the Israelites would have known when they came out of Egypt. No other peoples would write this way. “While the letters of the Sinai inscriptions are primarily Hebrew, the language pattern is clearly Egyptian. Forster found that five out of every six words used in these inscriptions are related to the Hamyarite (ancient Arabic) language, the vernacular language of Egypt and Yemen. . . . After several centuries of captivity as slaves in Egypt, the Israelites would naturally speak and write a language that, while containing the initial evidence of Hebrew, would be heavily influenced by the Egyptian language” (p. 51).

“One of the fascinating features of these inscriptions is that the writer would draw a picture of a quail side by side with the inscription describing God’s miraculous provision of the quails to feed the Israelites” (p. 51).

Graves in the Mountains

“One of the most remarkable of the discoveries found in the Sinai in recent centuries was that of the graves of those Jews who had died from a supernatural plague. The Book of Numbers records: ‘And the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted” (p. 62).

“In 1761, the German explorer Barthold Niebuhr discovered an extensive ruined cemetery with carved inscriptions on the tombs and within a sepulcher on top of an inaccessible mountain . . . Niebuhr noted that these inscriptions could not have been made by native Egyptians because there are no carved stone inscriptions found in Egypt; rather the Egyptians painted their inscriptions on plaster surfaces” (p. 63).

“Neibuhr noted that the native Bedouin Arabs from the deserts of Sinai call these tombs ‘the Jews’ graves.’ He said that these hieroglyphics on the tombstones were quite different than the inscriptions he had found in Egyptian tombs” (p. 64). The many graves sit at the top of a mountain, unlike the graves of Egyptians who bury their dead in valleys. But the ancient Israelites customarily bury their dead on top of mountains, so these graves are clearly of Israelites who died while on the Exodus out of Egypt.

Archeology Supports the Bible

This one example of archeology shows that the Biblical Exodus, far from being a myth, is supported by history and archeology. It shows that the events and even miracles in the Bible are attested to by hard evidence. Many more discoveries from archeology give support to the Biblical account. Thus, we can trust God’s Word through the record of history.

Advertisements