Great Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology: Monarchy, Exile and Return


Associates for Biblical Research

P.O. Box 144

Akron PA 17501



1. Beth Shan Temples, ca. 1010 B.C.

·    King Saul died fighting the Philistines on Mt. Gilboa (1 Samuel 31:1–4; 2 Samuel 1:1–10).

·    The Philistines put Saul’s remains on display at nearby Beth Shan. His body was hung on the city wall (1 Samuel 31:10), his head hung in the temple of Dagon (1 Chronicles 10:10) and his armor placed in the temple of Ashtoreth (1 Samuel 31:10).

·    Skeptics doubted this account as they claimed there could not be temples to two major deities in the same town as a town usually paid allegiance to only one major deity.

·    When archaeologists excavated Beth Shan they found two temples from the time of Saul side-by-side, one of which was identified as a temple of Ashtoreth, based on a stela (inscribed stone slab) dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Anat, equivalent to the Canaanite goddess Ashtoreth.


2. Tel Dan Stela, 900–850 B.C.

·    Victory stela of Hazael, king of Aram, following his defeat of Ahaziah, king of Judah, and Joram, king of Israel, recorded in 2 Kings 8:28–29.

·    Verifies the existence of David, as Ahaziah is referred to “Ahaziah son of [Jehoram] king of the House of David.”


3. Solomonic Gates, ca. 970 B.C.

·    1 Kings 9:15 states: “Here is the account of the forced labor King Solomon conscripted to build the Lord’s temple, his own palace, the supporting terraces, the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer.”

·    Excavations at Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer have revealed city gates from the time of Solomon with the same basic layout, indicating a common engineering plan.

·    Other buildings from Solomon’s time were also found at these sites, particularly Megiddo.


4. Shishak Inscription, ca. 925 B.C.

·    Egyptian record of Pharaoh Shishak’s invasion of Israel recorded in 1 Kings 14:25–26 and 2 Chronicles 12:1–12.

·    Provides a major synchronism between Biblical and Egyptian history.


5. Palace at Samaria, ca. 879–722 B.C.

·    Capital of the northern kingdom of Samaria, built by Omri (1 Kings 16:23–24).

·    The pool where Ahab’s chariot was washed (1 Kings 22:37–38) was found within the royal precinct.

·    Many ivory inlays and decorative pieces were found, confirming the Biblical description of the palace as decorated with ivory (1 Kings 22:39; Amos 3:15).

6. Moabite Stone, ca. 846 B.C.

·    Moabite record of the revolt of Mesha, king of Moab, recorded in 2 Kings 3.

·    Mentions Omri king of Israel, the “House of David,” Yahweh God of Israel, Chemosh god of the Moabites, the tribe of Gad and 13 Moabite towns named in the Bible.


7. Dur Sharrukin, ca. 721–705 B.C.

·    An Assyrian king named Sargon is referred to in Isaiah 20:1.

·    Critics said the Bible was wrong since there was no record of an Assyrian king named Sargon in known historical records.

·    Discoveries at Dur Sharrukin, “Fortress of Sargon,” in the mid-19th century verified the existence of Sargon and the campaign against Ashdod documented in Isaiah 20:1.

·    Evidence of destruction and a fragment of an Assyrian victory stela were found at Ashdod as well.


8. Taylor Prism, ca. 701 B.C.

·    Documents the Assyrian king Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah described in 2 Kings 18–19, 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 36–37

·    The Bible says, “Sennacherib…attacked all the fortified cities of Judah” (2 Kings 18:13). The prism states that Sennacherib captured “46 fortified cities and countless villages.”

·    Verifies that Sennacherib was not able to capture Jerusalem, as the Bible records.


9. Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls, ca. 600 B.C.

·    Earliest Biblical text ever found.

·    contains the “priestly blessing” of Numbers 6:24–26.


10. Nabonidus Cylinder, ca. 550 B.C.

·    Mentions the Babylonian king Belshazzar of Daniel 5.

·    Critics claimed that this king did not exist since he was not named outside the Bible.

·    Many more records of Belshazzar have been found that indicate he was coregent with his father Nabonidus and sat on the throne at Babylon when Nabonidus was away.


11. Cyrus Cylinder, ca. 539 B.C.

·    Tells how, after defeating Babylon, the Persian king Cyrus the Great allowed captives to return to their homelands and reestablish their religions.

·    Verifies the Biblical record that Cyrus freed the Jews as documented in 2 Chronicles 36, Ezra 1 and Ezra 6.


12. Dead Sea Scrolls, ca. 200 B.C.–A.D. 68

·    Portions of every book of the Old Testament, with the exception of Esther, were found in caves near the Dead Sea. Esther, however, is referred to in another document found at Qumran called the Damascus Document.

·    Total number of manuscripts from the Dead Sea area are well over 1300.

Qumran: 574 from Cave 4

227 from other caves

801 (221 Biblical, 580 non-Biblical)

Complete books: Isaiah (two copies from Cave 1), Job (Aramaic copy from Cave 11), Psalms (Cave 11)

·    1,000 years older than our previous oldest Old Testament manuscript.

·    Demonstrate that our Old Testament manuscripts have been accurately transmitted through the centuries.