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Saturday, November 22, 2014


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CONTENTS | 1 | 2(1) | 2(2) | 3 | 4 | 5(1) | 5(2) | 6




Israel In Egypt -- Moses -- The Exodus -- Jericho -- Israel's Monarchy -- Daniel In Babylon -- Nebuchadnezzar -- A Triumphant Vindication of the Scriptures As A true and Reliable History

In course of time Abraham died, leaving behind his sons, Ishmael and Isaac, who continued the nomadic life of their father. Ishmael became the father of the Ishmaelite Arabs. The Jewish line was preserved in Isaac whose son Jacob became the father of twelve sons, and from them sprang the twelve tribes of Israel (for it was to Israel that Jacob's name was changed). Israel with his sons and their families were compelled to go down into Egypt for grain because of a great famine that had arisen in Canaan. Most people are fairly familiar with the details of this time: how that Joseph, the favourite son of Israel, was sold as a slave by his brothers, how he afterwards became great in the land and was able to succour his brethren and get them settled in the land in the district of Goshen.

For about 200 years the Israelites, favoured at the first by the Egyptians, grew into a very considerable nation. A Pharaoh then arose who "knew not Joseph," and becoming alarmed at the growth of this foreign people, brought them into a rigorous bondage as described in detail in the book of Exodus.


At present, archaeology has little to tell us about Israel in Egypt; one reason being that the Egyptians were very bad historians. Little is recorded except boastful claims of individual kings concerning their personal exploits in war or in temple building; recorded history as such is almost non-existent. Another reason is that, while enthusiastically exaggerating their victorious exploits in war, these ancient monarchs were equally energetic in playing down their humiliating defeats. Therefore, to expect to find records of the overthrow of Pharaoh and his hosts in the Red Sea, or a recital of the humiliating ten plagues on Egypt, is to expect more than is reasonable.

Fierce and sustained have been the arguments employed by Bible opponents to discredit the birth of a nation, and their deliverance from Egypt under Moses. Today these arguments are less self-assured, less sustained; convulsive would best decribe them now. Nothing very dramatic has come to light in Egyptian archaeology, but, like the history of Abraham in Canaan, the local colour is true to life. Incidental harmony prevails, undesigned coincidences abound. No incident can be pronounced "impossible" as once it was or indeed even "improbable", for the narrative fits the facts as known. In the opinion of many archaeologists (Dr. Yahuda in particular) THE BIBLE RECORD WAS WRITTEN BY SOMEONE INTIMATELY ACQUAINTED WITH EVERY SMALL DETAIL IN EGYPTIAN LIFE, and it is impossible for it to have been compiled by a later romancer; it could only have been written by a man on the spot. We have no doubts as to who was that man, who could answer all the requirements so fully. It was Moses, the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter; Moses the destined leader of Israel out of Egyptian bondage.


Now for one or two of these incidental evidences of Israel's contact with Egypt. Moses was a little Hebrew child who fell under Pharaoh's edict that all male Hebrew babies were to be destroyed at birth. With a despairing heart Moses' mother conceived the idea of making a little reed boat, and hiding him in the rushes on the bank of the river Nile, trusting to her God that in some way, she knew not how, his tiny life might be spared. Later, Pharaoh's daughter came down to the river and there found Moses in his little green cradle where loving hands had placed him, and a breaking heart had left him. The princess, stirred at the sight of the helpless babe, and with maternal instincts strong within her, determined to adopt this helpless object of her pity.

Many years pass, when we learn that Moses was educated at the court of Pharaoh and was known as the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter.

Of recent years a very remarkable inscription has come to light which seems to have a bearing on this event. In the reign of Rameses II (the reputed Pharaoh of the oppression), a public function was held, and among the recorded names of the princes, says Dr. Kyle, was:

"The Ra-Moses child of the Lady and priestess of the sun god Ra."

The name, Moses, commemorated his rescue from the river Nile as a baby, for it meant the "drawn-out one." The prefix Ra was common in Egypt and is found in many Egyptian names. The definite article "The", Dr. Kyle tells us, is a pun upon Moses' name: "The Moses," i.e., "The drawn-out one." Then, Moses is not described as the son but as the child of the Lady; the usual Egyptian word for son is not used. As the narrator says, the record plainly shows "a laboured effort on the part of the scribe to describe an unusual situation."


These records show a remarkable resemblance to the story of Moses almost to the point of identification, but we must be careful not to claim more than the facts clearly warrant. Indeed we have no need to do so with so much clearly corroborated testimony at our disposal. But as one writer pertinently enquires concerning this singular record: "Does mere romantic legend ever find such natural setting and a place of such fitness in real history?" The only rational answer is, "Of course not!" There is another and more concrete evidence of Israel's sojourn in Egypt, in two of Egypt's exhumed cities. The Bible record tells us that Israel, besides making bricks under forced labour, also built the store cities of Pithom and Rameses (Ex. 1:11). Of this Sir Frederick Kenyon says:

"In 1883 Professor E. Naville, excavating for the Egypt Exploration Fund, identified the site of Pithom, near the modern Ismailia, and subsequently Petrie found Rameses in a mound a few miles west the mound contains a temple of Rameses II."

The nature of the ruins clearly show them to have been store cities (for grain) as the Bible declares.


Moses has been credited with writing the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), but it is unfashionable to believe this today. It is well, however, that you should be told that the same class of higher critic who now affirms the piece-meal authorship of the Pentateuch was but a few years ago boldly proclaiming that Moses never did and never could write the Pentateuch or any other document, because writing was entirely unknown in Moses' day. The Scriptures commit themselves in no uncertain way concerning the existence of a "book of the law" written by Moses. For example:

"And Moses WROTE THIS LAW, and delivered it unto the priests the sons of Levi . . .

"And it came to pass, WHEN MOSES HAD MADE AN END OF WRITING THE WORDS OF THIS LAW IN A BOOK, until they were finished, that Moses commanded . . . saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant . . . that it may be there for a witness . . ." Deut. 31:9, 24:6.

The testimony of Jesus Christ to this truth is frequent and unmistakable, notably when he declared:

"Had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for HE WROTE OF ME." John 5:46.

Against this Dr. Kyle quotes Von Bohlen as scoffing "at the idea of the 'undisciplined horde' Israel possessing letters."


But history did not reach far enough, except Bible history, and this was suspect. Since those days, however, secular history has been extended and made to "reach" back further by archaeological discovery, and the Bible has been shewn to be true and reliable history.

Dillman, another critic, is reported as saying:

"But also the legal portion Of THE PENTATEUCH CANNOT BE FROM MOSES, neither written by him nor delivered orally and written down by another. And aside from the fact that so extended A LITERARY PRODUCTION AT THE VERY RISE OF THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL IS NOT BELIEVABLE."

Such compositions as this, which give the lie direct to the Bible, look very learnedly foolish in the light of modern discovery. It has been truly said: "That the theory of the ignorance of the patriarchal age has been absolutely abandoned by everyone, hardly needs to be stated."

This revolutionary change has been effected by the amount of written evidence that has come to light which confirms the fact that communication by writing was carried on between Egypt and distant Babylonia centuries before Moses was born.


Clay writing tablets sent from Babylon and Palestine to Egypt at this early age were found at Tel-el-Amarna in Egypt in the year 1887. They have been deciphered and they clearly "reveal the literary conditions in Palestine about midway between Abraham and Moses. The widest diffusion of letters is indicated. All sorts of people are found writing letters: governors and court officers, petty officials, private citizens, ladies and servants."

Among them were royal communications also, so that, with the help of those skilled in cuneiform writing, we may read the letters that the king of Babylon sent to the king of Egypt a century before the birth of Moses.


Even more recent than the Tel-el-Amarna finds are the manuscripts discovered in Egypt written, not on clay, but on papyri (a paper manufactured from reeds). Among them is an actual original Egyptian document written about 2200-2000 B.C.

This is centuries before Moses was born and about contemporary with Abraham -- written, mark you, at that very time. Some of them are written in "beautiful cursive handwriting"; that is, a running hand such as we use in our private letter writing. Thus was paper, pen and ink in use in Abraham's day. These facts -- for facts they most certainly are -- entirely destroy the once learned disbelief in the credibility of Moses writing the law. For as Sir Charles Marston says, the knowledge of those times makes it "preposterous to affirm that all that Moses said and did was handed down by oral tradition for eight centuries."


Of the exodus of Israel from Egypt under Moses archaeology has, as yet, little of a definite nature to say. One point of interest is that among the clay letters found at Tel-el-Amarna were urgent communications from petty kings in Syria, frantically appealing to Egypt for help against the incursions of powerful invaders. The Hittites were coming in from the north and the Habiru from the south. The Hittites, once only a name in the Bible, are now well known to the archaeologist.

Of the Habiru, or southern invaders, Sir Charles Marston writes:

"For many years it has been suggested that those invaders (the Habiru) were the Hebrews under Joshua; the evidence that Jericho fell about 1400 B.C., in the middle of the reign of one of the Pharaohs to whom these letters were addressed, now definitely establishes that identification."

Here is one of the letters of appeal from the Tel-el-Amarna Tablets; it is from the then king of Jerusalem, Abdkiba:

"As long as ships were upon the sea the strong arm of the king occupied Nahrima and Kas, but now the Habiru are occupying the king's cities. There remains not one prince to my Lord the King, everyone is ruined."

Upon which Sir Charles Marston observes:

"It is difficult and indeed impossible, because the dates are so identical, any longer to resist the conclusion that, so far as Canaan is concerned, the Tel-el-Amarna letters contain Canaanite, Amorite, and Jebusite accounts of Israelitish invasion -- versions of the Bible story written by the other side."

Thus there seems no doubt that in the invaders from the south, who were striking terror into the hearts of the inhabitants of Palestine, we have the victorious Israelites, or Hebrews, under their military leader Joshua. Egypt being pre-occupied with her own troubles was unable to help them, and so the invasion continued.

The capture of one great city by the Hebrews, and the unusual manner of its fall, is recorded in detail in the book of Joshua. Jericho was to be compassed once a day for six days by a procession of Israelites, blowing with trumpets. On the seventh day the process was to be repeated with seven circular marches, and the priests blowing with trumpets. This was to be followed by a great shout from all the Israelites, whereupon God promised "the wall of the city shall fall down flat" (Josh. 6:5). After this we are told that the city's destruction was completed by fire:

"And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein." (Josh. 6:24).

Joshua then pronounced a curse upon any who should presume to rebuild its ruined walls, a curse involving the loss of sons to the offender:

"And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it." (Josh. 6:26).

Many years later, during the time of Ahab, king of Israel, a bold spirit defied the curse of Joshua, and reaped the consequences:

"In his days did Hiel the Beth-elite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son Segub, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by Joshua. (I Kings 16:34)

These three points -- the violent destruction of Jericho's walls, the subsequent destruction by fire, and a long desolation followed by a subsequent rebuilding centuries later have ALL BEEN DRAMATICALLY CONFIRMED BY THE RECENT EXCAVATIONS AT ANCIENT JERICHO.

Among the findings of Professor Garstang concerning Jericho were these:

"(THE) WALL ALSO HAD BEEN VIOLENTLY DESTROYED. Masses of it had fallen down the slope, and all the ruins within the walls had been destroyed by fire, the evidences of which were of unusual intensity."

"It would appear, therefore, that the city... was VIOLENTLY DESTROYED AND BURNED at a date about 1400 B.C. Thereafter IT REMAINED DESOLATE FOR A LONG TIME."

Sir Frederick Kenyon, commenting on the subject, says:

"The wall was destroyed by some violent convulsion; archaeology cannot tell us how the convulsion was caused . . .

"The town also, had been burned with fire, as it is recorded to have been by Joshua."

What more could the most biased sceptic ask than this remarkable and recent evidence of this ancient historical record of the far-off wars of Joshua. Sir Frederick Kenyon further writes:

"It will not be denied that, if the conclusions of the excavator are to be accepted (and Professor Garstang's statement of the evidence and his deductions from it have been confirmed by other experts) THERE IS HERE A REMARKABLE CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE OLD TESTAMENT NARRATIVE."


After Joshua's time Israel had a chequered career for about 400 years, under various non-hereditary rulers known as Judges. This condition then gave place to a monarchy in Israel when David became the founder of a royal line of kings.

In the days of Rehoboam, David's grandson, ten tribes revolted against the house of David, and established an independent government in Samaria, leaving two tribes with their capital at Jerusalem.

It is at this point, the history of the dual-monarchy, that the Bible record and archaeology again make contact. Egypt and Assyria were often at war in those days, with Israel very much in the same position as Belgium between Germany and France, as a glance at the map will show. If Israel favoured Egypt she incurred the displeasure of Assyria, or, if Assyria, she lost the friendship of Egypt. Thus from time to time Jerusalem, the capital city of Judah, and Samaria, the capital city of Israel, were besieged by the kings of Assyria.

The Bible has much to say concerning a king of Israel by the name of Jehu, also of Shalmanezer, king of Assyria, who warred with Israel. At Nineveh a black marble obelisk was found which, upon being deciphered, proved to be a record of the triumphant exploits of Shalmanezer. On its four sides are pictures in bas-relief, and over 200 lines of cuneiform inscription, recording the leading events of the reign of Shalmanezer. It contains also

"The first direct reference in any Assyrian record to a person known to us from Scripture; 'I received the tribute of Jehu, son of Omri, silver, gold, etc'."


The Bible records events in the reign of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and tells how on one occasion Hezekiah was besieged in Jerusalem by Sennacherib, another king of Assyria. Things were beginning to look black for Jerusalem, and Hezekiah was compelled to buy off his enemy by the payment of tribute money. The Bible record is as follows:

"Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.

And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold.

And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the King's house." (2 Kings 18:13-15.)

Sennachcrib had his own account made of this incident, and his stone record has recently come to light. In the boastful manner common to Assyrian monarchs he wrote:

"I besieged Hezekiah of Judah . . . and captured forty-six of his strong cities . . . (Hezekiah) himself, like a caged bird, I shut up within Jerusalem, his royal city . . . I reduced his land. I added to their former yearly tribute . . . and he (Hezekiah) despatched after me his messenger ... to pay tribute and to make submission with thirty talents of gold, eight hundred talents of silver etc."


Thus Scripture history has again been unexpectedly confirmed out of the rubbish mounds that once were Nineveh, the proud capital of Assyria. A comparatively few years ago "he who would have ventured to predict such a discovery would have been treated as a dreamer or an imposter." Yet today we can look on the name of Hezekiah inscribed on stone by the command of Sennacherib over two and a half millenniums ago.

After Hezekiah's death Manasseh his son succeeded to the throne of Judah. He, too, was a victim of Assyrian violence, but this time for an offence against his God. The record in 2 Chron. 33:11 tells us:

"Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters and carried him to Babylon."

The Assyrians carried Manasseh to Babylon! Babylon was not an Assyrian city but was the capital of Babylonia. Babylonia and Assyria were enemies and rivals -- surely the divine scribe erred in making such a statement. So men might have supposed, but now that Assyrian and Babylonian history has been revealed by archaeology, THE BIBLE'S STRICT ACCURACY HAS AGAIN BEEN DEMONSTRATED. Sennacherib, the contemporary of Hezekiah, father of Manasseh, had made war on Babylon, conquered it, and, as the custom was, carried off their gods in triumph. Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib, had, upon his accession to the throne of Assyria, returned Babylon's gods and repaired their damaged buildings, and thus conciliated them. He then proclaimed himself king of Assyria and Babylon, and thenceforward spent his time between the two capitals. Hence the record that Manasseh was carried to Babylon by his Assyrian captors fits the facts of history exactly. Yet for this corroboration the Bible has had to wait patiently for over 2,000 years!

Although archaeology does not touch at many points during this period, we find among the points touched, direct confirmation of Scripture narrative. In points indirectly touched we find general agreement and harmony as in the other cases already noted. As illustrative of this background harmony we might notice some of the finds made in Samaria and other cities which were destroyed by the Assyrians before they carried Israel into a captivity from which they never returned.


Samaria, just a mound for centuries, has of very recent years been uncovered, and many things found there bear a remarkable similarity to descriptions in the Bible. The discovered documentary evidence was written in ink upon broken pottery, termed "Ostraka" by the archaeologists. Sufficient has been read to "provide useful evidence on the economic details of life under the Israelite monarchy."

Just prior to and during the break-up of Judah's kingdom by Babylon, Jeremiah, a prophet of God, was commissioned to turn his brethren from their sins in order to avert the impending calamity. His efforts, and the names of his contemporaries great and small are recorded in considerable detail in Jeremiah's prophecy. Now that the ruins of this national calamity are being unearthed, many of the names mentioned by the prophet are found written on ostraka.

As recently as 1935 the Wellcome Archaeological Research Expedition discovered, at Lachish, ostraka "amid the fiery ruins marking the final overthrow of the city." Among them were letters of "the military (?) governor" of the city, all agreeing with the picture presented in the Scriptures. Also there are many names occurring in the ostraka which are identical with Scripture names mentioned at this time, such as:

"Hoshaiah," Jer. 42:1; 43:2;
"Gemariah," Jer. 29:3; 36:10.
"Jaazaniah," Jer. 35:3;
"Neriah," Jer. 32:12.
"Elnathan," Jer. 36:12; and
"Nedabiah grandson of the king," i.e. Nedabiah grandson of Jehoiakim (1 Chron. 3:18).

The names remarkably confirm the local colour, at least; whilst the "grandson of the king" is an historical confirmation without a doubt.

The Bible record tells us that at this time Nebuchadnezzar, the victorious king of Babylon, who had now turned the tables on the king of Assyria, had overthrown Judah and appointed a military governor by the name of Gedaliah (Jer. 40:5). There has recently been unearthed at Lachish

"A clay seal, bearing on its back the impression of the fibres of the papyrus document to which it must once have been attached, and inscribed with the words 'The property of Gedaliah who is over the house'."

Sir Frederick Kenyon does not, in our opinion, over-state the case when he says:

"It is quite reasonable to suppose that it is actually an impression of the seal of the unfortunate governor (Gedaliah was murdered)."


A remarkable document has also been found which illustrates the work of the prophet Jeremiah at this time. Jeremiah, commissioned by God, declares:

"Thus saith the Lord, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon's army, which shall take it.

Therefore the princes said unto the king, We beseech thee, let this man be put to death: for thus he weakeneth the hands of the men of war that remain in this city, and the hands of all the people in speaking such words unto them: for this man seeketh not the welfare of this people, but the hurt." (Jer. 38:3-4.)

And here for comparison is the recently discovered letter, Letter VI:

"Who is thy slave, a dog, that my lord has sent the letter of the king and the letter of the officers, saying, Read, I pray thee, and thou wilt see; THE WORDS OF THE (PROPHET) ARE NOT GOOD, TO LOOSEN THE HANDS, TO (MAKE) SINK THE HANDS OF THE COUNTRY AND CITY."

The word "prophet" is conjectural, but Mr. J. W. Jack "identifies him with Jeremiah, who, at this time was pronouncing military defeat upon Judah." Here again, to say the very least, is a remarkable agreement; even if we could not claim identity, surely here is the harmony which we expect to characterise true records.

Now consider the following (ostraka extract) in the light of Jeremiah's warnings:

"Then the princes (same word as translated 'officers' in Jeremiah) said ... THIS MAN ... WEAKENETH THE HANDS OF THE MEN OF WAR THAT REMAIN IN THIS CITY, AND THE HANDS OF ALL THE PEOPLE."

That "this man" was any other than Jeremiah, in view of what we read in Scripture, is difficult to believe. For of the contemporary nature of these finds Sir Frederick Kenyon declares:

"There is no sort of reason to doubt that they (ostraka) are the original documents belonging to the last days of the Jewish kingdom, the days in which Jeremiah spoke and wrote."

Also the similarity, and even identity, of the wording of ostraka and Scripture, altogether rules out coincidence.


Upon the defeat and overthrow of Jerusalem (603 B.C.) Nebuchadnezzar transported thousands of Jews to Babylonia, with the object of preventing further insurrection. When they were settled among the Babylonians Nebuchadnezzar hoped that they would become absorbed and cease to be Jews, but this was a hopeless expectation, as many have found since his day. The reason for its hopelessness is revealed in prophecy, but this is another subject.

By Nebuchadnezzar's orders several refined and promising young Jews were selected from among their brethren to be trained in the Babylonian arts, wisdom, and court etiquette. Among them was a young man whose name is now a household word -- Daniel, not then a prophet but just an upright, God-fearing young Hebrew.

The book which bears his name was written by him at Babylon, and Babylon occupies a prominent place both in the narrative and in the prophecy. For the present we are confining ourselves to the narrative, which has received more criticism than any other writing of the Hebrew prophets.

Points like the Greek names for Babylonian musical instruments, described by Daniel, have been seized by the critics to prove a late authorship, whereas the book claims an early one. But archaeology has since shown that the "Greek" musical instruments were used in Persia and Babylonia before ever Greece saw them, and thus has been dispelled another suggested anachronism.


Then the size and might of Babylon, of which Nebuchadnezzar boasts in the book of Daniel, was once declared to be "grossly exaggerated"; but this was in the days when even the site of Babylon was unknown and in dispute among scholars. But from the middle of the nineteenth century onwards Babylon has been disinterred, and steady progress in knowledge has been made, so that today quite a lot is known about Babylon. We will not tire you with tedious details -- rather will we reproduce a word picture, constructed from modern discoveries, by an archaeologist. He describes the Babylon into which Daniel and his companions were led, in triumphal procession, as captive slaves of war:

"In the heyday of (Babylon's) splendour under the New Empire, when the Jews of the exile first beheld her, the city must have appeared a miracle of glory and beauty. Her explorer permits himself few superlatives in writing of what he has discovered; but even his style warms as he speaks of the wonders of the vast Temple of Marduk: The colossal mass of the tower which the Jews of the Old Testament regarded as the essence of presumption, amidst the proud palaces of the priests, the spacious treasuries, the innumerable lodgings for strangers -- white walls, bronze doors, mighty fortification walls set round with lofty portals and a forest of a thousand towers -- the whole must have conveyed an overwhelming sense of greatness, power, and wealth, such as could rarely have been found elsewhere in the Babylonian kingdom.

"When you add to the picture the many others, only less glorious than the mighty house of Marduk, the glittering palaces, the many coloured splendours of the great Procession Street and the Ishtar Gate, the frowning might of the great ramparts, with their gates of gleaming bronze, and people the whole with the thronging rainbow-hued crowds of an Eastern city, and the flashing bravery of an unconquered army, you can understand something of the pride with which the great king said, as he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon:

"'Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?"'

So much then for the corroborated testimony of Daniel concerning Babylon's greatness which, after all, was not "grossly exaggerated."


In the quotation at the end of the above extract are the words of Nebuchadnezzar as reported by Daniel. In them, the king claims to be the great builder of great Babylon. If ever there was a builder it was Nebuchadnezzar, and upon this subject archaeology speaks unequivocally. Here is an abridged account by Nebuchadnezzar himself:

"In Babylon my favourite city, which I love, the Palace . . . the abode of my royalty in the land of Babylon . . . In Babylon a site for my abode, for the insignia of my majesty . . . a structure of brick I constructed, and on top of it a great house for the seat of my royalty with bitumen and brick loftily I made . . . the city of Babylon I made strong as the wooded hills."

Today you may see some of the bricks used in these buildings with Nebuchadnezzar's name stamped on them. So widespread was his demolition and new building that archaeologists state:

"NINE OUT OF EVERY TEN BRICKS of the ruins of Babylon have Nebuchadnezzar's name on them."

To this Sir Leonard Woolley adds his testimony:

"Shortly before 600 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon succeeded to the empire which Assyria had won. OF ALL THE RULERS OF MESOPOTAMIA HE WAS PERHAPS THE MOST INDEFATIGABLE BUILDER, and in almost every city of his dominions there are monuments witnessing to his passion for bricks and mortar; he rebuilt his capital (Babylon) so thoroughly that modern excavators could find SCARCELY ANY TRACE OF BUILDINGS OLDER THAN HIS TIME."

Nothing need be added to impress upon the reader such remarkable evidence of archaeology's verdict upon yet one more Bible record:


In the third chapter of Daniel is a story which may read like a legend and which many once believed it to be. lt records the erection of a great image exposed to the public gaze. Upon an appointed day, and at a given signal, all people were commanded to prostrate themselves in worship before it. Such an act was contrary to the conscience of enlightened Jews; therefore Daniel's companions refused to do obeisance, and as a punishment were cast alive into a furnace of fire.

For some time, at least during the early part of their captivity, the Jews had not been required thus to pay homage to an idol, else they would have come into conflict with the customs of Babylon much earlier. Up until the king's decree it is obvious that there was no religious persecution of Jews. The king at this time was evidently introducing a departure from the current religious practices. Let this fact once be granted, then the revelation that archaeology provides upon the subject again produces an unexpected, unlooked-for corroboration of the truth of Bible history. Sir Leonard Woolley says:

"The temple (Ur) was indefinitely old. Too little was left of the earliest buildings to shew its form, but from the days of Ur-Nammu at least up to and after those of Kuri-Galzu, that is FOR MORE THAN A THOUSAND YEARS, SUCCESSIVE BUILDERS HAD RESPECTED AND REPEATED ITS GROUND-PLAN . . . only the priests would enter here, and IN PRIVACY wait upon the twin deities."

"THIS ANCIENT TRADITION WAS COMPLETELY SET AT NOUGHT BY NEBUCHADNEZZAR WHEN HE RESTORED THE TEMPLE. The rooms in front of the sanctuary, store-rooms and rooms which, as tablets found in them shewed, were for the priestesses specially dedicated as concubines to the god who would naturally be at home in this harem building, were swept away; the whole front of the sanctuary was opened up. . .

"IN THE OLD TEMPLE EVERYTHING HAD BEEN SECRET; NOW A NUMEROUS PUBLIC COULD WATCH the priest making his offerings on the open-air altar, and behind him could see through the sanctuary's open door the image of the god."

Thus archaeology testifies that a firmly established religious tradition of Babylon was set at nought, and radically changed by Nebuchadnezzar. Then a remarkable thing happened -- remarkable, that is, to us who are so used to Bible disparagement. Sir Leonard Woolley appeals to the Bible to explain this archaeological phenomenon. He says:

"THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT THE REMODELLING OF THE BUILDING IMPLIES SUCH A CHANGE OF RITUAL, BUT HOW CAN THIS ITSELF BE EXPLAINED? THE ANSWER IS GIVEN IN THE OLD TESTAMENT story of the Three Children of the Book of Daniel . . . Now the gist of the story is this, that Nebuchadnezzar made a great image and set it up in a public place, and ordered that at a given signal everybody was to fall down and worship it; the Jews who seemed to have lived hitherto undisturbed in the land of their captivity, were by this order given the choice between idolatry and disobedience involving death.

"What was there new in the king's act? Not the setting up of a statue, because each king in turn had done the same; the novelty was the command for general worship by the public: for a ritual worship performed by the priests the king is substituting a form of congregational worship which all his subjects are obliged to attend."


"SO STRIKING IS THE CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE WRITTEN STORY AND THE FACTS OF THE RUINS, AND SO COMPLETELY DO THEY EXPLAIN EACH OTHER, THAT WE MUST NEEDS ACCEPT THE BACKGROUND ... AS HISTORICAL. The alterations in (the temple) were designed deliberately with a view to religious reform attributed to its builder in the Old Testament."

With such singular evidences accumulating, who can escape the inevitable conclusion that the Bible is the most reliable history we have, even to put it no higher than history? But it is impossible so to limit it on account of its inextricable connection with prophecy -- but this is another subject.

There is another point worthy of notice before we leave the book of Daniel. Belshazzar figures in Daniel's prophecy as the son or descendant of Nebuchadnezzar. Many critics, for a long time, just disbelieved in such a person's existence; for archaeological discovery, whilst confirming previously known kings, had not confirmed Belshazzar; therefore its very silence was construed to deny his existence. They declared:

"Belshazzar is not mentioned by any secular historian."

In other words, the Bible, which does mention him, is not of the same authority as a secular history. Oh the blasphemous folly of such an objection, which has since been shown to have no more real foundation than many other objections! for Belshazzar is now a well-known historical person. Clay cylinders have been unearthed recording the restoration of the temple at Ur, by Nabonidus the restorer; and, says the archaeologist:

"The inscription upon all of them closed with a poetical prayer for the life Of THE KING'S OLDEST SON, BEL- SHAR-USER, who is no other than the Biblical Belshazzar." (Daniel 5).

This Nabonidus, addressing himself in prayer to the moongod Sin, petitions:

"And as for me Nabonidus the king of Babylon, protect thou me from sinning against thy exalted godhead, and grant thou me graciously a long life; and in the heart of BELSHAZZAR, MY FIRST-BORN SON, the offspring of my loins, set the fear of thine exalted godhead, so that he may commit no sin and that he may be satisfied with the fullness of life."

Comment is unnecessary.

Arising out of the captivity of Judah in Babylon, although not necessarily connected with the record in Daniel, there is a corroboration of a wholesale Jewish captivity and removal of Jews to Babylonia, in recent finds at Nippur (the Bible Calneh). Among the clay records, recently unearthed, were found the business accounts of a great banking firm with the modern appellation:

Murashu Sons, Bankers and Brokers, Nippur.

Of these accounts the excavator says:

"Very numerous are Persian and Aramean personal names in these documents. Unusually large is the number of Jewish names known from the Old Testament, especially from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. There can be no doubt that a considerable number of Jewish prisoners carried away by Nebuchadnezzar were settled in Nippur."

Thus again do witnesses start out of the earth to confirm the Bible and confound its critics.


Before the days of archaeological research two records bore testimony to ancient happenings; they were the secular histories of the classical Greeks, chief of whom was Herodotus "Father of History"; and the Bible. Both records contained references to the same things in more recent history, i.e., a few centuries B.C. When disparity was found between the Bible and the classics, most men preferred to believe the classics. Now archaeology has come to act as an arbitrator upon the matters in dispute, and what a gulf has been revealed between the revered human recorder and the divine. Archaeological light has exposed the flaws of human narration, but has enhanced the beauty of the Bible records. For instance, a modern scholar speaking of the "classical authority" of "Herodotus, Strabo, Diodorus, Xenophon and others" says:

"Today . . . we correct the errors and faulty perspective of the ancient historians by the irrefutable data afforded by contemporary documents and relics."

Professor Sayce, well-known in archaeological circles, is even more severe on the Greek and Latin "historians" whom many once preferred to the Bible. The monuments, which have confirmed the Bible, have made havoc of their once-thought sober "histories" by repeated exposures. He speaks of:

"The profound difference between the history of the East as told by the great writers of classical antiquity and by the native monuments themselves."

Then he singles out the "Father of History" when he declares:

"The monuments have proved decisively that the knowledge Herodotus possessed of Egyptian history was extremely slight ... the 'history' of Egypt as detailed by Herodotus is no further removed from the truth than his 'history' of Assyria and Babylonia, or the rise of the Persian Empire.

"MYTHS AND FOLKLORE, such as were current among Greek loungers and half-caste dragomans on the skirts of the Persian Empire, HAVE USURPED THE PLACE OF ACTUAL HISTORY."


Oh, what a turning of the tables! "Myths" and "folklore," the identical terms once applied to Bible history whilst secular history was trusted implicitly. Now IT IS THE ONCE REVERED HERODOTUS WHO IS GUILTY, AND THE SCRIPTURES, STAND ACQUITTED. WHAT POETIC JUSTICE TO BE SURE! This great and welcome change is further described by the same authority:

"We need only compare the following chapters (of the author's book "Ancient Empires of the East") with a work on ancient history, like that of Rollin, founded entirely on the statements of Greek and Latin authors, to see how different -- nay, how inconsistent -- they are. If one is true, the other cannot be. If the record of the contemporaneous monument is correct, we must give up our faith in the legends of a later age, reported by writers who scorned to know oriental languages."

Yes, THE MONUMENTS HAVE CONVICTED THE HUMAN RECORDS," living witnesses, as it were, have started out of the grave of centuries to convict them of error and deceit."

So much for the effect of archaeological research on secular histories. The exact opposite of all this is true of the Bible. Archaeology is its friend because it has nothing to fear from established truths; in the words of Sir William Dawson:

"The Bible ... coming from God and conscious of nothing but God's truth, it AWAITS THE PROGRESS OF KNOWLEDGE WITH CALM SECURITY. It watches the antiquary ransacking among the ruins, and rejoices in every medal he discovers and every inscription he deciphers; for from that rusty coin or corroded marble IT EXPECTS NOTHING BUT CONFIRMATION OF ITS OWN VERACITY."

It is true that in the past there was conflict between the Bible and "finds," but in every case it was owing to premature conclusions. Sir Henry Rawlinson mentions an instance arising out of the paper squeezes which were taken of the inscriptions on the famous Behistun Rock:

"An erroneous impression was at one time in circulation that the information obtained from the inscriptions was adverse to Scripture. But so much was it the reverse of this, that IF THEY WERE TO DRAW UP A SCHEME OF CHRONOLOGY FROM THE INSCRIPTIONS, WITHOUT HAVING SEEN THE STATEMENTS OF THE SCRIPTURES, THEY WOULD FIND IT COINCIDE ON EVERY POINT."

There are still some, however, who never seem to learn their lesson. They still object, quibble, and find fault, but one by one their objections go the way of those of their foolish predecessors. As Sir Henry Rawlinson is reported to have said:

"IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO PRODUCE FROM AUTHENTIC HISTORY ANY CONTRADICTION OF ANY PORTION OF THE HEBREW RECORDS. When such a contradiction has seemed to be found, it has invariably happened that, in the progress of historical inquiry the author from whom it proceeds has lost credit, and finally comes to be regarded as an utterly untrustworthy authority."

"Before the age of archaeological research," says Sir Frederick Kenyon, "the Hebrew records, in the form of the books of the Bible, were alone in the field." Surely we can now say that since the age of archaeological discovery the Bible is still alone in the field as a record confirmed by archaeological research. We have seen how varied and diverse that confirmation has been, ranging from the Garden of Eden to Jewish names on an ancient banker's accounts: from the Flood to the fallen walls of Jericho. To these and other incidents archaeology offers its testimony and sets its seal to the truthfulness of the records.


For the present, as a result of the evidence we have placed before you, we ask you to accept the conclusion that THE BIBLE IS A RELIABLE HISTORICAL NARRATIVE. This we feel sure is not asking too much in the light of what we have seen.

Having got our historical ground settled it will give us confidence as we proceed to examine and test some of its many prophetic utterances, which, if they are found to be true, will take us a step further in our acceptance of the Bible, not only as a reliable history, but as a divine revelation.

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