Archeology defines a people—who they were, where and how they lived. It confirms biblical accounts and authenticates the preeminence of the Jewish people in the Land of Israel. Headlines continually emerge as new discoveries are unearthed giving credence to biblical characters and historical events. Timelines are solidified as gaps, like a puzzle, are filled in by archeological finds.
Ancient Mosaics Discovered in Israel; One Depicts 2 Spies Sent out by Moses, Studying Ancient Handwriting Reveals Biblical Texts are Older Than Estimated, The Pool of Siloam Revealed, and Where is the Biblical Bethsaida? are only a few of the titles from magazines like Israel Insights of Christianity.com, Biblical Places.com, and The Biblical Archeology Society.
"As Yeshua left the Temple and was going away, his talmudic (disciples) came and called his attention to its buildings. But he answered them, "You see all these? Yes! I tell you, they will be totally destroyed — not a single stone will be left standing!”
These opening verses from Matthew 24 of the Complete Jewish Bible describe Yeshua's (Jesus) predicted destruction of Jerusalem's Temple. In AD 70, by edict of the Roman Emperor, Nero and under the leadership of Commander Vespasian, Titus surrounds Jerusalem and lays waste to the Holy City. The Temple was turned stone upon stone to collect molten gold flowing from the intense heat of the devastation. As Yeshua predicted, not one stone was left standing. Frozen in time, photographs still display the topped stones onto the crushed street below. Idyll mikvot (purification baths, left of street) stand by awaiting worshippers.
The Trumpeting Stone, inscribed with Hebrew letters reading, "To the place of the trumpeting," stood on the high southeast platform of Temple. Trumpeters announced the coming in and going out of the Sabbath and High Holy Days from this high point overlooking the Kidron Valley. Today a replica stands in for the original as visitors walk a living reminder of the destruction of the Jewish temple—a memorial for millennia.
Dead Sea Scrolls:
With the advent of the Dead Sea Scrolls of Qumran (250 BC to AD 68), new light is shed on the written nature of the New Testament. Eighty to eighty-five percent of the scrolls were written in Hebrew including earlier forms of the language (COJS.org). Every book of the Old Testament, except the book of Esther, is represented in the Hebrew language dating 1000 years earlier than any previously known source (David Bivin, Roy Blizzard, Jr., Understanding the Difficult Words of Jesus: New Insights from a Hebraic Perspective). It is to our advantage to consider the relationship between the Dead Sea Scrolls, Old Testament writings and New Testament literary styles for the purpose of connecting an ancient Jewish culture to the Land of Israel. What clues exist in the New Testament literature that support a Hebrew preeminence in the land? What extra-biblical parchments, steles or cuneiforms place the ancient Israelites in the land of Canaan and for how long? These questions, explored further in Counting Shekels, Scion Series, Book II relate to our perception of the life of Jesus as the Messiah of Israel and as a Jew living in a first century multicultural society built upon a Hebrew foundation.
Named "Abraham's Gate" because it dates to the time of Abraham, this 4000 year old Bronze Age entrance into the ancient Canaanite City of Laish, renamed Dan after it was conquered by the Israelites, is located in northern Israel in the region of the tribe of Dan. Some have speculated, though impossible to prove, that Abraham entered through this gate to rescue his nephew, Lot, when he was carried off by the king of Elam and his allies (Genesis 14).
Samaria is the "first landing" of the Israelite tribes into the "promised land" after the defeat of Jericho. Abram first came into the Land at Shechem where he built an altar by the tree of Moreh (Genesis 12:6—c. 1855BC). Abraham's grandson, Jacob, established his well (Genesis 33:19), the same well where Jesus met the Samaritan women (John 4). Joshua placed half the people in front of Mt. Gerizim and half before Mt. Ebal. There, they renewed their covenant with God and pledged to be faithful. Joshua erected an altar of uncut stone and the people are blessed according to the instructions of Moses (Joshua 8,24). After the Exodus from Egypt, Joseph's bones were brought back and buried in Shechem (Joshua 24:32).
These and other archaeological sites provide confirmation of biblical narratives and give rich insights into the life and times of ancient Israel (ancient olive press in Shechem-right photo).
*Photos are from my collection gathered during my studies at Jerusalem University College, Israel (2017)