50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

A web-exclusive supplement to Lawrence Mykytiuk's “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” feature in the March/April 2014 issue of BAR

1.-Sargon-II-Khorsabad-Bridgeman

Sargon II, one of fifty Hebrew Bible figures identified in the archaeological record.

In “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible,” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk lists 50 figures from the Hebrew Bible who have been confirmed archaeologically. The 50-person chart in BAR includes Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs as well as lesser-known figures.

Mykytiuk writes that “at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” The extensive Biblical and archaeological documentation supporting the BAR study is published here in a web-exclusive collection of endnotes detailing the Biblical references and inscriptions referring to each of the 50 figures.

Guide to the Endnotes

50 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions Chart

50 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

“Almost Real” Box on p. 50: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

Symbols & Abbreviations

Date Sources


 
BAS Library Members: Read “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” by Lawrence Mykytiuk as it appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
 

 

50 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions

For a timeline and better view of this chart, see pp.46-47 of the March/April 2014 issue of BAR.

Egypt

Name

Who was He?

When He reigned or Flourished B.C.E.

Where in the Bible?

1

Shishak (= Shoshenq I)

pharaoh

945–924

1 Kings 11:40, etc.

2

So (= Osorkon IV)

pharaoh

730–715

2 Kings 17:4

3

Tirhakah (= Taharqa)

pharaoh

690–664

2 Kings 19:9, etc.

4

Necho II (= Neco II)

pharaoh

610–595

2 Chronicles 35:20, etc.

5

Hophra (= Apries)

pharaoh

589–570

Jeremiah 44:30

Moab

6

Mesha

king

early to mid-ninth century

2 Kings 3:4–27

Aram-Damascus

7

Hadadezer

king

early ninth century to 844/842

1 Kings 11:23, etc.

8

Ben-hadad, son of Hadadezer

king

844/842

2 Kings 6:24, etc.

9

Hazael

king

844/842–c. 800

1 Kings 19:15, etc.

10

Ben-hadad, son of Hazael

king

early eighth century

2 Kings 13:3, etc.

11

Rezin

king

mid-eighth century to 732

2 Kings 15:37, etc.

Northern Kingdom of Israel

12

Omri

king

884–873

1 Kings 16:16, etc.

13

Ahab

king

873–852

1 Kings 16:28, etc.

14

Jehu

king

842/841–815/814

1 Kings 19:16, etc.

15

Joash (= Jehoash)

king

805–790

2 Kings 13:9, etc.

16

Jeroboam II

king

790–750/749

2 Kings 13:13, etc.

17

Menahem

king

749–738

2 Kings 15:14, etc.

18

Pekah

king

750(?)–732/731

2 Kings 15:25, etc.

19

Hoshea

king

732/731–722

2 Kings 15:30, etc.

20

Sanballat “I”

governor of Samaria under Persian rule

c. mid-fifth century

Nehemiah 2:10, etc.

Southern Kingdom of Judah

21

David

king

c. 1010–970

1 Samuel 16:13, etc.

22

Uzziah (= Azariah)

king

788/787–736/735

2 Kings 14:21, etc.

23

Ahaz (= Jehoahaz)

king

742/741–726

2 Kings 15:38, etc.

24

Hezekiah

king

726–697/696

2 Kings 16:20, etc.

25

Manasseh

king

697/696–642/641

2 Kings 20:21, etc.

26

Hilkiah

high priest during Josiah’s reign

within 640/639–609

2 Kings 22:4, etc.

27

Shaphan

scribe during Josiah’s reign

within 640/639–609

2 Kings 22:3, etc.

28

Azariah

high priest during Josiah’s reign

within 640/639–609

1 Chronicles 5:39, etc.

29

Gemariah

official during Jehoiakim’s reign

within 609–598

Jeremiah 36:10, etc.

30

Jehoiachin (= Jeconiah = Coniah)

king

598–597

2 Kings 24:6, etc.

31

Shelemiah

father of Jehucal the royal official

late seventh century

Jeremiah 37:3, etc.

32

Jehucal (= Jucal)

official during Zedekiah’s reign

within 597–586

Jeremiah 37:3, etc.

33

Pashhur

father of Gedaliah the royal official

late seventh century

Jeremiah 38:1

34

Gedaliah

official during Zedekiah’s reign

within 597–586

Jeremiah 38:1

Assyria

35

Tiglath-pileser III (= Pul)

king

744–727

2 Kings 15:19, etc.

36

Shalmaneser V

king

726–722

2 Kings 17:3, etc.

37

Sargon II

king

721–705

Isaiah 20:1

38

Sennacherib

king

704–681

2 Kings 18:13, etc.

39

Adrammelech (= Ardamullissu = Arad-mullissu)

son and assassin of Sennacherib

early seventh century

2 Kings 19:37, etc.

40

Esarhaddon

king

680–669

2 Kings 19:37, etc.

Babylonia

41

Merodach-baladan II

king

721–710 and 703

2 Kings 20:12, etc.

42

Nebuchadnezzar II

king

604–562

2 Kings 24:1, etc.

43

Nebo-sarsekim

official of Nebuchadnezzar II

early sixth century

Jeremiah 39:3

44

Evil-merodach (= Awel Marduk = Amel Marduk)

king

561–560

2 Kings 25:27, etc.

45

Belshazzar

son and co-regent of Nabonidus

c. 543?–540

Daniel 5:1, etc.

Persia

46

Cyrus II (= Cyrus the Great)

king

559–530

2 Chronicles 36:22, etc.

47

Darius I (= Darius the Great)

king

520–486

Ezra 4:5, etc.

48

Xerxes I (= Ahasuerus)

king

486–465

Esther 1:1, etc.

49

Artaxerxes I Longimanus

king

465-425/424

Ezra 4:7, etc.

50

Darius II Nothus

king

425/424-405/404

Nehemiah 12:22


 
BAS Library Members: Read “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” by Lawrence Mykytiuk as it appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
 

 

50 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

EGYPT

1. Shishak (= Shoshenq I), pharaoh, r. 945–924, 1 Kings 11:40 and 14:25, in his inscriptions, including the record of his military campaign in Palestine in his 924 B.C.E. inscription on the exterior south wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes. See OROT, pp. 10, 31–32, 502 note 1; many references to him in Third, indexed on p. 520; Kenneth A. Kitchen, review of IBP, SEE-J Hiphil 2 (2005), http://www.see-j.net/index.php/hiphil/article/viewFile/19/17, bottom of p. 3, which is briefly mentioned in “Sixteen,” p. 43 n. 22 (where the Egyptian name Shoshenq is incorrectly transcribed).
Shoshenq is also referred to in a fragment of his victory stele discovered at Megiddo containing his cartouche. See Robert S. Lamon and Geoffrey M. Shipton, Megiddo I: Seasons of 1925–34, Strata I–V. (Oriental Institute Publications no. 42; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1939), pp. 60–61, fig. 70; Graham I. Davies, Megiddo (Cities of the Biblical World; Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 1986), pp. 89 fig. 18, 90; OROT, p. 508 n. 68; IBP, p. 137 n. 119 (in which the Egyptian name Shoshenq is incorrectly transcribed).

2. So (= Osorkon IV), pharaoh, r. 730–715, 2 Kings 17:4 only, which calls him “So, king of Egypt” (OROT, pp. 15–16). K. A. Kitchen makes a detailed case for So being Osorkon IV in Third, pp. 372–375. See Raging Torrent, p. 106 under “Shilkanni.”  

3. Tirhakah (= Taharqa), pharaoh, r. 690–664, 2 Kings 19:9, etc. in many Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions; Third, pp. 387–395. For mention of Tirhakah in Assyrian inscriptions, see those of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal in Raging Torrent, pp. 138–143, 145, 150–153, 155, 156; ABC, p. 247 under “Terhaqah.” The Babylonian chronicle also refers to him (Raging Torrent, p. 187). On Tirhakah as prince, see OROT, p. 24.

4. Necho II (= Neco II), pharaoh, r. 610–595, 2 Chronicles 35:20, etc., in inscriptions of the Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal (ANET, pp. 294–297) and the Esarhaddon Chronicle (ANET, p. 303). See also Raging Torrent, pp. 189–199, esp. 198; OROT, p. 504 n. 26; Third, p. 407; ABC, p. 232.

5. Hophra (= Apries = Wahibre), pharaoh, r. 589–570, Jeremiah 44:30, in Egyptian inscriptions, such as the one describing his being buried by his successor, Aḥmose II (= Amasis II) (Third, p. 333 n. 498), with reflections in Babylonian inscriptions regarding Nebuchadnezzar’s defeat of Hophra in 572 and replacing him on the throne of Egypt with a general, Aḥmes (= Amasis), who later rebelled against Babylonia and was suppressed (Raging Torrent, p. 222). See OROT, pp. 9, 16, 24; Third, p. 373 n. 747, 407 and 407 n. 969; ANET, p. 308; D. J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldaean Kings (626–556 B.C.) in the British Museum (London: The Trustees of the British Museum, 1956), pp. 94-95. Cf. ANEHST, p. 402. (The index of Third, p. 525, distinguishes between an earlier “Wahibre i” [Third, p. 98] and the 26th Dynasty’s “Wahibre ii” [= Apries], r. 589–570.)


 
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MOAB

6. Mesha, king, r. early to mid-9th century, 2 Kings 3:4–27, in the Mesha Inscription, which he caused to be written, lines 1–2; Dearman, Studies, pp. 97, 100–101; IBP, pp. 95–108, 238; “Sixteen,” p. 43.

ARAM-DAMASCUS

7. Hadadezer, king, r. early 9th century to 844/842, 1 Kings 22:3, etc., in Assyrian inscriptions of Shalmaneser III and also, I am convinced, in the Melqart stele. The Hebrew Bible does not name him, referring to him only as “the King of Aram” in 1 Kings 22:3, 31; 2 Kings chapter 5, 6:8–23. We find out this king’s full name in some contemporaneous inscriptions of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria (r. 858–824), such as the Black Obelisk (Raging Torrent, pp. 22–24). At Kurkh, a monolith by Shalmaneser III states that at the battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.E.), he defeated “Adad-idri [the Assyrian way of saying Hadadezer] the Damascene,” along with “Ahab the Israelite” and other kings (Raging Torrent, p. 14; RIMA 3, p. 23, A.0.102.2, col. ii, lines 89b–92). “Hadadezer the Damascene” is also mentioned in an engraving on a statue of Shalmaneser III at Aššur (RIMA 3, p. 118, A.0.102.40, col. i, line 14). The same statue engraving later mentions both Hadadezer and Hazael together (RIMA 3, p. 118, col. i, lines 25–26) in a topical arrangement of worst enemies defeated that is not necessarily chronological.
On the long-disputed readings of the Melqart stele, which was discovered in Syria in 1939, see “Corrections,” pp. 69–85, which follows the closely allied readings of Frank Moore Cross and Gotthard G. G. Reinhold. Those readings, later included in “Sixteen,” pp. 47–48, correct the earlier absence of this Hadadezer in IBP (notably on p. 237, where he is not to be confused with the tenth-century Hadadezer, son of Rehob and king of Zobah).

8. Ben-hadad, son of Hadadezer, r. or served as co-regent 844/842, 2 Kings 6:24, etc., in the Melqart stele, following the readings of Frank Moore Cross and Gotthard G. G. Reinhold and Cross’s 2003 criticisms of a different reading that now appears in COS, vol. 2, pp. 152–153 (“Corrections,” pp. 69–85). Several kings of Damascus bore the name Bar-hadad (in their native Aramaic, which is translated as Ben-hadad in the Hebrew Bible), which suggests adoption as “son” by the patron deity Hadad. This designation might indicate that he was the crown prince and/or co-regent with his father Hadadezer. It seems likely that Bar-hadad/Ben-hadad was his father’s immediate successor as king, as seems to be implied by the military policy reversal between 2 Kings 6:3–23 and 6:24. It was this Ben-Hadad, the son of Hadadezer, whom Hazael assassinated in 2 Kings 8:7–15 (quoted in Raging Torrent, p. 25). The mistaken disqualification of this biblical identification in the Melqart stele in IBP, p. 237, is revised to a strong identification in that stele in “Corrections,” pp. 69–85; “Sixteen,” p. 47.

9. Hazael, king, r. 844/842–ca. 800, 1 Kings 19:15, 2 Kings 8:8, etc., is documented in four kinds of inscriptions: 1) The inscriptions of Shalmaneser III call him “Hazael of Damascus” (Raging Torrent, pp. 23–26, 28), for example the inscription on the Kurbail Statue (RIMA 3, p. 60, line 21). He is also referred to in 2) the Zakkur stele from near Aleppo, in what is now Syria, and in 3) bridle inscriptions, i.e., two inscribed horse blinders and a horse frontlet discovered on Greek islands, and in 4) inscribed ivories seized as Assyrian war booty (Raging Torrent, p. 35). All are treated in IBP, pp. 238–239, and listed in “Sixteen,” p. 44. Cf. “Corrections,” pp. 101–103.

10. Ben-hadad, son of Hazael, king, r. early 8th century, 2 Kings 13:3, etc., in the Zakkur stele from near Aleppo. In lines 4–5, it calls him “Bar-hadad, son of Hazael, the king of Aram” (IBP, p. 240; “Sixteen,” p. 44; Raging Torrent, p. 38; ANET, p. 655: COS, vol. 2, p. 155). On the possibility of Ben-hadad, son of Hazael, being the “Mari” in Assyrian inscriptions, see Raging Torrent, pp. 35–36.

11. Rezin (= Raḥianu), king, r. mid-8th century to 732, 2 Kings 15:37, etc., in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, king of Assyria (in these inscriptions, Raging Torrent records frequent mention of Rezin in  pp. 51–78); OROT, p. 14. Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III refer to “Rezin” several times, “Rezin of Damascus” in Annal 13, line 10 (ITP, pp. 68–69), and “the dynasty of Rezin of Damascus” in Annal 23, line 13 (ITP, pp. 80–81). Tiglath-pileser III’s stele from Iran contains an explicit reference to Rezin as king of Damascus in column III, the right side, A: “[line 1] The kings of the land of Hatti (and of) the Aramaeans of the western seashore . . .  [line 4] Rezin of Damascus”  (ITP, pp. 106–107).

NORTHERN KINGDOM OF ISRAEL

12. Omri, king, r. 884–873, 1 Kings 16:16, etc., in Assyrian inscriptions and in the Mesha Inscription. Because he founded a famous dynasty which ruled the northern kingdom of Israel, the Assyrians refer not only to him as a king of Israel (ANET, pp. 280, 281), but also to the later rulers of that territory as kings of “the house of Omri” and that territory itself literally as “the house of Omri” (Raging Torrent, pp. 34, 35; ANET, pp. 284, 285). Many a later king of Israel who was not his descendant, beginning with Jehu, was called “the son of Omri” (Raging Torrent, p. 18). The Mesha Inscription also refers to Omri as “the king of Israel” in lines 4–5, 7 (Dearman, Studies, pp. 97, 100–101; COS, vol. 2, p. 137; IBP, pp. 108–110, 216; “Sixteen,” p. 43.

13. Ahab, king, r. 873–852, 1 Kings 16:28, etc., in the Kurkh Monolith by his enemy, Shalmaneser III of Assyria. There, referring to the battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.E.), Shalmaneser calls him “Ahab the Israelite” (Raging Torrent, pp. 14, 18–19; RIMA 3, p. 23, A.0.102.2, col. 2, lines 91–92; ANET, p. 279; COS, vol. 2, p. 263). 

14. Jehu, king, r. 842/841–815/814, 1 Kings 19:16, etc., in inscriptions of Shalmaneser III. In these, “son” means nothing more than that he is the successor, in this instance, of Omri (Raging Torrent, p. 20 under “Ba’asha . . . ” and p. 26). A long version of Shalmaneser III’s annals on a stone tablet in the outer wall of the city of Aššur refers to Jehu in col. 4, line 11, as “Jehu, son of Omri” (Raging Torrent, p. 28; RIMA 3, p. 54, A.0.102.10, col. 4, line 11; cf. ANET, p. 280, the parallel “fragment of an annalistic text”). Also, on the Kurba’il Statue, lines 29–30 refer to “Jehu, son of Omri” (RIMA 3, p. 60, A.0.102.12, lines 29–30).

In Shalmaneser III’s Black Obelisk, current scholarship regards the notation over relief B, depicting payment of tribute from Israel, as referring to “Jehu, son of Omri” (Raging Torrent, p. 23; RIMA 3, p. 149, A.0. 102.88), but cf. P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., “‘Yaw, Son of ’Omri’: A Philological Note on Israelite Chronology,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 216 (1974): pp. 5–7.

15. Joash (= Jehoash), king, r. 805–790, 2 Kings 13:9, etc., in the Tell al-Rimaḥ inscription of Adad-Nirari III, king of Assyria (r. 810–783), which mentions “the tribute of Joash [= Iu’asu] the Samarian” (Stephanie Page, “A Stela of Adad-Nirari III and Nergal-Ereš from Tell Al Rimaḥ,” Iraq 30 [1968]: pp. 142–145, line 8, Pl. 38–41; RIMA 3, p. 211, line 8 of A.0.104.7; Raging Torrent, pp. 39–41).

16. Jeroboam II, king, r. 790–750/749, 2 Kings 13:13, etc., in the seal of his royal servant Shema, discovered at Megiddo (WSS, p. 49 no. 2;  IBP, pp. 133–139, 217; “Sixteen,” p. 46).

17. Menahem, king, r. 749–738, 2 Kings 15:14, etc., in the Calah Annals of Tiglath-pileser III. Annal 13, line 10 refers to “Menahem of Samaria” in a list of kings who paid tribute (ITP, pp. 68–69, Pl. IX). Tiglath-pileser III’s stele from Iran, his only known stele, refers explicitly to Menahem as king of Samaria in column III, the right side, A: “[line 1] The kings of the land of Hatti (and of) the Aramaeans of the western seashore . . .  [line 5] Menahem of Samaria.”  (ITP, pp. 106–107). See also Raging Torrent, pp. 51, 52, 54, 55, 59; ANET, p. 283.

18. Pekah, king, r. 750(?)–732/731, 2 Kings 15:25, etc., in the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III. Among various references to “Pekah,” the most explicit concerns the replacement of Pekah in Summary Inscription 4, lines 15–17: “[line 15] . . . The land of Bit-Humria . . . . [line 17] Peqah, their king [I/they killed] and I installed Hoshea [line 18] [as king] over them” (ITP, pp. 140–141; Raging Torrent, pp. 66–67).

19. Hoshea, king, r. 732/731–722, 2 Kings 15:30, etc., in Tiglath-pileser’s Summary Inscription 4, described in preceding note 18, where Hoshea is mentioned as Pekah’s immediate successor.

20. Sanballat “I”, governor of Samaria under Persian rule, ca. mid-fifth century, Nehemiah 2:10, etc., in a letter among the papyri from the Jewish community at Elephantine in Egypt (A. E. Cowley, ed., Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923; reprinted Osnabrück, Germany: Zeller, 1967), p. 114 English translation of line 29, and p. 118 note regarding line 29; ANET, p. 492.

Also, the reference to “[  ]ballat,” most likely Sanballat, in Wadi Daliyeh bulla WD 22 appears to refer to the biblical Sanballat as the father of a governor of Samaria who succeeded him in the first half of the fourth century. As Jan Dušek shows, it cannot be demonstrated that any Sanballat II and III existed, which is the reason for the present article’s quotation marks around the “I” in Sanballat “I”; see Jan Dušek, “Archaeology and Texts in the Persian Period: Focus on Sanballat,” in Martti Nissinen, ed., Congress Volume: Helsinki 2010 (Boston: Brill. 2012), pp. 117–132.


 
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SOUTHERN KINGDOM OF JUDAH

21. David, king, r. ca. 1010–970, 1 Samuel 16:13, etc. in three inscriptions. Most notable is the victory stele in Aramaic known as the “house of David” inscription, discovered at Tel Dan; Avraham Biran and Joseph Naveh, “An Aramaic Stele from Tel Dan,” IEJ 43 (1993), pp. 81–98, and idem, “The Tel Dan Inscription: A New Fragment,” IEJ 45 (1995), pp. 1–18. An ancient Aramaic word pattern in line 9 designates David as the founder of the dynasty of Judah in the phrase “house of David” (2 Sam 2:11 and 5:5; Gary A. Rendsburg, “On the Writing ביתדיד [BYTDWD] in the Aramaic Inscription from Tel Dan,” IEJ 45 [1995], pp. 22–25; Raging Torrent, p. 20, under “Ba’asha . . .”; IBP, pp. 110–132, 265–77; “Sixteen,” pp. 41–43).

In the second inscription, the Mesha Inscription, the phrase “house of David” appears in Moabite in line 31 with the same meaning: that he is the founder of the dynasty. There David’s name appears with only its first letter destroyed, and no other letter in that spot makes sense without creating a very strained, awkward reading (André Lemaire, “‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” BAR 20, no. 3 [May/June 1994]: pp. 30–37. David’s name also appears in line 12 of the Mesha Inscription (Anson F. Rainey, “Mesha‘ and Syntax,” in J. Andrew Dearman and M. Patrick Graham, eds., The Land That I Will Show You: Essays on the History and Archaeology of the Ancient Near East in Honor of J. Maxwell Miller. (JSOT Supplement series, no. 343; Sheffield, England:Sheffield Academic, 2001), pp. 287–307; IBP, pp. 265–277; “Sixteen,” pp. 41–43).

The third inscription, in Egyptian, mentions a region in the Negev called “the heights of David” after King David (Kenneth A. Kitchen, “A Possible Mention of David in the Late Tenth Century B.C.E., and Deity *Dod as Dead as the Dodo?” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 76 [1997], pp. 39–41; IBP, p. 214 note 3, which is revised in “Corrections,” pp. 119–121; “Sixteen,” p. 43).

In the table on p. 46 of BAR, David is listed as king of Judah. According to 2 Samuel 5:5, for his first seven years and six months as a monarch, he ruled only the southern kingdom of Judah. We have no inscription that refers to David as king over all Israel (that is, the united kingdom) as also stated in 2 Sam 5:5.

22. Uzziah (= Azariah), king, r. 788/787–736/735, 2 Kings 14:21, etc., in the inscribed stone seals of two of his royal servants: Abiyaw and Shubnayaw (more commonly called Shebanyaw); WSS, p. 51 no. 4 and p. 50 no. 3, respectively; IBP, pp. 153–159 and 159–163, respectively, and p. 219 no. 20 (a correction to IBP is that on p. 219, references to WSS nos. 3 and 4 are reversed); “Sixteen,” pp. 46–47. Cf. also his secondary burial inscription from the Second Temple era (IBP, p. 219 n. 22).

23. Ahaz (= Jehoahaz), king, r. 742/741–726, 2 Kings 15:38, etc., in Tiglath-pileser III’s Summary Inscription 7, reverse, line 11, refers to “Jehoahaz of Judah” in a list of kings who paid tribute (ITP, pp. 170–171; Raging Torrent, pp. 58–59). The Bible refers to him by the shortened form of his full name, Ahaz, rather than by the full form of his name, Jehoahaz, which the Assyrian inscription uses.
Cf. the unprovenanced seal of ’Ushna’, more commonly called ’Ashna’, the name Ahaz appears (IBP, pp. 163–169, with corrections from Kitchen’s review of IBP as noted in “Corrections,” p. 117; “Sixteen,” pp. 38–39 n. 11). Because this king already stands clearly documented in an Assyrian inscription, documentation in another inscription is not necessary to confirm the existence of the biblical Ahaz, king of Judah.

24. Hezekiah, king, r. 726–697/696, 2 Kings 16:20, etc., initially in the Rassam Cylinder of Sennacherib (in this inscription, Raging Torrent records frequent mention of Hezekiah in pp. 111–123; COS, pp. 302–303). It mentions “Hezekiah the Judahite” (col. 2 line 76 and col. 3 line 1 in Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, pp. 31, 32) and “Jerusalem, his royal city” (ibid., col. 3 lines 28, 40; ibid., p. 33) Other, later copies of the annals of Sennacherib, such as the Oriental Institute prism and the Taylor prism, mostly repeat the content of the Rassam cylinder, duplicating its way of referring to Hezekiah and Jerusalem (ANET, pp. 287, 288). The Bull Inscription from the palace at Nineveh (ANET, p. 288; Raging Torrent, pp. 126–127) also mentions “Hezekiah the Judahite” (lines 23, 27 in Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, pp. 69, 70) and “Jerusalem, his royal city” (line 29; ibid., p. 33).

25. Manasseh, king, r. 697/696–642/641, 2 Kings 20:21, etc., in the inscriptions of Assyrian kings Esarhaddon (Raging Torrent, pp. 131, 133, 136) and Ashurbanipal (ibid., p. 154). “Manasseh, king of Judah,” according to Esarhaddon (r. 680–669), was among those who paid tribute to him (Esarhaddon’s Prism B, column 5, line 55; R. Campbell Thompson, The Prisms of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal [London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1931], p. 25; ANET, p. 291). Also, Ashurbanipal (r. 668–627) records that “Manasseh, king of Judah” paid tribute to him (Ashurbanipal’s Cylinder C, col. 1, line 25; Maximilian Streck, Assurbanipal und die letzten assyrischen Könige bis zum Untergang Niniveh’s, [Vorderasiatische Bibliothek 7; Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1916], vol. 2, pp. 138–139; ANET, p. 294.

26. Hilkiah, high priest during Josiah’s reign, within 640/639–609, 2 Kings 22:4, etc., in the City of David bulla of Azariah, son of Hilkiah (WSS, p. 224 no. 596; IBP, pp. 148–151; 229 only in [50] City of David bulla; “Sixteen,” p. 49).

The oldest part of Jerusalem, called the City of David, is the location where the Bible places all four men named in the bullae covered in the present endnotes 26 through 29.

Analysis of the clay of these bullae shows that they were produced in the locale of Jerusalem (Eran Arie, Yuval Goren, and Inbal Samet, “Indelible Impression: Petrographic Analysis of Judahite Bullae,” in The Fire Signals of Lachish: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israel in the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Persian Period in Honor of David Ussishkin [ed. Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011], p. 10, quoted in “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34).

27. Shaphan, scribe during Josiah’s reign, within 640/639–609, 2 Kings 22:3, etc., in the City of David bulla of Gemariah, son of Shaphan (WSS, p. 190 no. 470; IBP, pp. 139–146, 228). See endnote 26 above regarding “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34.

28. Azariah, high priest during Josiah’s reign, within 640/639–609, 1 Chronicles 5:39, etc., in the City of David bulla of Azariah, son of Hilkiah (WSS, p. 224 no. 596; IBP, pp. 151–152; 229). See endnote 26 above regarding “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34.

29. Gemariah, official during Jehoiakim’s reign, within 609–598, Jeremiah 36:10, etc., in the City of David bulla of Gemariah, son of Shaphan (WSS, p. 190 no. 470; IBP, pp. 147, 232). See endnote 26 above regarding “Sixteen,” pp. 48–49 n. 34.

30. Jehoiachin (= Jeconiah = Coniah), king, r. 598–597, 2 Kings 24:5, etc., in four Babylonian administrative tablets regarding oil rations or deliveries, during his exile in Babylonia (Raging Torrent, p. 209; ANEHST, pp. 386–387). Discovered at Babylon, they are dated from the tenth to the thirty-fifth year of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylonia and conqueror of Jerusalem. One tablet calls Jehoiachin “king” (Text Babylon 28122, obverse, line 29; ANET, p. 308). A second, fragmentary text mentions him as king in an immediate context that refers to “[. . . so]ns of the king of Judah” and “Judahites” (Text Babylon 28178, obverse, col. 2, lines 38–40; ANET, p. 308). The third tablet calls him “the son of the king of Judah” and refers to “the five sons of the king of Judah” (Text Babylon 28186, reverse, col. 2, lines 17–18; ANET, p. 308). The fourth text, the most fragmentary of all, confirms “Judah” and part of Jehoiachin’s name, but contributes no data that is not found in the other texts.

31. Shelemiah, father of Jehucal the official, late 7th century, Jeremiah 37:3; 38:1
and
32. Jehucal (= Jucal), official during Zedekiah’s reign, fl. within 597–586, Jeremiah 37:3; 38:1 only, both referred to in a bulla discovered in the City of David in 2005 (Eilat Mazar, “Did I Find King David’s Palace?” BAR 32, no. 1 [January/February 2006], pp. 16–27, 70; idem, Preliminary Report on the City of David Excavations 2005 at the Visitors Center Area [Jerusalem and New York: Shalem, 2007], pp. 67–69; idem, “The Wall that Nehemiah Built,” BAR 35, no. 2 [March/April 2009], pp. 24–33,66; idem, The Palace of King David: Excavations at the Summit of the City of David: Preliminary Report of Seasons 2005-2007 [Jerusalem/New York: Shoham AcademicResearch and Publication, 2009], pp. 66–71). Only the possibility of firm identifications is left open in “Corrections,” pp. 85–92; “Sixteen,” pp. 50–51; this article is my first affirmation of four identifications, both here in notes 31 and 32 and below in notes 33 and 34.

After cautiously observing publications and withholding judgment for several years, I am now affirming the four identifications in notes 31 through 34, because I am now convinced that this bulla is a remnant from an administrative center in the City of David, a possibility suggested in “Corrections,” p. 100 second-to-last paragraph, and “Sixteen,” p. 51. For me, the tipping point came by comparing the description and pictures of the nearby and immediate archaeological context in Eilat Mazar, “Palace of King David,” pp. 66–70,  with the administrative contexts described in Eran Arie, Yuval Goren, and Inbal Samet, “Indelible Impression: Petrographic Analysis of Judahite Bullae,” in Israel Finkelstein and Nadav Na’aman, eds., The Fire Signals of Lachish: Studies in the Archaeology and History of Israel in the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Persian Period in Honor of David Ussishkin (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), pp. 12–13 (the section titled “The Database: Judahite Bullae from Controlled Excavations”) and pp. 23–24. See also Nadav Na’aman, “The Interchange between Bible and Archaeology: The Case of David’s Palace and the Millo,” BAR 40, no. 1 (January/February 2014), pp. 57–61, 68–69, which is drawn from idem, “Biblical and Historical Jerusalem in the Tenth and Fifth-Fourth Centuries B.C.E.,” Biblica 93 (2012): pp. 21–42. See also idem, “Five Notes on Jerusalem in the First and Second Temple Periods,” Tel Aviv 39 (2012): p. 93.

33. Pashhur, father of Gedaliah the official, late 7th century, Jeremiah 38:1
and
34. Gedaliah, official during Zedekiah’s reign, fl. within 597–586, Jeremiah 38:1 only, both referred to in a bulla discovered in the City of David in 2008. See “Corrections,” pp. 92–96; “Sixteen,” pp. 50–51; and the preceding endnote 31 and 32 for bibliographic details on E. Mazar, “Wall,” pp. 24–33, 66; idem, Palace of King David, pp. 68–71) and for the comments in the paragraph that begins, “After cautiously . . . .”

ASSYRIA

35. Tiglath-pileser III (= Pul), king, r. 744–727, 2 Kings 15:19, etc., in his many inscriptions. See Raging Torrent, pp. 46–79; COS, vol. 2, pp. 284–292; ITP; Mikko Lukko, The Correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud (State Archives of Assyria, no. 19; Assyrian Text Corpus Project; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013); ABC, pp. 248–249. On Pul as referring to Tiglath-pileser III, which is implicit in ABC, p. 333 under “Pulu,” see ITP, p. 280 n. 5 for discussion and bibliography.

On the identification of Tiglath-pileser III in the Aramaic monumental inscription honoring Panamu II, in Aramaic monumental inscriptions 1 and 8 of Bar-Rekub (now in Istanbul and Berlin, respectively), and in the Ashur Ostracon, see IBP, p. 240; COS, pp. 158–161.

36. Shalmaneser V (= Ululaya), king, r. 726–722, 2 Kings 17:2, etc., in chronicles, in king-lists, and in rare remaining inscriptions of his own (ABC, p. 242; COS, vol. 2, p. 325). Most notable is the Neo-Babylonian Chronicle series, Chronicle 1, i, lines 24–32.  In those lines, year 2 of the Chronicle mentions his plundering the city of Samaria (Raging Torrent, pp. 178, 182; ANEHST, p. 408). (“Shalman” in Hosea 10:14 is likely a historical allusion, but modern lack of information makes it difficult to assign it to a particular historical situation or ruler, Assyrian or otherwise. See below for the endnotes to the box at the top of p. 50.)

37. Sargon II, king, r. 721–705, Isaiah 20:1, in many inscriptions, including his own. See Raging Torrent, pp. 80–109, 176–179, 182; COS, vol. 2, pp. 293–300; Mikko Lukko, The Correspondence of Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II from Calah/Nimrud (State Archives of Assyria, no. 19; Assyrian Text Corpus Project; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013); ABC, pp. 236–238; IBP, pp. 240–241 no. (74).

38. Sennacherib, king, r. 704–681, 2 Kings 18:13, etc., in many inscriptions, including his own. See Raging Torrent, pp. 110–129; COS, vol. 2, pp. 300–305; ABC, pp. 238–240; ANEHST, pp. 407–411, esp. 410; IBP, pp. 241–242.

39. Adrammelech (= Ardamullissu = Arad-mullissu), son and assassin of Sennacherib, fl. early 7th century, 2 Kings 19:37, etc., in a letter sent to Esarhaddon, who succeeded Sennacherib on the throne of Assyria. See Raging Torrent, pp. 111, 184, and COS, vol. 3, p. 244, both of which describe and cite with approval Simo Parpola, “The Murderer of Sennacherib,” in Death in Mesopotamia: Papers Read at the XXVie Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, ed. Bendt Alster (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1980), pp. 171–182. See also ABC, p. 240.

An upcoming scholarly challenge is the identification of Sennacherib’s successor, Esarhaddon, as a more likely assassin in Andrew Knapp’s paper, “The Murderer of Sennacherib, Yet Again,” to be read in a February 2014 Midwest regional conference in Bourbonnais, Ill. (SBL/AOS/ASOR).

On various renderings of the neo-Assyrian name of the assassin, see RlA s.v. “Ninlil,” vol. 9, pp. 452–453 (in German). On the mode of execution of those thought to have been  conspirators in the assassination, see the selection from Ashurbanipal’s Rassam cylinder in ANET, p. 288.

40. Esarhaddon, king, r. 680–669, 2 Kings 19:37, etc., in his many inscriptions. See Raging Torrent, pp. 130–147; COS, vol. 2, p. 306; ABC, pp. 217–219. Esarhaddon’s name appears in many cuneiform inscriptions (ANET, pp. 272–274, 288–290, 292–294, 296, 297, 301–303, 426–428, 449, 450, 531, 533–541, 605, 606), including his Succession Treaty (ANEHST, p. 355).

BABYLONIA

41. Merodach-baladan II (=Marduk-apla-idinna II), king, r. 721–710 and 703, 2 Kings 20:12, etc., in the inscriptions of Sennacherib and the Neo-Babylonian Chronicles (Raging Torrent, pp. 111, 174, 178–179, 182–183. For Sennacherib’s account of his first campaign, which was against Merodach-baladan II, see COS, vol. 2, pp. 300-302. For the Neo-Babylonian Chronicle series, Chronicle 1, i, 33–42, see ANEHST, pp. 408–409. This king is also included in the Babylonian King List A (ANET, p. 271), and the latter part of his name remains in the reference to him in the Synchronistic King List (ANET, pp. 271–272), on which see ABC, pp. 226, 237.

42. Nebuchadnezzar II, king, r. 604–562, 2 Kings 24:1, etc., in many cuneiform tablets, including his own inscriptions. See Raging Torrent, pp. 220–223; COS, vol. 2, pp. 308–310; ANET, pp. 221, 307–311; ABC, p. 232. The Neo-Babylonian Chronicle series refers to him in Chronicles 4 and 5 (ANEHST, pp. 415, 416–417, respectively). Chronicle 5, reverse, lines 11–13, briefly refers to his conquest of Jerusalem (“the city of Judah”) in 597 by defeating “its king” (Jehoiachin), as well as his appointment of “a king of his own choosing” (Zedekiah) as king of Judah.

43. Nebo-sarsekim, chief official of Nebuchadnezzar II, fl. early 6th century, Jeremiah 39:3, in a cuneiform inscription on Babylonian clay tablet BM 114789 (1920-12-13, 81), dated to 595 B.C.E. The time reference in Jeremiah 39:3 is very close, to the year 586. Since it is extremely unlikely that two individuals having precisely the same personal name would have been, in turn, the sole holders of precisely this unique position within a decade of each other, it is safe to assume that the inscription and the book of Jeremiah refer to the same person in different years of his time in office. In July 2007 in the British Museum, Austrian researcher Michael Jursa discovered this Babylonian reference to the biblical “Nebo-sarsekim, the Rab-saris” (rab ša-rēši, meaning “chief official”) of Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 604–562). Jursa identified this official in his article, “Nabu-šarrūssu-ukīn, rab ša-rēši, und ‘Nebusarsekim’ (Jer. 39:3),” Nouvelles Assyriologiques Breves et Utilitaires2008/1 (March): pp. 9–10 (in German). See also Bob Becking, “Identity of Nabusharrussu-ukin, the Chamberlain: An Epigraphic Note on Jeremiah 39,3. With an Appendix on the Nebu(!)sarsekim Tablet by Henry Stadhouders,” Biblische Notizen NF 140 (2009): pp. 35–46; “Corrections,” pp. 121–124; “Sixteen,” p. 47 n. 31. On the correct translation of ráb ša-rēši (and three older, published instances of it having been incorrect translated as rab šaqê), see ITP, p. 171 n. 16.

44. Evil-merodach (= Awel Marduk, = Amel Marduk), king, r. 561–560, 2 Kings 25:27, etc., in various inscriptions (ANET, p. 309; OROT, pp. 15, 504 n. 23). See especially Ronald H. Sack, Amel-Marduk: 562-560 B.C.; A Study Based on Cuneiform, Old Testament, Greek, Latin and Rabbinical Sources (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, no. 4; Kevelaer, Butzon & Bercker, and Neukirchen-Vluyn, Neukirchener, 1972).

45. Belshazzar, son and co-regent of Nabonidus, fl. ca. 543?–540, Daniel 5:1, etc., in Babylonian administrative documents and the “Verse Account” (Muhammed A. Dandamayev, “Nabonid, A,” RlA, vol. 9, p. 10; Raging Torrent, pp. 215–216; OROT, pp. 73–74). A neo-Babylonian text refers to him as “Belshazzar the crown prince” (ANET, pp. 309–310 n. 5).

PERSIA

46. Cyrus II (=Cyrus the great), king, r. 559–530, 2 Chronicles 36:22, etc., in various inscriptions (including his own), for which and on which see ANEHST, pp. 418–426, ABC, p. 214. For Cyrus’ cylinder inscription, see Raging Torrent, pp. 224–230; ANET, pp. 315–316; COS, vol. 2, pp. 314–316; ANEHST, pp. 426–430; P&B, pp. 87–92. For larger context and implications in the biblical text, see OROT, pp. 70-76.

47. Darius I (=Darius the Great), king, r. 520–486, Ezra 4:5, etc., in various inscriptions, including his own trilingual cliff inscription at Behistun, on which see P&B, pp. 131–134. See also COS, vol. 2, p. 407, vol. 3, p. 130; ANET, pp. 221, 316, 492; ABC, p. 214; ANEHST, pp. 407, 411. On the setting, see OROT, pp. 70–75.

48. Xerxes I (= Ahasuerus), king, r. 486–465, Esther 1:1, etc., in various inscriptions, including his own (P&B, p. 301; ANET, pp. 316–317), and in the dates of documents from the time of his reign (COS, vol. 2, p. 188, vol. 3, pp. 142, 145. On the setting, see OROT, pp. 70–75.

49. Artaxerxes I Longimanus, king, r. 465-425/424, Ezra 4:6, 7, etc., in various inscriptions, including his own (P&B, pp. 242–243), and in the dates of documents from the time of his reign (COS, vol. 2, p. 163, vol. 3, p. 145; ANET, p. 548).

50. Darius II Nothus, king, r. 425/424-405/404, Nehemiah 12:22, in various inscriptions, including his own (for example, P&B, pp. 158–159) and in the dates of documents from the time of his reign (ANET, p. 548; COS, vol. 3, pp. 116–117).


 
BAS Library Members: Read “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” by Lawrence Mykytiuk as it appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
 

 

“Almost Real” Box on p. 50: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

In general, the persons listed in the box at the top of p. 50 of the March/April 2014 issue of BAR exclude persons in two categories. The first category includes those about whom we know so little that we cannot even approach a firm identification with anyone named in an inscription. One example is “Shalman” in Hosea 10:14. This name almost certainly refers to a historical person, but variations of this name were common in the ancient Near East, and modern lack of information on the biblical Shalman makes it difficult to assign it to a particular historical situation or ruler, Assyrian or otherwise. See Francis I. Andersen and David Noel Freedman, Hosea (The Anchor Bible, vol. 24; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1980), pp. 570–571. A second example is “Osnappar” (=Asnapper) in Ezra 4:10, who is not called a king, and for whom the traditional identification has no basis for singling out any particular ruler. See Jacob M. Myers, Ezra-Nehemiah (The Anchor Bible. vol. 14; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1981), p. 333.

The second category of excluded identifications comes from the distinction between inscriptions that are dug up after many centuries and texts that have been copied and recopied through the course of many centuries. The latter include the books of the Bible itself, as well as other writings, notably those of Flavius Josephus in the first century C.E. His reference to Ethbaal (=’Ittoba’al =’Ithoba’al), the father of Jezebel (1 Kings 16:31). is not included in this article, because Josephus’ writings do not come to us from archaeology. See IBP, p. 238 n. 90; cf. Raging Torrent, pp. 30, 115–116 (p. 133 refers to an Ethbaal appointed king of Sidon by Sennacherib, therefore he must have lived a century later than Jezebel’s father).

AMMON
Balaam son of Beor, fl. late 13th century (some scholars prefer late 15th century), Numbers 22:5, etc., in a wall inscription on plaster dated to 700 B.C.E. (COS, vol. 2, pp. 140–145). It was discovered at Tell Deir ʿAllā, in the same Transjordanian geographical area in which the Bible places Balaam’s activity. Many scholars assume or conclude that the Balaam and Beor of the inscription are the same as the biblical pair and belong to the same folk tradition, which is not necessarily historical. See P. Kyle McCarter, Jr., “The Balaam Texts from Deir ‘Allā: The First Combination,” BASOR 239 (1980): pp. 49–60; Jo Ann Hackett, The Balaam Text from Deir ʿAllā (Chico, Calif.: Scholars Press, 1984), pp. 27, 33–34; idem, “Some Observations on the Balaam Tradition at Deir ʿAllā,” Biblical Archaeologist 49 (1986), p. 216. Mykytiuk at first listed these two identifications under a strong classification in IBP, p. 236, but because the inscription does not reveal a time period for Balaam and Beor, he later corrected that to a “not-quite-firmly identified” classification in “Corrections,” pp. 111–113, no. 29 and 30, and in “Sixteen,” p. 53.

Although it contains three identifying marks (traits) of both father and son, this inscription is dated to ca. 700 B.C.E., several centuries after the period in which the Bible places Balaam. Speaking with no particular reference to this inscription, some scholars, such as Frendo and Kofoed, argue that lengthy gaps between a particular writing and the things to which it refers are not automatically to be considered refutations of historical claims (Anthony J. Frendo, Pre-Exilic Israel, the Hebrew Bible, and Archaeology: Integrating Text and Artefact [New York: T&T Clark, 2011], p. 98; Jens B. Kofoed, Text and History: Historiography and the Study of the Biblical Text [Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005], pp. 83–104, esp. p, 42). There might easily have been intervening sources which transmitted the information from generation to generation but as centuries passed, were lost.

Baalis, king of the Ammonites, r. early 6th century, Jeremiah 40:14, in an Ammonite seal impression on the larger, fairly flat end of a ceramic cone (perhaps a bottle-stopper?) from Tell el-Umeiri, in what was the land of the ancient Ammonites. The seal impression reveals only two marks (traits) of an individual, so it is not quite firm. See Larry G. Herr, “The Servant of Baalis,” Biblical Archaeologist 48 (1985): pp. 169–172; WSS, p. 322 no. 860; COS, p. 201; IBP, p. 242 no. (77); “Sixteen Strong,” p. 52. The differences between the king’s name in this seal impression and the biblical version can be understood as slightly different renderings of the same name in different dialects; see bibliography in Michael O’Connor, “The Ammonite Onomasticon: Semantic Problems,” Andrews University Seminary Studies 25 (1987): p. 62 paragraph (3), supplemented by Lawrence T. Geraty, “Back to Egypt: An Illustration of How an Archaeological Find May Illumine a Biblical Passage,” Reformed Review 47 (1994): p. 222; Emile Puech, “L’inscription de la statue d’Amman et la paleographie ammonite,” Revue biblique 92 (1985): pp. 5–24.


 
Our FREE eBook From Babylon to Baghdad: Ancient Iraq and the Modern West examines the relationship between ancient Iraq and the origins of modern Western society. This collection of articles written by authoritative scholars details some of the ways in which ancient Near Eastern civilizations have impressed themselves on Western culture.
 

 

NORTHERN ARABIA
Geshem (= Gashmu) the Arabian, r. mid-5th century, Nehemiah 2:10, etc., in an Aramaic inscription on a silver bowl discovered at Tell el-Maskhuta, Egypt, in the eastern delta of the Nile, that mentions “Qainu, son of Geshem [or Gashmu], king of Qedar,” an ancient kingdom in northwest Arabia. This bowl is now in the Brooklyn Museum. See Isaac Rabinowitz, “Aramaic Inscriptions of the Fifth Century B.C.E. from a North-Arab Shrine in Egypt,” Journal of the Near Eastern Studies 15 (1956): pp. 1–9, Pl. 6–7; William J. Dumbrell, “The Tell el-Maskhuta Bowls and the ‘Kingdom’ of Qedar in the Persian Period,” BASOR 203 (October 1971): pp. 35–44; OROT, pp. 74–75, 518 n. 26; Raging Torrent, p. 55.
Despite thorough analyses of the Qainu bowl and its correspondences pointing to the biblical Geshem, there is at least one other viable candidate for identification with the biblical Geshem: Gashm or Jasm, son of Shahr, of Dedan. On him, see Frederick V. Winnett and William L. Reed, Ancient Records from North Arabia (University of Toronto Press, 1970), pp. 115–117; OROT, pp. 75. 518 n. 26. Thus the existence of two viable candidates would seem to render the case for each not quite firm (COS, vol. 2, p. 176).

SOUTHERN KINGDOM OF JUDAH
Shebna, the overseer of the palace, fl. ca. 726–697/696, Isaiah 22:15–19 (probably also the scribe of 2 Kings 18:18, etc., before being promoted to palace overseer), in an inscription at the entrance to a rock-cut tomb in Silwan, near Jerusalem. There are only two marks (traits) of an individual, and these do not include his complete name, so this identification, though tempting, is not quite firm. See Nahman Avigad, “Epitaph of a Royal Steward from Siloam Village,” IEJ 3 (1953): pp. 137–152; David Ussishkin, The Village of Silwan (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993), pp. 247–250; IBP, pp. 223, 225; “Sixteen Strong,” pp. 51–52.

Azzur of Gibeon, father of Hananiah, fl. early 6th century, Jeremiah 28:1, etc., in seven inscribed jar handles from 6th-century Gibeon, only one of which is complete. These reveal only two marks (traits) of an individual. See James B. Pritchard, Hebrew Inscriptions and Stamps from Gibeon, Museum Monographs (Philadelphia: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1959, whose dating of the inscribed jar handles was criticized by several scholars, including Nahman Avigad, “Some Notes on the Hebrew Inscriptions from Gibeon (Review-article),” IEJ 9 (1959): pp. 130–133, and Frank Moore Cross, Jr., “”Epigraphical Notes on Hebrew Manuscripts of the Eighth–Sixth Centuries B.C., III. The Inscribed Jar Handles from Gibeon,” BASOR 168 (December 1962): pp. 18–23. A summary of that discussion is in Ephraim Stern, Material Culture of the Land of the Bible in the Persian Period, 538–332 B.C. (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, and Warminster, Wiltshire, England: 1982), pp. 52–53. The not-quite-firm grade of the identification is correctly gauged in IBP, p. 234.

Gedaliah the governor, son of Ahikam, fl. ca. 585, 2 Kings 25:22, etc., in the bulla from Tell ed-Duweir (ancient Lachish) that reads, “Belonging to Gedalyahu, the overseer of the palace.” The Babylonian practice was to appoint indigenous governors over conquered populations. It is safe to assume that as conquerors of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E., they would have chosen the highest-ranking Judahite perceived as “pro-Babylonian” to be their governor over Judah. The palace overseer had great authority and knowledge of the inner workings of government at the highest level, sometimes serving as vice-regent for the king; see S. H. Hooke, “A Scarab and Sealing From Tell Duweir,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 67 (1935): pp. 195–197; J. L. Starkey, “Lachish as Illustrating Bible History,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 69 (1937): pp. 171–174; some publications listed in WSS, p. 172 no. 405. The palace overseer at the time of the Babylonian conquest, whose bulla we have, would be the most likely choice for governor, if they saw him as pro-Babylonian. Of the two prime candidates named Gedaliah (= Gedalyahu)—assuming both survived the conquest—Gedaliah the son of Pashhur clearly did not have the title “overseer of the palace” (Jeremiah 38:1), and he was clearly an enemy of the Babylonians (Jeremiah 38:4–6). But, though we lack irrefutable evidence, Gedaliah the son of Ahikam is quite likely to have been palace overseer. His prestigious family, the descendants of Shaphan, had been “key players” in crucial situations at the highest levels of the government of Judah for three generations. As for his being perceived as pro-Babylonian, his father Ahikam had protected the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 26:24; cf. 39:11–14), who urged surrender to the Babylonian army (Jeremiah 38:1–3).

The preceding argument that Gedaliah the son of Ahikam was the much more likely Babylonian choice for governor is a strengthening step beyond “Corrections,” pp. 103–104, which upgrades the strength of the identification from its original level in IBP, p. 235, responding to the difficulty expressed in Oded Lipschits, The Fall and Rise of Jerusalem: Judah under Babylonian Rule (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2005), p. 86 n. 186.

Jaazaniah (= Jezaniah), fl. early 6th century, 2 Kings 25:23, etc., in the Tell en-Naṣbeh (ancient Mizpah) stone seal inscribed: “Belonging to Ya’azanyahu, the king’s minister.” It is unclear whether the title “king’s minister” in the seal might have some relationship with the biblical phrase “the officers (Hebrew: sarîm) of the troops,” which included the biblical Jaazaniah (2 Kings 25: 23). There are, then, only two identifying marks of an individual that clearly connect the seal’s Jaazaniah with the biblical one: the seal owner’s name and the fact that it was discovered at the city where the biblical “Jaazaniah, the son of the Maacathite,” died. See William F. Badè, “The Seal of Jaazaniah,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentlishe Wissenschaft 51 (1933): pp. 150–156; WSS, p. 52 no. 8; IBP, p. 235; “Sixteen Strong,” p. 52.


 
BAS Library Members: Read “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” by Lawrence Mykytiuk as it appears in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
 

 

Symbols & Abbreviations

ANEHST  Mark W. Chavalas, ed., The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation (Blackwell Sources in Ancient History; Victoria, Australia: Blackwell, 2006).
ABC  A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2000).
ANET  James B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed.  (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969).
B.C.E.  before the common era, used as an equivalent to B.C.
BASOR  Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research
c.  century (all are B.C.E.)
ca.  circa, a Latin word meaning “around”
cf.  compare
CAH  John Boardman et al., eds., The Cambridge Ancient History (2nd ed.; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1970).
“Corrections”  Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, “Corrections and Updates to ‘Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E.,” Maarav 16 (2009), pp. 49–132, free online at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/129/.
COS  William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, eds., The Context of Scripture, vol. 2: Archival Documents from the Biblical World (Boston: Brill, 2000).
Dearman, Studies  J. Andrew Dearman, ed., Studies in the Mesha Inscription and Moab (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989).
esp.  especially
fl.  flourished
IBP  Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004). This book is a revised Ph.D. dissertation in Hebrew and Semitic Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1998, which began with a 1992 graduate seminar paper. Most of IBP is available on the Google Books web site:  https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=mykytiuk+identifying&num=10
ibid.  (Latin) “the same thing,” meaning the same publication as the one mentioned immediately before
idem  (Latin) “the same one(s),” meaning “the same person or persons,” used for referring to the author(s) mentioned immediately before.
IEJ  Israel Exploration Journal
ITP  Hayim Tadmor, The Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, King of Assyria (Fontes ad Res Judaicas Spectantes; Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 2nd 2007 printing with addenda et corrigenda, 1994).
n.  note (a footnote or endnote)
no.  number (of an item, usually on a page)
OROT  Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003).
P&B  Edwin M. Yamauchi, Persia and the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1990).
Pl.  plate(s) (a page of photos or drawings in a scholarly publication, normally unnumbered,)
r.  reigned
Raging Torrent  Mordechai Cogan, The Raging Torrent: Historical Inscriptions from Assyria and Babylonia Relating to Ancient Israel (A Carta Handbook; Jerusalem: Carta, 2008).  
RlA  Reallexikon der Assyriologie und Vorderasiatischen Archäologie (New York, Berlin: de Gruyter, ©1932, 1971).
RIMA  a series of books: The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia: Assyrian Periods
RIMA 3  A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, II (858–745 BC) (RIMA, no. 3; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 1996).
“Sixteen”  Lawrence J. Mykytiuk, “Sixteen Strong Identifications of Biblical Persons (Plus Nine Other Identifications) in Authentic Northwest Semitic Inscriptions from before 539 B.C.E.,” pp. 35–58 in Meir Lubetski and Edith Lubetski, eds., New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012), free online at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/.
Third  Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 B.C.) (2nd rev. ed. with supplement; Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1986).
WSS  Nahman Avigad and Benjamin Sass, Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals (Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Israel Exploration Society, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Institute of Archaeology, 1997).


 

Date Sources

This table uses Kitchen’s dates for rulers of Egypt, Pitard’s for kings of Damascus (with some differences), Galil’s for monarchs of Judah and for those of the northern kingdom of Israel, Grayson’s for Neo-Assyrian kings, Wiseman’s for Neo-Babylonian kings and Briant’s, if given, for Persian kings and for the Persian province of Yehud. Other dates follow traditional high biblical chronology, rather than the low chronology proposed by Israel Finkelstein.

References

Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 B.C.) (2nd rev. ed. with supplement; Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1986), pp. 466–468.

Wayne T. Pitard, Ancient Damascus: A Historical Study of the Syrian City-State from Earliest Times until its Fall to the Assyrians in 732 B.C.E. (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987), pp. 138–144, 189.

Gershon Galil, The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah (SHCANE 9; New York: Brill, 1996), p. 147.

A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC, II (858–745 BC) (RIMA 3; Buffalo, N.Y.: University of Toronto Press, 1996), p. vii; idem, “Assyria: Ashur-dan II to Ashur-nirari V (934–745 B.C.),” in CAH, vol. III, part I, pp. 238–281; idem, “Assyria: Tiglath-pileser III to Sargon II (744–705 B.C.),” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 71–102; idem, “Assyria: Sennacherib and Esarhaddon (704–669 B.C.),” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 103–141; idem, “Assyria 668–635 B.C.: The Reign of Ashurbanipal,” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 142–161.

Donald J. Wiseman, “Babylonia 605–539 B.C.” in CAH, vol. III, part II, pp. 229–251.

Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander : A History of the Persian Empire (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2002), “Index of Personal Names,” pp.  1149–1160.

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  1. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 48 by Robin:
    Yes, it is disappointing that no woman in the Hebrew Bible is among the 50 identifications confirmed in Bible-era inscriptions. (You are probably already aware of some of the following, but please be patient, knowing that others will need to read it to understand the issues.)

    The short answer is that I could not use the seal of Jezebel for a firm identification, because it is from the antiquities market and therefore could be a forgery.

    The archaeological record is haphazard in that only a small percentage of available sites have been excavated, and typically a given site is only partly dug. (What if they had dug two feet to the left? What did they just barely miss?) As you drive past the mounds left by ancient cities in Israel, you may see narrow trenches in the side, while the rest of the mound is untouched. The digging season is short, and excavation is painstaking work. Archaeologists often put forth heroic efforts, but the task is immense. Avraham Biran dug at Tel Dan for _25_years_ before the first “House of David” stele fragment was accidentally discovered by the team’s surveyor, Ms. Gila Cook, in 1993.

    To complicate matters, some authentic, ancient artifacts are recovered by clandestine, illegal digging conducted by profiteers. They then sell these items to antiquities market vendors, who mix these authentic pieces in with plenty of forgeries, and put them all up for sale, together. Another twist is that some authentic pieces are altered, perhaps by adding writing, in hope of bringing in a higher price (these are technically called fakes).

    Of course, it is risky to buy anything on the antiquities market. As Prof. Nili S. Fox of Hebrew Union College, whose published dissertation I used in mine, has emphasized, if an item is of unknown origin (provenance) it cannot be used to draw conclusions. It could be a forgery or a fake.

    That’s why I have not used items of unknown provenance to make identifications–unless there was some reliable way to know that they are authentic.
    I have used 2 unprovenanced seals for the identification of the biblical Uzziah, king of Judah. They were purchased on the antiquities market in 1858 and 1863, long before anyone, scholar or forger, knew what letter shapes were used in the time of Uzziah. Yet scholars who know how the shapes of Hebrew letters changed over the centuries assure us that the letter shapes fit right in with that century. The same argument supports the authenticity of the Mesha Inscription, in which one can confidently identify the biblical Omri, king of the northern kingdom of Israel, and the biblical aMesha, king of Moab.

    The seal of Jezebel appeared on the antiquities market and was published in 1964, long after correct Phoenician letter shapes were known (She was a Sidonian princess who married Ahab, king of Israel). Therefore, a forger could easily have used the correct letter shapes. Also, since the letters that spell the name, YZBL, are inserted among the artistic decorations that fill most of the face of the seal, their odd placement makes the seal seem possibly to be a fake.
    Nahman Avigad, who published the seal of Jezebel, was arguably the dean of Hebrew epigraphy (the study of inscriptions). In his article, Nahman Avigad, “The Seal of Jezebel,” Israel Exploration Journal 14 (1964); 274-276, he stated on p. 275, “Obviously our seal was not manufactured with any intention of inserting an inscription. . . . The four Phoenician characters are widely dispersed among the emblems . . . . The vertical stroke of the third letter converges, for want of space, with the border line of the seal.

    On the same page, he states: “Jezebel is known from the Bible . . . (1 Kings 16:31). There is, of course, no basis for identifying the owner of our seal with this famous lady, although they may have been contemporaries, and the seal seems worthy of a queen.”

    I arrived at the list of 50 persons above with the intention of composing a nucleus of strong identifications that would stand the test of time. Clearly, I could not use the seal of Jezebel which could be a forgery or a fake.

    Other reasons for not making the identification between the Jezebel of the seal and Jezebel, Queen of Israel, appear in Christopher A. Rollston, “Rollston responds to Shanks,” available free online at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/uncategorized/rollston-responds-to-shanks/ .
    In the quotation from Rollston below, I have put square brackets [ ] around my clarifying comments to separate them from Rollston’s words, The other names he mentions belong to experts in ancient inscriptions of Syria-Palestine:

    “(5) Regarding the Yzbl seal. (a) There is no patronymic [father's name--LM]. (b) There is no title. [Seals were the customary place where dignitaries listed their titles.--LM] (c) [author Marjo C.] Korpel restores a letter to get the reading she wants…in spite of the fact that there are other good options (see my article at http://www.asor.org). (d) I would not be inclined to date the script to the 9th century. [Jezebel ruled in the 9th century, ca. 873-852 B.C.E.--LM] (e) I am aware of no epigraphic Old Hebrew seal or bulla from a scientific expedition that was found in a 9th century context. See the comments of A. Mazar at http://www.asor.org in this connection as well. In addition, I have talked with Helene Sader and she has stated that she is not aware of any epigraphic Phoenician seal or bulla that has been found in a 9th century context in Lebanon. The earliest provenanced Aramaic epigraphic glyptics are arguably the Hamat materials (so Alan Millard, and I concur). (f) The Shema Seal from Megiddo has normally been considered 8th century, rather than 9th. See Sass-Avigad for a discussion of the literature.”

    To clarify, “Sass-Avigad” is currently the major publication of most seals and seal impressions of Israel, Judah, and their near neighbors (Moab, Edom, Aram, etc.):
    Nahman Avigad and Benjamin Sass, _Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals_ (Jerusalem: The Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Israel Exploration Society, and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, The Institute of Archaeology, 1997).

    Sorry for such a long post, Robin, but your question is important, and the issues take a bit of explanation.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  2. Lawrence says

    As a second response to comments 7 by Breya, 14 and 33 by Michael F., and 47 by Sarah:

    Also on the BAR web site, see Contributing Editor John Merrill’ s review of The Historical Jesus: An Essential Guide, by James H. Charlesworth (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2008), 131 pp., $18 (softcover), at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/reviews/the-historical-jesus-an-essential-guide/ . Charlesworth’s thorough, scholarly treatment is worth your attention!

    Also, although Wikipedia contains articles of widely varying quality and can change from day to day, I also notice that the current version of the Wikipedia article titled “Sources for the historicity of Jesus” is quite informative. Have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sources_for_the_historicity_of_Jesus .

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  3. Lawrence says

    As a second response to comment 48 by Robin:

    Yes, your comment is quite right that, “as Korpe[l] mentions, only about 10% of ancient near eastern seals come from archaeological excavations. For many scholars, the lack of a ‘paper trail’ for artifacts does not necessarily relegate them to the dustbin.”

    First, Prof. Marjo C. A. Korpel’s estimate of 10% seems about right, estimating the percentage from Avigad and Sass, _Corpus of West Semitic Seals_. It has been documented that this relatively small percentage was troubling to Avigad.

    Second, because items that have appeared on the antiquities market, whose actual origin is unknown, _might_ be authentic, they should not be ignored and must not be consigned “to the dustbin.”

    Although I regard items from the antiquities market as generally untrustworthy, I can honestly say that I have not relegated them to the dustbin.

    Prof. Korpel’s easily stated remark, which she has applied to the one inscription in question, has proven somewhat labor-intensive to put into practice. I covered 78 inscriptions from the antiquities market in my published dissertation. First, I went though all or almost all relevant publications to identify them, then I researched them further in the literature. Then I analyzed these 78 marketed inscriptions, subjecting them to the eleven criteria that I had previously formulated (building in part on a short article in modern Hebrew by Avigad). My detailed examinations of 9 of these unprovenanced inscriptions are there for all to see in IBP, chapter 4, pp. 153-196 (44 pages of technical writing). Also in IBP, Appendix B, pp. 211-243, expands the scope of chapter 4′s coverage by listing and evaluating all 78 inscriptions that I labeled “Marketed,” meaning that they are from the antiquities market.

    Thus I have not ignored these inscriptions. I just don’t consider them authentic unless their authenticity, hence their reliability, can be demonstrated.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  4. Michael says

    Larry: Your article is very helpful. One quick question, namely, did you mean to imply that the Cyrus Cylinder mentions the Jews specifically (see p. 45 of article)? Thanks again, -Mike Caba

  5. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 66 by Mike Caba:

    Mike, you are correct that the Cyrus Cylinder does not mention the Jews specifically. As I re-read p. 45, I can see that it might give the impression that it does. Thank you for drawing my attention to this unclear part of the article. I appreciate this opportunity to clarify that point.

    The British Museum offers something like “the gold standard” in its description of the Cyrus Cylinder. It also offers a translation. The following is a quote from its web page at https://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/me/c/cyrus_cylinder.aspx (the ellipses, three or four dots in a row, indicate something was omitted from the quote):

    “Cyrus Cylinder
    . . . .
    “This clay cylinder is inscribed in Babylonian cuneiform with an account by Cyrus, king of Persia (559-530 BC) of his conquest of Babylon in 539 BC and capture of Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king.
    “Cyrus . . . . tells how he returned a number of images of gods, which Nabonidus had collected in Babylon, to their proper temples throughout Mesopotamia and western Iran. At the same time he arranged for the restoration of these temples, and organized the return to their homelands of a number of people who had been held in Babylonia by the Babylonian kings. Although the Jews are not mentioned in this document, their return to Palestine following their deportation by Nebuchadnezzar II, was part of this policy.”

    Thus the Cyrus Cylinder declares a general royal policy that included the Jews.

    Cyrus’ royal declaration that is quoted in the last verse of the Hebrew Bible (2 Chronicles 36:23) is a different proclamation that specifically applies that general policy to the people of the LORD, whose temple is in Jerusalem in Judah.

    (Interestingly, in that verse in 2 Chronicles, there is no reference to any image of the LORD that could be returned to that temple. This is a reflection of the first few lines of the Ten Commandments.)

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  6. Gahishmalontokati says

    where is Jesus in this list?

  7. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 6 (on this page), by Gahishmalontokati:

    I did not write the title of the article, but the very first paragraph of my article very clearly states that it deals with archaeological evidence for real people mentioned in the _Hebrew_ Bible. Christians call it the Old Testament. Jesus appears in the New Testament, which is written in Greek and is not part of the Hebrew Bible, alias the Old Testament. Thus the Scriptures that I covered give no historical mention of Jesus, and Jesus is not included in the list, which, you may notice, ends at about 400 B.C.E.

    Several readers have already brought up the matter of Jesus’ existence, and my most recent response appears above on this page in comment 2.

    My responses to the other readers who mentioned Jesus also appear on the previous page. There see also the comments of Gene R. To go to the previous page, scroll down on this page to the boldfaced heading “Continuing the Discussion.” On the line above that heading, click on “Previous.”

    There is certainly quite an array of ancient evidence outside of the New Testament for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth. Much of this evidence is listed in the current version of the Wikipedia article titled “Sources for the historicity of Jesus” is quite informative. Have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sources_for_the_historicity_of_Jesus .

    Although Wikipedia contains articles of widely varying quality and can change from day to day or even disappear, the ancient evidence does not disappear. More discoveries only add to it.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  8. Jeremy says

    Notably not among this list is Jesus…

  9. Carol says

    I have to tell you how delighted I was to find your article, 50 Archeology Confirmed Biblical People, online instead of having to wait for my husband’s magazine to arrive. (I swallow the magazines whole before he even knows they’ve arrived!) As a former catechist, I praise God and swoon over articles that “prove” (?) the Bible valid! This article took some “mental muscle” to read and under-stand, but I couldn’t help thinking of all my former students who would have loved these answers to their questions! Thank you for giving me an unexpected archeological evening.

  10. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 8 on this page, by Jeremy:

    Dear Jeremy,
    I happen to think Jesus is important, just as you do. But the time-span covered by my article ends at about 400 B.C.E. I had thought that this would be clear, but because the notes above are openly accessible to anyone on the Internet, not everyone who sees the table and notes above has seen the article.

    As I mentioned in comment 7 on this page, I did not write the title of the article. It deals with archaeological evidence for real people mentioned in the _Hebrew_ Bible, which Christians call the Old Testament. Jesus appears in the New Testament, which is written in Greek and is not part of the Hebrew Bible, alias the Old Testament. Thus the Scriptures that I covered contain no historical mention of Jesus.

    Assuming you would be interested in ancient evidence for Jesus outside of the New Testament, please see comments 2 and 7 on this page for links and leads to resources on this important topic.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  11. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 9 on this page, by Carol:

    I appreciate your enthusiasm for the light that archaeology can shed on the Bible! There is nothing like it. Actually, Carol, the article itself, in the BAR magazine, is much more reader-friendly, fun, and visually interesting than the condensed information in the table and endnotes to the identifications that appear above. So I admire that you seem to have gone through the table above, flexing your “mental muscle.”

    Although I was not fortunate enough to have been one of your students, long ago I was one of those students who understood what was taught but wanted to know how we knew it was true.

    There are, of course, plenty of things in the Bible that can’t be documented from other sources, but quite a few things can. The article, as well as the table and notes above, treat just a thin slice of what can be documented from inscriptions of Bible times.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  12. Lawrence says

    A second response to comment 9 on this page, by Carol:

    Since you find archaeological confirmations of the Bible exciting and interesting, may I suggest a whole book full? Kenneth A. Kitchen, _On the Reliability of the Old Testament_ (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003 (paperback ed., 2006). His opening chapter, “In Medias Res,” is a quick, unsystematic survey of potential identifications of biblical persons in Bible-era inscriptions.

    To follow through on your _modus_operandi_ as revealed in your comment—if you buy it as a present for a loved one, maybe you can read it before that birthday or other holiday comes (smile).

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  13. J says

    England’s King John is a well-documented historical figure, but that doesn’t mean a real Robin Hood opposed him while leading a real group of Merry Men including a real Little John, a real Friar Tuck, and a real Maid Marian.

  14. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 13 (on this page), by J:
    1. I accept your point that there are limits to the evidence I have presented. In my dissertation, I made it clear that identification of a biblical person in an inscription from the biblical period does not prove the historicity of whole biblical narrative about the person. Thus far, I believe, we can agree. At the same time, the person’s title and position in society can make it clear that s/he was _in_a_position_ to do precisely what the biblical narrative says. Moreover, the confirmation of the person’s existence in Bible-era inscriptions cannot at all be regarded as evidence that their deeds according to Scripture never occurred.

    2. Regarding the question of the existence of Robin Hood, his merry men, and/or maid Marian:
    I can only refer you to works by Purdue University’s own Professor Thomas Ohlgren of the Dept. of English and former chair of Purdue’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS) Program. He is author or co-author of books such as
    _Medieval Outlaws : Ten Tales in Modern English_ (1998),
    _Robin Hood and Other Outlaw Tales_ (1997),
    _Robin Hood : The Early Poems, 1465-1560 : Texts, Contexts, and Ideology_ (2007),
    _Early Rymes of Robyn Hood : An Edition of the Texts_, ca. 1425 to ca. 1600 (2013),
    _Illuminated Manuscripts : An Index to Selected Bodleian Library Color Reproductions_ (1977),
    _Anglo-Saxon Textual Illustration : Photographs of Sixteen Manuscripts with Descriptions and Index_ (1992),
    etc.
    People who have studied folkloristic subjects tend to see things in terms of shades of gray are not usually dogmatic as to the existence or non-existence of figures who appear in these materials. Your comment seems to assume their non-existence, and I am willing to bet that Professor Ohlgren does not share this assumption. If, however, you can prove that Robin Hood never existed, please present your evidence to Prof. Ohlgren. I am sure he would be quite interested–and that he would offer his critical assessment of your claim.

    I am not insensitive to the questions surrounding figures in folklore, as you can see by my note above (under the heading: “Almost Real” Box on p. 50) concerning the biblical Balaam, son of Beor, whose existence is suggested but not at all proven by the Tell Deir Alla wall inscription on plaster. In this I challenge the assumption of many scholars that the inscription demonstrates that the biblical Balaam existed.

    3. Regarding the supposed analogy between the tales of Robin Hood and the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament:
    You have not demonstrated that there _is_ any clear analogy. And in biblical passages for which any contemporary inscriptions survive (after about 2, 500 years), such as Assyrian or Babylonian “display texts” from their palaces, or their recorded annals–if you are willing to examine the evidence I have listed at length in the notes above–there is substantial confirmation of some details along with “spin.” That spin suggests a very different point of view, as one would expect. Mesha, king of Moab, for example, affirms the existence of Omri, king of the northern kingdom of Israel and “his son” (implying a dynasty, which Scripture affirms), but there is disagreement on exactly when Mesha liberated Moab from Israelite rule. Many other examples can be given.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  15. J says

    Lawrence: “Moreover, the confirmation of the person’s existence in Bible-era inscriptions cannot at all be regarded as evidence that their deeds according to Scripture never occurred.”

    That’s a ridiculous way to characterize what I said. Of course, confirmation of a Bible-era person’s existence isn’t evidence that the deeds described didn’t occur. That would be gibberish. I’m not sure you typed that sentence the way you intended to.

    What I was saying is that the inclusion of a genuine historical character in a folkloric narrative does not prove that all the folkloric narrative’s events/characters were true. And before you say nobody would assume it did, you should look at comments above from people suggesting that the historicity of the people in the list “proves” the entire Biblical narrative is true: see n. 13, for example.

  16. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 15 above, by J.:
    J., I apologize for the sentence in comment 14 above, beginning “Moreover, the confirmation . . . .” I intended it as an independent reflection, not as a characterization of what you said. Nevertheless, since it can easily be interpreted in that way, I retract it, and I apologize for my giving offense.

    Further, I agree with your statement in comment 15, “the inclusion of a genuine historical character in a folkloric narrative does not prove that all the folkloric narrative’s events/characters were true.” This statement overlaps almost completely with what I said in comment 14 above, that “1. I accept your point that there are limits to the evidence I have presented. In my dissertation, I made it clear that identification of a biblical person in an inscription from the biblical period does not prove the historicity of whole biblical narrative about the person.”

    The point on which these two statements (in comments 14 and 15) do not overlap, and on which we seem to disagree quite clearly, is whether the biblical narrative can be characterized as folklore. I find no stated limitation on this view. Do you mean that characterization to apply to the complete, entire Hebrew Bible/Old Testament without exception, or only on parts of it? The following statement from my comment 14 expresses my view regarding the identifications I have written about, with which you are entirely free to take a completely different position:

    “3. Regarding the supposed analogy between the tales of Robin Hood and the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament:
    You have not demonstrated that there _is_ any clear analogy. And in biblical passages for which any contemporary inscriptions survive (after about 2, 500 years), such as Assyrian or Babylonian “display texts” from their palaces, or their recorded annals–if you are willing to examine the evidence I have listed at length in the notes above–there is substantial confirmation of some details along with ‘spin.’”

    It seems, J., that we agree to a certain extent but not on everything.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  17. Hector says

    What about Joseph?

    http://www.jpost.com/National-News/3300-year-old-Egyptian-coffin-found-in-Jezreel-Valley-347980

    According to Israel’s history, there was one of their descendants, Joseph, who was sold by his brothers to Egyptian merchants. He eventually became the right hand man to one of the Pharoahs and was one of only two important enough in Egyptian eyes to have royal burials, because of Josephs influence; Joseph, and his father Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel.

    Moerover, when it comes to Joseph’s death, there was a prophecy that his body would be taken back to Israel. Genesis 50: 24-26 “Joseph said unto his brethren, I die: and God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence. So Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old: and they embalmed him, and he was put IN A COFFIN in Egypt.” It wasn’t until Joshua that it is seen that the Israelites take Joseph’s coffin and bury it in a field in, what was then, Shechem. Not very far from today’s Shechem. Joshua 24:32 “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem for an hundred pieces of silver: and it became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.”

    Only two possible Israelites in all ancient history to have an Egyptian burial, and a royal coffin shows up in Israel in a parcel of ground rather than a pyramid? I think the odds of coincidence here are staggering considering most scholars would agree that they don’t even believe Israel ever had anything to do with Egypt, much less having lineage involved in the royalty.

  18. Lawrence says

    Many thanks, Hector, for providing alerting me and others to this really interesting discovery and for providing the link to the story in the Jerusalem Post April 8th issue–almost 2 months after my article appeared in BAR (the March/April was actually published in mid-February). Many discoveries are tantalizing, in that some of the details that they offer really do coincide with details in Scripture, but we wish more details were available.
    Since Egypt ruled the area where the coffin and accompanying grave goods were found, one must allow for the possibility that the skeleton might conceivably be that of a local official who served the Egyptian government, as the excavation directors have pointed out. Although it is not unusual for initial reports to be corrected as the facts become clearer, this news is certainly worth our attention as more information, including a DNA analysis, eventually becomes available.
    Again, my sincere thanks for sharing this news.

  19. DONNA says

    Stop with the propaganda.

    It says in the bible not to be a liar…

1 2

Continuing the Discussion

  1. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically « THE BLACK KETTLE linked to this post on February 13, 2014

    [...] MORE Rate this:Share this:FacebookTwitterDiggLinkedInRedditStumbleUponGoogleEmailPrintLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  2. Real Men « What Then Why Now linked to this post on February 18, 2014

    [...] This article gives the archaeological evidence of 50 – that’s FIFTY – Biblical men. Real people that are a part of the message God has given to us. I can’t wait to find out who turns up next! [...]

  3. New Testament People Confirmed by Archaeology: Reader Contributions | Earliest Christianity linked to this post on February 18, 2014

    [...] mainly in the form of inscriptions. Fortunately for those without a subscription to BAR, Bible History Daily has provided the information from the [...]

  4. “Divine Revelation” in Roman Catholic and Protestant Polemical Discussions, Part 2 | Reformation500 linked to this post on February 19, 2014

    [...] recent Biblical Archaeology article that lists 50 Old Testament persons whose existence has been confirmed by archaeology – including, famously, King David: According to the Bible, David ruled in the [...]

  5. links: this went thru my mind | preachersmith linked to this post on February 19, 2014

    [...] Archaeology & the Bible: 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically [...]

  6. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically | Interpreter linked to this post on March 5, 2014

    [...] entitled “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” See more information here. Posted in Other News on March 5, 2014. Bookmark the [...]

  7. 50 people in the Bible confirmed by Archaelogy | Legacy Academic Consulting linked to this post on March 6, 2014

    [...] See the list of names here. [...]

  8. Links & Quotes | Craig T. Owens linked to this post on March 6, 2014

    [...] This is really cool! 50 People In The Bible Confirmed Archaeologically [...]

  9. International Women’s Day 2014 | Robin Cohn linked to this post on March 7, 2014

    [...] on the list. I waited a week for my inquiry to appear in the comments section (which you can access here. It appears that my input is not worthy of being posted, much less commented [...]

  10. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically | Biblical Scholarship linked to this post on March 8, 2014

    [...] 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically Share this:ShareEmailPrintDiggStumbleUponRedditFacebookPinterestPocketTwitterGoogleLinkedInTumblrLike this:Like Loading… [...]

  11. Archaeology and the Bible | Seedbed linked to this post on March 10, 2014

    [...] Quite simply, archaeology is the study of material culture (homes, towns, cult sites, farms, tools, art, vessels, texts, etc.) for the purpose of reconstructing daily life and understanding the dynamics of a particular culture. Indeed, it is not an exact science, as the data is subject to interpretation. Nevertheless, archaeology deals with empirical data that illuminates history. Biblical archaeology is a subset of archaeology. It is archaeology that directly or indirectly affects how one understands Israel and the early Christian community, and by extension Scripture. Its sole focus is not to prove the Bible’s historicity, but it can…and it has. (If you are a BAS Library Member, click here. Otherwise, check this out) [...]

  12. BAR Highlights 50 Archaeologically Confirmed Biblical Persons | Theo-sophical Ruminations linked to this post on March 10, 2014

    [...] archaeologically. It’s not an exhaustive list, but very informative. Read all about it at BAR. Rate this:Share:FacebookTwitterLinkedInGoogleEmailLike this:Like [...]

  13. Archaeology and the Bible - Page 3 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums linked to this post on March 14, 2014

    […] of endnotes detailing the Biblical references and inscriptions referring to each of the 50 figures. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically – Biblical Archaeology Society Once again science confirms the Bible! "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and […]

  14. Digging Up the Past – The House of David | Bob's boy's Christianity blog linked to this post on March 16, 2014

    […] this quite well. The March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review proclaimed that “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible.” This is fascinating reading, and it is especially satisfying that before the evidences were found, […]

  15. Sunday Edition Newsletter – March16th, 2014 | paulreverenews.com linked to this post on March 16, 2014

    […] 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically – Bible History Daily […]

  16. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically, Sheikh Insists ‘Israel is the Land of the Jewish People’ And Bill Maher Calls God a Psychotic Mass Murderer | These Christian Times linked to this post on March 18, 2014

    […] Mykytiuk writes that “at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” The extensive Biblical and archaeological documentation supporting the BAR study is published here in a web-exclusive collection of endnotes detailing the Biblical references and inscriptions referring to each of the 50 figures READ MORE: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… […]

  17. Jezebel’s Seal: Round Two | Robin Cohn linked to this post on March 18, 2014

    […] article by Lawrence Mykytiuk (Associate Professor of Library Science at Purdue University), “50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically” did not mention any women on the list. I posted a comment on the Biblical Archaeology Society […]

  18. 1420-1421 Larry Mykytiuk 50 Real People of the Bible, Confirmed by Archaeology | TB&TS linked to this post on March 18, 2014

    […] For the list of the 50 Real People, and the footnotes on how they were confirmed, go here. […]

  19. Around the Web (3/20) | InGodsImage.com linked to this post on March 20, 2014

    […] 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk lists 50 figures from the Old Testament that have been confirmed archaeologically, including Israelite kings and Mesopotamian […]

  20. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología | Primeira Igreja Virtual linked to this post on March 23, 2014

    […]    Para ver la línea de tiempo y una mejor perspectiva global, visite pp.46-47 de la edición de marzo / abril 2014 de BAR . […]

  21. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología - linked to this post on March 24, 2014

    […]    Para ver la línea de tiempo y una mejor perspectiva global, visite pp.46-47 de la edición de marzo / abril 2014 de BAR . […]

  22. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología » linked to this post on March 25, 2014

    […]  Para ver la línea de tiempo y una mejor perspectiva global, visite pp.46-47 de la edición de marzo / abril 2014 de BAR .  Posted by D.I.E at 2:06 […]

  23. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología - CIUPEN - Concilio Interregional de Unidades Pastorales Evangélicas del Norte de Chile linked to this post on March 25, 2014

    […]    Para ver la línea de tiempo y una mejor perspectiva global, visite pp.46-47 de la edición de marzo / abril 2014 de BAR . […]

  24. El rey David más 49 nombres bíblicos más, confirmados por la arqueología | Los Locoteros linked to this post on March 27, 2014

    […] Aquí puedes ver la lista de los nombres confirmados […]

  25. Links – February 15, 2014 | Bob's Recommended Web Resources linked to this post on April 1, 2014

    […] from the Old Testament period whose existence has been confirmed by archaeological inscriptions.  This article is from the current issue of the respected Biblical Archaeology Review and is by Purdue University scholar Lawrence Mykytiuk. […]

  26. La arqueología confirma 50 personajes de la Biblia | Escritura_Sagrada linked to this post on April 1, 2014

    […] rey Mesa […]

  27. 50 PERSONAJES HISTÓRICOS DEL ANTIGUO TESTAMENTO CONFIRMADOS POR LA ARQUEOLOGÍA | RELIGIÓN EN NAVARRA – ERLIJIOA NAFARROAN linked to this post on April 2, 2014

    […] Lista de 50 personajes históricos del Antiguo Testamento confirmados en inscripciones auténticas Biblical Archeology Review, marzo/abril 2014; Para ver las notas detalladas de las pruebas arqueológicas de cada uno (en inglés) http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… […]

  28. Livius Nieuwsbrief / april | Mainzer Beobachter linked to this post on April 16, 2014

    […] lijstje van buitenbijbels bewijs voor Bijbelse personen: vijftig namen met […]

  29. Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel · Livius Nieuwsbrief / april linked to this post on April 16, 2014

    […] lijstje van buitenbijbels bewijs voor Bijbelse personen: vijftig namen met […]

  30. 5 faraones egipcios citados en la Biblia y confirmados por la Arqueología | Escritura_Sagrada linked to this post on April 17, 2014

    […] 2. So (= Osorkon IV) […]

  31. Biblical Personalities Outside the Bible | The College Rabbi linked to this post on April 18, 2014

    […] Archaeological Review has put together a list of 50 Biblical figures that have been found in the archaeological record.  Some of these personalities are particularly […]

  32. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically | GospelLife linked to this post on April 21, 2014

    […] 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically […]

  33. Archeological confirmation of 50 biblical people | Geodetective linked to this post on April 22, 2014

    […] Archeological confirmation of 50 biblical people […]

  34. Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel · Wat als dit echt zo is… linked to this post on May 4, 2014

    […] maar dat is nog geen reden om te zeggen dat de Bijbel niet waar is. Zo verscheen er kortgeleden een lijst met 50 mensen die in de Bijbel voorkomen en waarvan door opgravingen is bevestigd dat ze bestonden, opvallend is […]

  35. Bookmarks for September 25th through May 7th - Vibrant Media linked to this post on May 8, 2014

    […] 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically – Biblical Archaeology Society – […]

  36. Arqueologia identifica existência de 50 personagens bíblicos linked to this post on May 13, 2014

    […] Capa da Biblical Archaeology Review […]

  37. joaoloch linked to this post on May 13, 2014

    […] Capa da Biblical Archaeology Review […]

  38. Eski Ahit’te Arkeolojik İsimler | Murat Topaloğlu linked to this post on May 21, 2014

    […] Hofra […]

  39. Conheça as 50 figuras históricas do Velho Testamento confirmadas pela arqueologia - Logos Apologetica linked to this post on August 8, 2014

    […] Lista das 50 figuras históricas do Velho Testamento confirmadas em inscrições autênticas Biblical Archeology Review, marzo/abril 2014; Para anotações detalhadas da evidência arqueológica para cada (em inglês) http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… […]

  40. Six Reasons For My Faith « or191ns linked to this post on August 12, 2014

    […] kings mentioned throughout the Bible did exist, as confirmed by historians and archaeologists (read this article). From the Mesopotamian culture of Abraham’s day, to the dealings of the kingdom of Israel, […]


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