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. Rick says

    Thank you for the helpful compendium. This list, however, omits references contained in First and Second Maccabees, which were part of the sacred scripture for Hellenistic Jews in pre-Christian times and part of the cannon of scripture for Catholics for 2,000 years.

  2. Greg says

    And what about Erastus? How many directors of public works did Corinth have in the first century sharing that name?

  3. Chris says

    Great list – thanks for the hard work and sources this is excellent. One question – why is Jotham’s (son of Ahaziah/Uzziah, father or Ahaz) signet ring from Kh. Kheilefeh not included? http://collections.si.edu/search/results.htm?q=record_ID:nmnhanthropology_8133581&repo=DPLA

  4. Lawrence says

    In reply to response no. 1 from Rick:
    Rick, I am pleased that you would like to know what confirmation exists regarding 1 and 2 Maccabees. This topic is certainly worth exploring, and perhaps someday, God willing, I may be granted the time and ability to do so. In the meantime, the Catholic tradition has no lack of excellent scholars who are far better qualified than I am to write about documentation from outside the Bible that confirms the historical reality of persons mentioned in 1 and 2 Maccabees, and I would be very surprised if they have not already done so (I might enter another post on their publications, after I take the time to research them). The late Father Jerome Murphy-O’Connor was a sterling example of such outstanding Catholic scholars.
    Scholars prefer to treat subjects on which they feel most qualified to speak. Because of my own interests, I have studied the Hebrew Bible and its Semitic background for several decades, and so I chose to treat persons in the Hebrew Bible who can be documented in Bible-era inscriptions. As for the books of 1 and 2 Maccabees and other books originally written in _Greek_ which are part of the Bibles used by Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, however, these books are not part of the _Hebrew_ Bible that is sacred in Judaism today. As it happens, the books of the Hebrew Bible also comprise the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles.
    Thus the Hebrew Bible is the only portion of Scripture that is common to Judaism, Roman Catholicism, Orthodox Catholicism, and Protestantism. My hope is that both people who are in all of these groups and also people who belong to none of these groups will find the article both interesting and helpful in terms of some points relating to biblical historicity and Bible backgrounds.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  5. Lawrence says

    In reply to response no. 2 from Greg:
    Of course, Greg, you are referring to the very reasonable case that can be made for the inscriptional identification of the New Testament Erastus who was a city official of Corinth. He was a Christian and a companion of the apostle Paul whom Paul mentioned in the New Testament, Romans 16:23 to be exact. An inscription discovered at Corinth mentions both his name and his official title. As you probably know, other persons mentioned in the New Testament are also documented in inscriptions of their times, such as Pontius Pilate, who is certainly referred to in an inscription discovered at the seaport city of Caesarea. (Of course, any good, recent Bible dictionary or Bible encyclopedia will mention such Bible-era documentation that is found outside of the Bible and cite the most relevant modern publications.)
    Writings by scholars of the New Testament and by archaeologists of the Greco-Roman world no doubt cover such identifications. Perhaps, if God is willing, I might be able eventually to extend the coverage of my research and publication to include figures in the New Testament who are documented in inscriptions of their times. For now, please note that although the article title (which I did not write) mentions “Real People in the Bible”—which is true of each person covered in the article—the coverage is more precisely defined in the third sentence of the article: “How many people in the Hebrew Bible have been confirmed archaeologically?”
    As in my reply to Greg (see above), I can only say that my interests have thus far led me to study and write concerning persons in the Hebrew Bible. It was not at all my intention to disparage such evidence for New Testament figures or to suggest that such external documentation somehow might not exist for them, for indeed it does! My intention was simply to focus this particular article on figures mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, in order to make known the firm results of the research I have conducted thus far.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  6. Lawrence says

    In reply to response no. 3 from Chris:
    Thank you, Chris, for your kind remarks. I also appreciate very much your giving the web address of the Smithsonian Institution site that provides good, attractive photographs of the ancient seal discovered at Tell el-Kheleifeh and of a modern impression made from it. Please be patient with my plain-language explanations below, which are intended to be easily understood by everyone.
    As you very likely know, a photograph and description of this seal appear in Avigad and Sass, _Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals_ (1997), p. 392, no. 1054, where the name, spelled YTM, is translated Yatom, which means “orphan.” (For readers: a complete citation of this book is given above on this page, under the section heading “Symbols and Abbreviations, in the last entry: WSS.)
    At first, pioneer excavator Nelson Glueck and leading archaeologist William F. Albright identified it as very likely the signet ring of the biblical Jotham, the Hebrew ruler who was the son of king Uzziah. Over time, however, as more and more inscriptions were discovered, specialists in ancient writing (called paleographers) came to a better understanding of how letters were formed differently in different kingdoms in Syria and Palestine. Also, as inscriptions were dated by the chronological level of earth that contained them (that is, stratigraphically), paleographers learned how the shapes of these letters changed over the course of centuries.
    As a result, they realized that the inscription on the face of the seal is not written in Hebrew script (letter shapes), but in either Moabite or Edomite script. And in fact, it was unearthed in territory that used to be part of ancient Edom. Further, they eventually understood that it came from the wrong century to be the seal of Jotham, king of Judah (r. 758/757 to 742/741). It was not written during his lifetime, that is, early to mid-eighth century, but rather during the first half of the seventh century. See Larry G. Herr, _The Scripts of Ancient Northwest Semitic Seals_ (Harvard Semitic Monographs, no. 18; Missoula, Mont.: Scholars Press, 1978), p. 163 no. 2. Even Glueck and Albright, however, should have realized that a title, such as “the king’s son” or “king of Judah,” should have appeared on the seal, instead of just the personal name.
    The misidentification made by Glueck and Albright and other misidentifications still appear in older publications and occasionally in more recent works. On this one, see IBP, pp. 19-23, 82-84 (drawing on p. 83), 220 no. (21).
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  7. Breya says

    so there’s no archeaological proof that Jesus existed? Hmmm

  8. David says

    Breya, do you discount numerous (!) written accounts from 1st and 2nd century AD as archaeological evidence of Jesus’ existence?

  9. Lawrence says

    In reply to response no. 3 from Breya:
    There is manuscript evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth in the ancient writings of the two Roman historians who are arguably the best that Rome ever produced: Tacitus and Suetonius. On Tacitus, see http://www.princeton.edu/~achaney/tmve/wiki100k/docs/Tacitus_on_Christ.html

    The clearest reference to Jesus is in Tacitus’ work written around 116 C.E. (= A.D. for Christians) titled _Annals_, book 15, chapter 44, which refers to Jesus, to Pontius Pilate, and to Nero’s mass execution of the Christians after a six-day fire that burned much of Rome in July 64 AD.

    “But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”

    Further, part of an ancient Greek manuscript of the Gospel of John, Fragment P52 owned by the John Rylands Library of the University of Manchester, is dated to about the years 110 to 125 and contains part of chapter 18. It was copied from a very early manuscript of John’s Gospel—possibly the original. See it online at http://www.library.manchester.ac.uk/searchresources/guidetospecialcollections/stjohnfragment/

    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.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  10. Virgil says

    A question on 50 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions
    # 28 Azariah high priest during Josiah’s reign within 640/639–609 1 Chronicles 5:39, etc
    In my Christian Bible, 1 Chronicles 5 only has 26 verse.
    Azariah is found 49 times in my Bible.
    About 17 men have the name Azariah.
    Which one is # 28?

  11. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 10 from Virgil:
    # 28 Azariah, high priest during Josiah’s reign within 640/639–609 is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 6:13 and 14 in Christian Bibles, which have the same content as 5:39 and 40 in Hebrew Bibles and in Jewish translations of the Hebrew Bible unto English.
    For the sake of convenience in referring to the text, chapter and verse numbers were added to the biblical text many centuries after the Bible was written. These numbers are not part of the text itself. In the books of 1 and 2 Chronicles, Hebrew Bibles and Christian Bibles simply divide the content of the same books into chapters and verse that don’t always match. Please pardon me for not giving the chapter and verse references in both Bibles.
    Where, one might ask, is a guide to such differences in chapters and verses? Let me see if my recollection is correct and get back to you.

  12. Lawrence says

    Continuing my response to comment 10 from Virgil:
    Regarding chapter and verse differences between the Old Testament in Christian Bibles and the Hebrew Bible (along with Jewish translations of it into English), the handiest list I have found is on the last two pages of a large book: George V. Wigram, ed., The Englishman;s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament, 5th ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1970). Original publication: London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1843.
    According to The Englishman;s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance, books of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament in which there is no difference in chapter and verse numbers are Judges, Ezra, Esther, Proverbs, Lamentations, Amos, Obadiah, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Haggai. The book of Psalms has by far the most differences.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  13. Michael F. says

    I would 48 names. David is still a controversy and even by its own standards was written after the fact. Shishak (= Shoshenq I) is questionable. Shishak may just be a nickname for a ruler, like David and Solomon were nicknames for kings. It appears our historians just grabbed unto the closest thing in a translation. Shishak never bragged about the loot of Solomon as described in the Bible. Once again Hersh is trying to sell something ignoring the facts…like that Jesus in a box thing.

  14. Michael F. says

    I would disagree with Lawrence’s assertion for evidence of Jesus citing later works. What he has is evidence for Christians, not Christ. There is a difference and I am disappointed he doesn’t realize that. Just say , “There is zero contemporary evidence for Jesus’ existence. ” His birth narrative and crucifixion are based upon cosmic myths which makes his existence questionable.

  15. Jon says

    Lawrence Mykytiuk, thank you for your compilation of this list of 50 Biblical (Old Testament for us Christians) people who have been confirmed by ancient inscriptions.

    I look forward to reading/studying through it in its entirety. Thank you.

  16. Kurt says

    Is the book of Esther historically inaccurate?
    Critics level that charge against the book. However, some scholars have noted that the writer of the book showed a remarkably detailed knowledge of Persian royalty, architecture, and customs. True, no mention of Queen Esther has been found in surviving secular documents, but Esther would hardly be the only royal personage who was erased from public records. What is more, secular records do show that a man named Mardukâ, a Persian equivalent of Mordecai, served as a court official in Shushan at the time described in the book.
    A Prophecy Fulfilled
    In fighting for God’s people, Esther and Mordecai fulfilled another Bible prophecy. Over a dozen centuries earlier, Jehovah inspired the patriarch Jacob to foretell regarding one of his sons: “Benjamin will keep on tearing like a wolf. In the morning he will eat the animal seized and at evening he will divide spoil.” (Genesis 49:27) In the “morning” of Israel’s kingly history, Benjamin’s descendants included King Saul and other mighty warriors for Jehovah’s people. In the “evening” of that royal history, after the sun had set on Israel’s kingly line, Esther and Mordecai, both of the tribe of Benjamin, warred effectively against Jehovah’s enemies. In a sense, they also divided spoil, in that Haman’s vast estate went to them.
    http://www.biblelandpictures.com/gallery/gallery.asp?action=viewimage&categoryid=&text=+Ester&imageid=9620&box=&shownew=
    http://www.biblelandpictures.com/gallery/gallery.asp?action=viewimage&categoryid=&text=+Ester&imageid=9621&box=&shownew=
    Find more:
    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200270810

  17. Lawrence says

    In response to Michael F. in post 13, regarding David:
    On your wish exclude David from the list, I can only say that 1) the large scholarly community with which I am familiar—including some who don’t like it—has, by and large, accepted the identification, and 2) I see strong, objective reasons to accept it. I have set these reasons forth in detail in my book (IBP) and in summary form (in “Sixteen,” available free online at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/ ), which are listed above under 21 David. Many well respected scholars have produced other publications in support of this identification. The fact that a much smaller number of scholars still disagree can be considered a reason to call this identification “controversial,” Still, the fact that someone disagrees does not refute the strong case, based on ancient evidence. If all identifications with which someone disagreed were excluded, there might not be any left! So it is much better to discuss the evidence, as you touch on in your post.

    It is true that the Tel Dan stele (a memorial or victory inscription on a vertical stone) was written after David lived, as you say, “after the fact,” as indeed, all historical writings are (smile). Since you do not give a date for the Tel Dan stele, I will. According to the level of earth (stratigraphy), the style of pottery associated with it (ceramic typology), and the letter shapes (paleography), it is from the mid-ninth to mid-eighth century B.C.E. According to biblical chronology, David lived until about 930 B.C.E., and the Davidic line of rulers over the kingdom of Judah, who are called “the house of David,” ruled until 586 B.C.E. (see Isaiah 7:13, which addresses Ahaz, king of Judah (r. 742-726), as “O house of David”). Therefore, “the house of David” was contemporary with the Tel Dan stele, and indeed, lasted some 2 or almost 3 centuries _after_ the time when this stele was engraved!
    In the ancient Near East, kingdoms were called “the house of” followed by the name of the founder of that line of rulers. Thus other nations referred to “the house of David” when referring the southern kingdom of Judah, And many more inscriptions refer to “the house of Omri” when referring to the northern kingdom of Israel. Thus, the fact that the inscription was written approximately 130 years after David died does refute this identification. His descendants carried on his name.

  18. Lawrence says

    In response to Michael F. in post 13, regarding identification1. Shishak (= Shoshenq I):
    Shishak is a thoroughly Hebrew rendering of the name of the Egyptian pharaoh, Shoshenq I. His name is known from his own inscriptions in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. On this point I trust the Egyptologists, and prominent among them is Kenneth A. Kitchen, who made the identification! (Kitchen’s _Third Intermediate Period_ shows that he can give the full Egyptian name, which consists of what I would call several names, and he can point out which part(s) or abbreviation(s) of the full name were used for the sake of convenience.)

    So how did “Shoshenq” in Egyptian become “Shishak” in Hebrew?
    In the ancient Hebrew language, the sound of the letter n could be absorbed into the consonant that followed it. This process is called assimilation. The final consonant q was rendered by the similar-sounding consonant k (kaph), and the Egyptian n just before the final q was assimilated into the final consonant k in the Hebrew rendering of his name.

    There’s no big problem with the rest of the name. The sh at the beginning and the middle of his name remained sh, a sound used both in Egyptian and in Hebrew. Vowels tend to be more fluid, so the rendering of the Egyptian e in She- by the similar-sounding Hebrew i in Shi- is not unusual.

    As for how the Egyptian o in -onq ended up being rendered as Hebrew a in -ak, this vowel in Hebrew is sometimes pronounced “aw,” which can be written as an a or an o. (Compare the Russian vowel o, normally pronounced “aw”: but written o.) In some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, such as the Great Isaiah scroll, the Hebrew vowel a (qamets and possibly patach, if I recall correctly) is frequently written by the same Hebrew letter holem (written as a vertical line) which also indicates the Hebrew long o. This phenomenon suggests that o and a were quite close, and perhaps both could be pronounced “aw.”

    All in all, the Hebrew rendition of Shoshenq as Shishak is rather conservative, preserving much of the Egyptian pharaoh’s name that is known from his inscriptions. Bible scholars can point to some Hebrew renditions of other non-Hebrew names that have much less resemblance to the original (= pretty wild), so this name is not the best choice to disagree with. .

    As for the names David and Solomon being nicknames, I am open to the possibility, but you will have to make your case using ancient Hebrew and probably the text of the Hebrew Bible and/or its earliest translations, the Versions.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  19. Lawrence says

    In reply to Michael F. in post 14 regarding evidence for Jesus:

    “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out . . . .” (Roman historian Tacitus, Annals, book 15, chapter 44, written around 116 C.E.

    It is Tacitus who asserts the historical reality of Christ, even as he expresses his dislike for Christianity. I simply reported what was he said. This ancient pagan is widely acknowledged to have been an excellent historian.

    As for the birth narratives in Matthew and Luke and crucifixion narratives in all four gospels, I accept the only Gospels that originate from the first century. They were written by four people who either knew Jesus in person or conducted careful research by interviewing others who knew him: first Mark (the companion of Peter), then Matthew, who certainly knew him, also Luke the physician who wrote two histories, and finally John). Of course, you are free to believe whatever you wish about alternative origins. I find these four documents to be firm historical ground.

  20. Lawrence says

    Funny, I thought I’d be answering questions about the article. But I report what I can about other biblical matters.

  21. Lawrence says

    A correction in ALL CAPS to the end of my post 18:
    “Thus, the fact that the inscription was written approximately 130 years after David died does NOT refute this identification. His descendants carried on his name.

    My apologies, especially to Michael F., for this unfortunate typographical error which he will enjoy. .

  22. Lawrence says

    Again in response to comment 13 from Michael F.:

    Michael, you will have to travel far and wide to find someone as knowledgeable and well informed about even half of the concrete issues between the Bible and archaeology as the Editor of BAR, Hershel Shanks. It is part of his life mission to _make_known_ the facts!

    Also, again fortunately for us who read BAR, there is another side to him. The business acumen of Hershel Shanks has kept this informative and truly unique publication going into its fortieth year, and still counting, even as the world of publishing continues to “morph” around us. May his tribe increase!

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  23. Lawrence says

    In response to post 15, by Marcela:

    Thank you for your encouragement! I also appreciate your making me aware of the “Nimrod” inscription! Maybe if I read BAR more often, I would have known about it (smile). If you–or perhaps another reader–could tell me in what publication and what year that item appeared, I would love to investigate it. An Internet search reveals a pamphlet by Charles F. Horne, but I don’t know if that’s what you read.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  24. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 16, by Jon:

    Wow, your comment is encouraging! Thank you! But it will take a lot of time to cover all 50 identifications. Try starting with a few favorites.

    In order to study most of the identifications, you will need to have access to most of the books listed above in the section “Symbols and Abbreviations.” To do that, you can either spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars or go to a library that has them. I recommend using a good library. Many public libraries have ANET, but perhaps not many more of the titles you will need. If you can visit and use a good _seminary_ library, either Jewish, Catholic, or Protestant, that would be ideal. If you can’;t seem to find a good library, depending on your location, just send another comment and I’ll find some way to consult with you individually. I help people find good sources all the time in the library I work in.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  25. Gary says

    The opinions of some that the historical accounts of Yeshua the Nazarene are suspect are indeed regrettable. I did an internet search on Michael F., and could come up with nothing definitive and concrete there. Everything I found was suspect to interpretation, and could likely result in a misidentification of his actual identity. If I had to base my case upon whether a particular individual named Michael F. really exists solely on the scant evidence available to me, namely his comments here, I would be hard pressed to prove to skeptics who doubt it that he actually does indeed exist. Although personally I believe that he does, and is present out there somewhere among all of the Michael F.s in the world, I can neither prove nor disprove it with the evidence available to me. But I have decided that he does exist, for why would anyone make him up? What purpose would that serve? And I find far more evidence for the historicity of Yeshua in the unfolding and morphing accounts in the earliest Gospel (the son of man) to the oldest Gospel (the Son of God). ;-) Just saying…

  26. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 17, by Eric:

    Thank you so much, Eric, for inserting the link to more info. and more links about the Balaam inscription on plaster from Tell Deir Alla. I take your comment seriously.

    I hope you noticed the “Almost Real ” box on p. 50 of the article itself _and_ especially the online notes, above on this page, to the “Almost Real” box on p. 50. They are just below the note to identification 50 above. The note on Balaam and Beor shows that I did not forget them. But attempts to establish an identification lack clarity, and I could not include them among the firm identifications.

    I certainly have nothing at all against valid verification of the historicity of the Torah! And I suspect that the Balaam and Beor of the inscription might well be the same as those in Numbers chapters 22 through 24 But there are some difficulties that make the identification unclear:

    1. The inscription on plaster from Tell Deir Alla does not seem to be intended to be historical, but rather, it seems to be a magical and/or religious text. (Here readers can make use of the links in your post, to find and read a translation of the inscription.) It does not reveal a historical time period for Balaam and Beor. We tend to think of their names as unusual, but for all we know, they might have been rather common in Trans-Jordan of the Iron Age. In view of that possibility, we would then need to distinguish two pairs according to when each pair lived, but the inscription gives no date.

    2. Many scholars assume or, better, conclude that the Balaam and Beor of the inscription are the same as the biblical pair and belong to the same folk tradition. The folk tradition might be based on historical persons and events, but it is not necessarily historical. Without a sure historical dimension in the inscription, we are left with a literary connection between these two reflexes of the same folk tradition.

    3. Although it contains three identifying marks (traits) of both father and son, namely, each one’s name and the fact that the son was a seer, the Tell Deir Alla inscription is dated to ca. 700 B.C.E., several centuries after the period in which the Bible places Balaam. Although this gap in time is not automatically an insurmountable difficulty, it certainly gives several extra centuries for other Balaams and Beors to have arisen, and some of these might have been seers.

    I do not enjoy raining on someone else’s parade, but after being challenged on it by a scholar whom I respect, I have thought about this potential identification long enough to have changed my mind (see the note on Balaam above).

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  27. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 26, by Gary:

    Well done in your search for the Michael F. whom we both believe really exists, somewhere . . . somewhere.

    Interestingly, the biblical use of the term “one like a son of man” in the Daniel 7:13 applies it to a heavenly, apparently divine figure. And in Luke 3:37, the term “the son of God” is applied to the thoroughly human Adam. Go figure.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  28. Uri says

    Thanks for the excellent bibliography your provided for the list, which of course stand out for its clarity.
    As you had mentioned, the list is not exhaustive. How about the name of a Philistine ruler mentioned in the Eqron inscription?. Akhish is of course mentioned often in I Samuel. Is it because the name on the inscription cannot be identified the Akhish in the bible? And what about Hiram the Phoenician king who is well known from his inscription?

    Surely there is a need for another list that will list biblical names which are parallel to those found in cognate languages or other populations in the ANE?

    Thanks again,

    Uri Hurwitz

  29. Gene R. says

    Thank you Lawrence Mykytiuk for this well researched list. It proves that the Bible is not a book of myths and fictional stories. These were real people that lived in real places. Even the genealogies in Genesis suddenly become so important. As a youngster, reading the Bible, I always skipped the “begats” because they seemed so boring. Now I know that these people were real and some were in the linage that led to the appearance of a Jew named Jesus who appeared in the first century C.E.
    As too the fact that this man Jesus also really existed, I think the evidence from Tacitus that you highlighted, who was no lover of Christians, and other references that are available from Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Seneca and Juvenal that also proved Jesus’s existence. The Encyclopedia Britannica said regarding the testimony of early Jewish and pagan writers: “These independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds by several authors at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries.” –1974 Edition, Vol. 10, p.145
    Of course the first hand account of contemporaries in the Gospels, as you so well stated, are the most convincing evidence of all.
    John Stuart Mill, noted nineteenth-century English economist and philosopher, observed: “Who among His followers, or among their proselytes, was capable of inventing the sayings ascribed to Jesus, or of imagining the life and character revealed in the Gospels? Certainly not the fisherman of Galilee.” Making the same point is American Theodore Parker: “Shall we be told such a man never lived, the whole story is a lie? Suppose that Plato and Newton never lived. But who did their works, and thought their thoughts? It takes a Newton to forge a Newton. What man could have fabricated a Jesus? None but a Jesus.”

    Finally there is the testimony of the early Talmudical writings. The noted Jewish scholar Joseph Klausner, after thoroughly investigating their testimony, reports that the ” early Talmudical accounts” of Jesus confirm ‘both the existence and the general character of Jesus.’ –Jesus of Nazareth, p. 20.
    Breya and Michael F., I encourage you to investigate the greatest man who ever lived, in the authenticated pages of the Bible. His life will give you inspiration and hope and lead you to His Father who also really exists and is even greater than His Son. John 14:28

  30. Jerry says

    It is well, with my soul……O’ Lord haste the day that my faith shall be sight!

  31. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 17 by Kurt:

    Thank you for your post, Kurt. If you could please provide a citation of the book or journal that discusses the Mardukâ in secular records, I would really appreciate it.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  32. Michael F. says

    Lawrence, We also know that Dawidum existed in the Bronze age. We don’t even know the context of which “The House of David” should be taken, yet because of a consensus opinion about his existence, you therefore jump on the bandwagon. Where are the daily government trade records or mundane census records of his empire? The lack of archaeological evidence of an Iron Age United Monarchy of great city states doesn’t exist, because it didn’t happen. I mistrust the scholarly integrity of anyone who claims that it is a fact set in stone.

    Jesus is still a myth no matter how many people believe it isn’t. Again, you offer no solid proof of his existence, which is no greater than Robin Hood or William Tell. You have no idea what research was done by gospel writers, yet you pretend to know they did research. Yes, their research showed us he was born to a mythological virgin and rose from the dead. That is not very good research and goes beyond the realm of scientific possibility. One must question the sources of these tales, which are in fact cosmic myths. The miracle aspect of the life of Jesus should cause any true scholar to question the sources as reliable.

  33. rkhammack says

    If you are interested in further explorations into finding more historical findings of Biblical persons I would like to suggest a study in the book, “Adam When”. [http://www.familyradio.com/graphical/literature/adamwhen/adamwhen-dl.html]
    There are many references of historical findings of other persons in the Bible, that are not mentioned here. For example when Joseph was second in charge over Egypt beginning in 1886 BC. I canal was erected with the name “Bahr Yusuf” or “Joseph’s Canal” after the Joseph, Jacob’s son which ruled over Egypt, second only to the Pharaoh. [Reference > Arthur Weigall, 'A History of the Pharaohs' (New York, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1927) pp.114-115.]
    There are others also with references attached of great interest. It is well worth the read to see if they comply with your standards of historical data. In fact, the book “Adam When” is a study of the Biblical Timeline Calendar, that is in the Bible that God has opened up for our understanding in these last days. Even after 50 years there has been no one to have found an error in the Timeline Calendar. Quite amazing!
    Thanks<
    rkhammack

  34. Uri says

    In response to message #33 by Michael F.

    You’re just repeating what you stated previously.

    Do you any comment about the 49 other names in the list?

    Uri Hurwitz

  35. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 29 by Uri:

    Thank you for your well-informed post, Uri. Both candidates, Akhish/Achish of Ekron and Ahiram of Byblos,fit the right time period for each biblical person and are worth investigating. Actually, both are listed, considered, and, in the last analysis, labelled disqualified in IBP, pp. 236-237 (see “Symbols and Abbreviations” above). In both instances, I looked for some connection between nearby cities. But ulitmately I could not demonstrate that Akhish of Ekron in the inscription was the biblical Akhish of Gath, even though both Ekron and Gath were among the five cities of the Philistines. And I could not show that Ahiram of Byblos in the inscription was the biblical (A)hiram of Tyre, even though both Byblos and Tyre are Phoenician cities.. Is it possible that one or both rulers also ruled the other city? Perhaps, but in each case, the possibility does not produce a reliable identification.

    Uri, I would welcome more posts from you.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  36. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 20 by Gene R.:

    Wow, thank you, Gene, for mentioning so many evidences! As a scholar, I must note that there are limits to what these 50 identifications prove, but they are certainly evidence on the side of the historical reliability of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

    The argument along the line that “It takes a Newton to forge a Newton” is freq

  37. Lawrence says

    2nd try in response to comment 20 by Gene R.:

    Wow, thank you, Gene, for mentioning so many evidences! As a scholar, I must note that there are limits to what these 50 identifications prove, but they are certainly evidence on the side of the historical reliability of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament.

    The argument along the line that “It takes a Newton to forge a Newton” is frequently overlooked. I recall reading an account of a discussion between a female British scholar and several of her colleagues who wished to deny Jesus’ existence. At one point she almost lost patience (but not quite, being a Brit).and shouted “Ye gods! _Somebody_ said “What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” She went through several unique sayings of Jesus, all of which made powerful points. One need not put religious faith in him to recognize the uniqueness and genius of his contributions to religious thought.

    Thanks again.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  38. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 33 by Michael F.:

    In my published dissertation, the detailed treatments on David in the Tel Dan stele (IBP, pp. 110-132) and on David in the Mesha inscription (IBP, pp. 265-277) show that I have not simply jumped on a bandwagon, but rather that I have conducted my own analyses.

    If you are interested in the evidence for a United Monarchy, a cogent synthesis appears in David M. Carr, _The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction_ (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), especially pp. 355-384, with book-by-book treatments within the Hebrew Bible in pp. 386-490. Carr’s book is cautious and scholarly.

    Beyond that, I defer to comment 35 by Uri.

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  39. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 34 by rkhammack:

    Thank you, R. K. (hope I got that right), for pointing out these two books, in which I hope at some future time to examine the identifications or potential identifications you mention.

    I appreciate your reference to the standards I use to evaluate potential identifications. These standards appear as eleven criteria in IBP, pp. 9-89. They are summarized in three questions in “Sixteen,” in the section “Identification Methodology,” pp. 39-40 (the online version is freely available at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/ ).

    One thing I have learned by observation is that one must set up broadly applicable standards (criteria) for what makes an identification reliable _before_ attempting to decide whether a particular inscription refers to a person in the Bible. If you set up standards while making the evaluation, it becomes too easy to make slight, almost imperceptible adjustments that lead to accepting an identification that one likes.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  40. Lawrence says

    A 2nd response to comment 29 by Uri:

    I agree that there is a need, or certainly good use, for another list containing biblical names which are parallel to those found in cognate languages or other populations in the ancient Near East. It is surely a noteworthy fact that the name of each of the two biblical kings you mention, Akhish (= Achish) and Hiram (= Ahiram) appears, in each case, in an inscription of a contemporaneous king from the same region who had the same cultural heritage. Although no identification of a biblical person seems possible, these close parallels are indications that the historical data in the Bible are plausible, because it would not be (literally:) outlandish for a Phoenician king of that time to be named Hiram or Ahiram, or for a Philistine king of that time to be named Akhish.
    If I recall correctly, a version of the name Jacob appeared in an inscription from an ancient Syrian city (probably Ugarit or Ebla) of the 2nd millennium B.C.E. Although it was certainly not Jacob the biblical patriarch, still the written name from that time and place showed that it would not have been unheard of for a man to have that name.
    Your examples are persuasive, Uri.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  41. Michael F. says

    “If you are interested in the evidence for a United Monarchy, a cogent synthesis appears in David M. Carr, _The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction_ (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), especially pp. 355-384, with book-by-book treatments within the Hebrew Bible in pp. 386-490. Carr’s book is cautious and scholarly.”

    Could you give me the highlights? If you have to make a case for something that should be archaeologically conclusive, you don’t have a case. It sounds like pseudo-science making a case for Atlantis.

    With David, there are many stories which are Bronze Age cosmic myths such as Bathsheba, Goliath, Saul, the witch, Samuel, and the ark. He is mostly a fictional character created in the Bronze Age. An Iron Age David is anachronistic. The main problem with OT scholarship is they rely too heavily on Wellhausen or unified text. They have yet to come up the old base text (creation to crowning of Solomon). Friedman tried, but failed as he never applied the lessons learned from Tigay’s Gilgamesh work and deconstructed the Bible accordingly to get a Bronze Age text which includes David.

  42. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 42 by Michael F.:
    Michael, I gave you the citation to the book about the United Monarchy only because you brought it up. I cannot do your homework for you. Many libraries, including many public libraries, can get the book for you through interlibrary loan.
    This page is about the 50 identifications of biblical people in inscriptions of the biblical era—why these, why not others, etc.
    Beyond that, I defer to the entirety of the comment 35 by Uri.
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  43. Michael F. says

    Lawrence, all you or anyone else has stated as solid archeological evidence for David has come in the David stone. Indeed all I hear as evidence sounds like David Stone Tourette Syndrome. . I understand people make a lot of weak textual assumptions based on what they want to believe, but all I ask is there one other stone that shows he existed? If there is no other hard evidence, just say so. One stone does not make an empire.

  44. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 44 by Michael F.:
    Actually, Michael, there is another inscription that names David. As stated above regarding identification 21, David, “in the Mesha Inscription, the phrase ‘house of David’ appears in Moabite in line 31″ (André Lemaire, “‘House of David’ Restored in Moabite Inscription,” BAR 20, no. 3 [May/June 1994]: pp. 30–37.) I have discussed this inscription at length on pp. 265-277 of my book, IBP.
    If two inscriptions (and indeed a third from Egypt) are not sufficient, I find no particular need to discount the entirely of the biblical record of David. As for myths of the Bronze Age or any other previous time, some scholars simply call them “good dreams.”
    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  45. Gene R. says

    Lawrence, regarding your request of Kurt in his comment 17, regarding a certain Marduka : Apparently, a cuneiform inscription evidently from Borsippa is said to refer to a Persian official by that name(Mordecai?), who was at Shushan around the time of Darius I or Xerxes I . The information appears to be from a German publication entitled(get ready!) Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1940/41, Vol. 58, pp. 243, 244; 1942/43, Vol. 59, p. 219.

    Beyond this reference, I have no knowledge, But I found Kurt’s evidence for Esther being a legitimate book of the O.T. very interesting. I hope I didn’t take away his chance to respond but I figured he may have overlooked your request.

  46. Sarah says

    I note that the existence of Jesus has not yet been proven. You would think that this would be the most important personage to be proven. Why has evidence of Jesus not been found yet? Why has the tomb of Mary not been found yet, why has the tomb of Joseph not been found yet?

  47. Robin says

    I note that all 50 of the historical figures mentioned are men. That got me wondering why Jezebel didn’t make the list. A BAR article about her signet seal written by M. Korpe, “Fit for a Queen: Jezebel’s Royal Seal” outlines the basis for determining that the artifact belonged to the much-despised queen. Sure it came from a private collection (and therefore unprovenanced) but as Korpe 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.

    I’m really impressed, Lawrence, with the care you have taken in responding to the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

    Robin Cohn

  48. Lawrence says

    In response to comment 46 by Gene R.:
    Many thanks for the citation in ZAW, Gene! I plan to research Marduka. I agree that Kurt brought out some interesting points about the book of Esther.

    Thanks again!

    Lawrence Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  49. Lawrence says

    In response to post 47 by Sarah:
    The evidence from outside the New Testament for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth is briefly mentioned above in posts 8, 9, 20, 30, and 38. There is also the evidence of the four first-century Gospels and the beginnings, within first-century Judaism, of the faith now called Christianity.
    For some, the fact that pagan, Jewish, and Muslim writings attest to his existence independently of each other is enough evidence. For others, it seems difficult to estimate how much evidence and what kind of evidence would be reason enough for them to accept his existence. If you are willing to explore the evidences, perhaps you will be able to reach a conclusion that is both well grounded and satisfying to you.
    A consultation with a local librarian could be quite helpful, especially using the Library of Congress subject heading: Bible. Gospels — Evidences, authority, etc., or the subject: Jesus Christ — historicity

    As for why the tomb of Mary (I assume you mean Jesus’ mother, although there are several Marys in the Gospels) and the tomb of Joseph (I assume you mean Mary’s husband) have not been found, I can say, Sarah, that sometimes 21st-century expectations and ancient realities simply do not match. Joseph does not appear in the Gospels after Jesus began his public ministry at around age 30, and many scholars reasonably suppose that he had died by then. If so, when he died, he was an obscure carpenter. Even if his grave were unearthed, perhaps in the vicinity of Nazareth, especially after the ravages of time, it might not be labeled sufficiently to identify whose grave it was.
    The question regarding the graves of Mary and Joseph is a bit like asking why certain shipwrecks have not been found. Perhaps there has not been enough searching in the right locations, etc., but ultimately, they simply have not been found. Scholars of the New Testament, especially Catholic and Orthodox scholars, might be able to shed more light on this question than I can.
    Best wishes,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

1 2

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    […] 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-&#8230; […]

  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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