BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically

A web-exclusive supplement to Lawrence Mykytiuk's BAR articles identifying real Hebrew Bible people

This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in 2014. It has been updated.—Ed.


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. His follow-up article, “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People,” published in the May/June 2017 issue of BAR, adds another three people to the list. The identified persons include Israelite kings and Mesopotamian monarchs as well as lesser-known figures.

Mykytiuk writes that these figures “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 figures.

Guide to the Endnotes

53 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions Chart
53 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence
“Almost Real” People: Reasonable but Uncertain
Symbols & Abbreviations
Date Sources

BAS Library Members: Read Lawrence Mykytiuk’s Biblical Archaeology Review articles “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 and “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People” in the May/June 2017 issue.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


53 Bible People Confirmed in Authentic Inscriptions

Name

Who was he?

When he reigned or flourished B.C.E.

Where in the Bible?

Egypt

1

Shishak (= Sheshonq 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

Nergal-sharezer

officer of Nebuchadnezzar II

early sixth century

Jeremiah 39:3

45

Nebuzaradan

a chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar II

early sixth century

2 Kings 25:8, etc. & Jeremiah 39:9, etc.

46

Evil-merodach (= Awel Marduk = Amel Marduk)

king

561–560

2 Kings 25:27, etc.

47

Belshazzar

son and co-regent of Nabonidus

c. 543?–540

Daniel 5:1, etc.

Persia

48

Cyrus II (= Cyrus the Great)

king

559–530

2 Chronicles 36:22, etc.

49

Darius I (= Darius the Great)

king

520–486

Ezra 4:5, etc.

50

Tattenai

provincial governor of Trans-Euphrates

late sixth to early fifth century

Ezra 5:3, etc.

51

Xerxes I (= Ahasuerus)

king

486–465

Esther 1:1, etc.

52

Artaxerxes I Longimanus

king

465-425/424

Ezra 4:7, etc.

53

Darius II Nothus

king

425/424-405/404

Nehemiah 12:22

 


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53 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence

 

EGYPT

1. Shishak (= Sheshonq 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), 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. (Note: The name of this pharaoh can be spelled Sheshonq or Shoshenq.)

Sheshonq 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. (Note: The name of this pharaoh can be spelled Sheshonq or Shoshenq.)

Egyptian pharaohs had several names, including a throne name. It is known that the throne name of Sheshonq I, when translated into English, means, “Bright is the manifestation of Re, chosen of Amun/Re.” Sheshonq I’s inscription on the wall of the Temple of Amun at Karnak in Thebes (mentioned above) celebrates the victories of his military campaign in the Levant, thus presenting the possibility of his presence in that region. A small Egyptian scarab containing his exact throne name, discovered as a surface find at Khirbat Hamra Ifdan, now documents his presence at or near that location. This site is located along the Wadi Fidan, in the region of Faynan in southern Jordan.

As for the time period, disruption of copper production at Khirbet en-Nahas, also in the southern Levant, can be attributed to Sheshonq’s army, as determined by stratigraphy, high-precision radiocarbon dating, and an assemblage of Egyptian amulets dating to Sheshonq’s time. His army seems to have intentionally disrupted copper production, as is evident both at Khirbet en-Nahas and also at Khirbat Hamra Ifdan, where the scarab was discovered.

As for the singularity of this name in this remote locale, it would have been notable to find any Egyptian scarab there, much less one containing the throne name of this conquering Pharaoh; this unique discovery admits no confusion with another person. See Thomas E. Levy, Stefan Münger, and Mohammad Najjar, “A Newly Discovered Scarab of Sheshonq I: Recent Iron Age Explorations in Southern Jordan. Antiquity Project Gallery,” Antiquity (2014); online: http://journal.antiquity.ac.uk/projgall/levy341.

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.)

 

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).


Want more on Biblical figures? Read “Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible,” “New Testament Political Figures: The Evidence” and “Herod the Great and the Herodian Family Tree” by Lawrence Mykytiuk.


 

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.

 

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).

During 2009, a royal bulla of Hezekiah, king of Judah, was discovered in the renewed Ophel excavations of Eilat Mazar. Imperfections along the left edge of the impression in the clay contributed to a delay in correct reading of the bulla until late in 2015. An English translation of the bulla is: “Belonging to Heze[k]iah, [son of] ’A[h]az, king of Jud[ah]” (letters within square brackets [ ] are supplied where missing or only partly legible). This is the first impression of a Hebrew king’s seal ever discovered in a scientific excavation.

See the online article by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “Impression of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal Discovered in Ophel Excavations South of Temple Mount in Jerusalem,” December 2, 2015; a video under copyright of Eilat Mazar and Herbert W. Armstrong College, 2015; Robin Ngo, “King Hezekiah in the Bible: Royal Seal of Hezekiah Comes to Light,” Bible History Daily (blog), originally published on December 3, 2015; Meir Lubetski, “King Hezekiah’s Seal Revisited,” BAR, July/August 2001. Apparently unavailable as of August 2017 (except for a rare library copy or two) is Eilat Mazar, ed., The Ophel Excavations to the South of the Temple Mount 2009-2013: Final Reports, vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Shoham Academic Research and Publication, c2015).

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 … ”

 


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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. Nergal-sharezer (= Nergal-sharuṣur the Sin-magir = Nergal-šarru-uṣur the simmagir), officer of Nebuchadnezzar II, early sixth century, Jeremiah 39:3, in a Babylonian cuneiform inscription known as Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (column 3 of prism EŞ 7834, in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum). See ANET, pp. 307‒308; Rocio Da Riva, “Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (EŞ 7834): A New Edition,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, vol. 103, no. 2 (2013): 204, Group 3.

45. Nebuzaradan (= Nabuzeriddinam = Nabû-zēr-iddin), a chief officer of Nebuchadnezzar II, early sixth century, 2 Kings 25:8, etc. & Jeremiah 39:9, etc., in a Babylonian cuneiform inscription known as Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (column 3, line 36 of prism EŞ 7834, in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum). See ANET, p. 307; Rocio Da Riva, “Nebuchadnezzar II’s Prism (EŞ 7834): A New Edition,” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie und Vorderasiatische Archäologie, vol. 103, no. 2 (2013): 202, Group 1.

46. 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).

47. 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

48. 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.

49. 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.

50. Tattenai (=Tatnai), provincial governor of Trans-Euphrates, late sixth to early fifth century, Ezra 5:3, etc., in a tablet of Darius I the Great, king of Persia, which can be dated to exactly June 5, 502 B.C.E. See David E. Suiter, “Tattenai,” in David Noel Freedman, ed., Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), vol. 6, p. 336; A. T. Olmstead, “Tattenai, Governor of ‘Beyond the River,’” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 3 (1944): p. 46. A drawing of the cuneiform text appears in Arthur Ungnad, Vorderasiatische Schriftdenkmäler Der Königlichen Museen Zu Berlin (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1907), vol. IV, p. 48, no. 152 (VAT 43560). VAT is the abbreviation for the series Vorderasiatische Abteilung Tontafel, published by the Berlin Museum. The author of the BAR article wishes to acknowledge the query regarding Tattenai from Mr. Nathan Yadon of Houston, Texas, private correspondence, 8 September 2015.

51. 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.

52. 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).

53. 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).

 


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“Almost Real” People: Reasonable but Uncertain

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.


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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

Hezir (=Ḥezîr), founding father of a priestly division in the First Temple in Jerusalem, early tenth century, 1 Chronicles 24:15, in an epitaph over a large tomb complex on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, facing the site of the Temple in Jerusalem. First the epitaph names some of Ḥezîr’s prominent descendants, and then it presents Ḥezîr by name in the final phrase, which refers to his descendants, who are named before that, as “priests, of (min, literally “from”) the sons of Ḥezîr.” This particular way of saying it recognizes him as the head of that priestly family. See CIIP, vol. 1: Jerusalem, Part 1, pp. 178‒181, no. 137.

Also, among the burial places inside that same tomb complex, lying broken into fragments was an inscribed, square stone plate that had been used to seal a burial. This plate originally told whose bones they were and the name of that person’s father: “‘Ovadiyah, the son of G . . . ,” but a break prevents us from knowing the rest of the father’s name and what might have been written after that. Immediately after the break, the inscription ends with the name “Ḥezîr.” Placement at the end, as in the epitaph over the entire tomb complex, is consistent with proper location of the name of the founding ancestor of the family. See CIIP, vol. 1, Part 1, p. 182, no. 138.

As for the date of Ḥezîr in the inscriptions, to be sure, Ḥezîr lived at least four generations earlier than the inscribing of the epitaph over the complex, and possibly many more generations (CIIP, vol. 1, Part 1:179–180, no. 137). Still, it is not possible to assign any date (or even a century) to the Ḥezîr named in the epitaph above the tomb complex, nor to the Ḥezîr named on the square stone plate, therefore this identification has no “airtight” proof or strong case. The date of the engraving itself does not help answer the question of this identification, because the stone was quarried no earlier than the second century B.C.E. (CIIP, Part 1, p.179, no. 137–138). Nevertheless, it is still a reasonable identification, as supported by the following facts:

1) Clearly in the epitaph over the tomb complex, and possibly in the square stone plate inscription, the Ḥezîr named in the epitaph is placed last in recognition of his being the head, that is, the progenitor or “founding father” of the priestly family whose members are buried there.

2) This manner of presenting Ḥezîr in the epitaph suggests that he dates back to the founding of this branch of the priestly family. (This suggestion may be pursued independently of whether the family was founded in Davidic times as 1 Chronicles 24 states.)

3) Because there is no mention of earlier ancestors, one may observe that the author(s) of the inscriptions anchored these genealogies in the names of the progenitors. It seems that the authors fully expected that the names of the founders of these 24 priestly families would be recognized as such, presumably by Jewish readers. In at least some inscriptions of ancient Israel, it appears that patronymic phrases that use a preposition such as min, followed by the plural of the word son, as in the epitaph over the tomb complex, “from the sons of Ḥezîr,” functioned in much the same way as virtual surnames. The assumption would have been that they were common knowledge. If one accepts that Israel relied on these particular priestly families to perform priestly duties for centuries, then such an expectation makes sense. To accept the reasonableness of this identification is a way of acknowledging the continuity of Hebrew tradition, which certainly seems unquenchable.

See the published dissertation, L. J. Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004), p. 214, note 2, for 19th- and 20th-century bibliography on the Ḥezîr family epitaph.

Jakim (=Yakîm), founding father of a priestly division in the First Temple in Jerusalem, early tenth century, 1 Chronicles 24:12, on an inscribed ossuary (“bone box”) of the first or second century C.E. discovered in a burial chamber just outside Jerusalem on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, facing the site of the Temple. The three-line inscription reads: “Menahem, from (min) the sons of Yakîm, (a) priest.” See CIIP, vol. 1, Part 1, pp. 217–218, no. 183, burial chamber 299, ossuary 83.

As with the epitaph over the tomb complex of Ḥezîr, this inscription presents Yakîm as the founder of this priestly family. And as with Ḥezîr in the preceding case, no strong case can be made for this identification, because the inscriptional Yakîm lacks a clear date (and indeed, has no clear century). Nevertheless, it is reasonable to identify Yakîm with the Jakim in 1 Chronicles 24 for essentially the same three reasons as Ḥezîr immediately above.

Maaziah (= Ma‘aziah = Maazyahu = Ma‘azyahu), founding father of a priestly division in the First Temple in Jerusalem, early 10th century, 1 Chronicles 24:18, on an inscribed ossuary (“bone box”) of the late first century B.C.E. or the first century C.E. Its one-line inscription reads, “Miriam daughter of Yeshua‘ son of Caiaphas, priest from Ma‘aziah, from Beth ‘Imri.”

The inscription is in Aramaic, which was the language spoken by Jews in first-century Palestine for day-to-day living. The Hebrew personal name Miriam and the Yahwistic ending –iah on Ma‘aziah, which refers to the name of Israel’s God, also attest to a Jewish context.

This inscription’s most significant difficulty is that its origin is unknown (it is unprovenanced). Therefore, the Israel Antiquities Authority at first considered it a potential forgery. Zissu and Goren’s subsequent scientific examination, particularly of the patina (a coating left by age), however, has upheld its authenticity. Thus the inscribed ossuary is demonstrably authentic, and it suits the Jewish setting of the priestly descendants of Ma‘aziah in the Second Temple period.

Now that we have the authenticity and the Jewish setting of the inscription, we can count the identifying marks of an individual to see how strong a case there is for the Ma‘azyahu of the Bible and the Ma‘aziah being the same person: 1) Ma‘azyahu and Ma‘aziah are simply spelling variants of the very same name. 2) Ma‘aziah’s occupation was priest, because he was the ancestor of a priest. 3) Ma‘aziah’s place in the family is mentioned in a way that anchors the genealogy in him as the founder of the family. (The inscription adds mention of ‘Imri as the father of a subset, a “father’s house” within Ma‘aziah’s larger family.)

Normally, if the person in the Bible and the person in the inscription have the same three identifying marks of an individual, and if all other factors are right, one can say the identification (confirmation) of the Biblical person in the inscription is virtually certain.

But not all other factors are right. A setting (even in literature) consists of time and place. To be sure, the social “place” is a Jewish family of priests, both for the Biblical Ma‘azyahu and for the inscriptional Ma‘aziah. But the time setting of the Biblical Ma‘azyahu during the reign of David is not matched by any time setting at all for the inscriptional Ma‘aziah. We do not even know which century the inscriptional Ma‘aziah lived in. He could have been a later descendant of the Biblical Ma‘azyahu.

Therefore, as with Ḥezîr and as with Yakîm above, we cannot claim a clear, strong identification that would be an archaeological confirmation of the biblical Ma‘azyahu. We only have a reasonable hypothesis, a tentative identification that is certainly not proven, but reasonable—for essentially the same three reasons as with Ḥezîr above.

See Boaz Zissu and Yuval Goren, “The Ossuary of ‘Miriam Daughter of Yeshua Son of Caiaphas, Priests [of] Ma‘aziah from Beth ‘Imri’,” Israel Exploration Journal 61 (2011), pp. 74–95; Christopher A. Rollston, “‘Priests’ or ‘Priest’ in the Mariam (Miriam) Ossuary, and the Language of the Inscription,” Rollston Epigraphy (blog), July 14, 2011, www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=275, accessed October 10, 2016; Richard Bauckham, “The Caiaphas Family,” Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus 10 (2012), pp. 3–31.

Isaiah the prophet, fl. ca. 740–680, 2 Kings 19:2; Isaiah 1:1, etc., in a bulla (lump of clay impressed with an image and/or inscription and used as a seal) unearthed by Eilat Mazar’s Ophel Excavation in Jerusalem. It was discovered in a narrow patch of land between the south side of the Temple mount and the north end of the City of David. The bulla, whose upper left portion is broken off, reveals only two marks (traits) of an individual in the Bible, not three, which would have made a virtually certain identification of a Biblical person. The first mark is Isaiah’s name in Hebrew, Y’sha‘yahu, except for the last vowel, -u, which was broken off. No other letter makes any sense in that spot. This name and other forms of the same name were common in ancient Israel during the prophet Isaiah’s lifetime. The second mark of an individual is where he worked, as indicated by the place where the bulla was discovered. In this case, that seems to have been in or near Hezekiah’s palace, which, given the location of the royal precinct in the Jerusalem of Hezekiah’s day, was likely not far from where the bulla was discovered. Less than ten feet away from where this bulla was discovered, at the exact same level, the Ophel Excavation also discovered the royal bulla inscribed, “belonging Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah.”

Although these facts may seem enough to make an identification of the prophet Isaiah, the case is not settled. On the last line of the bulla are the letters nby. These are the first three letters of the Hebrew word that means prophet, but they lack the final letter aleph to form that word. It was either originally present but broke off, or else it was never present. These same three letters, nby, are also a complete Hebrew personal name. We know that, because this name was found on two authentic bullae made by one stone seal and discovered in a juglet at the city of Lachish. Back to the bulla found by the Ophel Excavation: these three letters, nby, follow the name Y’sha‘yahu, exactly where most Hebrew bullae would have the name of the person’s father. As a result, to identify Isaiah the son of nby, (perhaps pronounced Novi), who apparently worked as an official in the palace, or possibly the Temple, is a perfectly good alternative to identifying Isaiah the prophet, son of Amoz. Therefore, a firm identification of Isaiah the prophet is not possible. He remains a candidate. See Eilat Mazar, “Is This the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature?” Biblical Archaeology Review, 44, no. 2 (March/April/May/June 2018), pp. 64–73, 92; Christopher A. Rollston, “The Putative Bulla of Isaiah the Prophet: Not so Fast,” Rollston Epigraphy, February 22, 2018; Megan Sauter, “Isaiah’s Signature Uncovered in Jerusalem: Evidence of the Prophet Isaiah?” Bible History Daily, February 22, 2018.

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.

Hananiah and his father, Azzur, from Gibeon, fl. early 6th and late 7th centuries, respectively, Jeremiah 28:1, etc., in a personal seal carved from blue stone, 20 mm. long and 17 mm. wide, inscribed “belonging to Hananyahu, son of ‘Azaryahu” and surrounded by a pomegranate-garland border, and (WSS, p. 100, no. 165). This seal reveals only two marks (traits) of an individual, the names of father and son, therefore the identification it provides can be no more than a reasonable hypothesis (IBP, pp. 73–77, as amended by “Corrections,” pp. 56‒57). One must keep in mind that there were probably many people in Judah during that time named Hananiah/Hananyahu, and quite a few of them could have had a father named ‘Azariah/‘Azaryahu, or ‘Azzur for short. (Therefore, it would take a third identifying mark of an individual to establish a strong, virtually certain identification of the Biblical father and/or son, such as mention of the town of Gibeon or Hananyahu being a prophet.)

Because the shapes of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet gradually changed over the centuries, using examples discovered at different stratigraphic levels of earth, we can now date ancient Hebrew inscriptions on the basis of paleography (letter shapes and the direction and order of the strokes). This seal was published during the 19th century (in 1883 by Charles Clermont-Ganneau), when no one, neither scholars nor forgers, knew the correct shapes of Hebrew letters for the late seventh to early sixth centuries (the time of Jeremiah). We now know that all the letter shapes in this seal are chronologically consistent with each other and are the appropriate letter shapes for late seventh–century to early sixth–century Hebrew script—the time of Jeremiah. This date is indicated especially by the Hebrew letter nun (n) and—though the photographs are not completely clear, possibly by the Hebrew letter he’ (h), as well.

Because the letter shapes could not have been correctly forged, yet they turned out to be correct, it is safe to presume that this stone seal is genuine, even though its origin (provenance) is unknown. Normally, materials from the antiquities market are not to be trusted, because they have been bought, rather than excavated, and could be forged. But the exception is inscriptions purchased during the 19th century that turn out to have what we now know are the correct letter shapes, all of which appropriate for the same century or part of a century (IBP, p. 41, paragraph 2) up to the word “Also,” pp. 154 and 160 both under the subheading “Authenticity,” p. 219, notes 23 and 24).

Also, the letters are written in Hebrew script, which is discernibly different from the scripts of neighboring kingdoms. The only Hebrew kingdom still standing when this inscription was written was Judah. Because this seal is authentic and is from the kingdom of Judah during the time of Jeremiah, it matches the setting of the Hananiah, the son of Azzur in Jeremiah 28.

Comparing the identifying marks of individuals in the inscription and in the Bible, the seal owner’s name and his father’s name inscribed in the seal match the name of the false prophet and his father in Jeremiah 28, giving us two matching marks of an individual. That is not enough for a firm identification, but it is enough for a reasonable hypothesis.

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 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 Lawrence Mykytiuk’s Biblical Archaeology Review articles “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 and “Archaeology Confirms 3 More Bible People” in the May/June 2017 issue.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


 

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).

CIIP Hanna M. Cotton et al., eds., Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palaestinae, vol. 1: Jerusalem, Part 1 (Berlin and Boston: De Gruyter, 2010). Vol. 1 consists of two separately bound Parts, each a physical “book.”

“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 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: 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 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.

 


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on March 3, 2014. It has been updated.


 

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155 Responses

  1. […] With the three most recent matches, Dr. Lawrence Mykytiuk an associate professor of library science who specializes in history and Jewish studies at Purdue University, has confirmed a total of 53 persons in the Bible from the Old Testament. His latest announcement is that of Tattenai, a Persian administrator under Darius the Great; and Nebuzaradan and Nergal-sharezer, two Babylonian warriors who fought for King Nebuchadnezzar II, destroyer of the First Temple. The complete list of names is published along with details in the Bible History Daily. […]

  2. […] 53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically by biblicalarchaeology.org […]

  3. This is a great job, makes your way easy for teaching some topics about the bible.

  4. Ephraim goldstein says:

    Could anyone tell me the height of the average person in pre-christian times and the height, of the average poor man’s house

  5. Cary Glassco says:

    Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! What a wonderful addition to the world of Biblical documentation. Thank you so very much for making this information available online. May each of you be blessed richly for your contribution to the people of the world.
    Cary

  6. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gregory (comment 44):

    Thank you, Gregory, for this very good question.

    This large, ostentatious seal, a carved blue stone 2 cm. long and almost as wide, ringed with a showy pomegranate-garland border, would have been suitable for any person of prestigious position or considerable wealth. Possible owners could even have included a preacher in the Temple who was a false prophet, as Hananiah was shown to be after his false prediction in the Temple in Jeremiah 28.

    Because the shapes of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet gradually changed over the centuries, it is possible to give an approximate date to ancient Hebrew inscriptions on that basis. This seal was published during the nineteenth century (in 1883 by Charles Clermont-Ganneau), when no one, neither scholars nor forgers, knew the correct shapes of Hebrew letters for the late seventh to early sixth century (the time of Jeremiah). Yet all the letter shapes are consistent with each other, being the appropriate shapes for late seventh-century to early sixth-century Hebrew script. This date is indicated especially by the Hebrew letter nun (n) and—though the photographs are not as clear as I would like—possibly by the Hebrew letter he’ (h), as well. Therefore, on this evidence it is safe to presume that this stone seal is genuine, even though its origin (provenance) is unknown. Normally, materials from the antiquities market are not to be trusted, because they have been bought, rather than excavated, and could be forged. But nineteenth-century inscriptions that turn out to have correct letter shapes that are all appropriate for the same century or part of a century are an exception.

    As for the setting of this seal, that is, the time and place, we have already settled on the late seventh to early sixth century, and it is clear that the letters are written in Hebrew script, as opposed to the distinctive scripts of neighboring kingdoms. Since the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered in 722 B.C.E., this seal, from the late 600s to early 500s, must be from the only remaining Hebrew kingdom, Judah.

    So far, so good. The seal is authentic and is from the kingdom of Judah during the time of Jeremiah, matching the setting of the Hananiah ben Azariah (Hananyahu ben ‘Azaryahu) in Jeremiah 28. Now we need to compare the identifying marks of an individual in the inscription and in the Bible. The seal owner’s name and his father’s name in the seal match the name of the false prophet and his father in Jeremiah 28, giving us two matching marks of an individual. That is not enough for a firm identification, but it is enough for a reasonable hypothesis.

    The archaeological evidence is not quite enough to support a virtually certain identification, for the following reasons:

    1. There were probably many people in Judah during that time named Hananiah/Hananyahu, and several of them, or perhaps quite a few of them, could have had a father named Azariah/’Azaryahu, or Azzur for short (compare the parallel shortening of the full name Berekyahu to Baruch).

    2. The seal does not reveal any connection with Gibeon, which is clear in Jeremiah 28, nor does it suggest anything about the seal owner being a prophet, which is also clear in that same chapter. In other words, potential marks of an individual in the Bible that might have provided a third identifying mark of an individual—and would have made the case for a virtually certain identification—are not confirmed by the seal, leaving the total marks of an individual at 2, rather than 3.

    Lawrence J. Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  7. susanw83 says:

    Good stuff – Thanks!!

  8. Greg says:

    Lawrence,
    Thank you for a great update to a well-documented and thought out series of articles.
    I was wondering about “Azzur of Gibeon, father of Hananiah,” concerning whom you felt there is not enough evidence to include among the 53. Were you aware that there is a stamp seal that reads, “Belonging to Hananyahu [Hananiah], son of Azaryahu [Azariah]“? It is in the Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals, p. 100, §165. If you have already considered this in another article, please forgive my not being aware of it.
    Thanks again

  9. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Jimmy (comment 42 above):
    The 53 people in the list are people in the Hebrew Bible (= the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles) who have been confirmed by archaeology thus far, _according_to_the_protocols_ (procedures, requirements) that are summarized and freely available online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/. The purpose of the protocols is to avoid mistaken confirmations (identifications) and arrive at a solid, reliable list—not to produce as many confirmations as possible. Setting low standards in order to get more confirmations ultimately results in simply listing flawed confirmations that have no value.

    I am aware that in Roman Catholic Bibles and Orthodox Bibles, the Old Testament has more books, and therefore more potential archaeological confirmations, . Because my focus has been on the Hebrew Bible, thus far I have not yet searched for such confirmations in those additional books, though I think there are probably some to be made there.

    If you’re interested in what the protocols are, see the short summary that’s free online at free online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/. It appears in the first part of my book chapter, 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).

    I made the “Sixteen Strong” summary in 2012, because I thought most readers would find the following two previous publications too long and tedious:

    These protocols were first established on pp. 9-89 of my Ph.D. dissertation, whose title begins: _Identifying Biblical Persons_, listed above as IBP under the heading “Symbols and Abbreviations.” Most of IBP is freely available on the Google Books web site: http://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=mykytiuk identifying&num=10 .

    Some modifications to the protocols appear in my later article that is also freely available online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/129/ , “Corrections and Updates to ‘Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E.,” Maarav 16 (2009),

    Lawrence J. Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  10. Jimmy says:

    Does this list compile ALL the confirmed figured of thr Old Testament? Or 90% of them? Or 50% of them?

  11. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Eric (comment 40 above):

    Three of the persons in the Hebrew Bible whom you mentioned are indeed already identified In the table above: Esarhaddon is no. 40, Xerxes is no. 48, and Artaxerxes is no. 49.

    Three other people, all in the book of Genesis, are not clearly identifiable in any inscription of known authenticity: Chedor-la’omer, Jacob, and Joseph.

    Regarding Ahab: when a name is translated into another language, it is not at all unusual for it to be spoken and written in a slightly different way in the “new” language. For example, Russians pronounce one name given to males, Ivan, as ee-VAHN. But when it is translated into English, we say AY-ven. When we say the Russian name our way, _we_ are the ones who are pronouncing it with a foreign accent. Ahab’s name and the name of his kingdom, Israel, went through similar changes when the Assyrians gave it their foreign accent.

    The Hebrew name Ahab has been rendered in the Akkadian language as it was spoken and written by Assyrian scribes, and then it has been translated into English, so that we who read English do not have to struggle with Assyrian Akkadian and how it made small changes in Hebrew names. (Your comment misspells his name in Akkadian: the b and the h should trade places.)

    Also, the Assyrian Akkadian rendering of “Israelite” drops the initial “I” sound, but despite the foreign accent recorded in the inscription, the word is still recognizable. We can hardly go back and make the ancient Assyrians “spell it right,” based on ancient Hebrew, which they heard and slightly changed.

    Ahab the Israelite is identified with complete certainly in the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria, in his description of the battle of Qarqar. The inscription names the various kings who fought in the battle, and even when his name and kingdom are written according to an Assyrian accent, it is not hard to figure out who they meant.

  12. Eric says:

    There are period artifacts which refer to Kedor-laomer, Jacob, Joseph, Artaxerxes, Xerxes, Essarhaddon, and several others. Were these overlooked on purpose or were you not aware of them? I’m concerned with the reference to “Ahab the Israelite” because other references say that the inscription actually reads “Abahu the Sirilean”.

  13. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Daniel (comment 38 above):

    Daniel, the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) has already graciously provided free and open access to this article on this web page. Further, web address can serve as a link to this page so that others may access it, just as you have done.

    Because I am an author, not the editor, publisher, or distributor, I am not the person from whom to request any other form of access. Because legal issues regarding publication rights appear to be involved, I suggest that you please take serious note of the BAS Copyright page at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/about-the-biblical-archaeology-society/copyright/ , as well as the BAS Terms of Use page at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/about-the-biblical-archaeology-society/terms-of-use/ .

    If you still have questions, I suggest that you contact the BAS Editorial and Business office, using the address given at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/about-the-biblical-archaeology-society/masthead/ . It would seem appropriate to specify that your message is for the attention of the Publisher’s Administrative Assistant, Ms. Janet Bowman.

  14. Daniel Keeran says:

    Please send a copy of this article to [email protected]

  15. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to David (comment 36 above):
    Of course, David, and thank you for pointing out this limit. My article on external verification of these 50 people in the Bible makes no attempt to deal with miraculous events. It neither claims that supernatural events occurred nor disputes such claims. I have only dealt with matches between biblical data and evidences for non-supernatural phenomena, namely, the existence of persons to whom the Bible refers.
    Best,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  16. David F. says:

    This does not, however, prove that the miraculous claims that are in the Bible are true. If you in anyway think this proves that the entire Bible is historically accurate then you have committed a fallacy of composition.

  17. roger says:

    most of the dates are off, and need RCCF / Torah Discovery Chronology calibration, and at least one (Shishak) misidentified
    see ‘Abraham until the Exodus’ that also gives the date of the ‘Israel Stele’ by Shishak just about 500 years after the Exodus so Shishak before Shoeshank.
    and some others under-identified such as Darius II as western chronology at times conflates, and or adds fudge

  18. Gertoux says:

    There are many chronological, historical and archaeological evidence which confirms the Bible, much more than 50 people, but unfortunately all these informations are poorly known, see https://mom.academia.edu/GerardGERTOUX

  19. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Continuing the reply to Nancy (comment 30 above):

    Now to answer a closely related question that you did not ask.

    Actually, there is plenty of ancient evidence for King Josiah of Judah in several ancient books by various authors–at least six of them, who wrote at various times and in various situations. The fact that these books (scrolls) were eventually collected and published “side by side” in the same volume does not mean that they should not count as several ancient witnesses to the life of Josiah:
    2 Kings makes 18 historical references to Josiah, king of Judah;
    1-2 Chronicles makes 16 historical references to him;
    the book of Jeremiah makes 17 historical references to him;
    the book of Zephaniah makes one historical reference to him;
    the book of Zechariah makes one historical reference to him,
    and the Gospel of Matthew makes 2 historical references to him,
    (1 Kings 13:2 mentions a prediction of his birth and name.)
    These days, people (and I am not including you among them) too easily discount ancient, historical references that all mention the same person or event, even though they were written by different authors at different times—and even though the various ancient writers were much, much closer to the ancient times they referred to than we are. The agreement of different sources adds strength to the historical case that can be made. Unfortunately, it has become fashionable in some circles to ignore ancient evidence, but it hasn’t gone away.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls suddenly made it possible to compare biblical texts from the period around 225 B.C,E. until 68 C.E. with the Hebrew Bible as we know it today. Although some differences crept in, there is also amazing continuity and accuracy. The labor of the scribes who copied and faithfully preserved the biblical texts for so many generations, as well as the hard work of modern Bible scholars, deserves better treatment than to be ignored.

    Thank you for your curiosity and patience if you have read this far!

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  20. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Nancy (comment 30 above):
    Thank you for asking, Nancy. If you’ll be patient, first I’ll do my best to answer your real question, and then I’ll answer what you were not really asking.

    There is no known inscription from outside the Bible that verifies the existence of Josiah, king of Judah. Some thought that Josiah was the person referred to by the name ‘Ashyahu in the “three shekels” ostracon (a fragment of pottery used as ancient stationery). Sometimes biblical names can be reversed, for example, Ahaz-yahu and Yeho-ahaz are essentially the same name. A few people thought this happened with Josiah and ‘Ashyahu (long story).

    But then the “three shekels” ostracon turned out to be a forgery. Some readers, through no fault of their own, got the first news (which turned out to be mistaken), but not the second news story about its being a forgery. I’m sorry if that happened to you.

    Still, there is _indirect_ evidence for Josiah’s reforms that are mentioned in Scripture. Whereas it was not uncommon for pictures (iconography) to accompany inscriptions in earlier times, around the time of Josiah, such pictures, by and large, were no longer used (inscriptions became “aniconic”). See Exodus 20:4.

    Because Josiah was not the only reform-minded king of Judah (Hezekiah being an earlier reformer-king), the picture is not totally crystal clear, but this indirect evidence for a royal reformer in the late 600s B.C.E. seems to fit with the description of Josiah’s reforms in the biblical text. Inscriptions from about 630 to 586 B.C.E. have some letter shapes that are distinctively from that time period, and they tend to have no iconography or only the smallest and simplest, such as a tiny bud with two tiny leaves between the lines of writing.

    I suppose that the inscriptions that name people in Josiah’s administration (such as Gemariah the official, son of Shaphan the scribe) create a degree of plausibility for the existence of King Josiah, but the evidence has not gone beyond plausibility to clear confirmation of this king.

    An answer to a closely related question that you did not ask is in my next reply.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  21. Howard Cooper says:

    I thought there was evidence for King Josiah. Several officials from his reign are listed but he is not?

  22. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to David (comment 28 above):

    David, it is good to be cautious in evaluating evidence, and not to overstate the case. Do use your best judgment without denying the existing evidence its due implications. If I may add a humorous touch, we must not “require ancient birth certificates.”

    1. Other examples of the Aramaic phrase pattern “the house of” plus name of dynastic founder (a pattern which spread to Assyrian Akkadian inscriptions) are quite accurate, historically, in naming the founder of the dynasty. The clearest obvious example is “the house of Omri,” which was used in Assyrian inscriptions as a conventional way of referring to the northern kingdom of Israel even long after the Omride dynasty was overthrown. Note that the dynasty of Omri began ca. 884 B.C.E., only 86 years after the end of the reign of David in 970. On the phrase pattern in general, see Gary A. Rendsburg, “On the Writing BYTDWD in the Aramaic Inscription fron Tel Dan,” Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995): 22-25, briefly quoted and discussed in Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons (partly available in Google Books), 125-126.

    2. The closeness in time of much of the inscriptional evidence to the end of David’s reign in ca. 970 B.C.E. indicates greater likelihood that the phrase “the house of David” does accurately include the name of the actual founder of the single dynasty of the southern kingdom of Judah, in fact a much greater likelihood than that Judahite kings simply adopted an eponymous hero as their dynastic founder.

    The sources for David are not strictly from one ethnicity, as the Greek myths, but from four that flourished in the Iron Age, having different patron deities and recognizably distinct cultures: besides the Hebrew authors of the books of 1‒2 Samuel and 1 Kings, three sources are of enemies of the Hebrews: an Aramean king, a Moabite king, and an Egyptian Pharaoh. Middle Eastern cultures have traditionally maintained long memories of friends and enemies, and David’s conquests did not make friends of those he conquered.

    a. An Egyptian place-name in an inscription of Pharaoh Shoshenq I (r. 945‒924), written in hieroglyphics within 45 years of the end of David’s reign, refers to a territory in southern Judah or the Negev, where 1 Samuel places David when he was hiding from King Saul, as “the heights (or highland) of David.” See 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): 29‒44.

    b. Mesha, king of Moab, had his victory stele written in Moabite sometime between 900 and 800 B.C.E. That is between 70 and 170 years of the end of David’s reign. Mesha’s inscription very likely mentions “the house of Da[v]id” in line 31 and possibly also in line 12, where the Hebrew syntax, though explained in grammars of ancient Hebrew, was used infrequently. On the Mesha inscription, see Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons, pp. 95‒108, 265‒277, and for the date, pp. 99‒100.

    (If one may elucidate the vividness of social memory after 70 to 170 years among the ancient Hebrews by parallels in U.S. history, World War II ended 70 years ago, and the Battle of the Alamo, complete with its heroes William Travis, James Bowie, Davy Crockett, et al. was fought in 1836, a little over 170 years ago. Neither these events nor the names of the heroes associated with them are likely to be forgotten or subject to serious confusion anytime soon.)

    c. An Aramean king of Damascus had the “house of David” inscription written in Aramaic on his victory stele sometime between ca. 870 and 750 B.C.E. In the opinion of many scholars, the author was most likely Hazael (r. 844/842‒ca. 800), though some think it was his son, Ben-hadad (r. early eighth century). On the stele, see Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons (partly available in Google Books), pp. 110‒132, and for the date, pp. 115‒117.

    3. Further, the attempt to draw a parallel between the historical David and the mythological Hellēn founders on the difference between mythology and history.

    Hellēn, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, was considered to be “in Greek mythology, king of Phthia (at the northern end of the Gulf of Euboea), son of Deucalion (the Greek Noah) and Pyrrha and grandson of the Titan Prometheus; he was the eponymous ancestor of all true Greeks, called Hellenes in his honour” (http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hellen).

    Well and good, but I fail to see any true parallel between Hellēn and David.

    Greeks, who took pride in their ethnicity, adopted Hellēn as their ancestor in their myths, which stretched back into time that was literally immemorial, that is, _completely_without_any_historical_record_, making him the grandson of a Titan, no less. This particular Titan, Prometheus by name, created mankind, stole fire from the gods, and gave it to humankind, for which he met with a most unfortunate punishment. Hellēn was also considered the son of the Greek version of Noah, that is, not even recent enough to be ancient, but rather: strictly primeval. Although Roman culture adopted Greek myths with adaptations, it would be interesting to see whether any _historical_ writings of _other_ nations besides Greece and Rome actually consider Hellēn to be the 1) a grandson of the Titan who created humanity, 2) a son of a primeval figure, and 3) in his day job, king of Phthia, in Thessaly. This mythological tale is entirely a Greek invention, carried on by Romans.

    Contrast the Greek mythological depiction of Hellēn with the account of David (r. ca. 1010‒970 B.C.E.) in 1 Samuel chapter 16 through 2 Samuel and into 1 Kings chapter 2. In these books, we find a very different kind of literature, one that purports to give a matter-of-fact history of the all-too-human, mundane or dramatic affairs of family, priesthood, warfare, and state, even when laced with divine interventions. Several of the leading characters were mentioned by name in historical writings of other nations and cultures that refer to the Iron Age, with no Titans or primeval persons thrown in.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  23. David says:

    I happen to believe in King David, but I’d say that the Tel Dan and other stelae don’t confirm his existence; rather, they only confirm dynasties that claim descent from him, which is very different. Certainly, we wouldn’t argue that there must have been a Hellen because the Greeks claim descent from him. Granted, the stelae are relatively close to the figure in question, which lends some authority to the references, but still, I think it’s a mistake to overstate the case.

  24. Kurt says:

    Each locality had its own Baal, and the local Baal was often given a name denoting his being attached to a specific locality. For instance, the Baal of Peor (Baal-peor), who was worshiped by Moabites and Midianites, took his name from Mount Peor. (Nu 25:1-3, 6) The names of these local Baals later came to be transferred through a figure of speech (metonymy) to the localities themselves, as, for example, Baal-hermon, Baal-hazor, Baal-zephon, Bamoth-baal. However, although there were many local Baals, officially, among the Canaanites, it was understood that there was actually just one god Baal.”Warning Examples for Our Days”.
    http://tv.jw.org/#video/VODMovies/pub-ivwx_x_VIDEO

  25. » 2 Kings 24: The Twilight of Jerusalem Carpe Scriptura says:

    […] was replaced as king, but his career was far from over. In Lawrence Mykytiuk’s 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically, we learn that Jehoiakin is […]

  26. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Lisa (comment 25 above):
    Thank you for your very interesting comment. Of course, it’s difficult to respond without a citation that can refer me to whatever objects you mean, that is, “cartouches or ring seals that have been found that apparently belonged to joseph during his days as administrator in Egypt.” I think the operative word is “apparently.” Typically, television coverage of archaeological discoveries raises possibilities but does not go much further. Some possibilities of this kind regarding the Joseph of the book of Genesis (chapters 37 to 50) are associated with British Egyptologist David Rohl. His identification of Joseph is partly based on his major revision of Egyptian chronology, which has generally not been accepted by mainstream scholars.

    It is only occasionally that television programs give the actual _criteria_ that must be met before one can make a firm connection between an archaeological discovery and something or someone in the Bible. It is regarding such criteria and their application to inscriptions that I have done academic work. If an inscription is known to be authentic—that is, excavated, not sold on the antiquities market—and if it happens to contain enough data in the inscribed piece and in its immediate surroundings in the excavation, then one might be able make a clear, strong identification of someone who is mentioned in the Bible. If such evidence were to lead to a clear, strong identification the biblical Joseph, to whom the book of Genesis refers, that would be an earthshaking discovery indeed. We would most likely have heard about it from many experts by now.

    But, as is usual in biblical archaeology, we can always stay tuned for more discoveries.

  27. Leigh says:

    What about cartouches or ring seals that have been found that apparently belonged to joseph during his days as administrator in Egypt? Sorry, I can’t provide citations, but I’m sure I’ve heard about this on tv/history channel (?) and read about it as well.

  28. May 2-3, 2015 Truth2Freedom Weekend Christian Blogroll Collection | Truth2Freedom's Blog says:

    […] Fifty Bible People Confirmed By Recent Archaeology, Lawrence Mykytiuk. Even for me (Chris), this is a bit on the nerdy side. Don’t expect to read through this entire article unless you’re an Old Testament scholar (or, I guess, an archaeologist?). But it’s pretty fascinating to see how many OT names have been verified by extra-biblical inscriptions. Tuck this one away for your church’s next Bible trivia night. […]

  29. Real People | while today says:

    […] 1http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… 2 Grant R. Osborne, The Hermeneutical Spiral, 159 […]

  30. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    In response to comment 23 by John:
    John, there are two ways to interpret C.E. It is true that many people understand it to mean “Common Era.” But many others interpret it as “Christian Era.” The abbreviation is actually ambiguous, so I suggest that you interpret it in whichever way you prefer. Simply choosing to interpret it as “Christian Era” could save some Christians from needlessly expending emotional energy by getting upset about it.

    Regarding how scholars use B.C.E. and C.E., for many centuries, scholarly circles have been not only international, but also intercultural and inter-religious. Scholarly societies and institutions of higher education include Jews, Christians, Muslims, people of other faiths, and people of no particular faith. Some scholars do not use B.C., “before Christ,” simply because they don’t happen to believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah). Similarly, some do not use A.D. (short for anno Domini nostri, “in the year of our Lord”), simply because they do not happen to think of Jesus as Lord. Scholars are not interested in forcing others to imply they believe something that they don’t necessarily believe at all. Rather, in discussions, they simply need a way to indicate which era they are referring to. The solution that has been accepted in scholarly circles is to use the abbreviations B.C.E. and C.E.

    The use of B.C.E. and C.E. is nothing more than a way of indicating an era. Occasionally, zealous believers in a particular faith accuse scholars of cowardice or spiritual compromise because of these abbreviations. I think that’s silly and possibly judgmental in precisely the sense that someone important said people should not be judgmental. And that was Jesus.

  31. John Gilbert says:

    I used to subscribe to Biblical Archaeology review until they started that BCE and CE crap! What is it about the birth of Jesus that makes this the “Common era?”

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    […] In the 38th year of Asa, Omri was succeeded by his son, Ahab. Though described by the text as just the absolute worst, Ahab seems to have been able to maintain a bit of stability in the unstable nation of Israel, ruling for an impressive twenty-two years. He was married to a woman named Jezebel, whose name should be familiar to any cultural Christian. She was the daughter of King Ethbaal of Sidonia and, through her, Ahab came to serve Baal. Not only does he make an Asherah, he also builds a temple for Baal in Samaria. As in the case of his father, we have an independent attestation of Ahab’s existence. […]

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    […] The second adversary is Rezon, the son of Eliada. The grammar is a little fuddled, but either Rezon or Eliada fled from King Hadadezer of Zobah, and Rezon became a bandit leader. With his band, he returned to Damascus and was made the king of Syria. The trajectory of fleeing a court, raising an army, and returning to take power is eerily similar to David’s own rise. Incidentally, it seems that we may have some independent attestations for King Hadadezer. […]

  35. Part Three: Bible Characters | Elevate Blog says:

    […] were real, who are you to say the rest of them were made up?” One final thought. Clicking here will take you to a page which lists many Biblical characters proven to exist along with the […]

  36. Logic & Light | Is the Bible Reliable? – Part I says:

    […] have verified at least 50 leaders mentioned throughout the Bible. Examples include many of Israel’s and Judah’s kings such as […]

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  38. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Raymond (comment 21. above): Yes, the Persian king in Esther is clearly identifiable in inscriptions outside of the Bible. He is person 48 above:
    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.

  39. Raymond Morning Jr. says:

    Anything on the people of the book of Esther?

  40. Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible | Makes You Wonder Series 4 says:

    […] 40 websites in six languages, reflecting a wide spectrum of secular and religious orientations, linked to BAR’s supplementary web page.b Some even posted […]

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    Cross, Jr., Nahman Avigad and Joseph Naveh.

    The book excels in so many ways: its comprehensive survey of current Hebrew and Aramaic paleographic research, its aesthetically pleasing layout, its prolific examples, its attention to detail, and simplicity of style, all of which will appeal to professional and lay readers alike.

    Beginning with concise definitions of terms in the field, Dr. Yardeni offers a careful description of how letters were formed on various materials, and in various times and locations over many centuries. With didactically sophisticated but simple explanations of what is a rather complicated field, the book masterfully describes the information it is possible to glean from a careful, even minute, examination of the letters and words of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic documents. It is a book written by a seasoned teacher, who knows how to lead the reader from the very first steps in the field into all the knowledge that must be assimilated by anyone who aspires to begin the long journey toward at least a partial expertise in the analysis of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions and texts.

    As a summary at the end of the book Dr. Yardeni concludes with a convenient list of indicators of the various stages of development of the scripts of the Judaean Desert documents. By demonstrating how these indicators are used in dating she initiates the reader into the many details of paleography which Dr. Yardeni herself takes into account when she is describing and dating a script or a document. One has the feeling she has provided a glimpse of the very inner workings of her mind; indeed, that she has divulged to the reader her “trade secrets.”

    This book sets a new standard in the field of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic paleography.

  42. Fun! 50 Old Testament Biblical Figures Confirmed Archaeologically | Thou Shalt Think says:

    […] http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… […]

  43. Six Reasons For My Faith « or191ns says:

    […] 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, […]

  44. Conheça as 50 figuras históricas do Velho Testamento confirmadas pela arqueologia - Logos Apologetica says:

    […] 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-… […]

  45. 50 Figures: The Biblical and Archaeological Evidence | Biblical Roots of Classical Philosophy and Mythology says:

    […] Taken from: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… […]

  46. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

  47. Hector Gonzalez says:

    What about Joseph?

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

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

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

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

  48. Eski Ahit’te Arkeolojik İsimler | Murat Topaloğlu says:

    […] Hofra […]

  49. joaoloch says:

    […] Capa da Biblical Archaeology Review […]

  50. Arqueologia identifica existência de 50 personagens bíblicos says:

    […] Capa da Biblical Archaeology Review […]

  51. Bookmarks for September 25th through May 7th - Vibrant Media says:

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

  52. Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel · Wat als dit echt zo is… says:

    […] 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 […]

  53. Archeological confirmation of 50 biblical people | Geodetective says:

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

  54. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically | GospelLife says:

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

  55. 50 πρόσωπα της Βίβλου που έχουν επιβεβαιωθεί από την αρχαιολογία (αμετάφραστο προς το παρόν) | ΑΓΙΑ ΓΡΑΦΗ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΩΤΟΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΙΣΜΟΣ says:

    […] Ahab […]

  56. 50 πρόσωπα της Βίβλου που έχουν επιβεβαιωθεί από την αρχαιολογία (αμετάφραστο προς το παρόν) | ΑΓΙΑ ΓΡΑΦΗ ΚΑΙ ΠΡΩΤΟΧΡΙΣΤΙΑΝΙΣΜΟΣ says:

    […] Shishak (= Shoshenq I) […]

  57. Biblical Personalities Outside the Bible | The College Rabbi says:

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

  58. 5 faraones egipcios citados en la Biblia y confirmados por la Arqueología | Escritura_Sagrada says:

    […] 2. So (= Osorkon IV) […]

  59. Aantekeningen bij de Bijbel · Livius Nieuwsbrief / april says:

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

  60. Livius Nieuwsbrief / april | Mainzer Beobachter says:

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

  61. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  62. Jim says:

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

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

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

  63. 50 PERSONAJES HISTÓRICOS DEL ANTIGUO TESTAMENTO CONFIRMADOS POR LA ARQUEOLOGÍA | RELIGIÓN EN NAVARRA – ERLIJIOA NAFARROAN says:

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

  64. La arqueología confirma 50 personajes de la Biblia | Escritura_Sagrada says:

    […] rey Mesa […]

  65. Links – February 15, 2014 | Bob's Recommended Web Resources says:

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

  66. El rey David más 49 nombres bíblicos más, confirmados por la arqueología | Los Locoteros says:

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

  67. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología - CIUPEN - Concilio Interregional de Unidades Pastorales Evangélicas del Norte de Chile says:

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

  68. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología » says:

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

  69. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  70. Jim says:

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

  71. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología - says:

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

  72. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología | Primeira Igreja Virtual says:

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

  73. Historical Authenticity of the Bible’s record | The Gospel Defender says:

    […] via: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-… […]

  74. Around the Web (3/20) | InGodsImage.com says:

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

  75. 1420-1421 Larry Mykytiuk 50 Real People of the Bible, Confirmed by Archaeology | TB&TS says:

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

  76. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  77. Jezebel’s Seal: Round Two | Robin Cohn says:

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

  78. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  79. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  80. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically, Sheikh Insists ‘Israel is the Land of the Jewish People’ And Bill Maher Calls God a Psychotic Mass Murderer | These Christian Times says:

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

  81. Carol Luscomb says:

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

  82. Jeremy says:

    Notably not among this list is Jesus…

  83. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  84. Gahishmalontokati says:

    where is Jesus in this list?

  85. Sunday Edition Newsletter – March16th, 2014 | paulreverenews.com says:

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

  86. Digging Up the Past – The House of David | Bob's boy's Christianity blog says:

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

  87. Archaeology and the Bible - Page 3 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums says:

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

  88. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    In response to comment 66 by Mike Caba:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  89. Michael Caba says:

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

  90. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    As a second response to comment 48 by Robin:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  91. BAR Highlights 50 Archaeologically Confirmed Biblical Persons | Theo-sophical Ruminations says:

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

  92. Archaeology and the Bible | Seedbed says:

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

  93. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  94. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

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  96. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  97. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  98. Robin cohn 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

  99. 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?

  100. Gene R. Conradi 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.

  101. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  102. Mikeledo 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.

  103. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  104. International Women’s Day 2014 | Robin Cohn says:

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  105. Mikeledo 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.

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  107. 50 people in the Bible confirmed by Archaelogy | Legacy Academic Consulting says:

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  109. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  110. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  111. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  112. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  113. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  114. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  115. Uri Hurwitz 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

  116. 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

  117. Mikeledo 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.

  118. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  119. Jerry Duke says:

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

  120. Gene R. Conradi 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

  121. Uri Hurwitz 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

  122. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  123. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  124. Gary Harper 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…

  125. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  126. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  127. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  128. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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. .

  129. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

  130. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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.

  131. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  132. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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.

  133. 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

  134. Jon L 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.

  135. Mikeledo 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.

  136. Mikeledo 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.

  137. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  138. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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.

  139. Virgil Hinricksen 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?

  140. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  141. David says:

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

  142. links: this went thru my mind | preachersmith says:

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

  143. “Divine Revelation” in Roman Catholic and Protestant Polemical Discussions, Part 2 | Reformation500 says:

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

  144. New Testament People Confirmed by Archaeology: Reader Contributions | Earliest Christianity says:

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

  145. Breya Warnstaff says:

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

  146. Real Men « What Then Why Now says:

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

  147. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  148. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  149. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  150. Chris McKinny 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

  151. Greg Baker says:

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

  152. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically « THE BLACK KETTLE says:

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  153. Rick Fee 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.

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155 Responses

  1. […] With the three most recent matches, Dr. Lawrence Mykytiuk an associate professor of library science who specializes in history and Jewish studies at Purdue University, has confirmed a total of 53 persons in the Bible from the Old Testament. His latest announcement is that of Tattenai, a Persian administrator under Darius the Great; and Nebuzaradan and Nergal-sharezer, two Babylonian warriors who fought for King Nebuchadnezzar II, destroyer of the First Temple. The complete list of names is published along with details in the Bible History Daily. […]

  2. […] 53 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically by biblicalarchaeology.org […]

  3. This is a great job, makes your way easy for teaching some topics about the bible.

  4. Ephraim goldstein says:

    Could anyone tell me the height of the average person in pre-christian times and the height, of the average poor man’s house

  5. Cary Glassco says:

    Absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! What a wonderful addition to the world of Biblical documentation. Thank you so very much for making this information available online. May each of you be blessed richly for your contribution to the people of the world.
    Cary

  6. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Gregory (comment 44):

    Thank you, Gregory, for this very good question.

    This large, ostentatious seal, a carved blue stone 2 cm. long and almost as wide, ringed with a showy pomegranate-garland border, would have been suitable for any person of prestigious position or considerable wealth. Possible owners could even have included a preacher in the Temple who was a false prophet, as Hananiah was shown to be after his false prediction in the Temple in Jeremiah 28.

    Because the shapes of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet gradually changed over the centuries, it is possible to give an approximate date to ancient Hebrew inscriptions on that basis. This seal was published during the nineteenth century (in 1883 by Charles Clermont-Ganneau), when no one, neither scholars nor forgers, knew the correct shapes of Hebrew letters for the late seventh to early sixth century (the time of Jeremiah). Yet all the letter shapes are consistent with each other, being the appropriate shapes for late seventh-century to early sixth-century Hebrew script. This date is indicated especially by the Hebrew letter nun (n) and—though the photographs are not as clear as I would like—possibly by the Hebrew letter he’ (h), as well. Therefore, on this evidence it is safe to presume that this stone seal is genuine, even though its origin (provenance) is unknown. Normally, materials from the antiquities market are not to be trusted, because they have been bought, rather than excavated, and could be forged. But nineteenth-century inscriptions that turn out to have correct letter shapes that are all appropriate for the same century or part of a century are an exception.

    As for the setting of this seal, that is, the time and place, we have already settled on the late seventh to early sixth century, and it is clear that the letters are written in Hebrew script, as opposed to the distinctive scripts of neighboring kingdoms. Since the northern kingdom of Israel was conquered in 722 B.C.E., this seal, from the late 600s to early 500s, must be from the only remaining Hebrew kingdom, Judah.

    So far, so good. The seal is authentic and is from the kingdom of Judah during the time of Jeremiah, matching the setting of the Hananiah ben Azariah (Hananyahu ben ‘Azaryahu) in Jeremiah 28. Now we need to compare the identifying marks of an individual in the inscription and in the Bible. The seal owner’s name and his father’s name in the seal match the name of the false prophet and his father in Jeremiah 28, giving us two matching marks of an individual. That is not enough for a firm identification, but it is enough for a reasonable hypothesis.

    The archaeological evidence is not quite enough to support a virtually certain identification, for the following reasons:

    1. There were probably many people in Judah during that time named Hananiah/Hananyahu, and several of them, or perhaps quite a few of them, could have had a father named Azariah/’Azaryahu, or Azzur for short (compare the parallel shortening of the full name Berekyahu to Baruch).

    2. The seal does not reveal any connection with Gibeon, which is clear in Jeremiah 28, nor does it suggest anything about the seal owner being a prophet, which is also clear in that same chapter. In other words, potential marks of an individual in the Bible that might have provided a third identifying mark of an individual—and would have made the case for a virtually certain identification—are not confirmed by the seal, leaving the total marks of an individual at 2, rather than 3.

    Lawrence J. Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  7. susanw83 says:

    Good stuff – Thanks!!

  8. Greg says:

    Lawrence,
    Thank you for a great update to a well-documented and thought out series of articles.
    I was wondering about “Azzur of Gibeon, father of Hananiah,” concerning whom you felt there is not enough evidence to include among the 53. Were you aware that there is a stamp seal that reads, “Belonging to Hananyahu [Hananiah], son of Azaryahu [Azariah]“? It is in the Corpus of West Semitic Stamp Seals, p. 100, §165. If you have already considered this in another article, please forgive my not being aware of it.
    Thanks again

  9. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Jimmy (comment 42 above):
    The 53 people in the list are people in the Hebrew Bible (= the Old Testament in Protestant Bibles) who have been confirmed by archaeology thus far, _according_to_the_protocols_ (procedures, requirements) that are summarized and freely available online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/. The purpose of the protocols is to avoid mistaken confirmations (identifications) and arrive at a solid, reliable list—not to produce as many confirmations as possible. Setting low standards in order to get more confirmations ultimately results in simply listing flawed confirmations that have no value.

    I am aware that in Roman Catholic Bibles and Orthodox Bibles, the Old Testament has more books, and therefore more potential archaeological confirmations, . Because my focus has been on the Hebrew Bible, thus far I have not yet searched for such confirmations in those additional books, though I think there are probably some to be made there.

    If you’re interested in what the protocols are, see the short summary that’s free online at free online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/150/. It appears in the first part of my book chapter, 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).

    I made the “Sixteen Strong” summary in 2012, because I thought most readers would find the following two previous publications too long and tedious:

    These protocols were first established on pp. 9-89 of my Ph.D. dissertation, whose title begins: _Identifying Biblical Persons_, listed above as IBP under the heading “Symbols and Abbreviations.” Most of IBP is freely available on the Google Books web site: http://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=bks&q=mykytiuk identifying&num=10 .

    Some modifications to the protocols appear in my later article that is also freely available online at docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_research/129/ , “Corrections and Updates to ‘Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200–539 B.C.E.,” Maarav 16 (2009),

    Lawrence J. Mykytiuk
    Purdue University

  10. Jimmy says:

    Does this list compile ALL the confirmed figured of thr Old Testament? Or 90% of them? Or 50% of them?

  11. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Eric (comment 40 above):

    Three of the persons in the Hebrew Bible whom you mentioned are indeed already identified In the table above: Esarhaddon is no. 40, Xerxes is no. 48, and Artaxerxes is no. 49.

    Three other people, all in the book of Genesis, are not clearly identifiable in any inscription of known authenticity: Chedor-la’omer, Jacob, and Joseph.

    Regarding Ahab: when a name is translated into another language, it is not at all unusual for it to be spoken and written in a slightly different way in the “new” language. For example, Russians pronounce one name given to males, Ivan, as ee-VAHN. But when it is translated into English, we say AY-ven. When we say the Russian name our way, _we_ are the ones who are pronouncing it with a foreign accent. Ahab’s name and the name of his kingdom, Israel, went through similar changes when the Assyrians gave it their foreign accent.

    The Hebrew name Ahab has been rendered in the Akkadian language as it was spoken and written by Assyrian scribes, and then it has been translated into English, so that we who read English do not have to struggle with Assyrian Akkadian and how it made small changes in Hebrew names. (Your comment misspells his name in Akkadian: the b and the h should trade places.)

    Also, the Assyrian Akkadian rendering of “Israelite” drops the initial “I” sound, but despite the foreign accent recorded in the inscription, the word is still recognizable. We can hardly go back and make the ancient Assyrians “spell it right,” based on ancient Hebrew, which they heard and slightly changed.

    Ahab the Israelite is identified with complete certainly in the Kurkh Monolith of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria, in his description of the battle of Qarqar. The inscription names the various kings who fought in the battle, and even when his name and kingdom are written according to an Assyrian accent, it is not hard to figure out who they meant.

  12. Eric says:

    There are period artifacts which refer to Kedor-laomer, Jacob, Joseph, Artaxerxes, Xerxes, Essarhaddon, and several others. Were these overlooked on purpose or were you not aware of them? I’m concerned with the reference to “Ahab the Israelite” because other references say that the inscription actually reads “Abahu the Sirilean”.

  13. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Daniel (comment 38 above):

    Daniel, the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS) has already graciously provided free and open access to this article on this web page. Further, web address can serve as a link to this page so that others may access it, just as you have done.

    Because I am an author, not the editor, publisher, or distributor, I am not the person from whom to request any other form of access. Because legal issues regarding publication rights appear to be involved, I suggest that you please take serious note of the BAS Copyright page at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/about-the-biblical-archaeology-society/copyright/ , as well as the BAS Terms of Use page at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/about-the-biblical-archaeology-society/terms-of-use/ .

    If you still have questions, I suggest that you contact the BAS Editorial and Business office, using the address given at http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/about-the-biblical-archaeology-society/masthead/ . It would seem appropriate to specify that your message is for the attention of the Publisher’s Administrative Assistant, Ms. Janet Bowman.

  14. Daniel Keeran says:

    Please send a copy of this article to [email protected]

  15. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to David (comment 36 above):
    Of course, David, and thank you for pointing out this limit. My article on external verification of these 50 people in the Bible makes no attempt to deal with miraculous events. It neither claims that supernatural events occurred nor disputes such claims. I have only dealt with matches between biblical data and evidences for non-supernatural phenomena, namely, the existence of persons to whom the Bible refers.
    Best,
    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  16. David F. says:

    This does not, however, prove that the miraculous claims that are in the Bible are true. If you in anyway think this proves that the entire Bible is historically accurate then you have committed a fallacy of composition.

  17. roger says:

    most of the dates are off, and need RCCF / Torah Discovery Chronology calibration, and at least one (Shishak) misidentified
    see ‘Abraham until the Exodus’ that also gives the date of the ‘Israel Stele’ by Shishak just about 500 years after the Exodus so Shishak before Shoeshank.
    and some others under-identified such as Darius II as western chronology at times conflates, and or adds fudge

  18. Gertoux says:

    There are many chronological, historical and archaeological evidence which confirms the Bible, much more than 50 people, but unfortunately all these informations are poorly known, see https://mom.academia.edu/GerardGERTOUX

  19. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Continuing the reply to Nancy (comment 30 above):

    Now to answer a closely related question that you did not ask.

    Actually, there is plenty of ancient evidence for King Josiah of Judah in several ancient books by various authors–at least six of them, who wrote at various times and in various situations. The fact that these books (scrolls) were eventually collected and published “side by side” in the same volume does not mean that they should not count as several ancient witnesses to the life of Josiah:
    2 Kings makes 18 historical references to Josiah, king of Judah;
    1-2 Chronicles makes 16 historical references to him;
    the book of Jeremiah makes 17 historical references to him;
    the book of Zephaniah makes one historical reference to him;
    the book of Zechariah makes one historical reference to him,
    and the Gospel of Matthew makes 2 historical references to him,
    (1 Kings 13:2 mentions a prediction of his birth and name.)
    These days, people (and I am not including you among them) too easily discount ancient, historical references that all mention the same person or event, even though they were written by different authors at different times—and even though the various ancient writers were much, much closer to the ancient times they referred to than we are. The agreement of different sources adds strength to the historical case that can be made. Unfortunately, it has become fashionable in some circles to ignore ancient evidence, but it hasn’t gone away.

    The Dead Sea Scrolls suddenly made it possible to compare biblical texts from the period around 225 B.C,E. until 68 C.E. with the Hebrew Bible as we know it today. Although some differences crept in, there is also amazing continuity and accuracy. The labor of the scribes who copied and faithfully preserved the biblical texts for so many generations, as well as the hard work of modern Bible scholars, deserves better treatment than to be ignored.

    Thank you for your curiosity and patience if you have read this far!

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  20. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Nancy (comment 30 above):
    Thank you for asking, Nancy. If you’ll be patient, first I’ll do my best to answer your real question, and then I’ll answer what you were not really asking.

    There is no known inscription from outside the Bible that verifies the existence of Josiah, king of Judah. Some thought that Josiah was the person referred to by the name ‘Ashyahu in the “three shekels” ostracon (a fragment of pottery used as ancient stationery). Sometimes biblical names can be reversed, for example, Ahaz-yahu and Yeho-ahaz are essentially the same name. A few people thought this happened with Josiah and ‘Ashyahu (long story).

    But then the “three shekels” ostracon turned out to be a forgery. Some readers, through no fault of their own, got the first news (which turned out to be mistaken), but not the second news story about its being a forgery. I’m sorry if that happened to you.

    Still, there is _indirect_ evidence for Josiah’s reforms that are mentioned in Scripture. Whereas it was not uncommon for pictures (iconography) to accompany inscriptions in earlier times, around the time of Josiah, such pictures, by and large, were no longer used (inscriptions became “aniconic”). See Exodus 20:4.

    Because Josiah was not the only reform-minded king of Judah (Hezekiah being an earlier reformer-king), the picture is not totally crystal clear, but this indirect evidence for a royal reformer in the late 600s B.C.E. seems to fit with the description of Josiah’s reforms in the biblical text. Inscriptions from about 630 to 586 B.C.E. have some letter shapes that are distinctively from that time period, and they tend to have no iconography or only the smallest and simplest, such as a tiny bud with two tiny leaves between the lines of writing.

    I suppose that the inscriptions that name people in Josiah’s administration (such as Gemariah the official, son of Shaphan the scribe) create a degree of plausibility for the existence of King Josiah, but the evidence has not gone beyond plausibility to clear confirmation of this king.

    An answer to a closely related question that you did not ask is in my next reply.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  21. Howard Cooper says:

    I thought there was evidence for King Josiah. Several officials from his reign are listed but he is not?

  22. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to David (comment 28 above):

    David, it is good to be cautious in evaluating evidence, and not to overstate the case. Do use your best judgment without denying the existing evidence its due implications. If I may add a humorous touch, we must not “require ancient birth certificates.”

    1. Other examples of the Aramaic phrase pattern “the house of” plus name of dynastic founder (a pattern which spread to Assyrian Akkadian inscriptions) are quite accurate, historically, in naming the founder of the dynasty. The clearest obvious example is “the house of Omri,” which was used in Assyrian inscriptions as a conventional way of referring to the northern kingdom of Israel even long after the Omride dynasty was overthrown. Note that the dynasty of Omri began ca. 884 B.C.E., only 86 years after the end of the reign of David in 970. On the phrase pattern in general, see Gary A. Rendsburg, “On the Writing BYTDWD in the Aramaic Inscription fron Tel Dan,” Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995): 22-25, briefly quoted and discussed in Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons (partly available in Google Books), 125-126.

    2. The closeness in time of much of the inscriptional evidence to the end of David’s reign in ca. 970 B.C.E. indicates greater likelihood that the phrase “the house of David” does accurately include the name of the actual founder of the single dynasty of the southern kingdom of Judah, in fact a much greater likelihood than that Judahite kings simply adopted an eponymous hero as their dynastic founder.

    The sources for David are not strictly from one ethnicity, as the Greek myths, but from four that flourished in the Iron Age, having different patron deities and recognizably distinct cultures: besides the Hebrew authors of the books of 1‒2 Samuel and 1 Kings, three sources are of enemies of the Hebrews: an Aramean king, a Moabite king, and an Egyptian Pharaoh. Middle Eastern cultures have traditionally maintained long memories of friends and enemies, and David’s conquests did not make friends of those he conquered.

    a. An Egyptian place-name in an inscription of Pharaoh Shoshenq I (r. 945‒924), written in hieroglyphics within 45 years of the end of David’s reign, refers to a territory in southern Judah or the Negev, where 1 Samuel places David when he was hiding from King Saul, as “the heights (or highland) of David.” See 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): 29‒44.

    b. Mesha, king of Moab, had his victory stele written in Moabite sometime between 900 and 800 B.C.E. That is between 70 and 170 years of the end of David’s reign. Mesha’s inscription very likely mentions “the house of Da[v]id” in line 31 and possibly also in line 12, where the Hebrew syntax, though explained in grammars of ancient Hebrew, was used infrequently. On the Mesha inscription, see Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons, pp. 95‒108, 265‒277, and for the date, pp. 99‒100.

    (If one may elucidate the vividness of social memory after 70 to 170 years among the ancient Hebrews by parallels in U.S. history, World War II ended 70 years ago, and the Battle of the Alamo, complete with its heroes William Travis, James Bowie, Davy Crockett, et al. was fought in 1836, a little over 170 years ago. Neither these events nor the names of the heroes associated with them are likely to be forgotten or subject to serious confusion anytime soon.)

    c. An Aramean king of Damascus had the “house of David” inscription written in Aramaic on his victory stele sometime between ca. 870 and 750 B.C.E. In the opinion of many scholars, the author was most likely Hazael (r. 844/842‒ca. 800), though some think it was his son, Ben-hadad (r. early eighth century). On the stele, see Mykytiuk, Identifying Biblical Persons (partly available in Google Books), pp. 110‒132, and for the date, pp. 115‒117.

    3. Further, the attempt to draw a parallel between the historical David and the mythological Hellēn founders on the difference between mythology and history.

    Hellēn, according to the Encyclopedia Brittanica, was considered to be “in Greek mythology, king of Phthia (at the northern end of the Gulf of Euboea), son of Deucalion (the Greek Noah) and Pyrrha and grandson of the Titan Prometheus; he was the eponymous ancestor of all true Greeks, called Hellenes in his honour” (http://www.britannica.com/topic/Hellen).

    Well and good, but I fail to see any true parallel between Hellēn and David.

    Greeks, who took pride in their ethnicity, adopted Hellēn as their ancestor in their myths, which stretched back into time that was literally immemorial, that is, _completely_without_any_historical_record_, making him the grandson of a Titan, no less. This particular Titan, Prometheus by name, created mankind, stole fire from the gods, and gave it to humankind, for which he met with a most unfortunate punishment. Hellēn was also considered the son of the Greek version of Noah, that is, not even recent enough to be ancient, but rather: strictly primeval. Although Roman culture adopted Greek myths with adaptations, it would be interesting to see whether any _historical_ writings of _other_ nations besides Greece and Rome actually consider Hellēn to be the 1) a grandson of the Titan who created humanity, 2) a son of a primeval figure, and 3) in his day job, king of Phthia, in Thessaly. This mythological tale is entirely a Greek invention, carried on by Romans.

    Contrast the Greek mythological depiction of Hellēn with the account of David (r. ca. 1010‒970 B.C.E.) in 1 Samuel chapter 16 through 2 Samuel and into 1 Kings chapter 2. In these books, we find a very different kind of literature, one that purports to give a matter-of-fact history of the all-too-human, mundane or dramatic affairs of family, priesthood, warfare, and state, even when laced with divine interventions. Several of the leading characters were mentioned by name in historical writings of other nations and cultures that refer to the Iron Age, with no Titans or primeval persons thrown in.

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  23. David says:

    I happen to believe in King David, but I’d say that the Tel Dan and other stelae don’t confirm his existence; rather, they only confirm dynasties that claim descent from him, which is very different. Certainly, we wouldn’t argue that there must have been a Hellen because the Greeks claim descent from him. Granted, the stelae are relatively close to the figure in question, which lends some authority to the references, but still, I think it’s a mistake to overstate the case.

  24. Kurt says:

    Each locality had its own Baal, and the local Baal was often given a name denoting his being attached to a specific locality. For instance, the Baal of Peor (Baal-peor), who was worshiped by Moabites and Midianites, took his name from Mount Peor. (Nu 25:1-3, 6) The names of these local Baals later came to be transferred through a figure of speech (metonymy) to the localities themselves, as, for example, Baal-hermon, Baal-hazor, Baal-zephon, Bamoth-baal. However, although there were many local Baals, officially, among the Canaanites, it was understood that there was actually just one god Baal.”Warning Examples for Our Days”.
    http://tv.jw.org/#video/VODMovies/pub-ivwx_x_VIDEO

  25. » 2 Kings 24: The Twilight of Jerusalem Carpe Scriptura says:

    […] was replaced as king, but his career was far from over. In Lawrence Mykytiuk’s 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically, we learn that Jehoiakin is […]

  26. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Lisa (comment 25 above):
    Thank you for your very interesting comment. Of course, it’s difficult to respond without a citation that can refer me to whatever objects you mean, that is, “cartouches or ring seals that have been found that apparently belonged to joseph during his days as administrator in Egypt.” I think the operative word is “apparently.” Typically, television coverage of archaeological discoveries raises possibilities but does not go much further. Some possibilities of this kind regarding the Joseph of the book of Genesis (chapters 37 to 50) are associated with British Egyptologist David Rohl. His identification of Joseph is partly based on his major revision of Egyptian chronology, which has generally not been accepted by mainstream scholars.

    It is only occasionally that television programs give the actual _criteria_ that must be met before one can make a firm connection between an archaeological discovery and something or someone in the Bible. It is regarding such criteria and their application to inscriptions that I have done academic work. If an inscription is known to be authentic—that is, excavated, not sold on the antiquities market—and if it happens to contain enough data in the inscribed piece and in its immediate surroundings in the excavation, then one might be able make a clear, strong identification of someone who is mentioned in the Bible. If such evidence were to lead to a clear, strong identification the biblical Joseph, to whom the book of Genesis refers, that would be an earthshaking discovery indeed. We would most likely have heard about it from many experts by now.

    But, as is usual in biblical archaeology, we can always stay tuned for more discoveries.

  27. Leigh says:

    What about cartouches or ring seals that have been found that apparently belonged to joseph during his days as administrator in Egypt? Sorry, I can’t provide citations, but I’m sure I’ve heard about this on tv/history channel (?) and read about it as well.

  28. May 2-3, 2015 Truth2Freedom Weekend Christian Blogroll Collection | Truth2Freedom's Blog says:

    […] Fifty Bible People Confirmed By Recent Archaeology, Lawrence Mykytiuk. Even for me (Chris), this is a bit on the nerdy side. Don’t expect to read through this entire article unless you’re an Old Testament scholar (or, I guess, an archaeologist?). But it’s pretty fascinating to see how many OT names have been verified by extra-biblical inscriptions. Tuck this one away for your church’s next Bible trivia night. […]

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  30. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    In response to comment 23 by John:
    John, there are two ways to interpret C.E. It is true that many people understand it to mean “Common Era.” But many others interpret it as “Christian Era.” The abbreviation is actually ambiguous, so I suggest that you interpret it in whichever way you prefer. Simply choosing to interpret it as “Christian Era” could save some Christians from needlessly expending emotional energy by getting upset about it.

    Regarding how scholars use B.C.E. and C.E., for many centuries, scholarly circles have been not only international, but also intercultural and inter-religious. Scholarly societies and institutions of higher education include Jews, Christians, Muslims, people of other faiths, and people of no particular faith. Some scholars do not use B.C., “before Christ,” simply because they don’t happen to believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Messiah). Similarly, some do not use A.D. (short for anno Domini nostri, “in the year of our Lord”), simply because they do not happen to think of Jesus as Lord. Scholars are not interested in forcing others to imply they believe something that they don’t necessarily believe at all. Rather, in discussions, they simply need a way to indicate which era they are referring to. The solution that has been accepted in scholarly circles is to use the abbreviations B.C.E. and C.E.

    The use of B.C.E. and C.E. is nothing more than a way of indicating an era. Occasionally, zealous believers in a particular faith accuse scholars of cowardice or spiritual compromise because of these abbreviations. I think that’s silly and possibly judgmental in precisely the sense that someone important said people should not be judgmental. And that was Jesus.

  31. John Gilbert says:

    I used to subscribe to Biblical Archaeology review until they started that BCE and CE crap! What is it about the birth of Jesus that makes this the “Common era?”

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  38. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    Reply to Raymond (comment 21. above): Yes, the Persian king in Esther is clearly identifiable in inscriptions outside of the Bible. He is person 48 above:
    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.

  39. Raymond Morning Jr. says:

    Anything on the people of the book of Esther?

  40. Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible | Makes You Wonder Series 4 says:

    […] 40 websites in six languages, reflecting a wide spectrum of secular and religious orientations, linked to BAR’s supplementary web page.b Some even posted […]

  41. Editorial says:

    Carta is pleased to announce:
    http://store.carta-jerusalem.com/hebrew-script/687-understanding-the-alphabet-of-the-dead-sea-scrolls.html
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    Foreword by Weston W. Fields, Ph.D., Executive Director, The Dead Sea Scrolls Foundation
    This impressive book by Dr. Ada Yardeni makes it easy to understand why one never hears a single criticism of Ada Yardeni’s professional abilities as a paleographer. It could be entitled “All you ever need to know about Hebrew paleography.” Dr. Ada Yardeni stands at the head of her field, and this book is the best ever produced on the topic, though it owes much to those who have gone before, such as Frank Moore
    Cross, Jr., Nahman Avigad and Joseph Naveh.

    The book excels in so many ways: its comprehensive survey of current Hebrew and Aramaic paleographic research, its aesthetically pleasing layout, its prolific examples, its attention to detail, and simplicity of style, all of which will appeal to professional and lay readers alike.

    Beginning with concise definitions of terms in the field, Dr. Yardeni offers a careful description of how letters were formed on various materials, and in various times and locations over many centuries. With didactically sophisticated but simple explanations of what is a rather complicated field, the book masterfully describes the information it is possible to glean from a careful, even minute, examination of the letters and words of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic documents. It is a book written by a seasoned teacher, who knows how to lead the reader from the very first steps in the field into all the knowledge that must be assimilated by anyone who aspires to begin the long journey toward at least a partial expertise in the analysis of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic inscriptions and texts.

    As a summary at the end of the book Dr. Yardeni concludes with a convenient list of indicators of the various stages of development of the scripts of the Judaean Desert documents. By demonstrating how these indicators are used in dating she initiates the reader into the many details of paleography which Dr. Yardeni herself takes into account when she is describing and dating a script or a document. One has the feeling she has provided a glimpse of the very inner workings of her mind; indeed, that she has divulged to the reader her “trade secrets.”

    This book sets a new standard in the field of ancient Hebrew and Aramaic paleography.

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  46. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

  47. Hector Gonzalez says:

    What about Joseph?

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

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

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

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

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  61. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  62. Jim says:

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

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

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

  63. 50 PERSONAJES HISTÓRICOS DEL ANTIGUO TESTAMENTO CONFIRMADOS POR LA ARQUEOLOGÍA | RELIGIÓN EN NAVARRA – ERLIJIOA NAFARROAN says:

    […] Lista de 50 personajes históricos del Antiguo Testamento confirmados en inscripciones auténticas Biblical Archeology Review, marzo/abril 2014; Para ver las notas detalladas de las pruebas arqueológicas de cada uno (en inglés) http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-&#8230; […]

  64. La arqueología confirma 50 personajes de la Biblia | Escritura_Sagrada says:

    […] rey Mesa […]

  65. Links – February 15, 2014 | Bob's Recommended Web Resources says:

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

  66. El rey David más 49 nombres bíblicos más, confirmados por la arqueología | Los Locoteros says:

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

  67. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología - CIUPEN - Concilio Interregional de Unidades Pastorales Evangélicas del Norte de Chile says:

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

  68. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología » says:

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

  69. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  70. Jim says:

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

  71. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología - says:

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

  72. El rey David y 49 nombres más confirmados por la arqueología | Primeira Igreja Virtual says:

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

  73. Historical Authenticity of the Bible’s record | The Gospel Defender says:

    […] via: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-&#8230; […]

  74. Around the Web (3/20) | InGodsImage.com says:

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

  75. 1420-1421 Larry Mykytiuk 50 Real People of the Bible, Confirmed by Archaeology | TB&TS says:

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

  76. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  77. Jezebel’s Seal: Round Two | Robin Cohn says:

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

  78. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  79. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  80. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically, Sheikh Insists ‘Israel is the Land of the Jewish People’ And Bill Maher Calls God a Psychotic Mass Murderer | These Christian Times says:

    […] Mykytiuk writes that “at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record. Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.” The extensive Biblical and archaeological documentation supporting the BAR study is published here in a web-exclusive collection of endnotes detailing the Biblical references and inscriptions referring to each of the 50 figures READ MORE: http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/people-cultures-in-the-bible/people-in-the-bible/50-people-&#8230; […]

  81. Carol Luscomb says:

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

  82. Jeremy says:

    Notably not among this list is Jesus…

  83. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  84. Gahishmalontokati says:

    where is Jesus in this list?

  85. Sunday Edition Newsletter – March16th, 2014 | paulreverenews.com says:

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

  86. Digging Up the Past – The House of David | Bob's boy's Christianity blog says:

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

  87. Archaeology and the Bible - Page 3 - Christian Chat Rooms & Forums says:

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

  88. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    In response to comment 66 by Mike Caba:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  89. Michael Caba says:

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

  90. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

    As a second response to comment 48 by Robin:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  91. BAR Highlights 50 Archaeologically Confirmed Biblical Persons | Theo-sophical Ruminations says:

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

  92. Archaeology and the Bible | Seedbed says:

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

  93. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

    Best wishes,

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  94. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Lawrence Mykytiuk

  95. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically | Biblical Scholarship says:

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

  96. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  97. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  98. Robin cohn 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

  99. 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?

  100. Gene R. Conradi 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.

  101. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  102. Mikeledo 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.

  103. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  104. International Women’s Day 2014 | Robin Cohn says:

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

  105. Mikeledo 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.

  106. Links & Quotes | Craig T. Owens says:

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

  107. 50 people in the Bible confirmed by Archaelogy | Legacy Academic Consulting says:

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

  108. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically | Interpreter says:

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

  109. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  110. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  111. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  112. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  113. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  114. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  115. Uri Hurwitz 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

  116. 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

  117. Mikeledo 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.

  118. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  119. Jerry Duke says:

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

  120. Gene R. Conradi 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

  121. Uri Hurwitz 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

  122. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  123. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  124. Gary Harper 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…

  125. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  126. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  127. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  128. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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. .

  129. Lawrence Mykytiuk says:

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

  130. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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.

  131. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  132. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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.

  133. 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

  134. Jon L 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.

  135. Mikeledo 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.

  136. Mikeledo 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.

  137. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  138. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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.

  139. Virgil Hinricksen 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?

  140. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  141. David says:

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

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  145. Breya Warnstaff says:

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

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  147. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  148. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  149. Lawrence Mykytiuk 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

  150. Chris McKinny 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

  151. Greg Baker says:

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

  152. 50 People in the Bible Confirmed Archaeologically « THE BLACK KETTLE says:

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  153. Rick Fee 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.

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