19 Dec 2022

More archaeological proof

Although this isn’t technically biblical history (though there are prophetic relevancies in Daniel), a new discovery in Israel lends credence to that history.

Recently a horde of silver coins from the era of the Maccabees was uncovered in the Negev. Once again, we find biblical-era figures in the secular record. Can we forget the 19th century conventional “wisdom” that said the Hittites never existed, and the biblical mention of them was therefore flawed?

Their existence was doubted because modern archaeology had not yet discovered them. It didn’t help that Darwinian philosophy was all the rage then, casting doubt on the historicity of the Bible. In other words, secularists wanted the Bible to be false. A person like that will find “evidence” to strengthen his argument.

Then of course, the Hittite civilization was found. In 1834, ruins were discovered at Kanesh. Since then, beginning with biblical archaeologist William Albright, the Bible’s truthfulness has been buttressed countless times in the sifted soil of the Middle East.

I am reminded here of the wonderful quote from the novelist, Walker Percy. He once wrote that he was puzzled as to why he never saw Hittites walking down the streets of New York City.

“But I do see Jews,” he wrote. You see his clever point: biblical history tells us that the Hittites eventually were lost to history, as all great civilizations are. Yet the Jews are eternal.

So it is that if one can cast doubt on the Bible, one can dismiss Jewish history and perhaps more importantly, deny their modern claims to the land. Men often go to absurd lengths to do this. Who can forget Yasser Arafat claiming he was descended from the Canaanites, therefore “Palestinian” rights to the land trumped Israel’s!

At any rate, I’ve seen marvelous archaeological sites myself in Israel. Th walls of Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian invasion. The Temple Mount and its relics (ironically, many dug up by the Palestinians!). Acra, the fortress built by Antiochus Epiphanes in Jerusalem, but denied historically by the deniers, only to be discovered under a parking lot!

The lengthy list goes on.

The discovery of the silver from the time of Alexander the Great is wonderful. The tale is told in the book of 1 Maccabees, which of course is not in our Bible, but is a record of the revolt over persecutions launched by Antiochus a couple hundred years before Christ. This led to the rise of the family of Judah Maccabee; his family pushed back their tormentors and established a brief period of Jewish sovereignty in the land (before the Romans took over).

As with other conquering civilizations, the Jews ran afoul of the law when choosing to worship their one true God. This was the environment in the years after Persian rule, when the Greeks were on the ascent.

According to the Times of Israel:

“During rescue excavations in May, a small, incredibly preserved wooden box holding 15 silver tetradrachma coins was discovered in a cave in the Darageh Stream Nature Reserve. The coins were minted by Ptolemy VI, king of Egypt, and date to up to 170 BCE, which is just before Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes began handing down harsh measures against Jews’ freedom of worship.

“According to Eitan Klein of the Israel Antiquities Authority, which announced the find on Tuesday, the hoard was stashed by a fleeing Jew, who presumably subsequently died in the violence leading up to the Maccabean Revolt.”

You can rest assured that many more such discoveries will come to light in the future. For those who have ears to hear and eyes to see, biblical history will always shine bright.