Biblical Archaeology: Israel
Significant Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible.
Ancient Hebrew Altar
Was this ancient altar found at Beersheba used by the Hebrews?
This dismantled altar was discovered at the ruins of ancient Beersheba and was most likely destroyed during a revival, possibly by king Hezekiah. The Bible records one revival by king Hezekiah about 715 BC and another by Josiah about 621 BC. The Bible says that Hezekiah, "removed the high places and broke down the sacred pillars and cut down the Asherah. He also broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it." (2 Kings 18:4). It is interesting that one of the stones has an engraving of a serpent!
Could this stone monument of Baal have been the same image that many Israelites worshipped?
Baal, the storm god, is seen on this Stele unleashing a storm. He is holding a club in his right hand and a spear in his left like a lightning bolt, which extends upward in the form of a tree. It was found in 1932 at the site of ancient Ugarit, known today as Ras Shamra. Baal the was supreme male deity that was worshipped by the ancient Canaanites and Phoenicians, just as Ashtoreth was their supreme female deity. In many cases Baal was identified with the sun and Ashtoreth with the moon. Baal worship was prevalent during the time of Moses, especially among the Moabites, the Midianites, and eventually spread to the Israelites. During the time of the Kings, the northern Kingdom of Israel were Baal worshippers as were many of the kings of Judah. Many Temples were erected to Baal and have been discovered by archaeologists. Places for worship of Baal were often high places in the hills consisting of an altar and a sacred tree, stone, or pillar.
1 Kings 16:30-33 "And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him."
"At Ugarit, El was sovereign, but another god ran things on earth for El as his vizier. That god's name was Baal. At Ugarit Baal was known by several titles: "king of the gods,"¯ "the Most High,"¯ "Prince Baal"¯ (baal zbl), and"”most importantly for our discussion"”"the Rider on the Clouds."¯" - Wikipedia
Did King Herod build the most magnificent harbor in the ancient world?
In 10 B.C. Augustus Caesar decided to rebuild a small coastal station called Strato's Tower into a new city, which would be renamed Caesarea Maritima, in honor of Augustus. He allotted the task to the architectural mastermind Herod the Great. Herod built a harbor at Caesarea that would become one of the wonders of the ancient world. He built a massive breakwater which formed a horseshoe of protection around the whole bay. On the coast he built some of the most impressive works of architecture in the Roman world. He built an amphitheater, a citadel, a palace, a hippodrome, city walls and gates, paved squares with huge statues, and other marvels of Graeco-Roman civilization. It was here in Caesarea where the prefect Pontius Pilate lived, the foundation of his house was on a rock in the middle of the harbor and is still there to this day.
Caesarea was also a spectacular location to build a city, because it was right in the center of the Plain of Sharon, one of the most fertile areas in the world. Centuries of rains from the clouds formed by the nearby Mediterranean Sea showered the Judean hills, and brought plenty of rich soil to irrigate the plain where Caesarea was situated. The climate was always fairly warm and never out of control. Oranges, figs, lemons, grapes, almonds, and even olives in the hills, grew in abundance. Anyone coming into Judea from anywhere in the Graeco-Roman world would marvel at this awesome Jewish city with all the spectacles of Hellenistic art, architecture and culture. It became the administrative center of the Roman procurators of the province of Judea, and also became the headquarters of the Roman legions. Caesarea was indeed a thriving place during the first century A.D., during the time of Jesus and the apostle Paul.
Acts 21:8 - And the next [day] we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.
Acts 25:6 - And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.
Acts 8:40 - But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.
Caesarea Ruins Painting
Ancient Caesarea Harbor ruins in Biblical archaeology.
Did this ossuary contain the bones of Caiaphas, high priest during the time of Jesus?
This beautifully decorated ossuary found in the ruins of Jerusalem, contained the bones of Caiaphas, the first century AD. high priest during the time of Jesus.
On the side (as seen above) and the back of the ossuary is inscribed Caiaphas' name ("Yosef bar Caifa").
(see Matt 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49; 18:13-14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6; Josephus, Ant. 23.25, 39). It was a custom in ancient Israel to store the bones of the dead in ossuaries. They gathered the bones about a year after burial.
Does this stone vessel contain an inscription with the same word used by Jesus "Corban"?
This Korban Inscription is a fragment of a stone vessel excavated at the ruins of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. On the fragment are the 4 Hebrew consonants KRBN (kaph, resh, beth, nun), which spell the Hebrew word "korban" meaning "sacrifice." The inscribed word is the same word used by Jesus in Mark 7. With the inscription are two inscribed doves or pigeons. The Korban Inscription is from the time of Jesus and kept at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Korban Inscription discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because the word is mentioned by Jesus in the New Testament.
"But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye." Mark 7:11-13
Dead Sea Scrolls Jar
Did the Dead Sea Scrolls actually contain Old Testament scrolls written hundreds of years before the time of Jesus?
This Qumran Jar contained the Scroll of Isaiah, one of the hundreds of scrolls discovered in caves around the area of Qumran, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in Israel. The discovery which began in 1948 became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls. What is most significant about these scrolls is that they contain many of the Jewish documents known to Christians as the Old Testament. Before this discovery the oldest copies of Biblical documents of the Old Testament were from the Masoretic time, around the 9th century A.D., because the Jewish scribes took careful measures in copying documents, numbering them, and destroying the originals. The Dead Sea Scrolls date back to at least the 2nd century B.C. making them important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. This is especially important to Christians because it puts hundreds of Old Testament prophecies about Jesus, at least 2 centuries before the events took place.
El Amarna Tablets
Could these tablets contain records of Joshua and the Hebrews conquering the land of Canaan?
Tel el Amarna was in ancient Egypt near the Nile River about halfway between Memphis and Thebes. In 1988 there were about 400 cuneiform tablets discovered at this site which were part of the royal archives of Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten) who reigned about 1400 BC. Among them were letters written in Babylonian cuneiform script to these Pharaohs of Egypt by various kings dwelling in the land of Canaan and Syria, they were written during the time of Moses. They provide the first evidence of the Hebrew tribes entering into the land of Canaan in ancient times.
Some of the tablets were anxious letters written from Jerusalem (Urusalim), warning the pharaoh an invasion by the 'Habiru [Khabiru]', who were approaching from Trans-Jordan.
It is interesting that Akhenaten's new capital, Akhetaton, which he built with his queen Nefertiti was at the same place as modern Amarna (Tell el Amarna).
The Amarna Letters discovery is highly important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because they refer to events in the middle east in the 15th and 14th centuries BC. They refer to the Hebrews, they give evidence of the trustworthiness of the book of Judges. They mention a lot about Canaan, the half of Israel to the west of the Jordan. This name "Canaan" has been found in Egyptian inscriptions of the New Kingdom. The king of Babylon used the word Canaan to designate the entire Egyptian province of Canaan when he wrote to Pharaoh: "Canaan is thy land and its kings are thy servants" (El-Amarna 8, 25)
The Tablets are from 3 inches wide and anywhere from 3 to 9 inches in length, and they are inscribed on both sides. The letters were written in Akkadian, which had been the language of international relations for some time. Today the Tell el Amarna Tablets are mainly in the British, Berlin and Cairo museums.
The original name of Jerusalem was Babylonian, Uru-Salim, "the city of Salim," shortened into Salem in Gen 14:18 and in the inscriptions of the Egyptian kings Ramses II and Ramses III. In the Tell el-Amarna Letters (1400 BC) Jerusalem is still known as Uru-Salim, and its king bears a Hittite name, implying that it was at the time in the possession of the Hittites. His enemies, however, were closing around him, and one of the tablets shows that the city was eventually captured and its king slain. These enemies would seem to have been the Jebusites, since it is after this period that the name "Jebus" makes its appearance for the first time in the Old Testament (Judges 19:10,11).
"But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him. And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it." Judges 19:10-11
Gold of Ophir Inscription
Does this inscription mention king Solomon's gold?
This fragment of an ancient pottery jar was discovered at Tel Qasile near Jaffa in Israel. It contains an inscription which mentions "Ophir gold" and the temple of Horon, a Canaanite deity. The Gold of Ophir Inscription is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. It corresponds with what the Bible says about the gold at Solomon's Temple.
"Gold of Ophir to Beth-Horon...30 shekels"
"Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house, Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal." - I Chronicles 29:3-4
Were the Hittites a Bible myth or did they really exist?
These ancient Hittite ruins date back to Biblical times. The stone lions guarded the gateway of the ancient Hittite capital city of Hattusha which is located in modern Turkey. The Hittite ruins are important in the study of Biblical archaeology, they reveal that the Hittites of the Bible really existed and were important in ancient times.
2 Kings 7:6 "For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, [even] the noise of a great host: and they said one to another, Lo, the king of Israel hath hired against us the kings of the Hittites, and the kings of the Egyptians, to come upon us."
Ivory Pomegranate Fraud
This ivory pomegranate was on the staff of the ancient high priest in Jerusalem. It was discovered in 1979 by French paleographer AndrĆ© Lemaire. It contains an inscription in Hebrew script that says, "Belonging to the Temp[le of Yahw]eh, holy to the priests." This artifact proved recently to be a forgery: "The Israel Museum removed the ivory pomegranate, touted as the only existing relic from Solomon's temple, from public exhibition last week." CBC Dec 29, 2004.
King Hazael Statue
Could Hazael seen here be the same man who was anointed by Elijah?
This Ivory Statuette standing nearly 7 inches tall represents Hazael, ancient King of Aram Damascus (Syria) who fought against Israel. In the Bible the Lord sent the prophet Elijah to anoint Hazael to be king over Syria in the future. Many years later the Syrian king Hadadezer became very sick and Hazael suffocated him and seized the throne. Hazael reigned for about 37 years (842-805 B.C.). He went to war with Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Assyrian records indicate wars with Syria, and an inscription by Shalmaneser III mention Hazael and his son Ben-hadad by name:
"I fought with Ben-hadad. I accomplished his defeat. Hazael, son of a nobody, seized his throne."
"In the 18th year of my reign for the 16th time I crossed the Euphrates. Hazael of Damascus trusted to the strength of his armies and mustered his troops in full force. Senir (Mount Hermon), a mountain summit which is in front of Lebanon, he made his stronghold. I fought with him; his defeat I accomplished; 600 of his soldiers with weapons I laid low; 1,121 of his chariots, 470 of his horses, with his camp I took from him. To save his life, he retreated; I pursued him; in Damascus, his royal city, I shut him up. His plantations I cut down. As far as the mountains of the Hauran I marched. Cities without number I wrecked, razed, and burnt with fire. Their spoil beyond count I carried away. As far as the mountains of Baal-Rosh, which is a headland of the sea (at the mouth of the Nahr el-Kelb, Dog River), I marched; my royal likeness I there set up. At that time I received the tribute of the Syrians and Sidonians and of Yahua (Jehu) the son of Khumri (Omri)" - Shalmaneser III 842 B.C.
"Ben-Hadad II (Heb.), was the king of Aram Damascus at the time of the battle of Qarqar at 853 BC. He, along with Irhuleni of Hamath, led a coalition of eleven kings (listed as twelve) against the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, at Qarqar, and fought Shalmaneser six times with the aid of Irhuleni twice more and possibly the rest of the coalition that fought at Qarqar. He appears again in the Tel Dan Stele as most likely the unknown author's father. " - Wikipedia
This ivory statuette came from the palace of Hazael the ancient king of Damascus. It was discovered in the ruins of Arslan Tash in north Syria (ancient Hadatu) and is important in the study of Biblical archaeology. Several artifacts from the palace of Hazael are now in the Aleppo Museum in Syria.
2 Kings 13:1-3 "And the anger of The Lord was kindled against Israel, and he delivered them into the hand of Hazael king of Syria, and into the hand of Benhadad the son of Hazael, all their days."
Note: The Stele of Zakkur also mentions "Bar Hadad, son of Hazael".
Tel Dan Stele
Was king David's name inscribed on this black stone slab?
An inscription containing the words "house of David" was found on a black basalt stone slab called the Tel Dan Stele, from Tel Dan, Israel, 9th Century B.C. It was a victory stele erected by an Aramaean king north of Israel. The inscription contains an Aramaic writing commemorating his victory over Israel. The author is most likely Hazael or his son, Ben Hadad II or III, who were kings of Damascus, and enemies of the kingdom of Israel. The stele was discovered at Tel Dan, previously named Tell el-Qadi, a mound where a city once stood at the northern tip of Israel.
The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
House of David Inscription, Biblical Archaeology
Temple of Solomon Column Capital
Could this capital have decorated the temple of Solomon?
This beautifully decorated capital of a pillar was found in the Citadel of the Kings of Judah in Jerusalem. It was made during the time of the First Temple. Similar Greek Capitals have been found at Tel Dan, Hazor, Megiddo, Samaria, Jerusalem, and Ramat Rahel in Israel; and Ain Sara/Karak, and Mudaybi in Jordan. Scholars agree that this may be the palm design which decorated the First Temple in Jerusalem.
1 Kings 6:35 - "And he carved on them cherubims and palm trees and open flowers: and covered them with gold fitted upon the carved work."
The House of David Inscription
Was the house and kingdom of David a Biblical myth or did they really exist?
The "House of David" is inscribed on this victory stele excavated at Tel Dan, in the Galilee region of Israel. It is dated from the 9th Century BC. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. The Tel Dan Stele is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology, it mentions the House of David in an Inscription. With this important discovery it is clear that King David is a real figure in ancient history, as Jesus confirmed.
The Jeroboam Inscription
Does this jasper seal actually mention the name of king Jeroboam?
The Megiddo Seal was discovered in 1904 by an archaeological team led by Gottlieb Schumacher. The discovery was determined to be a seal belonging to a royal minister in the 8th century BC. It is engraved with the figure of a roaring lion (symbol of the kingdom of Judah) with a beautiful curved tail with beautiful workmanship. The Hebrew inscription on it reads "Shema" on top, and "Servant of Jeroboam" on the bottom.
"Shema servant of Yarob'oam"
The inscription actually proclaims the name and rank of its owner, one of the ministers of King Jeroboam II who reigned from 787-747 BC. The word "servant" is the Hebrew word "ebed" and is mentioned in the Bible as one of high dignity in the government. Many seals have been discovered with similar inscriptions like "the servant of the king." The Megiddo Seal with the Jeroboam Inscription is of great importance in Biblical Archaeology, it mentions one of the kings of the northern kingdom of Israel.
2 Kings 14:23-25 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.
The Lachish Letters
Did the Lachish letters reveal the turmoil in Judah just before the Babylonian captivity?
The discovery of the Lachish Letters in 1935 of eighteen ostraca (clay tablets with writing in ink) written in an ancient Hebrew script, from the 7th century BC reveal important information concerning the last days of the southern kingdom of Judah.
They were discovered at Lachish (Tell ed-Duweir) among the ruins of an ancient guard room just outside the Lachish city gate.
Then a few years later three inscribed potsherds were also found at the site, and like the others, they contained names and lists from the period just before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 BC.
Most of the letters were dispatches from a Jewish commander named Hoshaiah who was stationed at an outpost north of Lachish, who apparently was responsible for interpreting the signals from Azekah and Lachish during the time when the Babylonians came against Jerusalem:
Jer 34:7 "when the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah; for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah."
The ostraca read: "To my lord Ya'osh. May Yahweh cause my lord to hear the news of peace, even now, even now. Who is your servant but a dog that my lord should remember his servant?'"
These final communications which mentioned the political and religious turmoil of the last days of Judah reveal the intensity of this time period and confirm that which was written in the Bible by the prophet Jeremiah.
The Lachish Letters are an important discovery in the study of Biblical Archaeology and shed much light on the last days of Judah.
The Mesha Stele
Does the Moabite Stone contain the same record of king Mesha's war with Israel in the Bible?
The Moabite Stone also known as the Mesha Stele is an interesting story. The Bible says in 2 Kings 3:5 that Mesha the king of Moab stopped paying tribute to Israel and rebelled and fought against Israel and later he recorded this event. This record from Mesha has been discovered. The Moabite Stone was discovered in 1868 in Moab, at Dibon, 20 miles east of the Dead Sea. It was actually discovered by a German Missionary named F.A. Klein. It is a black and blue basalt stone standing 4 feet high, 2 feet wide and 14 inches thick. It was purchased for a large sum of money by the French Consulate in Jerusalem. It is interesting that the local Arabs believed that it contained a treasure and therefore broke it in large pieces by lighting it on fire and then pouring cold water over it. The inscription is summarized with these words:
"I Mesha, king of Moab, made this monument to Chemosh, to commemorate deliverance from Israel. My father reigned over Moab 30 years, and I reigned after my father. Omri, king of Israel oppressed Moab many days, and his son (Ahab) after him. But I made war against the king of Israel and drove him out, and took his cities, Medeba, Ataroth, Nebo, and Jahaz, which he built while he waged war against me. I destroyed his cities, and devoted the spoil to Chemosh, and the women and girls to Ashtar. I built Qorhah with prisoners from Israel."
The Moabite Stone discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. It is the actual record of Mesha, king of Moab rebelling against the king of Israel. This stone is one of the places where Israel is mentioned in ancient times outside of the Bible.
"And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel." - 2 Kings 3:4-5
The Place of Trumpeting Inscription
Does this stone provide evidence that the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD?
The stone containing the Place of Trumpeting Inscription was discovered by archaeologists excavating the Temple Mount area. It is inscribed with the words "To the place of trumpeting." The Place of Trumpeting Inscription is a remarkable discovery in Biblical Archaeology and an awesome testimony of what once was, the Temple in Jerusalem.
"Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, "Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down." Matthew 24:1-2
The Pontius Pilate Inscription
Does this stone contain an inscription from Pontius Pilate?
In June 1961 Italian archaeologists led by Dr. Frova were excavating an ancient Roman theater near Caesarea Maritima and uncovered this interesting limestone block. On the face is an inscription which is part of a larger dedication to Tiberius Caesar which clearly says that it was from "Pontius Pilate, Prefect of Judea."
It reads like this:
Line One: TIBERIEUM,
Line Two: (PON) TIUS
Line Three: (PRAEF) ECTUS IUDA (EAE)
The Pilate Inscription is the only known occurrence of the name Pontius Pilate in any ancient inscription. Visitors to the Caesarea theater today see a replica, the original is in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. There have been a few bronze coins found that were struck form 29-32 AD by Pontius Pilate.
The Pontius Pilate Inscription is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and confirms the Scriptures found in the Bible as historical.
The Siloam Inscription
Does this inscription reveal God's protection of Jerusalem and a miracle?
The Siloam Inscription is a description in ancient Hebrew of the cutting and completion of the Siloam Tunnel built by king Hezekiah (727-698 BC). King Hezekiah desiring to protect Jerusalem from the Assyrians had a tunnel cut through solid rock to bring water from the Spring of Gihon within the cities walls, after which the Spring was sealed off. The carving was found in the tunnel itself in 1880 by a boy accidently. It records how two groups of workers started from opposite ends, digging through the solid rock underground and meeting in the middle. The Hebrew inscription talks about how one group miraculously heard sounds of pick-axes so they would know which way to go through the windy tunnel. The tunnel now channels water to the Pool of Siloam and can be seen in Jerusalem.
The Siloam Inscription is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology.
2 Kings 20:20 "And the rest of the acts of Hezekiah, and all his might, and how he made a pool, and a conduit, and brought water into the city, [are] they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?"
2 Chronicles 32:2-4 "And when Hezekiah saw that Sennacherib was come, and that he was purposed to fight against Jerusalem, He took counsel with his princes and his mighty men to stop the waters of the fountains which [were] without the city: and they did help him. So there was gathered much people together, who stopped all the fountains, and the brook that ran through the midst of the land, saying, Why should the kings of Assyria come, and find much water?"
The Temple Warning Inscription
What did Jesus think when he saw this stone?
Josephus the Jewish historian of the first century A.D. wrote about the warning signs in Greek and Latin that were placed on the barrier wall that separated the court of the gentiles from the other courts in the Temple. Not until 1871 did archaeologists actually discover one written in Greek. Its seven line inscription reads as follows:
IS TO GO BEYOND THE BALUSTRADE
AND THE PLAZA OF THE TEMPLE ZONE
WHOEVER IS CAUGHT DOING SO
WILL HAVE HIMSELF TO BLAME
FOR HIS DEATH
WHICH WILL FOLLOW
When king Herod had rebuilt the Temple in Jerusalem between 19 and 9 B.C. he enclosed the outer court with colonnades. The large separated area was referred to as the Court of the Gentiles because the "gentiles" (non-Jews from any race or religion) were permitted to enter this great open courtyard of the Temple area. They could walk within in it but they were forbidden to go any further than the outer court. They were excluded from entering into any of the inner courts, and warning signs in Greek and Latin were placed giving strict warning that the penalty for such trespass was death. The Romans permitted the Jewish authorities to carry out the death penalty for this offence, even if the offender were a Roman citizen. The engraved block of limestone was discovered in Jerusalem in 1871. It's dimensions are about 22 inches high by 33 inches long. Each letter was nearly 1 1/2 inches high and originally painted with red ink against the white limestone. Part of another sign was unearthed in 1936. It's current location is in the Archaeological Museum of Istanbul, Turkey. Jerusalem was part of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey when the stone was found.
The Temple Warning Inscription is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and confirms events outlined in Scripture. When Jesus saw this inscription he knew that his own life would be the cost for the gentiles to go past this barrier.
Ephesians 2:13-14 "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us"
Matthew 23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in."
Isaiah 56:7 "These I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations."
Mark 11:17-18 "And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him: for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine."
Could this tablet mention the name of one of Jerusalem's most famous kings...Uzziah?
The Bible mentions Uzziah or Azariah as the king of the southern kingdom of Judah in 2 Kings 15. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription is a stone tablet (35 cm high x 34 cm wide x 6 cm deep) with letters inscribed in ancient Hebrew text with an Aramaic style of writing, which dates to around 30-70 AD. The text reveals the burial site of Uzziah of Judah, who died in 747 BC. The inscription on the ossuary tombstone reads:
"The bones of Uzziah, King of Judah, rest here ... Do not open!"
The Uzziah Tablet Inscription was discovered in Jerusalem in 1931 by Professor. E. I. Sukenik of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The Uzziah Tablet is an important discovery in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it mentions one of the kings of Judah, and the Jewish authorities would not have crafted such a piece unless there was an original work to draw from. It is interesting that the Tiglath-pileser inscription mentions Uzziah four times (Azariah the Judean). Tiglath-pileser was the Assyrian ruler who deported the Jews of the northern kingdom of Israel away into captivity.
Isaiah 6:1 "In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple."
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