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Don Stewart :: Have Some Bible Difficulties Been Cleared up Due to Recent Knowledge?

Don Stewart
In the last two thousand years there have been a variety of accusations that have been hurled against the Christian faith. Critics have pointed to certain names and events that are recorded in the Bible that they have claimed to be inaccurate since they have no confirmation in secular history. However the more knowledge that has come to light, the more we see the accuracy of the Bible. We will provide a few examples.

The Hittites

It was once thought that the reference to the Hittites was a historical error. The Bible mentions the Hittite empire over fifty times in the Old Testament. Though they are treated as a powerful kingdom, secular history knew nothing of their existence. Hence the Bible was assumed to be in error when they were mentioned.

Bible Vindicated

In 1876 the Bible was vindicated. The English scholar A.H. Sayce discovered some writing that he related to the Hittites of the Old Testament. These people were called the Kheta by the Egyptians. In 1906 the ruins of the Hittite empire were discovered. The Hittites did exist as the Old Testament said - the critics were wrong in denying their existence.

Belshazzar

Belshazzar, the king mentioned in the fifth chapter of Daniel, was once considered to be a non-historical person. In 1850 one eminent German scholar wrote in his commentary on Daniel that Belshazzar was a figment of the imagination of the author of Daniel - who, he argued was not really Daniel. Such a character named Belshazzar did not exist because secular history had no record of him. Therefore it was assumed that the Bible was in error.

Everything Changes

However, in 1854 the situation changed. A member of the British consul explored the ancient ruins in southern Iraq on behalf of the British Museum. When he dug into the ruins of the ancient city he found several small clay cylinders. Each one was about 4 inches long. The cylinders were inscribed with sixty or so lines of Babylonian writing.

Prayer For Belshazzar

On one of the cylinders was a prayer for the long life and the good health of Nabonidus, king of Babylon, and for his eldest son. The name of that son was clearly written on the cylinder. It was Belshazzar. The Bible was again right and the critics were wrong.

No Writing In Moses' Day

It was once assumed that writing did not exist in Moses' day therefore he could not have written the first five books in Scripture. This was one of the assured results of modern scholarship. Sir Frederic Kenyon, the great biblical scholar, wrote:
About the middle of the nineteenth century there was a period when it was often maintained that writing was unknown in the time of Moses and the Judges and the earlier kings, and consequently that the narratives of these early periods could not be based upon authentic records. This disbelief in the antiquity of writing has been completely disproved by the discoveries of the last century. First of all, in 1852 and 1853 Henry Layard and his assistant Rassam discovered the libraries of the kings of Assyria at Nineveh, which contained hundreds of tablets of baked clay (the form of book used in Mesopotamia), including the chronicles of Sennacherib, Essarhaddon, and other rulers contemporary with the kings of Israel and Judah. Others contained the Babylonian narratives of the Creation and Deluge. Subsequent discoveries carried back proof of the early use of writing far beyond the time of Moses and even of Abraham (Sir Frederic Kenyon, The Story of the Bible, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1967, p. 7).

Thus we see that one of the original contentions of higher critics - that writing did not exist during the early biblical period - has been thoroughly refuted by recent findings. This is another example of how higher critics refuse to consider in an honest way the Bible's own testimony as to its origin.

Jericho

There was some question as to whether we have archaeological proof of the walls of Jericho falling out. Recent archaeological evidence has substantiated the biblical account of the destruction of the city of Jericho by Joshua. After evaluating all the facts, scholar Bryant Wood writes:

Was there a destruction at the hands of the Israelites? The correlation between the archaeological evidence and the Biblical narrative is substantial.
The city was strongly fortified (Joshua 2:5,7,15,6:5,20).
The attack occurred just after harvest time in the spring (Joshua 2:6, 3:15, 5:10).
The inhabitants had no opportunity to flee with their foodstuffs (Joshua 6:1).
The siege was short (Joshua 6:15).
The walls were leveled, possibly by an earthquake (Joshua 6:20).
The city was not plundered (Joshua 6:17,18).
The city was burned (Joshua 6:24) (Bryant G. Wood, Did the Israelites Conquer Jericho? Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April, 1990, p. 57).

Again, we have the Scriptures being confirmed by more up-to-date knowledge.

Conclusion


Recent knowledge has cleared up many Bible difficulties. Part of our problem with confirming biblical events has to do with our limited knowledge of the past. As we gain further knowledge, the difficulties vanish. This is because the Bible is God's inerrant, inspired, Word.


CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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