Atheist critics have claimed for years that the Bible falls short of historical accuracy.
Yet, the more archaeologists discover, the more they confirm biblical history.
And their newest find is no exception.
Archaeologists from Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority believe they have discovered an ancient city referenced in 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, and 1 Chronicles.
The town of Ziklag, now believed to sit under the modern site of Khirbet a-Ra’i, was deeply connected to King David.
In the Old Testament, David “had gone to live in the town of Ziklag to escape from King Saul,” (1 Chronicles 12:1). Ziklag proved to be a place of refuge for David in the years before his reign.
David gathered an army in Ziklag, even attracting some of Saul’s own kinsmen and warriors. “Day after day, new men came to join David, and soon he had a large, powerful army,” (1 Chronicles 12:22).
Under the leadership of King Achish of the Philistines, Ziklag was the hub for David’s rise to power. From it, David launched attacks against the Amalekites, among others, and planned for his eventual rule over Israel.
It was from Ziklag that David departed, at long last, to be crowned king over Israel at Hebron.
But Ziklag was also the site of great tragedy for David and his army. While David and his men had left the city for battle, a band of Amalekites pillaged the city, carrying off the women and children who had stayed behind.
“They had overcome Ziklag and burned it with fire and taken captive the women and all who were in it, both small and great,” (1 Samuel 30:1-2). David and his army came home to find a ruined and deserted city.
David’s two wives, Ahinoam and Abigail, were among those stolen.
The rest of the story from 1 and 2 Samuel is familiar: David and his men defeated the Amalekites and rescued their kidnapped families, returning to Ziklag in time to receive the news of King Saul’s death.
Shortly thereafter, David was crowned king of Israel.
Many of these details from Scripture helped archaeologists identify the excavated city as Ziklag!
Since they began excavating the site in 2015, archaeologists have matched findings from their work to biblical historical accounts.
They recently announced that the city “had continuous settlement that included people living there during King David’s time as well as Philistine settlements.” Ziklag had been well established and was a thriving hub of activity by the time David took refuge within its walls.
The archaeologists have found clear evidence of both Israelite and Philistine life at the site, ranging from pottery to tools to oil lamps from Davidic times.
Additionally, the massive stone architecture inside the city matches that found in other Philistine cities like Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron, which have been excavated in past expeditions.
In terms of dating the city, scientists have confirmed the location as a site from King David’s time by applying Carbon-14 dating methods to objects from the site. The remains of Ziklag date back to the 11th and 12th centuries B.C., which is confirmed in the biblical timeline.
Perhaps the most fascinating detail of the excavation is the fact that the city appears to have been destroyed by a massive fire.
“This settlement came to an end in an intense fire that destroyed the buildings,” the archaeological team explained. This matches the biblical account in the last chapters of 1 Samuel!
Imagine standing in the same spot where David stood centuries ago, mourning the loss of his wives and his family.
Imagine seeing the destruction that he saw and searching through the rubble as he did.
That’s what these archaeologists have been able to do over the last few years, and they’re thrilled to share their findings and to acknowledge how the site of Ziklag matches the biblical account!
Find out more about the groundbreaking work of the Hebrew University archaeological team at the British Friends of The Hebrew University website.
Pray that this new evidence supporting the Bible will help many to trust God’s Word and turn their hearts toward Christ!