Secular historians continue to try to attack the Bible’s historical accuracy.
They claim it’s a book of fantasies and fairytales.
But time after time, archaeological discoveries have proven the validity of the Scriptures!
Most recently, archaeologists have discovered a crucial inscription on broken clay jars.
A team of archaeologists from Azusa Pacific University and Hebrew University recently unearthed this important find in Tel Abel Beth Macaah.
Located on the north end of the Jordan River in Israel, the city of Tel Abel Beth Macaah is a long-disputed site in Israelite archaeology.
The city was once situated at the ancient border between the nations of Israel, Aram, and Phoenicia — now Israel, Lebanon, and Syria.
Biblical archaeologists have been working at the site for several years in hopes of finding important artifacts that confirm Old Testament narratives about these nations.
Tel Abel Beth Macaah is featured in 2 Samuel 20. In this chapter, Joab, King David’s general, pursues Sheba ben Bichri, a Benjaminite who mocks and scorns David.
Joab follows Sheba to the city of “Abel of Beth-maacah,” where he and his men begin “battering the wall to throw it down” (2 Sam. 20:15, ESV).
As the story continues, we read that the inhabitants of Tel Abel Beth Macaah give Sheba over to Joab and the rest of David’s men, whereupon the army retreats and returns to Jerusalem.
The key verses in this story—for archaeologists, at least!—are verses 18-19, in which a wise woman from within the city chastises Joab for seeking to destroy a city with a long and rich Israelite history.
“Then she said, ‘They used to say in former times, “Let them but ask counsel and Abel,” and so they settled a matter… You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?’” (2 Sam. 20:18-19, ESV)
Biblical historians note that these remarks suggest “an Israelite history and lore that precedes Joab’s time and is otherwise unknown to him.”
But this is a claim many secular historians and archaeologists have disputed recently.
They allege that Biblical authors exaggerated or manipulated historical timelines in the Old Testament accounts, invalidating the important stories told throughout Israel’s history.
“The allegiance of this city and the identity of the population in the 10th-9th centuries B.C.E. are a big debate,” admitted Dr. Naama Yahalom-Mack, one of the dig supervisors.
“What was their connection to Israel? Were the religion, the language, and the culture the same as in Israel? We are looking for evidence of Abel belonging politically to on entity or another.”
However, a recent find at the site may be a crucial step towards answering these questions.
The university teams uncovered a set of shattered clay jars with an important inscription. Due to the presence of grape seeds and other decomposing materials, they believe the jars were located in a wine cellar.
The inscription, though so faint it could not be seen until the shards underwent restoration, was written in Hebrew and read “Ibnayo” which means “belonging to Benaiyo.”
The clay shards were dated to the ninth century BCE, during which Ahab was king of Israel. Since “Benaiyo” is an indisputably Israelite name, this suggests that Tel Abel Beth Macaah was already an Israelite city at the time of Ahab.
This would confirm the wise woman’s words in 2 Samuel 20: the city of Tel Abel Beth Macaah indeed had a long “heritage” and was “a mother in Israel.”
The find is just another confirmation of Biblical truth!
Tel Abel Beth Macaah has been the site of several other important archaeological finds over the past several years, including a silver hoard, which suggests the importance of the city as a center of trade between nations.
The archaeological team plans to continue working in Tel Abel Beth Macaah and hope to uncover even more evidence of Old Testament accounts of Israel and surrounding nations.