Research Articles: Divided Kingdom

Archaeological and historical articles dealing with events from the death of Solomon to the end of the Old Testament, circa 975-400 B.C.

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Home Cooking: Old Testament Israelite Style 12/13/2013 - by Gary Byers MA

As a guy who is terribly equipped to do much in the kitchen, except start and stop the microwave oven, it’s almost hypocritical for me to discuss cooking in the ancient world!

Thermopylae and the Book of Esther 4/24/2013 - by Gordon Franz MA

The Battle of Thermopylae is one of the most heroic battles in the annals of military history. Three hundred Spartan soldiers, lead by their king Leonidas, engaged in a mission of “suicidal self-sacrifice” by holding off the mighty Persian army for three days at the pass at Thermopylae which was no more than 20 yards wide. This battle has been made into a Hollywood movie entitled, simply, “300” (2006).

New Light on the Book of Daniel from the Dead Sea Scrolls 7/31/2012 - by Gerhard Hasel PhD

This article was originally published by Dr. Hasel in 1992, and was reproduced in Bible and Spade with permission. Though the article is 20 years old, it has still significant information about the Book of Daniel found amongst the Dead Seas Scrolls. Most importantly, the existence of Daniel in the DSS disproves the skeptical position that Daniel was originally written in the 2nd century BC. This position has been taken by skeptics to avoid the detailed prophecies in Daniel that ultimately came to pass, strong evidence for the divine authorship of Scripture.

Book Review: From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology: Part II 7/12/2012 - by Rodger C. Young MA

Book review: From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, by Andrew E. Steinmann. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011. Hardback, 421 + xxxviii pages. Part II.

Book Review: From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology: Part I 7/9/2012 - by Rodger C. Young MA

Book review: From Abraham to Paul: A Biblical Chronology, by Andrew E. Steinmann. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 2011. Hardback, 421 + xxxviii pages.

Israelite Kings in Assyrian Inscriptions 5/22/2012 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

In previous issues of Bible and Spade, we had discussed five Assyrian kings named in the Bible. Now we wish to examine the other side of that coin—the kings of Israel named in the Assyrian records. All told, there are nine kings of Israel and Judah mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions. References to five of these kings (Menaham, Pekah, Hosea, Ahaz and Hezekiah) are paralleled by biblical passages. The remaining four have to do with events not mentioned in the Bible, and thereby add to our knowledge of these particular Israelite kings...

Hittites and Hethites: A Proposed Solution to an Etymological Conundrum 11/8/2011 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

"The presence of Hittites in the narratives of Israelite beginnings is thus rhetorical and ideological rather than historical.” -John Van Seters. The appearance of the term "Hittites" in English Bible translations has been an apologetic, archaeological and historical problem for quite some time. Many claim that references to the Hittites in the Old Testament are either errors or fictional anachronisms. In this important article, Dr. Bryant Wood proposes that the solution to this problem is a linguistic one. Based on a detailed assessment of the original Hebrew text, and an evaluation of the archaeological evidence pertaining to the Hittite and neo-Hittite kingdoms, Dr. Wood concludes our English translations require correction. Once this is accomplished, we once again find the Bible is accurate and trustworthy...

Sifting Dirt, Filling Sandbags and Shaul Junior: Reflections on the 2011 Season at Tel Zayit, Israel 8/9/2011 - by Gordon Franz MA

Who would have thought that a small Judean city on the western fringes of the Kingdom of Israel, facing Philistia, might provide a partial answer to the question posed in the December 2010 issue of National Geographic: “Was the Kingdom of David and Solomon a glorious empire – or just a little cow town?” (Draper 2010)?

The Tel Dan Stela and the Kings of Aram and Israel 5/4/2011 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

A people known as the Arameans lived in the regions of Syria and Mesopotamia in antiquity. They were a large group of linguistically related peoples who spoke dialects of a West Semitic language known as Aramaic. Although not politically unified, they developed powerful city-states that had a strong cultural influence in the Near East in the first millennium BC. The Aramaic language, very similar to Hebrew, became the official international language during the Persian Period, ca. 539–332 BC, and eventually replaced many of the local languages of the area, including Hebrew. As a result, in New Testament times the main local language was Aramaic rather than Hebrew.

The Baltimore Running Festival, the 300 and Esther 11/15/2010 - by Gary Byers MA

This past month, for the third year in a row, I again participated in the half-marathon race as part of the 2010 Baltimore (Maryland) Running Festival. Just for the record, running does not really describe what I did, and this year was my worst effort to date. But enough about me, participation in the event prompted me to consider a bit more carefully the origin of the event, which led me back to Queen Esther. My own academic work and interests have always been in the earlier periods of Biblical history. In fact, I have tended to consider the Persian period as modern history. I have had minimal contact with Persian material in my archaeological field work and my interest in that period has basically centered on my annual cycle teaching the book of Esther.

Babylon Revisited: Isaiah 21 – Future or Fulfillment? 10/6/2010 - by Gordon Franz MA

Students of Bible prophecy have generally overlooked an important tool for understanding this chapter; mainly, the archaeologist’s spade. Archaeology has a direct bearing on this passage from two different angles. First, there are ancient inscriptions that give first hand accounts, or historical reflections, of the fall of Babylon in 689 BC. Second, there is confirmation of this destruction by the German excavation at the beginning of the 20th century. With this, let us turn our attention to Isaiah 21.

Remember, Archaeology is NOT a Treasure Hunt 9/17/2010 - by Gordon Franz MA

The headline of the Science Section of the New York Times for Tuesday, September 28, 2004, read, “Solving a Riddle Written in Silver.” I recognized the picture underneath the headline right away. It was a portion of a silver amulet that was one of two discovered in Jerusalem in 1979. The article described the scholarly debate concerning the date assigned to the amulets by the excavator and his team in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. They claim that these two objects contain the two oldest Biblical texts ever discovered to date. Unfortunately the BASOR is very technical. It discusses the style of the letters and how this is used to date the amulets. This is important to answer the critics who have suggested the amulets were not as old as the excavator claimed they were. The present article will not deal with the technical aspects of the debate, as important as they are, but rather I would like to take you behind the scenes and share some of the human interest stories relating to the discovery, unrolling, announcement and publication of these two amulets...

The Ongoing Saga of the Cyrus Cylinder: The Internationally-Famous Grande Dame of Ancient Texts 8/18/2010 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

The Cyrus Cylinder is one of the most important discoveries in biblical archaeology. She was aroused from her 2,400-year sleep in the ruins of Babylon in 1879 by Hormuzd Rassam. Rassam, an evangelical Christian, was a native Iraqi born in 1826 in Mosul, across the Tigris River from the remains of ancient Nineveh. He met the famous British archaeologist Austen Henry Layard in 1841. Layard recognized Rassam’s potential and became his patron. Under Layard’s tutelage, Rassam developed into a competent archaeologist, becoming a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Society of Biblical Archaeology and the Victoria Institute. In 1876, with the help of Layard, who was now the British ambassador to Turkey, he obtained a permit from the Turkish government to conduct archaeological investigations in Assyria and Babylonia on behalf of the British Museum.

Signed, Sealed and Delivered: An Archaeological Exposition of Jeremiah 32:1-15 7/6/2010 - by Gordon Franz MA

In this essay we will examine the command that God gave to Jeremiah to redeem a field from his cousin, Hanamel of Anathoth. Particular attention will be given to the archaeological background to this chapter and how it illustrates the Biblical text. Jeremiah’s obedience to God’s command, in spite of a hopeless situation, was a vivid lesson to the people of Judah that God would return His people from the Babylonian captivity...

Earthquakes on the Increase? Or Warning of Judgment to come? 4/16/2010 - by Gordon Franz MA

Earthquakes play a role in Bible prophecy. They are mentioned in the Book of Revelation (6:12-17; 8:5; 11:13,19; 16:16-21) as well as the books of Isaiah (2:19,21; 5:25; 24:19), Ezekiel (38:19,20), Joel (2:10; 3:16) and Zechariah (14:4,5). A number of prophecy teachers point to what they assume to be an increase in the number of earthquakes and associate these quakes with the words of Jesus to show we are in, or near, the last days (cf. Matt. 24:7)...

The Biblical Cities Of Tyre And Sidon 1/26/2010 - by Gary Byers MA

The names Tyre and Sidon were famous in the ancient Near East. They are also important cities in the Old and New Testaments. Both are now located in Lebanon, with Tyre 20 mi south of Sidon and only 12 mi north of the Israel-Lebanon border. Today each is just a shadow of their former selves...

The Blessing of the Silver Scrolls 1/6/2010 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Excavations in Jerusalem in 1979–80 by Gabriel Barkay turned up two amulets dating from the late seventh century BC. They were found in the fourth of several burial caves he discovered on an escarpment known as Ketef Hinnom, which overlooks the Hinnom Valley just opposite Mt. Zion. Each amulet contained a rolled-up sheet of silver which, when unrolled, revealed the Priestly Benediction inscribed on them...

The Ultimate Sign: Isaiah 7 12/17/2009 - by Gordon Franz MA

In Isaiah chapter 7, God demonstrates His faithfulness to a promise that He made with King David concerning the Davidic dynasty by giving the ultimate sign to the House of David. The sign would be a virgin born Son named Immanuel, God with us. As we examine this passage carefully, we will see from the historical context that Matthew is not taking verse 14 out of context in order to “proof-text” the virgin birth of Jesus. Moreover, the context is clearly pointing to the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus as the fulfillment of this passage in Isaiah 7. The Lord Jesus Christ is the sinless Immanue and God manifest in human flesh.

Ezekiel 26:1-14: A Proof Text For Inerrancy or Fallibility of The Old Testament? 12/7/2009 - by Paul Ferguson PhD

This article seeks to give Ezekiel 26:1–14 a close reading. Special emphasis will be given to its literary structure and the use of metaphors. The history of Tyre will be examined in the light of archaeology and ancient records. It is our contention that when the passage is exegeted carefully and properly, these verses are excellent witnesses to the divine inspiration of the Bible. More liberal Biblical scholars, however, have seized upon these verses as a parade example of the fallibility of Biblical prophecy.

Nahum, Nineveh and Those Nasty Assyrians 5/28/2009 - by Gordon Franz MA

The prophet Nahum predicts the fall of Nineveh in the mid-7th century BC, several decades before the city actually fell in 612 BC. When he prophesied, the Neo-Assyria Empire was at the height of its power...

The Geography and Military Strategy of King Uzziah: An Expansionist Policy That Led to His Destruction 4/30/2009 - by Gordon Franz MA

The consequence of King Uzziah’s military strategy associated with his foreign policy is summarized by a proverb of wise King Solomon. He stated: “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Prov. 16:18). Let us examine the geography of King Uzziah’s military expansionist policies and show how these policies led to a proud heart and eventually to his downfall...

The Prophets’ Knowledge of Contemporary Idolatry 1/22/2009 - by Stephen Caesar MA

Some critics have claimed that the prophets greatly misinterpreted the true theology behind the idol-worship of Israel’s ancient neighbors...

Seal of Jezebel Identified 9/19/2008 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

Jezebel was zealous in her efforts to stamp out Yahwism and promote the worship of Baal. She mounted a campaign to kill the Lord’s prophets...

Evidence for Inerrancy from an Unexpected Source: OT Chronology 8/15/2008 - by Rodger C. Young MA

Theories of an errant Scripture cannot explain the accuracy of the OT chronologies. The authenticity of approximately 124 exact statistics in six major books of the Bible, covering more than 400 years of history, is exactly what would be expected if the doctrine of inerrancy is true and all doctrines of limited inspiration that assume errors in the historical statements of Scripture are false...

Nebo-Sarsekim Found in Babylonian Tablet 4/28/2008 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

Nebo who? You mean you don’t remember Nebo-Sarsekim? No wonder, because if you consult your concordance, you will find that he is referred to but once in the Old Testament...

The Persians in Hollywood and History 8/8/2007 - by Brian Janeway PhD (c)

The recent surprise success of the movie 300 and the amount of controversy it engendered once again reminds us of the power of movie-making and history and its impact on modern conceptions of national, ethnic and religious identity. How accurate is Hollywood's retelling of one of the most famous battles of antiquity?

The Tyrian Shekel and the Temple of Jerusalem 11/1/2006 - by Gordon Franz MA

Every year, a Jewish man, 20 years old and older, paid a voluntary half shekel Temple tax to the Jerusalem Temple. This tax, instituted by Moses (Ex 30:11–16), was paid in either the Tyrian shekel...

Mesha, King of Moab 9/27/2006 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

2 Kings 3 and the Mesha Inscription, describe the same event, the revolt of Mesha, but from entirely different perspectives. Mesha made his record of the event on a stone slab, or stela, 3 ft high and 2 ft wide. Unfortunately the stone was broken into pieces...

Nahum and Nineveh 9/6/2006 - by Gordon Franz MA

The prophet Nahum predicts the fall of Nineveh in the mid-7th century BC, several decades before the city actually fell in 612 BC. When he prophesied, the Neo-Assyria Empire was at the height of its power...

Tel Ta'yinat 4/5/2006 - by Brian Janeway PhD (c)

The University of Toronto began excavations at Tel Ta'yinat in southeast Turkey during the summer of 2004. A four-man team, led by Dr. Tim Harrison, worked at securing an excavation permit and completing an extensive and detailed topographic survey...

Ahab the Israelite 1/2/2006 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

Ahab, who ruled the northern kingdom for 22 years, ca. 874–853 BC, was perhaps the wickedest king of Israel. The Biblical record is anything but complimentary...

The Bible, Archaeology and the Study of Military Affairs 10/24/2005 - by Col. (Ret.) David G. Hansen PhD

Almost all scholars of the art and science of warfare believe that the basic principles of war, strategy and tactics have changed little throughout time. Most will concede that...

Omri, King of Israel 10/10/2005 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

Omri was commander-in-chief of the army of the Northern Kingdom of Israel under Elah, who ruled for two years, 886-885 BC. Zimri, an official in charge of half the chariot force, assassinated Elah in his palace in Tirzah, the capital...

Iraq and the Bible 9/15/2005 - by Bryant G. Wood PhD

Iraq is called the "Cradle of Civilization," as evidence has been found there for the earliest writing system, urban centers, literature, metallurgy, science, medicine and business, as reflected in the Bible (Gn 2:14; 4:21-22; 10:10-11; 11:1-5). Our modern culture has its roots in ancient Iraq...

Khorsabad, the City Built by Israelites 9/5/2005 - by Brian Janeway PhD (c)

In the Book of Kings (2 K 17: 6), we are told that during the reign of Hoshea a three-year siege was concluded against the capital city of Samaria. The mass deportations that followed were recorded in both the Bible and the annals of King Sargon of Assyria...

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