This past year brought numerous discoveries that supported biblical accounts and provided context for other scriptural knowledge. Here are 10 of the top discoveries from 2018.
10. Evidence for the Exodus? New Discoveries Support Biblical Account
Instead of how Exodus and Joshua describe the Israelites escaping Egypt, crossing the Jordan River, and conquering the land, many contend they were already part of an indigenous population in Canaan.
A recent discovery, however, provides physical evidence to support the biblical account.
Excavations in Khirbet el-Mastarah, an area in the Jordan Valley, have unearthed numerous nomadic or semi-nomadic enclosures and structures dating back to the time of the Exodus, according to an article in Biblical Archaeology Review from Ralph Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo.
9. Lost Site of Jesus Feeding the Multitude Discovered
While they didn’t find any baskets of food, archaeologists believe they have evidence to reveal the location of one of Jesus’ most famous miracles.
According to The Jerusalem Post, a group of 20 archaeologists connected with Hebrew Union College in Jerusalem uncovered what they assert is the ancient city of Bethsaida, as it is known in the New Testament, or Zer, as it was called in the Old Testament.
8. Tiny Stone Helps Confirm and Clarify Bible
Archaeologists’ discovery of a small weight from the period of Israel’s monarchy helps confirm the Old Testament system of weights and the existence of Solomon’s Temple, two professors say.
A “beka,” a stone weight equivalent to about one-fifth of an ounce, was discovered by archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority in dirt taken several years ago from under Jerusalem’s Western Wall, the Times of Israel reported Nov. 21.
7. Historic Volcano May Have Covered Explosive Biblical Manuscripts
When Mt. Vesuvius erupted in A.D. 79, the volcano covered the ancient cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. In the buried city of Herculaneum, archeologists discovered a library in the 1700s—the only intact library of the ancient world.
Scholars say it may include early Christian writings, “even the first references to Jesus,” according to 60 Minutes.
But the scrolls contained in it were so damaged by the heat that no one could open them. However, new computer scanning methods may be able to reveal what is beneath the charred outsides.
6. New Evidence Supports Biblical Account of Davidic Kingdom
What may look like simple pieces of broken pottery to most, paints a picture to archaeologist Gabriel Barkay that resembles the ancient kingdom of Israel ruled by David.
Barkay, adjunct professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University and co-director of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, recently shared some of the artifacts discovered in the mounds of dirt removed from the Temple Mount.
5. Sculpted Head, Thought to Be of Biblical Character, Found in Israel
Students of Scripture know that King Saul was a tall man and that David had a ruddy appearance. Outside of sparse physical descriptions like these found in the Bible, much about the appearance of biblical figures is left to the reader’s imagination.
But thanks to a new archaeological find at the site of Tel Abel Beth Maacah in Israel, people may now get to look into the face of one of the Bible’s kings.
4. Ancient Biblical Coins Discovered
They’re only 7 millimeters wide, but these coins are a big find.
The Temple Mount Sifting Project recently discovered five rare coins dating from the 4th century B.C. This doubles the number unearthed so far and provides some of the earliest evidence of Jewish coin minting in Israel.
According to The Times of Israel, the coins come from around the period of time described in Ezra and Nehemiah.
3. Did Naked Mole Rats Prove the Existence of King David?
Naked mole rats don’t show up in any biblical prophecy, but they may have played a role in a significant discovery in biblical archaeology.
In recent years, skeptics have denied that King David existed and that a united kingdom of Israel became a regional power during his reign.
Previously, a rock discovered in 1993 containing an inscription about the “House of David” was one of the few tangible, extrabiblical evidences for David.
That may change now, thanks to some mole rats.
Archaeologists working at the Tel ‘Eton excavation site have used the piles of dirt dug up by burrowing rodents to discover something surprising.
2. ISIS Accidentally Corroborates the Bible
Previously archaeological teams stopped digging under certain sites in Iraq, such as the traditional tomb of Jonah the prophet, for fear of destroying them.
When ISIS fighters took over Mosul and other Iraqi areas in 2014, they had no such qualms. They demolished the tomb of Jonah and dug tunnels looking for buried treasure or artifacts they could sell to finance their terrorist operations, according to the UK Telegraph.
Once the Iraqi army rooted out ISIS earlier this year, archaeologists began checking the historic sites to see how much damage had been done. They made some startling discoveries.
Tunnels dug by the terrorist group revealed a previously untouched Assyrian palace in the ancient city of Nineveh and several inscriptions that corroborate biblical accounts.
1. Archaeologists May Have Found the Prophet Isaiah’s Signature
According to National Geographic, the clay seal, or bulla, was one of 34 found during a 2009 excavation by Mazar.
Because the seal is broken, the text contains the Hebrew name of Isaiah “Yesha’yah[u]” followed by the word “nvy.” If the Hebrew letter aleph originally followed nvy, then it would be translated “Belonging to Isaiah the prophet.”
The Illustrated Guide to Bible Customs and Curiosities
More Than 750 Entries on Why They Did What They DidFIND OUT MORE