THE EXTERNAL TESTS: Biblical Accuracy

2 Timothy 4:4
2 Timothy 4:4

THE PATRIARCHS

  • Many want to portray the stories of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as “out of place” in history.
  • Some have said that the names of the people mentioned in the Bible during this time are mythological names – not real human names.
  • Additionally, they have tried to say that many of the Hebrew words in the Old Testament are “late” words, indicating the Old Testament was written late, and is therefore legend, not history.

THE EBLA TABLETS

  • In 1964, Paolo Matthiae of the University of Rome discovered the city of Ebla in what is modern-day Syria. It appears that the peak of the empire would have been around the time that Abraham lived.
  • In that city, Matthiae uncovered over 15,000 tablets of ancient writing, only a few of which have been translated yet.
  • What has been translated, however, has provided enormous support for the accuracy of Genesis.
  • The Ebla tablets refer to many of the places mentioned in the Bible such as Hazor, Megiddo, Jerusalem, Lachish, Dor and Gaza, proving that these cities were significant around the time of the Patriarchs, just as the Bible indicates. It also mentions Canaan as a geographical area.
  • Eblaite variations of Hebrew names such as Israel, Ishmael, and Micaiah were names used every day not legendary figures.
  • The Ebla tablets use many of the words, which scholars had previously identified as “late,” indicating that these words are actually early words.
  • There is now no reason to think that the Old Testament was not written early!

ABRAHAM’S UR

  • Before the 1920s, there were no references to Ur of the Chaldees by ancient historians, and scholars assumed that Ur was either non-existent or else some obscure village in the desert, with Abraham being just an insignificant nomad wandering around.
  • In 1922, however, Leonard Wooley began to excavate around a prominent ziggurat in Tell el Maqqaya.
  • He had discovered Ur.
  • Ur and the other contemporary Sumerian cities were no mean dwellings of crude-minded man; evidence suggest they built dams and dikes for flood control, irrigation canals, invented a plow with a seeding attachment, the wheel, hot and cold running water and sewage pipes in wealthy homes.
  • The Golden Age of Ur was around 2100 B.C., about a hundred years after Abraham was to have lived as far as we can tell.
  • Abraham wasn’t leaving just a primitive village when God called him out of Ur.
  • The earliest Sumerian literature written in cuneiform suggests that they originally worshipped one God.
  • By Abraham’s time, however the Sumerians worshipped over 5,000 different gods, including by voluntary human sacrifice

WAR OF THE KINGS

  • Gen 14:1 And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations;
  • Gen 14:2 That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
  • Gen 14:3 All these joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea.
  • Gen 14:4 Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled.
  • Gen 14:5 And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzims in Ham, and the Emims in Shaveh Kiriathaim,
  • Gen 14:6 And the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness.
  • Gen 14:7 And they returned, and came to Enmishpat, which is Kadesh, and smote all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
  • Gen 14:8 And there went out the king of Sodom, and the king of Gomorrah, and the king of Admah, and the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with them in the vale of Siddim;
  • Gen 14:9 With Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with Tidal king of nations, and Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five.
  • In 1918, William Albright wrote an article claiming that Genesis 14 was either borrowed from a legend or made up entirely.
  • Since that time, however, the historicity of Genesis 14 has been proven beyond a doubt.
  • In 1933, 23,000 clay tablets were discovered in the kingdom of Mari on the Euphrates river which prove those very kings did exist, and fought. Albright also discovered archaeological evidence that the cities mentioned in Genesis 14 were at war during that time.
  • Ultimately, Albright changed his position.

THE MARI TABLETS

  • The Mari tablets also provided more evidence that Genesis records an accurate account of real people and places.
  • It makes note of the city of Nahor, mentioned in Genesis 24:10, and identifies everyday names such as Abraham, Jacob-el and Benjamin. These names do not refer to the actual biblical people, but show that these were common names                                                     in that time.

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