In Toronto, at the Royal Ontario Museum (if you haven’t visited you really should) are two square clay building blocks with an inscription stamped upon them reading, “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, who provides for (the temples) Esagila and Ezida, the eldest son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon, am I”. King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon was a prolific builder. According to some sources, Nebuchadnezzar’s workers used over 15,000,000 bricks in his building projects and almost all of them carried the same inscription.
Nebuchadnezzar was keenly aware of Egyptian Pharaoh’s and Mesopotamian monarchs who had been erased from the historical record by envious and resentful successors. The Babylonian king would not allow the same thing to happen to him. No one could ever take credit for his greatest work, the rebuilding of the great capital of Babylon but the man whose name and esteemed royal parentage was pressed into the very walls and foundations of everything he built. Continue reading
In the south of Lebanon there is evidence of an ancient battle so fierce that it permanently altered the Mediterranean coastline. A peninsula juts out from the mainland in the place where a proud island city once refused an invader, providing silent testimony as to the fate of all those who defied Alexander the Great. The city is called Tyre and it is located approximately 20 kilometres north (12 miles) of the Israeli border and about 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the Lebanese capital Beirut. Tyre is well-known to Bible students particularly (although not exclusively) from the prophecy of Ezekiel who was inspired to foresee details of Tyre’s downfall that would have seemed wildly improbable to his contemporaries yet in the course of time proved accurate to the smallest detail.
Note from the editor: I am delighted to introduce to our readers an article by a special guest contributor! Jay Grande is a friend of the website, an avid Roman history enthusiast and a Biblical numismatist (specialist in the study of coins). Enjoy this in-depth look at the most famous coin in the Bible!
Next they sent to him some of the Pharisees and of the party followers of Herod in order to catch him in his speech. On arriving, these said to him: “Teacher, we know you are truthful and you do not seek anyone’s favor, for you do not look at the outward appearance of people, but you teach the way of God in line with truth. Is it lawful to pay head tax to Caesar or not? Should we pay, or should we not pay?” Detecting their hypocrisy, he said to them: “Why do you put me to the test? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought one, and he said to them: “Whose image and inscription is this?” They said to him: “Caesar’s.” Jesus then said: “Pay back Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.” (Mark 12:13-17)
There has been much debate amongst numismatists and historians about the above passage. There are many theories about which Caesar’s image was on the coin and also which denomination of coin was brought to Jesus. What’s all the fuss about? Let’s look a little closer and examine the evidence. Continue reading
“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat. We wept when we remembered Zion.” (Psalm 37:1)
(This is the third and final part of a three-part series on the Babylonian invasion of Judah in archeology. In part 1 we looked at the archeological memory of the invasion and conquest of Jerusalem. In part 2 we examined the famous “Lachish Letters”. In part 3 we will investigate evidence of the famous captivity of the Judean population in Babylon.)
As recently as last year, I heard an archeologist refer to the “so-called Babylonian exile”. Continue reading
(Photo: James Leslie Starkey points to where he found the “Lachish Letters” in 1935.)
In speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem, it’s easy to forget that other cities in the kingdom suffered defeat and exile as well. Such was the case with Lachish, the second most important city in the kingdom of Judah.
On January 29, 1935, British archaeologist James Leslie Starkey made what is widely regarded as one of the most important discoveries in the history of Biblical archeology. Continue reading
The Babylonian invasion of Judah is one of the most momentous events in the history of Israel. It resulted in the destruction of the capital Jerusalem, the exile of the population to a foreign land, the end of independent rule by kings from the house of David and most importantly, the destruction of the glorious temple built by King Solomon. There was a controversy at one time about whether the Bible exaggerated the event. Some today still might still dispute certain details, but the archaeological evidence is clear, there can be no doubt as to whether those events occurred. Continue reading