Whose Image Is On The Coin?

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

The Babylonian Invasion in Archeology – Part 3: Exile

“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

The Babylonian Invasion In Archeology – Part 2: The Lachish Letters

(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 In Archeology – Part 1: Jerusalem Falls

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

Sennacherib’s Invasion of Judah

From the ruins of Lachish to Hezekiah’s tunnel in Jerusalem, there are a number of archeological reminders of King Sennacherib of Assyria’s invasion of the kingdom of Judah. That the Assyrians invaded during the reign of good King Hezekiah is undeniable. Bible students are familiar with the invasion and how it ended.

Continue reading

The Ancient Community of Silwan

Has The Tomb of Shebna Been Discovered?

The Biblical prophet Isaiah served in the kingdom of Judah during the reign of King Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and most famously, Hezekiah.Isaiah had messages of judgment to deliver to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah, the kingdom of Israel and the surrounding nations. On occasion, his messages were directed to specific individuals. For example: Continue reading

The village of Sulam viewed from the Hill of Moreh

Where was Shulam, home of the Shulammite?

Where was Shulam, home of the beautiful Shulammite (Shulamite) maiden of the Song of Solomon?  Some have suggested that since the word Shulammite is similar to the Hebrew name Solomon, that the designation is simply an indication that she was married to Solomon. In this theory, the title Shulammite was in fact the maiden’s married name. But this would contradict the account which indicates that she never married Solomon but was returned to her true love the handsome shepherd.

Most scholars think it likely that the term “Shulammite” indicates that she was a person from Shulam, which they believe to be synonymous with Shunem, a small town in northern Israel. Supporting this view is the fact that the ancient Greek Septuagint (Vatican Manuscript No. 1209) translation of the Hebrew scriptures calls the girl the “Sunamite.” Also, the fourth century church historian and writer Eusebius referred to Shunem as Shulem. Continue reading