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

Aerial view of Khirbet Qeiyafa

Archeology On The Front Lines: Israel Verses The Philistines

Something exciting is happening in the ancient hills of Judah. An archeological dig in progress since 2007 is illuminating a period in history once only known from the Biblical account of King David.

The place is called Khirbet Qeiyafa, an Arabic name that may mean “the place with a wide view”. Israeli archeologists working on the site have given it a Hebrew name meaning the “Elah Fortress”. The site is a hilltop, 30 kilometers southwest of Jerusalem overlooking the famous valley of Elah. That valley is instantly recognizable to Bible readers as the site of one of the most famous battles in history, the battle between the shepherd boy David and the giant Philistine soldier Goliath. Continue reading

More Evidence for Hezekiah’s Reforms At Lachish!

(Alternate Title: The Wrong Kind Of Throne!)

About 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Jerusalem is a massive mound that was once the Biblical city of Lachish. Only Jerusalem was more important in all the cities of the ancient Kingdom of Judah. Bible students are grateful for years of careful archeological study of the site as it has enriched our understanding of important Biblical events like the Assyrian invasion of Judah and the later Babylonian invasion.

Recent work shines a light on another important Biblical event: the religious reforms of King Hezekiah. When Hezekiah was enthroned, the worship of Jehovah, centered around the temple in Jerusalem, had been neglected for decades, certainly during Continue reading

Evidence for the Tabernacle at Shiloh?

Has archeological evidence been found of the Tabernacle?

During the conquest of Canaan, the Tent of Worship or the Tabernacle was set up in a hill town named Shiloh. It was here that Joshua, successor to Moses, completed the apportioning of the Land of Promise. The Tabernacle, the portable Temple built according to the exact design specifications given by God to Moses was to remain in Shiloh for over 3 centuries. It would stay here for most if not all of the era of the Judges (356 years). According to Talmudic sources, it was in place in Shiloh for a total of 369 years. Continue reading

The Strange Case of the “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife”

Every once in a while, a breathless headline promises that some new discovery will turn upside-down everything you ever knew about  Christianity. Bible students know to treat such claims with great skepticism. If you are patient, it won’t be long before the claim is exposed as being much less than what it was advertised to be, or even exposed as being fraudulent. This very recent story is one such case. It provides an instructive look at the prejudices and predilections of Bible critics.

The controversial text was revealed to the world in a conference held in the shadow of Vatican City on September 18, 2012. Dr. Karen King, an American woman who is the Continue reading