Watch and Pray
Understanding Bible History Pt 2: The Assyrian Exile
Before we probe into the biblical and historic evidence of the Assyrian Exile, let’s examine, using the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles as to why God allowed Israel to be divided into two Kingdoms, Southern and Northern Kingdoms. The book of Samuel covers the lives of Samuel, Saul and David whereas the books of Kings begins with Solomon. The books of Kings were originally one book in the ancient Hebrew manuscripts but was divided into two by the writers of the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. The books of Chronicles draws much of its material from the books of Kings and Samuels but does not simply retell the narrative but it gives a detailed summary of Israelite history until the time of King David (I Chronicles chapters 1-9); it goes to great lengths to describe the genealogies of the Temple workers (I Chronicles chapters 15, 16, 23-27); it traces the history of Israel from Solomon to the Babylonian Exile, and the decree of King Cyrus to allow the Israelites to return to Jerusalem in Judah. The genealogy of the Davidic line from Judah to David are detailed in 1 Chronicles chapters 2 – 7 and chapters 8 covers the family of Saul of the tribe of Benjamin.
“From the beginning of the Davidic dynasty to the release of Jehoiachin from prison, mentioned at the end of 2 Kings, represents a period of about four and one-half centuries. For this time period, the books of Kings, Chronicles, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel provide over 120 dates, lengths of reign, and synchronisms that form the raw material for constructing a chronology for these times.” Evidence for Inerrancy from an Unexpected Source: OT Chronology, Bible Archaeology, Author: Rodger C. Young MA
It is not surprising that Israel’s twelve tribes were at war - the tribes war against each as brothers (Genesis 37:1-11) and as tribes in Judges 20 and between the House of Saul and the House of David (2 Samuel 2–3) but in the end it was David who reunited all the tribes as one nation (2 Samuel 5:1-5) and it is through David that God established the unconditional covenant known as the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8–16). Psalm 132 confirms this as it recalls the many blessings of the Davidic Covenant: the Messiah (Christ) is to be of David’s flesh and blood (v11), the Messiah is to sit on David’s throne (v11), God has chosen Zion as His eternal capital (v13-14), the Messiah shall be a light to the house of David forever (v17), the “horn” or “Branch” is the Coming One, who will unite the offices of priest and king (v17; Jeremiah 23:5), David will reign as king eternally under the Messiah (v:17), the “Anointed One,” first David, then his descendants, and eventually the Messiah will be triumphant over His enemies (v17-18).
Later on in the book of Samuel we learn that King David had many wives and sons but it was through the bloodline of Bathsheba and King David (2 Samuel 7:1-17) that the genealogy of Jesus Christ was to continue (Matthew 1:1-17). David and Bathsheba had four sons, Solomon, Shammua, Shobab, and Nathan excluding the unnamed son that was conceived in adultery; and later the murder of Uriah (2 Samuel 12). As a consequence of this sin, David suffered public humiliation and shame, and calamities within his household. David had older sons with his wives, but the Lord promised King David that his son, Solomon, although not the firstborn son and therefore was not the first in line, will become the heir to his father David’s throne (1 Chronicles 22:6-12), although Solomon was the firstborn of his marriage to Bathsheba. Solomon assumed the throne whilst David was on his deathbed due to his half-brother Adonijah declaring himself as king (1 Kings 1:9) much like his brother, Absalom (2 Samuel 15). Note that scripture points out that David did little to discipline Adonijah (1 Kings 1:6). Even after Solomon was anointed and forgiven by him (1 Kings 1:41–48), Adonijah still tried to overthrow Solomon (1 Kings 2:13–25) but was killed in the end.
Some scholars believe King David was more myth than man who, if he existed, was nothing more than a tribal chief, and certainly not the historical king of a dynasty in Israel. For example, University of Sheffield Professor, Dr. Philip R. Davies, has stated, “I’m not the only scholar who suspects that the figure of King David is about as historical as King Arthur.”¹ Archaeologist, Israel Finkelstien has been quoted as saying, “The united kingdom of David and Solomon, described in the Bible as a regional power, was at most, a small tribal kingdom….David’s kingdom was simply 500 people with sticks in their hands shouting and cursing and spitting”²…….This is in sharp contrast to the picture the Bible paints of the empire David ruled over. His rise from humble shepherd to mighty military commander to king over all Judah and Israel is a gripping story. Yet the account reads more like history than myth, and, at times, is reminiscent of the lists of conquered kingdoms that the kings of other nations left for posterity. King David: An Archaeological Biography.
Philip R. Davies, “‘House of David’ Built on Sand: The Sins of the Biblical Maximizers,” BAR 20:04, July/August, 1994, pg. 55.
2 Robert Draper, “Kings of Controversy.” National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2010/12/david-and-solomon/ (Accessed January 8, 2020).
The archaeological evidence of King David includes the following discovery: (1) Tel Dan Stele – “House of David” (2) Moabite Stone/Mesha Inscription – “House of David” (3) Battle Relief of Pharoah Shishak – “Highlands of David” (4) King David’s Palace (5) David’s Government – Judahite Cities (5) Davidic Kings. “The clear “House of David” inscription from Tel Dan establishes that David was a historical figure who was over a dynasty and is affirmed by two further inscriptions which may refer to him.” The bible, specifically the first book of Chronicles, details his reign and rule of a vast kingdom in 1 Chronicles chapter 11-12.
The Kingdom of Israel is Divided
It was a common practice among pagan rulers in the Near East to ratify treaties with other kingdoms by marriage to foreign wives and this practice has continued throughout the world among the ruling dynasties but in later history it was most prevalent in European monarchies. In Deut 17:14-20 the kings of Israel were strictly forbidden from participating in such alliances. Solomon ignored these commandments and overtime he allowed his wives to “turned away his heart after other gods” and “went after other gods” to the extent that he was building altars in high places and worshiped the gods of his foreign wives (1 Kings 11:1–8). Several ancient writers including Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus describe the shrines and altars of the ’detestable’ god Molech. Their accounts describe the sacrificing of young children to the flames of Molech which confirms Leviticus 18:21.
13 Then the king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, which were on the south of the Mount of Corruption, which Solomon king of Israel had built for Ashtoreth the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of the Moabites, and for Milcom the abomination of the people of Ammon. 2 Kings 23:13
The “Mount of Corruption” is known by another name – the “Mount of Olives” named for the olive groves that once graced it surface. And at the bottom of the “Mount of Olives” is a garden called “Gethsemane”. The Mount of Olives has also become the most requested place by Jews to be buried because of the Messianic prophecy “Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem ...” (Zechariah 14:3-4).
We see here once again that though God blesses and cause us to prosper, in having freewill we forget the Lord. This is what happens when we forget that we are to be set apart from the world “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:16.
Solomon’s defiance of God’s command is detailed in 1 Kings 11 and it is this defiance that has led him into sin and the loss of his kingdom. In this chapter we learn Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, his servant, was given the ten tribes (1 Kings 11:29-39). Solomon, hearing of this, seeks to put Jeroboam to death, who escapes to Egypt, where he continues till the death of Solomon (1 Kings 11:40). Solomon dies, after having reigned over Israel forty years; the twelve tribes of the Israel passed naturally to his son, Rehoboam, 1 Kings 11:41-43. Rehoboam became king (1 Kings 12:14) but his reign of the nation was hindered by his own lack of leadership and wisdom - he refused to hear the elders’ advice and instead chose young men of his peer to advise him. The word the Lord had spoken to Jeroboam, son of Nebat through Ahijah the Shilonite, was fulfilled (1 Kings 12:1-24).
After the death of Solomon, most of the kings of Judah and Israel lived under the constant fear of the sieges of Assyria. Assyria was a wicked nation that committed terrible atrocities against the people it defeated and/or controlled. Captives were led into exile with fish-hooks through their jaws. City leaders were impaled alive on poles, and some were beheaded. There are records of the Assyrians keeping track of how many they had killed by counting the heads of those they beheaded. Believing that “gods” of the cities they attacked lived in unborn children, the Assyrians would rip open pregnant women and kill their babies.
The United Kingdom of Israel was split into two, the Northern kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah - each ruled by separate kings for over two centuries. Evidence in the form of biblical archaeology concerning the Divided Kingdom of Israel and Judah can be found here. These years were marked by Israel’s repeated adoption of pagan religious practices that included the worship of idols in Bethel (calf worship) and at the “high places” (Amos 3:14), the moral corruption of the priests and kings, the exaltation of nature above the God of nature; violence, bloodshed, flagrant injustice, the unwonted luxury and extravagance, the shameless feasting and drunkenness, the gross licentiousness, debauchery and allying themselves with the heathen nations. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was known as the ten tribes, Samaria, Ephraim (son of the patriarch Joseph) and Joseph. Israel’s capital was Samaria and comprised of the ten tribes, Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph including Ephraim and Manasseh, as one tribe.
The invasion and destruction of the Northern kingdom of Israel came gradually, initially "Pul the king of Assyria came against the land” and the kingdom was made a vassal state of Assyria, leaving Menahem on the throne (2 Kings 15:19). God’s judgement on the Northern Kingdom of Israel through the Assyrian kings was prophesied by Isaiah, Amos and Hosea, through the man of God that had appeared before the altar at Bethel (1 Kings 13:4), through Elijah and Elisha - the Lord had repeatedly set before the ten tribes the evils of disobedience.
The Northern Kingdom’s (Israel) kings were all bad and the Southern Kingdom of Judah had some good kings. "They have set up kings," the Lord declared, "but not by Me: they have made princes, and I knew it not." (Hosea 8:4). They "dealt treacherously against the Lord" when they should have stood before the nations of earth to show them the way (Hosea 5:7). Judah was the only kingdom to have a queen on the throne. This queen, Athaliah (means afflicted of the Lord) was the daughter of Ahab and Jebel. She tried to eradicate the entire royal family of Judah (2 Kings 11:1–3) to take the throne - unbeknown to her the infant Joash, her grandson, was hidden (2 Kings 11:12). The saving of Joash was crucial to the survival of the House of Judah. God’s covenant with David is an important key to understanding God’s irrevocable pledge of a king from the line of David to rule forever (2 Samuel 7:1-17), the ultimate fulfilment of God’s covenant with David comes at Christ’s second coming when he sets up his kingdom on earth. So, this act by Athaliah was far deeper than wanting a throne was herself!
“So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, and he took them into exile….” 1 Chronicles 5:26
The word "Mesopotamia," is an ancient Greek name that is sometimes translated as "the land between two rivers" — the rivers being the Euphrates and the Tigris, these are two of four rivers mentioned in Genesis 2:8–14: “The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden. . . . Now a river went out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it parted and became four riverheads. The name of the first is Pishon . . . . The name of the second river is Gihon. . . . The name of the third river is Hiddekel (Tigris). ;. . . The fourth river is the Euphrates.”. The term Semitic was first used by Johann Gottfried Eichhorn in 1787, in his Introduction to the Old Testament, it relates to the people descended from Shem, son of Noah, the ancestor of Abraham (1 Chronicles 1) and, accordingly, the Jewish and Arab people. Their ancient language is also known as Semitic language, the great significance of this language is the role that it plays concerns the Biblical Hebrew in Judaism. An ancestor of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was Eber (1 Chronicles 1:18). The name Hebrew, a derivative of Eber’s name (Heber), was applied to the Israelites.
Associated with Mesopotamia are ancient cultures like the Sumerians, Assyrians, Akkadians, and Babylonians. Most Christians are familiar with the Assyrians and the Babylonian in the bible but are unaware how important these nations were in history. However, there are Ancient creation myths concerning these cultures that are often used to refute the biblical narrative of the Creation in Genesis but a rebuttal on these myths can be found here. Jerusalem (City of God), is mentioned in the bible more than any other city except Babylon (the city of man). Babylon is referenced 280 times in the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and is the counterfeit city of Jerusalem. Babylon represents humanity’s attempt to build their culture apart from God. It has every appearance of being the utopia for which humanity has always longed. It is no coincidence that its gold and jewels recall those of the New Jerusalem (Rev. 17:4). Babylon relates to the past - man’s rebellion against God as demonstrated by Nimrod. In the present we have Iraq, the cradle of civilisation, which is ancient Babylon and is constantly in the news. In the study of the end times, the Babylonian system of religion is mentioned in Revelation 17, the creation of one world religion headed by the False Prophet to worship the Anti-Christ and the beast.
The Assyrian invasion of Israel (and Syria) was announced by the naming of Isaiah’s son (Isa 8:1-4). “Moreover the LORD said to me, “Take a large scroll and write on it with a man’s pen concerning Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. And I will take for myself faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.” Then I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz; for before the child shall have the knowledge to cry ‘My father’ and ‘My mother,’ the riches of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be taken away before the king of Assyria.”
The Assyrians conquered Israel, first in 734 B.C. under Tiglath-Pileser III (2Kg 15:29, 1 Chronicles 5: 26) and then, climactically, in 722 under Shalmaneser and his successor, Sargon II, when the city of Samaria was destroyed and the Northern Kingdom of Israel ceased to exist (2Kg 17:5-6). The annals of Tiglath-Pileser III record Hoshea’s heavy tribute and the Assyrian king’s claim that he himself set the new Israelite king in office. The Tiglath-Pileser states the following: "They had overthrown their king Pekah, Hoshea I placed as ruler over them. From him I received a tribute of 10 talents of gold and 1,000 talents of silver." The beginning of the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah was before the third stage when most of Israel had been exiled though a remnant had remained centered around Samaria (2-Kings 17:6). The tribe of Reuben were the first tribe to be deported by Tiglath-Pileser III (1 Chronicles 5: 6). The seventeen year of Pekah was 736-735 BC. Ahaz’s 16-year reign apparently ended in 720 BC. If so, like Jotham before him, Ahaz must have lived on another four years after giving up his rule. Hezekiah’s first year of independent rule began in 716 BC, 14 years before Sennacherib’s invasion of Judah and his siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC.
The ten tribes were carried away captive and scattered in the provinces of the Assyrian realm and not lost as promoted by legends but a remnant of people from each of the northern tribes were spared as they settled in Judah before the captivity. Furthermore, the tribes are mentioned in Revelation 7:5-8, being sealed by God. However, they are not the same tribes that were given land in Joshua. Manasseh is there, and Ephraim (under Joseph’s name). But instead of Dan, Levi is included. No explanation is given as to why, however many have offered theories as to why Dan is excluded. Judges 17-21 gives us two clues; one relates to Dan’s refusal to take the land allotted to them and the other is that Dan became the first tribe to embrace idol worship. The twelve tribes are mentioned again in Revelation 21:12 and by Jesus when He was talking to the disciples (Luke 22:30). In Hezekiah's time (2 Chron 30:11), in Josiah's time (34:9), and even in Jeremiah's time (Jer 41:5) there were Israelites in the Northern Kingdom of Israel who worshipped the Lord at Jerusalem.
King Sennacherib of Assyria invades Judah
The Assyrian, not satisfied with the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, decided to invade the Southern Kingdom of Judah under Sennacherib in 701 B.C (Isaiah 36). Hezekiah reigned as King of Judah from 716 to 687 BC, after having ruled for approximately 13 years in a co-regency with his father Ahaz. In 2 Chronicles 29:1-2 we read, “Hezekiah began to reign when he was twenty-five years old, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. He was one of the greatest kings Judah had ever had. In Scripture, his life is summarized this way: “He trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel, so that there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those who were before him.” (2 Kings 18:5). In Isaiah chapter 37 are contained Hezekiah's message to Isaiah, desiring his prayer for him and his people, in this time of sore distress, the comforting and encouraging answer returned by the prophet to him, the king of Assyria's letter to Hezekiah, to terrify him into a surrender of the city of Jerusalem to him, which Hezekiah spread before the Lord, and prayed unto him for deliverance, upon which he received a gracious answer by the hand of the prophet, promising safety and deliverance to him, and destruction to the king of Assyria, of which a sign was given, and the chapter is closed with the slaughter of the Assyrian army by an angel, the flight of the king, and his death by the hands of his sons. Further historical insights of when a pagan king challenged the LORD can be found here. The Neo-Assyrian Empire collapsed at the end of the seven century B.C.
Prophets of the Assyrian Period
Jonah "Yonah" (dove) - Jonah is mentioned in II Kings 14:25 during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 BC) of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, before the Assyrians under King Shalmaneser conquered the Northern Kingdom of Israel in 722 BC. Considering the reputation of the Assyrians, I can understand why Jonah was so reluctant to go there!
Isaiah "yeeha yahu" (Yaweh is salvation) - Isaiah was written before and during the Assyrian invasion and the end of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria, the capital, fell in 722 B.C.). The Southern Kingdom of Judah was to be invaded by the Assyrian armies, and Jerusalem was to suffer a siege that would have resulted in her downfall had not God miraculously intervened. Isaiah’s call to service from God began in the year King Uzziah died (Isaiah 6:1) and spanned a period of over 40 years through the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah.
Amos "amos" (burden) - Despite the fact that he lived in the Southern Kingdom of Judah, God sent him as His prophet to the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the reigns of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam II of Israel.
Hosea "hoshea" (deliverer) - was a contemporary of Isaiah. His early years overlapped with Amos; and his later years, with Micah. Hosea’s message was primarily for the Northern Kingdom of Israel, although he occasionally refers to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. His prophecy began with Jeroboam II, when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was at its peak, and continued for the next 40 years until just before Samaria fell to Assyria in 722 B.C.
Nahum "nahum" (compassionate) - Nahum was a prophet to the Southern Kingdom of Judah – but prophesied concerning the fall of Assyria at least 150 years after Jonah. The theme of the prophecy is the fate and destruction of Nineveh, the one-time capital city of the mighty Assyrian empire, which had destroyed Israel and taken many inhabitants of the land captive (722 B.C.). Nahum is not the promised vengeance of God against Nineveh promised by God in Jonah, because Nineveh did repent. But his message is about the coming judgement (Nahum 2:6,13) and in 612 BC, that is exactly what happened, as an alliance of Babylonians and Medes destroyed the city by those means recorded in the book.
Joel "yo el" (Yaweh is God) - There is a great deal of controversy among scholars but most agree that Judah had not descended into the extreme spiritual and moral depravity of its latter days. It appears, therefore, that Joel should be placed among the earlier prophets, likely during the reign of King Joash of Judah (around 835 B.C.). If this is correct, then Joel would have been a contemporary of Hosea and Amos.
Many would have you believe that the Bible is a collection of timeless sayings or religious fables, but the stones shall cry out of the wall …” (Habakkuk 2:11). Across Israel and the Middle East the stones of archaeological excavations are crying out of the walls, in harmony with the biblical accounts. Below is a selection of key archaeological discoveries relating to the events mentioned in this post that supports the bible.
Biblical Sites: Three Discoveries at Jericho – If the Bible is historically accurate when it describes the Israelite conquest of Canaan, we should expect to find some archaeological evidence to support this significant event.
Abimelech at Shechem - for some 800 years, from the time of Jacob until the time of Gideon, Shechem was an important highland urban center controlling the area from Megiddo to Jerusalem. It is no surprise, then, that Gideon's son Abimelech went to the leaders of Shechem to gain support for his failed attempt to become king of the Israelite tribes. Three archaeological discoveries at Shechem relate to the narrative of Judges 9.
Shechem: Its Archaeological and Contextual Significance - Jesus and the woman at Jacob's well in John 4 is an excellent example of the importance of context in developing a passage. The story takes place near the Old Testament city of Shechem. Shechem is mentioned 60 times in the Old Testament. The city had been abandoned by New Testament times, but Stephen reiterates its importance in his speech in Acts 7:16. A small village, Sychar, was near the ruins of Shechem in New Testament times and is mentioned in the John 4 account (Jn 4:5). Unfortunately, most Bible studies of events at or near Shechem, and commentaries on the Book of John, omit Shechem's pivotal role in Bible history and how it fit into God's salvation plan….. When the Samaritan woman said to Jesus, “Our fathers worshipped on this mountain,” she was no doubt referring to the ruins of the Samaritan temple on top of Mt. Gerizim. The small structure on the peak marks the location of the ruins of the Samaritan temple that easily could have been seen from Jacob’s well in Jesus’ day.
Cultural Change and the Confusion of Language in Ancient Sumer - Mesopotamia, literally 'the land between the rivers' was the home of many peoples familiar to us from general ancient history and the Old Testament, such as the Assyrians and Babylonians. Before these peoples a group known as the Sumerians, the creators of classic Mesopotamian culture, inhabited the southern part of the valley. How and when did civilization start in this region?
The Tel Dan Inscription: The First Historical Evidence of King David from the Bible - The Tel Dan inscription, or “House of David” inscription, was discovered in 1993 at the site of Tel Dan in northern Israel in an excavation directed by Israeli archaeologist Avraham Biran.
Archaeologists Discover King David’s Palace - recently uncovered what they believe was King David’s Palace at Khirbet Qeiyafa, a fortified city in Judea identified with the biblical city of Sha’arayim. Archaeologists have spent the last seven years on the site, discovering unprecedented evidence of the nature of King David’s reign.
The City of David Archaeology - The first archaeological excavation at the City of David took place in 1867. Every day, significant archaeological discoveries that reinforce the historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem are revealed in the excavations at the City of David. But today, there are those who are trying to stop the excavation to prevent the truth from being revealed.
The Moabite Stone - The inscription, which dates to the ninth century B.C.E., is a victory stela set up to commemorate the triumph of the rebellious Moabite vassal king Mesha over the Israelite king and his armies (thus the names Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone). 2 Kings 3.
Assyrian Deportation and Resettlement: The Story of Samaria - In 722 B.C.E., Assyria conquered the kingdom of Israel, and deported many of the residents of Samaria and its surroundings to other Assyrian provinces, and brought deportees from other conquered territories to Samaria to take their place. Excavations at Tel Hadid, near Lod in Israel, have unearthed material remains that contribute to our understanding of these transformative years.
Three Assyrian Inscriptions About Hebrew Kings - These three inscriptions are just a few of the many references in Assyrian records that confirm Hebrew kings and events. They demonstrate the reliability of the Bible as a historical text. As my friend and archaeologist Gary Byers says, “The Bible and archaeology tell the same story.
King Hezekiah: An Archaeological Biography - archaeological artefacts relating to his life. Multiple bullae (clay seal impressions) of King Hezekiah have been found (one of the inscription discovered near the Temple Mount, reads “belonging to Hezekiah, son of Ahaz, king of Judah”; Evidence of Hezekiah’s religious reforms have been discovered at Arad, Beer-Sheba, Lachish, Tell Motza, and Tell Lahif; the discovery of Hezekiah’s Tunnel and Broad Wall (II Kings 20, II Chronicles 32, Isaiah 22:9-11) built to improve the city’s fortifications including the tunnel built to bring water into the city - years later an inscription was discovered in the tunnel which recorded how it had been built; and multiple copies of the Annals of Sennacerib have been unearthed. The Taylor Prism, the Oriental Institute Prism and the Jerusalem prism are three clay prisms that contain the same text describing events from the reign of Sennacherib. Sennacherib’s Invasion of Judah - One of the treasures of the University of Chicago Oriental Institute (a wonderful museum for those interested in Biblical history) is the Sennacherib Prism, an official Assyrian account of Sennacherib’s military campaigns.
Archaeologists Uncover Seal of Isaiah the Prophet - Just south of the Temple Mount, in the Ophel excavations, archaeologist discovered a small seal impression that reads “[belonging] to Isaiah the prophet.” The seal impressions of Isaiah and King Hezekiah were found less than 10 feet apart.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Discovery - These thousands of fragments constitute almost 900 documents dating between the third century B.C. and the first century A.D. They contain the oldest manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible by nearly 1,000 years, and they continue to change our understanding of first-century Judaism, the origins of Christianity, the development of the Biblical canon and Hebrew textual traditions.