Archaeology

Solomonís Powerplay Upends Higher Critics

The majority-text Holy Bible has been maligned, repudiated, ridiculed, and mocked by the self-proclaimed ďwisestĒ amongst us since the beginning of time. Did archaeologists dig up something that could help their cause?
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Solomonís Powerplay Upends Higher Critics

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Outside of a life in Christ, God’s only begotten Son, this existence is an ever-so-shallow and very short vanity.  In carnaldom, it boils down to ME, so much self-absorption: what I eat; what I wear; where I live; what I drive; my wife; my kids; my retirement profile; my vacation; my entertainment—and, how about this one, mydeath.

This life is a journey, and you and I are each traveling on our own particular road, which leads—as all roads do—to a destination.  That road ends: abruptly, often rudely.  The road that I am traveling will soon end—no more road for me!—and my life here will be over. I will arrive at the destination, the place where my road leads.  That’s how it will be for you, too. That is exactly how it works.

There really is a road, by the way.  The world’s many roads appear so diverse, but there are, in fact, only two destinies or outcomes.  Jesus lays out those outcomes in Mark 16:15-16:

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

The highway is a person. Jesus said He alone is the only way.  John 14:6:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.   

The BORN AGAIN travel on a very exclusive and magnificent highway.  The Word of God reveals this highway in Isaiah 35:8-10:

8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Only the redeemed can travel on this highway of holiness.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14:

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:

14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

The entrance to the Holy Highway is a place Jesus Christ calls BORN AGAIN.  John 3:3:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

This road is full access to the Kingdom of God and the destination is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Dear visitor, have you been BORN AGAIN—born a second time, this time of the Spirit of God?  In just a few moments, I will invite you to follow me in a simple prompt, and if you follow from your heart, you will surely be born a most literal second time and you will participate in the greatest miracle man can know.  Today, all your sin and shame will be washed away by Christ’s cleansing blood.  You will be clean.  Today, all of Satan’s bondages in your life will be shattered, no matter how big they seem.  The chains break today.  Today, your feet will begin the journey unto eternal life on the highway of holiness, Rt. 7 (North), Obedience. Here is the simple prompt I promised: Click onto Further with Jesus for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the Kingdom of God. NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, I Kings 9:15-19:

15 And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon''s wife.

17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Bethhoron the nether,

18 And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,

19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

GOD SAID, I Samuel 2:2:

There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

GOD SAID, Deuteronomy 4:5-10:

5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons'' sons;

10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.

MAN SAID: David and Solomon?! If this so-called “giant-killer” and so-proclaimed “wisest man who ever lived” even existed at all, they would have been, at best, leaders of small and inconsequential nomadic tribes. 

Now THE RECORD: Welcome to GodSaidManSaid feature 1214 that will, for the 1,214th time, certify the perfect, supernatural veracity of God’s beautiful, majority-text Holy Bible.  All of these faith-building features are archived here in text and streaming audio for your edification and to be used as ammunition in the battle for the souls of the lost sons and daughters of Adam. Every Thursday eve, God willing, they grow by one.

Thank you for visiting.  May God’s face shine upon you with Light and Truth.

The majority-text Holy Bible has been maligned, repudiated, ridiculed, and mocked by the self-proclaimed “wisest” amongst us since the beginning of time.  The efforts to discredit the veracity of God’s Words began in Eden where Eve, the mother of us all, was challenged in a matter of faith.  God said NO and Satan said YES.  Whose report would Eve believe?  Since that time, Satan has rallied his champions, his brightest and most eloquent spokespeople, to continue his incessant attack on the bonafides of God’s Holy Text.  Be of good cheer, sons and daughters of God, the Holy Tome has not suffered a single scratch, not even a mild abrasion.  Your faith in God’s Word will not be disappointed; God’s Word cannot be discredited.

It doesn’t stop them from trying, though.  To illustrate, paragraphs follow from the GodSaidManSaid feature “Gideon & Jerubbaal Found.  The Higher Critics Head for the Tall Grass:”  

GodSaidManSaid utilizes a four level proof platform to establish the supernatural inerrancy of God’s Holy Bible. The first category on the navigation bar on your left is titled “Archaeology,” and inside that banner you’ll also find the scientific disciplines of paleontology, anthropology, geology, ancient societal records and ancient history. This category establishes the Bible as a supremely accurate historic record of past events from Paradise and the Garden of Eden and forward even the miraculous. Many are shocked at the in depth nonbiblical scholastic information available concerning marvels such as creation itself, Adam and his ribbed wife Eve, to Noah’s ark and the global flood onto the tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, the walls of Jericho and on and on. The jeering from the sidelines continues but do keep firmly in mind that the Bible’s historic record has never been controverted.

In the following excerpts from Encyclopedia of Bible Life you’ll find a quote from one William F. Albright who stood a giant in the field of archaeology. He was an orientalist and Professor of Semitic Languages at Johns Hopkins University. Albright was Director of American Schools in Jerusalem and lead excavations in numerous places. A bibliography of Albright’s work was written by Henry M Orlinsky, where 473 items were listed. The following is from Encyclopedia of Bible Life:

Nothing that has happened in the past fifty years has put the Bible on sure a footing as the development of biblical archaeology. Without starting out to “prove that the Bible is true,” research has a posteriori come upon facts confirming and illustrating point after point, especially of Old Testament record. Higher criticism has received a blow and must henceforth be considered only in connection with the findings of archaeology. We now know that Abraham was not merely a Mesopotamian folk hero but a historic personality, though not contemporary with Hammurabi, whose date is not 2000 B.C. but between c.1728 B.C. and 1686 B.C. We now believe, with Albright, that Jericho fell later than c.1375 B.C., (Others accept 1400 or 1250). Confirmation has been found of the destruction and desertion of Shiloh by the Philistines after the battle of Ebenezer and the capture of the ark, C.1050 B.C. Exodus I has been confirmed with the discovery of Egyptian Tanis and Pithom (Tell Retabeh), store cities of Ramesses II. The antiquity of the Song of Deborah has been demonstrated, and the pushing back of dates of portions of the Old Testament once placed in the post-Exilic period has come about. Ras Shamra in northern Syria has given us not only the lost Canaanite religious literature but has helped us construct the progress of Israel’s loftier religion by tracing its steps of ascent from the worship ways of its neighbors. We know now, since Megiddo and Ezion-geber excavations, much about the economic foundations of Solomon’s kingdom and the background of his Temple-building and chariot cities. Cross-references synthesizing Babylon with Palestinian history in the sixth century B.C. have built up satisfactory conclusions.

As Albright has pointed out in Archaeology and the Religion of Israel, the most brilliant and searching scrutiny of science has not lessened the pre-eminence of the Bible as a masterpiece of literature and an absolutely unique religious document. Nothing has been unearthed which need disturb the faith of Hebrew or Christian, but much has been excavated which heightens this faith. “No major contention of Scripture has been proved unhistoric.”

Those paragraphs were written over 70 years ago and the situation for the higher critics has certainly not improved.

The ancient city of Mari, that one text claims is the 10th city to be founded after Noah’s flood, shocked the archaeology world beginning in 1933 during excavations at Tell Hariri. Passages from The Bible as History follow:

B) No one knew as yet how close a connection the finds at Mari would prove to have with quite familiar passages in the Bible.

Year by year reports of the expedition provided fresh surprises.

In the winter of 1933-34 a temple of Ishtar the goddess of fertility was exposed. Three of Ishtar’s royal devotees have immortalized themselves as statues in the shrine which is inlaid with a mosaic of gleaming shells: Lamgi-Mari, Ebin-il, and Idi-Narum.

In the second season of digging the spades came upon the houses of a city. Mari had been found! However great was the satisfaction with their success, far more interest, indeed astonishment was aroused by the walls of a palace which must have been unusually large. Parrot reported: “We have unearthed 69 rooms and courts, and there are still more to come.” On thousand six hundred cuneiform tablets, carefully stacked in one of the rooms, contained details of household management.

The record of the third campaign in 1935-36 noted that so far 138 rooms and courtyards had been found but that they had not yet reached the outer walls of the palace. Thirteen thousand clay tablets awaited deciphering. In the fourth winter a temple of the god Dagon was dug up and also a Ziggurat, the typical Mesopotamian staged tower. Two hundred and twenty rooms and  courtyards were now visible in the palace and another 8,000 clay tablets had been added to the existing collection.

At last in the fifth season, when a further forty rooms had been cleared of rubble, the palace of the kings of Mari lay in all its vast extent before Parrot and his assistants. This mammoth building of the third  millennium B.C. covered almost ten acres. Never before during any excavations had such an enormous building with such vas ramifications come to light.

C) On other clay tablets the Assyriologists dealing with these reports of governors and district commissioners of the Mari empire came across one after another a whole series of familiar sounding names from Biblical history – names like Peleg, and Serug, Nahor and Terah and – Haran.

“These are the generations of Shem,” says Gen. 11. “…Peleg lived 30 years and begat Reu: And Reu lived two and thirty years and begat Serug: And  Serug lived thirty years and begat Nahor: And Nahor lived nine and twenty years and begat Terah: And Terah lived seventy years and begat Abram, Nahor, and Haran.”

Names of Abraham’s forefathers emerge from these dark ages as names of cities in north-west Mesopotamia. They lie in Padan-Aram, the Plain of Aram. In the centre of it lies Haran, which, according to its description, must have been a flourishing city in the 19th and 18th centuries B.C. Haran, the home of Abraham, father of the patriarchs, the birthplace of the Hebrew people, is here for the first time historically attested, for contemporary texts refer to it. Further up the same Balikh valley lay the city with an equally well-known Biblical name, Nahor, the home of Rebecca, wife of Isaac.

D) The documents from the kingdom of Mari produce startling proof that the stories of the patriarchs in the Bible are not “pious legends” – as is often too readily assumed – but things that are described as happening in a historical period which can be precisely dated.

The archaeologist’s spades continue to dig and God’s word is continually confirmed. You would suppose at least one uncontested victory for the doctors of unbelief—but alas, not one.

A few final excerpts follow from Dr. Grant Jeffreys book, The Signature of God:

Dr. Nelson Glueck, the most outstanding Jewish archaeologist of the last century, wrote in his book Rivers in the Desert:

It may be stated categorically that no archaeological discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference. Scores of archaeological findings have been made which confirm in clear outline or in exact detail historical statements in the Bible. And by the same token, proper evaluation of Biblical descriptions has often led to amazing discoveries.

Another respected scholar, Dr. J. O. Kinnaman, declared:

Of the hundreds of thousands of artifacts found by the archeologists, not one has ever been discovered that contradicts or denies one word, phrase, clause, or sentence of the Bible, but always confirms and verifies the facts of the biblical record.

Well-known language scholar Dr. Robert Dick Wilson, formerly professor of Semitic philology at Princeton Theological Seminary, made the following statement:

After forty-five years of scholarly research in biblical textual studies and in language study, I have come now to the conviction that no man knows enough to assail the truthfulness of the Old Testament. When there is sufficient documentary evidence to make an investigation, the statement of the Bible, in the original text, has stood the test. [End of quotes]

It wasn’t that long ago that the so-called “higher critics” challenged the historical existence of King David and his son Solomon.  Those that did acknowledge these two kings relegated them to a couple of tribal bumpkins, never granting that they ruled over a mighty kingdom.  This criticism flew directly in the face of God’s Word, where David the giant-slayer amalgamated the twelve tribes of Israel into one and ruled over this mighty nation.  King David is mentioned 1,040 times in the Bible, and it is through him that the Messiah finds His earthly root. King Solomon, on the other hand, who followed his father David as King of Israel, is mentioned 314 times in the Bible.  God gifted Solomon with wisdom so great that no man before or after has since matched.  The power and wealth of Israel during Solomon’s reign sound utterly fantastical, but yet the claims are true.  I Kings 10:21-22, 27:

21 And all king Solomon''s drinking vessels were of gold, and all the vessels of the house of the forest of Lebanon were of pure gold; none were of silver: it was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon.

22 For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

27 And the king made silver to be in Jerusalem as stones, and cedars made he to be as the sycamore trees that are in the vale, for abundance.

Critics criticize because that’s what critics do.  However, the latest discoveries surrounding King David and King Solomon have sent the critics retreating quietly to the tall grass to update their unbelief. They will learn nothing, sadly: Critics will rise again and fall just as surely.

Biblical Archaeology Review published a seven-page feature in their Summer 2024 issue titled “Solomon’s Powerplay,” with the subhead, “Gezer’s royal complex confirmed.”  Excerpts follow:

Many BAR readers are familiar with the famous passage of I Kings 9:15-16 which notes that among his many claims to fame, Solomon fortified the royal cities of Hazor, Megiddo, and Gezer.  Beginning with Yigael Yadin, many archaeologists of the last century identified key fortifications and structures from these sites with Solomon’s building program in the tenth century BCE, although others have since come to question the dating and attribution of these remains.  

In this article, we present new archaeological evidence from Gezer that in the time of Solomon, the city did indeed boast a monumental gate and administrative complex that was meant to convey power and authority over newly acquired territories in the Shephelah (the foothills between the coastal plain and the Judean hill country).  Our findings are the result of a decade-long excavation project, which we co-directed from 2006 to 2017. 

From traditions preserved in the Bible, we learn that this new city [rebuilt Gezer after its destruction by Egyptian pharaoh Merneptah], which lasted several hundred years before it too met a fiery end, may have aided local Canaanite rulers during Joshua’s campaign (Joshua 10:33).  We also read that it served as a refuge for the Philistines when they were being pursued by David (II Samuel 5:17-25), and was destroyed by an Egyptian pharaoh (possibly Siamun) before being given as a dowry to Solomon (I Kings 9:16). 

It was during Solomon’s reign, in the mid-tenth century, that Gezer underwent a radical change.  It became a well-fortified city with a massive six-chambered gate, an adjoining casemate wall, and a large administrative building.  Although previous excavations had already revealed significant portions of these structures, our work focused on fully exposing the administrative building and surrounding features as well as the full length of the casemate wall.  The results, which we review here, confirm that during the tenth century, Gezer was a fortified city most likely administered by a royal authority.

Gezer has long been known for its six-chambered gate, which many archaeologists date to the tenth century and attributed to King Solomon.  Already in the 1950s, Yadin hypothesized that the so-called “Maccabean Castle” revealed during R.A.S. Macalister’s excavations at Gezer in the early 20th century was actually a six-chambered gate similar to the “Solomonic” gates identified at Megiddo and Hazor.  Subsequent excavations, led by William Dever, confirmed the dating and identification of the six-chambered gate, which was a massive two-story structure with foundations constructed of hewn limestone boulders and huge ashlar blocks.  It contained six chambers, three on each side, and had two imposing towers that dominated the entrance.  It also featured a well-designed drainage system with a covered channel running beneath the gateway that directed surface water outside the city walls.

Gezer’s gate complex, casemate wall, and administrative building were all violently destroyed in the mid- to late tenth century.  We, along with earlier excavators, attribute this destruction to the Egyptian pharaoh Shoshenq I (Biblical Shishak), who campaigned through much of Israel and Judah in c. 925 BCE (I Kings 14:25-26; Chronicles 12:4).  The administrative building was completely ruined and buried beneath a thick layer of rubbly debris.  The few finds discovered on the floors indicate that many of the city’s inhabitants may have fled prior to Shoshenq’s attack. 

Taken together, the efforts at fortification and city planning suggest direction and oversight from a central authority.  In light of the material culture and new radiocarbon evidence, we believe these grand monumental works can finally and conclusively be dated to the mid-tenth century, that is, to the time of King Solomon. 

Our excavations have similarly shown that Gezer shifted from being a Canaanite city aligned with Philistia in the 11th century to becoming a fortified administrative center of the expanding Judahite state in the tenth century. 

We believe this shift in Gezer’s political allegiance can also be seen in the biblical stories related to Judah’s growth and westward expansion during the reigns of David and Solomon.  When David brought the northern tribes formerly aligned with Saul under his control (II Samuel 3:12), he then conquered Jerusalem, consolidating his power over the southern tribes.  The Philistines, upon hearing of the unification of the tribes and the establishment of David’s capital at Jerusalem, marched to the highlands, to the Valley of Rephaim, to face this rising power (II Samuel 5:17-25).  David defeated the Philistines and drove them from their strongholds, “from Geba all the way to Gezer.”  This story suggests, therefore, that at least during the time of David, Gezer was still a Canaanite city closely aligned with the Philistines.

By the time of Solomon, however, things had changed.  Gezer was no longer a safe haven for the Philistines but was a city under the auspices of Jerusalem.  Unlike David, whose influence grew because of his battlefield exploits, Solomon expanded his kingdom through statecraft and alliances.  Indeed, in the Bible, there are no accounts of Solomon engaged in battle, only stories of marriage alliances with Egypt (I Kings 3:1) and economic partnerships with Hiram king of Tyre (I Kings 9:10-14) and the Queen of Sheba (I Kings 10).  [End of quotes]

The Word of God is the most perfect source of knowledge known to man.  There is no book like our Book.  Moses speaks of God’s Words in Deuteronomy 4:5-8:

5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

Everything depends upon the Word of God, from our very molecular structure to the marvels of redemption—and even further on, to immortality in Christ Jesus. Everything depends upon it.  This beautiful Book is true and righteous altogether, a place to build a life that will last forever. 

GOD SAID, I Kings 9:15-19:

15 And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer.

16 For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon''s wife.

17 And Solomon built Gezer, and Bethhoron the nether,

18 And Baalath, and Tadmor in the wilderness, in the land,

19 And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion.

GOD SAID, I Samuel 2:2:

There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.

GOD SAID, Deuteronomy 4:5-10:

5 Behold, I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the LORD my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.

6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.

7 For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for?

8 And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?

9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons'' sons;

10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.

MAN SAID: David and Solomon?! If this so-called “giant-killer” and so-proclaimed “wisest man who ever lived” even existed at all, they would have been, at best, leaders of small and inconsequential nomadic tribes. 

 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

GodSaidManSaid, “Gideon & Jerubbaal Found.  The Higher Critics Head for the Tall Grass

Ortiz, S., and Wolff, S., “Solomon’s Powerplay,” Biblical Archaeology Review, Summer 2024

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