In 2015, archaeologists working for the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Macquarie University in Australia, all started a massive excavation in Khirbet Al-Rai — an ancient region near Kiryat Gat in central Israel.
And after four years of hard work, they came to an unbelievably awesome conclusion.
On Monday, it was announced that the remains of Khirbet Al-Rai are the remnants of Ziklag, an ancient town David sought refuge in, as told in 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, according to the Christian Post.
“The name Ziklag is unusual in the lexicon of names in the Land of Israel, since it is not local Canaanite-Semitic,” said Yosef Garfinkel, leader of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University, in a news release. “It is a Philistine name, given to the town by an alien population of immigrants from the Aegean.”
The archaeologists came to this conclusion after finding a rural settlement dating back to King David’s era right at the excavation site.
“This settlement came to an end in an intense fire that destroyed the buildings,” the researchers continued. “Nearly one hundred complete pottery vessels were found in the various rooms.”
Because the ceramic was still intact — even after surviving a massive fire that completely wiped the city — researchers were able to corroborate the pottery with other pieces found nearby and in similar time-periods.
“The great range of complete vessels is testimony to the interesting everyday life during the reign of King David,” they said. “Large quantities of storage jars were found during the excavation — medium and large — which were used for storing oil and wine.”
In the Bible, Ziklag is mentioned numerous times in reference to David and King Saul. According to 1 Samuel, David — with the approval of Achish, King of Gat — was granted sanctuary in the city, along with his band of warriors, after King Saul made multiple attempts to kill him.
As David found favor in the eyes of Achish, he left Ziklag to help the King of Gat fight — but the Philistine commanders weren’t thrilled with David’s help and demanded he not march into battle with them.
So, David returned to Ziklag. When he and his army arrived, they were met with utter annihilation, as the Amalekites — a group of desert nomads — burned everything to the ground and captured the residents of the town.
The fire that scorched Ziklag was found in the Khirbet Al-Rai area by the archaeologists, further proving the historical record presented in the Old Testament.
In addition to archaeology, there are many manuscripts that have been penned by writers documenting biblical times, particularly the New Testament era.
According to a Gospel Coalition interview with Daniel Wallace, executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, over 5800 Greek manuscripts corroborating the events of the latter half of the Bible have been cataloged — but many more exist if you take other languages into account.
“The New Testament was translated early on into several other languages… such as Latin, Coptic, Syriac, Armenian, Georgian, Gothic, etc. The total number of these versional witnesses has not been counted yet, but it certainly numbers in the tens of thousands,” Wallace said.
The Bible matches tens of thousands of manuscripts — across multiple languages — and an archaeological record that continues to blossom.
The excuses for “not believing” in the Bible continue to dwindle day by day.
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