Hezekiah, and Mythic History

Rather more evidence that all that Biblical mythologizing wasn’t so mythic, after all.

As the New York Times told its readers, it’s “an area rich in relics from the period of the first of two ancient Jewish temples.” Among their findings were thirty-three clay imprints or seals, known as bullae. These seals were catalogued and stored.

It wasn’t until recently that these bullae were examined more closely, and what the closer examination revealed is rocking the archaeological world. One of the bullae bore the inscription “Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah.”

That would be the Hezekiah of which the Bible says, “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. For he held fast to the Lord. He did not depart from following him, but kept the commandments that the Lord commanded Moses” (2 Kings 18:5-6).


You’ve got to remember that it was not that long ago that many historians and scholars were convinced that the biblical narratives that described the time before the Babylonian exile were largely the creation of pious scribes whose goal was to justify their contemporary concerns by creating a usable past. In fact, it was widely doubted that people like David and Solomon ever even existed, and if they did, they were little more than glorified tribal chieftains.

Then in 1993, a stone slab or stele dating from the 9th century B.C. referring to the “House of David” was found in northern Israel. More recently, archaeologists have discovered ancient copper mines south of Jerusalem that dated from the time of Solomon. The mines included “an impressive collection of clothing, fabrics, and ropes made using advanced weaving technology; foods, like dates, grapes, and pistachios; ceramics; and various types of metallurgical installations.”

So much for myths and glorified tribal chieftains!

Now the evidence left by their descendants is coming to light. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise. As John Stonestreet has said, “Biblical faith is an historical faith. The accounts in the scripture do not take place in some mythical time-before-time like that of their pagan neighbors or the Bhagavad Gita in Hinduism.”

Now, THIS is the kind of work Christians should be doing – and not just in Israel, either.

Or just in the field of archaeology.


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