Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bonus 39 - Incirli Stele of Tiglath Pileser III

Incirli Stele

The Incirli Stele of (800-600 BC) Tiglath Pileser III was uncovered by Elizabeth Carter of the UCLA in 1993 during excavations in the Karamanmarash Valley (Turkey) at a site called Incirli. It was discovered in a farmer’s garden and identified to belong to Tiglath Pileser III and date to the Assyrian Empire (745-727 BC). For a detailed treatment of the discovery see the student website who worked at the site and provided some of the most up-to-date material. 1.

The Incirli stela confirms the existence of Tiglath Pileser (Pul) in an extra-biblical account. The bible states that Menahem of Israel (reign ca. 745-738 BC) taken captive by the Assyrian king Tiglath Pileser (Pul ca. 734 BC; 1 Chron 5:26; 2 Chron 26; 2 Kgs 15:19-29). The Bible states:
In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria. 30 Then Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him down and put him to death and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah (2 Kings 15:29-30 ESV).
Tiglath-Pileser had this to say about Menahem:
As for Menahem, I overwhelmed him like a snowstorm and he ... fled like a bird, alone, and bowed at my feet. 2.
 Footnotes
  • 1. Eric Cherniss, Tim Crockett,  Neva Ayn Rovner, Kelli Vail. “The Biblical Connection: Incirli and the Bible.”  Unveiling the Past: The Incirli Trilingual Inscription.
  • 2. James Bennett Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament with Supplement, 3rd ed. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1969), 283-84.

For Further Study   

Monday, December 29, 2014

Bonus 38 - Deir ‘Alla Balaam Inscription

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The Deir ‘Alla Inscription (also called the Bala’am Son of Be’or Inscription) was discovered during the Deir ‘Alla excavations under the direction of Henk J. Franken in Jordan in 1967, written in ink on a plastered wall. 1.  There were 119 pieces of the plaster recovered and are today displayed in the Amman Museum. The first translation appeared in Dutch in 1973 by Jacob Hoftijzer of the State University of Leiden, the Netherlands. It was then made available in a 1976 article in English.2.   A more recent (1986) translation is provided here by McCarter:
(1)    [VACAT] The sa]ying[s of Bala]am, [son of Be]or, the man who was a seer of the gods. Lo! Gods came to him in the night [and spoke to] him (2) according to these w[ord]s. Then they said to [Bala]am, son of Beor, thus: Let someone make a [ ] hearafter, so that [what] you have hea[rd may be se]en!” (3) And Balaam rose in the morning [ ] right hand [ ] and could not [eat] and wept (4) aloud. Then his people came in to him [and said] to Balaam, son of Beor, “Do you fast? [ ] Do you weep?” And he (5) said to them, “Si[t] do]wn! I shall inform you what the Shad[dayin have done]. Now come, see the deeds of the g[o]ds!. The g[o]ds have gathered (6) and the Shaddayin have taken their places in the assembly and said to Sh[ , thus:] 'Sew the skies shut with your thick cloud! There let there be darkness and no (7) perpetual shining and n[o] radiance! For you will put a sea[l upon the thick] cloud of darkness and you will not remove it forever! For the swift has (8) reproached the eagle, the voice of vultures resounds. The st[ork has ] the young of the NHS-bird and ripped up the chicks of the heron. The swallow has belittled (9) the dove, and the sparrow [ ] and [ ] the staff. Instead of ewes the stick is driven along. Hares have eaten (10) [ ]. Freemen [] have drunk wine, and hyenas have listened to instruction. The whelps of the (11) f[ox] laughs at wise men, and the poor woman has mixed myrhh, and the priestess (12) [ ] to the one who wears a girdle of threads. The esteemed esteems and the esteemer is es[teemed. ] and everyone has seen those things that decree offspring and young. (15) [ ] to the leopard. The piglet has chased the young (16) [of] those who are girded and the eye ....3.
Millard describes it as “the oldest example of a book in a West Semitic language written with the alphabet, and the oldest piece of Aramaic literature.”4. 

Balaam is known from the Bible as a non-Israelite prophet (Num 22–24, 31:8, 16; Deut 23:4, 5; Josh 13:22; 24:9, 10; Neh 13:2; Micah 6:5; 2 Peter 2:15; Jude 11; and Rev 2:14). Bryant Wood describes its importance to biblical studies:
In an unprecedented discovery, an ancient text found at Deir Alla, Jordan, in 1967 tells about the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Could this be the Balaam of the Old Testament? The text makes it clear that it is. Three times in the first four lines he is referred to as “Balaam son of Beor,” exactly as in the Bible. This represents the first Old Testament prophet to be dug up in Bible lands — not his tomb or his skeleton, but a text about him. The text also represents the first prophecy of any scope from the ancient West Semitic world to be found outside the Old Testament, and the first extra-Biblical example of a prophet proclaiming doom to his own people. … It was among the rubble of a building destroyed in an earthquake. It seems to have been one long column with at least 50 lines, displayed on a plastered wall. According to the excavators’ dating, the disaster was most likely the severe earthquake which occurred in the time of King Uzziah (Azariah) and the prophet Amos in about 760 BC (Am 1:1; Zec 14:5). The lower part of the text shows signs of wear, indicating that it had been on the wall for some time prior to the earthquake.5. 
Footnotes
  • 1. Jacob Hoftijzer and G. van der Kooij, G., ed., The Balaam Text from Deir 'Alla Re-evaluated: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held at Leiden, 21–24 August 1989. Leiden: Brill, 1991. For the details of the story of its discovery see André Lemaire, “Fragments from the Book of Balaam Found at Deir Alla: Text foretells cosmic disaster.” Biblical Archaeology Review 11, no. 5 (Sep/Oct 1985): 26-39.
  • 2. Jacob Hoftijzer. “The Prophet Balaam in a 6th century Aramaic Inscription.” The Biblical Archaeologist 39, No. 1 (March 1976): 11-17; Hoftijzer, Jacob and G. van der Kooij, G., Aramaic Texts from Deir ‘Alla (Leiden: Brill, 1976).
  • 3. P. Kyle McCarter Jr.,”The Balaam Texts from Deir 'Alla: The First Combination.” Bulletin of the Schools of Oriental Research 239 (1980): 49–60.
  • 4. Millard, Alan R. “Authors, Books and Readers in the Ancient World.” In The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies, edited by J. W. Rogerson and Judith M. Lieu. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2008, 554.
  • 5. Bryant G. Wood, “Balaam Son of Beor,” Bible and Spade 8 no.4 (1995): 114.
For Futher Study
  • Dijkstra, Meindert, “Is Balaam Also Among the Prophets?” Journal of Biblical Literature 114/1 (1995): 43–64.
  • Franken, Hendricus J. “Deir ‘Alla, Tell.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East. Edited by Eric M. Meyers, 2:137–38. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Franken, Hendricus J. Excavations at Tell Deir ʻAlla: The Late Bronze Age Sanctuary. Louvain, Belgium: Peeters, 1992.
  • Hackett, Jo Ann, The Balaam Text from Deir ‘Alla. Harvard Semitic Monographs 31 (Chico, Calf.: Scholars, 1984).
  • Hallo, William W., K. Lawson Younger, Harry A. Hoffner, and Robet K. Ritner. Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World. Vol. 2. Cleveland, Ohio: Pilgrim Press, 2001, 27.
  • Hoftijzer, Jacob. “The Prophet Balaam in a 6th century Aramaic Inscription.” The Biblical Archaeologist 39, No. 1 (March 1976): 11-17.
  • Hoftijzer, Jacob and G. van der Kooij, G., Aramaic Texts from Deir ‘Alla (Leiden: Brill, 1976).
  • Hoftijzer, Jacob and G. van der Kooij, G., ed., The Balaam Text from Deir 'Alla Re-evaluated: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held at Leiden, 21–24 August 1989. Leiden: Brill, 1991.
  • Lemaire, André. “Fragments from the Book of Balaam Found at Deir Alla: Text foretells cosmic disaster.” Biblical Archaeology Review 11, no. 5 (Sep/Oct 1985): 26-39.
  • Levine, Baruch A. “The Balaam Inscription from Deir Alla: Historical Aspects.” In Biblical Archaeology Today. Edited by Janet Amitai. Jerusalem, Israel Exploration Society, 1985, 326-339.
  • Levine, Baruch A. “The Deir ‘Alla Plaster Inscriptions.” Journal of the American Oriental Society 101 (1981): 195-205.
  • McCarter Jr., P. Kyle, “The Balaam Texts from Deir ‘Alla: The First Combination.” Bulletin of the Schools of Oriental Research 239 (1980): 49–60.
  • Millard, Alan R. “Authors, Books and Readers in the Ancient World.” In The Oxford Handbook of Biblical Studies, edited by J. W. Rogerson and Judith M. Lieu. Oxford Handbooks. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2008, 554.
  • Naveh, J. “The Date of the Deir ‘Alla Inscription in Aramaic Script.” Israel Exploration Journal 17 (1967): 236–38.
  • Puech, E. “L'inscription sur pl tre de Tell Deir Alla.” in Biblical Archaeology Today: Proceedings of the International Congress on Biblical Archaeology Jerusalem, April 1984. Edited by J. Amitai. (Jerusalem: IES, 1985), 354–65.
  • Seow, C. L. “Deir ‘Alla Plaster Texts.” In Prophets and Prophecy in the Ancient Near East. Edited by M. Nissinen. Society of Biblical Literature Writings from the Ancient World Series 12. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003, 207-12.
  • Shea, William H. “The Inscribed Tablets From Tell Deir ʿAlla.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 27 (1989): 21–37; 97–119.
  • Weippert, Manfred, “The Balaam Text from Deir 'Alla and the Study of the Old Testament.” pp. 151–84 in The Balaam Text from Deir 'Alla Re-evaluated: Proceedings of the International Symposium Held at Leiden, 21–24 August 1989, Leiden: Brill, 1991.
  • Wood, Bryant G. “Balaam Son of Beor.” Bible and Spade 8 no.4 (1995): 115-17.
  • Wood, Bryant G. “Prophecy of Balaam Found in Jordan.” Bible and Spade 6 no. 4 (1977):121–24.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bonus 36 - Mesha Stele

The Mesha Stela (or Moabite Stone).
Louvre Museum, Departement of Oriental
Antiquities, Sully, ground floor, room D.
Public Domain. Photo by Mbzt 2012
The Mesha Stela (or Moabite Stone) is a basalt slab inscription that was discovered near Dibon (modern  Dhiban, Jordan) in 1868 by Frederick Augustus Klein. It dates to 850-840 BC and speaks to the Moabite/Israelite relations in the 9th century BC the time of King Ahab and King David. It is presently housed in the Louvre Museum, Department of Oriental Antiquities (AP 5066).

This is the time of Elisha. “The land of Moab lay east of the Dead Sea, and was roughly 600 miles long by 25-30 miles wide.  David and Solomon subdued it as a vassal state, but after 930 BC it threw off the yoke of Israel.  However, the Bible records that by 853 BC (the Year Ahab died) Moab had long been subdued once again by Israel, and was preparing for a second attempt at independence. 2 Kings 3:4-5 tells us… It names the Israelite kings of Omri and Ahab, and provides a list of the accomplishments of Mesha, King of Moab.  In 39 lines of writing he tells us:
‘I am Mesha…king of Moab…As for Omri, King of Israel, he humbled Moab many years…and his son [Ahab]…also said, I will humble Moab.  In my time he thus spoke, but I have triumphed over him…’
“I am Mesha, son of Chemosh, the king of Moab … As for Omri the king of Israel, and he humbled Moab for many years, … And his son reigned in his place: and he also said, “I will oppress Moab!” In my days he said so. But I triumphed over him and over his house, and Israel has perished; it has perished forever!”
Masters states:
The Moabite Stone goes on to speak of the taking of other districts from Israel, and of the building of reservoirs and townships.  It is certainly a most significant confirmation of the accuracy of the historical details in the Bible.1.
Footnotes
  • 1. Peter Masters, Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum. London, Wakeman Trust, 2004, 28.
For Further Studies
  • Albright, William F. “Palestinian Inscriptions: Moabite Stone.” The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Edited by James B. Pritchard, (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010), 287.
  • Bonder, B. “Mesha's Rebellion Against Israel,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 3 (1970-71), 83-87.
  • Dearman, John A. and G. L. Mattingly, “Mesha Stele,” Edited by David Noel Freedman, Gary A. Herion, David F. Graf, and John David Pleins. Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1996), 4.708-710.
  • Dearman, John A. ed. Studies in the Mesha Inscription and Moab. Archaeology and Biblical Studies 2. Atlanta, Scholars Press, 1989.
  • Ginsberg, Christian. The Moabite Stone A Facsimile of the Original Inscription. Reeves and Turner. 1871.
  • Green, Douglas J. “I Undertook Great Works”: The Ideology of Domestic Achievements in West Semitic Royal Inscriptions. Leiden: Mohr Siebeck, 2010, 95-135.
  • Emerton, J. A. “The Value of the Moabite Stone as an Historical Source,” Vetus Testamentum 52 no. 4 (2002): 483-92.
  • Horn, Siegfried H. “Why the Moabite Stone Was Blown to Pieces: 9th-Century B.C. Inscription Adds New Dimension to Biblical Account of Mesha’s Rebellion,Biblical Archaeology Review  (May/June 1986): 50-61.
  • King, James. Moab’s Patriarchal Stone: being an account of the Moabite stone, its story and teaching. Palestine Exploration Fund. London, U.K.: Bickers and Son, 1878.
  • Lemche, Niels Peter. The Old Testament Between Theology and History: A Critical Survey. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/Knox, 2008.
  • Lipiński, Edward. On the Skirts of Canaan in the Iron Age: Historical and Topographical Researches. Leuven: Peeters, 2006.
  • Liver, J. “The Wars of Mesha, King of Moab,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 99 (1967), 14-31.
  • Michèle Daviau, P. M. and Paul-Eugène Dion, “Moab Comes to Life,Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2002.
  • Mitchell, T. C. The Bible in the British Museum: Interpreting the Evidence. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 2004, 56.
  • Mykytiuk, Lawrence J. Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B.C.E.. Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004.
  • Na’aman, Nadav. “The Campaign of Mesha against Horonaim,” Biblische Notizen 73 (1974), 27-30.
  • Parker, Simon B. Stories in Scripture and Inscriptions: Comparative Studies on Narratives in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions and the Hebrew Bible. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Rainey, Anson F.. “Mesha and Syntax.” In The Land That I Will Show You. Ed. Dearman, J. Andrew; Graham, M. Patrick. Sheffield Academic Press Supplement Series, no. 343 Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001, 287-307.
  • Rendsburg, G. “A Reconstruction of Moabite and Israelite History,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 13 (1981), 67-73.
  • Rollston, Chris A. Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age. Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010.
  • Schmidt, Brian B. “Neo-Assyrian and Syro-Palestinian Texts I: the Moabite stone”. In The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation. Ed. by Mark William Chavalas. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley & Sons, 2006.
  • Stern, P. D. “Of Kings and Moabites: History and Theology in 2 Kings 3 and the Mesha Inscription,” Hebrew Union College Annual 64 (1993), 1-14.

Bonus 34 - Kurkh Stelae Monolith Inscription

Kurkh Monoliths of Shalmaneser III
Public Domain Photo Yuber
Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
Kurkh Monoliths of Ashurnasirpal II
Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
The Kurkh Monoliths (879-853 BC) are two Assyrian stelae from the reign of Ashurnasirpal II and his son Shalmaneser III, discovered by John G. Taylor in 1861 at the site of Kurkh (modern Üçtepe, Diyarbakir Turkey). 1.   They are now both on display in the British Museum. Both stelae record the annals of the kings along with a large relief of the king. The Shalmaneser III monolith contains a description of the victory (sixth year) of Shalmaneser III at the battle of Qarqar (also Karkar) on the Orontes River (northern Syria) in 853/854 BC over the Syrian allies lead by “Adad (ilu IM)-'idri (= Hadadezer) of Damascus, with Ahab of Israel 2.  and other kings as vassals.” 3.

A portion of the Annals of Shalmaneser III reads:
I destroyed, devastated, and set fire to Karkar, his royal city. <Irhulêni> brought twelve kings to his support; they came against me to offer battle and fight: 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalry, and 20,000 soldiers belonging to Hadad-ezer of Damascus; 700 chariots, 700 cavalry, and 10,000 [or 20,000] soldiers belonging to Irhuleni of Hama; 2,000 chariots, and 10,000 soldiers belonging to Ahab, the Israelite[A-ha-ab-bu Sir-ila-a-a]; 500 soldiers belonging to the Gueans; 1,000 soldiers belonging to the Musreans; 10 chariots and 10,000 soldiers belonging to the Irkanateans; 200 soldiers belonging to Matinuba’il the Arvadite; 200 soldiers belonging to the Usanateans; 30 chariots and [ ],000 soldiers belonging to Adunu-ba’il the Shianean; 1,000 camels belonging to Gindibu’ the Arabian; and [ ],000 soldiers [belonging to] Ba’sa, son of Ruhubi, the Ammonite. Trusting in the exalted might which the lord Assur had given me, in the mighty weapons, which Nergal, who goes before me, had presented to me, I battled with them. I routed them from Karkar to the city of Cilzau, killing 14,000 of their soldiers, raining destruction on them like Adad. I scattered their bodies far and wide, and covered the face of the desolate plain with their vast armies. Using my weapons, I made their blood to flow down the valleys(?). The plain was too small to let their bodies fall, the wide countryside was used up in burying them. I spanned the Orontes with their bodies like a bridge(?). In that battle I took from them their chariots, cavalry, and tamed horses. 4.
The battle of Karkar does not appear in the Old Testament and various explanations have been offered to place it into the narrative.  However, according to the Old Testament, Ahab had overthrown Ben-hadad, the Syrian leader, who came to lay siege to Samaria, with just 7,000 troops (under the leadership of thirty-two kings, 1 Kings 20:1-34). 5.  Ahab’s base of operation for his troops was likely the city of Jezreel. 6.  Luckenbill states that popular view, although he provides his own explanation:
according to the prevailing interpretation of the Hebrew account in the light of the Assyrian records, the ‘two years’ truce mentioned in I Kings 22:1 follow immediately upon the defeat of Benhadad at Aphek, and leave room for Ahab’s presence at Karkar. 7.
But as Luckenbill points out, according to the Assyrian account Ahab was an ally of the king of Damascus. Wiseman provides a possible explanation:
Aram turned south, perhaps in an attempt to gain new trade routes, since the north had been cut off by the wars of the Assyrian Ashur-naṣirapli II (883–859 BC) and his successor Shalmaneser III (859–829 BC). Some think the wars recorded here took place early in Ahab’s reign, to allow time for the mellowing of Israel’s relation with Aram when Ahab contributed to the coalition which faced Assyria at the battle of Qarqar in 853 BC (Bright). Yeivin argues that the first war was early but the second followed after Qarqar, but this is unlikely in view of 22:1. The aggression of Ben-Hadad II (Hadadezer, Assyr. Adad-‘idri) may have aimed to secure his southern flank while he faced the Assyrian drive to the Mediterranean c. 888–885 BC. There is no need to view the prophetic allusions as secondary, for their interpretation of events is consistent with that of the Deuteronomic historian throughout. 8.
The Kurkh stele of Shalmaneser III verifies the historical accuracy of Ahab, king of Israel and the fact that he had a large army. As Ackerman points out:
The size of Ahab’s contribution to the anti-Shalmaneser fighting force at Qarqar indicates, for example, that Israel was still a major military power in Syria-Palestine at the end of the first half of the ninth century B. C. E. 9. 

Footnotes
  1. John George Taylor, “Travels in Kurdistan, with Notices of the Sources of the Eastern and Western Tigris, and Ancient Ruins in Their Neighbourhood,Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 35 (1865), 21-58.
  2. Gary A. Rendsburg, “Israel Without the Bible,” in The Hebrew Bible: New Insights and Scholarship, ed. Frederick E. Greenspahn, Jewish Studies in the Twenty-First Century (New York, N.Y.: New York University Press, 2007), 10; Jonathan M. Golden, Ancient Canaan and Israel: New Perspectives, Understanding Ancient Civilizations (Santa Barbara, Calf.: ABC-CLIO, 2004), 275.
  3. Daniel David Luckenbill. “Benhadad and Hadadezer,The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 27, no. 3 (1911): 267.
  4. Daniel David Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon: Historical Records of Assyria from Sargon to the End, vol. 2, 2 vols. (Chicago, Ill.: University Of Chicago Press, 1927), 200-252. updated by Alan Humm.
  5. Luckenbill, “Benhadad and Hadadezer,” 267–83.
  6. David Ussishkin, “Jezreel—Where Jezebel Was Thrown to the Dogs,” Biblical Archaeology Review 36 no. 4 (July / August 2010), 32-42.
  7. Luckenbill. “Benhadad and Hadadezer,” 276.
  8. Donald J. Wiseman, 1 and 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries 9 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 187.
  9. Susan Ackerman, “Assyria in the Bible,” in Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II: A Cultural Biography, ed. Ada Cohen and Steven E. Kangas (Hanover, N.H.: University of New England, 2010), 127. See also Wayne T. Pitard, Ancient Damascus: A Historical Study of the Syrian City-State from Earliest Times Until Its Fall to the Assyrians in 732 B.C.E., New edition (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987), 128; Ron E. Tappy, The Archaeology of Israelite Samaria, Vol. 2: The Eighth Century BCE, Harvard Semitic Studies 50 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2007), 509-10.

For Further Study
  • Ackerman, Susan. “Assyria in the Bible.” In Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II: A Cultural Biography, edited by Ada Cohen and Steven E. Kangas, 124–42. Hanover, N.H.: University of New England, 2010.
  • Becking, Bob, and Marjo Christina Annette Korpel. The Crisis of Israelite Religion: Transformation of Religious Tradition in Exilic and Post-Exilic Times. Leiden: Brill Academic, 1999.
  • Cohen, Ada and Steven E. Kangas, eds., Assyrian Reliefs from the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II: A Cultural Biography. Hanover, N.H.: University of New England, 2010.
  • Grayson, Albert Kirk. Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC II (858-745 BC). Vol. 3. The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia: Assyrian Periods 3. Toronto, Can.: University of Toronto Press, 1987, 11-24.
  • Kelle, Brad, “What’s in a Name? Neo-Assyrian Designations for the Northern Kingdom and Their Implications for Israelite History and Biblical Interpretation,” Journal of Biblical Literature 121 no. 4 (2002): 639–646.
  • Luckenbill, Daniel David. “Benhadad and Hadadezer.” The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures 27, no. 3 (1911): 267–83.
  • Mitchell, T. C. The Bible in the British Museum: Interpreting the Evidence. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 2004, 44-45.
  • Smith, Sidney. Assyrian Sculptures in the British Museum: From Shalmaneser III to Sennacherib. London, U.K.: The British Museum, 1938., 5. pl. 1.
  • Taylor, John George (1865), “Travels in Kurdistan, with Notices of the Sources of the Eastern and Western Tigris, and Ancient Ruins in Their Neighbourhood”, Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London
  • Yamada, Shigeo. The Construction of the Assyrian Empire: A Historical Study of the Inscriptions of Shalmaneser III (859-824 BC) Relating to His Campaigns to the West. Leiden: Brill, 2000., 14-15, 359-79, also 161-62.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bonus 107 - Nazareth Inscription

Nazareth Inscription
The Nazareth Inscription 1.  (SEG VIII no. 13; GBL Das Grosse Bibellexikon II.1037) is a marble slab, that first appeared on the antiquities market in Nazareth, and was shipped from Nazareth to the Paris Bibliothèque Nationale in 1878, according to Froehner’s catalogue. It was discovered in the archives by the historian Michel Rostovtzeff and published by Franz Cumot in 1930. 2.  It is presently housed in the Cabinet de Médailles in the Louvre.3. Metzger argues that the slab was originally discovered in the Decapolis, 4.  although this is doubtful 5.  as the exact location is unknown. 6.  Nazareth was a popular point of sale for antiquity dealers.

In 1932 Zulueta translated the text as:
Ordinance of Caesar. It is my pleasure that graves and tombs remain undisturbed in perpetuity for those who have made them for the cult of their ancestors, or children, or members of their house. If, however, any man lay information that another has either demolished them, or has in any way extracted the buried, or has maliciously transferred them to other places in order to wrong them, or has displaced the sealing or other stones, against such a one I order that a trial be instituted, as in respect of the gods, so in regard to the cult of mortals. For it shall be much more obligatory to honor the buried. Let it be absolutely forbidden for anyone to disturb them. In the case of contravention I desire that the offender be sentenced to capital punishment on charge of violation of sepulture.7.
More recently Clyde E. Billington provided the newest English translation:
Edict of Caesar. It is my decision [concerning] graves and tombs—whoever has made them for the religious observances of parents, or children, or household members—that these remain undisturbed forever. But if anyone legally charges that another person has destroyed, or has in any manner extracted those who have been buried, or has moved with wicked intent those who have been buried to other places, committing a crime against them, or has moved sepulcher-sealing stones, against such a person, I order that a judicial tribunal be created, just as [is done] concerning the gods in human religious observances, even more so will it be obligatory to treat with honor those who have been entombed. You are absolutely not to allow anyone to move [those who have been entombed]. But if [someone does], I wish that [violator] to suffer capital punishment under the title of tomb-breaker.8.
Of interest to NT scholarship is the warning in lines 10 and 11 that prohibits the transfer of bodies from one grave to another. The Gospels record that the women visited the tomb and found it empty after Pilate ordered the tomb sealed. He claimed that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus (Matt 27:62-66; 28:11-15). Although some scholars have considered the inscription as evidence of the resurrection, 9.  others are more cautious about what the inscription does prove. 10.

F. F. Bruce cautions that there are: “too many uncertainties about the inscription to justify more than a tentative consideration of the possibility that it might have some bearing on the spread of Christianity in Claudius’s reign.” 11.

Metzger concludes: “If in fact the ordinance was published in Palestine some time prior to the death of Jesus, then... at the time of the resurrection there was in force a severe law against tampering with buried bodies, the consequences of infringing which the panic-stricken disciples are very unlikely to have braved.” 12.

But the inscription is still important to NT scholarship as Chancey points out that:
the inscription is unusual in several respects. Unlike typical imperial edicts, it is in Greek, though it appears to have been translated from Latin. Though epigraphic and literary evidence demonstrates that laws against tomb spoilation were common, this is the only known inscription recording an imperial decree on the matter. Furthermore, its prescribed punishment, the death penalty, is harsher than other such laws. It is difficult to establish when it was erected; dates based on epigraphical grounds range from the mid-first century BCE [reign of Tiberius (AD 14-37) or of Claudius (AD 41-54)] to the second century CE. 13.
Footnotes
  • 1. Not to be confused with the tablets discovered in 1962 from Caesarea Maritima, one of which is also known as the Nazareth Inscription, and contains the names of Nazareth and Maglala. Michael Avi-Yonah, “The Caesarea Inscription of the Twenty-Four Priestly Courses,” in The Teacher’s Yoke: Studies in Memory of Henry Trantham, ed. E. Jerry Vardaman, James Leo Garrett, and J. B. Adair (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 1964), 46–57; 1. Uzi Leibner, Settlement and History in Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Galilee: An Archaeological Survey of the Eastern Galilee, Text & Studies in Ancient Judaism / Texte Und Studien Zum Antiken Judentum (Leiden: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 404-20. Contra René Salm, The Myth of Nazareth (Cranford, N.J.: American Atheist, 2013), 275-78. Salm does not even consider the Hebrew priestly inscription (ca. 300 AD) that mentions Nazareth proving that it existed. Christoph Heil, Shawn Carruth, and James McConkey Robinson, eds., Q 4: 1-13, 16. The Temptations of Jesus - Nazara Volume, Mul edition (Leuven: Peeters, 1996), 415.
  • 2. M. Franz Cumont, “Un Rescrit Impérial sur la Violation de Sépulture,” Revue Historique 163 (Jan-Apr. 1930), 241-42.
  • 3. Edward M. Blaiklock, “Nazareth Decree.” Edited by Merrill C. Tenney and Moises Silva. Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), 432.
  • 4. Bruce M. Metzger, “The Nazareth Inscription Once Again.” In Jesus und Paulus. Festschrift Werner Georg Kümmel, ed. E. E. Ellis and E. Grässer (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975), 233; Craig A. Evans, Jesus and the Ossuaries: What Burial Practices Reveal about the Beginning of Christianity (Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2003), 35.
  • 5. Rainer Riesner, Paul’s Early Period: Chronology, Mission Strategy, Theology, trans. Douglas W. Stott (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998), 103.
  • 6. Cumont, “Un Rescrit Impérial sur la Violation de Sépulture,” 241-242; F. de. “Zulueta, Violation of Sepulture in Palestine at the Beginning of the Christian Era.” Journal of Roman Studies 22 (1932): 1-2.
  • 7. F. de. Zulueta, “Violation of Sepulture in Palestine at the Beginning of the Christian Era,” Journal of Roman Studies 22 (1932):185; also see S. A. Cook, “A Nazareth Inscription on the Violation of Tombs,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 64, no. 2 (1932):85–7; Edward M. Blaiklock, “Nazareth Decree,” ed. Merrill C. Tenney and Moises Silva, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009), 432.
  • 8. Clyde E. Billington, “The Nazareth Inscription: Proof of the Resurrection of Christ?” in Artifax, Spring 2005. 
  • 9. M. Franz Cumont, “Un Rescrit Impérial sur la Violation de Sépulture,” Revue Historique 163 (Jan-Apr. 1930), 241-242; Arnaldo Momigliano, Claudius, The Emperor and his Achievement. Translated from the Italian by W. D. Hogarth. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1934; Edward M. Blaiklock, The Archaeology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1970; “Nazareth Decree,” ed. Merrill C. Tenney and Moises Silva, Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009); Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences, Rev Upd edition (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2013) 206; Norman L. Geisler, ed., Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 1999), 48; Josh McDowell, The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict Fully Updated To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians Today, Rev Upd (Nashville, Tenn.: Nelson, 1999), 244-5. Josh McDowell, Evidence That Demands A Verdict (Nashville, Tenn.: Nelson, 1972, rev. in 1979), 218; Clyde E. Billington, “The Nazareth Inscription: Proof of the Resurrection of Christ?” in Artifax, Spring 2005.
  • 10. J. Spencer Kennard, Jr., “The Burial of Jesus,” Journal of Biblical Literature 74, no. 4 (1955): 232-233; Bruce M. Metzger. “The Nazareth Inscription Once Again.” New Testament Studies: Philosophical, Versional, and Patristic. NTTS 10 Leiden: Brill, 1980, 91; F. F. Bruce “Christianity Under Claudius,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library 44, no. 2, (1962): 320.
  • 11. F. F. Bruce “Christianity Under Claudius,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester  44, no. 2, (1962): 320.
  • 12. Bruce M. Metzger. “The Nazareth Inscription Once Again.” New Testament Studies: Philosophical, Versional, and Patristic. NTTS 10 Leiden: Brill, 1980, 91; see F. de. Zulueta, “Violation of Sepulture in Palestine at the Beginning of the Christian Era.” Journal of Roman Studies 22 (1932): 197.
  • 13. Mark A. Chancey, Greco-Roman Culture and the Galilee of Jesus (Cambridge, Mass.: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 56-57.
 
For Further Study
  • Blaiklock, Edward M. “Nazareth Decree.” Edited by Merrill C. Tenney and Moises Silva. Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2009, 432.
  • Brown, Frank E. “Violation of Sepulture in Palestine.” American Journal of Philology 52, 1, No. 205, 1952), 1-29.
  • Bruce, F. F. “Christianity Under Claudius,” Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library of Manchester  44, no. 2, (1962): 309-326.
  • Charlesworth, M. P., Documents Illustrating the Reigns of Claudius and Nero. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952.
  • Cook, S. A. “A Nazareth Inscription on the Violation of Tombs.” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement 64, no. 2 (1932): 85–7.
  • Cumont, M. Franz. “Un Rescrit Impérial sur la Violation de Sépulture,” Revue Historique 163 (Jan-Apr. 1930), pp. 241-66 [French].
  • Davis, John J.  “Bones, Burials, and Biblical History: The Second of Three Parts: The Discovery of Ancient Tombs.” Bible and Spade 15, no. 1 (2002): 17-20.
  • Evans, Craig A. Jesus and the Ossuaries: What Burial Practices Reveal about the Beginning of Christianity. Waco, Tex.: Baylor University Press, 2003, 35-37.
  • Garzetti, Albino. From Tiberius to the Antonines: A History of the Roman Empire AD 14-192. Routledge Revivals. New York, N.Y.: Routledge, 1974.
  • Kennard, Jr., J. Spencer “The Burial of Jesus,” Journal of Biblical Literature 74, no. 4 (December 1955): 227-238.
  • McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands A Verdict Fully Updated To Answer The Questions Challenging Christians Today, Rev Upd. Nashville, Tenn.: Nelson, 1999, 244-45.
  • Metzger, Bruce M. “The Nazareth Inscription Once Again.” In Jesus und Paulus. Festschrift Werner Georg Kümmel, ed. E. E. Ellis and E. Grässer. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1975, 221–38 (reprinted in New Testament Studies: Philosophical, Versional, and Patristic. NTTS 10 Leiden: Brill, 1980, 75–92).
  • Momigliano, Arnaldo. Claudius, The Emperor and his Achievement. Translated from the Italian by W. D. Hogarth. Oxford, U.K.: Clarendon Press, 1934.
  • Rainer Riesner, Paul’s Early Period: Chronology, Mission Strategy, Theology, trans. Douglas W. Stott (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998), 103-104
  • Zulueta, F. de. “Violation of Sepulture in Palestine at the Beginning of the Christian Era.” Journal of Roman Studies 22 (1932): 184-97.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Bonus 33 - Shishak I Inscription

The Relief of Shoshenq I's campaign
list at the southern exterior walls of the
temple of Karnak, north of Luxor, Egypt.
Public Domain. Photo Olaf Tausch
In the precinct of Amun-Ra within the Karnak Temple in Luxor, Egypt, next to the Bubastite Portal 1. there is a large relief commemorating the conquests of Shishak I (22d Dynasty) that mentions his invasion of Judah and Israel, which is also recounted in 1 Kings 14:25-26 and 2 Chronicles 12. 2.

The OT mentions Shishak (pharaoh of Egypt) seven times (1 Kgs 11:40, 14:25; and 2 Chron 12:2, 5 (twice), 7, and 9) and recounts how Shishaq (Shoshenq I) invaded Judah (region of Benjamin), during the fifth year of the reign of king Rehoboam plundering the temple. This is further supported by the Shoshenq stela fragment recovered at Megiddo (Stratum VA/IVB).3.

Although Jerusalem or Judah is not mentioned on the Shoshenq list, some have explained that Jerusalem, while subdued, was protected from destruction by the payment of the ransom of the Temple treasures, which were given to the Pharaoh at Gibeon (2 Chron 12:9;1 Kgs 14:26). 4.

2 Chronicles records:
When the rule of Rehoboam was established and he was strong, he abandoned the law of the LORD, and all Israel with him. 2 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, because they had been unfaithful to the LORD, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem 3 with 1,200 chariots and 60,000 horsemen. And the people were without number who came with him from Egypt—Libyans, Sukkiim, and Ethiopians. 4 And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. 5 Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says the LORD, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’” 6 Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “The LORD is righteous.” 7 When the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. 8 Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”
9 So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the LORD and the treasures of the king's house. He took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made, 10 and King Rehoboam made in their place shields of bronze and committed them to the hands of the officers of the guard, who kept the door of the king's house. 11 And as often as the king went into the house of the LORD, the guard came and carried them and brought them back to the guardroom. 12 And when he humbled himself the wrath of the LORD turned from him, so as not to make a complete destruction. Moreover, conditions were good[Hebrew good things were found] in Judah. (2 Chron 12:1-12 ESV).
In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. 26 He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king's house. He took away everything. He also took away all the shields of gold that Solomon had made. (1 Kgs 14:25-26 ESV)
Wiseman describes the archaeological implications best:
In the early divided kingdom the raid by Shishak (Sheshonq I) against Rehoboam c. 928 BC (1 Kgs 14:25–26) is shown in his triumphs depicted on the walls of the Karnak temple of Amun in Thebes, which lists 150 towns in Phoenicia, Judah as far as the Esdraelon valley, and into Edom and south Syria. Megiddo was invaded (so a broken stele there) and destruction levels at Beth-Shemesh and Tell Beit Mirsim (Debir or Kirjath-Sepher) attest the raid, after which the Egyptians renewed the defences of Sharuhen, Gezer, Tell el-Ajjul and Tell Jemneh to maintain a strong presence against which Rehoboam reacted by strengthening Lachish and Azekah. Meanwhile Jeroboam I reinforced the gate of Dan, built at Shechem, Gibeah, Bethel and Tell en-Nasbeh (Mizpah?) which became the northern boundary of Judah in subsequent clashes with Israel (cf. 1 Kgs 15:15–22). About this time Dan was destroyed (1 Kgs 15:20), but soon thereafter the city gate and fortifications were rebuilt. The massive (4 metre wide) walls and towers and finely preserved city gate at Tell en-Nasbeh appear to be the work of Asa (cf. 1 Kgs 15:22).5.
Footnotes
  • 1. The Epigraphic Survey. The Epigraphic Survey, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak, Volume III. The Bubastite Portal. Oriental Institute Publications 74 (Chicago, Ill.: The University of Chicago Press, 1954), 21.
  • 2. Gary A. Byers, “The Bible According To Karnak,” Bible and Spade 17, no. 4 (2004): 98.
  • 3. Timothy P. Harrison, Megiddo 3: Final Report on the Stratum VI Excavations, Oriental Institute Publications 127 (Chicago, Ill.: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2004), 7-13. 
  • 4. e.g., S. Herrmann. Operationen Pharao Schoschenks I. im ostlichen Ephraim, Zeitschrift des Deutscher Palastina-Vereins 80 (1964). 55-79 ; Yohanan Aharoni, The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography, trans. Anson F. Rainey, 2nd ed. (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/Knox, 1981), 326; Kenneth A. Kitchen, The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt, 1100-650 BC, 2nd ed., Egyptology (Warminster, U.K.: Aris & Phillips, 1996), 447; Nadav Na'aman, “Israel, Edam and Egypt in the 10th Century B.C.E .”  Tel Aviv 19 (1992):71 - 93, 81. Contra Israel Finkelstein, “The Campaign of Shoshenq I to Palestine: A Guide to the 10th Century BCE Polity,” ZDPV Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 118 (2002): 111.
  • 5. Donald J. Wiseman, 1 and 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries 9 (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 40.
For Further Study
  • Ahituv, Shmuel. Canaanite Toponyms in Ancient Egyptian Documents. Leiden: Brill, 1984.
    Cline, Eric H. “Review of The Campaign of Pharaoh Shoshenq I into Palestine, by Kevin A. Wilson.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 70, no. 1 (2011): 129–32.
  • Ahlstrom, G. W. “Pharaoh Shoshenq·s Campaign to Palestine.” in History and Traditions of Early Israel. Edited by Andre Lemaire and B. Otzen. (Leiden: Brill, 1993), 1-16.
  • Clancy, F. “Shishak/Shoshenq’s Travels.” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 86 (1999): 3–23.
  • Finkelstein, Israel. “The Campaign of Shoshenq I to Palestine: A Guide to the 10th Century BCE Polity,” ZDPV Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 118 [2002]: 109–35.
  • Hoffmeier, James K. “Review of The Campaign of Pharaoh Shoshenq I into Palestine by Kevin A. Wilson.” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 349 (2008): 88–91.
  • Kitchen, Kenneth A. The Third Intermediate Period in Egypt (1100–650 BC). 3rd ed. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Limited, 1996.
  • Kitchen, Kenneth A. “The Shoshenqs of Egypt and Palestine,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 93 (2001), 3-12.
  • Marx, A. “De Shlshaq a Sheshak. A propos de I Rois XIV 25-26.” Vetus Testamentum 49 (1999), 186-190 [French].
  • Mazar, Benjamin, “The Campaign of Pharaoh Shishak to Palestine.” Vetus Testamentum Supplement 4 (1957): 57-66.
  • Na'aman, Nadav. “Shishak's Campaign to Palestine as Reflected by the Epigraphic, Biblical and Archaeological Evidence.” Zion 63 (1998). 247-276 [Hebrew].
  • Rainey, Anson F, and R. Steven Notley. The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical World. Jerusalem: Carta, 2005.
  • The Epigraphic Survey. The Epigraphic Survey, Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak, Volume III. The Bubastite Portal. Oriental Institute Publications 74. Chicago, Ill.: The University of Chicago Press, 1954.
  • Wilson, Kevin A. The Campaign of Pharaoh Shoshenq I into Palestine. Forschungen Zum AltenTestament, 2. Reihe 9. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2005. Web Abstract

Bonus 32 - High Place of Jeroboam I


High place podium of Jeroboam I
A high place podium (Heb. bamah) was uncovered at Tel Dan from the time of Jeroboam I that most archaeologists agree was the one Jeroboam constructed to house the Golden Calf (1 Kings 12:28-30 also at Bethel), in order that the Israelites did not have to go up to Jerusalem to worship. These high places were forbidden by Hebrew law, and ordered to be destroyed (Deut 12:2-3), so this site is particularly important. In addition to the four horned altar other religious artifacts were uncovered including three iron incense shovels, iron incense holder, and a small horned altar. Laughlin describes the three periods which revealed a Bamah:
The Sacred Area or temenos at Dan is a large complex over a half-acre in size. The central open-air platform of the Sacred Area went through three phases during the Israelite period. Biran has identified the three phases of the platform as Bamah A, Bamah B, and Bamah C.
Bamah A is probably the one built by Jeroboam in the late tenth century B.C. (This Jeroboam is known as Jeroboam I to distinguish him from a later Israelite king of the same name.) Bamah A consists of an open-air platform approximately 22 feet wide and 60 feet long constructed of dressed limestone blocks on a base of rough stones. Only two courses of Bamah A have survived. It was destroyed by a fierce fire so hot that it turned the edges of the stones red. From this phase of the sanctuary Biran found the remains of incense burners, a decorated incense stand, the heads of two male figurines, and a bowl decorated with a sign resembling a trident. The bowl contained fragmentary bones of sheep, goats and gazelles which had probably been sacrificed at the sanctuary.
During the first half of the ninth century B.C. the open-air platform was rebuilt and expanded into an almost square structure measuring 60 by 62 feet (Bamah B). The masonry of this bamah, including dressed stones with bosses laid in header and stretcher fashion compares well with the royal buildings from the same period found at Megiddo, and similar buildings from Samaria. This masonry is among the finest found in Israel.
See also Bonus 105 - Beersheba Altar
A nearly complete horned incense altar was uncovered in an adjacent court which may come from this time period. The altar, with one horn perfectly preserved, is about 16 inches high and shows evidence of long use. We may assume that many of the activities associated with the bamah, including the burning of incense, took place in courtyards surrounding the open-air platform where this incense altar was found.
The third stage of the bamah’s history (Bamah C) reflects the period of the first half of the eighth century B.C. At this time a set of monumental steps, about 27 feet long, was built against the southern face of the open-air platform. The upper three courses of these steps were added or repaired in Hellenistic or Roman times, indicating that this Sacred Area continued to be used for cultic purposes perhaps to the turn of the era. Other evidence—additions to walls and new rooms—confirms this conclusion….
In any event it is clear that this entire area at Tel Dan was an important Israelite cultic center. Whether it is the beth bamoth referred to in 1 Kings 12:31, as Biran believes, will no doubt continue to be debated by scholars for years to come. Although the Biblical record is silent concerning the specific cultic acts performed at Dan and does not even specify what use was made of the Golden Calf which Jeroboam made, the archaeological evidence suggests that a large, open-air platform was used, that there were altars, incense offerings, votive offerings involving figurines, and some kind of water purification or libation rituals.1.
Footnotes
  • 1. Laughlin, John. “The Remarkable Discoveries at Tel Dan.” Biblical Archaeology Review 7 No. 5. (1981): 20-37.

For Further Study
  • Tel Dan Bibliography
  • Official Website for Tel Dan
  • Biran, Avraham. “Two Discoveries at Tel Dan.” Israel Exploration Journal 30 no. 1/2 (1980): 89-98. LINK
  • Biran, Avraham. “Sacred Spaces: Of Standing Stones, High Places and Cult Objects at Tel Dan.” Biblical Archaeology Review 24, no. 5 (1998): 38-41, 44-45, 70.
  • Biran, Avraham. “An Israelite Horned Altar at Dan.” The Biblical Archaeologist 37, no. 4 (1974): 106-107.
  • Biran, Avraham. “Tel Dan.” The Biblical Archaeologist 37, no. 2 (1974): 26-51.
  • Biran, Avraham. “The Dancer from Dan, the Empty Tomb and the Altar Room.” Israel Exploration Journal 36, no. 3/4 (1986): 179-187.
  • Biran, Avraham. “The Discovery of the Middle Bronze Age Gate at Dan.” The Biblical Archaeologist 44, no. 3 (1981): 139-144.
  • Biran, Avraham. “The Triple-Arched Gate of Laish at Tel Dan.” Israel Exploration Journal 34, no. 1 (1984): 1-19.
  • Biran, Avraham. “Two Bronze Plaques and the Hussot of Dan.” Israel Exploration Journal 49, no. 1/2 (1999): 43-54.
  • Biran, Avraham and Joseph Naveh. “An Aramaic Stele Fragment from Tel Dan.” Israel Exploration Journal 43 no. 2, 3 (1993): 81-98.
  • Biran, Avraham and Joseph Naveh. “The Tel Dan Inscription: A New Fragment.” Israel Exploration Journal 45 no. 1 (1995): 1-18.
  • Davis, Andrew R.. “Tel Dan in its Northern Cultic Context.” The Johns Hopkins University, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2010. Archaeological data from the Iron II temple complex at Tel Dan. Published by Society of Biblical Literature, 2013.

Bonus 31 - Tale of Two Brothers Papyrus

Sheet from the Tale of Two Brothers,
Papyrus D'Orbiney. From Egypt.
End of the 19th Dynasty (1185 BC)
Public Domain
Courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum
Tale of Two Brothers Papyrus (Papyrus D’Orbiney, Papyrus Brit. Mus. 10183) 1.  is an Egyptian style folk tale that became popular in the New Kingdom period (1550-1070 BC) during the reign of Seti II (1200 to 1194 BC).2.  The text is preserved on the D’Orbiney Papyrus 3.   and was acquired by the British Museum in 1857. 4.

Using human characters the story is told with fantastic details. Two brothers, Anpu, also called Anubis and Bata, grow up in a typical Egyptian household, but when Anubis’ wife tries to seduce Bata, he responds by claiming that Bata had seduced her, which turned the brothers against each other. Anubis is convinced of his brother’s disloyalty from his wife and Bata is forced to leave the family. However, later Anubis learns of his wife scheme and kills his wife and the two brothers are reconciled. The story continues with the gods providing a wife for Bata followed by more disloyalty. Bata take on a variety of different forms the last of which being a persea tree. While Beta’s wife is cutting down the tree, she is impregnated by a splinter fling into her mouth and eventually Bata is reborn as the king of Egypt. He appoints Anubis his brother as his heir. 5.

Susan Tower Hollis states that the story may “contain reflexes of an actual historical situation.” 6.   The relationship between Beta and his brother’s wife is often mentioned as a similar story to Joseph and Potiphar’s wife (Gen 39:1–20). 7.  Some have seen similarities to the story of Moses and his brother Aaron (Exod 6:16-20), along with the death of the servant (Exod 2:12) and reflected in the Tale of Two Brothers. Brad C. Sparks claims that some 90 Egyptian papyri 8.   demonstrate similar parallels to the Exodus story, including the Ipuwer Papyrus, El Arish Stele (305–31 BC), 9.  Speos Artemidos Inscription (Queen Hatshepsut and Seti I, 1490–1460 BC), 10.  Tempest Stela (ca. 1550 BC), 11.  and Demotic Chronicle (ca. 1550 BC). 12.   While any one of these stories may not prove the Egyptians were aware of the Exodus events, the collective body of known literature with striking parallels to various elements of the biblical story implies that the event of the Exodus may still have been part of the Egyptian living memory in either the 15th or 13th cent. BC.

Footnotes
  • 1. P. D’Orbiney, P. Brit. Mus. 10183. Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: The New Kingdom, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (Berkeley, Calf.: University of California Press, 2006), 203.; Charles E. Moldenke, ed., Papyrus D’Orbiney (British Museum): The Hieroglyphic Transcription (Watchung, N.J.: Elsinore, 1900).
  • 2. Jacobus Van Dijk, “The Amarna Period and the Later New Kingdom,” in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Edited by Ian Shaw (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2000), 303.
  • 3. Charles E. Moldenke, ed., Papyrus D’Orbiney (British Museum): The Hieroglyphic Transcription (Watchung, N.J.: Elsinore, 1900).
  • 4. Lewis Spence, An Introduction to Mythology (Cosimo, Inc. 2004, ISBN 1-59605-056-X), 247.
  • 5. Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: The New Kingdom, 2nd ed., vol. 2, 3 vols. (Berkeley, Calf.: University of California Press, 2006), 203-211; William Kelly Simpson, ed., The Literature of Ancient Egypt: An Anthology of Stories, Instructions, Stelae, Autobiographies, and Poetry, trans. Robert K. Ritner, Vincent A. Tobin, and Edward Wente, Jr. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2003), 80-90; Susan T. Hollis, The Ancient Egyptian “Tale of Two Brothers”: A Mythological, Religious, Literary, and Historico-Political Study, Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture (London, U.K.: Bannerstone, 2008).
  • 6. Hollis, The Ancient Egyptian “Tale of Two Brothers”, 110.
  • 7. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: The New Kingdom, 203.
  • 8. Brad C. Sparks, “Egyptian Text Parallels to the Exodus: The Egyptology Literature,” in Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference, ed. Thomas E. Levy (presented at the Qualcomm Institute, University of California, San Diego, 2013).
  • 9. Barbara J. Sivertsen, The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011), 125–29.
  • 10. Hans Goedicke, “Hatshepsut’s Temple Inscription at Speo Artemidos,” Biblical Archaeology Review 7, no. 5 (1981): 42; Hershel Shanks, “The Exodus and the Crossing of the Red Sea, According to Hans Goedicke,” Biblical Archaeology Review 7, no. 5 (1981): 42–50; Alan H. Gardiner, “Davies’s Copy of the Great Speos Artemidos Inscription,” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 32 (1946): 43–56; Sivertsen, The Parting of the Sea, 8–9..
  • 11. Ellen N. Davis, “A Storm in Egypt during the Reign of Ahmose,” in Thera and the Aegean World III, ed. David A. Hardy and A. C. Renfrew, vol. 3, Proceedings of the Third International Congress, Santorini, Greece, 3–9 September 1989 (London, U.K.: The Thera Foundation, 1990), 3:232–35; Donald B. Redford, “Textual Sources for the Hyksos Period,” in The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives, ed. Eliezer D. Oren (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1997), 16; Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt, 150–51; Kenneth A. Kitchen, “Ancient Egyptian Chronology for Aegeanists,” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 2, no. 2 (2002): 11; Nadine Moeller and Robert K. Ritner, “The Ahmose ‘Tempest Stela’, Thera and Comparative Chronology,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73, no. 1 (April 1, 2014): 2.
  • 12. Papyrus CPJ 520. Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003), 406. The dates of these documents would indicate an early date (1445 BC) for the Exodus, although some texts are even earlier than this.
For Further Study
  • Brad C. Sparks, “Egyptian Text Parallels to the Exodus: The Egyptology Literature,” in Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference, ed. Thomas E. Levy. Presented at the Qualcomm Institute, University of California, San Diego, 2013.
  • Ehrlich, Carl S. From an Antique Land: An Introduction to Ancient Near Eastern Literature. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2009.
  • Hollis, Susan T. The Ancient Egyptian “Tale of Two Brothers”: A Mythological, Religious, Literary, and Historico-Political Study. Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture. London, U.K.: Bannerstone, 2008.
  • Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature: The New Kingdom. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. 3 vols. Berkeley, Calf.: University of California Press, 2006.
  • Moldenke, Charles E., ed. Papyrus D’Orbiney (British Museum): The Hieroglyphic Transcription. Watchung, N.J.: Elsinore, 1900.
  • Van Dijk, Jacobus. “The Amarna Period and the Later New Kingdom,” in The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt. Edited by Ian Shaw. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Bonus 30 - Destruction of Mankind

A scene from the Book of the Heavenly Cow as depicted in the tomb of
Seti I, East Valley of the Kings location KV17. It depicts the sky goddess
Nut in her bovine form, being held up by her father Shu, the god of the air.
Aiding Shu are the eight gods of the Ogdoad. Across the belly of Nut
(representing the visible sky) sails the sun god in his day barque.
Public Domain. Photo by Edward Piercy
The sky goddess Nut depicted as a cow
and supported by the eight Heh gods.
E. A. Wallis Budge, The Gods of the Egyptians, vol. 1
(London, U.K.: Methuen & Company, 1904), 368. Public Domain
The Destruction of Mankind (also called The Book of the Cow of Heaven) Papyrus, inscribed on the tomb walls of Seti I, Ramesses II, and Ramesses III, describes Hathor’s divine punishment of Egyptians with the foreigners, who survive the suffering, separated from Ra to live on the back of Nut, the heavenly cow.1.   The parallels with the Exodus story are striking and Erik Hornung, in his German translation, finds a “startling” name for Ra that has Exodus parallels.
Evidently [it] means “I am I” or “I am that I am” [Egyptian root Yawi ]. Since in the given context it must mean: “... as whom I have proven to be” ..., the phrase indeed recalls the Old Testament: see Exodus 3:14 “I am that I am” .... What is here of interest is of course the early [ancient] theology [surrounding] God’s name YHWH, but not its origin and actual etymology [Trans. Brad Sparks]. 2.
Griffiths confirms Hornung’s translation of The Destruction of Mankind text, declaring:
since the meaning I am I seems the only one possible. Here it is rendered Ich bin, der ich bin, with a startling invocation by Fecht (p. 125) of Exodus 3:14 (I AM THAT I AM, or I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE). The Hebrew is concerned with the meaning of the name Yahweh; the Egyptian context, as Fecht shows, relates to the sun-god’s claim: he is what he has shown himself to be – the successful queller of men’s mutiny, and so able to say in the following verse, I will not allow them to make (a revolt).3. 

KV17: Seti I's tomb.
Photo by Jean-Pierre Dalbéra
Public Domain
Sparks reports that in addition to the “I am that I am” texts, he also discovered further parallels from the tomb painting of Seti I, 1300 BC:
Checking the tomb of Seti I for example, I discovered “similar content” documents with color pictures of the Exodus - the parting of the Red Sea and the mass drowning of the Egyptian army. 4.  
 Footnotes
  • 1. Erik Hornung, Der ägyptische Mythos von der Himmelskuh: Eine Atiologie des Unvollkommenen, Orbis biblicus et orientalis 46 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1982); E. A. Wallis Budge, Legends of the Gods The Egyptian Texts, Edited with Translations (London, U.K.: Kegan Paul, Trench and Trubner & Co. Ltd., 1912).
  • 2. Seti I, KV 17, chamber Je, line 49. Hornung, Der ägyptische Mythos von der Himmelskuh, 63 n.121, 125 n.aa.
  • 3. J. Gwyn Griffiths, “Review of Der Ägyptische Mythos von Der Himmelskuh. Eine Ätiologie Des Unvollkommenen by Erik Hornung,” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 74 (January 1, 1988): 276.
  • 4. Brad C. Sparks, “Egyptian Text Parallels to the Exodus: The Egyptology Literature,” in Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference, ed. Thomas E. Levy (presented at the Qualcomm Institute, University of California, San Diego, 2013); Erik Hornung, The Tomb of Pharaoh Seti I (Zürich: Artemis & Winkler, 1991).

Bonus 29 - Ipuwer Papyrus

Ipuwer Papyrus, National Archaeological Museum, Leiden, Netherlands.
Photo © Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

The Ipuwer Papyrus (P Leiden I 344 recto)1.  dating to the New Kingdom (ca. 1543–1064 BC),) contains an ancient Egyptian poem called the The Admonitions of Ipuwer 2.  or The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All. 3.  The precise date for its composition is unknown (ca. 1850-1600 BC) 4.  but this singular copy was made during the New Kingdom of Egypt (18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties, ca. 1543-1064 BC). It was purchased in 1928 by the Swedish consul to Egypt, Giovanni Anastasi, and is today housed in the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden, Netherlands.

The Ipuwer Papyrus is a poetic lament over the natural disasters and calamities afflicting Egypt creating a state of utter chaos and blamed on an unidentified king (perhaps Pepy II of the Sixth Dynasty [ca. 2300–2206 BC]). It describes an inverted state of affairs where the rich become poor and the poor rich, with war, death and famine afflicting the entire nation. One of the consequences of this lawlessness is the rebellion of servants against their masters. The descriptions provides remarkable parallels with the story of the Biblical Exodus that has led to much debate. The Ipuwer Papyrus securely dates to after the Exodus events happened, either from an early date or late date.

Enmarch reports that: “The broadest modern reception of Ipuwer amongst non-Egyptological readers has probably been as a result of the use of the poem as evidence supporting the Biblical account of the Exodus.”5.   He notes several striking textual parallels: “particularly the striking statement that ‘the river is blood and one drinks from it’ (Ipuwer 2.10), and the frequent references to servants abandoning their subordinate status (e.g. Ipuwer 3.14–4.1; 6.7–8; 10.2–3). On a literal reading, these are similar to aspects of the Exodus account.”6.   However, he suggests that “it is more likely that Ipuwer is not a piece of historical reportage and that historicising interpretations of it fail to account for the ahistorical, schematic literary nature of some of the poem’s laments.” 7.   Kenneth Kitchen also suggested that Ipuwer and the Exodus account were possibly referring to the same kind of natural phenomenon. 8. 

Brad C. Sparks claims that some 90 Egyptian papyri 9.   demonstrate similar parallels to the Exodus, including the Ipuwer Papyrus, Tale of Two Brothers (Tomb of Seti II, who ruled from 1200 to 1194, BC), 10.   El Arish Stele (305–31 BC), 11.  Speos Artemidos Inscription (Queen Hatshepsut and Seti I, 1490–1460 BC), 12.  Tempest Stela (ca. 1550 BC), 13.  and Demotic Chronicle (ca. 1550 BC). 14.   This implies that the event of the Exodus may still have been part of the Egyptian living memory in either the 15th or 13th cent. BC.15


Footnotes
  • 1. Roland Enmarch, Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All (Oxford, U.K.: Griffith Institute, 2005), 2–3
  • 2. R. B. Parkinson, The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems. (Oxford, UK: Oxford World’s Classics, 1999).
  • 3. Roland Enmarch, Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All.
  • 4. John Van Seters. “A date for the ‘Admonitions’ in the second intermediate Period”. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 50 (1964):13–23.
  • 5. Roland Enmarch, “The Reception of a Middle Egyptian Poem: The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All in the Ramesside Period and beyond,” in Ramesside Studies in Honour of K. A. Kitchen, ed. Mark Collier and Steven R. Snape (Bolton, U.K.: Rutherford, 2011), 106.
  • 6. Enmarch, “The Reception of a Middle Egyptian Poem.” 174.
  • 7. Enmarch, “The Reception of a Middle Egyptian Poem.” 174.
  • 8. Kenneth A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003), 250–52.
  • 9. Brad C. Sparks, “Egyptian Text Parallels to the Exodus: The Egyptology Literature,” in Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination Conference, ed. Thomas E. Levy (presented at the Qualcomm Institute, University of California, San Diego, 2013).
  • 10. P. D’Orbiney, P. Brit. Mus. 10183. Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: The New Kingdom, 2nd ed., vol. 2 (Berkeley, Calf.: University of California Press, 2006), 203.
  • 11. Barbara J. Sivertsen, The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011), 125–29.
  • 12. Hans Goedicke, “Hatshepsut’s Temple Inscription at Speo Artemidos,” Biblical Archaeology Review 7, no. 5 (1981): 42; Hershel Shanks, “The Exodus and the Crossing of the Red Sea, According to Hans Goedicke,” Biblical Archaeology Review7, no. 5 (1981): 42–50; Alan H. Gardiner, “Davies’s Copy of the Great Speos Artemidos Inscription,” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 32 (1946): 43–56; Barbara J. Sivertsen, The Parting of the Sea: How Volcanoes, Earthquakes, and Plagues Shaped the Story of Exodus (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2011), 8–9.
  • 13. Ellen N. Davis, “A Storm in Egypt during the Reign of Ahmose,” in Thera and the Aegean World III, ed. David A. Hardy and A. C. Renfrew, vol. 3, Proceedings of the Third International Congress, Santorini, Greece, 3–9 September 1989 (London, U.K.: The Thera Foundation, 1990), 3:232–35; Donald B. Redford, “Textual Sources for the Hyksos Period,” in The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives, ed. Eliezer D. Oren (Philadelphia, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Museum, 1997), 16; Hoffmeier, Israel in Egypt, 150–51; Kenneth A. Kitchen, “Ancient Egyptian Chronology for Aegeanists,” Mediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry 2, no. 2 (2002): 11; Nadine Moeller and Robert K. Ritner, “The Ahmose ‘Tempest Stela’, Thera and Comparative Chronology,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 73, no. 1 (April 1, 2014): 2.
  • 14. Papyrus CPJ 520. Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt: History and Meaning in the Time of the Pharaohs (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2003), 406. The dates of these documents would indicate an early date (1445 BC) for the Exodus, although some texts are even earlier than this.
  • 15. Brad C. Sparks, “Egyptian Texts Relating to the Exodus: Discussions of Exodus Parallels in the Egyptology Literature.” In Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture and Geoscience, edited by Thomas Evan Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H. C. Propp,  (Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences. New York, N.Y.: Springer, 2015), 259–84.
For further Study
  • Bietak, Manfred. “On the Historicity of the Exodus: What Egyptology Today Can Contribute to Assessing the Biblical Account of the Sojourn in Egypt.” In Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture and Geoscience, edited by Thomas Evan Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H. C. Propp, 17–38. Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences. New York, N.Y.: Springer, 2015. Summary of the article 
  • Enmarch, Roland. Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All. Oxford, U.K.: Griffith Institute, 2005.
  • Enmarch, Roland. “The Reception of a Middle Egyptian Poem: The Dialogue of Ipuwer and the Lord of All in the Ramesside Period and beyond,” in Ramesside Studies in Honour of K. A. Kitchen, ed. Mark Collier and Steven R. Snape (Bolton, U.K.: Rutherford, 2011), 173–75.
  • Gardiner, A. H. The Admonitions of an Egyptian Sage from a Hieratic Papyrus in Leiden. J. C. Hinrich's che Buchhandlung, 1909; reprinted by George Olms Verlag, 1969; reprinted by General Books LLC, January 12, 2010.
  • Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian Literature: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, 2nd ed., vol. 1 (Berkeley, Calf.: University of California Press, 2006).
  • Parkinson, R. B. The Tale of Sinuhe and Other Ancient Egyptian Poems. Oxford, UK: Oxford World’s Classics, 1999.
  • Quirke, Stephen. Egyptian Literature 1800 BC: Questions and Readings. Revised. GHP Egyptology 2. Golden House, 2004.
  • Seters. John Van.  “A date for the ‘Admonitions’ in the second intermediate Period”. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 1964; 50:13–23.
  • Stiebing, William H. Out of the Desert?: Archaeology and the Exodus/Conquest Narratives (Buffalo, N.Y: Prometheus, 1989).
  • Velikovsky, Immanuel. Ages in Chaos: From the Exodus to King Akhnaton (New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1952)
  • Zecher, Henry. “The Papyrus Ipuwer, Egyptian Verion of the Plagues - A New Perspective.” The Velikovskian, January 1997. 
 Modified April 11, 2016. Copyright © 2016 Electronic Christian Media.