• Boom! Archaeology Does It Again — Biblical Accuracy Confirmed

    Surge Summary: In another archaelogical vindication of the accuracy of the Bible, it is discovered what the Book claimed about the ancient Philistines was, turns out, accurate.

    People wanting to dismiss the Bible and all its implications and demands like to snark that the book is full of historical inaccuracies.

    They must resolutely hate reports like this …

    John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera (breakpoint.org) share:

    Between 1997 and 2016, researchers at an excavation near Ashkelon in Israel examined the remains of more than one hundred humans, remains that dated from the 12th to 6th centuries before Christ. The researchers hoped to find human DNA in order to answer an old question: Who were the Philistines? Where did they come from?

    Well, it so happens these latest finds affirm “the Philistines were exactly who the Bible says they were, and they came from where the Bible says they did.”

    It took a bit of exegetical and linguistic detective work, coupled with the info uncovered by the digging, to arrive at that conclusion. Here’s the backstory:

    Amos 9 speaks of God bringing up the Philistines from Caphtor, … . Deuteronomy 2 tells us that “the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed [the original Canaanite inhabitants] and settled in their place.”

    This brings us to the obvious question: “Where was Caphtor?” We just don’t know for sure, but the Bible does provide an interesting clue. Jeremiah called the Philistines “the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor.” The Hebrew word translated “coastland” can also mean “island.”

    For this and other reasons, many archaeologists have concluded that biblical Caphtor was Crete. In fact, some modern Bible translations even render “Caphtor” as “Crete.” We can’t be completely certain that it is, but the Bible does tell us three additional things about the Philistines. First, they weren’t native to Iron Age Canaan. Second, they displaced the original inhabitants of the region. And, third, they came via the sea, that is, the Mediterranean.

    Meanwhile, back to that excavation in Ashkelon. The DNA from the site was analyzed. The Max Planck Institute’s archaeogeneticist — yes, apparently that’s a thing — Michal Feldman and head of the excavation Daniel Master revealed the results. Master confirmed: “Our study has shown for the first time that the Philistines immigrated to this region in the 12th century (BC).”

    Immigrated from where?

    According to Feldman, “This [DNA] ancestral component is derived from Europe, or to be more specific, from southern Europe, so the ancestors of the Philistines must have traveled across the Mediterranean and arrived in Ashkelon sometime between the end of the Bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age.”

    As is common in situations like this, the Philistine’s “ancestral component”, i.e. their DNA, became diluted as the they mixed with the local Canaanite population – which additionally comports with the Biblical narrative. The Philistines were ancient Israel’s principal foe during the period of the biblical Judges. This tracks with the time frame Feldman and Master mention. (They also clashed with Israel during the period of the early kings.) As the biblical story pressed forward, the Philistines became less distinct from their Canaanite neighbors and much less prominent in the Old Testament record.

    The long and short of it: fresh, archeological discoveries validate details originally presented in the Bible. Again.

    Whenever the latest archaeological evidence confirms parts of the Biblical narrative, we are told that this does not prove the Bible is “true.” I suspect what critics are trying to say, for example in this case, is that confirming the biblical narrative’s account of the origin of the Philistines doesn’t necessarily mean the rest of the Bible is true.

    Of course, it doesn’t. But the Bible is on quite a streak here, isn’t it? And, each finding further distinguishes the Biblical narrative from other religious or even ancient historical texts. The Biblical writers weren’t creating myths or recounting legends. They were relating history.

    [T]he events are clearly not created out of thin air to suit their agenda. These were events either witnessed or received from reliable sources.

    Which is why we must say that Biblical faith is a historical faith. Many other faiths are “ways of life” or “paths to enlightenment” or something like that. The Bible is different. It tells the story of God’s dealing with His people as it unfolded in human history. Its details are grounded in real events, not in some mythological “once upon a time.”

    It’s an oft-repeated story: Bible says “A”. “Higher-Critics” (and those who ape them) scoff, “Hah! “A” never occurred! The Old and New Testament are unreliable!”. Then … some archaeological work determines that – aha! – the Scriptural version of things was correct about “A” all along.

    The catalogue of archaeology’s “The-Bible-Was-Right” conclusions is long and varied: the wars of Canaan, destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, existence of the Amorites, the Hittites, the accuracy of the book of Daniel, etc., etc.

    Renowned 19th century Scottish archaeologist Sir William Ramsey set out to the Middle East in the 1880’s expecting to find support for his conviction that the Bible was a “book of fables”. Fifteen years later he’d changed his mind and shook the sectors of his discipline by declaring as much repeatedly. He eventually professed himself a Christian.

    If the Bible is, indeed, dependable on matters historical, might it not be wise to consider the insights it offers on questions of life and eternity, as well?

    Related column: 

    Modern Archaeology Affirms Again: Biblical Account Got the History Right

    Image: Adapted from: Internet Archive Book Images – https://www.flickr.com/photos/internetarchivebookimages/14780360444/Source book page: https://archive.org/stream/artbiblecomprisi00lond/artbiblecomprisi00lond#page/n386/mode/1up, No restrictions, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=43908096

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