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the perfection of beauty,
God shines forth"
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King Ahab and Archaeology
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Ahab
(1) The Moabite Stone
The Moabite Stone bears testimony (lines 7, 8) that Omri and his son
(Ahab) ruled over the land of Mehdeba for forty years. When Ahab was
occupied with the Syriac wars, Moab rose in insurrection. Mesha
informs us in an exaggerated manner that "Israel perished with an
everlasting destruction." Mesha recognizes Yahweh as the God of
(2) The Monolith of Shalmaneser II
The Monolith of Shalmaneser II (Brit Mus; see ASSYRIA) informs us
that in 854 Shalmaneser II came in conflict with the kingdom of
Hamath, and that Benhadad II with Ahab of Israel and others formed a
confederacy to resist the Assyrian advance. The forces of the
coalition were defeated at Karkar.
(3) Recent Excavations
Under the direction of Harvard University, excavations have been
carried on in Samaria since 1908. In 1909 remains of a Hebrew palace
were found. In this palace two grades of construction have been
detected. The explorers suggest that they have found the palace of
Omri, enlarged and improved by Ahab. This may be the "ivory house"
built by Ahab. In August, 1910, about 75 potsherds were found in a
building adjacent to Ahab's palace containing writing. The script is
the same as that of the Moabite Stone, the words being divided by
ink spots. These ostraca seem to be labels attached to jars kept in
a room adjoining Ahab's palace. One of them reads, "In the ninth
year. From Shaphtan. For Ba`al-zamar. A jar of old wine." Another
reads, "Wine of the vineyard of the Tell." These readings remind one
of Naboth's vineyard. In another room not far from where the ostraca
were found, "was found an alabaster vase inscribed with the name of
Ahab's contemporary, Osorkon II of Egypt." Many proper names are
found on the ostraca, which have their equivalent in the Old
Testament. It is claimed that the writing is far greater than all
other ancient Hebrew writing yet known. Perhaps with the publication
of all these writings we may expect much light upon Ahab's reign.
(See OSTRACA; Harvard Theological Review, January, 1909, April,
1910, January, 1911; Sunday School Times, January 7, 1911; The
Jewish Chronicle, January 27, 1911.)
The story about
Elijah and the contest between YHWH and baal on Mount Carmel is
a great story - but you've heard it before, right? Well, yes and
no. Like so many other stories drawn from the Bible, this story
has been dumbed down for the masses, with important details left
out and some common assumptions being added that are, well, just
wrong. In our latest message we will begin to fill in some of
the lost details and will correct wrong assumptions. We will
also reveal the true heart of the story, which is vitally
relevant to us today.
Eliyahu ben David