A second stone inscription
revealed within the last three months provides remarkable
evidence for the reliability of the biblical texts.
Only a decade ago, skeptics were complaining that there was no archaeological evidence for the Judah Kings of the House of David (1008-586 BC) and the Jerusalem Temple of King David's son Jedidiah (better known as King Solomon). However, in 1993, a tablet was found with an inscription by King Hazael of Aram-Damascus in about 825 B.C., which indicated that his father, Hadad II, was victorious in battle against the "foot soldiers, charioteers and horsemen of the King of the House of David" (against Jehosaphat, c. 860 B.C.).
A second stone tablet, the "Moabite Stone," revealed in 1995, contains 36 lines of Phoenician script that recounts the rebellion of King Mesha of Moab against King Jehoram of Israel and King Jehosaphat of Judah (recorded in 2 Kings 3:5-27).1
The newly revealed sandstone tablet has a 15 line inscription in ancient Hebrew that is similar to the writings found in 2 Kings 12:1-6, 11-17.2 In the inscription, King Joash tells priests to take "holy money ... to buy quarry stones and timber and copper and labor to carry out the duty with faith."
The last part of the inscription indicates that if the work is completed well, "the Lord will protect his people with blessing."
Geologic studies of the stone and inscription by Israel’s Geological Institute, confirmed that it is authentic. Carbon-14 dating confirmed that the writing was completed in the 9th century B.C. Studies at the institute found microscopic flecks of gold that might have been burnt into the stone when the temple containing both the tablet and gold objects was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. According to Amos Bean, director of the institute, "They could be from gold-plated objects in the home of a very rich man, or a temple. ... It’s hard to believe that anyone would know how to do these things to make it look real.”
The new find is significant in that it corroborates the existence of the Temple of Solomon and part of the history of that temple recorded in the book of 2 Kings.
1.But it came
about, when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king
of Israel. And King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and
mustered all Israel. Then he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat
the king of Judah, saying, "The king of Moab has rebelled against
me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" And he said, "I
will go up; I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses
as your horses." And he said, "Which way shall we go up?" And he
answered, "The way of the wilderness of Edom."
So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days' journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them.
Then the king of Israel said, "Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab." But Jehoshaphat said, "Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?"
And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, "Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah." And Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him."
So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him. Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What do I have to do with you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother." And the king of Israel said to him, "No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab." And Elisha said, "As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you. But now bring me a minstrel."
And it came about, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, "Thus says the LORD, 'Make this valley full of trenches.' "For thus says the LORD, 'You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. 'And this is but a slight thing in the sight of the LORD; He shall also give the Moabites into your hand. 'Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.'"
And it happened in the morning about the time of offering the sacrifice, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water. Now all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. And all who were able to put on armor and older were summoned, and stood on the border. And they rose early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. Then they said, "This is blood; the kings have surely fought together, and they have slain one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!" But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites arose and struck the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they went forward into the land, slaughtering the Moabites. Thus they destroyed the cities; and each one threw a stone on every piece of good land and filled it. So they stopped all the springs of water and felled all the good trees, until in Kir-hareseth only they left its stones; however, the slingers went about it and struck it.
When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not. Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land. (2 Kings 3:5-27)
2.In the seventh year of Jehu, Jehoash became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem; and his mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba. And Jehoash did right in the sight of the LORD all his days in which Jehoiada the priest instructed him. Only the high places were not taken away; the people still sacrificed and burned incense on the high places. Then Jehoash said to the priests, "All the money of the sacred things which is brought into the house of the LORD, in current money, both the money of each man's assessment and all the money which any man's heart prompts him to bring into the house of the LORD, let the priests take it for themselves, each from his acquaintance; and they shall repair the damages of the house wherever any damage may be found.
But it came about that in the twenty-third year of King Jehoash the priests had not repaired the damages of the house... And they gave the money which was weighed out into the hands of those who did the work, who had the oversight of the house of the LORD; and they paid it out to the carpenters and the builders, who worked on the house of the LORD; and to the masons and the stonecutters, and for buying timber and hewn stone to repair the damages to the house of the LORD, and for all that was laid out for the house to repair it. But there were not made for the house of the LORD silver cups, snuffers, bowls, trumpets, any vessels of gold, or vessels of silver from the money which was brought into the house of the LORD; for they gave that to those who did the work, and with it they repaired the house of the LORD. Moreover, they did not require an accounting from the men into whose hand they gave the money to pay to those who did the work, for they dealt faithfully.
The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings, was not brought into the house of the LORD; it was for the priests. Then Hazael king of Aram went up and fought against Gath and captured it, and Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem. (2 Kings 12:1-6, 11-17)
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