Archelogical findings confirm history of the Bible
It can be helpful our understanding of Bible history if we can get a glimpse in to the culture and laws of the time. In the 1920’s, serious archeological investigation began around the discovery of a series of clay tablets discovered near Kirkuk, Iraq which collectively have been referred to as the Nuzi tablets. These tablets date back to the times recorded in the Bible. To date, over 5,000 of these tablets have been discovered. Many of them deal with simple business transactions or contracts, and don’t provide a lot of information, but there are also those which give us insight in to the laws and customs of the day.
One of these laws allowed a married couple who could not bear children, the wife could let her husband lie with her servant in order to have a child. Genesis 16: 1-2 reads, “Now Sari, Abram’s wife, had had an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar; so she said to Abram, ‘the Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my maidservant; perhaps I can build a family through her.’” While this arrangement may seem strange to our Western ears, it was certainly consistent with the laws of that time. The law further states that if problems occur as a result of the arrangement, the wife could order the servant and her child to leave. This is exactly what Sari did. When we read in the Bible, the account of Jacob and Rachel, we see this same situation once again! (Genesis 30)
In Genesis 31, Jacob and his family were living in the land of Laban, the father of his wives, Rachel and Leah. God came to Jacob and told him to return to the land of his father, and Jacob complied. As they were leaving, Rachel stole the statues of the household gods of Laban. (vs. 19) When Laban discovered his family was gone, as well as the household gods, he pursued and caught Jacob. Jacob allowed Laban to search all that he had with him, but the statues could not be found. Rachel had hid the household gods very well and Laban eventually returned to his home without them. Why were these household gods so significant? Under Nuzi law, one could claim ownership of all the land and property associated with that land. In other words, these household god statues served as a deed to one’s property! The Bible doesn’t tell us if Rachel ever told Jacob about her deception. But, in Genesis 35, Jacob orders all who are with him to turn over items of all foreign gods they have with them. Jacob than disposed of them by burying them near Shechem.
Archeologists are not through with the Nuzi tablets. I would not be surprised if many more discoveries are made that confirm the history of the Bible.
About The Author
Originally from Erie, Pennsylvania, Dan is a graduate of Otterbein College (now University). He graduated with a degree in education. From time to time Dan still substitute teaches. His interest in history led him to investigate the historical accuracy of the Bible. This, in turn, led to a full investigation of Apologetics.