Verisimilitude. It’s a big word, one I had to look up when it was used by an archaeologist whose team discovered what appears to be the corner of God’s altar in Shiloh, Israel, a city in the heart of the West Bank. It means, “the appearance of being true or real,” and when applied to this archaeological discovery, it means what they found seems to demonstrate several historical components of the Old Testament are true.
Several other recent discoveries at the site point to the same basic conclusion: What the Bible said about ancient Shiloh coincide with the emerging archaeological record. This is exciting news for Bible believers of the various Judeo-Christian faiths, which is why it was barely covered by the media. Jerusalem Post was one of the only sources to dive into the discovery.
The find, said Stripling, director of excavations at ancient Shiloh and head of the Associates for Biblical Research, is consistent with what he expected to find in the fields of the ancient city where, according to the biblical account, the tabernacle for the Ark of the Covenant once stood.
Stripling is a “biblical archaeologist.” He has been excavating the land of Israel for decades. He directed excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir from 2013 to 2017, served as a field supervisor of the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project from 2005 to 2010, and was a supervisor of the Jerusalem Temple Mount Salvage Project, as well.
His Shiloh team is made up of archaeologists and volunteers from 11 universities around the world – an interdisciplinary team of scientists, historians and biblical scholars. In the last three years, they uncovered multiple large pithoi – “famous Israelite collar-rimmed jars” – inside a series of “storage rooms” that they found surround the ancient city.
Despite the obvious excitement of the team’s leader, Dr. Scott Stripling, media outlets, even in Israel, have done their best to report it. There’s a political significance to it all; Shiloh is in the disputed West Bank that nearly every nation that’s part of the United Nation’s believes should be home of for a Palestinian state or even returned to Jordan. Most in Israel and at least a strong minority in the United States believe otherwise, but progressive mainstream media in both countries won’t touch a story like this as it supports the notion that ancient Hebrews controlled the land long before any other current people group.
Nonetheless, Bible-believers can be pleased by the discovery as it’s just the latest in a long and growing string of archaeological finds in the Jewish state that support their claims to the land and the validity of the Bible. There have been multiple pieces of evidence discovered that align with Bible stories during past excavations as well, but they were not recognized by the traditional archaeologists who found them. One such discovery was in the early 1980s when Tel Aviv University Professor Israel Finkelstein discovered a large bone deposit.
“These were kosher and young animals, many with signs of burn or butcher marks on them, and they were mostly from the right side of the animal,” Stripling explained. “This did not mean much to Finkelstein. For me it was Leviticus Chapter 7: The right side of the animal was the priest’s portion, which would have been consumed at Shiloh. It would have been sacrificed, eaten by the priest and the bones disposed.”
The more they dig in the land of Israel, the more archaeologists are discovering pieces of evidence that confirm the historical Biblical narrative. Even secular scientists are starting to use the Bible to guide them through discoveries.
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