Monday, August 25, 2008

My Bias of Biblical Accuracy

I am reading for one of my courses this Fall about the history of Israel. I must confess, I have a bias for biblical accuracy. It is so clear to me that 1 Kings 6:1 says:

Now it came about in the four hundred and eightieth year after the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD.

So, if we believe that Solomon came to be king in 970 B.C. (which isn’t disputed among conservative scholars). Therefore, the 4th year of Solomon’s reign would be 966 B.C. If you had 480 to 966 B.C. you come to a date of 1446 B.C. It is a very clear, simple, straight-forward verse which wasn’t intended to be speculative and certainly the author of Kings wasn’t “wrong” in his clear statement here. It is as Rasmussen says ("Conquest, Infiltration, Revolt, or Resettlement," in Giving the Sense, ed. by David M. Howard, Jr., and Michael A. Grisanti [Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2003], 152):

"Within the biblical text, the basis of the Early-Date Exodus/Conquest Model is 1 Kings 6:1, which implies a date of about 1446 B.C. for the Exodus and a date of 1406 B.C. for the beginning of the Conquest of Canaan under Joshua. This means that the period of the Judges stretched from roughly 1375 B.C. to about 1050 B.C.—the beginning of Saul’s rule.”

It really is straight-forward. But, I unashamedly confess my bias of biblical accuracy in this regard of Israel’s history.


Dave said...

It's amazing how a straight forward reading of the text seems to simplify things. Geoff, that's the best bias to have...and archealogy has still not proven that date as impossible. Thanks for the note

geoffrey kirkland said...

Amen, bro.

Anonymous said...

Geoff, I hear that one of the profs at Fuller says there's no archaeological evidence for the existence of Jericho and suggests that the account of the walls falling down at Jericho may be a parable.

Obviously that is not reflective of a high view of Scripture.

How would you respond?

geoffrey kirkland said...

First of all, I'd direct his attention to Joshua 6 and the clear biblical narrative (not fictional!) account of Joshua, having just led the Israelites across the Jordan into the Promised Land, overtook the city of Jericho.

Moreover, there is nothing in the biblical text to hint at this being a "parable".

It is plain and clear from Num 22:1 that Jericho is a city across the Jordan river from plains of Moab (which is where the modern Jericho and the ancient site of Jericho reside) (cp. Deut 34:3). In Josh. 13:32, it is a territorial boundary signifying this "city" as a boundary-marker.

I would also direct his attention to a some works showing Jericho as a walled city during the 15th century B.C. until Israel came and burnt it (c.1406 B.C.):
First of all, see Kathleen Kenyon's work, "Digging Up Jericho" (Praeger, 1957). She excavated here and has some great helps and photos.
Then, see:
1. John Bartlett, Cities of the Biblical World (Eerdmans, 1982).
2. John Wilkinson, Way from Jerusalem to Jericho, BA 38, no. 1 (1975): 10-24.
3. Tushingham, Excavations at OT Jericho, BA 16, no. 3 (1953): 46-67.
4. See John Garstang, Story of Jericho (London, 1948).

Anonymous said...


That is so helpful Geoff!

Thank you very much.

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