THE STONES CRY OUT

 

ByT. W. FAWTHROP, D.D.

 

Modern research has not discredited our Scriptures, but has strongly confirmed them. Alas! These confirmations are by some discarded, by many unknown, and by others overlooked. Dr. Yahuda has said that "it is thought highly scientific to challenge things Biblical." Certainly many prefer to be classed as unscriptural rather than unscientific. Yet many Modernist theories are but ancient doubts in modern attire. Denials of miracle and the supernatural are but Lucian and Celsus up to date. Archaeology has changed many Modernist theories. It has shown that monotheism preceded polytheism, and was not a progression from animism, totemism and polytheism, but was a direct revelation from God and the original faith of the race. It has shattered the theory that the Mosaic age was an age of illiteracy and ignorance, and that the Pentateuch is of Exilic origin; it has made untenable the late dates of the Exodus and the Fall of Jericho, and undermined the theories which led to the rejection of the Book of Daniel.

 

These archaeological confirmations of the Bible have been so numerous and so widely diffused that if fictitious they would require many fabricators for the whole topography and then their agreement would require explanation. Not simply the identification of a few place-names and isolated cases of topography require accounting for, but vast numbers of places, covering large areas ranging from Aswan, in Upper Egypt, to Nineveh in North Iraq.

 

A forger may have access to historical documents and correctly name certain kings; but here are identified obscure persons and things: Phoenician workmen, a kingís steward, a Temple placard, or a tax-collectorís ostrakon; and these are contemporaneous with Biblical history. The cumulative value of these numerous corroborations gives us confidence to triumphantly assert that the Scriptures are true. If archaeology be rejected or neglected, the student of Scripture is not up to date, however much he may desire to be thought so. The spade digs the grave of sceptical theories, but unearths new proof of scriptural truth.

 

The Flood of Noah

 

The story of the Flood, long considered folk-lore, is now accepted as fact. At Ur, Sir Leonard Woolley found eight feet of clean, water-laid clay, below which were stone implements, flints, and pottery of an early type. At Kish Professor Langdon found the same clay stratum, and agreed with Sir Leonard Woolley that it was the Flood of Noah, exclaiming, "There is no doubt about it". Peakeís Commentary says, "The story cannot be accepted as historical" (p. 143), but its recent Supplement states, "Evidence of the Flood has come to light at Ur and Kish" (p.4). The Nineveh Tablets of the story of Gilgamesh confirm the scriptural account in many details. World-wide traditions further confirm it, while the Weld-Blundell Tablets actually contain a list of Babylonian kings divided by the words, "The Deluge came up", and a list of "Ten Kings who ruled, before the Flood".

 

Abraham and the Four Kings (Gen. 14)

 

In the Assyrian Eponym Canon is the name of Abraham, a man of Abrahamís day, and in Abrahamís land, if not the same Abraham. Wellhausen declared the battle of Abraham and the four kings incredible; but Professors Sayce and Pinches have identified all four kings. The story assumes the supremacy of Elam in the Euphrates Valley in 2000 B.C., and the spade has proved it, "How could a post-Exilic Jew obtain information of those early kings?" asks Professor Hommel.

 

Jericho

 

Excavations have fixed the date of the Exodus and the Fall of Jericho about 200 years earlier than the Higher Critics. Sir Charles Marston says that the pottery, scarabs and seals all point to about 1400 B.C. for the Fall of Jericho, and 1440 for the Exodus. Rameses 11 is no longer regarded as the Pharaoh of the oppression. The scarabs of Amenhetep II (1413-1377 B.C.) are the last found in Jerichoís ruins. "The theory that the Exodus was about 1445 B.C. has gained ground among archaeologists, and a combination of arguments - Biblical, chronological and historical - seem to point to that earlier date" (Peake's Supplement, p. 8). Excavations show that the walls fell outward, filling the ditch, and the Israelites walked over the debris into the city, which they burnt just as the Bible states. Fragments of charred roofs, rooms and ropes abound. The Romans built another city, a mile nearer Jerusalem, in which Herod the Great erected palace, amphitheatre and hippodrome. This explains what critics call an inconsistency in our synoptic Gospels. Matthew and Mark say that Christ healed Bartimaeus after leaving Jericho, but Luke says the miracle took place before Christ reached Jericho. Matthew and Mark, writing to Jews, refer to the old Jewish city, through which Christ had passed, but Luke, writing to the Gentile world, refers to the Gentile city which Christ had not yet reached.

 

Jerusalem

 

Jerusalem and the Temple area are accepted by all as genuine. Dr. Robinson discovered the Arch which linked the area to the Upper City. On the broad area Solomon erected his magnificent Temple. "Solomonís builders and Hiramís builders, and the Gebalites did fashion them, and prepared the stones to build the house" (1 Kings 5: 18, R.V.). Sir Charles Warren found these foundation-stones, bearing the Phoenician marks of the Gebalite masons.

 

Corroborations of personal names are more convincing than of places, because towns endure for ages, while persons are only of brief duration.

 

The Stele of Shalmaneser II of Assyria, from Kurkh, records Ahabís furnishing chariots and soldiers for the battle of Karkar.

 

The Black Obelisk, from Calah, records Shalmaneserís wars, and portrays Jehu, King of Israel, rendering obeisance and tribute to Shalmaneser. Kings Oniri, Ahab, Jehu and Hazael of Syria are here corroborated.

 

The Babylonian Dynastic Tablets, which Dr. Pinches translated, prove that the usurper Pul became Tiglath Pileser III of Assyria, as Bernadotte became Charles XIV of Norway and Sweden. The tablets also confirm Ahaz, King of Judah; Menahem, Pekah and Hoshea of Israel; Rezin of Damascus; Hiram, of Tyre; and Merodach Baladin, prince of Babylon.

 

The Taylor Cylinder tells how Sennacherib "shut up Hezekiah, like a caged bird in Jerusalem, his royal city". But it fails to add how the cage was broken, and the bird escaped. This silence implies disaster. That Sennacherib took the fenced cities of Judah, and made Lachish his headquarters, is recorded both by Scripture and the monuments.

 

Belshazzar

 

When certain professors were unable to find Belshazzar in profane history, they discarded the Book of Daniel. Dean Farrar said, "History knows of no such king". But foundation-cylinders from Ur contain prayers of King Nabonidus for Belshazzar his son. Other inscriptions record Belshazzarís business transactions, and his death when the Persians entered Babylon. Professors Sayce and Pinches show that as Solomon was co-king with David, so Belshazzar reigned with Nabonidus, his father; one captained the troops in the field, the other defended the city. So Belshazzar is found, Professor Sayce declared. "The higher-criticism is now bankrupt"; and Professor Pinches writes, "I am glad to think, in the face of archaeology, with regard to the Book of Daniel, that the higher criticism is, in fact, buried". Dr. Orr adds, "So Professor McFadyenís apparent revellings in the inaccuracies of Daniel are all outworn and answered". Danielís history is authentic. He knew Belshazzar because they both dwelt in Babylon. Herodotus and Xenophon did not know him because they lived far away.

 

Results

 

As the result of these many corroborations our Old Testament now commands more respect from Rationalists and Modernists. Even Mr. H. G. Wells says, "On the whole, the Bible story of Hebrew history is evidently a true story, which squares with all that has been learnt in the excavations of Egypt, Assyria and Babylon during the last century". Individuals, churches and nations need spiritual revival. Does Modernism, casting its shadow of doubt on Godís Word, tend in that direction? Is it mere coincidence that since its advent heavy decreases have been registered in churches and Sunday schools? Let us honour Godís Word, accepting its history, believing its promises, assenting to its miracles, preaching its Saviour, crucified, risen and glorified, and claiming the outpouring of the Holly Spirit to save, indwell and purify.

 

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