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February 20, 2014

CONTACT: Robin Ngo
The Biblical Archaeology Society
Phone: 1.800-221-4644 ext. 208
Fax: 202-364-2636


WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 20, 2014)— A recent study has found archaeological confirmation for at least 50 people mentioned in the Bible. The list includes kings of Israel and Judah, Egyptian pharaohs, Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian monarchs, priests, scribes and government officials.

Perhaps the best known is King David. Until recently, the name David had never surfaced in ancient times. Some scholars even doubted David’s existence. Then in 1993 the name was discovered in an ancient inscription that dated to a mere hundred years or so after he lived and referred not only to David, but to his dynasty—the “House of David.” Moreover, it was written by a foreign king who was boasting of a victory over the Israelites, so it was not made up by later bragging Israelites.

A number of other kings of Judah and Israel are mentioned both in the Bible and in archaeological recoveries—Hezekiah, Ahaz, Ahab, Manasseh, Omri, Jehu and others.

So are Israel’s enemies, like the Assyrian monarch Sennacherib who attacked Jerusalem in 701 B.C. and boasted in an inscription that he had confined Hezekiah “like a bird in cage” (but he didn’t capture Jerusalem). Other Assyrian kings, as well as Babylonian and Persian monarchs, appear both in the Biblical text and in archaeological inscriptions.

This is also true of some Egyptian pharaohs. During Solomon’s reign the Egyptian pharaoh Shoshenq recorded his military campaign through Israel on a great gate at Karnak on the Nile. The same campaign is described in the Bible, where pharaoh is referred to as Shishak. A number of other pharaohs are mentioned both in the Bible and in archaeological inscriptions.

Recently some seals have been found in Jerusalem excavations that belonged to people mentioned in the Bible—government officials like Gemariah and Gedaliah, a high priest like Hilkiah, a scribe like Shaphan.

This study was undertaken by Lawrence Mykytiuk of Purdue University and is reported in “Archaeology Confirms 50 Real People in the Bible” in the March/April 2014 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, the world’s largest circulation magazine devoted to Biblical archaeology. The article includes the web-exclusive supplement, an extensive collection of endnotes detailing the Bible references and inscriptions for each of the 50 figures.