As if we didn’t already know, Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein says that most of the stuff in the Hebrew Bible is nothing but myth. And he ought to know because he has been looking for evidence for the past 20 years. In an article on his work in Haaretz newspaper, Finkelstein says the story of the exodus from Egypt never occurred. This from his book and TV series, “The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts”
“There is no archaeological evidence for it,” he says. Further, Finkelstein is dubious about the existence of this great monarchy of Solomon or for that fact, King David. He calls Jerusalem a village- yes a village. “This is something unexampled in history. I don’t think there is any other place in the world where there was a city with such a wretched material infrastructure but which succeeded in creating such a sweeping movement in its favor as Jerusalem, which even in its time of greatness was a joke in comparison to the cities of Assyria, Babylon or Egypt. It was a typical mountain village. There is no magnificent finding, no gates of Nebuchadnezzar, no Assyrian reliefs, no Egyptian temples – nothing. Even the temple couldn’t compete with the temples of Egypt and their splendor.” Shining city on a hill??
Finkelstein writes of Jerusalem,
the Israelites did not go to pray in Jerusalem. They had a temple in Samaria (today’s Sebastia) and at Beit El (Bethel). In our book we tried to show that as long as Israel was there, Judah was small and frightened, militarily and internationally. Judah and Jerusalem were on the fringes. A small tribe. There was nothing there. A small temple and that’s all.”
Israelis often point to the Bible for their ‘claim’ to the so-called Holy Land. Finkelstein, however, has a different take.
“It is a story which, as it is presented in the Bible, definitely never happened. Archaeology shows that it has no historical grounds. Many of the sites that are cited in the story of the conquest were not even inhabited in the relevant period, so there was nothing to conquer, there were only hills and rocks. Jericho was not fortified and had no walls, and it’s doubtful that there was a settlement there at the time. Therefore, in the case of the story of the conquest of Arad, for instance, some scholars said that the war was fought against the forces of one Bedouin sheikh.
The Harretz article goes on, If there was no conquest, where did the Israelites come from? “Egypt was a mighty empire that ruled here with an iron fist. In the 14th century BCE there are stories about local kings who ask Pharaoh for help against one another, asking him to send 50 soldiers – in other words, that was the number that was sufficient to impose order here. So how did a few foot soldiers from the desert conquer the land? There was certainly no orderly military conquest. According to the archaeological findings, the Israelites came from the local stock: they were actually Canaanites who became Israelites in a socio-economic process.”
Canaanites! The ‘enemy’ of the Jews? Same tribe, same heritage? Woah!
When asked why does this conquering appear in the Bible, he says, “The answer is that in order to understand the episode of the conquest, we have to look at the kingdom of Judah in the seventh century BCE and understand that the story serves the authors of the Scriptures, because through it they resolved for themselves the territorial problems of the conquest of the then vanquished Kingdom of Israel.”
When asked where the authors of the Bible ‘got’ this theme, Finkelstein answers, “Perhaps there were memories of some great commander or general. On the other hand, this text describes something that happened in the 13th century and was written in the seventh century – that is, 600 years later – by people who did not have access to newspaper archives, and at the time of the events not one letter of the alphabet had been written anywhere, so it is not reasonable to think that this story contains many early memories.”
The simple line from Finkelstein, “David and Solomon were not historical figures, that they are a legend,” nails it. And the fact that Jerusalem was a dusty village and that the Jews and the Canaanites were one and the same clearly pierces the idea that the Bible is the word of God!
It is truly sad that this charade has played out for all of these millennia and that millions of people have been duped into believing that the Bible is the inspired word of God. And they will continue to be because the propaganda has been so intense.