In the July/August 2018 edition of Biblical Archaeology review, archaeologists Ralph K. Hawkins and David Ben-Shlomo published their findings in regards to a site near the River Jordan called Khirbet el Mastarah. They suggest that the site may be evidence for the story of Exodus
Just the Facts, Ma’am
Over the past few years, archaeologists have made many discoveries that support the Bible. I’ve written about a few of them here and here. As a history lover, it was the historicity of the Bible, in particular, the New Testament that helped bring me to faith. So, needless to say, when I saw that there may be another archaeological discovery that supported the biblical account, I was excited!
A recent article for the UK’s Daily Express, the author discusses the recent discovery made by two archaeologists, Ralph K Hawkins, and David Ben-Shlomo. According to the article, a lot more work still needs to be done before anything can be definitively said about the site. In fact, soil samples were recently sent for analysis and it’s said it will take months before they will get the results.
So, is it proof of the Exodus account? Well, according to Dr. David Ben-Shlomo:
“We have not proved that these camps are from the period of the early Israelites, but it is possible,” said David Ben-Shlomo, an archaeologist with Ariel University.
“If they are, this might fit the biblical story of the Israelites coming from east of the Jordan River, then crossing the Jordan and entering into the hill country of Israel later.”
The article goes on to say,
“Pottery shards from the site have been dated to the early Iron Age, around the time traditionally associated with the Israelite arrival.
“…the work is not without its challenges – archaeologists must look for cultural clues that the site was indeed Israelite.
“It is difficult since many aspects of the material culture of different groups (say those from east or west of the Jordan River) may be too similar or not indicative enough,” said Dr. Ben-Shlomo.”
I tried to find other archaeological websites containing the story and have so far only found a few Christian websites to corroborate the find. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it may mean that more secular archaeological websites are being cautious about this site, and that’s a good thing. I personally would rather err on the side of caution, get the information right, have solid evidence for the conclusions and then go to press. But that’s me.
As much as I love the historical evidence for the Biblical account, I do urge readers to be cautious here. Many times before, historical items had been uncovered or rumors of a site found and they have turned out to be either a hoax, forgery or simply put, not Biblically related at all. See the debunked stories on the “discovery” of Pharaoh’s army or The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife.
That said if after careful review of the evidence and more and a thorough investigation of the site has been done and cross-examined by others within the industry, the site still proves to be evidence of the Exodus…that will be very cool indeed.