Many take the Bible at its word, while others insist on hard evidence, of which there is an abundance.
Now, Haaretz reports, yet another event described in the Bible has been supported by physical evidence.
It’s an earthquake that ripped apart Solomon’s Temple in the eighth century B.C.
It was described not only in the Bible but by the historian Josephus.
Haaretz reported: “While earthquakes in the Middle East and Levant are as common as flies, the ancient annals did not tend to mention them – with one glaring exception. The books of Amos, Zechariah and Ezekiel explicitly note an earthquake, which scholars agree would have been in roughly 760 B.C.E. Much later, the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus wrote in his typical hair-raising style about the same temblor and its supposed origin in the prideful King Uzziah.”
Support for the biblical narrative has been found “in archaeological discoveries of catastrophic destruction throughout ancient northern Israel, dating to the eighth century B.C.E.,” Haaretz reported.
“Israeli scientists report detecting paleo-geological signals clearly supporting the archaeological evidence. Their conclusion is that the descriptions of earthquake in Amos and Zechariah, and elsewhere in the Bible, were true.”
The accounts include that of Amos, a herdsman, whose book is thought to have been written in the eighth century B.C. He wrote, “Because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after which their fathers have walked: But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. … You [Israel] only have I known of all the families of the earth: Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
Josephus’ account was more specific: “A great earthquake shook the ground, and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it; and fell upon the king’s face; insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately. And before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west.”
Haaretz reported the accounts explain King Uzziah was “cocky,” and “one day the king went to the Temple – the first one, Solomon’s Temple – and insisted on offering incense to God himself, rather than via the priests.”
“Evidence of catastrophe in eighth-century B.C.E. northern Israel is legion. A destruction layer at Hazor was dated by Israel Finkelstein and Yigal Yadin to 760 B.C.E., the right time frame for Amos. At Lachish, David Ussishkin found a destruction level from the same time. Acre also has a similar layer dating to the mid-eighth century B.C.E. that, Zwickel points out, could have been courtesy of the Assyrians or quake,” Haaretz said.
Other indicators: Megiddo evidences “tilted walls … fractured building stones, dipping floors, liquefied sand” and more. Tel Abu Hawam reveals evidence of earthquake destruction, and damages are similar at Tel Dan.
At that time at Tel Shafi, a 13-foot thick wall fell onto its side.
There actually is evidence of two quakes, but that “doesn’t seem to bother today’s scientists,” the report said. “Where the quakes originated, we do not know. Israel is riddled with faults, but there’s one major one – the Dead Sea Transform – which is the source of catastrophic quakes. The seabed is like a tape recorder of geological events in the land: Deposits falling to the floor of the Dead Sea lie in flat layers, unless disrupted and deformed by quakes.”
Evidence there suggested a significant quake in the time frame of 861-705 B.C. and another 824-667 B.C.
Haaretz said: “At the end of the day, what we have is evidence of two strong quakes in the eighth century B.C.E., which support the biblical account in Amos, and Zechariah too. Not that he knew of what he spake, writing so long after the event, but still.”