Ishobeth inscription
News of this amazing find was released in June of this year. (Times of Israel photo)

There are so many archeological findings happening in Israel these days, it’s hard to keep track of them all.

Take the broken jug found on top of Khirbet Qeiyafa, also know as the “Elah Fortress.”

Dating back to the time of Solomon, the jug bears the name “Ishba’al son of Beda.”

Important? On every level.

The name appears in your Bible as “Ish-bosheth,” a son of Saul and rival of David. Follow his story in 2 Samuel 2-4 and you’ll find that he reigned for two years in the northern half of Israel while David ruled in the south. He had a poor experience leading his people and was eventually murdered by David’s supporters.

Every time something like this is found that ties into the biblical text, the land has given us one more piece of evidence that the history of the Bible is based on literal truth.

This is also an important find for scholars trying to date the level of language skills of people who lived in the Iron-Age. Because most 3,000-year-old items would not survive that length of time, it is very difficult to get hard evidence of writing skills from the era. This find proves a very advanced language of the people. For those who doubted the ability of prophets and scribes to record the actual history of Israel, this find is a shocking revelation. Even the pottery makers were writing!

Finally, the Elah Fortress is fast becoming one of the more important digs in all of Israel. Did Saul hold this double-gated city when Goliath taunted his army in the Elah Valley just below? Now we know that his son’s large jug was there, at the very least.

And that might explain why the Philistines – led by their giant – didn’t simply overtake Saul’s out-manned force when the David-and-Goliath story opens in 1 Samuel 17. If Saul and his army were safely behind a walled fortress, it makes more sense as to why Goliath wanted someone to come out into the open and fight!

Want to see the Elah Valley for yourself? We’re going back to Israel in May, 2016! Join us !

Elah Fortress with map
The Elah Fortress overlooks the Elah Valley. In this aerial photograph, the view is facing south, away from the valley. The fortress might be Shaaraim, mentioned in 1 Samuel 17:52.


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