Further evidence of the Babylonian overthrow of Jerusalem and destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar has been discovered in the south-western region of ancient Jerusalem.Archaeologists from the Mount Zion Archaeological Project found layers of ash and burnt wood containing artefacts as well as bronze and iron Scythian arrowheads.

They uncovered potsherds and lamps, and a damaged tassel or earring, which is bell-shaped at the top in gold, with a silver cluster of grapes beneath. It is thought that this valuable fragment must have been overlooked when the city was looted.

The Mount Zion Archaeological Project is directed by Shimon Gibson and James Tabor from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, along with Rafi Lewis of Ashkelon Academic College and Haifa University, and is facilitated by Sheila Bishop for the Foundation for Biblical Archaeology.

Finding the ash, artefacts and arrowheads in this layer dates it to the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem. It is unlikely that these objects would be found together under ordinary conditions, such as the disposal of ash from ovens or from the burning of rubbish. “Nobody abandons golden jewellery, and nobody has arrowheads in their domestic refuse”, said Gibson in a press release.

The evidence therefore points to the historical overthrow of Jerusalem by Babylon as the only major destruction of Jerusalem known for this period is the Babylonian conquest of 587/586BC. The gold and silver fragment of jewellery indicates the wealth and affluence of the kingdom of Judah at the time of the Babylonian invasion. The Scythian arrowheads and pottery fragments found are unique to that period, according to Gibson.

Gibson also said that Scythian arrowheads were fairly common in this period and have been found at other archaeological sites in the Middle East which showed evidence of fighting and destruction. The arrowheads are known to have been used by Babylonian warriors. It has been suggested that Scythian mercenaries may have served as the vanguard of the Chaldean assault.2

This discovery confirms the Bible record, which describes the burning of all the houses of Jerusalem during the Babylonian conquest:

“And [Nebuzar-aden, captain of the guard], burnt the house of Yahweh, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire” (2 King 25:9).

The archaeologists suggest that the area they are excavating may be where a “great man’s house” once stood. All that remains is the muddle of a destroyed household following a hard fought battle, as Jeremiah had prophesied (32:29).

When these discoveries are placed alongside the record of the Bible, we are impressed with the accurate and detailed account that the Scriptures provide.

References

1 Jonathan Laden, “Start of the Jewish Diaspora”, Bible History Daily, 21 August 2019, online at: https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/start-of-the-jewish-diaspora/?mqsc=E4079608&dk=ZE958UZF2&utm_source=WhatCountsEmail&utm_ medium=BHDDaily%20Newsletter&utm_campaign=ZE958UZF2
Sara Rubenstein, “Archaeological discovery attests to Babylonian conquest of J’lem”, Israel National News, 11 August 2019, online at: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/267236

2 Edwin Yamaguchi, “The Scythians: Invading Hordes from the Russian Steppes”, The Biblical Archaeologist, v. 46, no. 2, (Spring, 1983), p.95.