The British Museum holds a treasure trove of ancient documents that back up what the Bible says. Although Christians don’t necessarily need these documents as confirmation for the accuracy and truth we find in the Bible, they do provide a good defense when uninformed or deceptive secularists take swipes at the Bible, such as the ever popular “The-Bible-is-full-of-myths-and-fairy-tales” argument.
Another thing these ancient documents do for us is provide us with a basis to conclude that worship of Jehovah pre-dates pagan religions since these secular documents confirm the existence of the actual people in the Bible and the circumstances surrounding their existence as recorded in the Bible. This tells us that if the Bible is so accurate on historical accounts it can be trusted regarding its spiritual aspects.
Stela & Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III
These monuments discovered in northern Iraq that are housed in the British Museum record the acts of Assyrian king Shalmaneser III (ruling 859-824 BC). The Assyrian king confirms the existence of King Benhadad of Syria and King Ahab of Israel, both mentioned in the Bible in the 1 Kings. This stela confirms that Benhadad (Hadadezer) and Ahab warred with each other as the Bible says, but when Shalmaneser III started a military campaign against the king of Hamath (a city also mentioned in the Bible), Benhadad and Ahab brokered a temporary peace treaty with each other (confirmation of 1 Kings 22:1) to shore up the king of Hamath’s defenses against Shalmaneser III. Interestingly enough, Ahab was also mentioned in the Moabite Stone which was discovered hundreds of miles away near the Dead Sea.
Another king mentioned in Shalmaneser’s documents is Jehu, king of Israel, who regularly brought tribute to Assyria and bowed to the Assyrian king. This confirms that Jehu, who served as one of Ahab’s military captains, killed all of Ahab’s descendants after Ahab was killed in battle to become king after being anointed by God (2 Kings 9).
Library of Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal (Asnapper) was also an Assyrian king and was mentioned in the Bible by Ezra (Ezra 4:10) as the one who brought people in from the Assyrian Empire to inhabit Samaria after Assyria took the northern kingdom of Israel into captivity. They became the Samaritans of Jesus’ day. The British Museum houses his vast library of detailed record-keeping. Among his ancient documents is the mention of King Manasseh of Judah as one of his conquered subjects, which confirms 2 Chronicles 33:11.
Peter Masters, Monuments from Ancient Assyria confirm biblical history, Creation Ministries International, Creation.com, September 15, 2014.
Harry A. Gaylord