Nehemiah and Jeremiah Confirmed By History


Archaeologists continue to certify the historical record of the Word of God. The following excerpts are from the International Jerusalem Post under the heading, “Seal of First Temple servants found in Jerusalem.” Note that the temple mentioned in the article was built by King Solomon, the son of King David, nearly 3,000 years ago.

A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem’s City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said on January 16.

The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name “Temech” engraved on it, was found last week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.

According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BC.

The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts.

The Bible refers to the Temech family: “These are the children of the province, that went up out of the captivity, of those that had been carried away, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away, and came again to Jerusalem and to Judah, every one unto his city.” [Nehemiah 7:6]… “The Nethinim [7:46]”… The children of Temech.” [7:55].

“The seal of the Temech family gives us a direct connection between archeology and the biblical sources and serves as actual evidence of a family mentioned in the Bible,” she said. “One cannot help being astonished by the credibility of the biblical source as seen by the archaeological find.”

The find was officially announced by Mazar at the eighth annual Herzliya Conference on January 20.

The archeologist, who rose to international prominence for her recent excavation that may have uncovered King David’s palace, most recently uncovered the remants of a wall from Nehemiah’s time. [End of quote]

The next account is from the January-February 2008 issue of the periodical, Archaeology. The headline reads, “Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet, The British Museum, UK:”

Last June, Austrian Assyriologist Michael Jursa was doing what he has done since 1991, poring over the more than 100,000 undeciphered cuneiform tablets in the British Museum. But while analyzing records from the Babylonian city of Sippar, he made a startling discovery with Biblical implications. It came in the unlikely form of a tablet noting a one‑and‑a‑half pound gold donation to a temple made by an official, or “chief eunuch,” Nebo‑Sarsekim.

“At first I was just pleased to have found a reference to the title ‘chief eunuch,’ as these officials are mentioned very rarely in the sources,” says Jursa. “Then it suddenly came to me that this text was very close chronologically to an episode narrated in Jeremiah 39 in which Nebo‑Sarsekim is mentioned, and that I might actually have found the very man. So then I got quite excited and instantly went and checked (and double‑checked) the exact spelling of the name in the Hebrew Bible and saw that it matched what I had found in the Babylonian text!”

The tablet is dated 595 B.C., the ninth year of Nebuchadnezzar II’s reign. The Book of Jeremiah relates that after Nebuchadnezzar took Jerusalem in 587 B.C., he committed the prophet Jeremiah to Nebo‑Sarsekim’s care.

“It is so incredibly rare to find people appearing in the Bible, who are not kings, mentioned elsewhere,” says Jursa. “Something like this tablet, where we see a person mentioned in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and quoting the exact date, is quite extraordinary.” [End of quote]

The Babylonian, Mr. Sarsechim, is listed in Jeremiah 39:3. I must mention that the Masoretic Text of the King James Version does not show him as the one given charge over Jeremiah (Jeremiah 39:11), but the point of the author is still valid. Sarsechim is recorded in the scriptures and ancient Babylonian records, as well.

God’s Word is a reliable history book.

GOD SAID, Psalms 19:9:

The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

GOD SAID, Psalms 119:160:

Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

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Apr 2014
Posted by Amaic
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Why did Jesus Christ Acknowledge the Queen of the South but not the King of Nineveh?

For complete article, see my:

Prophet Jonah and the Beginnings of a New History


I then, (i) having this ‘inside information’ that the powerful Syrian king Ben-hadad had also been one of Assyria’s greatest ever rulers, Ashurnasirpal II, and (ii) knowing that there was a uniquely Jonah-like depiction in the palace of this same Ashurnasirpal II, and (iii) being aware of the Jewish legends locating the beginnings of Jonah to the time of the prophet Elijah, which was also the time of Ben-hadad (Ashurnasirpal II), was then able to find (iv) a biblical scenario that had overtones of the Jonah incident of (a) the sparing of a non-Israelite people, much to the chagrin of an Israelite prophet, and (b) the change of heart of the king of that spared foreign people, with both (a) and (b) involving “sackcloth”.

Before going on to tell of that biblical incident, I should like to note that Jesus Christ never, in his references to Jonah and the conversion of the Ninevites and their king, actually praises the king himself, just “the men of Nineveh” or “the Ninevites”.This ruler of Assyria was, as I have shown in my thesis, a very wily and duplicitous character – full of presumption.

Now the biblical incident to which I refer – and that I think may be an other face to what is recorded in the Book of Jonah – is to be found in I Kings 20, Ben-hadad’s failure, twice, with a massive army, to defeat king Ahab of Israel and to take Ahab’s capital city of Samaria. And I would like to knit in to these two incidents (though without attempting any chronological precision at this stage), the two calls of Jonah, viz.:

(1:) 1 The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”


(3:) 1 Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”

The story begins with king Ben-hadad, the “king of Aram” (Syria), apparently at the height of his power and his arrogance and determined to pick a fight:

(I Kings) 20 Now Ben-Hadad king of Aram mustered his entire army. Accompanied by thirty-two kings with their horses and chariots, he went up and besieged Samaria and attacked it. 2 He sent messengers into the city to Ahab king of Israel, saying, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: 3 ‘Your silver and gold are mine, and the best of your wives and children are mine.’”

4 The king of Israel answered, “Just as you say, my lord the king. I and all I have are yours.”

5 The messengers came again and said, “This is what Ben-Hadad says: ‘I sent to demand your silver and gold, your wives and your children. 6 But about this time tomorrow I am going to send my officials to search your palace and the houses of your officials. They will seize everything you value and carry it away.’”

7 The king of Israel summoned all the elders of the land and said to them, “See how this man is looking for trouble! When he sent for my wives and my children, my silver and my gold, I did not refuse him.”

8 The elders and the people all answered, “Don’t listen to him or agree to his demands.”

9 So he replied to Ben-Hadad’s messengers, “Tell my lord the king, ‘Your servant will do all you demanded the first time, but this demand I cannot meet.’” They left and took the answer back to Ben-Hadad.

10 Then Ben-Hadad sent another message to Ahab: “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if enough dust remains in Samaria to give each of my men a handful.”

11 The king of Israel answered, “Tell him: ‘One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off.’”

12 Ben-Hadad heard this message while he and the kings were drinking in their tents,[a] and he ordered his men: “Prepare to attack.” So they prepared to attack the city.

But the king suffered an unexpected setback. The un-named prophet to Israel referred to in this next section may or may not be Jonah himself. Jewish legend has him as Micaiah (

Ahab Defeats Ben-Hadad

13 Meanwhile a prophet came to Ahab king of Israel and announced, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do you see this vast army? I will give it into your hand today, and then you will know that I am the Lord.’”

14“But who will do this?” asked Ahab.

The prophet replied, “This is what the Lord says: ‘The junior officers under the provincial commanders will do it.’”

“And who will start the battle?” he asked.

The prophet answered, “You will.”

15 So Ahab summoned the 232 junior officers under the provincial commanders. Then he assembled the rest of the Israelites, 7,000 in all. 16 They set out at noon while Ben-Hadad and the 32 kings allied with him were in their tents getting drunk. 17 The junior officers under the provincial commanders went out first.

Now Ben-Hadad had dispatched scouts, who reported, “Men are advancing from Samaria.”

18 He said, “If they have come out for peace, take them alive; if they have come out for war, take them alive.”

19 The junior officers under the provincial commanders marched out of the city with the army behind them 20 and each one struck down his opponent. At that, the Arameans fled, with the Israelites in pursuit. But Ben-Hadad king of Aram escaped on horseback with some of his horsemen. 21 The king of Israel advanced and overpowered the horses and chariots and inflicted heavy losses on the Arameans.

It may be at this point, with the king and his army in disarray, that the prophet Jonah -yet a young man (and perhaps for this reason assigned the arduous task instead of, say, Elijah) – was first commissioned to go to Nineveh whose “wickedness”is here referred to.

But Jonah had other ideas and it is at about this point that I would place his attempted flight to Tarshish, the consequent storm incident and that of the “great fish”.

I think that this famous incident must needs be separated well in time from Jonah’s second calling (note the word “Afterward” in v. 22 below). And was Jonah the prophet (the same as the one we met above, in vv. 13-14) who thus estimated the time for king Ahab (v. 22) “Afterward, the prophet came to the king of Israel and said, ‘Strengthen your position and see what must be done, because next spring the king of Aram will attack you again’.”?

At this same approximate time the Syrian king’s officials were providing their master with a‘theology’ for military effectiveness:

23 Meanwhile, the officials of the king of Aram advised him, “Their gods are gods of the hills. That is why they were too strong for us. But if we fight them on the plains, surely we will be stronger than they. 24 Do this: Remove all the kings from their commands and replace them with other officers. 25 You must also raise an army like the one you lost—horse for horse and chariot for chariot—so we can fight Israel on the plains. Then surely we will be stronger than they.” He agreed with them and acted accordingly.

So, true to the word of the prophet (who also must have known the military patterns of the day), the enemy of Israel attacked in spring. The colossal army of more than 120,000 (**) suffered a crushing defeat, with its proud king forced to flee and hide:

26 The next spring Ben-Hadad mustered the Arameans and went up to Aphek to fight against Israel.

27 When the Israelites were also mustered and given provisions, they marched out to meet them. The Israelites camped opposite them like two small flocks of goats, while the Arameans covered the countryside.

28 The man of God came up and told the king of Israel, “This is what the Lord says:‘Because the Arameans think the Lord is a god of the hills and not a god of the valleys, I will deliver this vast army into your hands, and you will know that I am the Lord.’”

29 For seven days they camped opposite each other, and on the seventh day the battle was joined. The Israelites inflicted a hundred thousand casualties on the Aramean foot soldiers in one day.

30 The rest of them escaped to the city of Aphek, where the wall collapsed on twenty-seven thousand of them. And Ben-Hadad fled to the city and hid in an inner room.

** Though it is very hard to imagine a fallen wall killing 27,000 men. Snaith has this: “The destruction of the city wall is often used to describe the capture of a city; and the verse may actually mean that this large, number of men lost their lives when the city was captured and taken.”[16]

Now, with the fallen Syrian king completely at the mercy of king Ahab, the king of Israel would have been expected to have done what king Saul had been expected to do in the case of king Agag the Amalekite, to destroy him utterly. (I Samuel 15) 9 “But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep, the oxen, the fatlings, the lambs, and all that was good, and were unwilling to utterly destroy them”. And perhaps Ben-hadad’s officials recalled this incident, for:

31 His officials said to him,“Look, we have heard that the kings of Israel are merciful. Let us go to the king of Israel with sackcloth around our waists and ropes around our heads. Perhaps he will spare your life.”

32 Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, “Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live.’”

The king answered, “Is he still alive? He is my brother.”

33 The men took this as a good sign and were quick to pick up his word. “Yes, your brother Ben-Hadad!” they said.

“Go and get him,” the king said. When Ben-Hadad came out, Ahab had him come up into his chariot.

34 “I will return the cities my father took from your father,” Ben-Hadad offered. “You may set up your own market areas in Damascus, as my father did in Samaria.”

Ahab said, “On the basis of a treaty I will set you free.” So he made a treaty with him, and let him go.

Ahab had, just like king Saul, proved an abject failure.

It was with great forebodings, now, that the prophet Jonah finally heeded the call of the Lord and headed for Nineveh from whence the massive army of Ben-hadad (Ashurnasirpal II) had probably largely massed. The supposed son of Ashurnasirpal II, “Shalmaneser III once boasted a force of 120,000 men” in his western campaigns.

Attuned to the ways of the Lord, Jonah may have sensed that, as a prophet will actually say to Ahab in the aftermath of all this: “Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people” (v. 41). And, indeed, it was the “people” of Ben-hadad (Ashurnasirpal II), the Ninevites, not the king directly, who responded to the words of the prophet (Jonah 3:4): “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” (***) [*** The forty days may perhaps have been another time estimate by the prophet of how long it would take for Israel and her allies to mobilise themselves against Nineveh].

Then, later – perhaps much later – the king himself (Jonah 3:6): “When the message reached the king of Nineveh, he got up from his throne, removed his royal garments, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat down in ashes”. This very cunning and duplicitous king, who had already been forced to humble himself before Ahab, may have later, when back in Nineveh, made a big show of things as was his wont (Jonah 3):

7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh:

“By the decree of the king and his nobles:

Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink.

8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence.

9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

I suggest that it was for the sake of the people of Nineveh, and not their king, that (v. 10): “When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened”.

But Jonah himself, having foreseen all this, was furious (Jonah 4):

But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. 2 He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. 3 Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

While Jonah had become sullen and angry in Nineveh, a prophet back in Israel – perhaps Jonah upon his return there (Jewish legend has this prophet as Micaiah) – was to become incandescent with rage against king Ahab for his failure to destroy Ben-hadad, thereby causing Ahab, in turn, to become “sullen and angry” (exactly as Ahab had been, incidentally, in the case of Naboth, I Kings 21:4). Thus we read in this strange but most significant incident (I Kings 20):

A Prophet Condemns Ahab

35 By the word of the Lord one of the company of the prophets said to his companion, “Strike me with your weapon,” but he refused.

36 So the prophet said, “Because you have not obeyed the Lord, as soon as you leave me a lion will kill you.” And after the man went away, a lion found him and killed him.

37 The prophet found another man and said, “Strike me, please.” So the man struck him and wounded him.

38 Then the prophet went and stood by the road waiting for the king. He disguised himself with his headband down over his eyes.

39 As the king passed by, the prophet called out to him, “Your servant went into the thick of the battle, and someone came to me with a captive and said, ‘Guard this man. If he is missing, it will be your life for his life, or you must pay a talent of silver.’

40 While your servant was busy here and there, the man disappeared.”“That is your sentence,” the king of Israel said. “You have pronounced it yourself.”

41 Then the prophet quickly removed the headband from his eyes, and the king of Israel recognized him as one of the prophets.

42 He said to the king, “This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people.’”

43 Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria.

The Documentary Hypothesis does Damage to the Bible

This series came in seven installments: an Intro, then Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Because I am preaching through Genesis it seems fair to introduce the Old Testament documentary hypothesis (sometimes called the JEDP theory), its relationship to Genesis studies, and my reasons for rejecting it.

Instead of working from scratch it is expedient to construct the next few blogs around the book, Before Abraham Was: A Provocative Challenge to the Documentary Hypothesis by Kikawada (Berkeley) and Quinn (Princeton).  Their book is borrowed scaffolding.  Along the way I will show where my perspective varies from theirs, but my main objective is to explore the documentary hypothesis and reasons for my rejection of it.

An Admission

I am not trying to be fair to all adherents of the documentary hypothesis.  That is, I necessarily will work with main thrusts coming from the theory, even as I know that nuances abound and updated versions have new tweaks, twists and turns.  I maintain, however, that updates and tweaks to a sunken ship won’t free it from its watery grave, restore its crew, and get it sailing.  I am no more persuaded by the latest apologetics of Jehovah Witnesses or Islam than I am with the next defense from the documentary hypothesizers.

A Definition

The documentary hypothesis of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament) states that there is a long history and complex layering of story fragments that comprise Genesis.  The Darwinian view of the Grand Canyon is illustrative of the hypothesis.  As with the Canyon, one looks upon stratum and supposedly gets irrefutable evidence for long evolutionary periods.  The writings of Moses are his in name only, for really they are accretions — the production of so many editors over so many centuries. Each contributor laid down their particular layer until, over time, the Pentateuch finally reached a settled state.  This is a hypothesis grown in the same dark and moldy room as Darwinian evolution. It too is rooted in the 1800s as it is, “a characteristic product of its time…” (9).

According to the program of the documentary hypothesizers, Genesis 1-11 is not read as the unveiling of one mind — not Moses’s, let alone God’s — but is a particolored quilt of seams and patches that betray the tinkerings of Jewish scribes.  These editors secretly and anonymously created a poorly done religious history that shows no higher design than propagandized agendas.   As man evolved from apes, so the books of Moses are not by special design; they are manuscripts that suffer the accidents of time.  They emerged as survivors of religious fitness and scribal mutations.

They have a presently stable form despite their tumultuous struggle to emerge from the scribal slime.  According to the clever inspectional work of specially trained researchers from the 19th century, that scribal slime turns out to be composed of at least four detectable editors.  We don’t know who the editors are, of course, but we can assign them names.  The most common monikers for the four are J, E, P and D.  That is, the J editor (along with her disciples and followers) is uniquely discernible behind particular patches in the variegated quilt.  Of course, discerning J is not a black and white venture because the specially trained researches are not uniform in their imaginations.

A Problem

Just as Darwin’s evolution is pre-Micro Biology, pre-Computer, pre-Flight, pre-Hubble, pre-NASA, pre-GNOME, pre-Einstein, pre-Nuclear, … so the documentary hypothesis is a leftover from an age long gone.  The documentary hypothesis was a mistake of history never meant to upstage the real sciences of Archaeology, Egyptology, Assyriology and Linguistics.  Biblical studies can be likened to other sciences.  As the physical sciences frequently abandon false starts, Biblical studies are not beholden to failed conjectures advanced during the pre-archaeological period.

Before Abraham Was. Chapter 1

Genesis 1-11 tells the story of creation, Adam, the fall, Noah, the flood, the tower of Babel and the emergence of nations.  The pre-flood period is as its own world with its own history.  Out of the ark emerged a new history distinct from Genesis 1-5.  And in terms of God’s redemptive activity, all of it is a prelude to Abraham (who shows up in Genesis 12).  “Before Abraham Was” refers to the long and complex history of Genesis 1-11.

The Name (הַשֵּׁם)

In the telling of Judah’s long and complex history, God’s name is alternatively “Elohim”, “Yahweh” and sometimes “Yahweh Elohim”.  Switches between these names are taken to be the DNA evidence of different editors.  According to the documentary hypothesis, Genesis 1-5 is internally grouped according to two editorial schools — one written by priests who use “Elohim” and one from the editors who use “Yahweh.”  To this day Yahweh is not a name often spoken by Jews.  At some point in the Jewish past (perhaps after the destruction of the temple in AD 70), the name Yahweh ceased to be pronounced by the religiously pious.  It is a priestly concern that guards the name as holy.

The Sources: J, E, P, D

J, E, P and D are names given to the theoretical schools who wrote that which Moses wished he wrote (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy).  In fact, the only thing that documentary scholars seem to agree about is that Moses and his helpers were too dense to pull off the complex writing that recorded God’s activities.  In fact, when they get done with their hypothetical scholarship, Moses himself probably did not exist, the exodus is a myth, and the only thing that is certain is that they are scholars of what they consider to be a fairytale book.  Following this pattern, in 2000 years I expect people to get their PhDs in Harry Potter and then to endlessly debate and pretend that their ideas merit the attention of other scholars.

P stands for Priestly and designates the supposed editor who reworked material according to a late priest’s perspective.  An orthodox priest of Jerusalem (writing after the Babylonians took Jerusalem) sees God as above, wholly other, far off, creating by his words, inhabiting his high mountain, instituting Sabbath, and dwelling in a heavenly and exalted temple.  The P editors used Elohim as the name of the deity (being too humble to evoke the covenant name).  Thus the P material of Genesis can be detected in the use of the name Elohim, particularly when God is acting or speaking with priest-like concerns (holiness, sacrifices, otherness, exalted status, etc.).

J is for Jehovah. The Hebrew name Yahweh was rendered by Germans scholars (leaders in the development of the documentary hypothesis) as Jehovah.  I use Yahweh and Jehovah interchangeably.  The documentary hypothesis postulates that Yahweh/Jehovah would have connoted the view of a conservative religious editor writing from a Jerusalem-like perspective.  Namely, Yahweh is the name of the God who was with Israel in the wilderness.  Yahweh is the God who walked in the garden of Eden. He is the relational God with a revealed covenantal name.  The conservative religious editor is from the southern kingdom of Judah and employed the name Jehovah as a polemical way to obtain distance from  the polytheistic religions.

E is the name of the non-Priestly editor who used “Elohim” to reference God. Elohim is plural.  This plural form is interpreted as a residual of a polytheistic editor.  It represents a theological point of view — a view that would have been at home in the northern kingdom of Israel (Ephraim).  Roughly speaking, E designates editors from Ephraim who were less critical of polytheism and who used the name Elohim to reference God (II Kings 1:3).

One can see how the documentary hypothesis is capable of putting a lot of stock in a name. The selection of a name to alternately encode a polytheistic or monotheistic worldview is to laden one word with the essence of a religious debate.  Of course it is possible that the plural ending is a theological polemic revealing the polytheistic DNA of northern editors, but if we go by an argument from possibilities, then it is just possible that it is not the case.  In fact, by Occam’s razor, the documentary hypothesis asks one word to do too much.

JEP  Naming the different editors and authors, the books of “Moses” can be graphically sliced and color coded according to the different contributors.

However, the documentary hypothesis is sophisticated enough that it won’t be boiled-down to name usage only.  One can observe that with each switch in name (Elohim vs. Yahweh), there is a corresponding switch in literary style.  Genesis 1, for example, has a different feel than Genesis 2.  Genesis 1 uses Elohim and Genesis 2 uses Yahweh.  One style is Priestly (P), another is Yahwehistic (J).

So what we find in Genesis 1-5 are not only changes in vocabulary, narrative styles, and theologies, but also unnecessary…repetitions–and all these obey the general sectioning of Genesis 1-5 suggested by the divine names. (20).

Inventors of the Documentary Hypothesis have Invented a Crisis

The astute reader detects stylistic changes as Genesis unfolds; chapter 1 gives way to chapter 2, and things move around and the story has development and action as we go from 2 to 3 all the way to the end of the book.   At this point the documentary hypothesis invents a crisis by finding contradictions whenever the camera angle changes or when a new character comes in uninvited.  After the crisis is elevated to the level of a force-ten hurricane, the hypothetical scholar puts on his cape and the documentary hero emerges to save us from the dreadful deluge.

The documentary hypothesis had its own Noah, and his name was Wellhausen (21).

Without a single story teller, we are quickly saved from the notion of a single theme.  The story of the Bible can’t be about Jesus (who named himself as the theme in John 5:39), but is about something altogether different.   The Bible becomes the story of hypothesizing scholars.  It becomes the story of how 19th century scholarship untangled the mess of ancient Hebrew texts.

Scholars of the Documentary Hypothesis are Self Created Heroes

The creation story ceases to be how the Holy Spirit brooded over the formless void to create order.  Genesis becomes a formless mass of texts where vipers find their brood wherein to hatch hypothetical scholars.   The documentary scholars have come to save us from the despair of an ancient story that moves along and has development.   They save us by saying there is no theme and there is no single author.  They relieve us of seeing how God and Moses wrote the Pentateuch.  The hypothetical scholar becomes the hypothetical savior to save us from thinking that God wrote a book.  God is dethroned, and the scholar is put in his place.

Our salvation comes in realizing that we have been tricked.  There is no unified author and only the discovery of editors shows the order embedded in the formless crisis.  They created the problem, and they created the solution, and they are the real heroes of the story.  The Bible, it turns out, is about them and their scholarship.

The Documentary Hypothesizers are Blind to Masterminds and Artists

The documentary hypothesizers don’t know about single authors who write complex, changing and multi-faceted masterpieces.  A single book, like Genesis, with a single author… it is preposterous!  Who could imagine such a thing?  Moses writing Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 would be like a musician who could play two instruments.  Vocalists can sing only one song.  Artists can make only one album.  Narrators can’t write poetry, and poets can’t write history, and historians can’t make music.  Moses couldn’t write Genesis, because that would mean he was able to write both Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 (and that insanity would be a crisis of Biblical proportion). It is too complex.  Genesis was created over centuries and each editor attributed his part according to his editorial-kind.  And so the crisis is solved.  Salvation has come and we are relieved from believing that one author could have written an amazing book.

If Genesis 1-5 is the product of a single author, then that author is capable of two quite different narrative styles and no compunction about using them…from this thesis and antithesis we would expect him to attempt a synthesis, a synthesis that would exhibit to an even greater degree his theological profundity and literary virtuosity (21).

How to Answer a Fool

Kikawada and Quinn are sharp, almost sarcastic, in how they represent the documentary hypothesis — perhaps following the Proverb, “answer a fool according to his folly.”  If a fool thinks that the many colors of a great painting prove that the painting had many artists and many pallets, then what is left to say?  Great artists do paint great paintings.  Genius authors do write complex books.  God did create the visible and invisible realms and all that is in them — writing down his deeds seems like a lesser feat.  The answer for the fool is too obvious to give, so sarcasm may be all that is left for them.

God is the Author of the Bible

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.  His story has a beginning and an end, and Jesus is the Alpha and Omega.  The story is history that radiates from a point and consummates in a Lamb.  God has worked and created according to a unified purpose; the Holy Spirit hovered over the formless void to bring it into conformity to the pattern of the architect.  The same God who did this promised by his Spirit that he would attend to the keeping of the divine records.  Earth would contain a written copy of the heavenly records (John 14:26), and it does.  We have the Bible.  It is a book divine in origin.  This is no more incredible than a God who can create the whole cosmos.   Whoever invented atoms, molecules, air, water, cells, blood, frogs, trees, dirt, elephants, you, volcanoes, quarks, planets, space, and light can have a book.  In the grand scheme of things, to believe that God wrote a book is not a crisis.

The documentary hypothesis is a rival theology that presumes to talk about God.  It refuses to have him as he is revealed.  Like the first rebel force, it starts by asking, “Has God really said” (Gen 3:1), and then goes on to articulate how God is not the Alpha and Omega.  God becomes like us, only less so, for he is nothing more than the invention of an editor or a theologian from the 1800s.  Documentary hypothesizers are unable to see a single author, and so the question of a single theme is not even a possibility for them.  When we can’t find a single author for the Bible, it becomes a collection of circumstantially gathered writings bound together from evolutionary processes.  If God can’t keep a record, then he can’t give us his grand theme or purpose. The documentary hypothesis is nothing more than another way of saying Amen to the crafty serpent of the garden.

Steve Rives

Eastside Church of the Cross


Taken from:

Wife of Pontius Pilate

Obscure but fascinating people:

Claudia Procula

As far as we know Claudia Procula was the granddaughter of the Emperor Augustus. She had been born in rather dubious circumstances to Claudia the third wife of Tiberius. However the young Claudia Procula was deemed a good girl by her grandfather who had her live in Rome under his guardianship.

Meanwhile the politically savvy and utterly corrupt Sejanus had grabbed the power of Rome sending the paranoid Emperor to live in isolation and continued fear on the island of Capri.

With the whole Empire in his hands Sejanus set about handing over nice little titles and places of work to his personal cronies. Most of these men had reputations as vicious and corrupt, and it has to be said that Sejanus friend Pontius Pilate of the Equestrian rank fitted the bill nicely.

It seems as though Claudia was married off to Pilate to help solidify his political possition and then he was given the Governorship of Judea, arriving there with his wife in about 26 AD. It has been suggested that as Claudia actually accompanied her husband rather than staying in Rome, that their marriage was a happy one. Legend has it that they had a son Pilo who was disabled in some way, and was apparently healed in the Church.

If that had been the sum of Claudia’s life, she would have been a mere footnote in obscure history, but the thing that brought her just a little more attention was the dream she had one fine siesta around Passover in the year 33AD (ish). She dreamed something about a Jewish rabbi who was behaving and speaking as though he was King of the Jews.

The High Priest who had very coincidentally remained in power while Pilate was there had the man in question standing for trial. Claudia sent a message to her husband begging him to have nothing to do with the man on trial because of the dream she had just had.

Pilate obviously valued his wife’s opinion and must have taken her dream seriously because he spent a great deal of effort trying not to have this Jesus of Nazareth crucified.  But in end he had to agree to it all.

Pilate had Christ’s title written on the board for the cross; Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews and he refused to change it. He then went on to break with the normal treatment of crucified criminal in allowing a relation of Christ’s, Joseph of Arimathea and his friend Nicodemus to receive the body for proper entombment.

While some of Pilate’s caution may have been to do with his shaky political position under Sejanus at this point, there is pretty well grounded speculation that Claudia Procula encouraged her husband to behave the way he did.

The Vatican Archives have a first century letter that was apparently written by Claudia. It was found in a monastery in Belgium and has been translated into English.

From the Gospel of Nicodemus and Acts of Pilate, apocryphal books, it is suggested that Claudia was baptised and became a follower of st Paul.

The implication is that she separated from Pilate, and served God with the other women. She is a saint in the Eastern Orthodox churches and her feast day is today,.

But there is also a story that suggests Pilate was also baptised and was even martyred. His is a saint in the Coptic church alongside his wife.

We will probably never get to the whole story of Claudia Procula, but I think it’s fair to say that traditions often have a huge amount of truth to them.


Was Mary a Temple Virgin?

by Dr Taylor Marshall

Previously we examined the tradition and biblical foundation for the Catholic teaching that Mary was consecrated as a Temple virgin at the age of three and lived in the temple precincts till the age of fourteen when she was married to Saint Joseph and there after virginally conceived the Son of God.*

This school of Temple virgins in Jerusalem formed an altar guild that fulfilled the necessary tasks at the Temple. This included sewing and creating vestments, washing the vestments of the priests which would be stained regularly by animal blood, preparing liturgical linen, weaving the veil of the Temple, and most importantly, liturgical prayer. The Jewish and Catholic tradition holds that this school for Israelite virgins was completed by marrying age of about 14 and that they were dismissed at this time. There were also older women, perhaps widows such as the prophetess Anna, who served as teachers and governesses for the virgins under their care.

There has been some doubt as to whether their were really consecreated Jewish virgins at the Temple. In my previous post I referenced the first-century Jewish historian Josephus in support of “Temple virgins” in Jerusalem, but I fear that this cannot be substantiated. Jimmy Akin asked me for the citation and I cannot find it. One would assume that it would be in Book 5 of the Jewish Wars of Josephus. There Josephus mentions cloisters, but he does not tell us who lived in them. That’s as close as Josephus gets.

There are, however, three Scriptural accounts that are used by Catholics to demonstrate that there were special women who ministered at the Temple complex.

Exodus 38:8 mentions women who “watch (צָבָא) at the door of the tabernacle.”

The second is in 1 Samuel:

“Now Heli was very old, and he heard all that his sons did to all Israel: and how they lay with the women that waited (צָבָא) at the door of the tabernacle:” (1 Samuel 2:22, D-R)

In both of the verses above, Hebrew verb for “watch” and “waited” is the same. It is the Hebrew word צָבָא, which is the same verb used to described the liturgical activity of the Levites (see Num 4:23; 8:24). This corresponds to the Latin translation in the Clementine Vulgate, which relates that these women “observabant” at the temple doors – another liturgical reading.

So these women are not simply hanging out around the Temple, looking for men, gossiping, or chatting about the weather. These are pious women devoted to a liturgical function. In fact, the Court of Women might exist formally for these special “liturgical women.”

The third and final reference to these liturgical females is in 2 Maccabees:

And the virgins also that were shut up, came forth, some to {High Priest} Onias, and some to the walls, and others looked out of the windows. And all holding up their hands towards heaven, made supplication. (2 Macc 3:19-20)

Here are virgins that are shut up. In the Greek it is “αἱ δὲ κατάκλειστοι τῶν παρθένων” or “the shut up ones of the virgins.” In this passage the Holy Spirit refers not to all the virgins of Jerusalem, but to a special set of virgins, that is, those virgins who had the privilege and right to be in the presence of the High Priest and address him. It’s rather ridiculous to think that young girls would have general access to the High Priest of Israel. However, if these virgins had a special liturgical role at the Temple, it becomes clear that they would both address the High Priest Onias and would also be featured as an essential part of the intense supplication in the Temple at this moment of crisis.

There is further testimony of temple virgins in the traditions of the Jews. In the Mishnah, it is recorded that there were 82 consecrated virgins who wove the veil of the Temple:

“The veil of the Temple was a palm-length in width. It was woven with seventy-two smooth stitches each made of twenty-four threads. The length was of forty cubits and the width of twenty cubits. Eighty-two virgins wove it. Two veils were made each year and three hundred priests were needed to carry it to the pool” (Mishna Shekalim 8, 5-6).

We find another reference to the “women who made the veils for the Temple…baked the showbread…prepared the incense” (Babylonian Talmud Kethuboth 106a).

Rabbinic Jewish sources also record how when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in AD 70, the Temple virgins leapt into the flames so as not to be abducted by the heathen soldiers: ”the virgins who were weaving threw themselves in the flames” (Pesikta Rabbati 26, 6). Here we also learn that these virgins lived in the three-storey building inside the Temple area. However, it is difficult to find any other details about this structure. The visions of Anne Catherine Emmerich placed the cloisters of the Temple Virgins on the north side of the Temple (Emmerich’s Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary 3, 5).

Even more, the first century document by the name of the Apocalypse of Baruch (sometimes called “2 Baruch”) describes the Temple virgins living in the Temple as weavers of the holy veil:

“And you virgins who weave byssus and silk, and gold from Ophir, in haste pick it all up and throw it in the fire that it will return it to its Author, and that the flame will take it back to its Creator, from fear that the enemy might seize it” (2 Baruch 10:19).

So then, there is ample evidence for the role of consecrated women, especially virgins at the Temple. If one were to accept the passages above, we have plenty of testimony for cultic women in the time of Moses’ tabernacle, in the time of David, in the Second Temple era, and in the first century of Our Lord.

This substantiates the claims of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church who claim that the Blessed Virgin Mary was presented to the Temple and served there from the age of three until the age of fourteen. To claim that Temple virgins are a myth of celibacy-crazed Catholic bishops does not hold up. Scripture and Jewish tradition records that there were specially commissioned virgins associated with the Temple. We may not know much about them, but we know that they existed.

That the most holy human girl of all time, the Mother of the Messiah, should live as a temple virgin should come as no surprise. This also accounts for the vow of virginity she had taken since she “knew not a man” even though she was already espoused to Joseph.

Now then, there is also a tradition that Mary was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies. This seems absurd to us. Moses stipulated that the High Priest and only the High Priest be allowed to enter the Holy of Holies and that only once a year. It was the greatest privilege in Israel. Why was the Holy of Holies so special? It was the inner room that housed the ark of the covenant.

Yet remember that this is the Second Temple, not the original Temple of Solomon. The Ark of the Covenant was hidden by Jeremiah and it had been lost ever since. The Second Temple, therefore, had an empty Holy of Holies. It was an empty room. No Ark of the Covenant. Nothing. In a sense, the Second Temple was a sham. It was like an empty suit. The Temple was built to house the Ark of the Covenant, but Ark was not there.

So then, the Temple in Jerusalem was empty. It did not contain the ark of the covenant. And yet we Catholics know from Revelation 11:19-12:1 that the Mother of Christ is truly the Ark of the New Covenant. The wood ark of old contained the Word of God engraved in stone. The stainless womb of Mary contained the Word of God made flesh.

Perhaps by a singular inspiration, the High Priest of that time had been inspired to lead this immaculate virgin into the inner sanctum of the Holy of Holies. My heart leaps when contemplating this. The angels of heaven would rejoice to see the true Ark of the Covenant restored into the earthly Temple of Jerusalem. In fact, it would be a foretaste of the glorious assumption of Mary. The Temple represented a new Garden of Eden and, of course, Mary is the New Eve. Thus, her entry into the Temple reveals that the fullness of time has come. The New Eve will soon bring forth the New Adam to reverse the curse and lead the faithful into the presence of God.

This is speculation and I do not want it to obscure the purpose of this post, which is to defend the existence of Temple virgins in Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the presence of the New Eve at or in the Temple certainly is fitting since it hearkens back to the prophecy that the virgin mother will crush the head of the serpent. This is an exciting new perspective at the meaning of Christmas.

Immaculate Mary, dutiful at the Temple, pray for us.

*It is blasphemy to say that the Blessed Virgin Mary was an “unwed mother” or that she conceived Christ “out of wedlock.” Joseph and Mary were married before the angel Gabriel came to her in the Annunciation, and thus she conceived Christ after she was married to Saint Joseph. “The angel Gabriel was sent…to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph.” Joseph and Mary were “spouses.”


Taken from:

Herodotus and the Bible

By Wayne Jackson

Herodotus was a Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. It is believed that he lived approximately 484-425 B.C. For a number of years he traveled throughout the Persian empire, Egypt, and Scythia observing the culture of these ancient peoples. In his later life, Herodotus lived in Athens, finally settling in Italy where he spent the remainder of his days refining his masterpiece, The Persian Wars.

As a consequence of this work, Cicero dubbed him “the father of history.” His literary efforts consisted of nine books dealing with the Greek-Persian wars (500-479 B.C.), together with a history of the customs and geography of these combatants.

In his effort to accomplish this feat, he went further and sought to give, as an introduction to the story, the whole history of the antique world as it was then known. This material occupies the first six of his nine books.

He is generally viewed as the first writer to so unify the record of facts as to raise historical narrative to the level of literature. It should be noted, however, that his history was written in an age that lacked an abundance of solid factual documentation; his work is grounded, therefore, largely in oral tradition.

In numerous instances, the narratives of the Old Testament and those of Herodotus cross trails. Do the writings of this Greek historian have any bearing on the text of the Bible? Indeed they do.

Liberal writers have long claimed that many of the Old Testament records do not actually possess the antiquity they claim. Some of them are alleged to have come from a much later period than they claim. What shall be said in response to these charges? What does the evidence actually indicate?

The documents of the Old Testament frequently appeal to cultural elements and ancient events. These should be consistent with the eras from which they purport to come. These, thus, are checkable matters. Do the biblical writings bear those marks of accuracy which one has a right to expect if they are genuine historical records reflecting the background of the Hebrew people within a given time frame? We confidently affirm that they do, and the writings of Herodotus become an important source of information in this controversy.

The Bible, Herodotus, and Egypt

As every serious Bible student knows, the activities of the Egyptian and the Israelite people come together several times in ancient history. From the time of Abraham through the period of the exodus, there was considerable familiarity between Egypt and the Hebrews. Consider the following examples which provide a sense of integrity to the Jewish Scriptures:

The common title of the Egyptian rulers was “Pharaoh” (Genesis 39:1; Exodus 5:1), meaning “the great house.” Herodotus mentions an Egyptian ruler called “Pheron” (ii.111), a name or title strikingly similar to the foregoing. In Genesis, the Pharaoh is represented as having great authority (40:3, 21-22; 41:34, 41-44). Similarly the Greek historian describes the supreme control of the Egyptian rulers who could arbitrarily make laws (ii.136, 177).

One recalls the lewdness of Potiphar’s wife who, though married, continuously sought to seduce the young Joseph (Genesis 39:7-10). Herodotus tells of an Egyptian ruler who, for the sake of performing an experiment, searched “at length” for a married woman “who had been faithful to her husband” (ii.111).

Pharaoh’s chief butler, with whom Joseph was imprisoned, dreamed of returning to his position and of squeezing ripe grapes into the king’s cup (Genesis 40:10-11). Some critics cite this as a biblical mistake, asserting that Herodotus declares that the Egyptians grew no vines (ii.77). However, the historian may have been alluding only to certain regions of Egypt, since elsewhere he specifically mentions the priests as drinking “wine made from the grape” (ii.37).

In the dream of the chief baker, the baker saw himself carrying baskets of bread upon his head (Genesis 40:16). Herodotus mentions that whereas the Egyptian women transported burdens upon their shoulders, the men carried them upon their heads (ii.35). This is the very opposite of the custom in many countries.

When Joseph received his estranged brothers into his house, they were given water with which to wash their feet (Genesis 43:24). There is the record of an Egyptian ruler who had a golden foot-pan “in which his guests” were provided water to wash their feet (ii.172).

The Mosaic narrative records that when Joseph’s brothers returned from Canaan with Benjamin, the ruling prince commanded his servants to slay animals and prepare a noon-time feast for his visiting kinsmen (Genesis 43:16). While some have contended that the Egyptians, due to their worship of animals, did not eat flesh, the evidence does not warrant that conclusion. Herodotus notes of certain priests: “[E]very day bread is baked for them of the sacred corn, and a plentiful supply of beef and of goose’s flesh is assigned to each” (ii.37). Elsewhere he describes how a sacrificial “steer” is prepared for ceremonial feasting (ii.40).

The Genesis account states that the Egyptians would not eat bread with the Hebrews, for such a practice was an abomination from their religious viewpoint (43:32). The Egyptians considered all foreigners unclean. Concerning the Greeks, the “father of history” writes: “[N]o native of Egypt, whether man or woman, will give a Greek a kiss, or use the knife of a Greek, or his spit, or his cauldron, or taste the flesh of an ox, known to be pure, if it has been cut with a Greek knife” (ii.41).

The medical profession in Egypt was highly advanced. Herodotus observed that medicine was specialized so that “each physician treats a single disorder” (ii.84). Jeremiah once chastised: “O virgin daughter of Egypt: in vain dost thou use many medicines; there is no healing for thee” (46:11).

When Jacob died, “physicians” were commanded by Joseph to embalm the patriarch (Genesis 50:2). The Greek historian gives an elaborate description of the embalming process which commenced with the removal of most of the brain with an iron hook through the nostrils, the balance being flushed out with drugs. The body cavity was filled “with the purest bruised myrrh, with cassia, and every other sort of spicery” (ii.86). One cannot but be reminded of that Ishmaelite caravan to which Joseph was sold. Headed down into Egypt, it was bearing “spicery and balm and myrrh” (Genesis 37:25; cf. John 19:39). The body was then put into a “wooden case” which had been “carved into the figure of a man.” Joseph’s body was placed in a coffin when he expired (Genesis 50:26). When Jacob died, “the Egyptians wept for him seventy days” (50:3). Herodotus describes how Egyptian men and women, during the mourning period, would wander the streets, beating their breasts (ii.85).

After Joseph died, a new king arose in Egypt who was not so favorably disposed toward the Hebrew people. The Israelites became slaves in a distant land. “Taskmasters” were set over them and they were employed in the manufacture of bricks made of mud (Exodus 1:14). Though stone was a ready building material in Egypt, Herodotus speaks of bricks made of mud (ii.136). These were used in ordinary dwelling houses, tombs, walls, etc. The bricks were made of river mud and straw, shaped in wooden molds and left to dry in the sun. The chemical decay of the straw within the clay formed an acid which gave the clay greater plasticity for brick-making. Remember that when the Israelites’ labor was intensified, they were forced to provide their own straw (Exodus 5:10-13). In the Oriental Institute in Chicago, there is a dried mud brick with protruding fragments of straw, stamped with the Cartouche (oval figure) of Rameses II.

When Moses was a baby, his mother hid him for three months, fearing the wrath of the Pharaoh. When she could conceal the child no longer, she made a small boat of bulrushes, i.e., the papyrus plant, and placed it at the edge of the Nile river (Exodus 2:3). The use of papyrus in making boats was distinctly Egyptian and not in vogue elsewhere. Herodotus mentions the use of papyrus in caulking Egyptian boats and in the manufacture of sails (ii.96).

The Bible, Herodotus, and Assyria

When Hezekiah was ruler of Judah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, marched against Israel’s southern kingdom (see 2 Kings 18:13ff; Isaiah 36:1ff). According to his records, the monarch took forty-six Judean cities. In fact, he sent his army to Jerusalem where he boasted that he shut up Hezekiah “like a bird in a cage.” He did not, however, take the holy city. Why not? Because Jehovah intervened, in response to Hezekiah’s prayer, and destroyed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night (2 Kings 19:35).

Herodotus has a garbled account of this disaster that crippled the Assyrian forces. He records that Sennacherib marched against Egypt. During a certain night, though, field mice supposedly invaded the Assyrian camp and gnawed the quivers, bow strings, and leather shield handles, thus disarming the military force. As a consequence, many of the soldiers were killed and others fled (ii.141).

Dr. I. M. Price, who served as professor of Semitic languages and literature at the University of Chicago, noted that this account “has some basis, doubtless, in fact, and is an echo of some calamity to the Assyrian army” (1907, 191). Wood commented that the account provides “indirect confirmation of the biblical miracle” (1986, 306). Joseph P. Free observed: “There is no evidence in the archaeological records that Sennacherib ever returned to the region of Palestine” (1950, 209).

The Bible, Herodotus, and the Phoenicians

Phoenicia was a small country on the Mediterranean coast northwest of Canaan. Naturally, there was frequent contact between the Phoenicians and the Hebrew people. Again, the accuracy of the biblical descriptions of these people is forcefully demonstrated by the secular historical record.

The Old Testament represents the Phoenicians as skilled in the hewing of timber (1 Kings 5:6). They were fine craftsmen in gold, silver, brass, and iron. The king of Tyre made some of the vessels and pillars for Solomon’s temple (1 Kings 7:21-23). Herodotus once visited Tyre, a leading city of Phoenicia, and he described a temple as “richly adorned with a number of offerings, among which were two pillars, one of pure gold, the other of emerald, shining with great brilliancy at night” (ii.44). The historian commented that the people of Tyre boasted that their city had stood for 2,300 years. Isaiah appears to take note of this claim: “Is this your joyous city, whose antiquity is of ancient days?” (23:7).

Several Old Testament prophets foretold Tyre’s subjection to the Babylonians (see Jeremiah 25:22; 27:1-11; Ezekiel 26:1-28:19; 29:18-20; Zechariah 9:2ff). Isaiah declared that Tyre would be “forgotten seventy years,” but that after that period (likely the era of the Babylonian domination), the city would “return to her hire,” that is, her prosperity would resume (23:15-17). This is confirmed by Herodotus who notes that in the time of the Persian rulers, Darius Hystaspis and Xerxes, the Phoenicians were providing their ships as allies for Persian conquests (v.108; vii.89).

The Bible, Herodotus, and Babylon

Ancient Babylon was known as the “glory of the kingdoms” (Isaiah 13:19), indeed “the praise of the whole earth” (Jeremiah 51:41). Babylon’s beauty, strength, and prominence was unparalleled in the ancient world. The citadel seemed impregnable. Jeremiah alluded to Babylon’s massive fortifications (51:53, 58). Herodotus says that the city was enclosed by great walls 350 feet high and 75 feet thick (i.178). Isaiah spoke of Babylon’s “doors of brass” (45:2). The Greek historian declared that one hundred gates of brass were in the wall (I.179).

There are several prophecies which indicate that God would overthrow the “golden city” by the providential use of his “shepherd,” his “anointed one,” Cyrus, king of Persia (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1), and in conjunction therewith he would “dry up” Babylon’s water (Isaiah 44:27; Jeremiah 50:38; 51:36).

What does this mean? Herodotus describes the city as straddling the Euphrates river. He records that Cyrus diverted the river, by means of a canal, into a nearby basin. Even then, says he, the Babylonians could have defended the city, except for the fact that in their confidence they “were engaged in a festival” characterized by dancing and revelry, and so were taken by surprise (i.191).

With great precision, Jeremiah prophesied this very circumstance. The inmates of the city would be feasting and drunken (51:39, 57), and thus captured unaware (50:24). It must be emphasized in this connection that Jeremiah gave these prophecies about fifty-six years before the fall of Babylon (cf. 51:59), and about 150 years before the Greek historian produced his work!

In a curious declaration, Isaiah prophetically addresses Babylon as follows: “Come now, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground” (47:1). What is the significance of the appellation “virgin”? It apparently is a reference to the fact that the mighty city had never been ravished before. Significantly, Herodotus describes the assault of Cyrus as “the first taking of Babylon” (i.191). Incredible! The “father of history” is an eloquent witness to the accuracy of Bible prophecy.

The Bible, Herodotus, and Persia

After the fall of Babylon, the Hebrews were under Persian control for two centuries. Cyrus, a benevolent Persian monarch, had issued a decree that allowed the Jews to return to their homeland to rebuild their temple. The construction project was initiated but it eventually fell into disarray. Finally, after more than fifteen years, the work was resumed. There was, however, at first, mild opposition.

Did the Jews have regal authority for the project? A search was made for Cyrus’ original decree of authorization. When the document was located, oddly, it was not found in Babylon or Susa, as might be expected, since this was where the Persian kings usually resided, but in Achmetha (Ecbatana) in the province of the Medes (Ezra 6:2).

There is a passage in Herodotus, however, which appears to indicate that, contrary to the usual custom, Cyrus held his court in Ecbatana, hence, kept his archives there (i.153). As Professor George Rawlinson of Oxford University observed, “this is one of those little points of agreement between the sacred and the profane which are important because their very minuteness is an indication that they are purely casual and unintentional” (1873, 196).

When the original document of Cyrus was located, Darius, the then-reigning monarch, issued a decree authorizing the resumption of work on the temple, even providing expense money from “tribute” collected in the provinces “beyond the [Euphrates] river” (Ezra 6:8). According to Herodotus, Darius was the first Persian king to extract such tribute money (iii.89). Moreover, the king warned that if any should alter his decree, “let a beam be pulled out from his house, and let him be lifted up and fastened thereon” (Ezra 6:11). This was no idle threat, for, as Herodotus records, at the second conquest of Babylon, Darius crucified about three thousand citizens of the city (iii.159).

In the book of Esther one learns that the maidens of the royal harem could only go unto the king when their “turn” came (Esther 1:12), and any violation of this procedure could incur the death penalty (4:11). Herodotus says: “In Persia a man’s wives sleep with him in their turns” (iii.69), and invasion of the king’s privacy was punishable by death (iii.72, 77).

Mordecai, Esther’s cousin, had foiled a plot against the life of king Ahasuerus (Esther 2:21-22), and an account of that act of patriotism had been written in “the book of records” (6:1). Herodotus records that in Persia a list of “the king’s benefactors” was maintained with a view of returning such kindnesses (viii.85).

Examples like those of the foregoing paragraphs could be multiplied many times over. Truly, Herodotus provides unwitting testimony to the accuracy of the Old Testament. The precision of the ancient Scriptures is utterly amazing. The Bible passes every test of credibility. Let us honor it as the Word of the living God.


  • Free, Joseph P. 1950. Archaeology and Bible History. Wheaton, IL: Van Kampen Press.
  • Price, Ira M. 1907. The Monuments and the Old Testament.  Philadelphia, PA: American Baptist Publication Society.
  • Rawlinson, George. 1873. Historical Illustrations of the Old Testament. Boston, MA: Henry Young & Co.
  • Wood, Leon J. 1986. A Survey of Israel’s History. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.


Taken from:

Cain and the Nephilim


Robert ‘Bowie’ Johnson Jr. writes to John R. Salverda:


As to so-called fallen angels/nephilim in Genesis 6, you must have the concordant translation. Accurate translations means everything in these passages as it does in all the rest of Scripture.

“. . .and taking are they for themselves wives of all whom they choose” (v. 2) refers to the men in the line of Seth taking women from the line of Cain. The Greeks depicted this on the south side of the Parthenon and on the west pediment of the temple of Zeus as Kentaurs (Seth-men) taking the Cain women. The Cain women maintained their idolatry and corrupted the families of the line of Seth leading to the Flood. I have a chapter on that in “The Parthenon Code” and some more detail in the DVD “The Serpent’s Side of Eden.”

Ignoring the truth of the Scriptures, and exalting their vain reasonings, academics have concluded that they are descended from reptiles and worms through chance copying errors in their reproductive genes. They are too dull to even wonder where the copying originates. Having such an intellectually debased and spiritually degenerate view of their own origins, why should we expect them to have any real understanding of ancient art?

We don’t get to the truth by reasoning, but by God’s revelation.

I pray that every deluded member of academia will receive from our Creator “a spirit of wisdom and revelation (apo-kalupsis = uncovering) in the realization of God, the eyes of their heart having been enlightened . . .” (Ephesians 1:17). You may enjoy


John R. Salverda replies:

Dear Bob,


I do like some of your theories. For instance, you have associated Cain with the Centaurs.


I find this to be an especially inspired connection, for Cain is like Ixion, in that the Greeks make Ixion out to be the very first person ever to kill one of his own relatives; “the hero who, not without guile, was the first to stain mortal men with kindred blood” (Pindar “Pythian Ode” 2.33). He was said to have mated with Nephele (Nephilim) and fathered the race of the Centaurs upon her. This speculation has a lot going for it; the Greek “X” sounded much like the hard “C” in the name Cain, they each were the first to murder kin, and the “cloud” Nephele is a lot like the “shades” Nephilim who engender a mixed race of monsters upon the Earth. So perhaps we can see eye to eye on some things.

Biblical Imagery in Macbeth

Taken from:


No book has made a greater impact on world literature than the  Bible. “It has colored the talk of the household and the street, as well as  molded the language of the scholars. It has been something more than a ‘well of  English undefiled’, it has become part of the spiritual atmosphere. We hear the  echoes of its speech everywhere and the music of its familiar phrases haunts all  the fields and groves of our fine literature” (Ackermann 9). Shakespeare’s debt  to Scripture is profound; biblical imagery is woven into every play. No writer  has integrated the expressions and themes found in the Bible into his own work  more magnificently than Shakespeare. It would take volumes to examine  comprehensively Shakespeare’s use of biblical imagery, so I will limit the  discussion to one play — Macbeth. Please note that the  biblical quotes used in this article are taken from the King James Authorized Version,  unless otherwise stated. Shakespeare himself would have been most familiar with  an earlier version of the Bible, possibly the Geneva Bible, the Bishop’s Bible,  or the Great  Bible, because the first edition of the King James Bible (Authorized  Version) did not appear until 1611. I have divided the discussion of biblical  imagery in Macbeth into acts and scenes for easy reference.

Act 1, Scene 2

Sergeant: Except they meant to bathe in reeking  wounds,

Or memorise another Golgotha (1.2.45)

Commentary: A reference to Christ’s death  upon Mount Calvary, as reported in Matthew 27.33: “And when they were come unto  a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull.” According to John  29.34, a Roman soldier pierced Christ’s side as he hanged from the cross.  Shakespeare’s Sergeant tells King Duncan that the army he has just encountered  is as violent and remorseless as the soldiers who put Christ to death.

Ross: God save the king! (1.2.48)

Commentary: Although Shakespeare would have  been familiar with this now commonplace salutation simply by living under  monarchical rule, the saying originated in the Bible. In 1 Samuel 10.24 the  people greet King Saul: “And all the people shouted, and said, God save the  king.”

Act 1, Scene 3

First Witch: All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane  of Glamis! (1.3.51)

Commentary: “All  hail” is a common greeting in the New Testament, but one use of the phrase  stands out in particular when discussing this passage from Macbeth. In  Matthew 26.49, Judas prepares to betray Jesus to the Sanhedrin and Roman  soldiers. His plan is to identify Jesus by greeting him with a kiss so that the  soldiers will know which man to arrest. Judas approaches Jesus, saying, “Hail  Master.” The Witches greet Macbeth in a similar fashion, and, as Judas betrayed  Jesus, so do the Witches betray Macbeth. Banquo: If you can look into the seeds of  time,

And say which grain will grow and which will not,

Speak then to me  (1.3.60)

Commentary: Banquo,  unconvinced that the Witches can forsee the future, makes reference to  Ecclesiastes 11.6: “In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not  thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or  whether they both shall be alike good.”

Banquo: And oftentimes, to win us to our  harm,

The instruments of darkness tell us truths, (1.3.123-4)

Commentary: Satan using Holy Scripture to  lead us into sin is a common theme throughout the Bible. In Corinthians 11.13-14  we are told, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming  themselves into the apostles of Christ.

And no marvel; for Satan himself is  transformed into an angel of light”. In Matthew 4.6, Satan attempts to use  Scripture to tempt the Lord: “If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for  it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee; and in their  hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a  stone.” Jesus replies, “It is written again/Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy  God.”

Macbeth: Come what come  may

Time and the hour runs through the roughest day. (1.3.156-7)

Commentary: A reference to two passages from  the Bible: John 9.4: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is  day: the night cometh when no man works”; and Job 7.1,2: “Is there not an  appointed time to man upon the earth? and are not his days as the days of an  hireling. As a servant longeth for the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for  the end of his work.”

Act 1, Scene 4

Duncan: There’s no art

To find the mind’s  construction in the face (1.4.15-6)

Commentary: Note the similarities to Samuel 16.7: “For God seeth not as man  seeth: for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord beholdeth the  heart”. Duncan: I have begun to plant thee, and  will labour

To make thee full of growing. Noble Banquo,

That hast no  less deserved, nor must be known (35)

No less to have done so, let me enfold  thee

And hold thee to my heart. (1.4.34-7)

Commentary: The metaphor of growth permeates  the Bible, particularly the Old Testament. Notice Jeremiah 11.16: “For the Lord  called thy name, a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit; with the noise  of a great tumult he hath kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are  broken.”; Jeremiah 12.2: “Thou hast planted them, yea, they have taken root:  they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit: thou art near in their mouth, and far  from their reins.”; and Psalms 92.12,13: “The righteous shall flourish like the  palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon/Those that be planted in the  house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.” In the New  Testament, the metaphor appears in Corinthians 3.6,7: “I have planted, Apollos  watered; but God gave the increase/So then neither is he that planteth any  thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase”. Shakespeare  is careful to illustrate Duncan’s status as divinely appointed king throughout  the play. Duncan’s goodness is necessary to enhance Macbeth’s feelings of guilt  and remorse.

Act 1, Scene 5

Lady Macbeth: Come, thick night,

And  pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,

That my keen knife see not the wound  it makes (1.5.50)

Commentary: A  reference to Job 24.13: “These are they that abhor the light: they know not the  ways thereof, nor continue in the paths thereof. The murderer riseth early and  killeth the poor and the needy, and in the night he is as a thief”. The  connection between hell and smoke is found in Revelation 14.11: “And the smoke  of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever…”; and in Revelation 18.9: “And  the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously  with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of  her burning”. Lady Macbeth here calls upon the darkness to enshroud her in a  veil of smoke so that she may not see the evil deed she desires to commit.

Macbeth: My dearest love, 65

Duncan  comes here to-night.

Lady Macbeth: And when  goes hence?

Macbeth: To-morrow, as he  purposes.

Lady Macbeth: O, never

Shall  sun that morrow see! (1.5.65-70)

Commentary: A thought expressed in James 4.13: “Go to now, ye that say, today or  tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a  little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Act 1, Scene 6

Duncan: This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air

Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself

Unto our gentle senses.

Banquo: This guest of summer,

The temple-haunting  martlet, does approve (1.6.1)

Commentary: Tradition tells us that the gentle martlet will not build a nest in  or near unjust houses. Notice the irony in Banquo’s approval of the castle that  will be the location of Duncan’s murder. The reference to the “temple-haunting  martlet” comes from Psalms 84.2,3: “Yea, the sparrow hath found her an house,  and the swallow a nest for her, where she may lay her young: even by thine  altars, O Lord of Hosts”. A similar passage can be found in Baruch  6.20: “In the temple the owls, swallows, and birds fly.”

Act 1, Scene 7

Macbeth: If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere  well

It were done quickly (1.7.1)

Commentary: Within this passage is a clear  reference to the words spoken by Jesus to Judas in John 13.27: “That thou doest,  do quickly.” Macbeth is painfully aware of his bond with Judas. Macbeth: But in these cases

We still  have judgment here; that we but teach

Bloody instructions, which, being  taught, return

To plague the inventor: (1.7.8-11)

Commentary: Macbeth’s speech reflects the  common biblical theme known best by the passage from Galatians 6.7: “Be not  deceived: God is not mocked: for what so ever a man soeth, that shall he also  reap”. The theme is continued in Job 4.8: “They that plow iniquity and sow  wickedness, reap the same”; and in Wisdom of Solomon 11.13: “Wherewith a man  sinneth, by the same also shall he be punished.”

Macbeth: I have no spur

To prick the sides of my  intent, but only

Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself  (1.7.25-7)

Commentary: The “vaulting  ambition” to which Macbeth refers is the pride so condemned in the Bible. In  Matthew 23.12 we read: “For whosoever will exault himself, shall be brought  low”; and in Proverbs 29.23 we read: “The pride of a man shall bring him low”.  Proverbs 16.18 tells us that: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a high mind  before the fall.” Act 2, Scene 1

Macbeth: Thou sure and firm-set earth,

Hear not  my steps, which way they walk, for fear

Thy very stones prate of my  whereabout,

And take the present horror from the time (2.1.65-9)

Commentary: Macbeth knows that, although  those around him are unaware of his crimes, the earth and the heavens know all.  Notice the similarities to Job 20.27: “The heaven shall declare his wickedness,  and the earth shall rise up against him”. Notice also the connection to Habakkuk  2.10,11: “Thou hast consulted shame to thine own house, by destroying many  people, and hast sinned against thine own soule. For the stone shall cry out of  the wall and the beam out of the timber shall answer it, woe unto him that  buildeth a town with blood.” Macbeth: the bell invites me.

Hear it  not, Duncan; for it is a knell

That summons thee to heaven or to hell.  (2.1.72-4)

Commentary: Macbeth is  about to send King Duncan to his judgment before God. In Matthew 25.31, we are  told that “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels  with Him, then He shall sit upon the throne of His glory/And before Him shall be  gathered all nations…” to be judged.

Act 2, Scene 2

Macbeth: I have done the deed (2.2.22)

Commentary: Comparable to 1 Corinthians  5.2,3: “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath  done this deed might be taken away from among you/For I verily, as absent in  body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present,  concerning him that hath done this thing”. Macbeth surely knows these words well  and is aware that he has already been judged for his crime. Lady Macbeth: Go get some water,

And  wash this filthy witness from your hand. (2.2.58)

Commentary: The imagery of unclean hands  comes from Matthew 27.24, when Pilate comes before the masses gathered to  witness the trial of Jesus: “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but  that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the  multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to  it.”

Macbeth: Whence is that knocking?

How is’t with me, when every noise appals me? (2.2.72-3)

Commentary: Macbeth, of course, hears  knocking because Macduff has arrived at the castle, and there is great emphasis  placed upon Macduff’s knocking since it startles Macbeth and his Lady and forces  them to quickly cover up their involvement in the murder. However, the knocking  can also be seen as symbolic, particularly if we make reference to the Bible. In  Luke 12.36, we are told that the Lord “cometh and knocketh”, and in Revelation  3.20, we are told again that Christ will “stand at the door and knock”. The fact  that even the smallest noise now unnerves Macbeth also has parallels in the  Bible, particularly in Leviticus 26.36, where we are told that God “will send  even a faintness” into the hearts of sinners, and “the sound of a shaken leaf  shall chase them.”

Macbeth: What hands  are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes. (2.2.74)

Commentary: A reference to Matthew 18.8:  “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from  thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than  having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.”

Act 2, Scene 3

Porter: Here’s a knocking indeed! If a

man were  porter of hell-gate, he should have

old turning the key….Who’s there, in  the other devil’s

name? Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could

swear in  both the scales against either scale;

who committed treason enough for God’s  sake, 15

yet could not equivocate to heaven: O, come

in, equivocator.  (2.3.1-22)

Commentary: Christ first  mentions the “gates of hell” in Matthew 16.18: “And I say unto thee, That thou  art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell  shall not prevail against it”. As Thomas Carter points out in his examination of  Shakespeare and Holy Scripture, the Porter’s reference to “an equivocator”, who  “committed treason enough for God’s sake” is possibly related to the English  martyr, Jesuit Henry Garnett, who was executed in 1606. Lennox: The night has been unruly: where we  lay,

Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say, (70)

Lamentings heard  i’ the air; strange screams of death,

And prophesying with accents terrible

Of dire combustion and confused events

New hatch’d to the woeful time:  the obscure bird

Clamour’d the livelong night: some say, the earth  (75)

Was feverous and did shake. (2.3.69-76)

Commentary: Lennox reports events similar to  those found in Matthew 24:6, when Christ tells of the signs of the end of the  world: “And ye shall hear wars and rumours of wars….For nation shall rise  against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and  pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places”. Moreover, in his attempt to  accent the divine right of King Duncan, Shakespeare draws parallels to the  events surrounding the death of Christ, when “the earth did quake, and the  stones were cloven” (Matthew 27.51). Duncan’s death has also brought about a  “feverous” and shaking earth.

Macduff:  Most sacrilegious murder hath broke ope

The Lord’s anointed temple, and  stole thence

The life o’ the building! (2.3.86-8)

Commentary: Macbeth has “broke ope/The Lord’s  anointed temple” — he has destroyed the anointed body of the King. 1  Corinthians tells us that human beings are “the temple of God, and that the  Spirit of God dwelleth” in each of us. “If any man destroy the temple of God,  him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which ye are”.  Shakespeare’s use of the phrase “Lord’s anointed temple” to describe Duncan’s  body highlights Duncan’s status as divinely sanctioned ruler. It also emphasizes  the heinousness of Macbeth’s crime against God’s consecrated sovereign.

Lady Macbeth: What’s the business,

That such a hideous trumpet calls to parley

The sleepers of the house?  (2.3.102-4)

Commentary: “Macduff  has spoken of the great Doomsday when the graves shall give up their dead, and  Lady Macbeth takes up the thought and speaks of the Trumpet which shall call the  sleepers to the Judgment.” (Carter 421) The sounding of a trumpet occurs several  times in the Bible. Note Matthew 24.31: “And He shall send his Angels with a  great sound of a trumpet”; and 1 Corinthians 15.52: “In a moment, in the  twinkling of an eye at the last trumpet: for the trumpet shall blow and the dead  shall be raised.”

Donalbain: There’s  daggers in men’s smiles: the near in blood,

The nearer bloody  (2.3.74-5)

Commentary: A possible  reference to Psalms 62.4: “They delight in lies: they bless with their mouth,  but they curse inwardly”. Also a possible reference to Psalms 28.3: “Draw me not  away with the wicked, and with the workers of iniquity, which speak peace to  their neighbours, but mischief is in their hearts.”

Act 2, Scene 4

Ross: Ah, good father,

Thou seest, the heavens,  as troubled with man’s act,

Threaten his bloody stage: by the clock, ’tis  day,

And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp:

Is’t night’s  predominance, or the day’s shame,

That darkness does the face of earth  entomb,

When living light should kiss it? (2.4.6-11)

Commentary: A reference to the events  surrounding the Crucifixion, as reported in Matthew 27.45,51: “Now from the  sixth hour was there darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour…And,  behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and  the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened.”

Old Man: God’s benison go with you; and  with those

That would make good of bad, and friends of foes!  (2.4.52-3)

Commentary: An echo of  one of the fundamental teachings of Christ, told in Matthew 5.9: “Blessed are  the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God; and also in  Matthew 5.44: “But I say unto you, love your enemies; bless them that curse you:  do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and  persecute you.” Act 3, Scene 1

Macbeth: For Banquo’s issue have I fil’d my  mind;

For them the gracious Duncan have I murder’d;

Put rancours in the  vessel of my peace

Only for them; and mine eternal jewel

Given to the  common enemy of man,

To make them kings, the seed of Banquo  kings!(3.1.69-74)

Commentary: Macbeth’s selfish lamentation reflects the words found in Mark 8.36:  “For what shall it profit a man, though he win the world if he lose his soul. Or  what exchange shall a man give for his soul”. Note that “mine eternal jewel”  means Macbeth’s “immortal soul”, and echoes Christ’s analogy of the soul to a  pearl, found in Matthew 13.45: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a  merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.” Macbeth: Do you find Your patience so  predominant in your nature

That you can let this go? Are you so  gospell’d

To pray for this good man and for his issue,

Whose heavy hand  hath bow’d you to the grave (3.1.93-8)

Commentary: A reference to Luke 6.28: “Love  your enemies: do well to them which hate you. Bless them that curse you, and  pray for them which despitefully use you”. Also a reference to Matthew 5.44,  which is very similar to Luke 6.28.

Macbeth: every one

According to the gift which  bounteous nature

Hath in him closed; (3.1.105-07)

Commentary: Here Shakespeare alludes to  Matthew 25.15, in which Christ recites the parable of the talents: “And unto one  he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according  to his several ability; and straightway took his journey”.

Act 3, Scene 2

Lady Macbeth: Nought’s had, all’s spent,

Where  our desire is got without content (3.2.7-8)

Commentary: Lady Macbeth’s desires have been  fulfilled, but she is nonetheless miserable. This reflects a common motif in the  Bible, particularly in Ecclesiastes 4.6: “Better is an handful with quietness,  then both the hands full with travail and vexation of spirit”. Also note the  similarities between Lady Macbeth’s words and the warning issued in Proverbs  13.7: “There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing”; and in Psalms  106.15: “But He gave them their request: but sent leanness into their soul.” Macbeth: Light thickens; and the crow

Makes wing to the rooky wood:

Good things of day begin to droop and  drowse;

While night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.  (3.2.57-60)

Commentary: Compare to  Psalms 104.20: “Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of  the forest do creep forth.”

Act 3, Scene 4

Macbeth: It will have blood; they say, blood will  have blood: (3.4.147)

Commentary: A  possible reference to Genesis 9.6: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his  blood be shed”. Also a reference to Genesis 4.10: “The voice of thy brother’s  blood cryeth unto Me from the earth, therefore thou art cursed from the earth.”

Act 3, Scene 5

Hecate: And you all know, security

Is mortals’  chiefest enemy. (3.5.33-4)

Commentary: Security is a caveat discussed in Ecclus. 5.7: “Make no  tarrying to turn unto the Lord, and put not off from day to day: for suddenly  shall the wrath of the Lord break forth and in thy security thou shalt be  destroyed”; and also in 1 Corinthians 10.12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he  standeth, take heed lest he fall.” Act 4, Scene 1

Macbeth: Let this pernicious hour

Stand aye  accursed in the calendar! (4.1.148-9)

Commentary: Macbeth borrows Job’s curse,  found in 3.5: “Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it: let the cloud  remain upon it, and let them make it fearful as a bitter day. Let darkness  possess that night, let it not be joined unto the days of the year, nor let it  come into the count of months.” Macbeth: No boasting like a fool;

This  deed I’ll do before this purpose cool. (4.1.71-2)

Commentary: A reference to 2 Corinthians  11.16: “I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool  receive me, that I may also boast myself a little.”

Act 4, Scene 2

Lady Macduff: All is the fear and nothing is the  love; (4.2.15)

Commentary: Lady  Macduff’s extended complaint over her husband’s absence contains this direct  reference to 1 John 4.18: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth  out fear: because fear hath torment.”

Act 4, Scene 3

Malcolm: Let us seek out some desolate shade, and  there

Weep our sad bosoms empty. (4.3.15)

Commentary: These lines are related to  imagery found in Psalms 87.1: “By the rivers of Babel we sat, and there we wept,  when we remembered Zion”. For Malcolm, forced to flee his native Scotland and  watch its destruction from afar, it is wholly appropriate to echo Psalms 87.1. Malcolm: Angels are bright still, though  the brightest fell; (4.3.28)

Commentary: A reference to the fall of Lucifer, reported in various books of the  Bible, including Luke 10.18: “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”;  Isaiah 14.12: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning”;  and 2 Peter 2.4: “For if God spared not the Angels that sinned, but cast them  down into hell.”

Malcolm: When I shall  tread upon the tyrant’s head. (4.3.55)

Commentary: Imagery directly linked to Psalms  108.13: “Through God we shall do valiantly; for he shall tread down our  enemies.”

Macduff: Not in the  legions

Of horrid hell can come a devil more damn’d

In evils to top  Macbeth. (4.3.67-9)

Commentary: In  Luke 8.30, Jesus asks an insane man, “What is thy name? And he said, Legion:  because many devils were entered into him.”

Macduff: the queen that bore thee,

Oftener upon  her knees than on her feet,

Died every day she lived (4.3.127-9)

Commentary: A reference to 1 Corinthians  15.31: “I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die  daily.”

Malcolm: But God above

Deal  between thee and me! (4.3.139-40)

Commentary: A common expression of covenant making in the Old Testament, found in  1 Samuel 20.23: “The Lord be between thee and me for ever”; and Genesis 21.23:  “Thou shalt deal with me”; and Genesis 31.49: “The Lord look between me and  thee.”

Malcolm: Scarcely have coveted  what was mine own,

At no time broke my faith, (4.3.146-7)

Commentary: Here Malcolm assures Macduff that  he has never broken God’s tenth commandment, given in Exodus 20.17: “Thou shalt  not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor  his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, not anything that  is thy neighbour’s.”

Malcolm: And  sundry blessings hang about his throne, That speak him full of grace.  (4.3.179-80)

Commentary: “Full of  grace” is a common phrase to describe Jesus and the Virgin Mary, as seen in John  1.14: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we behold his  glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and  truth”; and in the prayer “The Hail Mary”, which begins, “Hail Mary, full of  grace, the Lord is with thee.”

Macduff: Did heaven look on,

And would not take  their part?

Sinful Macduff,

They were all struck for  thee!(4.3.264-7)

Commentary: Here we  find echoes of two biblical themes. The first is the theme of heaven watching  over earth, as seen in Proverbs 15.3: “The eyes of the Lord are in every place,  beholding the evil and the good”; and 2 Chronicles 16.9: “For the eyes of the  Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth”. The second is the theme of the  sins of the father visited upon the children. Macduff believes that his family  has died because of his sinful behaviour. Compare this to Exodus 20.5:  “Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children”; and Ezekiel 18.2: “The  fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

Malcolm: Macbeth

Is ripe for  shaking, and the powers above

Put on their instruments. (4.3.279-81)

Commentary: Macbeth, and thus his stronghold,  is “ripe for shaking”. Compare Malcolm’s words to Nahum 3.12: “All thy  strongholds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken,  they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.” Act 5, Scene 1

Gentlewoman: Neither to you nor any one; having no  witness to

confirm my speech. (5.1.16-7)

Commentary: Comparable to Matthew  18.16: “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that  in the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word may be established.” Lady Macbeth: Here’s the smell of the blood  still: all the

perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand  (5.1.46-7)

Commentary: As seen in  Act 2, the imagery of unclean hands is derived from Matthew 27.24: “When Pilate  saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took  water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the  blood of this just person: see ye to it”. However, now that Lady Macbeth feels  the full impact of her crimes, we recall other biblical passages, including  Isaiah 59.2,3: “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and  your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear/For your hands are  defiled with blood and you fingers with iniquity; you lips have spoken lies,  your tongue hath muttered perverseness.”

Act 5, Scene 3

Macbeth:This push

Will cheer me ever, or disseat  me now. (5.3.25-6)

Commentary: Compare to Daniel 11.40: “And at the end of the time shall the king  of the South push at him.” Macbeth welcomes the attack or “push” by Macduff and  his army. Macbeth: I have lived long enough: my way  of life

Is fall’n into the sear, the yellow leaf;

And that which should  accompany old age, (5.3.27-9)

Commentary: A reference to to Isaiah 1.30: “For ye shall be as an oak whose leaf  fadeth, and as a garden that hath no water.”

Act 5, Scene 5

Macbeth: To-morrow, and to-morrow, and  to-morrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day

To the last syllable  of recorded time,

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to  dusty death (5.5.23-7)

Commentary: Macbeth’s profound final soliloquy is rich with biblical imagery. The  following are the most significant relevant passages from Scripture:

2 Corinthians 6.2: “Behold now, the accepted time: behold now  the day of salvation.”

Isiah 45.6: “Seek ye the Lord while He may be  found, call ye upon Him while He is near.”

Psalms 22.15: “Thou hast  brought me into the dust of death.”

Job 18.5-6: “The light of the  wicked shall be quenched…and his candle shall be out out with him.”

Job  8.9: “We are but of yesterday and are ignorant: for our days upon earth are  but a shadow.”

Wisdom of Solomon 2.4: Our life shall pass away as the  trace of a cloud, and come to nought as the mist that is driven away with the  beams of the sun. For our time is as a shadow that passeth away and after our  end there is no returning.”

Wisdom of Solomon 5.9: “Passed away like  a shadow, and as a post that passeth by.”

Psalms 52.11: “My days are  like a shadow that fadeth, and I am withered like grass.”

Macbeth: I pull in resolution, and begin

To doubt  the equivocation of the fiend

That lies like truth: (5.5.48-50)

Commentary: In Scripture, Satan is the great  equivocator, lying “like truth” to confound the hearts of men. The temptation of  Eve in the Garden of Eden is one example, and another comes from the New  Testament, in John 8.44: “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your  father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the  truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of  his own: for he is a liar and the father of it.”

Act 5, Scene 7

Macbeth: But get thee back; my soul is too much  charged

With blood of thine already.(5.7.7-8)

Commentary: An echo of Genesis 9.5,6: “And  surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will  I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I  require the life of man/Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be  shed.”

How to cite this article:

Mabillard, Amanda. Biblical Imagery in Macbeth. Shakespeare Online. 20 Nov. 2001.  (date when you accessed the information) < & gt;.

Ackerman, Carl. The Bible in  Shakespeare. Columbus: Lutheran Book Concern, 1950.
Carter, Thomas. Shakespeare and Holy Scripture. New Haven: AMS Press, 1970.
Milward,  Peter, S. J. Biblical Influences on Shakespeare’s Great Tragedies.  Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1968.
Wordsworth, Charles. Shakespeare’s  Knowledge and Use of the Bible. London: Smith and Elder, 1864.


Related Resources

Macbeth: The Complete Play with  Annotations and Commentary

James I and Shakespeare’s Sources for Macbeth

Contemporary  References to King James I in Macbeth (1605-06)

The Metre of Macbeth: Blank Verse  and Rhymed Lines

Macbeth Character  Introduction

Metaphors in Macbeth (Biblical)

Soliloquy Analysis: If it  were done when ’tis done (1.7.1-29)

Soliloquy Analysis: Is this  a dagger (2.1.33-61)

Soliloquy Analysis: To be thus  is nothing (3.1.47-71)

Soliloquy Analysis: She  should have died hereafter (5.5.17-28)

Explanatory Notes for Lady Macbeth’s Soliloquy  (1.5)

The Psychoanalysis  of Lady Macbeth (Sleepwalking Scene)

Lady Macbeth’s Suicide

Is Lady Macbeth’s Swoon  Real?

Explanatory Notes for the  Witches’ Chants (4.1)

Macbeth Plot Summary (Acts 1 and  2)

Macbeth Plot Summary  (Acts 3, 4 and 5)

A Comparison of Macbeth and  Hamlet

The Effect of Lady  Macbeth’s Death on Macbeth

The Curse of Macbeth

Macbeth Q & A

Aesthetic Examination Questions on Macbeth

What is Tragic  Irony?

Macbeth  Study Quiz (with detailed answers)

Quotations from Macbeth  (Full)

Top 10 Quotations from Macbeth

Characteristics of Elizabethan Tragedy

Shakespeare’s  Workmanship: Crafting a Sympathetic Macbeth

Temptation, Sin, Retribution:  Lecture Notes on Macbeth

Untie the winds: Exploring the  Witches’ Control Over Nature in Macbeth

Why Shakespeare is so  Important

Shakespeare’s  Language

Shakespeare’s Influence on  Other Writers


See also:

Did Shakespeare Slip His Name in Psalm 46?

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Amazing! Incredible! Unbelievable! William Shakespeare left his mark on the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible. At least that is the rumor going around. According to a host of Websites and books, William Shakespeare was called upon to add his artistic touch to the English translation of the Bible done at the behest of King James, which was finished in 1611. As proof for this idea, proponents point to Psalm 46, and allege that Shakespeare slipped his name into the text. Here is how the story goes. Since Shakespeare was born in the year 1564, then he would have been 46 years old during 1610 when the finishing touches were being put on the KJV. In the King James Version, if you count down 46 words from the top (not counting the title) you read the word “shake,” then, if you omit the word “selah” and count 46 words from the bottom you find the word “spear.” Voilà! Shakespeare must have tinkered with the text and subtly added his signature. How else could one account for all of these 46s to work out so well? To top it all off, William Shakespeare is an anagram of “Here was I, like a psalm.”


It’s Not Noah’s Ark

The following article supports what Joanna Lumley was told by a geologist in Ankara (Joanna Lumley: The Search for Noah’s Ark). See video:

Article taken from:


Lorence Gene Collins
Department of Geological Sciences
California State University Northridge
Northridge, California 91330-8266

David Franklin Fasold


A natural rock structure near Dogubayazit, Turkey, has been misidentified as Noah’s Ark. Microscopic studies of a supposed iron bracket show that it is derived from weathered volcanic minerals. Supposed metal-braced walls are natural concentrations of limonite and magnetite in steeply inclined sedimentary layers in the limbs of a doubly plunging syncline. Supposed fossilized gopherwood bark is crinkled metamorphosed peridotite. Fossiliferous limestone, interpreted as cross cutting the syncline, preclude the structure from being Noah’s Ark because these supposed “Flood” deposits are younger than the “Ark.” Anchor stones at Kazan (Arzap) are derived from local andesite and not from Mesopotamia.


Thirty-five years ago, Life magazine carried a story of an expedition sent to investigate the outline of a ship in a mud-flow near Dogubayazit in eastern Turkey (Life, 1960); see p. 112). An aerial photo in this story was captioned: “Noah’s Ark?” Upon reaching the site (Figure 1) at 7,000 feet elevation, investigators found the boat-like appearance (Figure 2) to be only superficial. One scientist in the group ventured that nothing in nature could produce such symmetry, although nothing man-made was discovered. But after two days of looking for a cause of the phenomenon, the site was temporarily abandoned for lack of evidence. Other searches for the Ark continued, however, and placed Noah’s barge on Mount Ararat farther to the north, much closer to where various creationists placed the Ark.

With the search still underway twenty-five years later, another explorer reclaimed the mound near Dogubayazit as Noah’s Ark, which according to him contained “trainloads” of gopherwood (Wyatt, 1994). On the basis of this renewed interest in the area, representatives of the Turkish Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the High Commission on Ancient Monuments moved quickly to protect the site from exploitation, declaring the area a national park. However, skeptics and those who believed that the Ark was on Mt. Ararat remained unconvinced the Dogubayazit phenomenon is the Ark.

David Fasold, co-author of this paper, also began studies of the site in 1985, making nine trips in the following years to look for evidence. Today, the area is a military forbidden zone and is off limits to all researchers, except for Fasold who officially remains the only non-Turk having access. Placed directly on the project by the Rector of the Ataturk University at Erzurum, Fasold worked closely with project leader, Associate Professor Salih Bayraktutan, with on-site investigations.

During his investigations, Fasold found the following bits of evidence to suggest that this structure could have been the Ark. (1) The length and average overall width of the structure is exactly the same as prescribed in the Bible, “300 by 50 cubits.” (1 Egyptian cubit = 0.5236 m or 20.6 inches) (2) The buried structure exhibits the same nine divisions described in the Epic of Gilgamesh: “Its innards I divided into nine parts,” says the Assyrian flood hero, “One IKU (acre) was its whole floor space” (Gardner and Maier, 1984). Also, the structure displays the same area as in the Ark (44,100 square feet). (3) Metal-detecting surveys have located over 5,000 buried iron targets arrayed in a symmetrical pattern from the pointed end to the rounded end of the structure, which recalls Tubal-Cain, a biblical antediluvian “instructor of every craftsman in bronze and iron” (Genesis 4:22, NKJV).

Much of what Fasold uncovered should be viewed as circumstantial. Other streamlined rock-shapes have been found in the area (Guner, 1986), but according to Bayraktutan, these shapes do not display the same morphological and internal features. Fasold’s ground-penetrating radar survey appeared to confirm the existence of an internal structure, featuring symmetry and regular distribution (Fasold, 1988). Nevertheless, Bayraktutan found it difficult to explain why the site had so many geometric properties if it were just some randomly formed natural outcrop. Even marine engineers had made studies and commented on it (Windsor, 1992, 1993).

Furthermore: (4) Scattered some 24 km away are eleven, large, flat stones, each with a circular hole at one end and weighing between 4 and 10 tons (Figure 3). These could be interpreted as the anchor drogues referred to in the Qur’an: “In the name of Allah, it will cast anchor” (Dawood, 1966; see Houd 11:40). And, (5) Ancient place names relating to the Flood story abound and virtually surround the location (Fasold, 1988). Here are a few examples: Hero’s Anchorage, Voluntary Pilgrimage, Vowing Sacrifice, Raven Won’t Land, and Judgement Day. Fasold noted that such historians as Berossus, Nicholas of Damascus, and Josephus, recorded hearsay in their day, reported that pilgrims often visited the biblical Ark to recover pitch, highly prized for talismans.

Although Fasold dismissed tabloid discoveries of petrified rib timbers, coprolite, and exotic metal rivets, which were uncovered in clandestine excavations, as being the fruit of over-active imaginations, the prime evidence that an Ark with true artifacts really might exist came from an iron fitting recovered in situ in 1985 by a physicist, John Baumgardner, from Los Alamos, New Mexico. On the basis of an interpretation by Baumgardner (1988) that chemical analyses demonstrated that the fitting is composed of man-made iron, Fasold surmised how all the iron fittings came to be arrayed in a boat-like pattern (Fasold, 1988).

Fasold was fully aware that there is no geological evidence for a flood of such magnitude as could float a ship of these dimensions so far and so high beyond the modern ocean, except through the power of myth. Nevertheless, the reports of supposed man-made iron held out the hope for a legitimate discovery. After nine years of surveys and deploying every remote sensing device available, he waited for the Turks to excavate the structure. A reluctance on their part to do so caused him to become suspicious, and his enthusiasm for discovery began to wane. His first logical step then was to start from the beginning and request confirmation for the iron fitting. Was it really man-made?

It was at this time that I (Collins), as senior author and a geologist, came into the picture. In order to respond to Fasold’s question and other queries, I first examined thin sections of the supposed iron bracket from the Ark to determine whether the iron could have been forged in a furnace. I also analyzed thin sections of what he thought might be replacement material that had seeped into void spaces, which he thought were places where wood poles and other structural supports had decomposed to leave cavities, and which now were filled with layered deposits.

Fasold also brought me a sample chip recovered from an anomalous ribbed-rock at Kazan (Arzap). This large rock had once been held in veneration by the local people, mounted upright and carved with glyphs. Sounding hollow when hit with a hammer, this rock was claimed by one researcher in his video to be petrified gopherwood (Wyatt, 1994). Fasold disagreed because he did not envision the Ark as being constructed of wood. It would be logical to assume, Fasold says, that Noah built an overly large proto-Sumerian-type craft of bundled reeds. There would be nothing left after so many years since Noah’s time, but the anomalous rock displayed some interesting rippled impressions. If anything, Fasold felt it was more likely some pitch-like substance, now hardened, which was originally applied over the hull leaving imprints of reeds. It was worth looking at a thin section of this rock.

I also made a thin section of one of the “anchor drogues” (Figure 3) and obtained a chemical analysis to see if these stones could have been quarried by Noah in Mesopotamia. Finally, I interpreted aerial and ground photographs of the site and surrounding region. Some of my conclusions are preliminary, but are represented here because the site is now currently inaccessible to investigators, due to political unrest near the Iran-Turkey border. The following are the results of my analyses and interpretations.

Microscopic and Chemical Studies

The “anchor stone” (Figure 3) at Kazan (Arzap) is a fine-grained (0.001-1.0 mm) porphyritic volcanic rock in which phenocrysts (0.2-1.0 mm) consist of about 6% ilmenitic magnetite (a titanium and iron oxide containing some manganese) and about 29% plagioclase (andesine-labradorite). The very fine-grained ground mass (about 65%) contains plagioclase and ilmenitic magnetite, but with large amounts of ilmenitic magnetite than occurs as phenocrysts. The composition of this anchor stone is unusual because it lacks magnesium-rich minerals such as pyroxenes and olivine. A chemical analyses of this rock is given as Table 1.

All rock samples from the structure are pyroxene-bearing andesite or basalt partly altered to serpentine. Local calcite veins (3-5 mm wide) cut across the rock. Ilmenitic magnetite is a common accessory.

The supposed “iron bracket” is composed of granules of limonite, some of which have sizes and shapes that match those of ilmenitic magnetite crystals in the andesite of the Ark, the anchor stone, and nearby peridotite. These granules are enclosed in a matrix of calcite, clay, quartz, and fragments of anthophyllite. Many limonite granules exhibit rhythmic concretionary layers. Rare veins of pyrolusite (MnO2) locally cut the limonite.


Volcanic rocks similar to the andesitic “anchor stones” occur in the area surrounding Mt. Ararat (Pearce and others, 1990). The almost total absence of volcanic rocks in Mesopotamia (now Iraq) (Pearce and others, 1990; Aswad and Elias, 1988), where Noah’s Ark is alleged to have been constructed, reasonably eliminate the possibility that the anchor stones were transported to Kazan by Noah’s Ark. Because of the great weight of these stones, a nearby source is much more likely.

The layered samples of rocks in the mud that Fasold recovered and believed to be cavity-fillings are andesite and basalt pebbles, typical of conglomeratic mud-flows in volcanic terranes. Similar samples recovered by him from areas claimed by others to be rib timbers, planking, and deck beams are also andesite or basalt pebbles or boulders and show no evidence of petrified wood.

In the field, the supposed iron brackets have the outward appearance of pieces of black, metallic, elemental iron. The black, shiny surfaces, however, are characteristic of goethite (crystalline limonite), a hydrated iron oxide). This mineral is associated in the “structure” with black, ilmenitic, magnetite granules, and possibly pyrite or pyrrhotite because locally some sulfur is reported in chemical analyses. Both magnetite and goethite cause a metal detector to buzz just like elemental iron. Therefore, investigators might presume that they had found rusted iron metal (Wyatt, 1994).

If Noah’s ship builders had forged this supposed iron bracket in a primitive smelter, the bracket would not consist of iron that was thoroughly mixed with clay, quartz, calcite, and anthophyllite particles but would have been solid iron. In molten iron these matrix minerals would have been separated as slag or destroyed. Furthermore, scanning electron (SEM) chemical analyses of five different places in the iron bracket show the variability given in Table 2.

This variability also rules out the idea that the iron was formed by smelting because smelting would homogenize the molten metal and produce a nearly constant composition. The high and variable titanium contents occur because the limonite grains were derived from hydrous alteration of ilmenitic magnetite granules eroded from different volcanic sources and having variable TiO2 contents.

Potassium, aluminum and silicon oxides reported in the iron bracket occur in interstitial clay. Small percentages of calcium oxide are either from calcite and apatite (where phosphorous occurs) or are totally from calcite where phosphorous is absent. Apatite is common in volcanic rocks where it is intergrown with plagioclase or magnetite, and, therefore, it can be eroded, transported, and become a constituent of rocks in the structure (Figure 2).

Supposed Walls In The Ark Structure

Linear (planar) limonite concentrations along supposed walls in the Ark were traced independently by three investigators, each using different electronic instruments but producing the same results (Wyatt, 1994). Thirteen lines of limonite, marking supposed walls, converge toward the structures pointed end, and a similar convergence occurs at the opposite, “blunt” end. Transverse to the longitudinal limonite concentrations are nine lines of limonite, which were interpreted to be walls dividing Ark rooms.

Although these relationships might seem to be logical evidence to indicate that the structure was originally man-made, I, as a geologist, can show that all these features could be formed by natural processes. Joining of lines in concentric shells at the structure’s pointed end is consistent with the structure being an eroded doubly plunging syncline (Figure 4). At the blunt end, however, lines were not found wrapped around parallel to the outer relatively resistant rock of the Ark, which a cross-sectional view of a doubly plunging synclinal structure predicts. Their absence here occurs because eroded alluvium from the Ark’s interior spills over the rounded end and buries the bedrock. Therefore, converging lines of limonite and magnetite are covered so that they are undetected. Moreover, streams of eroded limonite and magnetite granules, projecting beyond the resistant layer, give the false appearance of a metal-braced structure extending beyond the rounded end (Fasold, 1988).

Limonite concentrations in dividing walls can be formed naturally because stresses applied to rocks that are folded into a boat shape commonly produce fracture patterns that cut across sedimentary layers. Water moving through these fractures and coming in contact with ilmenitic magnetite (or pyrite) granules in the layers, would produce the limonite concentrations and stains.

Finally, no fossilized wood or traces of elemental carbon, wood, or reed fragments have ever been found associated with the limonite walls or in any other place during trenching or core drilling. The absence of ancient biotic carbons supports the hypothesis that the boat-shaped structure is not Noah’s Ark. Inorganic carbon in calcite in veins cutting the layers, however, is common.

Analysis of Regional Geology

Fossiliferous limestone intersects the Ark structure on one side and is also found in outcrops on both sides beyond the adjacent landslide debris. On that basis, the doubly plunging syncline has likely formed in situ rather than being an allochthonous block transported in a landslide.

Across the landslide (200 m from the Ark) there is a resistant bed at the top of a scarp (Figure 5). Layers above and below this resistant bed have erosional forms and vegetation that match that of layers above and below the outer resistant bed of the Ark. These matching characteristics suggest that rocks composing the Ark are the same as those in the distant slope. Therefore, if such a correlation can be demonstrated, further support is provided that the Ark structure is not man-made.

Geologic History

On the basis of the information given above, I suggest the following geologic history for the origin of the structure. Rocks in the supposed Ark, which now conform to the U-shape of the syncline, were deposited initially in a horizontal or near-horizontal position. These rocks were composed of tiny grains of clay, quartz, calcite, anthophyllite, and local concentrations of ilmenitic magnetite as well as poorly sorted pebbles of andesite and basalt. They were products of weathering and erosion of volcanic rocks in nearby mountains and were transported by streams and deposited in a basin. Subsequently, these layers were compacted into rock and folded into a doubly plunging syncline. A marine sea advanced over the folded rocks and eroded and cut a channel in which fossiliferous limestone was later deposited. This was followed by uplift and further erosion that removed most of the limestone and scoured the fold to create the boat-shaped profile. Finally, swelling clays (bentonite) in mud in surrounding mountains caused a large landslide to occur. This landslide carried disoriented blocks of rock and mud that were channeled around the synclinal structure (Figure 5). Some time early in this history, following uplift, the limonite concretions (“iron brackets”) were formed in the sediments, both inside and outside the synclinal structure, as ground water from rain and melting snow reacted with ilmenitic magnetite (and pyrite) granules along bedding planes and fracture zones.


Evidence from microscopic studies and photo analyses demonstrates that the supposed Ark near Dogubayazit is a completely natural rock formation. It cannot have been Noah’s Ark nor even a man-made model. It is understandable why early investigators falsely identified it. The unusual boat-shaped structure would so catch their attention that an eagerness to be persons who either discovered Noah’s Ark or confirmed its existence would tend to override caution. An illustration of the degree to which caution was disregarded by supporters of the Noah’s Ark hypothesis is shown by the mistaken identification of a metamorphosed peridotite with crinkle folds as either gopherwood bark or casts of fossilized reeds that supposedly once covered the Ark (Wyatt, 1994). Furthermore, if the Creationism Flood hypothesis were valid (Baumgardner, 1985, 1990), the “dead animals” represented by fossils in this limestone must have died in the supposed Flood, and these fossilized remains are found in channels that cut the supposed Ark. Therefore, the supposed Ark is older than the deposits of the supposed Noachian Flood, and this relationship in itself conclusively refutes the hypothesis that the structure is the preserved remnants of the Ark.

When the site is again accessible to foreign investigators, the area near Kazan (Arzap) needs to be examined to see if outcrops of volcanic rocks occur there that have a mineralogy similar to that of the anchor stones. If so, a local source for the anchor stones is strongly supported. Lacking this information for this article, however, in no way negates the conclusion that the boat-shaped rock formation is totally natural.

Finally, David Fasold suggested that, although the structure is not Noah’s Ark, it may very well be the site which the ancients regarded as the ship of the Deluge and may have played a role in the Flood story. As a geologist, I find this to be a interesting speculation.


Thanks are given to the MA-GUR Project for photographs and specimens and to David Liggett, Peter Weigand, and Barbara Collins for editorial suggestions.

References Noted

Aswad, K. J., and Elias, E. M., 1988, Petrogenesis, geochemistry and metamorphism
of spilitized subvolcanic rocks of the Mawat ophiolite complex, NE Iraq: Ofioliti, v. 13, p. 95-108.
Baumgardner, J., 1985, ABC TV 20/20, October 17: “Considerable evidence that
it’s not a natural object.”
Baumgardner, J., 1988, “SEARCH FOR THE ELUSIVE ARK,” Newsletter, Los Alamos,
August 19, 1988: “…these occurrences of limonite are of special interest as they could represent the rusted remains of metallic iron objects.”
Baumgardner, J., 1990, Second International Conference on Creationism, “I personally have
to include the Scripture as a critical part of my basis in believing the correlation of the beginning of the Flood at the Precambrian/Cambrian boundary.”
Dawood, N. J., 1956, The Koran: Suffolk, Chaucer Press, 427 p.
Fasold, D., 1988, The Ark of Noah: New York, NY, Wynwood Press, 331 p.
Gardner, J., and Maier, J., 1984, Gilgamesh: New York, NY, Alfred A. Knopf, 304 p.
Guner, Y., 1986, Is Noah’s ark on Mt. Ararat? Geomorphological development on
the Dogubayazit-Telceker landslide which is assumed to be related to Noah’s Ark: Jeomorfoloji, Dergisi, v. 14, p. 27-37.
Life, 1960, September 5 issue, p. 112-114.
Pearce, J. A., Bender, J. F., De Long, S. E., Kidd, W. S. F., Low, P. J., Guner, Y.,
Saroglu, F., Yilmaz, Y., Moorbath, S., and Mitchell, J. G., 1990, Genesis of collision volcanism in Eastern Anatolia, Turkey: Journal of Volcanolgy and Geothermal Research, v. 44, p. 189-229.
Windsor, S. R., 1992, Noah’s vessel: 24,000 deadweight tons: Catastrophism
& Ancient History, January, p. 5-31.
Windsor, S. R., 1993, Noah’s Ark, its geometry: Catastrophism & Ancient History,
January, p. 40-57.
Wyatt, R. E., 1994, Discovered – Noah’s Ark. Video documentary of research and field
work, Wyatt Archaeological Research, 713 Lambert Drive, Nashville, TN, 37220.


Lorence G. Collins is a retired professor of geology from California State University, Northridge. He was educated at the University of Illinois and has special interests in the origin of granite and ore deposits.

David Fasold is a merchant marine officer who has been fascinated with archaeology and biblical history. He headed one of the last teams that was allowed excavation rights in Turkey. (He is now deceased.)

The above has been published in the Journal of Geosciences Education, v. 44, 1996, p. 439-444 and has been reproduced here by permission of the editor, Dr. James Shea.

Jesus Christ Tops Wikipedia Popularity List

Christ is most significant person in history, according to analysis of Wiki’s 3 million pages

ChatyChaty | Jan 31, 2014 2:22 pm |

What do Jesus, Napoleon and the prophet Muhammad all have in common? They are the top three most significant historical figures, according to new analysis of online encyclopedia Wikipedia’s three million pages. Computer scientists Steven Skiena and Charles B Ward have studied the Wiki pages of more than 800,000 people to come up with a list of the world’s most important figures. Jesus is the most famous person in history according to a software programme that scours the internet to rank people’s importance+5 Jesus is the most famous person in history according to a software programme that scours the internet to rank people’s importance Using a ‘ranking algorithm’, the pair looked at the length of a person’s Wikipedia page, how many times it was read and the number of links from the pages of other major figures. Jesus came out at number one, while French Emperor was ranked at number two and the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, was at number three. The rankings are also compared against public opinion polls, Hall of Fame voting records, sports statistics, and the prices of paintings and autographs. William Shakespeare was in fourth place+5 Napoleon Bonaparte was in second place+5 Lasting impression: William Shakespeare was in fourth place while Napoleon was deemed the second most important person in history Other figures who ranked among the top ten include William Shakespeare, Adolf Hitler and Aristotle. The list appears in a new book called ‘Who’s Bigger: Where Historical Figures Really Rank’ and also includes separate rankings for artists and literary figures. The top pre-20th century artist is Leonardo da Vinci, with Michelangelo at number two and Raphael at number three. Vincent van Gogh topped the list for the modern-era artists with Picasso second and Monet third. The highest ranked literary figure is Shakespeare, followed by Charles Dickens and then Mark Twain.