Solomon in Stone

Archaeologists James Pritchard and Kathleen Kenyon classify Solomon in the Iron Age, concluding that archaeology and the Bible are in disagreement. They aren’t against the Bible; they just consider it an error-prone human writing, like the many other historical documents from the past. Solomon is said to have built the cities of Megiddo, Gezer, Hazor, and Jerusalem utilizing the excellent stone-cutting skills of the Phoenicians (I Kings 5:15-32). None of these existed as such in the Iron Age. These towns were just villages and even the public buildings were poorly built, having clay floors. Even Phoenicia, i.e., Tyre, Sidon, and Byblos, had no monumental stone buildings at all in the Iron Age.

What’s the big deal about the Iron Age? Well, rocks don’t have dates written on them, so archeologists classify levels by the pottery and effects found in them. A stratum with iron tools belongs to the Iron Age. The amazing thing about Canaan is that the Iron Age showed a complete absence of monumental stone buildings, even up to the time of the Greeks in the 4th century BC. The Bronze Age, however, which came before the Iron Age, was known for it’s fortified cities, having massive stone walls. If we didn’t know any better, we might expect architecture to improve with time. The opposite is true. Civilization collapsed on a world-wide scale at the end of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age.

Megiddo is one of the fortified cities that Solomon built with Hiram’s Phoenician stonework. If Kathleen Kenyon had looked for Solomon’s construction in strata VIII and VIIB, she would have found it. The New Chronology places Solomon, Ramses II, and stratum VIIB of Megiddo at the end of the prolific Bronze Age, before its collapse. The Bible corrects archaeology and not the other way around. Kenyon insisted on placing Solomon in the Iron Age, where no evidence of his buildings can be found.

David Rohl, on the other hand, describes Solomon’s magnificent buildings in strata VIII and VIIB of Megiddo. He describes a palace that is 50 meters long; that’s half a football field. Its walls are six feet thick, and its courtyard is surrounded by rooms on three sides. One of the rooms is paved with seashells. The treasury, another building, contains a wealth of gold vessels, jewelry, and ivory plaques. The workmanship is described as “Canaanite art at its best” and “the largest and richest collection of Canaanite carved ivory yet discovered in Palestine”. The walls of the temple are almost ten feet thick. The city gate is actually a series of three gates that the visitor had to pass through, walking on a street of cobblestone. And guess what the buildings are made of? Just what we would expect: special stones cut to measure.

Years ago, I was very distraught when a college student said that there was no archaeological evidence of Solomon’s wealth. He was ignorant and I was uninformed. He sounded so sure of himself. It has greatly bolstered my faith to learn the details about how decisions on dating are reached. After so many years of seeing the Bible treated the same as pagan literature, believers should learn the facts and advocate for the accuracy of the Bible. To cite Randall Price’s book, The Stones Cry Out.

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