Archaeology Odyssey 8:3, May/June 2005

Field Notes

Archaeology Odyssey

New Evidence Supports Biblical Chronology

When archaeologists recently performed radiocarbon tests on materials from the ancient Edomite site of Khirbat en-Nahas, a copper-smelting facility 30 miles south of the Dead Sea in Jordan, the results were startling: The hoard of charcoal, scarabs, arrowheads and metal artifacts dated to the 11th century B.C.—more than two centuries earlier than many scholars date the rise of the kingdom of Edom.

In the Bible, the Edomites are the descendants of Esau, who sold his birthright to his brother Jacob, and are the perpetual enemies of the Israelites. During the Exodus from Egypt, the Edomites refuse to allow the Israelites to pass through their territory, which runs from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Later, the Israelite king David and his general, Joab, conquer Edom, killing 18,000 Edomites; then David builds “garrisons in Edom,” and “all the Edomites” become “his servants” (1 Samuel 8:13–14).

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