Lectures to the title “Archaeology and the Bible” and “Archaeology proves the Bible true” are a staple of Christadelphian Sunday evenings. Most of these talks follow a well established pattern. First it’s explained that “Higher Critics” deny the historicity of the Bible. The speaker then lines up some archaeological artefacts and explains how they rebut the Higher Critics’ claims. Finally the speaker usually concludes the talk by explaining that the archaeological evidence demonstrates the historical reliability of the biblical text – “Archaeology does prove the Bible true” – and therefore the Bible is the Word of God.
As interesting as most of these lectures may be to an audience that is fresh to the topic, anyone who’s read a little around the subject would be left wondering if the speaker really is familiar with the field. It must not be forgotten that in these sorts of lecture credibility is key. If the speaker’s claims are not credible then their message is not credible. Many of these lectures I’ve watched on YouTube over the years, though well intentioned, are problematic in that they all make the same mistakes and all suffer from the same methodological flaws – this doesn’t do our community any favours.
Hopefully this article will be of use in improving this sort of lecture, providing some guidance around how the archaeological evidence should be used, what kind of claims can be made about it, and the implications for us of using archaeological evidence at all in the promotion of faith.
Let’s start with the archaeological artefacts themselves.
When preparing a lecture on “Archaeology proves the Bible true” there are many artefacts to choose from, but the ones most commonly presented are the Merneptah Stele, the Tel Dan Stele, the Moabite Stone, the Black Obelisk, the Nabonidus cylinder, the Cyrus cylinder, and the Pilate stone – basically, inscriptions. We won’t go through all of those; we’ll stick to just three pointing out what they can prove, but also what else we can learn from them.
This large slab of stone, currently housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, is famous for its mention of “Israel”; the earliest such mention outside the Bible. William Petrie, who in 1896 was excavating in Thebes, discovered the Stele in the south-west corner of the Temple of Merneptah’s first court.1 It documents Merneptah’s victories achieved in the first few years of his reign, and, close to the end of the inscription we find the following:
Tjehenu is vanquished, Khatti at peace,
Canaan is captive with all woe.
Ashkelon is conquered, Gezer seized,
Yanoam made nonexistent;
Israel is wasted, bare of seed,
Khor is become a widow for Egypt.2
There it is – Israel. The line has been alternatively rendered “Israel is wasted, its seed is not”3 and “Israel is laid waste, his seed is not”4 by various translators. Whichever way it’s translated it’s undoubtably a reference to a people that the Egyptian power knew as “Israel”. And that’s about as good evidence for an Israelite presence in Canaan during the period of transition from the Late Bronze to the Iron Age as you could ask for.
But, does it prove any more than that? More often than not the speaker will go on to claim that by mentioning “Israel” the Stele proves the historical reliability of the narratives found in Joshua and Judges. Hopefully it doesn’t take much more than a few seconds of critical thought to come to the conclusion that, actually, it does no such thing.
The Merneptah Stele does not prove that Joshua conquered Canaan, it does not prove that Samson fought the Philistines, and it does not prove that Jephthah’s daughter existed – never mind solve the much-discussed problem of what happened to her.
That’s not to say that those events didn’t happen, it’s just to point out that contrary to what is often claimed the Merneptah Stele doesn’t have anything to say about them.
What are we missing out on?
It’s all too easy to miss one very important point about the text of the Stele. Yes, it is evidence that the Israelites existed. But, it claims that they were wiped out. “Their seed is not”.5 However, we know the Israelites weren’t wiped out. This sort of claim is similar to some claims we find in scripture.
For example, God told Moses, “But as for the towns of these peoples that the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance, you must not let anything that breathes remain alive. You shall annihilate them…” (Dt 20:16-18). Then, we’re told at the end of Joshua’s second campaign in Canaan, “As the LORD had commanded his servant Moses, so Moses commanded Joshua, and so Joshua did; he left nothing undone of all that the LORD had commanded Moses” (Jos 11:15), which adds up with verses like this: “So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left no one remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded.” (Jos 10:40). The record is pretty clear – Joshua wiped out everyone in Canaan.
And yet, we come across a number of passages that say something else altogether. For example, “So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters as wives for themselves, and their own daughters they gave to their sons; and they worshiped their gods.” (Jdg 3:5–6)
Which is it? Had the Israelites “left no one remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed”? Or were they living as an oppressed minority among the considerably more powerful Canaanite tribes? That’s certainly the picture painted by much of Judges and I Samuel.
So, as well as demonstrating that there was a people called “Israel” living in Canaan, the Merneptah Stele shows us how victories were documented a few thousand years ago, and gives us pretty good clues about how we should read them.
In the same way that Pharaoh claimed that he’d wiped out the Israelites, we find the same style of language in the book of Joshua where it’s said that the Israelites had wiped out the indigenous people of Canaan. But, in the same way that the Israelites seemed to have continued on just fine regardless of what Pharaoh claimed he’d achieved, so too the Canaanites seemed to have continued on just fine regardless of what the Israelites were said to have achieved (at least, in the Joshua narratives). The Merneptah Stele doesn’t just “prove” something; it teaches us how to interpret ancient conquest narratives including the ones we find in scripture. And that’s far more interesting than just “proving” the existence of the Israelites in Canaan.
Tel Dan Stele
The next archaeological artefact that usually makes the highlights reel is the Tel Dan Stele, displayed today in the Israel Museum.
The first fragment of the Stele, much smaller than Merneptah’s, was discovered by the archaeological expedition’s surveyor, Gila Cook, in 1993 on a site in Israel’s far north called Tel Dan.6
Avraham Biran (the expedition director) and Joseph Naveh published the discovery that same year and included a translation of the inscription7
2. … my father went up …
3. … and my father died, he went to [his fate … Is-]
4. rael formerly in my father’s land …
5. I [fought against Israel?] and Hadad went in front of me …
6. …my king. And I slew of [them X footmen, Y cha-]
7. riots and two thousand horsemen …
8. the king of Israel. And [I] slew [… the kin-]
9. g of the House of David. And I put…
10. their land …
11. other … [ … ru-]
12. led over Is[rael… ]
13. siege upon…
There we go. “The House of David.” And, after a second and third fragment of the Stele were found in the following year, it became clear that “the author of the stele was Hazael himself, although his name does not appear in the fragments found to date.”8
Though the evidence is pretty clear and the vast majority of scholars accept that the stele references the “House of David”, some Biblical Minimalists9 try to “get out” of it by suggesting that the Stele is a forgery, for example:
The narrow links between the Tel Dan inscription and these two inscriptions [the Mesha inscription and the Aramaic Zakkur inscription] are of a kind that has persuaded at least one major specialist into believing that the inscription is a forgery. This cannot be left out of consideration in advance, because some of the circumstances surrounding its discovery may speak against its being genuine. Other examples of forgeries of this kind are well known, and clever forgers have cheated even respectable scholars into accepting something that is obviously false.10
Others engage in some of the most laughable examples of special pleading in print. Here’s one from Philip Davies’ “In Search of Ancient Israel”:
It may be possible to redefine a ruler of Jerusalem within the archaeological story, with or without the name ‘David’. But his existence should be provisional until we have positive evidence, since archaeology will probably never be able to recognize such a figure from its own resources. Attempts to prove his existence persists. The Tel Dan stele (discovered after In Search was written) has convinced many that this has been achieved. But even if the reading is correct, the letters bytdwdsuggest at most the possibility of dwd as the name of a ruling family, presumably of Judah (though ‘Judah’ does not appear in the inscription). There is the possibility that the name goes back to a founder (though ‘David’ is a rather improbable personal name), but the name of the house might not have been necessarily drawn from an individual person.11
The reasoning is absurd, and has been ably demolished in both scholarship and popular books. As Dever writes,
…revisionists have turned amusing intellectual somersaults to avoid the obvious meaning of the Dan inscription.12
These fringe views have had little influence on the vast majority of scholars who accept the stele for what it is – evidence of a historical political entity known to Hazael as the “House of David.”
Coming back to our lecture, what does the Tel Dan Stele actually “prove”? Well, it’s very strong evidence for a historical “House of David”. However, does it prove that David was a shepherd boy from Bethlehem? That he killed Goliath? That he was temporarily allied with the Philistines? That his son Absalom tried to usurp him? That he had a son called Solomon?
The stele doesn’t “prove” any of these things. It’s not even evidence for these things. And yet, speakers often make the mistake of leaping from “the Stele proves there was a House of David” to “the Stele proves the Bible is historically reliable in everything it says about David.” It doesn’t.
Our final artefact is the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. It’s a staple of any tour around the British Museum13, and for good reason.
One panel contains a curious image of someone dressed in Israelite garb bowing down to Shalmaneser III:
Luckenbill’s translation of the cuneiform below the image reads as follows:
Tribute of Iaua (Jehu), son of Omri (mar Humri). Silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden beaker, golden goblets, pitchers of gold, lead, staves for the hand of the king, javelins, I received from him.16
Once again a figure from the biblical narratives appears in a non-biblical source, this time it’s Jehu of 2 Kings 9-10. Good stuff. But, what does it prove? Well, it proves that an Israelite king named Jehu existed and paid tribute to his distant and considerably more mighty neighbour, Shalmaneser III.
But, is the picture and accompanying inscription proof of the historical reliability of any of the narratives in the books of Kings? Is it proof of the events narrated in 2 Kings 9-10 that feature Jehu? Is it proof that Jehu drove his chariot like a maniac (2 Ki 9:20), or that he shot Joram with an arrow through the heart (2 Ki 9:24)? No, it isn’t. The Black Obelisk doesn’t prove any of these things.
Once again, this isn’t to say the events narrated in 2 Kings didn’t occur, it’s just to make the point that the Black Obelisk doesn’t say anything about them. We mustn’t try to make the obelisk say more than it does – to do so is adishonest handling of the evidence.17
What are we missing out on
As before, instead of making more of the artefact than it honestly allows, it would be a better use of the lecture audience’s time if we could learn something from the Black Obelisk.
The inscription below the picture reads,
The tribute of Jehu son of Omri18
This appears to contradict what scripture tells us about Jehu’s lineage:
“Thus Jehu son of Jehoshaphat son of Nimshi…”2 Ki 9:14 (NRSV)
He was not Omri’s son, at least not according to 2 Kings. In fact, when the passages are put together19 it’s clear that far from being Omri’s son, Jehu, from an altogether different family conspired against and wiped out Omri’s descendants, and usurped the throne of Israel.
So, which is it? Was Jehu the son of Omri or of Jehoshaphat?
Before falling back on the knee-jerk reaction of “the Bible is inspired so that must be the true record”, it’s worth allowing ourselves the time to think about what’s going on. Yes, Shalmanezer III’s scribes could have messed up, but that’s unlikely. There’s something more interesting going on that helps shed light on biblical texts, namely, how ancient genealogies work.
Elsewhere in scripture we find the genealogies of well-known biblical figures. If we compare and contrast them we sometimes find some unexpected oddities; oddities that artefacts like the Black Obelisk help us understand.
For example, Ahazia, Joash, Amaziah are present in 1 Ch 3:11-12, yet they are absent from Matt 1:8. Luke 3:33 adds an unknown individual with the unfortunate name of ‘Admin’ into Christ’s genealogy. Zerubbabel of 1 Ch 3:19 is Shealtiel’s nephew in 1 Ch 3:17, but Shealtiel’s son in Matt 1:12. Samuel is slipped into the Levitical family tree when he’s from an altogether different tribe. Each of these examples demonstrates that in ancient genealogies people can be listed as being someone’s father when they are their uncle, grandfather, or completely unrelated. No one back then batted an eyelid at this. Bear in mind that many many scribes had the opportunity to tidy up these sorts of apparent mistakes but it didn’t occur to them to do so. And that’s because these apparent mistakes weren’t mistakes – the only mistake is our treating biblical genealogies in the same way we do those of the Kings and Queens of England. That wasn’t the purpose of genealogies in the Ancient Near East:
If a genealogy can be used to relate members of an actual family, then it can also be used to express the political relationships between families that are not actually related to each other.20
Omri and his descendants were “the militarily powerful rulers of one of the strongest states in the Near East.”21 To defeat Omri’s nation was something to write home about. So, though Shalmanezer III’s artists depicted Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat crawling at the Assyrian king’s feed, they labelled him “Jehu the son of Omri” to make out that a mighty kingdom had been defeated. They weren’t interested in who Jehu’s dad was.
So, once again, an archaeological artefact can be used to demonstrate the existence of a biblical character. However, instead of marshalling the Black Obelisk to “prove” the historical reliability of the narratives in Kings, let’s spend time seeing what light it can shine on scripture and what help it can give us in the task of its interpretation.
Firing at the wrong target
So, having covered the topic of what archaeological artefacts can and cannot tell us let’s now say a few words on fairly representing the “Higher Critics” who, our speakers tell us, seek to “disprove” the Bible, beginning by explaining who not to quote.
One of the “Archaeology and the Bible” talks available on YouTube puts a man named Robert Ingersoll forward as a Higher Critic. Who was Robert Ingersoll? He was a well known and vicious 19thcentury polemicist who wrote a number of books criticising Christianity. But, was he a Higher Critic? He may have popularised Biblical Criticism, but he was no Higher Critic – he was a lawyer with no formal training in biblical studies.22 To make out that Ingersoll was a Higher Critic is plain dishonest.
If you want to quote a Higher Critic, there are plenty to choose from. But, should we really be quoting Higher Critics just to be able to knock down their positions with archaeological evidence? Do we know what their positions really are? Have we read their books or are we just responding to isolated and cherry-picked quotes from their works? Can we even name any Higher Critics other than Wellhausen – if we’re able to name him in the first place? Do we even know what Higher Criticism is? Or that the term fell out of use long ago?
Wellhausen, the Higher Critic everyone loves to hate, would not have been surprised by the discovery of the Merneptah Stele – he believed that the Israelites lived and were active in the Canaanite highlands at the time the Joshua narratives place them there. Here’s an excerpt from his infamous Prolegomena to the History of Israel:
The district to the north of Judah, inhabited afterwards by Benjamin, was the first to be attacked. It was not until after several towns of this district had one by one fallen into the hands of the conquerors that the Canaanites set about a united resistance. They were, however, decisively repulsed by Joshua in the neighbourhood of Gibeon; and by this victory the Israelites became masters of the whole central plateau of Palestine.23
He’d have welcomed the discovery of the Tel Dan stele because he believed in a historical David:
Among the men of Judah whom the war brought to Gibeah, David ben Jesse of Bethlehem took a conspicuous place; his skill on the harp brought him into close relations with the king. He became Saul’s armour-bearer, afterwards the most intimate friend of his son, finally the husband of his daughter.24
He’d have been quite unperturbed by the discovery of the Black Obelisk – here’s what he wrote about Jehu and the Omride dynasty:
Jehu founded the second and last dynasty of the kingdom of Samaria. His inheritance from the house of Omri included the task of defending himself against the Syrians.25
So if the point of sharing these archaeological artefacts was to “prove Wellhausen wrong” then the target was missed – he didn’t hold any of the positions that the above archaeological artefacts “prove wrong”. Wellhausen was interested in the development of the biblical text, not in the archaeological record.
It’s not a good look to criticise positions we don’t understand, or people whose writings we’ve not read when making the argument for the credibility of the Bible’s historical narratives.
Bad scholarship corrupts good archaeology
So much for citing Higher Critics. What about archaeologists?
On the rare occasion that we cite archaeologists in our lectures they tend to be those whose work is very much out of date. The reason for this, as far as I can gather, is that the speaker instinctively looks for material online that fits their narrative and discovers lists of archaeological discoveries that “prove the Bible true”. Since producing this sort of material hasn’t been the aim of those in academia for many decades, modern mainstream material won’t be found.
However if the speaker searches a bit deeper they’ll find that far from “proving” the historical reliability of the biblical narratives many of the developments in archaeology since the 1970’s have called them into question.
Sadly, the all-to-common reaction to stumbling across the positions put forward in current research is to abandon modern, mainstream scholarship and seek refuge in the arms of outdated ideas(e.g. Albright, Wright, Garstang), ultra-conservative scholars (e.g. Bimson), chronological revisionists (e.g. Rohl), or out-and-out crazies (e.g. Ron Wyatt). But, by doing this we find ourselves having to deny a whole host of separate but interconnected specialisations. As has been mentioned a number of times in our community’s history, this is not necessary. Here’s one example from 1989 in the Christadelphian Magazine:
“Of course, it must be said that respectable archaeology is the province of the specialist (though that does not mean we have to believe all his conclusions). And the work is no longer done merely by the spade, or trowel, or brush: a panoply of scientific techniques has been applied to the subject in recent years—aerial photography, laser and computer-aided surveying, pollen analysis, radio-isotope dating etc.
“Universities throughout the world have their links with what is happening; in Israel itself, the Israel Exploration Society and other organisations coordinate and publish the work. New books on archaeology have proliferated in recent years. Primary sources are the journals and learned monographs, but an increasing number of more popular works is now emerging—popular, not in a derogatory sense, but readable accounts as distinct from detailed scholarly reports. These are much to be welcomed, and the following brief survey includes a number of such books currently available through the Christadelphian Office.”26
We can happily stick with mainstream scholarship. It just means we need to progress past a Sunday School understanding of the text, make a few adjustments to how we interpret certain passages, and learn to live with a little uncertainty.
The implications of wielding a double-edged sword
There’s one last point, and it might be a painful one: the same archaeology that gives us a historical Israelite presence in Canaan, a historical David, and a historical Jehu also tells us a bit about what was going on in the world at slightly more inconvenient times.
Ussher, whose chronology, bizarrely, is still being used, gives a date for the flood of Sunday, 7th December 2349 BC.27 He places the flood right in the middle of the “Pyramid Age”, i.e. Egypt’s Old Kingdom, which ran from ~2700 – 2150 BCE.28 What do we suppose happened? Did the Egyptians survive the flood by hiding away in the pyramids?29
There is no break in Egypt’s archaeological record. If a global flood happened, the Egyptians didn’t notice it. They just got on with what they were doing without any complaint. The archaeological record is clear – there was no worldwide flood. Humanity was not reduced to just Noah and his family.
You cannot use the Merneptah Stele as evidence for an Israelite presence in Canaan, you cannot use the Tel Dan Stele as evidence of a historical David, and you cannot use the Black Obelisk as evidence of a historical Jehu and Omri without also having to accept the archaeological evidence that there was no global flood, and that humanity wasn’t wiped out by it.
We need to be careful to be intellectually honest – if all we do is pay attention to the archaeological evidence that confirms what we want to believe and conveniently ignore what doesn’t confirm what we want to believe then we cannot honestly claim that “Archaeology proves the bible true”; all we can say is “Some archaeological evidence backs up what I think the bible says; the rest of it I’m going to ignore”. And that makes for a rubbish lecture title.
What then is archaeology good for?
The best use of archaeology is not to “prove” the historicity of the Biblical text, but to illuminate it, and to limit our interpretive options.
Archaeology can illuminate passages like the following:
When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them by way of the land of the Philistines, although that was nearer; for God thought, ‘If the people face war, they may change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people by the roundabout way of the wilderness toward the Red Sea.Ex 13:17–18
The discovery of the long line of fortifications along the coast between Egypt and Canaan30 perfectly explains why Israel would both face war, and why they’d change their mind and go back to Egypt.
Archaeological evidence can also help limit interpretive options when it comes to thinking about passages where a number of competing interpretations may be possible. Here’s an example; two verses that give different ideas on how many Israelites were on the Exodus:
So the whole number of the Israelites, by their ancestral houses, from twenty years old and upward, everyone able to go to war in Israel— their whole number was six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty.Nu 1:45–46
It was not because you were more numerous than any other people that the LORD set his heart on you and chose you—for you were the fewest of all peoples.Dt 7:7
Which of those verses matches the archaeological evidence? The latter.31
Archaeology illuminates the biblical text, and it helps limit interpretive options. Archaeology does not “prove the bible true”.
- William M. Flinders Petrie, Six Temples at Thebes (Clowes and Sons, 1897), 13.
- Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume II: The New Kingdom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973–), 77.
- William W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, Context of Scripture (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2000), 41.
- James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament , 3rd ed. with Supplement. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 378.
- Or as Speigelberg, working in Thebes with Petrie, mistakenly translated it: “The people of Israel is laid waste, their crops are not.” (“Israel ist verwüstet und seine Saaten vernichtet”, as originally published in Wilhelm Spiegelberg, “Der Siegeshymnus des Merneptah” Zeitschrift für Ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, Volume 34, Issue 1 (1896), 14).
- Avraham Biran and Joseph Naveh, “An Aramaic Stele Fragment from Tel Dan” Israel Exploration Journal, Volume 43, Issues 2/3 (1993), 84.
- Ibid., 90.
- Avraham Biran and Joseph Naveh, “The Tel Dan Inscription: A New Fragment” Israel Exploration Journal, Volume 45, Issue 1 (1995), 17.
- Scholars whose position it is that the Bible is of little to no historical value to working out a history of the southern Levant – a pretty fringe view.
- Niels Peter Lemche, The Israelites in History and Tradition (Westminster John Knox Press, 1998), 41.
- Philip R. Davies, In Search of Ancient Israel (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015), xv.
- William G. Dever, What Did the Biblical Writers Know and When Did They Know It?: What Archaeology Can Tell Us about the Reality of Ancient Israel (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 30.
- Elliot Ritzema, “Black Obelisk,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
- Sir Austen Henry Layard, The Monuments of Nineveh (John Murray, 1851), Plate 53.
- Daniel David Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia (University of Chicago Press, 1926), 211.
- Yes, the books of Kings do contain a surprising amount of historically reliable information, but it takes more than the Black Obelisk to demonstrate that. If you want to get into the historicity of the book of Kings a good place to start is Jens Bruun Kofoed, Text and History: Historiography and the Study of the Biblical Text (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2005)
- James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. with Supplement. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969), 281.
- 1 Kings 16:22 (Omri declared king), 1 Kings 16:29 (Ahab succeeds his father Omri), 1 Kings 22:40 (Ahaziah succeeds his father Ahab), 2 Kings 1:17 (Jehoram (aka Joram – 2 Kings 8:16) succeeds his brother Ahaziah), 2 Kings 9:14 (Jehu conspires against Jehoram/Joram), 2 Kings 9:24 (Jehu kills Jehoram/Joram), 2 Kings 10:17 (Jehu wipes out the remaining sons of Ahab).
- Robert R. Wilson, “Genealogy, Genealogies,” ed. David Noel Freedman, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 1992), 931.
- Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed (Free Press, 2001), 176.
- Norman L. Geisler, “Ingersoll, Robert G.,” Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1999), 367.
- Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel (Edinburgh: Adam & Charles Black, 1885), 441.
- Ibid., 451.
- Ibid., 463.
- The Christadelphian (Birmingham: Christadelphian Magazine & Publishing Association, Vol. 126, No. 1500, June 1989), 229.
- James Ussher, The Annals of the World (E.Tyler, 1658), 3.
- K. A. Kitchen, “Maat,” ed. Tremper Longman III and Peter Enns, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Wisdom, Poetry & Writings (Downers Grove, IL; Nottingham, England: IVP Academic; Inter-Varsity Press, 2008), 448.
- I guess that’s a more credible idea than 2016 US Presidential Candidate Ben Carson’s belief that the pyramids were grain storage facilities. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/nov/05/ben-carson-egyptian-pyramids-were-grain-stores-not-pharoahs-tombs
- James K. Hoffmeier, “‘The Walls of the Ruler’ in Egyptian Literature and the Archaeological Record: Investigating Egypt’s Eastern Frontier in the Bronze Age,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (August), no. 343 (2006)
- Israel Finkelstein, The Archaeology of the Israelite Settlement (1988)