Archaeologists dig up the Bible in ancient Shiloh

by Leah Rosenberg

Dr. Scott Stripling, head of the current excavation at biblical Shiloh, loves how the Bible comes alive in the dirt.

Shiloh is the Biblical city that was the home of the Ark of the Covenant for 369 years. The site is most associated with the Priest Eli and the Prophet Samuel. It is also the location of Hannah’s prayer, in which she asks God for her child, Samuel, whom she dedicates to work in the tabernacle.

The Philistines destroyed Shiloh after they defeated the tribes of Israel. The Bible tells us that Philistines destroyed the town and stole the Ark of the Covenant. The Prophet Jeremiah tells us later on that Shiloh was resettled later on during the reign of King Jeroboam I (928–907 BCE), of the northern Kingdom of Israel through the time of destruction of the First Temple in 586 BCE.

New Excavation

Today a new excavation is being conducted by a Christian team led by Dr. Scott Stripling. Stripling has said that he believes this dig will last for decades. Previous digs at Shiloh lasted 21 years each.

For Stripling, working at the biblical site is the irresistible fulfillment of a 25-year dream.

In an interview last year Stripling has this to say about his archaeological work at Shiloh.

“There are some (archaeologists) who say the Bible is unreliable. We have found it to be very reliable.”

“We’re taking the Bible as a serious historical document,” Stripling continued. He then qualified, “but the evidence is what the evidence is.”

Answering what motivates him, Stripling answered that “People want to connect with the past and answer the essential questions: who am I, why am I here, where am I going? The basic questions of humanity,” he said. “Artifacts tap into that very meaningfully. Knowing that Joshua was here… You kind of have to step back and take a deep breath.”

Biblical References

For those archaeologists who believe the Bible is a guide for their archaeological work, they use the following three key verses that inspire and guide them in their excavations.

1. Genesis 49:10 – “The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, until he to whom it belongs (Shiloh) shall come and the obedience of the nations shall be his.”

2. Samuel 1 3:21 – “The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word.”

3. Jeremiah 7:12 – “Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel.”

Lag B'Omer

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