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Thursday, July 15, 2010

On David and Goliath


No, not THAT Davey and Goliath, the children's show brought to us each Sunday by the Lutheran Church, I'm talking about the Biblical account concerning a certain Philistine giant of a man and his claimed encounter with the future King of Isreal.

"Early in the morning David left the flock with a shepherd, loaded up and set out, as Jesse had directed. He reached the camp as the army was going out to its battle positions, shouting the war cry. Israel and the Philistines were drawing up their lines facing each other. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and greeted his brothers. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. When the Israelites saw the man, they all ran from him in great fear. 1st Samuel 17:20-24

With the latest news from archeologists coming out of Isreal, it would appear the Goliath's hometown of Gath (or Gat) has been uncovered at last...

"An ongoing archaeological excavation in Tel Tzafit continues to unearth the ruins of what was once the city of Gat – described in the Bible as the hometown of Goliath.

Recent finds from the Tel Tzafit excavation are “fascinating,” Maeir said. The site, inhabited at times by Canaanites and at other times by Philistines, has remnants from many periods of history. “We are focusing on the Canaanite period, the Philistine period, and the Israelite period, and for now we're primarily in the Philistine period,” he said.

One of the most interesting finds was a piece of writing containing, among other things, Philistine names, some of which were similar to the name “Goliath.”

"We've found a rich variety of artifacts” showing that Gat was a major city at that time, he continued. “We are now discovering remnants from metal craft and bronze, and from the destruction of the city at the hands of King Chazel of Aram as described in the second books of Kings.”

Findings show that Chazel and his army laid siege to the city until its residents had exhausted their food supply, then attacked. Dozens of buildings were found that were demolished by the invading army.

Other buildings appear to have collapsed in an earthquake, possibly the one mentioned at the beginning of the book of Amos, he said."

Skeptics often cite "Science" as their main rejection of a Book of supposed "fairy-tales" and yet they fall suddenly silent when confronted with the fact that "science" (in this case archeology) is proving the Bible to be accurate every day.


Such a finding as this falls into the category of Proven True by the Bible as such finds as the recent discovery of Nehemiah's Wall, along with the historical existances of King Saul and King David, the city of Ninevah, the supposedly "non-existant" Hittite Empire and Sodom and Gomorrah . All of which only give credence to a Book so often maligned by skeptics.



But getting back to David, perhaps one of Christian visitors might care to comment on who actually killed Goliath. Was it David or Elhanan?

39 comments:

Gregg said...

JD you have it backwards today. Science never proves the bible to accurate. The bible is accurate without any proof. The bible validates science.

None of these things, the examples you gave of discoveries give creedence to the bible -it is credible because it is the word of God.

God gave it its creedence. If science and the bible agree it only means that science happened to be right in its prognostication or premise or precept.

Froggie said...

JD,
Of course there are historical locations mentioned in the bible, just like there are historical locations mentioned in many novels, such as The DeVinci Code.

It is obvious that the authors of the myths would not make up mythical names for places.

None of this is evidence that the story of David and Goliath is true, however in this case, it is probably closer to a truth than other bible myths since extant literature refers to the slingshot as a viable weapon of the day.

Jquip said...

Froggie: Viable is a bit of an understatement. Slings, with the right shot, were absolutely vicious weapons. They could kill with a single hit and, with the right shot, pierce armor handily. There's some interesting considerations due the weapon and shot in David's time versus the Greeks of course. But it's an interesting subject to read up on.

JD Curtis said...

I wouldnt say that this definitively proves the Bible. I stated that these discoveries "give credence to a Book so often maligned by skeptics". It helps support it.

I believe the level of evidence that is out there that supports the Bible being true is such that if a person of normal intellect sat down and actually analyzed all evidence in it's totality, then they could reasonably arrive at the conclusion that it is true.

The problem is with people like Dawkins who admit they wouldnt believe the Second Coming if they were to see it first hand with his own eyes.

With such people there is never an acceptable amount of evidence. How can you argue with them?

Froggie said...

Don't worry mates. I know what evidence is.

By the way, the article you linked to about the discovery of Soddom and Gemmorah is not credible in hte least. It doesn't even mention who the archaeologist or his team or when this discovery was supposed to have taken place- this story is only reported in a vague manner in a few fundamentalist sites. There is not evidence that SG have been found. The article is a fabrication.

JD Curtis said...

Froggie,

This took a fraction of a second to find online. This site has the link in which yoiun can view the Discovery Channel episode if you have Netflix. Link

Froggie said...

Yes, it took you half a second to find another piece of spin.
First of all, the Discovery Channel is 80% entertainment. They also air shows on evidence for Bigfoot in which there is actually no evidence.

Finally, the methods and conclusions of William F. Albright has been mostly discredited in regards to the Sodom and Gemorrah site.----
"What Remains of the House that Albright Built?" by William Denver.

Mainstream archaeologists have not come to the same flawed conclusions that Albright did.

JD Curtis said...

On what page does this reference occur Froggie?

I might have some additional questions about it since you are quoting from it if that's OK.

Jquip said...

Froggie: What we have is a problem here. You're disputing archaeology on the basis of that is supportive of the Bible. By fairness alone then we need throw out Dever for the reason in opposite affect. He's simply fabricating things.

These comments remind about the long-winded debate about the historicity of Troy and its establishment as fact as well. That one is from the Iliad and the other from Genesis should make little difference to the matter.

If you're curious, and to help you with ammunition, look into Tall el-Hammam, Numeira, Tell Nimrin. Bab edh-Dhra already mentioned in the "fabrication" of course.

Froggie said...

Jquip,
"You're disputing archaeology on the basis of that is supportive of the Bible."

No, I am not. I am disputing the discovery of S&G due to the lack of actual evidence.
I have already stated that archaeology has identified many historical geographical locations mentioned in the bible and have pointed out that many works of fiction use actual historical geographic locations in their telling.

What Albright found was a couple small houses that "looked like" they had been burnt from fire on their roofs." There was no dating or artifacts discovered that I know of and there have been no other archaeologists that have confirmed Albright's claims.

I cannot tell you the pages beause I no longer have the book. It is in the posession of my son.

Jquip said...

Froggie: "No, I am not. I am disputing the discovery of S&G due to the lack of actual evidence."

Er, no. You provided an unverifiable quote that seems to be inaccessible on the web. The "fabrication" you referred to had much more data involved and contained a number of links as well as a proper cite to things. (Yours is theoretically from The Biblical Archeologist 56,1 -- Though JSTOR also has it behind the wall.)

"I have already stated that archaeology has identified many historical geographical locations mentioned in the bible and have pointed out that many works of fiction use actual historical geographic locations in their telling."

Come now. Your statement on this was: "It is obvious that the authors of the myths would not make up mythical names for places."

This is quite a bit different than your attempt to salvage it.

"What Albright found was a couple small houses that "looked like" they had been burnt from fire on their roofs." There was no dating or artifacts discovered that I know of and there have been no other archaeologists that have confirmed Albright's claims."

Then you simply must read. Even wikipedia notes that artifacts from Bab edh-Dhra are on display at the Karak museum in Jordan.

"I cannot tell you the pages beause I no longer have the book. It is in the posession of my son."

It would seem of no consequence. Truly you ought read both sides of the debate before declaring one or the other guilty of "fabrications." Perhaps you can spare the time while your son is away.

Froggie said...

From JD's spurious article:

"Startling discoveries in the cemetery at Bab edh-Dhra revealed the cause. Archaeologists found that buildings used to bury the dead were burned by a fire that started on the roof.

What would cause every structure in the cemetery to be destroyed in this way?"

They are talking about a roof on a building in the cemetary. Get real.

JD Curtis said...

" It is likely that the Biblical gafrit is the hydrocarbon bitumen, which is the essential ingredient of asphalt. Bitumen can also be distilled into a cleaning agent. Bitumen/asphalt is a naturally occurring, highly flammable substance found in the Dead Sea area. In fact, Josephus refers to the Dead Sea as Lake Asphaltites. [7] It is of interest to note that Josephus writes that the Lake Asphaltites was formed as a result of the devastation that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah." Link

From the same cited article;

"In the early part of the 20th century, the entire Biblical account of Sodom and Gomorrah was doubted by many academicians. Not merely the part of the story of the supernatural destruction, but also any possible rule over the area by the Mesopotamians to the east. There was no route connecting the Dead Sea area with Mesopotamia. How could the Mesopotamians have possibly conquered the area? These factors caused even those normally sympathetic to the Biblical narrative, such as William Foxwell Albright, to doubt the story.

By 1924, the previously doubtful Albright became convinced of the possibility of some ancient inhabited area near the barren eastern bank of the Dead Sea. His expedition had found some meager remains of an early Bronze Age structure assumed to have been a fortress or temple. It was located on a mound, known as Bab edh-Dhra, overlooking the desert floor some 550 feet below. Albright assumed that the structure was in some way to be identified with the Sodom-Gomorrah story, but was uncertain what that connection might be."

What year did Albright make the statement that you credit to him?

Jquip said...

Froggie: I can see you're still suffering an allergy to reading. There are a host of articles out there that discuss Bab edh-Dhra, the multiple rooves, as well as why it was characterized as a cemetery.

And then there are the other three places I mentioned; some of which will help your argument.

Adam Nardoli said...

It's not the existence of towns and places in the Bible that I don't believe, it's the magical stories like talking snakes and donkeys, a six thousand year old earth and multiple zombies at the end of Matthew.

JD Curtis said...

Plenty of Christians do not believe in a Young Earth.

Multiple zombies?

Jquip said...

"it's the magical stories like talking snakes and donkeys"

Yar, what fool would think animals could possibly talk?

ATVLC said...

He's talking about this:

Matthew 27
51and lo, the vail of the sanctuary was rent in two from top unto bottom, and the earth did quake, and the rocks were rent,

52and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who have died, arose,

53and having come forth out of the tombs after his rising, they went into the holy city, and appeared to many.


"Yar, what fool would think animals could possibly talk?"
linked to
"Birds Share 'Language' Gene with Humans"

Different from talking donkeys and snakes that can hold convincing conversations, wouldn't you agree?

JD Curtis said...

But do donkeys and snakes actually speak?

No.

In the case of the serpent, Satan entered the snake.

In the case of the donkey, this was an exception to teach a particularly defiant person a lesson.

Did either one of them go on to study rhetoric?

No.

These are instances of external forces acting upon creatures. Not that these creatures began communicating of their own ability which the Bible does not present it as such.

zilch said...

JD- I agree with Adam and Froggie: there's no problem believing that much of the historical stuff in the Bible is true. Some of it has been substantiated, as you say, despite the doubts of skeptics. But that doesn't lend any verisimilitude to the rest, especially the parts where magic is invoked.

Why should I believe in magic? There's no evidence for it, and there's plenty of evidence that people fake magic and invent magical beings, and have since time immemorial: it's entertaining, and useful to influence the credulous. But invoking magic, as you do to explain the talking snake and donkey, is the end of rational discussion, since it cannot be demonstrated or falsified.

cheers from sultry Vienna, zilch

zilch said...

Oh, and ps to jquip: yes, slings are amazing weapons. They're unbeatable for simplicity, and you can often find shot on the ground in the form of rocks. But I messed around with slings for a while when I was young, and as I'm sure you know, it takes a great deal of skill to use them: the moment of release must be very accurately timed. To successfully use a sling in a war means a whole lot of training.

JD Curtis said...

Why should I believe in magic? There's no evidence for it, and there's plenty of evidence that people fake magic and invent magical beings

A magician performs sleight of hand and illusionary feats.

Somebody who was whipped, crucified, stuck with a spear, dead and 3 days later is resurrected is something a bit different than magic. I would like to see David Copperfield pull that off. What this describes would be more along the lines of a "miracle" if ever there was one.

I for one, do believe there is evidence for miracles. They seem to happen more than we know and sometimes it is in a subtle manner.

Fr Longenecker, who I link to on the right, posted this yesterday and in my own experience, I think he's right...

"God's providence runs according to a fearful symmetry that we cannot always see. Things connect over time that we didn't expect to connect. People meet.Words are said in a casual way that bear fruit many years later. A connection here makes sense there. At one point you think it is all absurd and the suffering you are going through must be pointless. Then many years later you see how it all fit together and the Bible verse, "All thing work together for good for those who love God and who are called acccording to his purpose" suddenly becomes blazingly beautifully clear."

ATVLC said...

"I for one, do believe there is evidence for miracles."

Then lets see it.

JD Curtis said...

Sure, but first...

Do you think that the above quote from Fr. Longenecker has any merit?

ATVLC said...

I don't subscribe to your religion so I'm afraid not. Stripping the quote's religious content, I don't think "bad things happen for a reason" is a positive or constructive meme to spread - unless you just want people who are hard done by to quit complaining.

JD Curtis said...

Bad things?

Let's just look at the first part of the quote..

"God's providence runs according to a fearful symmetry that we cannot always see. Things connect over time that we didn't expect to connect. People meet.Words are said in a casual way that bear fruit many years later. A connection here makes sense there."

Setting aside for a moment the concept of "suffering", has anything remotely resembling this ever happened to you?

I'll post the "miracle" part in a seperate thread.

ATVLC said...

"God's providence runs according to a fearful symmetry that we cannot always see. Things connect over time that we didn't expect to connect... A connection here makes sense there."

These "connections" are all in the mind. Literally. The human mind is very good at recognizing patterns - even if there is no pattern - like seeing pictures in the clouds, for example.

"has anything remotely resembling this ever happened to you?"

I could say that if The Holocaust hadn't happened I would not have been born but that "connection" would still be a mental construct.

JD Curtis said...

The human mind is very good at recognizing patterns - even if there is no pattern - like seeing pictures in the clouds, for example

But we are talking about our own experiences in life. Not what a particular cloud looks like.

I could say that if The Holocaust hadn't happened I would not have been born but that "connection" would still be a mental construct

You appear to be theorizing in abstract terms here and that wasnt quite what I had asked.

If you believe that you never experienced a particular occurance through a highly improbable set of circumstances, not even once, in your entire life, then thats fine. I was just trying to understand where you are coming from on this topic.

ATVLC said...

If you examine the quotes carefully, the quote is about the perception of the experiences, not the experiences themselves.

"You appear to be theorizing in abstract terms here and that wasnt quite what I had asked."

No, literally if the Holocaust didn't happen, I would have never been born.
The abstract here and in your quote is the perceived connection.

JD Curtis said...

Rather than attempts at attributing a cause, natural or not or trying to classify something under "miracle" or not, have you ever experienced a particular occurance through a highly improbable set of circumstances that at least made you wonder if there might be something else at play? Whether it be an outside force or forces acting upon possible outcomes that at least once in your life ended up being just a little too uncanny?

My guess is your answer would be "no" and you would adhere to materialism but I thought I would ask anyway.

ATVLC said...

Is the evidence for miracles you are going to provide about improbable sets of circumstances?

ATVLC said...

Has anything bizarre or uncanny happened to me?
Probably, the worlds a big place and many strange coincidences happen.

JD Curtis said...

Is the evidence for miracles you are going to provide about improbable sets of circumstances?

No. Let's raise the stakes and make it more along the lines of a HIGHLY improbable sets of circumstances. Somewhat unlikely might be a bit iffy.

Has anything bizarre or uncanny happened to me?
Probably, the worlds a big place and many strange coincidences happen.


I agree. I allow for the possibility that a particularly strange occurance might have been the result of a particular mathematical anomaly.

But waht if, for instance, such a "strange coincidence" led to a life changing event?

zilch said...

Rather than attempts at attributing a cause, natural or not or trying to classify something under "miracle" or not, have you ever experienced a particular occurance through a highly improbable set of circumstances that at least made you wonder if there might be something else at play? Whether it be an outside force or forces acting upon possible outcomes that at least once in your life ended up being just a little too uncanny?

JD- Sure. But sober reflection, and a little knowledge of statistics, led me to realize that since so many things happen in our lives, it's only a matter of time before some really strange and curious things happen purely by chance. In fact, it's practically inevitable. I'm also aware of our natural tendency to seek agency when things happen to us, and the danger of finding agency when there is none. This helps keep me free of ghosts and leprechauns- and gods.

Of course, I still have an open mind. But extraordinary claims, such as that there is a supernatural invisible almighty being watching over us, require extraordinary evidence, and I haven't seen any yet.

JD Curtis said...

Give them time Zilch.

Heck, they just now found Goliath's hometown. Who knows what the next great find will turn up?

Adam Nardoli said...

Maybe angel bones?
That a city from a book exists is no great miracle.

JD Curtis said...

Where is it indicated in the Bible that angels have bones?

Should I actually expect more from someone whose brightest statement on their profile is, quote, WOOT!

Adam Nardoli said...

Heh, where is it indicated in the Bible that angels don't bones?

I'm just messing with ya... There was an episode of a TV show where a skeptic found what looked like angel bones.

Adam Nardoli said...

It was an episode of The Simpsons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lisa_the_Skeptic