The Archaeological Evidence for the Kings in the Old Testament
by Dewayne Bryant
The Bible offers a fairly concise account of the roughly five-hundred-year history of the Israelite monarchy from the time of Saul through the final destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. This account can be found in the books of 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Kings, and 1-2 Chronicles, with supplemental information scattered throughout the Hebrew prophets. Unsurprisingly, ancient evidence corroborates much of the information contained in these books.
Archaeologists have discovered the names of about half of the kings who ruled Israel and Judah in ancient inscriptions. Some of these appear in bullae, or clay impressions used to seal official documents. More importantly, the names of most of these kings can be found in inscriptions from rulers of great nations such as Egypt, Assyria, and Babylonia, as well as smaller kingdoms such as Aram and Moab. The following charts indicate which biblical kings can be located in ancient sources…