Old Testament Dates of Edomite Kingdom Confirmed by Archeological Find
by Rich Deem


Most secular scholars believe that the Hebrew Old Testament is merely a collection of revisionist, fragmented history, along with folklore and theology. Often, biblical dates for historic events are often assumed to be incorrect. Previous excavations of Edom have been conducted on the highland plateaus of Jordan, which had been controlled by the neo-Assyrian empire during the eighth and seventh B.C.1 So, archeologists assumed that dating of the kingdom of Edom was at least 200 years later than the date given in the Old Testament. New archeological excavations have examined the copper ore-rich lowlands of Jordan, discovering a large Iron Age copper production center.

New evidence

Canadian archeologist Russell Adams, along with Thomas Levy of the University of California at San Diego and Mohammad Najjar of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities recently discovered a monumental tenth century B.C. fortress at a site called Khirbat en-Nahas (30 miles south of the Dead Sea in Jordan).2 The use of high-precision radiocarbon dating (14C) methods on some of the relics firmly established that occupation of the site had began in the eleventh century B.C.

Conclusion Top of page

These early dates establish the existence of the Edomite kingdom at the time King David and his son Solomon ruled over Israel. The Old Testament claims that David conquered the Edomites and placed garrisons there.3 The Bible claims that David ruled from ~1010 B.C. to 970 B.C., which is directly correlated with the dates determined at Khirbat en-Nahas. Now that 14C dating is being used to accurately determine archeological sites in the Middle East, we should be getting a better idea of the accuracy of Old Testament histories.

Las Fechas del Antiguo Testamento del Reino Edomita Confirmado por el Descubrimiento Arqueol�gico

References Top of page

  1. Bienkowski, P. 2001. Iron Age Settlement in Edom: A Revised Framework, in P. M. M. Daviau, J. W. Wevers, and M. Weigl (eds) The World of the Aramaeans II: Studies in History and Archaeology in Honour of Paul-Eugen Dion: 257 -69. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 325. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
    Herr, L.G. and M. Najjar. 2001. The Iron Age, in B. MacDonald, R. Adams & P. Bienkowski (eds) The Archaeology of Jordan. 323-345. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.
    Stern, E. 2001. Archaeology of the Land of the Bible Volume II � the Assyrian, Babylonian and Persian Periods (732 � 332 B.C.E). New York: Doubleday.
  2. Thomas E. Levy, T.E., R. B. Adams, M. Najjar, A. Hauptmann, J.D. Anderson, B. Brandl, M.A. Robinson and T. Higham. 2004. Research Reassessing the chronology of Biblical Edom: new excavations and 14C dates from Khirbat en-Nahas (Jordan) Antiquity 78: 863-876.
  3. He put garrisons in Edom. In all Edom he put garrisons, and all the Edomites became servants to David. And the LORD helped David wherever he went. (2 Samuel 8:14)

Last Modified April 28, 2006


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