Shiloh Excavations Match Biblical History

In recent years, fascinating biblical discoveries have been uncovered at ancient Shiloh. This is where Joshua divided the land between the twelve tribes… Where Hannah prayed for a son… And where the tabernacle stood for forty years.

Chris Mitchell of CBN News visited the excavation site to bring us this first-hand look at how more and more discoveries are bringing the Bible to life.

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SCRIPT: SHILOH EXCAVATIONS MATCH BIBLICAL HISTORY

INTRO:

In recent years, fascinating biblical discoveries have been uncovered at ancient Shiloh.
This is where Joshua divided the land between the twelve tribes…
Where Hannah prayed for a son,,,
And where the tabernacle stood for forty years.
Chris Mitchell of CBN News visited the excavation site to bring us this first-hand look at how more and more discoveries are bringing the Bible to life.

 

REPORT: (Reporter VO in all-caps)

IN 2019, CBN NEWS INTERVIEWED DR. SCOTT STRIPLING, THE DIRECTOR OF THE EXCAVATION GOING ON IN ANCIENT SHILOH.  THIS YEAR, STRIPLING BROUGHT US UP TO SPEED ON WHAT’S HAPPENED HERE SINCE WE FIRST VISITED THIS PROJECT.

CHRIS MITCHELL, CBN News

“Tell us, we were there at season one.  What’s new? What’s happened since then?

SCOTT STRIPLING, Excavation Director

“Well, in season one our hypotheses were just formulating. We thought that we had a monumental building, up here from the period of the tabernacle. We thought that this could be a gate complex because there was no glass sea in this section.  Since then, we’ve come way down, five meters or so, maybe six meters in some places.  And so now we can see the various structures that are here, and indeed we can now say that this is very likely the gate that’s referred to in the Bible, and that’s pretty big stuff.”

MITCHELL: “And what happened at the gate? Why is this so important?

STRIPLING: Well, the Bible tells us that Eli is in the gate of Shiloh when he gets the news that the Ark of the Covenant has been captured, that his sons have been killed.  He falls over backwards and dies in the gate.  So it’s a function that’s mentioned in the Bible, so we were very curious if we would come across it.”

SHILOH IS NOT ONLY WHERE ELI LIVED AND DIED BUT ALSO THE PLACE WHERE JOSHUA DIVIDED THE PROMISED LAND BETWEEN THE TWELVE TRIBES, WHERE HANNAH PRAYED FOR A SON WHO BECAME THE PROPHET SAMUEL, AND WHERE THE TABERNACLE OF THE LORD STOOD FOR NEARLY FOUR HUNDRED YEARS.
STRIPLING GAVE US A TOUR OF THE SITE AND TOOK US TO PERHAPS THEIR MOST SIGNIFICANT DISCOVERY.

STRIPLING: “This is where you came to connect with God.  Jerusalem remains a pagan city for another three hundred years.  The Ark is here.  The tabernacle is here and this where you came to connect with God.

MITCHELL: And you believe you’ve found actually the tabernacle?

STRIPLING: Well, you know, I’m not ready to say I know for certain, but I’ll tell you what we do have is a building that is matching the dimensions of the Tabernacle.  It’s from the Iron one period, which is the tabernacle period of Eli and Samuel and you’re actually standing right now, Chris, on this wall right here. So this entire area is this massive, monumental building. Orients east west and it’s divided on a two to one ratio, like the tabernacle was.

 

MITCHELL: So east west is what the Bible says it faced.

STRIPLING: That’s right, the Bible says that.

MITCHELL: And two to one, what does that mean?

STRIPLING: Well, the holy place and the most holy place.  So the Holy of Holies, if we’re correct in our theory, would be right in here. Between these walls would be where the Ark of the Covenant was.”
MITCHELL: “Can we go in?

STRIPLING: Let’s go. Come on.

 

MITCHELL: So what are we walking into right now?

STRIPLING: This is the wall that would separate the holy from the most holy. Okay, so you’re entering into the Holy of Holies. All right, so there’s this big wall on your right. Down here you can see where we’ve reached the bottom. This is preserved to 2.1 meters and this is floor level.
So this whole area in here about where we’re standing. Come on with me here. All right. You’re probably standing where the Ark of the Covenant was.

MITCHELL: It makes me feel, um, well profound for one …

STRIPLING: Me too …

MITCHELL:  How do you feel when you’re here?

STRIPLING: There’s a sense of awe, I just have to tell you.  Professionally as an academic, I’m in awe, and then as an evangelical Christian, I’m in awe, you know, to have the privilege to be able to excavate a site like this.
What I take from this is that God did something in history. He recorded it for us in the Bible. We have evidence of it here. One of the great things about our faith is that you can question it.  You know, God’s ego isn’t bruised. People have questions, viewers do, that’s honest, you know. Express those, and I would just invite people to look at that evidence, and if they’ve bought into the idea that the Bible’s mythology or it’s not historical, I would encourage them to look at what we’re finding here at Shiloh.  Read the text, pray about it, decide for themselves.

MITCHELL: And so, this is where the Bible comes to life?

STRIPLING: This is what we do. We don’t just walk the Bible. We dig the Bible here at Ancient Shiloh. As we dig into the soil, we are literally seeing the evidence of what life was like in biblical times.”

MITCHELL And nearby, you also have a bone, a site of bones. Can we…?

STRIPLING: Well, I’ll tell you what, we’re in the bone business, Chris. Come on. I’ll show you what it’s all about.

This path is going to lead us to where the bone deposit is that we’ve been talking about. So this, the people working over here are doing something they’ll never forget the rest of their lives.  I mean, they are uncovering evidence of the sacrificial system. These were animals that brought expiation. I mean, it brought about the forgiveness of sin for people as they connected with God in this manner. So you’ll see it for yourself. The pottery and the bones. They tell an unmistakable story that matches what we read in the biblical text.

This entire area underneath our feet Chris.  This is unexcavated underneath your feet, and my feet is about this much of solid bone, waiting to be excavated. Bone on top of bone, on top of bone. And we have micros stratigraphy in this area so we can see that the deposition is laid down over a long period of time, just like the Bible says.

MITCHELL: And what kind of bones would we find here?

STRIPLING: Sheep, goat, cow and disproportionately from the right side of the animal. Just this morning we’re seeing disproportionate jaw bones from the right side as opposed to the left …

MITCHELL: You’ve described it before, but why is the right side so significant?

STRIPLING: Well, the priests are the ones who live here, and Leviticus seven tells us that the right side of the animal is the priest’s portion. So I can’t make this stuff up. You know, you got a hundred thousand bones and they’re disproportionate.  Give me another explanation. It just happens to coordinate with what the Bible says.

(NAT SOUND:  SHOFAR BLAST)
A SHOFAR SOUNDS TO MARK THE END OF THE WORKDAY. THIS YEAR’S DIG IS OVER BUT THEY EXPECT TO BE BACK ON SITE DIGGING FOR SEVERAL MORE YEARS.

CHRIS MITCHELL, CBN NEWS, ANCIENT SHILOH.

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