Biblical Archaeology: Balaam and Jericho

As discussed several times before, studying cultures through archaeology can be challenging, frustrating, and rewarding. Obviously, more recent artefacts are less difficult to study than items that are thousands of years old.

The Bible is a reliable book of history. That puts burrs under the saddles of scoffers, and they often argue from silence using what has not yet been found in archaeology, attempting to confirm their biases. Archaeology supports the Bible, as we shall see again in these two examples of well-known biblical events.

Balaam and the Angel, Gustav Jaeger Bileam Engel, 1836 via Wikimedia Commons
Clearly, the best finds are those that have corroborating evidence such as coins, official seals, documents, and more. Items that make reference to prior events or people from earlier times are also helpful.

Remember reading about how Balaam the mystic had his donkey speak to him? (Note that it happened as an obvious miracle one time, giving lie to the claim of atheopaths that the Bible has talking donkeys, plural.) He tried to profit by cursing Israel. Balaam was a significant figure in the Bible, and several passages mention him.

An inscription mentioning him was discovered in 1967. Although it was not contemporaneous with Balaam and a few aspects were askew, there were also several important details showing that this is the guy in the Bible.
Michael B. from the U.S. inquired about a fascinating archaeological discovery, an inscription which refers to the biblical figure Balaam. This is the man whose donkey famously spoke when “the Lord opened the mouth of the donkey” (Numbers 22:28), at the time the young nation of Israel was nearly ready to enter the Promised Land. Michael’s question is followed by a response from Keaton Halley of CMI–US.
In regards to the Exodus I thought that the Deir Alla inscription of “Balaam son of Beor” would carry some significance not just as additional Biblical archeology evidence but also as proof of the Exodus and possible dating aid however all searches of your site for this plaster inscription have turned up nothing. My apologies if I have overlooked the obvious, it has been known to happen. Thank you in advance.

Your Brother in Christ,
Hi Michael,

To read the response, visit "The Balaam inscription from Deir ‘Alla." Be sure to come back for information on Joshua and the Battle of Jericho.

Fall of Jericho, 1901, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
Studies of Jericho have been tainted by secular presuppositions and shoddy work. Some archaeologists said that the entire battle never happened, or at least not in the timeframe the Bible indicates. They overlook numerous facts that are consistent with the biblical narrative.

I disremember where I read it, but someone even said that the vibrations of the Israelites marching around the city caused the walls to collapse! Whoever that was should have checked with engineers before making such a risible statement.

It has also been said that an earthquake happened to bring the walls down, therefore, no miracle. God can cause things to happen through natural processes, and the timing was precise, and such that Rahab and her family were save, therefore, yes miracle.

Consider the cautions of what happened. Jericho was a fortress, and capable of withstanding a long siege. They thought they were safe. God was not going to be thwarted in his judgment by the machinations of men — individuals or nations.
Fascinating recent discoveries reveal something unusual happened to the ancient city of Jericho. Heavily fortified, with a virtually impregnable double wall, what caused her sudden destruction? And find out why it is significant that even her inhabitants’ foodstores could still be seen in our time, where they were left …

The name ‘Jericho’ brings to mind Israelites marching, trumpets sounding and walls falling down. It is a wonderful story of faith and victory, but did it really happen? 

The skeptic would say no, it is merely a folk tale to explain the ruins at Jericho. The main reason for this negative outlook is the excavations at the site carried out in the 1950s under the direction of British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon. She concluded,

Find out why the conclusion of Kenyon wasn't grand, based on shoddy analysis, at "The walls of Jericho." That article was published in 1999, but is still valid today. In addition, you would do well to read the information in this post from 2020, "Jericho after Joshua’s destruction — The match between the Bible and archaeology." HERE'S A BONUS, "Israeli official: Turkey agrees to return ancient Hebrew inscription to Jerusalem."