Islamic extremists seem to be intent on destroying evidence of other faiths. But earlier this month it was revealed that when they tried to destroy the tomb of the Prophet Jonah, they actually revealed the palace of the Assyrian King Sennacherib.
Part of the damaged tomb.
It seems that the palace was built for Sennarcherib before 680 BC, expanded by his son Esarhaddon and renovated by his grandson Ashurbanipal – all three of whom are mentioned in the Bible. So, in trying to destroy evidence of the Hebrew prophet Jonah, ISIS uncovered evidence of the Assyrian kings who lived in Jonah’s time – more evidence that the Hebrew Scriptures are correct.
The discovery was made by local archaeologists who had begun documenting the damage done to the Nebi Yunus shrine (Jonah’s tomb). They found that ISIS had dug tunnels deep under the site, so they probed those tunnels and found the previously undiscovered palace.
The palace was partially destroyed in 612 BC, when Medes and Babylonians sacked the city of Nineveh and ended the Assyrian’s dominance. Though the site had been partially excavated in the mid-19th century, and excavations were renewed in the 1950s, the ancient palace remained hidden.
Another recent discovery was made prior to laying a water pipeline to Jerusalem. A ‘wide, well-preserved 2,000-year-old road dating to the Roman period’ was uncovered last month during excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority near Beit Shemesh.
It seems that the road was built to link the Roman settlement near Beit Natif with the main highway known as the ‘Emperor’s Road.’ It is believed to have been built at about the time of the Bar Kochba revolt in AD 132-135.
In addition, some ancient coins were discovered along the road, including one from the time of Pontius Pilate, dating to AD 29; another from the time of Agrippa I around AD 41; and one from the second year of the Great Revolt in AD 67.
Whilst on the subject of ancient coins, a cache of nine bronze coins from the end of the Byzantine period (seventh century AD) was discovered last year in salvage excavations that were part of a scheme to widen Highway 1 in Israel. The coins bear images of three Byzantine emperors: Justinian, Maurice, and Phocas. The director of the excavations thinks the hidden coins indicate the time when the site was deserted in the face of the Sassanid Persian invasion of AD 614 – one factor that led to the end of Byzantine rule in the Land of Israel.
Thus archaeological discoveries in the Middle East continue to reveal the truth of the Bible and the rich history of the land of Israel.