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Solomon's Great Empire!

Tribe of Asher Israelite/Phonicians

              ANCIENT ISRAEL HISTORY YOU WERE NEVER TAUGHT #2

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King Solomon and the "Golden Age" 


     Some of his analysis indicates that the Egyptians continued
trading with ancient American inhabitants long after the kingdom
of Israel fell to the Assyrians.
     Additionally, another stele was unearthed in Oklahoma with
reference to the Phoenician and Egyptian gods of Baal and Ra,
with an inscription described as "an extract from the Hymn to the
Aton by Pharaoh Akhnaton [which]...dates from the thirteenth
century B.C." This stele is written in Iberian-Punic (related to
Hebrew/Phoenician), and is dated by Fell as "scarcely older than
800 B.C." This stele also supports the Biblical account of
Israelite/Phoenician/Egyptian cooperation, and further indicates
that this cooperation survived long after the death of Solomon.
     Further evidence of ancient international commercial
contacts is found in the discovery of copper ingots in ancient
burial mounds in Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana and Kentucky. The
same type of copper ingots (shaped like four-limbed animal hides)
are also found in Old World archeological sites as well,
indicating that they served as a acceptable form of ancient
currency on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

     So far, we have seen clear evidence that Baal-worshipping
Hebrew/Phoenicians were in ancient America, but what about
worshippers of the true God of Israel? One major barrier to
finding relics of worshippers of God (Yahweh) is that such
worshippers were forbidden by God to build elaborate altars. In
Exodus 20:24-26, God commanded the Israelites to make plain
altars of earth or natural stones which had not been shaped by
any tools, and added that altars not be placed at the head of
staircases. These instructions effectively eliminated the kind of
manmade religious structures which the pagans built (and which
can be unearthed by archeologists today). There could have been
many worshippers of Yahweh in ancient America at the time that
Israel served God under King Solomon, and there would be no
record of them if they followed God's instructions on altar
building. Also, Exodus 20:23 records that God forbade the making
of "gods of gold and silver," and the second of the Ten
Commandments forbids the manufacture of any "graven image" as
part of religious worship. This further eliminates the types of
artifacts (idols) which pagan worshippers commonly manufactured.
God likely gave these instructions so people would keep their
minds focused on God and his laws, and not on physical
structures.

     However, there is evidence that worshippers of Yahweh, the
God of Israel, were present in ancient America. Near Albuquerque,
New Mexico there are ancient Hebrew inscriptions (called the Los
Lunas inscriptions) which record on stone the Exodus 20 version
of the Ten Commandments. Dr.Fell noted that "the inscription,
written in ancient Hebrew letters of the style of the Moab Stone,
about 1000 B.C., was not translated until 1949." A dating of 1000
B.C. would place this inscription during the reigns of Kings
David and Solomon of the united kingdom of Israel, when Israel
was, indeed, serving the God of the Bible. The famous "Moabite
Stone", referred to above, was found in the Mideast and refers to
wars between Israel and Moab in the ninth century B.C., during
the time of the separate kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
     Additionally, George Morehouse, a geologist who studied this
ancient Hebrew Decalogue inscription estimated the inscription to
be 500-2000 years old, based on the weathered patina of the rock.
However, accurately dating the inscription on the basis of
weatherization was made very difficult by the fact that the
inscriptions were apparently receiving annual scrubbings by a
troop of well-meaning Boy Scouts, and it could be determined that
a tool such as a wire brush had also been used in the scrubbings
of the inscriptions.
     To complicate further the dating of this ancient Hebrew
inscription is the statement that "the punctuation [of the
inscription] matched that of ancient Greek manuscripts, such as
the Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century A.D 43. There are
several obvious questions which impede dating this ancient Hebrew
inscription: (A) While the inscription has received recent
scrubbings wiping away evidence of aging, it is also possible
that other such scrubbings occurred during its ancient history
(since it was an important site to worshippers of God, they would
seek to maintain the inscriptions in a cleansed condition for as
long as they were aware of it), and (B) the inscription has the
writing style of Hebrew which dates back to the reign of Solomon,
but has punctuation which indicates a date in the early Christian
era. Dr.Fell's discussion of the punctuation states that
separation points like those in this inscription date as early as
1200 B.C., but that the oldest known record of some punctuation
marks (carets to denote an insertion to correct an omission) date
to the Codex Sinaiticus of the fourth century A.D. This does not
date the Hebrew inscription to the fourth century A.D., per se,
but is rather an example of the oldest known occurrence of a
similar punctuation mark. How long such punctuation was used
prior to the fourth century A.D. is not known.
     In view of the above, an exact dating of this ancient
American stele cannot be stated with certainty, but it pre-dates
the arrival of Columbus by at least a thousand years, and may
well be as old as the reign of Solomon. One factor supporting a
dating of this Hebrew inscription to the approximate time of
Solomon is a consideration of economic and logistic realities in
the ancient world. Transoceanic expeditions and colonization
efforts in the ancient world required a very large commitment of
monetary and human resources. The source of authorization for
such an expenditure of money and resources would generally have
to be the king of a wealthy nation. A model for this fact is the
European colonization efforts which began when Columbus
"rediscovered" America in 1492. The European colonization efforts
required the backing and approval of national monarchs in order
to occur at all. Even those large companies which had a presence
in the New World (for example, the Hudson's Bay Company)
conducted their efforts only with the support and approval of a
reigning monarch. Those who would argue for a more recent date
for the Los Lunas inscriptions are confronted with this major
problem: What Old World nation in the fourth century A.D. would
support and fund exploration and/or colonization efforts in the
New World which would leave behind classical Hebrew inscriptions?
Since there were no Hebrew nations in the Old World in the fourth
century A.D., such a proposal lacks the support of any logical
historical context for its occurrence.
     It seems apparent that the Los Lunas Hebrew inscription
could have occurred only with the backing and support of a
wealthy Hebrew speaking nation such as ancient Israel of the
Bible (dating the inscription to 1000-720 B.C.) However, since
the Los Lunas inscription indicates the makers were devoted to
the God of the Ten Commandments, we are limited to those kings of
Israel who could have funded international expeditions during the
nation's period of loyalty to God. This requirement limits the
prospective dating of the Los Lunas inscription to the reigns of
Kings David and Solomon. The kings of Israel which followed David
and Solomon were, almost without exception, apostates who served
Baal and other idolatrous "gods." Under such kings, any sailing
fleets would have left inscriptions confirming their devotion to
idolatrous "gods" (as in the inscriptions on the trilingual,
Davenport artifact). The kings of Judah (which survived until
about 576 B.C.) had several righteous kings whose followers
served God, but Judah was a small nation with few resources to
fund and mount such expeditions. Judah had a few interludes of
national power and greatness, but there is no record that Judah
was ever a naval power. I Kings 22:48-49 and II Chronicles
20:36-37 record that righteous King Jehoshaphat tried to build a
fleet for Judah, but God himself intervened to stop Judah from
becoming a naval power. Therefore, the only logical historical
context for the making of the Los Lunas inscriptions would seem
to be during the reigns of either Kings David or Solomon.

     Since King David was a warrior with little time for (and no
apparent interest in) scientific endeavors, the reign of King
Solomon is the only logical milieu for any expeditions or
colonization efforts which would had sailors or colonists carving
inscriptions proclaiming a loyalty to the God of the Bible. Also,
King Solomon's insatiable scientific curiosity, which included
the desire to learn about the flora and fauna of foreign lands
(see I Kings 4:29-33, 10:22), would have caused him to be willing
and eager to fund such international expeditions. I Kings 10:22
records that Solomon had a fleet which returned to Israel only
after voyages lasting three years. A voyage of three years
virtually mandates that this was a fleet devoted to world
exploration. That it returned with samples of wildlife such as
"apes and peacocks" argues that this fleet made stops in (at
least) the continents of Africa and Asia during its extended
voyages. Although the time of King Solomon is the most logical
historical context for the making of the Los Lunas inscriptions,
there is one other (less likely) option. It is possible that the
Los inscriptions were made by Israelite, Hebrew-speaking
followers of the God of Israel who were refugees from the
persecution of the various Baal-worshipping kings of either
Israel or Judah. While this possibility would allow for a more
recent dating of the New Mexico inscriptions, this possibility
would still require a dating no more recent than the sixth
century B.C. The salient conclusion about the Los Lunas
inscriptions is that whatever their age, they confirm the
presence in ancient America of Hebrewspeaking Israelites who
worshipped the true God approximately two millennia prior to the
voyage of Columbus.

     This conclusion apparently bothers some people so much that
they will resort to unsavory measures to discredit this
scientific conclusion. In what was an apparent attempt to
discredit the validity of the ancient Hebrew translation of the
Los Lunas inscriptions, a series of artifacts were "discovered"
in the region of the Los Lunas inscriptions and certain
individuals asserted that these new "artifacts" indicated that
the Los Lunas inscriptions were Greek (not Hebrew) and made by a
Greek exile who was present in the New World around 500 B.C. In a
1986 court trial, it was conclusively demonstrated by expert
epigraphers/linguists that these other "artifacts" were hoaxes
which were shown "to have actually been made since 1979"
     It seems evident that someone was so alarmed about evidence
that Israelites were in ancient America that a hoax was concocted
to try to discredit the evidence. It is sad that some people are
so afraid of the truth about the ancient world that they will
resort to such measures to obscure it. Paradoxically, while the
hoaxers attempted to discredit the evidence that Israelites were
present in ancient America, the end result of the attempted hoax
was that the court trial actually affirmed the evidence that
Israelites were present in ancient America by demonstrating
conclusively that the Los Lunas inscriptions are a record of the
Ten Commandments in ancient Hebrew.
     Additional evidence of ancient worshippers of the true God
in America has been noted on a "Decalogue Tablet" (a stone tablet
having an ancient Hebrew inscription of the Ten Commandments)
which was unearthed in Ohio in 1860. Besides having an
inscription of the Ten Commandments on it, the tablet includes
the depiction of "an individual meant to represent Moses [which]
has been carved in considerable detail on the 'front' of the
tablet ...[and] a 'handle' at the bottom of the tablet, which may
have been constructed to accommodate a strap. The presence of a
handle on this tablet indicates that it served as a portable
object which could accompany worshippers of God as they were
traveling in ancient America.
     This "Decalogue Tablet" was found as grave goods buried with
a body in an earthen mound. That a portable tablet with the Ten
Commandments in ancient Hebrew was found in a grave indicates
that the person buried in the mound may have been an ancient
levitical priest who was present with Israelite explorers or
colonists in ancient America. It has been noted that the Hebrew
inscription also has some characteristics of "the old Phoenician
alphabets." While one analyst of this tablet notes, "the question
of the tablet's actual age is impossible to accurately ascertain
at this time," he also adds that the discovery of this tablet
(and many other ancient artifacts found on American soil) means:
"The time frame of continental exploration is suddenly retreating
to 1000 B.C. or earlier." 
     A time frame of 1000 B.C. again coincides with the age of
Israelite greatness under Kings David and Solomon, and since
Solomon's reign was a period of general peace, it is more likely
that such explorations took place under King Solomon. Since the
tablet's inscriptions are of the Ten Commandments (indicating a
fealty to the God of Israel by whoever made the mound), it argues
that this burial likely took place in King Solomon's reign, as
the Israelites quickly forsook the worship of God after Solomon's
death. Furthermore, the inscriptions inclusion of characteristics
of "the old Phoenician alphabets" argues for an earlier date for
its inscription rather than a more recent dating when few
Israelites served the God of Israel. However, the possibility
exists that some Israelites in the New World retained their
loyalty to God long after the Israelites in the Old World
abandoned the laws of God. New World Israelites could have
retained linguistic traits from earlier periods for a greater
length of time since they were remote from their Old World
motherland and would have been less affected by linguistic
changes occurring in the Old World.

     Additional evidence of a Hebrew presence in ancient New
England (in the area of the 20 acre "temple site" discussed
earlier) is seen in the residual presence of hundreds of
Semitic/Hebrew root words in the languages of the Eastern
Algonquin Indians.
     Whatever the dating of the above artifacts, such discoveries
provide solid archaeological support to the Bible's assertion
that the ancient Israelites sponsored wide-ranging fleets and
were one the major nations of the ancient world. Since the Ten
Commandments in ancient Hebrew have been found in both Ohio and
New Mexico (locations quite distant from one another), it
indicates that ancient Israelite explorations and/or
colonizations of the New World were widespread. This conclusion
is disconcerting to "establishment" spokespersons who cling to
their dogma that "Columbus discovered America in 1492" no matter
how voluminous the evidence becomes that not only the Israelites
but many other Old World nations sent explorers or colonists to
the New World. As this book progresses, the evidence of ancient
artifacts in North America will become both more voluminous and
convincing.
     Hundreds of inscribed Phoenician, Celtiberian, and Basque
stone grave markers, dated to 800-600 B.C., have been found in
the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania. These artifacts had been
identified as Phoenician decades prior to Dr.Fell's research, but
such assertions were generally disregarded by a skeptical and
closeminded archaeological and historical community. A Phoenician
figurine, also dated to 800-600 B.C., was unearthed in one of the
ancient American burial mounds.

     The Egyptian presence in the New World has been found in the
writing system of the Wabanaki/Micmac Indians (an Algonquin
tribe) of Maine, in an ancient tablet found on Long Island in New
York, and on the Iowa stele mentioned earlier in this chapter.
Also, the reader is urged to recall the information presented
earlier in this chapter that the ancient Egyptians explored
Hawaii and the Pacific regions of the earth as they "roamed the
Indian and Pacific Oceans for gold about 1000 B.C. The date of
"about 1000 B.C." parallels the golden age of the Israelite's
Empire days under Kings David and Solomon when the Bible states
that Egypt was allied to King Solomon's Israelites.
     An inscription in ancient Ogam and Libyan (the language of
Egyptian sailors) was found along the Rio Grande River of Texas
which indicates an Egyptian/Libyan king named Shishonq visited
North America in ancient times. The ancient inscription is
rendered as "A crew of Shishonq the King took shelter in this
place of concealment," and Dr.Fell's commentary on the
inscription states:

"several kings of this name ruled Libya and Egypt between
1000-800 B.C., an era when North African voyagers began to
explore the New World." 

     The exploration of North America in 1000-800 B.C. by
explorers from the Mediterranean coasts of North Africa is quite
significant. That is the period of Israel's dominance in the
Mediterranean, which began under Kings David and King Solomon
around 1000 B.C. Whether this inscription dates to the reign of
King Solomon or not, it further confirms that nautical travel
between the Mediterranean Sea and North America did take place in
ancient times. The phrase "Crew of Shishonq the King" may
indicate that the king himself was on the voyage. Obviously,
monarchs would not likely have come to the New World unless it
was considered safe to leave their home kingdom. A period of
peaceful stability, as during King Solomon's reign, would have
been an ideal time for such journeys. Also, the Bible records
that many monarchs undertook international visits during the
reign of Solomon (II Chronicles 9:23-24).

     Dr.Fell cited the work of another epigrapher, Gloria Farley,
who "made notable finds of ancient inscriptions left by Libyans,
Celts and Phoenicians who ascended the Mississippi, Arkansas and
Cimarron Rivers." The evidence already presented in this chapter
is convincing that the Mediterranean civilizations, beginning in
the time of King Solomon (and afterwards), were present not only
in ancient North America but also in the lands of the Indian and
Pacific Oceans.
     When Solomon built a fleet at Ezion-geber on the Red Sea (I
Kings 9:26-27), he was able to send his fleets eastward toward
the Indian Ocean as well as westward toward the Atlantic Ocean
and North America through Egypt's "canal" to the Mediterranean
Sea. In doing do, he was building on the previous nautical
experience not only of his Phoenician allies, but also that of
his new ally Egypt. However, such mutual explorations probably
reached their zenith during the reign of Solomon due to one
obvious circumstance. Under Solomon, all the Mediterranean powers
of any consequence were allied together and their natural enemy
(Assyria) had been "taken out" by King David in his military
confrontation with Assyria and the Mesopotamian powers. With
great joint power and no formidable enemies to challenge them,
Israel/Phoenicia and Egypt could devote their resources to
peaceful pursuits such as worldwide exploration and colonization.
As we have seen, this is precisely what occurred.

     It is also significant that Dr.Fell noted the time period of
"1000-800 B.C." as marking the onset of significant Old World
exploration of the New World. This time frame parallels the
period wherein the Bible states there was a great deal of
international travel and commerce with even monarchs coming from
around the world to visit Solomon in Jerusalem! This time frame
exactly parallels the beginning of the golden age of the
Israelites, and includes much of the time when the kingdom of
Israel was a major power. The conclusion is inescapable: The
record of ancient history verifies the biblical accounts. The
Bible is not a detailed history of all that happened in the
ancient world, but it does parallel what archaeology and
epigraphy have now shown about the real state of activities in
the ancient world.

     Many historical accounts confirm that the beginning of the
first millennium B.C. marked a golden age for Phoenicia. One
source states:

"Phoenician trade on an international scale in textiles,
metalwork, pottery, glass, timber, wheat and wine gave the
country three centuries - beginning around 1000 B.C. - of
prosperity unmatched in its history." 

     Historical evidence that Phoenicia's greatness began around
1000 B.C. is critically important since it coincides precisely
with the period during which King Hiram of Tyre allied his people
to Israel's rising power under King David. Since the Israelites
were of a common race, language and religion (for much of the
time) with the Phoenicians, the Israelite role in "Phoenicia's
golden age" has not been recognized! In fact, it was Israel's
golden age rubbing off on the Phoenician city-states. Israel was
the dominant partner in their alliance, and the Phoenicians
served as junior partners of Israel! This conclusion is supported
by the facts that Phoenicia's "golden age" did not start until it
allied itself to Israel, and that Phoenicia reverted to minor
power status as soon as the Israelite nation waned and fell.
Israel was the driving force behind the "Phoenician golden age,"
not the small city-states of Phoenicia that were unable either to
create or sustain any "golden age" of international power apart
from their alliance to Israel.


(What is missed by most, and it seems Collins also, is that the
Phoenician land was mainly settled by Israelites after they
entered the Promised Land under Joshua. Looking at my Bible Atlas
by Reader's Digest, the land of Canaan went as far as to Kadesh,
above Tyre and Sidon. The Tribe of Asher settled this area and
the part of the Tribe of Dan was to the East of Asher. While it
is true that "Phoenicians" were there before Israel inherited the
land, the fact is that the tribe of Asher inherited most of the
Phoenician land, and by the time of Solomon, we can see why the
rulers of that part of the Holy Land teamed up with Solomon to
build the Temple in Jerusalem and to become a great sea-faring
power, for they were Israelites of the tribe of Asher. And hence
also their power of sea travel stopped shortly after Israel and
then Judah were conquered by the Assyrians and Babylonians
respectively - Keith Hunt)

     At this juncture, several observations must be made about
the term "Phoenicia." This book has so far referred to the
inhabitants of the city-states of Tyre, Sidon, etc. as
"Phoenicians," and to the inhabitants of Israel as "Israelites."
However, the term "Phoenicia," when applied to the ancient world
in the time frame 1000-700 B.C., designates the combined alliance
of the Israelites and the city-states led by Tyre and Sidon. It
must also be realized that the people known to us as
"Phoenicians" did not give themselves that name. The term
"Phoenicia" is derived from a Greek word which the Greek
historians used to describe many people living on the Eastern
shores of the Mediterranean Sea. George Rawlinson wrote:

"At first, the term [Phoenicia] was used [by the Greeks] with a
good deal of vagueness, of the Syrian coast generally between
Asia Minor and Egypt." 

     The Encyclopedia Judaica states that "the Greek name
Phoinike is first mentioned by Homer," and it adds:
"though the exact extent of the region called Phoenicia cannot be
determined, the name is clearly the Greek equivalent of Canaan."
     The Greek age of Homer is identified by Henry Halley as
being contemporary with Israel's golden age under Kings David and
Solomon. The Encyclopaedia Britannica lists many estimated dates
for Homer's birth, including 1159 B.C., 1102 RC., 1044 B.C., and
830 B.C. The Encyclopedia Americana states: "Ancient tradition
...plac[ed] Homer in the 9th century B.C...." These [poetic
sources] suggest a date, now widely accepted, in the last half of
the 8th century B.C.
     While no one knows the dates of Homer's lifetime, all of the
above suggested dates precede or coincide with the period of
Israel's long alliance with Tyre and Sidon. This is important
because if Homer originated the term "Phoenicia," he did so at a
time when the city-states of Tyre, Sidon, etc. were so closely
linked to the Kingdom of Israel that they were virtually one
entity in world affairs.
     The word "Phoenicia" is, therefore, derived from an initial
Greek description of the area known to us as the land of Canaan,
with Asia Minor and Egypt marking the northern and southern
limits of the area in reference. The term "Phoenicia" was applied
to this area at a time when Israel was the dominant power in the
region; therefore, the original application of the term
"Phoenicia" included Israel's territory as well. The Encyclopedia
Americana succinctly comments on this issue as follows:

"The name 'Phoenicians' was given by the Greeks to the
inhabitants of the coastal region of present-day Lebanon and the
adjacent shores of Israel and Syria in the first millennium B.C.
No evidence exists that they called themselves by any such name."

(Ah, Collins is close to the truth of the matter - in fact he has
hit upon it but does not state it as clearly as I have just done
- in the time of Solomon the team-work with what others call
Phoenicia and Israel, was in fact Israelites teamed with
Israelites - Keith Hunt)

                         .........................


To be continued 


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