Archeologists Discover Evidence of Naboth’s Vineyard Referenced in Bible

Whether it’s because they don’t believe in God, or they want to discredit Christianity in favor of another religion, some believe the Bible to be a book of fiction – one that is full of stories and myths. That’s getting harder and harder to state though with the numerous recent discoveries that are backing up stories from the Bible. The most recent example of this is the archeological dig in Israel that unearthed evidence of Naboth’s Vineyard.

The account of the vineyard is given in the twenty-first chapter of 1 Kings. In the account, King Ahab asks a man who calls himself, Naboth from Jezreel, if he can buy his vineyard and use it as a vegetable garden. (The vineyard was conveniently located close to Ahab’s palace). Naboth refuses to sell it, telling Ahab that it had been passed down to him by his ancestors. The king is so mad that he refuses to eat. His infamous wife, Jezebel isn’t happy that Naboth wouldn’t sell his vineyard. She then takes matters into her own hands and has Naboth stoned to death. As soon as he hears the news, Ahab goes to the vineyard to claim it for his very own. Upon hearing this, the prophet Elijah gets sent by God to tell Ahab, “Because you have done this, dogs will lick your blood at the very place where they licked the blood of Naboth!”

After hearing this, Ahab did something completely uncharacteristic of himself – he humbled himself before the Lord and even went into a time of fasting and deep mourning. Because of this, the Lord showed mercy and did not do to Ahab what he said, even though God did destroy his dynasty.

According to scholars, Naboth’s vineyard is an important part of Biblical history and many say that it represents Israel. Although they insisted Naboth’s vineyard wasn’t an actual place, this recent archeological find in Israel is proving that the vineyard did exist in Jezreel, thus validating the account of Naboth—and the validity of the Bible itself.

The archeological project, known as the Jezreel expedition, began in 2012 and is being co-directed by Dr. Norma Franklin from the University of Haifa in Israel, and Jennie Ebeling from the University of Evansville in Indiana. The goal of the Jezreel expedition is to survey, excavate, and document the site.

Recently during the excavation, archeologists discovered over 100 rock-pit bottle-shaped pits. While some of them were hewn to be used as cisterns, others were most likely used in ancient times to store wine. Vineyards don’t actually leave behind archeological remains, but these bottle-shaped pits do suggest that Jezreel had a vineyard. Other pieces of evidence that point to Naboth’s vineyard is that an independent soil analysis showed a plot of land in the area had the quality needed for growing grapes. This plot of land is located just north of an ancient winery. During Biblical times, places that processed wine were located near the vineyards.

According to Dr. Franklin, the structure of the winepress leads her to believe it was made before 300 BC. Historians believe that King Ahab ruled from 869 to 850 BC.

Dr. Franklin is not a Christian. She does acknowledge, however, that this discovery seems to validate the Biblical account of Naboth’s vineyard and that the Jezreel Valley was a region that produced wine, just as it says in the Bible.

“As an archeologist, I cannot say that there was definitely a specific man named Naboth who had a particular vineyard. The story is very old but from what I have found, I can say that the story as described in the Bible quite probably could have occurred here in the Jezreel,” she said.

Based on the socio-economic status of people who lived in the Jezreel Valley at the time, Dr. Franklin does question whether or not Naboth would have lived in Jezreel. Her best guess is that Naboth was from the aristocracy, lived in Samaria, and had more than one vineyard. She also stated that the Bible is a useful resource for archeologists. She says that the writer of the book of Kings (some Biblical scholars say it was Jeremiah, others say it was a group of prophets), clearly pictured a vineyard that was close to the main highway, east of Jezreel. The location of the winery would have been convenient for those going to Samaria, which Dr. Franklin says, “correlates well with the story.”

~ Christian Patriot Daily


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