How the Excavation of Megiddo Found Evidence of a Biblical Episode

First appearing in the New Testament book of Revelation, the word Armageddon derives from the Hebrew har megiddo, referring to the mound or tel of the ancient fortress-city of Megiddo. Eric Cline describes the story behind the excavation of the site:

James Henry Breasted, the founding director of the newly established Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, had been wanting to dig at Megiddo . . . ever since June 1920. It was Lord Edmund Allenby, hero of the Allied forces in the Middle East during World War I and victor of the battle fought at Megiddo in 1918, who convinced Breasted that he should begin a new series of excavations at the ancient site. “Allenby of Armageddon,” as he was frequently called (though his official title was “Viscount Allenby of Megiddo”), had won the 1918 battle at the ancient site in part because of Breasted’s multi-volume publication, Ancient Records of Egypt, which appeared in 1906. In one of those volumes, Breasted translated into English the account of Pharaoh Thutmose III’s battle at Megiddo in 1479 BCE. Breasted’s translation allowed Allenby to employ, successfully, the same tactics 3,400 years later.

Breasted was particularly interested in recovering the remains of two cities out of the many that lay, one on top of another, within the ancient mound. One was the city that had been captured by Thutmose III. The other was Solomon’s, which that ancient king had reportedly fortified during the 10th century BCE, according to the Hebrew Bible.

Breasted’s excavation began in 1925 and in 1926 made its first major discovery, one that had in fact been unearthed by a previous archaeologist whose team had discarded it: a stone fragment with a hieroglyphic inscription bearing the symbol of Pharaoh Sheshonq, who had ruled Egypt from 945 to 920 BCE. Cline explains its significance:

According to a very lengthy inscription that Pharaoh Sheshonq ordered to be carved onto a wall in a temple in Egypt, he had attacked and captured Megiddo among many other cities in the area. We know that this took place a few years before the end of his reign, about 930 BCE. Thus, the fragment . . . may corroborate Sheshonq’s boast that he had captured the city. In addition, to a number of scholars and members of the public it was even more important because of its biblical implications, for many today equate Sheshonq with Pharaoh Shishak, who the Bible says attacked Jerusalem and other cities soon after the death of King Solomon, i.e., also approximately 930 BCE.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Ancient Egypt, Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Edmund Allenby, King Solomon, Megiddo

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy