How the Excavation of Megiddo Found Evidence of a Biblical Episode

March 26 2020

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.

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Read more at Spectator

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

 

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism