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Not every argument against the Bible is necessarily an enemy, and not every argument for the Bible is necessarily a friend. In all historical questions care must be taken not to read too much into the OT text.The historical books of the OT are also literature with themes, emphases, and literary conventions.In each case, a selection of issues are examined relating to the reliability and authority of the Old Testament.In recent years there has been an increase in scholarly literature coming to rather negative conclusions about the Old Testament (OT) and whether we can use the Bible as a source for history before the Babylonian exile in 586 BC. At the same time, there have been some quite significant archaeological discoveries supporting the biblical narrative in the centuries immediately preceding the exile.Of particular interest are personal seals with the names of biblical figures on them, and the even more numerous impressions (bullae) made by seals.These confirm the existence, activity, and approximate date of these figures.
This is confirmed by or allowed by the archaeological and historical evidence from this century.Biblical figures whose seals or bullae have been found include Kings Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh – the three successive kings of Judah who reigned ca. Other official figures include Azariah son of Hilkiah (1 Chronicles -14, Ezra 7:1), Gemariah son of Shaphan (Jeremiah ), Jerahmeel the king's son (Jeremiah ), and most notably Berechiah (Baruch) the son of Neriah, the scribe who wrote on behalf of Jeremiah. The historical support for the biblical narrative prior to this stage is not always so clear, and is often dependent upon the model of history taken and the dates to which individuals and events are assigned.There is debate about the chronological setting of every figure from King Solomon (ca. These debates can be seen as hinging on one's model for the Exodus, an event widely denied by modern scholars.When this approach is combined with a scepticism towards, or rejection of, predictive prophecy, we find that prophetic oracles are often dated by scholars so as to be 'predictions' after the event ().
Since in most cases such 'predictions' seem designed to be read as if they were written before the event, such a dating involves attributing deception to biblical writers.(3) The period of the Judges is not long enough if the 13th century is the date of the Exodus.