|On more than one occasion, skeptics have accused the Bible of making a mistake regarding a person, place or thing simply because no archaeological evidence has been uncovered corroborating the statement found in the Bible. Such was the case regarding the sole mention of Sargon, King of Assyria. In Isaiah 20:1, the prophet said:“In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;”For many years, skeptics insisted that the biblical writer must be mistaken. After all, many inscriptions and archaeological finds from the Assyrian empire had been found, yet not a single one of them mentioned Sargon of Isaiah 20.
But in 1843, French archaeologist Paul Emile Botta dealt the deathblow to this argument. Acting on information he had received about the small village of Khorsabad, Iraq, Botta began excavating the site and uncovered the palace of King Sargon. The magnificent palace complex occupied some 25 acres. Inside the palace, Botta uncovered reception halls with their winged animals, sculptures, bas-reliefs and many other artifacts with inscriptions everywhere. All of these gave a peculiar insight into the advanced level of art that existed in ancient Assria. Not the least among those inscriptions was a particularly revealing inscription discussing his actions against Ashdod, the very city mentioned in Isaiah 20:1.
King Sargon was the first person in recorded history to create an empire or multi-ethnic state. His empire encompassed the region of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and part of what is present-day Turkey. He formed the first Semitic dynasty in Akkad, a region in central Iraq, north of Sumeria. He was the founder of Mesopotamian military traditions. During his reign of 56 years, King Sargon invaded all the cities in the Middle East and as far as the Arabian Gulf.
At the very beginning of his reign, he besieged and took the city of Samaria. On an inscription found in the palace he built at Khorsabad, he says, “The city of Samaria I besieged and captured: 27,290 people from its midst I carried captive. 50 chariots I took there as an addition to my royal force… The biblical account of this at 2 kings 17:6 reads:
“In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Harbor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.”
The striking similarity of the two accounts only shows that no archaeological discovery had ever controverted a biblical reference. Needless to say, skeptics no longer accuse Isaiah of a historical discrepancy regarding King Sargon.
It appears clear that archaeology, once again, confirms the accuracy of the biblical record… a discovery that proves how authentic the Bible is.
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