Reason 21 - Archaeology on Conquest of Canaan
There is archaeological evidence of the Israelite conquest of Canaan
Keleman continues on pages 109-110:
Regarding the Israelite conquest of Canaan, evidence abounds. The most dramatic artefact is the Egyptian stela of Merneptah – a stone slab engraved with the poetic recounting of this pharaoh’s military victory over ancient Libya. In the list of Asiatic peoples whom Merneptah’s army encountered we find the only Egyptian reference to “Israel.” Scholars agree that this stela establishes Israel’s presence in Canaan no later than 1220 B.C.E. Archaeological evidence of conquest indicates a date even closer to the biblical date of entry. “The thirteenth century B.C. destructions of Hazor, Dan, and Bethel can be correlated with the biblical accounts fairly well”, writes Stiebling, adding that “if one accepts the identifications of Eglon with Tell el-Hesi and Debir with Tell Beit Mirsim, the Late Bronze Age II B destructions at those sites could also be used to support the biblical narratives”. Thompson adds that the destruction of biblical Lachish also matches the archaeological record quite well.
Keleman continues on pages 110-111:
Introducing a 1986 article by Professor Nahum Sarna of Brandeis University, the editors of Biblical Archaeologist offered this summary of conquest evidence: “The picture reconstructed by archaeological research generally fits biblical accounts of the wars of conquest, and there is no convincing reason not to correlate the one with the other.” Indeed, supporters of the theory that the Israelites conquered Canaan in the period dictated by biblical chronology include the biggest names in contemporary biblical archaeology: William Albright; John Bright; Yehezkel Kaufmann; J.L. Kelso; Paul Lapp; Abraham Malamat; G.E. Wright; and Yigael Yadin.
Bright’s comments conclude this section most appropriately: “When we come to the narratives of the conquest, the external evidence at our disposal is considerable and important, [and] in light of it, the historicity of such a conquest ought no longer to be denied”.