Feb 8, 2012 David Lang

So Much More Than Pictures

The Accordance Bible Lands PhotoGuide contains more than 1,600 high-quality photographs of biblical sites and regions. Yet it is far more than just a photographic archive. The PhotoGuide is a carefully-researched dictionary of biblical places which is packed with useful information. Take the time to explore it, and you'll learn a great deal about the world of the Bible. Over the next several posts, I'll highlight a few of the gems you'll find in the PhotoGuide.

One of my favorite articles in the PhotoGuide is the one entitled, "Inscriptions and Ancient Texts." This article has photos and in depth descriptions of various hieroglyphic, cuneiform, Hebrew, Semitic, Greek, and Latin inscriptions. These include the Rosetta Stone, the Law-Code of Hammurabi, the Babylonian Flood Story, the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, the Gezer Calendar, the Siloam Inscription, the Lachish Letters, inscriptions from Herod's temple, some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Moabite Stone, and more.

Here are a few of my favorites:

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser shows the king of Israel bowing before the king of Assyria

The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, pictured here, celebrates that Assyrian king's many conquests. The figure bowing down before Shalmaneser is identified as "Jehu son of Omri," the king of Israel at that time. (By the way, this identification of Jehu shows some confusion on the part of the Assyrians. Can anyone tell me why?)

This inscription may have belonged to the tomb of the steward condemned in Isaiah 22

This paleo-Hebrew inscription was found at the entrance to the tomb of a royal steward located outside Jerusalem. The inscription is damaged at the place where his name is given, but scholars believe this may have been the tomb of Shebna, whom Isaiah condemned in Isaiah 22:14-19. (How does this inscription corroborate the sin Isaiah was condemning?)


We've all heard that Gentiles were not allowed beyond the Court of the Gentiles in Herod's temple, but the sign pictured here actually warned them in Greek that they would have no one but themselves to blame for their own death should they be found inside. The PhotoGuide actually gives you a transcription of the Greek as well as an English translation! (Who in the New Testament was accused of violating this prohibition?)

These are just a few of the fascinating inscriptions shown and explained in the PhotoGuide. The Inscriptions article alone can dramatically increase your knowledge of the Bible. If you own the PhotoGuide, take some time to read it. If you don't own it, what are you waiting for?

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