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Scientists in Israel validate Biblical events in 2 Kings 12

A group of scientists from four Israeli universities confirm they have authenticated a widely debated event in the biblical book of 2 Kings using a new scientific method they call a "breakthrough".

Scientists from Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Bar-Ilan University, and Ariel University have reported the discovery of a new menthod. This proves the bricks that archaeologists found at the site of the biblical city Tell es-Safi/Gath, were destroyed in a fire that would have been set by King Hazael’s army. The occurence, as described in 2 Kings 12:17 involves a battle in Gath: “About this time Hazael king of Aram went up and attacked Gath and captured it. Then he turned to attack Jerusalem.”

Skeptics of the biblical event had speculated that “the building had not burned down but rather collapsed over decades, and that the fired bricks found in the structure had been fired in a kiln prior to construction”. 

The method is based on measuring the magnetic field recorded in burnt bricks and “locked” in the brick as it burned and cooled down. Professor Aren Maeir of Bar-Ilan University said: “Our findings are important for determining the intensity of the fire and the scope of destruction in Gath – the largest and most powerful city in the land at the time, and also for understanding construction practices in the region.”

The multidisciplinary study was led by Dr. Yoav Vaknin from the Sonia & Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Entin Faculty of Humanities, at Tel Aviv University, and the Palaeomagnetic Laboratory at The Hebrew University. He explained the process in an interview: “The clay from which the bricks were made contains millions of ferromagnetic particles – minerals with magnetic properties that behave like so many tiny ‘compasses’ or magnets. In a sun-dried mud brick the orientation of these magnets is almost random, so that they cancel out one another. Therefore, the overall magnetic signal of the brick is weak and not uniform. Heating to 200°C or more, as happens in a fire, releases the magnetic signals of these magnetic particles and, statistically, they tend to align with the earth’s magnetic field at that specific time and place. When the brick cools down, these magnetic signals remain locked in their new position and the brick attains a strong and uniformly oriented magnetic field, which can be measured with a magnetometer. This is a clear indication that the brick has, in fact, been fired.”

Their discovery was published in the scientific journal Plos One. 


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