By Tyson Thorne

February 20, 2019

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"Media" used to mean "print media" like books and newspapers, but the world has grown. Today media can also mean radio, television and movies delivered to personal computers, tablets and cell phones. As the world's best selling book of all time the Bible continues to make headlines, both good and bad, across all forms of media. Bible critics are silenced as Christian archaeologist Dr. Scott Stripling locates the ancient Canaanite city of Ai, proving the reliability of the Biblical account and shedding new light on the changing culture of the Near East in general and of early Israel in particular.

In the field of archaeology there are many who have a love-hate relationship with the Bible. They love the fact that the Bible has made the near east a place of significant interest because it makes getting funding for digs easier. Everything else about the Bible is at best a distraction to them, and at worst an aggravating competitor. They often argue that the Bible is wrong regarding the history it records. Such-and-such city couldn't be located there, that people group isn't mentioned in any other ancient documents so they likely did not exist, there is no evidence during the time-frame for these events to have happened.... Nearly every argument they bring against the Bible is represented here, or in some combination.

In 1924 William F Albright found a location he predicted was the where the city of Ai once stood. Ai is an important city Biblically speaking. It was one of the cities Joshua had to conquer when taking the promised land. Ai was significant because it was while at war with this city that God chose to illustrate to Israel how serious he is about sin and obedience. Due to the sin of an Israelite name Achan, they lost that first battle. After dealing with the sin, Joshua was able to conquer the city and execute its king publically. So Albright's theory was an important one to Biblicists. The story is told in Joshua 7-8.

Then in 1933 Judith Marquet-Kraus began an excavation of the Tel, but couldn't prove much of anything except another city had existed at the location -- one that was built on top of another, older, bronze-age city. The next archaeologist to take a crack at excavating et-Tell was Joseph Callaway from 1964-72. He did not find the famed old city either, and concluded that the city known as Ai probably didn't exist at the time of the Conquest, meaning the Bible was wrong in its account. 

Then, in 1994, Bryant G. Wood read the exploits of Edward Robinson. Robbinson was an American Bible scholar who crawled around the hills and deserts of Israel in the middle 1800's. According to his journal, a group of natives informed him that the ancient city of Ai was located at Khibet el-Maqatir. Wood investigated and found that the topography of the region described in the Bible didn't line up with the previous location, but it was spot-on when looking at Khibet el-Maqakir. He published these facts and the Associates for Biblical Research have decided to have a look. Enter Dr. Scott Stripling, provost of the Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas. 

Unlike those that came before him, Stripling has a deep faith and confidence in the Bible and so directed an excavation at the site from 2013-2017. Stripling has been preparing to present his findings for publication later this year, but the lead has already leaked; the site matches the description and timeline of the Bible precisely. While there will undoubtedly be those who oppose his findings, many who have examined Stripling's evidence seem convinced, and multiple news sites around Israel are already reporting that Ai has been found. 

The Bible's critics have once more been caught in a fallacy of logic, arguing from silence. Every time they argue that such-or-something hasn't been found I always reply with one word, "yet". It hasn't been found - yet. The Bible has proven itself over and over throughout modern history - or as Dr. Stripling states: 

“Even if you dispute the historical reliability of the Bible, which I would take issue with, you can’t deny the hundreds of synchronisms between the archaeological data and the Biblical text.”

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