The Bible is said to span at least 1,400 years of recorded history, though some estimates extend it as far back as 4,000 years and more. During this time, empires rose and fell and their marks were left on history through a rich and detailed historical record. And though many of the kings and rulers named by the Bible appear to have been lost to the annals of time, Professor Tom Meyer of Shasta Bible College and Graduate School in California, US, believes the Bible’s mysteries can be unravelled through archaeology.
In particular, Professor Tom Meyer told Express.co.uk a 1933 British excavation in Jericho may have found artefacts related to King Eglon of Moab.
King Eglon, as described in the Book of Judges, was the ruler of Moab who together with Ammon and Amalek lead an assault on Israel.
Professor Meyer said: “A British archaeologist has likely discovered the palace of the famous and fat King of Moab, Eglon, who was assassinated by the Israelite judge Ehud.
“During the Biblical period of the Judges, around 1300 BC, King Eglon of Moab controlled the coveted Medeba Plateau in modern-day Jordan and used the plateau as a launching pad to push west to rule over the villages in Israel near Jericho as well as north and west of Jerusalem.
“King Eglon used Jericho as a home base to collect supplies from the raids in the region.”
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In 1933, British archaeologist John Garstang may have uncovered the palace of King Eglon in the ancient city of Jericho.
The palace would have only measured 40ft by 48ft but it would have been extremely lavish.
The discovery was dated by to the year 1,300 BC, which would place it around the time of King Eglon’s rule.
Professor Meyer said: “He also found a tantalizing clue: a very rare cuneiform tablet.
“Though the tablet doesn’t mention King Eglon by name, it testifies that the owner of the palace was a high-ranking government official.
King Eglon of Moab controlled the coveted Medeba Plateau in modern-day Jordan
“No other structures were found near the palace dating to the same time period which fits with the curse Joshua put upon anyone rebuilding the city of Jericho about 100 years earlier.”
Professor Meyer believes the two discoveries paired together with the biblical account of Eglon’s rule support the Bible’s historical track record.
He said: “Garstang’s claim of the discovery of King Eglon’s palace once again strengthens confidence in the historical accuracy of the Biblical record.”
A key element of King Eglon’s account is that of his assassination at the hands of Ehud, a left-handed Israelite judge, who killed the king at his palace.
Ehud’s actions were spurred by Eglon’s oppression of the poor to feed the rich.
Professor Meyer said: “Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin and came from a long line of warriors.
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Bible archaeology: King Eglon was assassinated by the Israelite Ehud
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“He personally led the convoy to deliver the taxes payable to King Eglon with the intent of assassinating the king.
“Ehud, a left-handed Benjamite – meaning son of my right hand – cleverly hedged his bets that the king’s secret service would not pat him down on his right thigh where his weapon was hidden; a right-handed man would keep his weapon on his left thigh.
“Ehud succeeded in smuggling his weapon into King Eglon’s palace.
“Special attention is given in the Biblical account to the heavy-set physical stature of King Eglon; being a fat ruler was a sign of health and wealth in the world of the Bible.”
After receiving his taxes, which likely came in the form of foodstuffs, the Jericho delegation was sent away.
But Ehud returned with a tantalising offer of a secret present for the king.
Professor Meyer said: “The bait was so tempting that the king’s bodyguards were immediately ushered out.
“So, King Eglon and Ehud were alone on the roof of the royal residence at Jericho.
“Ehud took the opportunity to rid Israel of its oppressor by assassinating him.
“The enormity of King Eglon’s size swallowed up the entire blade of the 18-inch sword and the handle itself which the left-handed Ehud had retrieved from his unchecked right thigh.”
Professor Meyer is a public speaker and lecturer who has memorised more than 20 books from the Bible and is known as The Bible Memory Man.