Researcher Verifies Historical Existence of 50+ Men in Old Testament Using Archaeology

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University researcher has verified the existence of 53 men mentioned in the Old Testament by painstakingly reviewing ancient historical sources and comparing them to the Bible.

Dr. Lawrence Mykytiuk is an associate professor of library science who specializes in history and Jewish studies. In the 1990s, Mykytiuk began to study the archaeological record, looking for evidence of those mentioned in the Bible.

“While some would put their hand on the Bible and really mean it when they take an oath, a few revisionist academics would throw it out and say, ‘That’s creative writing.’ I was looking for concrete, objective evidence outside of the Bible that would help build the case,” Mykytiuk said in a recent press release from the university.

Typically Mykytiuk considers a biblical person verified only if three identifying characteristics (such as the person’s name, the person’s title, and the person’s father’s name) match with an extra-biblical historical source, like an ancient inscription.

“If it matches the same three mentions in Scripture, it’s a virtual certainty,” Mykytiuk said, according to a report from Times of Israel. “There might be a few people with the same name, father’s name, but same title? That’s stretching it. I consider it a virtual certainty, either a dead ringer or virtual certainty.”

“Sometimes the three-step process is not necessary, as when we know that the person in an inscription and the person in the Bible are both connected to a one-time circumstance or event that fits one and only one person,” Mykytiuk explained.

“For example, Ahab, king of Israel, ruled during the period in which the famous battle of Qarqar was fought in 853 B.C.,” Mykytiuk said. “His Assyrian enemy wrote about ‘Ahab the Israelite,’ one of the kings he fought in that particular battle. Therefore, Ahab, king of Israel in the Bible, and Ahab, the Israelite king at the battle of Qarqar in the Assyrian inscription, must have been the same person.”

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Using the painstaking three-step research process, Mykytiuk initially confirmed the existence of 50 Old Testament individuals and described his findings in a 2014 report. Then, earlier this year, he announced the addition of three more people to the list, bringing the total number of historically-verified Bible characters to 53.

“[These figures] mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record,” Mykytiuk wrote in his report, which was published in Biblical Archaeology Review. “Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.”

The list of people Mykytiuk has verified include Egyptian pharaohs; kings of countries neighboring Israel; officials from the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires; and several well-known Israelite kings, including Ahab, Jehu, David, Hezekiah, and Manasseh.

Although Mykytiuk says that verifying a person’s existence does not prove everything the Bible details about the person, he believes it is still a good start.

“If you get the person’s name, his or her father’s name, and the person’s office or title, that doesn’t verify that they did certain things. But it can sometimes show they were in a position to do the things Scripture says they did,” he stated. “That’s often as far as you can go. Still, there are some longer inscriptions from ancient Israel’s neighbors that mention people and events in the Old Testament, just describing them from a different point of view.”

“This evidence shows that it is not essential to have religious faith in order to understand and accept much of what the Bible presents,” he opined. “It demonstrates that even on the basis of writings outside of the Bible alone, Scripture does have a considerable degree of historical credibility.”

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  • Joseph F. Gambino

    Great work!

  • Amos Moses – He>i

    IMPOSSIBLE …. the scriptures are just fairy tales …… /SARC off ………..

    • meamsane

      You beat me to it by 5 hours Amos! Good one!!!!

  • InTheChurch

    Can I see the evidence that contradicts these findings please. Anyone?
    keep up the good work Doc.

  • This style 10/6

    Has anyone ever maintained that the bible does not mention real persons? Egyptian Pharaohs, for example, are well recorded from Egyptian sources and it is no surprise to find them in the bible.

    What this does not prove is that the bible is divinely inspired. Indeed it shows that is was written by men who knew what was going on around them or had access to contemporary sources.

    • Off Shore

      The bible is accurate in history and prophecy every single time, but yet you say it’s not divinely inspired. You either don’t want to believe it or don’t know your material very well I’ll let you pick which group you want to claim.
      Either way Jesus loves you and will save you when you are ready to accept Him as your Lord and Savior and believe that God raised Him from the dead, Romans 10:9

      • This style 10/6

        Surely you don’t believe the universe evolved as recounted in Genesis or that Noah’s flood was real event.

        As for the “prophecy” it is either self fulfilling or written after the event or verses are twisted to mean something other than the clear meaning.

        Jesus may well be a fictional character. There are so many impossible events and errors of fact in the NT, including the Resurrection. People three days dead stay dead.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          yeah …. and virgins cannot have children … untilll …. OH WAIT A SECOND …. YES THEY CAN ….. TODAY …. in vitro fertilization ………. OOOOOPS …..

          • This style 10/6

            Sure, they had in vitro in 3 BCE. You’ll have to do better than that.

            In any case, Jesus’ virgin birth was presumably without tne introduction of male semen.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            nope … BUT … GOD did not have to WAIT FOR MAN to do it BEFORE He did it …….. God knows more than we do ………..

            “Jesus’ virgin birth was presumably without tne introduction of male semen.”

            YUP ….. and modern SCIENCE PROVES it can be done ….. there was no “cloning” and no male sperm …. BUT virgins CAN have children …. and as man has sought to DUPLICATE what God has already done ….. case closed …………

        • Kevin Gault

          You’re seriously trolling here.

          • This style 10/6

            Trolling! To question biblical myths. I notice you have nothing concrete to offer.

          • Kevin Gault

            You’re right. Your evidence is overwhelming. I give up.

      • Bob Johnson

        Well the Jewish rabbis know the Old Testament very well and they don’t think the prophecies point to Jesus.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          because they were blinded to that … and the scriptures says it and why ……….

    • meamsane

      Some Atheists claim the bible is myth but never clarify what exactly is the myth and by what standard they make such a claim. Some even claim that Jesus Christ himself is a myth, yet there is extra-biblical evidence that the Biblical Jesus existed.

      • This style 10/6

        There are two creation myths in Genesis and Noah’s flood is obviously a myth. The Egyptian slavery and exodus never happened but whether it counts as myth or not I don’t know. There are nuggets of history in the Bible but to a large extent it is myth and fiction.

        There is no extra biblical record of Jesus that is worth anything and the gospels and Acts certainly read like fiction.

        • meamsane

          Yes, the atheist dodge, the double standard. One for every other historical figure and documents, and another for Jesus and the Gospels. But…but…but….but….but….!

          • This style 10/6

            Any documents which contain the kind of things we find n the gospels, walking on water, raising folk from the dead and so on are equally suspect, no double standard here.

            I notice that you don’t address the question of myth in the bible.

          • meamsane

            I don’t address it because my experience of debate with atheists on such topics has been a waste of time since any evidence put forward is casually dismissed, not to mention that the existence of God himself is also summarily rejected so on what basis to go “back and forth” endlessly with such arguments?
            None that I am aware of.

        • Amos Moses – He>i

          “There are two creation myths in Genesis and Noah’s flood is obviously a myth. “”The Egyptian slavery and exodus never happened”

          ummmm …. BUL ….. and LONEY ………..

          • This style 10/6

            Incoherent I see.

          • Amos Moses – He>i

            yes … you might try working on that as SCIENCE …. you know … REAL SCIENCE ….. CONFIRMS the biblical account of the flood and HOW it occurred ……….

          • This style 10/6

            No, science confirms that there never was a global flood.

            It is quite pointless to get into discussion with folk who are determined to accept every word in the bible. They lack any power of objective thought. Read the bible as you would read any other text and it becomes obvious that it is a collection of myth, garbled history, genealogy, Israelite tales and so on. It does have some connection with reality but that does not make it true in every word.

  • bwgirl


    I found out just a while back that Unicorns actually still exist!

    The One Horned Rhino, which is endangered has the Latin name Rhinoceros unicornis.
    And the two horned Rhino is named Rhinoceros Bicornis.

  • Of course the writers/scribes incorporated the names of real people in their writings. What isn’t known, however, was the exact dialogue and actions of those people, nor did they have any independent verification of the accuracy of prior writings. It proves nothing of the events in the ancient, Abrahamic religions.