Today’s AP news wire has a report that archaeologists in Israel have discovered an ancient seal with the name of Bethlehem on it. This is significant because it is the first item found outside of the Bible that contains the name of Bethlehem. So this artifact corroborates one addition detail of the Bible: that Bethlehem existed. You can read the article here.
The existence of Bethlehem now joins a long list of Bible facts that were once criticized as unsupported by secular history, but now are known true. The Bible manuscripts were criticized as full of copy errors until the Dead Sea Scrolls proved the accuracy of ancient copyists; Pontius Pilate was said to not exist, until they ucovered a pillar with his name chiseled in it; King David was doubted till they discovered his name on an ancient artifact.
If we were to approach those skeptics who have thrown up the criticism that there was no supporting evidence for an ancient Bethlehem and ask them about this find, I would suspect that it would do no good. For when items such as this arise that show that the Bible accounts are supported by extra-biblical history, the hardened skeptic never seems to turn around and admit the truth of the scriptures. I cannot ever recall hearing a skeptic say ‘sorry about that, I guess I was wrong. I’ll be dropping my criticism of the Bible now.’ Instead, they always seem to forget about this pet issue, then move on to another criticism that helps them deny God.
In the long run, if they would merely read the Bible for what it is, which is an inspired eyewitness account of what happened, they would be better off in the end.