Fragments of Ancient Life

The American Egyptologist, Kent Weeks, made an exciting discovery not long ago, in a burial tomb in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. He found four broken canopic jars. "What are they?" you ask. Well, they're ancient burial jars that just may provide further proof that events described in the book of Exodus really happened as described. Canopic jars were used for holding the mummified organs of the dead. The remarkable thing about this find, Weeks says, was that the names of four of the sons of Ramses II were painted on them. Scholars believe Ramses II was the Pharaoh who debated with Moses over the fate of the Israelites, and whose resistance provoked the 10 plagues. Even more exciting was the fact that, painted on one of the jars, is the name of Ramses' oldest son: Amun-her-khepshef. The oldest son would have been the one who was killed during the plague on the firstborn sons of Egypt, described in the Bible. And near the broken jars, lying in a pit, were the skulls of four young men, likely thrown there by ancient grave robbers. These skulls provide additional evidence that the tomb contains the sons of Ramses. For instance, each of the skulls has perfect white teeth—an indication that the young men enjoyed a diet available only to those of royal blood. Most ancient Egyptians, by their mid-twenties, already had teeth that were stained and ground down to the gum line from eating bread contaminated with sand. Weeks also found fragments of mummies that ancient grave robbers had torn to shreds. He sent samples of bones and tissue to Cornell University for genetic tests. If the tests reveal that the owners of the four skulls were brothers, Weeks will have strong evidence that the tomb is indeed the burial chamber of the sons of Ramses II. Who knows? If the four brothers are the sons of Ramses, and the oldest can be identified, researchers may even discover the exact nature of the plague that struck down Ramses' son that grim night when the Israelites were miraculously spared. Sifting through bone fragments and pottery shards from 3000 B.C. has led to many stunning discoveries, supporting the biblical texts. But this isn't the first time archaeology has helped confirm the authority of Scripture—not by a long stretch. Critics used to just dismiss the stories about the patriarchs—Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But then archaeologists discovered cuneiform tablets containing references to several biblical names: names like Abraham and his brothers, Nahor and Haran. Suddenly those passages in Genesis were transferred from the realm of myth into the realm of real history—where the Bible had put them all along. With a record like this, Christians don't need to be intimidated by liberal critics. In fact, we ought to eagerly anticipate every new discovery—like the jars and skulls Kent Weeks just uncovered in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. For each new excavation provides fresh evidence we can offer to skeptics—evidence confirming that the God of faith is also the God of history.


Chuck Colson


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