Subject: The Bible comes alive through Archaeology – Moab, Ammon and King David

1Chronicles 11:10,39,46 “These were the mighty men whom David had, who strengthened themselves with him in his kingdom, with all Israel, to make him king… Zelek the Ammonite… Ithmah the Moabite…”

Ed Croteau

The stories of the exploits of King David are stuff of legend to some people. Recently there has been a push from some skeptics that he didn’t exist. There simply is no evidence that the history of King David is any more real than King Arthur and Camelot. Then once again archaeology silences the skeptics and brings events in the Bible alive. This time it’s the discovery of the Moabite Stone.

In its December 1995 edition, Time Magazine published this report: “The skeptics’ claim that King David never existed is now hard to defend. Last year the French scholar Andre Lemaire reported a related “House of David” discovery in Biblical Archaeology Review. His subject was the Moabite Stone, the most extensive inscription ever recovered from ancient Palestine. Found in 1868 at the ruins of biblical Dibon and later fractured, the basalt stone wound up in the Louvre, where Lemaire spent seven years studying it. His conclusion: the phrase “House of David” appears there as well. As with the Tel Dan fragment, this inscription comes from an enemy of Israel boasting of a victory–King Mesha of Moab, who figured in the Bible.”

In our verses this week, we see a relationship between David and not only the Moabites but also the Ammonites. So what about these people groups? What are their origins? How does the Bible depict their civilizations? Can we learn anything from them? What we find is incredible legacies of mankind’s continued sexual immorality and human depravity, and God’s judgment against such immoral practices.

The narrative begins in Genesis 19:30-38, where we learn how the nations of Moab and Ammon are founded. The two daughters of Lot get their dad drunk and each takes turns sleeping with him. Each of the daughters ends up pregnant by their father, and the resulting children are named Moab and Ammon. God certainly doesn’t pull any punches. But this is only the beginning of the history of two wicked civilizations. As Moab and Ammon grow up, they reject the God of Israel and create their own gods to worship. And the history of human depravity takes on a new level of wickedness.

The chief god of the Moabites and the Ammonites was Molech. They built a huge bronze statue of Molech, depicting him as a man with the head of a bull. The statue was hollow, and inside a fire burned which colored the Moloch a glowing red. In order to satisfy Molech, they would offer their children as human sacrifices while they were still alive. They would place their children on the hands of the statue, which were raised to the mouth (as if Molech were eating) and the children fell into the fire and were consumed. The people gathered before Molech and danced, the sounds of flutes and tambourines drowning out the children’s’ screams.

Before the Israelites entered the Promised Land, God warned them about people such as the Ammonites and Moabites, whose worship custom was to burn their children alive to their gods. He told them do not do as them – that He hated their ways and called them evil (Deuteronomy 12:29-31).

By archaeology confirming biblical history for us, we can not only learn about these nations but also learn from their successes and their failures. Which, most importantly for the Christian and skeptic alike, teaches us more about the God of the Bible, the true and living God. As the biblical history of past civilizations are being confirmed through archaeology, our faith in the God of the Bible and His only Son Jesus Christ is strengthened more and more.

As David said in the Psalm 36:7,9, “How precious is Your lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of Your wings. For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.” And as the apostle John says in John 1:4, this very light by which men see is the Light of the world, Jesus Christ: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.”

Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at