Feb 9 2006
One of the challenges skeptics present is for extrabiblical evidence of biblical events and individuals. By God's grace, there are many examples which could be pointed to. In the Old Testament there are more than 50 persons named whose existence is verified by sources other than the Bible. Some 12 of these individuals have left visual records (statues, busts, wall carvings, etc.) recording their appearance. The New Testament specifically lists 27 people named in other records. Of the six surviving representations, four are Roman Emperors.
Here are a few samples:
Shishak, the Egyptian king who plundered the Temple during the reign of Rehoboam (1 Kings 14:25-26).
2 Kings 9:1-10:36 - Jehu, king of Israel, who took power in a bloody coup; the only surviving likeness of a king of Israel or Judah.
Hazael, king of Aram, enemy of Israel (1 Kings 19:15, 17 ; 2 Kings 8:7-15,28-29; 9:14-15 ;10:32-33; 12:17-18; 13:3 ,22, 24,25; Amos 1:4 ).
Tiglath-Pileser III, king of Assyria, who invaded Israel (2 Kings 18:19,29;16:7, 10; 1 Chronicles 5:6,26; 2 Chronicles 28:20 ).
Sargon II, king of Assyria, who defeated Ashdod and completed the siege of Samaria and took Israelites into captivity ( Isaiah 20:1 ).
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, who attacked Judah but was unable to capture Jerusalem ( 2 Kings 18:13-19:37 ).
Tirhakah, king of Egypt, who opposed Sennacherib ( 2 Kings 19:9 ).
Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, who succeeded his father Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:37).
Merodach-baladan , king of Babylon, whose messengers Hezekiah showed the royal treasury, much to the indignation of Isaiah (2 Kings 20:12-19).
Xerxes I, king of Persia, who made Esther his queen (Esther ;Ezra 4:6).
Darius I, king of Persia, who allowed the returning exiles to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 4:24-6:15 ; Haggai 1:1 ,15).
Augustus , Roman emperor, 27 B.C.-A.D. 14, when Jesus was born ( Luke 2:1 ).
Tiberius, Roman emperor, A.D. 14-37, during Jesus' adulthood and crucifixion (Matthew 22:17,21; Mark 12:14-17 ; Luke 3:1; 20:22-25; 23:2 ;John 19:12,15 ).
Claudius, Roman emperor, A.D. 41-54, who ordered the Jews to leave Rome (Acts 11:28;17:7;18:2 ).
Herod Agrippa I , ruler of Judea, A.D. 37-44, who persecuted the early church (Acts 12:1-23 ;23:35 ).
Aretas IV, king of the Nabateans, 9 B.C.-A.D. 40, whose governor in Damascus attempted to arrest Paul ( 2 Corinthians 11:32 ).
Nero (referred to as Caesar in the New Testament), Roman emperor, A.D. 54-68, who Paul appealed to (Acts 25:11,12,21; 26:32; 28:19; Philippians 4:22).