Archaeologist Discovers Proof for Biblical Vineyard of Naboth

A worker walks through the vineyard of the Golan Heights Winery in the northern Israeli village of Merom in this undated photo.
A worker walks through the vineyard of the Golan Heights Winery in the northern Israeli village of Merom in this undated photo. | (Photo: REUTERS/Yonathan Weitzman)

An archaeologist in Israel said she found proof of the biblical story of Naboth's vineyard.

According to Breaking Israel News, Dr. Norma Franklin, one of the leaders behind the Jezreel Expedition, established that the Jezreel Valley was indeed a major wine producing area in biblical times, which lines up with the story of Naboth's vineyard as found in 1 Kings in the Bible.

Laser technology was used to analyze data from the area, which discovered several wine and olive presses, including over 100 bottle-shaped pits carved into the bedrock, which Franklin believes were used to store wine.

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Franklin, who said that she is not religious, attested that the Bible can be used to help in such research.

"As an archaeologist, I cannot say that there was definitely a specific man named Naboth who had a particular vineyard," Franklin told BIN. "The story is very old but from what I have found, I can say that the story as described in the Bible quite probably could have occurred here in the Jezreel."

The archaeologist suggested that the vineyard was established somewhere before 300 BCE, which coincides with the time-frame for when Naboth was producing wine at the site.

"The Biblical narrative takes place in the fertile Jezreel Valley, an agricultural center to this day. According to the 21st chapter of the Book of Kings, Naboth owned a vineyard on the eastern slope of the hill of Jezreel near the palace of King Ahav," BIN explained.

"The king coveted the land but Naboth did not want to sell the plot, and since it was an inheritance, Torah law forbade him from selling it outright. Queen Jezebel intervened, staging a mock trial in order to seize Naboth's property."

Franklin said, however, that she disputes some aspects of the biblical narrative, and suggested that Naboth did not actually live in Jezreel.

"Owning a vineyard would make him wealthy since wine was an important commodity. I reckon that since he was from the aristocracy he probably lived in Samaria and had more than one vineyard. This would give a slightly different picture than the Bible, which implies, though does not state explicitly, that he was a poor man being abused by the wealthy king," she argued.

Franklin also said that she disagrees with narratives that paint Queen Jezebel with negative traits.

"Most Biblical scholars agree that the story was written down after the return from Babylon which coincides with Nehemiah telling Israel to turn away their foreign wives," Franklin said.

"It could be that the story of Jezebel, painting her as a horrible woman, made her appear worse than she really was. In some sense, she was a good wife, helping her husband who was sulking and depressed."

The Jezreel Valley has been the site of a number of remarkable archaeological discoveries.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced in April 2014 that it had uncovered a 3,300-year-old ceramic coffin containing a male skeleton and a scarab as part of a Bronze Era tomb.

The scarab was affixed to a ring that reportedly bore the name of Seti I, considered to be one of the most powerful pharaohs in Egypt during the Nineteenth Dynasty.

Seti I is said to be the father of Ramesses II, who some scholars believe to be the Pharaoh in the biblical story of Exodus, who drove the Israelites from Egypt.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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