“Egypt’s Antiquities Ministry announced this morning that a team of underwater archaeologists had discovered that remains of a large Egyptian army from the 14th century BC, at the bottom of the Gulf of Suez, 1.5 kilometers offshore from the modern city of Ras Gharib. The team was searching for the remains of ancient ships and artifacts related to Stone Age and Bronze Age trade in the Red Sea area, when they stumbled upon a gigantic mass of human bones darkened by age.
The scientists lead by Professor Abdel Muhammad Gader and associated with Cairo University’s Faculty of Archaeology, have already recovered a total of more than 400 different skeletons, as well as hundreds of weapons and pieces of armor, also the remains of two war chariots, scattered over an area of approximately 200 square meters. They estimate that more than 5000 other bodies could be dispersed over a wider area, suggesting that an army of large size who have perished on the site.”
This extract from one of the published articles “reporting” the discovery certainly looks authentic in that it states the find was officially announced by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities and names the specific archaeologist - Professor Abdel Muhammad Gader – responsible for the discovery, as well as seeming to show a discovered artifact.
But the spurious “announcement” of evidence of the Exodus destruction of Pharaoh’s army is a recurring one, with “coral encrusted” chariot wheels, ancient weapons and other artifacts routinely said to have been found in the Red Sea. And the Exodus isn’t the only Biblical story that is frequently said to have been “confirmed.” Stories ranging from discoveries of wood from Noah’s Ark to “evidence” of Goliath’s spear occur periodically, and all have in common their complete lack of factuality.
Archaeology has confirmed many details of the biblical account, and these discoveries are encouraging to read; but we should realize that Christians have a special responsibility not to believe or repeat stories of “major discoveries” that simply are not true. Psychologically we all like to get affirmation for what we believe, but we must remember that gullibility on our part always leads to rejection of what we say by others. When people find such stories are false, they are more likely to turn from the Bible than to it.
As a simple rule of thumb, we should realize that any “discovery” of real Biblical significance would be reported by most of the newspapers and news sources around the world. The moral of the “coral encrusted” chariot wheels is that if we don’t see a story of such major significance everywhere, we should not believe it. It’s always better when our faith is based on what matters – and what is true.