Michael Trapido
Michael Trapido

Archaeological find dates Jewish Bible back hundreds of years

In what may prove to be a groundbreaking discovery, Professor Gershon Galil of the department of biblical studies at the University of Haifa, has managed to decipher an inscription on a pottery shard which dates back to the 10th century BCE.

The archaeological find was made in the Elah valley where David famously slew the Philistine giant Goliath thereby ending the quest to conquer the tribe of Judah. [1 Samuel 17:4-51]

This find may well herald a breakthrough in the research of Hebrew scriptures and shed new light on the period in which the Bible was written. This inscription was written during the reign of King David and is undoubtedly in Hebrew. This can be seen from the use of vowels and reference to history peculiar to Hebrew and the Jewish people.

What makes it so significant is that it shows that some of the biblical scriptures were written hundreds of years before what is now believed to have been the date they were composed and the fact that the kingdom of Israel was already in existence.

Once the deciphering is accepted it will be confirmed as the oldest Hebrew inscription to be found anywhere.

In addition it will stand as proof against those who would not have recognizsd the possibility that the Bible or parts of it could have been written during this ancient period.

Prof Galil notes that the inscription was discovered in a provincial town in Judea. He explains that if there were scribes in the periphery, it can be assumed that those inhabiting the central region and Jerusalem were even more proficient writers.

“It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century BCE, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel.” He adds that the complexity of the text discovered in Khirbet Qeiyafa, along with the impressive fortifications revealed at the site, refute the claims denying the existence of the kingdom of Israel at that time.

The shard was found near the gate of a site known as Elah Fortress, about 30 kilometres (18 miles) west of Jerusalem, in the valley where the battle between David and Goliath is said to have taken place.

It has five lines of text in the proto-Canaanite script that was used by Hebrews, Philistines and others in the region.

English translation :

1′ you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2′ Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3′ [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4′ the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5′ Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

Galil points out that this demonstrates an awareness of strangers as well as the social conscience they possessed. It compares in its content to biblical scriptures (Isaiah 1:17, Psalms 72:3, Exodus 23:3 and others) but it is clear that it is not copied from any biblical text.

Carbon dating has shown the inscription dates back to the 10th century BC, making it about 1 000 years older than the Dead Sea scrolls.

Don’t let us catch anyone saying we don’t play our part in trying to teach those matriculants some archaeology and history.

Now all we need are those thieves in Mpumalanga to steal the science and maths papers for distribution nationally and the matric results will improve no end.