Skip to comments.Tiny Tablet Provides Proof For Old Testament
Posted on 07/10/2007 5:48:08 PM PDT by blam
Tiny tablet provides proof for Old Testament
By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:33pm BST 10/07/2007
The sound of unbridled joy seldom breaks the quiet of the British Museum's great Arched Room, which holds its collection of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets, dating back 5,000 years.
But Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, let out such a cry last Thursday. He had made what has been called the most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years, a discovery that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact.
Searching for Babylonian financial accounts among the tablets, Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name he half remembered - Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, described there in a hand 2,500 years old, as "the chief eunuch" of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon.
Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled differently, the same name - Nebo-Sarsekim.
Nebo-Sarsekim, according to Jeremiah, was Nebuchadnezzar II's "chief officer" and was with him at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC, when the Babylonians overran the city.
The small tablet, the size of "a packet of 10 cigarettes" according to Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, is a bill of receipt acknowledging Nabu-sharrussu-ukin's payment of 0.75 kg of gold to a temple in Babylon.
The tablet is dated to the 10th year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 595BC, 12 years before the siege of Jerusalem.
Evidence from non-Biblical sources of people named in the Bible is not unknown, but Nabu-sharrussu-ukin would have been a relatively insignificant figure.
"This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find," Dr Finkel said yesterday. "If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power."
Cuneiform is the oldest known form of writing and was commonly used in the Middle East between 3,200 BC and the second century AD. It was created by pressing a wedge-shaped instrument, usually a cut reed, into moist clay.
The full translation of the tablet reads: (Regarding) 1.5 minas (0.75 kg) of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
I never doubted, so can't say I'm surprised. Thanks for the post of this.
I don’t see what all the fuss is about. No thinking person has ever asserted that the Bible is devoid of factual history. The question is how much of it is factual, given that its various books have been transmitted by a combination of oral tradition and hand-copied text, with most books undergoing plenty of rounds of both.
Insignificant and non-controversial details like the one mentioned here are the least likely to be changed to accommodate the political or religious agenda of the re-teller or re-copier. Many such details were no doubt dropped or mistakenly changed along the way, but it’s hardly surprising that some made it through the process unchanged.
Have you read any Palestinian-authored history texts lately?
Interesting...now that the experts believe Jeremiah is fact based, can we postulate that Genesis 1:1 is true?
Remember the story of Lot's wife ~ it's an ancient tale also told in pictoglyphs in Northern Finland and nearby Russia.
It may be 7500 years old ~ which is 3 times as old as this item.
The Bible doesn't really explain why Lot's wife turned to (rock) salt, but the petroglyphs explain it clearly as a consequence of her failing to find husbands for her daughters.
Eventually we are going to be able to pin down the sources for the stories Moses thought suitible for inclusion in the Bible he put together.
"This is how Jerusalem was taken: 1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon marched against Jerusalem with his whole army and laid siege to it. 2 And on the ninth day of the fourth month of Zedekiah's eleventh year, the city wall was broken through. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and took seats in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar, Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the other officials of the king of Babylon. 4 When Zedekiah king of Judah and all the soldiers saw them, they fled; they left the city at night by way of the king's garden, through the gate between the two walls, and headed toward the Arabah."
Some of the 'more mudance' parts of the scriptures read just like this. Many wonder why such things would be present. One obvious reason: to lend historic context to people, places, events, and time. And as this researcher has found: it holds together with outside sources.
Yes, a notable find indeed.
Although “scientific biblical criticism” could be traced back earlier, it really took off in Germany about 1870. There was a political push behind it: Bismark funded positions in German universities as one aspect of his campaign of persecution against the Catholic Church, which he thought necessary to turn Germany into a modern state.
On no particular scientific evidence, most of the Bible was declared to be fictional, or to have been pieced together from various unreliable sources.
Since then, however, archaeological discoveries have consistently confirmed the truth of the biblical narrative. This discovery is fascinating precisely because it confirms the existence of a minor figure, thus confirming that the author of Jeremiah knew what he was talking about, and was not some scribe working hundreds of years after the fact and inventing details on his whim.
Some parts of the Bible, of course, are stories, and so indicate themselves to be. But things like the Exodus from Egypt or the Babylonian exile and Persian restoration are historical facts, constantly being confirmed by small pieces of archaeological evidence.
He was a Republican Congressman? (sarcasm, mostly)
Sure, as soon as you provide the cuneform tablet written a few years before the creation that substantiates it...
Thanks so much blam, for posting this interesting tid-bit!
To you two gals....ping!
You know, the "realists," the "scientific community," the "elite intelligensia", running our colleges, universities and many teaching in religious seminaries, etc.
They are way, way too smart for God.
Um, wouldn't that be 8 years before the seige of Jerusalem???
And the "chief officer" being the same as the "chief eunuch"?? No, thanks, I don't want the benefit package on that key-man employment contract...
And even if it were 100% the very same person, how does that verify any other part of the Old Testament?
Awesome to have some small verification of the authenticity of at least this portion of the Bible.
God moves in mysterious ways. This Eunuch probably didn’t understand why God was so mean to him and allowed that he be castrated. All - everything is used to God’s glory, even this small thing!
No. And neither has anyone else.
You would have been better off suggesting any conventional history of the "Civil War" or anything about what a great man Lincoln was. History is mostly written by the victors, not losers like the "Palestinians." (Do you really think anyone will be reading present "Palestinian" histories 50 years from now?) Those histories written by the victors to do contain substantial elements of truth, while they leave out important details. Future archaeologists will confirm those elements of truth.
16 When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the LORD was merciful to them. 17 As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Flee for your lives! Don’t look back, and don’t stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”
26 But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
She wasn’t turned to a pillar of salt for failing to find husbands for her daughters. The daughters were betrothed but the husbands stayed in Sodom and Gomorrah.
She “looked back” and became a pillar of salt. This may mean she longed to return to the doomed cities. That’s how I’ve heard it explained.
stranger why are you bothering me!
I thought that most of the Old Testament was written by the Jewish rabbis et al during their bondage in Babylon. If that is true, then you would expect that such a character would, if written about, exist. It may not say anything pro or con about other characters from other eras in the history.
We can "postulate" all we want because I've seen things about, and in the scripture that more than prove their authenticity.
But let's remember this, ours is a relationship based on faith and is impossible without it.
I thought I’d send you the good news that information in the Bible is possibly being verified.
That IS good news, ISN”T it?
The Bible version, which is at least 4,000 years younger, ignores the woman's elemental responsibilities for her daughters' wellbeing and focuses on the plight of the hapless Lot.
The OLDEST VERSION OF THE TALE has as a moral at the end that the woman's husband then beds the daughters himself (now that momma has been turned to stone).
No doubt Moses was aghast when he first read it but he left it in (making sure, of course, that all proprieties were followed concerning nudity, and that Lot did not bear any conscious guilt himself because he was quite drunk ~ which is a defense we no longer allow).
OLDEST VERSION OF THE TALE
Reference and Source please?
They were also developed for use in a more ancient agglutinative (possibly Uralic/Altaic, or Dravidian related) language which was, in the time of Jeremiah, supplanted with a Semitic language, so there's not a perfect fit between the indicated sound and the actual sound.
Kind of like tough, though, enough, thought. The letters don't match the sounds and you tough it out every day as though you'd given enough thought to the matter to simply ignore it.
If you have room on your ping list, please add me. Every time I run across one of your GGG threads, I always enjoy it.
Hey, you know the rules against profanity!
Don't forget other evidence of Prussian persecution of the Catholics. They funded completion of the Cathedral in Colonge, which the Catholics had been building for about 500 years.
WHAT small thing!?
So, yeah, this all rings true. Real folks doing the jobs imaginary folks can't do.
Does that make my story about a cross dressing Rudy true?
Nabonides is considered the last great king of Babylon. His relationship with the previous Kings of Babylon is unclear, perhaps he was once a great general, but he came to the throne by overthrowing a young king named Labashi-Marduk.
It is likely Nabonides substantiated his claim to the throne by marrying Nitocris, a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, since he was not a blood relative to Nebuchadnezzar.
Being a religious eccentric, in 549 BC Nabonides left Babylon to live at Teyma (Tema) located in what is now Saudi Arabia northeast of Hijaz, where the ancient trade route between Medina and Dumah crosses the Nefud desert.
While on religious sojourn Nabonides left his son behind to rule in Babylon, but Belshazzar never fully came to the throne. Skeptics believed that the writer of Daniel made an historical error in calling Belshazzar king, but when Belshazzar told Daniel that if he could interpret the strange writing on the wall he (Daniel) would be granted authority in the kingdom as third ruler, the scriptures show a detail which lends credence to the account.
Belshazzar was not the first ruler of the kingdom, but he was in a secondary position, appointed to reign in Babylon while his father was away. By Babylonian tradition, all in the city with the secondary ruler would call him king. Belshazzar offered to Daniel third position, so the writer of the Book faithfully related the fact as a minor detail, and then much later archaeological evidence substantiated the trivia.
These findings in archaeology show that the writer of Daniel was telling of a real man named Belshazzar, thus the other details are likely true, also. These were no fables.
Of course, the way the name of Belshazzar became an accept actual person of Babylonian ruling household is a story in itself, how a discovered chit in a tower foundation named him.
Read it somewhere on the interweb
“you pays your money, and you takes your chances.”
There are thousands of other petroglyphs still out on site throughout Nickel Oblast and nearby towns and counties in Finland and Russia.
Yup, with an added, though not unexpected, detail.
I did read that in National Geographic a couple of years ago, but as I seem to recall, it was described more as an accident that he was in a position to rise to great power. Still, not the kind of perk that most prospective executives look forward to...ouch!
Are you saying the definitive source for an event in the Holy Lands are Finnish pictoglyphs?
Thank you but I’ll stick to the Bible.
The Biblical account has the daughters getting their father drunk and then bedding him. The tale got it backwards.
The evidence is, as Moses told us, the records were there in Egypt for him to look at and assemble.
Supplement that with a few direct revelations to Moses and you have one humdinger of a book.
Most serious authorities believe Moses's work was further edited some time in his future. Frankly, I think Moses did the job himself (with God's assistance of course).
I thought perhaps you meant the ... uh... procedure... was a “small thing” instead of the archaeological find...
Oh, look! A butterfly!
Lot’s daughters did that because they thought the whole world was destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah.
They thought they were the only ones left.