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This is the teaching site of the West Side church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials were written and prepared by Stan Cox

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Silver Engraved Circa 600 B.C. Reveals Biblical Rarity

inthenews

An archaeological discovery in 1979 revealed that the Priestly Benediction, as the verse from Numbers 6:24-26 is called, appeared to be the earliest biblical passage ever found in ancient artifacts. Two tiny strips of silver, each wound tightly like a miniature scroll and bearing the inscribed words, were uncovered in a tomb outside Jerusalem and initially dated from the late seventh or early sixth century B.C. — some 400 years before the famous Dead Sea Scrolls.

But doubts persisted. The silver was cracked and corroded, and many words and not a few whole lines in the faintly scratched inscriptions were unreadable. Some critics contended that the artifacts were from the third or second century B.C., and thus of less importance in establishing the antiquity of religious concepts and language that became part of the Hebrew Bible.

So researchers at the University of Southern California have now re-examined the inscriptions using Space Age photographic and computer imaging techniques. The words still do not exactly leap off the silver. But the researchers said they could finally be “read fully and analyzed with far greater precision” and that they were indeed the earliest.

In a scholarly report published last month, the research team concluded that the improved reading of the inscriptions confirmed their greater antiquity. The script, the team wrote, is from the period just before the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar and the subsequent exile of Israelites in Babylonia.

Ft. Worth Star Telegram, October 2, 2004

Analysis:

Some modernists believe that the Old Testament is fiction, written in the 4th century B.C. by the inhabitants of Canaan who rose to power at that time. The claim is that the intent of those individuals was to give the new rulers a place in the history of that land, and thus give credence to their claims for power.

This inscription serves to illustrate the bias of these claims. The text is written in the ancient form of the Hebrew language, and as one expert noted, “‘The new research on the inscriptions suggests that that’s not true,’ (the claims of these modernists), Pitard said. In fact, the research team noted in its journal report that the improved images showed the seventh-century lines of the benediction to be ‘actually closer to the biblical parallels than previously recognized.'”