More Evidence of Biblical Accuracy

Archaeological evidence of the Bible’s accuracy continues to emerge in Israel. The latest find is an inscription on broken pottery that dates back around 3,100 years and features the name “Jerubbaal” which was another name for Gideon (see Judges chapter 7 verse 1).

Jerubbaal inscription on potteryJerubbaal inscription (photo: Dafna Gazit / Israel Antiquities Authority)

Prof Yosef Garfinkel and archaeologist Sa‘ar Ganor emphasise that the inscription may refer to another Jerubbaal and not the one featured in the Bible. But the discovery supports the idea that the Bible offers important historical insights. They said:

“The name Jerubbaal only appears in the Bible in the period of the judges,
yet now it has also been discovered in an archaeological context,
in a stratum dating from this period.”

In December 2020 an earlier find was identified as a clay seal impression used at the court of Israelite King Jeroboam II. That may make it the earliest inscribed clay seal impression in the Land of Israel.

It was authenticated after years of strict laboratory testing supervised by Prof Yuval Goren of Ben-Gurion University. Known as a bulla, the item was purchased from a Bedouin antiquities merchant in the 1980s.

It is almost identical to a much larger jasper stone seal that was found in 1904 but has since been lost. Both picture a roaring lion that stands with tail raised, above which is a paleo-Hebrew inscription, “l’Shema eved Yerov’am” (Belonging to Shema the servant / minister of Jeroboam).

Whilst not directly related to the Bible, another find from the same period was announced in November 2020 when it was realised that an item uncovered by the Temple Mount Sifting Project was a gold granule bead from the era of the First Temple in Jerusalem.

A nine-year-old boy was sifting through the dirt with his family last August when he uncovered a perfectly preserved small, flower-shaped cylinder, created by four layers of tiny gold balls, that was probably forged around 3,000 years ago.

Reported in March 2019, two tiny inscriptions around 2,600 years old were uncovered in the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavation. Written in paleo-Hebrew, the two inscriptions were found separately in a large structure dating from the First Temple period.

One is on a clay seal impression and reads: “(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King” (LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech). Nathan-Melech is named in 2 Kings chapter 23 as an official in the court of King Josiah and the clay impression is the first archaeological evidence of his name.

Dr. Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority said:

“What is important is not just that they were found in Jerusalem,
but inside their true archaeological context.”

That is important because many other seal impressions have been bought and sold on the antiquities market without any evidence as to where and when they were found – as with the example above that required much laboratory testing.

These four discoveries show that much archaeological work continues in Israel and we can expect more exciting finds in future.