Ancient Hebrew Text Deciphered

Shard.jpgA link sent to me by a reader:

A breakthrough in the research of the Bible has shed new light on the period in which the Bible could have been written, testifying to Hebrew writing abilities as early as the 10th century BCE, the University of Haifa announced on Thursday.

Prof. Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa recently deciphered an inscription dating from the 10th century BCE, and showed that it was a Hebrew inscription, making it the earliest known Hebrew writing.

The deciphered text: 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.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • sean leroy

    interesting discovery esp in light of recent events…

  • RJS

    I don’t have the expertise to evaluate the claim that this is Hebrew – or that the translation is correct.
    But assuming that the translation is correct – I find the content fascinating. What we seem to see here is essentially the theme behind James 1 and other parts of the NT and OT … Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

  • Rick

    From the LiveScience article about it:
    “The content, which has some missing letters, is similar to some Biblical scriptures, such as Isaiah 1:17, Psalms 72:3, and Exodus 23:3, but does not appear to be copied from any Biblical text.”
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/livescience/20100115/sc_livescience/biblepossiblywrittencenturiesearliertextsuggests

  • #John1453

    Since the earth is only 6,000 or so years old, it was obviously placed by God into the earth with the appearance of age, to encourage our faith. ;)

  • http://www.godhungry.org Jim Martin

    Very interesting Scot. I would love to hear your take on this, in terms of what that we might learn from this discovery and its implications. Thanks for posting this.

  • Scot McKnight

    Jim, I’d need more evidence and context to know what to make of the text, but as it is this text shows clearly that there was poverty and that it was right to protect them. The word “judge” will mean “judge in favor of” — at least that is how I’m reading it.
    The other thing is who is grouped: slaves, widows, orphans and strangers. Israel was not permitted to take advantage of the marginalized.


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