- 2 Articles on British Museum Find
Identification of Tablet in British Museum Supports the Historical Veracity of the Bible
Tiny tablet provides proof for Old Testament
Jeremiah 39:1-39Now when Jerusalem was captured in the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it; in the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, in the ninth day of the month, the city wall was breached. Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came in and sat down at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab- mag, and all the rest of the officials of the king of Babylon.
LONDON DAILY TELEGRAPH - By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent - July 11, 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.
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Babylonian King's Eunuch Really Existed!
ARUTZ SHEVA - By Hillel Fendel - July 11, 2007
A routine research visit to the British Museum nets a landmark archaeological discovery and proof of the Old Testament's truth.British newspapers report that ancient Babylonian expert Dr. Michael Jursa of Vienna discovered a small clay tablet that provides proof of the Old Testament's veracity. Though the tablet was unearthed near Baghdad in 1920, only last week was it deciphered for the first time, by Dr. Jursa. Upon reading the tablet, which records a donation of gold by "the chief eunuch of King Nebuchadnezzar," a man named Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, Jursa suddenly realized that the name sounded familiar. He quickly consulted Jeremiah 39, where he found the man's name listed as one of Nebuchadnezzar's top ministers who took part in the destruction of the First Holy Temple 2,500 years ago. The Biblical account, however, has his named spelled slightly differently: (Samgar) Nevo Sarsekim.Irving Finkel, assistant keeper in the British Museum's Middle East Department, was very excited: "This is a fantastic discovery," he told The Telegraph, "a world- class find. If Nevo-Sarsekim existed, [then] 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."Speaking with The Times, Finkel said, "A mundane commercial transaction takes its place as a primary witness to one of the turning points in Old Testament history. This is a tablet that deserves to be famous." Dr. Jursa, associate professor at the University of Vienna, said, "It's very exciting and very surprising. Finding something like this tablet, where we see a person mentioned in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and quoting the exact date, is quite extraordinary." Dr. Jursa has been visiting the museum for over 15 years to study a collection of more than 100,000 inscribed tablets. Reading and piecing together fragments is painstaking work, The Times reports, and more than half are yet to be published. The full translation of the tablet, as provided in The Telegraph, 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.""Not Altogether Invented"On hearing of the discovery, Geza Vermes, the eminent emeritus professor of Jewish studies at the University of Oxford, said it shows that "the Biblical story is not altogether invented." - - - -
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