An Israeli researcher has deciphered the earliest known Hebrew biblical inscription which “proved” that the Bible had been written hundreds of year earlier than thought.
It also testified that the Kingdom of Israel existed in 10th century BCE.
Previously, a wide range of respected academics had insisted that the Bible could not possibly have been written before the 6th century BC due to widespread illiteracy, but Gershon Galil from the University of Haifa in northern Israel proved them wrong.
Prof. Galil, who deciphered the inscription made in ink on a small piece of clay, said: “It indicates that the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BC and that at least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research.”
The earliest known inscription was found in the Elah Valley south of Jerusalem in 2008 but the language used in it could not be deciphered at the time, Jerusalem Post reported.
“This text is a social statement, relating to slaves, widows and orphans. It uses verbs that were characteristic of Hebrew, such as asah (“did“) and avad (“worked“), which were rarely used in other regional languages,” Prof. Galil said.
Particular words that appear in the text, such as almanah (“widow“) are specific to Hebrew and are written differently in other local languages, the researcher said.
This stands opposed to the dating of the composition of the Bible in current research, which would not have recognised the possibility that the Bible or parts of it could have been written during this ancient period.
Prof. Galil said, the inscription, which was discovered a year and a half ago in a provincial town in Judea, explains that those inhabiting the central region and Jerusalem were even more proficient writers.
He said that this inscription is similar in its content to biblical scriptures (Isaiah 1:17, Psalms 72:3, Exodus 23:3, and others), but it is clear that it is not copied from any biblical text.
“It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century BC, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel.”
“The present inscription provides social elements similar to those found in the biblical prophecies and very different from prophecies written by other cultures postulating glorification of the gods and taking care of their physical needs,” Prof. Galil explained.
He added that the complexity of the text discovered in Khirbet Qeiyafa, along with the impressive fortifications revealed at the site, refute the claims denying the existence of the Kingdom of Israel at that time.