Those goofy Jews. Why, they couldn’t even write Hebrew until they stumbled across the Jordan desert, ended their nomadic life and assimilated themselves among modern Canaanite cities around 1,200 BC. To upscale their boorish history, Jewish zealots made up an Exodus story some 600 years later, indoctrinating wild fantasy into widely held facts among her influential theological leaders and across the entire Semitic community.
Or maybe not. In 2019 Dr. Scott Stripling of the Archeological Studies Institute (Katy, TX) was wet sifting discarded material from a site atop of Mount Ebal excavated some 30 years prior. He discovered a postage-stamp-sized folded tablet recognized as a defixio, Latin for “curse tablet” (below). It is over 3,000 years old. Too fragile to manipulate, he employed four scientists from the Czech Republic’s Academy of Sciences to digitally unfold it using 3D tomographic scans, and two Jewish epigraphers from the University of Haifa to decipher the ancient text.
Hebrew curse tablet found on Mt. Ebal, in the Samaria mountains, West Bank. Photo source: https://armstronginstitute.org/686-breaking-news-ancient-hebrew-curse-tablet-discovered-at-joshuas-altar-on-mt-ebal
The forty letters found inside translate as: “Cursed, cursed, cursed – cursed by the God YHW. You will die cursed. Cursed you will surely die. Cursed by YHW – cursed, cursed, cursed.” This tablet remarkably parallels Deut. 11:26-29, 27:11-26, and Joshua 8:30-35, where Moses instructs the Jews to antiphonally repeat blessings of obedience and cursings of disobedience upon entering Canaan: And it shall come to pass, when the LORD thy God hath brought thee in unto the land whither thou goest to possess it, that thou shalt put the blessing upon mount Gerizim, and the curse upon mount Ebal. A curse tablet would have been produced on the mount to remind subsequent generations of those vows – and it’s working to this day.
There are enormous implications wrapped in this tiny artifact. It’s written with an iron pen on a lead tablet, giving tangible proof as to how the ancients wrote permanent legal documents; as Job laments, Oh that my words … were graven with an iron pen and lead … forever! It contains the earliest reference to YWH (yah-weh, or Jehovah; Lord in the KJV) written in proto-alphabetic script (depicted, right). It dates between 1400-1200 BC, consistent with the Biblical timeframe. This text predates the Dead Sea Scrolls by ~1,350 years and is at least 200 years older than any other Hebrew text in existence. It offers weighty support towards Moses’ literacy, the Exodus timeframe, and the Canaanite conquest. Prof. Gershon Galil, one of the epigraphers, believes it is “absolutely the most important inscription ever found in Israel.” This lead amulet is now cursing all Biblical minimalists!
Dr. Stripling (right) plans to officially publish his discovery later in 2022 after he deciphers the tablet’s exterior inscriptions. He notes the amulet’s author was a brilliant leader, writing in a chiastic form, and even teases that Joshua may have written it. Stay tuned for more announcements, by googling “Hebrew curse tablet”, or watch Associates for Biblical Research YouTube videos.
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