Monday, January 13, 2003


Experts have authenticated an inscription relating to the Solomonic temple from King Jehoash:
An inscription attributed to Jehoash, the king of Judea who ruled in Jerusalem at the end of the ninth century B.C.E., has been authenticated by experts from the National Infrastructure Ministry's Geological Survey of Israel following months of examination. The 10-line fragment, which was apparently found on the Temple Mount, is written in the first person on a black stone tablet in ancient Phoenician script. The inscription's description of Temple "house repairs" ordered by King Jehoash strongly resembles passages in the Second Book of Kings, chapter 12.

Dr. Gabriel Barkai, a leading Israeli archaeologist from Bar Ilan University's Land of Israel Studies Department, says that if the inscription proves to be authentic, the finding is a "sensation" of the greatest import. It could be, he says, the most significant archaeological finding yet in Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. It would be a first-of-its kind piece of physical evidence describing events in a manner that adheres to the narrative in the Bible.

There are usual questions of authenticity, but the Geology Survey is insistent that it is authentic: 'It's inconceivable that such extensive testing would fail to reveal a forgery, they said.'

Of particular interest is the way the inscription relates to the Biblical text itself:
The inscription contains fragments from 2 Kings 12:15: "And they did not ask an accounting from the men into whose hands they delivered the money to pay out to the workmen; for they dealt honestly."

Although a different sort of discovery from the James Ossuary--and probably an item that can be more surely authenticated--the Jehoash Inscription helps make a powerful one-two punch of archaeological evidence proof of the Bible's authenticity. More to come, I'm sure.

[Thanks to Sean for the lead on this.]

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