A routine research visit to the British Museum nets a landmark archaeological discovery and proof of the truth of the Bible.
British newspapers report that ancient Babylonian expert Dr. Michael Jursa of Vienna discovered a small clay tablet that provides proof of the Bible'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."
The reactions of Vermes and Finkel indicate that the discovery has not yet totally shaken the core faith of some who believe that the Bible is not true. The Bible is merely not "altogether invented," one says, and "who knows how many other Old Testament figures may have existed?" However, many websites provide information regarding the truth of the Torah; click here for one sample site.