Daily Israel Report
More

Zion's Corner Blogs


The Rabbi And The Yehoash Tablet

The news of the Temple Mount discovery of an inscribed stone tablet from the time of Yehoash, King of Judah, continues to make waves. The archaeological community is skeptical as to the tablet's authenticity. Israel's Geological Institute, on the other hand, has carried out exhaustive tests showing that the stone is not a forgery. Bible lecturer Rabbi Yaakov Meidan told Arutz-7 today what he i
First Publish: 1/14/2003, 7:21 PM

The news of the Temple Mount discovery of an inscribed stone tablet from the time of Yehoash, King of Judah, continues to make waves. The archaeological community is skeptical as to the tablet's authenticity. "The fact that the tablet was not revealed to the public in its archaeological context," Dr. Eilat Mazar told Arutz-7 today, "but rather in the antiquities market, means that the burden of proof, beyond any shadow of a doubt, is on those who claim that it is authentic."

Israel's Geological Institute, on the other hand, has carried out exhaustive tests showing that the stone is not a forgery. The artifact was found to have suffered fire damage, which could be confirmation of its presence in the Temple when Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar set the holy site aflame, as recorded in the Bible. The geologists feel, based on the materials covering the tablet, that it was buried some 500-600 years after it was written.

The tablet's ten lines of Phoenician script, written in the first-person, are an account of the renovations King Yehoash carried out in the Temple.

Rabbi Yaakov Meidan, a Bible lecturer from Alon Shvut in Gush Etzion, told Arutz-7 today that he has "hope in my heart that it's authentic, partly based on the tests that were done, and partly based on my knowledge of those who are denying its authenticity... It could be that they're right, but many times they simply don't allow the facts to confuse their theories. In general, there are important streams among the archaeologists who are trying to deny the Bible... while people like me, who are always striving for a 'meeting' with reality - in this case, between the scientific reality and the Biblical verses - certainly see this as a very welcome discovery."

Arutz-7's Haggai Segal: "This seems like something that you dreamt of finding..."

Rabbi Meidan: "Let's say that I get along even without it, but it certainly is a point for our team."

A-7: "Yehoash describes here a project of renovating the Temple, what he did and how he raised the money. Does this square with that which is written in the Book of Kings?"

Rabbi Meidan: "Very much so. It also puts some light on something that doesn't appear in the Book of Kings, but that can tell us something about the personality of King Yehoash that becomes apparent later in Chronicles II [where the King's sins are recounted], showing a slight bit - 'an eighth of an eighth' - of arrogance... Yehoash's life can be divided into two parts: when his mentor Yehoyada the Prophet was alive, and after Yehoyada's death, when Yehoash strayed from the path..."

A-7: "How can you explain that this tablet, which was written some 2,800 years ago, managed to be found at the Temple Mount, which was the site of the destruction of two Temples? How did it last there?"

Rabbi Meidan: "I assume that if we excavate effectively, and if they [the Waqf] allow us to do it, then we will yet find many many things, such as the exact location of the Holy of Holies... It's too bad that this item had to be found via the destructive [works of the Waqf]."

A-7: "What is the most dramatic find that we can expect? The Menorah, or the broken Tablets of the Law, or what?"

Rabbi Meidan: "I'll tell you what is the most important to me: to find the placement of the Altar, for as Maimonides said, the Altar is in a precise spot and is never moved, and this will be an important step towards knowing the exact placement of the Temple and the Holy of Holies."

A-7: "Do you not fear that because of the Waqf works, these findings may have been destroyed?"

Rabbi Meidan: "I certainly fear that this may be the case, and I am even sure that this is what is going on. This is their purpose, to wipe out all vestiges of Jewish presence and bonds to this site, and they [Moslem officials] even say so outright. This is also why they have made up this idea of Moslem sanctity that forbids Jews to enter these sites - something that never was before. They are afraid of the moment that we will arrive, and find things, and thus retake hold of this area in a manner from which there can be no return."