For all you homeschool moms and apologetics enthusiasts out there, here is an incredible and awe-inspiring story that is sure to bolster your faith and admiration for the Word of God and its rich, historical narrative of God’s people.
In an extraordinary discovery, archaeologists unearthed a millennia-old artifact on which they believe is written the name of Gideon from the biblical book of Judges, which would be the first of its kind for a contemporary artifact.
The discovery in southern Israel gives substantial evidence proving the authenticity of the Old Testament as a historical text.
The Times of Israel reported:
Inked 3,100 years ago during the era of the biblical judges, an extremely rare five-letter inscription discovered in the lush Judean foothills could be a missing link in the development of Early Alphabetic (also known as Canaanite) writing used during the 12th-10th centuries BCE.
If correct, this would be the first hard evidence of a name from the biblical stories of the judges that is on an artifact contemporary to the period.
The inscription was published Monday as part of the second issue of the Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology (JJAR) — a new open-access online journal — edited by Bar-Ilan Prof. Avraham Faust, Hebrew University Prof. Yossef Garfinkel, and Hebrew University researcher Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu.
Archaeologists believe that the name inscribed on a small piece of pottery discovered in the foothills of Judea is Jerubbaal, a judge of Israel mentioned in the Book of Judges.
If this is true, it would be the first contemporary artifact discovered that supports the narrative of Israel’s judges written in the Word of God.
The archaeologists date the pottery to 1,100 B.C., meaning it would predate the establishment of the Kingdom of Israel in the Bible — that is, before Saul, David, or Solomon ever came along. This artifact is ancient, folks!
The inscription was written in the Early Alphabetic/Canaanite script, for which evidence has been found across Egypt and the region which today encompasses Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq.
The first discoveries of paleo-Hebrew come much later than this script, dating in the 9th century B.C.
A “cross-institutional” team of archaeologists and epigraphers believe the fragmented inscription, which is written on three scraps of a small piece of pottery, make the most sense when read as the name Jerubbaal, or “Yeruba’al,” which the Times says was a nickname of Gideon, a major biblical figure.
“Inscriptions from the period of the Judges are extremely rare and almost unparalleled in Israeli archaeology. Only a handful of inscriptions found in the past bear a number of unrelated letters,” a statement from the team behind the discovery explained.
“This is the first time that the name Jerubbaal has ever been found outside the Bible in an archaeological context — in a stratum dated to around 1,100 BCE, the period of the Judges,” they added.
“Gideon is first mentioned as combating idolatry by breaking the altar to Baal and cutting down the Asherah pole,” they explained.
“In Biblical tradition, he is then remembered as triumphing over the Midianites, who used to cross over the Jordan to plunder agricultural crops. According to the Bible, Gideon organized a small army of 300 soldiers and attacked the Midianites by night near Ma‘ayan Harod.”
What an amazing find in what seems to be a very dark and trying time for our world. May the people of God take comfort in this humbling reminder of the greatness of God’s story, and the signs all around us that every word of it is true.
The most important truth of God’s word, of course, is that the Lord Jesus Christ, whose coming was prophesied throughout the Old Testament, has paid for our sins and will return to make all things right one day.
It is vitally important to understand that He’s not just a symbol or metaphor, He was a real, living, breathing human being, as were all the figures told of in the sacred text. How much richer is His love and sacrifice when we remember just how real every word of the scripture is; as real as what we can see, hear, touch, and feel today!
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