By June 22, 2008 Read More →

News from the Field: The Divine Name Found in Jerusalem, Gabriel Barkay, Biblical Archaeology Review (9:2), Mar/Apr 1983.

Ketef Hinnom Scroll

Ketef Hinnom Scroll

The Divine Name—the tetragrammaton—yod, he, waw, he—YHVH—Yahweh—LORD—sometimes rendered in English Jehovah—has been found in the Holy City, Jerusalem, for the first time in an archaeological excavation.

Dating to the end of the seventh or sixth century B.C., the prayer-like inscription containing the Divine Name was scratched on a tiny amulet—a rolled-up strip of silver.

Jerusalem is the most excavated site in the Holy Land. Indeed, some excavations are still in progress. Nevertheless, the number of inscribed objects from the First Temple Period (which ended with the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 587 B.C.) is very limited. The few inscriptions that have been found were carved in stone or written on potsherds.

The reasons for this paucity are not difficult to understand. Inscriptions on less durable materials like papyrus have long since disintegrated. Moreover, Jerusalem has been destroyed many times. Each time, a new city was built on the remains. There are no occupational gaps in its 5,000-year history. And today’s Jerusalem is built on the remains of the ancient city. It is therefore not surprising that the ancient treasures described in the books of the Old Testament have long since vanished. Even in excavations, precious metals as well as inscriptions are rare. This makes our find doubly rare.

Read the rest of News from the Field: The Divine Name Found in Jerusalem in the online Biblical Archaeology Society Library.

Comments are closed.