this is mind-blowing and pretty exciting – honest! The Times & Telegraph picked this up this week, but i’ve only got it from the EAUK’s Friday Night Theology – and this is an ancient receipt. Yes a commercial receipt – just like the one you stuffed into your pocket after visiting the Tesco Express earlier today. It is hand-written, of course, in cuneiform – an ancient form of writing. But it is a VERY SPECIAL receipt. As the Telegraph put it:
The sound of unbridled joy seldom breaks the quiet of the British Museum’s great Arched Room, which holds its collection of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets, dating back 5,000 years. But Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, let out such a cry last Thursday. He had made what has been called the most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years, a discovery that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact.
Shock horror! You can’t be serious. On fact!?
Searching for Babylonian financial accounts among the tablets, Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name he half remembered – Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, described there in a hand 2,500 years old, as “the chief eunuch” of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled differently, the same name – Nebo-Sarsekim. Nebo-Sarsekim, according to Jeremiah, was Nebuchadnezzar II’s “chief officer” and was with him at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC, when the Babylonians overran the city…
“This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find,” [British Museum’s] Dr Finkel said yesterday. “If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, 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.”
Check out the verses to see the point.
All quite interesting – it doesn’t prove much in the grand scheme of things, except for the simple fact that Nebo-Sarsekim existed in the time and place the Bible says he did. But it is yet another (albeit uber-small) chink in the armour of those who militantly object to the Old Testament having any historical credibility at all. So there.