Museum Tablet Confirms Biblical Figure

The British Museum announced that the cuneiform inscription in a tablet dating from 595 B.C. confirms the existence of a person who until this time was known only through the biblical book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 39:3 identifies Nebo-Sarsekim as an official of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in 587 B.C. The museum tablet records Nebo-Sarsekim as making a large gift of gold for the temple in Babylon during the same time period.

Irving Finkel, assistant keeper in the Department of the Middle East, 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.”

The discovery was made by Michael Jursa, associate professor at the University of Vienna, on a routine research trip to the museum. “It’s very exciting and very surprising,” he said. “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 told The Times that the British Museum tablet was so well preserved that it took him just a couple of minutes to decipher. The tablet was part of a large temple archive excavated in the 1870’s and acquired by the British Museum in 1920. Dr Jursa said: “But no one realised the connection. They didn’t really read it.”

HT: BiblePlaces Blog

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