A broken portion of an engraving on a limestone tablet the size of your palm (see photo below) is adding yet further confirmation to the biblical account and giving a new twist on how Israel’s kings saw themselves.
The partial inscription engraved in ancient Hebrew letters was originally reported in 2008, but was not deciphered until recently. The letters on the inscription are only fragments of words, with the rest of the letters having been broken off. When found, the artifact was near an ancient man-made pool together with pottery shards dating to the 8th century BC. However, at the time the Israel Antiquities Authority did not make a conclusive connection between the inscription, King Hezekiah and the pool.
Now two mainstream Israel archaeological experts, Gershon Galil and Eli Shukron, have concluded that the full inscription was:
“Hezekiah made the pool in Jerusalem.”
The parallel passage is found in 2 Kings 20:20, which reads:
“As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city…” (NKJ)
Not so many years ago, skeptical archaeological minimalists were claiming only minor evidence had been found for the reliability of the Bible. However, year by year those claims are increasingly being shown to have been premature and mistaken.
According to Professor Galil:
“This is an extremely important discovery that changes [some basic assumptions of] research, since until today it was commonly accepted that the kings of Israel and Judah, unlike the kings of the ancient Middle East, did not make themselves royal inscriptions and monuments… to commemorate their achievements.”
Galil, a senior Haifa University professor, continued:
“The Israeli kings were indeed mentioned in extra-biblical Assyrian, Babylonian, Aramaic, Moabite inscriptions as well as on Hebrew seal impressions – but this is the first time that a fragment of a monumental Hebrew royal inscription has been deciphered that mentions the name of the king whose achievements were detailed in it. The discovery strengthens the approach of researchers who emphasize the reliability of the Bible, since it teaches that right in front of the eyes of the Bible’s authors stood monuments with royal inscriptions… [engraved at the very] time of the kings mentioned in the Bible.” (emphasis added)
According to archaeologist Eli Shukron, “Hezekiah’s inscription also supports the assumption that additional inscriptions from Jerusalem were composed in Hezekiah’s time by the same scribes…” Therefore, several additional written artifacts from that era will now be looked at in a new light.
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