Silver scrolls

Date: ca. 625 B. C.


The biggest archaeological discovery, after the Dead Sea scrolls, was made by archaeologist Gabriël Barkay in the year 1979 in the area of Jerusalem. He laid open an old cave grave in Ketef Hinnom, dated at the end of the 7th century B.C. This time period is before the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C. The chamber of the grave was still intact and they found about a thousand archaeological objects, under which were two curled up silver amulets. The grave chamber belonged to some prominent families of Jerusalem. All these objects made it possible to determine the age of the cave and with this the age of the little scrolls. In the middle of the scrolls was a small opening, which made it possible to pass a thin fiber through it – it is possible the amulets were worn around the neck or the wrist.




Unfolding the Silver scrolls was very difficult. Because their age, they could break very easily. When finally done, they could see that the silver plates measured about 3cm wide and 10 cm high. They also discovered a very finely engraved scripture. With much effort they were able to read the text. Both scrolls contain about the same text: Numbers 6: 24-26:

Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee:
Jehovah make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
Jehovah lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

(American Standard Version)

Also interesting is what is written in verse 27:
And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them

– 21th century King James Version

Apparently some Jews took this text very literally!


Facsimile made by B. Bonte


Why is this discovery so important?

In the first place because it is the earliest quotation of the Bible ever found, even 400 years before the Dead Sea scrolls.Secondly, the Divine Name is written three times on the plate, in the shape of JHWH, in very ancient Hebrew writing. The original scrolls are now to be seen in the Israel Museum, in Jerusalem.


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