The Ketef Hinnom Silver Scrolls

This discovery is a really exciting one, as it dates so far back. The Ketef Hinnon Silver scrolls were found in 1980 while they were excavating some Seventeenth century B.C. tombs. They were found in tombs overlooking the Valley of Hinnom in Jerusalem. Gabriel Barkay discovered these two tiny silver scrolls. They were inscribed with the words, "May Yahweh bless you and watch over you! May Yahweh make his face shine upon you and grant you peace." This is from the familiar priestly benediction from Numbers 6:24-26.

When archaeologists looked closer and unrolled the silver scrolls they saw they were only four inches when they were unfurled. They seem to be rolled up and worn as amulets, which would explain their shape and size.

The amazing thing is that these predate the Dead Sea Scrolls by about 400 years. So this makes them the oldest surviving biblical passages in the world (for now anyway). Experts are saying they date back to about 600 B.C.

This discovery provides important evidence for the way the O.T. (Tanakh) was so precisely and accurately done. Its good to get this kind of insight into the scribal copying process. We see from manuscripts that came much later, that match this much earlier version of the same texts. (Numbers 6:24-26) This ancient Hebrew script had (YHWH) the Lord's name in it, and is now the oldest reference to that. This shows the tradition of of calling God YHWH . It also shows that the existence of the Hewbrew priestly order didn't originate after the Babylonian Captivity like some scholars have argued in the past. (Babylonian Captivity-in the late 6th and 5th century B.C.) So, these little silver scrolls are quite the find, it will be interesting to see what else may show up in the future.

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