This Document is Older Than the Dead Sea Scrolls

Mozelle Martin

Reading my article History: 900 Documents Recovered from 11 Caves, you are already familiar with the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, you may not know that they are not the oldest documents.

In fact, per Scientific American, "Archaeologists discovered a pottery shard inscribed with Hebrew text written 1000 years earlier than the Dead Sea Scrolls".

There is no doubt that the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls was one of the most important archaeological finds in history because they include much of the earliest written records of the Bible. Yet, per archaeologists, "THE most significant archaeological discovery in Israel since those documents is a pottery piece that is 3000 years old". This means that the new discover is 1000 years older than the Dead Sea Scrolls and dates back to King David's reign.

In this new pottery discovery, they found inscriptions with ink. This is called "Ostracon," which was the oldest city in Judea to date. Per Archaeologists, it is the city where David killed Goliath and is located south of current-day Beit Shemesh.

What is an ostracon?

Besides the city mentioned above, per Wikipedia, "ostraca are flakes of limestone that were used as notepads for private letters, laundry lists, records of purchases, and copies of literary works."

What does the Ostracon say?

Written in black ink over five lines, it is written in Hebrew. To date, this is the earliest written record in Hebrew ever found. Not all of the words have been deciphered, but those that have include judge, king, and slave. Archaeologists and linguistic researchers believe it is part of an ancient Hebrew legal code for their civilization at the time.

Per Archaeologists who have been digging there off and on since 2008, the information is helping them [us] learn more about life at the time of David.

Still, over time, many ostracons have been discovered, including one announcing the Birth of Israel.
OstraconPhoto byBible Archaeology

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