Jan 13, 2010
Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa has deciphered the earliest known Hebrew inscription, dating from to the 10th century B.C., written on a shard of clay found near the Valley of Elah in Israel. This makes it possible, he says, that parts of the Bible could have been written that far back, centuries earlier than scholars now believe.
As Galil explains:
It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century BCE, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies, such as the books of Judges and Samuel.
Here is the English translation of the inscription, which is similar in content to a number of biblical passages:
1′ you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2′ Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3′ [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4′ the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5′ Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.