Old Testament Authentication – Hinnom Valley Amulets

In 1979 Prof. Gabriel Barkay decided to do some archaeological research outside the walls of the Old City and decided on a ridge above the Hinnom valley by the Scottish Church of St. Andrew in Jerusalem.

Upon exploration, Prof. Barkay explained:

“In one chamber more than a thousand objects were found.  They included 125 objects of silver, 40 iron arrowheads, gold, ivory, glass, bone and 150 semi-precious stones.  There was 60 centimeters (two feet) of accumulation filled with objects and skeletal remains…

Judy Hadley, a girl from Toledo Ohio, now a professor of Bible at Villanova University in Philadelphia, showed me a purplish-colored object looking like a cigarette butt.  It took us three years to unroll it properly.  It was 2.5 cm wide, about 1 inch.  When unrolled, it was 10 cm in length.  It was made of pure silver, 99% silver. Very delicately scratched on the silver were ancient Hebrew characters.  I saw it at the Israel Museum lab and immediately recognized the four letters of the Divine Name, YHVH.”

The square supervisor was our own Gordon Franz, who holds an MA in Biblical Studies from Columbia Biblical Seminary, SC. Since 1978, he has engaged in extensive research in archaeology and has participated in a number of excavations in and around Jerusalem, including Ketef Hinnom and Ramat Rachel; as well as the excavations at Tel Lachish, Tel Jezreel and Tel Hazor.  He is also on the staff of Associates for Biblical Research.

These two tiny silver scrolls (which would be worn around the neck as it were) contains a quote from Numbers 6: 22-27.  These date back to 700BC.

The particular scroll you see pictured is Numbers 6: 24 – 26:

The Lord bless you and protect you. The Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and grant you peace.

What’s the Point?

The text in Hebrew is identical to what is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Masoretic Text, the Septuagint, etc.

The text has proven so reliable that archaeologists use the Scripture as a kind of roadmap or even treasure map for finding things. In 2005, archeologists digging in this vicinity located what they believe are the remains of King David’s Palace. Specifically, a wall to very large building has been unearthed that hails from the period. The archeologist credited with the important find is Eilat Mazar.  She is quick to offer up that the Bible played a most important part in the discovery of the Palace’s location Here is the verse that was so key:

Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold.

2 Samuel 5: 17

Digging Deeper

An Israeli archeologist by the name of Yigael Yadin also did some noteworthy excavation work at Megiddo in the 1960’s. Actually, Yadin had spent most of his time digging at another tel (also mentioned in the Bible) called Hazor. There he found a triple-chambered gate (also called a ‘six chambered gate because there are three chambers on each side of the gate).

A similar gate would later also be found at Gezer. Yadin knew his Bible well and knew that I Kings 9:15 testified to King Solomon’s having used forced labor to fortify and build three sites – Hazor, Gezer and Megiddo.

Yadin, based off of the reliability of the Bible, therefore predicted that Megiddo would possess a triple chambered gate. Sure enough, Megiddo’s triple chambered gate was discovered shortly thereafter.