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3,000-Year-Old Inscription Found in Israel

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Israel Jerubbaal InscriptionKIRYAT GAT, ISRAEL—According to a statement released by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a fragment of an inscription thought to be related to the biblical book of Judges has been found at the site of Khirbat er-Ra’i, which is located in southern Israel, by a team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority, and Macquarie University. The alphabetic script inscription, written in ink on a fragment of a pottery jug, includes the name “Jerubbaal” and dates to about 1100 B.C. In the biblical tradition, the name “Jerubbaal” is associated with the judge Gideon. The piece of pottery was found in a storage pit that had been lined with stones. The jug may have held oil, perfume, or medicine. Alphabetic inscriptions from this period have mostly been found at the Canaanite city of Tel Lachish in south-central Israel, which was destroyed around 1150 B.C. The discovery of the inscription suggests that the use of the alphabet may have been preserved at Khirbat er-Ra’i after the fall of Tel Lachish. To read about a new study on literacy among the Israelites, go to "Reading, Writing, and Algorithms."

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