ISRAEL - Ancient Tablet Found on Mount Ebal

Arno Froese

An early Hebrew inscription from Mount Ebal near Nablus that was found on a folded lead tablet during an excavation in the 1980s recently underwent x-ray tomographic measurements to reveal hidden text.

Epigraphic analysis of the data revealed a formulaic curse written in a proto-alphabetic script likely dating to Late Bronze Age that predates any previously known Hebrew inscription in Israel by at least 200 years.

The finding has just been published in the journal Heritage Science by Prof. Gershon Galil, a researcher at in Jewish history and biblical studies at the University of Haifa; Scott Stripling of the Archaeological Studies Institute in Katy, Texas; Ivana Kumpova, Daniel Vavrik and Jaroslav Valach of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics the Czech Academy of Sciences; and Pieter Gert van der Veen at the Department of Old Testament and Biblical Archaeology at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany.

The tablet could not be opened without damaging it. But now, the Israeli-European team of scientists performed X-ray tomographic measurements with different scanning parameters to reveal the hidden text, and they found the Hebrew inscription.

In Deuteronomy (11:26,29), Moses tells the nation that when they finally enter the Land of Israel, they should recite blessings at the flowering Mount Gerizim and curses at the opposite mountain, the barren Mount Ebal., 14 May 2023

Arno's Commentary

When Joshua led the people of Israel into the Promised Land, he followed the instruction of Moses: “And all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side the ark and on that side before the priests the Levites, which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, as well the stranger, as he that was born among them; half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the Lord had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel” (Joshua 8:33). Joshua was a faithful servant of the Lord and of Moses: he did precisely as told. Thus, the testimony in verse 35: “There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.”

On, a theologian writes about these two mountains: “Since the Bible does not disclose why Mount Gerizim was chosen as the site for the blessing ceremony and why Mount Ebal was chosen for the curse, the first commentator who tried to find an explanation for choosing these particular mountains, Ramban, was quoted to have said that the symbolism probably has to do with the location of the two mountains. “Mount Gerizim is to the south, which is the right side of a person who turns eastward facing the sunrise, the forward direction in the Bible. Mount Ebal is to the left, the north, which always has a negative connotation, as it is said, Out of the north evil shall break forth (Jer. 1:14). However, apart from their respective locations, Ramban does not ascribe any particular significance to the mountains themselves.”

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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