[b-hebrew] UK Report: Archaeological Find Confirms Hebrew Text of Jeremiah

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Sat Jul 14 06:53:18 EDT 2007

On 12/07/2007 13:15, Peter Kirk wrote:
> On 12/07/2007 06:37, Gary Hedrick wrote:
>>             Listers, here’s an interesting story from today’s issue 
>> of the
>> Daily Telegraph in the UK. It suggests that a recent archaeological
>> discovery from 2,500 years ago may substantiate the existence of a minor
>> character mentioned in the Hebrew text of Jeremiah 39. But the 
>> spelling of
>> the name in the recently-discovered inscription is slightly different 
>> from
>> the name as it appears in the MT. Interesting report, nonetheless. 
>> Regards
>> to all.
> Thanks for this, Gary. I had already written about this at 
> http://tnivtruth.blogspot.com/2007/07/clay-tablet-proves-tniv-correct.html, 
> and have now updated that blog post with the new information from the 
> Telegraph. The verse in question is of course Jeremiah 39:3.
> To me there are two interesting points here which you have not brought 
> out:
> 1) The tablet confirms the word division given in some modern Bible 
> translations (NIV, TNIV, NLT) over that of the Hebrew Masoretic Text, 
> KJV and NRSV, in that it is now clear that "Nebo" should go with the 
> following "Sarsekim" and not with the preceding "Samgar". But it 
> discredits the BHS margin which suggests an emendation to 
> "Nebushazban" as in verse 13.
> 2) In the tablet Nebo-Sarsekim is called "the chief eunuch". This 
> title ties up well with his Hebrew title RAB-SARIYS, "chief officer" 
> in some translations but SARIYS generally if not always means 
> "eunuch". This detail seems to me to confirm that this really is the 
> same person with the same title. This is significant lexical support 
> for the meaning of RAB-SARIYS - that is, if the translation of the 
> tablet is secure.
Over the last couple of days there have been several interesting 
developments on this topic. I recommend especially to Hebraists the 
discussions by Christopher Heard at 
http://www.heardworld.com/higgaion/?p=680 and 
http://www.heardworld.com/higgaion/?p=681, John Hobbins at 
and Claude Mariottini at 
They seem to be moving towards a consensus that most probably there are 
three people mentioned in the text of Jeremiah 39:3:

Nergal-Sharezer the Simmagar
Nebo-Sarsekim the chief eunuch
Nergal-Sharezer the chief /mag/

Each person has an attested Babylonian name and an attested Babylonian 

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://www.qaya.org/blog/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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