[b-hebrew] Tiny tablet provides proof for Old Testament

Robert Newman rob at designceramics.co.uk
Sat Jul 14 18:09:06 EDT 2007

Thanks Shoshanna,
The possible reference to this person is at Jeremiah 39:3.

I notice some translations have the name as 'Sar-sekim' with the previous names as 'Nergal-sar-ezer' and 'Samgar-nebu', others have it that Nergal-sar-ezer is of Samgar and that the next name is Nebu-sar-sekim (apparently the name on the tablet).

Furthermore, some indicate that Sar-sekim/Nebu-sar-sekim is the Rab-saris (the high official) others that the Rab-saris is another person just refered to by his title.

Reading on, if there is just one Rab-saris, does verse 13 indicate his name was Nebu-shaz-ban? Or was 'Rab-saris' shared as a descriptive title? Or are Nebu-shaz-ban and Rab-saris in vs 13 different persons?

How much of this can we resolve?

I'd be very much interested in what thoughts and insights list members might have.

Warm Regards

Robert Newman

Tiny tablet provides proof for Old Testament

By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent

The sound of unbridled joy seldom breaks the quiet of the
British Museum's great Arched Room, which holds its collection
of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets, dating back 5,000 years.
A fragment of cuneiform - Tiny tablet provides proof for Old
This fragment is a receipt for payment made by a figure in the
Old Testament

But Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, let out
such a cry last Thursday. He had made what has been called the
most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years, a
discovery that supports the view that the historical books of
the Old Testament are based on fact.

Searching for Babylonian financial accounts among the tablets,
Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name he half remembered -
Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, described there in a hand 2,500 years old,
as "the chief eunuch" of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon.

Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and
there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled
differently, the same name - Nebo-Sarsekim.

Nebo-Sarsekim, according to Jeremiah, was Nebuchadnezzar II's
"chief officer" and was with him at the siege of Jerusalem in
587 BC, when the Babylonians overran the city.

The small tablet, the size of "a packet of 10 cigarettes"
according to Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, is a bill
of receipt acknowledging Nabu-sharrussu-ukin's payment of 0.75
kg of gold to a temple in Babylon.

The tablet is dated to the 10th year of the reign of
Nebuchadnezzar II, 595BC, 12 years before the siege of

Evidence from non-Biblical sources of people named in the Bible
is not unknown, but Nabu-sharrussu-ukin would have been a
relatively insignificant figure.

"This is a fantastic discovery, a world-class find," Dr Finkel
said yesterday. "If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser
figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the
Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it
means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a
new kind of power."

Cuneiform is the oldest known form of writing and was commonly
used in the Middle East between 3,200 BC and the second century
AD. It was created by pressing a wedge-shaped instrument,
usually a cut reed, into moist clay.

The full translation of the tablet reads: (Regarding) 1.5 minas
(0.75 kg) of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the
chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the
temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In
the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard,
[and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year
10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.


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