Ancient Tablets Confirm Biblical Account of Jewish Exile in Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon

TabletsJERUSALEM — Over 100 tablets that date back to the times of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule in Babylon, now modern-day Iraq, have been placed on display in Jerusalem as a further testament to the reliability of the Scriptures.

The palm-sized tablets, which provide a glimpse into the lives of the Jews during the time they lived in exile in Babylon, had been discovered in Iraq and held by a UK-based Israeli collector. The artifacts contain writing in the ancient akkadian cuneiform script and detail transactions, trades and contracts between Jews in approximately 500 B.C.

They also trace at least one Judean family over four generations: a man named Samak-Yama, his son, grandson and his grandson’s five children. Some of the names cited in the tablets include references to Yah, such as Netanyahu and Shalemiyahu, signifying the name of God, or Yahveh.

As outlined in the Old Testament, which is known to Jews as the Tanakh, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon destroyed Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem and forced many Jews into exile.

“But after that our fathers had provoked the God of heaven unto wrath, he gave them into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, the Chaldean, who destroyed this house, and carried the people away into Babylon,” reads Ezra 5:12.

“Now in Shushan the palace there was a certain Jew whose name was Mordecai, the son of Jair, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite, who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, who Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away,” Esther 2:6 also outlines in providing the story of Esther, who later became the Queen of Persia, or modern-day Iran.

Psalm 137:1 also outlines the sorrow many Jews felt during this time in exile in stating, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.” Hence, the exhibition has been entitled “By the Rivers of Babylon.”

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Historians believe that the discovery of the ancient tablets, which also mention the Chebar River noted in Ezekiel 11, to be a fascinating find.

“We started reading the tablets and within minutes we were absolutely stunned,” Babylonian expert Filip Vukosavovic told reporters. “It fills in a critical gap in understanding of what was going on in the life of Judeans in Babylonia more than 2,500 years ago.”

“On the one hand it’s boring details, but on the other you learn so much about who these exiled people were and how they lived,” he said.

Filmmaker and author Simcha Jacobovici wrote in an article for the Huffington Post last week that the tablets underscore the accuracy of the Scriptures.

“This discovery is a remarkable confirmation of the historical reliability of the Biblical text,” he said. “It is also a reminder that many people once lived in Iraq.”

The tablets are now on display in Jerusalem’s Bible Lands Museum, and will be available for public viewing for the next year.

Photo: Olivier Fitoussi


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Dear Reader, our hearts are deeply grieved by the ongoing devastation in Iraq, and through this we have been compelled to take a stand at the gates of hell against the enemy who came to kill and destroy. Bibles for Iraq is a project to put Arabic and Kurdish audio Bibles into the hands of Iraqi and Syrian refugees—many of whom are illiterate and who have never heard the gospel.Will you stand with us and make a donation today to this important effort? Please click here to send a Bible to a refugee >>

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  • Crono478

    For anyone who believes that both evolution and the Scripture is compatible with each other, I highly recommend you to read the book called “The Lie: Evolution” by Ken Ham.

  • Fundisi

    For those who believe in Christ, no such evidence is necessary, for those who choose not to believe, none will ever be sufficient.

    • Douglas

      Consider it an artifact rather than evidence. But I do have a question for you; You said for those who believe, no evidence is necessary and for those who choose not to believe, none will be sufficient. How do you feel about those in the middle, the ones who want to believe and are seeking? Do you find these artifacts helpful?

      • http://www.teambeachbody.com/ml1337 Marcus

        Stuff like this worked for me. Each one was a piece of circumstantial evidence. Ultimately it came to the case for the resurrection. There is no other reasonable explanation for the results we see today if Christ did not rise from the dead.

      • Speaker

        Luke warm has no place before Jesus Christ. Christian faith generates in heart by call from the Lord or you seek him diligently and not the stone evidence.

        • Douglas

          I’m sorry, I don’t know if I follow you. So you don’t believe artifacts as these could help an atheist who is questioning his/her own faith?

          Are you opposed to ministries such as Answers in Genesis who work to provide evidence and apologetics for creation, young earth, the Flood, etc.? I’m just curious.

          • Fundisi

            While no one is opposed to such ministries, if the testimony about Jesus is not enough, then what are we building faith on – an attempt at irrefutable, objective evidence? It is like churches and their having so many programs, entertainment, luxurious environments, great orators, etc, these things are not Jesus and if they are required to bring souls to Christ, they are not coming for an intimate relationship with Him, but for religious entertainment and such believers will never stand the test, they will under stress or seeming evidence against Christ, fall away from their faith. Isn’t Jesus enough? Must we add to Him?

          • jason bourne

            You sound narrow minded, obtuse. The Bible is full of artefacts like these such as funeral places.

          • http://www.KingdomCadence.com/ KingdomCadence

            I believe what was meant was not that artifacts don’t have their place. Jesus for example did confirm His word with signs, actually healing the lame, feeding the five thousand with what began as a few loaves and a few fish. Even as Jesus said to Thomas who basically said (I paraphrase) he saw Jesus crucified with his own eyes, so the mere testimony of the disciples would not suffice for Thomas that the resurrected Christ had returned until he put his fingers into Jesus’s nail scarred hands, and until Thomas put his hand into Jesus’ side which had been speared as Jesus finally died on the cross. Jesus appeared to the disciples and knowing the doubt in Thomas’ heart the Lord said to him (I paraphrase) See? hear I am…place your fingers through the holes in my hand which I suffered and endured for you just like I told you I would. Place your hand in my side and understand that it is true, I returned from the dead JUST AS I TOLD YOU I WOULD. Then Jesus said something very important. He said to Thomas who finally dropped to his knees surrendering and saying It IS You Lord, forgive me…, You believe Me Thomas because you have seen me with your eyes and touched my hands and felt my side. Blessed is the person who believes and has not had this opportunity.

        • Edith

          I love to see artifacts from anywhere. Jesus Christ lives in my heart. I have no doubt that the garden of Eden was near or in Iraq. I love the history.

      • Fundisi

        Either one is drawn by the Lord and seeking Him and He makes Himself known to them or no amount of evidence will change their minds. It may encourage weaker believers or if one is already drawn to the Lord help them along the way, but it will not save them.

        • Douglas

          Thank you.

        • lynn

          That is true. Jesus said no one could come to Him unless the Father first draw them.

          • KenS

            The Bible also tells us that he draws all men to him, but not all will come.

      • jmichael39

        What most people fail to realize is that belief (in anything) is rarely black and white. What I mean is this. There comes a point in any issue, where you will believe something is a certain way more than you believe it is another way. The evidence you see brings about a shift in belief…so that maybe today you have, for a simplistic way of evaluating, a 51% belief that God exists. But 49% of you doesn’t believe. Its enough for your world to change in a direction that complies with that belief. But then say, these tablets come around…or something else is shown…and your belief rises to 55% and 45% disbelief. That’s good. That’s why I think God allows stuff like these tablets.

        That’s why we hear about the one person in the Bible who came to Jesus and Jesus asked if he believed. He said, “I believe, Lord, help me with my unbelief”. Belief grows and it wanes.
        What I think Fundisi is referring to is that there are definitely some people who just are dead set against ever believing God. And one man one put it, and I am paraphrasing, God could write in the clouds in the sky above every nation, “Hey, I’m Real…it’s ME, God.” and there are some people who would still not only not believe, they’d blame the Jews for manipulating our weather systems. I call that the Pharaoh-Syndrome. You can’t sit there and watch God perform 10 massive miracles, like He did in Egypt during Moses’ time, and not believe, unless you’re just dead set against EVER believing.

        Those sorts of people, like Pharaoh, will try to replicate the ‘miracle’ like with the sticks turning to serpents. And he thinks that proves there is nothing special about our God…looking at his magicians do the same thing while ignoring that Moses’ serpent swallowed the magicians’ serpents. He wasn’t going to bow down to God no matter what. And that’s exactly how some people are in this world. It doesn’t matter what we prove, they will NEVER believe…by choice.

    • Jared Wells

      In a sense I’m one of the lucky ones, in a way, because I totally accepted the reality of God from basically day one of my life. My earliest memories, (diaper changing, learning to talk and walk and eating from high chair, very clear memories), I remember looking around at this strange new world, but already totally aware and accepting of God’s presence, and knew he was overlooking the world. In my college years, I went through an atheist phase, where things were pretty good. I had life in control. When I was re-acquainted with God, it at first was not very pleasant. I had to go back to doing things…God’s way. I’m cool about it now.

  • Speaker

    Rev. 3:16 So, because your are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

    I am not sufficiently confidant in debating on faith through artefact: Faith comes through hearing word of God and His son that He died for our sins and redeem us through sacrificial blood for our salvation. You need to talk to an evangelist, who lays hands on and prays for you and by falling of holy spirit you receive faith and salvation.

    • jason bourne

      Nobody is even saying that faith comes as a result of proof. These are historical evidences for past events. Are you saying that only us that didn’t see Jesus will be saved and His contemporaries won’t because they did therefore they didn’t have to use any faith but just believe their eyes?!?! You need some education.

    • http://impactfamilychurchgeorgia.com Roger Atkinson

      Using artifacts are not good alone, but there are Biblical examples of them being used as reminders:

      Hebrews 9

      3Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place, 4which had the golden altar of incense and the gold-covered ark of the covenant. This ark contained the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

      Joshua 4

      1When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua, 2“Choose twelve men from among the people, one from each tribe, 3and tell them to take up twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, from right where the priests are standing, and carry them over with you and put them down at the place where you stay tonight.”

      4So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

      =============

      Using artifacts does not impede our faith, but it can surely help it helps validate the Bible.

  • Harry Oh!

    Evidence like this is great for presenting to an atheist, they only want to argue in humanist terms. The more scientific, archeological and historical data you can throw on their razor thin arguments, the better. It makes their hero`s, the self titled `brights`, like Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett, etc., look like morons.

  • Azgunsel

    I am pleased to find out about these tablets. I am wondering if anywhere in these tablets do facts confirm Chapter 3 of the Book of Daniel, where Nebuchadnezzar is applauding himself on his riches, power, and the beauty of his Kingdom, and he loses his mind that day and wanders for seven years as an animal eating grass and sleeping in the open until he admits to himself that the God of Daniel is the One True God, and then regains his Kingdom. I believe that if these tablets confirm Nebuchadnezzar’s Fall and then regaining is Kingdom, an awakening in the Middle East to the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ would occur.

  • Guest

    Pleased to know about these tablets. Just a note:
    “In a sense I’m one of the lucky ones, in a way, because I totally
    accepted the reality of God from basically day one of my life. My
    earliest memories, (diaper changing, learning to talk and walk and
    eating from high chair, very clear memories), I remember looking around
    at this strange new world, but already totally aware and accepting of
    God’s presence, and knew he was overlooking the world. Parents did NOT attend church, lived in Las Vegas. Later…during my college
    years, I went through an atheist phase, were things were pretty good. I
    had life in control. When I was re-acquainted with God, it at first
    was not very pleasant. I had to go back to doing things…God’s way.
    I’m cool about it now. -Jared Wells

  • Jared Wells

    Pleased to know about these tablets. Just a note:
    “In a sense I’m one of the lucky ones, in a way, because I totally
    accepted the reality of God from basically day one of my life. My
    earliest memories, (diaper changing, learning to talk and walk and
    eating from high chair, very clear memories), I remember looking around
    at this strange new world, but already totally aware and accepting of
    God’s
    presence, and knew he was overlooking the world. Parents did NOT
    attend church, lived in Las Vegas. Later…during my college
    years, I went through an atheist phase, where things were pretty good. I
    had life in control. When I was re-acquainted with God, it at first
    was not very pleasant. I had to go back to doing things…God’s way.
    I’m cool about it now. -Jared Wells

  • Maj_Roach

    Proof? What use is proof to the one who rejects it? Even hard factual evidence of modern day events are summarily rejected by those who choose to believe otherwise. Example 9/11 – there are a lot of folks that still believe that it was an inside job led by GW Bush so that the US would have an excuse to invade Iraq to get their oil. Yet only a decade later there is an oil boom in the US through modern technology and drilling methods. So what good is that oil to us? Jesus of Nazareth – the one born in Bethlehem and crucified in Jerusalem – claimed to be God. He performed miracles as evidence. Anyone (and many still do) can claim to be God. But what evidence do those people provide? Most of them say, “You are God – send me money!” Some are great actors. Most are snake oil salesmen. Their only miracle is that they sell so many books that are pretty much filled with crap. They build giant organizations with big buildings. Whoopteedo. Jesus performed the miracles as proof that he was who he claimed to be. I can say to this keyboard, “Be thou gold!” but it will never change because I am not God, nor will I ever be. Jesus did so many miracles in his life there weren’t enough books in his day to record them all. (Ref John 21:25) Who can change water into wine? Heal the lame? Raise the dead? Cure blindness? He also performed almost every one of his miracles using a different method for each so that people would not be hooked on the method. So after so much evidence (witnesses, testimony, change of the calendar, change of the entire planet) how will a few cuneiform clay tablets tip the balance? But for someone out there, maybe they will. So a note to you – yes you – that one person who was seeking the truth and you have been convinced of His reality because of this find – God bless you. I have witnessed God go to great lengths to reach one soul. He will go to great lengths to reach you too. You are that valuable to Him. God said (paraphrasing) “If you seek – I mean really seek Me, you will find me.” So if you are truly looking – keep looking. He will reveal Himself to you. And when he does you will have all the proof you need.

  • Rhys Hin

    people often ask how do i know god and Christ exist, i tell them, when you feel you know,no proof in the world could change me, good or bad, Christianity is given in our hearts and our minds, on our foreheads we are distinguished, as what’s in our hearts in is our mind, but the more evidence for the anti Christ and followers of the devils works(under the guise of religeon), that the path is with Christ the better, its hard too think the anti Christ could look more foolish to the believers but it keeps on happening

    • tyler

      that’s great that you believe in and know god and christ. but do you accept that other people believe in other religions? and that some people are just not religious at all? this same paragraph you wrote could be from a muslim, with God/Christ replaced with the word Mohammad.

      • lynn

        Most everybody wants to believe in something or somebody. It is a human need. As for me, I believe in and on Jesus Christ as my personal Savior,

        • tyler

          cool. i have no problem with that.

    • lynn

      Every child of God has received at least a measure of faith. And yes, faith in
      Jesus Christ is a gift. It is impossible for a person to truly believe that Jesus Christ died for them without that gift of faith.

  • Stagea

    Jews in Exile ? Don’t you mean the Israelites in Exile ? It was the Hebrews who were held captive, not Jews. There never was a word ” Jew ” in those times. The Jews ( Pharisees and scribes ) of the day when debating with Jesus, claimed the following.——-
    John 8.33
    They answered him, We be Abraham seed, and were neuer in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Yee shall be made free?
    – King James Version (1611)

    • KenS

      You are mistaken, here is a passage right out of the Bible from the book of Esther, “now in shushan the palace there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, the son of Shimei, the son of Kish, a Benjamite; Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah King of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.” Esther 2:5-6
      This clearly shows that the Israelites were called Jews in those times…