Ancient ‘Curses of Moses’ Deciphered in Israel


In Israel, experts for the first time presented a transcript of texts from a lead tablet found on the biblical Mount Ebal. As it turns out, this oldest known Hebrew inscription in Hebrew contains ten curses.

According to The Jerusalem Post, the tablet in question was discovered in December 2019. It is a lead amulet known as a defixio or curse tablet. The artifact was found by Scott Stripling, director of the Institute for Archaeological Research at the Biblical Seminary in Katy (USA).

The team under his leadership worked in Israel and re-sifted the archaeological material collected during the excavations of 1982-1989. The latter were carried out by the late professor of archeology at the University of Haifa, Adam Zertal. He discovered what he called “the altar of Joshua on Mount Ebal.”

And now scientists have managed to decipher the text on the artifact, which was discovered during the sifting process. It is reported that the word “curse” is mentioned in it 10 times, and the word “Yahweh” occurs twice. Literally, the translation looks like this: “Cursed, damned, damned – cursed by God Yahweh, you will die, damned, damned, you will certainly die, damned Yahweh damned, damned, damned.”

Experts draw a parallel with a fragment from the Old Testament. Deuteronomy tells how Moses instructed the Levite priests to lead the people to Israel from the top of Mount Ebal. At the same time, the Levites were to proclaim to all the people of Israel with a loud voice 11 curses, including: “Cursed is the man who offends his father or mother”, “Cursed is the man who moves the boundary stone of his neighbor”, “Cursed is the man who leads the blind man astray “, “Cursed is the man who refuses justice to a stranger, an orphan or a widow”, etc.

It was a kind of set of rules that the people of Israel had to follow. And in the book of Joshua, in one of the chapters, it is described how Joshua builds an altar on Mount Ebal after the battle with Gai, brings a burnt offering to God and repeats the “curse of Moses.” In this regard, the researchers suggested that the discovered lead artifact is a template amulet of those times, on which the “curses of Moses” were recorded. The value of the subject is that it is the oldest known Hebrew text to date.

Planet Today

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