Archaeological Evidence For the Book of Numbers

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Deir Alla Inscription

Here is a piece of archaeological evidence in support of the book of Numbers in the Old Testament. It was written in Aramaic, referring to the false prophet, Balaam, mentioned in the book of Numbers, chapters 22-24. This inscription is dated to about 800 BC.

Inscription Translation:

Balaam is visited at night by gods sent to communicate to him a message from El, the high god. It is a message of doom, and Balaam is so distressed that he weeps and fasts for two days. Convening his intimates, Balaam discloses to them what has been revealed to him in the vision. A council of inimical gods, opposing El, has commanded the goddess Shagar-and-Ishtar, a Venus figure of light and fertility, to sew up the heavens producing darkness, and never to speak again. Celestial darkness will cause frenzy on earth, with birds of prey shrieking. Balaam interprets the vision to refer to an impending disaster in the land. Grazing land will be lost to wild beasts, and the flocks will be scattered. At this point, it becomes less clear what is happening. As interpreted here, the text relates that Balaam undertook the rescue of the goddess from the edict of the council of inimical gods, in accordance with the will of El who had forewarned him. Shagar-and-Ishtar is brought to various magical practitioners and oracles, as Balaam issues admonitions to her adversaries and dispatches powerful agents against them. The adversaries of Shagar-and-Ishtar suffer distress for all to see.

Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World, Context of Scripture,  William W. Hallo, volume II, 2.27, 2000 AD

 

 

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