A stone tablet with a curse written inside can solve an ancient biblical mystery

Archaeologist Dr Scott Stripling said he thought the find was “too good to be true” after realizing it could resolve a debate over when and who actually wrote the Bible.

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A cursed tablet triggers an archaeological earthquake

The discovery of a ‘cursed’ tablet has triggered an archaeological ‘earthquake’ and could be a key clue to proving when and who really wrote the Bible.

The bent lead tablet, which has a curse written inside, was discovered on Mount Ebal in the Holy Land – a place associated with curses in the Bible.

It has been dated between 1200 and 1400 BC. and features the Hebrew word for God, YHWH, in what may be its first appearance.

If the dating is correct, it may prove that the Israelites were literate when they entered the Holy Land and able to document biblical events as they occurred.

Archaeologist Scott Stripling said: “This is extremely important.

“Some describe this as the most important discovery of our lifetime, as it predates anything we had before regarding the Hebrew scriptures.







The tablet was discovered at Mount Ebal which is described in the Bible as a cursed mountain
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Picture:

Credit: Jordan McClinton via Pen News)


“So big questions like: Was the Bible written when it was supposed to have been written, was there even an alphabetic script by which writers like Moses and Joshua could have written?

“Many critics have, up to now, argued against it and said ‘no, it was written much, much later in the Persian period or the Hellenistic period.’

“That tips the scales in another direction.”

He added: “That’s why I called it an earthquake…because there are going to be aftershocks.”

The text inside the tablet warns you that you are “cursed by the God, Yahweh” and “cursed you shall surely die” and is written in proto-alphabetic Hebrew text.

It’s a type of writing that is “older than any Hebrew we have,” said Dr Stripling, director of the excavations at ancient Shiloh.

The archaeologist added that the lead itself comes from a site in ancient Greece “where mines were known to have been used in the late Bronze Age”.







The text inside the folded lead tablet has just been discovered, thanks to tomographic imaging
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Picture:

Credit: Michael C. Luddeni via Pen News)


The end of the Bronze Age is dated approximately to 1200 BC.

The tablet was originally discovered in December 2019, but the text inside its delicate folds was only later revealed by tomographic scanning.

For Dr. Stripling, however, the enormity of the discovery was clear from the first moment, as he realized that it could indicate that ancient and sacred scripture had been recorded by eyewitnesses.

He said: “I thought it was too good to be true.

“The Bible describes Mount Ebal in Joshua chapter eight as the mountain of cursing, and Joshua is instructed to write curses on Ebal.

“So here we had what was a known curse tablet from a site that the Bible says curses were associated with.

“I was blown away by what we had found.”







Scott Stripling during the excavations that unearthed this “cursed” tablet
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Picture:

Credit: Michael C. Luddeni via Pen News)


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The curse itself is considered self-imprecatory – meaning the cursed individual will punish themselves for personal failure.

Dr. Stripling, who is also provost of the Bible Seminary in Katy, Texas, noted the similarity between the text and the curses spelled out in Deuteronomy.

He said, “Is this a summary of all the curses of Deuteronomy 28 and 29, for example?

“Because there you have all these curses if you break the covenant that’s going to fall on you.

“Having this structure, is it a literary summary of these?”

In the Bible, Joshua builds an altar to Yahweh at Mount Ebal where he renews the Mosaic Covenant, including the Ten Commandments, with blessings for those who obey and curses for those who break the rules.

Today it is home to an archaeological site known as el Burnat, the ruins of which are thought by some to be the remains of the altar of Joshua himself.

So far, the oldest known example of the word YHWH appeared on the Mesha Stele, dated to around 840 BC. AD and discovered in 1868.

Dr. Stripling and his collaborators intend to publish their findings academically later this year.

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