The Silver Amulets: Part 4
The amulets are vitally important not simply because of what they say, but because they are very old. They are dated to approximately 600 BCE and contain actual lines from the Bible: the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26),
^24 The Lord bless you and keep you;
^25 the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you;
^26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace. ?’
This portion is well-known and much loved by the Jewish people and is part of the Jewish liturgy to this very day. The real significance of this archaeological discovery is not, however, in the fact of old blessings, amulets, or liturgy. Rather, these silver amulets contain the actual text of the Bible as written down in 600 BCE, making them the oldest written piece of the Holy Scriptures ever discovered. We have here the only piece of the Bible which we can say was contemporary to the time the book of Numbers was written down.
We know that there were always variations in the text, and that we have different versions of Biblical manuscripts in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is nevertheless significant, and encouraging, that in this small portion, indeed, the wording of Scriptures is identical today to what it was 2800 years ago. That gives one confidence in the fidelity of our received Book.
Biblical Reproductions, licensed by the Israel Antiquities Authority, intends to offer an exquisite photographic reproduction of the silver amulets, at https://www.biblicalreproductions.com.
Photos courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Author: Walter Zanger