July 11, 2007 (Creation Evolution Headlines) – Jeremiah mentioned Nebo-Sarsekim and Nebuchadnezzar, and so did Babylonian scribes. The Times Online reported today, “The British Museum yesterday hailed a discovery within a modest clay tablet in its collection as a breakthrough for biblical archaeology – dramatic proof of the accuracy of the Old Testament.” An article in the Telegraph calls it “a fantastic discovery, world-class find” and includes a picture and full translation of the small tablet.
The great King Nebuchadnezzar had been known from extra-Biblical sources, but Nebo-Sarsekim was not – till now. He is mentioned in Jeremiah 39:3 as one of the officials of Nebuchadnezzar present at the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians in 586 BC. Jeremiah was an eyewitness to these events. Now, the same name has been deciphered on a clay tablet from Sippar, a site a mile from Baghdad, where the Babylonians had a huge sun temple. The tablet, recording Nebo-Sarsekim’s gift of gold to a temple in Babylon, dates to 10 years before the siege of Jerusalem.
The British Museum acquired this small tablet in 1920, but it had never been translated. Dr. Michael Jursa (U of Vienna), one of the few scholars who can read cuneiform script, made the discovery while translating tablets on a research trip to the museum. “Finding something like this tablet, where we see a person mentioned in the Bible making an everyday payment to the temple in Babylon and quoting the exact date, is quite extraordinary,” he said. Dr. Irving Finkel of the British Museum added, “If Nebo-Sarsekim existed, which other lesser figures in the Old Testament existed? A throwaway detail in the Old Testament turns out to be accurate and true. I think that it means that the whole of the narrative [of Jeremiah] takes on a new kind of power.”