Biblical Find: Fragment May Be Named For Famed Biblical Warrior Gideon
Book of Judges

Israeli archaeologists have found a fragment of a clay pot that dates back to the time of the Biblical judges, and an inscription on the pot apparently has the name “Jerubbaal,” also known as the famed warrior Gideon of the Bible from roughly 3,100  years ago.

Discovered in Khirbat er-Ra’i, near Kiryat Gat in southern Israel, the pot had a small capacity of about a quarter of a gallon, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

“The name was written in an ancient alphabetic script, which derived from the earliest alphabetic script known (as opposed to cuneiform or hieroglyphics), which had apparently been invented by Canaanite merchants or slaves working in or with ancient Egypt around 4,000 years ago, during the Middle Bronze Age,” Haaretz reported.

In the Book of Judges, it states that Gideon was told by God to save the Israelites from the Midianites. It then states, “Now it was on that night, that the Lord said to him, ‘Take the bullock that your father has, and the second bullock, seven years. And you shall destroy the altar of the Baal which belongs to your father and the Asherah, which is next to it shall you cut down.”

“And you shall build an altar to the Lord your God upon the top of this rock, in the proper place. And you shall take the second bullock and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah whoch you shall cut down,” Judges continues, continuing that Gideon took ten men and did as he was instructed, but fearing his father’s household, did so at night.

According to the Book of Judges, when the men of the city discovered what Gideon had done, they approached his father, Joash, and told him, “Bring out your son that he may die.” Joash first suggested that Baal defend himself, then called his son Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal contend with him, because he has broken down his altar.”

Sa’ar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority pointed out that the syllables “Jeru” come from the ancient root of “rav,” meaning contend, and Gideon fought Baal.

“He broke Baal’s altar,” Ganor stated.

Later in the Book of Judges, it describes how Gideon took an army of thousands to fight the Midianites, but God kept urging Gideon to reduce the number of men in the Israelite camp, saying, “The people that are with you are too numerous for Me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against Me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’” Eventually, l there were only 300 men left when Gideon conquered the Midianites as his men famously blew their trumpets and smashed jars before the battle.

At the end of 2017, Israel archaeologists announced they had found a 2,700-year-old seal impression from the First Temple Period that validates Biblical references from almost 3,000 years ago. The seal was discovered near the plaza of the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem. Excavator Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah enthused, “The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2700 years ago.”

In February 2018, archaeologists announced in an article that they have found physical evidence corroborating the existence of the Biblical prophet Isaiah. Writing in Biblical Archaeology Review, Eliat Mazar, who headed the dig at which the discovery was found, described the evidence. According to The Daily Beast, Mazar stated that it is “a small piece of clay (an impression left by a seal), a mere 0.4 inches long, which appears to bear the inscription ‘Isaiah the prophet.’”

In April 2019, a clay seal was found in Jerusalem that gave further evidence of the reign of the famed Biblical Jewish King Josiah, who is noteworthy in Jewish history as the king who brought the Jewish people back to observance of the Torah after the nefarious reign of his predecessor Manasseh.

Discovered by the Israel Antiquities Authority and Tel Aviv University, the seal was found underneath a current-day car park; the archaeological team found evidence of a large building that featured ornate architecture and tiled floors that was later burned by the Babylonians when they conquered Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Those features enabled archaeologists to identify the building as an administrative center for the Jewish government of the king.

In September 2020, archaeologists with the City Of David were exhilarated when they found what they termed a “once in a lifetime” discovery: three 2,700-year-old decorated column heads that date back to the reign of the Davidic dynasty.

Archaeologist Yaakov Billig enthused, “I’m still excited,” acknowledging that when the artifacts were found, “I thought, ‘Yaakov, maybe you’ve been in the sun too long.’ But I looked again, and it was still there,” as he told The Jerusalem Post.

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