A visiting professor at the British Museum has made a discovery “that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact” (“Tiny tablet provides proof for Old Testament” by Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent Telegraph www.telegraph.co.uk 13/07/2007).

The Telegraph online news article states: “The sound of unbridled joy seldom breaks the quiet of the British Museum’s great Arched Room, which holds its collection of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets, dating back 5,000 years. But Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna, let out such a cry last Thursday. He had made what has been called the most important find in Biblical archaeology for 100 years, a discovery that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact. Searching for Babylonian financial accounts among the tablets, Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name he half remembered—Nabu-sharrussuukin, described there in a hand 2,500 years old, as ‘the chief eunuch’ of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled differently, the same name—Nebo-Sarsekim.”

The name Nebo-Sarsekim, however, is not obvious in the AV translation of Jeremiah 39:3, which reads: “And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergalsharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the residue of the princes of the king of Babylon.”

But scholars have long conjectured that the  rendering of the names Samgar-nebo and Sarsechim  are confused and that samgar should be translated  as a title, that is, cup-bearer. The suffix nebo would  then belong to the name following, giving Nebo- Sarsechim, a similar form to other Babylonian  names like Nebu-chadnezzar, Nebu-zaradan, etc  (see AW Streane, Jeremiah, Cambridge Bible for  Schools and Colleges 1895, p257; The Illustrated  Bible Dictionary, p1380; and Unger’s Bible  Dictionary, 3rd ed, p961). The name is translated  as Nebo-Sarsechim in the niv.

The Telegraph  provides the following  full translation of the  tablet:

( Regarding )  1.5 minas (0.75  kg) of gold, the  property of Nabusharrussu-  ukin,  the chief eunuch,  which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the  temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it]  to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of  Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son  of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year 10  [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.

Once again, archaeological evidence has verified  the accuracy of the historical facts in the Bible. The  Telegraph quotes the British Museum’s Dr Irving  Finkel as saying: “This is a fantastic discovery, a  world-class find… 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.”

We can place full confidence in the historical  facts recorded in the Bible, for again it has been  shown to be a reliable historical narrative. As David  wrote, “Thy word is true from the beginning: and  every one of thy righteous judgments endureth  forever” (Psa 119:160).

King Herod’s Tomb Discovered

In May 2007 Hebrew University announced that  the tomb of King Herod the Great, ruler of Judea  from 37 BC until 4 BC, has been discovered at  Herodium (“King Herod’s tomb unearthed by Israeli  archaeologists”, Israel Line May 10, 2007).

“Herodium is the most outstanding among King  Herod’s building projects”, says Israel Line. “It  is the only site that carries his name and the site  where he chose to be buried and memorialized.

‘The discovery of the grave is the high point in the excavation at the site’, said Professor Ehud Netzer,  the chief archaeologist of the excavation.”

A former student of well-known Israeli  archaeologist Yigal Yadin, Professor Netzer had been  working at Herodium since 1972. “The discovery  of Herod’s tomb solves one of Israel’s greatest  archaeological mysteries”, Israel Line reported.  “Researchers had long suspected that Herod was buried  at the site, as it is mentioned in Flavius Josephus’s  Jewish Wars. Nevertheless, until now, they were  unable to locate the site despite multiple excavations.  The location and unique nature of the findings, as well  as the historical record, leave no doubt that this was  Herod’s burial site, Netzer said… .”

Herod’s death is noted by Matthew (2:19) and  his funeral is described by Josephus in his Jewish  Wars (1.33.9).

“The mausoleum was almost dismantled in  ancient times”, reports Israel Line. “According  to Netzer, the grave had been desecrated shortly  after Herod’s death and the sarcophagus broken  into hundreds of pieces. Netzer speculates that  this destruction took place between 66–72ce,  during the Jewish revolt against the Romans while  Jewish rebels held the site. The rebels hated the  Hellenistic Herod, seeing him as pawn of the  Romans. Although there were no bones in the  container, the location and appearance indicated  it was Herod’s. ‘It’s a sarcophagus we don’t just  see anywhere’, Netzer said. ‘It is something very  special.’”