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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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Awake!  |  May 2009

A Receipt That Corroborates the Bible Record

A Receipt That Corroborates the Bible Record

 A Receipt That Corroborates the Bible Record

▪ A two-inch-wide [5.5 cm] clay tablet was unearthed in the 1870’s near modern-day Baghdad, Iraq. In 2007, Michael Jursa, a professor at the University of Vienna, in Austria, came across the tablet while doing research at the British Museum. Jursa recognized the name Nebo-sarsechim (Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, in its Babylonian form), a Babylonian official mentioned in the Bible at Jeremiah 39:3. *

Nebo-sarsechim was one of King Nebuchadnezzar’s commanders at the destruction of Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., and according to the tablet, he is called “the chief eunuch.” Moreover, the title chief eunuch was held by only one man at any given time, providing strong evidence that the Sarsechim in question is the same man mentioned in the Bible.

The tablet records a gold delivery that Nebo-sarsechim made to the temple of Marduk, or Merodach, the chief god of Babylon, whose name is also mentioned in the Bible. (Jeremiah 50:2) The receipt is dated the 10th year, 11th month, and 18th day of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. The gold delivery, however, had nothing to do with the sacking of Jerusalem, which occurred years later. (2 Kings 25:8-10, 13-15) Nevertheless, “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,” said Professor Jursa. Acclaimed as one of the most significant discoveries in modern Biblical archaeology, the tablet “supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact,” says Britain’s Telegraph newspaper.

The Bible’s veracity, however, does not depend on archaeology. Far more powerful evidence can be found within the Bible itself, especially in its prophecies. (2 Peter 1:21) For example, more than 100 years in advance, Jehovah God, speaking through the prophet Isaiah, foretold that all the treasures in Jerusalem would “be carried to Babylon.” (Isaiah 39:6, 7) Likewise, through the prophet Jeremiah, God foretold: “I will give all the stored-up things of this city [Jerusalem] . . . into the hand of their enemies. And they will certainly plunder them and take them . . . to Babylon.”​—Jeremiah 20:4, 5.

Nebo-sarsechim was one of those enemies, and as such, he was also an eyewitness of the fulfillment of Bible prophecy. In fact, whether he knew it or not, he actually shared in that fulfillment.

[Footnote]

^ par. 2 At Jeremiah 39:3, the New World Translation reads: “Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris,” following the punctuation in the Hebrew Masoretic text. But the Hebrew consonantal text could be rendered: “Samgar, Nebo-sarsechim the Rabsaris [or, the Chief Court Official],” which agrees with the cuneiform tablet.

[Picture Credit Line on page 11]

Copyright The Trustees of the British Museum