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Jehovah’s Witnesses

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The Watchtower—Study Edition (Simplified)  |  March 2017

Ancient Canaanite writing on a 3,000-year-old ceramic jar reveals a Bible name

A Bible Name on an Ancient Jar

A Bible Name on an Ancient Jar

In 2012, archaeologists found small pieces of a ceramic jar that are 3,000 years old. Researchers were very excited. Why? Not because of the pieces of the jar but because of the writing that was on them.

When the archaeologists finally put all the pieces together, they were able to read the Canaanite writing on the jar. It said: “Eshba’al Ben Beda,” which means “Eshba’al, son of Beda.” This is the first time archaeologists have found this name written on an ancient item.

Another person named Eshbaal is mentioned in the Bible. He was one of the sons of King Saul. (1 Chronicles 8:33; 9:39) Professor Yosef Garfinkel, one of those who found the jar, said: “It is interesting to note that the name Eshba’al appears in the Bible, and now also in the archaeological record, only during the reign of King David.” This is another example of how archaeology supports the Bible!

In the Bible, Saul’s son Eshbaal is also called Ish-bosheth. (2 Samuel 2:10) Why was “baal” replaced with “bosheth”? Researchers explain that the writer of Second Samuel might have avoided using the name Eshbaal because it reminded the Israelites of Baal, the god of storms whom the Canaanites worshipped. However, in the Bible book of First Chronicles, we can still find the name Eshbaal.