Professor Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa recently deciphered an inscription on a pottery shard that sheds light on ancient Israel. This pottery shard was discovered in the Elah Valley in Israel (which happens to be where the confrontation between David and Goliath took place—1 Sam. 17) and dated to the 10th century B.C. Professor Galil believes it contains Hebrew (or proto-Canaanite, a precursor of Hebrew) writing, which, if true, would be the oldest extant example of Hebrew writing.
When the pottery shard was originally discovered a year and a half ago, some scholars and archaeologists called the discovery Israel’s “most exciting archaeological find since the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
What is the significance of this small scrap of inscribed pottery? According to Professor Galil, “It indicates that the Kingdom of Israel already existed in the 10th century BCE and that at least some of the biblical texts were written hundreds of years before the dates presented in current research.” According to the article, “current research” does not recognize “the possibility that the Bible or parts of it could have been written during this ancient period.”
Now, our faith in the veracity of God’s Word should not rise or fall with the findings of archaeology. However, it is always nice when archaeological discoveries confirm what the Bible records. It is also somewhat amusing that once again an archaeological discovery like a small piece of pottery can confound the beliefs of even the wisest Bible scholars!