I don’t mean the oldest person, of course, but the oldest example of writing in the Hebrew language. It has significant implications for biblical history, according to Israel National News:

A breakthrough in the research of the Hebrew Scriptures has shed new light on the period in which the Bible books of the Prophets were written. Professor Gershon Galil of the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa has deciphered an inscription dating from the 10th century BCE (the period of King David’s reign) and has proven the inscription to be ancient Hebrew, thus making it the earliest known example of Hebrew writing.

The significance of this breakthrough relates to the fact that at least some of the Biblical scriptures are now proven to have been composed hundreds of years before the dates presented today in research and that the Kingdom of Israel already existed at that time.

This is directly contrary to at least some current theorizing among very liberal biblical scholars:

Galil added that once this deciphering is received at research centers, the inscription will become the earliest Hebrew inscription to be found, testifying to Hebrew writing abilities as early as the 10th century BCE. This stands opposed to the dating of the composition of the Bible in much current academic research, which does not recognize the possibility that the Bible or parts of it could have been written during this ancient period.

Galil also noted that the inscription was discovered in a provincial Judean town, explaining that if there were scribes in the periphery, it can be assumed that those inhabiting the central region and Jerusalem were even more proficient writers. “It can now be maintained that it was highly reasonable that during the 10th century BCE, during the reign of King David, there were scribes in Israel who were able to write literary texts and complex historiographies such as the books of Judges and Samuel.” He added that the complexity of the text, along with the impressive fortifications revealed at the site, refute theories that attempt to deny the existence of the Kingdom of Israel at that time.

This doesn’t mean that the inscription in question is itself biblical, though it certainly echoes biblical themes. Here’s Galil’s translation:

1′ you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2′ Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3′ [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4′ the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5′ Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

The article identifies Isaiah 1:17, Psalm 72:3, and Exodus 23:3 as similar passages. There are others as well, all of which indicates that this kind of social consciousness was well established in Israel very early on.

Thanks to Dr. Galil for his excellent work. Let’s hope it penetrates the understanding of the world of biblical scholarship.

(Via Stand Firm.)