[Avodah] The Historical Bil'am

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Fri Jul 3 14:44:48 PDT 2015

H/T RYGB, see http://www.livius.org/source-content/deir-alla-inscription
He asks on his blog: Why isn't this more widely known?

The full article includes an image of the instription and a complete
translation. This is just the opening.


   Articles on ancient history

                             Deir 'Alla Inscription

       Deir 'Alla Inscription: inscription, found in the Iron Age town
       of Deir 'Alla, mentioning the Biblical prophet Balaam.

   Deir 'Alla is situated in western Jordan, about eight kilometers east
   of the river Jordan, and about a kilometer north of the Jabbok. The
   excavators found a very large Bronze Age sanctuary that had suffered in
   the period of wide-spread destruction in the thirteenth/twelfth
   centuries. Unlike other settlements, which were abandoned, Deir 'Alla
   remained in use well into the fifth century BCE. That is remarkable.

   Even more remarkable, however, was the discovery of a painted text that
   contained a prophecy by Balaam...  (The site of Deir 'Alla is,
   technically, on the [11]Ammonite side of the river Jabbok.) The text
   refers to divine visions and signs of future destruction, in a language
   that is close to that of the Bible. For example, we read about the
   "Shaddai gods", an expression that is close to the Biblical El Shaddai,
   "God Almighty". On the other hand, the setting is not monotheistic: we
   read, for instance, about a gathering of a group of gods. The
   word elohim, which in the Bible (although plural) refers to one God,
   refers to more than one god in the Deir 'Alla text.

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