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News – Oldest known Hebrew text

December 2008

Oldest known Hebrew text


Archaeologists in Israel have recently reported finding the oldest known Hebrew text, in a fortress city overlooking the valley where the Bible says David slew Goliath.

     Israeli archaeologist Yossi Garfinkel reported that a 3000-year-old piece of pottery was found near the stairs and stone washtub of an excavated home at Hirbet Qeiyafa. He said the relic with five lines of characters is strong evidence that the ancient Israelites were literate and able to chronicle the events recorded in the Bible. It was later reported the characters are proto-Canaanite – a precursor of the Hebrew alphabet.

     Hirbet Qeiyafa is near the modern Israeli city of Beit Shemesh in the Judean foothills, an area that was once a frontier between hill-dwelling Israelites and their enemies, the coastal Philistines. The site overlooks the Valley of Elah, where the epic battle between Israelite David and Philistine giant Goliath was fought.