The World’s Most Ancient Hebrew Inscription

Humanities/Social Sciences

Prof. Yosef Garfinkel, Sa’ar Gnor, Dr. Hagai Misgav
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

The discovery and deciphering of an inscription on a potsherd added to the historical credibility underlying Bible stories and to the likelihood that the Kingdom of David existed. The potsherd was found in archeological digs at Khirbet Qeiyafa near the Elah Valley and is dated to the 10th century BCE. The inscription was difficult to decipher but the following words emerged: “Do not do”, “slave”, “judge” and “king”. This is the world’s earliest surviving Hebrew inscription. Four inscriptions found recently in Khirbet Qeiyafa, Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh indicate that in David’s time the ability to write, a basic administrative need of any state was spreading