3,000 Year Old Tablet May Confirm Biblical Account
According to Live Science, the tablet has long been subject to speculation, a result of having to be reconstructed after Bedouin tribesmen shattered it in the 1860s during sales negotiations with Western buyers. Previous readings done by researchers such as Andre Lemaire proposed reading “House of David” into Line 31 due to the presence of a “B” prior to a break in the tablet. Lemaire suggested the “B” may indicate the word “beth” — Hebrew for house. However, upon reviewing photographs and a “squeeze” made of the tablet, which resides at the Louvre Museum in Paris, the team believes this reading to be inaccurate. They contend that Lemaire made numerous false assumptions, including the inclusion of a character that is not present. “We dismiss Lemaire’s proposal to read (‘House of David’) on Line 31,” they wrote. “We are dealing with a three-consonant word which is most probably a personal name: it starts with a beth, followed by a space for two missing letters that is followed by the vertical stroke, and then begins a new sentence. “What personal name with three consonants, starting with the letter beth, could the stele have been referring to? A variety of names might fit here… but one name stands as the most likely candidate, i.e., Balak,” the researchers conclude.