Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet

Nebo-Sarsekim Tablet is a clay cuneiform inscription referring to an official at the court of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. It may also refer to an official named in the Biblical Book of Jeremiah.

It is currently in the collection of the British Museum. Dated to circa 595 BC, the tablet was part of an archive from a large sun-worship temple at Sippar.

DescriptionEdit

The tablet is a clay cuneiform inscription (2.13 inches; 5.5 cm) with the following translation:

[Regarding] 1.5 minas (~850 grams / 27 troy oz) of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month XI, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.[1]

DiscoveryEdit

Archaeologists unearthed the tablet in the ancient city of Sippar (about a mile from modern Baghdad) in the 1870s. The British Museum acquired it in 1920, but it had remained in storage unpublished until Michael Jursa (associate professor at the University of Vienna) discovered its relevance to biblical history. He noted that both the name and the title (rab ša-rēši) of the official closely matched the Hebrew text of Jeremiah 39:3. Additionally, the tablet is dated just eight years before the events in Jeremiah. According to Jursa, the rarity of the Babylonian name, the high rank of the rab ša-rēši and the close proximity in time make it almost certain that the person mentioned on the tablet is identical with the biblical figure.[2]

Bible comparisonsEdit

According to Jeremiah (39:3 in the Masoretic Text or 46:3 in the Septuagint), an individual by this same name visited Jerusalem during the Babylonian conquest of it. The verse begins by stating that all the Babylonian officials sat authoritatively in the Middle Gate, then names several of them, and concludes by adding that all the other officials were there as well.

Over the years, Bible translators have divided the named individuals in different ways (as seen in the table below), rendering anywhere from two to eight names.[citation needed]

Hebrew:

נֵרְגַל שַׂרְ-אֶצֶר סַמְגַּר-נְבוּ שַׂר-סְכִים רַב-סָרִיס נֵרְגַל שַׂרְאֶצֶר רַב-מָג

Hebrew (Romanized): Nêrəḡal Śar’eṣer Samgar Nəḇū-Śarsəḵîm Raḇsārîs Nêrəḡal Śar’eṣer Raḇmāḡ
Greek:

Μαργανασαρ και Σαμαγωθ και Ναβουσαχαρ και Ναβουσαρεις Ναγαργας Νασερραβαμαθ

Vulgate: NEREGEL SERESER SEMEGAR NABV SARSACHIM RABSARES NEREGEL SERESER REBMAG

JosephusEdit

In Book 10 (chapter VIII, paragraph 2; or line 135) of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus records the Babylonian officials as:

Ρεγαλσαρος Αρεμαντος Σεμεγαρος Ναβωσαρις Αχαραμψαρις

William Whiston's translation follows the KJV/ASV rendition, albeit reversing two of them:

Nergal Sharezer, Samgar Nebo, Rabsaris, Sarsechim, and Rabmag

The literal translation by Christopher T. Begg and Paul Spilsbury is:

Regalsar, Aremant, Semegar, Nabosaris, and Acarampsaris

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Translation (by Michael Jursa?) found in Reynolds, Nigel. (2007). "Tiny Tablet provides proof for Old Testament." Telegraph.co.uk. Archived.
  2. ^ Jursa, M., "Nabû-šarrūssu-ukīn, rab ša-rēši, und ,,Nebusarsekim“ (Jer 39:3)" Nouvelles Assyriologiques Brèves et Utilitaires 2008-1 pp. 9-10 (link)

External linksEdit