Balaam Son Of Beor in Archeology

Balaam Inscription

(Top) Painting by Pieter Lastman c.1622 {PD} Wikimedia Commons. (Bottom left) Photo by author. (Bottom right) Photo credit: Jona Lendering (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) Livius.org

Post 24 – Balaam is referenced this week in our Bible reading (Nehemiah 13 1). In 1967 Dutch archeologists working in the north of Jordan made a dramatic discovery. While excavating an ancient structure, they discovered the ruins of a plastered wall that had once been covered in writing in black and red ink. Piecing together the fragments they were able to read the inscription. It begins, “The misfortunes of the Book of Balaam, son of Beor. A divine seer was he.” It continues with visions of a future destruction. This is clearly the same Balaam as in Numbers chapter 22 because 5 times he is referred to as “Balaam son of Beor” (Numbers 22:5). Interestingly, the “prophecy ” is not in the name of Jehovah but that is just what you might expect from a “prophet for hire” like Balaam. This inscription demonstrates that Balaam was not mythical as had often been claimed but a well known and highly regarded character among the Moabites and Ammonites. Today the inscription may me seen in the small but charming Jordan Archaeological Museum in Amman, Jordan. #weeklybiblereadingarcheology #biblereadingarcheology #biblereadingarchaeology

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