The second-oldest biblical writing (after the Dead Sea Scrolls) has just been found, furthering the existing evidence of biblical reliability!
45 years ago, a little charred scroll was unearthed at an excavation of a 4th century (AD) synagogue in Ein Gedi. Significantly, this is the first ancient Torah scroll to have been found inside a synagogue, but there’s more… The synagogue was at the center of a bustling Jewish village and a host of other artifacts were found including a bronze menorah, money box, ceramic oil lamps, vessels of perfume, and a Holy Ark. The scroll in observation is also the first ancient Torah scroll to have been found within a Holy Ark!
Why was the scroll in such bad shape? The scroll had escaped a fire that consumed much of the village. Fragile and irreplaceable, the scroll has gone unread since it’s discovery in 1970.
“The settlement was completely burnt to the ground, and none of its inhabitants ever returned to reside there again, or to pick through the ruins in order to salvage valuable property,” says Yosef Porath, excavation director of the Ein Gedi digs. Experts speculate that the fire may have been caused by Bedouin raids or an attack from the Byzantine government, but there has not been enough evidence to confirm that a stable boy hadn’t been simply playing with a tinder box either.
Thanks to advances in medical and digital imaging technology, scientists have been able to virtually unroll and read the artifact. Not only was that partnership of archaeology and science amazing, but wait till you see what they found!
Through carbon dating and CT-scans, researches found that the 1,500-year old scroll recorded the first 8 verses of Leviticus! Do you remember what they’re about? That’s right… burnt offerings!
The Lord summoned Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying: Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When any of you bring an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock. If the offering is a burnt offering from the herd, you shall offer a male without blemish; you shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting, for acceptance in your behalf before the Lord. You shall lay your hand on the head of the burnt offering, and it shall be acceptable in your behalf as atonement for you. The bull shall be slaughtered before the Lord; and Aaron’s sons the priests shall offer the blood, dashing the blood against all sides of the altar that is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. The burnt offering shall be flayed and cut up into its parts. The sons of the priest Aaron shall put fire on the altar and arrange wood on the fire. Aaron’s sons the priests shall arrange the parts, with the head and the suet, on the wood that is on the fire on the altar.
Maybe this is just a coincidence. Maybe the ancient people of Ein Gedi wanted to leave a message for us in the future. Or maybe God just has a great sense of humor. 🙂 Click here to read more.