Ketef Hinnom: The Silver Scrolls

In a tomb near Jerusalem, two small silver scrolls were discovered—mostly likely dating from the sixth century BC. Similar to that found in the Bible in Numbers six, the priestly blessing Moses gave to Aaron for the Israelites, the scrolls contained the text: “May the LORD bless you and keep you; may the LORD make his face shine upon you and grant you peace."

It was an arduous process to unroll the scrolls and decipher the characters, but the work gave access to yet another amazing discovery. One of the words deciphered was YHWH—the name of God in the Hebrew Bible, translated as "the LORD." The scrolls were probably worn as an amulet for protection and blessings. For biblical scholars, the silver scrolls provide a significant discovery that aids reconstruction of the historical time-frame of these texts—and the role of religion in ancient Israel.


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