On October 26, 2016, archaeologists announced they uncovered the earliest non-Biblical reference to Jerusalem. This proves once again that the indisputable Jewish connection to Jerusalem predates the Muslim arrival by thousands of years.
They discovered the name Jerusalem on an ancient piece of papyri radio carbon dated to 7 BC that antiquity robbers had pillaged from Judean desert caves in the West Bank.
This is the oldest extra-Biblical reference to Jerusalem found so far.
The 2,700 year-old papyri was uncovered in an operation undertaken by Israel Antiquities Authority who became aware of the theft and mounted an operation to seize back the stolen antiquities before the robbers sold it on the black market.
The small piece of papyri written in Hebrew reads “From the king’s maid servant, from Na’arat, jars of wine to Jerusalem.”
Because the writer specifically calls herself a servant of the king, archaeologists suspect the document — referring to the transfer of two jars of wine to Jerusalem — was part of a tax payment. It was made during the reign of either King Josiah, Amon or Menashe.
It shows that by this time, Jerusalem was clearly the administrative center of Israel as portrayed in the Bible.
The wine was being sent from the village of Na’rat that the Bible also mentioned once in passing — Joshua 16:7.
Ironically the announcement was made on the same day the World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) rubber-stamped a motion denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount, called Mount Zion in the Bible (2 Kings 19:31), is the former location of the Jewish Temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. At present there are two Muslim buildings on the site — the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock built between 691 and 705 AD.
Two weeks earlier (October 13, 2016), in a 24-6 vote, UNESCO’s main assembly passed a motion declaring Jerusalem’s Temple Mount a Muslim-only site.
In addition to denying the sites Jewish and Christian heritage, from this point forward the motion stated the Temple Mount would only be referred to by its Muslim name — Al-Haram Al-Sharif — in official UN documents.
The motion put forward by the Palestinians and Jordanians would have been defeated if 26 countries had not abstained from the vote.
The motion still needed final approval by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee before it became official. The committee approved the motion in a 10 to 2 vote and again eight countries abstained and one country was absent.
Aside from the support of communist-controlled Vietnam, the other nine countries voting in favor had majority Islamic populations.
Ironically, the Palestinians and Jordanians considered the vote a let down as they wanted 100% support for the motion at the committee level.
Prior to the vote, reports circulated of UNESCO and its members receiving death threats if they didn’t approve the motion.
- Rare First Temple-era scroll exposes earliest Hebrew Mention of Jerusalem: Jerusalem Post
- Israel unveils the first mention of Jerusalem outside the Bible: City’s name is found on a wine-shipping order written on ancient papyrus: Daily Mail