In some ways, an archaeological discovery in Israel may provide a timely message for believers in our dangerously-polarized, political culture.
In 2010, archaeologists found a stone table (26.7 cm by 20.8 cm) near the Gihon Springs in the Kidron Valley with an inscription carved into it. The springs were originally the main source of water for the ancient city of Jerusalem.
The limestone tablet was dated to the time of King David.
However, it was not until 2022, that Professor Gershon Galil, from the Department of Jewish History and Biblical Studies at the University of Haifa, completed his translation of the wording.
According to Israel365 News, it ended up being a curse, calling for the death of the Governor of Jerusalem:
Transliteration and translation of the text: ARWR, ARWR, MT TMT; ARWR, ARWR, MT TMT; SR H’R, MT TMT; ARWR, MT TMT; ARWR, MT TMT; ARWR, MT TMT.
ארור, ארור, מת תמת; ארור, ארור, מת תמת; שר הער, מת תמת; ארור, מת תמת; ארור, מת תמת; ארור, מת תמת
Cursed, Cursed, you will surely die. Cursed, Cursed, you will surely die; Governor of the City, you will surely die; Cursed, you will surely die; Cursed, you will surely die; Cursed, you will surely die.
In the inscription, the writer not only curses the governor and proclaims his death several times, archaeologists noted that the stone also had holes drilled on one side in the shape of a head.
Professor Galil believe the head shape was intended for the same purpose as effigies created in modern voodoo ceremonies that are used to curse individuals. Galil added that he would be surprised if this ceremony was carried out by priests.
The curse was undoubtedly performed by opponents of the governor, who obviously wanted him gone. The conflict may have revolved around personal or economic issues.
Though many would consider the governor of Jerusalem as little more than a mayor today, in ancient Israel he also served as basically the prime minister to the king.
For example, in Judges 9:30, we read of Zebul, the ‘governor of Jerusalem,’ who became involved in an insurrection taking place in Israel.
But the translation of the inscription in many ways is timely, because, in our highly politicized climate, it’s easier to curse our political leaders, than to pray for them.
And at times, I wonder if we do pray for politicians, if our prayers can seem more curse-like, than positive.
Because how we pray is important.
In Luke 6, Jesus taught:
28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. (Luke 6:28 ESV)
A few verses later, Jesus would say we need to love those who hate us.
27 “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, (Luke 6:27 ESV)
When we find ourselves in situations where people are cursing or hating us, as is happening to believers by those on the political left, the human, even natural response, would be to curse them back.
But Jesus said we need to do the exact opposite and bless those who curse us, and pray a blessing upon them, instead of judgment, as Jesus’ disciples wanted to do to a Samaritan village that rejected Christ (Luke 9:51-55).
But for the believer, our response must be to pray positively for our political leaders, asking God to bless them, because this is pleasing in the sight of the Lord (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
It is these types of sincere prayers that God wants and answers, sometimes with their removal.