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Archaeology & the Bible

When we see things with a biblical worldview, what we see in the world is consistent with what we read in the Word. There are over 25,000 archaeological finds to date that confirm what we read in the Word, and not one that refutes it. Join us today as Alyssa unpacks one of them.
Greetings!  It's me, Alyssa Glander, and today, I want to get a little nerdy with y'all.
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS IS?
This, Ladies and Gents, is a proposed Seal of Baruch! Or “The Baruch Bulla”!
It is currently being held in The Israel Museum.

What is a Bulla? Bullae? Seal thingy?

Well, I’m glad you asked! The bullae (pl.), from which the Hebrew word for stamp—bul—is derived, are small pieces of clay used as seals for letters in ancient times. If the seal was broken, it meant that the letter had been opened before reaching its destination. (In more recent times, wax has been used for a similar purpose.) So now we know what it is and what it was used for.

Who was Baruch?

Well, you're not alone if you have no clue. I grew up in a generation that was and is practically biblically illiterate, so I won't lie to you and say I was “excited” when I first found information on this artifact. I didn't even know who the fella was! So of course, in true millennial fashion, I ventured my way to Google. 😄
Here’s a summary of what I found:
  • There are multiple men in the Bible named Baruch. 
  • The name Baruch means “blessed” and is still in use today.
  • Nehemiah mentions the name Baruch three times (Nehemiah 3:20; 10:6; and 11:5), but if we are paying attention to the context, it can be understood to be multiple people involved in different activities while Nehemiah was governing Jerusalem.
Then we get to the Baruch we are talking about TODAY!
  • The most well-known Baruch in the Bible is the scribe and perhaps servant of Jeremiah the prophet. As Jeremiah received messages from the Lord, he dictated them to Baruch, who wrote them down.

How did these seals of Baruch come to be found?

 “During the 1970s, two bullae (clay seal stamps) turned up on the antiquities market. These items had an identical impression, made by the same seal stamp. They read: ‘Belonging to Berechiahu, son of Neriahu, the Scribe’—in its simplified biblical name form: Baruch, son of Neriah.1 Notice Jeremiah 36:32:”

Then Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah, who wrote on it at the dictation of Jeremiah all the words of the scroll that Johoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire. And many similar words were added to them.

Now, like any and all biblical archaeology findings, these seals came under scrutiny concerning their authenticity. It isn't always possible to authenticate certain findings simply based on the way they were found. BUT, it is important to note that the evidence we currently have about the bullae (seals), does not incriminate or condemn the Baruch bullae. In fact, it is believed by some that current evidence suggests them to be legitimate.

Are there any proven findings similar to these?

King Hezekiah

2 Kings 16:20-20:21; 2 Chronicles 28:27-32:33; Isaiah 36:1-39:8
“The Baruch bullae represent just two of many hundreds of bullae sold on the antiquities market. For example, a number of bullae belonging to King Hezekiah were found on the antiquities market, but because of their unknown provenance [place of origin], their authenticity could only be classed as ‘likely.’ That is, until the discovery of an identical bulla belonging to the king during Dr. Eilat Mazar’s 2009–10 Ophel excavation, which proved them to be genuine.”2

Princes Gedaliah and Jehucal

“Dr. Eilat Mazar, after her 2005 excavation efforts in the City of David, revealed a bulla (a clay stamp used for sealing documents) bearing the words ``Belonging to Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, son of Shovi.”3
 Jehucal, son of Shelemiah, was an important prince featured in Jeremiah 37 and 38.
Just two years later, she discovered another bulla—this one belonging to a fellow prince of Jehucal, also mentioned in Jeremiah 38. This bulla read: “Belonging to Gedaliah, son of Pashur.” Both bullae date to the same time period as their biblical counterparts.”4

But wait, there's more!

There is still much to be discovered concerning biblical archaeology, and perhaps one day, we will further discover evidence supporting that this bullae can indeed be traced back to Baruch, Nehemiah’s scribe. There are so many more fascinating finds I want to share and unpack with you, so my hope is to make this an ongoing blog series where we can come together and journey through the past!
1 Read the full article at https://armstronginstitute.org/228-baruch-jeremiahs-scribe-proved.
2 Ibid.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid.
Author Bio:
My name is Alyssa Glander! I have been walking with the Lord since I was about 17, and He has shouldered me all the way!! I am a content and social media manager at Reasons For Hope and the youngest member of the team! I've been happily married to my amazing husband Marc for about four years now, and we reside in Georgia with our certifiably insane (but sweet) Boston Terrier, Axel!

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