(Investigator 117, 2007 November)



I estimated the Old Testament includes the names of about 2,889 people. (# 50; 61) I listed 62 confirmed or tentatively confirmed by archaeology and predicted more will be found.


Recently I noticed two more.

25km south-west of Aman (Jordan), in an area called Iraq el Amir meaning Cave of the Prince, is evidence for Tobiah. Tobiah was the Ammonite official who, in the 5th century BC, opposed the return of the Jews to Israel. (Nehemiah 2:10)

In the early 1990s a team from Jordan's Department of Antiquities and the French Institute of Archaeology surveyed the remains of some 2nd century BC buildings. Nearby are cliffs with eleven caves on two levels. At the entrance of one cave is an inscription of the name Tobiah in Aramaic. The name appears again in the adjacent cave.

The inscription is dated to the Persian period 541-331 BC and therefore could refer to the Ammonite official of the Bible. (Archaeological Diggings Volume 1, June/July 1994, p. 29)

Another discovery may be "Sarsechim", an official of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. (Jeremiah 39:3)

The British Museum has a collection of 130,000 Assyrian cuneiform tablets. On the Internet, Nigel Reynolds reports that one tablet appears to be: "a receipt for payment made by a figure in the Old Testament":

Tiny tablet provides proof for Old Testament…

Michael Jursa, a visiting professor from Vienna … made … a discovery that supports the view that the historical books of the Old Testament are based on fact.

…Prof Jursa suddenly came across a name … Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, described there … as "the chief eunuch" of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon.

Prof Jursa, an Assyriologist, checked the Old Testament and there in chapter 39 of the Book of Jeremiah, he found, spelled differently, the same name Nebo-Sarsekim.

Nebo-Sarsekim, according to Jeremiah, was Nebuchadnezzar II's "chief officer" and was with him at the siege of Jerusalem in 587 BC...

The small tablet, the size of "a packet of 10 cigarettes" according to Irving Finkel, a British Museum expert, is a bill of receipt acknowledging Nabu-sharrussu-ukin's payment of 0.75 kg of gold to a temple in Babylon.

The tablet is dated to the 10th year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, 595BC, 12 years before the siege of Jerusalem… (13 July, 2007


In the King James translation Jeremiah 39:3 reads:

And all the princes of the king of Babylon came in, and sat in the middle gate, even Nergal-sharezer, Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim, Rab-saris, Nergal-sharezer, Rab-mag, with all the residue of the king of Babylon.

Many Bibles have "nebo" attached to the wrong name. It should not read "Samgar-nebo, Sarsechim…" but rather "Samgar, Nebo-sarsechim…" Some translators have made the correction including the NIV and RSV.

Hebrew writing did not use vowels. Therefore Nebo is the same as Nebu and Nabu. It was the name of a Babylonian god and prefixed the name of various humans such as Nebu-chadnezzar and Nebu-zaradan. (2 Kings 25:8-11)

This still leaves the biblical "sarsechim" different to "sharrussu-ukin" on the cuneiform tablet

This need not be seen as an error, but rather the conversion of the Babylonish name into Hebrew – comparable to Petrus in one language becoming "Peter" in another.


Internet comment on Reynolds' report include