Israel’s Amazing Archeological Discovery: Ancient Hebrew Curse Amulet

May 11, 2022  |  By Evelina G
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Archeologists have recently discovered a small yet exciting artifact in the Land of Israel: a tiny folded tablet believed to date back to around 1200 BCE or earlier, containing curses and God’s name written in lead on the inside in an early form of the Hebrew script.

It’s been dubbed a “curse amulet,” and its age has astounded scholars – if the estimated age is accurate, it would make it the oldest example of proto-alphabetic Hebrew script found to date in the Land of Israel, as well as the oldest appearances of the name of the God of Israel in writing. 

And it proves a much older Jewish connection to the Hebrew language and the God of Israel than historians previously thought!

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Curse amulet found in Israel (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem)
Ancient Hebrew script

Previously, many assumed that the people of the Land of Israel were not literate during this time and the Bible could not have been written this early. 

This exciting find shows that the Hebrew script was already in use, and was even used to write religious items and the name of God!

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The amulet was found on Mt. Ebal, in the Samaria region of the Land of Israel, which was referred to in the Book of Deuteronomy as a place to deliver curses – a site that is now believed to be the altar described in both Deuteronomy and the Book of Joshua. The curse tablet could have been part of the curse ceremonies described in the Bible, and seems to confirm that the site was indeed historically associated with curses.

The writing on the inside of the tablet has been translated as:

“Cursed, cursed, cursed – cursed by the God YHWH. You will die cursed. Cursed you will surely die. Cursed by YHWH – cursed, cursed, cursed.”

Ancient Hebrew amulet discovered at Mt. Ebal (Photo: Roi Hadi)
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This unique curse amulet is a fascinating opposite to the many blessing and healing amulets that have been discovered in excavations in the Land of Israel and other places where Jews have lived throughout history.

But the biggest significance of this exciting find is that it provides a tangible physical link between the Jewish people and our long history in the Land of Israel and connection to God, the Bible, and the Hebrew language!

Celebrate our people’s ancient connection to the Hebrew language with Judaica WebStore’s exciting line of made-in-Israel Hebrew alphabet gifts – and see this guide to the most fascinating items spanning both ancient and modern Hebrew scripts. And don’t forget your own Hebrew Bible too!

Check out the top gifts from Israeli artists celebrating the Jewish people’s connection to the Hebrew language, from ancient to modern scripts!

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