“Balaam, son of Beor,” the name of the enigmatic Biblical prophet described at length in the Book of Numbers, has been discovered inscribed on excavated fragments at Tell Deir Alla in Jordan. Fallen from a collapsed wall, the hundreds of plaster fragments with their traces of red and black letters were first uncovered nearly 20 years ago, but the painstaking work of reassembling these many puzzle pieces and then interpreting them continues. One of the scholars studying the Deir Alla inscription, André Lemaire, has rearranged some of the fragments. He proposes a new reading of the first nine lines of one of the original inscribed panels in “Fragments from the Book of Balaam Found at Deir Alla.”
Chargé de recherche at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris, Lemaire has excavated at Tell Keisan and Tel Lachish. A distinguished epigrapher, Lemaire is already well known to readers for his recent BAR articles, “Probable Head of Priestly Scepter From Solomon’s Temple Surfaces in Jerusalem,” BAR 10:01, and “Who or What Was Yahweh’s Asherah?” BAR 10:06.