Biblical Archaeology Review 33:1, January/February 2007

Biblical Views: Them Dry Bones

By Ronald S. Hendel

One of the most intriguing archaeological finds in Israel in recent years is a pair of silver amulets found in a burial cave in Ketef Hinnom, outside of ancient Jerusalem, dating to the late seventh or early sixth century B.C.E.1 On these amulets is a version of the Priestly Benediction (Numbers 6:24–26), preceded by invocations to Yahweh. The two amulets read as follows (the italicized words are those of the Priestly Benediction in Numbers):

Amulet 1:Yahw[eh] ... grea[t ] ... the covenant, and graciousness to those who love [him] and those who keep ... [the] blessing more than any [sna]re and more than Evil. For redemption is in him. For Yahweh is our restorer [and] rock. May Yahweh bless you [and] keep you. May Yahweh make [his] face [sh]ine ...

Amulet 2:May [X] be blessed by Yahwe[h], the helper and the rebuker of [e]vil: May Yahweh bless you and keep you. May Yah[w]eh make his face shine [upo]n you and grant you p[ea]ce.

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