News and Notes -- By: Anonymous
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1990) p. 58
News and Notes
Dedicated To A Furnace
Is it possible that an inscription found just north of traditional Mt. Sinai actually mentions the name of Hobab, Moses’ brother-in-law (Nm 10:29)? (See also: Ex 2:16, 18, 21; 3:1.) Dr. William H. Shea suggests just such a possibility in Ministry magazine (9/89 and earlier in AUSS Spring 1987).
Hidden away in the high granite mountains are a number of short inscriptions written in one of the earliest forms of the alphabet. Most of the examples of this Proto-Sinaitic script are found in an area where Semitic workers mined turquoise for the Egyptians.
Although most of the inscriptions are on rock faces around the mines, one stands off by itself some distance away. This may explain why it was not found until 1960 by German scholar, Georg Gerster. It is this inscription we are concerned with here.
Gerster passed photos and drawings of the inscription on to W.F. Albright who, in turn, enlisted the help of still other scholars. Several articles have appeared, but scholars disagree how it should be read.
Shea suggests the correct reading, which ties it in with the Bible. He reads the inscription left to right and finds it transliterated: “W-L-cADT W-HBB ‘ADYR KR.” The translation then is: “Now for the congregation and Hobab, mighty is the furnace.” What is the inscription all about anyway?
The text, if read properly, seems to commemorate something. But what? It probably is referring to a smelter. And there is a clue. In the floor of the valley, Wadi Nasb, there is an enormous pile of slag: 6–8 feet high, it covers an area at least 500 by 300 feet—and is estimated to be 100,000 tons! Just above the valley where this huge pile of slag is located the inscription mentioning a furnace is carved on the rock of the hillside.
Who was commemorating these activities with this inscription? The words “congregation” and “Hobab” may open the door of interpretation. “The congregation” was the way/srael referred to itself. Although we cannot say this word actually refers to Israel, the name “Hobab” increases the certainty of
BSP 3:2 (Spring 1990) p. 59
the correct identification. The scripture references mentioned above tie Moses and Hobab together. Whereas Jethr...
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