Nebo-Sarsekim Found in Babylonian Tablet -- By: Bryant G. Wood

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 20:3 (Summer 2007)
Article: Nebo-Sarsekim Found in Babylonian Tablet
Author: Bryant G. Wood

Nebo-Sarsekim Found in Babylonian Tablet

Bryant G. Wood

Nebo who? You mean you don’t remember Nebo-Sarsekim? No wonder, because if you consult your concordance, you will find that he is referred to but once in the Old Testament. Nebo-Sarsekim was a high Babylonian official named in Jeremiah 39:3. The mention of this individual in the Hebrew Bible is yet another example of an obscure “factoid” which demonstrates the historical accuracy and eyewitness nature of the Biblical record.

The time was the ninth day of the fourth month of the 11th year of the reign of Zedekiah (Jer 39:2). i.e., July 18. 587 BC. The place was Jerusalem. The event was the fall of Jerusalem and the Southern Kingdom of Judah to the Babylonians under

Nebuchadnezzar after a siege of two and a half years, a very sad time in the history of God’s people. After the city wall was broken through,

all the officials of the king of Babylon came and look seals in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer of Samgar. Nebo-Sarsekim a chief officer, Nergal-Sharezer a high official and all the Other officials of the king of Babylon (Jer 39:3).

The tablet mentioning Nebo-Sarsekim was found in Sippar, an ancient Babylonian city 20 mi (32 km) southwest of modern Baghdad and 35 mi (57 km) north of Babylon. In the late 19th century, tens of thousands of cuneiform tablets were recovered from the site and brought to the British Museum (Gasche and Janssen 1997). Later, in 1920. the Nebo-Sarsekim tablet, only 2.13 in (5.5 cm) wide, from the same site, was acquired by the museum.

Michael Jursa, associate professor at the University of Vienna, made the discovery. Since 1991, he has been sifting through the approximately 130.000 inscribed tablets at the British Museum to ferret out data on Babylonian officials. On July 5. 2007, just another day in the tablet room, Jursa made (he find of a lifetime when he discovered the Biblical name (Reynolds 2007). The tablet is SO well preserved that it took him only minutes lo decipher (Alberge 2007). It was a mundane receipt acknowledging Nebo-Sarsekim’s payment of 1.7 lb (0.75 kg) of gold to a temple in Babylon. Dated to the tenth year of Nebuchadnezzar (595 BC),

eight years before The fall of Jerusalem, the tablei reads in lull:

[Regarding] 1.5 minas [0.75 kg] of gold. the properly of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch [to the temple) Esangila: Arad-Banitu ...

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