This article; Part 2.5 is an interlude that proclaims new exciting findings about the book of Job and the ancient times in which it was written. After acquiring pertinent information through new, continued research a dilemma presented itself. After some serious deliberations, it was determined that the most appropriate course of action was to use a postscript to parts 1 and 2. There are new insights coming from an old source with regard to the book of Job. There is also a new archaeological discovery made public recently that sheds new light and information about the biblical accuracy of how long ago man could read and write. Note that being literate includes an idea of a general population being literate and not just a group of elites and royalty.
While doing additional research on the book of Job a very old commentary titled, Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible” made an interesting case for itself. It was written in the first decade of the 1700’s. The book, while very old, may not be as antiquated as one might think. In fact Matthew Henry’s account has done an exceptional job of accounting for itself. New archaeological discoveries have made some scholars look foolish. The book of Job plays an important role in the new understanding one sees with what archaeologists have recently uncovered and published.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary claimed, “It is the opinion of many of the ancients that this history was written by Moses himself in Midian, and delivered to his suffering brethren in Egypt, for their support and comfort under their burdens, and the encouragement of their hope that God would in due time deliver and enrich them, as he did this patient sufferer.” Now, with these new discovered, we not only know that this could actually have been the case but it has been established that this writing was done in an ancient Hebraic script.
This new discovery identifies an ancient Semitic alphabet written on a limestone rock called an ostracon. The discovery was made while excavating an Egyptian tomb that dates back to 1450 B.C.The ostracon was found in 1995 and contained two separate scripts; one script on each side. Dr. Thomas Schneider, an Egyptologist from the University of British Columbia deciphered the writings and determined them to be abecedaries. An abecedary is the written list of a specific language’s alphabet, the ABC’s. Dr. Schneider’s findings were published in May of 2018 and one can draw some very informative conclusions from them. One can also find more information regarding this archaeological discovery written in, “The Times of Israel” located at, www.thetimesofisrael/first_written_record_of_semitic_alphabet_from_15th_century_bce_found_in_egypt.
When someone has an interest in Biblical Archaeology it doesn’t take long to realize there is a bias, by most scholars in the field. This bias is usually a deterrent against those scholars making strict Biblical endorsements from their findings. However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t exciting corroborating evidence one can infer from those findings. The Semitic Ostracon that has been found in an Egyptian tomb from the 15th Century B.C. is just such an item.
First and foremost the abecedary shows beyond a shadow of doubt that there were two alphabetic Semitic languages in use at the time of Moses. Next, it also shows there were more Israelites than just Moses who could read and write. It incidentally shows us that there were Egyptians that also used or were learning to read and write these Semitic languages.
Based upon this evidence the accuracy of the Biblical account, found in (NASB) Exodus 24:4 “Moses wrote down all the words of the Lord…” has been confirmed by extra-biblical evidence. The extra-biblical evidence also affirms Matthew Henry’s conclusions about the book of Job going back to the time of Moses.
It is exciting to witness how newly uncovered Archaeological evidence has time and again confirmed the accuracy of the Bible. This new finding is further evidence supporting the proposition that God wants to be able to communicate with all mankind and not just some group of elite priests or rulers. He wants to communicate with everyone; God wants a nation of priests as quoted in (NASB) Exodus 19:6, “and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” The ostracon shows us that he did this through literacy. It also points to the fact that God, through literacy, used the book of Job to give support to the Israelite slaves during their enslavement and ill treatment. God helped those slaves persevere through those difficult times and to endure that whole experience when bad things happened to good people.