Balaam Inscription

Inscription mentioning Balaam son of Beor from Tell Deir Alla, 9th or 8th century B.C.E. Amman Archaeological Museum, Amman, Jordan.

In 1967, this inscription was discovered at Tell Deir Alla, on the east bank of the Jordan River, a flourishing city in the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. The inscription, which was originally written directly onto a wall by a professional scribe, mentions Balaam, son of Beor, a seer who is most likely the same person as the biblical figure who was hired to curse the Israelites but whom God compelled to bless them instead (see Num 22-24). Motifs in the Deir Alla account also appear in the biblical story, and the fragments were found in Transjordan, where the biblical story takes place, attesting to a tradition shared by ancient Israelite and Transjordanian peoples.

 

 

Inscription from Tell Deir Alla

Relating to or associated with people living in the territory of the northern kingdom of Israel during the divided monarchy, or more broadly describing the biblical descendants of Jacob.

A recurring element or symbolism in artwork, literature, and other forms of expression.

An alternate spelling for "tel" meaning a mound or hill-shaped site containing several occupational layers one on top of the other over milennia.

Literally "across the Jordan," generally used to refer to the land lying immediately to the east of the Jordan River, which according to the Hebrew Bible includes some Israelite tribal territory, along with the territory of neighboring nations such as Ammon and Moab.

The Transjordan is the region east of the Jordan River in the Southern Levant, described in Numbers 34:15 as home to the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh. The Transjordan was also home to the Ammonites and the Moabites.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.