A 2,600-year-old clay tablet bearing the name “Benayahu ben Netanyahu” will be loaned to the Prime Minister’s Office for the coming year, according to a Wednesday report.
The contract of debt, dated 511 BCE, was written during the Babylonian exile, after the destruction of the biblical First Temple. The tablet will be shown by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visiting dignitaries to demonstrate the long history of the Jewish people and their exile from the land of Israel, Ynet news reports.
The clay tablet is part of the Al-Yahudu collection, dating from the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, owned by Cindy and David Sofer and on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem.
Experts in cuneiform writing, one of the world’s earliest scripts, say the collection of 110 cracker-sized clay tablets provides the earliest written evidence of the Biblical exile of the Judeans in what is now southern Iraq, offering new insight into a formative period of early Judaism.