One of the most popular articles on this blog is The Ebla Tablets Confirm Biblical Accounts. Though it was posted in 2015, it was still the most read article on the blog in 2016 and 2017 and was still third on the list in 2018. Perhaps, that is why I feel prompted to revisit the subject today.
Digging a little bit deeper into the subject (pun intended), I found a 1979 Washington Post article that boasts no biblical claims. (Literally, it’s in the title.) The article asserts that, after initial enthusiasm that the tablets would reveal biblical treasures, “three years of intense study” disclosed no biblical claims. Dr. Robert Biggs, professor of Assyriology at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, announced the verdict, “People who are looking to the Ebla tablets for proof of the authenticity of the Bible are going to be sorely disappointed.”
At the time of the article in 1979, 11,000 tablets had been discovered dating from 23 centuries before Christ in the ancient Sumerian city of Ebla in what is now northern Syria that was destroyed by fire around 2300 BC. Of course, only 48 tablets had been translated and published at the time of the article. While Professor Biggs was quick to render a verdict against the Bible, other scholars were not as quick to jump to judgment as noted by a Smithsonian expert who speculated at the same time that Ebla tablets may support the historicity of the Patriarchal narratives, “but we won’t know for decades.”
Fast forward to 2015, the number of tablets recovered from the ancient library in the ruins of Ebla had increased to 15,000, and the early verdict that they contain no “biblical claims” is much in doubt. (See Controversial Discovery: 15,000 Ancient Ebla Tablets Prove Old Testament To Be Accurate) (The current number of tablets and portions of tablets may be closer to 17,000.)