Jeremiah 39:1-3  In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and all his army came against Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, a breach was made in the city. 3 Then all the officials of the king of Babylon came and sat in the middle gate: Nergal-sar-ezer, Samgar-nebu, Sar-sekim the Rab-saris, Nergal-sar-ezer the Rab-mag, with all the rest of the officers of the king of Babylon. 

Nebo-Sarsekim was an official under Nebuchadnezzar II, present for destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC.  He was only known from the Biblical record until his name was discovered in 2007 on a tiny clay cuneiform tablet (2.13”) uncovered in Sippar (one mile from Baghdad) in the 1870s.  It was acquired by the British Museum in 1920, but lay dormant until 2007 when Michael Jursa—associate professor at the University of Vienna—rediscovered it and revealed its contents to the world.

The tablet is a temple receipt, recording Nebo-Sarsekim’s gift of gold to the sun temple in Sippar.  It reads, “[Regarding] 1.5 minas (0.75 kg) of gold, the property of Nabu-sharrussu-ukin, the chief eunuch, which he sent via Arad-Banitu the eunuch to [the temple] Esangila: Arad-Banitu has delivered [it] to Esangila. In the presence of Bel-usat, son of Alpaya, the royal bodyguard, [and of] Nadin, son of Marduk-zer-ibni. Month 11, day 18, year 10 [of] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.”

This is dated to 595 BC, just 10 years prior to the final destruction of Jerusalem.

Significance

  1. Confirms the historical accuracy of the Bible in that it accurately records the names of minor officials.
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