Ancient Inscription from the Book of Psalms Discovered at Judean Desert Fortress


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Archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have unearthed an inscription from the book of Psalms dating to the Byzantine era at Hyrcania in the Judean Desert. Hyrcania, located ten miles southeast of Jerusalem, was constructed in the first or second century BC by the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus or his son Alexander Jannaeus.

It was enlarged by Herod the Great, but was abandoned after his death. Finally, it was occupied by a small Christian monastery at the end of the fifth century AD. The Byzantine-era inscription was discovered on the side of a large building stone and is written in Koine Greek. It adapts Psalm 86:1–2 addressing it to Jesus; below a red cross and inscribed in red ink are the words, “Jesus Christ, guard me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you” (as quoted in the Times of Israel article below).

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The original psalm of David reads, “Hear me, Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy. Guard my life, for I am faithful to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God” (NIV).

The find may be the first Koine Greek rendering of a psalm ever discovered inscribed on stone rather than on parchment or papyrus.


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Associates for Biblical Research
Associates for Biblical Research exists to serve the global Church of Jesus Christ through ministries that affirm and promote the full authority, reliability and inerrancy of the Scriptures.