Opinion

Is the world’s greatest archeological find lying in a dusty drawer in Cairo?

Why are Jewish and Israeli archeologists ignoring proof of the biblical story of the Jewish presence in Egypt prior to the Exodus?

Yehezkel Laing. Credit: Courtesy.
Yehezkel Laing
Yehezkel Laing is a Jerusalem-based journalist, scriptwriter and filmmaker.

What if archaeologists announced they had found a selfie of the founders of the 12 tribes of Israel? Would that interest anyone? Would it warrant a news item on page 23 of Yediot Aharonot, Israel Hayom or The Jerusalem Post?

Mobile phones didn’t exist 4,000 years ago, so a selfie is impossible—but we do have the next best thing. It’s a stunning 4,000-year-old clay bulla (cylindrical seal impression) depicting early symbols of the Israelite tribes.

These symbols match the themes found in the blessings of Jacob to his sons in Genesis 49. By “coincidence” there are exactly 12 symbols on the seal. Seven are the exact same symbols used today to depict the 12 tribes.

The bulla was found in 1979 at Tell ed-Daba in northern Egypt by Prof. Manfred Bietak of the Austrian Institute for Egyptology. It is only one of numerous incredible finds demonstrating the Jewish presence in Egypt prior to the Exodus.

What are the chances that seven symbols of the 12 tribes would appear on the same small seal? Well, if we assume that Egyptian hieroglyphics include only 100 word-symbols—and there were over 700—then the chances become 100 to the power of seven or one in 100 trillion.

Those are high odds. Much higher than those of winning the biggest lottery in the world.

The exact same symbols found on the seal are displayed proudly inside thousands of synagogues all over the globe. Most of the people reading this article have seen them for themselves many times over. The inability of our greatest scholars to make even the simplest connection between this incredible artifact and Judaism is mind-boggling.

This unbelievable find has been completely ignored for 40 years by Israeli archaeologists, the Israeli press, Jewish historians and anybody else who one would think might take an interest in such an amazing artifact.

It’s understandable why the left-wing press ignores this amazing find. Any fact that contradicts their secular atheist dogma is forbidden. The far-left newspaper Haaretz even publishes an almost annual article around Passover denying any archaeological evidence of the Exodus. But why does the religious and pro-Israel press ignore this fantastic discovery?

The only one who had the courage to make the obvious connections was an amateur archaeologist from Beit Shemesh—Rabbi Michael S. Bar-Ron. In his scholarly paper, “The Seal of Joseph in His Palace at Tell Ed-Daba,” he painstakingly notes the amazing correspondence between the symbols depicted on the Egyptian bulla and the symbols of the 12 tribes of Israel.

It’s high time for Israel diplomats to ask to see this amazing Jewish artifact. And if we have to trade a few ancient Egyptian scarabs found in Israel to get it, we should. Today. But better yesterday.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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