Saturday, 10 July 2010

Does a 3,200-year old bronze tablet support the historicity of Sisera?

A recently discovered bronze tablet might be a part of a battle chariot like this. Image courtesy of Paul Volz, from Die biblischen Altertümer (1914).

Joel Kontinen

The Old Testament book of Judges tells us about a Canaanite warlord called Sisera who lived at Harosheth Haggoyim and enslaved the Israelites for 20 years. Recently, Oren Cohen, at the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at the University of Haifa, announced the discovery of an ancient bronze tablet found near Katzir in central Israel.

It might well have once been the linchpin of Sisera’s chariot. A linchpin kept the wheel of a battle chariot in place.

The bronze tablet was found in the area where Sisera is assumed to have lived. The tablet describes a woman’s head. Warlords often used illustrations of enemy subjects as linchpins in their chariots so the discovery fits in well with what the Old Testament says about Sisera.

The researchers cannot be absolutely sure that the object was a part of Sisera’s chariot but it nonetheless is very likely as only rulers and prominent warlords could afford highly-decorated linchpins in their chariots – or even chariots.

Once again, archaeology shows that the Bible is not a collection of myths. It tells us about real people who lived in a certain geographical place at a certain time in history.

You can see a picture of the find at


3,200-year-old bronze tablet identified as battle chariot linchpin. Physorg. com (1 July 2010)