Forward: The Ebla tablets are not discussed too often by historians and archeologists, and there is a good reason why. These ancient writings absolutely prove the authenticity of the Bible, and blow away the skeptics view that Genesis is a relatively modern book!
by Clifford Wilson, M.A., B.D., Ph.D.
The new findings at Ebla are possibly the most significant discovery yet made so far as they relate to the background of early Bible times. The impact on some areas of Biblical knowledge will indeed be startling.
Where Ebla is Located … and the Work Begins
Tell Mardikh -- the ancient Ebla -- is on the main road to Aleppo in Northern Syria, being not quite half way between Hamath and Aleppo. It is nearer to Aleppo than to Hamath. There is a mound and a small village about one kilometer off the highway. Professor Paolo Matthiae of the Rome University has been excavating there since 1964, but his work was not spectacular until 1968 when his team produced a statue dedicated to the goddess Eshtar, and bearing the name of Ibbit-Lim, a king of Ebla. This endorsed the positive identification of the city. The kingdom of Ebla had previously been known in Sumerian, Akkadian and Egyptian texts, and the excavators had good clues when they began digging in this 50-feet high mound. Now their hopes were bright for the future.
In the 1975 season some 15,000 tablets were recovered. To bring the report up to date, the excavators recently reported (with a smile!) that 1976 was a poor season -- only 1,600 tablets were found! One tablet stated that the city had a population of 260,000.
Professor Giovanni Pettinato, also of the University of Rome, is the epigrapher working on the tablets, and some of what follows stems from his reports, both in the Biblical Archaeologist of May, 1976, and in public lectures and discussions at the University of Michigan in November 1976. Professor Matthiae also lectured at that time, and both professors were most cooperative in two days of lectures, discussion, and question and answer sessions. It was this writer's privilege to participate in these public functions, as well as in more private meetings with the archaeologists and with a number of leaders in the field of Biblical archaeology and Semitic studies.