Clay Tablets of Ebla

    The Ebla (now Tel Mardikh) excavations carried out in northern Syria, 60 km. south of Aleppo, under the archaeological control of the University of Rome La Sapienza, and directed by Paolo Matthiae, lead to important discoveries, bringing to light the Royal Archive. This library stores a tablet collection that was piled on the shelves of a square room, located on the west side of the administration wing. The size of the clay tablets is diverse, but usually the size of the square tablets is about 45 cm. per side; the round tablets are smaller and were kept in baskets on the floor.

    This big archive contains 17.000 tablets, some complete, others fragmented, that record administrative, financial, historical, juridical and religious acts, and are written in cuneiform characters, in a local language called "Eblait" by the investigators, that belongs to the Semitic group, like the Acadian of Mesopotamia and the Hebrew language.

Here are some of the tablets found in Ebla



    An article on 'Scientific American' September 1977, about the Ebla discoveries, states the confirmation of the existence of the five towns mentioned in this passage: "…they made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (the same is Zoar)". (Genesis 14:2) For these names are found in the Ebla tablet nº 1860:

si-da-mu (Sodoma)
e-ma-ra (Gomorra)
ad-ma (Adma)
si-ba-i-um (Tseboim)
be-la (Tsoar o Bela)

    Professor Noel Freedman, principal of the archaeological investigation institute W.F. Albright of Jerusalem, pointed this out, and also the fact that Birsha, the name of the king of Gomorrah mentioned on the tablet, is the same mentioned by the Bible in Abraham's day. (Genesis 14:2)