Evidence for Jeremiah the Prophet
     Many artifacts confirming Biblical figures and events which occurred at the time of Jeremiah the prophet have come to light.
      The first is a seal found in 1932 at a dig site in the Biblical city of Mizpah. It lists Jaazaniah, one of the Judean's military officers mentioned in II Kings 25:23.
       It is inscribed with the following words:
     "Yaazenyahu (Jaazaniah), Servant of the King
Jazzaniah seal
     Another seal mentions Neriah, he was the father of Jeremiah's scribe, Baruch, mentioned in Jeremiah 36:4, as well as Seraiah who is mentioned in Jeremiah 51:59:
      "The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Zedekiah the king of Judah to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And Seraiah was the quartermaster."
     Seraiah's seal has also been found, it is inscribed with the following words:
Seriah Seal
Seal of Seraiah son of Neriah
      In 1935, a collection of letters written on pottery was unearthed in the Biblical city of Lachish. These letters confirm events that occurred during King Zedekiah's reign. The letters also mention the names of Biblical figures, possibly even the prophet Jeremiah.  
       The letters seem to have been written around 588 B.C. when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was waging war against Jerusalem and the fortified cities that Judah used for defense.
Lachish letter 4
      The first pottery fragment known as letter IV is inscribed with the following words:
     Letter IV: ..."I will send for him tomorrow at daylight. And let it be known to my master that we will be looking for the signals from Lachish, according to the instructions which he has given, for no signals from Azekah have been seen."
      Lachish and Azekah were two of Judah's fortresses first mentioned in 2 Chronicles 11:5-12:
       " So Rehoboam dwelt in Jerusalem, and built cities for defense in Judah. And he built Bethlehem, ..... Lachish, Azekah, Zorah, Aijalon, and Hebron, which are in Judah and Benjamin, fortified cities. And he fortified the strongholds, and put captains in them, and stores of food, oil, and wine. Also in every city he put shields and spears, and made them very strong, having Judah and Benjamin on his side."
       The Lachish letters were written by the commander of Lachish who was under siege. Letter IV seems to indicate that the city of Azekah had fallen. This historic event confirms the Biblical account found in Jeremiah 34:6-7 which says: "Then Jeremiah the prophet spoke all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem, when the king of Babylon's army fought against Jerusalem and all the cities of Judah that were left, against Lachish and Azekah; for only these fortified cities remained of the cities of Judah."
     Another pottery fragment found at Lachish had the following inscription written on it which mentions two Biblical figures:
     Letter III: "The commander of the army, Coniah son of Elnathan, has arrived and will shortly leave for Egypt." ...."And as for the letter from the servant of the king, Tobiah, which came to Shallum son of Jaddu'a through the prophet, saying 'Be on your guard!', your subject has sent it to my lord."
     The first biblical name found in Letter III is Elnathan. There are references to two men named Elnathan in the bible during this time frame; the first being Elnathan of Jerusalem who was the grandfather of king Jehoiachin, father in law to king Jehoiakim. He is found in 2 Kings 24:8-17:  
     "Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. His mother's name was Nehushta the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.....At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged. And he carried Jehoiachin captive to Babylon.... Then the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin's uncle, king in his place, and changed his name to Zedekiah."
       The appointment of Zedekiah as king over Judah as mentioned in the preceding passage has also been found in records from Babylon known as the Babylonian Chronicles. The tablet records that after Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar in March of 597 B.C., "He installed a king of his own choosing." (Zedekiah).
     The second Elnathan found in the Bible is Elnathan son of Achbor, who was a prince in king Jehoiakim's household. He is mentioned in Jeremiah 26:22 and Jeremiah 36:12.
       In the second part of letter III is an astonishing statement about a letter which came to Shallum son of Jaddu'a through the Prophet. Since there was only one major prophet at the time the Lachish letter was written, it seems very likely that this is an amazing reference to the prophet Jeremiah of the Old Testament. And Shallum son of Jaddu'a may in fact be the uncle of Jeremiah who is mentioned in Jeremiah 32:6-9:
       "And Jeremiah said, "The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 'Behold, Hanamel the son of Shallum your uncle will come to you, saying, "Buy my field which is in Anathoth, for the right of redemption is yours to buy it."  
      "Then Hanamel my uncle's son came to me in the court of  the prison according to the word of the LORD,
and said to me, 'Please buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the country of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours, and the redemption yours; buy it for yourself.' Then I knew that this was the word of the LORD.
       "So I bought the field from Hanamel, the son of my uncle who was in Anathoth, and weighed out to him the money;  seventeen  shekels  of silver."
(Note: a shekel is a weight, 17 shekels would be approximately 30 average size silver pieces.)      
       God told Jeremiah that he would one day buy for himself a field for thirty pieces of silver, because the right of inheritance and redemption was his. He also foretold this event to the prophet Zechariah:
       Zechariah 11:7-13: " So I fed the flock for slaughter, in particular the poor of the flock. I took for myself two staffs: the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bonds; and I fed the flock.
       I dismissed the three shepherds in one month. My soul loathed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then I said, "I will not feed you. Let what is dying die, and what is perishing perish. Let those that are left eat each other's flesh."  And I took my staff, Beauty, and cut it in two, that I might break the covenant which I had  made with all the peoples.  So it was broken on that day. Thus the poor of the flock, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD.
       Then I said to them, "If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain." So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.  And the LORD said to me, "Throw it to the potter";  that princely price they set on me. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the LORD for the potter."
     "Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"  Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood." And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.
       Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."
                                                         Matthew 27:3-10
Evidence Bible
      This article is a chapter from our 3 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader or mobile device by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.
Photo Links to Artifacts Mentioned in this Article
Seriah Bullae
Jaazaniah Bullae Lachish letter 3
Lachish Letter 4
Seriah Seal
Jaazaniah Seal
Lachish Letter 3
Lachish Letter 4
The Revell Bible Dictionary, Fleming H Revell
ISBN 0-8007-1594-2  Pg.1047 Babylonian Chronicle photograph "Zedekiah's Appointment"  (British Museum)                  
Biblical Archaeology Review, Mar/Apr 1984 - Vol.X No.2,
Pg.74-77 (Lachish Letters)
Illustration pen and ink reproduction of "Jaazaniah and Seraih Seals",
Artist: John Argubright, copyright © 1997-(current year)  
Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov/Dec 1995 - Vol.21 No.6
Pg.50 (Jaazaniah & Gemeriah Seal) Israel Antiquities Authority
Biblical Archaeology Review, Jul/Aug 1991 - Vol.17 No.4,
Pg.30 (Seraiah Seal)
Halley's Bible Handbook, Author: Henry H Halley
ISBN 0-310-25720-4
Pg.316 (Lachish Letters),  Pg.317 (Jaazaniah Seal)
Archaeology and Bible History, Author: J.P. Free,
ISBN 0-310-47961-4  Pg.191 (Lachish Letters)
Illustration Pen and ink reproduction of "Lachish letter IV"
Based upon Illustration from Rockefeller Museum
Illustrator: John Argubright - copyright © 1997-(current year)
Information on the shekel weight:
Read under the bold headings "The Mina" and  "Money"
The original Jewish silver 1 Shekel = 14.55 grams derived from Exodus and Ezekiel
Jeremiah lived in Israel during the time of the Babylonian Empire. The Babylonian common heavy shekel weight was 16.37 grams, the Babylonian common light or half shekel weight was 8.19 grams.
John Argubright’s calculation on Jeremiah 32:9 for 17 shekels = 30 pieces of silver:
14.55 grams (Israel's shekel weight) x 17 shekels = 247 grams
8.19 grams (Babylonian common half shekel weight) x 30 pieces = 246 grams
As you can see, the weights are right on the money (no pun intended).  
That's fascinating!
You see this is important because the critics of the Bible say that Matthew 27:9 is in error because the 30 pieces of silver fulfillment was in Zechariah 11:13 not in Jeremiah 32:9, But it is actually a fulfillment of both passages.
The Bible once again shows us that it is the inerrant Word of God.
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Biblical Artifacts and Evidences from Bible Archaeology