Oldest Found Copy of Lamentations Displayed in Jerusalem on Tragic Fast Day

Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

Thousands of years after the saddest book of the Bible, Lamentations, mourned the destruction of Jerusalem, a 2,000-year-old scroll of the book was made available for Jerusalemites to see on the day traditionally set aside to read the tragic text. Lamentations is traditionally read on the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, known as Tisha B’Av—Hebrew for the ninth day of the month of Av—commemorates some of the most tragic moments in Israel’s history, including the destruction of the First and Second Temple.

The ancient scroll was publicly displayed in a Jerusalem museum for the first time over a span of four days leading up to and including Tisha B’Av, according to a news release on the Bible Lands Museum Jerusalem website. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in comments released by his office, praised the importance of the scrolls appearance in Jerusalem.

“This is an important and moving find,” said Netanyahu. “It is very significant that that this scroll has been brought to the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, our united capital, on the Fast of the Ninth [of the Hebrew month] of Av.”

The Prime Minister’s Office press release said the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) Curator in Charge of the Dead Sea Scrolls Pnina Shor noted the scroll is the oldest copy of Lamentations found thus far. In light of its significance, it is normally stored in a lab.

But on the day in which the tragic book is traditionally read, this rare scroll was unveiled in the very city whose ancient loss was mourned by it.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, July 26, 2015)



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