The earliest known Hebrew writing deals with worship and helping the poor.
This year, I’m reading through the Bible chronologically. I’m almost finished with Job, one of the earliest known stories in the Scripture. Throughout the book, Job refers over and over and over again to the fact that he felt he was doing what God wanted Him to do, he was helping the poor, orphans, widows, etc. He wondered why he was chosen to face such a difficult time.
That was the point, he was doing what God wanted him to do, and that’s why he was chosen as one Satan wanted to tempt. Job understood a big part of God’s heart.
Feeding the poor, helping the widows and orphans…all while worshipping God.
About 1 1/2 years ago, some ancient pottery shards were found near the Elah Valley in Israel. They’re the oldest known Hebrew texts and they date to the time of King David. The largest shard was recently translated by an expert. Here’s the text, as quoted in this great story of the Jerusalem Post.
1 you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord].
2 Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
3 [and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
4 the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
5 Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.
I don’t feel comfortable calling the above Scripture, but it’s a great reminder that helping others is one of the great ways to follow the plan God has for our lives. Worship often does equal helping those in the greatest need. Now, the earliest known writings in a biblical language indicates this truth.
h/t Sojourners for making me aware of the inscription.
PS: That’s an old Bible (Grandpa Ten Boom’s to be precise) not the ancient Hebrew manuscript. Just wanted you to know that…