Garo Nalbandian

This inscription found at Deir ‘Alla, in Jordan, begins, “The sayings of Balaam, son of Beor, the man who was a seer of the gods.” It is written with ink on plaster and refers to the non-Israelite prophet known from Numbers 22–24; Balaam was hired by the king of Moab to curse the Israelites but wound up blessing them instead. Author Stager believes that the great slab in front of the Shechem temple also bore an inscription written on plaster. Inscribing standing stones and walls was a common practice in ancient Canaan; the Bible records that Moses commanded the Israelites, after they cross the Jordan, to record the words of the law on large stones covered with plaster (Deuteronomy 27:2–4).