British Museum

In this limestone plaque, a male deity (far right) relaxes with a jug while a nude priest (center), followed by three women, pours a libation on an altar. Dating to about 2500 B.C.E., the plaque was discovered at Ur and is now in the British Museum.

Scholars have long been puzzled by the prophet Zephaniah’s promise that the Israelite deity Yahweh will “famish” the gods of foreign nations (Zephaniah 2:10–11). Author Dominic Rudman suggests that Yahweh was going to put an end to the sumptuous ritual meals Mesopotamian worshipers offered their deities (compare with photo of limestone plaque from Nippur).