A Startling Coins Discovery

Most people don’t know about the coins. They know two things about Jacob’s next to youngest son, Joseph. He had a special coat. He interpreted a dream about cannibal cows.

Now he’s popped up in biblical archaeology news that has turned the numismatic world on its ear.

Background on the Origin of Coins

Most historians date the beginning of coinage at somewhere from 800 BCE to 650 BCE. Michael Marotta, for example, in Origins of Coinage states: “We know that coinage was invented around 650 BC.”

The Joseph discovery has kicked coinage back to almost 1900 BCE, more than a thousand years earlier than the conventional date when coinage originated. What was this discovery?

The Coins are Discovered

Nothing less than an Egyptian coin from the Joseph era with the picture of a cow on one side and the name give Joseph by Pharaoh on the other side.

What makes this story interesting is the fact that the artifacts were not recently found.

The interesting element in this story is that what is startling the archaeological world is not a spanking new find. It’s boxes and boxes of small artifacts that have been setting on storage shelves for years in the Museum of Egypt in Cairo.

Dr. Sa'id Muhammad Thibet and his research team began examining a pile of small artifacts stored in the museum’s storage room. What most archeologists took for a kind of charm, and others took for an ornament or adornment, is actually a coin Dr. Thibet said.

Dr. Thibet pointed to several facts which led them to this conclusion:
• first, many such coins have been found at various archeological sites,
• they are round or oval in shape,
• they have two faces: one with an inscription, called the inscribed face, and one with an image, called the engraved face.
• the inscribed face bore the name of Egypt, a date, and a value, while the engraved face bore the name and image of one of the ancient Egyptian pharaohs or gods, or else a symbol connected with these,
• the coins come in different sizes and are made of different materials, including ivory, precious stones, copper, silver, gold, etc.

“They are just like the coins we use today," said Dr. Thibet.

A Fascinating Egyptian Coin

Five hundred of the coins carelessly stored in boxes were uncovered in the museum research. One even had the image of a cow.

This almost certainly symbolized Pharaoh's dream. You will remember that seven fat cows were eaten by seven lean cows in that dream. Joseph's name appears twice on this coin, written in hieroglyphs: once the original name, Joseph, and once his Egyptian name, Saba Sabani, which was given to him by Pharaoh when he became treasurer.

There is also an image of Joseph, who was part of the Egyptian administration at the time. Remember, Moses was not to receive the commandment about “no graven images” for another four hundred years.

Coins and Faith

For those who question the historical accuracy of the bible, this is a pretty telling piece of physical evidence that reports recorded in the bible about events that happened some four thousand years ago have a fair amount of accuracy.