You are here

Out of the Dust: All That Glitters Is Not . . . Steel

TitleOut of the Dust: All That Glitters Is Not . . . Steel
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsChadwick, Jeffrey R.
JournalJournal of Book of Mormon Studies
KeywordsAncient Near East; Arabia; Metallurgy; Steel; Sword; Sword of Laban; Weaponry

A previous report characterized a metal blade discovered at the site of biblical Ekron in Israel as a steel short sword dating from the late seventh century bc, shortly before Lehi left Jerusalem, thus corroborating the much-criticized account of Laban’s steel sword in the Book of Mormon. Unfortunately, these assertions are incorrect. Jeffrey R. Chadwick, who is personally acquainted with the excavators who unearthed the blade, explains here that the blade is not a short sword but probably a ceremonial knife. Additionally, the knife is likely from the eleventh century bc and cannot properly be described as steel. Though this artifact does not support the Book of Mormon account of seventh-century steel swords, much better archaeological parallels do exist. Chadwick mentions a meter-long steel sword discovered in Jericho that dates to around 600 bc. This genuinely steel sword from the proper time period makes Nephi’s description of Laban’s sword entirely plausible.