Friday, August 01, 2008

Seal of King Zedekiah's minister found in J'lem dig
By ETGAR LEFKOVITS (Jerusalem Post)

A seal impression belonging to a minister of the Biblical King Zedekiah which dates back 2,600 years has been uncovered completely intact during an archeological dig in Jerusalem's ancient City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said on Thursday.

The seal impression, or bulla, with the name Gedalyahu ben Pashur, who served as minister to King Zedekiah (597-586 BCE) according to the Book of Jeremiah, was found just meters away from a separate seal impression of another of Zedekia's ministers, Yehukual ben Shelemyahu, which was uncovered three years ago, said Prof. Eilat Mazar who is leading the dig at the site.

The excavation at the history-rich City of David, which is located just outside the walls of the Old City near Dung Gate, has proven, in recent years, to be a treasure trove for archeologists.

"On the one hand it is so unexpected to find such a fragile bulla in such harsh conditions of excavation, while on the other hand it was logical to find precisely here the bulla of Gedalyahu ben Pashur - only meters away from the place where we found the bulla of Yehukhal ben Shelemyahu - since these two ministers are mentioned side by side in the Bible as having served together in the kingdom of King Zedekiah," Mazar said.


Both ministers are mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38 1-4) along with two other ministers when they came to King Zedekiah demanding the death of the prophet Jeremiah for preaching to the besieged city to surrender.

Again, excellent news. An Iron Age II (i.e., First Temple era) Hebrew inscription scientifically excavated and bearing a name that (given the date and location) is very likely to be of a person mentioned in the Bible. That's pretty impressive.

For the Yehukhal (Jehucal) seal, see here, here, and here.

Incidentally, assuming Pashhur the father of Gedaliah is the same person as Pashhur the son of Malchiah (they both are mentioned in Jer 38:1), he also figures in the More Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Project. Darrell Hannnah is translating Jeremiah's Prophecy to Pashhur, a brief apocryphal text preserved in Sahidic Coptic and Ethiopic. You can read more about it here.

(Via Joseph I. Lauer's list.)

UPDATE (4 August): More here. Also, Douglas Mangum has blog roundups on the Biblia Hebraica blog here and here.