Sunday, March 31, 2019

Two Hebrew seals excavated in Jerusalem

EPIGRAPHY: Two tiny First Temple inscriptions vastly enlarge picture of ancient Jerusalem. Rare Paleo-Hebrew seal and seal impression found in large administrative center in the Iron Age capital’s western sprawl ahead of the Babylonian capture (Amanda Borschel-Dan, Times of Israel).

Two First-Temple-era inscriptions have been found by the City of David’s Givati Parking Lot excavation.
One is a bluish agate stone seal “(belonging) to Ikkar son of Matanyahu” (LeIkkar Ben Matanyahu). The other is a clay seal impression, “(belonging) to Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King” (LeNathan-Melech Eved HaMelech).
An official in the reign of King Josaiah was named Nathan-Melekh (2 Kings 23:11). The person named on the seal impression (bulla) could well be the same person.

Read the article for lots more information. The same excavation found two other Hebrew seals a couple of years ago. Follow the links there for earlier discoveries at that site.

Also, the New York Times has an article by Bari Weiss on the bulla: The Story Behind a 2,600-Year-Old Seal. Who was Natan-Melech, the king’s servant?

Is it true that most NYT readers have never heard of King Josiah? Really? Anyway, the basic story is covered accurately.

UPDATE: More about the Nathan-Melekh bulla here.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.