A Rare and First-of-its Kind 3,000-yr-old Seal Unearthed in Israel Confirms Biblical History of King David, King Solomon, and The Temple

JERUSALEM – A rare 3,000 year-old seal dating to the period of the Biblical kings David and Solomon of the 10th century BCE was recently discovered at the Temple Mount Sifting Project in Jerusalem.

The dating of the seal corresponds to the historical period of the Jebusites and the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, as well as the construction of the Temple and the royal official compound by his son, King Solomon.  What makes this discovery particularly significant is that it originated from upon the Temple Mount itself.

The discovery of the seal testifies to the administrative activity which took place upon the Temple Mount during those times. All the parallel seals with similar stylistic designs have been found at sites in Israel, among them Tel Beit Shemesh, Tel Gezer, and Tel Rehov, and were dated to the 11th – 10th centuries BCE. Upon the base of the seal appear the images of two animals, one on top of the other, perhaps representing a predator and its prey. Additionally, the seal is perforated, thus enabling one to hang it from a string.

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A rare cone-shaped stone seal dating to the 10th century BCE – the time of the Biblical kings, David & Solomon. This is the first seal of its kind found in Jerusalem.

Aside from the seal, which was likely used to seal documents, hundreds of pottery shards dating to the 10th century BCE have been discovered within the soil removed from the Temple Mount. Additionally, a rare arrowhead made of bronze and ascribed to the same period by its features, has been discovered.

For thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favour the dust thereof – Psalm 102:14 (KJV).

Since 2004, the Temple Mount Sifting Project has combed through tons of soil that was illegally removed from the Temple Mount by an Islamic group in 1999. The Sifting Project has recruited over 170,000 volunteers through the years to carefully search through the excavated earth and look for artifacts.

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The Seal at time of discovery.

“Since the Temple Mount has never been excavated, the ancient artifacts retrieved in the Sifting Project provide valuable and previously inaccessible information,” explains the project’s website. “The many categories of finds are among the largest and most varied ever found in Jerusalem.”

Volunteers sifting through the soil have unearthed thousands of artifacts. The finds from the project are all preserved for processing and scientific analysis.

Late last month, the Sifting Project announced that one particularly rare artifact was recently discovered: a 3,000-year-old seal dating to the period of the biblical kings David and Solomon. In a press release, the project said a 10-year-old boy from Russia discovered the seal, and archaeologists only recently deciphered it.

“The seal is the first of its kind to be found in Jerusalem,” the Sifting Project’s press release says. “The dating of the seal corresponds to the historical period of the Jebusites and the conquest of Jerusalem by King David, as well as the construction of the Temple and the royal official compound by his son, King Solomon.”

The seal is made of limestone, and upon its base appear the images of two animals. The seal, which was likely used to seal documents, is perforated, thus enabling one to hang it from a string.

 

The discovery of the seal testifies to the administrative activity which took place upon the Temple Mount during those times. All the parallel seals with similar stylistic designs have been found at sites in Israel, among them Tel Beit Shemesh, Tel Gezer, and Tel Rehov, and were dated to the 11th – 10th centuries BCE. Upon the base of the seal appear the images of two animals, one on top of the other, perhaps representing a predator and its prey.

“What makes this discovery particularly significant is that it originated from upon the Temple Mount itself,” explains the press release.

The seal’s discovery also suggests that administrative activity took place upon the Temple Mount during those times.

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Pottery Shards Dates to the Iron Age IIA (10th-9th century BCE)

Even more importantly, though, the seal confirms the Bible’s historical descriptions of King David, King Solomon, and the Temple. Some archaeologists have claimed that the Temple’s construction and Jerusalem’s expansion did not occur when the Bible says they did. Yet the discovery of this ancient seal undermines these theories.

“Recent finds from other excavations, including the Ophel (south of the Temple Mount), the City of David, as well as those from the Temple Mount Sifting Project, weaken the minimalists theories and indicate that the descriptions found within the Biblical text relating to expansion of Jerusalem may, in fact, be authentic,” the Sifting Project’s coordinators stated.

Even though artifacts processed by the Sifting Project have been extracted from their archaeological context, archaeologists are able to date and identify them by comparing them with those found at other sites.

Aside from the seal, which was likely used to seal documents, hundreds of pottery sherds dating to the 10th century BCE have been discovered within the soil removed from the Temple Mount. Additionally, a rare arrowhead made of bronze and ascribed to the same period by its features, has been discovered. (Shown Below)

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Bronze arrowhead dated to the 10th century BCE, the time of King Solomon. Arrowheads from this period are rarely found in Israel.

The Temple Mount Sifting Project, under the auspices of Bar-Ilan University and with the support of the City of David Foundation, was initiated in response to the illegal removal of tons of earth from the Temple Mount by the Islamic Waqf in 1999 with no archaeological supervision.

Since the Temple Mount has never been excavated, the ancient artifacts retrieved in the Sifting Project provide valuable and previously inaccessible information. The many categories of finds are among the largest and most varied ever found in Jerusalem. Even though they have been extracted from their archaeological context, most of these artifacts can be identified and dated by comparing them with those found at other sites.

“In recent years, using newly developed statistical methodologies and technologies we have managed to overcome the challenge of having finds with no exact context since they were not recovered in a proper archaeological excavation,” the Sifting Project’s release says.

More than half a million finds from the Temple Mount are waiting to be processed and analyzed, so additional discoveries may be forthcoming.

Source: Christian News and Temple Mount

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PROPHECY:

Unearthing God’s Word in the form of living artifacts should be viewed as prophetic, as it proves that God’s Word endures forever, just as he said!

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” – Matthew 24:14 (KJV). 

Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. Matthew 24:35 (KJV). 

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever. – Isaiah 40:8 (KJV).

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. – Isaiah 55:11 (KJV). 

 “…many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” – Daniel 12:4 (KJV).  

History

The long history of Jerusalem began well before it was captured by King David and made into the Capital of the People of Israel 3,000 years ago. Archeaological findings indicate the existence of a settlement in Jerusalem in the 3rd millenium BCE. The first mention of the city in historic sources begins in the 2nd millenium BCE.

The Ma’arot Writings, written in hieroglyphics, were meant to put a curse on the enemies of Egypt. They were written in the 18th and 19th centuries B.C., on small statues of prisoners or on bowls. The name “Rashlemum” (Jerusalem) is mentioned on some of them. The verse in Genesis 14:18  “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God,” refers to that same period, which is known in the Bible as the period of the Patriarchs.

In the middle of the 2nd millenium B.C.E. the King of Egypt and his advisors carried on a volumous correspondence with the governors of the cities in the Land of Israel that were under Egyptian suzerainty. There was antagonism among these governors, and in their letters, pictured on the right, they complain about each other, and request help (one chariot or ten soldiers), to defeat their enemies, whom they describe, of course, as the enemies of the king. The letters were written in cuneiform, in the Akkadian language (which was the international language then, much as English is today), and some of them were found in Egypt, in the archive of the capital city, El-Amarna. Six of the letters found were written by the governor of Jerusalem (“Ershalem“).

A Bird’s Eye View

The location of the ancient Canaanite city was chosen specifically for its natural protective qualities. The hill, on which early Jerusalem was built, has natural fortifications from three directions: the deep Kidron valley from the east, the “HaGai” (Tyropoeon) valley from the west, and the lowland where they meet in the south. The only side that isn’t naturally protected is the north. This has been a problem that has accompanied ancient Jerusalem throughout its history, which has even been mentioned in biblical passages, such as the words of the prophet Jeremiah ” Then the Lord said unto me, Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land. -Jeremiah 1:14 (KJV).

The Gihon Spring

In a land as dry as the Land of Israel, the main consideration in determining the location of a city or village, is its proximity to the nearest water source. The only permanent water source of ancient Jerusalem was the Gihon Spring. Its name is derived from the fact that it doesn’t flow steadily, but rather in random eruptions with lapses in between them (Giha in Hebrew means eruption).

The City of David

The spring flows out of the ground from the foot of the hill, in the bed of the Kidron brook. The city was built on the top of the hill and on its slopes. This created a problem of access to water at times of war.

The city wall was built in the middle of the slope, which was the best location for purposes of defense. However, the spring remained outside the city defenses. In times of peace this fact was of little importance, but if the city was under siege, a serious threat of being cut off from the sole water supply arises.

Jebusite Fortification

During the 1960’s the British archeologist Kathleen Kenyon excavated the eastern slope of the city’s hill. She succeeded in exposing, at the middle of the slope, the remains of the solid Jebusite defense wall that King David had to overcome in his conquest of Jerusalem.

Warren’s Shaft

From the Biblical story of the capture of Jerusalem by King David, it is implied that the battle was won with the help of a stratagem connected with something called the “tsinor.

And David said on that day, Whosoever getteth up to the gutter, and smiteth the Jebusites, and the lame and the blind that are hated of David’s soul, he shall be chief and captain. Wherefore they said, The blind and the lame shall not come into the house. – 2 Samuel 5:8 (KJV).

This word appears only here, its meaning is not fully known, and it has been translated as gutter or tunnel.

In the Jebusite city there was a method to access the Gihon spring water source, which is outside the wall, from within the city. A diagonal tunnel was hewn in the bedrock (apparently, along the line of a natural crack), and at its end a deep horizontal shaft was dug. From the top of the horizontal shaft, water jugs were lowered to the spring flowing below. Thus, access to the spring was hidden from the enemy outside the city. Perhaps this shaft is the “tsinor” through which King David’s men climbed and penetrated the city as is mentioned in the Bible. The shaft was named after the British researcher Charles Warren who discovered it in the 19th century, . (Hezekiah’s tunnel is from a later period).

Israelite Wall

So David dwelt in the fort, and called it the city of David. And David built round about from Millo and inward. (2 Samuel 5:9).

After conquering the city, King David began its fortification. The wall on the east side of the city, which remained in the same place until the destruction of the Solomon’s Temple, was built on top of the Jebusite wall on exactly the same course. Archeaolgical research has shown that was repaired many times over the years. The Millo (=”fullness”) is perhaps the filling that David’s men had to pour on the steep slope in order to make it appropriate for building houses.

Israelite Tribes

Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish People for 3000 years, is located at the center of the Land of Israel, at the intersection of a number of ancient commerce routes. In Jerusalem, the North-South hilltop route intersects the main trade routes running from east to west.

Jerusalem was chosen by King David to be the capital mainly because the city, although part of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin, had not yet been conquered by the Israelites, and was not tied specifically to any of the twelve tribes.

For David, this was of great significance, because this enabled him to conquer the city with royal forces, and, as was customary at the time, retain it as royal property. He could use Jerusalem as the symbol for a united Israel. In order to emphasize the uniqueness and importance of Jerusalem, David brought the Holy Ark of the Covenant there and turned the city into the religious center of the People of Israel. He bought the threshing floor of Aravna the Jebusite and built an altar there to the Lord.

21 And Araunah said, Wherefore is my lord the king come to his servant? And David said, To buy the threshingfloor of thee, to build an altar unto the Lord, that the plague may be stayed from the people.22 And Araunah said unto David, Let my lord the king take and offer up what seemeth good unto him: behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood.23 All these things did Araunah, as a king, give unto the king. And Araunah said unto the king, The Lord thy God accept thee.24 And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.25 And David built there an altar unto the Lord, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. So the Lord was intreated for the land, and the plague was stayed from Israel.2 Samuel 24:21-25 (KJV).

Being a warrior, he was not permitted to build the Holy Temple himself. Therefore, he designated Solomon, his son and heir, to build the Temple after his passing.

But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Thou hast shed blood abundantly, and hast made great wars: thou shalt not build an house unto my name, because thou hast shed much blood upon the earth in my sight. -1 Chronicles 22:8 (KJV).

But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. -1 Chronicles 28:3 (KJV).

And, behold, I purpose to build an house unto the name of the Lord my God, as the Lord spake unto David my father, saying, Thy son, whom I will set upon thy throne in thy room, he shall build an house unto my name. –1 Kings 5:5 (KJV). 

See Also: 1 Kings 6:1-38, 1 Kings 8:19, 2 Kings 15:35, 1 Chronicles 22:9-10, 1 Chronicles 22:19, 1 Chronicles 22:6, 1 Chronicles 28:6, 1 Chronicles 28:10, 2 Chronicles 2:1, 2 Chronicles 3:1,  2 Chronicles 6:9

Source: Jewish Library and Lisa Muhar

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