Daily Archives: February 28, 2008

Eighth Century B.C. Seal Found in the City of David

The Israel Antiquities Authority reports on the discovery of another seal from the area of the City of David. Read the full account here.

Finds recovered from the excavations in the City of David reveal an interesting development in the ancient world: whereas during the 9th century BCE letters and goods were dispatched on behalf of their senders without names, by the 8th century BCE the clerks and merchants had already begun to add their names to the seals.

In an excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting together with the Nature and Parks Authority and the Elad Association, a complete seal bearing an ancient Hebrew inscription with the name of its owner – Raphaihu (ben) Shalem – as well as parts of other seals with writing on it were found.

Here is a nice photo of the seal, courtesy of IAA.

Rephaihu (ben) Shalem seal discovered in the City of David. Courtesy of IAA.

Seals were commonly used during Old Testament times. Jeremiah speaks of sealing and signing a deed (Jeremiah 32:10). Jezebel sealed letters with Ahab’s seal (1 Kings 21:8). Numerous seals bearing the names of biblical characters have been found over the years. It is suggested that this seal belonged to a clerk or merchant of some importance in the 8th century B.C.

Professor Ronny Reich and Eli Shukron are the excavators of the project where this find was made.

HT: BiblePlaces Blog; PaleoJudaica.