Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stone Seal from the First Temple Period Found

The Jerusalem Post reports:
A stone seal bearing the name of one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia has been uncovered in an archeological excavation in Jerusalem's City of David, a prominent Israeli archeologist said Wednesday.

The 2,500-year-old black stone seal, which has the name "Temech" engraved on it, was found earlier this week amid stratified debris in the excavation under way just outside the Old City walls near the Dung Gate, said archeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar, who is leading the dig.

According to the Book of Nehemiah, the Temech family were servants of the First Temple and were sent into exile to Babylon following its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

The family was among those who later returned to Jerusalem, the Bible recounts.

As Todd Bolen notes, "Many seals have been found with the names of people mentioned in the Bible, but it's always nice to find another. . . . The article mentions the mention of Temech (spelled Temah in NIV, NAS and ESV) in Nehemiah 7:55, but not Ezra 2:53."