City of David inscription may name a Bible character

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced Sunday the discovery of “a layer of rich finds including thousands of broken pottery shards, clay lamps and figurines … in the area of the Gihon Spring in the City of David, in the Walls around Jerusalem National Park.”

Most intriguing is the recent discovery of a ceramic bowl with a partially preserved inscription in ancient Hebrew. While not complete, the inscription presents us with the name of a seventh century BCE figure, which resembles other names known to us from both the Biblical and archaeological record [see Press Release] and providing us with a connection to the people living in Jerusalem at the end of the First Temple period.

Pottery sherd of a bowl from the end of the First Temple Period, bearing the inscription "ryhu bn bnh." Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Pottery sherd of a bowl from the end of the First Temple Period, bearing the inscription “ryhu bn bnh.” Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Dr. Joe Uziel and Nashon Zanton, directors of the dig, were working in ruins belonging to the period of the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians when the inscription was found. They say that the name most similar to the inscription is “Zechariah the son of Benaiah, the father of the Prophet Jahaziel.”

 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly.  And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. (2 Chronicles 20:14-15 ESV)

More information about this discovery is available in the IAA Press Release here. Other finds from the same area, shown in the photo below, are impressive.

Various finds from the fill layer of the end of the First Temple Period: oil lamps, LMLK stamped handles and female figurines. Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

Various finds from the fill layer of the end of the First Temple Period: oil lamps, LMLK stamped handles and female figurines. Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority.

HT: Joseph I. Lauer; Todd Bolen, Bible Places Blog (see here for more news links)

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