On Monday, archaeologists announced they had found a 2,700-year-old seal impression from the First Temple Period that validates Biblical references from almost 3,000 years ago.
The seal was discovered near the plaza of the Western Wall Plaza in Jerusalem. Excavator Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah enthused, “The Bible mentions two governors of Jerusalem, and this finding thus reveals that such a position was actually held by someone in the city some 2700 years ago.”
It is likely that one of the buildings in our excavation was the destination of this transport, sent by the city governor. The finding of a seal with this high-rank title, in addition to the large assemblage of actual seals found in the building in the past, supports the assumption that this area, located on the western slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem, some 100 m west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period.
This is the first time that such a sealing is found in an authorized excavation. It supports the biblical rendering of the existence of a governor of the city in Jerusalem 2700 years ago.
Hebrew University’s Professor Tallay Ornan and Tel Aviv University’s Professor Benjamin Sass described the seal impression thus:
Above a double line are two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner. Their heads are depicted as large dots, lacking any details. The hands facing outward are dropped down, and the hands facing inward are raised.
Each of the figures is wearing a striped, knee-length garment. In the register beneath the double line is an inscription in ancient Hebrew, with no spacing between the words and no definite article.
The inscription denotes :lesar ha’air,” or “belonging to the governor of the city.” The title “governor of the city” is known from the Bible and from extra-Biblical documents, and refers to an official appointed by the king. Governors of Jerusalem are mentioned twice in the Bible: in 2 Kings, Joshua is the governor of the city in the days of Hezekiah, and in 2 Chronicles, Maaseiah is the governor of the city in the days of Josiah.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said excitedly:
It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem. This shows that already 2700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city.
Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3000 years. Today we have the privilege to encounter another one of the long chain of persons and leaders that built and developed the city.
We are grateful to be living in a city with such a magnificent past, and are obligated to ensure its strength for generations to come, as we daily do.
The seal impression measures 13 x 15mm across its face and is 2-3mm thick.