1st April 2006
N.B. This is a post I wrote for April Fool’s Day 2006 (April 1st). To set the record straight in case anyone was fooled, there was no “David King of Judah” seal discovered from Eliat Mazar’s (note spelling) Jerusalem dig. The actual seal below is a doctored image of a royal seal impression of Hezekiah from the Kaufman Collection. I left a number of subtle (perhaps too subtle for some!) hints that the post was a hoax: (1) the spelling of Haaretz and Mazar’s name; (2) the plene spelling of “David” in the seal; and (the most obvious) (3) the tag “AF’s Day.” If I offended anyone by my April Fool’s Day prank, then I am sorry. I meant it to be a joke and I hope everyone — even those fooled — may take it in the spirit in which it was intended — and I promise to only do it once a year! (and hey, what do you expect? I was born on April Fool’s Day!).
The Israeli newspaper Haarets reported this morning a significant discovery among the Eliat Mazur’s Jerusalem “City of David” archaeological dig (for more on some other discoveries from the same dig, see my posts here, including my posts on the Yehukal Seal also discovered at the site). It appears that a bulla/seal was recently discovered among the excavation remains from last summer. Most significantly, it was discovered among the rubble from the part of the excavation that she has identified as the remains of a 10th century royal palace.
The clay seal impression measures about 12 mm by 10 mm and is in a remarkably good state of preservation. The centre of the seal has what appears to be a two winged sun disk, which is probably some sort of royal emblem. The article has a good image of the seal along with a great line tracing:
The inscription is on two lines (above and below the sun disk) and reads in a clear paleo-Hebrew script: ×œ×“×•×™×“ ×™×©×™ ×ž×œ×š ×™×”×“×” “[Belonging] to David, [son of] Jesse, King of Judah.”
This find is highly significant for a number of reasons, not least being that it appears to have been found in situ in the building Mazur has been excavating and thinks is King David’s palace (at least it was discovered among the rubble from that part of the excavation). While it is too early to speculate, it seems to me that the so-called “minimalists” will have a hard time denying this clear reference to what must be the biblical David.