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Old Testament Evidence Found on Ancient Jerusalem Seal

on January 19, 2008

The Jerusalem Post: “First Temple Seal found in Jerusalem A stone seal discovered in Jerusalem bears a name mentioned in the Old Testament and is yet another connection between archaeology and the Bible.

Mentioning “Temech,” the black stone seal dates back to between 538 and 445 BC, according to archaeologist Dr. Eliat Mazar, who led the excavation near the Old City’s Dung Gate. The Jerusalem Post reports that the name is also mentioned in the book of Nehemiah (specifically, in Nehemiah 7:6, 46, 55), referring specifically to “one of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia.” The Temech family was exiled to Babylon in 586 BC, only to return years later as part of the events described in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra.

“One of the families who acted as servants in the First Temple and then returned to Jerusalem after being exiled to Babylonia.”

The seal portrays a “cultic” scene, however, derived from Babylonian religion. Appearing on the seal are two bearded priests standing by an incense altar, worshipping, with the crescent moon—symbol of the chief Babylonian god, Sin—appearing at the top. “Temech” is written at the bottom.

Commenting on the significance of the find, Mazar explained, “The seal of the Temech family gives us a direct connection between archeology and the biblical sources and serves as actual evidence of a family mentioned in the Bible. One cannot help being astonished by the credibility of the biblical source as seen by the archaeological find.”

Indeed, discovery after archaeological discovery has reminded us of the accuracy and authority of the Bible’s account of history, and not a single find has been uncovered that contradicts the biblical record. For those of us who accept the Bible as God’s Word, that’s no surprise!

[Editor’s note: Some experts on ancient Jewish seals have challenged the reading of this seal as “Temech,” suggesting the Hebrew letters should be read (in mirror-image reverse) as “Shelomit.” The name Shelomit (sometimes spelled “Shelomith”) is mentioned in other passages of Scripture, such as 2 Chronicles 11:20 and Ezra 8:10.]

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