.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

First Temple-period bulla found

From Bible History Daily and The Temple Mount Sifting Project:

Jerusalem archaeologist Gabriel Barkay announced this week that the Temple Mount Sifting Project has discovered a fragment of a seventh-century B.C.E. clay bulla impressed with the ancient Hebrew inscription [g]b’n lmlk, or “Gibeon, for the king.” According to Barkay, the bulla is evidence for royal taxation of different Judahite cities, in this case the town of Gibeon. More than 50 other such “fiscal bullae” are already known, but most lack contextual information. “All the fiscal bullae known until now come from the antiquities market, and our bulla is the first one to come from a controlled archaeological project,” wrote Barkay on the project’s Web site. “This bulla enables us to fully illuminate and discuss the entire phenomenon of the fiscal bullae.”

The bulla originates from the eastern slope of the Temple Mount, descending into the Kidron Valley.

The [full collection of] bullae include names of 19 different cities of Judah, and dates of the reign of one of the Judean kings, usually in hieratic numerals, as well as the particle “lmlk“, “for the king”. ...The fiscal bullae represent a taxation system from the different Judean cities, based on yearly taxes, which probably replaced the previous one, reflected in the royal Judean jars and their seal impressions, from the time of King Hezekiah. The discussion includes the characteristic details of the taxation systems of the Samaria Ostraca and the “lmlk” jars, in comparison to the fiscal bullae. A detailed discussion of 13 different arguments is brought to suggest the dating of the fiscal bullae to the time of King Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son (698-642 BCE). The mentioning of Lachish in some of the bullae is directly connected to the question of the date of the reconstruction of that city’s level II. The city is mentioned to pay its taxes in the 19th and 21st regnal years, which could not be in the reign of Hezekiah as the city was destroyed by Sennacherib in 701 BCE, which was Hezekiah’s 14th regnal year. According to our suggestion, Lachish was restored after being in ruins for about 16 years, by King Manasseh, rather than Josiah, as previously suggested.

The discovery of the fiscal bulla with the name of Gibeon from the slope of the Temple Mount, authenticates all the other fiscal bullae, and enables us to study a variety of subjects connected to the history of Judah in the 7th century BCE.
Those Jews, always pretending to have been in Israel for more than 63 years.

(h/t Dan)