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Artifact from First Jewish Temple found in Jerusalem

Artifact from First Jewish Temple found in Jerusalem

Once again, an archaeological discovery underscores the “deep historical connection of the Jewish People to Jerusalem” long before the Muslim conquest.

A very rare stone engraved with ancient Hebrew letters has been discovered in the rubble of a Jerusalem excavation site.

The extremely tiny stone, called a “beka”, was used as a counting weight during the First Temple period. Only a few similar stone beka weights have been unearthed in Jerusalem, and according to experts, none of those previously discovered have the same exact inscription as the one that was just found.

Tiny First Temple counting weight is unearthed at Jerusalem excavation site

Israeli media reports about this rare find (see here, here, and here) note that the artifact was discovered by a volunteer who was sifting through soil that had been removed back in 2013 from a dig near the Western Wall at the foot of Robinson’s Arch.

The dirt had been transferred from that excavation area to the City of David sifting project in Jerusalem’s Emek Tzurim National Park so that it could be carefully sorted. It was during this process that the minuscule biblical stone weight was uncovered.

[Credit: Times of Israel]

The “beka” weight from the First Temple period was used by Jewish pilgrims who would’ve been required to pay a ‘half-shekel’ tax before they could ascend to the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site. The stone weight is actually described in the Bible (Book of Exodus 38, verse 26), where its use is recorded as a way of evaluating the donations that Jews were expected to bring for the maintenance and upkeep of the Temple and the census.

Archaeologist Eli Shukron, who directs the excavations on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, explains:

When the half-shekel tax was brought to the Temple during the First Temple period, there were no coins, so they used silver ingots. In order to calculate the weight of these silver pieces they would put them on one side of the scales and on the other side they placed the Beka weight. The Beka was equivalent to the half-shekel, which every person from the age of twenty years and up was required to bring to the Temple.”

This particular beka is a momentous discovery because it’s the only example to date with an inscription written in “mirror writing”—that is, the letters on the stone are engraved from left to right instead of from right to left. This finding has led Shukron to conclude that the First Temple artisans who carved and engraved stone weights (bekas) during that time period were the same artists who also created seals, which were always written in mirror script so that once stamped the letters would appear in legible script.

In the case of this stone weight, the artisan must have made a mistake by writing backwards. Basically, Shukron thinks that the “seal craftsman got confused when he engraved the inscription on the weight and mistakenly used mirror script as he was used to doing.”

So, beka weights (and in fact any artifacts) from the First Temple period are extremely rare—but this weight is even rarer because it shows how “everything is connected” in antiquity, including the Bible, the artifact found close to Solomon’s Temple, and the Jewish Temple’s very foundations.

A momentous discovery that underscores the Jewish attachment to Israel’s capital city

The recently discovered First Temple artifact has provided historians with a new understanding of artisan specializations in biblical times. But it’s not only an important find for this reason. It also provides further proof of an ancient Jewish presence in Jerusalem.

As we noted in a prior post, for years Palestinians have been denying and denigrating the Jewish people’s attachment to Jerusalem and to the Land of Israel even as they’ve been doubling-down on their own claim to ‘Palestine’ in antiquity and to family lineages in the Holy Land that predate that of the ancient Hebrews.

The discovery of the new First Temple weight and other artifacts at Emek Tzurim National Park simply highlights how absurd it is for Palestinians and their supporters to continue to reject the historical accuracy of a Hebrew/Jewish presence in the land (so far in this sifting project a seal mark that is believed to have been made by King Hezekiah 2,700 years ago was discovered back in 2015; last January another seal impression from the same time was also found, this one engraved with letters that some experts believe refer to the Prophet Isaiah).

Speaking about the new find, Vice President of the City of David Foundation Doron Spielman points out that:

This three thousand-year-old Beka weight, inscribed with ancient Hebrew was likely used in the First Temple, anchoring once again, the deep historical connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem. It is a reminder from our ancestors in First Temple times telling us that the State of Israel of today does not rest only on a 70-year-old United Nations vote, but rather, rests upon a foundation that began more than three millennia ago. Every single day, archaeologists in the City of David are uncovering our past and preserving out future.”


As we’ve highlighted in a number of posts (for a partial list see here), Palestinian officials have embarked on a sustained international campaign at UNESCO and in other international forum to sever Israel’s ties to Jerusalem, Hebron and other ancient Jewish heritage sites, thereby denying the historical legitimacy of Jewish peoplehood and the Jewish nation-state.

This is precisely why large-scale archaeological projects in Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, are so important.

These projects offer the public a unique experience when they have the opportunity to sift through the soil and even discover treasures from the past—as recently happened when a volunteer participant, rather than a trained archaeologist, found a rare First Temple artifact.

[Credit: Times of Israel]

But beyond that, such projects can also compel a clear-eyed assessment about how the prospects for peace are stymied by a relentless Palestinian effort to espouse a mythical thousands-year-old history of their own ‘nation’ in ‘Palestine’ while at the same time denigrating Jewish history and the Jewish people’s right to self-determination.

[Featured Image via YouTube]

Miriam F. Elman is an Associate Professor of Political Science and the Inaugural Robert D. McClure Professor of Teaching Excellence at the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs, Syracuse University. She is the editor of five books and the author of over 65 journal articles, book chapters, and government reports on topics related to international and national security, religion and politics, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. She also frequently speaks and writes on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) anti-Israel movement. Recently, Elman was included on the Algemeiner newspaper’s 2018 list of the top 100 people worldwide who are “positively influencing Jewish life.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @MiriamElman


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God Bless and Protect Israel!

JusticeDelivered | November 22, 2018 at 12:08 pm

One more piece of evidence that Palestinian’s should be expelled from areas surrounding Israel, that is the best path to achieve piece. Who would be dump enough to take them?

To think this was made by someone so long ago. To see or hold it is a link to that individual. I wonder about his life and death. Who was he? What was he like? What did he enjoy?

Search on the term “Biblical Archeology.” You’ll get results. If you are so interested there’s even a Biblical Archeology magazine you can subscribe to.

On the other hand there is no such thing as Quranic Archeology. Look at this picture of Mecca.

Mecca, according to the traditional narrative, is the oldest city in the world. It’s where, according to the narrative, where Adam and Eve were cast down when Allah kicked them out of Eden. It’s where, according to the narrative, Abraham and Ishmael built the Kabaa.

None of this makes any sense. But if the narrative had any validity then the Saudis would find all sorts of archeological evidence. Make no mistake, during all the construction you see in that pic they had archeologists at the construction sites ready to preserve the evidence and put them in museums. But they found none. So now they’re cementing over the place so nobody can prove what a bull#%$# story the Islamic historical narrative happens to be.

Seriously, if the house that Muhammad was born in actually existed as described would the Saudis have torn it down and turned it into a public urinal? That may be confusing, but Islamic “historians” like al-Tabari have contended they knew the exact building their “prophet” was born in. If you know anything about Islamic “historians,” you know they didn’t exist until their supposed prophet died two hundred years earlier. And the narrative got more detailed as the centuries piled up. Which, if you know anything about the historical method is a major clue that they weren’t doing history. Where did these later “historians” come up with all that detail?

Unlike Islam, Christianity and Judaism is not scared about archeology.

    RedEchos in reply to Arminius. | November 22, 2018 at 1:16 pm

    Got an hour? Thought provoking video: Examining the Newest Historical Research on Islam and the Earliest Quranic Manuscripts – Jay Smith

    Surprised the man hasn’t been murdered

      Arminius in reply to RedEchos. | November 24, 2018 at 1:36 am

      I’m familiar with Jay’s work. It’s absolutely devastating to Islam.

      It’s no longer possible to believe any part of the official Islamic narrative of their early history. All of it, not just the Quran but the biographies, the histories, and the ahadith collections are clearly works of fiction written centuries after the fact. For instance check out this wopper.

      “Sahih al-Bukhari- Book of Virtues of the Quran

      Virtues of the Quran

      Chapter: The Collection of the Quran

      Narrated Anas bin Malik:
      Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman came to `Uthman at the time when the people of Sham and the people of Iraq were Waging war to conquer Arminya and Adharbijan. Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sham and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur’an, so he said to `Uthman, “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” So `Uthman sent a message to Hafsa saying, “Send us the manuscripts of the Qur’an so that we may compile the Qur’anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you.” Hafsa sent it to `Uthman. `Uthman then ordered Zaid bin Thabit, `Abdullah bin AzZubair, Sa`id bin Al-As and `AbdurRahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. `Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, “In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur’an, then write it in the dialect of Quraish, the Qur’an was revealed in their tongue.” They did so, and when they had written many copies, `Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. `Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur’anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt.

      I don’t know how much you know about the historical narrative and written Arabic, but this is ridiculous. Uthman, the third “rightly guided caliph,” has ordered the scribes to write the Quran in “the dialect of the Quraish” which was purported to be Muhammad’s tribe.

      One glaring problem marks this as completely made up. In 650 AD when Uthman is reputed to have compiled the Quran it was impossible to write Arabic in dialect. It was purely a consonental writing system; there were no vowels. To inform the reader how to pronounce the words they need diacritical marks. Small dots place singly or in small groups above or below the consonant. Diacritical marks wouldn’t be invented for another 75 years or so, and it would take decades to refine the system.

      Even today newspaper publishers will print papers without vowelization (without diacritical marks) so their papers can be sold throughout the Arab world and read by anyone regardless if they spoke Arabic with an Egyptian dialect, a Saudi dialect, or a Jordanian dialect. Clearly Bukhari (if he actually existed) wasn’t aware that there was no vowelization 220 years earlier when the events were supposed to take place and invented a conversation that made sense circa 870 AD when he published his work.

      This sort of historical mistake is very common as the first biography of Muhammand wasn’t written until 200 years after he supposedly died, the first ahadith collection (al-Bukhari’s) wasn’t written until 240 years after he died with the first history being written close to 300 years after he died. It’s ridiculous; one of the facts is that make historians suspicious of the Islamic narrative is that their own texts get more detailed as the centuries pass. These texts simply can’t be trusted. Frankly, I doubt this supposed prophet actually was a historical person. There’s no evidence for it. No Arab sources mention him for sixty years after he died. I say Arab sources because the Arabs were definitely conquering other people, wrote in great detail about their conquerors. And they never heard about this prophet, Islam, their conquerors referred to themselves as all sorts of things but never Muslims, and they never heard of a holy book. There were plenty of Muhammad’s running around Arabia, but Muhammad is a title and not a proper name. There are coins in Museums with the image of Christian rulers holding crosses with the title Muhammad on them. HMD is the consonental root that means “praise.” So one of Allah’s 99 names is Al-Hamid, the all praiseworthy and putting the prefix “mu” in front of the root assigns it to a person. So just like Mujahid means one who conducts jihad, Muhammad simply means the praised one.

A few web sites claim shops were set up under Robinson’s arch. That the beka has a mirror inscription of others found before, I wonder if that distinguished it as a beka for commerce as compared with a ‘holy’ beka to collect the temple / entry tax. Or perhaps even a counterfeit beka.

I’d be interested to know how the weight of the new-found beka compares to the few found before because there are a number of scriptures that speak to dishonest weights, measures and scales. Such had some to do with Yeshua going off on the shop-keepers in the temple and calling them a den of thieves.,-Laws

Regardless, it’s an inspiring find!

Why everybody knows that Allah sent his final prophet to Earth long before there were any filthy Jews there to turn Jerusalem into a garbage heap.

OK, to be honest that is post 18th or 19th century wishful thinking by the Islamist clergy. Maybe even middle 20th century as the NSDAP loving Grand Mufti of Jerusalem picked up Herr Doktor Göbbels’ “Big Lie” methods while in Berlin before and during the War.

The Jew-haters of the so-called ‘Women’s March’ have hired woman-abuser Michael Avenetti to sue for belated alimony.

WOW, it would be hard to pick this object out of all the other small rocks at a dig site, great attention to detail.

buckeyeminuteman | November 22, 2018 at 10:58 pm

Took a guided tour around Jerusalem back in September. Saw a lot of the rest of the country as well but Jerusalem was my favorite. To pray at the Western Wall was perhaps the most special thing I’ve ever done. Our tour guide’s wife was an archaeologist. I seem to remember him saying there were over 70,000 Jewish archaeological sites across Israel. That is incredible for how small a country it is. Anyone who claims that Jews don’t have a historical connection to the land is obviously doing so for political or religious reasons.

It seems that archaeology is once again underscoring the importance of the Bible for Western civilization.