Rare Inscription On King David-Era Ceramic Jar Decoded

A rare inscription on a ceramic jar from the time of King David discovered in 2012 at Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Valley of Elah has been deciphered, Israeli archeologists announced.

Researchers worked intensively to restore the 3,000 rare find. Hundreds of pottery sherds were glued together to form a whole jar. Once put together, archeologists were able to solved the ancient riddle. The text reads: “Eshbaʽal Ben Badaʽ.”

It is interesting to note that the name Eshbaʽal appears in the Bible, and now also in the archaeological record, only during the reign of King David. This confirms the scriptures described in the biblical book of 1 Samuel.

The ancient ceramic was found in the valley of Elah.

“The fact that the name Eshbaʽal was incised on a jar suggests that he was an important person. He was apparently the owner of a large agricultural estate and the produce collected there was packed and transported in jars that bore his name,” according to the researchers.

“This completely changes our understanding of the distribution of writing in the Kingdom of Judah. It is now clear that writing was far more widespread than previously thought,” one researcher said.

Archeologists expect to resume excavation in the Valley of Elah later this year, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

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