A seal bearing the name ‘Metanyahu ben Ho’ has been discovered in Jerusalem. And, no, you’re right, it’s not a biblical name. But I bet that before the day is over someone – somewhere – will suggest that the discovery of a seal from what Arutz Sheva calls the First Temple Period will be used as ‘proof’ that the Bible is ‘historically accurate’ when it describes ‘Solomon’s kingdom’.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced, Tuesday that a seal bearing the name Metanyahu ben Ho (the rest was rubbed out) from the period of the First Temple, was found in the remains of a drainage channel near the Robinson Arch at the southern end of the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem. The seal was made out of a semi-precious stone. Eli Shukrun, the IAA’s manager of the dig, said the name Metanyahu (gift from/to G-d) was fashionable for the kingdom of Judea between 800 BCE and the destruction of the First Temple. He added that finding a seal from that period was rare and thrilling.
Fashionable? How many seals and inscriptions from the period of the kingdom of Judah (Judea’s not right, is it) have been found? Can a name be called ‘fashionable’ if it’s not amply supplied?
I wonder how this button will be made into a suit. I can hardly wait.
UPDATE: The IAA has a post on it which includes the photo above. You can read it here. I’m glad to see that when the IAA quotes Shukron it uses the proper term ‘Judah’ rather than ‘Judea’ as the ideologically driven Arutz Sheva does:
According to Eli Shukron, excavation director on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “the name Matanyahu, like the name Netanyahu, means giving to God. These names are mentioned several times in the Bible. They are typical of the names in the Kingdom of Judah in latter part of the First Temple period – from the end of the eighth century BCE until the destruction of the Temple in 586 BCE. To find a seal from the First Temple period at the foot of the Temple Mount walls is rare and very exciting. This is a tangible greeting of sorts from a man named Matanyahu who lived here more than 2,700 years ago. We also found pottery sherds characteristic of the period on the floor in the ancient building beneath the base of the drainage channel, as well as stone collapse and evidence of a fire.”