Seal impression from First Temple Period discovered near Western Wall

Ancient clay seal impression from First Temple perido found during an excavation at the Western Wall Plaza, Photo: Clara Amit, Israel Antiquities Authority

The Israel Antiquities Authority made the discovery of an ancient clay seal impression during an excavation at the Western Wall Plaza. The artifact depicts two men in striped garments and reads “belonging to the governor of the city”.

According to one of the excavators from the site, Dr. Shlomit Weksler-Bdolah, “The upper part of the seal depicts two figures facing each other, and the lower part holds an inscription in ancient Hebrew script,” and is significant as the discovery “supports the assumption that this area, located on the western slopes of the western hill of ancient Jerusalem… west of the Temple Mount, was inhabited by highly ranked officials during the First Temple period.”

She explained that the seal was “attached to an important transport and serves as some sort of logo or tiny souvenir that was sent on behalf of the governor of the city”.

It was found 100 meters from the Kotel (Western Wall).

The artifact is believed to refer to either Joshua or Masseiah, the only two governors of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, found in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles.

“Josiah brought to Jerusalem all the priests who were living in other towns of Judah. He also defiled the pagan shrines, where they had offered sacrifices–all the way from Geba to Beersheba. He destroyed the shrines at the entrance to the gate of Joshua, the governor of Jerusalem. This gate was located to the left of the city gate as one enters the city.” (2 Kings 23:8)

“In the eighteenth year of his reign, after he had purified the land and the Temple, Josiah appointed Shaphan son of Azaliah, Maaseiah the governor of Jerusalem, and Joah son of Joahaz, the royal historian, to repair the Temple of the Lord his God.” (2 Chronicles 34:8)

The seal was presented to Jerusalem’s Mayor, Nir Barkat, this week, the mayor stating on the finding, “This shows that already 2,700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city.”

This article originally appeared on Behold Israel, January 1, 2018, and reposted with permission.