A Hebrew inscription on a jar unearthed at Tel Abel Beth Macaah may resolve a long-running dispute about the extent of Israelite territory in the 9th-century B.C.E. Written in Hebrew, the inscription reads Ibnayo: “belonging to Benaiyo.” Benaiyo was an Israelite name, suggesting–but not proving–that Abel Beth Macaah was an Israelite city at the time when Ahab was the Israelite King.

Abel Beth Maacah is in the area where ancient Israel, Aram and Phoenicia met. As Lauren Monroe explains in “Abel Beth Maacah in the Bible” (Bible History Daily), different mentions in the book of Samuel imply that Abel Beth Maacah was either an Israelite or an Aramaean city. Avraham Biran was the first advocate of the theory that it was an Israelite city. Israel Finkelstein, and others, argue that the Israelite Kingdom did not extend that far until generations later.

The find was announced by Azusa Pacific University, runners of the dig with Hebrew University. The directors are Robert Mullins of Azusa Pacific University, and Naama Yahalom-Mack and Nava Panitz-Cohen of the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University.

abel-beth-maacah-jug-hoard
Found in a complete jug, the silver hoard of Abel Beth Maacah, pictured here before undergoing conservation work to separate the silver pieces, is one of the earliest discovered in Canaan. Photo: Gabi Laron.

The researchers discovered a room from the ninth-century B.C.E. that contained broken jars. The ink inscription was so faint that they did not see it until the pieces were sent for restoration. It took multispectral images from the lab to enable them to read the Hebrew writing. Another jar contained grape residue and a grape seed. The room may have been an ancient wine cellar.

There have been other important finds at Tel Abel Beth-Macaah, including a late Bronze age silver hoard, one of the earliest ever found in Canaan. In the future, further discoveries may further establish the that Abel Beth-Maacah was an Israelite city in the time of King Ahab. Or new evidence might contradict this find, revealing the site was Aramaean or Phoenician, or even an independent city.

The post 3,000-Year-Old Hebrew Inscription Discovered appeared first on Biblical Archaeology Society.


See all posts in Biblical Archaeology News & Opinion

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Upcoming Tours

Mar 30 — Apr 08, 2020
Heart Of God
Led by George DeJong
Jun 28 — Jul 12, 2020
Out of Egypt, Into a Good Land
Led by George DeJong
Fall 2020
Ancient Paths to Modern Leadership
Led by George DeJong
Nov 01 — Nov 15, 2020
Walking with the Patriarchs
Led by George DeJong
Nov 14 — Nov 28, 2020
Egypt Nile River Cruise & Jordan Walking Tour
Led by George DeJong
Spring 2021
Israel in Depth
Led by George DeJong
Fall 2021
Through the Roof
Led by George DeJong