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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘King David’

Rare Inscription from King David Discovered in Jerusalem Hills

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

This article has been updated.

A rare inscription from the time of King David was discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafain the Elah Valley, southwest of Jerusalem and near Beit Shemesh.

A ceramic jar approximately 3,000 years old that was broken into numerous shards was found in 2012 in excavations. Letters written in ancient Canaanite script could be discerned on several of the shards, sparking the curiosity of researchers, Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Its artifacts department glued together hundreds of pottery shards to form a whole jar and solved the riddle – the jar was incised with the inscription, ” Eshbaʽal Ben Bada.”

Professor Garfinkel and Ganor said:

This is the first time that the name Eshbaʽal has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country. Eshbaʽal Ben Shaul, who ruled over Israel at the same time as David, is known from the Bible.

It is interesting to note that the name Eshbaʽal appears in the Bible…only during the reign of King David, in the first half of the tenth century BCE. This name was not used later in the First Temple period.

[Editor’s note: The name “Eshbaʽal” only appears in Divrei HaYamim (Chronicles) 1-8:34 & 1-9:39 and he is generally identified as Ish Boshet, the son of King Saul.]

They added that the correlation between the biblical tradition and the archaeological finds indicates this was a common name only during that period. “The name Bedaʽ is unique and does not occur in ancient inscriptions or in the biblical tradition,” they added.

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

The researchers stated:

This is clear evidence of social stratification and the creation of an established economic class that occurred at the time of the formation of the Kingdom of Judah.

Khirbet Qeiyafa is identified with the biblical city Shaʽarayim. During several seasons of excavation, a fortified city, two gates, a palace and storerooms, dwellings and cultic rooms were exposed.

The city dates from the time of David – the late 11th and early centuries BCE. Unique artifacts that were previously unknown were discovered at the site.

According to Garfinkel and Ganor:

In recent years four inscriptions have been published: two from Khirbet Qeiyafa, one from Jerusalem and one from Bet Shemesh. This completely changes our understanding of the distribution of writing in the Kingdom of Judah, and it is now clear that writing was far more widespread than previously thought.

It seems that the organization of the kingdom required a cadre of clerks and writers and their activity is also manifested in the appearance of inscriptions.


Jewish Press Staff

President Rivlin hosts New Year’s reception for leaders of Israel’s Christian communities

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

President Reuven Rivlin hosted the traditional, annual reception for leaders of Israel’s Christian community leaders on Tuesday to mark the civil New Year.

The President welcomed nine heads of various churches in Israel and senior members of the community and said:

“Over the past months, we have been greatly concerned, by the ongoing religious persecution and restrictions on freedom of worship for minorities in the Middle East. Because of their faith hundreds of thousands are being exiled, forcibly converted, attacked, and brutally murdered.

“This is a war against extremism, a war being waged against those who want to spread a message of freedom of worship and coexistence, by those who carry the flag of destruction and hatred.

“This is a cause of great worry and pain for all us. We share the Psalms of King David, the words of the Prophets, and a love for Jerusalem, and the Holy Land. As we know, we are all created in the image of God. As the prophet Malachi wrote, ‘Do we not, all have one Father? Did not one God create us?’ We will continue to live together, and build bridges of peace, here, in the land of our fathers.

“May we all, Christians, Muslims, Jews, children of Abraham, together with all those of different faiths, see the fulfillment of the vision of the prophet Isaiah, that ‘Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and no longer learn war.’ Let 2015 be a year of partnership and friendship. Let it be a year of understanding and mutual respect. I wish you all a peaceful and happy New Year.”


Jewish Press News Briefs

‘House of David’ Rock on Exhibit at NY Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tuesday, December 16th, 2014

A stone on which is inscribed the earliest known reference to the era of King David is on display at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Dimly lit, the stone slab, or stele, doesn’t look particularly noteworthy, especially when compared to the more lavish sphinxes, jewelry and cauldrons one encounters en route to the room where it is installed.

A Twitter post this fall, art journalist Lee Rosenbaum described the 2750-year-old rock, nearly 13-by-16 inches and which resembles an aardvark or elephant, as “homely.”

What’s significant about this stone is its inscription: “the earliest extra-biblical reference to the House of David.”

“There is no doubt that the inscription is one of the most important artifacts ever found in relation to the Bible,” Eran Arie, curator of Israelite and Persian periods at the Israel Museum, wrote in the exhibit catalog.

The stone is on display as part of the “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” exhibit running through January 4.

As is to be expected with a rock nearly three millennia old, the slab is missing considerable portions, and Arie’s translation of the remaining 13 lines of text is full of ellipses and bracketed additions. What is clear is that the Aram-Damascene king Hazael brags of having killed 70 kings, including of Israel and of the “House of David.” Scholars agree that the round figure is probably exaggerated, although Hazael did have a reputation for being ruthless and successful.

The breaks in the stone neither obstruct nor obscure the “bytdvd,” or House of David, inscription, which remains “absolutely intact and clear,” said Ira Spar, professor of history and ancient studies at Ramapo College in New Jersey and a research Assyriologist at the Metropolitan Museum.

Epigraphers and biblical historians agree almost unanimously that the letters “bytdvd” refer to the House of King David, according to Spar.

“While it is clear that David was king of Israel, the archaeological evidence for the extent of his kingdom remains unclear,” he said.

Despite its “extraordinary inscription,” the rock, a seventh century BCE “Annals of Sennacherib” that tells of a siege of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, and a 10th-century BCE “Taanach Cult Stand” that may feature a depiction of the Jewish God, have been “curiously” ignored in reviews of the Met’s exhibit, notes the Biblical Archaeology Society website.

In the catalog for the “Assyria to Iberia” exhibit, the Israel Museum’s Arie wrote that the inscription’s matter-of-fact invocation of David’s name just some 150 years after his reign amounts to a “clear indication that the ‘House of David’ was known throughout the region and that the king’s reputation was not a literary invention of a much later period.” This, he adds, “clearly validates the biblical description of a figure named David becoming the founder of the dynasty of Judahite kings in Jerusalem.”


Arab Terror Hits Hard at Jerusalem Hotel Occupancy Rate

Sunday, November 23rd, 2014

The occupancy rate in Jerusalem hotels has plummeted by nearly 50 percent in the wake of recent Arab terror.

“Thirty percent of our clients, Israelis and foreigners already in Israel, called following the running over of bystanders by a terrorist driving a car and asked to move their tour route from central Jerusalem to the Biblical Zoo, which is fenced in and secured at the entrance, or to Tel Aviv,” Yossi Griver, co-owner of Zuzu Motoric Tourism, told the Globes business newspaper.

A veteran tour guide told The Jewish Press Sunday, “Tourists are cancelling trips they scheduled with me. They don’t even come from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.”

The war in Gaza last summer was a financially deadly strike at tourism, which had been at record highs before Hamas started pummeling Israel with missiles as far north as metropolitan Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

“The escalating security situation in the city has dealt another blow to tourism, already hit hard by Operation Protective Edge,” said Alfred Akirov, owner of Alrov, which operates David Citadel and Mamilla Hotels in Jerusalem.

Occupancy rates at Jerusalem hotels now are 35-40 percent, compared with the usual seasonal rate of 65-70 percent.

The city of Jerusalem and businesses are trying to attract business with free tours and discounts, but it is difficult to overcome a mood of fear, exactly what terrorists want to drive in the hearts of Jews.

Jerusalem tour guide Ron Peled told Globes, “There is a dramatic plunge of 80-90 percent in the number of Israeli tourists visiting Jerusalem. Would you take your kids on a trip to Jerusalem now? If you were invited to a bar mitzvah at the Western Wall, would you go? It’s not a sure thing.

“A large number of the tour guides in the city have no work because of the situation that has prevailed since Operation Protective Edge. There is a more moderate decline. You can still see tourists in the city.”

Guy Klaiman, general manager of the recently opened Waldorf Astoria Jerusalem Hotel, is more optimistic, if for no other reason than radical Islamists have attacked throughout the world.

“Tourists regard these things differently these days,” he told Globes. “They understand that there is no safe place in the world, and that part of life today is taking some risks. It’s not safe in London, either. When I worked there, we had to deal with terrorist explosions. Being a Jew in Antwerp is not exactly safe now, either.”

Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu

What Did King David Drink? Israeli Wine Researchers Aim to Revive Ancient Libations

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

ARIEL, West Bank (JTA) — The small cardboard box in Elyashiv Drori’s palm looks like it’s full of black pebbles.

Closing the box quickly, he explains that it cannot be open for long. The pebble-like pieces, which were uncovered in an archaeological dig near Jerusalem’s Old City, are in fact remains of a kilo of grapes stored nearly 3,000 years ago. They were preserved under layers of earth from the era when David and Solomon ruled over the Land of Israel.

Next to his laboratory at Ariel University, Drori — an oenophile who has judged international wine competitions — already has barrels of wine made from grapes that have grown in Israel for two millennia. Finding a living sample of the 3,000-year-old grapes will be the next step in his years-long quest to produce wine identical to that consumed in ancient Israel.

“It’s not interesting to make chardonnay in Israel because there’s chardonnay that comes from California,” said Drori, the agriculture and oenology research coordinator at the Samaria and Jordan Rift Center of Ariel University. “But if you can make wine in Israel that isn’t elsewhere and that connects to the history here, that’s much more interesting.”

Today there are hundreds of Israeli wineries, but they largely use varieties of grapes that are indigenous to Europe. By finding and growing grapes native to Israel, Drori hopes to bring Israeli winemaking back to its roots.

One major hurdle: The area’s past Muslim rulers prohibited alcohol consumption for centuries, and many indigenous grape varieties all but fell out of use. But some of the grape varieties survived.

Cremisan Cellars, a winery outside Bethlehem run by Italian monks, has produced a dry white wine called Hamdani Jandali that is made from two species indigenous to the area. Drori has found mentions of Jandali and Hamdani grapes in Second Temple-era texts from 2,000 years ago, and is preparing to showcase kosher wines made from the grapes at a festival next summer.

With funding from the Jewish National Fund as well the city and national governments, three years ago he sent a team of Ariel masters’ students on treks across Israel to find grapes growing in the wild. After three years of searching across the country — with tips from hikers who had seen wild grapes — the students found 100 varieties of grapes unique to Israel. Of those, at least 10 are suitable for winemaking.

“I understood how much local species are connected to their countries,” said Yakov Henig, one of Drori’s student researchers. “Every nation has its species, and we have a culture and tradition of making wine. This is connected to our identity.”

Drori’s next goal is to match the wild grapes to grape seeds and remains found in ancient archaeological sites. If a seed has survived the centuries with its shape intact, Udi Weiss, an archeo-botanist at Bar-Ilan University, will create a 3-D scan of the ancient grape seed and determine based on its shape whether it matches grapes that grow now.

“We want to get to a place where there will be a kind of fingerprint for the species we found all over Israel,” said Weiss, who works with Drori. “My hope is that I can say that a sample is exactly the shape of a seed I found in David’s City in Jerusalem.”

To tackle the challenge of grape remains whose shapes have been distorted, Drori has enlisted Mali Salmon-Divol, a biologist specializing in DNA analysis who has begun sequencing the genomes of the indigenous Israeli grapes. Once Salmon-Divol has a record of each species’ DNA, she will sample the DNA of the ancient grapes and see how they line up.

Ben Sales

Rolling Stones into Shavuot

Friday, June 6th, 2014

Since the start time of The Rolling Stones concert was rolled ahead to 9:15 to allow for travel time after the end of Shavuot, I thought it would be fun to roll the opposite direction back into Shavuot.

If you read through the articles written before the concert, there were three main themes: 1) The Rolling Stones were performing in Israel; 2) The concert was scheduled to begin the night after Shavuot; and 3) BDS wasn’t working … again.

Now that we’ve isolated these three, let’s work to conceptualize them. Beyond the recent headlines, there is some enduring message here. Some inner reason why this story was so attractive and intriguing for so many. While we know what happened to make these recent headlines, we’d like to now ask why?

Why I am writing this?

To help us all see the bigger picture. While it may seem that our interests travel from one unrelated headline to the next, there are correspondences interweaving all these stories together. In this respect, the billions of pages that comprise the internet are indeed a www (world wide web). The challenge is in finding the correspondences between them and knowing what sites or data to leave out entirely.

Stones, Shavuot, and BDS

Back to our three. The first conceptual leap we’d like to take is to leap past this particular band, and into a concept called “rolling stones.” Even if future headlines speak about a rock band by another name, or something else to do with stones (e.g., arab stoning attacks), then we are still able to weave them together in our www of concepts. For instance on JewishPress.com, the article “Rolling Stones Play Tel Aviv” was posted 15 minutes before, “64 Stoning/Firebomb Attacks Over Shavuot.

Thinking conceptually enables us to acknowledge the relationship between the two, and open our eyes to begin appreciating (and promoting) the Divine Providence. Since King David passed away on Shavuot the ‘rolling stones’ that came to mind was the ‘stone’ that killed the Philistine giant Goliath.

What about BDS? Instead of a physical stone slung against the Philistine Goliath, the performance of The Rolling Stones in Israel was seen as a proverbial ‘stone throw’ against BDS and a fictionalized nation called the Palestinians. We have now corresponded all three of our concert headline themes with the original David and Goliath ‘headline.’

Why is conceptualization needed?

Because now we can begin to appreciate the why behind the what of the headlines.

For instance, while the band presently consists of four members, a fifth was invited to join them on stage (according to one report, for the first time in 40 years). Where did this thought to invite him on stage come from? That the four ‘stones’ should become five ‘stones’? From our original ‘headline’ of David placing five stones in his slingshot. While David killed Goliath with one stone (Samuel 1 17:49), David had put five stones into his slingshot (verse 40).

In contrast to the hate-filled stones thrown by arabs, as mentioned previously, the ‘stones’ thrown by Jews are non-physical stones of love. This is the inner lesson that 50,000 attendees in Tel Aviv hoped to receive yesterday. How to throw stones of love.

Because of the Divine Providence in the date chosen (presumably the band didn’t know the Jewish significance of the day beforehand, nor the significance of inviting a fifth ‘stone’ on stage), and because they went against BDS, even though the tickets were pricey, and the heat sweltering, the event was a near sellout. But while many of us were attracted to attend or read about the event, now comes the challenge to take these messages home.

Yonatan Gordon

Yom Yerushalayim: Reunification of a People and a Past

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

By Dr. Elana Heideman and Anat Goldberg


There has been a continuous Jewish presence in Jerusalem, and our connection to and passion for the city has been preserved as a memory by Jewish people around the world.

Though the modern state of Israel was born in 1948, for years Jews were cut off from the Old City of Jerusalem and the Kotel, the Western Wall – the heart of the Jewish people, the axis of our collective national and historical identity, the center of our faith, and the focus of the history of the Jewish people for generations.

Throughout Israel and around the world, on the 28th of the Hebrew month of Iyyar, this year on May 7-8, we celebrate being reunited with the city of Zion, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, our only Jerusalem. 

History shows that it was the Jews who have made Jerusalem important to the world.

In 1004 BCE, King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the Kingdom of Israel (2 Samuel 5:6). Following the first exile, he proclaimed: “If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand lose its strength. Let my tongue cling to my palate if I fail to recall you, if I fail to elevate Jerusalem above my highest joy.”


Three times a day, or even just twice a year, for thousands of years, Jews turn their faces towards Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and pray for a return to Jerusalem and to Tzion.


From the Album The Great Victory in Pictures, 1967

When we build our houses we are to leave a square un-plastered, we keep a symbolic menorah on our shelves, and we break a glass at weddings in memory of the destruction of Jerusalem as a sign of our continued hope and commitment.

Memory and connection were kept alive and the Jewish people lived with Jerusalem forever in our hearts.

In the spring of 1967, a war was forced upon us by the Arab countries that surrounded Israel who attacked the Jewish state, determined to destroy her. Instead of suffering defeat, Israel won the war in just six days.


VIDEO: Witness the reunification of the Jewish People to our holiest site on earth


On June 7, 1967 — More than 3000 years after King David sanctified it as the capital of Israel and the city of the Temple, and nearly 1,900 years after it fell and was torn from us during the destruction of the Second Temple, Jerusalem was united and once again was restored as the capital of the Jewish homeland.

The Israeli Knesset passed laws to protect holy sites and ensure freedom of worship to all. Since this important day in history, Christians, Muslims and Jews have all been granted full religious and cultural freedom in the holy city. Additionally, Arabs living within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries are granted Israeli citizenship.

In a statement at the Western Wall, Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan indicated Israel’s peaceful intent and pledged to preserve religious freedom for all faiths in Jerusalem:

“This morning, the Israel Defense Forces liberated Jerusalem. We have united Jerusalem, the divided capital of Israel. We have returned to the holiest of our holy places, never to part from it again. To our Arab neighbors we extend, also at this hour—and with added emphasis at this hour—our hand in peace. And to our Christian and Muslim fellow citizens, we solemnly promise full religious freedom and rights. We did not come to Jerusalem to conquer the Holy Places of others, and not to interfere with the adherents of other faiths, but in order to safeguard its entirety, and to live there together with others, in unity.” – Moshe Dayan June 7, 1967, Iyar 28 5727


When Israeli soldiers liberated the Temple Mount area, site of the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, they found the area to be covered in filth, neglected in every way imaginable.

Israel Forever Foundation

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yom-yerushalayim-reunification-of-a-people-and-a-past/2014/05/28/

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