The location of a major archaeological find that was kept secret until now will be revealed to the public on Friday, January 17, 2014. The find is being touted as a royal palace that could have belonged to Israel's most celebrated king — King David.
The find is a decorated carved stone known as "a proto-aeolic capital" that is connected to a column. Only 30 such capitals have been found in Israel so far, and only five of them were found in areas in which kings listed in the Tanakh lived.
A possible decryption of the oldest inscription ever found at an archaeological site in Jerusalem has interesting implications. If correct, the decryption attests to an organized administration and system in which people were literate, and had a system for classifying wine by quality.
The inscription was found in the Ophel area, south of the Temple Mount, at an archaeological dig run by Dr. Eilat Mazar, from the Archaeological Institute at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. (Last year Dr. Mazar also found a large cache of ancient golden treasure at the foot of Temple Mount.)
It's getting that time of the year when many people give donations in the name of others as gifts. Other people are beginning to look for places to give money to help others as well as to help ease their tax burden. Unfortunately, many people generally only look at the cause involved and don't bother to look beyond that at the information provided by the organization itself as to how the money is spent and how that relates to others in the same subject area. It's hard to tell these days as there are many organizations — especially ones involved with Israel and the Jewish people. It seems a new organization is started every time something happens in or to Israel and/or the Jewish people. Whether that is good or bad is a subject for another discussion. What I want to talk about here is one organization is particular.
I recently received information from an organization called Ministry Watch regarding the funding and financing of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). Their report is quite illuminating:
In summer excavations at the foot of the Temple Mount, Hebrew University of Jerusalem archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar made a stunning discovery: two bundles of treasure containing thirty-six gold coins, gold and silver jewelry, and a gold medallion with the Temple menorah etched into it. Also etched into the 10 centimeter [3.9 inch] medallion are a shofar and a Torah scroll.
A third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University's Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Mazar directs excavations on the City of David's summit and at the Temple Mount's southern wall. Calling the find "a breathtaking, once-in-a-lifetime discovery," Dr. Mazar said: "We have been making significant finds from the First Temple Period in this area, a much earlier time in Jerusalem's history, so discovering a golden seven-branched Menorah from the seventh century ce at the foot of the Temple Mount was a complete surprise."
Archaeologists have uncovered what they believe may be King David's Palace in the Judean lowlands. Royal storerooms were also revealed in the joint archaeological excavation of the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority at Khirbet Qeiyafa. These are the two largest buildings known to have existed in the tenth century bce in the Kingdom of Judah.
Two royal public buildings, the likes of which have not previously been found in the Kingdom of Judah of the tenth century bce, were uncovered this past year by researchers of the Hebrew University and the Israel Antiquities Authority at Khirbet Qeiyafa — a fortified city in Judah dating to the time of King David and identified with the biblical city of Sha'arayim (Joshua 15.36; 1 Sam 17.52; 1 Chronicles 4.31), meaning "two gates" in Hebrew.
Recently a small cistern belonging to a building was exposed in an archaeological excavation the Israel Antiquities Authority is conducting near the Western Wall, in the vicinity of Robinson's Arch in the Jerusalem Archaeological Park. Inside the cistern were three intact cooking pots and a small ceramic oil lamp that date to the time of the Great Revolt (66-70 ce).
The vessels were discovered inside the drainage channel that was exposed in its entirety from the Shiloah Pool in the City of David to the beginning of Robinson's Arch.
A mysterious First Temple-era archaeological find under a Palestinian [sic] orchard near Bethlehem is increasingly gaining attention — despite attempts to keep it quiet.
In February, a tour guide leading a group through an underground tunnel in the rural West Bank [sic], not far from Jerusalem, was surprised to stumble upon the remains of a unique carved pillar.
The pillar matched monumental construction from the 9th or 8th centuries bce — the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem. That signaled the presence of an important and previously unknown structure from that period.
A rare well dating to the Neolithic period was uncovered in recent excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority carried out at Enot Nisanit, along the western fringes of the Jezreel Valley prior to enlarging Ha-Yogev Junction (Highway 66) by the National Roads Company. Archaeologists estimate the well was built approximately 8,500 years ago.
During the excavations the skeletal remains of a woman approximately 19 years of age and a man older than her were uncovered deep inside the well. What were two 8,500 year old human skeletons doing at the bottom of the well? Was this an accident or perhaps murder? As of now the answer to this question remains a mystery.
The feeling of gloom and doom regarding Israel's present danger is hardly justified by a long view of Jewish history.
Recall the appalling condition of the Jewish people after the destruction of the Second Temple. Or ponder the horrendous loss of Jewish life resulting from the Christian Crusades and, more recently, from the Nazi Holocaust. Surely there was more reason for pessimism then than now, when Israel is not stateless and has a formidable military establishment, a sophisticated scientific-technological infrastructure, and a surprisingly expanding economy.
In fact, Israel's condition in the 1948-49 War of Independence was more precarious than now. True, Israel's government under David Ben-Gurion was more passionately Zionistic than the present one. True, the patriotic zeal and the extraordinary fighting spirit of the Jews of his generation compensated for lack of military hardware. But as Operation Cast Lead indicates, the courage or fortitude of Israelis today is quite formidable despite the shortcomings of Israel's ruling elites.
The holy cornerstone for the Third Temple will be transported by the Temple Mount and Land of Israel Faithful Movement as they march on Jerusalem Day, 27 Iyar 5769 (May 21, 2009). It will be driven from Ammunition Hill to the Jaffa Gate, along the western walls of the Old City to the downtown streets of Jerusalem. There it will be presented to the people of Israel and to the entire world for the first time since the destruction of the Holy Temple in 70 CE.
Since 1967, Jerusalem Day has become one of the most important holidays in Israel. This public holiday commemorates the liberation of the Temple Mount, the biblical city of Jerusalem, the City of David and the biblically significant areas of Judea, Samaria, Gaza, the Golan Heights and the Sinai Peninsula. All of this happened in the Six Day War of 1967. It was then that God returned the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to His People Israel so that they would immediately rebuild His Holy Temple in order to renew biblical worship there.