Israeli archaeologists have unveiled a 2,700-year-old clay seal which once belonged to a biblical governor of Jerusalem.
The tiny object depicts two men in striped robes facing one-another above the inscription ‘lesar ha’air’ which in ancient Hebrew means ‘belonging to the governor of the city.’
Researchers an unsure of the exact purpose of the seal, but speculate it could have been attached to some kind of transport and served either as a logo or a souvenir for the recipient, likely a figure of importance.
The finding backs up accounts in the Bible which describe the existence of a governor in the city.
Hebrew University Professor Tallay Ornan and Tel Aviv University Professor Benjamin Sass wrote of the seal: ‘The title “governor of the city” is known from the Bible and from extra-Biblical documents, and refers to an official appointed by the king.
‘Governors of Jerusalem are mentioned twice in the Bible: in 2 Kings, Joshua is the governor of the city in the days of Hezekiah, and in 2 Chronicles, Maaseiah is the governor of the city in the days of Josiah.’
The object was found close to the Western Wall of Jerusalem during a dig by the Israel Antiquities Authority.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said the discovery of the coin ‘shows that already 2700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city.
‘Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3000 years,’ he added.