Biblical Archaeology Review 10:1, January/February 1984

Probable Head of Priestly Scepter from Solomon’s Temple Surfaces in Jerusalem

Inscription containing name of God incised on ivory pomegranate

By André Lemaire

BAR recently published a fascinating article by Gabriel Barkay reporting on his excavation of a small rolled silver amulet, dating from the seventh or sixth century B.C. When the amulet was unrolled, it was found to contain the tetragrammaton—the four Hebrew letters yod, he, waw, he that form the unpronounceable name of God, sometimes transcribed in Latin letters as Yahweh or Jehovah. (See “The Divine Name Found in Jerusalem,” BAR 09:02.)

This truly sensational discovery is said to be the first time God’s name has been recovered in an archaeological excavation in the Holy City of Jerusalem.

The claim is technically accurate. However, another artifact containing the Divine Name, or at least a part of it, has recently surfaced in Jerusalem. Not only does this artifact predate the rolled silver amulet by at least 100 years in the First Temple period, but it is also all the more remarkable because it was probably used in the Temple service itself! If so, this is indeed a rare find; for of no other artifact may we say that it was probably used in the Temple service in the Solomonic Temple.

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