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Biblical Archaeology Review 4:1, March 1978

Israel's Archaeological Gifts to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat

Sadat receives oil flasks from Patriarchal times and lamps from the time of the Maccabees.

By James Fleming

The exchange of gifts between Israeli and Egyptian Heads of State has a history dating back to Biblical peace treaties between Egyptian Pharaohs and Israelite Kings.

1 Kings 9:15–17 describes such an exchange between King Solomon and an Egyptian Pharaoh (either Siamun or Shishak I in the third quarter of the 10th century B.C.).

“ … Pharaoh, king of Egypt, had gone up and captured Gezer and burnt it with fire, and had slain the Canaanites who dwelt in the city, and gave it as dowry to his daughter, Solomon’s wife; so Solomon rebuilt Gezer.”

Archaeological artifacts were among the gifts presented to President Anwar Sadat on his recent historic trip to Jerusalem. Three ancient oil flasks were presented by Israeli President Ephraim Katzir to Sadat on November 22, 1977. The small jars were purchased from an Arab antiquity dealer in the Old City of Jerusalem by Ze’ev Yeivin, Deputy Director of the Department of Antiquities. Yeivin could not confirm to Biblical Archaeology Review the site from which the jars originated. They were selected because they dated generally to the Middle Bronze Period IIa, the period of the Patriarchs (ca. 1900–1750 B.C.). The three oil flasks were set on green velvet in a glass-covered olive wood box for the presentation.

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