Many ancient jar handles with the stamp “LMLK” have been discovered in Israel over the years. These Hebrew consonants translate as “Belonging to the King.” Jars with this stamp contained royal/governmental stores of olive oil, wine, grain, etc. and have been found in fortified cities from Israel’s Divided Kingdom period in the Iron Age. These LMLK jar handles illuminate certain Bible passages:
Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built in Judah fortresses and store cities, and he had large supplies in the cities of Judah. (2 Chronicles 17:12-13)
Hezekiah had very great riches and honor, and he made for himself treasuries for silver, for gold, for precious stones, for spices, for shields, and for all kinds of costly vessels; storehouses also for the yield of grain, wine, and oil. (2 Chronicles 32:27-28)
By the way, Prof. Garfinkel will have some interesting photos of jar handles with special impressions that in many ways parallel the LMLK phenomenon.
These would be thumb impressions on some of the jar handles from Khirbet Qeiyafa. I handled some of these while working at the excavation this summer. Could these thumb impressions be early versions of the LMLK stamp? Is this fresh evidence to identify Khirbet Qeiyafa as an Israelite city? Were these thumb-impressioned vessels part of the royal store belonging to the House of David in Jerusalem? No doubt Prof. Yossi Garfinkel will establish some connections at the ASOR sessions.
Speaking of the ASOR sessions, Grena makes this observation:
Prof. Garfinkel’s excavation is so important that it now merits TWO (2) entire sessions at the upcoming ASOR conference.
You can see for yourself here.
Are you ready to attend the conference in November?
HT: Todd Bolen (BiblePlaces Blog)