Khirbet Qeiyafa is so important…

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)

G.M. Grena at LMLK WordPress (a blog devoted to LMLK matters) has a post on the upcoming ASOR Meeting that I would like to excerpt. Grena makes a LMLK connection to Khirbet Qeiyafa.

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)

About LukeChandler

Luke holds an M.A. in Ancient and Classical History and has been an adjunct professor at Florida College in Temple Terrace, Florida. Luke and his wife Melanie have five children. He serves as a minister with the North Terrace Church of Christ and has participated in multiple archaeological excavations in Israel. Luke leads informative, meaningful tours to Europe and the Bible Lands.
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7 Responses to Khirbet Qeiyafa is so important…

  1. G.M. Grena says:

    Thank you so much for your contribution to the excavation work, Luke! And thank you also for the kind reference to my blog. The only thing I can’t thank you for is misspelling my name!

    By the way, I’m tempted to offer you $20 if you’ll stop referring to them as “thumb” impressions, but I think it will be more interesting to see if Prof. Garfinkel will be able to change you (& everyone else) after he writes the formal publication!

    • lukechandler says:

      Whoops! I corrected my spelling of your name. My apologies for such an obvious error. (Committed 2x!)

      As for the “thumb” impressions, I seem to remember that’s what we called them during the excavation. I even put my thumb into one or two of them to see how well they “fit”. I look forward to hearing the formal, researched interpretation of them at ASOR.

  2. G.M. Grena says:

    And that’s also what he called them when he wrote to me last week, but … well, all I’ll say (apart from what I said in my blog, particularly the 2nd photo in Recipe Girl’s blog) is that I recommend that everyone who can attend the conferences in New Orleans, please consider attending one or more of Prof. Garfinkel’s!

    Fun stuff!!!

    P.S. Now that I think about it, I kind of like having the “L” in Glena for LMLK research!

  3. barnea says:

    Prof Oded Lifshitz of TAU, learning of the great quantity of such marked handles in Elah Fortress- Khirbet Qeiyafa, whereas elsewhere only 1-2 h been found per site, still warns of drawing any more conclusions than that these impressions are potter’s marks. However, the context of the fortified city, the great number of handles, and some other features could fit into another story. We shall await the presentation.

    • lukechandler says:

      I will be attending the presentations in New Orleans. My appetite is whetted, and I definitely look forward to learning what Prof. Yossi Garfinkel and others have put together.

  4. Pingback: New (Solomonic?) Wall Uncovered in Jerusalem « Luke Chandler's Blog

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