Sunday, July 03, 2016

Conditions in This Country

"Conditions in this country are a wholesale disgrace..."

So said Bonney Holbrook to his uncle, Sir Charles Marston on January 24th, 1938, two weeks following the murder of James L. Starkey. "Starks" as he was dubbed by co-workers, had been directing the first extensive excavations of Lachish (co-sponsored by Marston), which revealed many insteresting artifacts, most notably the invaluable Paleo-Hebrew ostraca/letters, & hundreds of LMLK handles (including restorable jars).

His killing has invariably been recorded as a random act of violence by Arab bandits, but in the current issue of PEQ (v148 #2, June 2016, pp. 84-109) LMLK VIP Yosef Garfinkel challenges that conclusion. Reading it reminded me of the tantalizing investigation leading to the recent revelation of the Wife of Jesus Papyrus forgerer, originally published by a Harvard professor named King.

But due to the ongoing political problems between the modern state of Israel & the Palestinians, it also reminded me of the American presidential campaigns of Clinton & Trump. This week Trump even posted official statements of condolence to the Jews whose family members were killed by Palestinians in/near Hebron, not many miles from Starkey's murder (Hallel Yaffa Ariel & unnamed father, Mickey Mark). Clinton's campaign site does not appear to post similar press releases, & I did not see any relevant posts on her public Facebook Home page; but I freely admit I didn't look too hard because of all the social sewage it promotes.

In the PEQ article, Garfinkel presents contemporary records that indicate Starkey's murder was a deliberate act of revenge, at least planned (if not carried out) by Palestinian Arabs disputing ownership over various portions of Tell ed-Duweir. And I don't recall ever seeing so much British propaganda exposed before ... with the exception of Brexit, which also happened last week!

I can just imagine Hillary saying, "WHAT DIFFERENCE, AT THIS POINT, DOES IT MAKE whether he was killed by 2 bullets, 11 bullets, or by having his head bashed in, or by getting hacked to death?"

The situation became so strained that at one point Starkey even indirectly/unwittingly prophesied his death!

I can just imagine The Donald saying, "IN NEGOTIATION, YOU MUST BE WILLING TO WALK. Who knows what'll happen? Maybe they'll agree to your terms, or maybe they'll kill you."

I don't have time for a full/detailed review, but Garfinkel's work appears as his team conducts another season of excavation on the site. As something of a comforting reassurance regarding the situation with the Palestinian families with whom Starkey had to contend, Garkinkel says, "After 1948 the Arab inhabitants of Qubeibeh [i.e., the village adjacent to the excavation site] became refugees & very little of the deserted village can be seen today."

Can't help but wonder if the same will be written about Washington DC some day.

G.M. Grena

Saturday, June 04, 2016

A Cross Between a Bird & a Beetle

David Wilder posted a blog this week that got republished by The Jerusalem Post & Israel National News. Here's a snippet along with 2 photos from the June 3rd E-mail notification sent by, which are currently not being displayed on the aforementioned websites:

Just to the east of them is a 'four-room' house, 2,700 years old, that being the First-Temple era, built during the days of King Hezekiah. During this age, the kingdom utilized Hebron as a place to store food for the army, then fighting a war with Assyrian King Sinharib. The grains were kept in clay jars. Near the bottom of the jar's handle was a small seal, identifying the jar and its contents as property of the Kingdom.

The seal itself looked something like a cross between a bird and a beetle, some with two wings, and others with four. Above the seal was inscribed the word, L'Melech, 'belonging to the King.' Beneath the seal was another word, identifying the area where the food jar was being stored.

During these excavations, Eisenberg and his team discovered five of these such seals, all marked with the words 'L'Melech, and underneath, in ancient Hebrew, the word 'Hebron.' Eisenberg, speaking to then defense minister Moshe Arens, at the site, exclaimed, "if anyone had any doubts as to whether this is the original, Biblical Hebron, those doubts have all been erased. We have proof that Jews have lived here since the days of Abraham."

These seals were never placed "near the bottom" of the handle.  They probably didn't contain "food for the army" since they've been found at many places where there were other classes of people such as farmers & priests.  A different Hebrew word would've been used to identify the contents being "for the kingdom" as opposed to a/the king.  The word "beneath the seal" didn't necessarily identify the place where the "jar was being stored" since there were only 4 such words inscribed, but many dozens of sites where they've been found.  With all due respect to Eisenberg, I not only doubt, but completely disbelieve the word on this seal has anything to do with "the original, Biblical Hebron".

No matter how many webpages, books, videos, & blogposts I publish, some people will probably never see The Light.
G.M. Grena