Friday, June 15, 2018

Wiseman Once Said

Last month while shopping for the lowest price on a book featured in my previous post ("Israel: Ancient Kingdom or Late Invention?"), I noticed that the bookseller offered free shipping for orders over $25. Rather than simply paying an extra $6 for shipping, I searched their Bible Archeology section & found 2 interesting titles priced under $7 each.

I gambled on whether they would contain any LMLK content, & I broke even: one did, & one didn't.

"Archaeology and The Bible: An Introductory Study" by Donald J. Wiseman & Edwin Yamauchi was published in 1979, & it's evident by this now-way-outdated LMLK content spanning pp. 48-9:

"The fiscal organization of Judah can be followed in the taxes paid in kind to the king (lmlk) in jars with stamped handles showing the collection centers--Hebron, Sokoh, Ziph, and mmst--and bearing a symbol of a four-winged scarab-beetle for the reign of Hezekiah, a more stylized form with inscription in a later style for the reign of Manasseh, and a winged flying scroll for the period of Josiah and his successors (640-587 B.C.). About six hundred of these jar handles are known, a large number coming from Tell en-Nasbeh (Mizpah) and Lachish."

Wiseman wrote the first half of the book, including the quotation above, covering the Old Testament; while Yamauchi (the professor emeritus who openly expressed doubt over my 2014 NEAS lecture) covered the New Testament. We should not fault Wiseman's overview of the subject since Albright's interpretations had not yet been conquered by the then-ongoing work of David Ussishkin at Lachish. It's also worth noting that Wiseman mentioned Ramat Rahel before & after the LMLK paragraph with regard to it being King Uzziah's home (per Aharoni) & its destruction by the Babylonians. His sole mention of Gibeon is in a description of water shafts during the united Israelite monarchy.

"Archaeology and Bible History" was originally written by Joseph P. Free in 1950, but I got the 1992 revised & expanded edition by Howard F. Vos. It's a decent overview of the subject, & although it contains no LMLK content per se, Vos is Professor Emeritus of History & Archaeology at The King's College in New York, which is a nice name for an educational institution. The chapter where LMLK content might've appeared is only 11 pages, "Judah, 722-640 B.C." I wasn't surprised to see a photo of The Oriental Institute's cylinder therein, but I was surprised by 3 Qumran/DSS-related photos. Can you guess why those dominated? Here's a hint:

G.M. Grena