Archaeological finds bear witness to life in the times of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah

Old Testament prophets agree with recent archaeological findings.

C 'is at the Istanbul Archaeological Museum that there are two essential collections for all historians working around the kingdoms of Judah and Israel in the Iron Age. Samaria Ostraca and LMLK jar handles are indeed unexpected resources for them. Marc Madrigal analyzes the significance of these findings and their connection to the Bible story.

LMLK jar handles

The inscription "LMLK" means "for the king". The first handle was discovered in 1869 by Charles Warren. Since then 2000 have been found, all within the kingdom of Judah. They would have belonged to King Hezekiah, around 700 BC. While some believe that these jars were used to deliver products to royal stores, like taxes, others hypothesize that they were tributes sent to the Assyrian administration.

Samaria Ostraca

This is a collection of engraved fragments of pots, discovered by a Harvard team at the beginning of the 20th century. They belonged to the kingdom of Israel and date from the years 900 to 700 BCE. The registrations refer to transfers of quality products, wine and olive oil. Historians make several assumptions about these shipments. It could be taxes, but also products dedicated to the nobility, or donations allowing the king to corrupt the nobility.

The biblical story

The quality and luxury of the products testify to the advancement of the kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam. But the location of the finds suggests that the wealth was mainly concentrated in the capital. While in the kingdom of Judah, the coves were distributed in more than 40 localities. Marc Madrigal concludes:

“These data could suggest that wealth in the northern kingdom was concentrated in the capital and probably in the hands of the privileged few, while in the south wealth tended to be more distributed and less centralized. "

The minor prophets are essential witnesses of this time. They agree with these archaeological findings. For Micah, the judgment relating to the northern kingdom was primarily on rulers, false prophets and the wealthy nobility. While for the southern kingdom, it mentioned the confiscation of land. Amos and Hosea were contemporaries of Jeroboam II. Amos blamed the ruling class of Samaria and the wealthy merchants. Hosea blamed him for the "king's house" and the intrigues that were planned there.


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