by Jason Dulle
Sometime around 1979 an ivory pomegranate no bigger than a human thumb and dated to the 8thcentury BC showed up on the antiquities market. Around the top it contains an inscription which reads, “[Belonging] to the House of [Yahwe]h, consecrated to the priests.” Some scholars think this pomegranate adorned the head of a priestly scepter from Solomon’s temple.
While the authenticity of the pomegranate itself is not in dispute, the inscription is. Professor Yitzhak Roman of the Hebrew University examined the inscription with an electron microscope and is convinced it is authentic, not a modern forgery.
The debate will linger on, but if the inscription is proven to be authentic, it is a truly significant find.
- This may be the only surviving artifact from Solomon’s temple.
- This would be the third oldest mention of Solomon’s temple outside of the Bible.
See “Leading Israeli Scientist Declares Pomegranate Inscription Authentic” at http://www.bib-arch.org/news/news-ivory-pomegranate.asp for details.