The absurd claim from some of the Arab world that disputes or denies the ancient Jewish claim to Jerusalem just took another blow: the City of David and Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has announced the discovery of a collection of seals (bullae) from the late First Temple period, discovered in the City of David excavations, that bear ancient Hebrew inscriptions.
The IAA found dozens of small pieces of clay that long ago served as seals for letters.
As Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, directors of the excavation for the Israel Antiquities Authority, reported, the earliest seals bear mostly a series of pictures; but the seals from the period of King Hezekiah, roughly 700 BC.E., until the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.E., bear the names of clerks in early Hebrew script.
One seal mentioned “Achiav ben Menachem.”
As the IAA states:
These two names are known in the context of the Kingdom of Israel; Menachem was a king of Israel, while Achiav does not appear in the Bible, but his name resembles that of Achav (Ahab), the infamous king of Israel from the tales of the prophet Elijah. Though the spelling of the name differs somewhat, it appears to be the same name. The version of the name which appears on the seal discovered – Achav – appears as well in the Book of Jeremiah in the Septuagint, as well as in Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews 15: 7-8).
Chalaf and Uziel add that the appearance of the name Achiav is interesting for two main reasons. First – because it serves as further testimony to the names which are familiar to us from the kingdom of Israel in the Bible, and which appear in Judah during the period following the destruction of the kingdom of Israel. “These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration.”
Furthermore … the two names which appear on the seal- Achiav and Menachem- were names of kings of Israel. Though Achav (Ahab) is portrayed as a negative figure in the Bible, the name continues to be in use- though in a differently spelled version- both in Judea in the latter days of the First Temple, as reflected in Jeremiah and on the seal, and also after the destruction- in the Babylonian exile and up until the Second Temple period, as seen in the writings of Flavius Josephus.