What are lmlk Stamps and What Were They Used For? -- By: George M. Grena
BSpade 18:1 (Winter 2005) p. 19
What are lmlk Stamps and What Were They Used For?
“These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah” (Prv 25:1).
People who criticize the historicity and reliability of the Biblical records presume that writers with vivid imaginations created the stories and popularized them as non-fiction propaganda. One example is the accusation against King Hezekiah’s worship reformation described in 2 Chronicles 29–31, an academic debate that began in 1806 and has continued for two centuries (Vaughn 1999:1–2). However, when we encounter incidental statements such as the one quoted above tucked away in the middle of Proverbs, it raises questions in our minds: Why Hezekiah’s men? Why not the men of some other king? Why this particular section of this particular book? If we could correlate this statement to some artifact dug up from a context identified with Hezekiah’s reign, it would deflate the claims of critics.
Such an artifact may already have been found: lmlk stamps on storage-jar handles.
BSpade 18:1 (Winter 2005) p. 20
Archaeologists find this class of seal impressions in and around Jerusalem, mainly confined to the territory assigned by God to the Israelite tribes of Benjamin, Dan, Judah, and Simeon, which became known collectively as the Southern Kingdom of Judah after Solomon’s reign. Bible and Spade readers may recall photos of lmlk handles presented back in 1973 (Millard 1973: 78), a 1989 feature on Charles Warren, the first excavator of lmlk handles (Fisher 1989), and some notes about several theories in 1991 (Wood 1991b). Now publication of a website with over 500 pages devoted to the research of these artifacts has led to some new insights that Bible students may find helpful ().
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