A History of the Interpretation of lmlk impressions

1870-78-LMLKs first published; interpreted as names of Phoenician kings. These lmlks date to 701 BC, by my chronology, and were found near the SW corner of the Herodian Temple Mount.

1881-J. Baker Greene suggests “lmlk” means “to Moloch”, and “Ziph” is a personal name, suggesting the jars are temple vessels dating to post-Josianic times.

1891-A suggestion is made the stamps contain personal names of potters with the common element “Moloch”.

1893-A suggestion is made by Archibald Sayce that the “lmlk” is a votive element (“to Moloch”).

1899-A suggestion is made that the impressions date to the Judges period, and is the first suggestion made that the names “Ziph” and “Socoh” are place-names, largely due to the finding of “Hebron” impressions at Azekah. A suggestion is made that “lmlk” means “belonging to the king of Judah”, and that all the names on the impressions are town names. Conder suggests c. 500 BC as the date of the impressions. Archibald Sayce dates the impressions to the 8th C BC.

1900-A suggestion is made that the place-names refer to local standards of measure or quality. An observation is made that pottery is often delivered to Shephelah villages by traveling salesmen. A suggestion by Macalister that all cases of lmlks outside Jerusalem are cases of secondary use is made. A suggestion that the place-names represent royal potteries is made.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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