LMLK Bullae

About a month or two ago, a Gibeon lmlk bulla has been found in a controlled excavation by means of the Temple Mount Sifting Project, which sifts material dumped into the Kidron Valley having its origin in the Solomon’s Stables area of the Temple Mount, which likely was not part of the Hezekian Temple Mount. According to George Grena’s website, the earliest regnal year on a lmlk bulla is year 3, the latest is year 26. Due to the fact such an administrative system as implied by these bullae was impossible before 722 BC, the year after Samaria was campaigned against by Shalmaneser, only Hezekiah, Manasseh, and Josiah are good candidates for the king under whom the lmlk bullae were stamped. Of these, Manasseh is the most improbable; if he was responsible, a date over the 26 year (672 BC for a king who reigned until 643 BC!!) should be found. It is also highly improbable that Lachish II was built as early as the 19th year of Manasseh (679 BC, less than a quarter century after the Revolt). Also, if the “Bethel lmlk” bulla (mentioned by Grena as being published by Deutsch) is genuine, the only candidate for the king mentioned in these bullae is Josiah. This is also supported by an “in the 3rd year, Socoh lmlk” bulla also mentioned by Grena, which would exclude Hezekiah as the king referenced in the bullae. In short, the most likely candidate for the king mentioned in the “lmlk-placename” bullae is Josiah.

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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