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New Study Shows Connection between Ancient Nations of Israel and Sheba

A new look at an old piece of pottery suggests that the ancient nations of Israel and Sheba conducted trade during the reign of King Solomon, as described in Biblical accounts. Hebrew University’s Jerusalem Journal of Archaeology recently published a study of a clay jar that provides a different interpretation of the pottery’s origin and significance.

The study centers around a pithos (clay jar) unearthed near the southern Temple Mount wall. Some scholars believe the inscription on it is in ancient Canaanite or Hebrew, but Dr. Daniel Vanstub from Hebrew University believes it is actually an ancient South Arabian script known as Sabean which was used by the kingdom of Sheba and others in the Arabian Peninsula between the 10th and 6th centuries before Yeshua walked the earth.

In 1 Kings and 2 Chronicles, the story of the Queen of Sheba’s extraordinary gifts for King Solomon is documented. Vainstub believes the ancient jar was used in the region’s incense trade, which was also mentioned in the Bible by Isaiah and Jeremiah.

“Deciphering the inscription on the urn teaches us not only about the presence of speakers of the language of Sheba in Israel during Solomon’s time but also about the geopolitical relationship in our region,” said Vainstub. “Mainly in light of the place where the urn was discovered, an area known for being the center of King Solomon’s administrative activity and Jerusalem.”

“This is further evidence of the extensive commercial and cultural ties that existed between Israel under King Solomon and the kingdom of Sheba,” Vainstub said. Some even believe that Solomon and the Queen had children. “The origin of the Ethiopian Jews is unclear though most believe that they are the descendants of King Solomon and Queen Sheba,” claims the Jewish Museum of London.

The inscription on the jar could point to a type of incense—“ladananum”—used in Temple worship. The clay pot was discovered in the Ophel area, in the administrative section of Solomon’s court and near the Temple complex.

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