Temah Seal Find

Yesterday, Dr. Eilat Mazar announced the discovery of a seal she claims dates from 538-445 BC according to the Jerusalem Post story. (The seal is pictured at right.) It was found at a dig in Jerusalem. The name on the seal, Temah or Temech, appears in Nehemiah 7:55 and Ezra 2:53. Mazar’s interpretation of the seal is hotly debated in the comments posted with the story. I think it’s significance will take a little working out. But it clearly shows two male figures on either side of an altar, probably priests offering incense, as she claims. The controversial part is what the thing shaped like a smile at the top of the picture is. Is it a crescent moon, the sun, a cloud? And if it is one of these things, what does it mean?

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