Pomegranate Scepter From Jehovah’s House?
ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Israel have uncovered many scepters, rods carried by persons in authority. (Genesis 49:10; Esther 8:4; Ezekiel 19:14) Some scepters found in Lachish had a head in the shape of a pomegranate. God’s people knew this fruit well.—Deuteronomy 8:8; Song of Solomon 4:13.
The ivory pomegranate in the blossom stage, at left, came to light not long ago. It is 1.68 inches high, and a hole in its base suggests that it was part of a scepter. Note the letters inscribed in the early Hebrew style dated to the eighth century B.C.E.
Part of the ivory was broken off in ancient times, so a few letters are missing or only partially present. Yet, specialists in ancient writing propose the restoration drawn below. (Based on Biblical Archaeologist) Irregular spacing between the letters has led to two principal readings. French scholar André Lemaire offered the reading “Belonging to the Tem[ple of the Lor]d [Yahweh], holy to the priests.” Nahman Avigad proposed “Sacred donation for the priests of (in) the House of Yahweh.”
They and other scholars concluded that the scepter originally bore the four Hebrew characters of God’s personal name—Jehovah. So it would have mentioned “the house of Jehovah,” a phrase common in the Bible.—Exodus 23:19; 1 Kings 8:10, 11.
Many still feel that this scepter head may have been owned by a priest at the temple Solomon built or that it was donated to that temple. Interestingly, the pomegranate design was often seen at God’s temple.—Exodus 28:31-35; 1 Kings 7:15-20.
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Israel Museum, Jerusalem