Gedaliah at Mizpa

Today is the Jewish Fast of Gedaliah in which we remember the assassination in the town of Mizpa, in about 582 BCE, of the Babylonian appointed Jewish governor of Judah. Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shafan and many of his followers were murdered by ten men led by Ishmael son of Nethaniah of the Davidic line with the connivance of the Ammonite king (Jeremiah 41:1-3). There are two candidates for Mizpa, Nebi Samuel and Tell en-Nasbeh. See Todd Bolen’s very interesting post about why Nebi Samuel is not Mizpa.

Jaazaniah seal found at Tell en-Nasbeh, Cornell University

Archaeological excavations at Tell en-Nasbeh go back to 1926; see Zorn for more recent analysis of the site. Uncovered was a monumental inner and outer gate complex from Iron Age II. The city plan, which is characteristic of many other Israelite settlements, like Khirbet Qeiyafa, follows basically a ring-road arrangement: a town wall often with houses or other structures built up against it in a casemate manner. At least six spacious four-room houses have been identified as well as what may be remains of a Babylonian residence. Epigraphic finds include inscribed ostraca, in cuneiform and one with a Mesopotamian name written in Hebrew characters, weights, scarabs, a cylinder seal, and eighty-seven LMLK seal impressions. The prize was the seal of Jaazaniah, which possibly belonged to the officer of the same name who reported to Gedaliah at Mizpa (II Kings 25:23). This seal has the image of a cock in a fighting stance, one of the earliest representations of this bird ever recovered.

Gmaryahu ben Shafan seal

A clay bulla (seal impression) was found in the City of David that has the name Shafan.

A bulla with the name “Gedaliah who is over the house” was found at Lachish.Gedaliah seal, Lachish

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2 thoughts on “Gedaliah at Mizpa

    1. Shmuel Browns Post author

      Sure. Do a search on my website for mosaic. There are quite a few examples, e.g. https://israel-tourguide.info/2011/02/04/mosaics-hirbet-midras/ or
      https://israel-tourguide.info/2010/01/11/mosaics/
      Most are from the Byzantine period, 4th to 7th century but there are some from 1st century BCE, e.g. https://israel-tourguide.info/2010/07/25/roman-bath-house-herodium/
      There are lots of mosaics in Israel, you could do a tour entirely focused on mosaic.

      Reply

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