An interesting archeological discovery in Israel, אשבעל

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Isaac Fried
Posts: 1783
Joined: Sat Sep 28, 2013 8:32 pm

An interesting archeological discovery in Israel, אשבעל

Post by Isaac Fried »

See here: ... -1.2661348
כתובת נדירה מימי דוד המלך התגלתה בעמק האלה:
הכתובת על קנקן נושאת את השם "אשבעל בן בדע" בכתב כנעני. חוקרים: "זו פעם ראשונה שהשם מופיע על כתובת בארץ. במקרא אשבעל בן שאול מלך על ישראל במקביל לדוד"

Indeed, we read in 1Ch. 8:33
נֵר הוֹלִיד אֶת קִישׁ, וְקִישׁ הוֹלִיד אֶת שָׁאוּל וְשָׁאוּל הוֹלִיד אֶת יְהוֹנָתָן וְאֶת מַלְכִּישׁוּעַ וְאֶת אֲבִינָדָב וְאֶת אֶשְׁבָּעַל
NIV: "Ner was the father of Kish, Kish the father of Saul, and Saul the father of Jonathan, Malki-Shua, Abinadab and Esh-Baal."

In 2Sam. 2:8 he is disparagingly nicknamed אִישׁ בֹּשֶׁת
וְאַבְנֵר בֶּן נֵר שַׂר צָבָא אֲשֶׁר לְשָׁאוּל לָקַח אֶת אִישׁ בֹּשֶׁת בֶּן שָׁאוּל וַיַּעֲבִרֵהוּ מַחֲנָיִם וַיַּמְלִכֵהוּ אֶל הַגִּלְעָד וְאֶל הָאֲשׁוּרִי וְאֶל יִזְרְעֶאל וְעַל אֶפְרַיִם וְעַל בִּנְיָמִן וְעַל יִשְׂרָאֵל כֻּלֹּה
NIV: "Meanwhile, Abner son of Ner, the commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ish-Bosheth son of Saul and brought him over to Mahanaim. He made him king over Gilead, Ashuri and Jezreel, and also over Ephraim, Benjamin and all Israel."

The name appears also as אַשְׁבֵּל a son of Benjamin (Gen. 46:21) and as אִיזֶבֶל and אֶתְבַּעַל (Kings 1 16:31.)

I suspect that איש like בעל is a he-goat, a תַּיִשׁ = אתה-איש TAYI$ = ATAH-YI$, revered by the ancient herders of Canaan as a procreator and originator of life.

I think further that קיש = כה-איש , and that שאול = איש-הוּא-אל. Similarly, מַלְכִּישׁוּעַ = מלך-היא-שוע where שוע is 'elevated, noble' נישאas in Isaiah 32:5, and Job 34:19.

Isaac Fried, Boston University
Yigal Levin
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Aug 21, 2013 11:38 am
Location: Tzur-Yigal, Israel

Re: An interesting archeological discovery in Israel, אשבעל

Post by Yigal Levin »

Isaac, please refrain from long quotes in modern Hebrew, which many of our members cannot understand.

In any case, this is an intersting discovery, although as with a lot of other things that have to do with Khirbat Qeiafa it is presented in an oversensationalized way. In any case, this press release was published AFTER an aritcle in BASOR on the inscription. For more see the following, copied from a post by Joe Lauer, who I know does not mind:
It appears, though, that the inscription and jar that were displayed today are the subjects of the “A second inscription discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa has been published” e-mail circulated on Thursday, June 4, 2015, that announced that a second inscription discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa has been published in the new issue of the Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, pp. 217-233. See Yosef Garfinkel, Mitka R. Golub, Haggai Misgav and Saar Ganor, “The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa”, which is available at or ... et_Qeiyafa
As indicated by the BASOR article, “we are still deciphering” a third inscription discovered at Khirbet Qeiyafa. So, we still have something to look forward to.
Note that although the release states that “the original name was therefore changed to Ish-Bashat,” the pronunciation recorded in Second Samuel is “Ish-Boshet”. (See discussion at p. 230 of the BASOR article.) Also, while the release states that “Khirbet Qeiyafa is identified with the biblical city Shaʽarayim”, there is not complete agreement with that identification in scholarly circles.
The high-resolution pictures that may be viewed by clicking where indicated in the press releases may also be accessed at or ... 215/004cb6
The English release is attached and may also be read at ... 40&id=4122
The Hebrew release is at ... 40&id=4121 and I can send it as an attachment to any interested reader.
The Arutz Sheva article (“Rare Inscription from Davidic Times Found”) at [English] has a link to a two-minute video of the jar and inscription narrated in English by Prof. Yosef Garfinkel of the Institute of Archaeology of the Hebrew University. See also [Hebrew] where there is a video narrated in Hebrew by Prof. Garfinkel. (Interestingly, in neither video does he mention a third undeciphered inscription.)
Ynet’s articles (“Inscription from King David's time discovered near Beit Shemesh”) are at,7340 ... 56,00.html [English],7340,L-4668984,00.html [Hebrew]
The Times of Israel article (“Inscription bearing name from Davidic era found at ancient site”) is at ... ient-site/
Dr. Jim Davila’s PaleoJudaica blog note (“More on the new Khirbet Qeiyafah inscription”), with links, is at ... 9535707793
As noted earlier in a posting by Dr. Jim West, Dr. Gershon Galil wrote that “In my opinion the correct reading of the second Qeiyafa inscription is: KPRT 'SHB'L BN DB'[M] = The expiation of Ishba'al son of bdʿ[m].” See ... hon-galil/ (Note though that there may be a typo as DB'[M] is followed by bdʿ[m].)

Yigal Levin
co-moderator, B-Hebrew.
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