Fabric from the Time of King David Stained with the Ancient World’s Most Precious Dye

Jan. 29 2021

In describing the vestments and curtains used in the Tabernacle and the Temple, the Hebrew Bible often mentions wool dyed purple using a rarefied pigment produced from the murex snail. Archaeologists recently confirmed that three textile scraps they found in the Timna Valley, near Israel’s southern tip, were colored with this particular dye. Amanda Borschel-Dan writes:

The tiny, vibrantly colored Iron Age cloth pieces are the earliest evidence of this precious dye in the entire southern Levant and shed new light on the early Edomite kingdom and Israelite kingdoms 3,000 years ago—a period when the Bible details the conquering of the Edomites by King David.

Until now, the earliest textile evidence of the royal purple dye dated to at least 1,000 years later in the Roman period, when it was highly valued. [Tel Aviv University’s] Erez Ben-Yosef explained that Timna is first and foremost known for its copper, which was mined by residents of the ancient Land of Israel as early as the 5th millennium BCE, going all the way to the early Islamic period some 1,400 years ago. Even recently, he said, the nascent state of Israel had a small factory that produced copper there.

The dry climatic conditions at Timna, deep in the Arava desert, allow for the unusually good preservation of organic materials, similar to the much later Roman-era textile and leather finds discovered in the caves of the Judean desert and at Masada.

What is noteworthy in Timna, said Ben-Yosef, is that the “big story” is related to the early Iron Age. “We’re talking about the 11th to the 9th centuries BCE, and it is a very debated period in the history of the land”—the period of the rise of the biblical kingdoms of Judah and Israel.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Davidic monarchy, Edomites, Temple

Terror Returns to Israel

Nov. 28 2022

On Wednesday, a double bombing in Jerusalem left two dead, and many others injured—an attack the likes of which has not been seen since 2016. In a Jenin hospital, meanwhile, armed Palestinians removed an Israeli who had been injured in a car accident, reportedly murdering him in the process, and held his body hostage for two days. All this comes as a year that has seen numerous stabbings, shootings, and other terrorist attacks is drawing to a close. Yaakov Lappin comments:

Unlike the individual or small groups of terrorists who, acting on radical ideology and incitement to violence, picked up a gun, a knife, or embarked on a car-ramming attack, this time a better organized terrorist cell detonated two bombs—apparently by remote control—at bus stops in the capital. Police and the Shin Bet have exhausted their immediate physical searches, and the hunt for the perpetrators will now move to the intelligence front.

It is too soon to know who, or which organization, conducted the attack, but it is possible to note that in recent years, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) has taken a lead in remote-control-bombing terrorism. Last week, a car bomb that likely contained explosives detonated by remote control was discovered by the Israel Defense Forces in Samaria, after it caught fire prematurely. In August 2019, a PFLP cell detonated a remote-control bomb in Dolev, seventeen miles northwest of Jerusalem, killing a seventeen-year-old Israeli girl and seriously wounding her father and brother. Members of that terror cell were later arrested.

With the Palestinian Authority (PA) losing its grip in parts of Samaria to armed terror gangs, and the image of the PA at an all-time low among Palestinians, in no small part due to corruption, nepotism, and its violation of human rights . . . the current situation does not look promising.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror