Silver Coins Show That Money Was Being Used in Ancient Israel Far Earlier Than Previously Believed

In Genesis 23, Abraham is described as purchasing a burial plot in Hebron for “four hundred shekels of silver, current money with the merchant.” This passage has long troubled archaeologists, as evidence suggests that coins were not in use in the Levant until several centuries after the period in which the biblical patriarchs presumably lived. A new discovery, however, throws this conventional wisdom into question. Judy Siegel-Itzkovich writes:

Archaeologists from the University of Haifa and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have found silver coins made in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) in the 17th century BCE, the Middle Bronze Age, at archaeological digs from the beginning of the Late Bronze Age, a century later. The coins, which were used in regional trade, including with ancient Israel, were discovered at Tel Shiloh near Jerusalem, Tel Gezer on the western slopes of the Judean Hills, and Tell al-Ajjul in the Gaza Strip.

Their discovery proves the use of silver coins as money in the southern Levant and precedes by 500 years what was thought to be the use of such coins. The identification of Anatolia as the source of the money indicates continuous and long-term trade with Asia Minor.

The use of coins as a means of payment was known in Mesopotamia as early as the third millennium BCE. However, in the southern Levant region, known in the Bible as the land of Canaan, it was thought that such use was common only in the Iron Age, starting from the 12th century BCE. The silver coins are pieces of silver whose unpolished form clearly indicates that they are not jewelry or ornamental objects. That they were usually found together, wrapped in cloth and kept in pottery, indicates that they were used as a means of payment.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Abraham, Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Genesis, Money

Israel Just Sent Iran a Clear Message

Early Friday morning, Israel attacked military installations near the Iranian cities of Isfahan and nearby Natanz, the latter being one of the hubs of the country’s nuclear program. Jerusalem is not taking credit for the attack, and none of the details are too certain, but it seems that the attack involved multiple drones, likely launched from within Iran, as well as one or more missiles fired from Syrian or Iraqi airspace. Strikes on Syrian radar systems shortly beforehand probably helped make the attack possible, and there were reportedly strikes on Iraq as well.

Iran itself is downplaying the attack, but the S-300 air-defense batteries in Isfahan appear to have been destroyed or damaged. This is a sophisticated Russian-made system positioned to protect the Natanz nuclear installation. In other words, Israel has demonstrated that Iran’s best technology can’t protect the country’s skies from the IDF. As Yossi Kuperwasser puts it, the attack, combined with the response to the assault on April 13,

clarified to the Iranians that whereas we [Israelis] are not as vulnerable as they thought, they are more vulnerable than they thought. They have difficulty hitting us, but we have no difficulty hitting them.

Nobody knows exactly how the operation was carried out. . . . It is good that a question mark hovers over . . . what exactly Israel did. Let’s keep them wondering. It is good for deniability and good for keeping the enemy uncertain.

The fact that we chose targets that were in the vicinity of a major nuclear facility but were linked to the Iranian missile and air forces was a good message. It communicated that we can reach other targets as well but, as we don’t want escalation, we chose targets nearby that were involved in the attack against Israel. I think it sends the message that if we want to, we can send a stronger message. Israel is not seeking escalation at the moment.

Read more at Jewish Chronicle

More about: Iran, Israeli Security