“[Yoav’s men] came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah; they threw up a siegemound against the city and it stood against the rampart. All the troops with Yoav were engaged in battering the wall.” II Samuel 20:15 (The Israel Bible™)
A recently revealed archaeological find may allow modern day people to see what a Biblical king looked like but a mystery still remains: which Biblical king is he?
The head, made of faience, a glass-like material that was popular in jewelry and small human and animal figurines in ancient Egypt and the Near East, went on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem ten days ago. It was discovered July 2017 on a joint project by Azusa Pacific University, an evangelical Christian university in Southern California, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at Tel Abel Beth Maacah in Northern Israel just south of Israel’s border with Lebanon, near the modern-day town of Metula, a location that is mentioned in the Bible.
Ben-hadad responded to King Asa’s request; he sent his army commanders against the towns of Yisrael and captured Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, as well as all the land of Naftali. I Kings 15:20
The head, measuring 2.2 inches x 2 inches, appears to have broken off from the body of a figurine that stood 8-10 inches high. The head depicts a man with long black curly hair held in place with a headband painted in yellow and black and a manicured beard. His almond-shaped eyes and pupils are outlined in black makeup. The glazed surface is tinted light green due to the addition of copper to the quartz paste. Its elegant style indicates that the man was a distinguished personage, probably a king.
“Despite the head’s small and innocuous appearance, it provides us with a unique opportunity to gaze into the eyes of a famous person from the past; a past enshrined in the Book of Ages,” said Robert Mullins, Ph.D., lead archaeologist at Abel Beth Maacah and chair and professor in Azusa Pacific’s Department of Biblical and Religious Studies. Mullins estimated the small head was made in the 9th century BCE.
“Given that the head was found in a city that sat on the border of three different ancient kingdoms, we do not know whether it depicts the likes of King Ahab of Israel, King Hazael of Aram-Damascus, or King Ethbaal of Tyre, rulers known from the Bible and other sources. The head represents a royal enigma,” Mullins told the Associated Press.
King Ahab was the infamous husband of the equally infamous Jezebel who worshiped the pagan god Baal,
King Ethbaal is the father of Jezebel.
King Hazael was anointed by Elijah to be king over Aram Damascus.