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Seal Controversy: From Temech to Shlomit
Anson Rainey Critiques Mazar’s Interpretation
It is obvious that the inscription on the newly discovered seal from the City of David excavations has to be read from left to right—that is, in the negative. Otherwise, the tail of the letter MEM is on the wrong side.
Most seals, unless they are devoted to a temple, are incised in the negative so that the inscription can be read from right to left in the clay impression of the seal. Therefore, the suggested reading by Dr. Eilat Mazar cannot be interpreted from right to left on the seal itself. The personal name is most likely to be read: sh-l-m-t. This could be the name of Shelomit, the daughter of Zerubabbel (1 Chronicles 3:19). The name was apparently common in the exilic and post-exilic period, e.g. Ezra 8:10.