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Royal Steward’s Tomb

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Royal Steward’s Tomb
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Photo Comments

View looking east. This is one of the most important First Temple Tombs located in the Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem.  The door on the left of the picture is the entrance to the tomb. This tomb was discovered by Clermont-Ganneau in 1870. This tomb had two Hebrew inscriptions – one above the door and the other to the right of it. Both were carved out and sent to the British Museum where they are still housed.

The largest inscription was over the door (note the large "gash" there). Nahman Avigad deciphered it – translating it as "This is [the sepulcher of . . . ] yahu who is over the house. There is no silver and no gold here but [his bones] and the bones of his amah with him. Cursed be the man who will open this!"

In the text the phrase "who is over the house" refers to a very important personage in the Judean government (about second to the king). His name, according to the inscription, was ". . . yahu." Unfortunately the first part of his name is missing but many believe that the person who was buried here was none other than Shebna [yahu], the Royal Steward, whom Isaiah condemned for ‘hewing a tomb for himself on high’ – SEE Isaiah 22:15-17!

The amah (a female) mentioned in the inscription may also have been a very high functionary in the Judean government.

For some brief comments on the neighborhood of Silwan Click Here.