Israel News

8 Year Old Hiker Discovers 2500 Year Old Icon

Eight year old Itai Halperin of Pardesiya went for a hike with his family to Tel Beit Shemesh, which is considered to be the site of the historic city of Beit Shemesh. He spotted a roundish object on the ground and when he picked it up was surprised to see that it was an earthenware icon. His family excitedly notified the Antiquities Authority of their unusual find. When he met Alexander Glick, the chief archaeologist in the Sharon area, it became apparent to Itai that he had made a momentous historical discovery, as the icon was a relic from the First Temple period some 2500 years ago.

Beit Shemesh was an important city mentioned in the Tanach many times. It was conquered by the Philistines in the time of King Achaz as described in Divrei Hayamim 2:28:18 and later it was ransacked by King Sennacherib and finally destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar at the destruction of the First Temple. Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have dug there for a number of years and discovered a walled city with public buildings, granaries and a sophisticated water system in place. It is possible that the icon, a type of idol, stemmed from the Philistine period but even during the Jewish period there were idolaters as the prophets Zephaniah and Yishayahu stated that the people were worshipping idols in their houses and therefore they would be exiled.

The modern day Beit Shemesh is situated across the road from the historic site.

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