Israeli government officials on Friday unveiled a 2,700-year-old document dating to the time of biblical Israel that includes a common name for the period – Ishmael – and likely was circulated during the time of the Old Testament kings.
The four-line document includes the phrase “to Ishmael send,” likely referencing instructions to the recipient, according to a news release from the Israel Antiquities Authority. It dates to the late seventh or early sixth century B.C. during the so-called First Temple period – an era that stretches from the construction of the temple under King Solomon to its destruction by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.
The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) called it an “extremely rare document.” It likely was preserved over the centuries in a cave in the Judean Desert, where the dry climate “enables the preservation of the papyri,” IAA said.
The “Ishmael” in the text references not the son of Abraham – who lived…