Ma’ariv is reporting the discovery of a First Temple period bulla with an inscription reading גבעון למלך which I guess means, “Gibeon, for the king.” Gabriel Barkay suggests that it represents taxes paid by the residents of Gideon to the King of Judah. According to the article as filtered through my very limited Modern Hebrew, Barkay thinks the king in question is likely Manasseh, son to Hezekiah.
Part of the problem with this find is that it is from an ancient refuge pit and therefore in large measure not in original situ so much valuable information is lost. That said, I’m sure this find will have an important place in the discussion of the First Temple period.
Update: When I said “which I quest means, ‘Gibeon, for the king’,” I was indicating agreement with Barkay’s interpretation. But it might mean something like, “Gibeon, for Molach” or “Gibeon, for Melech (of 1 Chronicles 8:35).” Both are very low probabilities but either one, particularly the first one, would sure stir the pot.
Further update: Looking more closely at the photograph, I wonder if just for the sake of rigor we shouldn’t read .]בעו֯[ . in the first line and ל֯מלך in the second. I doubt this leads to anything all that different.
Still Further Update: See George Athas’ post on this bulla. He speculates that the two readable letters in the first register might be part of the theophoric element Ba’al!
Via Zwinglius Redivivus via Jack Sasson on the Agade list