A seal impression was recently discovered in the City of David that reads “belonging to Adonijah, the royal steward.” The inscription dates to the 7th century, the period when Jerusalem was ruled by Manasseh and Josiah. The royal steward was the king’s “chief of staff,” and this position is mentioned in Isaiah 22:15 in reference to Shebna.
There is some question about whether this might be the same individual who was buried in the “tomb of the royal steward” in the Silwan necropolis opposite the City of David.
Also of interest is the fact that this man had the same name as David’s son who attempted to seize the throne before his father had died (1 Kgs 1). The Times of Israel reports:
The most famous Adoniyahu occurs some 300 years before this newly attested Adoniyahu, and is a son of King David and Haggit. He is called both Adoniya and Adoniyahu.
There are two other notable Adoniyahus recounted in the Bible. One, a Levite, appears during the reign of Jehoshaphat (circa 870–849 BCE), who is recounted in Chronicles. The other noteworthy Adoniyahu is found during the rule of Nehemiah, which occurs during the Persian era of the Second Temple period circa 465-424 BCE.
Perhaps next time the Times reporter can look up the English spelling of the name so that English readers will more readily understand. (Many other news reports perpetuate the same problem, making me think that these stories are simply regurgitated, without the necessary care.)
For the full story, including photos and a video, see The Times of Israel.
HT: Joseph Lauer