Exile and Return
- Evidence for Persian occupation of some Israeli sites was found in the presence of Yehud seals. Finklestein published a table of these in the Palestine Exploration Quarterly, v 140, I, 2008. Numerous sites yielded the seal impressions, but not all.
Yehud was the Persian name for the province of Judea. The stamp impressions were on jar handles and jars. Like earlier LMLK stamps indicating towns of origin such as Hebron or Socoh, the YHD seals were hard to find.
As for the walls of Nehemiah, only a small fraction of the Old City was excavated due to dense occupation and the high value of buildings in the city. It was not possible to purchase them all and tear them down. Most of the area under the temple mount Herodian terrace remains a mystery as well. There were yet controversies over the location of Roman era walls in the northern parts of the city.
The excavations at Samaria found Israelite structures thirty feet below the modern surface. This on the upper parst of a hill and not the Tyrophean Valley of Jerusalem.
According to the Passover Letter from the Elephantine papyri, a Hebrew community serving the Persian emperor Darius recorded instructions for the observance of the Passover c. 419 B.C. This papyrus has been used to prove an early date for the Passover observance.
Passover letter translated: http://www.kchanson.com/ANCDOCS/westsem/passover.html
David Q. Hall