2,000 Year Old Bell Rings Again in Jerusalem

A tiny bell measuring only about one centimeter in diameter has been found in Jerusalem’s Old City by Israeli archaeologists.

Preserved in a Roman-era sewer underneath the city, the bell was likely part of a wealthy resident’s clothing and fell off, rolling into the sewer below.   The Book of Exodus mentions that many High Priests of the time wore bells sewn into their robes that match the description of the one recently found.

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The bell, dating back to the Second Jewish Temple period, was found in a drainage channel, carved along the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City. Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

According to the Old Testament, these bells were not merely ornaments, but served a specific purpose.  They were meant to alert people that a Priest was coming to share the Lord’s message, and the ringing was a reminder to listen, and also to bring joy.

Exod 28:31-35 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; it shall have a woven binding all around its opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear. And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die.”

After 2,000 years, this little bell rang again, which surely is a joyful sound.  According to the CS Monitor, when archaeologist Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority shook the bell on Sunday, it emitted a faint metallic sound between a clink and a rattle.

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