The Whale Eating a Flower? :-)

In light of the intense discussions regarding the “whale of story” that has just came out about the decorated ossuary from the tomb in Talpiot, Jerusalem, and whether or not there is a depiction of a fish devouring Jonah, a tomb monument (“nefesh”), or whatever (and all the hooplah around this and related issues), I really don’t have what to contribute to this discussion. In any case, it seems that every one is having so much fun that I would not want to get in the way.

I just figured (;-) that perhaps the public should also relate to a depiction that we have from Tell es-Safi/Gath from an earlier period, when the whale still was not swallowing people, but preferred flowers…

So – here’s the evidence:


And now, if you want the real story behind this interesting object – check it out here.


4 thoughts on “The Whale Eating a Flower? :-)

  1. I don’t know what time period this represents, but might it be a symbolism of Dagon (fish) and Egypt (lotus)? Maybe one of the times that Egypt had to retreat from Canaan, with the plant being bitten by the fish?

    Or perhaps one of the times that Philistia was dominated by Egypt and the fish is being led by the lotus?

    Although, given people are people in any century, it could be just a decoration, such as a fish eating a water lily plant in a pond.

    Ironically, water lilies, despite being native, tend to dominate watercourses in some parts of the U.S and a number of states thus consider them a noxious weed. Unlike the American lotus, they are bitter-tasting, but Indian tribes planted them for food.


    1. arenmaeir

      Hi! Based on the analysis of the seal by the two experts (Othmar Keel and Stefan Muenger) this seal is actually of LB date, meaning prior to the Philistines – even though it was found in an Iron Age, Philistine, context. The “Tilapia” fish, holding a lotus flower in its mouth is a well-known iconographic motif in Ancient Egypt, connected to beliefs in the after life.
      And, BTW, no connection Dagon and fish (“dag”) – it is most probably related to “dagan” (grain) – and in general, agricultural fertility.



      1. Thanks.

        As the joke goes, I know just enough ancient history to get into trouble… :)

        Thanks for putting this site online. It’s interesting to see an archeological excavation in progress.


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