December 16, 2014, 2:52 am

Originally appeared here in Times of Israel

NEW YORK (JTA) — Dimly lit, the stone slab, or stele, doesn’t look particularly noteworthy, especially when compared to the more lavish sphinxes, jewelry and cauldrons one encounters en route to the room where it is installed.

Indeed, in a Twitter post this fall, art journalist Lee Rosenbaum described the nearly 13-by-16 inch c. 830 BCE rock, as “homely.”

What’s significant about this stone — on view at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art as part of its “Assyria to Iberia at the Dawn of the Classical Age” exhibit running through January 4 — is its inscription: the earliest extra-biblical reference to the House of David.

“There is no doubt that the inscription is one of the most important artifacts ever found in relation to the Bible,” Eran Arie, curator of Israelite and Persian periods at the Israel Museum, wrote in the exhibit catalog. Read More