Rare 2,000 Year Old ‘Balm of Gilead’ Gemstone Found in Israel

Deep underground in a 2,000-year-old drainage ditch next to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, archaeologists say a rare artifact from Second Temple times was uncovered.

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Is there no balm in GileadIs there no physician there? Why then is there no recovery For the health of the daughter of my people? (Jeremiah 8:22)

Go up to Gilead and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt; In vain you will use many medicines; You shall not be cured. (Jeremiah 46:11)

The Christian Post: Archaeologists in Israel say they have discovered in eastern Jerusalem a 2,000-year-old precious gem an engraving that depicts the Balm of Gilead, a rare perfume used medicinally and which was mentioned in the Hebrew Bible.

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced the discovery of an ancient amethyst seal bearing the first known depiction of the plant just north of the City of David, Jewish News Syndicate reported.

The seal was found during excavations in the Emek Tzurim National Park along the foundation stones of the Western Wall in Jerusalem’s Old City, it added.

“This is an important find, because it may be the first time that a seal has been discovered in the entire world with an engraving of the precious and famous plant, which until now we could only read about in historical descriptions,” archaeologist Eli Shukron, who conducted the excavation, was quoted as saying.

“Toward the end of the Second Temple period, the use of stone stamps expanded and became more common,” The Jerusalem Post quoted Prof. Shua Amorai-Stark, an expert in engraved gems, as saying.

“But in most stamps discovered so far with plant engravings, it is common to find plants that were common in Israel at the time: vines, dates, and olives, which are among the seven species. But on this stone seal, we immediately noticed that the fruit that appears on it is unlike any of the fruits we have encountered to date.”

The Bible prominently mentions the Balm of Gilead, also known as balsam tree or “persimmon.” Read More

Balm of Gilead

A 2,000-year-old amethyst seal, bearing an engraving that depicts the Balm of Gilead or biblical persimmon plant, was found in Jerusalem, October 2021. Credit: Eliyahu Yanai/City of David. Source


Archaeologists Find Rare ‘Balm of Gilead’ Gemstone Near Jerusalem’s Western Wall

CBN News: Just north of the City of David (ancient Jerusalem), archaeologists believe they have found the first of its kind engraving on a precious gem of a biblical plant known to many as the Balm of Gilead.

Deep underground in a 2,000-year-old drainage ditch next to Jerusalem’s Western Wall, archaeologists say a rare artifact from Second Temple times was uncovered.

“It is a stone seal made of semi-precious amethyst stone with an engraving of a dove and a branch of a tree with fruit on the branch,” said Eli Shukron, former archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

“What was surprising was that the branch is a branch with fruits that are not recognized from other seals from that period,” Shukon explained.

The seal was found while archaeologists and volunteers were sifting the remains from the drainage ditch at the Emek Tzurim National Park operated by the City of David.

“Once we found the seal with the branch and the fruit, we hypothesized that it was the biblical persimmon fruit plant as mentioned in the Bible and in the sources of the Second Temple period and the Byzantine period,” Shukron said.

This biblical persimmon plant is not related to the orange persimmon fruit of today. It was known in ancient times by several names: Bosem, Balsam, and the Balm of Gilead

“Jerusalem’s primary drainage channel was built under the pilgrimage road. The pilgrimage road started from the Pool of Siloam in the City of David and went up to the Temple on the Temple Mount of the Second Temple period. Apparently, this ring with the seal fell into the drainage ditch 2,000 years ago,” Shukron said.

For 1,000 years, ancient Hebrew farmers were the only ones in the world known to cultivate this exotic plant, using it for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

Guy Ehrlich has been working to revive that biblical agriculture and is the only one in the country growing the biblical persimmon.  That’s why Shukon took the stone to Ehrlich’s farm to show it to him.

Ehrlich called the find “stunning.” Read More



  1. Archaeologists find rare 2,000-year-old ‘Balm of Gilead’ gemstone seal near Western Wall(October 25th, 2021) – The Christian Post
  2. Archaeologists Find Rare ‘Balm of Gilead’ Gemstone Near Jerusalem’s Western Wall (October 22nd, 2021) – CBN News
  3. Rare biblical ‘Balm of Gilead’ engraving found on 2,000-year-old seal in Jerusalem (October 21st, 2021) – Jewish News Syndicate



This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Himitsu | End Times Study.

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About the Author

Ayo is an energetic blogger striving to use his insights and God given talents to share the Gospel. Through his blog, he aspires to point skeptics of the bible to the truth of the Gospel using apologetics. His aspires to also inform others - both believer and non-believer - regarding the times we're living in preceding the Lord's soon return through the study of prophecy. He hopes to both inform his readers with facts, equip them with tools to communicate the Gospel, and offer hope and encouragement through God's Word.