According to Professor Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor, this is the very first time Eshbaʽal’s name appears on an ancient inscription found in Israel.
The experts said: “It is interesting to note that the name Eshbaʽal appears in the Bible, and now also in the archaeological record, only during the reign of King David, in the first half of the tenth century BCE.”
Because the name is inscribed on a ceramic jar, Eshbaʽal was likely an important figure – even this particular individual was not the Israeli king.
It is likely the name was quite common at the time, although the name Bada “is unique and does not occur in ancient inscriptions or in the biblical tradition.”
The Israeli archaeologists added: “In 2 Samuel there was apparently reluctance to use the name Eshbaʽal, which was reminiscent of the Canaanite storm god Baʽal, and the original name was therefore changed to Ish-Bashat, but the original name of Eshbaʽal was preserved in the Book of Chronicles.