Zev Radovan

The elegantly carved ivory pomegranate likely served as a finial for a ceremonial scepter. Around its neck runs the phrase “sacred to the priest of the house of Yahweh” (all but the last letter of “Yahweh” have been reconstructed); this is generally assumed to mean the Jerusalem Temple. But, as Stern explains, the numerous sanctuaries in the areas surrounding Jerusalem—and even outside Judah—also served as houses of Yahweh, and sometimes of his consort, Asherah. The pomegranate, then, might have belonged to a priest in the Jerusalem Temple, though it could just as well have been used elsewhere.