2,000-Year-Old Coin Engraved with ‘Eleazor the Priest’ Uncovered in Israel

Michael Foust | CrosswalkHeadlines Contributor | Updated: Mar 05, 2024
2,000-Year-Old Coin Engraved with ‘Eleazor the Priest’ Uncovered in Israel

2,000-Year-Old Coin Engraved with ‘Eleazor the Priest’ Uncovered in Israel

Archaeologists in Israel have uncovered a 2,000-year-old coin that dates to a century before the birth of Christ and bears the name “Eleazor the Priest,” a biblical name that experts say most likely references a religious leader of the time. The rare coin was uncovered around a cave in the Mazuq Ha-he'teqim Nature Reserve in Israel and dates to the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, which took place from 132-135 BC and involved a Jewish rebellion against Roman rule, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). The coin was found alongside three other coins with the name “Simeon.” Those, too, date to the Bar Kokhba Revolt.

One side of the coin includes an engraved date palm with the Hebrew inscription “Eleazar the Priest.” The other side depicts a bunch of grapes with the text “Year One of the Redemption of Israel,” again in Hebrew. The Old Testament tells of an Eleazor who was a priest and was the son of Aaron. But the Israel Antiquities Authority said the Eleazor referenced on the coin is likely a priest from the time of the revolt. One possibility is Rabbi Eleazar Hamod’ai, “rabbi from the time of Rabbi Akiva, a pupil of Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakai.”

“It seems that Rabbi Eleazar Hamod’ai played a significant religious role at the time of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and he was living in the town of Beitar --  the location of the revolt headquarters,” the IAA said. “The Talmud accounts that he died in Beitar, probably during the Revolt. (Jerusalem Talmud Ta’anit 4:5).”

The coins were found during a dig by the Israel Antiquities Authority in cooperation with the Ministry of Heritage and the Archaeological Office for the Military Administration of Judea and Samaria, with the “aim of retrieving the ancient treasures before they are stolen by antiquity looters,” according to a news release. 

eleazor coin from Israel Antiques Authority

Photo credits: Israel Antiques Authority


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist PressChristianity TodayThe Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.



2,000-Year-Old Coin Engraved with ‘Eleazor the Priest’ Uncovered in Israel