Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Jewish Business News

History & Archeology

Impression of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal Discovered in Jerusalem, brings Bible to life

Discovery brings to life the Biblical narratives about King Hezekiah and the activity conducted during his lifetime in Jerusalem’s 1st Temple Period Royal Quarter.

The excavation site is situated within the Ophel Archaeological Park,   which is part of the National Park Around the Walls of Jerusalem under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

Archaeologists digging just south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount have made a historic discovery, unearthing the first-ever seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king ever exposed in situ in a scientific archaeological excavation.

The discovery, made during Ophel excavations at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, is an impression of the royal seal of the Biblical King Hezekiah, who reigned between 727–698 BCE.

Please help us out :
Will you offer us a hand? Every gift, regardless of size, fuels our future.
Your critical contribution enables us to maintain our independence from shareholders or wealthy owners, allowing us to keep up reporting without bias. It means we can continue to make Jewish Business News available to everyone.
You can support us for as little as $1 via PayPal at office@jewishbusinessnews.com.
Thank you.

Measuring 9.7 X 8.6 mm, the oval impression was imprinted on a 3 mm thick soft bulla (piece of inscribed clay) measuring 13 X 12 mm. Around the impression is the depression left by the frame of the ring in which the seal was set.

The impression bears an inscription in ancient Hebrew script reading:

“לחזקיהו [בן] אחז מלך יהדה”//”Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.”

The script is accompanied by a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols symbolizing life.

Dr. Eilat Mazar said: “Although seal impressions bearing King Hezekiah’s name have already been known from the antiquities market since the middle of the 1990s, some with a winged scarab (dung beetle) symbol and others with a winged sun, this is the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation.”

A third-generation archaeologist working at the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology, Dr. Mazar directs excavations on the City of David’s summit and in the Ophel to the south of the Temple Mount’s southern wall. Among her many archaeological finds over the years, in 2013 she revealed to the world an ancient golden treasure discovered at the Ophel

The excavation site is situated within the Ophel Archaeological Park, which is part of the National Park Around the Walls of Jerusalem under the auspices of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority.

 

 

King Hezekiah is described favorably in the Bible (II Kings, Isaiah, II Chronicles) as well as in the chronicles of the Assyrian kings— Sargon II and his son Sennacherib—who ruled during his time. Hezekiah is depicted as both a resourceful and daring king, who centralized power in his hands. Although he was an Assyrian vassal, he successfully maintained the independent standing of the Judean Kingdom and its capital Jerusalem, which he enhanced economically, religiously, and diplomatically.

The Bible relates of Hezekiah that “there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those before him” (II Kings 18:5).

The symbols on the seal impression from the Ophel suggest that they were made late in his life, when both the Royal administrative authority and the King’s personal symbols changed from the winged scarab (dung beetle)—the symbol of power and rule that had been familiar throughout the Ancient Near East, to that of the winged sun—a motif that proclaimed God’s protection, which gave the regime its legitimacy and power, also widespread throughout the Ancient Near East and used by the Assyrian Kings.

This change most likely reflected both the Assyrian influence and Hezekiah’s desire to emphasize his political sovereignty, and Hezekiah’s own profound awareness of the powerful patronage given his reign by the God of Israel.

While the changed Royal administrative symbol imprinted on the King’s jars used the motif of a sun with wings extended to the sides, Hezekiah’s personal changed symbol had a sun with sheltering wings turned down and a life-symbol at the end of each wing. This special addition of the symbol of life may support the assumption that the change on the King’s personal seal was made after Hezekiah had recovered from the life-threatening illness of shehin(II Kings 20:1-8), when the life-symbol became especially significant for him (ca. 704 BCE).

 

 

 

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Newsletter



Advertisement

You May Also Like

World News

In the 15th Nov 2015 edition of Israel’s good news, the highlights include:   ·         A new Israeli treatment brings hope to relapsed leukemia...

Entertainment

The Movie The Professional is what made Natalie Portman a Lolita.

Travel

After two decades without a rating system in Israel, at the end of 2012 an international tender for hotel rating was published.  Invited to place bids...

VC, Investments

You may not become a millionaire, but there is a lot to learn from George Soros.