Archaeologists have reported a potentially fascinating and important find in Jerusalem: a clay seal possibly created by the ancient biblical king Hezekiah. The New York Times reports:
“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,” [Hebrew University professor Eilat] Mazar said.
The clay imprint, known as a bulla, was found at a dig at the foot of the southern part of the wall that surrounds Jerusalem’s Old City, an area rich in relics from the period of the first of two ancient Jewish temples.
It had been buried in a refuse dump dated to the time of Hezekiah and was probably tossed from an adjacent royal building, Mazar said. It contains ancient Hebrew script and the symbol of a two-winged sun.
As always, reasonable skepticism is prudent when it comes to Bible-related archaeology claims. However, this find isn’t accompanied by the over-hyped and overly-sensational claims that have raised red flags over other discoveries, and seems worth watching.
In the meantime, if you don’t know who Hezekiah is or why he was an important Bible figure, we can help! Hezekiah was a major king of the nation of Judah; he stands out for being one of the impressively rare kings who did his best to obey God, rather than pursue false idols and other wickedness. You can read a nice summary of his character and achievements here. For the full story of his reign, including the remarkable tale of his faithfulness in the face of an overwhelming enemy siege, you can find it in 2 Kings 18:20.
[Browse the Archaeological section in the Bible Gateway Store]