WHAT’S NOT NEWS is that someone found evidence of Jewish King Hezekiah (reigned about 715-687 BC). What’s new is that this evidence probably wasn’t faked.
That’s always a worry. Evidence shows up in the hands of some shepherd or antiquities dealer. Then everyone wonders if it’s a fake, intended to make a shekel.
But an archaeologist found this by wet-sifting dirt from the ruins of an ancient dump on the southeast side of Old Jerusalem.
Dr. Eilat Mazar, director of excavations at the City of David’s hilltop, said the impression reads:
“Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, king of Judah.”
The picture in the middle is a winged sun beside an ankh symbol that represents life.
This dried plug of clay probably sealed a scroll or some other royal document. In ancient times, people would tie a string around the scroll and press a plug of clay or wax into the string. Then they would press their seal into the soft plug – a way of signing their name.
The seal might have been a signet ring or a tiny cylinder.
Hezekiah’s seal impression is about half an inch wide (1 cm), a fine size for the head of a signet ring.
Hezekiah, identified in the Bible as the son of King Ahaz, was famous for outlasting a siege by an Assyrian king from what is now Iraq.
As the Bible writers rated kings, Hezekiah was one of the pitifully few good ones:
“Hezekiah trusted in the Lord, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him” (2 Kings 18:5).
For more about Hezekiah
- Complete Guide to the Bible, pages 115-116
- A Quick Guided Tour Through the Bible, pages 120-122
- Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible 2.0, pages 188-192
- Illustrated Bible Dictionary, page 214
- I got stoned in Jerusalem, with a Bible prof
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