Biblical king’s seal left its mark in Jerusalem, archaeologists say

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A projected image of a clay imprint, which  archeologists say is the mark of the seal of the biblical King Hezekiah, is displayed during a news conference at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem December 2, 2015. REUETRS/Amir Cohen

A projected image of a clay imprint, which archeologists say is the mark of the seal of the biblical King Hezekiah, is displayed during a news conference at The Hebrew University in Jerusalem December 2, 2015. REUETRS/Amir Cohen

JERUSALEM, Dec 2 (Reuters) — Israeli archaeologists have discovered a mark from the seal of biblical King Hezekiah, who helped build Jerusalem into an ancient metropolis.

The circular inscription, on a piece of clay less than a centimeter (0.4 inches) long, may very well have been made by the king himself, said Eilat Mazar of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University who directed the excavation where it was uncovered.

Hezekiah ruled around 700 BC and was described in the Bible as a daring monarch — “There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him” (II Kings 18:5) – who was dedicated to eliminating idoltary in his kingdom.

“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,” 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.

The bulla was initially catalogued and put in a closet, along with 33 others, after a first inspection that failed to establish its true identity.

Only five years later, when a team member scrutinised it under a magnifying glass and discerned dots in between some of the letters, did the meaning become clear.

The dots help separate the words: “Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah.”

Mazar said the back side of the clay imprint of the seal had markings of thin cords that were used to tie a papyrus document.

“It’s always a question, what are the real facts behind the biblical stories,” Mazar said. “Here we have a chance to get as close as possible to the person himself, to the king himself.”

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  • Fran

    What an exciting find! It only confirms the Bible’s accuracy and truthfulness of past history.

  • Garson Abuita

    No, this bulla does not prove the Bible’s accuracy, but neither does your robotic answer shed any light on the subject we’re talking about — a pretty cool archaeological find mentioning a biblical king. The two ankhs are particularly fascinating..

  • Fran

    It definitely proves the “existence” of King Hezekiah as outlined in the Bible, who was the King of Judah. Many still deny the existence of many other persons mentioned in the Bible, such as Abraham and Noah. They need “literal proof” of the same with their own eyes.

  • Jojo Ruba

    Sorry, what do you mean by evil? How do you know the Christian God is evil?

  • Phil

    You sound like a very bitter person.
    If we can figure out God, he wouldn’t be God.

  • Anthony Zarrella

    Can I ask a question, Bob?

    Do you have any children? If so, when they were quite young (3-6-ish), was it reasonable to assume that everything you did on their behalf would be comprehensible to them? Don’t you think there were some things they didn’t even understand the motivation of, and yet other things where they sort of understood your motives, but had no idea why it was important for you to do it *this* way rather than *that* way?

    You ask “why wouldn’t an omnipotent being do ABC instead of XYZ?”

    We Christians would ask in return, “why is it at all reasonable for you to assume that the acts of an infinitely knowledgeable and intelligent being can be judged against *your* fallible human standards at all? What justifies your assumption that if God exists and is good, He will do things the way *you* think a good and omnipotent being would do them?”

    We’re all children compared to God – we can’t always expect to understand why our Father does what He does.

  • GodIsBipolar

    ” We’re all children compared to God – we can’t always expect to understand why our Father does what He does.”

    If your father was an abusive psychopath, you as a child wouldn’t understand why your father acted as he did. After all, you were a child.

    Assuming someone in a parental position is acting with your best interests is mind is an assumption, not a certainty. And, as you said, you don’t know what The Father is thinking.

  • GodIsBipolar

    “why is it at all reasonable for you to assume that the acts of an infinitely knowledgeable and intelligent being …”

    If God is all-good, and all-powerful, and all-knowing, then –
    Why is there Evil in the World?

    When Evil happens, Does God *allow* it to happen?
    Then he is not all-good.

    Is he *unable* to prevent it?
    Then he is not all-powerful.

    Is he *unaware* of it occurring?
    Then he is not all-knowing.

    So, if Evil exists, then God is at fault in one of those three ways.
    There’s no logical way to avoid that conclusion.

  • Jack

    Of course there’s a way to avoid it. God’s allowing evil in the world hardly proves that He’s evil. It does suggest He values human freedom.

    You have a childish and magical view of goodness that excludes freedom.

  • D. Miller

    You are clearly distressed and need a friend. If you want to talk, I’ll listen. Then we can pray together so God can begin healing your broken spirit.

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  • Conrad

    Bob, where do I start? If you want to be critical of Christianity, have the intellectual honesty to not misrepresent what the bible and Christian doctrine state about these matters. God couldn’t create a replacement for Jesus because Jesus is the uncreated, only Son of God. His death was real because while He was fully God he was also fully human. His human body was dead, but His spirit was alive. And yes, God and Jesus knew that his human, physical body would not stay dead. Jesus Himself promised he would be raised from the dead. Why did Jesus have to die? Start with Isaiah 55:8, proceed to 1 Corinthians 15:3&4, Romans 6:23, Genesis 3:15, 2 Corinthians 5:21, Isaiah 53:1-12 Jesus had to die for our sins because nothing else would satisfy the justice of God, nothing else could match or exceed the weight of our sin, no other way would do justice to the glory of God. Why at that time? It was the perfect time Galatians 4:4. Don’t misapprehend God’s patience 2 Peter 3:8,9

  • Barry Wannell

    Sorry Bob but you are wrong. The Bible is in no way inaccurate! It is being verified almost on a daily basis! And the discovery of the seal is yet another fresh example of this!

    There are no contradictions in the Bible, only apparent ones, but when one takes the time to study them all these apparent contradictions fall away

    Jesus was and is God who gave up His benefits by becoming a man!
    He faced every thing we face on earth and willingly took on all or mankind’s sins on Himself!. He offers you the gift of eternal life because He knows that there is no way you could ever emulate him by living a 100 % pure and sinless life!

    from all that we see that is going on ion the world today He is on the brink of returning again this time not as a baby and Saviour, but as the True King of Kings and Judge!

    I plead with you to repent of your sins and call out to Him asking Him for and receiving His gift of eternal Life!

  • Jojo

    King Hezekiah was a king of Judah so why would there be a pagan Egyptian ankh on his seal???

  • Jubilee

    Ignore Bob. His objective is wasting life, mocking hrs/yrs of rsrch meticulous study toward clarifying humanity’s most enduring writings. his type rotated visits to nearby university off-campus Bible Studies, chiming like clanging cymbals, in hopes of thwarting any topic’s study. When hosts were privately counseled (guests purposely disrupting preposted public mtgs could be legally charged), they told the rotation to leave. Of course self-vetting early on, they did. Christians, God calls us to live serpent-wise and dove-gentle: to those who think themselves crafty, God shows Himself shrewd. Drop kicking is a good thing.

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  • Minnesouri

    Israel and Egypt were neighbors with a very tightly woven history from the time of Abraham through the time if Jesus (even today). Egypt was often looked to by Judah and Israel for protection from other threatening ancient superpowers. Think of Egypt as the Roman empire before the Roman empire. Here we are a many hundreds of years after the death of Roman culture and the Latin language and we still have Latin words and Roman symbolism on our money and on many other official documents.