2,700 Year-old Seal Impression Discovered in Jerusalem

A New Exciting Discovery!

seal impression found in Jerusalem

7th century BC seal impression found in Jerusalem (credit: IAA)

New exciting archaeological discoveries connecting us to the Bible are happening all the time in Israel. It’s exciting!! The latest find took place in Jerusalem. In fact, the discovery was made within 75 yards of the most holy place for Jews today … the Western Wall of the Temple!

Found below the level of today’s Kotel (Western Wall Plaza), a seal impression (also called a docket) bearing the words, “To (or belonging to) the governor of the city.”  This unique seal was actually a stamped piece of clay from the 7th century BC. In their description of this seal, the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) stated, “it measures 13 X 15 mm and is 2–3 mm thick. The upper part of the sealing depicts two figures facing each other, and the lower part holds an inscription in ancient Hebrew script.”

Specifically and in more detail, Professors Tallay Ornan of the Hebrew University, and Benjamin Sass of Tel Aviv University, studied the docket and describe it in this way:

“…Above a double line are two standing men, facing each other in a mirror-like manner. Their heads are depicted as large dots, lacking any details. The hands facing outward are dropped down, and the hands facing inward are raised Each of the figures is wearing a striped, knee-length garment. In the register beneath the double line is an inscription in ancient Hebrew: לשרער, with no spacing between the words and no definite article. It denotes לשר העיר, i.e., “belonging to the governor of the city.” (IAA – You Tube Channel)

Watch the Video

The video produced by the IAA describes the discovery thoroughly. This seal was one of seven others found in this area. Israeli archaeologists share about this incredible discovery dating to about 700 BC:

 

Connection to the Bible

In the Old Testament we have two references to city governors. 2 Kings 23:8 mentions “Joshua, the city governor,” and 2 Chronicles 34:8 mentions “Maaseiah the ruler of the city.” These governors served essentially served as mayors of the city.

The excitement of this discovery also connects us to ancient Jerusalem. Nir Barkat, Jerusalem’s mayor today, added his perspective:

It is very overwhelming to receive greetings from First Temple-period Jerusalem. This shows that already 2700 years ago, Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was a strong and central city. Jerusalem is one of the most ancient capitals of the world, continually populated by the Jewish people for more than 3000 years. Today we have the privilege to encounter another one of the long chain of persons and leaders that built and developed the city. We are grateful to be living in a city with such a magnificent past, and are obligated to ensure its strength for generations to come, as we daily do.”  (IAA – You Tube Channel)

Stay tuned to see what is discovered next in this amazing city of Jerusalem Israel’s ancient and eternal capital!

 

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King Hezekiah’s Seal

Hezekiah Seal

The royal seal of Hezekiah, king of Judah, was discovered in the Ophel excavations under the direction of archaeologist Eilat Mazar. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Eilat Mazar; photo by Ouria Tadmor.

New discoveries in biblical archaeology continue to confirm the historicity of the Bible. This should not surprise us at all, to be quite honest. In the words of archaeologist William Dever,“The only new facts about the Bible and the Biblical world are coming from the ground.” (quote listed on Radio Scribe).  Well, the “new facts” being discovered from the ground of the City of David excavations in Jerusalem are quite significant.

Elat Mazar

Elat Mazar, Jerusalem archaeologist

To be truthful, every time something is discovered in an archaeological dig, especially if the discovery is connected directly with the Bible, I just sit back and smile. Over and over and over again, the Bible’s historicity is revealed with every new find. What was this new find?  A clay bulla inscribed with the name “Hezekiah.

As described in a recent archaeological article (Go HERE to read the article), In the ancient Near East, clay bullae (plural form of bulla) were used to secure the strings tied around rolled-up documents. The bullae were made by pressing a seal onto a wet lump of clay. The stamped bulla served as both a signature and as a means of ensuring the authenticity of the documents.” This is the first time a bulla has been found bearing the name of Hezekiah, King of Judah (who reigned from 715-686 BC)

The Ophel where the Hezekiah Seal / Stamp was discovered.

The Ophel, where the Hezekiah Seal / Stamp was discovered.

Writing in December, 2015, the article’s author Robin Ngo stated, “The bulla, which measures just over a centimeter in diameter, bears a seal impression depicting a two-winged sun disk flanked by ankh symbols and containing a Hebrew inscription that reads “Belonging to Hezekiah, (son of) Ahaz, king of Judah.” The bulla was discovered along with 33 other stamped bullae during wet-sifting of dirt from a refuse dump located next to a 10th-century B.C.E. royal building in the Ophel. The Ophel is the area just south of the Temple Mount today but also just north of the City of David proper and David’s palace.

King Hezekiah is best known for the 1,720 feet water tunnel he chiseled at the time of the Assyrian invasion by King Sennecherib (2 Kings 20, 2 Chronicles 32 Isaiah 36-37). In the very words of this Assyrian king, Hezekiah was “caged like a bird” within Jerusalem. The name of Hezekiah actually appears on what is referred to as the Taylor Prism.

So once again, the world of archaeology confirms the biblical account of Scripture!

You can watch a 9 minute video of this discovery below.

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