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Royal Seal of King Hezekiah Found

Digging In The Dump

In 2009 an archeological dig was planned by a group from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, led by third-generation Israeli archeologist Elit Mazar. They were to explore a city dump site outside the old city wall between the City of David and the Temple Mount. During the dig, they discovered over thirty figurines, ceramics, and most importantly, an ancient Bulla, the seal of the Biblical King Hezekiah of Judah. Lost for over 2700 years, this half-inch diameter clay imprint was stamped by the King himself.

This new find would silence even the most skeptical critics of the existence of King Hezekiah from the Old Testament.

The Seal

Eilat Mazar, Photo: Ouria Tadmor

The 1-centimeter clay bulla, excavated in 2009-10 and released by Dr. Eilat Mazar in 2015 was dated to 716 BCE and bears an inscription in ancient Paleo-Hebrew script:

"Belonging to Hezekiah {son of} Ahaz king of Judah."

Inscription on the King Hezekiah Bulla

The imprint is adorned with an image of a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward. In addition, two ankh symbols flank the winged sun, thought to symbolize life. Other bulla imprints have been found from Hezekiah's reign in the local marketplace in the 1990s but were questioned as to their authenticity. They were similar with either the winged sun or a winged scarab beetle image on them. According to Dr. Mazar, "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."1

Tamir Zegman, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Mazar went on to tell reporters, “The seal of the king was so important. It could have been a matter of life or death, so it’s hard to believe that anyone else had permission to use the seal.”

“Therefore, it’s very reasonable to assume we are talking about an impression made by the King himself, using his own ring.

“This the greatest single item I have ever found,” added Mazar.

The Ophel excavations were conducted at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount. Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia

King Hezekiah

The Book of II Kings records Hezekiah's reign in a favorable light. Chapter 18 says of him: "... after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor among them that were before him." As a direct descendant of King David, he reformed the nation's worship by bringing down the temples on the high places of false idolatry, which his father Ahaz allowed.

During his reign, King Hezekiah is credited with standing firm against the invading Assyrians. Although his break with his father's allowance of idolatry is recorded, the bulla of his private seal indicates that he still honored him.

These exciting discoveries continue to encourage believers today in that they bring extra-biblical proof to the validity of Scripture. We can know that II Kings represents real people that lived in our past, and take confidence in God's word in a new way as we see these proofs that refute skeptics of our Biblical narrative.

"As iron sharpens iron, so one sharpens another,"

Proverbs 25:17


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