Seal of King Hezekiah Discovered in Jerusalem
A 2,700-year-old signet bulla bearing the name of king Hezekiah (727–698 BCE) has been discovered in excavations by Temple Mount in Jerusalem.Though other sings with his name has been found this one is unique.
The signets of the kings were placed in a ring typically and used to imprint the king’s logo or approval onto something official. Only the king or very high level members of the king’s court would be allowed to put his official signature onto something.
However, the fact that this was found essentially in a dumping area has yet to be understood. I am sure that more information will be coming from this dig, which brings us to an even more awesome fact about
this discover; this was not even an archaeological dig site. It was started for other reasons. According to Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
“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”
The Hebrew script on the signet is written in a Hebrew style contemporary to the 7th century BCE, reading:
“Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz king of Judah.”
Understanding the winged sun on Hezekiah’s signet
It also shows a two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols which was a symbol of life. The symbols indicate that the seal was created late in the king’s life when Assyria influence was a dominant power over Hezekiah and the Israelites.
Even though he was a Judean king, Hezekiah was a vassal of Assyria. This means that he ruled under neither another ruler and his people probably paid tribute to Assyria. He is, however, portrayed both in ancient Assyrian chronicles and in the bible (Kings II, Isaiah, and Chronicles II) as a resourceful man who maintained the independent standing of the Judean kingdom and its capital Jerusalem.
Late in Hezekiah’s life, both the royal administrative authority and the king’s personal symbols changed from the winged scarab, a symbol of power and rule throughout the ancient Near East, to that of the winged sun—a motif that proclaimed God’s protection, that was employed by the Assyrian kings, including Sennacherib.
This addition of the life symbol supports the theory that the king’s personal seal was changed after he recovered from a life-threatening plague, described in II Kings 20:1-8.
In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live…
He did, though. He prayed to the Lord and Isaiah delivered the message to Hezekiah which was his answer to prayer.
Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6 And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city. (Isaiah 38:4-6)