King Hezekiah’s Ring Discovered In Trash Heap

Seal of King Hezekiah Discovered in Jerusalem

Royal seal king Hezekiah, made late into his reign.

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

Hezekiah seal
Previously discovered seal of Hezekiah

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.”


Winged sun over Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud
Winged sun over Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 884-859 BCE over Neo-Assyrian Empire)

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: “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. 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)





8 thoughts on “King Hezekiah’s Ring Discovered In Trash Heap”

  1. Thanks so much for the time you took to respond. What can I expect to gain from referencing the COS? Also, you did not respond regarding other interpretations.Are they found in the COS? Are there any online sources? I loved the article I just try to be cautious about overstating something. For example insisting that the Prophet of Isaiah seal has been found when it is very unlikely although plausible. Thanks again!

    • The COS volumes are reference books that are filled with Ancient Near Eastern archeological data. It’s a library of primary source. So you can see the actual evidence for your own and read it in English and sometimes in the original Languages. What you won’t find in the COS are a lot of interpretive articles. It’s not a commentary. It’s just a reference of primary sources.

      If you would like a good online source I recommend biblical It’s usually all written by guys in the field, not your Joe Smoe who got an English degree and didn’t know what to do with it.

      Keep in mind that Ancient Judean Kings all used some form of imagery in their signet rings… Some familiar to us today but usually not.

    • In the matter of Isaiah’s seal being found. I don’t think it would be unlikely. He was a prolific writer and he had others who worked and schooled under him. He corresponded with leaders and rulers in the ANE. I wouldn’t be surprised if one popped up.

      The one that was found had his name but the title prophet was missing the aleph so it’s not conclusive. But the Hebrew lettering appears to be from Isaiah’s time period.

      • Cool thanks for the information. It will certainly be interesting to see how the debate over this bulla turns out. My hesitation is that a person’s name is more often followed by his father’s name “Son of…” rather than a title. But that doesn’t mean it is not plausible. It isn’t like the personal name and the title “the Prophet” was made up. It is found in the ancient writings themselves. If confirmed, certainly this will be an amazing discovery!

    • I’m also usually skeptical of such findings but I’m always willing to examine the evidence. I would love to see a seal or ring found from older biblical figures but I suspect they have not survived the ages.

  2. Where did you find these explanations of these symbols? This is quite an intriguing explanation. Many today would see this as pagan influence. But of course the ancients had to make use of motifs that people could understand. Are there other alternative explanations for the use of these motifs?

    • Most ancient symbology can be found in archeological books or volumes like The Context Of Scripture (COS). But to your second question…. They didn’t really have such a thing as pagan symbols. We think of them as pagan because they are not really Christian in nature but in Hezekiah’s day Christians didn’t exist. Moreover, the symbol was political in nature. He was subject to the king of Assyria who made use of that symbol.


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