A clay seal used by King Hezekiah around 700 B.C. has been discovered in an archeological dig in Jerusalem.
The seal, called a bulla, was found about five years ago, but was stored away when researchers failed to grasp its significance, Reuters reported
. This year, when the seal was examined under a magnifying glass, it was determined to say, "Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah."
It bears a "two-winged sun, with wings turned downward, flanked by two ankh symbols symbolizing life," according to The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The Ophel excavation, led by Dr. Eilat Mazar, uncovered the seal in a refuse dump that traces back to the time of King Hezekiah's rule, the university press release said.
King Hezekiah was referred to highly in the Book of Kings in the Bible, according to The Atlantic
: "There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the Lord and did not stop following him; he kept the commands the Lord had given Moses. And the Lord was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him."
The seal was discovered with 33 other bulla, some with Hebrew names, many with markings of fabric and cords on the back that "probably sealed sacks containing foodstuffs," the university said.
"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," Mazar said in the release.
She added to The Atlantic, "It’s always a question, what are the real facts behind the biblical stories. Here we have a chance to get as close as possible to the person himself, to the king himself."
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