HEZEKIAH SEAL FOUND IN OPHEL
(Friday Church News Notes, December 11, 2015, www.wayoflife.org, firstname.lastname@example.org, 866-295-4143)
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has announced the discovery of a clay seal bearing King Hezekiah’s name in an archaeological site that is under the oversight of Eliat Mazar (“Impression of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal Discovered,” Hebrew University, Dec. 2, 2015). The tiny seal (bulla) was found in 2010 in the Ophel at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount, but recently it was more carefully analyzed by Reut ben-Ariyeh. It has a symbol of a two-winged sun, two ankhs, and an inscription in ancient Hebrew that is translated, “Belonging to Hezekiah (son of) Ahaz king of Judah.” The bulla originally sealed a papyrus roll tied with thin cords. The symbols of the winged sun from Assyria and the ankh from Egypt, show the pagan influence that had permeated Israel in that day, even in the court of the good king Hezekiah who led the nation in revival. Doubtless he gave the symbols different meanings than they had in their original pagan context, but the fact remains that he borrowed symbols of idolatrous sun worship. This is the first time a seal bearing the name of a king of Israel was found under a controlled archaeological excavation. Others exist, but they turned up on the antiquities market. The Hezekiah bulla is a wonderful piece of evidence supporting the biblical account of history, but we must not forget that we have a more sure word in Scripture than anything that is retrieved by an archaeologist’s spade.