Seal That May Have Belonged To The Prophet Isaiah Unearthed in Jerusalem
Written by Mara Vigevani/TPS
Seal impression (bulla) dating back to the First Temple period and which may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah has been found in Jerusalem, according to Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar.
Her discovery was first reported Thursday in the Biblical Archaeology Review magazine.
A team of archaeologists led by Mazar unearthed the 1.3-centimeter wide oval shape bulla during excavation in an area known as the Ophel located at the foot of the southern wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The bulla was found in an undisturbed Iron Age layer located only 6.5 feet southeast from the wall of the Building of the Royal Bakers, less than 10 feet from where the bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah was found in 2015.
However because of one missing letter, doubts remain as to whether the seal in fact belonged to the prophet Isaiah. The middle register of the seal reads the name Yesha’yah[u] (the Hebrew name of Isaiah) in ancient Hebrew script.The lower register reads “nvy” which are the three first letters of the word for prophet (navi, spelled nun-beit-yod-aleph), missing the last letter, which has probably been deleted while smashing the seal on linen bags.
According to Mazar finding the bulla of the prophet right by that of king Hezekiah “should not come as a surprise,” given that the Bible described the two had a very close relationship.
Isaiah lived in the same period of that of King Hezekiah, the 12th king of the Kingdom of Judah, who ruled from around 727 B.C.E. to around 698 B.C.E.
The names of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are mentioned together in 14 of the 29 times the name of Isaiah is recalled (2 Kings 19–20; Isaiah 37–39). No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah.