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2 Kings 18:1-3  In the third year of Hoshea son of Elah, king of Israel, Hezekiah the son of Ahaz, king of Judah, began to reign. 2 He was twenty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. 3 And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, according to all that David his father had done. (ESV)

Professor Avigad, a distinguished epigrapher, published a book in 1986 titled Hebrew Bullae from the Time of Jeremiah: Remnants of a Burnt Archive.  The book featured a hoard of bullae discovered from the time of Jeremiah, preserved by the fires that destroyed Jerusalem in 586 BC.  He always hoped to find a seal or bullae of a Judahite king, not knowing that one of the bullae featured in his book was just such a find.

Avigad’s bulla was unreadable since most of the inscription had been destroyed.  In 2001, however, a more complete bulla bearing the same seal impression was discovered.  This bulla made it clear that Avigad’s bulla bore the seal of Hezekiah, king ofJudah.

A total of eight bullae have been discovered bearing the name of Hezekiah.  Six picture a two-winged scarab (dung beetle) pushing a ball of mud or dung, and two bullae picture a two-winged sundisk.  All have the identical inscription: “Belonging to Hezekiah [son of] Ahaz, King of Judah.”  One of the bullae still contains the imprint of the papyrus and string.

Hezekiah reigned from 728-699 BC, so the bullae date to last quarter of the 8th century BC.

Significance:

  1. This is the second extra-biblical reference to Hezekiah, confirming him as king ofJudah.
  2. This find puts us in much closer touch to the Biblical king than a mere mention of his name in extra-biblical documents/artifacts.  This was the seal he himself used to certify official court documents!
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