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.
- This is the second extra-biblical reference to Hezekiah, confirming him as king ofJudah.
- 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!