Another clay seal (bulla) bearing the name of a Biblical person has been unearthed in the City of David. The tiny clay seal was found in the remains of a large housing structure that had been destroyed by fire in the sixth century B.C. The seal reads, “[belonging to] Nathan-Melech, Servant of the King.” Nathan-Melech appears once in the Bible, in 2 Kings 23:11, and is said to be an official in the court of King Josiah.

Is this the man who owned the stamp that created this seal?  While it can’t be proven, several factors favor this identification. First, it was discovered in a large building that one would expect to be owned by a wealthy, powerful individual. Secondly, the bulla is dated to the middle of the 7th to the beginning of the 6th century B.C.  This fits perfectly with Josiah’s reign (641-610 B.C.). Thirdly, the man’s surname is not provided, indicating that he was very well known. This, too, fits with a high-ranking official in the king’s court.

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