The Megiddo Seal
There have been numerous seals excavated in Palestine, many having been the seals of ministers and high officials. Some contain personal names of people mentioned in the Bible including kings of Israel and Judah. No seal has been discovered as of yet, which actually belonged to a king of Israel or Judah.
This seal was discovered in 1904 during the earliest excavation of Megiddo, led by Gottlieb Schumacher. This was a seal belonging to a royal minister in the 8th century BC. It is engraved with the figure of a roaring lion (symbol of the kingdom of Judah) with a beautiful curved tail and was skillfully executed. The inscription reads “Shema” on top, and “Servant of Jeroboam” on the bottom.
The inscription actually proclaims the name and rank of its owner, one of the ministers of King Jeroboam II who reigned from 787-747 BC. The word “servant” is the Hebrew word “ebed” and is mentioned in the Bible as one of high dignity in the government. Many seals have been discovered with similar inscriptions like “the servant of the king.”
2 Kings 14:23-25 In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash, king of Judah, Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, and reigned forty-one years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin. Jeroboam means, “may the people grow numerous.” He was Jeroboam II, the son of Joash, king of Israel. The Lord had pity on Israel in the north, according to the prophet Jonah, and allowed Assyria to weaken Damascus and Hamath to relieve Israel of the Syrian yoke. Jeroboam II came in and conquered the territory (II Ki 14). This made the Northern Kingdom powerful and wealthy, although the prophet Amos protested against their boasting. It is interesting that he chose the name Jeroboam, since Jeroboam I was the first King of the Northern Kingdom in the early 10th century BC, who Solomon sought to kill, he fled to Egypt and gained refuge by King Shishak until Solomon died. Jerobaom I was at constant war with the House of David in the south and he is mentioned as the one who had led Israel into idolatry. According to the Bible every king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel was evil.
Excavations at Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, have the enormous wealth that existed in Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II in the eighth century B.C. Excavations reveal that Jeroboam II refortified the city with a double wall, thirty-three feet in width, which made their fortifications so substantial that the mighty Assyrian army took three years to capture the city (2 Kings 17:5). There was a beautiful palace of limestone with a strong rectangular tower massive outer court, the archaeologist, professor Yadin, has said of the buildings uncovered at Hazor and attributed to Jeroboam that they are “among the finest of the entire Israelite period.” This jasper seal discovered at Megiddo no doubt demonstrates the prosperity of Israel during this time.
It is very interesting that the Jasper Seal of Megiddo would contain the symbol for the Southern Kingdom of Judah. But in examining all of the circumstances involved and seeing what the Bible says it is no wonder that the prosperous and victorious Northern Kingdom of Israel would boast with a symbol of their rival. Lets go back just a few verses and see what happened just before Jeroboam II became king: 2 Kings 14:12-14 And Judah was defeated by Israel, and every man fled to his tent. Then Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, the son of Ahaziah, at Beth Shemesh; and he went to Jerusalem, and broke down the wall of Jerusalem from the Gate of Ephraim to the Corner Gate–four hundred cubits. And he took all the gold and silver, all the articles that were found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house, and hostages, and returned to Samaria.
Israel in the north had conquered Judah in the south and carried away the contents of the Jerusalem temple to Samaria, along with titles to large tracts of Judaean land. This would no doubt have made Jeroboam feel that he was entitled to exercise his power over the southern kingdom and use Judah’s symbol as a symbol of his own.
• A seal with the inscription “Abijah the servant of Uzziah,” which is almost identical to the way it is mentioned in the Bible.
• A clay seal on which is written “Ahaz (son of) Jotham King of Judah”
• Another reference is an inscription on a building of the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III stating that “Jehoahaz (Ahaz) of Judah” paid tribute to the Assyrian king.”
• The burial inscription of king Uzziah has been found with instructions not to open the tomb, not bad advice considering that Uzziah was a leper.
• Ration lists have been recovered from Babylon which have the names of Johiachin and his sons who had received rations from the Royal Court.
• It is also interesting to note that the seal of Gedaliah, who was not a king but an appointed governor has also been found
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