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Onyx Seal, c. 586 BCE

Onyx_Seal

Onyx Seal

Excavations between 1926 and 1935 by Badé at Mizpah, Tell en Nasbeh.

Stratum 2 begins shortly after 586 BCE and ends about 400 BCE.

“Stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you,” the Babylonian-appointed Jewish ruler of Judah, Gedaliah, encourages the army officer Jaazaniah, when he arrives at Mizpah after the fall of Jerusaelm in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24). Jaazaniah may well have followed Gedaliah’s advice- An onyx seal (with its impression) found in a tomb at Mizpah bears his name- The inscription reads “(Belonging) to Ya’azaniah the servant of the king.” The title servant of the king appears numerous times in the Bible, where it indicates high rank at court.

One of the earliest known depictions of a rooster appears in the bottom register of the seal. A similar fighting cock is engraved on a late-seventh-century B.C. red jasper seal inscribed “Jehoahaz son of the king.”

Mizpah- Newly Discovered Stratum Reveals Judah’s Other Capital, Jeffrey R. Zorn, BAR 23-05, Sep-Oct 1997.

BAR Jul-Aug 1997, p. 69.

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