Israeli archaeologists have unearthed a seal impression belonging to a minister of the biblical King Zedekiah, which dates back 2,600 years, during an archeological dig in Jerusalem's ancient City of David. The finding helps corroborate the story pertaining to the biblical minister's demand to have the prophet Jeremiah killed.
The seal impression, or bulla, with the name Gedalyahu ben Pashur, who served as minister to King Zedekiah (597-586 BCE) according to the Book of Jeremiah, was found completely intact just meters away from a separate seal impression of another of Zedekia's ministers, Yehukual ben Shelemyahu, which was unearthed three years ago.
Both ministers are mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 38 1-4) along with two other ministers when they came to King Zedekiah demanding the death of the prophet Jeremiah for preaching to the besieged city to surrender.
The impressions, measuring 1 cm in diameter each, were found among the debris of the destruction of the First Temple period, by an excavation team led by Prof. Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
The excavation at the history-rich City of David, which is located just outside the walls of the Old City near Dung Gate, has proven, in recent years, to be a treasure trove for archeologists.
"Only rarely do archeologists come across findings of significant figures in history, which help lift the dust of history and bring the biblical story to life in such a tangible way," Mazar said.
The letters are in ancient Hebrew and are very clearly preserved, Mazar added.
This is not the first time seals were unearthed at the City of David site. In 1982, the Israeli archeologist Yigal Shiloh discovered a cache of bullae in a nearby site, including one with the name of Gemaryahu ben Shaphan - mentioned in the Bible as a minister and scribe during the reign of King Jehoiakim (608-597 BCE).
The current dig is being conducted on behalf of the Shalem center, a Jerusalem research institute, and the right-wing City of David Foundation, and was carried out under the academic auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.