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Possible Evidence for Isaiah the Prophet Uncovered

Archaeologist Concedes Lack of Certainty

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Posted on: 
22 Feb 2018
Possible Evidence for Isaiah the Prophet Uncovered
Hebrew University archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar held a press event this week to unveil seal impression from the 8th Century BC, discovered near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, which she said “may have belonged to the prophet Isaiah.” The announcement was made on Wednesday in an article published in the Biblical Archeology Review magazine. The seal is inscribed with an impression of a grazing doe and Hebrew letters spelling out the phrase "l’Yesha’yah[u]" (Belonging to Isaiah) above a fragment which spells out the partial word "nvy" which could be translated as the Hebrew word for “prophet.”

“Because the bulla has been slightly damaged at the end of the word nvy, it is not known if it originally ended with the Hebrew letter aleph, which would have resulted in the Hebrew word for ‘prophet’ and would have definitively identified the seal as the signature of the prophet Isaiah,” Mazar said. “Without an aleph at the end, the word nvy is most likely just a personal name. Although it does not appear in the Bible, it does appear on seals and a seal impression on a jar handle, all from unprovenanced, private collections. The name of Isaiah, however, is clear.”

The bulla was discovered in close proximity to the location where, in 2015, Mazar’s team found an artifact inscribed with the words “King Hezekiah of Judah.”

“If it is the case that this bulla is indeed that of the prophet Isaiah, then it should not come as a surprise to discover this bulla next to one bearing King Hezekiah’s name given the symbiotic relationship of the prophet Isaiah and King Hezekiah described in the Bible,” said Mazar. “The names of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are mentioned in one breath 14 of the 29 times the name of Isaiah is recalled (2 Kings 19–20; Isaiah 37–39). No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah.” However, she continues, “whether or not the bulla we found in the Ophel excavations is the bulla of the prophet Isaiah, it remains, nevertheless, a unique and fantastic discovery. Finding this bulla leads us to consider the personality and the proximity of the prophet Isaiah as one of the closest advisers to King Hezekiah — not only with regard to the events of his time, but also in assessing them from an informed perspective and foreseeing their influence over future events.”


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