Archaeologists working in the old part of Jerusalem uncovered what some believe might be the seal (bulla) impression of the prophet Isaiah.
A person pressed their bulla into soft clay or wax leaving an image that verified a document was from them. In one sense it was a confirming signature of authenticity.
Due to damage (top half missing, left side worn), they can’t be absolutely certain it belongs to the Prophet Isaiah.
But here is what they do know. The small seal contains an image of a doe found in the top third and largely missing portion. A grazing doe was a traditional sign of blessing.
The middle part of the round clay impression contains the Hebrew name for Isaiah “Yesha’yah(u), missing the “u” due to damage. Then beneath that but on the worn left side is the word “nvy.” If the letter “aleph” was added at the end of “nvy” it would read “navi” translated “prophet” and essentially would say the bulla belonged to the Prophet Isaiah.
However, if there was no “aleph” at the end, it might mean that this person was part of the Novi family.
What is remarkable about this particular bella is that there is also a finger print embedded in the clay, which could belong to the prophet Isaiah. The back contains a cloth impression indicating it was sealing a package of some sort.
Though it can’t be absolutely certain this is Isaiah’s bulla, lets look at the evidence that suggests it is.
Typically a bulla was only used by a person of importance. We know from the Bible that Isaiah prophesied during the reign of King Hezekiah who ruled between 727BC and 698BC. The prophet had personal access to the King and at one point visited Hezekiah to give a prophetic word that he would die from a boil (Isaiah 38).
Lead archaeologist Dr. Eilat Mazar said Isaiah and Hezekiah are mentioned together in the same verse 14 times as Isaiah played an important counselor role to the king.
We also know that Isaiah did not always deliver his prophetic words verbally, there were times he sent letters to King Hezekiah that would need a seal to confirm its authenticity.
20 Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says Yahweh the God of Israel, ‘What you have prayed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria I have heard. 21 This is the word that Yahweh has spoken concerning him: (2 Kings 19:2–21 NASV)
Secondly, the seal was discovered at the level in the excavation during the 8th century BC when Isaiah ministered as a prophet and less than 10′ away from the spot where they found a confirmed bulla of King Hezekiah.
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