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eighteen years. In the parallel place, he is said to be only eight years old; but this must be a mistake, for we find that having reigned only three months, he was carried captive to Babylon, and there had wives; and had he been of such a tender age, it could scarcely have been said that, as a king, 'he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.'
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The discovery of King Hezekiah’s Royal Seal impression in the Ophel excavations vividly brings to life the Biblical narratives about King Hezekiah and the activity conducted during his lifetime in Jerusalem's Royal Quarter.
Hezekiah is depicted as both a resourceful and daring king, who centralized power in his hands. Although he was an Assyrian vassal, he successfully maintained the independent standing of the Judean Kingdom and its capital Jerusalem, which he enhanced economically, religiously, and diplomatically.
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"Although seal impressions bearing King Hezekiah's name have already been known from the antiquities market since the middle of the 1990s, some with a winged scarab (dung beetle) symbol and others with a winged sun, this is the first time that a seal impression of an Israelite or Judean king has ever come to light in a scientific archaeological excavation," said Dr. Eilat Mazar, a leading Jerusalem archaeologist whose landmark discoveries include at the foot of the Temple Mount.
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The seal impression was found during the wet-sifting of earth layers from the excavation in the Emek-Zurim wet-sifting facility, directed by Dr. Gabriel Barkai and Zachi Dvira, under the auspices of the Nature and Parks Authority and the Ir David Foundation. The bulla was discovered by Efrat Greenwald, a member of the Ophel expedition, who supervised the wet-sifting of the excavation material. Reut Ben-Aryeh, who prepared the Hebrew bullae from the Ophel excavations for publication, was the first to identify it as a seal impression of King Hezekiah. Students and alumni of Herbert W. Armstrong College from Edmond, Oklahoma participated in the excavation.
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King Hezekiah is considered one of Judea's most righteous kings, and is described favorably in the Bible (II Kings, Isaiah, II Chronicles) as well as in the chronicles of the Assyrian kings - Sargon II and his son Sennacherib - who ruled during his reign.
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The Bible relates of Hezekiah that "there was none like him among all the kings of Judah after him, nor among those before him" (II Kings 18:5).
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The symbols on the seal impression from the Ophel suggest that they were made late in his life, when both the Royal administrative authority and the King's personal symbols changed from the winged scarab (dung beetle) - the symbol of power and rule that had been familiar throughout the Ancient Near East, to that of the winged sun - a motif that proclaimed God's protection, which gave the regime its legitimacy and power, also widespread throughout the Ancient Near East and used by the Assyrian Kings.