Biblical Names and Seals -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 01:2 (Spring 1988)
Article: Biblical Names and Seals
Author: Anonymous


Biblical Names and Seals

Parchment Sealed With A Bulla

A number of seals and seal impressions (bullae) have come down to us from antiquity which bear the names of biblical personages. These seals and seal impressions fall into two categories: those that were used by a biblical figure himself, or those that were used by an official of a biblical king. Examples of the first category are the seal impressions of Baruch (Jeremiah’s scribe, Jer. 32, 36) and Jerahmeel (a Judean official, Jer. 36:26), and the seal of Seraiah (another Judean official, Jer. 51:59–64).1 An example of the second category is the famous seal of Shema, servant of Jeroboam.2 Although Shema is not mentioned in the Old Testament, he evidently was an official of Jeroboam, a well-known king of Israel. (Whether it was Jeroboam I or Jeroboam II, however, is a matter of debate.) We now have one additional seal and two additional seal impressions which name biblical personages to add to this list of inscriptions from antiquity.

The Seal of Peqah

Although the seal of Peqah is not a recent discovery, its identification as a seal naming a biblical

figure was proposed only recently. The seal was purchased from an antiquities dealer in Nablus at the end of the nineteenth century by biblical scholar Charles Clermont-Ganneau. It now rests in the Vorderasiatische Museum of Berlin. On it a human figure wearing an Egyptian wig, a short tunic and a long mantle faces left. He holds a javelin in his upraised right hand, while his left arm has disappeared in a break. In front of the man stands an unidentified two-pronged object. Engraved behind the figure are the three letters PQH, which are vocalized Peqah. The area of origin and the date of the script suggest that the Peqah of the seal is none other than Peqah, son of Remaliah, of the Old Testament.

Peqah was a salis of Peqahyah, king of the Northern Kingdom. This term is understood to mean an officer of the third rank, below that of the king and his principal officers. Peqah organized a conspiracy against Peqahyah and assassinated-him in his palace at Samaria in ca. 740 BC (2 Kings 15:25). He ruled Israel for 20 years, during which time he “did that which was evil in the sight of the...

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