Biblical Queen Jezebel’s official seal confirmed

November 14th, 2007 - 2:04 am ICT by admin  
For four decades the signet has been on display at the museum as item IDAM 65-321, without accurate historical context.

Israeli archaeologists had suspected Jezebel was the owner of the seal since it was first documented in 1964.

“Did it belong to Ahab’s Phoenician wife? Though fit for a queen, coming from the right period and bearing a rare name documented nowhere other than in the Hebrew Bible, we can never know for sure,” wrote the late pioneering archaeologist Nahman Avigad of the seal, which he obtained through the antiquities market.

Avigad’s cautious approach stemmed from the fact that the seal did not come from an officially-approved excavation. It was thought to come from Samaria in the ninth century BC, but there was no way of knowing for certain where it had been found.

This was also what Dutch researcher Marjo Korpel - a theologian and Ugaritologist from Utrecht University and a Protestant minister tried to answer.

In her paper, scheduled to appear in the Biblical Archaeology Review, Korpel listed observations pertaining to the seal’s symbolism, unusual size, shape, and time period.

By way of elimination, she showed Jezebel as the only plausible owner.

She also explained how two missing letters from the seal actually pointed to the Phoenician shrew.

“As a minister, I never speak of coincidence, but my research happened by chance. I was asked to deliver a paper on female embodiment. I’m not much of a feminist, but I’d written on the imagery of the seal,” the daily Haaretz quoted Korpel, as saying.

Korpel said she had probably seen the seal years before on a visit to the Israel Museum, but only much later did it spark her interest.

“The missing letters on the top intrigued me. I was used to reconstructing broken texts from earlier research,” she said.

“True, there is no way of knowing for sure where the seal came from. Theoretically, it could come from anywhere. But speaking as a private person, I am in my mind 99 percent sure that it belonged to Jezebel,” she added.

The seal is expected to be put on display at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem when it reopens after renovation work currently under way is finished. (ANI)

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