Archaeology

Seal of Miqneyaw

Date: 8th century B. C.

 

Most of are familiar with the "wax seal." Now-days it is still sometimes used to give documents a special stamp. For example a graduation certificate or certificate of appreciation are often decorated with it.

Archaeologists have often found seals on the ground in Israel. Sometimes the seal will mention who the owner was. For example, the seals of Biblical rulers like Ahaz, Hezekiah and queen Jezebel have been found. A seal bearing the name of the prophet Jeremiah’s secretary, Baruch, has also been found. Seals could have different shapes; sometime they were round and had images. These were called cylinder seals. Mostly they had the image of a scarab, like the one seen in our image. The little seal could be part of a ring, carried by the owner. Instead of writing a signature on a document, a small amount of soft wax or clay was put on the document and after the agreement the seal was pushed in the wax or clay - it was now real and legal. Sometimes a seal was used to close a document, for example a certificate or a last will - see Daniel 12:9. Someone who was given a royal seal (by the king) could issue royal decrees - see Esther 8:2, 8 and 10.

The image shows a seal made of jasper. It's dimensions are only 11,5 x 7,5 x 4,5 millimetres.

 

Facsimile made by B. Bonte

 

To give you an idea of the actual size..

 

On this small stone, we see a mirror image of text engraved in very small ancient Hebrew consonants. It is almost unreadable but experts, after an accurate examination, are in agreement that what is written is:

lmqnyw ‘bd . yhwh

translation: (belonging) to miqneyaw servant of JHWH

The result of the seal print:

 

It is probably Mikneiah the Levite who played the harp as the “Ark of the covenant”, in a great moment of joy lead by king David, was brought to Jerusalem - see 1 Chronicles 15:18, 21 and 28.

Additional note:
The Bible, besides the literal use of seals, also mentions symbolic seals, for example in Revelation 5:1(-5). Opening or breaking the seals brings symbolic plagues over the world. Also certain people, who have received God’s approval, are regarded as 'sealed'. - see Revelation 7:4 and Haggaï 2:23.

 

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