A team of archaeologists working in Israel believe they have discovered a clay impression dated to be 2700 years old that bears the seal of the Prophet Isaiah.
The discovery was made as part of excavations being done by Doctor Eilat Mazar of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem at the southern wall of the Temple Mount. Mazar and his team discovered a bulla, or seal impression used a signature to mark clay or wax. The clay impression features a grazing deer and various inscriptions.
In their announcement, Dr. Mazar said, “we appear to have discovered a seal impression, which may have belonged to the Prophet Isaiah, in a scientific, archaeological excavation.”
The bulla, discovered as part of the Ophel Excavations, was found “right outside the royal bakery in undisturbed Iron Age remains.” However, it is not intact. The legible portion has an inscription that reads in Hebrew l’Yesha’yahu, meaning Belonging to Isaiah. The line below is damaged, bearing the partial word nvy, which presumably if intact would spell out prophet.
“Because the bulla has been slightly damaged at the end of the word nvy, it is not known if it originally ended with the Hebrew letter aleph, which would have resulted in the Hebrew word for ‘prophet’ and would have definitively identified the seal as the signature of the prophet Isaiah.”
However, the team is confident that the seal most likely belonged to the Prophet Isaiah because it was found right next to a similar seal belonging to King Hezekiah of Judah.
“We found the eighth-century B.C.E. seal mark that may have been made by the prophet Isaiah himself only 10 feet away from where we earlier discovered the highly-publicized bulla of King Hezekiah of Judah. If it is the case that this bulla is indeed that of the Prophet Isaiah, then it should not come as a surprise to discover this bulla next to one bearing King Hezekiah’s name given the symbiotic relationship of the prophet Isaiah and King Hezekiah described in the Bible.”
Despite the evidence, the team also warned of the possibility that because of the partially intact word, it could just be the last name of someone else.
“The absence of this final letter … requires that we leave open the possibility that it could just be the name Navi. The name of Isaiah, however, is clear.”