(Investigator 121, 2008 July)

In ancient times "seals" protected documents and identified the owner. A scroll would be tied with a string, soft clay pressed over the string, and the seal pressed onto the clay to leave an impression.

Seals were usually 1 to 3 centimetres long and carved out of limestone, bone, bronze, semi-precious stone, silver or glass. Some were attached to signet rings.

Thousands of seals and bullae (seal impressions) with Hebrew inscriptions have been found – but only 35 belong to women. Queens, princesses and very prominent females owned seals.

What then if an impressive 3-centimetre long seal engraved with Egyptian-Phoenician symbols of royalty and divinity also contains a rare Phoenician female-name that’s in the Bible?

Biblical Archaeology Review discusses such a seal with the letters YZBL – the biblical spelling of Jezebel – and concludes that this is the seal of Queen Jezebel. (March/April 2008, pp 32-39, 80)

The biblical Jezebel was daughter of King Ethbaal of Phoenicia and wife of King Ahab (king of Israel in the mid-9th century BCE).

Jezebel worshipped the god Baal, influenced Ahab to support this Phoenician cult (I Kings 16:31-33; 21:25), and began killing the prophets of Israel (I Kings 18:4), which led to the famous confrontation between Elijah and the priests of Baal on Mount Carmal. (I Kings 18:17-40)

Another time Ahab wanted a neighboring vineyard to enlarge his palace grounds but the owner refused to sell. Therefore Jezebel had the owner stoned to death. Elijah then predicted judgment on Jezebel stating that she would be eaten by dogs. (I Kings 21) How this occurred is recorded in II Kings 9.

The Jezebel seal came to scholarly attention in the early 1960s but the world's top paleographers (experts in ancient script) disagree on whether the writing on the seal is 9th century BCE or later.

For the present Jezebel joins my list of 64 other Old Testament characters archaeologically confirmed or tentatively confirmed. (Investigator 61 & 117)



(Investigator 122, 2008 September)

In Investigator 121 I wrote: "For the present Jezebel joins my list of 64 other Old Testament characters archaeologically confirmed or tentatively confirmed." The word "other" implies a new total of 65 and is misleading since I included Jezebel in the previous count (in #61) which totalled 64.

Nevertheless the 64 are now 66.

On the site where Israeli archaeologist Ailat Mazar in 2005 discovered what could be King David’s Palace (#106, p. 49) she also, according to Internet reports, discovered clay bulla (signet ring impressions) bearing the names "Yehuchal Ben Shelemiah" and "Gedaliah Ben Pashhur" two names mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah.

Y[J]ehuchal (=Jucal) was an official of King Zedekiah about 600 BCE. (Jeremiah 37:3; 38:1-5)

Gedaliah, likewise, was an official. (Jeremiah 38:1)

We have 66 persons now confirmed, or tentatively confirmed, out of almost 2,900 named in the Old Testament. Since none of the 2900 are disproved this suggests a trend that will continue.


"Anonymous" attempts to prove the Bible with scientific evidence and inductive reasoning on this website: