King Hezekiah is one of the most important kings in the history of Israel. He was crowned king of Judah in 727 BC. His reign witnessed the defining event that engendered the tradition of Jerusalem as the hallowed city of God: the inability of the Assyrian Sennacherib to destroy Jerusalem. This confirmed both Hezekiah and Jerusalem as God’s chosen.
Participation in the episode by the prophet Isaiah, and Hezekiah’s trust in his counsel, are credited with the salvation of Jerusalem from the Assyrian menace.
The Ophel excavation by archaeologists just south of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount has yielded an exciting discovery: bullae (a seal made by the impression of a signet in a soft material, such as clay or lead) of both Hezekiah and Isaiah the prophet. Both bullae, measuring about 0.4 inches in diameter, were stamped with a signet bearing the name of its owner. King Hezekiah’s seal impression mentions his name and the name of his father, Ahaz, in the upper register, as well as Hezekiah’s title as king of Judah in the lower register.
The left end of Isaiah’s bulla is broken off, taking a letter with it. If restored as the author suggests, the middle register identifies “Isaiah,” while the lower register simply states his occupation – “Prophet.” There are alternative views of the text of the Isaiah bulla, so the final interpretation must await further research.
In 2 Kings 19-20 and Isaiah 37-39, the names of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah are mentioned together fourteen of the twenty-nine times the name of Isaiah is recalled. No other figure was closer to King Hezekiah than the prophet Isaiah. The discovery of their bullae, if authenticated, would be another confirmation of the historicity of the biblical record.
Source: Biblical Archaeology Review, March/April/May/June 2018, Vol. 44, Nos. 2 & 3, pp. 64-73.