An archaeological review that I follow recently announced the discovery of two clay seals. I was excited to see this, because these seals, found in Jerusalem, relate directly to my essay on Jeremiah 36. These seals bring to life the many scribes and ministers at King Zedekiah’s court from the book of Jeremiah and remind us that the text of Jeremiah is not divorced from the real world and society in which it was written.
“The first of the clay bullae, which surfaced during Mazar’s excavation of what may be King David’s palace, bears the name ‘Yehuchal [or Jehucal] ben Shelemyahu [Shelemiah].’ The second was found in the First Temple period strata underneath what has been identified as Nehemiah’s Northern Tower, just a few yards away from the first, and reads ‘Gedalyahu [Gedaliah] ben Pashur.'”
These are the exact names of two ministers identified in chapter 36 as Jeremiah’s captors:
“Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jehukal son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur son of Malkijah heard what Jeremiah was telling all the people. . . . So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah. . . .” Jer. 38:1-6.
The seals were discovered by Israeli archaeologist Eliat Mazar. They will be on display at Herbert W. Armstrong College through October 16, 2012.