The Uzziah Seals

Credit:, Louvre Museum

Historically speaking, the land of the Philistines was concentrated in the southwestern corner of the southern Levant, and encompassed towns with names familiar to modern ears, names such as Gaza, Ashkelon and Ashdod. In Exodus 13, after freeing the Israelites from servitude in Egypt, God steered Israel away from the northeastern route that led to the Philistine country. “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, if they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt. So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea.”

2 Chronicles 26 tells of a king of Judah that did enter the Philistine region and defeated the Philistines. “Then all the people of Judah took Uzziah

, who was sixteen years old, and made him king in place of his father Amaziah…He went to war against the Philistines and broke down the walls of Gath, Jabneh and Ashdod. He then rebuilt towns near Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines. God helped him against the Philistines and against the Arabs who lived in Gur Baal and against the Meunites.”

In the ancient Near East, seals were used for administrative matters, for ensuring communications were authenticated and for record keeping. And two seals appear to be linked to this King Uzziah. King Uzziah is acknowledged on different ancient seals. One seal belonged to a “Shebnayau servant of Uzziyau.” Another seal, this one containing an Egyptian style motif, belonged to Abiyau servant of Uzziyau. These seals appear to be dated to the 8th century BCE, which accords with scholarly estimates of the reign of King Uzziah in the 8th century BCE.

The Shebnayau servant of Uzziyau seal is shown in the image above. It is housed at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.