Biblical Archaeology Review 21:6, November/December 1995

Royal Signature: Name of Israel’s Last King Surfaces in a Private Collection

By André Lemaire

The name of the northern kingdom of Israel’s last king has turned up on a beautiful seal from the eighth century B.C.E.! Although the seal did not belong to the king himself, it was the property of one of his high-ranking ministers.

The king is Hoshea (HWSû‘ in Hebrew; the same name as that of the prophet Hosea, but referring to a different person).a Hoshea ruled Israel from 732 or 731 B.C.E. to 722 B.C.E., just before it was destroyed by Assyrian conquest. The minister’s name inscribed on the seal is Abdi (‘BDY), or, to use his full name in English, Obadiah (again, the name of a prophet, but a different person).

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