George L. Kelm

A royal seal stamped this jar handle with the four-winged royal symbol. Above the symbol, the letters lmlk, meaning “belonging to the king,” would normally appear. In this example, however, the stamping was badly done, so that only the lower portion of two letters were successfully impressed. Clearly visible below the royal symbol, the letters mmst spell an obscure place-name that may refer to Jerusalem. Thirty jars of this type, known as lamelech jars because of their identifying inscription, were recovered at Batash in a storage building destroyed in 701 B.C. in the invasion of the Assyrian king Sennacherib. King Hezekiah of Judah produced these storage jars as part of his preparations for the impending invasion. The jars probably contained supplies for the Judahite army.