Mme. Biasi. Courtesy of Cabinet des Medailles

The ring of Hanan, son of Hilkiyahu, the priest. Startling in its completeness, this seventh-century B.C.E. ring may have adorned the finger of the son of the high priest Hilkiyahu (Hilkiah in English Bibles). According to 2 Kings 22:8, Hilkiah found a scroll of the Torah in the Temple during the reign of King Josiah of Judah (639–609 B.C.E.). Today most scholars believe that this scroll was part of the Book of Deuteronomy.

Encrusted with patina, the ring still holds an agate seal with a looping, light blue vein. Five knobs, arranged with three above two on each side of the bezel, decorate the ring. The inscription comprises three lines of mirror-image, paleo-Hebrew writing—reversed on the seal so that the inscription will read correctly when pressed into soft clay (the drawing gives the correct reading of the inscription as it would appear in the clay). The inscription declares: “Belonging to Hanan, son of Hilkiyahu, the priest.”

In a BAR article (“Name of Deuteronomy’s Author Found on Seal Ring,” BAR 13:05), Dr. Josette Elayi suggested that the Hilkiyahu named on this ring may have been the Biblical Hilkiah. In the course of her discussion, she mentioned the genealogy of Azariah son of Hilkiah, an important fact that helped author Tsvi Schneider to make a new identification of a bulla impressed with a seal belonging to a person in the Bible.