Collection of Israel Antiquities Authority, Exhibited and Photographed Israel Museum

A new identification. While preparing to guide some groups in Jerusalem, the author reread Yigal Shiloh’s publication of the 51 bullae from the City of David and, with his mind primed by the BAR article on the Hanan seal, recognized something no one else had noticed. Another of the City of David bullae, aside from the Gemariah bulla, refers to Biblical personages. Bulla number 27 in Shiloh’s list reads: “Belonging to Azaryaku son of Hilkiyahu.” (The Hebrew word for “son” (ben) is split between the two lines.)

The author identifies this seal impression with the high priest Azariah, son of the high priest Hilkiah (1 Chronicles 6:13 [5:39 in Hebrew], 9:11), who were the grandfather and great-grandfather respectively of Ezra (Ezra 7:1). Azariah succeeded his father in office and so must have served as high priest sometime between 622 B.C.E (the last known date that Hilkiah was in office) and 587/586 B.C.E. (the destruction of the Temple). Because the names match the genealogy, because the bulla dates to the right period and because the bulla comes from the same hoard as the bulla of Gemariah (who was a contemporaneous functionary in the Temple), there can be little doubt that the seal of Biblical Azariah stamped this bulla.