Erich Lessing

The Shema seal. A roaring, muscular lion adorns a tenth- or eighth-century B.C.E. seal that reads “(belonging) to Shema, servant of Jeroboam.” Shema was apparently a high-ranking offical in the court of either Jeroboam I, who ruled the northern kingdom of Israel in the late-tenth century B.C.E., or Jeroboam II, king of the northern kingdom from 793–753 B.C.E. The seal pictured here is a replica. The original, made of jasper, was discovered at the beginning of this century by Gotlieb Schumacher, Megiddo’s first excavator, who gave it as a gift to the Turkish Sultan in Constantinople; it subsequently disappeared and its whereabouts today remain a mystery.