André Lemaire

The Shema Seal. A fearsome lion was carved into an eighth-century B.C.E. jasper seal, found at Megiddo, inscribed “[Belonging] to Shema servant of Jeroboam.” The seal impression shown here is a replica. The original was discovered at the beginning of this century when Palestine was under Ottoman rule and was presented to the Sultan in Constantinople; it later disappeared, and its whereabouts today remain a mystery.

The owner of that original seal, one Shema, probably served Jeroboam II, king of the northern kingdom of Israel from 784 to 748 B.C.E. A number of seals and one seal impression referring to eighth-century B.C.E. kings have turned up—attesting, for example, to kings Uzziah (769–733 B.C.E.) and Hezekiah (727–698 B.C.E.) of the southern kingdom of Judah—though none of these seals actually belonged to a king.