Zev Radovan

A galloping horse and the Hebrew inscription “Belonging to ‘Asayahu, servant of the king” decorate this reddish limestone seal, measuring about a half-inch long and dating to the seventh century B.C.E.

Asaiah, the shortened form of the name ‘Asayahu, appears frequently in the Bible, and is twice paired with the title “servant of the king,” designating a high public official (2 Kings 22:12; 2 Chronicles 34:20). Perhaps the owner of this seal was the Asaiah, servant of the king, sent by King Josiah in 622 B.C.E. to the Temple to examine the Scroll of the Law—now identified by scholars as the Book of Deuteronomy—discovered by the high priest Hilkiah.

Ironically, Josiah banned horses as a symbol during his religious reforms: “He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun at the entrance to the House of the Lord” (2 Kings 23:11).