Zev Radovan

“Stay in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will go well with you,” the Babylonian-appointed Jewish ruler of Judah, Gedaliah, encourages the army officer Jaazaniah, when he arrives at Mizpah after the fall of Jerusaelm in 586 B.C. (2 Kings 24). Jaazaniah may well have followed Gedaliah’s advice: An onyx seal (with its impression) found in a tomb at Mizpah bears his name: The inscription reads “(Belonging) to Ya’azaniah the servant of the king.” The title servant of the king appears numerous times in the Bible, where it indicates high rank at court.

One of the earliest known depictions of a rooster appears in the bottom register of the seal. A similar fighting cock is engraved on a late-seventh-century B.C. red jasper seal inscribed “Jehoahaz son of the king” (see photograph).