Robert Deutsch

A lucky break came in 2007 when a fragmentary bulla appeared on the antiquities market with the words “Shebnayahu” and “king” inscribed on it in Hebrew. It is plain to see that this bulla was made by the same seal as the one in the Lachish hoard. The stratigraphy of the Lachish finds, as well as the shape of the juglet and the paleography of the two inscriptions, all point to a date of late eighth or early seventh century B.C.E.—the same time as King Hezekiah and the tomb inscription. Because all court officials—even the high-ranking ones—held the title “servant of the king,” these bullae and the tomb overlooking Jerusalem’s Kidron Valley very likely belonged to the same Shebna who was berated by the prophet Isaiah.