© The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

FROM THE COURT OF ZEDEKIAH? The upper register of this seventh- or early-sixth-century B.C.E. seal is inscribed in ancient Hebrew script with the name “Palta” (in reverse; the drawing beneaeth it shows the correct orientation as it would appear on the seal impression). The lower register depicts the pointed fronds of a palm branch. Separating the two registers is a lotus bud design, a common decorative element on late Judahite seals. The name Palta is a short form of the name Pelatyahu, or Pelatiah in English. The latter appears in the Bible as the name of a high governmental official under King Zedekiah, the last king of Judah (Ezekiel 11:1, 13).