A large limestone fragment discoverd in a Jerusalem excavation may show the name of biblical king Hezekiah, according to archaeologist Eli Shukron and epigrapher Gershom Galil. The broken slab measures around 5.5″ x 4″ x 2″ and was found near the Gihon Spring back in 2007. Scholars published the large fragment a year after its discovery but just recently concluded the letters may show a portion of Hezekiah’s name and refer to a “pool.”
These scholars propose the large inscribed fragment was associated with Hezekiah’s water system, described in 2 Kings 20:20. They link this stone to another limestone fragment of similar style, discovered in the same general area back in 1978. The second fragment mentions the “seventeenth” which could refer to a regnal year, such as the seventeenth year of a king’s reign. Together, these two fragments may have been part of the same dedicatory inscription for a water collection pool completed in Hezekiah’s seventeenth year.
The beginning and ending characters of the proposed Hezekiah name are missing, so this proposed interpretation is based on a reconstruction. This is another example of some unwritten rules with biblical inscriptions. 1) The inscription will usually be damaged. 2) The damage will affect the key word(s) relating to the Bible. It can’t be too easy, right?
You may read a fuller description of the announcement here.
Hezekiah’s name has already been found on clay seals (bullae) and in ancient foreign records. If the new interpretation is correct, this fragment would be the first evidence of a monumental inscription erected by a King of Judah.
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