Seal of Jezebel

Seal of Jezebel, stone, 9th–8th cent. BCE. Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

This large stone seal contains Egyptian symbols that were often used in Phoenicia in the late ninth or eighth century BCE. At the top is a crouching winged sphinx with a woman’s face and (part of) a female Isis/Hathor crown. The body of the sphinx is a lioness.To the left is an Egyptian ankh, the sign of life. A line then divides these symbols from a lower register. Below the line is a winged disk. Below this is a falcon flanked by two uraeus, the cobra most commonly seen on the headdresses of Egyptian royalty and divinities. A lotus lies at the feet of the falcon which refers to regeneration but also is a typical female symbol generally connected to women, but especially royal women. The seal has the letters YZBL on it in the paleo-Hebrew script used before the Babylonian exile so attempts have been made to link it to Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab of Israel. Although the circumstances of its discovery are not known this seal was donated to the Israel Department of Antiquities in the 1960s and is on display in the Israel Museum.


Of or relating to ancient lower Mesopotamia and its empire centered in Babylon.

general condition of living away from ones homeland or specifically the Babylonian captivity

The Egyptian goddess of love and fertility.

A West Semitic language, in which most of the Hebrew Bible is written except for parts of Daniel and Ezra. Hebrew is regarded as the spoken language of ancient Israel but is largely replaced by Aramaic in the Persian period.

A powerful ancient Egyptian goddess whose purview included maternity, magic, and the Pharaoh's lineage.

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