It was mixed in with the rubble of a drainage tunnel from the Roman era located very close to the Western Wall of the Temple Mount. Made from semiprecious stone, the seal was identified during the careful process of students sifting the rubble.
Personal seals like the one found were used to sign letters and other documents and were usually attached to a signet ring (“Hebrew Seal Bearing the Name ‘Matanyahu’ Uncovered in Jerusalem,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 1, 2012).
According to translation, Matanyahu means “giving to God”—the ending yahu denoting the divine name Yahweh (“First Temple Period ‘Matanyahu’ Seal Discovered in Jerusalem,” BiblicalArchaeology.com, May 2, 2012). The Bible shows that the name, rendered in most English versions as Mattaniah, was in common use during the period (2 Kings 24:17 2 Kings 24:17And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father’s brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
American King James Version×; 1 Chronicles 9:15 1 Chronicles 9:15And Bakbakkar, Heresh, and Galal, and Mattaniah the son of Micah, the son of Zichri, the son of Asaph;
American King James Version×; 25:4; 25:16).
A find like this reinforces the accuracy of the biblical record. To learn more, download or request our free booklet Is the Bible True?