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Photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Seal of Shema - (27 of 44)

A jasper seal portraying a roaring lion, inscribed, "belonging to Shema, servant of Jeroboam".

Shema was apparently a high official of the king of the northern kingdom, either Jeroboam I (931 - 910 BC) or Jeroboam II (793 - 753 BC). It is more likely to be Jeroboam II. "In the fifteenth year of King Amaziah son of Joash of Judah, King Jeroboam son of Joash began to reign in Samaria; he reigned for forty-one years" (2 Kg 14:23).

The original seal was discovered in Megiddo in 1903 when Israel was under the control of the Ottoman Empire. This striking emblem of a powerful lion was sent by the archaeologist excavating Megiddo to the Turkish Sultan in Constantinople, who kept it there in his royal collection. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the original seal was lost. This is a copy of the original seal.