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Jezebel Still Making Trouble
An artefact potentially belonging to the biblical Queen Jezebel is the subject of controversy.

The archaeological world is crackling with news that a four-centimetre, 2,900-year-old seal has been linked to Queen Jezebel of biblical infamy. If the intricate seal, with the inscription "YZBL"  really did belong to her, it means she would have been one of a handful of women in ancient royalty who could operate independently of her husband. Certainly, the Old Testament portrays the Phoenician woman as a strong, virulently evil, influence on her pantywaist liege, the Jewish King Ahab.

The chipped seal had been lingering among the artefacts of the Israel Antiquities Authority for four decades, when a professor from the University of Utrecht studied its markings and concluded that it most likely belonged to the ancient queen. Marjo Korpel told the Jerusalem Post, "You can never say 100 percent sure, but I am 90 percent sure." The picture on the right explains where the letters would be on the seal, and how that would spell the queen's name.

Korpel expounds on her theory in this month's Biblical Archeology Review, where the editor talks about scholars who are already piling on to refute her view, saying the little seal could not be from the ninth century BC, as Jezebel was. There's a blow-by-blow of the controversy at Higgaion.

Jennifer Green is the religion writer for the Ottawa Citizen.

Originally published on the website, The Search for Meaning, March 27, 2008.




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