A Seal Ring bearing King Hezekiah's found in Jerusalem excavation, with ankh symbol and winged sun
prologos: It was not a ring that was found, but a seal impression, formerly attached to a documentThanks for the clarification. It makes a difference.
Fulltimestudent, thanks for the interesting article. Concerning sun worship in ancient Israel, this is what an archaeologist, Richard Hess, had to say on the subject:
The sun deity was subsumed by Yahweh, who took on its characteristics. The actual symbol of the sun in the form of a winged sun disk became a later symbol of the Judean monarchy.
The divine sun appears in names such as Samson and Beth-Shemesh. It is personified in Psalm 19:6 [Heb. 7]. Samson may be a solar hero. His name is derived from the Hebrew word for sun and he is associated with places such as Beth-Shemesh. There is also the association of the sun with a strong man in Psalm 19:4-5 [Heb. 5-6], and the contrast with Delilah, whose name sounds like the Hebrew word for night (laylâ).
Elsewhere, sun worship may be identified with Yahweh in texts such as 1 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 23:5, 11; and Ezek. 8:16. The latter references are noted by Day (2000, 156) as placing sun worship in the Jerusalem temple. Job 38:7 identifies the sun as part of the host of heaven or of the sons of God. These texts are supported by the identification of sun imagery with Yahweh in personal names, by pictures of the sun in iconography of the Judean kingdom, and by artistic representations from in and around Palestine… the collective data presents a significant case for some sort of relationship between Yahweh and sun imagery.
 John Day, Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament: Supplement Series 265 (2000). Sheffield Academic Press.
 See Richard S. Hess, Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey, pp. 76, 243 n. 121.
Thank you all for a fascinating Thread, what a pity that any JW's capable of understanding the significance of this Info. will not come across it.
(I hope that most of those capable of understanding this have already left !).
This archaeological finding further supports the assertion that ancient civilizations plagiarized mythical beliefs from distinctly separate civilizations toward creating something inherently unique to themselves.
Yes that includes the ancient Hebrews of Judea.
Being that Egypt was the dominant civilization of that area and era makes it further probable that outside civilizations drew some its mythological beliefs from out that civilization.
That being said this supposed seal might have been devised as a usable seal to be used between one King to another, a seal of certification as it were, that a given message was realy from whom it was made and directed to. ???
I FREAK'N LOVE archeology.
It would be fascinating to explore places that have not been seen in thousands of years, dig up old relics.
I watch documentaries on this stuff all the time. That ring is such a cool find.
Funkelstein: "That being said this supposed seal might have been devised as a usable seal to be used between one King to another, a seal of certification as it were, that a given message was realy from whom it was made and directed to. ?? Yeah, like the BC version* of the original evolving "red phone" system of emergency communication between Khrushchev and Kennedy. They shredded the document, but the stamped seal survived, let's test the material, whether it came from Egypt or Babylon. * or NS version
Vinqun, most people may not know that the city you mentioned Beth-Shamesh is the Egyptian city of On also known as Heliopolis. As one studies the Bible writings it become clear that not all these writings were about one god but what ever God the writer was worshipping, then later the writing was used describe just the God the redactors wanted. Hezekiah s God looks like he was Ra. he was also the God of whoever wrote Malachi chapter 4. But Christians aren't supposed to figure this stuff out.
Crazyguy, that's why Hess's book is called "Israelite Religions." There were many, similar to our day. Because the worship of Yahweh became the state religion, all others were supressed and/or eclipsed. The Israelites probably borrowed the name Beth-Shemesh from On. You might be referring to Jeremiah's prophecy (43:10-13) where he prophesizes that Nebuchadrezzar would overrun Egypt and "break to pieces the pillars of Beth-shemesh, which is in the land of Egypt." That would be the original Beth-Shemesh. This is what Day (and Hess) has to say concerning Beth-Shemesh of Palestine:
Day (2000, 152) identifies this site (Josh. 15:10) with Ir-Shemesh (Josh. 19:41) and Har-heres (Judg. 1:35). Day also notes En-Shemesh (Josh. 15:7; 18:17) in Judah and Timnath-serah (Josh. 19:50; 24:30) in Ephraim. He also notes Shamash-Edom in Thutmose III's fifteenth-century BC Palestinian town list.
Political moves and Assyrian invasion
When Sargon II, the king of Assyria, died in 705 B.C., states, including Judah, that were subject to Assyria saw an opportunity to throw off their subservience to the Assyrian kings. Hezekiah ceased to pay the tribute imposed on his father, and entered into a league with Egypt. In 703 B.C. Sennacherib, Sargon's son and successor, began a series of major campaigns to quash opposition to Assyrian rule. After dealing with rebels in the eastern part of the realm, in 701 B.C. the king turned toward those in the west. Though Hezekiah expected the Egyptians to come to his aid, they did not, and Hezekiah had to face the invasion of Judah by Sennacherib.
I remember a W.T.article way back , that commented on the scripture " the stones would cry out" Luke 19:40 , and giving the explanation that Archaelology / Geology could be the reason for that scripture shedding more light on the Bible in this day and age.
That is of course only if the discoveries fit in with there interpretations of Bible scriptures .
Classic , overlapping generations .