LMLK stands for the Hebrew letters Lamedh-Mem-Lamedh-Kaf (𐤋𐤌𐤋𐤊 or למלך, Lamelekh). It can be translated as "[belonging] to the king" (of Judah), "[belonging] to King" (name of a person or deity), "[belonging] to the government" (of Judah), or "[to be sent] to the King." LMLK seal impressions are found in and around Jerusalem on fragmented jar handles interpreted as royal stamps that may be referring to a Biblical king of Judah. None of the original seals have been found, but about 2,000 impressions (also referred to as stamps) made by at least 21 seal types have been published.
The 3-letter noun "MLK" is a segolate, meaning that it is pronounced with two "e" vowels (or segols as in "MeLeK") and is accented on the first syllable contrary to normal Hebrew accentuation. The first letter, "L", is a preposition with a wide range of meaning, including "to", "for", "of", etc. "MLK" derives from a verbal root meaning "to rule". When joined with a noun that is intended to be definite, the preposition is pronounced with an "a" vowel plus a lengthening of the following consonant. But the definiteness of the noun is not indicated in the consonantal text of these seals.
Table of letters
Types of LMLK seals:
- Lasting Impressions: New bullae reveal Egyptian-style emblems on Judah's royal seals by Robert Deutsch for Biblical Archaeology Review, Volume 28, Number 4, July/August 2002, Pp 42-51, 60
- LMLK Wikipedia
- LMLK Dotcom LMLK Resource Site