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Lachish 4: Military Reports (3.42C)

(595 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Hebrew Letters Lachish 4: Military Reports (3.42C) Subject: Jer 36:23; Josh 7:24; Judg 13:19; 1 Kgs 17:19; Jer 39:5; Judg 20:38, 40; Jer 6:1; Jer 34:7 Salutation (lines 1) May Yahweh give you good news at this time. General Statement ( lines 2–4) And now, your servant has done everything my lord sent (me word to do). I have written down j everything you sent me (word to do). Report on Bet-HRPD ( lines 4–6) As regards what my lord said about Bet-HRPD, there is no one there. The Semakyahu Situation ( line…

The Mibtahiah Archive (471–410 bce) (3.P141)

(513 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Egyptian Aramaic Commentary In 1904, eleven Aramaic papyri were acquired from a dealer in Aswan by the British benefactors Lady William Cecil ( COS COSB.3.60, COSB.3.64, COSB.3.68, and half of COSB.3.63) and Mr. (later Sir) Robert Mond (COSB.3.61–62, COSB.3.65–67, and half of COSB.3.63) and by the Bodleian Library in Oxford (COSB.3.59). The Cecil-Mond papyri are housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and all were publis…

Aramaic Ostraca (3.WS.D.1)

(909 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Miscellaneous Texts Commentary Egyptian Aramaic ceramic inscriptions are scattered in over a dozen different places throughout the world (New York, Oxford, Cambridge, London, Paris, Strasbourg, Munich, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, Cairo, Elephantine, and Jerusalem). So far 118 have been published, almost all from Achaemenid Elephantine, and these may be divided into six categories: letters ( TAD D7.1–57), accounts ( TAD D8.1–13), lists ( TAD D9.1–15), abecedaries ( TAD D10.1–2), jar insc…

Arad 24: Military Movements (3.43K)

(470 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Hebrew Letters Arad 24: Military Movements (3.43K) Subject: 2 Sam 18:2; Jer 40:7; Gen 42:4; Deut 8:19; 32:46; 1Sam22:6; 2 Sam 1:11; 17:12; Jer 41:2, 7 […]1 from Arad five2 and from Qinah […] and send them to Ramat-negeb under j Malkiyahu son of Qerabur. He is to hand them over to k Elisha son of Yirmeyahu at Ramat-negeb3 lest anything happen l to the city. This is an order from the king — a life-and-death matter for you. I send (this message) to warn you now: m The (se) men (must be) with n Elisha4…

A Record of Hire (3.137B)

(191 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Rental and Hire Transactions Commentary The text originates from Nippur and dates to the Ur III period (8th year of Šu-Sin, 12th month, ca. 2030 BCE). A Record of Hire (3.137B) (lines 1–6) Geme-Nungal and Šu-Durul, her son, received from Lugal-azida 1 shekel of silver, the wages of Ur-Iškur.1 (lines 7–14) Before Ur-Iškur, before 〈PN〉, son of Ur-Sin, before Lu-Iškur, (and) before Tulta, son of Lugal-hegal, they swore by the name of the king to measure out 6 l…

The King to Kaššū In Tapikka 5 (HKM 5) (3.17)

(196 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Hittite Archival Documents; Letters; Middle Hittite Period (ca. 1450–1350 BCE) The King to Kaššū In Tapikka 5 ( HKM 5) (3.17) Thus speaks His Majesty: Say to Kaššū: ( 3) Concerning the fact that you took the cattle of the city of Kašipūra and distributed them in the district of EN-tarawa1: ( 7) From now on you must not levy veteran troops and auxiliary troops2 out of the district of EN-tarawa. Let him keep the aforementioned cattle. But let him not fail in his work. Bibliographical References Text:  HKM 5. Edition:  HBM 126f. Note…

A Problem with Rations (RS 29.095) (3.45II)

(626 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Ugaritic Letters; Between Non-Royal Correspondents (35) A Problem with Rations (RS 29.095) (3.45II) 1 Address (lines 1–2) Message of Talmiyānu: To Pizziya say: Greetings and Double Return of News Formula ( lines 3–8) May it be well with you. May the gods keep you well, may they guard you. Here with me it is w[el]l. There with you 〈whatever well-being there may be〉, return word (of that) to me.2 What to Do about Rations ( lines 9–19) Now listen well: As ʿDN has been continually request…

Offer to Sew a Garment (3.87C)

(914 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Miscellaneous Texts; Aramaic Ostraca Commentary Discovered by Jean Clédat on March 20, 1907 and published by Dupont-Sommer in 1945 (Clermont-Ganneau 70), this is the only ostracon letter addressed “to my lord” by “your servant.” For this reason it contains not only one but two opening blessings and a concluding wish for well-being. All three formulae are closely paralleled in the nearly contemporary Makkibanit (Hermopolis) le…

Sale of a Town (AT 52) (3.99B)

(482 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This is one of several texts at Alalakh from Level VII in which towns are bought and sold (see  AT 53–58). In this case a woman and her son, and therefore the one living heir, sell the town of Iburia to Yarimlim of Alalakh. The sale of towns recalls their use in payment from Solomon to Hiram (1 Kgs 11:11) and as a wedding gift from pharaoh to Solomon (1 Kgs 9:16–17). See also  AT 1 ( COS COSB.2.127) and  AT 456 ( COS COSB.2.137). Sale of a Town ( AT 52) (3.99B) Subject: Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 1…

A Functional Courtcase (3.142)

(289 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary Functional court cases are well-attested for both Old Sumerian and neo-Sumerian periods. See in detail Edzard 1968 and Falkenstein 1956 respectively. 2. A Functional Courtcase (3.142) Subject: Gen 17:12f, 23, 27; Lev 22:11 William W. Hallo (1) A completed judgment: (2–4) Shesh-kalla the son of Ur-Lamma declared here: “I am not the slave of Ur-Sahar-Ba’u.”1 (5–9) That Ur-Lamma the father of Shesh-kalla was given barley rations and wool rations from the hand o…

A Letter Reporting Matters in Kalaḫ (Kalḫu) (3.96)

(1,336 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Letters; Assyria Commentary This letter (NL 16; ND 2765; IM 64159) comes from Kalaḫ (Nimrud) and dates between 720 and 715 bce during the reign of Sargon II. Therefore its contents cannot refer to the aftermath of the campaign against Ashdod in 712/ 711 bce (see note 1). Beside the issues regarding a festival that has recently been celebrated in the city and certain bull colossi that the governor, Marduk-rēmanni, had been placing in their appropriate locations, the l…

A Loan of Silver to Šuna (3.136E)

(212 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary This tablet and its envelope come from Nippur and date to the Ur III period (1st year of Ibbi-Sin, 6th month, ca. 2028 BCE). The transaction involves an antichretic arrangement, in which the interest on the loan is paid off by the labor of the pledged slave woman (see also the next two loans, COSB.3.136F and COSB.3.136G and above, COSB.3.116). A Loan of Silver to Šuna (3.136E) (lines 1–6) Šuna received 7 shekels of silver from Šeš-dada (as a loan); in l…

Withdrawal from Hyrʾ (3.70)

(1,524 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Egyptian Aramaic Commentary This is one of the most enigmatic documents in our collection. The object of the contract (hyrʾ) remains unexplained. The Waiver and Penalty clauses covered only the party drawing up the contract (lines 4–8). A Defension clause covered only brother and sister (lines 8–9). Both parties had entered a complaint about the property; Anani paid Mica five shekels to withdraw. Mica did so, but pro…

Lachish 6: Reactions to Forwarded Correspondence (3.42E)

(301 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Hebrew Letters Lachish 6: Reactions to Forwarded Correspondence (3.42E) Subject: Jer 38:4 Salutation (line 1) To my lord Yaush. May Yahweh make this time a good one for you.1 Letters that Weaken Resolve ( lines 2–15) Who is your servant (but) a dog that my lord should have sent (him) the king’s letter and those of the officials asking me to read them? The [officials’]2 statements are not good — (they are of a kind) to slacken your courage3  n and to weaken that of the men[…]. Won’t you w…

Instructions Regarding Silver for Marzeaḥ (3.87D)

(639 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Miscellaneous Texts; Aramaic Ostraca Commentary Discovered in 1902 by Sayce, published by him in 1909 (RES 1295), deposited in the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (JE 35468A), and recopied by Lidzbarski in 1915, though without plate ( ESE III 119–121), this ostracon is the only Elephantine document to mention this institution, so widely known in the world of West-Semitic inscriptions for over a millennium. It was a funerary association that held periodic banquets…

Instructions Regarding Tunic (3.87J)

(638 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Miscellaneous Texts; Aramaic Ostraca Commentary Discovered in 1925 and published in 1926 by Aimé-Giron, this ostracon is housed in the Cairo Egyptian Museum (Cairo 49624). The attempt to interpret the text as an instruction to Uriah to dedicate a tunic to the Temple is based on both erroneous reading and assumption. Uriah is simply called upon to take it from the Temple and, in somewhat idiomatic language, “drop it off” at th…

Letter of Rib-Haddi of Byblos (Gubla) (EA 362) (3.92E)

(736 words)

Author(s): Moran, William
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Letters; Tell El-Amarna Commentary The most diligent — and most wearisome — of the Pharaoh’s vassal correspondents, Rib-Hadda (here Rib-Haddi) continues his litany of requests for action against the rising state of Amurru to the north, earlier under Abdi-Aširta, now under his sons, especially Aziru. The Pharaoh is Amenophis IV (Akhenaten). Letter of Rib-Haddi of Byblos (Gubla) ( EA 362) (3.92E) Subject: Gen 43:28; 1 Sam 24:9; Isa 60:14; Ezek 27:9; Exod 5:3; 9:15; Lev 26:25; Num 14:12; Deut 28:21; 2 Sam…

Papyrus Rylands VI (3.6)

(387 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Saīte Demotic Self-Sales into Slavery Commentary A cultivator Peftjauawykhonsu, attested in five papyri from El-Hîbeh in Middle Egypt, sells himself into slavery in return for payment and actions performed by the priest Nessematawy “in year 2 when I was dying.”1 Subsequent documents renew the initial contract and record temporary transfers of ownership. The self-sale documents are distinct from most slave contracts, in which the slave is treated as ch…

Letter of Labʾayu of Shechem (Šakmu) (EA 253) (3.92F)

(444 words)

Author(s): Moran, William
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Letters; Tell El-Amarna Commentary The Amarna archive preserved three letters from Labʾayu ( EA 252–254). In the first, he agrees, very reluctantly, to obey orders of the king he finds very distasteful; in the others, both apparently in reply to a letter from the Pharaoh questioning his loyalty, especially in his dealings with Gezer (Gazru),1 he sets the record straight. Letter of Labʾayu of Shechem (Šakmu) ( EA 253) (3.92F) Subject: Gen 43:28; 1 Sam 24:9; Isa 60:14; Josh 10:33; 12:12; 16:3, 10; 21:21; J…

A Shipping Contract (3.139)

(258 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts Commentary Functional contracts typically end with a witness list and a date. In the latter, note that the month name in the standard Babylonian calendar became the basis of the later Hebrew month names, replacing the Canaanite names of pre-exilic times. The present text also features a Persian Gulf seal, crucial for dating the civilization of the Persian Gulf. 7. A Shipping Contract (3.139) Subject: 1 Kgs 6:1 (1–3) 4 talents of haltikku-wool,1 2 bushels of wheat, 2 (bushels) of sesame (4–7) Hat…
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