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Jerusalem Ostracon (2.49)

(269 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The ostracon, a fragment of the shoulder of a storage jar bearing three incomplete lines of Hebrew script written in ink, was found in 1971 during N. Avigad’s excavations in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. The poorly-preserved inscription is of special interest because of its third line, which may read “Creator of the Earth,” a well-known epithet of the biblical an…

The Jerusalem Pomegranate (2.48)

(703 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This inscription is carved on a thumb-sized ivory in the shape of a pomegranate (height 4.3 cm, diameter 2.1 cm). It has been dated on paleographic grounds to the end of eighth century bce. Since the text circles on the pomegranate, there is some uncertainty concerning the starting and ending points. The text appears to mention a sanctuary of Yahweh which may possibly be associated with the temple …

Kuntillet ʿAjrud (2.47)

(42 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 1 Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 2 Kuntillet ʿAjrud: the Two-line Inscription Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Plaster Wall Inscription Kuntillet ʿAjrud (2.47)

The Temple of the Lord Ostracon (2.50)

(880 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This is one of two ostraca in the Moussaïeff collection (for the other, see the Widow’s Plea Ostracon,  COS COSB.3). It is a five-line inscription that records a royal contribution of silver by a king ʾAshyahu to the temple of Yahweh to be made through the agency of a royal functionary named Zakaryahu. The ostracon is 10.9 cm x 8.6 cm, and is written in Hebrew script that dates1 on the basis of palaeography to the time of Josiah (640–609 bce)…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: the Two-line Inscription (2.47C)

(384 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary Portions of at least three ink-on-plaster texts in very fragmentary condition were found where they had fallen on the floor of the so-called bench room, near the entryway of the main building at Kuntillet ʿAjrud. One of these is illegible except for a single word that admits of no obvious interpretation. The second, translated here, consists of two incomplete lines …

The Khirbet Beit Lei Cave Inscriptions (2.53)

(639 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary These two inscriptions, along with several shorter texts and a number of graffiti, were discovered during road construction in a burial cave at the site of Khirbet Beit Lei, about five miles east of Lachish in the Judaean Shephelah. Though found in a burial cave, the texts are not conventional tomb inscriptions, and no grave-goods were found with them. They offer …

The Royal Steward Inscription (2.54)

(566 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This damaged grave inscription was found beneath a modern building in a burial chamber hewn from the rock of the eastern slope of the Kidron Valley in the village of Silwan in southeastern Jerusalem. The tomb is widely believed to have been that of the Hezekiah’s royal steward Shebna, who was condemned by the prophet Isaiah for, among other things, presuming to have a tomb cut for himself in the rock (Isa 22:15–25). Though he may have…

Khirbet el-Qom (2.52)

(896 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This late eighth-century bce epitaph appears on a slab of limestone recovered in 1967 after having been looted from a cave-tomb at the site of Khirbet el-Qom, about eight miles west of Hebron in the Judaean hills. The slab was originally part of a pillar adjoining one of the burial chambers in the tomb. The interpretation of the inscription, which is rather crudely w…

The Siloam Tunnel Inscription (2.28)

(875 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The inscription was discovered in 1880 on the wall of a Jerusalem tunnel that leads from the Gihon Spring to the pool of Siloam. The inscription occupies the lower half of a prepared panel that is approximately 0.50 m in height and 0.66 m in width. The tunnel winds through the Mizzi Ahmar dolomite rock for a length of approximately 533 m (corresponding roughly to the inscription’s 1,200 cubits).1 It is essentially an…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 2 (2.47B)

(783 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The second pithos from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, like the first, is decorated with a number of drawings, including a cow, an archer with his bow drawn, and a group of five human figures, standing with their hands extended as if in worship or supplication. The pithos also bears four separate inscriptions. First is a complete Hebrew abecedary, with the letters pe and ʿayin re…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 1 (2.47A)

(916 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary A number of Hebrew inscriptions, primarily religious in content, were found in excavations conducted during the 1970’s by Ze’ev Meshel for the Tel Aviv Institute of Archaeology at the site of Kuntillet ʿAjrud, a major crossroads in the northeastern Sinai. The inscriptions were found in the ruins of the better preserved of the two buildings found at the site, which h…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Plaster Wall Inscription (2.47D)

(582 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This inscription fell from the doorjamb of the entryway to the western storage room in the main building at Kuntillet ʿAjrud. Preserved on the plaster are portions of five lines of a much longer text, which was poetic in character and similar in striking ways to certain theophanic passages found in archaic biblical poetry. Though the script is Phoenician, the language is probably Hebrew (cf. notes 1 and 2). Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Plast…