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The Bar-Rakib Inscription (2.38)

(511 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Composed not long after the Panamuwa inscription (i.e. 733–727 bce), the Bar-Rakib inscription was written in an Old Aramaic dialect which as been identified as “Mesopotamian Aramaic.”1 Its form is that of the memorial genre, though the emphasis is on Bar-Rakib’s vassal loyalty to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria.2 The inscription was discovered in excavations conducted at Zenjirli (cf.  COS

The Dedication of A Statue to the Divinized Nabataean King (2.44)

(533 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary While belonging to a common genre of inscription commemorating an individual in the presence of a god,1 this particular example is noteworthy for the possibility that the god in question is the divinized Nabataean king, Obodas. It also contains a probably poetic section, the meaning of which is uncertain, but which appears to be in Arabic. It thus contains the earliest Arabic known to us, from the 1st century ce.2…

Tombstone Inscription (Greco-Roman Museum 18361) (2.66)

(466 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Among the tombstones uncovered at the necropolis in el-Ibrahimiya, Alexandria, in 1906 by E. Breccia were three of limestone with Aramaic inscriptions. They were published in 1907 by Clermont-Ganneau ( TAD D21.4-6) and have been much discussed. The one reproduced here bears a name reminiscent of that of one of the last Davidides — Akkub son of Elioenai (1 Chr 3:24).2 The praenomen, of course, is the hypocoristicon of Ak…

An Amulet From Arslan Tash (2.86)

(828 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Miscellaneous Inscriptions Commentary Two small limestone plaques, bearing a series of inscriptions and drawings and perforated at the top for wall-mounting, were purchased in 1933 at Arslan Tash, Syria (ancient Ḫadattu). The first plaque, which was published in 1939, is translated here. The main text is written on the front and back of the plaque in the spaces not occupied by illustrations; it consists of six lin…

The Tomb Inscription of Siʾgabbar, Priest of Sahar (2.59)

(661 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Two funerary reliefs depicting deceased priests and inscribed with their epitaphs were found in 1891 at Nerab, southeast of Aleppo. The two inscriptions, which date to the early seventh century bce, are written in the dialect known as Empire Aramaic, recognizable from a number of features of grammar and lexicon that show the influence of the dominant Assyrian language and culture of the perio…

Edomite (2.73)

(146 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions; Seals and Seal Impressions Commentary The bulla of Qawsgabar, king of Edom (Edomite).1 This is one of the few known Edomite seal inscriptions (see Herr 1978:161–169). It was found at Umm el-Biyara in Jordan, near Petra. (Belonging) to Qawsg[abar]2King of E[dom] Edomite (2.73) Notes^ back to text1. Avigad and Sass 1997 #1048; Bennett 1966:399–401.^ back to text2. The name is restored on the basis of inscriptions of the Assyrian kings Esarhad…

A Nabataean Inscription Containing Religious Laws From the Atargatis Temple At Petra (2.45)

(451 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This inscription gives us a most tantalizing glimpse of Nabataean religious law in the 1st century ce. It is the religious aspect which is particularly unusual, since on secular law we are surprisingly well informed.1 The inscription is preserved on a marble plaque which was originally attached to the temple wall along with (many?) others which proclaimed the religious law of this…

Hadad-yithʿi (2.34)

(1,849 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary In February 1979 a farmer uncovered a life-size basalt statue of a man at the edge of Tell Fekheriye on a branch of the Habur river, opposite Tell Halaf. The standing figure is carved in Assyrian style, without any emblems of rank. On the major part of his skirt are 38 ruled lines of Assyrian cuneiform script, set vertically (as on the Law-stele o…

The Amman Theatre Inscription (2.26)

(240 words)

Author(s): Aufrecht, Walter E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Ammonite Inscriptions Commentary This two-line inscription is…

The Aswan Dedicatory Inscription (2.41)

(731 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Aramaic Dedicatory Inscriptions Commentary Usually known as the Aswan sandstone stela, this six-line building dedication inscription (Cairo J. 36448) was published by de Vogüé in 1903 ( TAD D17.1). It is 44.2 cm wide (frontally), 27.5 cm high and 12.5 cm thick (in depth) and is engraved in cursive script whose proximate forerunners are attested in a clay tablet of 571/570 bce (Louvre AO 21063; SSI 2:116–117; cf. the letters aleph, beth, h…

A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46)

(197 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This well-preserved inscription on a white limestone block is particularly important historically because of the detailed chronological synchronism it gives. It comes from the site of Tell esh-Shuqafiya in the eastern delta of lower Egypt and is dated to 34 bce.1 The Nabataeans were active in Egypt and have left many inscriptions there. A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46) Dedication ( lines 1–4a)…

The Sarcophagus Inscription of ʾEshmunʿazor, King of Sidon (2.57)

(1,796 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary This black basalt sarcophagus, manufactured in Egypt and imported to Phoenicia, was found in 1855 in a shallow, rock-cut tomb in the Sidonian necropolis. After a false start on the head of the coffin itself, the stonecutter engraved the full inscription on the lid. ʾEshmunʿazor became king at the death of his father, Tabnit, in the mid-fifth century bce. He was an infant at the time of his accession and lived to reig…

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…

Philistine (2.75)

(391 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions; Seals and Seal Impressions Commentary The seal of Abd-Ilib son of Shabeath, minister of Mittit son of Zidqa (Philistine; provenience unknown).1 Mittit and his father Zidqa must be Mitinti II and Zidqa, the kings of Ashkelon mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions. Zidqa and his family were exiled to Assyria when Sennacherib conquered Ashkelon in 701 bce, and Mitinti II paid tribute to Esarhaddon in 677 and to Ashurbanipal in 667.2 (Belonging) to Abd-Ilib3so…

Ammonite (2.71)

(400 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions; Seals and Seal Impressions Commentary Many seals inscribed with the first letters of the alphabet — from four to eight — are regarded as Ammonite; they are probably practice pieces; see Avigad and Sass 1997:366–371; Hestrin and Dayagi-Mendels 1979 ## 127, 129. The seal impression of Milkom-or, minister of Baalyasha (Ammonite).1 This seal was discovered in excavations at Tell el-ʿUmeiri in Jordan. (Belonging) to Milkom-or2“servan-t” (minister) of B…

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…

Silver Bowl (Brooklyn Museum 54.50.36) (2.51A)

(159 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary To Hanilat1 Silver Bowl (Brooklyn Museum 54.50.36) (2.51A) Bibliographical References Text: I. Rabinowitz, ‛“Aramaic Inscriptions of the Fifth Century B.C.E. from a North-Arab Shrine in Egypt.”  JNES 15:1–9. ( 1956 ) ’ ,  TAD D15.1. Studies: W. J. Dumbrell, ‛“The Tell el-Maskhuṭa Bowls and the ‘Kingdom’ of Qedar in the Persian Period.”  BASOR 203:33–44. ( 1971 ) ’ , Fitzmyer and Kaufman 1992:B.3.f.12. Notes^ back to text1. Elli…

The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Ḥalafu at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.68)

(453 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary For general comments see the Kamkam inscription above. The Ḥalafu inscription is dated 31/32 ce and located on the facade of tomb no. E 18.1 The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Ḥalafu at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.68) Subject: Gen 31:5; 32:10; 43:23 Ownership ( lines 1–7a) This is the tomb which Ḥalafu son of Qosnatan2 made for himself and for Suʿaydu, his son, and his brothers, whatever male children may be born to this Ḥalafu,3 a…

The Melqart Stela (2.33)

(860 words)

Author(s): Pitard, Wayne T.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary This short dedicatory inscription (four lines, with one letter on a fifth) is carved on the lower part of a basalt stela found in the late 1930’s. It had been incorporated into a Roman period wall in the village of Bureij, near Aleppo, Syria. The text is surmounted by a relief of the god Melqart, who strides forcefully to the left carrying a fenes…

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…
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