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The Inscriptions of Bar-gaʾyah and Matiʿel From Sefire (2.82)

(4,780 words)

Author(s): Fitzmyer, S.J., Joseph A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary These inscriptions of Sefire (once called Sujin) were discovered by S. Ronzevalle in 1930 in a village southeast of Aleppo. Two of them became the property of the Damascus Museum in 1948. The third stele was acquired by the Beirut Museum in 1956. The three steles are related not only by their provenience, but also by their contents, script, and language. They are inscri…

The Ekron Inscription of Akhayus (2.42)

(947 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Philistine Inscriptions Commentary Written in a lapidary style script developed by the Philistines at Ekron, the text is a royal dedicatory inscription for the temple of the goddess Ptgyh made by Akhayus,1 the son of Padi, the ruler of Ekron. The royal names (“Padi” and “Akhayus”) are names known from Assyrian sources: for Padi, the inscriptions of Sennacherib ( COS COSB.2.119B) and another inscription from Ekron (see n. 2 below); for Akhayus…

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…

The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath (2.35)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary H. Pognon bought parts of a basalt stele in north Syria which he published in 1907–8; they are now in the Louvre (AO 8185). Now 1.03 m. high, 62 cm. wide, the squared block was originally taller, the upper part carved with a figure in relief of which only the feet resting upon a dais or stool survive. Below the sculpture an inscription was engraved in Aramaic, starting on the front (a), continuing on the left (b) and righ…

The Inscription of King Mesha (2.23)

(1,435 words)

Author(s): Smelik, K. A. D.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Moabite Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, which was carved on a black basalt stone, measuring 1.15 m. high and 60–68 cm. across, was discovered by the Alsatian missionary Klein at Dhiban in 1868. Due to the great interest in the stone shown by various Europeans in Palestine, the local population decided to demolish it and use the pieces as amulets in their granaries. The Fre…

The Seal of ʿAśayāhū (2.79)

(288 words)

Author(s): Heltzer, Michael
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions; Seals and Seal Impressions Commentary The Hebrew seal is dated paleographically to the second half of the 7th century bce.1 (Belonging) to ʿAśayāhū“servant” (minister) of the king It is most probable that this ʿAśayāhū of the seal is identical with “Aśayā, servant of the king,” mentioned in 2 Kings 22:12, 14 and 2 Chronicles 34:20. He appears as one of the team, sent by king Josiah ( Yošiyāhū) in the year 622 to the temple in connection wit…

The Panamuwa Inscription (2.37)

(2,178 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 The inscription, engraved on the lower half of a statue, is written in Samalian Aramaic (see  COS COSB.2.36). It was discovered in the German excavations at Zinjirli. Bar-Rakib, the son of Panamuwa II, probably raised this monument early in his reign to memorialize his father because of his sudden and unexpected death during Tiglath-Pileser III’s campaign against Damascus (733–732 bce). The text also serv…

Funerary Stela (Vatican Museum 10 Sala 22787) (2.65)

(141 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Funerary Stela (Vatican Museum 10 Sala 22787) (2.65) Ankhoḥapi son of Takhabes,1 excellent (one)2 of Osiris the god. Bibliographical References  CIS 2.142 H. Donner, ‛“Elemente ägyptischen Totenglaubens bei den Aramäern Ägyptens.” Pp. 35–44 in Religions en Égypte hellénistique et romaine. Ed. by P. Derchain. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. ( 1969 ) ’ , Fitzmyer and Kaufman 1992:B.3.f.28  HNE 1:448,2:Pl. 28.4  KAI #2…

Hebrew (2.70)

(2,766 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 2.70A. Two bullae of Berechyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe, made by the same seal (Hebrew; provenience unknown).1 These identical inscriptions are written in the Hebrew script of the seventh century bce. This Berechyahu is probably Jeremiah’s secretary “Baruch son of Neriyahu the scribe” (Jer 36:32). Baruch is the hypocoristicon, or nickname, for Berechyahu. The shorter form of Baruch’s patronym, N…

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)…

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 on a fragmentary, triangular, black basalt stone measuring × cm at its widest. The surface of the stone is rough and pitted. A word divider in the form of a short stroke is found between the first and second words. The inscription is in the Archaeological Museum, Amman, Jordan (No. J 11686).1 It has been dated paleographically to the late 6th century bce.2 The Amman Theatre Inscripti…

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…
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