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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…

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…

The Funerary Inscription from Pyrgi (2.58)

(894 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The Phoenician inscription is engraved on a sheet of gold leaf found in excavations at the site of ancient Pyrgi (Santa Severa), the principal port of the wealthy Etrurian city of Caere (modern Cerveteri, ca. 30 miles north of Rome on the Tyrrhenian coast), in the ruins of a temple dated archaeologically to ca. 500 bce. The sheet was found together with two similar plaques bearing Etruscan inscriptions, one of whi…

Hebrew Weight Inscriptions (2.81)

(361 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Weight Inscriptions Commentary Four hundred or more inscribed stone weights have been found, mostly in the area of Judah and made in the eighth and seventh centuries bce. They are flat-based dome-shaped stones, with values engraved on the top. (Two weights have their values marked in ink which suggests the numerous uninscribed stones of the same type may have had their values noted in the same way.) The majority bear a sign like a loop, b…

Seals and Seal Impressions (2.WS.D.1)

(456 words)

Author(s): Tigay, Jeffrey H. | Millard, Alan R.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions Commentary Seals were used for stamping the names of their owners on clay bullae to seal letters and documents (1 Kgs 21:8; Isa 8:16; 29:11; Jer 32:9–14; Job 38:14; Esth 8:8; cf. Gen 38:18, 25; 41:42; Jer 22:24; Song 8:6; Esth 3:10), on pottery vessels to indicate ownership or some other type of relationship, and for other purposes. Hundreds of seals and seal impressions, containing inscriptions in Hebrew, Phoenician, Ammonite, …

Funerary Stela (Saqqarah; Location Unknown) (2.63)

(70 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Funerary Stela (Saqqarah; Location Unknown) (2.63) Blessed be Peṭees[e] son of Yhʾ[1… by/before DN] Bibliographical References Aimé-Giron 1939 Fitzmyer and Kaufman 1992:B.3.e.28  TAD D20.4. Notes^ back to text1. The praenomen is Eg. ( pʾ-dy-ʾs.t, “The [One] whom Isis Gave”) but the fragmentary patronym is unrecoverable.Porten, Bezalel

King of Byblos (2.55)

(699 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The limestone sarcophagus of King ʾAhirom (fl. 1000 bce) was found in 1923 during the French excavations at Byblos. ʾAhirom’s epitaph, commissioned by his son and successor, ʾIttobaʿl, is carved around the edge of the lid and the upper rim of the coffin. The inscription surmounts an elaborate relief, in which the king is depicted enthroned on a cherub throne and recei…

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 El Khadr Arrowheads (2.84)

(658 words)

Author(s): Hamilton, Gordon
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Miscellaneous Inscriptions Commentary These five arrowheads, inscribed with Old Canaanite alphabetic letters, were found near Bethlehem and published between 1954 and 1980.1 Their weight and size, between 9.5 and 10.5 cm, fall within normal parameters for arrowheads used for practical purposes.2 Dating to ca 1100–1050 bce,3 these inscriptions provide witness both to literacy and goddess religion in Palestine during the late second millennium. The El Khadr Arrowheads (2.84) Su…

Funerary Stela (Carpentras) (2.64)

(1,776 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary This inscription may be entitled “The Immortalization of Taba.” Its composer was well-versed in Egyptian funerary vocabulary. In a grammatically correct, well-fashioned quatrain he has deftly woven original Aramaic formulae — “Blessed be Tabi” (1a), “Before Osiris blessed be” (3a), “serve” (4a) — into translations of Egyptian terminology and formulary. Bicolon (1…
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