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Early Alphabetic Scripts

The Phoenician script from which the Greek alphabet was adapted is a continuation of early-alphabetic Proto-Canaanite script found across Canaan, which traces its origin to even-earlier Proto-Sinaitic script found in Sinai and Egypt.*

Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite inscriptions document the progression of early alphabetic script from the iconic form of the Proto-Sinaitic script derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics, to linear§ [composed of simply drawn lines with little attempt at pictorial representation] Proto-Canaanite script and its terminal, definitively-Canaanite, but-not-definitively-Phoenician "post Proto-Canaanite" phase that became Phoenician script.**

11th century BCE Nora Fragment (not Nora Stone) from Sardinia is Proto-Canaanite by date.

10th century BCE Tekke Bowl from Crete looks a lot like the 12th-11th century early alphabetic javelin- or arrowheads

10th century BCE Abda sherd...

* Rollston (2008): Within the field of Iron Age Northwest Semitic paleography, the consensus has long been that the Iron Age Phoenician script descended from the early alphabetic script of the Middle Bronze and Late Bronze Ages.1

   Rollston (2016): First came the Early Alphabetic script (e.g., of the inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol, dating to ca. 18th century BCE), and from this Early Alphabetic script (which continued to be used in the Levantine world for several centuries) came the Phoenician script (in ca. the late 11th century BCE and the early 10th century BCE). And from the Phoenician script came the Old Hebrew script (in the 9th century BCE) and the Aramaic script (8th century BCE).2

   Hamilton (2006): Various terms have been employed to describe the earliest West Semitic alphabetic inscriptions and scripts from Egypt, the western Sinai, and Canaan. [J.] Naveh generally employed Proto-Canaanite, while [F. M.] Cross usually used Old Canaanite as synonymous terms for this script tradition and its earliest epigraphs. [B.] Sass used the designation Proto-Sinaitic, a term initiated by [W. F.] Albright, for the texts and scripts from the Sinai and Proto-Canaanite for those from Palestine. Those two terms were similarly employed by [D.] Pardee and [A.] Lemaire. [B. E.] Colless coined the term proto-alphabetic for both (in part to distinguish them from ones he considered syllabic or syllabic-logographic). [M.] O’Connor usually used Northern Linear (Canaanite). [J. C.] Darnell et al. preferred early alphabetic in part to find a more neutral designation that would include two new West Semitic texts found at Wadi el-Ḥol in Egypt.3

   Colless (2014): In my opinion the frequently used terms “Protosinaitic” and “Protocanaanite” are now obsolete; the former was a subset of the latter, and yet it is incorrectly applied to all protoalphabetic inscriptions, even though it is obviously applicable only to the Sinai examples.4

Carr (2011): Most, but not all, epigraphic finds from the tenth century are brief labels or word fragments. Many indicate possession or the destination of the contents of a given container or object: [b]n ḥnn on a bowl rim...at Tel Batash [Timnah]..., ḥnn carved on a gaming board at Beth Shemesh..., []n ḥmr[] in Khirbet Rosh Zayit..., lʾdnn in ink on an ostracon at Tell el-Fara, lnmš on a jar handle...at Tel Amal..., and three inscriptions...at ...Tel Rehov: lnḥ[?] incised ona storage jar..., mʿ—ʿm on the collar of a jar, and lšq?nmš ("to the cupbearer Nimshi"?).5

   Millard (2011): Discoveries of written documents in the Holy Land are always noteworthy, especially those from the Eleventh and Tenth Centuries BC. From those centuries there are very few examples indeed. There are only two of any length. The Gezer Calendar is well known...and generally dated to about 925 BC. A more recent find is the alphabet...unearthed at Tel Zayit.... Apart from these there are only personal names scratched on a stone and on potsherds that can be placed approximately in the Tenth Century, the period of the reigns of David and Solomon. They are part of a gaming board from Beth Shemesh, and sherds from Tell eṣ-Ṣafī (probably Gath), from Tel ‘Āmal, near Beth-Shan, from Timnah [Tel Batash], and from Khirbet Rosh Zayit, near Kabul in the north, which might be Phoenician. Earlier than that, there are equally few documents assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries: little more than names on potsherds from Khirbet Raddana, Lachish, Manaḥat and Qubur el-Walayda, the ‘Izbet Ṣarṭah ostracon bearing several lines faintly scratched, one legible as an abc, a hardly legible ink-written ostracon from Beth Shemesh, names incised on bronze arrowheads and a name incised on a bronze bowl found at Kefar Veradim in the north, which may be Phoenician. The scarcity of inscriptions from the Holy Land in the Twelfth to Tenth Centuries BC and the relative rarity of Hebrew epigraphic remains from the Ninth Century when compared with the Eighth to Sixth Centuries continues to arouse discussion.6

Goldwasser (2011): Almost all signs of the new alphabet letters in Sinai have clear prototypes in the Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions that surround the [Serabit el Khadem] mines and in a few other inscriptions found on the roads to the mines.7

   Goldwasser (2010): There are some very specific connections between the Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyphs in Sinai and the new script. There is one hieroglyph that appears...only in Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions in the Sinai during the Middle Kingdom. ... The sign looks like a striding man with bent, upraised arms.... In the Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions in Sinai, this sign...probably means something like “foreman.” This hieroglyph appears dozens of times in Egyptian Middle Kingdom inscriptions at Serabit. (Its phonetic reading in Egyptian in this specific use in Sinai, however, is unknown.) This hieroglyph is rare even in later New Kingdom Egyptian inscriptions at Serabit. And it hardly ever appears anywhere else in Egypt. A letter in the new Proto-Sinaitic alphabet looks very much like this Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyph. The Proto-Sinaitic sign...almost certainly stems directly from the Egyptian hieroglyph. The Canaanites at Serabit probably connected this pictogram, which they saw everywhere at the site, with a loud call or order emitted by an official when he raised his hands to assemble the people, a typical shout such as Hoy! (also known in Biblical Hebrew), which may be the origin of the letter h in the Proto-Sinaitic script..8

§ Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The meagre documentation shows that [in the Late Bronze Age II–III] the [Proto-Canaanite] alphabet has undergone a partial linearization compared with the Sinai and Wadi el-Hol prototypes: For instance, the alep lost its bull’s-head shape, the ʿayin is circular rather than lentoid or eye-shaped, and the resh lost its human-head form. Yet some LB II–III letters are still quite close to the earliest pictographs, such as the bet of the Lachish bowl fragment with exact comparisons at Wadi el-Hol, and the he of the Nagila sherd and Lachish bowl fragment resembling the Sinai and Wadi el-Hol forms.9

** Wikipedia: The name Phoenician is by convention given to inscriptions beginning around 1050 BC, because Phoenician, Hebrew, and other Canaanite dialects were largely indistinguishable before that time.10

   Wikipedia: Proto-Canaanite is the name given to...a hypothetical ancestor of the Phoenician script before some cut-off date, typically 1050 BCE.... No extant "Phoenician" inscription is older than 1000 BCE.11

1. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Phoenician Script of the Tel Zayit Abecedary and Putative Evidence for Israelite Literacy, in Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan: The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context, ed. Ron Tappy and P. Kyle McCarter (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008), https://www.academia.edu/474482/The_Phoenician_Script_of_the_Tel_Zayit_Abecedary_and_Putative_Evidence_for_Israelite_Literacy (accessed ...), p. 72.

2. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions 2.0: Canaanite Language and Canaanite Script, Not Hebrew, Rollston Epigraphy, 10 December 2016, http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=779 (accessed ...).

3. Note: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,W.Sem%20Alphabet,1.pdf [pp. 1-64] (accessed ...), p. 4.

4. Note: Brian E. Colless, The Origin of the Alphabet: An Examination of the Goldwasser Hypothesis, Antiguo Oriente 12 (2014), https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/32623054.pdf [pp. 71-104] (accessed ...), p. 72. n. 2.

5. Note: David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), https://books.google.com/books?id=pPy3gXJDI7AC&pg=PA375 (accessed ...), p. 375.

6. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 1.

7. Note: Orly Goldwasser, The Advantage of Cultural Periphery: The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai (circa 1840 B.C.E), in Culture Contacts and the Making of Cultures: Papers in Homage to Itamar Even-Zohar, ed. Rakefat Sela-Sheffy and Gideon Toury (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University / Unit of Culture Research, 2011), https://www.academia.edu/37555692/2011_The_Advantage_of_Cultural_Periphery_The_Invention_of_the_Alphabet_in_Sinai_circa_1840_B_C_E_In_Culture_Contacts_and_the_Making_of_Cultures_Papers_in_Homage_to_Itamar_Even_Zohar_Eds_R_Sela_Sheffy_and_G_Toury_Tel_Aviv_Tel_Aviv_University_Unit_of_Culture_Research_251_316 [pp. 251–316] (accessed ...), p. 265.

8. Note: Orly Goldwasser, How the Alphabet was Born from Hieroglyphs, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 36:2 (March/April 2010), https://www.academia.edu/6916402/Goldwasser_O_2010_How_the_Alphabet_was_Born_from_Hieroglyphs_Biblical_Archaeology_Review_36_2_March_April_40_53_Award_Best_of_BAR_award_for_2009_2010_Discussion_with_Anson_Rainey_http_www_bib_arch_org_scholars_study_alphabet_asp_ [pp. 38-51] (accessed ...), p. 43.

9. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 173.

10. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Phoenicia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenicia#Alphabet (accessed ...).

11. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Proto-Canaanite alphabet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Canaanite_alphabet (accessed ...).

Two Abecedaries

A couple of (slightly-out-of-order) abecedaries establish correlation between the recognizable glyphs of the later, "post Proto-Canaanite" (pre-Phoenician) script on the first, and less-recognizable forms of an earlier instance of Proto-Canaanite script on the second.

Tel Zayit Abecedary [2005] (10th [9th] Century BCE)

Image source: Alchetron. Additional images: The Zeitah Excavations.

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀 𐤁 𐤂 𐤃 𐤅 𐤄 𐤇 𐤆 𐤈 𐤉 𐤋 𐤊 𐤌 𐤍 [𐤎] [𐤐] [𐤏] [𐤑]
[𐤒] [𐤓] 𐤔 [𐤕]
(1) ʾ b g d w h ḥ z ṭ y l k m n [s] [p] [ʿ] [ṣ]
(2) [q] [r] š [t]

Transliteration source: Tappy, McCarter, Lundberg, Zuckerman (2006).2

Notes

Wikipedia: The Zayit Stone is a 38-pound (17 kg) limestone boulder discovered on 15 July 2005 at Tel Zayit (Zeitah) in the Guvrin Valley. ... It is the earliest known example of the complete Phoenician, or Paleo-Hebrew, alphabet. ... There has been some disagreement as to whether the inscription should be associated with the coastal (Phoenician) or highland (Hebrew) cultural sphere. Consequently, there has been debate on whether the letters should be described as Paleo-Hebrew, as Phoenician, or more broadly as South Canaanite.3

Center for Online Judaic Studies [COJS]: At Tel Zayit, archaeologists unearthed a limestone boulder embedded in a wall. The letters of the Hebrew alphabet were inscribed on it in their traditional order. The stone was part of a wall dated to the 10th century BCE, leading to the conclusion that this is the earliest known specimen of the Hebrew alphabet.4

Biblical Archaeology Society (2020): [Christopher] Rollston continues his analyses on some other contenders for the oldest Hebrew inscription. He finds the Tel Zayit Abecedary to be fully Phoenician script, despite the excavation epigrapher claiming that the abecedary indicates the transition between the scripts.5

Parker (2013, 2018): The Tel Zayit abecedary was recovered in 2005 during the excavations of Tel Zayit led by R. E. Tappy. It was found in Tel Zayit Local Level III, which the excavators date to the tenth century BCE.6

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): An abecedary from Tel Zayit, incised on a large stone mortar in secondary use in a wall of a building was dated to the tenth century BCE.7

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... While the script is quite close to that of the unstratified Gezer calendar, the diagnostic mem and nun of Tel Zayit are far more developed, practically identical to their counterparts in the considerably later Phoenician “Baal Lebanon” bowls, and earliest Greek alphabets.8

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): This Philistian inscription was discovered in a context that probably dates to late Iron IIA/1. ... According to stratified inscriptions, Proto-Canaanite was still the only script-style in use in early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880], which would exclude such a dating for cursive-inspired Tel Zayit. ... We consider the stratigraphic situation of the Tel Zayit abecedary reasonably established in late Iron IIA/1, absolute dating towards 850.... The level-headed mem lasted for a long time—well into the eighth century (or even seventh). ...When more Tel Zayit letters are considered, such as the nearly legless dalet, “crescent on pole” waw and tall zayin, the time-range may end earlier, say a little after 800, or still within late Iron IIA/2 [ca. 840/830-780/770].9

1. Image:

2. Transliteration: Ron E. Tappy, P. Kyle McCarter, Marilyn J. Lundberg, and Bruce Zuckerman, An Abecedary of the Mid-Tenth Century B.C.E. from the Judaean Shephelah, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 344 (November 2006), https://www.academia.edu/9206107/An_Abecedary_of_the_Mid_Tenth_Century_B_C_E_from_the_Judaean_Shephelah [pp. 5-46] (accessed ...), p. 26.

3. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Zayit Stone, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zayit_Stone (accessed ...).

4. Note: Center for Online Judaic Studies [COJS], Tel Zayit Inscription, 10th century BCE, http://cojs.org/tel_zayit_inscription-_10th_century_bce/ (accessed ...).

5. Note: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff, The Oldest Hebrew Script and Language, Bible History Daily (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]), 03 July 2020, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/the-oldest-hebrew-script-and-language/ (accessed ...).

6. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 123, n. 538.

7. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 56.

8. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 166-167.

9. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), pp. 30, 32-33.

Izbet Sartah Abecedary [1976] (12th-11th [10th-9th] Century BCE)

Izbet Sartah Ostrakon | BAS Library

Izbet Sartah Ostrakon; BAS Library. Source: Minkoff (1997).1

Izbet Sartah Abecedary | Aaron Demsky

Izbet Sartah Abecedary; Aaron Demsky. Source: Demsky (2015).2

Izbet Sartah Abecedary | Frank M. Cross

Izbet Sartah Abecedary; Frank M. Cross. Source: Cross (1980).3

Izbet Sartah Abecedary | Benjamin Sass

Izbet Sartah Abecedary; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).4

Izbet Sartah Abecedary

Izbet Sartah Abecedary. Source: Colless (n.d.).5

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋𐤌𐤃 𐤀𐤕𐤉𐤕 𐤀𐤏(𐤉𐤍)
𐤊 𐤕𐤕𐤍 𐤏(𐤉𐤍) 𐤓𐤇 𐤀𐤕 𐤁 𐤀𐤆[𐤍 𐤁 𐤏]𐤈 𐤏𐤋 𐤈𐤈
𐤑𐤌𐤒 𐤌𐤓𐤒
𐤓𐤏 𐤅 𐤐 𐤁 𐤍𐤇 𐤂 𐤀𐤕 𐤋 𐤄𐤃 𐤆𐤒𐤍 𐤏𐤕 𐤏(𐤉𐤍) 𐤋 𐤀(𐤋𐤐) 𐤇𐤋𐤃 𐤏𐤋𐤌
𐤀𐤁𐤂𐤃𐤄𐤌𐤅𐤇𐤆𐤈𐤉𐤊𐤋𐤍|𐤎𐤐𐤏𐤑𐤒𐤓𐤔𐤕
ʾlmd ʾtyt ʾʿ(yn)
k ttn ʿ(yn) rḥ ʾt b ʾz[n b ʿ]ṭ ʿl ṭṭ
ṣmq mrq
rʿ w p b nḥ g ʾt l hd zqn ʿt ʿ(yn) l ʾ(lp) ḥld ʿlm
ʾbgdhmwḥzṭykln|spʿṣqršt
I am learning the letter-forms (marks of signs). I am seeing
that the eye gives the breath of a letter (sign) into the ea[r by a styl]us on clay
(that is) dried (and) polished.
r-‘- r- p/ga bi na ḥa gi has come to the splendour of old age (zaqini ‘iti??). See, I shall be seen for a thousand lifetimes of the world.
ʾ B G D H M W Ḥ Z Ṭ Y K L N | S P ʿ Ṣ Q R Š T

Transliteration and translation source: Colless (n.d.): Note that this is work in progress and is continually being modified.6 Colless (2020): A scribe reflects on how this writing system works.7

Notes

Broyles (n.d.): During...the excavation [of ‘Izbet Sartah], two fragments from a large earthenware jar were found at the bottom of a storage pit. The fragments fitted together, and upon close examination, proved to bear writing. ... [The find] bridges a gap in our knowledge of the development of writing. The earliest system of writing, dating around 3500 B.C., was pictographic. ... Eventually it was replaced by alphabetic writing. The ‘Izbet Sartah inscription dates from the time when writing was undergoing this fundamental change. Pictographic elements are present in several of the letters. The aleph is still drawn like an ox’s head, horns to the left. Kaf is drawn like a hand with three (or five?) fingers. ... Aaron Demsky, summing up the significance of the find, says that it is the missing link in the evolution of the alphabet from Proto-Canaanite to the Old Hebrew and Phoenecian scripts. Some of the letters hark back to the older alphabets while others anticipate later forms.8

Naveh (1978): The ostracon recently found at ʿIzbet Sartah...is the largest inscribed item among the scant late Proto-Canaanite inscriptions dating from ca. 1300-1050 B.C. ... There are five lines... the letters of [line] 1 [when the ostracon is inverted]...form an abecdary. The letters of [lines] 2-5...do not seem to comprise a text in any Semitic language. For the time being the ostracon can be best be described as the scratchings of some semi-literate person.9

Colless (n.d.): An...attempt to find continuous meaning in the first four lines has been made by [A.] Dotan; initially [M.] Kochavi and [A.] Demsky tried this approach, but both eventually decided that it was simply an exercise in writing the letters of the alphabet. ... The message obtained from [my] proposed interpretation for lines 1-3 seems fairly plausible: a student (apparently of mature age) has been learning to write with the alphabet, and muses over the art of writing on ostracon-tablets. If line 4 is a continuation of this, we might suppose that the scribe's name is embedded in the long uninterrupted sequence of signs (bnḥg could be son of Haggi).10

Millard (2011): Assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.11

Azevedo (1994): ʿIzbet Sartah 12th BC.12

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions [e.g., the ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah ostracon] are still wholly Proto-Canaanite.13

1. Image: Harvey Minkoff, As Simple as ABC, Bible Review (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 13:2 (April 1997), https://www.baslibrary.org/bible-review/13/2/11.

2. Drawing: Aaron Demsky, A Proto - Canaanite Abecedary Dating from the Period of the Judges and its Implications for the History of the Alphabet, Tel Aviv Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 4:1-2 (2011), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/033443577788497786?journalCode=ytav20 (accessed ...), p. 14, Fig. 1: Proto-Canaaite abecedary from Izbet Ṣarṭah.

3. Drawing: Frank Moore Cross, Newly Found Inscriptions in Old Canaanite and Early Phoenician Scripts [1980], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000033.xml (accessed ...), p. 221, Figure 32.6: A tracing of the ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah sherd.

4. Drawing: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 240, Fig. 19: ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah ostracon (Sass 1988: Fig. 175).

5. Image: Brian E. Colless, The Izbet Sartah Ostrakon: Musings of a Student Scribe, Collesseum: A Museum-Theatre for Scripts (n.d.), https://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/abgadary (accessed ...).

6. Transliteration and translation: Colless (n.d.), Interpretation of the Text.

7. Note: Brian E. Colless, Honey Bees at Ancient Rehob, CRYPTCRACKER, 07 October 2020, http://cryptcracker.blogspot.com/2020/10/ancient-rehob-and-its-apiary.html (accessed ...).

8. Image: Stephen Broyles, The Alphabet from ‘Izbet Sartah: The State of Writing in the Period of the Judges, The Andreas Center (n.d.), https://www.andreascenter.org/Articles/Alphabet.htm (accessed ...).

9. Note: Joseph Naveh, Some Considerations on the Ostracon from 'Izbet Ṣarṭah, Israel Exploration Journal [IEJ] 28:1/2 (1978), https://www.jstor.org/stable/27925644?seq=1 (accessed ...), p. 31.

10. Note: Colless (n.d.).

11. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

12. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

13. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 159.

Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions

1. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 153, n. 16: We do not deal here with the Sinai and Wadi el-Hol inscriptions, nor...pre-LB II alphabetic inscriptions in Canaan; p. 180: Late Bronze II: 13th century.

Schumm (2014): Before the alphabet was invented, early writing systems had been based on pictographic symbols known as hieroglyphics, or on cuneiform wedges, produced by pressing a stylus into soft clay. Because these methods required a plethora of symbols to identify each and every word, writing was complex and limited to a small group of highly-trained scribes. Sometime during the second millennium B.C. (estimated between 1850 and 1700 B.C.), a group of Semitic-speaking people adapted a subset of Egyptian hieroglyphics to represent the sounds of their language. This Proto-Sinaitic script is often considered the first alphabetic writing system, where unique symbols stood for single consonants (vowels were omitted). Written from right to left and spread by Phoenician maritime merchants who occupied part of modern Lebanon, Syria and Israel, this consonantal alphabet—also known as an abjad—consisted of 22 symbols simple enough for ordinary traders to learn and draw, making its use much more accessible and widespread.1

Wilford (1999): Alphabetic writing was revolutionary in a sense comparable to the invention of the printing press much later. Alphabetic writing emerged as a kind of shorthand by which fewer than 30 symbols, each one representing a single sound, could be combined to form words for a wide variety of ideas and things. This eventually replaced writing systems like Egyptian hieroglyphics in which hundreds of pictographs, or idea pictures, had to be mastered. ... Only a scribe trained over a lifetime could handle the many different types of signs in the formal writing. So these people adopted a crude system of writing within the Egyptian system, something they could learn in hours, instead of a lifetime. It was a utilitarian invention for soldiers, traders, merchants.2

Goldwasser (2010): The invention of the alphabet ushered in what was probably the most profound media revolution in history. Earlier writing systems, like Egyptian hieroglyphic and Mesopotamian cuneiform with its curious wedge-shaped characters, each required a knowledge of hundreds of signs. To write or even to read a hieroglyphic or cuneiform text required familiarity with these signs and the complex rules that governed their use. By contrast, an alphabetic writing system uses fewer than 30 signs, and people need only a few relatively simple reading rules that associate these signs with sounds.3

Rollston (2016): The inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol can be dated to ca. the 18th century BCE. ... The best terms [for the script of these inscriptions] are “Early Alphabetic,” or “Canaanite.” Some prefer the term “Proto-Sinaitic Script.” ... The script of these inscriptions...is the early ancestor of [the distinctive national scripts—Phoenician, Hebrew, Aramaic, Moabite, Ammonite, and Edomite]. ... From this Early Alphabetic script (which continued to be used in the Levantine world for several centuries) came the Phoenician script (in ca. the late 11th century BCE and the early 10th century BCE). And from the Phoenician script came the Old Hebrew script (in the 9th century BCE) and the Aramaic script (8th century BCE).4

Rollston (2021): In terms of the earlier history of the alphabet, especially as reflected in the Early Alphabetic inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol, the most elegant and convincing date (based especially on things such as the palaeographic similarities between Middle Egyptian Hieroglyphic and Hieratic vis a vis the Early Alphabetic inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol as well as the dating of Egyptian inscriptions at these same sites, etc.) is often contended to be the chronological horizon of the 18th century BCE. ... Someone might attempt to push the data down chronologically and argue for the 17th century BCE for the inscriptions of Serabit and el-Hol. Conversely, it is worth emphasizing that as for the date of the invention of Early Alphabetic, Orly Goldwasser has argued for a date of ca. 1840 BCE, an earlier date than has often been embraced. Frank Moore Cross dated the invention of the alphabet to ca. 18th century BCE and Joseph Naveh dated the invention of the alphabet to ca. 1700 BCE. In essence, therefore, this chronological horizon (19th or 18th century) has been the consensus view (although occasionally a [much] lower date will be proposed [e.g., Sass], but the data continue to mount against that view).5

Wikipedia: The Proto-Sinaitic script of Egypt has yet to be fully deciphered. However, it may be alphabetic and probably records the Canaanite language. ... This Semitic script adapted Egyptian hieroglyphs to write consonantal values based on the first sound of the Semitic name for the object depicted by the hieroglyph (the "acrophonic principle"). So, for example, the hieroglyph per ("house" in Egyptian) was used to write the sound [b] in Semitic, because [b] was the first sound in the Semitic word for "house", bayt. The script was used only sporadically, and retained its pictographic nature, for half a millennium....6

Rollston (2016): The words in the inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol are found in lots of Semitic languages, not just one. ... (1) the inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol are written in the Early Alphabetic script (also called “Canaanite” and “Proto-Sinaitic”)...and (2) the language of the inscriptions from Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi el-Hol is not the Hebrew, or Phoenician, or Aramaic language, but rather it is a West Semitic language or dialect that is best termed “Canaanite.”7

1. Note: Laura Schumm, Who created the first alphabet? History.com, 6 Aug 2014, Updated 22 Aug 2018, https://www.history.com/news/who-created-the-first-alphabet (accessed ...).

2. Note: John Noble Wilford, Discovery of Egyptian Inscriptions Indicates an Earlier Date for Origin of the Alphabet, New York Times, 13 November 1999, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/library/national/science/111499sci-alphabet-origin.html (accessed ...).

3. Note: Orly Goldwasser, How the Alphabet was Born from Hieroglyphs, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 36:2 (March/April 2010), https://www.academia.edu/6916402/Goldwasser_O_2010_How_the_Alphabet_was_Born_from_Hieroglyphs_Biblical_Archaeology_Review_36_2_March_April_40_53_Award_Best_of_BAR_award_for_2009_2010_Discussion_with_Anson_Rainey_http_www_bib_arch_org_scholars_study_alphabet_asp_ [pp. 38-51] (accessed ...), p. 40.

4. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions 2.0: Canaanite Language and Canaanite Script, Not Hebrew, Rollston Epigraphy, 10 December 2016, http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=779 (accessed ...).

5. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, Tell Umm el-Marra (Syria) and Early Alphabetic in the Third Millennium: Four Inscribed Clay Cylinders as a Potential Game Changer, Rollston Epigraphy, 16 April 2021, http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=921 (accessed ...).

6. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. History of the alphabet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_alphabet#Semitic_alphabet (accessed ...), Semitic alphabet.

7. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions 2.0: Canaanite Language and Canaanite Script, Not Hebrew, Rollston Epigraphy, 10 December 2016, http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=779 (accessed ...).

Serabit el-Khadim Inscriptions [1905] (19th-16th Century BCE, ca. 1850-1500)

Wikipedia: In the winter of 1905, Sir William Matthew Flinders Petrie and his wife Hilda Petrie (née Urlin) were conducting a series of archeological excavations in the Sinai Peninsula. During a dig at Serabit el-Khadim, an extremely lucrative turquoise mine used during between the Twelfth and Thirteenth Dynasty and again between the Eighteenth and mid-Twentieth Dynasty, Sir Petrie discovered a series of inscriptions at the site's massive invocative temple to Hathor, as well as some fragmentary inscriptions in the mines themselves. ... In 1916, Alan Gardiner...published his own interpretation of Petrie's findings. ... [Gardiner] was able to assign sound values and reconstructed names to some of the letters by assuming they represented what would later become the common Semitic abjad. ... His model allowed an often recurring word to be reconstructed as lbʿlt, meaning "to Ba'alat" or more accurately, "to (the) Lady" – that is, the "lady" Hathor. ... Gardiner's hypothesis allowed researchers to connect the letters of the inscriptions to modern Semitic alphabets.1

Haring (2020): In an article published in 1916, Sir Alan Gardiner gave his interpretation of the inscriptions. ... Just as in later Semitic alphabets, the individual signs stood for single consonants. ... Several more characters could be explained in this way, but the phonetic reading and graphic derivation of others remain highly problematic to this day. Even the total number of different signs in this writing system remains unclear.2

Haring (2020): [B.] Sass lists 22 signs with phonetic identifications, five of them with a question-mark, beside several unidentified and unclear signs. The quasi-absence of g(imel) is especially disturbing. Its single occurrence in Sinai 367 (as supposed by Sass) is not convincing and was identified as y(od) by Hamilton. The latter author distinguishes 31 different signs in the Sinai corpus, not counting g(imel) and ǵ(ain), and assuming that seven consonants (b, d, h, y, n, ṣ, θ) were each expressed by two different signs.3

Goldwasser (2011): About 30 early alphabetic inscriptions have been found in Sinai. Most of them come from the areas of the mines (some were written inside the mines) in Serabit el Khadem, and a few have been found on the roads leading to the mines. ... In Egypt itself, on the other hand, two lines of alphabetic inscription have been found to date [Wadi el-Ḥôl]. ... Another tiny ostracon was found in the Valley of the Queens and should probably be dated to the New Kingdom. ... In the entire region of Canaan and Lebanon, less than a dozen in-scriptions dating from the 17th to the 13th centuries B.C.E. have been discovered. Moreover, they were found at different sites far apart from each other. There is hardly a site that has yielded more than a single inscription. ... A unique situation was created in Sinai where some illiterate (although surely not primitive or less advanced) workers with strong Canaanite identity were put in unusual surroundings for months: extreme isolation, high, remote desert mountains, dangerous and hard work. There was nothing in the area of the mines to divert their attention — except hundreds of hieroglyphic pictures inscribed on the rocks. ... The Egyptian pictorial script was the necessary tool for the invention of the alphabet. The Egyptian signs presented the inventor with the hardware for his invention: the icons, the small pictures that he could easily recognize and identify. Without this basic material, which he utilized in a completely innovative way, the invention would probably not have taken place.4

1. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Proto-Sinaitic script, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Sinaitic_script#Discovery (accessed ...), Discovery.

2. Note: Ben Haring, Ancient Egypt and the earliest known stages of alphabetic writing, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes and Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020), https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p. 54.

3. Note: Ibid., p. 54, n. 6.

4. Note: Orly Goldwasser, The Advantage of Cultural Periphery: The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai (circa 1840 B.C.E), in Culture Contacts and the Making of Cultures: Papers in Homage to Itamar Even-Zohar, ed. Rakefat Sela-Sheffy and Gideon Toury (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University / Unit of Culture Research, 2011), https://www.academia.edu/37555692/2011_The_Advantage_of_Cultural_Periphery_The_Invention_of_the_Alphabet_in_Sinai_circa_1840_B_C_E_In_Culture_Contacts_and_the_Making_of_Cultures_Papers_in_Homage_to_Itamar_Even_Zohar_Eds_R_Sela_Sheffy_and_G_Toury_Tel_Aviv_Tel_Aviv_University_Unit_of_Culture_Research_251_316 [pp. 251–316] (accessed ...), pp. 264-265, 267.

Sinai 345 (17th-16th Century BCE, ca. 1700-1500)

Sinai 345 | Trustees of the British Museum
Sinai 345 Inscriptions | Alan H. Gardiner and T. Eric Peet
Sinai 345 | Trustees of the British Museum
Sinai 345 Inscriptions | Alan H. Gardiner and T. Eric Peet

Sinai 345 Figure; Trustees of the British Museum. Source: The British Museum.1

Sinai 345 Inscriptions; Alan H. Gardiner and T. Eric Peet. Source: Haring (2020).2

TranscriptionTransliteration

[...]𐤍𐤃[...]𐤆𐤋𐤁𐤀𐤋𐤕
Left Side
[...]nd[...]zlbʾlt
TranscriptionTransliteration

𐤌𐤀𐤄𐤁𐤀𐤋[𐤕]
Right Side
mʾhbʾl[t]

Transliteration source: ???? (????).3

TranscriptionTransliteration

[?] 𐤇 𐤍 ð 𐤍 𐤆 𐤋 𐤁 𐤏 𐤋 𐤕

𐤌 𐤀 𐤄 𐤁 𐤏 𐤋 𐤕 ? [?]
Left Side
[no more than 1 letter] ḥ̊ ṅ ð ṅ z l b ʿ l t
Right Side
m ʾ h b ʿ l̇ ṫ [1 or 2 letters]

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2006).3 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.4)

Notes

Hamilton (2006): Poorly executed but clear Egyptian inscription mry ḥtḥr mfk3t, beloved of Hathor, [lady of] turquoise on its right shoulder.5

Goldwasser (2010): Sir Alan Gardiner...noticed a group of four signs that was frequently repeated in these unusual inscriptions. Gardiner correctly identified the repetitive group of signs as a series of four letters in an alphabetic script that represented a word in a Canaanite language: b-‘-l-t, vocalized as Baalat, “the Mistress.” Gardiner suggested that Baalat was the Canaanite appellation for Hathor, the goddess of the turquoise mines. ... An important key to the decipherment [of the Serabit inscriptions] was a unique bilingual inscription [Sinai 345]. It is inscribed on a small sphinx from the temple and features a short inscription in what appears to be parallel texts in Egyptian and in the new script. The Egyptian hieroglyphic inscription on the sphinx reads: “The beloved of Hathor, the mistress of turquoise.” The text in the strange script, now identified as a Canaanite text, reads: m-’-h (b) B-‘-l-t, “The beloved of Baalat.” Each of the critical letters in the word Baalat is a picture—a house, an eye, an ox goad and a cross. Gardiner correctly saw that each pictograph has a single acrophonic value: The picture stands not for the depicted word but only for its initial sound. Thus the pictograph bêt, “house,” drawn as the four walls of a dwelling represents only the initial consonant b. ... Each sign in this script stands for one consonant in the language.6

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1700-1500 B.C.7

1. Images: The Trustees of the British Museum, Museum number EA41748, https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA41748 (accessed ...).

2. Drawings: Ben Haring, Ancient Egypt and the earliest known stages of alphabetic writing, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes and Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020), https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p. 55, Figure 4.1: Hieroglyphic and Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions on sphinx BM EA 41748 from Serabit el-Khadim. Facsimiles from Gardiner and Peet 1952, pl. lxxxii, no. 345. The chalk filling of the inscriptions is modern.

3. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 334.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 323.

5. Note: Ibid., p. 334.

6. Note: Orly Goldwasser, How the Alphabet was Born from Hieroglyphs, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 36:2 (March/April 2010), https://www.academia.edu/6916402/Goldwasser_O_2010_How_the_Alphabet_was_Born_from_Hieroglyphs_Biblical_Archaeology_Review_36_2_March_April_40_53_Award_Best_of_BAR_award_for_2009_2010_Discussion_with_Anson_Rainey_http_www_bib_arch_org_scholars_study_alphabet_asp_ [pp. 38-51] (accessed ...), pp. 41-42.

7. Note: Ibid.

Sinai 346 (19th-18th Century BCE, ca. 1850-1700)

Sinai 346 Figure | Flinders Petrie
Sinai 346, Right Side | Hubert Grimme
Sinai 346, Right Side | Orly Goldwasser

Sinai 346 Figure; Flinders Petrie. Source: Petrie (1906).1

Sinai 346, Right; Hubert Grimme. Source: Grimme (1923).2

Sinai 346, Right Side; Orly Goldwasser. Source: Goldwasser (2011).5

Sinai 346, Top | Orly Goldwasser
Sinai 346, Front | Orly Goldwasser
Sinai 346, Right Side | Orly Goldwasser

Sinai 346, Top; Orly Goldwasser. Source: Goldwasser (2011).3

Sinai 346, Front; Orly Goldwasser. Source: Goldwasser (2011).4

Sinai 346, Right Side, Direction of Reading; Orly Goldwasser. Source: Goldwasser (2011).6

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤆 𐤍𐤎𐤀𐤕 𐤌𐤓𐤏𐤕
𐤋𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤕
𐤏𐤋 𐤍𐤏𐤌 𐤌𐤕
𐤏𐤋 𐤍𐤏𐤌 𐤓𐤁 𐤍𐤒𐤁𐤍 𐤌𐤔
(1) z nsʾt mrʿt [top right]
(3) lbʿlt [front]
(2) ʿl nʿm mt [top left]
(4) ʿl nʿm rb nqbn [right side]

His (Moses') wife presented this
to Baalt (Hathor)
on behalf of her husband
on behalf of the Chief of Miners, Moses

Transliteration and translation source: Krahmalkov (2017).7 (Krahmalkov (2017): The inscription consists of four lexical segments which, for the sake of reference, are designated by number as follows: on the front, two parallel columns, (1) a right column and (2) a left column, and beneath them, (3) a horizontal line; on the right side, (4) a single column. ... Translators of the inscription disagree about the proper sequencing of these four segments, with the inevitable result that their translations differ substantially from one another.8)

TranscriptionTransliteration

𐤏 𐤋 𐤍 [𐤏 𐤌 ?] 𐤌 𐤕 𐤋 𐤁 𐤏 𐤋 𐤕
ð 𐤋 𐤃 40? 𐤌 𐤓 𐤏 𐤕 |

𐤏 𐤋 𐤍 𐤏 𐤌 𐤓 𐤁 𐤍 𐤒 𐤁 𐤍
346a
ʿ l ṅ [ʿ m plus 1 letter] m t l b ʿ l t [top left and front]
ð l d 40̊? m r ʿ t | [top right]
346b
ʿ l n ʿ m ṙ b n q b n [right side]

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2006): 346a: vertical column on the left turning into a left to right-horizontal line; a second vertical column on the right. 346b: vertical column turning into a boustrophedon quadrant of letters.9 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.10)

Notes

Goldwasser (2011): [As one evidence that the inventors of the Canaanite alphabetic script in Sinai were illiterate,] in most [of the Sinaitic] inscriptions with more than one word...the direction of writing can be very confused. ... In [Sinai 346] one can follow the winding road of [the statuette's owner's] inscription on the right side of the statue.11 (Goldwasser (2016): Sinai alphabetic inscription no. 349...is the only Proto-Sinaitic inscription in which the writer made the effort to write between baselines imitating more closely the Egyptian stelae tradition.12)

Wilson-Wright (2017): Beginning in in 1905 and continuing until the 2000s, excavators uncovered a series of early alphabetic inscriptions associated with the Egyptian turquoise mining installation at Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai desert. Scholars quickly identified the language of these inscriptions as Semitic due to the presence of marquee Semitic words like lady (BʿLT), chief (RB), and miner (NQB), but a full decipherment has remained elusive.13

Krahmalkov (2017): After having cleared the debris at the entrance to the hall of the grotto-shrine of Ptah in the Temple of Hathor on Mt Serabit el-Khadem in SW Sinai, W.M. Flinders Petrie discovered a small cuboid statue of a man whom the dedicatory inscription (Sinai 346) identifies as the Chief of Miners, Moses (MŠ, Mashe/ Moshe), the son of Mahub-Baalt of Gath, the leader of a copper and turquoise mining community that flourished c. 1300-1250 BCE. Moses the Miner, as he calls himself in Sinai 351, is well attested in the Serabit inscriptions, which are the personal monuments of the members of his family, his father, Mahub-Baalt, his two brothers, Shubna-Sur and Shesha and Shesha’s wife, Arakht, and of course himself.14

Wilson-Wright (2017): The Sinaitic inscriptions do not contain the name Moses. ... The two letter sequence that Krahmalkov transcribes as MŠ appears in five of the Sinaitic inscriptions: Sinai 349, Sinai 351, Sinai 353, Sinai 360, and Sinai 361. [Wilson-Wright (2017): Krahmalkov also identifies MŠ in Sinai 346, but I could not find these letters in the images available to me.15] Already in 1928 Romain Butin identified MŠ with the name Moses. ... Subsequent scholars have not followed Butin’s identification. Following Butin’s 1928 article, epigraphers recognized that the Sinaitic script contained at least four more letters than the Phoenician alphabet. These extra letters represented sounds that were lost in Phoenician, but were preserved in other Semitic languages. ... One of these letters was Ṯ, which represented the sound found at the beginning of the English word thin. The letter that Butin and Krahmalkov transcribe as Š, no doubt based on its visual resemblance to the later Phoenician Š, is actually a Ṯ. ... the Sinaitic inscriptions do not contain the name Moses, but it is theoretically possible that they record the exploits of a man named Māṯ.16

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1850-1700 B.C.17

1. Image: W. M. Flinders Petrie, Researches in Sinai (London: John Murray, 1906), https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=hvd.32044019341643&view=1up&seq=307 (accessed ...), p. 131, Fig. 138: Sandstone fiture, foreign work and inscription.

2. Image: Hubert Grimme, Althebräische Inschriften vom Sinai: Alphabet, Textliches, Sprachliches mit Folgerungen (Hannover: Orient-Buchhandlung Heinz Lafaire, 1923), https://archive.org/stream/althebrischein00grimuoft?ref=ol#page/n115/mode/2up (accessed ...), Tafel 8: Männliche Hockerstatue, Nr. 346 (2). Rechte Seite.

3. Drawing: Orly Goldwasser, The Advantage of Cultural Periphery: The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai (circa 1840 B.C.E), in Culture Contacts and the Making of Cultures: Papers in Homage to Itamar Even-Zohar, ed. Rakefat Sela-Sheffy and Gideon Toury (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University / Unit of Culture Research, 2011), https://www.academia.edu/37555692/2011_The_Advantage_of_Cultural_Periphery_The_Invention_of_the_Alphabet_in_Sinai_circa_1840_B_C_E_In_Culture_Contacts_and_the_Making_of_Cultures_Papers_in_Homage_to_Itamar_Even_Zohar_Eds_R_Sela_Sheffy_and_G_Toury_Tel_Aviv_Tel_Aviv_University_Unit_of_Culture_Research_251_316 [pp. 251–316] (accessed ...), p. 256, The Statue of N-ʿ-m chief miner / Sinai 346 top and front (after Hamilton 2006: Fig. A9).

4. Drawing: Ibid.

5. Drawing: Ibid., p. 312, Fig. 9a: The Statue of N-ʿ-m arrangement of words (after Sinai I, Temple, 346b, right side).

6. Drawing: Ibid., p. 313, Fig. 9b: The Statue of N-ʿ-m direction of reading (after Sinai I, Temple, 346b, right side).

7. Transliteration and translation: Charles R. Krahmalkov, The Chief of Miners, Moses (Sinai 346, c. 1250 BCE), Université catholique de Louvain BABELAO 6 (2017), https://cdn.uclouvain.be/groups/cms-editors-ciol/babelao/2017/03-Ch._R._Krahmalkov%2C_The_Chief_of_Miners%2C_Moses_%28Sinai_346%29.pdf [pp. 63-74] (accessed ...), p. 67.

8. Note: Krahmalkov, pp. 65-66.

9. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 336.

10. Note: Hamilton, p. 323.

11. Note: Goldwasser, p. 272.

12. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear – The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), p. 147.

13. Note: Aren M. Wilson-Wright, Wandering in the Desert?: A Review of Charles R. Krahmalkov’s The Chief of Miners Mashe/Moshe, the Historical Moses, The Bible and Interpretation (University of Arizona), March 2017, https://bibleinterp.arizona.edu/sites/bibleinterp.arizona.edu/files/docs/Review%20of%20Krahmalkov%203_0.pdf (accessed ...), p. 2.

14. Note: Krahmalkov, p. 64.

15. Note: Wilson-Wright, p. 2, n. 3.

16. Note: Ibid., pp. 2-4.

17. Note: Hamilton, p. 336.

Sinai 347-355

Alan H. Gardiner and T. Eric Peet. Source: Gardiner, Peet (1917).1

Notes

Gardiner, Peet (1917): The consecutive numbers 1 to 355 are those by which, the editors hope, the inscriptions [of Sinai] will henceforth be known; for purposes of reference Sinai 147 ought to prove an adequate mode of quotation. The principles of classification followed by us must here be explained. The main division is between Egyptian and non-Egyptian inscriptions: the latter (345-355) consist of no more than eleven monuments exhibiting the new script discussed in Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. iii, pp. 1-21.2

1. Drawings: Alan H. Gardiner and T. Eric Peet, The Inscriptions of Sinai: Part I; Introduction and Plates (London: Egypt Exploration Fund, 1917), https://archive.org/details/EXCMEM36/page/n106/mode/1up (accessed ...), Plates LXXXII-LXXXIII.

2. Note: Ibid., p. 4.

Sinai 356-

Hamilton (2006): The Proto-Canaanite Inscriptions from the Sinai: Sinai 345-347, (348?), 349-354, (355?), 356-365, (366?), 367, 374-375, 375a, 375c, 376-380, 5271

1. Note: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,W.Sem%20Alphabet,1.pdf [pp. 1-64] (accessed ...), pp. xiv-xv, Contents.

Wadi el-Hol Inscriptions [1999] (19th-18th Century BCE, ca. 1850-1700)

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 1 | West Semitic Research Project

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 1; West Semitic Research Project. Source: Wayback Machine.1

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 1; Marilyn Lundberg

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 1; Marilyn Lundberg. Source: Wikimedia Commons.2

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 2 | West Semitic Research Project Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 2 | Marilyn Lundberg

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 2; West Semitic Research Project. Source: Wayback Machine.3

Wadi el-Hol Inscription No. 2; Marilyn Lundberg. Source: Wikimedia Commons.4

TranscriptionTransliteration

𐤓 𐤁 <𐤉?> 𐤋 𐤍 𐤌 𐤍 𐤄 𐤍 𐤐 θ/𐤔 𐤄 𐤀 𐤏/𐤔 ḫ 𐤓

𐤌 𐤊/θ/ǵ 𐤕 𐤓 𐤄 𐤏 𐤅 𐤕 𐤉 𐤐 𐤊/θ/ǵ 𐤀 𐤋
Wadi el-Ḥol Text 1
r b <ẙ?> l n m n h n p θ̇/ṧ h ʾ ʿ/š
Wadi el-Ḥol Text 2
m k̊/θ̊/ǵ̊ t r h ʿ w t y p k̊/θ̊/ǵ̊ ʾ l

Transliteration source, Hamilton (2006): Lines below the bêt [in text 1] appear to be a curved palm type of yôd.... This could be a subscript correction of rb, great one, chief to rby, my great one, my chief. But one would need to examine the original to be sure these were intentional and not just random marks (as taken in the editio princeps).5 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.6)

Notes

Haring (2015): Two inscriptions in a writing very similar to the Sinai texts were discovered in 1999 in the Wadi el-Hol, in the desert to the northwest of Luxor. The two short sequences (together showing fourteen different signs) have so far not yielded any satisfactory translation, but the characters are so similar to those of the Sinai inscriptions that they must be related.6

Wikipedia: The inscriptions are graphically very similar to the Serabit inscriptions, but show a greater hieroglyphic influence, such as a glyph for a man....

Goldwasser (2011): The main paleographic difference between the two early examples of the alphabet — the inscriptions in Sinai and the inscriptions in Wadi el-Ḥôl in Egypt, lies in the execution of two letters — bêt and mem.7

Goldwasser (2016): Iconic Proto-Canaanite Inscriptions in Egypt—Middle Bronze Age and Late Bronze II...Wadi el-Hôl Inscriptions....8

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1850-1700 B.C.9

1. Image: Internet Archive Wayback Machine, http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/information/wadi_el_hol/inscr1.jpg, https://web.archive.org/web/20160303184024/http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/information/wadi_el_hol/inscr1.jpg (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Wikimedia Commons, Wadi el-Hol inscriptions I drawing, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wadi_el-Hol_inscriptions_I_drawing.jpg (accessed ...), Drawing by Marilyn Lundberg, West Semitic Research.

3. Image: Internet Archive Wayback Machine, http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/information/wadi_el_hol/inscr2.jpg, https://web.archive.org/web/20160303211918/http://www.usc.edu/dept/LAS/wsrp/information/wadi_el_hol/inscr2.jpg (accessed ...).

4. Drawing: Wikimedia Commons, Wadi el-Hol inscriptions II drawing, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wadi_el-Hol_inscriptions_II_drawing.jpg (accessed ...), Drawing by Marilyn Lundberg, West Semitic Research.

5. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), pp. 323, 325, 328.

6. Ben Haring, The Sinai Alphabet: Current State of Research, in Proceedings of the Multidisciplinary Conference on the Sinai Desert (Cairo: Netherlands-Flemish Institute in Cairo, 2015), https://www.academia.edu/12439545/The_Sinai_Alphabet_Current_State_of_Research_in_R_E_de_Jong_T_C_van_Gool_and_C_Moors_eds_Proceedings_of_the_Multidisciplinary_Conference_on_the_Sinai_Desert_Cairo_2015_18_32 (accessed ...), p. 24.

7. Note: Orly Goldwasser, The Advantage of Cultural Periphery: The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai (circa 1840 B.C.E), in Culture Contacts and the Making of Cultures: Papers in Homage to Itamar Even-Zohar, ed. Rakefat Sela-Sheffy and Gideon Toury (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University / Unit of Culture Research, 2011), https://www.academia.edu/37555692/2011_The_Advantage_of_Cultural_Periphery_The_Invention_of_the_Alphabet_in_Sinai_circa_1840_B_C_E_In_Culture_Contacts_and_the_Making_of_Cultures_Papers_in_Homage_to_Itamar_Even_Zohar_Eds_R_Sela_Sheffy_and_G_Toury_Tel_Aviv_Tel_Aviv_University_Unit_of_Culture_Research_251_316 [pp. 251–316] (accessed ...), p. 294

8. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linea – The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), p. 136.

9. Note: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), pp. 325, 328.

Lahun Heddle Jack [1890] (19th-14th Century BCE)

Lahun Heddle Jack | Trustees of the British Museum
Lahun Heddle Jack | Trustees of the British Museum
Lahun Heddle Jack | Trustees of the British Museum
Lahun Heddle Jack | Trustees of the British Museum
Lahun Heddle Jack | Trustees of the British Museum

Lahun Heddle Jack; Trustees of the British Museum. Source: The British Museum.1

Lahun Heddle Jack Inscription | Carla Gallorini
Lahun Heddle Jack Inscription | Carla Gallorini
Egyptian Heddle Jacks | University College London

Lahun Heddle Jack Inscription; Carla Gallorini. Source: Gallorini (2009).2

Egyptian Heddle Jacks; University College London. Source: Digital Egypt for Universities3.

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤇𐤉𐤈𐤁
𐤀𐤇𐤉𐤑𐤁
𐤀𐤃𐤏𐤑𐤁
ʾḥyb
ʾḥyṣb
ʾdʿṣb

Transliteration source: Haring (2020): The inscription has been read as ʾḥyṭb (Eisler 1919, 125 and 172), ʾḥyṣb (Dijkstra 1990, also allowing for a dating as late as the fourteenth century) or ʾdʿṣb (Hamilton 2006, 331: eighteenth–seventeenth century).4

Hamilton (2006): When in use, with its point down, the text incised around this heddle jack reads from right to left. This was likely intended as the primary direction of reading to judge from the archaic stances of ʾālep and ṣādê when viewed from that direction. ... The incision of the owner’s name was likely intended to differentiate this heddle jack from others.5

Colless (2020): The second sign appears to be Het (H̱ or H.).... However, there is a small projection at the top left corner, indicating a doorpost, and defining the character as a door, Dalt, hence D (so Hamilton).6

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤆𐤕𐤐𐤃𐤋
ztpdl

Transliteration source: Colless (2020): The Heddle Jack inscription is regularly exhibited irregularly [upside down] to achieve a proto-alphabetic text. ... The marks above the first letter...Hamilton (2007: 29) suggests that a probable interpretation of this deeply incised horizontal line is as a separation mark signaling the end of the owner's name; but he is at a loss to explain the three shorter, shallower nicks. Let us suppose that the longer incision at the top serves to indicate the start of the text. The two parallel lines are known to be the letter Dh (D) in the proto-alphabet, and is often found as saying This (is) at the beginning of Sinai inscriptions at the turquoise mines. ... Finally, we can no longer see the ox-head, and I doubt that we can ever find an `Alep or Alpha with a right angle. ... Speaking for myself, I would like it to say: This is a heddle jack.7

Hamilton (2006): The only surprise from a paleographic perspective is the presence of a linear A-form of ʾālep in an inscription that would be dated to ca. 1850-1700 B.C.... Yet compare a similar but atypical form of the hieroglyphic antecedent of that letter, F1, on a rock inscription from Nubia dating to the early Middle Kingdom which provides an analogy for the parallel development of this linear form in early alphabetic scripts. See also the A-forms of ʾālep, with a different stance, that occur on the front of the Shechem Plaque.... There is thus nothing in the paleography of the Lahun Heddle Jack that precludes its assignment to late in the Middle Kingdom.8

Notes

Burlingame (2019): The Lahun heddle jack, which, though known for some time, was more recently rediscovered in the British Museum.9

Haring (2020): The wooden heddle jack found during [W.M.F.] Petrie’s excavations at El-Lahun (Kahun) is inscribed with linear signs believed by many scholars to be alphabetic.10

Goldwasser (2006): [Benjamin] Sass is of the opinion that the signs do not resemble Proto-Canaanite letters of any date, let alone the earliest examples.11

Sparks (2004): Textile production is one of the crafts in Egypt that used a high proportion of Asiatic personnel, often acquired as prisoners of war. A wooden heddle jack from Lahun bore a proto-Canaanite inscription, suggesting just such an owner.12

Colless (2020): Its fir-tree wood is not native to the Nile Valley region, so it must have been brought from elsewhere.13

Dijkstra (1991): On the basis of the archeological evidence either a 16th century date, or a 14th century date are acceptable. This means that the Kahun inscription is datable within the range of established alphabetic origins, i.e., between the scarce inscriptions of the outgoing Middle Bronze period like the Nāgīlā sherd, Lachish dagger, Shechem plaque and probably the Gezer sherd and the better attested Proto-Canaanite inscriptions of the Late Bronze Age script of the 13th century B.C.14

Digital Egypt for Universities: A number of such jacks were preserved at Lahun, dating to the late Middle Kingdom, about 1850-1750 BC.15

Hamilton (2006): Found at Lahun/el-Lahun, in the town area sometimes referred to as Kahun. ... ca. 1850-1700 B.C.16

1. Image: The Trustees of the British Museum, Museum number EA70881, https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/Y_EA70881 (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Carla Gallorini, Incised Marks on Pottery and Other Objects From Kahun, in Pictograms or Pseudo-Script? Non-Textual Identity Marks in Practical Use in Ancient Egypt and Elsewhere, ed. B.J.J. Haring and O.E. Kaper (2009), https://www.academia.edu/435313/Incised_Marks_on_Pottery_and_Other_Objects_From_Kahun [pp. 107-142] (accessed ...), p. 119, Fig. 4: Wooden heddle-jack EA 70881 (scale 1:4).

Proceedings of a conference in Leiden 19-20 December 2006, , Leiden, 107-142 Publisher: NINO/Peeters Publication Date: Jan 1, 2009 This article is a much condensed version of my unpublished PhD thesis Incised Marks on Pottery and Other Objects from Kahun: Systems of Communication in Egypt during the Late Middle Kingdom, awarded at University College, London, 1998

3. Image: Digital Egypt for Universities, Textile production and clothing: Technology and tools in ancient Egypt, (University College London) 2003, https://www.ucl.ac.uk/museums-static/digitalegypt/textil/tools.html, LOOMS and weaving.

4. Transliteration: Ben Haring, Ancient Egypt and the earliest known stages of alphabetic writing, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes and Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020), https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p. 60.

5. Note: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 331.

6. Note: Brian E. Colless, Lahun Syllabic Heddle Jack, CRYPTCRACKER, 12 August 2020, http://cryptcracker.blogspot.com/2020/08/lahun-syllabic-heddle-jack.html (accessed ...).

7. Note: Ibid.

8. Note: Hamilton, p. 297.

9. Note: Andrew Burlingame, Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Recent Developments and Future Directions, Bibliotheca Orientalis LXXVI N. 1-2 (January-April 2019), https://www.academia.edu/40309512/Writing_and_Literacy_in_the_World_of_Ancient_Israel_Recent_Developments_and_Future_Directions (accessed ...), p. 49, n. 8.

10. Note: Ben Haring, p. 59.

11. Note: Orly Goldwasser, Canaanites Reading Hieroglyphs: Horus is Hathor? — The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai, Ägypten und Levante / Egypt and the Levant 16 (2006), https://www.academia.edu/6465779/Goldwasser_O_2006_Canaanites_Reading_Hieroglyphs_Part_I_Horus_is_Hathor_Part_II_The_Invention_of_the_Alphabet_in_Sinai_Ägypten_und_Levante_16_121_160 [pp. 121-160] (accessed ...), p. 132, n. 64.

12. Note: Rachael Sparks, Canaan in Egypt: Archaeological Evidence for a Social Phenomenon, in Invention and Innovation: The Social Context of Technological Change 2: Egypt, the Aegean and the Near East, 1650-1150 B.C., ed. Janine Bourriau and Jacke Phillips (Oxbow Books, 2004), https://www.academia.edu/401045/Canaan_In_Egypt_Archaeological_Evidence_for_a_Social_Phenomenon [pp. 27-56] (accessed ...), p. 43.

13. Note: Colless.

14. Note: Meindert Dijkstra, The So-called ʾĂḥīṭūb-Inscription from Kahun (Egypt), Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins [ZDPV] 106 (1991), https://www.academia.edu/34809620/M_Dijkstra_The_So_called_Ahitub_Inscription_from_Kahun_Egypt_ZDPV_106_1991_51_56 [pp. 51-56] (accessed ...), p. 53.

15. Note: Digital Egypt for Universities.

16. Note: Hamilton, p. 331.

Valley of the Queens Ostracon [????] (13th-12th Century BCE)

Valley of the Queens Ostracon | Benjamin Sass
Valley of the Queens Ostracon | Joseph Leibovich

Valley of the Queens Ostracon; Benjamin Sass. Source: Goldwasser (2016).1

Valley of the Queens Ostracon; Joseph Leibovich. Source: Goldwasser (2011).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤌𐤄𐤕
𐤀𐤔𐤕
ʾmht
ʾšt
maidservants
women

Transliteration and translation source, Colless (2010): My reading for the two lines (right to left): ' M H T (maidservants), ' Sh T (women).3

Notes

Colless (2010): Benjamin Sass...disallows this as proto-alphabetic, contra [J.] Leibovitch, [W. F.] Albright, [A.] van den Branden, and myself.4

Morenz (2018): I would suggest reading the bottom line [of the ostracon from the Valley of the Queens] as [Egyptian] hieratic script corresponding to the top line containing alphabetic letters. ... For any attempts of interpretation, we should consider the layout and the framing lines indicating a certain demarcation between the two distinctly different types of writing on the ostracon.5

Goldwasser (2016): Middle Bronze Age and Late Bronze II ... Valley of the Queens Alphabetic (?) Ostracon (New Kingdom) ... The upper part of this little ostracon shows four signs that may be identified as iconic Proto-Canaanite. ... The lower part of this ostracon seems to present signs written, again, in a “non-Egyptian” style but not fitting any known letters of the Canaanite alphabet.6 [Morenz (2018): In contrast (to Orly Goldwasser) I’d rather understand the three signs to be distinctly hieratic.7]

Morenz (2018): We notice...correspondences between the signs in the two lines on this ostracon. ... The scribe chose rather similar hieratic forms as equivalents to the alphabet letters. ... The original alphabet letters and the earliest examples known from Serabit el Khadim were clearly based on other hieroglyphic prototypes, including, in many cases an acrophonic derivation within the Semitic language. Thus, we can expect a reinterpretation of the primary alphabet letters within the horizon of a scribe trained in Egyptian New Kingdom hieratic script. ... We might assume the scribe to have been more familiar with Hieratic than alphabetic writing, and this assumption fits nicely with the observation that the scribe of this ostracon appears to have chosen hieratic signs with formal similarities to the alphabet letters. ... This ostracon...provides...evidence for the question of how Egyptian scribes in the New Kingdom approached foreign writing systems to understand and probably learn them. ... The interest of the Egyptian scribes in alphabetic writing might have been fostered more by intellectual curiosity and probably a more individual approach to a certain foreign writing system. ... The ostracon...is another important document for the usage of alphabetic writing during the New Kingdom/Late Bronze Age...from 13/12 century BCE.8

1. Image: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), p. 140, Figure 14: Valley of the Queens alphabetic(?) ostracon. (After Sass 1988: Fig. 286.)

2. Drawing: Orly Goldwasser, The Advantage of Cultural Periphery: The Invention of the Alphabet in Sinai (circa 1840 B.C.E), in Culture Contacts and the Making of Cultures: Papers in Homage to Itamar Even-Zohar, ed. Rakefat Sela-Sheffy and Gideon Toury (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University/ Unit of Culture Research, 2011), https://www.academia.edu/37555692/2011_The_Advantage_of_Cultural_Periphery_The_Invention_of_the_Alphabet_in_Sinai_circa_1840_B_C_E_In_Culture_Contacts_and_the_Making_of_Cultures_Papers_in_Homage_to_Itamar_Even_Zohar_Eds_R_Sela_Sheffy_and_G_Toury_Tel_Aviv_Tel_Aviv_University_Unit_of_Culture_Research_251_316 [pp. 251–316] (accessed ...), p. 309, Fig. 3b: Valley of the Queens ostracon (after Leibovich 1940).

3. Transliteration and translation: Brian E. Colless, Timna Inscriptions, CRYPTCRACKER, 08 April 2010, http://cryptcracker.blogspot.com/2010/04/timna-inscriptions-copper-mines-at.html (accessed ...).

4. Note: Ibid.

5. Note: Ludwig D. Morenz, Early Alphabetic Writing and Its Correspondence to New Kingdom Hieratic Considering a BI–graphic Sequence of Signs on an Ostracon from the New Kingdom, Abgadiyat: Journal of Arabic Calligraphy (Brill) 13:1 (Sep 2018), https://journals.ekb.eg/article_54831_ba016a8087499f2dbbd24c8c4b6c167d.pdf [pp. 14–18] (accessed ...), p. 15.

6. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), pp. 136, 139.

7. Note: Morenz, p. 17, n. 5.

8. Note: Ibid., pp. 15-16.

Proto-Sinaitic Fonts

Phoenician / Paleo-Hebrew
ʾbgdhwzyklmnsʿpqršt
𐤀𐤁𐤂𐤃𐤄𐤅𐤆𐤇𐤈𐤉𐤊𐤋𐤌𐤍𐤎𐤏𐤐𐤑𐤒𐤓𐤔𐤕
Proto-Sinaitic
Colless (2014)*ABPgD-HWZXYKCJLMNS[-QR{FV-T
aG@d-hwzájykclmn-päqrvf-t
ABPgD-HWZXYKCJLMNS[QR{FV-T
aG@d-hwzájykclmn-päqrvf-t
Albright (1969)ABGDCHW-IX-YKLJMN-EFPSQRVT
abgdchw-ix-ykljmnf-epsqrtv
ABGDCHW-IX-YKLJMN-EFPSQRVT
abgdchw-ix-ykljmnf-epsqrtv
Rejected Unicode Proposal (1998) - - - - - - -

* Colless: Chart of Alphabet Evolution.1 (Font: Protosinaitic 1 [Proto-Sinaitic 15.ttf] designed by Kris Udd 2006.)

† Albright: Schematic Table of Proto-Sinaitic Characters.2 (Font: ProtoSinatic [proto-si.ttf] designed by Kyle Pope 2001.)

‡ Everson: http://std.dkuug.dk/JTC1/SC2/WG2/docs/n1688/n1688.htm3 and http://www.unicode.org/L2/L1999/protosinaitic.pdf.

1. Brian E. Colless (2014), The Origin of the Alphabet: An Examination of the Goldwasser Hypothesis, http://www.academia.edu/12894458/The_origin_of_the_alphabet#page=103 (accessed 30 Dec 2018), Fig. 1. Chart of Alphabet Evolution, p. 103.

2. William Foxwell Albright (1969), The Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions and Their Decipherment, https://www.scribd.com/document/341115795/Albright-The-Proto-Sinaitic-Inscriptions-and-Their-Decipherment-1969#page=16 (accessed 30 Dec 2018), Fig. 1. Schematic Table of Proto-Sinaitic Characters, p. 10.

3. Michael Everson (1998), Proposal to encode Sinaitic in Plane 1 of ISO/IEC 10646-2, http://std.dkuug.dk/JTC1/SC2/WG2/docs/n1688/n1688.htm (accessed 30 Dec 2018).

Pandey, Anderson: Undeciphered Scripts in the Unicode Age: Challenges for encoding early writing systems of the Near East: Possible correspondences between Proto-Sinaitic and Phoenician.

Jack Kilmon: Certain Egyptian hieroglyphs such as mouth.gif (562 bytes) which was pronounced r'i meaning "mouth" became the pictograph for the sound of R with any vowel. The pictograph for "water" pronounced nu river.gif (1017 bytes)became the symbol for the consonantal sound of N. This practice of using a pictograph to stand for the first sound in the word it stood for is called acrophony and was the first step in the development of an ALPHABET or the "One Sign-One sound" system of writing.... The Egyptians [themselves] used the acrophones as a consonantal system along with their syllabic and idiographic system, therefore the alphabet was not yet born. The acrophonic principal of Egyptian clearly influenced Proto-Canaanite/Proto-Sinaitic around 1700 BC. Inscriptions found at the site of the ancient torquoise mines at Serabit-al-Khadim in the Sinai use less than 30 signs, definite evidence of a consonantal alphabet rather than a syllabic system.


Clay Model House

Image source: The Israel Museum.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Clay model house, 3,000-2,650 BCE


Rebuttal to encoding Proto-Sinaitic

Keown, REBUTTAL to “Final proposal for encoding the Phoenician script in the UCS”: In a 1990 article in the journal Abr-Nahrain, Prof. Brian E. Colless makes the following observations about Proto-Sinaitic:
• only 1/3 of the letters can be deciphered with certainty
• there is “No set direction for the line of writing.”
J. Naveh observed: “it would be premature to state that the Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions have been satisfactorily deciphered.”

Röllig, Comments on proposals for the Universal Multiple-Octed Coded Character Set:
It is absolutely superfluous to generate the characters of Proto-Sinatic inscriptions, as especially in this case a high variability of characters is of the essence
:
The literature used by authors of character lists is mostly of a secondary nature.... Through this, of course, mistakes have been added. Some of this literature is also clearly no longer up to date. From this follows, furthermore, that sometimes character forms appear in these character lists that are not correct or at least cannot be understood in this manner anymore today.... If they knew these variants, the authors should have noticed that their undertaking was not very useful


Opposition to encoding Phoenician, Aramaic, and Hebrew as distinct character sets

Everson: Final proposal for encoding the Phoenician script in the UCS: lots of examples of phoenician.

Synder, Re: Ancient Northwest Semitic Script: It might be a good idea to encode the ancient Northwest Semitic script, which, though it includes Old Hebrew, would not include Modern Hebrew.... But not the Phoenician, Punic, Moabite, Ammonite, Old Hebrew, and Old Aramaic nodes. In fact, the glyphic, or paleographic, variation is so slight at times between texts in these languages and dialects, that it is the extra-script evidence that is diagnostic for identification.

Synder, Re: Ancient Northwest Semitic Script: So once again I refer to other tables with broader paleographic attestation http://www.jhu.edu/ice/ancientnorthwestsemitic/gesenius.gif http://www.jhu.edu/ice/ancientnorthwestsemitic/gibson1.gif http://www.jhu.edu/ice/ancientnorthwestsemitic/gibson2.gif and, based on such tables, suggest, in Everson's words, that "Looking at [THESE tables] most of the scripts are so similar that there doesn't seem to be any point in trying to encode them separately." [Everson argued that the different Phoenician scripts were so slight to not warrant different encodings; Syder counters that is true of Phoenician and Aramaic vs. Hebrew]

Keown, REBUTTAL to “Final proposal for encoding the Phoenician script in the UCS”: an aleph is an aleph is an aleph, since about 1200 B.C.E. ... Just after 1200 B.C.E., the 22-letter very late Proto-Canaanite writing (e.g., 'El-Khadr arrowheads) loses its pictographic character and becomes more readable. ... standard ‘Phoenician’ should be regarded as a set of glyphs with no significant technical differences from ‘Hebrew.’ There are glyph differences, but they can be regarded as the usual variation in glyphs seen with Roman, Greek, or other scripts more familiar to the western eye than ‘Phoenician’ or other early Semitic glyphs.
:
For ProtoCanaanite—29 inscriptions, plus storage jar handles—a font of 207 items would cover the corpus.
:
In its heyday, Ugaritic still had 27 consonants and 27 consonantal letters. However, between the heyday of Ugaritic and the stabilizing of linear alphabetic script [about 1100 B.C.], most Canaanite languages lost 4-5 sounds. So the emerging linear alphabets ‘shrank’ over about 400 years as the sound systems simplified. So-called ‘Phoenician’ is a right-to-left, 22-letter script written in horizontal lines, used starting ca 1000 B.C.E. See Chart 2 for a description of some glyphs it is supposed to cover. The earlier stable alphabet period, 1200-1000 B.C. is frequently called ‘Byblian.’ 1. Please note that Proto-Canaanite has a larger repertoire than ‘Phoenician’

Röllig, Comments on proposals for the Universal Multiple-Octed Coded Character Set:
unknown characters are normally transcribed into the Latin script, often with the help of diacritical signs.... Only in specific fields of the presentation of e. g. Phoenician and Aramaic is the Hebraic character repertoire applied, namely in form of the so-called square script. More is not needed from the scientific point of view of grammar and linguistics
:
It is pointless to generate character repertoires for each of the different variants of characters that are found in different regions and appeared in different times. This is the case for Phoenician as well as for Aramaic, Old South Arabian, Ugaritic etc.

Iconic Proto-Canaanite Inscriptions

1. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Ancient Near East, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Near_East#Periodization (accessed ...), Periodization: Middle Bronze Age (2100–1550 BC).

2. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 180: Late Bronze II: 13th century.

Jewish Virtual Library: Proto-Canaanite inscriptions on artifacts from Gezer, Lachish, and Shechem ranging from the 17th to the 14th centuries B.C.E. are closely related to the Proto-Sinaitic....1

Goldwasser (2016): During the Middle Bronze Age to the Late Bronze Age the Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite alphabet show two main phases—iconic and linear. While all but one Proto-Sinaitic inscription show iconic variations [Sinai 375c; see http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,8.pdf, p. 377, Fig. A.46.], the so-called Proto-Canaanite inscriptions show two phases—an early iconic phase and a later linear phase.2

Wikipedia: Proto-Canaanite is the name given to (a) the Proto-Sinaitic script when found in Canaan, that dates from around the 17th century BC and later [and] (b) a hypothetical ancestor of the Phoenician script before some cut-off date, typically 1050 BCE, with an undefined affinity to Proto-Sinaitic.3

1. Note: Jewish Virtual Library, Writing, (n.d.), https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/writing (accessed ...), Inscriptions.

2. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), p. 118.

3. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Proto-Canaanite Alphabet, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Canaanite_alphabet (accessed ...).

Gezer Sherd [1929] (18th-15th Century BCE, ca. 1800-1450)

Gezer Sherd | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Elie Posner

Gezer Sherd; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Elie Posner. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤊𐤋𐤁
klb
Caleb

Transliteration and translation source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤁𐤍𐤊
bnk
thy son

Transliteration and translation source: Colless (n.d.).3

TranscriptionTransliteration
] 𐤊 𐤅 𐤁 [
] k̇ w b [

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2006).4 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.5)

Notes

Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible: The pottery discovered in 1929 in Tel Gezer by a group from the American Schools of Oriental Research, the size of the sherd is 7 x 5 cm, of a closed vessel. The shard was a fragment of a cylindrical cult stand, with an inscription incised before burning the clay. The shard was found in the fortress tower of the Canaanite city of the Middle Bronze Age, which has been dated to approximately 1600 BCE. On the shard were three letters which give the combination ‘KLB’ in Hebrew (כלב).6

Colless (n.d.): There are three characters of the proto-alphabet inscribed on [the Gezer sherd]. The one at the top is a hand showing its palm (kap) and thus K. The bottom letter is a square, representing the ground-plan of a house (bayt) and hence B. The middle sign might be W (waw, a hook), or L (a crook or a coil of rope); but the head is rather small for either of these choices (W or L); it is better to see it as a snake (nahhash) and so N. While the inscription is commonly read as KLB, offering Caleb as the name of the donor or maker of the cultic object, the reading BNK would produce thy son, as a reference to the person donating the stand to the temple.7

Azevedo (1994): Gezer sherd 1800-1600 BCE.8

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1500 B.C. (± 100 years)9

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): At least five or six Proto-Canaanite inscriptions, four of them from secure contexts, date to the Late Bronze Age II–III [ca. 1300-1130]. ... The Gezer sherd with an archaic-looking inscription incised before firing is a surface find, too small for typological dating beyond post Intermediate Bronze — pre Iron II on account of its fabric. We place it here tentatively.10

Goldwasser (2016): Iconic Proto-Canaanite ... Not found in a stratified context.... The [Gezer] sherd contains three letters. By their form, they could be assigned to the iconic phase. ... Most scholars regarded the small inscription to be a personal name.11

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner, Klb, part of a Proto-Canaanite inscription, perhaps from a cult vessel, in Pharoah in Canaan: The Untold Story; The Invention of the Alphabet (2016), https://museum.imj.org.il/en/exhibitions/2016/pharaoh-in-canaan/page/?id=invention-of-the-alphabet (accessed ...).

2. Transliteration and translation: Ibid.

3. Transliteration and translation: Brian E. Colless, Gezer Sherd, Collesseum: A Museum-Theatre for Scripts (n.d.), https://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/gezer (accessed ...).

4. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,9.pdf [pp. 388-438] (accessed ...), p. 397.

5. Note: Ibid., http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 323.

6. Note: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, The Tel Gezer shard, 19 August 2017, http://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2017/08/the-gezer-shard.html (accessed ...).

7. Note: Colless.

8. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 103.

9. Note: Hamilton, p. 397.

10. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 153, 156.

11. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), pp. 140, 143.

Lachish Dagger [????] (18th-16th Century BCE)

Lachish Dagger | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Elie Posner
Lachish Dagger | ancienthebrewinscriptions

Lachish Dagger; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Elie Posner. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

Lachish Dagger. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.2 (Additional drawing: Edward Lipiński [2016], p. 128.)

TranscriptionTransliteration
ð 𐤋 𐤓 𐤍 𐤕
ð l̇ r n t

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2006).3 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.4)

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤈𐤓𐤍𐤆
𐤋𐤓𐤍𐤆
rnz
lrnz

Transliteration source: Lipiński (2016): Four Proto-Canaanite signs have been engraved on the dagger blade and should very likely be read ṭrnz, despite the reading lrnz proposed since by A.G. Lundin. ... W.F. Albright has suggested that ṭrnz was the name of the dagger’s owner, buried with his weapon. ... The meaning of the name is uncertain, but the sign ṭ is now paralleled in the Proto-Canaanite jar inscription discovered at Lachish in 2014 [Lachish Jar Sherd], where the last sign of line 3’ certainly represents the same letter.5

Notes

Compare the tet 𐤈 on the Lachish dagger with the 12th century Lachish jar sherd inscription.

Azevedo (1994): Lachish dagger 17th-16th century BCE.6

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1725 B.C. (± 25 years)7

Goldwasser (2016): Iconic Proto-Canaanite ... Middle Bronze Age ... The [Lachish] bronze dagger was found in a tomb that could safely be dated to the 17th century BCE. ... It is highly probable that this four-sign inscription is an example of an early Proto-Canaanite script. The four-letter inscription may be a name, and a personal weapon would be an ideal context for such a text. 8

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, []rn[], Proto-Canaanite Inscription on a dagger, in Pharoah in Canaan: The Untold Story; The Invention of the Alphabet (2016), https://museum.imj.org.il/en/exhibitions/2016/pharaoh-in-canaan/page/?id=invention-of-the-alphabet (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, Qubur al-Walaydah inscription, 10 February 2019, http://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2019/02/qubur-al-walaydah-inscription.html (accessed ...), The Lachish Dagger 15 century BCE.

3. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,9.pdf [pp. 388-438] (accessed ...), p. 391.

4. Note: Ibid., http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 323.

5. Transliteration: Edward Lipiński, Hurrians and Their Gods in Canaan, Rocznik Orientalistczny, LXIX:1 (2016), http://journals.pan.pl/Content/82350/mainfile.pdf?handler=pdf [pp. 125-141] (accessed ...), pp. 128-129.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 103.

7. Note: Hamilton, p. 391.

8. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), pp. 140-142.

Shechem Plaque [????] (17th-15th Century BCE, ca. 1650-1550 or 1450-1400)

Schechem Plaque | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Elie Posner
Schechem Plaque | Benjamin Sass

Schechem Plaque; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Elie Posner. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

Schechem Plaque; Benjamin Sass. Source: Harris, Hone (n.d.).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤓𐤀𐤔 𐤔𐤊𐤓 𐤀[𐤃][𐤍 ...]
rʾš škr ʾ[d][n ...]
Chief Šurki, lor[d of ...]

Transliteration and translation source: Lipiński (2016).3

TranscriptionTransliteration
]𐤉/𐤁𐤀𐤓𐤊𐤔𐤔[𐤐?]𐤀𐤓
]𐤉/𐤁𐤀𐤓𐤊θθ[𐤐?]𐤀𐤓
] ẙ/b̊ ʾ r k θθ/š [p?] < ʾ̇ ṙ>

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2006).4 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.5)

Notes

Lipiński (2016): As noticed already by the editor and more recently by S.J. Wimmer, the inscription should be read upwards.6

Azevedo (1994): Shechem plaque L[ate] B[ronze] Age.7

Hamilton (2006): either ca. 1650-1550 or 1450-1400 B.C.8

Goldwasser (2016): Iconic Proto-Canaanite ... Although found in an excavation, the find has no clear stratigraphic context. The inscription is possibly a later addition to a Middle Bronze relief. It might have been incised in two stages: 1. First stage–comprised of a row of 5 highly iconic reproduced letters.... 2. A much later, rather aggressive addition, of what seems to be two deeply incised cursive Alep letters.... The lower Alep is clearly intrusive.9

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Elie Posner, Unclear Proto-Canaanite inscription; the letter resh appears twice, in Pharoah in Canaan: The Untold Story; The Invention of the Alphabet (2016), https://museum.imj.org.il/en/exhibitions/2016/pharaoh-in-canaan/page/?id=invention-of-the-alphabet (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: James R. Harris and Dann W. Hone, Proto-Sinaitic Inscriptions, The Origins and Emergence of West Semitic Alphabetic Scripts, https://net.lib.byu.edu/imaging/negev/Origins.html (accessed ...), The second letter from the right is an intrusive abstract resh placed in the inscription at some later period, therefore we will simply ignore it. [From Benjamin Sass, (1988) pp. 56-57, translation by Harris and hone.]

3. Transliteration and translation: Edward Lipiński, Hurrians and Their Gods in Canaan, Rocznik Orientalistczny, LXIX:1 (2016), http://journals.pan.pl/Content/82350/mainfile.pdf?handler=pdf [pp. 125-141] (accessed ...), p. 131.

4. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,9.pdf [pp. 388-438] (accessed ...), p. 395.

5. Note: Ibid., http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 323.

6. Note: Lipiński.

7. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 103.

8. Note: Hamilton, p. 395.

9. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), pp. 140, 143-145.

Linear Proto-Canaanite Inscriptions

High, low, relative, and absolute chronology.

1. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 183: Late Bronze Age II–III, ca. 1300–1130.

2. Note: Ibid., p. 180: Late Iron I: Mid 11th to mid 10th century.

3. Note: Ibid., p. 183: ca. 940–880 B.C.E. or early Iron IIA.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 180: Late Iron IIA1: ca. 880–840/830; p. 189: ca. 880–840/830 B.C.E. (late Iron IIA1) (but see also p. 194: 880/870–840/830 or late Iron IIA1; p. 200: ca. 880/870–840/830 B.C.E. – late Iron IIA1.)

Late Bronze Age II-III Inscriptions, Southern Philistia

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): All [Late Bronze Age II–III] inscriptions were found in a relatively small area in the Shephelah and the inland part of the southern Coastal Plain. ... No Late Bronze II–III Proto-Canaanite inscriptions have so far been found in the northern part of the Shephelah – Tell es˙-S˙afi and its vicinity.1

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Most of the Late Bronze II–III Proto-Canaanite inscriptions can be associated with the kingdom of Lachish, the main local centre insouthern Canaan, a counterpart of sorts of Egyptian Gaza. No such inscriptions have thus far been unearthed...at the thoroughly excavated sites of Ashkelon, Ashdod and Jaffa (Gaza remains unexplored), with their strong links to the Egyptian administration.2

1. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 176.

2. Note: Ibid., p. 184.

Late Iron I to Early Iron IIA Inscriptions, Northern Philistia

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): In the Late Bronze Age the alphabet is centred on the territory of the city-state of Lachish, which was destroyed in the late 12th century and remained deserted in the Iron I. In the early Iron IIA the alphabet shifts within the Shephelah to the north, to the territory of Gath.1

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): A concentration of texts is to be found in late Iron I and early Iron IIA...somewhat to the north of those dating to the Late Bronze Age, with no geographical overlap between the two groups.2

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The geographical shift of the inscriptions from the southern Shephelah in the Late Bronze Age to the northern Shephelah in the Iron I...evidently reflects the shift of the territorial-political centre of gravity: the total destruction of Late Bronze Lachish and its countryside in the late 12th century and the dominance of the inland Philistine cities of Ekron and Gath in the Iron I and IIA respectively. ... In the Iron I, then, Gath and/or Ekron replaced Late Bronze II–III Lachish as the main administrative – and probably literary – centre in the inland Shephelah.3

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The Proto-Canaanite letter shapes evolved only slightly between the Late Bronze Age and the Iron I–II transition. This slow progress probably reflects the overall decrease in writing during the Iron I, and is in line with the contemporary drop in monumental architecture and art, contrasted with the Late Bronze Age on the one hand and late Iron IIA on the other, which were times of rule by an empire and emergence of territorial kingdoms respectively.4

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The Proto-Canaanite forms of the late Iron I and/or early Iron IIA obviously evolved away from their Late Bronze II–III forerunners..., but relatively little. While the he [in the Beth-shemesh Baal sherd and ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah ostracon ] was abbreviated and rotated 90°...vs. the Lachish bowl fragment, the coiled lamed [in the Qeiyafa ostracon and Ṣafi sherd 821141] remained practically as it was...vs. the Lachish ewer and bowl fragment.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Inscriptions from secure, exclusive early or middle Iron I contexts have not been found yet. Just two inscriptions uncovered in secondary depositions, the Beth-shemesh Baal sherd and ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah ostracon, have a range – early Iron I to early Iron IIA – that includes these two phases. ... Documented before and after, the linear alphabet obviously existed also in the Iron I despite its archaeological invisibility. ... [Inscriptions are] documented for the late Iron I and/or early Iron IIA, and inferred for the earlier Iron I.6

1. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 201.

2. Note: Ibid., pp. 176-177.

3. Note: Ibid., p. 187.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 186.

5. Note: Ibid., p. 173.

6. Note: Ibid., pp. 157, 176, 187.

Early Iron IIA to Late Iron IIA/1 Inscriptions, Beyond Philistia

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): In early Iron IIA the linear alphabet, hitherto confined to Philistia, spread farther afield for the first time. Three inscriptions [Ṣafi sherd 821141 and the Qeiyafa ostracon and jar] come from good Iron IIA archaeological contexts in Philistia itself and its immediate vicinity. ... Outside Philistia, [Rehov jar 2] is the only early Iron IIA inscription from a primary archaeological context.?

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The first well-dated Proto-Canaanite inscriptions beyond Philistia and [also] the gradual transition to the more developed, ‘post Proto-Canaanite’ letter shapes are...documented in [early Iron IIA]. In addition to...Philistia and its immediate vicinity, the alphabet is found in the early Iron IIA at Tel Rehov, and in Phoenicia as far north as Byblos. It has not yet been found in Judah and Israel, with the possible exception of a single item at Raddana.2

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The reason for the spread of the alphabet out of Philistia and change from Proto-Canaanite to ‘post Proto-Canaanite’ in the late tenth and early ninth century might have been the accelerated usage of the alphabet in the administrations of the newly-founded territorial kingdoms beginning around 900 B.C.E.3

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The earliest indubitable presence of the linear alphabet outside Philistia is documented via three well-stratified inscriptions – Rehov nos. 1, 2 and 3... – among the eight to ten inscriptions [Raddana handle; Rehov 1939 sherd; Rehov 1, 2, and 3; Kefar Veradim bowl; Sarepta sherd; Byblos clay cone A; Ophel pithos sherd; and nine arrowheads as a group] of this period.... ... We take all Proto-Canaanite inscriptions found beyond Philistia to be early Iron IIA: before that they were confined to Philistia and after that they went out of fashion.... This was our consideration for limiting the unstratified Raddana handle and 1939 Rehov sherd to early Iron IIA.4

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): A few unstratified or unprovenanced inscribed objects – the Raddana handle, Rehov 1939 sherd,the arrowheads – could by letter typology date to either Iron I or early Iron IIA. As long as there is no stratigraphic corroboration for the former, we regard the movement of the alphabet out of Philistia as an early Iron IIA phenomenon.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): In the past, [the Raddana handle] seemed...too archaic for both the Iron IIA and for the Iron I – two of the letters, alep and lamed, recalling Proto-Sinaitic shapes. ... We wonder whether this was a false impression: ...the same stance of the alep is found twice on the Qeiyafa ostracon; while the lowermost half letter, if it is a lamed, has elsewhere retained its shape from LB II to early Iron IIA, e.g., in Ṣafi sherd 821141. ... The Proto-Sinaitic appearance of the ḥet may be incidental, in which case the Raddana handle too could be attributed to the late Iron I or early Iron IIA. ... We prefer the latter. ... The sherd found in 1939 on the surface of Tel Rehov...is the most archaic-looking among all Rehov inscriptions; judging by its letter shapes alone the sherd could belong to any time between the Late Bronze II–III and the early Iron IIA. We place it towards the end of this range, not too far in time from Rehov 2. 6

1. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 26.

2. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 187-188.

3. Note: Ibid., p. 164.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 177.

5. Note: Ibid., p. 186.

6. Note: Ibid., p. 160.

Late Iron IIA/1 Inscriptions, Transitional Proto-Canaanite

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Hitherto the sparse documentation led us to suggest that Proto-Canaanite came to an end within early Iron IIA [ca. 940-880] or the mid-tenth to early ninth century.... ...In 2013 we classified the ductus of six inscriptions—the Kefar Veradim bowl, Rehov jar 2, Ophel pithos sherd, Sarepta sherd, Byblos cone A and the arrowheads as a group—as mixed Proto-Canaanite and “post Proto-Canaanite” (i.e. the earliest cursive) within early Iron IIA. Accordingly, we tended to consider the first half of the ninth century or late Iron IIA/1 [ca. 880-840/830] as the time...when Proto-Canaanite was no more.... ... We now realize that the script of Rehov jar 2, the Kefar Veradim bowl, Ophel pithos sherd and Sarepta sherd is to all appearances just Proto-Canaanite; the several letter-shapes in the four inscriptions that we regarded as earliest “post Proto-Canaanite” are merely long-lived, surviving from one phase to the next (e.g. the alep and taw of Rehov 2), but not in the least cursive. Among the inscriptions we addressed in 2013, only unstratified Byblos cone A and five of the unprovenanced arrowheads bear a mixed script.1

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Mixed Proto-Canaanite and cursive...comes in two forms: 1/ Both letter-styles [pre-cursive Proto-Canaanite and cursive post Proto-Canaanite] in one inscription (as well as left-to-right letters). This phenomenon has been noticed in five of the inscribed arrowheads [Rapa, Ruweiseh, Gerbaal, Pères blancs, and Zakarbaal].... 2/ Cursive [i.e., post Proto-Canaanite] letters but written left to right. These occur in the Megiddo jug sherd and in Byblos cone A.2

Lehmann (2020): There is a running debate about how to reconceptualise the earlier phase(s) of the Levantine alphabetic scribal culture from ‘Early Alphabetic’ up to a presumed ‘Phoenician’ writing, and from the Late Bronze to the Early Iron Ages and beyond. ... Cf. also Hamilton 2014 [Reconceptualizing the periods of early alphabetic scripts in ‘An Eye for Form’. Epigraphic essays in honor of Frank Moore Cross], 30: The scholarly consensus about the periods of early alphabetic scripts has virtually collapsed during the last decade. For example, Sass and Finkelstein 2016 themselves chased after a new idea on the basis of another new, tiny two-letter-fragment [the Megiddo jug sherd], revoking what they wrote only few years before (Finkelstein and Sass 2013): the later article is filled with ‘we now realise’s, ‘we now believe’s and similar corrections.... This...is not at all to blame the authors! Rather it is to illustrate the current state of research and scholarly discourse.3

1. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 26.

2. Note: Ibid., p. 30.

3. Note: Reinhard G. Lehmann, Much ado about an implement! – the Phoenicianising of Early Alphabetic, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes, Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020) https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p.69 and p. 69, n. 2.

Grossman Cylinder Seal aka St Louis Cylinder Seal aka Goetze Seal [1952] (15th-14th Century BCE, ca. 1500-1300)

>Grossman Seal and Impression | Albrecht Goetze
Grossman Seal Impression | Gordon Hamilton
Cylinder Seals | Gryffindor

Grossman Seal and Impression; Albrecht Goetze. Source: Goetze (1953).1

Grossman Seal Impression; Gordon Hamilton. Source: Dobbs-Allsopp (2012).2

Cylinder Seals; Gryffindor. Source: Wikimedia Commons.3

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤋𐤁𐤔 𐤏𐤓𐤒𐤉
lbš ʿrqy

Transliteration source: Cross (1984).4

TranscriptionTransliteration

𐤟 𐤋 𐤁 θ/𐤔

𐤟 𐤏 𐤓 𐤒 𐤉
Column 1
| l b θ̇/ṧ
Column 2
| ʿ r q y

Transliteration source, Hamilton (2006): Boustrophedon, following Cross [1967: 10*, n. 14; 2003: 312]5 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.6)

Notes

Goetze (1953): [The Grossman / St. Louis seal cylinder] is the property of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Grossman of St. Louis who acquired it in London in 1952.7

Cross (1984): I have had doubts in the past about the authenticity of the St. Louis seal (now in the Harvard Semitic Museum), and the reading lbs ʿrqy. However, I have again changed my mind in view of new comparative data.8

Hamilton (2014): The Grossman seal is a genuine artifact with a genuine legend composed of Early Alphabetic B letters. Five of its letters have developed into linear forms: the short form of l; the b with a rounded head; the slightly damaged but clearly angular ṯ/š (note that the two halves of this letter do not connect, making any identification of it as a pictograph of a bow impossible); an r with a blockhead, pointing upwards; and a reduced form of q. The letter ʿayin has retained its pictographic form on this seal (although the size has diminished from earlier writings); the highest letter in the right-hand column, yod, may also be a recognizable depiction of a human hand.9

Hamilton (2014): Early Alphabetic B, ca. 1400-950 B.C.E. The shapes of many of the early alphabetic letters morphed early in the Late Bronze Age from a semi-pictographic sort of handwriting into a more complex cursive or linear script in which a few pictographic features can be recognized. Complex details found in some of the letters of Early Alphabetic A [represented by the Wadi el-Ḥol inscriptions and Lahun heddle jack], such as depictions of eyes in the profiles of bulls heads, where dropped in Early Alphabetic B [represented by the Tell el-ʿAjjul spouted cup, Tell el-Ḥesi bowl rim, and Grossman Seal]. During this second stage, letters also tended to develop simpler, sometimes more-geometric shapes.... ... And whereas most of the inscriptions from Early Alphabetic A that have survived were incised on stone, many of the inscriptions belonging to Early Alphabetic B were written on ceramic, often in paint or ink....10

Azevedo (1994): Saint Louis seal 1400 BC.11

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1400 B.C. (± 100 years)12

1. Image: Albrecht Goetze, A Seal Cylinder with an Early Alphabetic Inscription, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 129 (February 1953), https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/3219043?journalCode=basor (accessed ...), p. 8, Fig. 1: Early alphabetic seal, property of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Grossman, 7549 Parkdale Ave., St. Louis 5, Mo.

2. Drawing: Chip Dobbs-Allsopp, Space, Line, and the Written Biblical Poem in Texts from the Judean Desert, in Puzzling Out the Past: Studies in Northwest Semitic Languages and Literatures in Honor of Bruce Zuckerman, ed. Marilyn J. Lundberg, Steven Fine, and Wayne T. Pitard (Leiden, Boston: Brill, 2012), https://www.academia.edu/3770105/Space_Line_and_the_Written_Biblical_Poem_in_Texts_from_the_Judean_Desert (accessed ...), p. 42, Fig. 18: Grossman seal (Drawing by Gordon Hamilton).

3. Image: Gryffindor, Papiermuseum Basel 2008 (4), Wikimedia Commons, 19 March 2008, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Papiermuseum_Basel_2008_(4).jpg (accessed ...).

4. Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, An Old Canaanite Inscription Recently Found at Lachish [1984], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000047.xml [pp. 293-294] (accessed ...), p. 294, n. 7.

5. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,9.pdf [pp. 388-438] (accessed ...), p. 398.

6. Note: Ibid., http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 323.

7. Note: Goetze.

8. Note: Cross.

9. Note: Gordon J. Hamilton, Reconceptualizing the Periods of Early Alphabetic Scripts, in An Eye for Form: Epigraphic Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross, ed. Jo Ann Hackete and Walter E. Aufrecht (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2014), https://books.google.com/books?id=HNcNEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA38 (accessed ...), p. 38.

10. Note: Ibid., https://books.google.com/books?id=HNcNEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA38, pp. 34-35.

11. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

12. Note: Hamilton (2006), p. 398.

Tell el-ʿAjjul Spouted Cup [????] (15th-14th Century BCE, ca. 1500-1300)

Tell el-ʿAjjul Spouted Cup (Missing Spout) | UCL Institute of Archaeology Collection

Tell el-ʿAjjul Spouted Cup (Missing Spout); UCL Institute of Archaeology Collection. Source: Sparks (2013).1 (Drawing of inscription: Gordon J. Hamilton (2014), p. 35, Fig. 5.)

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
ḏ/𐤅 𐤍 𐤋 𐤉 𐤓 𐤑 𐤀 𐤊 𐤍 ? 𐤉
ḏ/w n l y r ṣ ʾ k n ? y
this (belongs) to [ḏ/w n l] Yrṣʾ [y r ṣ ʾ], (the) Can[aan]ite [k n ? y]

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2014).2

Notes

Hamilton (2014): The inscription painted below the rim of a spouted cup from Tell el-ʿAjjul Tomb 1109 is the most important of the three texts [Tell el-ʿAjjul spouted cup, Tell el-Ḥesi bowl rim, and Grossman Seal] that show a transitional semi-pictographic-linear script becuase it is the longest and was written on a vessel type with parallels from stratigraphic contexts that can be dated securely. ... Eight of its 11 letters can be identified securely, based on their close or very close resemblances to letter forms on other early alphabetic inscriptions (...letter no. 2, n; 3, l; 4, y; 5, r; 6, ; 8, k; 9, n; 11, y). Two other letters are more damaged, but their consonantal identities can be established with some degree of confidence (letter no. 1, ḏ/w; 7, ʾ). Only one letter is too badly effaced to allow someone to read it (letter no. 10). ... The text of the Tell el-ʿAjjul spouted cup was written in a largely nonpictographic alphabetic script. Six of the eight clearly identifiable letters have linear forms. Since this type of vessel ceased to be made ca. 1300 B.C.E. this decorated cup provides solid evidence that early in the Late Bronze Age the early alphabet was already morphing into a kind of handwriting consisting of lines rather than a script that includes recognizable drawings of features of architecture, the human body in whole or part, weapons, animals, fiber elements, or plants. ... I recommend a date of ca. 1400 B.C.E. (± 100 years) for this decorated and inscribed vessel....3

Azevedo (1994): Tel el Ajjul handle 12th-11th BC ?.4

1. Image: Rachael Tyrza Sparks, Re-writing the Script: Decoding the textual experience in the Bronze Age Levant (c.2000–1150 BC), in Writing as Material Practice: Substance, surface and medium, ed. K. E. Piquette and R. D. Whitehouse (London: Ubiquity Press, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/1863102/Re_writing_the_Script_Decoding_the_Textual_Experience_in_the_Bronze_Age_Levant [pp. 75-104] (accessed ...), p. 79, Figure 4: Ceramic spouted cup (spout now missing) from Tell el-ʿAjjul Tomb 1109, with painted Proto-Canaanite ownership inscription reading: ‘this (belongs) to Yrṣʾ, (the) Can[aan]ite’ (Hamilton 2010: 107). UCL Institute of Archaeology Collections EXIII.115/1.

2. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, Reconceptualizing the Periods of Early Alphabetic Scripts, in An Eye for Form: Epigraphic Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross, ed. Jo Ann Hackete and Walter E. Aufrecht (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2014), https://books.google.com/books?id=HNcNEAAAQBAJ&pg=PA36 (accessed ...), p. 36.

3. Note: Ibid.

4. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

Tel Nagila Sherd [????] (18th-16th Century BCE, ca. 1750-1550)

Tel Nagila Sherd | Benjamin Sass

Tel Nagila Sherd; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).1

TranscriptionTransliteration

] 𐤍 [

] θ/𐤋/𐤍 𐤄 𐤅 𐤉 𐤟 𐤉 [
Highest Letter
] ṅ [
Horzontal Line
] θ̊/l̊/n̊ ḣ w y | ẏ [

Transliteration source: Hamilton (2006).2 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.3)

Notes

Compare with the 13th century Lachish bowl fragment inscription.

Azevedo (1994): Tell el Nagila sherd 1600 BCE.4

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1750-1550 B.C., probably from the latter half of that period.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): At least five or six Proto-Canaanite inscriptions, four of them from secure contexts, date to the Late Bronze Age II–III [ca. 1300-1130]. ... The Nagila sherd with an inscription incised before firing may have originated in a late LB layer rather than late MB or early LB as believed previously. This is suggested by the archaeological situation (D. Ilan) as well as by the similarity of the Nagila letter shapes to those of the Late Bronze III Lachish bowl fragment.5

1. Drawings: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 238, Fig. 7: Nagila sherd (from Sass 1988: fig. 143).

2. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,9.pdf [pp. 388-438] (accessed ...), p. 392.

3. Note: Ibid., http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 323.

4. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 103.

5. Note: Hamilton, p. 392.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 153, 156.

Tell el-Hesi Sherd [????] (14th Century BCE, ca. 1400-1300)

Tell el-Hesi Detail
Tell el-Hesi Detail
Tell el-Hesi Sherd

Tell el-Hesi Detail. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.1

Tell el-Hesi Sherd. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤟 𐤁/𐤋 𐤋 𐤏
| b̊/l̊ l ʿ

Transliteration source, Hamilton (2006): Although the identification of the highest configuration on this column remains uncertain, it can be delimited to a separation mark followed by a developed form of bêt or, less likely, a lāmed. ... The touching of each may be accidental. ... One of the alternate readings entertained by Sass (1988: 96) and Colless (1991: 45), l, is also possible given the similar form of this letter and the certain lāmed below it (but note their small contrasts as well)3 (Hamilton (2006): supralinear dot indicates a damaged but certain reading; supralinear circle indicates a very damaged or uncertain reading; <> angular brackets indicate a correction or a secondary hand.4)

Notes

Azevedo (1994): Tell el Hesi 1400 BC.5

Hamilton (2006): ca. 1350 B.C. (± 50 years)6

1. Image: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, Tel el-Hesi Shard, 22 August 2017, https://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2017/08/tel-el-hesi-shard.html (accessed ...), Tel el Hesi inscription.

2. Drawing: Ibid., Facsimile of Tel el-Hesi shard.

3. Transliteration: Gordon J. Hamilton, The Origins of the West Semitic Alphabet in Egyptian Scripts, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly Monograph Series 40 (Washington, DC: The Catholic Biblical Association of America, 2006), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,9.pdf [pp. 388-438] (accessed ...), p. 399.

4. Note: Ibid., http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Hamilton,5.pdf [pp. 266-338] (accessed ...), p. 323.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

6. Note: Hamilton, p. 399.

Tel Halif Jar Handle [???] (13th Century BCE)

Tel Halif Jar Handle | William Shea

Tel Halif Jar Handle; William Shea. Source: Shea (1978).1

Notes

Azevedo (1994): Tell el Halif 13th BC.2

1. Image: William H. Shea, The Inscribed Late Bronze Jar Handle from Tell Ḥalif, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 232 (Autumn 1978), https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/1356705?journalCode=basor (accessed ...), p. 78, Fig. 1: The inscribed Late Bronze Age jar handle from Tel Halif (IEJ 27 [1977]: pl. 5B).

2. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

Lachish Ewer [1933] (13th Century BCE)

Lachish Ewer | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror
Lachish Ewer | Benjamin Sass

Lachish Ewer; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

Lachish Ewer; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤌𐤕𐤍: 𐤔𐤉 ˹𐤋˺[𐤓𐤁]𐤕𐤉 𐤀𐤋𐤕
mtn: šy ˹l˺[rb]ty ʾlt
Mattan. An offering to my Lady ʾElat

Transliteration and translation source: Steiner (2016): According to Cross, the inscription begins with a personal name: mtn: šy ˹l˺[rb]ty ʾlt Mattan. An offering to my Lady ʾElat. ... This interpretation of mtn [as a personal name] is undoubtedly the standard interpretation today. ... In an earlier article, however, [Frank M.] Cross mentioned another possibility: The inscription could also be read, A gift: a lamb for my Lady ʾElat. ...This interpretation...had been suggested previously by William F. Albright. ... The interpretation is problematic, of course, because ewes and ewers do not go together[:] ... A sheep...[even] cut up into small pieces...would hardly be presented in a vessel with such a narrow neck. It is presumably this problem that has caused later scholars — including Cross himself, as well as [Joseph] Naveh — to tacitly reject the possibility that mtn is a common noun in the inscription. ... But is it really just a coincidence that, when the first word in the inscription is taken as a common noun [mtn, gift], it shares a meaning with the second word [šy, sheep/goat]? ... Brian E. Colless’s....translation: A gift: an offering [to] my [la]dy Elat...implies that šy stands in apposition to mtn. Another possibility, not previously noted, is that the first two words form a genitive phrase with the meaning tribute offering. In Hebrew, we find the noun mtn juxtaposed with near-synonyms in genitive phrases such as trwmt mtnm their gift dedication (Num 18:11) and mtn śkrn their reward gift (m. Avot 2:1, 16).3

Notes

Goldwasser (2016): The earliest example of the linear alphabet known to date is probably the famous find known as the Lachish Ewer. This ewer provides a link between the Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite iconic script and the impending, more developed linear script.4

Ussishkin (1987): The pitcher’s shoulder bears a proto-Canaanite inscription: “Mattan. An offering to my Lady ’Elat.” The ewer and its now-missing contents were a tribute offered to the temple and to the deity ’Elat by a man named Mattan.5

Azevedo (1994): Lachish ewer 13th BC.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): At least five or six Proto-Canaanite inscriptions, four of them from secure contexts, date to the Late Bronze Age II–III [ca. 1300-1130]. ... The Lachish ewer, with an inscription painted before firing, comes from a Late Bronze II context — Fosse Temple III, contemporary with Level VII.7

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Neta Dror, Mattan. An offering to my Lady Elat, dedication to a goddess on a jug; IAA: 1934-7738/1, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/362973 (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 237, Fig. 3: Lachish ewer (from Sass 1988: fig. 156).

3. Transliteration and translation: Richard C. Steiner, The Lachish Ewer: An Offering and a Tribute, Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies (Israel Exploration Society) 32 (2016), https://www.academia.edu/44014324/Richard_C_Steiner_The_Lachish_Ewer_An_Offering_and_a_Tribute_Eretz_Israel_vol_32_Joseph_Naveh_Volume_2016_103_112_ [pp. 103-112] (accessed ...), pp. 103-104.

4. Note: Orly Goldwasser, From Iconic to Linear –The Egyptian Scribes of Lachish and the Modification of the Early Alphabet in the Late Bronze Age, in Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East: Studies presented to Benjamin Sass, ed. Israel Finkelstein, Christian Robin and Thomas Römer (Paris: Van Dieren, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/30713970/_From_Iconic_to_Linear_The_Egyptian_Scribes_of_Lachish_and_the_Modification_of_the_Early_Alphabet_in_the_Late_Bronze_Age_In_Alphabets_Texts_and_Artefacts_in_the_Ancient_Near_East_Studies_presented_to_Benjamin_Sass_eds_I_Finkelstein_C_Robin_and_T_Römer_Paris_Van_Dieren_2016 [pp. 118–160] (accessed ...), p. 152.

5. Note: David Ussishkin, Lachish—Key to the Israelite Conquest of Canaan?, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 13:1 (January/February 1987), https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/13/1/1 (accessed ...) Artifacts from the Fosse Temple.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

7. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 153.

Lachish Bowl [2014] (13th Century BCE)

Lachish Bowl | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Lachish Bowl | Braman's Wanderings
Lachish Bowl Inscription | Benjamin Sass

Lachish Bowl; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

Lachish Bowl; Braman's Wanderings. Source: Braman's Wanderings.2

Lachish Bowl Inscription; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).3

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤁𐤔𐤋𐤔𐤕
bšlšt

Transliteration source: The Israel Museum.4

Notes

Azevedo (1994): Lachish bowl 13th BC.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): At least five or six Proto-Canaanite inscriptions, four of them from secure contexts, date to the Late Bronze Age II–III [ca. 1300-1130]. ... The Lachish bowl, with an inscription written in chalk(?), also belongs to Late Bronze II — it was found in a single-burial tomb.6

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, BSLST, Proto-Canaanite inscription on a bowl; IAA: 1938-126, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/395432 (accessed ...).

2. Image: Braman's Wanderings, Lachish Inscription, 11 December 2015, https://bramanswanderings.com/2015/12/11/lachish-inscription/ (accessed ...).

3. Drawing: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 237, Fig. 4: Lachish bowl (from Sass 1988: fig. 166).

4. Transliteration: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 153.

Lachish Bowl Fragment [1983] (13th Century BCE)

Lachish Bowl Fragment | David Ussishkin Lachish Bowl Fragment | Benjamin Sass

Lachish Bowl Fragment; David Ussishkin. Source: Cross (1984).1

Lachish Bowl Fragment; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋𐤀𐤁.
𐤁𐤉𐤑𐤏𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤁
]ʾlʾb.
]byṣʿ hwšb[
] the divine ancestor
] in the gallery he installed (it) [

Transliteration and translation source, Cross (1984): The inscription is to be read boustrophedon, the first line from left to right ending in a division marker, the second line from right to left, ending either with a broken letter, or with another division marker.3

Notes

Compare with the 18th-16th century Tel Nagila sherd inscription.

Cross (1984): I believe there is no doubt that we must read ]ʾlʾb. in the first line. ... In line 2 the second letter from the right is yod. It is virtually identical with the yod of the Tell Nagila Sherd, and similar to the yod of the Lachish Bowl and the ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah Ostracon. ... The second word in line 2 is clearly hwšb (or hwθb). Each letter is clear. The he is only slightly developed beyond the Serābîṭ el-Ḫâdem he and the Tell Nagila he. Waw too is virtually identical with the Tell Nagila waw. The agreement of waw, yod, and he with the Tell Nagila forms is remarkable.4

Azevedo (1994): Lachish fragment 13th BC.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): At least five or six Proto-Canaanite inscriptions, four of them from secure contexts, date to the Late Bronze Age II–III [ca. 1300-1130]. ... The Lachish bowl fragment with an ink inscription was unearthed in Late Bronze III Level VI. Typologically the bowl’s shape alsoagrees with this attribution.6

1. Image: Frank Moore Cross, An Old Canaanite Inscription Recently Found at Lachish [1984], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000047.xml [pp. 293-294] (accessed ...), p. 294, Figure 46.1: A photograph of the Lachish Ostracon. Photograph courtesy of Professor David Ussishkin.

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 238, Fig. 5: Lachish bowl fragment (from Sass 1988: fig. 164).

3. Transliteration: Cross, pp. 293-294.

4. Note: Ibid.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 153.

Lachish Jar Sherd [2014] (12th Century BCE, ca. 1130)

Lachish Jar Sherd | O. Dobovsky, A. Yardeni, and T. Rogovski
Lachish Jar Sherd | O. Dobovsky, A. Yardeni, and T. Rogovski
Lachish Jar Sherd | O. Dobovsky, A. Yardeni, and T. Rogovski

Lachish Jar Sherd; O. Dobovsky, A. Yardeni, and T. Rogovski. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
:
𐤎𐤐𐤓
[𐤔]𐤐𐤈
:
spr
[š]pṭ
:
scribe
judge

Transliteration source: Lipiński (2016).2

Notes

Compare the tet 𐤈 on the Lachish jar sherd with the 18th century Lachish dagger.

Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015): On July 13, 2014, a sherd from a jar was found with an incised alphabetic inscription in Level VI at Tel Lachish, placing its date within the range of the 12th century B.C.E. to ca. 1130.3

Lipiński (2016): The last sign of line 3’ [if it is 'ṭ' (see also the Lachish Dagger)] allows reading the title ˻š˼pṭ, “judge”, under spr, “scribe”. The inscription seems therefore to have listed a few personal names, followed by a title.4

Azevedo (1994): Lachish sherd n. 7. 1400 BC.5

1. Images and drawings: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, and Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 235, Fig. 2: Lachish Jar sherd. (Drawings and reconstruction of the jar by O. Dobovsky; drawing of the inscription by A. Yardeni; photos by T. Rogovski).

2. Transliteration: Edward Lipiński, Hurrians and Their Gods in Canaan, Rocznik Orientalistczny, LXIX:1 (2016), http://journals.pan.pl/Content/82350/mainfile.pdf?handler=pdf [pp. 125-141] (accessed ...), p. 129.

3. Note: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, and Klingbeil, p. ???.

4. Note: Lipiński, p. 129.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

Qubur al-Walaydah/el-Walaida Bowl [1977] (12th-11th Century BCE)

Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1 (Additional images: Nathaniel E. Greene.)

Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl | Giovanni Garbini

Qubur al-Walaydah Bowl; Giovanni Garbini. Source: Niesiołowski-Spanò (2007).2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤔𐤌𐤐𐤏𐤋.𐤀𐤉𐤀𐤋.𐤔
šmpʿl|ʾyʾl|š[

Transliteration source: Niesiołowski-Spanò (2007): šmpʿl|ʾyʾl|š[.3

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤔𐤌𐤁𐤏𐤋.𐤀𐤉𐤀𐤋.𐤌𐤇
šmb?ʿl|ʾyʾl|mḥ

Transliteration source: Colless (2014): Sh M B? ` L | ’ Y ’ L | M H.4

Notes

Colless (2014): The bulk of the text is a personal name, the second part being the patronymic. As stated above, the Sh-sign (not “3” SHA nor “W” SHI) would be SHU. The Mem should be MI (though it has more angles than the Phoenician form). Thirdly B or P (but BA seems more likely than PA, because it is the god Ba`al). Then comes ‘Ayin with no dot, so it is ‘I. The Lamed here is not the same as the one further on, and I will not make a decision on their respective sounds; but it might be LI. Hence Shumiba`ili (“name of Ba`al”). Regarding the Mem Het combination (apparently separated from the rest by another dividing stroke), this could say MAH.U “a fatling” (a sacrifice, as at the end of the Wadi el-Hol horizontal inscription).5

Millard (2011): Assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.6

Azevedo (1994): Qubur el Walaida 1200 BC.7

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): At least five or six Proto-Canaanite inscriptions, four of them from secure contexts, date to the Late Bronze Age II–III [ca. 1300-1130]. ... Bearing an inscription incised after firing, the Qubur el-Walaida bowl was found in a pit that, according to Gunnar Lehmann, the current excavator (with whom we had personal communication), contained Late Bronze III pottery only — which Lehmann labelled Iron IA – akin to Lachish VI.8

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, SMP’AL AYAL S[ ]; IAA: 1979-567, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/580798 (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Łukasz Niesiołowski-Spanò, Early Alphabetic Scripts and the Origin of Greek Letters, in Haec mihi in animis vestris templa: studia classica in memory of Professor Lesław Morawiecki, ed. Beata Blahaczek and Piotr Berdowski (Rzeszów, PL: Instytut Historii UR, 2007), https://www.academia.edu/718525/Early_alphabetic_scripts_and_the_origin_of_Greek_letters (accessed ...), p. 184, Fig. 10: The Inscription from Qubur el-Walaydah; text reads from left to right: šmpʿl | ʾyʾl | š[ (G. Garbini, Introduzione all'epigrafia semitica, Brescia 2006, p. 99, Fig. 20).

3. Transliteration: Ibid.

7. Transliteration: Brian E. Colless, The Lost Link: The Alphabet in the Hands of the Early Israelite, The Ancient Near East Today (ASOR) II:2 (February 2014), http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2014/02/the-lost-link-the-alphabet-in-the-hands-of-the-early-israelites/ (accessed ...).

5. Note: Ibid.

6. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

7. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

8. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 153, 156.

Manahat Inscription [????] (12th-11th Century BCE)

Manahat Inscription | John Landgraf

Manahat Inscription; John Landgraf. Source: Landgraf (1971).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤋𐤔𐤃𐤇
lšdḥ

Transliteration source: Landgraf (1971).2

Notes

Cross (1993): From near Jerusalem comes the so-called Manaḥat sherd. Its reading is clear: lšdḥ, presumably l (belonging) to plus an otherwise unknown personal name, šdḥ.3

Millard (2011): Assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.5

Azevedo (1994): Manahat sherd 12th-11th BC.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The undatable Manahat sherd from Jerusalem, a stray find, variously attributed in the past to the late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] or early Iron II [ca. 940–880].6

1. Drawing: John Landgraf, E. The Manahat Inscription: lšdh (Pls. XXXa-XXXb), Levant: The Journal of the Council for British Research in the Levant 3:1 (1971), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/lev.1971.3.1.92?journalCode=ylev20 (accessed ...), p. 92, Fig. 1 and n. 10: My original drawing, made by tracing the photograph and comparing this with the inscribed sherd.

2. Transliteration: Ibid., p. 92.

3. Note: Frank Moore Cross, Early Alphabetic Scripts [1975], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA336 (accessed ...), p. 336.

4. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 106.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 164, n. 62.

Beth Shemesh Baal Sherd [2001] (12th Century BCE, ca. 1150-1100)

Beth Shemesh Baal Sherd | P. Shrago, A. Karasik
Beth Shemesh Baal Sherd | P. Kyle McCarter

Beth Shemesh Baal Sherd; Avshalom Karasik. Source: McCarter, Bunimovitz, Lederman (2011).1

Beth Shemesh Baal Sherd; P. Kyle McCarter. Source: McCarter, Bunimovitz, Lederman (2011).2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤄𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤄𐤍?
h b ʿ l h n ?

Transliteration source: McCarter, Bunimovitz, Lederman (2011).3

Notes

McCarter, Bunimovitz, Lederman (2011): A date of 1150–1100 BCE for the provenance of the inscription is most likely.4

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions [e.g., the Beth-shemesh Baal sherd] are still wholly Proto-Canaanite.5

1. Image: P. Kyle McCarter, Shlomo Bunimovitz, and Zvi Lederman, An Archaic Baʿl Inscription from Tel Beth-Shemesh, Tel Aviv Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 38:2 (2011), https://www.academia.edu/13972460/An_Archaic_Ba_c_l_Inscription_from_Tel_Beth_Shemesh (accessed ...), pg. 37, Figure 1: The inscribed sherds, displayed using different imaging techniques: (a) studio photograph (P. Shrago); (b) 3D scanning image (Dr. A. Karasik).

2. Drawing: Ibid., pg. 44, Figure 5: Inscription, drawing by P.K. McCarter.

3. Transliteration: Ibid., p. 41.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 35.

5. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 157.

Beth Shemesh Ostracon [????] (13th-10th Century BCE)

Beth Shemesh Ostracon, Obverse Beth Shemesh Ostracon, Reverse

Beth Shemesh Ostracon. Source: Colless (n.d.).1

Beth Shemesh Ostracon; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Garfinkel, Hasel, Klingbeil (2015).2 (Alternative drawings: William H. Shea [1987], p. 260, and William H. Shea [1990], p. 117.)

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤏𐤆𐤀𐤇 𐤖
𐤀𐤇𐤏𐤆 𐤖
𐤁𐤕 𐤉𐤍 𐤛𐤛𐤚
??𐤀? 𐤖
𐤔𐤌𐤏𐤍 𐤛𐤖
𐤇𐤍𐤍 𐤖
lʿzʾḥ 1 (or 10)
ʾʿz 1 (or 10)
bt yn 8 (or 80)
- - ʾ - 1 (or 10)
šmʿn 4 (or 40)
ḥnn 1 (or 10)
to ʿUzzah 1
ʾAhʿuz 1
baths of wine 8
[- -]ʾa[-] 1
Simeon 4
Ḥanun 1

Transliteration and translation source: Shea (1987): Along the edge of the sherd [line 4], only the topmost parts of the letters written there can be seen above the break, and only an aleph in the third position from the top can be identified with probability. ... For clarity, the third line should be read first, inasmuch as it mentions the commodity being dispersed. Next comes the first line, as is evident because it begins with the preposition "to" [Baths of wine 8; to ʿUzzah 1, ʾAhʿuz 1, [- -]ʾa[-] 1, Simeon 4, Ḥanun 1]. ... The reason why the amounts—i.e., the baths of wine in each instance—are in question is that a circular sign commonly carried the value of "ten," whereas the value of "one" was more commonly represented by a vertical stroke. On this sherd, however, all of the numerical values are represented by circular dots, and no vertical strokes appear. This being the case, it is probable that the circular dots here represent units of one each, rather than representing tens.3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation

𐤋𐤏𐤆𐤀𐤇 𐤖
𐤀𐤋𐤏𐤆𐤓 𐤖
[𐤀]𐤁𐤍𐤃𐤁 𐤖

𐤁
𐤍𐤏𐤌𐤍
𐤇𐤍𐤍 𐤖
Obverse:
lʿzʾḥ - 1
ʾlʿzr - 1
[ʾ]bndb - 1
Reverse:
b-
nʿmn
ḥnn - 1

To ʿUzzah - 1
(&) Eleazar - 1
(&) Abinadab

[To] Sons
of Ammon:
Hanun - 1

Transliteration and translation source: Shea (1990): ...The third name on the front side of the sherd. Because of the difficulty in reading these letters, most interpreters have not attempted to identify the names present here. Puech...read them as bt yn and translated this as "baths of wine." Since he saw eight dots above the word for the measure of baths, and since he found eight more dots elsewhere with the personal names in the text, he held that the initial total of eight baths of wine were all distributed to the persons named by the text. ... With further examination, this clever and interesting suggestion must, unfortunately, be rejected. Puech found eight of them here, but most other copyists have shown only three. I would reduce that number to two, because I think that one of those dots is actually the corner of a letter.4

Notes

Colless (2016): This double-sided document was discovered in Beth Shemesh in 1930, and its ink inscription has been fading ever since, so that old photographs are now our main source.5

Colless (n.d): Different forms of letters in a particular text may not be arbitrary (just scribal whims for the sake of variety) but significant (the various shapes and stances of each character represent consonant + vowel). Thus [the possibility that] the consonantal alphabet (which requires the reader to supply the vowels) is being used as a syllabary (so that there is a different form of B for ba, bi, bu). We noticed that the B in line 4 had a different stance from the B in line 5; also the 'Aleph in lines 3 and 4. The 'Ayin in line 3 is a circle with a dot, but the one in line 2 lacks the dot. The two instances of Het (H., Hh) are not the same. And the T in line 5 has the leaning posture of TI (as found in other ostraca).6

Parker (2013, 2018): Other inscribed fragments from southern Canaan...associated with the tenth-century...include: A fragment from Beth-Shemesh. Palaeographically this inscription may be dated to the eleventh-tenth centuries.7

Millard (2011): Assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.8

Azevedo (1994): Beth Shemesh 13th-12th BC.9

Malena (2015): 1200 BCE.10

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions are still wholly Proto-Canaanite. ... The unstratified Beth-shemesh ostracon is paleographically close to the Qeiyafa ostracon. The two are also the only post LB Proto-Canaanite inscriptions written in ink.11

1. Images: Brian E. Colless, Beth Shemesh Riddle: Wine Whine, Collesseum: A Museum-Theatre for Scripts (n.d.), https://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/winewhine (accessed ...).

2. Drawings: Benjamin Sass, Yosef Garfinkel, Michael G. Hasel, Martin G. Klingbeil, The Lachish Jar Sherd: An Early Alphabetic Inscription Discovered in 2014, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 374 (November 2015), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316977263_2015_B_Sass_Y_Garfinkel_MG_Hasel_and_MG_Klingbeil_The_Lachish_Jar_Sherd_An_Early_Alphabetic_Inscription_Discovered_in_2014_Bulletin_of_the_American_Schools_of_Oriental_Research_374_233-245 (accessed ...), p. 240, Fig. 20: Beth-Shemesh ostracon (from Sass 1988: figs. 169-70).

3. Transliteration and translation: William H. Shea, A Potential Biblical Connection for the Beth Shemesh Ostracon, in Andrews University Seminary Studies 25:3 (Autumn 1987), https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1794&context=auss [pp. 257-266] (accessed ...), pp. 259, 261.

4. Transliteration and translation: William H. Shea, Further Light on the Biblical Connection for the Beth Shemesh Ostracon, in Andrews University Seminary Studies 28:2 (Summer 1990), https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1963&context=auss [pp. 115-125] (accessed ...), p. 124.

5. Images: Brian E. Colless, The Mediterranean Diet in Ancient West Semitic Inscriptions, Damqātum - The CEHAO Newsletter (Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina [UCA]) 12 (2016), https://www.academia.edu/36973107/The_Mediterranean_Diet_in_Ancient_West_Semitic_Inscriptions_Damqatum_12_2016_3_20_Damqatum_The_CEHAO_newsletter_N12_2c_2016_pdf (accessed ...), pp. 7-8.

6. Note: Colless (n.d.).

7. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 123, n. 554.

8. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

9. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

10. Note: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), p. 223.

11. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 159.

Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon [2008] (11th Century BCE, ca. 1000)

Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Peter Lanyi

Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Peter Lanyi. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Peter Lanyi, Hebrew correspondence(?) in Proto-Canaanite script; IAA: 2010-149, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/376828 (accessed ...).

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Haggai Misgav

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Haggai Misgav. Source: Demsky (2012).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋 𐤕𐤏𐤔[ ] 𐤅𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤀[𐤕]
𐤔𐤐𐤈 𐤁𐤅𐤀𐤋𐤌 [ ]𐤀𐤋𐤈
𐤀?𐤋? 𐤅𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤋
𐤀[ ]𐤌 𐤅𐤍𐤒𐤌 𐤉𐤇/𐤎𐤃 𐤌𐤋𐤊 𐤂[𐤕]?
𐤎𐤓𐤍 𐤏[ ...] 𐤌𐤂/𐤃𐤓𐤕
אל תעש[ ] ועבד א[ת]
שפט בואלמ [ ]אלט
א?ל? ובעלל
א[ ]מ ונקמ יח/סד מלכ ג[ת]?
סרנ ע[ ...] מג/דרת

Do not do [ ] and servant a[…]
Judge ….. [ ] El(?)…
El(?) and Ba’all]
Pe[rso]n will revenge, YSD king (of) G[ath(?)]
Seren(?) a[…] from Gederot (?)

Transliteration source, Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (2009): According to Dr. Misgav reading: The combined conclusions produce the following proposed reading of the text: ....2. Translation source, Maeir (2009): A very rough translation of the general reading by Misgav! .... Please – don’t hold me responsible for this for the rest of my life....3

Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (n.d.): From the very first reading of the inscription, the words אל תעש were understood by Haggai Misgav as an indication that the language of the inscription is Hebrew. ... Prof. Shmuel Ahituv suggested in his publication that עבד (worship) is another indication for Hebrew.4

1. Drawing: Aaron Demsky, An Iron Age IIA Alphabetic Writing Exercise from Khirbet Qeiyafa, Israel Exploration Journal [IEJ] 62:2 (2012), https://www.academia.edu/7692671/An_Iron_Age_IIA_Alphabetic_Writing_Exercise_from_Khirbet_Qeiyafa [pp. 186-199] (accessed ...), p. 191, Fig. 2. The ostracon with its five columns (courtesy of Dr. Haggai Misgav).

2. Transliteration: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, Qeiyafa Ostracon Chronicle (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/ostracon12_2.asp (accessed ...), 24 December 2009.

3. Transliteration and translation: Aren Maeir, For those who don’t know any Biblical Hebrew..., The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project Official (and Unofficial) Weblog, 16 October 2009 https://gath.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/for-those-who-dont-know-any-biblical-hebrew/ (accessed ...).

4. Note: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, Open Letter to Prof. Gershon Galil, Haifa University, n.d., http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/galil.asp (accessed ...).

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Haggai Misgav

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Haggai Misgav. Source: Demsky (2012).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋𐤕𐤏𐤔[..]𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤀𐤋(?)
𐤔𐤐𐤈𐤁𐤍?𐤀𐤋𐤌𐤔?𐤐?𐤈
𐤂𐤓𐤂....𐤁𐤏𐤋
𐤀[ ]𐤌.𐤅𐤔?𐤓?𐤌.𐤉𐤁𐤏/𐤃?𐤌𐤋𐤊
𐤇𐤒𐤑𐤏....𐤂?𐤓𐤕
אלתעש[..]עבדאל(?)
שפטבנ?אלמש?פ?ט
גרג....בעל
א[ ]מ.וש?ר?מ.יבע/ד?מלכ
חקצע....ג?רת

'goddess' [אלת] 'maker' [עש(ת)] (or, ‘the goddess ʿAsh[toret]’) ... 'slave/servant' or 'hierodule' [עבד] 'god'(?) [אל(?)]
'judge' [שפט] 'gods', 'divinities' [ב[נ?] אלמ] 'judge' [ש?פ?ט] (or, 'ruler' [שלט])
'alien' or 'sojourner' [גר] ... 'lord', 'owner' (or the name of the Canaanite god) [בעל] (or, 'with? child' [בעלל])
'men' [א[ד]מ] 'and officers' [ושרמ] ... 'king' [מלכ]
'chief' [קצע] ... female 'sojourner' or 'alien' [גרת]

Transliteration and translation source, Demsky (2012).2

Demsky (2012): Despite efforts to impose continuous Hebrew sentences onto this document, there does not seem to be any real continuity, unless one has an accompanying angelus interpres to clarify the intent of the ancient writer. However, it seems to me that this text is no more than a list of indefinite nouns, sometimes repeated: שפט ,גר(ת) ,אלת [x2]אל ,אלמ ,. ... Since I find no recognizable continuity in the words, I assume that this is a list of terms, here noting professions of divine and human authority (not personal names, as suggested by Millard), as one would find in a school text of the kind that we call encyclopaedic lists.3

Demsky (2012): It should be emphasized that the Qeiyafa ostracon has two surprising features. For one, it was written on the concave side of the sherd. I assume that this unusual practice was intentional and is significant for its interpretation.... The other unusual feature that immediately catches the eye is the five drawn lines, creating five parallel rows of letters. Again, my assumption is that there was a purpose for these lines. ... I propose that the scribe wanted to create a text in which at least the first line was written vertically. If we turn Misgav’s copy of the ostracon 90% clockwise, we see five columns written fromright to left. This overall direction seems to have influenced the sinistrograde (right to left) stance of some letters in the first two lines. ... It seems to me that the changing or rotating directions of writing was the result of the novel choice of writing on the concave side of the sherd so that it could easily revolve on its axis.4

1. Drawing: Aaron Demsky, An Iron Age IIA Alphabetic Writing Exercise from Khirbet Qeiyafa, Israel Exploration Journal [IEJ] 62:2 (2012), https://www.academia.edu/7692671/An_Iron_Age_IIA_Alphabetic_Writing_Exercise_from_Khirbet_Qeiyafa [pp. 186-199] (accessed ...), p. 191, Fig. 2. The ostracon with its five columns (courtesy of Dr. Haggai Misgav).

2. Translation and translation: Ibid., pp. 192-194.

3. Note: Ibid., p. 194.

4. Note: Ibid., pp. 189-190, 192.

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Ada Yardeni

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Ada Yardeni. Source: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project.1 Red boxes identify primary differences between Yardeni, Puech, and Galil drawings.2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤋𐤕𐤏𐤔[?] : 𐤅𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤀[?] :
𐤔𐤐𐤈 [?]𐤁[?] 𐤅𐤀𐤋𐤌[?] 𐤔𐤐𐤈 𐤉.
[?]𐤂𐤓[?]𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤋...𐤌[?]𐤊𐤉
𐤀[?]𐤌.𐤍𐤒𐤌𐤉𐤁𐤃𐤌𐤋𐤊
𐤇𐤓𐤌[?].𐤔𐤊.𐤂𐤓𐤕.
אל תעש[?] : ועבדא[?] :
שפט [?]ב[?] ואלמ[?] שפט י.
[?]גר[?]בעלל...מ[?]כי
א[?]מ.נקמיבדמלכ
חרמ[?].שכ.גרת.

Transliteration source, Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (2009): Dr. Ada Yardeni's drawing of the inscription was published for the first time in this final report. She suggest[s] the following reading: ....

1. Drawing: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, Khirbet Qeiyafa, 22 March 2016, http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il (accessed ...), Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon (technical drawing by Ada Yardeni).

2. Transliteration: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, Qeiyafa Ostracon Chronicle (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/ostracon12_2.asp (accessed ...), 24 December 2009.

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Emile Puech

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Emile Puech. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Red boxes identify primary differences between Yardeni, Puech, and Galil drawings.1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋 𐤕𐤏𐤔𐤒 : 𐤅𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤀[𐤋] :|: [𐤁]𐤆𐤄
𐤔𐤐𐤈 (?) 𐤅𐤁𐤊 𐤀𐤋𐤌𐤉[𐤍] (?) 𐤔𐤋𐤈
𐤁𐤂𐤓 . 𐤅𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤋 . 𐤒𐤑𐤌(?) 𐤉𐤄𐤃
𐤀[𐤃]𐤌 𐤅𐤔𐤓𐤌 𐤉𐤎𐤃 𐤌𐤋𐤊
𐤇𐤓𐤌 <𐤔𐤔𐤌> 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤌 : 𐤌𐤃𐤓𐤕
אל תעשק : ועבד א'ל' :|: 'ב'זה
שפט (?) ובכ אלמי'נ' (?) שלט
בגר . ובעלל . קצם(?) יהד
א'ד'מ ושרמ יסד מלכ
חרמ <ששמ> עבדמ : מדרת

Do not oppress, and serve God...despoiled him/her
The judge and the widow wept; he had the power
Over the resident alien and the child, he eliminated them together
The men and chiefs/officers have established a king
He marked 60 [?] servants among the communities/habitations/generation.

n’opprime pas, et sers Di[eu]: 1: Le/a spoliai
le juge et la veuve pleurait; il avait pouvoir
sur l’étranger résidant et sur l’enfant, et les supprimait ensemble.
Les hommes et les chefs/officiers ont établi un roi.
Il a marqué <soixante> serviteurs parmi les communautés/habitations/générations.

Transliteration source, Wikipedia.fr: En 2010, l'épigraphiste français Émile Puech identifie l'écriture comme du protocananéen et publie une translittération en hébreu : ....2 French translation source, Millard (2011): Émile Puech offers: ....3 Translation into English, Bible Archaeology Society (2012): Gerard Leval...reviewing Émile Puech’s translation and analysis for the first time in English....4

Leval (2012): One of the most fascinating interpretations is by Émile Puech, the senior epigrapher of the prestigious École Biblique et Archéologique Française in Jerusalem. Because his analysis is written in French (published in the Revue Biblique), it is not well known outside of a small group of scholars.... In Puech’s view, the Qeiyafa Ostracon is the earliest known text relating to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy—likely referring to the installation of the first Israelite king, Saul, rather than to the accession to that throne by his more illustrious successor David.5

1. Drawing: Emile Puech, קובץ:Qeiyafa Ostracon-dr.jpg, Wikimedia Commons, 12 November 2010, https://he.wikipedia.org/wiki/קובץ:Qeiyafa_Ostracon-dr.jpg (accessed ...).

2. Transliteration: Wikipedia.fr, s.v. Ostracon de Khirbet Qeiyafa, https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ostracon_de_Khirbet_Qeiyafa#Traductions (accessed ...), Traductions.

3. Translation: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 7.

4. Translation: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff, Qeiyafa Ostracon Relates the Birth of the Kingdom of Israel, Bible History Daily (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]), 07 May 2012, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/the-qeiyafa-ostracon-relates-the-birth-of-the-kingdom-of-israel/ (accessed ...).

5. Note: Gerard Leval, Ancient Inscription Refers to Birth of Israelite Monarchy, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 38:3 (May/June 2012), https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/38/3/4 (accessed ...).

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Gershon Galil, University of Haifa

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Gershon Galil, University of Haifa. Source: www.eurekalert.org. Red boxes identify primary differences between Yardeni, Puech, and Galil drawings.1

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Michael Netzer

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Michael Netzer. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Dashed boxes identify primary differences between Galil and Netzer drawings.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋 𐤕𐤏𐤔 𐤅𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤀[𐤕 ….…]
𐤔𐤐𐤈 [𐤏]𐤁[𐤃] 𐤅𐤀𐤋𐤌[𐤍] 𐤔𐤐𐤈 𐤉𐤕[𐤌]
[𐤅]𐤂𐤓 [𐤓]𐤁 𐤏𐤋𐤋 𐤓𐤁 [𐤃]𐤋 𐤅
𐤀[𐤋]𐤌𐤍 𐤔𐤒𐤌 𐤉𐤁𐤃 𐤌𐤋𐤊
𐤀[𐤁]𐤉𐤍 [𐤅]𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤔𐤊 𐤂𐤓 𐤕[𐤌𐤊]
ʾl tʿš wʿbd ʾ[t ….…]
špṭ [ʿ]b[d] wʾlm[n] šp yt[m]
[w]gr [r]b ʿll rb [d]l w
ʾ[l]mn šqm ybd mlk
ʾ[b]yn [w]ʿbd šk gr t[mk]

you shall not do [it], but worship the [Lord]
Judge the sla[ve] and the wid[ow] / Judge the orph[an]
[and] the stranger. [Pl]ead for the infant / plead for the po[or and]
the widow. Rehabilitate [the poor] at the hands of the king.
Protect the po[or and] the slave / [supp]ort the stranger.

‘śh (עשה) ("did") and ‘bd (עבד) ("worked")

Transliteration source, Yellin (2010): The deciphered text [according to Galil]: ....3 Translation source: Yellin (2010); and Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (2010): Prof. Gershon Galil published a proposed reconstruction of the inscription: ....4

Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (2010): A press release by Haifa University states: This text is a social statement, relating to slaves, widows and orphans. It uses verbs that were characteristic of Hebrew, such as `asah (did) and `avad (worked), which were rarely used in other regional languages. Particular words that appear in the text, such as almanah (widow) are specific to Hebrew and are written differently in other local languages.5

Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (n.d.): Most of the third line and the center of the fifth line of the ostracon are illegible and the letters...are entirely speculative. The main words that support [Prof. Galil's] thesis ([ʾbywn] אביון ,[ytwm] יתום ,[ʾlmnh] אלמנה) are reconstructed and do not appear as such in the legible parts of the ostracon.6

1. Drawing: EurekAlert!, Most Ancient Hebrew Biblical Inscription Deciphered (1 of 2), href="https://www.eurekalert.org/multimedia/pub/19412.php (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Michael Netzer, Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon, Wikimedia Commons, 21 November 2011, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Khirbet_Qeiyafa_Ostracon.jpg (accessed ...).

3. Transliteration: Avi Yellin, Pottery Shard Supports Bible Arutz Sheva - IsraelNationalNews.com, 01 August 2010, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/135432 (accessed ...).

4. Translation: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, Qeiyafa Ostracon Chronicle (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/ostracon12_2.asp (accessed ...), 7 January 2010.

5. Note: Ibid.

6. Note: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, Open Letter to Prof. Gershon Galil, Haifa University, n.d., http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/galil.asp (accessed ...).

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription | Brian E. Colless

Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription; Brian E. Colless. Source: Colless (n.d.).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤋𐤕 𐤏𐤍𐤒 𐤁 𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤀𐤋𐤄𐤌
𐤔𐤐 𐤈 𐤊 𐤏𐤁𐤃 𐤀𐤋𐤄𐤌 𐤁 𐤌𐤔𐤐𐤈 𐤉𐤄
𐤌𐤕[𐤕] 𐤂𐤋𐤉𐤕 𐤁𐤏𐤋 𐤃𐤅𐤃 𐤋𐤏𐤕𐤍𐤑𐤇𐤌
𐤀𐤍𐤒𐤌 𐤅 𐤍𐤓𐤌 𐤉𐤎𐤃 𐤌𐤋𐤊𐤉
𐤀𐤓𐤌 𐤏𐤌 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤉 𐤋𐤑𐤃𐤒𐤕𐤅
ʾlt ʿnq b ʿbd ʾlhm
šp ṭ k ʿbd ʾlhm b mšp yh
mt[t] glyt bʿl dwd lʿtnṣḥm
ʾnqm w nrm ysd mlky
ʾrm ʿm ʿbdy lṣdqtw

You have cursed (ʾlt), Anakite (ʿnq), against (b) the servant of God (ʿbd ʾlhm);
the servant of God (ʿbd ʾlhm) has judged you (sha-pa-t.a-ka), with (b) judgements of Yahu (mi-shi-pi-t.i ya-hu)
Goliath (glyt), you are dead (mtt); David (dwd) has prevailed (bʿl) for time evermore (lʿt ns.h.m);
and I am avenged (ʾnqm), and raised up is (nrm) the foundation (ysd) of my kingdom (mlky);
I raise up (ʾrm) the people (ʿm) of my servant (ʿbdy) for his virtuous acts (ʿl s.dqtw)

Transliteration and translation source: Colless (n.d.).2

Colless (2020): A prophet delivers an oracle from Yahu, concerning a momentous event: a servant of God, named Dawid, has executed divine justice to the `Anaq, named Guliyut, who had cursed him.3

Colless (n.d.): A curious feature of the Qeiyafa ostracon inscription is that the scribe does not write his characters consistently. This might be a personal whim on his part, simply to add variety to his text. However, the possibility arises that the variations in the signs are not arbitrary [rather] this would be a syllabic alphabet, with not 22 letters (as in the later Phoenician and Hebrew consonantal alphabet) but 66 characters. ... Each letter would have three variants ('a, 'i, 'u; ba, bi, bu), and so this alphabet functions as a syllabary [i.e., each letter represents a consonant-vowel combination, not just a consonant]. ... An example of the syllabic system is provided by the two forms of the root Sh P T. [špṭ] ('judge') in line 2, which might be sha-pa-t.a and shi-pi-t.i [ša-pa-ṭa and ši-pi-ṭi]. 4

Colless (n.d.): The basic principle of the identification procedure [to identify every sign in lines 1 - 5] is that the consonantal letters of the standard alphabet (as represented on the Tel Zayit Stone and the Gezer Calendar) correspond to the signs with -i vowels in the syllabary [Colless (n.d.): ...When they...reduce[d] the number of signs from 66 to 22...it was the 'i, Bi. Gi, Di (etc) [variants] that survived.5]; and the forms of the letters on the bottom line of the Izbet Sartah Ostracon convey the -a vowels; the remaining forms would presumably be the -u syllables. Unfortunately this method will fail us sometimes, since consistency is not found in the various documents available to us; hindsight reveals that regional and scribal variations are at play.6

Colless (2014): Regarding...whether the various forms and stances of each letter [on the Qeiyafa Ostracon] constituted a way of denoting particular vowels...there was already an analogy for this in the West Semitic cuneiform alphabet, which was particularly associated with the city of Ugarit (on the Syrian coast, to the west of Cyprus) but it is also attested throughout the Levant. The scribes of Ugarit...had a cuneiform sign for each consonant, made up of wedge-shaped marks.... This is the relevant detail: on the clay tablets of Ugarit there were three distinct ’Aleph characters, representing ’a, ’i, ’u. ... This phenomenon could account for the trio of ’Aleph forms on the Qeiyafa Ostracon. But my idea goes further than that: in the early “Israelian” Hebrew alphabet each of its twenty-two letters had two additional forms, making a total of sixty-six signs. In fact, the system was not a simple consonantary (which the Phoenician alphabet certainly was, in the Iron Age) but a syllabary. ... In line 3 of the Qeiyafa Ostracon, I discern this sequence: M T G L Y T B ` L D W D, and the syllables seem to reveal GULIYUTU and DAWIDU, and the meaning is: “Goliath is dead, David has prevailed (ba`ala)”.7

Colless (2014): How can this syllabary hypothesis be tested? A first step would be to compare the letters found on the Qeiyafa inscription with their counterparts in the Izbet Sartah text. ... The copy of the alphabet presented to us on the Izbet Sartah Ostracon has the expected twenty-two letters. ... However, in the four lines of writing above the Izbet Sartah alphabet...we are offered Aleph in more than one stance.... And when we have established the shape of the Lamed in the bottom line (more like a 6 than a 9), we look higher and see 9s as well as 6s.... ... In my reading of...line 1b–2a...[of the Izbet Sartah, the writer says]: I see that the eye gives the breath of the sign into the ear. In this statement he uses the ‘Ayin sign for see and then for the eye, continuing the practice that goes right back to the inception of the proto-alphabet, and also to the West Semitic syllabary that preceded it, whereby the pictophonograms could act not only as consonantograms or syllabograms, but also as logograms, ideograms, and rebograms (rebuses), as happened with the hieroglyphs in the Egyptian writing system, which influenced the formation of these two West Semitic scripts.8

1. Drawing: Brian E. Colless, Shaarayim Inscriptions: The David and Goliath Ostracon and the Eshbaal Jar from Khirbet Qeiyafa (Sha`arayim), Collesseum: A Museum-Theatre for Scripts (n.d.), https://sites.google.com/site/collesseum/qeiyafa-ostracon-2 (accessed ...), This old drawing by BEC is tentative and flawed.

2. Transliteration and translation: Ibid., Tentative translation.

3. Note: Brian E. Colless, Honey Bees at Ancient Rehob, CRYPTCRACKER, 07 October 2020, http://cryptcracker.blogspot.com/2020/10/ancient-rehob-and-its-apiary.html (accessed ...).

4. Note: Colless (n.d), A syllabic alphabet.

5. Note: Ibid., Linguistic Considerations.

6. Note: Ibid., Reading the Qeiyafa Ostracon.

7. Note: Brian E. Colless, The Lost Link: The Alphabet in the Hands of the Early Israelite, The Ancient Near East Today (ASOR) II:2 (February 2014), http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2014/02/the-lost-link-the-alphabet-in-the-hands-of-the-early-israelites/ (accessed ...).

8. Note: Ibid.

Notes

Wikipedia: It is the longest Proto-Canaanite text ever found. ... The writing on the ostracon is poorly preserved and difficult to read. ... The inscription is written left to right in a script which is probably Early Alphabetic/Proto Phoenician, though...it might be written vertically.1

Millard: The letters are difficult to read and the language may be Hebrew, Canaanite, Phoenician or Moabite. ... The Israeli scholar who published the ostracon, Haggai Misgav, only ventured to read some letters, as did Aaron Demsky, Shmuel Ahituv and the experienced palaeographer Ada Yardeni. Since the primary publication, Gershon Galil of Haifa University and Émile Puech of the École Biblique have each made their own drawings and proposed almost complete readings of this text.2

Wikipedia: On January 10, 2010, the University of Haifa issued a press release stating that the text was a social statement relating to slaves, widows and orphans. ... Other readings are possible, however, and the official excavation report presented many possible reconstructions of the letters without attempting a translation.3

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs: The earliest known Hebrew text written in a Proto-Canaanite script.... While the inscription has yet to be deciphered, initial interpretation indicates the text was part of a letter and contains the roots of the words "judge", "slave" and "king", suggesting it may be a legal text with insights into Hebrew law, society and beliefs. ... Carbon-14 dating of organic material (olive pips) found with the ostracon, administered by Oxford University, along with pottery analysis dates this inscription to the time of King David ca. 3,000 years ago.4

Millard (2011): The problem with this ostracon is that some letters are partly obliterated, that the same letter may have more than one stance or shape and that some are not certainly identified. ... On the basis of previous discoveries, the script is not what would be expected at about 1000 BC; it is ‘Canaanite’ rather than Phoenician or Hebrew, and some of the forms are unparalleled. ... It is the reading of the first five letters which has tended to impose the understanding of the text as Hebrew and as an instruction from a superior. Reading the first five letters as a negative command ’al ta‘aś ‘do not do, make,’ immediately suggests the language as Hebrew because the verb ‘śh is well known only in Hebrew (and Moabite).... Yet before accepting that identification, we should check for alternatives, not because we do not want the text to be Hebrew, but in order to avoid precluding other possibilities and so, perhaps, prescribe the translation to some extent. Ed Cook has observed that the first five letters could be read as a personal name, Ellat-‘aš, ‘the goddess (or Ellat) helped’. ... There is no proof the text is written in Hebrew rather than Canaanite.5

Biblical Archaeology Society: The faded text on the Qeiyafa Ostracon has challenged potential translators; what is known is that its variations and left-to-right orientation signal a pre-Hebrew script deriving from Early Alphabetic rather than Phoenician writing. Most scholars agree with Christopher Rollston about the type of script, but he suggests that the language may not be Hebrew. The lexemes, or word roots, could come from one of several Semitic languages. This interpretation of the Qeiyafa Ostracon raises a new set of questions. Could the Qeiyafa Ostracon be from a non-Judahite site? Or could another language have been the lingua franca of the period? More simply, could the text have been imported from elsewhere, or written by a foreigner? The Qeiyafa Ostracon is a significant puzzle piece in the development of Hebrew writing, but there are still too many unanswered questions for the Qeiyafa Ostracon to be considered the oldest Hebrew inscription.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions [e.g., the Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon] are still wholly Proto-Canaanite.7

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Qeiyafa hesitates between the two periods [late Iron I and early Iron IIA]. (The unstratified Beth-shemesh ostracon appears to us to date by letter typology close to the Qeiyafa ostracon.)8

1. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Khirbet Qeiyafa, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khirbet_Qeiyafa#Khirbet_Qeiyafa_ostracon (accessed ...), Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon.

2. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 1, Summary; p. 5.

3. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Khirbet Qeiyafa, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khirbet_Qeiyafa#Khirbet_Qeiyafa_ostracon (accessed ...), Khirbet Qeiyafa ostracon.

4. Note: Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Earliest known Hebrew text unearthed at 3,000 year old Judean fortress, 30 October 2008, https://mfa.gov.il/MFA/IsraelExperience/History/Pages/Earliest_Hebrew_text_unearthed_3000-year-old_Judean_fortress_30-Oct-2008.aspx (accessed ...).

5. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, pp. 7-8, 12.

6. Note: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff, The Oldest Hebrew Script and Language, Bible History Daily (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]), 03 July 2020, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/the-oldest-hebrew-script-and-language/ (accessed ...).

7. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 159.

8. Note: Ibid., p. 174.

Qeiyafa Jar aka Ishbaal/Ishba'al/ʾIšbaʿal/Eshbaal Inscription [2012] (11th–10th Century BCE, ca. 1020–980)

Eshbaal Inscription | Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Eshbaal Inscription | Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Eshbaal Reconstructed Jar | Hebrew University of Jerusalem

Eshbaal Inscription; Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Source: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project.1

Eshbaal Reconstructed Jar; Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Source: Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤔𐤁𐤏𐤋 𐤟 [𐤁𐤍] 𐤟 𐤁𐤃𐤏
ʾšbʿl | [bn] | bdʿ
ʾIšbaʿal son of Bedaʿ

Transliteration and translation source, Garfinkel, Golub, Misgav, Ganor (2015): The inscription includes a personal name: [ ] | ʾšbʿl | ˹bn˺ | bdʿ (ʾIšbaʿal son of Bedaʿ). The name Bedaʿ is unique, while ʾIšbaʿal is known from the Bible but has never yet appeared on an ancient inscription.3

Notes

The inscription is assumed to be right-to-left (looking head-on)—but, given the shape of the vessel, could it be left-to-right looking top-down?

Wikipedia: Archaeologists pieced together the inscription from pottery shards found at a 2012 excavation in the Valley of Elah in central Israel.4

LeBaAaLaT: When archaeologists were finally able to piece the artifact together, they could decipher the ancient Canaanite script. It read: “Eshba’al Ben [son of] Beda’.” This is the first time that archaeologists have found this name in an ancient inscription. Actually, another Eshbaal is mentioned in the Bible—he was one of the sons of King Saul. (1 Chron. 8:33; 9:39)5

Blumenthal (2016): Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) researchers succeeded in reassembling 3,000-year-old clay jar shards with an ancient inscription from the time of King David. Decoding the inscription posed a new challenge to researchers - discovering who [was] the mysterious Eshba'al ben Beda' was. ...This is the first time that the name Eshba'al has appeared on an ancient inscription in the country. Eshba'al Ben Shaul, who ruled over Israel at the same time as David, is known from the Bible.6

Chandler (2015): The storage jar shows the name ʾIšbaʿal incised along the top. This name appears in the Bible in 1 Chronicles 8:33. (Eshbaal in English translations.) Eshbaal was Saul’s son who is known as “Ish-bosheth” in 2 Samuel chapters 2 through 4. After Saul’s death, Eshbaal reigned as a rival of David from across the Jordan River and was eventually assassinated by his own servants. The name in this new inscription refers to a different individual (son of Bedaʿ) but demonstrates the use of this particular name in Canaan during this period.7

Yosef Garfinkel, Mitka R. Golub, Haggai Misgav, and Saar Ganor: Radiometric dating of the relevant layer has yielded a date of ca. 1020–980 b.c.e. The last few years have seen the publication of several new Semitic alphabetic inscriptions dated to the late 11th–10th centuries b.c.e. and originating at controlled excavations in Israel (Khirbet Qeiyafa, Beth Shemesh, Tell eṣ-Ṣâfi, and Jerusalem).8

1. Image and drawing: Yosef Garfinkel, Mitka R. Golub, Haggai Misgav, and Saar Ganor, The Eshbaal Inscription: More about the Inscription Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/eshbaal2.asp (accessed ...).

2. Image: Ibid., The Eshbaal Inscription, http://qeiyafa.huji.ac.il/eshbaal.asp (accessed ...).

3. Transliteration and translation: Idem., The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 373 (May 2015), http://www.luisjovel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Garfinkel_et_al_2015_Isbaal_inscription_BASOR_373.pdf [pp. 217-233] (accessed ...), p. 223.

4. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Ish-bosheth, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ish-bosheth#Archaeology (accessed ...), Archaeology.

5. Note: LeBaAaLaT, The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa, https://earlysemitic.weebly.com/the-702iscaronba703al-inscription-from-khirbet-qeiyafa.html (accessed ...), A Bible Name on an Ancient Jar.

6. Image: Itay Blumenthal, Inscription from King David's time found near Beit Shemesh, Ynetnews, 16 June 2016, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4669056,00.html (accessed ...).

7. Image: Luke Chandler, New Khirbet Qeiyafa Inscription Published. What Does it Say?, Bible, Archaeology, and Travel with Luke Chandler, 3 June 2015, https://lukechandler.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/2nd-kh-qeiyafa-inscription-published-what-does-it-say/ (accessed ...).

8. Note: Yosef Garfinkel, Mitka R. Golub, Haggai Misgav, and Saar Ganor, The ʾIšbaʿal Inscription from Khirbet Qeiyafa, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 373 (May 2015), http://www.luisjovel.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Garfinkel_et_al_2015_Isbaal_inscription_BASOR_373.pdf [pp. 217-233] (accessed ...), p. 217, Abstract.

Tell es-Safi Inscription aka Ṣafi Sherd 821141 aka Gath Ostracon [2005] (10th-9th Century BCE)

Gath Ostracon, Aren Maeir | Yoni Reif
Gath Ostracon | Aren Maeir Gath Inscription | Aren Maeir

Gath Ostracon, Aren Maeir; Yoni Reif. Source: Klass (2005).1

Gath Ostracon; Aren Maeir. Source: Maeir (2006).2

Gath Inscription; Aren Maeir. Source: Sass (2017).3

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤋𐤅𐤕𐤟𐤅𐤋𐤕
ʾlwt wlt

Transliteration source, Colless (2014): It is supposed to say ’LWT WLT (the dividing line, as on the Q[ubur ]W[alayda] Bowl, could signify “son of”), and a resemblance to GLYT [𐤂𐤋𐤉𐤕] (Goliath) is pointed out.4

Notes

Wikipedia: The Tell es-Safi inscription was found in 2005 at the archaeological site at Tell es-Safi, identified with the biblical city of Gath. It was under the destruction layer at the beginning of Iron Age IIA (1000–925 BCE).5

Wikipedia: Scratched on a sherd typical of the Iron Age IIA, two non-Semitic names written in Semitic "Proto-Canaanite" letters were found.6

Wikipedia: Archaeologists [excavating Tell es-Safi, the biblical Gath and traditional home of Goliath] have established that this was one of the largest of the Philistine cities until destroyed in the ninth century BC, an event from which it never recovered. A potsherd discovered at the site, and reliably dated to the tenth to mid-ninth centuries BC, is inscribed with the two names "alwt" and "wlt". While the names are not directly connected with the biblical Goliath ("glyt"), they are etymologically related and demonstrate that the name fits with the context of late-tenth/early-ninth-century BC Philistine culture.7

Maeir (2006): BOTH names that appear on the sherd (AWLT and WLT...) are etymologically very close to Goliath. All are quite similar to Indo-European, names such as Lydian Wylattes/Aylattes, which in the past have been etymologically compared to Goliath (way before this find). ... The inscription demonstrates that ca. the 10th/9th cent. BCE, names very similar to Goliath were in use at Philistine Gath. This does provide some cultural background for the David/Goliath story.8

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): An inscription אלוח | ול[ incised on a stone bowl from Tell es-Safi/Gath. The inscription was interpreted as two personal Philistine names of Anatolian or Aegean origin, although the writing is proto-Canaanite. The inscription is dated by the excavators to the tenth century BCE.9

Malena (2015): The script is linear alphabetic, but the inscription is probably not Semitic. Instead, the excavators argue that it should be interpreted to be Philistine, which would make this find the earliest alphabetic Philistine inscription. The preserved writing consists of a line of seven letters with a word divider between the fourth and fifth letter; there is a possible additional sign to the left of the inscription. The main line reads ʾlwt|wlt[...]. The excavators suggest the best interpretation is that these words are names, citing parallels in Greek and Anatolian sources: Alyattes and Oletas or Ouliatos/Oalaolos. It is notable that, if Philistine, the Semitic script is used here by relative newcomers to the region.10

Colless (2014): The line of writing probably runs from right to left, and this suggests it is the international alphabet, not the neo-syllabary; but the Aleph has the wrong stance (it is upright, not reclining) though it has the characteristic extension of its crossbar. The two instances of L seem to be the same, and they are reversed versions of those on the QW bowl above, and also of the Lamed in the Izbet Sartah abagadary. It is hard to determine whether the two Y-shaped characters represent Waw or Yod. The first Taw might be meant to be TU or TA, and the second one TI, or else the stance has no particular significance.11

Millard (2011): ...Personal names scratched on a stone and on potsherds that can be placed approximately in the Tenth Century...sherds from Tell eṣ-Ṣafī (probably Gath)....12

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions [e.g., Tell eṣ-Ṣafi sherd 821141] are still wholly Proto-Canaanite.13

1. Image: Oren Klass, Goliath found? The Jerusalem Post, 10 November 2005 https://www.jpost.com/jewish-world/jewish-news/goliath-found (accessed ...), prof meir (photo credit: Yoni Reif).

2. Image: Aren Maeir, Comment on the news item in BAR on the Goliath Inscription The Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project Official (and Unofficial) Weblog, 16 February 2006 https://gath.wordpress.com/2006/02/16/comment-on-the-news-item-in-bar-on-the-goliath-inscription/ (accessed ...), The Goliath Inscription.

3. Drawing: Benjamin Sass, The Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon in its Setting, in Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Shephelah Papers Presented at a Colloquium of the Swiss Society for Ancient Near Eastern Studies Held at the University of Bern, September 6, 2014, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 282, ed. Silvia Schroer and Stefan Münger (Fribourg, CH: Academic Press, 2017), https://www.academia.edu/33003336/2017_Sass_B_The_Khirbet_Qeiyafa_ostracon_in_its_setting_In_S_Schroer_and_S_Münger_eds_Khirbet_Qeiyafa_in_the_Shephelah_Papers_presented_at_a_conference_of_the_SGOA_SSPOA_at_the_University_of_Bern_September_6_2014_Orbis_Biblicus_et_Orientalis_282_Fribourg_and_Göttingen_87_111 [pp. 87–111] (accessed ...), p. 92, Fig. 4: Tell eṣ-Ṣafi sherd (Maeir et al. 2008: 49).

4. Note: Brian E. Colless, The Lost Link: The Alphabet in the Hands of the Early Israelite, The Ancient Near East Today (ASOR) II:2 (February 2014), http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2014/02/the-lost-link-the-alphabet-in-the-hands-of-the-early-israelites/ (accessed ...).

5. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Tell es-Safi Inscription, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tell_es-Safi_inscription (accessed ...).

6. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Gath (city), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gath_(city)#Goliath_Shard (accessed ...), Goliath Shard.

7. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Goliath, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goliath#Goliath's_name (accessed ...), Goliath's name.

8. Note: Maeir

9. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 56.

10. Note: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), p. 225.

11. Note: Colless.

12. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

13. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 159-160.

Rehov 1939 Sherd aka Tell el-Ṣaren Sherd [1939] (12th-11th Century BCE)

Rehov 1939 Sherd | Benjamin Sass

Rehov 1939 Sherd; Benjamin Sass. Source: Finkelstein, Sass (2013).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤌𐤔
𐤏

ʿ

Transliteration source, Lemaire (2015): [A] fragmentary inscribed sherd...found in 1939 on the surface of Tell eṣ-Ṣarem (= Tel Rehov)...was incised before firing but the inscription with apparently remains of seven letters is still enigmatic since only three letters seem clear enough for identification (Š, ʿ, M) but which are not on the same line.2

Notes

Lemaire (2015): The vertical M and the ʿ with a dot inside it could be dated to the twelfth to eleventh centuries BCE or around 1000 BCE.3

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions [e.g., the sherd found in 1939 on the surface of Tel Rehov] are still wholly Proto-Canaanite.4

1. Drawing: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 209, Fig. 13: Sass 1988 (n. 17): fig. 178.

2. Transliteration: André Lemaire, Levantine Literacy ca. 1000-750 BCE, in Contextualizing Israel's Sacred Writings: Ancient Literacy, Orality, and Literary Production, ed. Brian B. Schmidt (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015) , https://books.google.com/books?id=Dj4pCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA22 [p. 22] (accessed ...), p. 22.

3. Note: Ibid.

4. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 160-161.

Rehov 1-3 [???] (10th Century BCE)

Parker (2013, 2018): Several inscribed fragments have also been recovered in southern Canaan from tenth-century contexts. These include...Tel Rehov (1-5).....1

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Tel Rehov inscriptions 1– were found in Stratum VI [10th century] of the early Iron IIA [ca. 940-880]. One of them – Rehov 2 – was incised twice, after firing, on a complete storage jar, so that it can securely be associated with this layer.2

1. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 123, n. 540.

2. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 161.

Rehov 1 (10th Century BCE)

Rehov 1 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar
Rehov 1 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 1; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤏𐤉
עי

Transliteration source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).2

Notes

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): This sherd bears two letters written in ink. ... Two signs are written in black ink that may be read as ע and י. The ע is a circle without a dot, as it has lost this pictographic feature. The י is somewhat unclear and it seems that the writer had difficulty when forming it. In our view, the zigzag and its cross-line are visible.3

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Early Iron IIA [ca. 940-880]. ... Not securely datable by palaeography, the letters of [the Rehov 1 and 3] inscriptions nevertheless look post Proto-Canaanite and thus could hardly belong to the Iron I.4

1. Image and drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 189, Fig. 1: Reg. No. 104028, Locus 7512, Area C, Building CY, local Stratum C-2, general Stratum VI.

2. Transliteration: Ibid., p. 40.

3. Transliteration: Ibid.

4. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 161.

Rehov 2 (10th Century BCE)

Rehov 2 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar
Rehov 2 Inscription | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 2 Detail; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

Rehov 2 Inscription; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Sass (2017).2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤌𐤕𐤀𐤖
מתא1

Transliteration source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).3

Notes

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): This is a double inscription, incised...on both faces of the jar.... One side can be read מתא| (the most reasonable interpretation of the short vertical line that follows the name מתא is the numeral one), while the opposite face bears the same inscription, although only the upper left part of the ת, the א and the short vertical line are preserved. The inscription can be interpreted as a personal name followed by the numeric one.4

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Early Iron IIA [ca. 940-880]. ... Paleographically, Rehov 2 is transitional from Proto-Canaanite to post Proto-Canaanite.5

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): In early Iron IIA the linear alphabet, hitherto confined to Philistia, spread farther afield for the first time. ... Only a single inscription found beyond Philistia in a secure early Iron IIA context is known at present: Rehov jar 2. Outside Philistia, this is the only early Iron IIA [ca. 940-880] inscription from a primary archaeological context.... In Finkelstein and Sass 2013, we have taken the letter-shapes to be transitional—a mix of Proto-Canaanite and post Proto-Canaanite or cursive forms—the mem belonging to the former, the taw and alep to the latter. In retrospect all may be late Proto-Canaanite—the taw and alep are among the non-indicative letters in this regard. Indeed we now classify the inscription on Rehov jar 2 as just Proto-Canaanite; it has no cursive component.6

1. Image and drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 190, Fig. 2: Reg. No. 7489/10, Locus 7491, Building CT, local Stratum C-2b, general Stratum VIB.

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass, The Khirbet Qeiyafa Ostracon in its Setting, in Khirbet Qeiyafa in the Shephelah Papers Presented at a Colloquium of the Swiss Society for Ancient Near Eastern Studies Held at the University of Bern, September 6, 2014, Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 282, ed. Silvia Schroer and Stefan Münger (Fribourg, CH: Academic Press, 2017), https://www.academia.edu/33003336/2017_Sass_B_The_Khirbet_Qeiyafa_ostracon_in_its_setting_In_S_Schroer_and_S_Münger_eds_Khirbet_Qeiyafa_in_the_Shephelah_Papers_presented_at_a_conference_of_the_SGOA_SSPOA_at_the_University_of_Bern_September_6_2014_Orbis_Biblicus_et_Orientalis_282_Fribourg_and_Göttingen_87_111 [pp. 87–111] (accessed ...), p. 90, Fig. 2: Tel Reḥov Inscription 2 (Aḥituv and Mazar 2014: 190; courtesy of A. Mazar, Tel Reḥov Excavations, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

3. Transliteration: Aḥituv and Mazar, p. 40.

4. Note: Ibid.

5. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 161.

6. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 26.

Rehov 3 (10th Century BCE)

Rehov 3 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 3; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

Notes

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Early Iron IIA [ca. 940-880]. ... Not securely datable by palaeography, the letters of [the Rehov 1 and 3] inscriptions nevertheless look post Proto-Canaanite and thus could hardly belong to the Iron I.2

1. Drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 191, Fig. 3: Reg. No. 75109/99, Locus 7505, Area C, Building CY, local Stratum C-2, general Stratum VI.

2. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 161.

Khirbet Raddana Handle [????] (13th-11th Century BCE)

Khirbet Raddana Handle

Khirbet Raddana Handle. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤇𐤋[ ]
ʾḥl[ ]

Transliteration source, Cross (1975): The signs read vertically: ʾḥl[ ].2

Notes

Millard (2011): Assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries.3

Cross (1975): Late thirteenth century BCE.4

Azevedo (1994): Raddana handle 1300 BC.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions [e.g., the site of Khirbet Raddana] are still wholly Proto-Canaanite.6

1. Drawing: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, Inscribed Jar Handle from Khirbet Raddana, 19 August 2017, http://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2017/08/inscribed-jar-handle-from-khirbet.html (accessed ...), The jar handle from Khirbet Raddana.

2. Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, Early Alphabetic Scripts [1975], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000054.xml (accessed ...), p. 331.

3. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

4. Note: Cross.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 104.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 160.

Ophel Pithos aka Jerusalem Pithos [2012] (11th-10th Century BCE)

Ophel Pithos | Ouria Tadmor and Ada Yardeni

Ophel Pithos; Ouria Tadmor and Ada Yardeni. Source: Ngo (2020).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤌𐤒𐤐𐤇𐤍𐤋 𐤍
mqpḥnln

Transliteration source, Mazar, Ben-Shlomo, Aḥituv (2013): Seven letters appear on the two joined pieces; one of these letters is partially broken and is indecipherable. ... The letters appear to belong to the eleventh–tenth centuries BCE. ... The letters are not of the Phoenician-Hebrew script, but are similar to the Proto-Canaanite/Early-Canaanite one. The inscription is written from left to right (as evident from the stance of the letters), like the Qubur al-Walaydah and the ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah ostraca. Although a comprehensive meaning of the inscription still eludes us, the letters (from left to right) are: m, q (less likely r), p, , n, a broken letter which might be l (or perhaps is two broken letters) and another n. ... The letters are proportionally spaced...only between the last two letters (the reconstructed l and the n) is the space doubled... Since in the Proto- Canaanite and the Phoenician-Hebrew writing system there were no spaces between words, it is possible that the inscription began at what is here described as the last letter of the inscription, which might have run around the pithos shoulder. ... The letters might be referring to the name of the owner of the pithos, its addressee, or its contents, but unfortunately, they do not yield any intelligible combination. Perhaps they represent a non-Semitic combination or combinations. ... The new inscription from the Ophel remains, for the time being, enigmatic.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤌𐤒𐤋𐤇𐤍𐤓 𐤔
mqlḥn
pot belonging to Ner

Transliteration and translation source, Malena (2015): The script is eleventh-tenth century Early Alphabetic, and the text is written dextrograde [left to right]. It consists of seven letters. E. Mazar, D. Ben-Shlomo and S. Aḥituv suggest that the inscription originally circled the entire rim and that the letter at the far right of what has been preserved may be the beginning of the inscription. Aḥituv provides the initial epigraphic assessment. He reads m q p ḥ n l? n (the sixth letter is at a break in the sherds). Since this series of letters does not result in an intelligible phrase, he suggests the inscription may be non-Semitic. He also suggests that the inscription might designate an owner, destination, or contents of the pithos. A possession formula has been put forward by Rollston, which seems to be the best solution so far. He reads, m q l ḥ n r š, with a partial translation pot belonging to Ner.3

Notes

Colless (2014): It appears to have two forms of Nun...or possibly two different instances of Mem; its Het is unusual, lacking a central crossbar...; the Mem (first letter on the left)...; the letter following could be R (facing in the wrong direction) or Q (which should have the stem piercing the oval...), and the next one P (a reversal of the Phoenician P) or L (inverted and reversed).4

Rollston (2013): The inscription is engraved in a proto-Canaanite / early Canaanite script of the eleventh-to-tenth centuries BCE, which pre-dates the Israelite rule and the prevalence of Hebrew script. ... Because the inscription is not in Hebrew, it is likely to have been written by one of the non-Israeli residents of Jerusalem, perhaps Jebusites, who were part of the city population in the time of Kings David and Solomon. ... In terms of the palaeographic date for this inscription, I would be most comfortable with the 11th century BCE, rather than the 10th century BCE. ... Reading this inscription as dextrograde accounts so nicely for the direction of both the lamed and the nun. ... The reason for my preference for the 11th century is the fact that the script is Early Alphabetic, not Phoenician.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. ... The shape of the pithos – a forerunner of the Kuntillet ʿAjrud pithoi – has late Iron IIA parallels. On the otherhand the mixed Proto-Canaanite and ‘post Proto-Canaanite’ letter shapes, as well as the left-to-right direction of the script, fit an early Iron IIA dating.6

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Early Iron IIA? Late Iron IIA/1? Late Iron IIA/2? ... In 2013 we classified the ductus of six inscriptions—the Kefar Veradim bowl, Rehov jar 2, Ophel pithos sherd, Sarepta sherd, Byblos cone A and the arrowheads as a group—as mixed Proto-Canaanite and post Proto-Canaanite (i.e. the earliest cursive). ... Yet we began to doubt this scheme already in the same article, when we added in the last moment the inscription incised before firing on an Ophel pithos. ... We now realize that the script of Rehov jar 2, the Kefar Veradim bowl, Ophel pithos sherd and Sarepta sherd is to all appearances just Proto-Canaanite; the several letter-shapes in the four inscriptions that we regarded as earliest post Proto-Canaanite are merely long-lived, surviving from one phase to the next (e.g. the alep and taw of Rehov 2), but not in the least cursive. Among the inscriptions we addressed in 2013, only unstratified Byblos cone A and five of the unprovenanced arrowheads bear a mixed script. ... For now the limits of the evidence impose a broad time-range on the Ophel pithos sherd: • Early Iron IIA: No exact ceramic parallels. Numerous palaeographic parallels. • Late Iron IIA/1: Potential ceramic and palaeographic parallels (above). • Late Iron IIA/2: Abundant ceramic parallels. Palaeo-graphically unparallelled.7

1. Image: Robin Ngo, Precursor to Paleo-Hebrew Script Discovered in Jerusalem, Bible History Daily (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]), 13 September 2020, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/precursor-to-the-paleo-hebrew-script-discovered-in-jerusalem/ (accessed ...), ...a lettered inscription featuring the earliest alphabet ever found in Jerusalem. The inscription precedes the development of the Paleo-Hebrew script used by the Israelites in the First Temple period.... Sherd: Ouria Tadmor, courtesy of Eilat Mazar. Drawing: Ada Yardeni, courtesy of Eilat Mazar.

2. Transliteration and translation: Eilat Mazar, David Ben-Shlomo, and Shmuel Aḥituv, An Inscribed Pithos from the Ophel, Jerusalem, Israel Exploration Journal [IEJ] 63:1 (2013), http://www.foundationstone.org/resources/Ophel-inscription.pdf (accessed ...), pp. 45,47.

3. Transliteration and translation: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), p. 233.

7. Note: Brian E. Colless, The Lost Link: The Alphabet in the Hands of the Early Israelite, The Ancient Near East Today (ASOR) II:2 (February 2014), http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2014/02/the-lost-link-the-alphabet-in-the-hands-of-the-early-israelites/ (accessed ...).

5. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Decipherment of the New ‘Incised Jerusalem Pithos’, Rollston Epigraphy, 11 July 2013, http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=561 (accessed ...).

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 162.

7. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), pp. 27, 26, 28.

Kefar Veradim Bowl [2006?] (12th-9th Century BCE)

Kefar Veradim Bowl; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror
Kefar Veradim Bowl | Christopher Rollston

Kefar Veradim Bowl; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

Kefar Veradim Bowl; Christopher Rollston. Source: Rollston (2008a).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤊𐤎.𐤐𐤎𐤇.
𐤁𐤍𐤔𐤌𐤏
ks psḥ
bn šmʿ
Cup [ks] of Pesah [psḥ]
ben [bn] Shema [šmʿ]

Translation source: The Israel Museum.3

Notes

Rollston (2008a): The Kefar Veradim Bowl is a stunning artifact, made of fluted bronze. The inscription consists of just four words, all well preserved, with two word dividers also present. The inscribed bowl was found in a burial cave at Kefar Veradim (Israel). According to the standard chronology, the associated archaeological materials (bowls, craters, including some black-on-red ware, etc.) can be dated to the tenth century, or early ninth century. ... As a palaeographer, I would state that the inscription can indeed be dated to the early tenth century.4

Rollston (2008b): The script of this inscription is stunning, reflecting the consummate work of a fine engraver. ... Its script reflects the same basic script morphology as the ʿAzarbaʿl Inscription. ... There can be no question about the fact that this inscription is written in the Phoenician script. In fact, it is a superb Phoenician script, and of fundamental importance is the fact that it was discovered in Israel. That is, the Phoenician script is attested in Israel, and this fact cannot be contested.5

Rollston (2010): The excavator has stated that, according to the standard chronology, the associated archaeological materials (bowls, craters, including some black-on-red ware, etc.) can be dated to the tenth century, or early-ninth century. [Yardenna] Alexandre contemplated the possibility that this bowl might have been an heirloom piece, but does not come down definitively on the subject [i.e., the bowl is older (e.g., early 10th c.) than the archaeological context in which it was found (10th-early 9th c.)]. From my perspective...the script of this inscription reflects the work of a trained, consummate scribe. Its script reflects the same basic script morphology as that of the Azarba‘al Inscription. ... I consider this inscribed bowl to hail from the same basic chronological horizon as the Azarba‘al Inscription. Based on the script, therefore, I am comfortable with an early-tenth century date for this inscription.6

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): This inscription poses a chronological problem, since it appears to be even earlier than the Gezer Calendar, although the ceramic assemblage found nearby is more consistent with an Iron IIA date.... Yardenna Alexandre dated the grave and the inscription to the tenth century BCE. ... the date suggested by Alexandre for this bowl in the second half of the tenth century BCE appears to be correct.7

Millard (2011): There are equally few documents assigned to the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries: ...and a name incised on a bronze bowl found at Kefar Veradim.8

Parker (2013, 2018): Note also an inscribed bowl from Kefar Veradim. This bowl was found in a tenth-century tomb context; however, it may be best identified as an heirloom object, as it inscribed in eleventh-century Phoenician script.9

The Israel Museum: Iron Age II, 9th century BCE.10

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. ... Typologically, the [Kefar Veradim] bowl has a broad range – Late Bronze II to the Persian period. Palaeographically, the mixed script – Proto-Canaanite and post Proto-Canaanite – is not developed enough for the late Iron IIA, when all Proto-Canaanite features seem to be definitely gone (but see now the Ophel pithos sherd). Dating the bowl a long time before the burial is not very likely. We prefer to assign the bowl as well as its inscription to the early Iron IIA, assuming that it was a few decades old when deposited in the tomb.11

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Early Iron IIA? Late Iron IIA/1? In Finkelstein and Sass 2013...since at the time we did not think that Proto-Canaanite lasted as long, we perceived the [Kefar Veradim] bowl as an early Iron IIA heirloom in its late Iron IIA/1 funerary context, yet believed that the script displayed a few advanced traits. As with Rehov jar 2 we now regard the script as just Proto-Canaanite rather than transitional.12

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Neta Dror, Cup of Pesah ben Shema, inscription on a drinking bowl (cup); IAA: 1999-842, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/375137 (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Christopher A. Rollston, The Dating of the Early Royal Byblian Phoenician Inscriptions: A Response to Benjamin Sass, Maarav 15.1 (2008a), https://www.academia.edu/474442/The_Dating_of_the_Early_Royal_Byblian_Phoenician_Inscriptions_A_Response_to_Benjamin_Sass (accessed ...), p. 84, Fig. 10: Kefar Veradim Bowl (Drawing by Christopher Rollston).

3. Translation: The Israel Museum.

4. Note: Rollston (2008a), pp. 84-85.

5. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Phoenician Script of the Tel Zayit Abecedary and Putative Evidence for Israelite Literacy, in Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan: The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context, ed. Ron Tappy and P. Kyle McCarter (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008b), https://www.academia.edu/474482/The_Phoenician_Script_of_the_Tel_Zayit_Abecedary_and_Putative_Evidence_for_Israelite_Literacy (accessed ...), pp. 78-79.

6. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age, Archaeology and Biblical Studies 11 (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature [SBL], 2010), http://library.mibckerala.org/lms_frame/eBook/Rollston_Literacy%20In%20Ancient%201.pdf [pp. 1-28] (accessed ...), p. 27.

7. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), pp. 54-55.

8. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

9. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 124, n. 540.

10. Note: The Israel Museum.

11. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 161-162.

12. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 27.

Sarepta/Sarephath/Zarephath Sherd [????] (13th or 9th century BCE)

Sarepta Sherd | Émile Puech

Sarepta Sherd; Émile Puech. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1 (Image of the sherd: Frank Moore Cross [2003], p. 332, Figure 53.2.)

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤃𐤀𐤇[𐤊]
]dʾḥ⸢k?⸣[

Transliteration (RTL) source, Cross (1975): A...Proto-Canaanite inscription has been found at Zarephath (Sarepta) [in Phoenicia].... It is a dipinto reminiscent of the Lachish Ewer and the Hazor Sherd. Its script stands close to that of the Beth-shemesh Ostracon, and its date should not be far from 1200 BCE, the date assigned to the Beth-shemesh Ostracon. Three letters are complete and a fourth is broken: ]dʾḥk?⸣[. The writing is probably from right to left. The form and stance of the ʾalep are particularly interesting, recalling the archaic Greek stance. The rotation of the stance is characteristic of the Proto-Canaanite period when vertical and horizontal writing were both in use.2 Cross (1975): The Sarepta ʾalep has its best parallels in form with the Lachish Ewer ʾalep, the Raddana Handle, the ʾAbbaʾ Seal [Revadim], and above all with the ʾalep of the ʿIzbet Ṣarṭah Inscription, which exhibits little or no breaking through of the cross-bar.3

TranscriptionTransliteration
[𐤉]𐤇𐤀𐤏
yḥʾʿ

Transliteration (LTR) source, Peckham (2014): [A Red Slip jug], of which only a fragment is preserved, was inscribed with an extraordinary series of cursive Phoenician letters. They were painted and written...from left to right like Greek rather than from right to left like Phoenician. The first letter is only partially preserved on the left margin of the sherd, but it is clearly a back-to-front (reversed) yod.... The next letter is ḥet.... The third letter is ʾalep, rotated to the left 90 degrees.... The last letter on the right is a cursive ʿayin.... What is extraordinary about this sherd, then, is that a potter in ninth-century Sarepta decorated a fine Sidonian jug with the Greek vowels (iota, eta, alpha, omicron).4

Notes

The Sarepta Sherd is dated by F. M. Cross to the 13th century based on its paleography, and dated by B. Peckham to the 9th century based on its material (Red Slip pottery). Both see parallels to Greek within its script.

Peckham (2014): Sarepta, on the coast between Tyre and Sidon, was the southernmost Sidonian partner in domestic and foreign trade in the ninth century. ... Two inscriptions in the late Ugaritic cuneiform alphabet, both from about the end of the thirteenth century, have been found in the ruins of the town. ... The town prospered in the tenth and ninth centuries, when there were new streets and a significant use of ashlar masonry, regular contacts with Cyprus, and a flourishing pottery industry. The pottery industry, which seems to have supplied the whole Sidonian market, was marked by new technology and by new forms, such as Red Slip burnished bowls and Red Slip jugs with lines of black and red paint.5

Pritchard (1971): Ancient Sarepta had a long and varied history that can be sketched from more than fifty references to it in documents written over a span of more than three millennia. Its name appears in the Ugaritic texts of the fourteenth century B.C.; it is mentioned in an Egyptian papyrus of the thirteenth century along with Byblos, Beirut, Sidon and Tyre as one of the principal cities of the coast. ... It has long been observed that the principal Phoenician cities on the coast of Lebanon and Syria enjoyed the advantage of two harbors. This is true of Byblos, Tyre, Sidon, and Sarepta.6

Azevedo (1994): 13th-12th BC.7

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. Some of the inscriptions are still wholly Proto-Canaanite. ... The Sarepta sherd, without a context, bears an inscription painted before firing. The script is transitional from Proto-Canaanite to ‘post Proto-Canaanite’ – note the rotated alep vs. the developed ḥet – hence possibly early Iron IIA.8

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Early Iron IIA? Late Iron IIA/1? ...In Finkelstein and Sass 2013...we attributed the sherd to the [tenth century], but considered the script to be mixed, a classification which we now abandon: the A-oriented alep is clearly Proto-Canaanite, same as one of the four in the Qeiyafa ostracon, and less expected in the mixed script. The Sarepta ḥet, that in 2013 we dubbed “developed”, seems not so on second thoughts— it lacks the acute angles of the cursive that can be observed in stratified Rehov jar 7 and the Rosh Zayit sherd, and in unstratified Byblos cone A. The dalet is non-indicative.9

1. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies IX (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 29, Figure 11: Sarepta sherd (PUECH 1986, p. 173, no. 3).

2.) Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, Early Alphabetic Scripts [1975], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000054.xml (accessed ...), p. 330, Old Canaanite (Sixteenth-Twelfth Centuries BCE).

3. Ibid., p. 330, n. 5.

4. Transliteration: J. Brian Peckham, Phoenicia: Episodes and Anecdotes from the Ancient Mediterranean (n.p.: Eisenbrauns, 2014), https://books.google.com/books?id=XPL2DwAAQBAJ&pg=PA100 (accessed ...), pp. 100-101.

5. Note: Ibid., pp. 100-101.

6. Note: James B. Pritchard, The Phoenicians in their Homeland, Expedition Magazine (Penn Museum) 14.1 (1971), https://www.penn.museum/sites/expedition/the-phoenicians-in-their-homeland/ (accessed ...).

7. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

8. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 162.

9. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), pp. 28.

Megiddo Jug Sherd [2014] (10th-8th Century BCE)

Megiddo Jug Sherd | Michael Cordonsky
Megiddo Jug Sherd | Yulia Gottlieb

Megiddo Jug Sherd; Michael Cordonsky. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1

Megiddo Jug Sherd; Yulia Gottlieb. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
[- -]𐤄𐤁
[- -]hb

Transliteration source, Sass, Finkelstein (2016): The sherd was broken in four...bearing the letters [- -]hb in cursive script but oriented left to right. ... The letters preceding the he were written towards the jug’s neck above—there is room for two more letters, whereas the space beyond the bet indicates that this letter was the last in the line. The text could thus read [- -]hb—one word, less likely two. ... One possible restoration is...a personal name...nʾhb, “Beloved”.... This Hebrew name occurs three times at Elephantine, two of them syncopated—nhb, and the feminine nʾhbt is documented four times, three of them spelled nhbt. nʾhbt is found besides on a late Iron Age bulla from Jerusalem and an unprovenanced Hebrew seal acquired in the 19th.... On the Megiddo sherd this hypothetical restoration of a personal name is obviously unverifiable.3

Notes

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): On 25 June 2014 a sherd of a red-slipped, hand-burnished jug decorated with five horizontal black bands on its shoulder, and with remnants of a painted alphabetic inscription was found...in an Iron IIA [ca. 940-780/770] context. ... The two Megiddo letters belong to the earliest cursive or “post Proto-Canaanite” phase of the West Semitic alphabet, at the same time still flipped left to right, a last relic of the waning Proto-Canaanite tradition. ... It should be borne in mind that while the entire Megiddo line could have been oriented left to right, this is not to be concluded automatically: see Byblos cone A, its inscription running right to left, yet with two adjacent letters flipped left to right. ... Judging by the inclination of the bet, the Megiddo writing may be Hebrew, supported further by the provenance of the sherd in Israelite Megiddo. If so, it would be the earliest text in the Hebrew script-variant from the territory of Israel or Judah. The other late Iron IIA/1 Hebrew examples known up till now come from Rehov [Rehov 5 and 7; Tel Amal Jar; possibly also Rehov 8 and 9] and Ṣafi [Ṣafi Jar 747028/1; Tel Batash Bowl Sherd] only, just beyond the opposite boundaries—with the Aramaeans and Philistines—of the Hebrew kingdoms.4

1. Image: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 20, Figure 1 - The inscribed sherd. a. Photograph – whole (Tel Aviv University, photographer Michael Cordonsky).

2. Drawing: Ibid., p. 21, c. Restorated drawing with profile of jug after 10/Q/94/VS1 (Yulia Gottlieb).

3. Transliteration: Ibid., pp. 19, 20, 24.

4. Transliteration: Ibid., pp. 19, 24-25.

Byblos Cone A [????] (11th Century BCE)

Byblos Cone A | Maurice Dunand
Byblos Cone A | Benjamin Sass

Byblos Cone A; Maurice Dunand. Source: Sass (2005).1

Byblos Cone A; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤇𐤌𐤍
lʿbdḥmn
Belonging to ʿAbd-Ḥamōn

Transliteration and translation source, Cross (1975): No. 7765 (Byblos A) from the early eleventh century BCE reads: lʿbdḥmn, Belonging to ʿAbd-Ḥamōn.3

Notes

Azevedo (1994): Early 11th BC.4

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Late Iron I [ca. mid 1000s-940] to early Iron IIA [ca. 940–880]. ... Byblos cone A with an inscription incised before(?) firing, has no archaeological context. The script, the most archaic-looking among all Byblos inscriptions, with its mirror-image ḥet and mem, is transitional from Proto-Canaanite to ‘post Proto-Canaanite.’5

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Mixed Proto-Canaanite and cursive [post Proto-Canaanite]: late Iron IIA/1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... In unstratified Byblos cone A, the text is oriented right to left, as are five of the seven letters preserved. Only the remaining two, the adjoining ḥet and mem, are in reverse. ... The Megiddo jug sherd may provide Byblos cone A with an absolute dating.6

1. Image: Benjamin Sass, The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millennium ca. 1150-850 BCE: The West Semitic Alphabet: The Antiquity of the Arabian, Greek and Phrygian Alphabets, Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 4 (Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 2005), https://www.academia.edu/4786876/2005_Sass_B_The_alphabet_at_the_turn_of_the_millennium_The_West_Semitic_alphabet_ca_1150_850_BCE_the_antiquity_of_the_Arabian_Greek_and_Phrygian_alphabets_Tel_Aviv_University_Institute_of_Archaeology_Occasional_Publications_4_Tel_Aviv (accessed ...), p. 44, Fig. 14: Byblos cone A (Byblos II, pl. 144).

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies IX (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 31, Figure 16: Byblos cone A (Sass 1988, fig. 200).

3. Transliteration and translation: Frank Moore Cross, Early Alphabetic Scripts [1975], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA336 (accessed ...), p. 336, Fig. 53.6.

4. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 106.

5. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 157, 162.

6. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 30.

Inscribed Javelin- and Arrowheads

Michael Heltzer: Historical Interpretation of Inscribed Phoenician Arrowheads (Souther Levant, XII-X Centuries B.C.E.)

Mitchell (2009): [F. M.] Cross and [J. T.] Milik...being struck by the size of some of the El-Khadr points, questioned the validity of identifying them all as arrowheads, and proposed to designate the larger ones javelin heads, the rule of thumb distinction being drawn at a blade length of 6 cm. 1

Jewish Virtual Library: Inscribed bronze arrowheads from the end of the 12th century found at Al-Khaḍr, near Beth-Lehem, and similar artifacts from a slightly later period found at other sites provide a link [between early alphabetic writing...from...the 13th–12th centuries B.C.E. and] the later developed Phoenician-Hebrew script. 2

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): The inscribed arrowheads...document the transition from pre-cursive Proto-Canaanite to the cursive [i.e., post Proto-Canaanite]. ... Among the nine arrowheads [el-Khadr 1-3, Azarbaal, Rapa, Ruweiseh, Gerbaal, Pères blancs, and Zakarbaal], the three attributed to el-Khadr with their curled lamed, dotted ʿayin and two-stroke ṣade are possibly altogether Proto-Canaanite. At the other end the Azarbaal arrowhead exhibits marked cursive inspiration in the elongated lamed and nun, low zayin and no trace of the Proto-Canaanite style or mirror-image letters. The five remaining arrowheads display an in-between or mixed script.3

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Founded on comparisons with the stratified inscriptions mentioned in Section 2.1.4, the maximum range of the nine arrowhead legends together would probably be from early Iron IIA [940-880] to late Iron IIA/1 [880-840/830]—from somewhere in the mid-tenth century to somewhere in the mid-ninth. A minimum range could comprise about the first half of the ninth century only.4

Millard (2011): Assigned to the Eleventh [1000s] and Twelfth [1200s] Centuries.12

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Five of the nine unprovenanced arrowheads display the only mixed Proto-Canaanite and cursive script currently known. Their sole dating is by letter typology, and as noted above there is no stratified example yet.5

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): By letter typology alone, the cursive roots of Azaarbaal’s legend could date to late Iron IIA/2 [840/830-780/770] as well. But since the other eight arrowheads bear Proto-Canaanite or mixed letter-shapes, we assume that Azarbaal is as close to them in time as possible—namely at the beginning of the cursive, or late Iron IIA/1.6

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): Spanning all three script styles—final Proto-Canaanite, inspired by the earliest cursive, and mixed, the context-less or unprovenanced arrowheads as a group seem by letter-typology to date to early Iron IIA and the earlier part of late Iron IIA, or to just the latter phase.7

Malena (2015): Numerous arrowheads, many inscribed, dating to the Iron I or early Iron II periods were published in the mid-twentieth century. ... While many of the items [arrowheads] are unprovenanced, the discovery of some in controlled excavations (after the initial artifacts appeared on the market) confirms that some portion of the group is authentic.8

Röllig (1995): The provenance of most of these little objects is not known. The arrow-head, now in the Louvre, which Guignes and Roncevalle made known in 1921, is said to come from Roueisseh (Rwaisī near Sidon-Saidā). A hoard of arrow-heads, among them five with inscriptions, is reported to stem from el-Ḫaḏr near Bethlehem in Palestine; another one has been found in the Beqâa-valley. All the other objects come from the antiquities market; their exact provenance and their find conditions are unknown to us.9

Elayi (2005): The corpus of bronze arrowheads bearing archaic Phoenician inscriptions has continuously grown since 1982 with only 22[,] and with 51 in 1999, plus 6 additional examples published or in print. ... The four new arrowheads published in this article enlarge the corpus, which includes now 61 examples. ... Only a small part of these Phoenician arrowheads were inscribed as it is shown by the 'hoard' said to be found at El-Khadr in 1953, which contained 26 arrowheads, 3 of them being inscribed. ... Out of the 61 examples known today, only the first arrowhead was discovered in situ, in 1925, at Ruweiseh (Lebanon) in a tomb, its context being unfortunately disturbed. The 60 other examples come from the antiquities market and their provenience, even if it is indicated, cannot be checked: purchased in Jerusalem and Amman, said to come from El-Khadr (No. II-IV and X-XI?), purchased in the Lebanese Beqaʿ (No. V), in Damascus (No. VII), Tyre (No. IX), London (No. XXIV, XXV, XXIX-XXXIII. XXXV-XLI, XLV-XLVIII, LI), Jerusalem (No. XLII. XLIV), Israel (No. XLIV), purchased in Lebanon and said to come from the plain of ʿAkkar.10

Azevedo (1994): The most representative collection of inscriptions from this time [Proto-Canaanite ca. 1200-1100 B.C.] are the arrowheads inscribed with nine signs "the arrow of pn [personal name]," marking the beginning of the standard Phoenician script. Five dated to the end of the twelfth century B.C. from the village of el-Khadr. Five others date from the eleventh century B.C.: (1) the Ruweise arrowhead, (2) the Beqaʿ arrowhead, (3) the Arrowhead from Gerbaʿl, (4) the arrowhead of Azarbaʿal, and (5) the arrowhead of Rapaʾ.' These arrowheads are a clear indication of the dominance of the right-to-left direction of writing in Palestine ca. 1100 B.C.11

1. Note: T. C. Mitchell, Another Palestinian Inscribed Arrowhead, in Palestine in the Bronze and Iron Ages: Papers in Honor of Olga Tufnell, ed. Jonathan N. Tubb, University College London Institute of Archaeology Publications, Vol. 16, Occasional Publication No. 11 (2009; reis., Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2016), https://books.google.com/books?id=CLxmDAAAQBAJ&pg=PR30 (accessed ...).

2. Note: Jewish Virtual Library, Writing, (n.d.), https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/writing (accessed ...), Inscriptions.

3. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), pp. 33-36.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 37.

5. Note: Ibid., p. 30.

6. Note: Ibid., p. 33.

7. Note: Ibid., p. 39.

8. Note: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), pp. 229-230.

9. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), pp. 348-349.

10. Note: Josette Elayi, Four New Inscribed Phoenician Arrowheads, Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici [SEL] 22 (2005), http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/SEL/sites/default/files/05elayi_5240f751.pdf [pp. 35-45] (accessed ...), pp. 35-36.

11. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 65.

12. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 2.

Nos. 2-4, 10-11 El Khadr 1-3 [1954], 4-5 [1980] (12th-11th Century BCE) [Proto-Canaanite]

El Khadr 1 Arrowhead | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror

El Khadr 1 Arrowhead; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.1

El Khadr 2 Arrowhead | J. T. Milik and Frank Moore Cross

El Khadr 2 Arrowhead; J. T. Milik and Frank Moore Cross. Source: Lam (2010).2

El Khadr 1-5 Arrowheads

El Khadr 1-5 Arrowheads. Source: Nigro (2015).3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V a.
V b.
𐤇𐤑𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤋𐤁𐤀𐤕
𐤇𐤑𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤋𐤁𐤕
𐤇𐤑𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤋𐤁𐤀𐤕
𐤇𐤑𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤋𐤀𐤕
𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤋𐤁𐤀𐤕
𐤁𐤍𐤏𐤍𐤕
ḥṣ ʿbdlbʾt
ḥṣ ʿbdlbt
ḥṣ ʿbdlbʾt
ḥṣ ʿbdlʾt
ʿbdlbʾt
bn ʿnt
Arrow of ʿAbd-labiʾt
Arrow of ʿAbd-labi[ʾ]t
Arrow of ʿAbd-labiʾt
Arrow of ʿAbd-la[bi]ʾt
ʿAbd-labiʾt
bin [son of] ʿAnat

Transliteration and translation source, Cross (1996): ʾEl-Ḫaḍr I-III;4 ʾEl-Ḫaḍr IV;5 ʾEl-Ḫaḍr V.6

Notes

Milik, Cross (1954): The first inscribed javelin-head was bought from an antiquity dealer on November 1, 1953. Some weeks afterwards more javelin-heads appeared on the market. It was ascertained that they belonged to the same lot, and the provenience was located beyond any reasonable doubt. ... The whole hoard contained about 26 javelin and arrow-heads, and was found by a fellâḥ of el-Khaḍr, a village 5 km. west of Bethelehem. As there is no evidence for the occupation of the site earlier than the Roman period, the cache may have been lost or buried with its owner, during or after a battle.7

Bible Review (1992): The inscribed [El-Khadr] arrowheads first turned up on the antiquities market in the early 1950s; upon investigation it was learned that they had been uncovered while ploughing a field in El-Khadr, a village near Bethlehem. Three of the original hoard were inscribed with the phrase “Arrowhead of ‘Abd-labi’t.” ... Some 25 years after the first El-Khadr finds, Frank Moore Cross, while in the home of a Jerusalem lawyer, happened to notice an arrowhead in a cabinet that seemed very similar to the El-Khadr pieces. Cross quickly noted that it, too, bore the name ‘Abd-labi’t. The lawyer informed Cross of another such arrowhead in the hands of a private collector; the count of inscribed arrowheads was thus raised to five. 8

Cross (1993): In the summer of 1979 I was in the home of a private collector in Jerusalem examining a hoard of coins, when by chance I noticed an arrowhead in a glass cabinet and asked if I might examine it, for even from a distance I could see that it was identical in type to the arrowheads from ʾEl-Ḫaḍr. It proved to be inscribed, the fourth such piece. The collector had knowledge of yet a fifth inscribed arrowhead in another private collection to which I was given access. ... There can be no doubt about their authenticity. ... We now have twenty-six arrowheads belonging to the ʾEl-Ḫaḍr hoard, including five inscribed arrowheads.9

Cross (1993): [In ʾEl-Ḫaḍr IV] the bet of ʿbdl⟨b⟩ʾt was omitted by an error of the scribe. In ʾEl-Ḫaḍr II the ʾalep of ʿbdlb⟨ʾ⟩t was omitted.... ... The omission...must be attributed to scribal carelessness. ... [In ʾEl-Ḫaḍr V] apparently the ḥṣ (ḥiṣṣ), arrowhead, was not inscribed on this arrowhead, in contrast with the other inscribed pieces (ʾEl-Ḫaḍr I-IV) and later eleventh-century BDE arrowheads (Zakar-ba[ʿl], Gerbaʿl, Rapaʾ, and Ruweiseh). ... The real surprise, however, is the [patronymic] on the reverse.... In this addition the arrowhead parallels the arrowheads from Phoenicia: rpʾlbn yḥš; grbʿl|ṣdny; ʾdʾ|bn ʿky; and most strikingly zkrbʿ[l]|bn bn ʿn[t].10

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): El-Khadr arrowheads 1, 2 and 3: early Iron IIA? Late Iron IIA/1? These unprovenanced arrowheads, datable only by palaeography, seem to comprise exclusively Proto-Canaanite letter-shapes. ... The inscribed arrowheads...which Cross thought began ca 1100 BCE with the el-Khadr arrowheads and ended with the Zakarbaal arrowhead ca 950....11

Azevedo (1994): El Khadr n. I-V 12th-11th BC.12

Röllig (1995): 1. El Hadr I. Jerusalem, Rockefeller Museum. IDAM 54,1. Cross/Milik, 1954 - Albright, 1954 - Dussaud, 1954. KAI Nr. 21. ḥṣ ʿbdlbʾt; 2. El Hadr II. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard Semitic Museum n° 982.1.1. Lit. see n° 1. ḥṣ ʿbdlbt; 3. El Hadr III. Amman, Archaeological Museum. Nr. J 5137. Lit. see n° 1.; 4. El Hadr IV. Jerusalem, private collection. Cross, 1980. ḥṣ ʿbdlʾt; 5. El Hadr V. Jerusalem, private collection. Cross, 1980. ʿbdlbʾt|bnʿnt.13

1. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Neta Dror, Arrow of Abdlabit, inscription on an arrowhead; IAA: p-526288, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/375296 (accessed ...).

2. Image: Joseph Lam, The Invention and Development of the Alphabet, in Visible Language: Inventions of Writing in the Ancient Middle East and Beyond, ed. Christopher Woods (Chicago: The Oriental Institute, 2010), https://www.academia.edu/341273/The_Invention_and_Development_of_the_Alphabet [pp. 189-201] (accessed ...), p. 197, 91: Arrowhead inscribed in proto-Canaanite. (Published: Milik and Cross 1954; Milik and Cross 2003, no. 49, pp. 303–08.)

3. Images and drawings: Lorenzo Nigro, Bethlehem in the Bronze and Iron Ages in the light of recent discoveries by the Palestinian MOTA-DACH, Vicino Oriente XIX (2015), https://www.academia.edu/22280922/Bethlehem_in_the_Bronze_and_Iron_Ages_in_the_light_of_recent_discoveries_by_the_Palestinian_MOTA_DACH (accessed ...), p. 22, Fig. 16: Inscribed arrowheads from el-Khadr...(Milik - Cross 1954, 6-8, fig. 1; Cross 1980, 4-7, figs. 3-8; Naveh 1982, 37-39, fig. 32).

4. Transliteration and translation: Frank Moore Cross, The Arrow of Suwar, Retainer of ʿAbday [1996], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA200 (accessed ...), p. 200.

5. Ibid., p. 217.

6. Ibid., p. 218.

7 Note: J. T. Milik and Frank M. Cross, Jr., Inscribed Javelin-Heads from the Period of the Judges: A Recent Discovery in Palestine, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 134 (April 1954), https://www.jstor.org/stable/1355623?seq=1 (accessed ...), p. 27.

8. Note: Bible Review, Inscribed Arrowheads: The Missing Link in the Evolution of the Alphabet (Sidebar to: Frank Moore Cross—An Interview; Part III: How the Alphabet Democratized Civilization), (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 8:6 (December 1992), https://www.baslibrary.org/bible-review/8/6/23.

9. Note: Cross, p. 217.

10. Ibid., pp. 217-218.

11. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), pp. 28, 33.

12. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), pp. 105-106.

13. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 354.

No. 1 Ruweiseh/Ruweise [1921] (11th Century BCE) [Transitional]

Ruweiseh Arrowhead | Benjamin Sass

Ruweiseh Arrowhead; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤀𐤃𐤀
𐤁𐤍𐤏𐤊𐤉
ḥṣ ʾdʾ
bn ʿky


Transliteration source: Röllig (1995): 10. Ruweiseh. Louvre, AO 18849. Guiges/Roncevalle, 1921 - Dussaud, 1927. KAI Nr. 20. ḥṣ ʾdʾ|bn ʿky.2

Ruweiseg Arrowhead | Frank Cross

Ruweiseh Arrowhead; Frank Cross. Source: Cross (1996).3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤀𐤁𐤀
𐤁𐤍𐤏𐤊𐤉
ḥṣ ʾbʾ
bn ʿky
Arrow of ʾAbaʾ
son of ʿAkkay

Transliteration and translation source: Cross (1996): 1. Ruweiseh (Louvre), ḥṣ ʾbʾ (sic!) | bn ʿky, Arrow of ʾAbaʾ son of ʿAkkay (P.-E. Guigues and S. Ronzevalle, MUSJ 11 [1926]: 323-358).4

Notes

Cross (1996): The arrowhead found at Ruweiseh, which has long been read ḥṣ ʾdʾ | bn ʿky [Arrowhead No. 1] on reexamination must be read ḥṣ ʾbʾ | bn ʿky. ... The bet [is] an archaic form, unknown when the piece was published, with a short down-stroke from the head, not quite touching the triangular head and hence ignored. This archaic form is now well known; see for example, the bet of ʾEl-Ḫaḍr Arrowhead No. III (Arrowhead No. 4), and that of the arrowhead of Yataʾ son of Zimmaʾ (Arrowhead No. 9).5

Azevedo (1994): Ruweise arrow-head 11th BC.6

1. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 31, Figure 18: Ruweiseh arrowhead (Sass 1988, fig. 208).

2. Transliteration and translation: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 354.

3. Drawing: Frank Moore Cross, The Arrow of Suwar, Retainer of ʿAbday, Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies (Israel Exploration Society) 25 (1996), https://images.app.goo.gl/8Jp2MPbYHALYsnMh8 [p. 9] (accessed ...). (See also https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA198, Figure 29.4: A drawing of the Ruweiseh arrowhead, of ʾAbaʾ / son of ʿAkkay.)

4. Transliteration and translation: Frank Moore Cross, The Arrow of Suwar, Retainer of ʿAbday [1996], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA200 (accessed ...), p. 200.

5. Note: Ibid., p. 198.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 107.

No. 5 Zakarbaal/Beqaʿ Valley [1956] (11th-10th Century BCE) [Transitional]

Arrow of Zakarbaal, Reverse | Dan Diffendale

Arrow of Zakarbaal, Reverse; Dan Diffendale. Source: flickr.1

Arrow of Zakarbaal | ancienthebrewinscriptions Arrow of Zakarbaal | ancienthebrewinscriptions

Arrow of Zakarbaal. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤆𐤊𐤓𐤁[𐤏𐤋]
𐤁𐤍𐤁𐤍𐤏𐤍[𐤕]
ḥṣ zkrb[ʿl]
bn bn ʿn[t]
Arrow [ḥṣ] of Zakar-baʿl [zkrbʿl]
son [bn] of Bin-ʿAnat [bn ʿnt]

Transliteration and translation source: Cross (1996): 5. Beirut Museum, ḥṣ zkrb[ʿl] | bn bn ʿn[t], Arrow of Zakar-baʿl son of Bin-ʿAnat.3 (Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible: the son of the son of Anat.4)

Notes

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): The inscribed arrowheads...which Cross thought began ca 1100 BCE with the el-Khadr arrowheads and ended with the Zakarbaal arrowhead ca 950....5

Azevedo (1994): Beqaʿ arrow-head 11th BC.6

Röllig (1995): 11. Beirut, National Museum. Nr.? Milik, 1956 - Yeivin, 1958. KAI Nr. 22. ḥṣ zkrb[ʿl]/bn bnʿn[t].7

1. Image: Dan Diffendale, Bronze arrowhead with Phoenician inscription, 1, flickr, 29 October 2019, https://www.flickr.com/photos/dandiffendale/50192159312/in/photostream/ (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, The theophoric Name baal, on Bronze Arrowheads, 16 February 2019, http://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2019/02/ (accessed ...).

3. Transliteration and translation: Frank Moore Cross, The Arrow of Suwar, Retainer of ʿAbday [1996], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA200 (accessed ...), p. 200.

4. Translation: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.

5. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 33.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 107.

7. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 354.

No. 6 Gerbaʿal [1961] (11th Century BCE) [Transitional]

Arrow of Gerbaal | Benjamin Sass

Arrow of Gerbaal; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤂𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋
𐤑𐤃𐤍𐤉
ḥṣ grbʿl
ṣdny
Arrow of Gerbaʿal
the Sidonian

Transliteration and translation sources: Cross (1993): ḥṣ grbʿl|ṣdny.2 Cross (1992): On one of the eleventh-century arrowheads, No. 6, we have the gentilic, ṣdny, the Sidonian.3

Notes

Azevedo (1994): Gerbaʿal arrow-head 11th BC.4

Röllig (1995): 7. Beirut, National Museum. Nr. 5137. Milik, 1961. ḥṣ grbʿl/ṣdny.5 Röllig (1995): ...Indications of provenance in the inscriptions themselves, given as nisbatun, namely sīdōnīyu "Man from Sidon" (n° 7). ...A designation of origin in the form of a nisbatun: ṣdny (n° 7).6

1. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 31, Figure 19: Gerbaal arrowhead (Sass 1988, fig. 202).

2. Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, Newly Found Inscriptions in Old Canaanite and Early Phoenician Scripts [1980], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA218 (accessed ...), p. 218.

3. Translation: Frank Moore Cross, An Inscribed Arrowhead of the Eleventh Century BCE in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem [1992], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA204 (accessed ...), p. 204.

4. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 106.

7. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 354.

8. Ibid., pp. 348-349.

No. 17 Pères blancs [1991] (??th Century BCE) [Transitional]

Pères blancs Arrowhead | Jean-Michel de Tarragon

Pères blancs Arrowhead; Jean-Michel de Tarragon. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤀𐤃𐤍𐤔𐤏
𐤓[𐤁]
ḥṣ ʾdn šʿ
r[b]
Arrow [ḥṣ] of ʾAdonišuʿa [ʾdnšʿ]
commander

Transliteration and translation source: Röllig (1995): 22. Jerusalem, Peres Blancs. de Tarragon, 1991. ḥṣ ʾdn šʿ|r.2 Elayi (2005): ...The arrowhead of 'Adonišuʿa, who was RB, «commander» (No. XVII).3

Notes

Röllig (1995): The name ʾdnšʿ Adonišuʿa my Lord is salvation (n° 22) has a single Phoenician counterpart in a stamp-seal, dated in the middle of the 8th century B.C.4

1. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 31, Figure 20: Pères blancs arrowhead (Tarragon 1991, p. 245).

2. Transliteration and translation: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 355.

3. Transliteration and translation: Josette Elayi, Four New Inscribed Phoenician Arrowheads, Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici [SEL] 22 (2005), http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/SEL/sites/default/files/05elayi_5240f751.pdf [pp. 35-45] (accessed ...), p. 36.

4. Röllig, p. 350.

No. 8 Rapa [1962] (12th-11th Century BCE) [Transitional]

Arrow of Rapa, Reverse | Dan Diffendale

Arrow of Rapa, Reverse; Dan Diffendale. Source: flickr.1

Arrow of Rapa | Benjamin Sass

Arrow of Rapa; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤓𐤐𐤀
𐤁𐤍𐤉𐤇𐤔
ḥṣ rpʾ
bn yḥš
Arrow of Rapaʾ

Transliteration source, Cross (1993): rpʾ/bn yḥš.3 Röllig (1995): yḥš (n° 6) is a hapax legomenon in Phoenician. ...The exact meaning is not clear to me.8

Arrow of Rapa | Reinhard G. Lehmann

Arrow of Rapa; Reinhard G. Lehmann. Source: Lehmann (2020).4

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤅𐤋𐤀
𐤁𐤍𐤉𐤇𐤔
ḥṣ wlʾ
bn yḥš
Arrow of Wala

Transliteration and translation source, Lehmann (2020): The so-called ‘Rapa’-palimpsest arrowhead, in possession of the Beirut National Museum, was published in 1962 by Martin. Its lower text looks typologically much older than the upper text – at least according to the ‘Albright–Cross–Harvard scale’. A new examination shows clearly that the established reading must be abandoned. Instead, the upper and later, but according to the established scale seemingly older text reads ḤṢ WLʾ || BN YḤŠ, which means that the arrowhead should be renamed from ‘Rapa’ to ‘Wala’.5

Notes

Azevedo (1994): Rapa arrow head 12th-11th BC.6

Röllig (1995): 6. Beirut, National Museum. Nr.? Martin, 1962. ḥṣ rpʾ/bn yḥš.7

1. Image: Dan Diffendale, Bronze arrowhead with Phoenician inscription, 2, flickr, 29 October 2019, https://www.flickr.com/photos/dandiffendale/50192159312/in/photostream/ (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 31, Figure 17: Rapa arrowhead (Sass 1988, fig. 198).

3. Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, Newly Found Inscriptions in Old Canaanite and Early Phoenician Scripts [1980], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA218 (accessed ...), p. 218.

4. Drawing: Reinhard G. Lehmann, Much ado about an implement! – the Phoenicianising of Early Alphabetic, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes, Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020) https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p. 88, Figure 5.2. Facsimile-drawing of the so-called Rapa arrowhead, front (a) and back (b). Sub-text in black, upper text in grey. Drawing by Reinhard Lehmann.

5. Transliteration and translation: Ibid., p. 80, n. 26.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 106.

7. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 354.

8. Ibid., pp. 350-351.

Azarbaal aka Ezerbaal [1961] (11th Century BCE) [Post Proto-Canaanite]

Arrow of Ezerbaal | ancienthebrewinscriptions

Arrow of Ezerbaal. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.1

Arrow of Azarbaal | Reinhard G. Lehmann

Arrow of Azarbaal; Reinhard G. Lehmann. Source: Lehmann (2020).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤏𐤆𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋
𐤁𐤍𐤀𐤃𐤍𐤁𐤏𐤋
ḥṣ ʿzrbʿl
[b?]n ʾdnbʿl
arrow [ḥṣ] of Ezerbaal [ʿzrbʿl]
the son of? [b?n] Adnbaal [ʾdnbʿl]

Transliteration and translation source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.3

Notes

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): The [Azarbaal arrowhead] is the only one among the nine projectiles [Rapa, Ruweiseh, Gerbaal, Pères blancs, Zakarbaal, Azarbaal, El-Khadr 1-3]...that displays cursive-like script. ... The other eight arrowheads bear Proto-Canaanite or mixed-letter shapes. ... The inscribed arrowheads...which Cross thought began ca 1100 BCE with the el-Khadr arrowheads and ended with the Zakarbaal arrowhead ca 950, document the transition from pre-cursive Proto-Canaanite to the cursive.4

Röllig (1995): 13. Beirut, National Museum. Nr. 677. Milik, 1961. ḥṣ ʿzrbʿl/bn ʾdnbʿl.5

1. Image: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, The theophoric Name baal, on Bronze Arrowheads, 16 February 2019, http://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2019/02/ (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Reinhard G. Lehmann, Much ado about an implement! – the Phoenicianising of Early Alphabetic, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes, Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020) https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p. 82, Figure 5.3. Facsimile-drawing of the Azarbaʿal arrowhead (TSSI 3,1). Drawing by Reinhard Lehmann.

3. Transliteration and translation: Ibid.

4. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 33.

5. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 355.

No. 12,29 King of Amurru [1982] (11th Century BCE)

King of Amurru Arrowhead | BAS Library

King of Amurru Arrowhead; BAS Library. Source: McCarter (1996).1

King of Amurru Arrowhead | BAS Library

King of Amurru Arrowhead; BAS Library. Source: McCarter (1996).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤆𐤊𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋
𐤌𐤋𐤊𐤀𐤌𐤓
ḥṣ zkrbʿl
mlk / ʾmr
Arrow [ḥṣ] of Zakarbaʿal [zkrbʿl]
king [mlk] of Amurru [ʾmr]

Transliteration and translation source, Singer (2011): An intriguing object dated to the Early Iron Age is the arrowhead of Zakarbaʿal king of Amurru (ḥṣ zkrbʿl mlk ʾmr; Starcky 1982).3

Notes

Singer (2011): The next information we have on Amurru is already after the fall of the kingdom. According to Ramses III’s inscriptions..., the Sea Peoples set up their camp in Amurru, in preparation for a further onslaught on Egypt. ... The ensuing clash in Ramses III’s eighth year (1175 B.C.e.) provides a terminus ante quem [latest possible date] for the fall of Amurru, but it is not possible to tell how much earlier this event actually occurred. Neither do we know whether there was a permanent settlement of the Sea Peoples in Amurru as in other parts of the Levantine coast ... On the evidence of its script [Jean] Starcky dated the object (of unknown origin) to the eleventh century. The name of the king recurs on another arrowhead from the Beqaʿ Valley, and in the Wen-Amon tale as the name of the ruler of Byblos. Assuming that the object is authentic (cf. the doubts raised by Mazza 1987), the name proves that the rulers of the Amurru region again took up Semitic names after a century and a half of Hittite-Hurrian names. ... After the fall of the Hittite Empire the rulers of the region resumed Semitic names, as shown by the arrowhead of Zkrbʿl | king of Amurru.4

Azevedo (1994): King of Amurru arrow-head 11th BC.5

Röllig (1995): 12. Beirut, National Museum. Nr.? Starcky. 1982 - Mazza, 1987 - Le maire , 1989, 542. ḥṣ zkrbʿl|mlk / ʾmr.6 Röllig (1995): The word for arrow (hs)...followed by a name...accompanied by...a title: mlk ʾmr King of Amurr (n° 12).7

1. Image: P. Kyle McCarter Jr., Pieces of the Puzzle, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 22:2 (March/April 1996), https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/22/2/3 (accessed ...).

2. Ibid.

3. Transliteration and translation: Itamar Singer, A Concise History of Amurru, in The Calm Before the Storm: Selected Writings of Itamar Singer on the End of the Late Bronze Age in Anatolia and the Levant, by Itamar Singer (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature [SBL], 2011) http://docshare04.docshare.tips/files/17362/173620410.pdf (accessed ...), pp. 230, 234.

4. Ibid.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 107.

6. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 355.

7. Ibid., p. 349.

Ada aka ʾdʿ [] (11th Century BCE)

Arrow of Ada, Obverse | Trustees of the British Museum Arrow of Ada, Reverse | Trustees of the British Museum

Arrow of Ada; Trustees of the British Museum. Source: The British Museum.1

Arrow of Ada, Obverse | CREWS Project

Arrow of Ada, Obverse; CREWS Project. Source: CREWS Project.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑 𐤀𐤃𐤏
𐤁𐤍 𐤁𐤏𐤋𐤀
ḥṣ ʾdʿ
bn bʿlʾ
Arrowhead [ḥṣ] of ʾAdʿa [ʾdʿ]
son [bn] of Bʿalʾa [bʿlʾ]

Transliteration and translation source: CREWS Project.3

Notes

Azevedo (1994): ʾdʿ arrow-head 11th BC.4

Röllig (1995): 19. London, British Museum WA 13 67 53. Mitchell, 1985. ḥṣ ʾdʿ|bn bʿlʾ.5

1. Images: The Trustees of the British Museum, Museum number 136753, https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/W_1976-0131-1 (accessed ...).

2. Image: Philip Boyes, CREWS Display: A Phoenician Arrowhead, CREWS Project, 6 April 2018, https://crewsproject.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/crews-display-a-phoenician-arrowhead/ (accessed ...), The arrowhead being installed in our display, with hands for scale.

3. Transliteration and translation: Ibid.

4. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 107.

5. Note: Wolfgang Röllig, Onomastic and Palaeographic Considerations on Early Phoenician Arrow-head, in Actes du IIIe Congrès International des Études Phéniciennes et Puniques, Tunis, 11-16 novembre 1991, Vol. II, ed. M'hamed Hassine Fantar and Mansour Ghaki (Tunisia: Institut National du Patrimoine, 1995), http://archiv.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/propylaeumdok/1302/1/Roellig_Onomastic_and_Palaeographic_Considerations_1995.pdf [pp. 348-355] (accessed ...), p. 355.

No. 22 Banayaʾ

Arrow of Banaya | Israel Museum

Arrow of Banaya; Israel Museum. Source: Cross (1993).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑 𐤁𐤍𐤉𐤀
𐤓𐤁 𐤀𐤋𐤐
חץ בניא
רב אלף
Arrowhead of Banayaʾ
commander of a thousand

Transliteration and translation source: Cross (1993).2

Notes

Elayi (2005): ...The [arrowhead] of Banayaʾ, who was RB ʾLP, «chief of thousand» (No. XXIV).3

Cross (1993): Arrowhead No. 22 is one of the smallest of the series of inscribed arrowheads, measuring 6.2 cm. in length, and 1.35 cm. in breadth at its widest poing.4

1 Image: Frank Moore Cross, Newly Discovered Inscribed Arrowheads of the Eleventh Century BCE [1993], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000032.xml [pp. 207-208] (accessed ...), p. 208, Figure 31.1. Photographs of the arrowhead of Banayaʾ / commander of a thousand. Photographs courtesy of the Israel Museum.

2. Transliteration and translation: Ibid., https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA210 (accessed ...), p. 210.

3. Note: Josette Elayi, Four New Inscribed Phoenician Arrowheads, Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici [SEL] 22 (2005), http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/SEL/sites/default/files/05elayi_5240f751.pdf [pp. 35-45] (accessed ...), p. 36.

4. Note: Cross.

No. 24 Bible Lands aka Semida

Arrow of Semida, Obverse | Bible Lands Museum

Arrow of Semida, Obverse; Bible Lands Museum. Source: Cross (1992).1

Arrow of Semida, Reverse | Bible Lands Museum

Arrow of Semida, Reverse; Bible Lands Museum. Source: Cross (1992).2

Arrow of Semida | Frank Moore Cross

Arrow of Semida; Frank Moore Cross. Source: Cross (1992).3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑 𐤔𐤌𐤃𐤏 𐤁𐤍 𐤉𐤔𐤁𐤏
𐤀𐤔 𐤔𐤐𐤈 𐤄𐤑𐤓
ḥṣ šmdʿ bn yšbʿ
ʾš špṭ hṣr
Arrowhead of Šĕmîdaʿ son of Yiššābaʿ
man (retainer) of Šāpāṭ, the Tyrian

Transliteration and translation source: Cross (1992).4

Notes

Cross (1992): The arrowhead of the Bible Lands Museum is...the largest of the extant inscribed arrowheads: 12.8 cm. in length with its broken tip; reconstructed, it would have been 13.4 cm long. ... The title of the owner adds further evidence, we believe, in support of the view that such inscribed points were possessions of members of the military elite. This evidence in turn increases the likelihood of the hypothesis that they were designed for use in archery contests.5

Iwry (1961): ...The function of these inscribed arrow-heads. What were they used for? What was the purpose of inscribing a standardized legend on bronze arrow-heads? Were they used as ordinary weapons in warfare, in hunting, or, shall we say, perhaps in archery contests with the inscribed name providing identification of the respective owner? Then why are all these different names proceeded by the word חץ? What does it signify?6

Cross (1993): The question of function of inscribed arrowheads has not been settled. ... The ʾEl-Ḫaḍr arrowheads...belonged to a homogeneous group of twenty-eight arrowheads, all found together. This is roughly the number of arrowheads in a quiver. If the arrowheads were inscribed to permit identification of the archer who made kills in battle, we would expect all to be inscribed. Samuel Iwry has suggested that the arrowheads with inscriptions were used in belomancy. ... The frequency of names with military connections suggests rather a function narrowly associated with archers and the military elite. I would suggest in agreement with T. C. Mitchell that these arrowheads—many more elegant than ordinary battle arrowheads—were used in archery contests.7

Elayi (2005): None of the interpretations of [the arrowheads'] function that have been sometimes proposed (ceremonial weapons, votive objects, foundation deposits, divinatory role, cynegetic role in order to give every warrior or hunter the enemies or animals shot by his bow) can be accepted because, due the lack of context, we have not true informations. ... The ancient break of the extremity of arrowhead No. 3 published in this article [Pl. III: Arrow of X, son of Danaʿ]...proves that it was used and therefore was a true weapon and not only a votive object.8

1 Image: Frank Moore Cross, An Inscribed Arrowhead of the Eleventh Century BCE in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem, Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies (Israel Exploration Society) 23 (1992), https://images.app.goo.gl/F6L91zuxtopD3dmp8 [p. 21] (accessed ...). (See also https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA205, Figure 30.1: Photographs of the arrowhead of Šĕmîdaʿ. Photographs courtesy of the Bible Lands Museum.)

2 Image: Ibid., https://images.app.goo.gl/xaNH63Lbne7B1Pky8.

3 Drawing: Ibid., https://images.app.goo.gl/nLsNnD2J4exJqeM19. (See also https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA205, Figure 30.2: Drawing of the arrowhead of Šĕmîdaʿ [by F.M.C.].)

4 Transliteration and translation: Cross (1982), An Inscribed Arrowhead of the Eleventh Century BCE in the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem [1992], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000031.xml [pp. 203-204] (accessed ...), p. 203.

5 Note: Ibid., p. 203, and https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA206 (accessed ...), p. 206.

6 Note: Samuel Iwry, New Evidence for Belomancy in Ancient Palestine and Phoenicia, Journal of the American Oriental Society 81:1 (January-March 1961), https://www.jstor.org/stable/594897?seq=1 [p. 27] (accessed ...), p. 27.

7. Note: Frank Moore Cross, Newly Discovered Inscribed Arrowheads of the Eleventh Century BCE [1993], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA212 (accessed ...), p. 212.

8. Note: Josette Elayi, Four New Inscribed Phoenician Arrowheads, Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici [SEL] 22 (2005), http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/SEL/sites/default/files/05elayi_5240f751.pdf [pp. 35-45] (accessed ...), pp. 37, 39, 41-42.

Suwar

Arrow of Suwar | Frank Moore Cross

Arrow of Suwar; Frank Moore Cross. Source: Cross (1996).?

Arrow of Suwar | Frank Moore Cross

Arrow of Suwar; Frank Moore Cross . Source: Cross (1996).?

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑 𐤎𐤅𐤓
𐤀𐤔 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤉
ḥṣ swr
ʾš ʿbdy
Arrow of Suwar
retainer of ʿAbday

Transliteration and translation source: Cross (1996).?

? Image: Frank Moore Cross, The Arrow of Suwar, Retainer of ʿAbday, Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies (Israel Exploration Society) 25 (1996), https://images.app.goo.gl/8Jp2MPbYHALYsnMh8 [p. 9] (accessed ...). (See also https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA196, Figure 29.1: Photographs of the arrowhead of Suwar / retainer of ʿAbday.)

? Drawing: Ibid. (See also https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA196, Figure 29.2: Drawing of the arrowhead of Suwar / retainer of ʿAbday.)

? Transliteration and translation: Ibid., https://www.jstor.org/stable/23629686?seq=1 [p. 9] (accessed ...), p. 9.

No. 32 Kittian

Arrow of Kittian, Reverse | Robert Deutsch and Michael Heltzer

Arrow of Kittian, Reverse; Robert Deutsch and Michael Heltzer. Source: Deutsch, Heltzer (1997).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑 𐤊𐤕𐤉 / 𐤌𐤔𐤋 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤉
𐤇𐤑 𐤊𐤕𐤉 / 𐤌𐤔𐤋 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤍
𐤇𐤑 𐤊𐤕𐤉 / 𐤌𐤔𐤒 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤉
ḥṣ kty / mšl ʿbdy
ḥṣ kty / mšl ʿbdn
ḥṣ kty / mšq ʿbdy
Arrow of Kittian ruler of ʿAbday
Arrow of Kittian ruler of ʿAbdon
Arrow of Kittian the cupbearer of ʿAbday

Transliteration and translation source, Deutsch, Heltzer (1997): In a previous issue of IEJ, Professor F.M. Cross Jr. challenged our proposed reading ḥṣ kty || mšl ʿbdy Arrow of Kittian ruler of ʿAbday, which we published in 1994. Instead of the personal name ʿbdy (ʿAbday), cross argued that the inscription on a mid-eleventh-century arrowhead refers to ʿbdn (ʿAbdon), which he identified as Khirbet ʿAbdeh...in Northern Israel. ... From the contextual point of view, mšl ʿbdn (the rule of + a typonym) would be preferable to mšl ʿbdy (the ruler of PN). ... One of the horizontal bars of the yod was invisible in the original photograph. ... We now accept [Professor K.] McCarter's reading and translation of the inscription as: ḥṣ kty || mšq ʿbdy Arrow of the Kittian, cupbearer of ʿAbday.2

1. Image and drawing: Robert Deutsch and Michael Heltzer, ‘Abday on Eleventh-Century BCE Arrowheads, Israel Exploration Journal [IEJ] 47:1/2 (1997), https://www.academia.edu/371118/_Abday_on_Eleventh_Century_BCE_Arrowheads (accessed ...), p. 112, Fig. 1: Arrow of the Kittian inscription: new photograph and drawing.

2. Transliteration and translation source: Ibid., p. 111.

Yishba

British Museum:

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑 𐤉𐤔𐤁𐤏
𐤀𐤔 𐤏𐤁𐤃𐤉𐤄𐤍𐤃
ḥṣ yšbʿ
ʾš ʿbdyhnd
Arrowhead of Yishba,
Man of Abd-Yihnad

Museum of Archaeology and Biblical History:

EdgarLOwen.com and Colless:

nkbaal

Connections....

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤑𐤟𐤍𐤊𐤁𐤏𐤋
a𐤇𐤟𐤔𐤌𐤁𐤏𐤋
ḥṣ|nkbʿl aḥ|šmbʿl
The arrow of nkbaal
the brother of Shembaal

Four More

Josette Elayi: Plates I-IV.

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
Pl. I
Pl. II
Pl. III
Pl. IV
𐤇𐤑 𐤏𐤃𐤉 / 𐤁𐤍 𐤊𐤍𐤉
ḥṣ ʿdy / bn kny
ḥṣ [b/ḥ]nʾ bn ʾšy / ʾš|šqʿ
ḥṣ g/l/pbʿh(?)[ / bn dnʿ
t(?)r/d..[ / zkrb[
Arrow of ʿAday / son of Kanay
Arrow of Banaʾ, son of ʿAšay / man of Šeqaʿ
Arrow of X / son of Danaʿ[
? / Zakerba[ʿal]

?. Transliterations and translations: Josette Elayi, Four New Inscribed Phoenician Arrowheads, Studi Epigrafici e Linguistici [SEL] 22 (2005), http://www.proyectos.cchs.csic.es/SEL/sites/default/files/05elayi_5240f751.pdf [pp. 35-45] (accessed ...), pp. 37, 39, 41-42.

Connections....

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤕 𐤓 𐤏/ 𐤋
𐤆𐤊𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋
t r ʿ/ l
zkrbʿl

zkerbaal

Post Proto-Canaanite Inscriptions

1. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 180: Late Iron IIA1: ca. 880–840/830; p. 189: ca. 880–840/830 B.C.E. (late Iron IIA1) (but see also p. 194: 880/870–840/830 or late Iron IIA1; p. 200: ca. 880/870–840/830 B.C.E. – late Iron IIA1.)

2. Note: Ibid., p. 180: Late Iron IIA2: ca. 840/830–780/770; p. 200: ca. 840/830–780/770 B.C.E. – late Iron IIA2.

3. Note: Ibid., p. 191: ca. 840/830–740/730 B.C.E. (late Iron IIA2 and early Iron IIB); p. 200: ca. 780/770–740/730 B.C.E. – early Iron IIB.

Rollston (2021): Early Alphabetic [inclusive of both Proto-Sinaitic and Proto-Canaanite] was never really standardized with regard to the direction of writing, the orientation of the letters, or the stance of the letters.1

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): What characterizes Proto-Canaanite are: 1/ Pre-cursive letter-shapes. 2/ Varying directions of writing of both entire lines and individual letters. ... The cursive [post Proto-Canaanite] written entirely right to left makes its debut on stratified pottery vessels of the first half of the ninth century [800s], probably toward the middle of the century.2

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The great change, the transition from Proto-Canaanite to more streamlined shapes, began in the early Iron IIA [940–880] with mixed inscriptions appearing besides the wholly Proto-Canaanite ones. ... Inscriptions with no remaining Proto-Canaanite features are unknown for now in early Iron IIA; it is only from the late Iron IIA1 [880–840/830] that we possess unequivocal evidence for such developed inscriptions... ... The current archaeological picture points to the late Iron IIA1 as the time when all inscriptions evolved beyond the Proto-Canaanite phase.3

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): There were until quite recently hardly any published stratified cursive inscriptions from late Iron IIA/1. Now ten such inscriptions on pottery are known—the Megiddo jug sherd and the nine short texts mentioned [Rehov 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9; Tel Amal; Ṣafi 747028/1; Ṣafi 1491025; and Rosh Zayit].4

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The earliest Hebrew letter shapes are found in late Iron IIA1 contexts...at Tell eṣ-Ṣafi and Tel Rehov, not yet in the heartland of Israel and Judah. At the same time a still uniform non-Hebrew alphabet spread in Philistia, Phoenicia and the Aramaean realm. ... The differentiation between the Aramaic, Philistian and Phoenician texts in late Iron IIA and early Iron IIB is therefore geographical and – when possible – linguistic, rather than palaeographical.5

Sass, Finkelstein (2016): It is evidently only in the cursive...that the language-related varieties of the alphabet developed, with Hebrew already attested. The cursive is also found at this stage in Philistine, Aramaean and Phoenician sites but, while different from Hebrew, it is still undistinguishable among the three in the meagre material so far available (“undifferentiated non-Hebrew” in FINKELSTEIN and SASS 2013). Cursive or “post Proto-Canaanite” characteristics include for instance the acute angles and/or inclination towards the next letter of he and ḥet, and the lengthened downstrokes of mem, nun and samek.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): The finds of [‘post Proto-Canaanite’] non-monumental alphabetic inscriptions of the late Iron IIA still cover only part of the region – the Shephelah, southern Phoenicia as far as Byblos, the middle and upper Jordan Valley and southern Judah. None were found in the Jezreel Valley, most of the highlands west of the Jordan, or in Transjordan.7

1. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, Tell Umm el-Marra (Syria) and Early Alphabetic in the Third Millennium: Four Inscribed Clay Cylinders as a Potential Game Changer, Rollston Epigraphy, 16 April 2021, http://www.rollstonepigraphy.com/?p=921 (accessed ...).

2. Note: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), pp. 25-26.

3. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 174-175.

4. Note: Sass and Finkelstein, p. 40.

5. Note: Finkelstein and Sass, p. 164.

6. Note: Sass and Finkelstein, p. 30.

7. Note: Finkelstein and Sass, p. 177.

Ṣafi Jar 747028/1 [????] (9th Century BCE)

Ṣafi Jar 747028/1 | Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel
Ṣafi Jar 747028/1 | Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel
Ṣafi Jar 747028/1 | Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel

Ṣafi Jar 747028/1; Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel. Source: Maeir, Eshel (2014).1

Ṣafi Jar 747028/1; Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).2

Ṣafi Jar 747028/1; Aren Maeir. Source: Maeir (2012).3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤀𐤁
לאב
Belonging to [l] Ab [ʾb]

Transliteration and translation source: Maeir, Eshel (2014).4

Notes

Maeir, Eshel (2014): Incised (pre-firing) לאב on mid-body, immediately adjacent to the bottom of one of the handles. ... The three letters are quite similar to the letter forms seen in Hebrew inscriptions of the 9th/early 8th century BCE inscriptions, such as the Kuntillet ʿAjrud inscriptions....5

Maeir, Eshel (2014): Interestingly, the occurrence of names with the element ʾb (אב) is quite common in texts that seem to originate from, or in some cases relate to, Iron Age IIA (10th-9th century BCE). Thus, in the biblical text, names that date or are related to this period often have ʾb based names, such as, inter alia, Ahab (אחאב), Joab (יואב), Absalom (אבשלום) and Abijah (אביה).6

1. Image: Aren M. Maeir and Esther Eshel, Four Short Alphabetic Inscriptions from Late Iron Age IIa Telles˙-S˙afi/Gath and their Implications for the Development of Literacy in Iron Age Philistia and Environs, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2014), https://www.academia.edu/8355478/Maeir_A_M_and_Eshel_E_2014_Four_short_alphabetic_inscriptions_from_Iron_Age_IIA_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_and_their_contribution_for_understanding_the_process_of_the_development_of_literacy_in_Iron_Age_Philistia_In_H_Eshel_memorial_volume_2014 [pp. 69-210](accessed ...), p. 208, Fig. 6: Inscription No. 2: Line drawing and photograph of the vessel and enlarged drawing andphotograph of the inscription.

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 35, Figure 29 - Ṣafi jar 747028/1 (MAEIR and ESHEL 2014, Fig. 6).

3. Image: Aren M. Maeir, Chapter 1: The Tell Es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project 1996-2010: Introduction, Overview and Synopsis of Results, ??? 69 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2012), https://www.academia.edu/1596600/Maeir_A_M_2012_Chapter_1_The_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_Archaeological_Project_1996_2010_Introduction_Overview_and_Synopsis_of_Results_Pp_1_88_in_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_I_Report_on_the_1996_2005_Seasons_ed_A_M_Maeir_Ägypten_und_Altes_Testament_69_Wiesbaden_Harrassowitz [pp. 1-88] (accessed ...), p. 32, Figure 1.18: Close-up view of an incised (pre-firing) alphabetic inscription (lʾb) on the upper body of a Stratum A3 (mid-9th century BCE) storage jar.

4. Note: Maeir and Eshel, pp. 81, 82.

5. Note: Ibid., pp. 81-82.

6. Note: Ibid., p. 83.

Ṣafi Jar 450313/1 [????] (9th Century BCE)

Ṣafi Jar 450313/1 | Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel

Ṣafi Jar 450313/1; Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel. Source: Maeir, Eshel (2014).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤓/𐤏 𐤐 𐤀
r/ʿpʾ

Transliteration source: Maeir (2012).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤓𐤐𐤀
רפא
Rāphu/Rāphā

Transliteration and translation source: Maeir, Eshel (2014): The name רפא, Rāphu/Rāphā is mentioned in 1 Chron. 8:2 as one of Benjamin’s descendants, and is attested on several finds including the Samaria Ostracon no. 24, on a Hebrew seal dated to the 8th-7th centuries BCE, on a Hebrew Bulla, on a Moabite seal and on an unidentified seal.3

Notes

Maeir, Eshel (2014): The first letter...might be read as a ד [𐤃], or as a ר [𐤓] with an unusually short leg. The second letter...is best read as a פ [𐤐], but might also be read as a ג [𐤂]. The third letter is also not clear, and might be read as an א [𐤀], or an a ל [𐤋].4

Maeir, Eshel (2014): We tentatively prefer the...reading of רפא...but one should not rule out the other possible readings.5

Maeir, Eshel (2014): If we read the first letter as an ע [𐤏], which is less probable since the letter is not rounded but flattened and the lower stroke is quite horizontal, it would be עפא [𐤏𐤐𐤀] – to be compared with personal names such as עופי/עפי(הו) which, although uncommon, does appear once in the biblical text (עופי/עיפי [Ephai]; Jer. 40:8) and somewhat rarely in the Iron Age onomastic corpus.6

1. Image and drawing: Aren M. Maeir and Esther Eshel, Four Short Alphabetic Inscriptions from Late Iron Age IIa Telles˙-S˙afi/Gath and their Implications for the Development of Literacy in Iron Age Philistia and Environs, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2014), https://www.academia.edu/8355478/Maeir_A_M_and_Eshel_E_2014_Four_short_alphabetic_inscriptions_from_Iron_Age_IIA_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_and_their_contribution_for_understanding_the_process_of_the_development_of_literacy_in_Iron_Age_Philistia_In_H_Eshel_memorial_volume_2014 [pp. 69-210](accessed ...), p. 208, Fig. 5: Inscription No. 1: Line drawing and photograph of the vessel and enlarged drawing andphotograph of the inscription.

2. Transliteration: Aren M. Maeir, Chapter 1: The Tell Es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project 1996-2010: Introduction, Overview and Synopsis of Results, ??? 69 (Wiesbaden, Germany: Harrassowitz, 2012), https://www.academia.edu/1596600/Maeir_A_M_2012_Chapter_1_The_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_Archaeological_Project_1996_2010_Introduction_Overview_and_Synopsis_of_Results_Pp_1_88_in_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_I_Report_on_the_1996_2005_Seasons_ed_A_M_Maeir_Ägypten_und_Altes_Testament_69_Wiesbaden_Harrassowitz [pp. 1-88] (accessed ...), p. 31.

3. Transliteration and translation: Maeir and Eshel, pp. 77-78.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 77.

5. Note: Ibid., p. 81.

6. Note: Ibid.

Ṣafi Jar 1491025 [????] (9th Century BCE)

Ṣafi Jar 1491025 | Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel
Ṣafi Jar 1491025 | Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel

Ṣafi Jar 1491025; Aren Maeir and Esther Eshel. Source: Maeir, Eshel (2014).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤁𐤕𐤌
ʾbṫm

Transliteration source: Maeir, Eshel (2014).2

Notes

Maeir, Eshel (2014): A red ink inscription, אבתם (ʾbṫm), on the upper mid-body of a jar, with an elongated vertical red ink decoration (possibly schematic lotus flower) to the right of the inscription. The reading of three of the four letters in this inscription is clear (א, ב, מ), while the third letter that we posit is ת is less easily legible. We suppose this to be a ת which was accidentally “smudged” after the writing and cannot suggest any other letter or known sign that would seem to provide a better reading. ... The letter might also be read as an א....4

1. Image and drawing: Aren M. Maeir and Esther Eshel, Four Short Alphabetic Inscriptions from Late Iron Age IIa Telles˙-S˙afi/Gath and their Implications for the Development of Literacy in Iron Age Philistia and Environs, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2014), https://www.academia.edu/8355478/Maeir_A_M_and_Eshel_E_2014_Four_short_alphabetic_inscriptions_from_Iron_Age_IIA_Tell_es_Safi_Gath_and_their_contribution_for_understanding_the_process_of_the_development_of_literacy_in_Iron_Age_Philistia_In_H_Eshel_memorial_volume_2014 [pp. 69-210](accessed ...), p. 210, Fig. 8: Inscription No. 4: Line drawing and photograph of the vessel and enlarged drawing and photograph of the inscription.

2. Note: Ibid., p. 86.

3. Note: Ibid.

Rehov 4-11 [???] (10th-9th Century BCE)

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): The...corpus [of eleven inscriptions at Tel Reḥov] is...from Stratum VI (the tenth century BCE) through Stratum IV (the ninth century BCE).1

Malena (2015): Excavations at Tel Rehov have resulted in the discovery of eleven epigraphic finds (inscriptions and ostraca) from Iron IIA strata (tenth to ninth centuries). This amount from one site is unparalleled for the period. Four of the items were found in stratum VI contexts, dated to the tenth century. Eight of the eleven items were found in Area C. Most were incised on storage jars and seem to be of the possession or dedication type.2

Parker (2013, 2018): Six ninth-century inscriptions [Rehov 6-11] on pottery were found at Tel Rehov during the Hebrew University excavations led by A. Mazar from 1997-2012. The texts were recovered from Stratum IV, which the excavators date to the ninth century, before 840/830 BCE. They may be grouped on the basis of their media into three categories: (1) inscriptions incised in pottery after firing (6, 8); (2) inscriptions incised in pottery before firing (7, 10, 11); and (3) inscriptions in ink on pottery (9). All of the epigraphs are short, the longest having only nine letters. ... Their script...is definitively Hebrew, and it dates palaeographically to the mid-ninth century.3

Parker (2013, 2018): Several inscribed fragments have also been recovered in southern Canaan from tenth-century contexts. These include fragments from: Tel ʿAmal; Arad (81); Tel Rehov (1-5); Ḥorvat Rosh Zayit.4

1. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 40.

2. Note: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), pp. 225-226.

3. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 189.

4. Note: Ibid., p. 123, n. 540.

Rehov 4 (10th Century BCE)

Rehov 4 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 4; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤍𐤇[𐤌]
lnḥ[m?]
belonging to [l] Nachum [nḥm]

Transliteration and translation source: Mazar (2003).2

Notes

Mazar (2003): The two first letters are clearly a lamed and a nūn. ... The right edge of [a] fourth letter is discernible on the left side of the sherd, and it could be an ʾalep, waw, kaf, mem, nūn, or ṣadeh. The strange combination of the third sign appears to be two letters incised on top of each other, the upper thus canceling the lower. The are various possibilities for interpreting this combination. One...is to read a yod incised on top of a mem. ... Another possibility is to reconstruct a ḥet on top of a mem. ... Thus, if we ignore the canceled lower letter in the third sign, we may read lnḥ[m?] = belonging to Nachum. If the lower letter is a mem, we may assume that the scribe forgot to write the ḥet, wrote the mem instead, and then corrected himself by writing the ḥet on top of the mem and adding another mem, of which only a tiny fragment remains on the left side of the sherd. The third possibility is that a bet or reš was inscribed on top of a yod or mem.3

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... Rehov sherd 4...was found in a context belonging to either Stratum VI [10th century] or V. ... Our preference [is] for the latter stratum, our late Iron IIA1.4

1. Image: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 192, Fig. 4: Reg. No. 23138, Locus 2308, Area B, local Stratum B-6, general Stratum VI.

2. Transliteration and translation: Amihai Mazar, Three 10th-9th Century B.C.E. Inscriptions from Tēl Reḥōv, in Saxa loquentur: Studien zur Archäologie Palästinas/Israels. Festschrift für Volkmar Fritz zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Cornelis G. den Hertog, Ulrich Hübner, and Stefan Münger (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2003), https://www.academia.edu/2632641/Three_10th_9th_Century_B_C_E_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Rehov [pp.171-184] (accessed ...), p. 173.

3. Note: Ibid.

4. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 166.

Rehov 5 (10th Century BCE)

Rehov 5 | Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv
Rehov 5 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar
Rehov 5 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 5; Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv. Source: Ziffer (2016).1

Rehov 5; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤍𐤌𐤔
לנמש
(belonging) to [l] Nemesh/Nimshi [nmš]

Transliteration and translation source, Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): The inscription לנמש...marks ownership: “(belonging) to *Nemesh”, or “for *Nemesh”. ... In the Bible, the name נמש appears as נמשי, Nimshi....3

Notes

Compare with the Tel Amal inscription.

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... From Tel Rehov Strata V and IV [9th century] [along with Jar 7, and possibly Jar 8 and Sherd 9].4

1. Image: Irit Ziffer, Flight of the Bee: myth and art, in It is the Land of Honey: Discoveries from Tel Rehov, the Early Israelite Monarchy (Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA (accessed ...), p. 81e, Hippo jar inscribed (belonging) to Nimshi found in the apiary (end of 10th century – beginning of 9th century BCE). IAA 2014-1207.

2. Drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 193, Fig. 5: Reg. No. 84730/4, Locus 8465, the apiary, local Stratum /c-1b, general Stratum V.

3. Transliteration and translation: Aḥituv and Mazar (2013), p. 43.

4. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 164.

Rehov 6 (9th Century BCE)

Rehov 6 | Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen
Rehov 6 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 6; Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen. Source: Wiener (2013).1

Rehov 6; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤔𐤒𐤉𐤍𐤌𐤔
lšqynmš
Belonging to [l] the cupbearer [šqy] Nemesh/Nimshi [nmš]

Transliteration and translation source: Mazar (2003): Six letters can easily be read, while the fourth from the right, although clear in shape, is enigmatic. ... The reading is: lšq[?]nmš. The shape of the fourth sign is unparalleled. It could be a variant of a yod. The upper and lower horizontal lines are common to a yod; the difference is in the shape of the central part of the letter, which is unusual. ... An identical sign is known among Egyptian hieratic numerals for 6, used only for dates. ... However, a hieratic numeral for a date does not make much sense in the context of this inscription. ... If [the fourth sign] is a yod, the [first] word may be read as lšqy. 3 Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): One reading for this inscription is לשקינמש. All of the letters are clearly legible except for the fourth which is unknown in other inscriptions from Israel dating to the Iron Age. One possibility...is to read this letter as a variation of the letter י. ... If the fourth letter is indeed a י, then the word should be read לשקי.... This word in Aramaic is understood is understood as (belonging) to/for the cupbearer. ... The last three letters in our inscription are the same name, נמש, that appears in [Rehov] 5.4 Carr (2011): lšq?nmš (to the cupbearer Nimshi?).5 Parker (2013, 2018): lšq(y)? nmš / Belonging to Šqy(?) (or the cupbearer[?]) Nimsh/Nimshi.6

Notes

Compare with the Ein Gev Jar inscription (lšqyʾ, Belonging to the cup-bearer).

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... Tel Rehov jar 6...was found in Stratum IV [9th century], our late Iron IIA1.7

1. Image: Noah Wiener, Tel Rehov House Associated with the Biblical Prophet Elisha, Bible History Daily (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]), 23 July 2013, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/news/tel-rehov-house-associated-with-the-biblical-prophet-elisha/ (accessed ...), A storage jar from Building F at Tel Rehov bears the inscription nmsh, or Nimshi, the same name as the father or grandfather of gthe Biblical King Jehu, founder of the house that ousted the Omride dynasty in the ninth century B.C.E.. Photo: Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen.

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 34, Figure 24: Rehov jar 6 (Ahituv and Mazar 2014, p. 194, courtesy A. Mazar, Tel Rehov excavations, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

3. Transliteration and Translation: Amihai Mazar, Three 10th-9th Century B.C.E. Inscriptions from Tēl Reḥōv, in Saxa loquentur: Studien zur Archäologie Palästinas/Israels. Festschrift für Volkmar Fritz zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Cornelis G. den Hertog, Ulrich Hübner, and Stefan Münger (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2003), https://www.academia.edu/2632641/Three_10th_9th_Century_B_C_E_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Rehov [pp.171-184] (accessed ...), p. 179.

4. Transliteration and translation: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), pp. 44-45.

5. Transliteration and translation: David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), https://books.google.com/books?id=pPy3gXJDI7AC&pg=PA375 (accessed ...), p. 375.

6. Transliteration and translation: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 190, Tel Rehov 6 (Jar).

7. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 166.

Rehov 7 (9th Century BCE)

Rehov 7; Israel Antiquities Authority
Rehov 7 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 7; Israel Antiquities Authority. Source: Israel Antiquities Authority.1

Rehov 7; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤀𐤋𐤑𐤃𐤒𐤔𐤇𐤋𐤉
ʾlṣdqšḥly
Eliṣediq (son of) Šhaḥli

Transliteration source: Parker (2013, 2018).3

Notes

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... From Tel Rehov Strata V and IV [9th century] [along with Jar 5, and possibly Jar 8 and Sherd 9].4

1. Image: Israel Antiquities Authority, Jar Inscribed, Hebrew, Engraved; IAA Number: 2014-1131, National Treasures: Selected Artifacts from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for National Treasures, http://www.antiquities.org.il/t/Item_en.aspx?pic_id=2&CurrentPageKey=43&q=Rehov (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 34, Figure 25: Rehov jar 7 (Ahituv and Mazar 2014, p. 195, courtesy A. Mazar, Tel Rehov excavations, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem).

3. Transliteration: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), pp. 190-191, Tel Rehov Fragment 7 (Jar) – Personal Name.

4. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 164.

Rehov 8 (9th Century BCE)

Rehov 8 | Israel Antiquities Authority
Rehov 8 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 8; Israel Antiquities Authority. Source: Israel Antiquities Authority.1

Rehov 8; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤌𐤏[...]𐤏𐤌
mʿ??ʿm

Transliteration source: Parker (2013, 2018).3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤌𐤏[𐤌𐤎]𐤏𐤌
𐤌𐤏[𐤌𐤓]𐤏𐤌
𐤌𐤏[𐤍𐤓]𐤏𐤌
mʿmsʿm
mʿmrʿm
mʿnrʿm
from [m] ʿAmasʿam [ʿmsʿm]
from [m] ʿOmriʿam [ʿmrʿm]
from [m] ʿAnerʿam [ʿnrʿm]

Transliteration and translation source, Mazar (2003): Secure reading: mʿ[.][.]ʿm. Ahituv has suggested that the first mem is probably the preposition from, which appears in several Hebrew inscriptions...[and] suggests the following possible reconstructions: mʿmsʿm from ʿAmasʿam; mʿmrʿm from ʿOmriʿam; mʿnrʿm from ʿAnerʿam. The component ʿm as an ending of a personal name appears in many biblical and other West-Semitic names, for example the biblical names yrbʿm (Jeroboam) [and] rḥbʿm (Rehoboam).... 4

Notes

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): Judging by the size of the gap between the two pairs of letters, it seems that there would have been room for two or three additional letters. ... In the gap between the two pairs of letters, the bottom edges of stemmed letters can be discerned.5

Mazar (2003): Of the preserved edges of the third and fourth letters, the third has a diagonal leg and the fourth a vertical leg. Thus, the third letter could be a bet, kaf, mem, nūn, or pe, and the fourth letter a waw, nūn (less plausible), samek, qōf, or reš. Furthermore, the break in the inscription is large enough to include three letters.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... [Possibly] from Tel Rehov Strata V and IV [9th century]. ... [The] script [on Rehov 8 and 9] is not as clearly Hebrew as on [Rehov 5 and 7].7

1. Image: Israel Antiquities Authority, Jar Inscribed, Hebrew, Engraved; IAA Number: 2014-1131, National Treasures: Selected Artifacts from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for National Treasures, http://www.antiquities.org.il/t/Item_en.aspx?pic_id=2&CurrentPageKey=43&q=Rehov (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 197, Fig. 9: Reg. No. 46129/1, Locus 4616, Area E, local Stratum E-1a, general Stratum VI.

3. Transliteration: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 190, Tel Rehov Fragment 8 (Jar).

4. Transliteration and Translation: Amihai Mazar, Three 10th-9th Century B.C.E. Inscriptions from Tēl Reḥōv, in Saxa loquentur: Studien zur Archäologie Palästinas/Israels. Festschrift für Volkmar Fritz zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Cornelis G. den Hertog, Ulrich Hübner, and Stefan Münger (Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2003), https://www.academia.edu/2632641/Three_10th_9th_Century_B_C_E_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Rehov [pp.171-184] (accessed ...), p. 177.

5. Aḥituv and Mazar (2013), p. 47.

6. Mazar (2003), p. 177.

7. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 164.

Rehov 9 aka Elisha Ostracon (9th Century BCE)

Rehov 9 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar
Rehov 9 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar
Rehov 9 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 9; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋
[??]𐤉𐤔𐤏
l
??yšʿ

Transliteration source: Parker (2013, 2018): Fragment 1 --- l; Fragment 2 --- yšʿ.2 (This inscription was found in two pieces. There is no join between them.3)

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋[𐤀𐤋]𐤉𐤔𐤏
לאלישע for/(belonging) to Elisha

Transliteration and translation source, Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): The beginning of the inscription on the large sherd has the edges of an unidentified letter...its reconstruction is problematic. ... If we accept the reconstruction of the second and third letters in this sherd as א and ל, then this should be read as the name אלישע (Elisha). If the two sherds were originally close together, a possible reading would be לאלישע, “for/(belonging) to Elisha”; however, the original location of the small sherd is not known and it could possibly have belonged to another line or to the beginning part of the inscription, which has not been preserved. 4

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋...[𐤀] [𐤋] 𐤉𐤔𐤃
ל...[א] [ל] ישד may it not be despoiled

Transliteration source, Schreiner (2018): Ultimately, I do not read the name Elisha, but rather a negated verb from the root שדד [devastate]. ... Regarding the larger ostracon, I agree that traces of five letters can be discerned. ... With respect to the final letter, I...read a dalet[:] ל...[א] [ל] ישד. ... I propose reading a negated [form] of שדד: ʾal yiššad, may it not be despoiled.5

Notes

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): These are two sherds from the same jar.... The larger sherd is rounded on the bottom and it seems that this inscription was not written on a vessel that subsequently broke, but rather as an ostracon.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... [Possibly] from Tel Rehov Strata V and IV [9th century]. ... [The] script [on Rehov 8 and 9] is not as clearly Hebrew as on [Rehov 5 and 7].7

1. Drawing and images: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 198, Fig. 10: Reg. No. 94443, Locus 9418, Room 9449, Area C, Building CP, local Stratum C-1a, general Stratum VI.

2. Transliteration: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 191, Tel Rehov 9 (Ostracon).

3. Ibid., p. 191, n. 874.

4. Transliteration and translation: Aḥituv and Mazar (2013), p. 49.

5. Transliteration and translation: David Schreiner, The Elisha Ostracon and Methodological Musings (Paper presented at the annual conference for the Southeastern Commission for the Study of Religion [SECSOR], Atlanta, GA, 2-4 March 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36238792/The_Elisha_Ostracon_and_Methodological_Musings, pp. 2-6.

6. Aḥituv and Mazar (2013), pp. 48-49.

7. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 164.

Rehov 10 (9th Century BCE)

Rehov 10 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 10; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤁
b

Transliteration source: Parker (2013, 2018).2

Notes

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... Tel Rehov sherd 10...comes from [Stratum IV (9th century), our late Iron IIA1].3

1. Drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 199, Fig. 11: Reg. No. 70578, Locus 7113, Area J, local Stratum J-5, general Stratum IV.

2. Transliteration: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 191, Tel Rehov 10 (Fragment).

3. Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 166.

Rehov 11 (9th Century BCE)

Rehov 11 | Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar

Rehov 11; Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar. Source: Aḥituv, Mazar (2013).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤔
š

Transliteration source: Parker (2013, 2018).2

1. Drawing: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 200, Fig. 12: Reg. No. 64001/1, Locus 6401, Area C, Building CF, local Stratum C-1a, general Stratum IV.

2. Transliteration: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 191, Tel Rehov 11 (Fragment 11).

Tel Amal Jar [????] (10th-9th Century BCE)

Tel Amal Jar | Shalom Levy and Gershon Edelstein

Tel Amal Jar; Shalom Levy and Gershon Edelstein. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤍𐤌𐤔
lnmš
belonging [l] to Nimshi [nmš]

Transliteration and translation source, Malena (2015): This inscription reads lnmš (or l + nm + [numeric sign]), perhaps belonging to Nimshi.2

Notes

Compare with the Rehov 5 inscription.

Malena (2015): A possession formula on a jar, inscribed prior to firing, was discovered among burial goods at Tel ʿAmal. The assemblage and paleography are consistent with the second half of the tenth century. ... The personal name nmš is attested on the two inscriptions at Tel Rehov [Rehov 5 and 6] just mentioned and in later periods on an inscription, several seals, and in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Jehu’s family, 2 Kings 9). Like the Soreq Valley’s Ḥanan inscriptions, these vessels (along with the later instances of this name) compel us to consider whether they could be related. Nimshi was not an uncommon name, but the inscribed vessels (all “hippo” storage jars) are similar and were part of similar ceramic assemblages (the epigraphy is not necessarily the same).3

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): The letters in the Tel ʿAmal inscription are extremely similar to those in the inscription from Tel Reḥov. ... A storage jar with the inscription נמש [Nemesh/Nimshi] from Tel ʿAmal, was found in a stratum dated to the late tenth or ninth centuries BCE.4

Parker (2013, 2018): Several inscribed fragments have also been recovered in southern Canaan from tenth-century contexts. These include fragments from: Tel ʿAmal; Arad (81); Tel Rehov (1-5); Ḥorvat Rosh Zayit.5

Millard (2011): ...Personal names scratched on a stone and on potsherds that can be placed approximately in the Tenth Century...from Tel ʿĀmal....6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830].7

1. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 35, Figure 28: Tel Amal jar (Levy and Edelstein 1972, p. 336).

2. Transliteration and translation: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), p. 223.

3. Note: Ibid.

4. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), pp. 43,57.

5. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 1243, n. 540.

6. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, pp. 1-2.

7. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 164.

Tel Batash (Timnah) Bowl Rim Inscription [???] (10th Century BCE)

Batash Sherd
Batash Sherd | Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen

Batash Sherd. Source: Kelm, Mazar (1991).1

Batash Sherd; Amihai Mazar and Nava Panitz-Cohen. Source: Finkelstein, Sass (2013).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
[𐤁]𐤍.𐤇𐤍𐤍
[b]n|ḥnn
Son of [bn] Ḥanan [ḥnn]

Transliteration and translation source, Malena (2015): The inscription, which is broken at the beginning, reads n|ḥnn. A likely reconstruction for the beginning of the inscription is a b, producing the name formula bn + PN, in this case, “Son of Ḥanan.” The name Ḥanan is attested in other inscriptions (see Beth-Shemesh, next) and in biblical texts, notably in the place name Elon-Beth-Ḥanan in 1 Kgs 4:9.3

Notes

Compare with the Beth Shemesh game board inscription.

Malena (2015): The Tel Batash find consists of four letters inscribed prior to firing on a ceramic bowl. The sherd is dated to the tenth century based on its archaeological context and paleography.4

Parker (2013, 2018): The ostracon from Tel Batash...comes from a secure tenth-century context[;] like the Tell el-Far‘ah (south) fragment, it comes from the area of Philistia and might be difficult to assign to a particular script tradition in this period.5

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): An inscription בן חנן ([the so]n of Hanan), from Tel Batash/Timnah, has been dated by the excavators to the tenth century BCE.6

Millard (2011): ...Personal names scratched on a stone and on potsherds that can be placed approximately in the Tenth Century...from Timnah....7

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... Has some of the letters strongly inclined, a Hebrew trait (see further on the Beth-shemesh game-board).8

1. Image: George L. Kelm and Amihai Mazar, Tel Batash (Timnah) Excavations: Third Preliminary Report, 1984-1989, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 27 (1991), https://images.app.goo.gl/YadEke214RGF7aEg9 (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 213, Fig. 27: Mazar and Panitz-Cohen 2001 (n. 69): pl. 3: 6.

3. Transliteration and translation: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), p. 223.

4. Note: Ibid.

5. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 124, n. 540.

6. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 56.

7. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, pp. 1-2.

8. Note: Finkelstein and Sass, pp. 165-166.

Khirbet Rosh Zayit Sherd [????] (10th-9th Century BCE)

Rosh Zayit Sherd | Benjamin Sass

Rosh Zayit Sherd; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass, Finkelstein (2016).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤍𐤇𐤌𐤓
[]n ḥmr[]

Transliteration source: Carr (2011).2

Notes

Aḥituv, Mazar (2016): The inscription on an ostracon from Ḥorvat Rosh Zayit written in red-brown ink [י]ן חמר, can be interpreted as (fermented?) wine. The ceramic assemblage from Ḥorbat Rosh Zayit, dated to the latter part of the Iron Age IIA, is identical to that of Strata V and IV at Tel Reḥov. The 14C [carbon-14] dates point to the ninth century BCE in a 68% probability range and to the tenth and ninth centuries BCE by a 95% cautious estimate.3

Millard (2011): ...Personal names scratched on a stone and on potsherds that can be placed approximately in the Tenth Century...from Khirbet Rosh Zayit....4

Carr (2011): Tenth century.5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... The Rosh Zayit sherd...was unearthed in Stratum II.... This layer is radiocarbon dated to 895–835 B.C.E. at 1 σ.6

1. Drawing: Benjamin Sass and Israel Finkelstein, The Swan-Song of Proto-Canaanite in the Ninth Century BCE in light of an Alphabetic Inscription from Megiddo, Semitica Et Classica [SEC] International Journal of Oriental and Mediterranean Studies 9 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2016), https://www.academia.edu/38692710/B_Sass_I_Finkelstein_The_Swan_Song_of_Proto_Canaanite_in_the_Ninth_Century_BCE_in_light_of_an_Alphabetic_Inscription_from_Megiddo_Semitica_et_Classica_9_2016_ [pp. 19-42] (accessed ...), p. 35, Figure 31: Rosh Zayit sherd (drawing by Benjamin Sass from Israel Antiquities Authority photograph).

2. Transliteration: David M. Carr, The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), https://books.google.com/books?id=pPy3gXJDI7AC&pg=PA375 (accessed ...), p. 375.

3. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 56.

4. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, pp. 1-2.

5. Note: Carr.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 166.

Gezer Calendar [KAI 182, 1908] (10th Century BCE, ca. 925)

Gezer Calendar | oncenawhile Gezer Calendar | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Gezer Calendar; oncenawhile. Source: Wikimedia Commons.1

Gezer Calendar; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤅𐤀𐤎𐤐𐤟𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤅𐤆

𐤓𐤏𐤟𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤅𐤋𐤒𐤔
𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤏𐤑𐤃𐤐𐤔𐤕
𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤒𐤑𐤓𐤔𐤏𐤓𐤌
𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤒𐤑𐤓𐤅𐤊𐤋
𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤅𐤆𐤌𐤓
𐤉𐤓𐤇𐤒𐤑
𐤀𐤁𐤉[𐤄]
yrḥw ʾsp
yrḥw z-
rʿ yrḥw lqš
yrḥ ʿṣd pšt
yrḥ qṣr šʿrm
yrḥ qṣrw kl
yrḥw zmr
yrḥ qṣ
ʾby [h]
Two months [yrḥw] gathering [ʾsp] (October, November — in the Hebrew calendar Tishrei, Cheshvan)
Two months [yrḥw] planting [zrʿ] (December, January — Kislev, Tevet)
Two months [yrḥw] late sowing [lqš] (February, March — Shvat, Adar)
One month [yrḥ] cutting flax [ʿṣd pšt] (April — Nisan)
One month [yrḥ] reaping barley [qṣr šʿrm] (May — Iyar)
One month [yrḥ] reaping and measuring grain [qṣrw kl] (June — Sivan)
Two months [yrḥw] pruning [zmr] (July, August — Tammuz, Av)
One month [yrḥ] summer fruit [qṣ] (September — Elul)
Abij[ah] [ʾbyh]

Transliteration and translation source: Wikipedia.3

Notes

Wikipedia: The Gezer calendar [was] discovered in 1908 by Irish archaeologist R. A. Stewart Macalister in the ancient Canaanite city of Gezer. It is commonly dated to the 10th century BCE, although the excavation was unstratified and its identification during the excavations was not in a secure archaeological context, presenting uncertainty around the dating. ... The Gezer calendar is currently displayed at the Museum of the Ancient Orient, a Turkish archaeology museum.... A replica of the Gezer calendar is on display at the Israel Museum, Israel.4

Biblical Archaeology Society (2020): The Gezer Calendar is a small limestone tablet listing seasonal agricultural activities in seven lines of uneven letters. Scholarly opinions on the Gezer Calendar have shifted over the past century of scholarship. In 1943, William Foxwell Albright stated that “the Gezer Calendar is written in perfect classical Hebrew.” More recent scholarship questioned the idea that the Gezer calendar has distinctively Hebrew script or language. Christopher Rollston contends there is no lexeme or linguistic feature in the Gezer Calendar that can be considered distinctively Hebrew and Joseph Naveh says that No specifically Hebrew characters can be distinguished.” Christopher Rollston concludes that the Gezer Calendar is written in Phoenician rather than Hebrew script, though the late tenth or early ninth century B.C.E. includes elements described by Frank Cross as “the first rudimentary innovations that will mark the emergent Hebrew script.5

Center for Online Judaic Studies [COJS]: Orthographic (spelling) and linguistic analyses have placed the text somewhere between Byblian (Phoenician) and Archaic Hebrew along the spectrum of ancient Canaanite languages. Good arguments can be made in either direction, so the precise identification is uncertain.6

Parker (2013, 2018): The Gezer calendar...was first dated palaeographically to the tenth century based on comparison with the tenth-century Phoenician inscriptions from Byblos. The close affinity of its script with the recently discovered Tel Zayit inscriptions confirms this date.7

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): The Gezer Calendar is usually dated to the second half of the tenth century BCE.8

Millard (2011): The Gezer Calendar is well known, found during the Palestine Exploration Fund’s work at the site in 1908, and generally dated to about 925 BC.9

Azevedo (1994): Gezer Calendar 925 BCE.10

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... The...Gezer Calendar...displays a slightly less developed writing than the Tel Zayit abecedary. C. Rollston labelled the scripts of Tel Zayit and of the Gezer calendar Phoenician, whereas Lemaire classified both as Philistian.11

1. Image: oncenawhile, Gezer calendar close up, Wikimedia Commons, 1 August 2014, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gezer_calendar_close_up.jpg (accessed ...).

2. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, The Gezer Calendar (replica), https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/372807 (accessed ...).

3. Transliteration and translation: Wikipedia, s.v. Gezer calendar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gezer_calendar#Inscription (accessed ...), Inscription.

4. Note: Wikipedia, s.v. Gezer calendar, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gezer_calendar (accessed ...).

5. Note: Biblical Archaeology Society Staff, The Oldest Hebrew Script and Language, Bible History Daily (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]), 03 July 2020, https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-artifacts/inscriptions/the-oldest-hebrew-script-and-language/ (accessed ...).

6. Note: Center for Online Judaic Studies [COJS], Gezer Calendar, 10th century BCE, http://cojs.org/gezer_calendar-_10th_century_bce/ (accessed ...).

7. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 123, n. 539.

8. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 56.

9. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, p. 1.

10. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 108.

11. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 166-167.

Ein Gev aka ʿEin Gev aka En Gev Jar [1961] (9th-8th Century BCE)

‘Ein Gev Jar Detail; Yolovitch Yael. Source: Israel Antiquities Authority.1

‘Ein Gev Jar Inscription; Heather Dana Davis Parker. Source: Parker (2013 Pt. II).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤔𐤒𐤉𐤀
lšqyʾ
(belonging) to the cup-bearer (or wine butler)

Transliteration and translation source: Lipiński (1994).3

Notes

Compare with the Rehov 6 inscription (lšqynmš, Belonging to the cupbearer, Nimshi).

Millard (1962): An eighth century vessel from Ein Gev on the eastern bank of Galilee bears the inscription lšqyʾ, IEJ XI (1961), p. 163.4

Parker (2013, 2018): The ‘Ein Gev jar...was found in Stratum III, which the excavators date to the ninth century BCE. ... All letter forms within this inscription closely match Phoenician ninth-century forms. Only ’alep is particularly diagnostic. Its vertical shaft is short, as in the Tel Dan and Nimrud inscriptions....5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA1 [ca. 880-840/830]. ... The En Gev Jar bearing an inscription incised after firing was found in Stratum III of the late Iron IIA.6

1. Image: Israel Antiquities Authority, Aramaic inscription: "lsqy"; IAA Number: 1961-655, National Treasures: Selected Artifacts from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Center for National Treasures, http://www.antiquities.org.il/t/Item_en.aspx?pic_id=2&CurrentPageKey=1&q=en+gev (accessed 19 June 2021).

2. Drawing: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions, Pt. II (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755959/THE_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_THE_NINTH_CENTURY_BCE_THROUGH_SCRIPT_TRADITIONS_Pt_II (accessed 22 May 2021), Fig. 26, The ‘Ein Gev Jar .

3. Transliteration and translation: Edward Lipiński, Studies in Aramaic Inscriptions and Onomastics II (Leuven, BE: Uitgeverij Peeters en Departement Orientalistiek, 1994), https://books.google.com/books?id=ra0QmH4np4kC&pg=PA87 (accessed 19 June 2021), p. 87.

4. Drawing: A. R. Millard, Recently Discovered Hebrew Inscriptions, Tyndale Bulletin 11 (1962), https://legacy.tyndalehouse.com/tynbul/Library/TynBull_1962_11_02_Millard_HebrewInscription.pdf [pp. 4-10] (accessed 19 June 2021), p. 9, n. 28.

5. Note: Parker, Part I, https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), pp. 279-281.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 166-168.

Beth Shemesh Game Board [????] (10th Century BCE)

Beth Shemesh Game Board | BAS Library
Beth Shemesh Game Board | BAS Library

Beth Shemesh Game Board; BAS Library. Source: Biblical Archaeology Review (2014).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤍𐤍
ḥnn
Ḥanan

Transliteration and translation source, Malena(2015).2

Notes

Compare with the Tel Batash inscription.

Malena(2015): The letters ḥnn have...been identified on the side of a game board discovered at Beth-Shemesh, located about 7.5 km away from Tel Batash along the Soreq Valley. The find came from a tenth-century archaeological context, and this date is supported through paleographic analysis. It merges nicely with other evidence of the name ḥnn on an earlier ostracon from Beth-Shemesh (ca. 1200 BCE), on the Tel Batash inscription..., and the district information in 1 Kgs 4:9, where Elon-Beth-Ḥanan follows Beth-Shemesh in the description of the second district.3

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): An inscription חנן (Hanan) on a stone object from Beth Shemesh, has been dated by the excavators to the tenth century BCE.4

Millard (2011): ...Personal names scratched on a stone and on potsherds that can be placed approximately in the Tenth Century...part of a gaming board from Beth Shemesh....5

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730]. ... Uncovered...in an Iron IIB pit. Initially dated to the 11th or 10th century via ‘traditional’ palaeography the inscription, with strongly inclined letters in a manner similar to the...Batash sherd, rather belongs in the late Iron IIA or Iron IIB by the combined typology of the game-board and the letters. ... A Hebrew attribution of both inscriptions seems quite plausible. While the similarity of the two inscriptions could suggest contemporaneity, the archaeological situation may hint at the seniority of the Batash sherd. 6

1. Image: Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR], Early Inscriptions from the Time of David and Solomon (Sidebar to: The New Jerusalem Inscription—So What?), (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 40:3 (May/June 2014), https://www.baslibrary.org/biblical-archaeology-review/40/3/6 (accessed ...).

2. Transliteration and translation: Sarah Lynn Malena, Fertile Crossroads: The Growth and Influence of Interregional Exchange in the Southern Levant's Iron Age I-II Transition, Examined through Biblical, Epigraphic, and Archaeological Sources (PhD diss., University of California, San Diego, 2015), https://escholarship.org/content/qt7wg1m1rv/qt7wg1m1rv.pdf (accessed ...), p. 223.

3. Note: Ibid.

4. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), p. 56.

5. Note: Alan R. Millard, The Ostracon from the Days of David Found at Khirbet Qeiyafa, Tyndale Bulletin 62:1 (2011), https://www.researchgate.net/publication/288307959_The_ostracon_from_the_days_of_david_found_at_khirbet_qeiyafa, pp. 1-2.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 169-170.

Eshtemoa aka Eshtemoaʿ aka Eshtamoa Silver Hoard [1971] (10th-8th Century BCE)

Eshtemoa Silver Hoard | Zeev Yeivin
Eshtemoa Jug Inscriptions | Zeev Yeivin
Eshtemoa Jug | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror
Eshtemoa Jug | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Eshtemoa Jug | The Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Eshtemoa Silver Hoard; Zeev Yeivin. Source: COJS.1

Eshtemoa Jug Inscriptions; Zeev Yeivin. Source: Finkelstein, Sass (2013).5

Eshtamoa Jug; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem / Neta Dror. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.2

Eshtamoa Jug; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Weight: 1.103 kg, which are 500 shekel.3

Eshtamoa Jug; The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Source: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Weight: 1.090 kg, which are 500 shekel.4

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤇𐤌𐤔
ḥmš
five or fifth

Transliteration and translation source: Yeivin (1987).6

Notes

The Israel Museum, Jerusalem: It is assumed that [the inscription "five" on each jug] was an abbreviation for the weight of silver it contained - five hundred shekels.7

Raz Kletter and Etty Brand (1998): In 1971 during the course of restoring and cleaning the Eshtemoa synagogue complex, a hoard of five Iron Age pottery jugs was found...filled with about 25 kilograms of silver artifacts...in a hole in the bedrock, beneath the floor of a room that belonged to the much later complex of the synagogue. Three of the jugs carry the inscription ḥmš in the ancient Hebrew script. ... In a preliminary notice, the jugs were dated to the ninth-eighth centuries B.C. ... While some of the jugs were found broken and their silver content dispersed, it was impossible to extract the silver out of the whole jugs without damaging them.8

Barkay (1992): p. 326, A unique discovery dated to the Iron Age IIa is the silver hoard from Eshtemoa. Five ceramic jugs, dated to the tenth and ninth centuries, were discovered at this site, in the southern Hebron hills. The jugs are inscribed in red ink with the Hebrew word ḥmš (five).9

Yeivin (1987): The five jugs in which the silver was found contained nothing but the silver.... Some of the silver objects were melted pieces without any definite form. However, a large amount of the silver hoard consisted of cut-up pieces of silver (“cut silver”)...so that the pieces would fit through the jugs’ relatively small mouths. ... The five jugs in which the silver hoard was stored can be dated possibly to the late tenth century or to the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.... One way the silver hoard is dated is by the pottery in which it was found. Three of the five jugs are similar. Each has a ball-shaped body, a long, thin neck, a double-profiled rim, a ring base and a single, smooth handle. They can be dated to the late tenth century B.C. at the earliest. Inscriptions on the jugs also help to date them. Two of the three jugs mentioned above contain clearly written Hebrew inscriptions on the bodies of the jugs; each reads “ḤMŠ,” meaning five or fifth. The third jug mentioned above bears traces of red that appear to be another inscription of the same word. The red Ḥ is drawn with two stripes, a form that was common in the ninth century B.C. or perhaps a little earlier.... The M (Mem) has a short tail and lies horizontally. Such a Mem appears in two other places, on the Gezer Tablet (end of the tenth century B.C.) and on a jar from Tel Amal (1000–950 B.C.). The third letter, the Š, is a wide letter that is characteristically—but not definitely—thought to belong to the tenth to ninth centuries B.C.10

Yeivin (1987): The late Professor Yigael Yadin suggested the inscriptions, meaning five or fifth, referred to the weight of the silver in the three jugs.... We tested this hypothesis by weighing the silver but could find no evidence to support the theory. Dr. Avraham Eran, an expert in ancient metrology, ...thinks that the word five refers to five manas, a mana being 100 shekels of 8.19 grams each, according to the Mesopotamian standard. I believe, however, that the more likely explanation is that five or fifth refers to some kind of tax, as was initially suggested to me by Professor Ephraim Stern. A tax known as ma’aser, which means tenth part, is well known from the Bible. It is first mentioned in Genesis 14-20, where it is commonly translated tithe (meaning tenth). ... Just as there was a ma’aser, which taxed the tenth part, there may have been a tax referred to as “fifth” (ḥomesh in Hebrew) for a fifth part.11

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730]. Three jugs with the word ḥmš inscribed in ink on each were uncovered in an unstratified situation at Eshtemoa‘ in the southern highlands of Judah. The strongly inclined mem as well as the Judahite find-spot argue for a Hebrew attribution of the script. The general Iron II typological dating of the vessels, the pre-Assyrian silver jewellery found within, and the letter shapes combined, would attribute the Eshtemoa‘ find to our Iron IIA2, or early Iron IIB.12

1. Note: Center for Online Judaic Studies [COJS], Eshtemoa Silver Hoard, 10th-9th century BCE, http://cojs.org/eshtemoa_silver_hoard-_10th-9th_century_bce/ (accessed ...).

2. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Neta Dror, Silver hoard, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/375585 (accessed ...).

3. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Silver hoard, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/375584 (accessed ...).

4. Image: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Silver hoard, https://www.imj.org.il/en/collections/375581 (accessed ...).

5. Drawings: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 215, Fig 43: Eshtemoa‘ jugs; Yeivin 1990 (n. 102): 45(jugs), 47 (inscriptions).

6. Transliteration and translation: Zeev Yeivin, The Mysterious Silver Hoard from Eshtemoa, Biblical Archaeology Review [BAR] (Biblical Archaeology Society [BAS]) 13:6 (November/December 1987), http://cojs.org/the-mysterious-silver-hoard-from-eshtemoa/ (accessed 21 June 2021).

7. Note: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

8. Note: Raz Kletter and Etty Brand, A New Look at the Iron Age Silver Hoard from Eshtemoa, Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins [ZDPV] 114 (1998), https://www.jstor.org/stable/27931588 [p. 139] (accessed 21 June 2021), p. 139.

9. Note: Gabriel Barkay, The Iron Age II-III, in The Archaeology of Ancient Israel, ed. Amnon Ben-Tor (New Haven, London: Yale University Press, 1992), https://books.google.com/books?id=m1b1VgN-SckC&pg=PA326 (accessed 20 June 2021), p. 326.

10. Note: Yeivin.

11. Note: Ibid.

12. Note: Finkelstein and Sass, pp. 169-170.

Revadim Seal [1959] (12th-9th Century BCE)

Revadim Seal and Impression | Benjamin Sass

Revadim Seal and Impression; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass (1983).1

Revadim Seal and Impression | Benjamin Sass

Revadim Seal and Impression; Benjamin Sass. Source: Sass (1983).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤀𐤁𐤀
lʾbʾ
belonging to [l] ʾAbbaʾ [ʾbʾ]

Transliteration and translation source: Cross (1962).3

Notes

Giveon (1961): Below the inscription we have a scene.... On the left we see a person, facing the center of the lower register and presenting an object to the central figure. His other arm is well behind his body. The central figure seems to be sitting, right hand pointing to its mouth, left arm behind. It is impossible to make out on what this figure is sitting; it may be an elaborate podium, a chair, or plants. On the right we have an additional figure, in a position similar to the first one, one hand raised in adoration. We have before us a scene of adoration directed at the Sun-child.4

Cross (1962): Taking into account the several typological features of the Revadim inscription, the seal must be placed in the early eleventh century BCE. Its script, like that of the ʾEl-Ḫaḍr pieces, belongs to the era of transition between the pictographs of the early Proto-Canaanite alphabet, and the conventionalized linear characters of the Phoenician alphabet. ... The Revadim Seal is carved in hard limestone.5

Aḥituv, Mazar (2013): The name [אבא, ’b’] is a hypocoristicon with the component אב, “father”. Cross dated it to the tenth century BCE [An Archaic Inscribed Seal from the Valley of Aijalon], while Avigad and Sass suggested a tenth–ninth century BCE date, favoring the ninth century. ... A tenth century BCE date for this seal seems likely. ... The Revadim seal should be dated to the eleventh century BCE, or to the tenth century BCE, at the latest.6

Sass (1983): The seal is a scaraboid of hard limestone...intended for a ring, as indictated by the two drilled holes that do not meet. ... The seal was published in 1961 by R. Giveon.... In an article a year later, F. M. Cross...dated the seal to the 12th century [An Archaic Inscribed Seal from the Valley of Aijalon].7

Azevedo (1994): Revadim Seal 12th BC.8

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730].9

1. Images: Benjamin Sass, The Revadim Seal and Its Archaic Phoenician Inscription, Anatolian Studies (British Institute at Ankara) 33 (1983), https://images.app.goo.gl/EAtbkMej5t8QcaWV6 (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Sass, https://www.jstor.org/stable/3642707?seq=1 [p. 169] (accessed ...), p. 169, Fig. 1: Revadim Seal and impression, scale 2:1.

3. Transliteration and translation: Frank Moore Cross, An Archaic Inscribed Seal from the Valley of Aijalon [Soreq] [1962], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000049.xml [pp. 299-300] (accessed ...), p. 299.

4. Note: Raphael Giveon, Two New Hebrew Seals and Their Iconographic Background, Palestine Exploration Quarterly [PEQ] 93:1 (1961), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1179/peq.1961.93.1.38?journalCode=ypeq20 [p. 38] (accessed ...), p. 38.

5. Note: Cross, p. 300.

6. Note: Shmuel Aḥituv and Amihai Mazar, The Inscriptions from Tel Reḥov and their Contribution to the Study of Script and Writing during Iron Age IIA, in See, I will bring a scroll recounting what befell me (Ps 40:8): Epigraphy and Daily Life from the Bible to the Talmud, ed. Esther Eshel and Yigal Levin (Vandehoeck & Rupprecht, 2013), https://www.academia.edu/8051985/Ahituv_S_and_Mazar_A_The_Inscriptions_from_Tel_Reḥov_and_their_Contribution_to_Study_of_Script_and_Writing_during_the_Iron_Age_IIA [pp. 39-203] (accessed ...), pp. 56-57.

7. Note: Benjamin Sass, The Revadim Seal and Its Archaic Phoenician Inscription, Anatolian Studies (British Institute at Ankara) 33 (1983), https://www.jstor.org/stable/3642707?seq=1 [p. 169] (accessed ...), p. 169.

8. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 105.

9. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 171.

Five Hazor Sherds [????] (9th Century BCE)

Hazor Sherds | Yigael Yadin

Hazor Sherds; Yigael Yadin. Source: Sass (2005).1

Hazor Inscriptions | Yigael Yadin
Hazor Inscriptions | Yigael Yadin
Hazor Inscriptions | Yigael Yadin
Hazor Inscriptions | Yigael Yadin

Hazor Inscriptions; Yigael Yadin. No. 1 = Hazor sherd 189/6 [Non-Hebrew]; no. 2 = Hazor sherd 105/1 [Indeterminant]; no. 3 = Hazor sherd 382/1 [Non-Hebrew]; no. 4 = Hazor sherd 1693/3 [Non-Hebrew]; no. 5 = Hazor sherd 4440 [Non-Hebrew]. Source: Finkelstein, Sass (2013). 2

Notes

Parker (2013, 2018): There are four mid-ninth-century incised fragments from Hazor. Their content is too brief to determine in which language they are written. Their script seems more Phoenician than Hebrew; note in no. 1 the upside-down-h waw, in no. 3 the bet with foot extending to the right of the spine that is reminiscent of bet in the Shipitbaʿal and ʿAbda inscriptions from Byblos, and in no. 4 the elongated strokes of the taws.3

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730]. ... [Hazor sherd nos. 189/6, 382/1 and 1693/3] are non-Hebrew, whereas no. 105/1 is un-classifiable.4

1. Images: Benjamin Sass, The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millennium ca. 1150-850 BCE: The West Semitic Alphabet: The Antiquity of the Arabian, Greek and Phrygian Alphabets, Tel Aviv: Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University, Occasional Publications 4 (Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 2005), https://www.academia.edu/4786876/2005_Sass_B_The_alphabet_at_the_turn_of_the_millennium_The_West_Semitic_alphabet_ca_1150_850_BCE_the_antiquity_of_the_Arabian_Greek_and_Phrygian_alphabets_Tel_Aviv_University_Institute_of_Archaeology_Occasional_Publications_4_Tel_Aviv (accessed ...), p. 85, Fig.19: Five inscribed sherds from Hazor (Hazor II: pl. 169: 1-4; Hazor III-IV: pl. 357: 1).

2. Drawings: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 216, Fig. 46-49: Hazor II: pl. 170-1-4.

3. Note: Heather Dana Davis Parker, The Levant Comes of Age: The Ninth Century BCE Through Script Traditions (PhD diss., Johns Hopkins University, October 2013, Revised 31 May 2018), https://www.academia.edu/36755960/PARKER_LEVANT_COMES_OF_AGE_PARTI_05312018_docx (accessed ...), p. 141, n. 592.

4. Note: Finkelstein and Sass, p. 171.

Tell el-Farʿah South Ostracon [1999] (10th-8th Century BCE)

Tell el-Farʿah (South) Ostracon

Tell el-Farʿah (South) Ostracon. Source: Lehman, Schneider (2000).1

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤀𐤃𐤍𐤍
lʾdnn
For [l] our lord [ʾdnn]

Transliteration and translation source: Knauf, Niemann (2011).2

Notes

Knauf, Niemann (2011): The reading presents no difficulty: לאדנן For our lord. If [Tell el-Farʿah South Ostracon 1027] is complete [a single five-letter word], it accompanied a delivery: the docket survived the product, without indicating the nature of the delivery. The receiver is only named according to its rank.... Bob Becking and Jan A. Wagenaar reckon that the ostracon may not be complete and that the inscription could have continued on the left side, possibly reading lʾdnn h-śr for our lord, the governor or lʾdnn (PN) for our lord PN. ... The smaller second nun seems to indicate that the shard was already broken where it now is before the time of writing.3

Knauf, Niemann (2011): The shape of the letters falls within a bracket between the end of the 10th century and the 8th century BCE. ... The language is Canaanite.4 (The small number of letters and the lack of contemporary inscription from the same place or region prevent a more precise date.5)

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730]. ... The Far‘ah South jar sherd...is unstratified, so that a dating to the late Iron IIA or the early Iron IIB is merely palaeographical, hence approximate.6

1. Image: Gunnar Lehman and Tammi J. Schneider, A New Ostracon from Tell el-Farʾah (South), Near Eastern Archaeology 63:2 (2000), https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/3210750?journalCode=nea (accessed ...), p. 113, Tell el-Farʾah (South) ostracon, found July 15, 1999.

2. Transliteration and translation: Ernst Axel Knauf and Hermann Michael Niemann,Tell el-Farʿah South Ostracon 1027 and a New Identification for the Site., Ugarit-Forschungen [UF] 43 (2011), https://www.academia.edu/3714238/Tell_el_Far_ah_South_Ostracon_1027_and_a_New_identification_for_the_Site_Ugarit_Forschungen_43_2011_273_282 [pp. 273-282] (accessed ...), pp. 273, 276.

3. Note: Ibid., pp. 275-276

4. Ibid., p. 273.

5. Ibid.

6. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), pp. 171-172.

Byblos Cone B [????] (11th Century BCE)

Byblos Cone B. Source: Teixidor (1977).1

Byblos Cone B; Christopher A. Rollston. Source: Rollston (2008).2

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤋𐤀𐤇𐤀𐤌𐤁𐤁𐤃
lʾḥʾm bbd

Transliteration source: Lehmann (2008): The so-called Byblos Cone B...with only the name lʾḥʾmbbd was scratched in the still soft clay. Twice it displays an open ʾalep...with almost parallel horns. The lower horn of the second ʾalep...has an additional sharp down-turn...directly comparable to the ʾalep of [the] Azorbaal [spatula].3

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤋𐤀𐤇𐤀𐤔𐤁𐤁𐤃
lʾḥʾš bbd
Belonging to ʾAḥīʾaš [lʾḥʾš] son of Bōdī [bbd]

Transliteration and translation source, Cross (1997): No. 11687 (Byblos B) from the mid-eleventh century BCE reads: lʾḥʾš bbd, Belonging to ʾAḥīʾaš son of Bōdī.4 (Cross later concurs with m over š. Cross (1980): J[avier] Teixidor...has published a new photograph of Byblos B and suggests reading lʾḥʾm bbd for our lʾḥʾš, probably correctly.5)

Notes

Azevedo (1994): 11th BC.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730]. ... Three inscriptions from Byblos – clay cone B..., the bronze spatula and the Abda sherd... – are unstratified, with an approximate range by letter typology of late Iron IIA and early Iron IIB according to Israeli periodization.7

1. Image: Javier Teixidor, An Archaic Inscription from Byblos, Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research (ASOR) 225 (February 1977), https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.2307/1356637?journalCode=basor (accessed ...), p. 70, Fig. 1: Archaic Inscription from Byblos. Object B 1462 of the Beirut Museum.

2. Drawing: Christopher A. Rollston, The Dating of the Early Royal Byblian Phoenician Inscriptions: A Response to Benjamin Sass, Maarav 15.1 (2008), https://www.academia.edu/474442/The_Dating_of_the_Early_Royal_Byblian_Phoenician_Inscriptions_A_Response_to_Benjamin_Sass (accessed ...), p. 75, Fig.5: Inscribed Cone, Phoenician 23928, Lebanon (Drawing by Christopher Rollston).

3. Transliteration: Reinhard G. Lehmann, Calligraphy and Craftsmanship in the Aḥīrōm Inscription: Considerations on Skilled Linear Flat Writing in Early First Millennium Byblos, Maarav 15.2 (2008), https://www.academia.edu/4306363/Calligraphy_and_Craftsmanship_in_the_Ahirom_inscription._Considerations_on_skilled_linear_flat_writing_in_early_first_millennium_Byblos (accessed ...), p. 156.

4. Transliteration and translation: Frank Moore Cross, Early Alphabetic Scripts [1975], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA336 (accessed ...), p. 336, Fig. 53.6.

5. Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, Newly Found Inscriptions in Old Canaanite and Early Phoenician Scripts [1980], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA218 (accessed ...), p. 218, n. 27.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 107.

7. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 172.

Azarbaal/Azarbaʿl/Azarbaʿal/Ezar-/Asdru- Spatula aka Byblos Spatula aka Spatula Inscription [KAI 3, 1938] (11th-10th Century BCE)

Azarbaal Spatula
Azarbaal Spatula | Reinhard G. Lehmann

Azarbaal Spatula. Source: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible.1

Azarbaal Spatula; Reinhard G. Lehmann. Source: Lehmann (2020).2

TranscriptionTransliterationTranslation
𐤉𐤟𐤋𐤏𐤆𐤓𐤁𐤏𐤋
𐤕𐤔𐤏𐤌𐤟𐤔𐤋𐤌𐤊𐤎𐤐
𐤍𐤔𐤁𐤕𐤟𐤀𐤌𐤍𐤇𐤋
𐤕𐤍𐤇𐤋𐤟𐤌𐤂𐤔𐤕𐤊
𐤏𐤋𐤊𐤟𐤅𐤌𐤂𐤔𐤕
𐤏𐤋𐤉
y lʿzrbʿl
tš ʿm šlm ksp
nšbt ʾm nḥl
tnḥl mgštk
ʿlk wmgšt
ʿly
[from PN-]y [-y], to Azarbaal [lʿzrbʿl]
A payment [šlm] of silver [ksp], ninety pieces [tšʿm]
let us settle upon. If you do [nšbt ʾmnḥl]
take possession (of your property) [tnḥl], your debts [mgštk]
shall be your responsibility [ʿlk], and my debts [wmgšt]
shall be my responsibility [ʿly]

Transliteration and translation source: Walter (n.d.).3

Notes

Walter (n.d.): The Azarbaal spatula has been so named because it was found among other small triangular tools. Each had a tapered corner where a wooden handle might have been attached and a flat edge which would have been used for spreading or scraping. ... The majority of scholars believe it precedes the Ahiram inscription [ca. 1000] from the early 10th century. ... By far the most controversial aspect of the Azarbaal inscription is its interpretation. Most every scholar who reads it offers an interpretation at variance with the others.4

Rollston (2008): The Bronze ʿAzarbaʿl Inscription (often referred to as the Bronze Spatula Inscription)...was discovered during controlled excavations at Byblos (ancient Gebal). Six lines of Phoenician text (often considered enigmatic) are etched into the metal. The script reflects archaic features, such as the trident kap, the mem with a strong vertical stance (and without the lengthening of the fifth stroke), truncated vertical shaft of samek, and the box-shaped ḥet. Some have argued that this inscription reflects the terminal horizon of the 11th century [low 1000s], but a date in the (early) 10th century [high 900s] is also tenable.5

Azevedo (1994): 11th BC.6

Finkelstein, Sass (2013): Undifferentiated non-Hebrew, late Iron IIA2 [ca. 840/830–780/770] and early Iron IIB [ca. 780/770–740/730]. ... Three inscriptions from Byblos – clay cone B..., the bronze spatula and the Abda sherd... – are unstratified, with an approximate range by letter typology of late Iron IIA and early Iron IIB according to Israeli periodization.7

1. Image: Connections between Ancient Semitic Inscriptions and the Bible, The spatula of Ezarbaal, 12 January 2019, http://ancienthebrewinscriptions.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-spatula-of-ezarbaal.html (accessed ...).

2. Drawing: Reinhard G. Lehmann, Much ado about an implement! – the Phoenicianising of Early Alphabetic, in Understanding Relations Between Scripts II: Early Alphabets, ed. Philip J. Boyes, Philippa M. Steele (Oxford: Oxbow Books, 2020) https://www.academia.edu/41166286/Understanding_Relations_Between_Scripts_II_Early_Alphabets (accessed ...), p. 79, Fig. 5.1: Facsimile-drawing of the Azirbaal spatula (KAI 3). Drawing by Reinhard Lehmann.

3. Transliteration and translation: Daniel Walter, An Interpretation of the Old Byblian Inscriptions: Elibaal, Shipitbaal, and the Azarbaal Spatula (n.d.), https://www.academia.edu/8717081/Phoenician_Inscriptions_from_Iron_I-II_Byblos (accessed ...), II. Azarbaal Spatula / B. Transcription, Translation, and Notes.

4. Note: Ibid., II. Azarbaal Spatula / A. Historical, Political, and Cultural Context.

5. Note: Christopher A. Rollston, The Phoenician Script of the Tel Zayit Abecedary and Putative Evidence for Israelite Literacy, in Literate Culture and Tenth-Century Canaan: The Tel Zayit Abecedary in Context, ed. Ron Tappy and P. Kyle McCarter (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2008), https://www.academia.edu/474482/The_Phoenician_Script_of_the_Tel_Zayit_Abecedary_and_Putative_Evidence_for_Israelite_Literacy (accessed ...), pp. 73-74.

6. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 107.

7. Note: Israel Finkelstein and Benjamin Sass, The West Semitic Alphabetic Inscriptions, Late Bronze II to Iron IIA: Archeological Context, Distribution and Chronology, Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 2.2 (2013), https://www.academia.edu/5300339/2013_Finkelstein_I_and_Sass_B_The_West_Semitic_alphabetic_inscriptions_Late_Bronze_II_to_Iron_IIA_Archeological_context_distribution_and_chronology_Hebrew_Bible_and_Ancient_Israel_2_2_149_220 [pp. 149-220] (accessed ...), p. 172.

Nora Fragment [????] (11th Century BCE), Sardinia

Nora Fragment | Frank Moore Cross

Nora Fragment; Frank Moore Cross. Source: Loder (2019).1

TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤀𐤍𐤟𐤐𐤏𐤋
𐤋𐤕𐤟𐤇𐤈
]ʾn.pʿl[
]lt.ḥṭ[

Transliteration source, Cross (1987): In 1974 I published a brief paper on the archaic Phoenician inscription found on a fragment of a large stele from Nora. ... In my paper I observed that the inscription had been published upside down by A. della Marmora in 1840, and again later in the Corpus inscriptionum semiticarum, leading to confusion which prevented recognition of its antiquity and its proper decipherment. ... Line 1 reads from right to left: ]ʾn.pʿl[; Line 2 reads from left to right: ]lt.ḥṭ[2

Nora Fragment | Frank Moore Cross
TranscriptionTransliteration
𐤋𐤕𐤟𐤇𐤈
𐤐𐤏𐤋𐤟𐤍𐤊
]lt.ḥṭ[
]pʿl.nk

Inscription as originally published upside down, per Cross (1987) above. In the upper orientation, the bottom left character is "𐤐" [i.e., ṭḥ.tp] if the text is read right-to-left; it becomes "𐤋" [i.e., lt.ḥṭ] if the text is interpreted as boustrophedron, in which the letters reverse with the direction of the writing (see, for example, the Mantiklos Apollo). In both the upper and lower orientation, regardless whether the text is read right-to-left [dextrosinistral or sinistrograde] or left-to-right [sinistrodextral or dextrograde], the direction that the "𐤍" faces fixes reading the character next to it as "𐤀" in the upper orientation [either ʾn or ] and "𐤊" in the lower orientation [either nk or kn].

Notes

Cross (1987): Three old stelae of monumental size have been found in Sardinia: the Nora Stone, the Bosa Fragment, both of the second half of the ninth century, and the Nora Fragment of the eleventh century.3

Cross (1987): The inscription was written in the multidirectional style (in this case boustrophedon) which flourished in Old Canaanite and Early Linear Phoenician, but died out before the end of the eleventh century BCE.4

Azevedo (1994): 11th BC.5

1. Image and drawing: Charles W. Loder, The Short-Form of the Phoenician First-Person, Independent Pronoun Reassessed, Journal of Semitic Studies LXIV/2 (Autumn 2019), https://www.academia.edu/40245436/THE_SHORT-FORM_OF_THE_PHOENICIAN_FIRST-PERSON_INDEPENDENT_PRONOUN_REASSESSED_PREPUB_ (accessed ...), p. 324, Fig. 3: Cross’s photograph and drawing of the Nora Fragment (2003: 261).

2. Transliteration: Frank Moore Cross, The Oldest Phoenician Inscription from Sardinia: The Fragmentary Stele from Nora [1987], in Leaves from an Epigrapher's Notebook: Collected Papers in Hebrew and West Semitic Palaeography and Epigraphy (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2003), https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000038.xml (accessed ...), pp. 260-261.

3. Note: Ibid., https://books.google.com/books?id=wN6mDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA263 (accessed ...), p. 263.

4. Note: Ibid., https://brill.com/view/book/9789004369887/BP000038.xml (accessed ...), p. 260.

5. Note: Joaquim Azevedo, The Origin and Transmission of the Alphabet (1994), Master's Theses, 28, https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1027&context=theses (accessed ...), p. 108.

Canaanite Syllabary

Byblos Syllabary (18th to 15th century BCE)

Image source: Wikimedia Commons.

Wikipedia: ...during the Old Kingdom of Egypt, Byblos was virtually an Egyptian colony. ....when the New Kingdom collapsed in the 11th century BC, Byblos ceased being a colony and became the foremost city of Phoenicia.

Wikipedia: The Byblian royal inscriptions are five inscriptions from Byblos written in an early type of Phoenician script....

Wikipedia: Some signs, for example , look like modified common Egyptian hieroglyphs.... Several signs resemble letters of the later Phoenician alphabet: . This suggests that the latter was derived in some way from the syllabary.

Wikipedia: ...it is probable that the syllabary was devised by someone in Byblos who had seen Egyptian hieroglyphs and used them freely as an example to compose a new syllabary that was better adapted to the native language of Byblos.

Ontopia: Undeciphered script known only from 10 inscriptions found in the city of Byblos during excavations 1928-32.

Ancient Scripts: There are only a few short examples of this script, mainly on stone or metal. This script contains roughly one hundreds signs, which agrees with the number of signs necessary for a syllabary.

Colless: [preserved]

Colless [preserved]: In my own series of studies on these writings (entitled “The Syllabic Inscriptions of Byblos”), I have dubbed this script “the Gublaic syllabary”, using the Semitic name of the city (Gubla) rather than its Greek name (Byblos). However, the question now needs to be asked whether this writing system was exclusive to Byblos.
That the Gublaic syllabic script is closely related to the Canaanite proto- alphabet is accepted by Mendenhall and myself, and proto-alphabetic in- scriptions have been found not only in Canaan but also in Sinai and Egypt. The list of texts presented below indicates that the syllabic script was in fact employed elsewhere in Canaan (Megiddo), as also in Sinai (in the same tur- quoise-mining region as the proto-alphabet), in Egypt (in the Delta and at Thebes), and possibly even in Italy. It is no longer possible to say that the syllabary was used only in Byblos, while the Canaanite proto-alphabet (also known as the Proto-Canaanite alphabet) was used everywhere else. Note, however, that the proto-alphabet has not yet been attested at Byblos, only the Phoenician alphabet (that is, the Phoenician version of the Canaanite linear alphabet).
In the light of all this, are we justified in calling this system the Byblian or Gublaic syllabary? It may well be true that it was invented in Bronze Age Gubla, though this can not be demonstrated. Analogously, Ugarit used a cuneiform alphabet for writing its own West Semitic language, and this sys- tem was possibly devised in Ugarit. However, it turns up elsewhere in Syria- Palestine and beyond, in modified form. It would therefore seem appropriate to label this script “the West Semitic cuneiform alphabet”; but it would be more convenient to identify it as “the Canaanite cuneiform alphabet” (although Ugarit was not strictly a part of Canaan). Similarly we should speak of “the Canaanite syllabary”, even if the main “pseudo-hieroglyphic” inscriptions come from Byblos.

Colless [preserved]: The inventory of texts known to me comprises about twenty inscrip- tions, most of which have been studied already.

Colless [preserved]: Garbini has noted that Dunand presented a repertory of 114 signs, which might be reduced to about 90 if the difference between monumental and normal writing is taken into account; but he accuses Mendenhall of an un- justified reduction to little more than 60, in treating too many clearly dis- tinct signs as identical. For my part, I feel that Mendenhall has wielded Occam's razor judiciously, and when we realize what each sign represents (nu, a bee, for example) the task of identifying variants is simplified.

Colless [preserved]: The Canaanite syllabary could be described as a vocalic script, in that it shows the vowels along with the consonants, as does the cuneiform syllabary of ancient Mesopotamia. It is not simply a consonantal script, and thus it is quite unlike Egyptian hieroglyphic writing, which is a complex consonantal script, where no vowels are indicated, and where one sign can represent one consonant, or even two or more consonants simultaneously; Egyptian hieroglyphs exist for words with one, two, or three consonants, and these can stand for any word which has that particular combination of consonants, irrespective of the vowels; thus the character for “house”, pr, can also function as pr, “go”. By the same token, the Canaanite syllabary is also unlike the Canaanite consonantal script, the proto-alphabet, where each sign represents one consonant, and the vowels are disregarded when recording speech.
Nevertheless, although the Canaanite syllabic script differs from these two writing systems, it is in a sense intermediate between them. On the one side, it uses Egyptian hieroglyphs for its characters, wherever feasible. It is difficult to find a clear Egyptian origin for some of the signs (such as ’u, di, hu, wa, yi, ki, si, ‘i, ti, tu), but the abstract symbols for “life” and “good”, which represent Ìi and †a respectively, are certainly borrowed Egyptian hieroglyphs, though each is modified slightly because of their close resem- blance. Equally distinguishable as Egyptian are the “night” hieroglyph, functioning as la, the “support” (djed pillar, spinal column) as sa, and the “unity” symbol as ya. On the other side, the majority (at least two-thirds) of the signs in the proto-alphabet have a counterpart in the syllabary; for ex- ample, the sign for a house (baytu) denotes ba in the vocalic syllabary, and b in the consonantal proto-alphabet. Almost all of the signs in this script can be related to Egyptian hieroglyphs, including the nfr (“good”) symbol, Se- mitic †abu.

Copyright 2007-2021 Thomas Moore, Email: acct3 at katabiblon.com, Support Forum Set Local Timezone
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The Kata Biblon Grammar of the Greek New Testament is a grammar reference of the Greek New Testament and Septuagint.

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