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Offer of Payment for Reconstruction of Temple (Draft) (3.53)

(996 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary The lower, left half of the text is lost and holes affect the reading of several other crucial words. As a draft (Cairo J. 43467 [ TAD A4.10]), the letter omitted the praescriptio but listed in column form the names of the five leaders presenting the petition. Headed by Jedaniah, they were not priests or “Jews, citizens of Elephantine” (COSB.3.51:1, 22) but “Syenians, hereditary pr…

Recommendation to Aid Two Benefactors (3.48)

(1,863 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary This bipartite letter of recommendation (Cairo J. 43472 [ TAD A4.3]) set forth in the first half the benefit that Djeḥo and Ḥor had bestowed upon the writer, the scribe and leader Mauziah (lines 3–5), and in the second half recommended that upon their arrival at Elephantine they be handsomely reimbursed (lines 5–11). The Troop Commander of Elephantine arrested Ma…

Petition for Reconstruction of Temple (?) (draft) (3.50)

(2,320 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary This letter (Strasbourg Aram. 2 [ TAD A4.5]) was written not in a single vertical column, like the other letters, but in two parallel horizontal columns on the recto and a single vertical column on the verso. An estimated three lines are missing at the top and bottom of each column. Writing to an unknown official, the Jews protested their loyalty at the time of…

Appeal of Adon King of Ekron to Pharaoh (3.54)

(1,796 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary Discovered in a clay jar at Saqqarah in 1942, along with Egyptian and Greek papyri, by Zaki Saad Effendi, this light-colored papyrus fragment (7.7/8.5 cm wide x 9.6/9.8 cm tall) rests now in the Cairo Egyptian Museum (J. 86984 = papyrus number 3483). It contains the right half of a nine-line Aramaic letter, addressed to “Lord of Kings Pharaoh” from “your se…

Request for Letter of Recommendation (First Draft) (3.51)

(5,394 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary Historically, this is the most significant of all the Elephantine Aramaic texts (P. Berlin 13495 [ TAD A4.7]). It is a well-balanced, carefully constructed bipartite petition (Report and Petition) addressed by Jedaniah, the priests, and all the Jews of Elephantine to Bagavahya, governor of Judah. It opens with a Fourfold Salutation (welfare, favor, longevity, happiness an…

The Passover Letter (3.46)

(1,269 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary Significant as this letter (P. Berlin 13464 [ TAD A4.1]) is, its full intent eludes us because of our ignorance as to the identity of Hananiah and the loss of the command from Darius to Arsames (Instructions I). Hananiah arrived from outside of Egypt, either upon the initiative of the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem or of the Persian court or in response to a peti…

Report of Imprisonment of Jewish Leaders (3.49)

(1,283 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary Opening and closing with a pagan Salutation, a private letter (P. Berlin 13456 + Cairo J. 43476 [ TAD A4.4]) from the otherwise unknown Islaḥ, son of Nathan, to an unknown son of Gaddul reported the fateful incarceration of several men in Elephantine and the seizure and imprisonment of six Jewish women and five Jewish leaders at the gate in Thebes. The men were apparently …

Recommendation for Reconstruction of Temple (3.52)

(1,088 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary If a written reply to the petition was sent, as requested, it has not been found. Preserved herein (P. Berlin 13497 [ TAD A4.9]) is a concise and precise verbal message dictated jointly by the authorities in Jerusalem and Samaria. Written on a torn piece of papyrus by the same scribe as the second draft of the petition ( TAD A4.8), it was much amended. Its close adherence to the petition indicates an essential en…

Report of Conflict and Request for Assistance (3.47)

(1,594 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters; The Jedaniah Archive From Elephantine Commentary Written on a three-ply protocol (first sheet) of a scroll (Cairo J. 43471 [ TAD A4.2]), this letter defies proper understanding because of the loss of its left half and the use of numerous words and phrases that occur only here. An unknown subordinate, using the standard pagan Salutation formula, informed the leaders Jedaniah, Mauziah, and Uriah of proceedings at the co…

The Jedaniah Archive from Elephantime (3.P116)

(563 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Aramaic Letters Commentary The first identifiably Elephantine Aramaic papyrus was acquired in 1898/99 on the antiquities market by the Egyptologist Wilhelm Spiegelberg for the (now-named) Bibliothèque Nationale et Universitaire of Strasbourg and published by Julius Euting in 1903 ( COS COSB.3.50). While fragmentary, it reported the nefarious acts of the Khnum priests and foreshadowed the tale of the destruction of the Jewish temple. T…