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The King of Ugarit to the Queen-Mother In the Matter of His Meeting With the Hittite Sovereign (RS 16.379) (3.45F)

(488 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Ugaritic Letters; Correspondence Between Members of the Royal Family (6) The King of Ugarit to the Queen-Mother In the Matter of His Meeting With the Hittite Sovereign (RS 16.379) (3.45F) 1 Subject: Num 13:31; Judg 1:1 Address (lines 1–3) To the queen, my mo[ther], say: Message of the king, your son. Prostration and Greeting Formulae ( line 4–7) At my mother’s feet I fall. With my mo[ther] may it be well. May the god[s] guard you, may they keep [you] well. Report of Well-being and Request fo…

Letter II (3.1B)

(1,413 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; Middle Kingdom Letters Letter II (3.1B) Subject: Isa 9:19; Mic 3:3; Gen 16:12 (vo. 5–6) From ka-servant Heqanakht to his household of Sidder Grove.1 ( ro. 1) A son who speaks to his mother, ka-servant Heqanakht to his mother Ipi, and to Hetepet:2 how is your life, soundness, and health? In the blessing of Montu, lord of Thebes.3 To the whole household: how are you and how is your life, soundness, and health? Don’t concern yourselves about me. Look, I am healthy and alive. ( ro. 3) Look, you are li…

The Turin Judicial Papyrus (3.8)

(2,712 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary At an undetermined point in the thirty-two year reign of Ramses III, a harem conspiracy led by a minor queen Tiye attempted to overthrow the king in favor of her son, prince Pentawere. The relative success of the plot is unclear. Pentawere was likely proclaimed ruler by this faction, since it is euphemistically noted that he was “called by that other name” (col. v.7). Ultimately the conspiracy failed, and…

Real Estate Transaction (3.133C)

(203 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Sale Transactions Commentary This text comes from Šuruppak and dates to the Fara period (ca. 2400 BCE). Real Estate Transaction (3.133C) (lines 1–2) 1 mina (i.e. a pound) of copper (is) the price of the field. (line 3) 1 sar (is the size of) the field. (lines 4–5) 2 minas of copper (is) the additional payment. (lines 6–7) 6 minas of copper (is) the gift. (lines 8–11) 10 loaves of breads, 10 cakes, 2 PAB-measures of soup, (and) 2 PAB-measures of fish chowder (is the food offering). (lines 12–15) Ur-ens…

The Widow’s Plea (3.44)

(1,061 words)

Author(s): Pardee, Dennis
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Hebrew Letters Commentary This text did not come from regular excavations and the question of authenticity arises here as in other such cases. Because there are no irregularities in script or language, I continue to believe (see Bordreuil, Israel, and Pardee 1996 and 1998) that the text is authentic. To believe the opposite requires the hypothesis that the forger was a master epigrapher, a master grammarian (only an …

Inheritance of a Brother and a Sister (AT 7) (3.129)

(692 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Wills; Alalakh Commentary This Old Babylonian text from Alalakh resolves an inheritance dispute before the court of the king. In so doing it is clear that both sister and brother receive shares of the estate. It is thus clear that women could inherit property and take a share of their father’s estate, as in the famous case of the daughters of Zelophehad (Num 27:1–11; Josh 17:3–6). In both accounts, however, the decision is made before the leader of the nation and thus the impression is th…

A Lawsuit Over a Syrian Slave (3.10)

(900 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary Likely dating to the reign of Ramses II, this papyrus records the oral arguments before a Theban court regarding the ownership of a female Syrian slave and a second, male slave of unknown nationality. In the lost beginning of the transcript, the citizeness Irineferet was accused by a soldier Naky of purchasing these slaves with the property of another woman. The preserved portion of the text begins with t…

A Report of Escaped Laborers (3.4)

(528 words)

Author(s): Allen, James P.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Letters; New Kingdom Model Letters Commentary Like Papyrus Anastasi III, the papyrus from which this letter is taken, now in the British Museum (EA 10244), contains a number of model letters and other scribal compositions, some of which appear in other contemporary papyri. Since several of these, including the letter translated here, mention the pharaoh Seti II (Dyn. 19, ca. 1200–1194 bce), the papyrus was probably written during his reign, but the mention of Regnal Year 33 elsewhere …

Ḥesbân Ostracon A2 (3.85)

(397 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Accounts; Ammonite Ostraca from Ḥesbân Commentary This ostracon, discovered in 1974, is a body sherd from a heavy storage jar. Its maximum dimensions are 8.×.4 cm. It was, however, originally larger than its present version as evidenced by a modern break along its top. The text is a list of goods, written in Ammonite cursive script.1 The ostracon is in the Amman Archaeological Museum, Ḥesbân No. H74.2092.2 It has been dated paleographically to ca. 575 bce.3 Ḥesbân Ostracon A2 (3.85) Subject: N…

Kub 15.1 (CTH 584.1) (3.36)

(1,018 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Hittite Archival Documents; Accounts; Votive Records Kub 15.1 ( CTH 584.1) (3.36) (i.1–11)1 Ḫebat of the city Uda. Dream of the queen. When …, the queen in the dream vowed to Ḫebat of Uda as follows: “If you, O goddess, my lady, will preserve the life of His Majesty, i.e., you will not allow him to come to harm, I will make for Ḫebat a gold statuette, and I will make for her a gold rosette, and they shall call it ‘Ḫebat’s rosette.’ I will also make a gold toggle pin for your breast, and they shall call it ‘the goddess’s toggle pin.’ ” ( i.12–14) D…

Instructions to Shear Ewe (3.87B)

(957 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Miscellaneous Texts; Aramaic Ostraca Commentary Discovered in the Rubensohn excavations of 1906–1907, published in 1911 by Sachau (plate 63, 1) but properly understood only by Lidzbarski and Perles, this ostracon was made over to the Egyptian Museum, Cairo (JE 43464B). The anonymous writer informed Uriah that it was time for him to shear his big ewe (3–4 years old) lest its wool get torn by thorns. Moreover, the shearing shoul…

Sale of a Town (AT 52) (3.99B)

(482 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This is one of several texts at Alalakh from Level VII in which towns are bought and sold (see  AT 53–58). In this case a woman and her son, and therefore the one living heir, sell the town of Iburia to Yarimlim of Alalakh. The sale of towns recalls their use in payment from Solomon to Hiram (1 Kgs 11:11) and as a wedding gift from pharaoh to Solomon (1 Kgs 9:16–17). See also  AT 1 ( COS COSB.2.127) and  AT 456 ( COS COSB.2.137). Sale of a Town ( AT 52) (3.99B) Subject: Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 1…

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…

A Life Estate of Usufruct (3.75)

(1,337 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Egyptian Aramaic Commentary Written by an unknown scribe, this document was much corrected and bore unique terms and formulae.1 It was the first of three deeds drawn up by Anani for the bequest of room(s) in his house which he was bestowing upon his daughter Jehoishma. This one was in contemplation of her marriage, which was to be recorded in a document of wifehood drawn up three months later (COSB.3.76:1). Absence of certain prov…

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…

From an Official in Alashia to the King (RS 18.113a+b) (3.45U)

(687 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Ugaritic Letters; Between King or Queen and a Non-Royal Personage (21) From an Official in Alashia to the King (RS 18.113a+b) (3.45U) 1 Address (lines 1–3) To the king, [my] l[ord], s[ay]: Message of the Chief of Maʾ[ḫadu, your servant]. Prostration Formula ( lines 4–6) At the feet of my master [ (from) afar], seven times and seven times [do I fall.] Greetings ( lines 6–9) I do pronounce to Baʿlu-Ṣapuni, to Eternal Sun, to ʿAṯtartu, to ʿAnatu, to all the gods of Alashi[a] (…

A Loan of Silver from Assur (3.57)

(448 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Contracts; Assyrian Aramaic Commentary Discovered in excavations at Assur, this Assyrian Aramaic inscription recording a loan of silver is written on a triangular clay docket. While the text contains no date, it can be dated on the basis of its archival context to the reign of Assurbanipal or later.1 A Loan of Silver from Assur (3.57) Subject: Exod 22:24; Lev 25:36–37; 15:2; 23:20–21; 1 Kgs 6:38; 12:32, 33; Zech 1:1; 1 Chr 27:11 ( Five fingernail marks on the top of the tablet) ( lines 1–5a) 8 shekels of…

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…

The Queen to Yarmîhaddu (RS 96.2039) (3.45S)

(859 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Letters; Ugaritic Letters; Between King or Queen and a Non-Royal Personage (19) The Queen to Yarmîhaddu (RS 96.2039) (3.45S) 1 Subject: Exod 21:1–6; Judg 6:11 Address (lines 1–3) [Me]ssage of the queen: To Yarmîhaddu, my brother, say: Reference to a Preceding Letter in Reference to a Servant Who Had Fled ( lines 4–17) (As for) the (message)-tablet (in which I said) “Your servant whom I took […]; and I, for my part, gave his wife to you; ll and that servant worked on my farm;2  mm but that servant re…
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