The Byt Yhwh Ostracon

Language: Hebrew
Medium: ostracon (pottery)
Size: 8.6 centimeters high
10.9 centimeters wide
Length: 5 lines of writing
Genre: Tax Receipt
Approximate Date: 9th—7th centuries BCE
Place of Discovery: unknown
Date of Discovery: unknown
Current Location: Shlomo Moussaieff Collection
(London, England)

(Adapted from Shanks )

Š |||

According to your order, Ashya-
hu the king, to give by the hand
of [Z]ekaryahu silver of Tar-
shish for the house of Yahweh
3 shekels

1. Some scholars have suggested that byt yhwh refers to the Jerusalem temple. Given the wide variety of other Yahweh shrines and temples, what other locations are feasible during this period?
2. What is the connection of taxes and political-religious shrines and temples?
3. Since Ashyahu does not appear as the name of an Israelite or Judahite king mentioned in the Bible (at least in this exact form), what are the possibilities for his identification?
4. To what would "Tarshish silver" refer? What do we know about metal standards in the ancient world?

Ben-David, A. "The Standard of the Sheqel." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 98 (1966) 168-69.
Bordreuil, Pierre, Felice Israel, and Dennis Pardee. "Deux Ostraca Paleo-Hebrew de la Collection Sh. Moussaieff." Semitica 46 (1997) 49-76 + Plates 7 & 8.
Dever, William G. "Temples and Sanctuaries: Syria-Palestine." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 6:376-80. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Holladay, John S. "Religion in Israel and Judah Under the Monarchy: An Explicitly Archaeological Approach." In Ancient Israelite Religion: Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross, edited by Patrick D. Miller et al., 249-99. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987.
Kraus, Hans-Joachim. Worship in Israel: A Cultic History of the Old Testament. Translated by G. Buswell. Richmond: John Knox, 1966.
Powell, Marvin A. "Weights and Measurements." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 6:897-908. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Shanks, Hershel. "Three Shekels for the Lord. Ancient Inscription Records Gift to Solomon's Temple." Biblical Archaeology Review 23.6 (Nov/Dec 1997) 28-32.
Shiloh, Yigael. "Iron Age Sanctuaries and Cult Elements in Palestine." In Symposia Celebrating the Seventy-fifth Anniversary of the founding of the American Schools of Oriental Research, edited by Frank Moore Cross, 147-57. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1975.

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Last Modified: 18 April 2007