The Ekron Inscription

Photo © Israel Museum

Language: Phoenician (?)
(Philistine script)
Medium: limestone block
Size: 38 centimeters high
61 centimeters wide
220 lbs.
Length: 72 letters
5 lines of writing
Genre: Dedicatory Inscription
Approximate Date: 7th century BCE
Geographical Location
of Discovery:
Tel Miqne, Israel
(ancient Ekron)
Site of Discovery: Temple Complex 650
Room U
Date of Discovery: 1996
Chief Excavators: Seymour Gitin
Trude Dothan

Current Location: Israel Museum
Inventory Number: L 60

Photo © Israel Museum

13th cent. statue from Ekron

Gitin, Demsky, Naveh (1997:9)
by K. C. Hanson
(Adapted from Gitin )

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This temple was built by 'Akish, son of Padi, son of Yasid, son of Ada, son of Ya'ir, ruler of Ekron, for Ptgyh,* his (divine) lady. May she bless him, and guard him, and prolong his days, and bless his land.

*Demsky reads this divine name as "Pt[n]yh" and relates it to the Greek "Potnia" ("Lady" or "Mistress"), perhaps referring to Asherah.

1. What sort of relationship is articulated between 'Akish and his goddess? What responsibilities does each have to the other? Read 1 Kings 8:56-61, Haggai 2:1-9, and Zechariah 3:6-10 for comparison. Compare the Mesha Stele [click to link].
2. Who had the responsibility to build and maintain temples in the ancient Near East? Compare the "temple authorization" letter from Elephantine [click to link].
3. What functions did ancient Near Eastern temples serve besides providing a place of worship? In terms of politics? In terms political economics? In terms of archives?
4. Since this inscription is a dedicatory inscription, what do we know about ancient dedications of temples in terms of ritual, prayer, and liturgy? Compare 1 Kings 8:1-66; Zechariah 8:1-19; 1 Maccabees 4:42-59.
5. Compare and contrast this inscription to the one Nebuchadnezzar had inscribed on the Ishtar Gate in Babylon [click to link].

Demsky, Aaron. "Discovering a Goddess: A New Look at the Ekron Inscription Identifies Mysterious Deity." Biblical Archaeology Review 24.5 (1998) 53-58.
Demsky, Aaron. "The Name of the Goddess of Ekron: A New Reading." Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society 25 (1997) 1-5.
Dothan, Trude. "Ekron of the Philistines, Part 1: Where They Came From, How They Settled Down and the Place They Worshiped in." Biblical Archaeology Review 18.1 (1990) 28-38.
Dothan, Trude, and Seymour Gitin. "Ekron of the Philistines: How They Lived, Worked and Worshiped for Five Hundred Years." Biblical Archaeology Review 18.1 (1990) 20-25.
Dothan, Trude, and Seymour Gitin. "Ekron." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 2:422-28. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Gitin, Seymour. "Cultic Inscriptions Found in Ekron." Biblical Archaeologist 53 (1990) 232.
Gitin, Seymour. "Ekron of the Philistines: Olive Oil Suppliers to the World." Biblical Archaeology Review 18.1 (1990) 20-25.
Gitin, Seymour. "Last Days of the Philistines." Archaeology 45.3 (1992) 26-31.
Gitin, Seymour. "The Neo-Assyrian Empire and Its Western Periphery." In Assyria 1995: Proceedings of the 10th Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, Helsinki, September 7-11, 1995, Edited by S. Parpola and R. M. Whiting, 77-103. Helsinki: The Project, 1997.
Gitin, Seymour. "New Philistine Finds at Tel Miqne-Ekron." Biblical Archaeologist 59 (1996) 70.
Gitin, Seymour. "The Rise and Fall of Ekron of the Philistines: Recent Excavations at an Urban Border Site." Biblical Archaeologist 50 (1990) 197-222.
Gitin, Seymour. "Royal Philistine Temple Inscription Found at Ekron." Biblical Archaeologist 59 (1996) 101-2.
Gitin, Seymour. "Seventh Century Cultic Elements at Ekron." In Biblical Archaeology Today, 1990, edited by A. Biran et al., 248-58. Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1996.
Gitin, Seymour. "Tel Miqne-Ekron: A Type Site for the Inner Coastal Plain in the Iron Age II Period." In Recent Excavations in Israel: Studies in Iron Age Archaeology, edited by S. Gitin and W. Dever, 23-50. The Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 49. Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1999.
Gitin, Seymour, Trude Dothan, and Joseph Naveh. "A Royal Dedicatory Inscription from Ekron." Israel Exploration Journal 48 (1997) 1-18.
Gitin, Seymour, Trude Dothan, and Joseph Naveh. "Ekron Identity Confirmed." Archaeology 51.1 (1998) 30-31.

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Last Modified: 2 April 2007