Lachish Ostracon #3


DESCRIPTION
Language: Hebrew
Medium: Ostracon
(clay pottery fragment)
Size: ? centimeters long
? centimeters wide
Length: 23 lines of writing
Genre: Letter
Approximate Date: 589/588 BCE
Place of Discovery: Tell ed-Duweir, West Bank
(ancient Lachish)
Date of Discovery: 1935
Excavator: J. L. Starkey
Current Location: British Museum
London, England
Inventory no.: IDAM 38-127




TRANSLITERATION
(Adapted from Pardee 1982:84)
TRANSLATION
(Adapted from Pardee 1982:84-85)
Obverse

1) cBDK . HWŠcYHW . ŠL H . L
2) [H]G[D] L['D]NY [Y']WŠ . YŠMc
3) YHW[H ']T 'DNY ŠMcT . ŠLM
4) W[ . . . . . . ] S[]W cT . HPQH
5) N' 'T cYN cBDK LSPR . 'ŠR
6) ŠLH 'DNY LcBDK 'MŠ . KY . LB
7) cBDK DWH . M'Z . ŠLHK . 'L . cBD
8) K WKY 'MR 'DNY L' YDcTH
9) QR' SPR HYHWH . 'M . NSH . '
10) YŠ LQR' LY SPR LNSH . WGM
11) KL SPR 'ŠR YB' . 'LY 'M .
12) QR'TY . 'TH ['H]R 'TNNHW
13) [']L M'WM[H] WLcBDK . HGD
14) L'MR . YRD ŠR HSB' .
15) KNYHW BN 'LNTN LB' .
16) MSRYMH . W'T






Reverse

17) HWDWYHW BN 'HYHW W
18) 'NŠW ŠLH LQHT . MZH
19) WSPR . TBYHW cBD . HMLK . HB'
20) 'L . ŠLM . BN YDc . M'T . HNB' . L'M
21) R . HŠMR . ŠLHH . cBDK . 'L . 'DNY


Transliteration of special characters
  • ' = 'Aleph
  • H = Heth
  • T = Teth
  • c = c Ayin
  • S = Sadê

  • Š = Šin
Obverse

Your servant Hoshiyahu was sent to inform my lord Yo'ash. May Yahweh cause my lord to hear news of peace. But now you have sent a letter; and my lord did not instruct your servant regarding the letter that you sent to your servant yesterday evening, though your servant's heart has been sick since you wrote your servant. And my lord said, "Don't you understand? Call a scribe." As Yahweh lives, no one has ever had to call a scribe for me. And furthermore, for any scribe who might have come to me, I did not call him, nor would I give anything at all for him. It has been reported to your servant, saying, "The commander of the army, Koniyahu son of Elnathan, has arrived in order to go down to Egypt. And








Reverse

regarding Hodoyahu son of Ahiyahu and his men, he has sent to obtain . . . from him." And as for the letter of Tobiyahu, the king's servant, which came to Shallum son of Yaddua through the prophet saying, "Beware!"—your servant has sent this to my lord.




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
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SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Albright, W. F. "Palestinian Inscriptions." In Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament. Edited by J. B. Pritchard, 320-22. 3rd ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969.
Di Vito, Robert. "Lachish Letters." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 4.126-28. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Ganor, N. R. "The Lachish Letters." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 99 (1967) 74-77.
Gibson, J. C. L. Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions. Vol. 1: Hebrew and Moabite Inscriptions. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1973.
Pardee, Dennis. Handbook of Ancient Hebrew Letters. SBL Sources for Biblical Studies 15. Chico, Calif.: Scholars, 1982.
Smelik, Klaas A. D. "The Riddle of Tobiah's Document: Difficulties in the Interpretation of Lachish III, 19-21." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 122 (1990) 133-38.
Smelik, Klaas A. D. Writings from Ancient Israel: A Handbook of Historical and Religion Documents. Translated by G. I. Davies. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1991.
Ussishkin, David. "Lachish." In Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman, 4.114-26. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Torczyner, H., et al. Lachish I: The Lachish Letters. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1938.



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Last Modified: 15 May 2002