[b-hebrew] New Hebrew Inscription Found

George Athas George.Athas at moore.edu.au
Mon Apr 6 19:33:51 EDT 2009


Hi all!

Many of you will no doubt have heard about the recent find of a fragmentary inscription in Jerusalem, dated preliminarily to the 8th century BCE. For those who have not heard, I’ve copied the notice below.

Regards,

GEORGE ATHAS
Moore Theological College (Sydney, Australia)
www.moore.edu.au

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Israel Antiquities Authority

A Fragment of a Hebrew Inscription from the Period of the Kings of
Judah was Found
[Photo: <http://www.antiquities.org.il/images/articles//press/IAA_Inscription.jpg>

In Archaeological Excavations the Israel Antiquities Authority is
Conducting at the City of David, in the Walls Around Jerusalem
National Park:

A Fragment of a Hebrew Inscription from the Period of the Kings of
Judah was Found

A fragment of a limestone plaque bearing several letters of ancient
Hebrew script was discovered while sifting soil that was excavated in
the vicinity of the Gihon Spring, within the precincts of the “Walls
around Jerusalem National Park”. The excavation is being carried out
on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, under the direction of
Professor Ronny Reich of the University of Haifa and Eli Shukron of
the IAA, and is sponsored by the ‘Ir David Foundation.

The stone fragment dates to the eighth century BCE and this is based
on the numerous pottery sherds that were discovered together with it,
as well as the shape of the Hebrew letters that are engraved in the
inscription.

The plaque is broken on all sides. All that remains of the inscription
are two lines of writing: In the upper line the last part of a given
name is preserved: ...]קיה, or as it is transliterated into English
…]kiah. Unfortunately the remains of another letter before the kof
cannot be discerned. If the letter preceding the kof was a zayin, we
could complete the name to read חזקיה, or Hezekiah in English, and
perhaps ascribe historical importance to the inscription. On the other
hand, there are other first names that were used in Judah and
Jerusalem at that time that could be mentioned here such as Hilkia,
Amekiya, etc.

In the second line are the remains of two words. Here too, is a suffix
of a word: ...]כה, or as it is transliterated into English …]ka. Here
we have several possibilities for completing the word such as:
בְּרָכָה, or birqa, that is, a greeting expressing best wishes (a
possible ending for some sort of commemorative inscription). Another
possibility is the word בְּרֵכָה, or brecha, meaning water reservoir.
The reconstruction of this word is possible based on the fact that
Brechat HaShiloah, or the Shiloah Pool in English, is located nearby,
and also based on the fact that a pool is mentioned in the famous
Shiloah inscription that was discovered close by.

In any event the fact that we are dealing with a stone plaque
indicates that this is a commemorative inscription that may have been
meant to celebrate some sort of building project.

All that remains is to wait and hope that in time other fragments of
the inscription will be found.

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