Qeiyafah ostracon questions
- Dear Yitzhak,
Thanks for your response. It is good to be able to exchange our
perceptions in this forum.
My thoughts are asterisked below.
I have been asked why I keep speculating about it when all the letters
are not available or visible. It is to keep the fires burning,
signalling to those who have the document that we would like to see
more, and not just their speculations. When we have got a few legible
sequences unveiled before us, as now, we have to consider numerous
possibilities until the likeliest interpretation comes to the top; and
that will also be what we have to do (practice sequencing) when the
whole text is revealed.
We have only 3 photographs, each with a hand obscuring part of the text.
[A] this shows the corner with the 'A and the Tet, very well
[B] this shows most of the top line, but the thumb's shadow obscures
[C] a pale view of the text
*At present I can not be sure which way up we should hold the sherd
when reading the text, whether the 'A should be viewed in the stance /
\ or \/ or < or > . The last of these is my choice at the moment.
On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 5:49 AM, Brian Colless wrote:
> Yitzhak Sapir said:
> >What you read as a B, Haggai Misgav reads a Lamed whose top has
> been cut off. This makes for the aleph-lamed, taw-ayin of אל תעש
> ("Don't do.") <
*Yes, I have explained that I can now see (on photo B, beside the
thumb) the type of B used by this scribe, further along the line that
starts with 'A, which is the top line, which has suffered breakage
since it was written, and possibly more lines have disappeared with
(Send more teenagers to search the site till the missing piece has
* Yitzhak has transcribed my Sh-P-T. as MMT. ; I don't think that is
right. This would be the word 'judge' we are told was there. It is at
the start of the second line, running left to right.
I did not mean to second guess Haggai Misgav. He is the one who has the
qualifications to read this inscription as well as the necessary
and at this point, apparently, this is not even sufficient for trying
to read more than a handful of words.
*Apparently so. This seems like a photographic job for Bruce Z'n at
West Semitic research.
Those letters there on the second line may be the
ones Haggai Misgav reads as "judge" -- I don't know where the word
appears. I feel that the Sin on the first line has only two < marks,
the ones I identified as Mem on the second line have three or four
second has them going >).
* Putting the evidence from both photographs (A+B) together, on B the
shadows and spots can produce 2 multiwaved cases of M, but the
brightly lit photo A shows simply /\/\, which is Sh rather than M. You
are right that the S/Sh in line 1 is the opposite of that, \/\/.
This suggests that the lines are running as the ox ploughs
(boustrophedon), and the letters get reversed along the way. I have
not dismissed the thought that this writing is in columns (but there
is a Semitic [Syriac, Arabic] scribal tradition of writing in columns
but reading it as lines!!)
I did this because I realized that the words "Don't do" are legible on
the photo, and also because someone asked how the Proto-Canaanite
forms are substantiated in the photo.
Again, I did not
mean to second-guess Haggai Misgav in his reading and if he, with all
information he has available is not willing to go much further, we
*Well, I want to get my bearings right now, because I know (from my
experience with the Wadi el-Hol inscription [the 2 graffiti make a
single text, I think], the Izbet Sarta inscription, and the Sinai
corpus of proto-alphabetic texts) that I take years to decipher
them. Already I can see a sequence for ShPTt ('judge', noun or verb),
and a sequence 'A L T ` Sh [thumb] B L? T?
Here Victor's suggestion from rape scenes in the Bible is worth
al ta`asu et hannebalah hazot in Judges 19:23 and al ta`aseh et
hannebalah hazot in II Sam 13:12. Interesting!
I have asked whether there are definite articles detectable in this
I am also waiting to see whether the D is a wooden door on a post, or
This supposed L could be D, and this might be where the reported `B D
"slave" might be.
*But ' L T "goddess" is still lurking there; or "curses", or "I have
cursed"; or "these";
or 'elah (a sacred tree). See my separate posting on this possibility.
*Previous points made by me (this is all for my own benefit; I want to
print this out for future reference).
The first question I always ask myself is whether it is a consonantal
or syllabic text.
No question about it: this is an Iron Age inscription in the tradition
of the Izbet Sarta ostracon, though I wish I had more details to work
The text is said to have 50 letters. Possibly some of it is broken off
at the top, a line or more.
If sh-p-t. ('judge') really is a correct reading, then it tells us
that the direction is left to right, as on the Izbet Sarta inscription
(where all five lines are obviously moving in that direction,
including the alphabet itself in line 5). Phoenician inscriptions from
Byblos (syllabic and alphabetic) run from right to left (the typical
And a name for the place in the Bible? Could it be ´Socoh ["Lookout?"
Root s´k h, look, watch] , "belonging to Judah", near the Elah valley
(I Sam 17:1)? . The Philistines gathered there for battle, pitching
their camp between Socoh and Azekah.
If the city merely lasted a generation, it would be in the time of
Saul and David. But Rehoboam "built" Socoh and Adullam.
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