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The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Ḥalafu at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.68)

(453 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary For general comments see the Kamkam inscription above. The Ḥalafu inscription is dated 31/32 ce and located on the facade of tomb no. E 18.1 The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Ḥalafu at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.68) Subject: Gen 31:5; 32:10; 43:23 Ownership ( lines 1–7a) This is the tomb which Ḥalafu son of Qosnatan2 made for himself and for Suʿaydu, his son, and his brothers, whatever male children may be born to this Ḥalafu,3 a…

Funerary Stela From Saqqarah (Berlin Gipsformerei 939 Formerly ÄM 7707 [destroyed WW II]) (2.62)

(1,296 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Aramaic text Funerary Stela From Saqqarah (Berlin Gipsformerei 939 Formerly ÄM 7707 [destroyed WW II]) (2.62) Subject: Esth 1:1; Dan 9:1; Ezra 4:6 Blessed be Abah son of Ḥor1 and Aḥatabu daughter of Adiyah,2 all (told),3 of Khastemeḥi the city4 before Osiris the god.5 Absali son of Abah,6 his mother (being) Aḥatabu,7 thus said8 in year 4, month of Meḥir, (of) Xerxes9  a the king10 … Hieroglyphic text ( Transcrip…

Book of the Dead 125 (2.12)

(3,461 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; The Book of the Dead Commentary The most famous of all Book of the Dead chapters, Spell 125 contains the celebrated protestation of innocence by the deceased before an underworld tribunal of forty-two gods, corresponding to the like-numbered nomes, or provinces, of Egypt. The duality of the “Two Truths” also reflects geographical, not ethical, considerations, as the goddesses correspond to the dual n…

Funerary Stela (Carpentras) (2.64)

(1,776 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary This inscription may be entitled “The Immortalization of Taba.” Its composer was well-versed in Egyptian funerary vocabulary. In a grammatically correct, well-fashioned quatrain he has deftly woven original Aramaic formulae — “Blessed be Tabi” (1a), “Before Osiris blessed be” (3a), “serve” (4a) — into translations of Egyptian terminology and formulary. Bicolon (1…

Contrasting Harper Songs From the Tomb of Neferhotep (2.13)

(1,317 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Harper Songs Commentary Offering a traditional and a skeptical response to the fate of the dead, these banquet songs are part of a trio carved on the walls of Theban Tomb 50, dating to the reign of Horemheb (ca. 1319–1292 BCE). The first song to be read by the tomb visitor (conventionally termed the second Neferhotep song) forms a reaction to these contrasting approaches (see  COS COSB.1.31). Adjacent to this is the song extolling the rewards…

The Khirbet Beit Lei Cave Inscriptions (2.53)

(639 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary These two inscriptions, along with several shorter texts and a number of graffiti, were discovered during road construction in a burial cave at the site of Khirbet Beit Lei, about five miles east of Lachish in the Judaean Shephelah. Though found in a burial cave, the texts are not conventional tomb inscriptions, and no grave-goods were found with them. They offer …

King of Byblos (2.55)

(699 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The limestone sarcophagus of King ʾAhirom (fl. 1000 bce) was found in 1923 during the French excavations at Byblos. ʾAhirom’s epitaph, commissioned by his son and successor, ʾIttobaʿl, is carved around the edge of the lid and the upper rim of the coffin. The inscription surmounts an elaborate relief, in which the king is depicted enthroned on a cherub throne and recei…

Offering Table from the Memphis Serapeum (2.60)

(1,520 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Written somewhat carelessly without clear word separation, this four-line text (Louvre A0 4824) is susceptible to different interpretations (see notes). The smoothest translation is achieved if we view it as a calque on Egyptian grammar. We surmise that the memorial offering-table was originally deposited in a public place outside the sanctuary proper. Offerings,…

The Royal Steward Inscription (2.54)

(566 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This damaged grave inscription was found beneath a modern building in a burial chamber hewn from the rock of the eastern slope of the Kidron Valley in the village of Silwan in southeastern Jerusalem. The tomb is widely believed to have been that of the Hezekiah’s royal steward Shebna, who was condemned by the prophet Isaiah for, among other things, presuming to have a tomb cut for himself in the rock (Isa 22:15–25). Though he may have…

The Sarcophagus Inscription of Tabnit, King of Sidon (2.56)

(716 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary Tabnit’s sarcophagus was found in 1887 during the excavation of a shaft tomb in Sidon. It was manufactured in Egypt of black basalt, and it bears a hieroglyphic inscription that shows it was originally intended for an Egyptian general by the name of Pen-Ptah (Assman 1963). It was evidently brought to Phoenicia as plunder and appropriated as a coffin for Tabnit, who ruled Sidon in the second quarter of the fifth century bce (see n. 1…

Coffin Text 261 (2.9)

(506 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Coffin Texts Commentary This spell provides the longest Egyptian theological discussion of Heka, eldest son of the creator and embodiment of the deity’s ineluctable generative and destructive power (heka), conventionally termed “magic.” By direct identification with Heka, the deceased controls the underlying force of the universe and gains command over the gods themselves. Coffin Text 261 (2.9) TO BECOME THE GOD HEKA. O noble ones who are before the Lord …

Aramaic Mortuary Texts from Egypt (2.P185)

(627 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Achaemenid Egypt has yielded a half-dozen mortuary texts, one offering table and five stelae with Aramaic inscriptions. Their period of discovery spans two and one-quarter centuries (1704–1920’s ce). Three certainly, and the others most likely, were found in the Memphis-Saqqarah area, and today each is housed in a different museum — Louvre in Paris ( COS COSB.2.60 [discovered 1851]), Musées Royaux d…

Coffin Text 159 (2.10)

(436 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Coffin Texts Commentary Depicting the wonders of the region from which the sun rises, this spell (with its parallel Coffin Text 161 and descendants Book of the Dead 109 and 149b) details the otherworldly paradise known as “The Field of Reeds” where both the grain and the blessed inhabitants are giants in size. Coffin Text 159 (2.10) ENTERING AND EXITING FROM THE EASTERN GATES OF HEAVEN AMONG THE FOLLOWERS OF RE. KNOWING THE SOULS OF THE EASTERNERS.1 I know that centra…

Khirbet el-Qom (2.52)

(896 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This late eighth-century bce epitaph appears on a slab of limestone recovered in 1967 after having been looted from a cave-tomb at the site of Khirbet el-Qom, about eight miles west of Hebron in the Judaean hills. The slab was originally part of a pillar adjoining one of the burial chambers in the tomb. The interpretation of the inscription, which is rather crudely w…

Tombstone Inscription (Greco-Roman Museum 18361) (2.66)

(466 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Among the tombstones uncovered at the necropolis in el-Ibrahimiya, Alexandria, in 1906 by E. Breccia were three of limestone with Aramaic inscriptions. They were published in 1907 by Clermont-Ganneau ( TAD D21.4-6) and have been much discussed. The one reproduced here bears a name reminiscent of that of one of the last Davidides — Akkub son of Elioenai (1 Chr 3:24).2 The praenomen, of course, is the hypocoristicon of Ak…

The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Kamkam at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.67)

(634 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, dated 1 bce/ce, is the finest of 38 carved on Nabataean tomb facades (this one is tomb no. B 19) at the site of Madāʾin Ṣāliḥ (ancient Ḥegra) in northern Saudi Arabia. The tombs were first described and the texts copied by C. Doughty in 1883. Subsequent work, especially by J. Euting and Frs A. Jaussen and R. Savignac (Jaussen and Savignac 1909…

The Funerary Inscription from Pyrgi (2.58)

(894 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary The Phoenician inscription is engraved on a sheet of gold leaf found in excavations at the site of ancient Pyrgi (Santa Severa), the principal port of the wealthy Etrurian city of Caere (modern Cerveteri, ca. 30 miles north of Rome on the Tyrrhenian coast), in the ruins of a temple dated archaeologically to ca. 500 bce. The sheet was found together with two similar plaques bearing Etruscan inscriptions, one of whi…

Funerary Stela (Vatican Museum 10 Sala 22787) (2.65)

(141 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Funerary Stela (Vatican Museum 10 Sala 22787) (2.65) Ankhoḥapi son of Takhabes,1 excellent (one)2 of Osiris the god. Bibliographical References  CIS 2.142 H. Donner, ‛“Elemente ägyptischen Totenglaubens bei den Aramäern Ägyptens.” Pp. 35–44 in Religions en Égypte hellénistique et romaine. Ed. by P. Derchain. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. ( 1969 ) ’ , Fitzmyer and Kaufman 1992:B.3.f.28  HNE 1:448,2:Pl. 28.4  KAI #2…

A Nabataean Funerary Inscription From Madeba (2.69)

(235 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary There are two copies of this monumental funerary inscription, one in the Vatican, the other in the Louvre (AO 4454). They are identical except for a minor variation in line-division. In both exemplars words are separated by spaces; scriptio continua is the norm in Nabataean.1 A Nabataean Funerary Inscription From Madeba (2.69) Ownership ( lines 1–7a) This is the tomb and two funeral monuments above it which ʿAbdʿo…

The Sarcophagus Inscription of ʾEshmunʿazor, King of Sidon (2.57)

(1,796 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Phoenician Inscriptions Commentary This black basalt sarcophagus, manufactured in Egypt and imported to Phoenicia, was found in 1855 in a shallow, rock-cut tomb in the Sidonian necropolis. After a false start on the head of the coffin itself, the stonecutter engraved the full inscription on the lid. ʾEshmunʿazor became king at the death of his father, Tabnit, in the mid-fifth century bce. He was an infant at the time of his accession and lived to reig…
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