Isaiah Bulla

Isaiah Bulla

Saturday, January 12, 2019

The spatula of Ezarbaal

The spatula of Ezarbaal
The Phoenician inscription of Ezarbaal is written on a triangular spatula, and was first published in 1938. It seems that the inscription is a letter/contract between two people; the letter was the subject of various studies by many scholars.
The inscription is doubted concerning its reading and context, the shape of the letters and the abbreviation of the letter/contract.


  


Transcription
  1. y. lzrbl
  2. m. šlm. ksp
  3. nšbt. m. nḥl
  4. tnḥl. mpštk
  5. lk. wmpšt
  6. ly
Hebrew Transcription
  1. י.לעזרבעל
  2. תשעמ.שלמ.כספ
  3. נשבת.אמ.נחל
  4. תנחל.מפשתכ
  5. עלכ.ומפשת
  6. עלי
English translation
  1. [From PN?]y, to Azarbaal
  2. ninety silver nuggets [ksp] you will pay
  3. if you inhabit / dwell (the land).(but) If indeed you inherit it
  4. some of the flax (from the fields of the property?)
  5. shall be yours, and part the flax
  6. shall be my

Line 2: šlm. ksp  שלם כספ pay money / silver nuggets, see Exodus 21:34 the owner of the pit shall make it good; he shall pay money unto the owner of them, and the dead beast shall be his.

שמות כא "לד. בַּעַל הַבּוֹר יְשַׁלֵּם, כֶּסֶף יָשִׁיב לִבְעָלָיו; וְהַמֵּת, יִהְיֶה-לּוֹ."

The word is known from the Canaanite of the Ugaritc text; see tablet KTU 4.337 line 21.



Line 3: nšbt  נשבת - inhabit, dwell, see Exodus 16:35 And the children of Israel did eat the manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited; they did eat the manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

שמות טז "לה. וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, אָכְלוּ אֶת-הַמָּן אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה--עַד-בֹּאָם, אֶל-אֶרֶץ נוֹשָׁבֶת: אֶת-הַמָּן, אָכְלוּ--עַד-בֹּאָם, אֶל-קְצֵה אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן.” 



Line 3 and 4: nḥl.tnḥl  נחל. תנחל - to inherit, to settle, see Genesis 31:14 And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him: 'Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house?

בראשית לא "יד. וַתַּעַן רָחֵל וְלֵאָה, וַתֹּאמַרְנָה לוֹ: הַעוֹד לָנוּ חֵלֶק וְנַחֲלָה, בְּבֵית אָבִינוּ. "


The word is known from the Canaanite of the Ugaritc text, see tablet KTU 1.3 line 3: VI:15

Line 4 and 5: Pšt  פשת - flax, linen , see Exodus 9:31 And the flax and the barley were smitten; for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom

שמות ט "לא. וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה וְהַשְּׂעֹרָה, נֻכָּתָה: כִּי הַשְּׂעֹרָה אָבִיב, וְהַפִּשְׁתָּה גִּבְעֹל."


The word is known from the Canaanite of Ugarit; see tablet KTU 4.168 line 11

In Ugaritic language, the sound of the sign "ṯ" is identical to the sound of the sign "š ", therefore the word pṯtm pronounce pštm פשתם

References
Avishur, Yitsḥaḳ – "Phoenician Inscriptions and the Bible: Select Inscriptions and Studies in Stylistic and Literary Devices Common to the Phoenician Inscriptions and the Bibl, Archaeological Center Publication, 2000.


tica, Aurelian. “The Theophoric Element Ba‘al in Ancient Phoenician Inscriptions.” Perichoresis 10 (2012): 67-93.

Dixon, Helen M. “Phoenician Mortuary Practice in the Iron Age I – III (ca. 1200 – ca. 300 BCE) Levantine -Homeland”. University of Michigan 2013.

Rollston, C. “The dating of the early royal Byblian Phoenician inscriptions: a response to Benjamin Sass”, 2008.

Sass, Benjamin. "The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millennium, The West Semitic Alphabet ca 1150-850 BCE. The Antiquity of the Arabian, Greek and Phrygian Alphabets”. Tel Aviv Occasional Publications 4. Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 2005.

Sass, Benjamin. “The emergence of monumental West Semitic alphabetic writing, with an emphasis on Byblos”. Tel-Aviv University, 2017.


Walter, Daniel – "An Interpretation of the Old Byblian Inscriptions, Elibaal, Shipitbaal, and the Azarbaal Spatula", https://www.academia.edu.
ב' מייזלר. “הכתובות הפניקיות מגבל ושלשלת התפתחותו של הכתב האלפבית הפניקי-העברי”
A Journal for the Study of the. Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects. Vol. No. pp. 166-181, 278. 1945-1946
נ. ה. טורטשינר. "המכתב הכנעני לעזרבעל מגבל: מכתב עברי קדום". לשוננו: כתב-עת לחקר הלשון העברית והתחומים הסמוכים לה. תש"ו.  158-165 





Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Yehimilk inscription

Yehimilk inscription
The Yehimilk inscription is dated to the middle of the 10th century BCE. It was discovered in 1929 in Byblos, and consists of seven lines of text inscribed in an early Phoenician dialect which was used primarily in the royal inscriptions of Byblos 

The inscription 
The inscription engraved on a brick of a building in size of 70 x 35 x 45 cm, the name of Yehimilk father is not mentioned in the inscription. This fact may indicate that this man seized the throne by force and did not inherit it from his father, and therefore along the inscription he seeks legitimacy from the Council of Byblos gods, among them Ba’al-shamem and B’lat .


Facsimile of the Yehimilk inscription 

Transcription

bt. zbni yḥmlk . mlk . gbl
hat . ḥwy . kl . mplt.hbtm
[….]el.yark.b Ꜥlšmm.wb Ꜥl[.]
gbl. wmpḥrt al.gbl
qdšm.ymt. yḥmlk.wšntw
Ꜥ l.gbl.kmlk.ṣdq.wmlk
Yšr.lpn.al.gbl,qd[……]
Heberw Transcription 
בת זבני יחמלכ מלכ גבל 

האת חוי כל מפלת הבתמ 
[...]אל יארכ בעלשממ ובעל 
גבל ומפחרת אל גבל 
קדשמ ימת יחמלכ ושנתו 
על גבל כמלכ צדק ומלכ 
ישר לפנ אל גבל קד[……] 
English Translation 
(This is the) temple which Yehimilk king of Byblos. 
you saw all the ruins of these houses 
May they prolong your days, Ba’al-shamem and Ba’alat 
of Byblos and the assembly of the gods of Byblos 
Bless the days of Yehimilk and his years 
Over Byblos. For [he is] a righteous king and an 
Honest king before the h[oly] gods of Byblos. 


[] The brackets represent deleted letters/ words that were restored according to other Phoenician inscriptions with similar wording. 

In a general view, it seems that anyone that knows Hebrew (not just biblical Hebrew scholars) will understand most of the Phoenician words and the general meaning of the inscription. However, one word is not in Hebrew. In the fourth line appears the word wmpḥrt - ומפחרת: Council / Assembly, This word is well known from the Akkadian language puḫur īlī, means, Council / Assembly of gods


This word appears several times in Ugaritic text


References 
Botica, Aurelian. “The Theophoric Element Ba‘al in Ancient Phoenician Inscriptions.” Perichoresis 10 (2012): 67-93. 

Dixon, Helen M. “Phoenician Mortuary Practice in the Iron Age I – III (ca. 1200 – ca. 300 BCE) Levantine -Homeland”. University of Michigan 2013. 

Rollston, C. “The dating of the early royal Byblian Phoenician inscriptions: a response to Benjamin Sass”, 2008. 

Sass, Benjamin. "The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millennium, The West Semitic Alphabet ca 1150-850 BCE. The Antiquity of the Arabian, Greek and Phrygian Alphabets”. Tel Aviv Occasional Publications 4. Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 2005. 

Sass, Benjamin. “The emergence of monumental West Semitic alphabetic writing, with an emphasis on Byblos”. Tel-Aviv University, 2017. 

Walter, Daniel "An Interpretation of the Old Byblian Inscriptions, Elibaal, Shipitbaal, and the Azarbaal Spatula", https://www.academia.edu 

ב' מייזלר. “הכתובות הפניקיות מגבל ושלשלת התפתחותו של הכתב האלפבית הפניקי-העברי” 
A Journal for the Study of the. Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects. Vol. No. pp. 166-181, 278. 1945-1946 



Thursday, January 3, 2019

Shipitbaal Inscription

Shipitbaal Inscription 

Shipitbaal was the Phoenician king of Byblos. The inscription was found in 1935 among the remains of an Egyptian temple for the goddess Hathor in the Byblos. The script was carved into a limestone brick and it mentions the deeds of Shpitbaal son of Abibaal, King of Gobel.

Transcription
  1.  qr. Zbny. špțb Ꜥl. mlk
  2.  gbl. bnalb Ꜥl. mlk. gbl
  3.  byḥml[k. m]lk. Gbl. lb Ꜥlt
  4.  gbl. adtw. tark. b Ꜥlt. gbl
  5.  ymt. špțb Ꜥ[l]. wšntw.Ꜥ l. g[bl]

Hebrew Transcription
  1.  קר.זבני.שפטבעל.מלכ
  2.  גבל.בנאלבעל.מלכ.גבל
  3.  ביחמלכ מלכ.גבל.לבעלת
  4.  גבל.אדתו.תארכ.בעלתגבל
  5. ימת.שפטבעל.ושנתו.על.גבל


Translation
  1.  The city that Shipitbaal built, the king
  2.  of Byblos, son of Elibaal, king of Byblos
  3.  son of Yehimilk, king of Byblos for the Lady 
  4.  of Byblos, his mistress. May the Lady of Byblos prolong
  5.  the days of Shipitbaal and his years over Byblos.



Line 1: The word "qr - קיר " may have two interpretations:

I. Wall יר)around a city or of a house: see 1 Kings 6:5 And against the wall of the house he built a side-structure round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the sanctuary; and he made side-chambers round about;
מלכים א, ו "ה. וַיִּבֶן עַל-קִיר הַבַּיִת יָצִיעַ סָבִיב אֶת-קִירוֹת הַבַּיִת סָבִיב לַהֵיכָל וְלַדְּבִיר וַיַּעַשׂ צְלָעוֹת סָבִיב."


II. City (קריה / קרת) - in the Bible this word appears in two forms :
qrya - קריה : Isaiah 1: 26 And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counsellors as at the beginning; afterward thou shalt be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.

ישעיהו א "כו. וְאָשִׁיבָה שֹׁפְטַיִךְ כְּבָרִאשֹׁנָה, וְיֹעֲצַיִךְ כְּבַתְּחִלָּה; אַחֲרֵי-כֵן, יִקָּרֵא לָךְ עִיר הַצֶּדֶק--קִרְיָה, נֶאֱמָנָה."

qrt - קרת : Proverbs 11: 11 By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted; but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.

"משלי יא "יא. בְּבִרְכַּת יְשָׁרִים תָּרוּם קָרֶת, וּבְפִי רְשָׁעִים תֵּהָרֵס

External inscription

This word in the same context is found more than once in the The Mesha Stele, for example lines 10-11.

Mesha Stele Line 10

Transcription: at. qrytn. waš. gd. yšb. berṣ. Ꜥṭrt. mꜤlm. wybn. lh. mlk. y[srel].
את. קריתן | ואש. גד. ישב. בארץ. עטרת. מעלם. ויבן. לה. מלך. י

TranslationQiryaten (name of a city) The man of Gad had dwelt in Ataroth (city) from ancient times; and the king of I[srael].

Mesha Stele Line 11

Transcription: [y]srel. at. Ꜥṭrt. waltḥm. bqr. waḥzh. wahrg. at. kl .hꜤm
שראל. את. עטרת | ואלתחם. בקר. ואחזה | ואהרג. את. כל. העם

TranslationIsrael Built Ataroth for him. but I fought against the city and took it And I slew all the people, [and].

The same word in a slightly different form is known from the Canaanite of Ugarit, see tablet number KTU 2.72 line 19.

Due to the interpretation context, I prefer the translation “in the city” to the word bqrIt is unlikely that Shipitbaal, the Great King of Byblos, would brag in a Royal inscription for establishing a wall in the temple. Therefore I must prefer the translation city; it is more reusable that the king will present himself as the builder and a founder of the city of Byblos itself.
Line 1: The word zbny - זבנהThat built, in Phoenician the prefix letter "ז " represent affinity, see Ahiram sarcophagus "ארנ | זֶפּעל []תבעל"= A coffin that made [E]thbaal

Line 3: The word byḥml[k] - ביחמלכ, Son of Yehimelech, it appears that the writer shortened, he added the "ב" which meant "בן - son" in front of the name of Shipitbaal father yḥml[k] יחמלכ.

Line 4: The word adtw - אדתו, His Lady / goddessadt is the feminine form of the title master, the title adata was found on a private seal in Judah: "To adata, the wife of Pesher", and in Elibaal inscription line 2 adtw. tark - his goddess will longer (his life).

Another source to this adjective, is the Ekron inscription, see line 3. 

Transcription
rn. lpt[ ]yh. adth. tbrkh. wt.

Hebrew
רנ .לפתגיה .אדתה .תברכה .ות

English translation

For ptgyh his lady/ goddess, may she bless him, and



This word is a distinguished title for a woman / goddess, it is also known from the Canaanite languages of Ugarit (see tablets KTU 2.68).

Bibliography
Daniel Walter – "An Interpretation of the Old Byblian Inscriptions, Elibaal, Shipitbaal, and the 
Azarbaal Spatula", https://www.academia.edu


Botica, Aurelian. “The Theophoric Element Ba‘al in Ancient Phoenician Inscriptions.” Perichoresis 10 (2012): 67-93.

Sass, Benjamin. "The Alphabet at the Turn of the Millennium, The West Semitic Alphabet ca 1150-850 BCE. The Antiquity of the Arabian, Greek and Phrygian Alphabets”. Tel Aviv Occasional Publications 4. Tel Aviv: Emery and Claire Yass Publications in Archaeology, 2005.

Sass, Benjamin. “The emergence of monumental West Semitic alphabetic writing, with an emphasis on Byblos”. Tel-Aviv University, 2017.

Helen M. Dixon. “Phoenician Mortuary Practice in the Iron Age I – III (ca. 1200 – ca. 300 BCE) Levantine -Homeland”. University of Michigan 2013.

Rollston, C. “The dating of the early royal Byblian Phoenician inscriptions: a response to Benjamin Sass”, 2008.

ב' מייזלר. “הכתובות הפניקיות מגבל ושלשלת התפתחותו של הכתב האלפבית הפניקי-העברי”
A Journal for the Study of the. Hebrew Language and Cognate Subjects. Vol. No. pp. 166-181, 278. 1945-1946