Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Neta Dror
Letter (ostracon)
Iron Age II, early 7th century BCE
Ink on pottery
L: 15.2; W: 13.5 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1967-631
This letter was found in the archive of Eliashib son of Eshiyahu, commander of the fortress on Judah’s southern border. The archive findings include Eliashib’s personal seals, as well as a rich collection of letters pertaining to army, administration, and the supply of food and equipment. The letters were written on potsherds in ancient Hebrew script, using biblical Hebrew.

"Your son Gemar[yahu] and Nehemyahu gre[et] Malkiyahu; I have blessed [you and the Lor]d, and now: Your servant has listened to what [you] have said, and I [have written] to my lord [everything that] the man [wa]nted, [and Eshiyahu ca]me from you, and [no] one [gave it to] them. And behold you knew [about the letters from] Edom (that) I gave to [my] lord [before sun]set. And [E]shi[yah]u slept [at my house], and he asked for the letter, [but didn’t gi]ve (it). The King of Judah should know [that w]e cannot send the […, and th]is the evil that Edo[m has done]."{

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir