Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
Hebrew letter
Iron Age II, 7th-6th century BCE
Ink on pottery
L: 6.2; W: 4.3 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1967-669
This letter, dating to the First Temple period, contains one of the earliest references to the Temple (the "House of God"). Found in the fortress at Arad, it is addressed to Elyashib, the fortress commandment. It was presumably dispatched by one of his subordinates, who seems to have been sent to Jerusalem in search of a certain individual, who was discovered in the Temple.
To my lord Eliashib, may the Lord seek your welfare, and now: Give to Shemaryahu a lethekh(?), and to the Kerosi give a homer(?), and as to the matter which you commanded me – it is well; he is in the house of God.

The Israel Museum, Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2005

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