Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Neta Dror
Letter (ostracon)
Iron Age II, 7th-6th century BCE
Ink on pottery
H: 12.2; W: 10 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1972-121
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.

[Obverse] "To Eliashib [...] king [...] troop [...] mon[ey ...] passed [...]" [Reverse] "From Arad 50 and from Kin[ah ...] And you shall send them to Ramat-Negeb by the hand of Malkiyahu the son of Qerab’ur and he shall hand them over to Elisha the son of Yirmiyahu in Ramat-Negeb, lest anything should happen to the city. And the word of the king is incumbent upon you for your very life! Behold, I have sent to warn you today: [Get] the men to Elisha: Lest Edom should come there."

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