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Meroth Amulet, 4th-5th century CE

Meroth AmuletBronze amulet. Only two inches long, this sheet of bronze was discovered, rolled-up, under the threshold of a doorway in the east wall of the Meroth synagogue. In its 26-line Aramaic inscription, the amulet owner, Yossai bar Zenovia, makes an impassioned plea to God to give him the same power over “this village” (presumably Meroth) that God himself wields over the world. Perhaps Yossai bar Zenovia was in competition with another villager for a position of official authority in Meroth.

The inscription reads-

Upon thy grace and upon thy truth

In the name of Yahweh we shall do and succeed

Strong and mighty God blessed be thy name

And blessed thy kingdom / As thou overpowered the sea with thy horses

And hammered out the earth

With thy shoe / And as thou prevailest over

The trees in winter and the grass

Of the land in summer / Thus be [subjugated] [—people of this village——]

Before Yossei the son of Zenovia / Let

My word and my command be upon them / As

The heavens are subjugated before God

And the earth is subjugated before mankind

And mankind

Is subjugated before death

And death is subjugated before

God / So shall the people

Of this village be subjugated

And defeated and subdued

Before Yossei the son of Zenovia

In the name of Hatoaa the angel

Sent before Israel

I make a sign / Zalach (success)

Zalach amen

Amen selah

Haleluyah (praise ye the lord)

Zvi Ilan and Emmanuel Damati, “The Synagogue at Meroth- Does It Fix Israel’s Northern Border in Second Temple Times?” BAR 15-02, Mar-Apr 1989.

Posted in: Byzantine Period

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