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Prophetic Text, 1st century BCE

This is the first publication of a Hebrew inscription of 87 lines, written in ink on a large stone. Its precise provenance is unknown. The text is arranged in two columns, similar to the columns in a Torah scroll, and is written in a ‘Jewish’ script of the late first century BCE resembling the script evidenced in Qumran scrolls; however, its contents and style are different. The text contains a verse from the biblical book of Haggai, with minor changes, and expressions from Zechariah and Daniel. It also contains expressions from later Jewish literary sources, such as Hechalot literature, Piyyut, Talmud, and Midrash, as well as some that have no parallels elsewhere. Due to its bad condition, the inscription is difficult to interpret, but the expression which may be translated as ‘thus said YHWH, the God of armies, the God of Israel’ appears many times, with slight variations, similarly to expressions in biblical prophecies, and the name Jerusalem is mentioned several times. The text is written in the first person, the speaker identifying himself as ‘I, Gabriel’, probably referring to the angel by this name. It seems that the composer of the text belonged to the supporters of the Davidic dynasty and may have been addressing his opponents. However, since no similar text has been discovered to date, it is difficult to determine its precise nature.

English Abstract of Ada Yardeni and Binyamin Elitzur, “Document- A First-Century BCE Prophetic Text Written on a Stone- First Publication,” Cathedra 123 (Hebrew), Yad Ben-Zvi.

Posted in: Maccabean Period

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