Ein Gedi SynagogueThe fifth-to seventh-century C.E. inscription preserved in the mosaic floor of the narthex to the west of the Ein Gedi synagogue sanctuary contains 18 lines and 118 words. Until the discovery of the Rehov inscription (text 12.2.1), this was the longest synagogue inscription known from Roman Palestine.

1. Adam, 76 Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared,

2. Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth.

3. Aries, 77 Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo,

4. Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius, Pisces.

5. Nisan, 78 Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Av, Elul,

6. Tishri, Marheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat

7. and Adar, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. 79 Peace. 80

8. Hananiah, Mishael, and ‘Azariah. 81 Peace unto Israel.

9. May they be remembered for good- Yose and ‘Ezron and Hizziqiyu the sons of Hilfi.

10. Anyone causing a controversy between a man and his friend, or whoever

11. slanders his friend before the Gentiles, or whoever steals

12. the property of his friend, or whoever reveals the secret of the town 82

13. to the Gentiles—He Whose eyes range through the whole earth

14. and Who sees hidden things, He will set His face on that

15. man and on his seed and will uproot him from under the heavens.

16. And all the people said- Amen and Amen Selah. 83

17. Rabbi Yose the son of Hilfi, Hiziqiyu the son of Hilfi, may they be remembered for good, 84

18. for they did a great deal in the name of the Merciful, Peace.

75. Trans. L. I. Levine, “The Inscription in the ‘En Gedi Synagogue,” in Ancient  Synagogues Revealed, ed. L. I. Levine (Jerusalem- Israel Exploration Society, 1981), p. 140.

76. Lines 1-2 name the thirteen ancestors of the human race.

77. Lines 3-4 list the twelve signs of the zodiac.

78. Lines 5-6 contain the names of the twelve months of the Jewish lunar calendar.

79. The three patriarchs.

80. The use of the expression “Peace” or “Peace unto Israel” marks the closure of a thought in Jewish inscriptions, much like the end of a paragraph.

81. The three heroic young men who survived the fiery furnace of King Nebuchadnezzar. The king had them thrown in it in an attempt to punish them for not publicly worshipping the golden image he had set up (Dan. 3-1-30).

82. A most intriguing phrase, the “secret ofthe town” is still unrevealed. Various theories having to do with commercial matters or the security of the community have been suggested.

83. “Amen” or “Amen Selah” signifies agreement to the previous statement, so that when the people answer “Amen” to the curse in lines 10-15, they accept its validity. This expression is from 1 Chron. 16-36 where it refers to the song of praise to God at the dedication ceremony of the ark by King David.

84. Dedication in honor of the donors.

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