Becoming Diaspora Jews: Behind the Story of Elephantine 0300243510, 9780300243512

This book tells the story of the earliest Jewish diaspora in Egypt in a way it has never been told before. In the fifth

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Becoming Diaspora Jews: Behind the Story of Elephantine
 0300243510, 9780300243512

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title
Copyright
Dedication
Contents
Preface
Chapter 1: Elephantine Revisited
Chapter 2: The Aramean Heritage
Chapter 3: The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt
Chapter 4: The Origins of the Elephantine Jews
Chapter 5: A Military Colony and Its Religion
Chapter 6: Becoming Diaspora Jews
Epilogue
Appendix: Translation of Papyrus Amherst 63, Adapted from AOAT 448
List of Abbreviations
Notes
General Index
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
J
K
L
M
N
O
P
Q
R
S
T
U
V
W
Y
Z
Index of Ancient Sources

Citation preview

Becoming Diaspora Jews

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Th e Anch or Y al e Bi bl e R e f e r e n c e L i b r a ry is a project of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine. The series is committed to producing volumes in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the Anchor Bible, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated nonspecialist. It is committed to work of sound philological and historical scholarship, supplemented by insight from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism. John J. Collins General Editor

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Th e Anch or Y al e Bi bl e R e f e r e n c e L i b r a ry

Becoming Diaspora Jews Behind the Story of Elephantine

karel van der toorn

new haven and AY B R L

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london

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“Anchor Yale Bible” and the Anchor Yale logo are registered trademarks of Yale University. Copyright © 2019 by Yale University. All rights reserved. This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form (beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. Yale University Press books may be purchased in quantity for educational, business, or promotional use. For information, please e-mail sales.press@yale .edu (U.S. office) or [email protected] (U.K. office). Set in Adobe Caslon type by Newgen North America. Printed in the United States of America. Library of Congress Control Number: 2019930737 ISBN 978-0-300-24351-2 (hardcover : alk. paper) A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. This paper meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (Permanence of Paper). 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

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To my colleagues of the Biblical Colloquium In gratitude and friendship

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Contents

Preface, ix

1. Elephantine Revisited, 1 2. The Aramean Heritage, 21 3. The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt, 42 4. The Origins of the Elephantine Jews, 61 5. A Military Colony and Its Religion, 89 6. Becoming Diaspora Jews, 115 Epilogue, 143

Appendix: Translation of Papyrus Amherst 63, Adapted from AOAT 448, 149 List of Abbreviations, 189 Notes, 193 General Index, 255 Index of Ancient Sources, 261

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Preface

Reading ancient texts is not just a feat of philology. Over the years it has become for me a way to get closer to people who are far away. They are dead. They lived in a different world. But as the young girl said in one of the greatest books of the twentieth century, once they were alive like you and me. I am referring to the preface of Giorgio Bassani’s The Garden of the Finzi-Continis. The girl was speaking of the Etruscans whose graves she had just seen. The Jews who lived on the Egyptian island of Elephantine in the fifth century BCE are the near contemporaries of those Etruscans. They are, in a way, as strange to us as those Etruscans—even though Jews are still among us and Etruscans are not. But these Jews seem a rare variety. I first read about them many years ago and wondered who they were. What was their story? Would they still have something to tell me? It seemed the kind of curiosity that comes and goes. Mentally you make a note, then forget about it. But the Elephantine Jews refused to be forgotten. They seemed to be waiting for me once I had the chance to return to a scholarly life after years of university administration. I wanted to discover their story. I could never have anticipated spending three years or more deciphering a papyrus in Demotic characters in order to get closer to the Elephantine Jews. I knew Hebrew and cuneiform. Why should I want to read Egyptian? But it turned out that the descendants of the Elephantine Jews had used the Demotic script to write down some of their ancestral traditions. By good fortune, the language was Aramaic—perhaps not my favorite, but one I felt at ease with. Papyrus Amherst 63 proved to be an amazing source on the traditions of the Aramaic-speaking diaspora communities in Persian Egypt. To me, the Elephantine Jews had been a phenomenon without a history. They were something that just happened, without a before

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or after. The after is still unclear, but the Amherst papyrus has plenty to say about the before. It is now possible to tell the story of the Elephantine Jews instead of looking at snapshots. Some of us like to think of history as a way to get into the skin of those who preceded us. I am incapable of such feats. I do believe, however, that we can get closer and identify patterns of behavior. The latter reflect, at some distance, what is going on in the collective mind of a community. When I was younger I thought we should all aim for authenticity. To be your real self seemed like the highest achievement. As I grow older I find that the real self is quite elusive. We are part of a pattern even as we cherish the illusion of being unique. The Elephantine Jews conformed to a pattern too. The pattern I pay attention to in this book is that of an emerging Jewish identity. As the Aramaic text in Demotic characters shows, the ancestors of the Elephantine Jews came from Samaria, found shelter in an Aramean society toward 700 BCE, and moved to Egypt some hundred years later. These migrants to Egypt did not claim a Jewish identity when they came. Under the double impact of the diaspora experience and the Persian politics of ethnic diversity, they became the Elephantine Jews. This merging of particular historical identities into larger ethnic communities was a pattern in the Persian Empire. Judaism as the world would come to know it was still in the making, but the Jewish people had entered the scene. This book is about the Elephantine Jews rather than the Elephantine Judeans. Let me explain why. The Aramaic term ye˘hûdāy makes no distinction between “Judean” and “Jew”; it allows of both translations. By distinguishing between “Judean” and “Jew,” then, we have, in a way, created our own dilemma. The choice between the two alternatives corresponds, in what is perhaps the dominant perception, to the difference between ethnicity and religion. It is the difference between les Juifs and les juifs in French orthography. The Juifs with a capital J are an ethnic community, like les Français and les Américains. The juifs with a lowercase j, on the other hand, are a religious group, like les catholiques and les protestants. From the perspective of the Jews or the Judeans of the fifth century BCE, this is a false opposition. They did not really distinguish between ethnicity and religion, as though the one could be isolated from the other. We, however, have to make a choice. As a translation, neither “Judean” nor “Jew” is entirely felicitous. The former emphasizes Judah as place of origin, whereas the latter seems primarily a reference to religion. After some deliberation, I have chosen to translate ye˘hûdāy consistently as “Jew” or “Jewish.” There are two

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reasons. One consideration is the fact that the original nucleus of the Elephantine Jews had its roots in Samaria. To call them Judeans is misleading inasmuch as they are precisely not from Judah. My other reason has to do with the meaning of the terms “Jew” and “Jewish.” To say that there were no Jews before the invention of the Jewish religion feels to me like a strongly ideological statement. It misrecognizes the fact that religion is part of culture and subject to constant change. Is the Judaism of the second century BCE the real Judaism, or should the Judaism of the Talmud be our norm? Or is Jewish religion an invention of the Western Enlightenment? In my mind, Jewish identity is a mix of ethnicity and culture. Religion is certainly part of that culture, but you don’t need to be religious in order to be a Jew. “Jew” and “Jewish” refer to ethnicity first and to a religious tradition secondarily. It is true that in former times, religion was so much part of culture that the two were inextricable. Like everybody around them, the Elephantine Jews had religion—though they would not call it by that name. To many Jews of a later age, this religion was perhaps hardly Jewish. The Elephantine Jews worshipped Yaho as their ancestral god and several Aramean deities besides him. By our standards, they were polytheists. But that does not make them any less Jewish. Unless one subscribes to an essentialist view of what it means to be a Jew, the religion that Jews have been practicing through the ages has gone through many transformations. Historically, Jewish identity exhibits great variety. The Elephantine Jews represent their segment of the spectrum. Though research feels at times like a lonely journey, it never is. We are always part of a community of scholars. There are those before us—our teachers and their teachers—and there are those whose time is yet to come—our students and their students. We are, as they say, standing on the shoulders of giants. And one day others will take our discoveries and show that there are ways to go beyond them. We are rooted in a tradition. Such knowledge is at once a lesson in modesty and a source of pride. In the meantime we enjoy the company of our contemporaries. This book has benefited from the input of many colleagues. I could draw up a long list of names of those who helped me over the past few years. Instead I dedicate this book to the members of the Biblical Colloquium. They sum up what it means to me to be part of a scholarly community where people speak without fear, question without condescension, and share in a spirit of intellectual passion and curiosity.

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Becoming Diaspora Jews

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1 Elephantine Revisited The discovery of the Elephantine Jews occurred more than a hundred years ago. It caused a sensation. The Aramaic papyri and potsherds that came to light during the first decade of the twentieth century documented the existence of a group of Jewish men and women who had lived in the deep south of Egypt all through the fifth century BCE. Never before had scholars come across such early records of Jewish history. Aside from a few Hebrew inscriptions from Jerusalem and other places, there were no written remains from the people of the Bible other than the Hebrew Bible itself. The Elephantine papyri promised direct and unbiased access to a Jewish community as it had been in real life. Such access was particularly welcome after a century of critical scholarship that had turned the traditional ways of reading the Bible upside down. According to the new views, the law of Moses was a late invention, and the exclusive worship of Yahweh came at the end of a long period of religious evolution. Elephantine provided the opportunity to put such theories to the test. Scholars flocked to the new finds. The sheer number of publications on the papyri between 1905 and 1915 conveys a sense of the excitement that characterized the early days of Elephantine studies. A full century has passed since Eduard Sachau’s edition of the Elephantine papyri in 1911. Over the past hundred years, other discoveries have made the headlines. The Dead Sea scrolls, found in 1947, have had the greatest impact. Yet despite major new finds from the world of the Bible, the interest in Elephantine is still very much alive. For a time it seemed that the definitive monograph had been written when Bezalel Porten published his Archives from Elephantine (1968). As it turned out, Porten’s study was the

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start of a stream of follow-up publications. Elephantine studies continue to flourish in the twenty-first century. Counting monographs only, the secondary literature is expanding by almost one book a year. An important impetus for the ongoing investigations is the time frame of Elephantine. All the papyri are from the Persian period. That is precisely the era that biblical scholars have come to regard as crucial in the formation of ancient Judaism. Although many authors have no new evidence to bring to the debate, they feel that the data do merit a reassessment. Even if it is the same deck of cards, a reshuffle may reveal a new pattern.

New Light on the Elephantine Jews This is neither the first nor will it be the last book on the Elephantine Jews. Yet it does stand apart from previous studies because it presents important new evidence. This evidence consists of a twenty-three-column papyrus scroll. It comes from Egypt, though it is neither from Elephantine Island nor from the fifth century BCE. According to the earliest reports, it was part of a stash of papyri found at Thebes. The script of this scroll is Demotic and probably dates to the mid-fourth century BCE. Named after the English lord who acquired the scroll in the 1890s, Papyrus Amherst 63 has long been a riddle. It was hard to crack its code because the script was at odds with the language. While the characters are Egyptian, the language of the compositions is Aramaic. Biblical scholars have been aware of the existence of this mysterious papyrus since the 1980s, when two teams of scholars identified a song to Yaho in the compilation that seemed to be almost a copy of Psalm 20. Other parts of the papyrus prove to have references to the gods Nabu, Nanay, Bethel, and Anat. As experts already suspected in the 1980s, this compilation consists of literary traditions from the Aramaic-speaking diaspora communities in Persian Egypt. In Elephantine and Aswan, there had been temples for Yaho, Bethel, and Nabu—the very gods who are addressed in the ritual songs of the Amherst papyrus. Although scholars solved the riddle of the Amherst papyrus in the 1980s, no one so far has really explored the text for the light it might throw upon the origins and history of the Elephantine Jews. The reason is obvious. In the absence of a full-fledged edition of the text, it has been practically impossible for noninitiates to use it. All they had were treatments of selected parts, and the interpretations these offered often seemed uncertain. In 1997, Richard Steiner, a pioneer of the papyrus, published a translation of the complete text in a widely used anthology of writings from the ancient

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Near East. It took twenty more years before Steiner made his transliteration and translation available in an online edition. A year later, I published an edition of the text with translation, commentary, and photographs. (My translation, with slight modifications, appears as the Appendix to the present volume.) Another scholar who has long been working on the papyrus, Tawny L. Holm, will soon publish her transliteration and translation in the SBL series Writings of the Ancient World. It is only recently, then, that this long-mysterious papyrus has become available in a manner that allows others to critically check the suggested readings. A comparison of the three translations shows differences of interpretation that are sometimes considerable. Since the text is notoriously difficult, this was to be expected. No doubt further scrutiny by the wider scholarly community will eventually resolve many of the problems and uncertainties that characterize Papyrus Amherst 63. Meanwhile, the Amherst papyrus already warrants some conclusions that impact our perception of the Elephantine community and its Aramean neighbors in ancient Aswan (Syene). As will be demonstrated more fully in Chapter 4, the ancestors of the Elephantine Jews were Samarians rather than Judeans. Moreover, their connection to the Aramean community predates their migration to Egypt. During most of the seventh century BCE, these Samarians had lived at close quarters with two groups of Arameans, one from Babylonia and the other from Hamath. The three communities— Samarian, Babylonian, and Syrian—had found shelter in a caravan city at an oasis in the desert. Its identification with Palmyra is plausible. But whatever the precise place where they met, there can be no doubt about the early connection between the three communities. It explains several features of the Elephantine Jews that scholars have found puzzling, such as the use of Aramaic as their colloquial language and the presence of various Aramean gods in their religion. Clearly, the evidence from the Amherst papyrus necessitates a thorough revision of the story of Elephantine as it has been told until now. This book offers such a revision. In order to put the new insights into a proper historical perspective, we have to begin with a review of the scholarship on the Elephantine Jews.

The Discovery of Elephantine The story of the discovery of the Elephantine Jews is the story of the Elephantine papyri. Someone closely involved in the first encounter with the papyri was Mary Cecil, daughter of Lord Amherst and later 2nd Baroness

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Amherst of Hackney. Her father was a longtime collector of things of beauty and had spent much of his considerable fortune on Egyptian antiquities. By the beginning of the twentieth century, Lord Amherst himself no longer had the stamina to travel to Egypt. But his daughter Mary was still under fifty. She loved to spend the winter in the South. She had first visited Egypt as a young woman and had fallen in love with the country. Following in the footsteps of her father, she became a collector of Egyptian antiquities in her own right. Unlike him, she looked for them not only on the market but also in the Egyptian sands. Lady Cecil—“May” to her close friends—was an amateur archaeologist. During the winter seasons of 1901–1902 and 1903–1904, she ran her own excavation in the vicinity of Aswan. The season of 1903–1904 had not been very successful, until a group of peasant farmers—fellahin, in the local dialect—paid her a visit and offered to sell a batch of papyri. We have a report of this discovery in a letter from Howard Carter to Lord Amherst, dated March 24, 1904: An important find of Aramaic papyri was made this season by some natives at Aswan; either in the sabach works at the south end of the Island of Elephantine, or in the mounds of the ancient town of Aswan between the Railway Station and the Cataract Hotel when a new road was made early in the winter. These documents are apparently of a lady—betrothal deeds— dating in the time of Artaxerxes I to Darius II. They are most important, they being in the original Biblical language, and mentioned the citadel and fortress of Aswan as well as the mixed courts (the Hebrew court being mentioned). As far as I am able to tell these are the only Aramaic papyri existing, excepting perhaps a few fragments now at Berlin.

Today, Howard Carter is a name in Egyptology. He discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun in 1922, a find that turned the hitherto tepid public interest into a fit of Egyptomania. When he paid Lady Cecil a visit in 1904, however, those days were yet to come. Carter was a friend and protégé of the Amherst family. Their collection of Egyptian antiquities at Didlington Hall had been his first encounter with Egypt. The “Assuan papyri,” as they were known at first, confronted Carter with a side of Egypt with which he was unfamiliar. There was something strange about them. They were, for the most part, in excellent condition. The script presented no particular difficulty. But the language of the texts and the names of the people were at odds. Those names were Hebrew; they seemed to come right out of the Bible—Hosea, Isaiah, Uriyah. But the language was Aramaic. In his letter

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to Lord Amherst, Carter called it “the original Biblical language,” but in this respect he was wrong. The Bible is largely written in Hebrew. There are some parts in Aramaic, but those are either very late (Daniel 2–7, from the second century BCE) or official documents from Persian times, fictitious or real, inserted into the biblical narrative (Ezra 4:8–6:18, 7:12–26). The names in the papyri showed that these people were Jewish. But it seemed odd that they should be using Aramaic as their language. The papyri Lady Cecil bought in 1904 were in fact not the first papyri from Elephantine. In 1899, the Strasburg expedition to Egypt had acquired an Aramaic papyrus from a dealer at Luxor (Thebes). Two years later, Archibald Henry Sayce, professor of Assyriology at Oxford, bought a papyrus from an Aswan dealer. Both papyri were from Elephantine. They were published in 1903. But the Assuan papyri of 1904—the ones offered for sale to Lady Cecil—made the real impact. There were more than ten of them, and they clearly established the existence of a Jewish colony at Elephantine. Suddenly the island became a focus of interest. At the time that Lady Cecil made a deal with the sellers of the papyri, a German classicist by the name of Otto Rubensohn was leading a mission of the German Papyrus Cartel. When Rubensohn got word of a batch of Aramaic papyri offered for sale at Aswan, he hurried to get there. As it turned out, the papyri had already changed hands. Rubensohn went to the sellers and asked them where they had made their discovery. They took him to Elephantine and indicated a place at the western edge of the ruin hill on the south side of the island. Rubensohn decided the German syndicate should try to acquire by excavation what it had failed to obtain through the market. The Germans received an excavation permit in 1905 and started digging in the early days of 1906. When the distinguished French archaeologist and Orientalist Charles Clermont-Ganneau heard about the German expedition, he was beside himself with rage. Would the “Prussians” beat the French in the race for what could well be the most spectacular archaeological discovery of the twentieth century? “What is our famous École in Cairo doing? . . . We continue to lag behind across the board, both in Egypt and in Syria. All this is extremely disturbing and discouraging. We are left to gather the crumbs of other people’s banquet.” Clermont-Ganneau had worked as a diplomat in Jerusalem and Constantinople. Since 1890 he had taught at the famous Collège de France in Paris. The discoveries at Aswan had piqued his interest. He pleaded with the French authorities, both academic and political,

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and obtained permission to lead a French expedition to Elephantine starting in the winter of 1906–1907, almost one year after the Germans had begun theirs. The Egyptian Service of Antiquities decided that the French should dig on the east side of the ruin mound, while the Germans would work on the west side. There was little contact between the two teams. They were competitors rather than collaborators, the one always worrying about the tricks of the other, each party afraid the enemy would discover an item of interest. The Germans conducted three campaigns, leaving Elephantine Island in 1908. The French completed four campaigns, concluding the last one in 1911. A few years later, the armies of the two nations would pursue a different campaign in different trenches. During the first days of the second campaign, the German expedition made a major discovery. Not far from the spot where the earlier papyri had been found, at the place indicated by the fellahin, they discovered three other papyri. Their content was astonishing—so astonishing, in fact, that Rubensohn decided their publication could not be delayed. Without notifying the Egyptian authorities, he shipped the papyri to Berlin and asked Sachau to publish them. The Berlin professor of Semitic languages agreed. He presented his translation on July 25, 1907, during a session of the Royal Prussian Academy. Two papyri were drafts of a petition sent out by the Jewish community to Bagohi, the governor of Judah. They describe in detail the destruction of the “temple of Yaho” in Elephantine at the hands of local Egyptian priests in the summer of 410 BCE. The third papyrus, much shorter, was a copy of a memorandum from Bagohi and his Samarian colleague in support of the temple’s reconstruction. The impact of the new papyri was tremendous. Henceforth, the name of Elephantine would be associated with historic violence against the Jews and their temple. The news of Rubensohn’s discovery reached the French team only in the late summer of 1907. In an angry letter written on September 2, the field director of the French expedition reported rumors about the German find and the fact that the papyri had been smuggled out of Egypt. As the contents of the papyri would show, the French did have cause for worry and envy. During the four years their expedition lasted, they would make no find that could match the German papyri. The few Aramaic papyri that they did discover still await publication. Most of what the French found were potsherds. These potsherds were inscribed, and they do offer important testimony of the presence of Jews at Elephantine in the first quarter of

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the fifth century BCE. The French found hundreds of such ostraca. Somehow the finds felt like a silver medal. The gold had gone to the Germans. Two superb publications sum up the first harvest of Elephantine discoveries. In 1911, Sachau published Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen Militär-Kolonie zu Elephantine, with photographs of the texts that are still a wonder to behold. In 1923, Arthur Cowley published Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. This was, for a long time, the definitive edition of the Elephantine papyri and continues to be a frequently cited reference. After Cowley, nothing new came to light at Elephantine for a long time. In 1929, the French discovered the tablets from Ugarit (today’s Ras Shamra, on the Syrian coast of the Mediterranean), written in alphabetic cuneiform signs. The discovery marked the beginning of a new discipline. Ugaritologists have been able to significantly increase our knowledge of the Canaanite background of the Hebrew Bible. The stream of new texts is still flowing. In 1947 the world learned about the discoveries at Qumran, in the rocky hills west of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea scrolls turned out to be the most significant discovery by biblical archaeologists in the twentieth century. The scrolls’ importance for our knowledge of the history of the Bible and early Judaism still has not been fully explored. The significance of the Elephantine papyri paled by comparison. New generations of scholars focused their attention on Ugarit and Qumran. Elephantine was yesterday’s news. In the meantime, the story of the Elephantine papyri had not come to a close. Hidden away in the vault of a museum or the attic of an old family home, there were still other papyri waiting to be discovered, like the lost work of some old master. In the 1890s, ten years before Lady Cecil made her purchase, Charles Edwin Wilbour had acquired a batch of papyri that perplexed him. Nobody knew of their existence. Wilbour was an American journalist, lawyer, entrepreneur, and amateur Egyptologist who spent several winters in Egypt. In 1893 he bought fifteen papyri from peasant farmers at Elephantine Island. After a few fruitless attempts at deciphering them, he gave up trying. When he died in a Paris hotel in 1896, the staff found the papyri tucked away among his papers and other belongings. They were sent to his family in the United States. Nobody paid them any attention until Wilbour’s daughter bequeathed her father’s collection to the Brooklyn Museum in 1947. Their importance was quickly established, and publication followed in 1953.

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The longest delay to date between discovery and publication concerns the Padua papyri. An Italian explorer from Padua—one Giovanni Battista Belzoni—had come into possession of two Aramaic letters from Elephantine sometime between 1815 and 1819. They ended up in the collections of the civic museum of Belzoni’s native city and were published only in 1960. These Padua letters are of singular importance because they document the contacts between Jews from the Nile delta and the community at Elephantine. The archaeologists had left Elephantine Island shortly before World War I. But elsewhere in Egypt, excavations were still going on. Aramaic papyri were not the aim of these excavations, but once in a while they did turn up. Two such discoveries proved to be relevant for our knowledge of Elephantine. In Hermopolis, situated over six hundred kilometers downstream from Aswan, the 1945 excavations found a stash of eight papyri in an earthen jar. The texts were in Aramaic. Publication followed in 1966. The papyri proved to be letters by Syrian soldiers on a mission in Memphis, seat of the Persian satrap, that were sent to their family members in Syene (Aswan) and Thebes. (Previously, information about Syrian soldiers from Syene had been based exclusively on evidence from Elephantine.) The letters never reached their destination. For reasons unknown, the courier who carried them left them halfway. Thankfully the letters never reached Syene, since excavations are not really feasible in modern Aswan. The texts would have disappeared, along with a lot of other information that we will probably never retrieve. The second discovery did not consist of papyri but of sheets of leather. They contain official letters written by—or in the name of—Arsames, the Persian satrap of Egypt, away at the time for business and consultations in Babylon or Susa. They cover the years 410 to 407 BCE, when the Jewish community had just lost its temple. During his absence from Egypt, Arsames was in frequent correspondence with the steward of his Egyptian estate. Thirteen of these letters, plus fragments of five or six others, were offered for sale on the Cairo antiquities market in the early 1930s. First acquired by a German archaeologist in 1932, they were subsequently sold to the Bodleian Library at Oxford in 1943–1944. Ten years later they were published. The significance of these letters lies in their Persian perspective. Even if most of the matters that Arsames touches upon relate to his own household, his letters provide an insight into the trappings of the Persian satrapy in Egypt.

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Written between 498 and 399, the Elephantine papyri span the entire fifth century BCE. It took most of the twentieth century for scholars to discover, assemble, and publish them. In 1999, Bezalel Porten and Ada Yardeni published the fourth and final volume of their Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt. This masterful edition crowns a century of Elephantine scholarship. The 2006 publication of the French collections of Elephantine ostraca by Hélène Lozachmeur closes the era of Elephantine discoveries. It is true that many scraps of papyrus are still unpublished. An international team of specialists based in Berlin aims to make all Elephantine texts available in an online database in the context of a research project on four thousand years of cultural history. Both at the island and in Aswan, German and Swiss archaeologists are still making new finds. But the time of the big discoveries is past. Additional evidence might well turn up in the future, but it is unlikely to change the picture dramatically. Only the long-mysterious Papyrus Amherst 63, now published, brings a new perspective to the history of the Elephantine Jews.

From a Chapter of the Bible to a Jewish Story From the moment of their discovery, the Elephantine Jews have stirred an inordinate amount of interest. The number of books about them is baffling. It seems out of proportion with the historical role of this military colony in a distant corner of the Persian Empire. Yet many authors felt they were looking at an extraordinary piece of history. To them, the significance of the Elephantine community was unrelated to its size (about five hundred persons by a conservative count) or military importance (an unspectacular frontier garrison). Their primary value resided in the fact that these were Jews, and Jews, these authors believed, were not like others. They were the sons and daughters of Israel, the people of the Bible. In the early twentieth century, the Elephantine papyri were the oldest records available written by people from the Bible. Some parts of the Bible itself were believed to be older, but the earliest manuscripts were from centuries later. Even today, after the discoveries of the Dead Sea scrolls, the oldest biblical manuscripts are some three hundred years younger than the Elephantine papyri. This was handwritten evidence from the fifth century BCE itself. As one author wrote in 1912, “A Jewish community from pre-Christian times, not too far removed from the days of the Babylonian Exile, consisting of contemporaries of Ezra and Nehemiah, has woken up from its Sleeping Beauty slumber.”

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Elephantine was special because it had been home to a Jewish community. Yet in the early twentieth century, many people in the West had mixed feelings about Jews. After all, the two nations that financed archaeological expeditions to Elephantine Island were Germany and France—the Germans started digging in early 1906, and the French later that year. In France, the Dreyfus affair had just come to a close. It entered the history books as one of the most blatant examples of anti-Semitism in modern times. What anti-Semitism could lead to would be demonstrated in Germany a few decades later. These were not nations particularly fond of their Jewish minorities. But somehow the Jews of Elephantine were an entirely different matter. They were Jews from the biblical era, before the religion of Israel had turned into Judaism. Christians could claim these Jews as their spiritual forebears. They had been the channel through which the Bible came into being. They had taught the world the truths of monotheism and human rights (“Love thy neighbor as thyself ”). Those values were the cornerstones of Western civilization. The earliest response to the Elephantine discoveries shows that, to people of the Christian persuasion, these Jews derived their significance primarily from their relation to the Bible. They were, in Sachau’s words, “a new chapter of the Old Testament.” Carter’s identification of the Aramaic of the Elephantine papyri as the language of the Bible may have been erroneous, but it was quite in tune with the mood of the time. In an article for an archaeological journal, ClermontGanneau, the leader of the French mission to Elephantine, waxes lyrical about the possible results of their excavation. Who knows, they might find in the very near future a copy of the original Bible: It is not from the Sinai—his cradle—nor from Jerusalem—his throne—it is from a place quite distant from there, at the border between Egypt and Nubia, just a few minutes from the tropic, on the edge of a small island in the first cataract of the Nile, at a spot where you wouldn’t expect to encounter this God in exile, that the old Jehovah . . . rises and speaks, to tell us new things by the mouth of his worshippers transplanted with Him—things that might well change the face of orthodox exegesis. . . . From now on we have the certainty that the Temple of Jehovah did stand . . . on the very island of Elephantine, most probably in the Jewish quarter whose location has been revealed by our characteristic ostraca. Just a few more spades, and we shall uncover its venerable remains, as well as—who knows?—a copy of the Sacred Book, sleeping in some secret geniza, used for the cultic ceremonies, a Bible from five centuries before Jesus Christ.

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Clermont-Ganneau’s enthusiasm—“we are burning,” as he writes in the same article—had been kindled not so much by the discovery of a group of Jews as such but by their connection to the Bible. His hope was to find “a copy of the Sacred Book, sleeping in some secret geniza.” The sources of the Nile were elsewhere. But at Elephantine Island, explorers believed that they had come close to the sources of the religion that the Western world held sacred. A curious event that happened in 1883 is indicative of the fascination at that time with anything historically related to the Bible. An antiquities dealer from Jerusalem had traveled to London and contacted the British Museum. The man, Moses Wilhelm Shapira, offered to sell the remains of a parchment scroll he had allegedly bought from a group of bedouin near the Dead Sea. It was a spectacular text. Displaying distinct similarities to the book of Deuteronomy, it contained a version of the Ten Commandments that differed from the familiar Decalogue because it contained an additional eleventh commandment: “Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thy heart; I am the Lord thy God.” The museum was granted permission to display two strips of the scroll. The exhibition made headlines and drew crowds of visitors. The Shapira Bible was the talk of the town. ClermontGanneau was suspicious. He knew Shapira and, on an earlier occasion, had exposed the man as a fraud for selling forged antiquities. Personal examination of the two strips in London confirmed Clermont-Ganneau’s worst fears. Shapira had done it again. Other experts soon concurred with the verdict of the Frenchman. This Deuteronomy scroll was a forgery. Shapira’s Bible was a fake, and his reputation as a serious antiquities dealer was destroyed. Shapira left London through the backdoor. A few months later, he shot himself through the head in a Rotterdam hotel. The nineteenth century has been described as the period of the secularization of the European mind. Philosophers had been attacking the truths of religion even before the French Revolution. The Industrial Revolution had brought dramatic changes to traditional lifestyles. Charles Darwin published his study On the Origin of Species in 1859. The world was no longer the place it used to be. In this general atmosphere of uncertainty, the public was looking to scholars to bring more comforting news. Discoveries from the Middle East might fulfill their hopes. In 1875 George Smith had published The Chaldean Account of Genesis, according to its subtitle, “containing the description of the creation, the fall of man, the deluge, the tower of Babel, the times of the Patriarchs, and Nimrod.” On the

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basis of cuneiform tablets from Babylonia, Smith seemed to offer evidence that proved the truth of the Bible. Britain’s leading newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, sent out an expedition to Iraq to find more. The Shapira affair occurred a few years later. In the first paragraphs of “Jehovah at Elephantine,” Clermont-Ganneau recalls the public’s disillusionment when Shapira’s Bible proved to be counterfeit. This time, though, he is confident they are very close to finding the real thing, that is, “a Hebrew Bible less disappointing than the Shapira Bible, yet as authentically ancient as the latter claimed to be.” More than a century has passed since Clermont-Ganneau wrote these lines. No Bible has been found at Elephantine. And while absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, it would seem that Julius Wellhausen was right when he qualified the Elephantine Jews as a “vestige of Hebraism from before the Torah.” Eduard Meyer concurred: the religion of the Elephantine Jews was completely ignorant of the book of Deuteronomy, with its emphasis on “One God, One Temple.” To the mind of critical Bible scholars of the early twentieth century, the Elephantine Jews were a relic from pre-Deuteronomic times. This survival hypothesis suited the purpose of enlightened academic circles. Wellhausen greeted the evidence from Elephantine as a “welcome corroboration of what had already been established as the result of the critical investigation of Israelite religious history.” In like manner, August von Gall celebrated the Elephantine Jews as “the most brilliant corroboration of the results of the modern scholarship of the Old Testament.” The initial response to the discovery of Elephantine showed a comparative lack of interest in the actual Jews in the texts. They seemed merely actors in a play whose main function was to supply biblical scholars with evidence of the religious developments of the Israelites. To the first generation of Elephantine scholars, Elephantine was about the Bible. Or more precisely, it was about the Old Testament, since the term “Hebrew Bible” had yet to come into fashion. The Western bias is hard to ignore. After all, the term “Old Testament” makes sense only if there is a New Testament. Israelite religion was regarded as an extended prologue to Christianity, in which humankind’s religious aspirations had found their highest fulfillment. The papyri from Elephantine seemed to offer scientific support for the theory of religious evolution. They reflected a stage in a developmental history that would lead from polytheism to monotheism and ultimately to the triumph of Christianity.

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In the second wave of Elephantine studies, beginning in the 1960s, the focus shifted to the diaspora experience of the Elephantine Jews. Their story began to be told from a Jewish perspective. The new approach received an important impetus from the new political realities in the Middle East. In 1948, the State of Israel had come into being. After the Holocaust, there was no moral excuse to refuse the demand for a Jewish homeland. The new state based its legitimacy on the Bible: “The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.” These words are from the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel, dated May 14, 1948. Save for the people who had lived there before its foundation, the State of Israel had only Jewish citizens. Ethnicity and religion were the parameters. In the words of the Law of Return, “The rights of a Jew . . . are given to the child or grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew and spouse of a child and grandchild of a Jew. Except a person who was born Jewish and out of his own free will changed religion.” By this definition, Jewish identity is matter of roots and religion. Jewish citizenship is the prerogative of anyone born of Jewish parents but may be forfeited by conversion to a non-Jewish religion. Ethnic Jews who converted to Christianity have lost their title to Jewish citizenship. They are Jews no more. The institutions of higher education in the State of Israel had departments for the history of the Jewish people (“the people of Israel”) that were independent of the general history departments. Their official mission was to study the history of the Jews as dispassionately as possible, with all the rigor that scholarly research demanded. But the fact that they had been set up as separate departments meant their study of the past was of national importance. They were to highlight the antiquity of the Jewish nation. The evidence from Elephantine served the purpose handsomely. Here, in the diaspora, there had been Jews who were faithful to their ancestral god and who ended up being victims of anti-Jewish violence. No matter that they spoke Aramaic and had also worshipped Aramean deities, their core identity was Jewish. In the post-Holocaust climate, their story became a typical Jewish story instead of a tale involving Jews but ultimately about the Bible. The champion of the new approach is Bezalel Porten. It is not difficult to disagree with him when it comes to the interpretation of the evidence,

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but the world owes him a huge debt of gratitude for his epoch-making monograph on the Elephantine Jews, as well as a superb edition of nearly all the Aramaic texts from ancient Egypt. To those who make his acquaintance in a professional capacity, Porten presents himself as “Mister Elephantine.” More than any other scholar, he deserves the title. His version of the story of the Elephantine Jews has been hugely successful. The thrust of his argument is that the Elephantine Jews were truly Jewish by ethnicity and religion. The argument for Jewish ethnicity is most explicit in his discussion of the designation “Aramean” given to many of the Elephantine Jews. Porten believes that the ancestors of the community were from Judah and settled in Egypt toward the end of the seventh century BCE. As a result, their identification as Arameans cannot apply to their ethnicity; there were no real Arameans at Elephantine. The Jews were so designated because of their speech; they belonged to the larger Aramaic-speaking group. But language is an acquired trait, whereas ethnicity is in the blood. By ius sanguinis, the Elephantine community was Jewish. According to the definition of a Jew applied by the State of Israel, Jewish ethnicity and Jewish religion are indissolubly linked. If a Jew converts to another religion, he stops being a real Jew. Porten agrees. It therefore matters to demonstrate that the mixed marriages at Elephantine, as well as the references to the respect paid to other gods, are not grounds for casting doubt upon the Jewish identity of the community. Non-Jews who married into the community must have gone through a ceremony in which the newcomer indicated abandonment of polytheistic practices and adoption of Judaism. The respect paid to other gods was a formality. Greetings by Bel, Nabu, Shamash, and Nergal were the equivalent of a Christmas card—a polite nod of recognition that in no way implied an actual belief in these deities. And the attribution to Aramean deities of a substantial sum of the returns of the Yaho temple collection in 400 BCE “may have been no more than a goodwill gesture on the part of the Jews to their Aramean neighbors.” In religion, the Elephantine Jews were actually perfectly Jewish: “The religious influence of the Arameans was nominal and that of the Egyptians negligible.” They were devoted to their ancestral deity Yaho, and Shabbat and Pesach were regular features of their religious life. The field of Elephantine studies today, half a century after Porten’s Archives from Elephantine, offers a more diffuse picture. Many scholars criticize what to them seems an apologetic way of handling the evidence. For the public at large, Porten’s version of the story of the Elephantine Jews still

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stands. Critics have found it easier to point out the deficiencies of his approach than to present a compelling alternative—but not for lack of effort. In fact, recent years have witnessed a renewed interest in Elephantine. It has translated into a substantial number of publications with a particular focus on the religion of the Elephantine Jews. There is a growing consensus among scholars that the Persian period was crucial to the development of Judaism. Against this background, the evidence from Elephantine takes on special significance, as it constitutes the most extensive documentation of a purportedly Jewish community in the diaspora of the time. But this case leaves us with more questions than certainties: Just how representative were the Elephantine Jews of the Jewish community at large? Where did they come from, and what was their history? Who actually were the Elephantine Jews?

Jews or Judeans? Following a longstanding practice in Elephantine studies, this chapter has referred to the “Elephantine Jews” as though the appellation were unproblematic. It is not. Aside from the fact that the Jews of the island referred to themselves more often as Arameans than as Jews, the use of the term “Jew” instead of “Judean” has become quite controversial. In recent scholarship, the debate has focused on the use of the Greek term Ioudaios (plural Ioudaioi) rather than the Aramaic ye˘hûdāy (plural ye˘hûdāyin, ye˘hûdāyēʾ). The reason for the focus on the Hellenistic period is related to the fact that the very term “Judaism” (Ioudaïsmos) makes its first appearance in writing in the second century BCE. From this linguistic observation, many authors draw the inference that Judaism as a phenomenon developed only in the Hellenistic era. If we define a Jew as one who practices Judaism, then the translation “Jew” for ye˘hûdāy in the Elephantine records is an anachronism, since technically there were no Jews in the fifth century BCE. A survey of translations of the Aramaic term in more recent Elephantine studies shows that a majority of scholars now prefer the term “Judean.” But for the Ioudaioi of the Hellenistic period, the translation “Jews” is also contested. Steve Mason is the strongest critic. He argues that “there was no category of ‘Judaism’ in the Graeco-Roman world, no ‘religion’ too, and . . . the Ioudaioi were understood until late antiquity as an ethnic group comparable to other ethnic groups, with their distinctive laws, traditions, customs, and God. They were indeed Judaeans.” Mason does not stand

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alone in his views. If he is right, the translation of ye˘hûdāy as “Jew” would be an error. On closer inspection, Mason advances a package argument. Once we disassemble it, we find it consists of three distinct propositions: (1) a Jew is someone who practices the Jewish religion; (2) there was no religion in antiquity; and (3) in the absence of Jewish religion, we should speak of Judeans instead of Jews. Each of these propositions is controversial. Let us go over them one by one. The notion that a Jew is someone who practices the Jewish religion seems a rather ideological statement. It does not reflect the way that contemporary writers use the term. “All Jews are atheists. Except for the ones who aren’t, of course.” It is a phrase Paul Auster puts into the mouth of one of his Jewish characters in The Brooklyn Follies. One could make the argument that atheism is just another form of religion, but that would be playing with words. The point is that many contemporary Jews do not practice the Jewish religion, yet this does not stop them from being Jews. Jewish identity is a mix of culture and descent. Religion is part of that culture, but a Jew does not need to be religious. Also, by binding Jewish identity to the Jewish faith, one automatically raises the question of which variety of Jewish faith qualifies as the Jewish religion. Religion is not a thing but a generic term embracing a variety of phenomena and practices. There is no objection against its use in scholarly discourse as long as it is understood that Jewish religion designates a wide range of beliefs and practices of Jews in both the past and the present. In other words, there is no Jewish religion without Jews. It does not exist as an abstract entity. “Jew” is a term of ethnicity first, with religion in a subsidiary role. The second reason why Mason refuses to translate Ioudaios as “Jew” is his belief that there was no religion in antiquity. One might argue that there is no need to attack this proposition, since we have defined “Jew” as a term of ethnicity. However, religion is an ingredient of culture and a significant marker of Jewish ethnicity. So let’s consider the “no religion” argument. Mason’s second proposition is consonant with the thesis put forth by Brent Nongbri in his book Before Religion. Nongbri argues that religion is a modern and not an ancient concept and therefore that it should not be applied to premodern phenomena. Neither Mason nor Nongbri would deny that people of the ancient world believed in gods, offered prayer and sacrifice, and performed all sorts of rituals that most of us would qualify as religious. Their point is that the ancients did not think of these beliefs and practices as religion, because to them religion was not a separate province

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of human culture—as it has become in modern times. The ancients had no word for religion because they did not perceive it as religion. So the “no religion” argument must be redefined: there was no concept of religion. Thus reformulated, the argument is valid. It actually reiterates a thesis put forth by Wilfred Cantwell Smith in the early 1960s. But the fact that the ancients did not have a concept of religion does not mean they did not have religion. Their languages have all sorts of words for religious worship. Their world was full of gods. They did have religion—not as a private matter but as a reality that was inseparable from everything else in their lives. Now why should we speak of Judeans rather than Jews, as Mason’s third proposition says? Even if they did not think of it as “religion,” the Jews had a cultural tradition that included religious beliefs and practices. Such was also the case before the term Ioudaïsmos came into currency. This cultural tradition was not the exclusive possession of Judeans. Samarians could rightfully claim the tradition too. The books of Tobit and Judith do not employ the term Ioudaios. Therefore, they might seem irrelevant when it comes to the issue of Jewish versus Judean. Yet both of them raise an issue that affects our understanding of the boundaries of the ethnic community those terms refer to. Their heroes are not from Judah. They are from Samaria, that is, the territory formerly known as the kingdom of Israel. Tobit comes from Galilee, while Judith has her home in the northern city of Bethulia. Both are truly Jewish heroes, however. They honor the temple in Jerusalem, observe the purity laws, and are full of zeal for the Lord and his people. The stories celebrate these heroes for the example they set. To the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Judith is “the great pride of our people” ( Jdt 15:9). The very same word, “people,” is used in Tobit. It refers to an ethnic group that embraces both Samarians and Judeans. The book of Judith designates this ethnic community with the archaizing expressions “the sons of Israel” and “the house of Israel,” for the term “Judeans” would have too territorial a ring to it. But the heroine of the story is Judith, meaning “Jewess,” a programmatic name that militates against the narrow understanding of Ioudaios as “Judean.” At Elephantine, many of the men and women that are referred to as “Jews” had their genealogical roots in Samaria too. The Amherst papyrus still calls them “Samarians,” as opposed to a man “from Judah” who acts as their interpreter. If the Samarians of Elephantine are qualified as ye˘hûdāyēʾ (“Judeans, Jews”), it is not on the basis of a genealogical error but because culture had become the principal and most practical parameter of

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ethnicity. The most appropriate translation of the term ye˘hûdāyēʾ in this context is “Jews,” precisely because it transcends the division between Judean and Samarian. As this book will argue in Chapter 6, the insertion of the Samarians in a Jewish diaspora network in Egypt brought into relief an aspect of their identity that they had in common with migrants with a Judean background. They were Jews. At some point in the fifth century BCE, the Persian authorities decided to officially recognize the “Jews”—a term they knew from the Judean diaspora in Babylonia—as a separate ethnic group. This entitled the community to follow its own traditions, including in the areas of religion and law. This privilege extended to the diaspora Jews of Egypt too. Under the impact of this policy, men and women who had formerly been Samarians officially became Jews. It was their ethnicity rather than their religion. Yet in practice, religion was one of the main markers of ethnicity.

A Diaspora Story In 2013, the historian Simon Schama published the first volume of The Story of the Jews, a companion to his documentary series of the same name. The first chapter is devoted to Elephantine. It reads like an adaptation of Porten’s 1968 monograph for a television series—which, in a way, it is. Schama generously acknowledges his debt to Porten. But he does take the story one step farther. As he writes in the foreword of his book, “What the Jews have lived through, and somehow survived to tell the tale, has been the most intense version known to human history of adversities endured by other peoples as well. . . . It is what makes this story at once particular and universal, the shared inheritance of Jews and non-Jews alike, an account of our common humanity.” The world did not wait for Schama in order to appropriate aspects of the Jewish experience. One of the central concepts that Porten highlights in his story of the Elephantine Jews has come to be applied to others as well. This is the notion of diaspora. It has lent its name to departments of diaspora studies, as well as to a journal entirely devoted to the phenomenon. The transfer of the term is based on the assumption that there is an analogy between the Jewish diaspora and the experience of other peoples. Mirroring the Jewish diaspora, there are Greek, Armenian, Indian, Chinese, African, and many other diasporas. What was once a particular experience has turned out to be a universal phenomenon.

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As a technical term, “diaspora” entered academic discourse in the 1970s and became a widespread and influential concept in the 1980s. “Diaspora” is not a neutral term. It is borrowed from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, and means “dispersion.” The term has an ominous ring to it. People in the diaspora have been uprooted from their own land. They are refugees rather than expatriates. The connotations of the term come from the Jewish diaspora—the mother of all diasporas. It is no coincidence that, as a concept, diaspora made its appearance in academic discourse at about the same time the term “holocaust” came into use. “Holocaust,” too, is a Greek word taken from the Septuagint, where it refers to a burnt offering, the sacrifice of a living animal burnt whole to please God. Once the world recognized the atrocities of the Nazi death camps—we are talking of the early 1960s, when Primo Levi’s Se questo è un uomo (published in English as If This Is a Man and Survival in Auschwitz) found a readership of millions—it fixed its choice on the term “holocaust” as the most appropriate word to capture the horror of what had happened. It may be the worst of misnomers, for though the Jews were gassed and burned whole, it was not for the glory of God. The systematic ethnic cleansing took place in a universe from which God had withdrawn long ago. But the term “holocaust” was there to stay. And the notion of diaspora followed in its tracks. In a way, the Jewish people own the copyright to the terms, even as those terms have been employed to turn the experience of a particular people into universal categories. The story of the Jews has turned into a universal tale; their fate has embodied and captured the human condition. Read against this background, Porten’s version of the story of the Elephantine community falls perfectly in line with the master narrative. Here was a community of Jews, forced out of their homeland, clinging to their religion on foreign soil, loyal to the masters they served, but ultimately victims of an anti-Semitic pogrom at the hands of their Egyptian neighbors. When their temple had been destroyed, they turned to their brothers in Jerusalem for help. On the face of it, the story has all the ingredients of an edifying diaspora tale. It is true they spoke Aramaic and not Hebrew—but that was just for practical purposes. It is also true that they were not perfect monotheists but worshipped Aramean gods on the side—but that may have been a mere formality. And they may have married Egyptian men and women—but those were probably converts. Obedient to the master narrative of the Jewish diaspora, the dominant view of the Elephantine Jews

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pictures them as the first documented case of a Jewish community abroad. They were an icon of the early Jewish diaspora. Ethnicity and religion are central elements in the concept of diaspora. To speak about the Jewish diaspora normally presupposes that the subjects of the experience were Jews by ethnicity and religion at the time they were forced to leave their homeland. This is indeed what Bezalel Porten implies when he calls the Elephantine Jews a diaspora community. When other authors invoke the notion of syncretism to explain the “mixed” religious culture of the Elephantine Jews, they add the element of assimilation. The diaspora community is, by definition, exposed to the danger of compromising its identity by assimilating to its new environment. Study of the data extant in Papyrus Amherst 63 alongside those of the Elephantine Aramaic texts reveals a very different pattern. Instead of being Jews before they came to Egypt, it was their experience at Elephantine that turned them into Jews. In the place where they lived during the seventh century BCE (presumably Palmyra), they had been Samarians. At Elephantine, in the course of the fifth century BCE, the community changed into a nucleus of the Jewish people abroad. They became part of the Jewish diaspora, as Chapter 6 will demonstrate. The story of the Elephantine Jews is a diaspora story but not in the way it has traditionally been presented. It is a story about becoming Jews abroad rather than remaining Jews abroad. Instead of preserving a Jewish identity, the group of Samarians that had settled on Elephantine Island developed a Jewish identity. They became Jews, initially not by choice but by circumstance. Through their place in the network of Jewish communities in Egypt, the diaspora experience made Jewish ethnicity their most distinctive identity. Once the Persian authorities had recognized the separate status of Jews in their empire, the Elephantine community came to be qualified as a Jewish settlement abroad. Religion served as a practical parameter of ethnicity. Jewish identity was not based on birth or genealogy but on worship of the god of the Jews. Modern scholars conventionally refer to the deity as Yahweh, but at Elephantine they called him Yaho. In combination with the legacy of Hebrew personal names, the presence of the temple of Yaho on the island sufficed to turn the community into a group of Jews abroad.

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2 The Aramean Heritage The debate about the Judean versus the Jewish identity of the Elephantine community might easily lead to a neglect of its non-Jewish elements. Chapter 6 will return to the Jewish identity of the colony. But the debate about the correct translation of the term ye˘hûdāy should not make us oblivious to the Aramean background of the Elephantine Jews. They had Jewish names, and their temple was devoted to the ancestral Jewish god. Yet they spoke Aramaic, used Aramaic wisdom literature to hone their scribal skills, venerated several Aramean gods besides Yaho, and referred to themselves as Arameans. In terms of culture, they seem to have been as much Aramean as Jewish, if not more. They apparently had a mixed heritage. In order to reflect this double identity, several scholars call them “Judeo-Arameans.” It is a curious coinage. Does it refer to language, like the term “JudeoGreek”; are we to think of a common religious tradition, on the model of the construct “Judeo-Christian”; or does it mean something else? Whatever its precise meaning, the binomial does serve as a reminder of the complex background of the Elephantine Jews. This chapter explores their Aramean heritage. They have come to be defined as Jews. Perhaps they were not so Jewish during an earlier period of their existence.

Aramaic and the “Original Biblical Language” The archaeologist Howard Carter had no doubt in his report to Lord Amherst: the Jews of Elephantine wrote their papyri “in the original Biblical language.” It confirmed him in the conviction that the Elephantine colony consisted of descendants of the people of the Bible. The fact of the

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matter is that the Elephantine papyri are in Aramaic and not Hebrew. There is nothing particularly biblical about Aramaic. It was certainly not the original language of the Israelites. The oldest text that Lady William Cecil had acquired turned out to be a contract from 464 BCE. Among the other papyri offered for sale at the time was one from 471 BCE. The dates are known because these are legal documents, written by notary scribes who carefully dated the texts. Did they write in Aramaic because it was the official language of the Persian Empire and therefore standard in contracts? Shortly after Lady Cecil made her purchase, excavations started on Elephantine Island. The French team found hundreds of inscribed potsherds in the Jewish neighborhood. These ostraca were from the first quarter of the fifth century BCE. They were older than most of the papyri, and their language was Aramaic too. Nearly all the ostraca contained private messages exchanged between family members and colleagues. If the correspondents were Judeans, why didn’t they write in Hebrew? Had they completely forgotten their ancestral tongue? If the bulk of the Jewish colony in Elephantine had come from Judah in the sixth century or before, we should expect them to speak Hebrew. By the witness of the Lachish letters and the inscriptions from Arad, the Judeans spoke Hebrew up till the time of the fall of Jerusalem. But the Elephantine Jews did not. At home, they spoke Aramaic. At some point, they must have adopted that language as their own. Opinions differ as to when this linguistic change took place. The dominant view holds that the Jews turned to Aramaic while in Egypt. That is very unlikely. The Jews only came into the employ of the Persians after 525 BCE. Before that date, “in the days of the Egyptian kings,” they would have had no reason to abandon Hebrew for Aramaic. The Egyptians did not speak Aramaic but Egyptian. The main reason that Egyptians of Elephantine never occur as witnesses to the Aramaic contracts of their Jewish neighbors is the fact that most of them did not speak the language. It seems the only valid explanation, for until the final decades of the fifth century BCE, the relations between Jews and Egyptians were generally good. It is telling, too, that the correspondence between the Persian satrap of Egypt and the Elephantine-based priests of Khnum was in Egyptian. There were Egyptian soldiers in the Persian forces, but they had their own battalions precisely for reasons of language. During the time that the colony served Egyptian masters, Aramaic would have been of little use. If the Jews adopted Aramaic to better serve their Persian masters, it must have happened after 525 BCE. Again,

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the ostraca are from the first decades of the fifth century. One generation seems a very short period for a new language to become the private vehicle of communication. The comparative evidence from other migrant communities, contemporary and ancient, argues against it. Linguistic assimilation is normal in interactions with the population of the host country, but the total extinction of the native language within the community usually takes generations. Since the Jews of Elephantine Island spoke Aramaic among themselves, they must have been familiar with the language for a considerable amount of time. This means that Aramaic must have been their daily vehicle of communication well before 525 BCE. If they did not switch to Aramaic in the line of duty as soldiers of the Persian Empire, what prompted them to adopt Aramaic? Was it collaboration with the Aramaic-speaking communities of Syene? Theoretically this is possible. However, it is hard to see why they would have chosen to speak Aramaic rather than Egyptian when they were in the employ of the Egyptians. There is another possibility, seldom entertained because it seems to contradict the Jewish identity of the community. What if these Jews spoke Aramaic even before they came to Egypt? That hypothesis would explain the linguistic practices reflected in the papyri and the ostraca. On the other hand, if these people had been speaking Aramaic for generations, they cannot have come directly from Judah. It is not certain that Samarian origins offer a more plausible explanation for the use of Aramaic. Though the ethnic and linguistic variety in Samaria after 721 BCE may have favored the turn to Aramaic, there is no compelling evidence to this effect. For the time being, then, we must limit ourselves to the conclusion that the colloquial use of Aramaic points to a period in the early history of the community during which it had been living in an Aramaic-speaking environment.

Literature In the Jewish quarter of Elephantine Island, the German excavators found two literary texts. One is an Aramaic translation of a Persian royal inscription. The Persian original was carved in the high rocks of Behistun in Persia. The text is a legitimation account of the Achaemenid dynasty. Owing to the protection of Ahura Mazda, the Persian high god, King Darius successfully suppressed all insurrections against his rule. The copy of the Aramaic version must have circulated in the Jewish colony,

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as the blank space on the backside of the scroll was used for a record of memoranda from the Yaho temple. The presence of this piece of political propaganda reminded the soldiers that they were there to defend the Persian interests in Egypt. The second literary composition is far longer and, in some ways, more spectacular. It is the earliest copy to date of the Life and Sayings of Ahiqar. An Aramean sage and scholar who rose to eminence at the Assyrian court, Ahiqar held the office of seal bearer under the kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. Unjustly calumniated by his nephew and adopted son Nadin, whom he had groomed to be his successor, he had to go into hiding, but eventually made a triumphant comeback to the royal court. Attached to this narrative frame is a compilation of Aramaic proverbs. The composition gained wide popularity in the ancient world. Scholars knew it already from translations into Armenian, Syriac, Slavonic, Greek, Arabic, Ethiopian, and Old Turkish before they encountered the earlier Aramaic version. The Life and Sayings of Ahiqar provides an intriguing insight into the cultural background of the Jewish community. It deserves a more detailed discussion. But prior to an assessment of the significance of this Aramean composition, one has to take stock of the texts that the excavators had expected to find but did not. Charles Clermont-Ganneau, the leader of the French archaeological expedition to Elephantine, had been the most explicit. He had been hoping to find the earliest copy of the Bible—perhaps not the whole Bible, but at least those parts that made up the core of the Jewish religion. A version of the Ten Commandments would have sufficed, as would a precursor of the doctrine of monotheism that Jews all over the world know as the Shema: “Hear Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” Nothing of the sort turned up in the excavations. Theoretically, of course, the Elephantine Jews might have recited those texts. Maybe they knew them by heart and had no need of a written reminder. But the presence of several Aramean deities in the temple of Yaho in Elephantine casts a strange light upon the expected monotheism of these Jews. And if the Bible was their holy book, how come not a single fragment of it came to light during the excavations? We don’t know the exact purpose of the two literary compositions that the German mission did discover. The most likely explanation is that they were used for the instruction of apprentice scribes. For Ahiqar, at any rate, this is the most plausible hypothesis. The notion that one would read for personal enjoyment and edification is out of tune with the culture of the time. There was neither a book market nor a book culture. There were

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neither public libraries nor a reading public. There were scribes, and there was scribal education. Wisdom texts had long been the staple diet that student scribes were exposed to in order to hone their writing skills, to refine their rhetorical abilities, and to familiarize them with the ethics of the scribal profession. The encounter with Ahiqar introduced them to a “skillful scribe” whose unfailing loyalty to his foreign masters had saved him from disgrace. The figure of Ahiqar was put before them as an example to emulate; he was a role model. Like them, he had lived in the diaspora. Their new home was Egypt, then under Persian rule. His new home had been Assyria. The difference was not all that great. Even abroad, either in Assyria or Egypt, there was a way to achieve greatness. A couple of centuries later, the book of Tobit would present Ahiqar as a man of Israelite extraction. The book of Tobit is a Jewish novella that never made it into the Protestant Bible but is part of the Catholic version of the Old Testament because the latter is based on the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (the so-called Septuagint). In technical jargon, the book of Tobit is deuterocanonical, not part of the real Bible but nevertheless worthy of special consideration because it can aid believers in their devotion to God. The work is from the early third or second century BCE. It was not written for the sake of Protestants or Catholics but for the Jewish community in the diaspora. It tells the tale of Tobit, a man from Samaria, deported to Assyria, who faithfully observed the precepts of the Jewish religion. According to this Jewish tale, Ahiqar was Tobit’s nephew (“the son of my brother”). But in the earliest copy of the story of Ahiqar—the one found at Elephantine—Ahiqar was not a Jew but an Aramean. He may actually have been a historical figure and not just a fictional hero. According to a later Babylonian text, Ahiqar had been the second-in-command of King Esarhaddon. His official name had been Aba-Ninnu-dari, “but the Arameans called him Ahuqari.” The hero of the Ahiqar story was an Aramean. Later Jewish tradition transformed him into a Jew, but that fact merely demonstrates the extent to which the story had become part of Jewish literary culture. The Life and Sayings of Ahiqar consists of two originally independent parts. The older one is a collection of proverbs, the younger one the Ahiqar story. The tale of the famous Aramean scholar came to serve secondarily as the narrative frame of the proverbs, in much the same way as the West Asian tradition put all sorts of precepts and admonitions in the mouth of a legendary sage of the past. The proverbs are from North Syria, and their original language was a local form of Aramaic. The Ahiqar story is in

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official Aramaic, and there is no compelling reason to suspect the original was in Akkadian. Yet it is clear that its author was familiar with the life of scholars at the Assyrian court. The plot of the story, too, may well go back to a Mesopotamian model. It is the tale of the slandered scholar. As a new king comes into office, the sage experiences a fall from grace through the insinuations and libel of envious colleagues. In response to his prayers, the gods restore the scholar to his former position as confidant of the king. This is the plot of Ludlul bēl nēmeqi (I will praise the Lord of Wisdom), a classic of Babylonian wisdom literature. Letters from Assyrian scholars are full of allusions to and complaints about the competition between sages serving at the royal court. Scribal careers were precarious. The Life and Sayings of Ahiqar departs from the Mesopotamian model insofar as the protagonist of the story is a not a native. In this respect, Ahiqar foreshadows later court novellas about foreign scholars, such as the books of Daniel and Tobit. But the author of Ahiqar was apparently the first to use the traditional motif of the slandered scholar as a topic for a diaspora story. One difference between Ahiqar and the later Jewish tales is the absence in the former of the references to devotion and divine intervention so emphatically present in the latter. Another peculiarity of Ahiqar is the treacherous role of Nadin. The troubles for the Aramean scholar do not come from his Assyrian colleagues but from a man of his own people, in fact the very son of his sister. With family like that, who needs enemies? While perfidious behavior by ungrateful relatives is a well-known folk motif, its presence in a diaspora story is striking. Though this is an Aramaic tale about an Aramean hero, it cannot be constructed as a chauvinist narrative. The message of the story is that diligence and loyalty are scribal virtues that, in the end, will always carry the day, even at the court of a foreign king. There is nothing supernatural about that; it is just a matter of sticking to the code of professional scribal ethics. Although the only surviving copy of the Aramaic text of the Life and Sayings of Ahiqar is from the Jewish community of Elephantine Island, the work must have been popular among the Aramaic-speaking diaspora throughout Egypt—Arameans and Jews. At some point Egyptian scribes adopted the Ahiqar tradition and prepared an Egyptian version of the text, written in Demotic script. The surviving fragments are all from Roman Egypt and date to the first century CE, but there is reason to assume that the borrowing took place at a significantly earlier date. In all likelihood the Demotic Ahiqar goes back to the Persian period. Interestingly, it reflects a variant of the Ahiqar story that is closer to the Syriac version of Ahiqar

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than the Aramaic. It means that already in the fifth century BCE, there were two versions of the Aramaic Ahiqar story and that the scroll from Elephantine contains one of them and not necessarily the oldest. Also, the Demotic Ahiqar fragments indicate that there was great fluidity in the collection of sayings attributed to the Aramean sage. The Egyptian scribes freely deleted and added sayings, a phenomenon found in proverb collections from many parts of the early Middle East. It corroborates the impression of a rather loose link between the Ahiqar tale and the sayings. The fact that a work from the Aramean diaspora in Assyria should be the main literary text discovered in the Jewish quarter of Elephantine is food for thought. By what channels did this composition get there? The copy was prepared in Egypt, but the mother text must have been brought by Arameans. André Lemaire has argued that the scribal training at Elephantine was not Jewish but followed the official curriculum of the Aramaic schools in Egypt under Persian supervision. This is possible but speculative. The two orthographies of the name “Yaho” (yhw and yhh) reflect the existence of different scribal traditions within the Jewish colony. This suggests that scribal training followed the model of the master-trainee type of education rather than that of the school. If Ahiqar was not part of the standard curriculum, its more occasional use in scribal training at Elephantine might also be interpreted as an indication that the literary culture of the Jewish community there was more Aramean than Jewish. There is no evidence to show that they borrowed the text from their Aramean colleagues at Syene. For all we know, they might have considered Ahiqar as part of their own tradition. The later transformation of Ahiqar into a Jew—from Samaria!— suggests that the Elephantine Jews never thought of him as someone belonging to a different ethnic group than their own. In a way, the identity change that Ahiqar experienced in the book of Tobit is a literary reflection of the changing identity of the Elephantine community. When they came to Egypt, they were so much like Arameans that they might be taken for Arameans. In the course of their stay at Elephantine, they became Jews.

Religion at Elephantine Another significant part of the Aramean heritage of the Elephantine Jews was their religion. As in several other areas, they displayed a double identity in their religious practice. By the reference to their place of worship as “the temple of Yaho,” the settlers at Elephantine put themselves squarely in the Jewish tradition, since Yaho was the god of the Jews. The

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connection was supposed to be exclusive; only Jews worshipped Yaho, and their worship was directed to Yaho alone. As it turns out, however, the Jewish temple on the island had room for other gods as well. There is additional evidence for the worship of non-Jewish gods, both inside and outside the temple. Such data have led several scholars to speak about “the pantheon” of Elephantine. The term may not be wholly appropriate because it conveys the notion of a divine constellation that embraces all gods acknowledged as such by the community. But by today’s terminology, the Elephantine Jews were certainly polytheists. You might call theirs a “relative” polytheism, but such mitigations do not annul the fact that the community worshipped other gods besides Yaho. As we shall see, the particular nature of their polytheism has a bearing on the identity of the Elephantine Jews. But prior to an assessment in terms of identity, the contours of the religion of the Elephantine Jews have to be established. The close to four hundred ostraca from Elephantine Island are the earliest evidence concerning the religion of the Jewish colony, much of which seems consonant with the beliefs and practices described in the Bible. Many men and women mentioned in the ostraca carry names that refer to Yaho, on the model of “Yeho-yishma” (Yaho will listen), a woman’s name, and “Uriyah” (Yaho is my light), the name of a priest. Porten takes these names as a direct echo of the devotion of the Elephantine Jews and even uses them to delineate some of their actual beliefs and convictions. The latter is a hazardous exercise, given the practice of naming children after relatives, owing to which names often run in a family. It is doubtful whether the bearers of these names were still mindful of their literal meaning. But one could make the case that the Yaho names do reflect traditional religious loyalties. Stronger evidence for traditional religious loyalties is extant in the references to “the house of Yaho.” Aside from the fact that this temple is located on an Egyptian island rather than in Jerusalem, the atmosphere feels Jewish. The short messages written on the potsherds also mention Shabbat and Pesach, familiar terms from the Jewish calendar. The repeated occurrence of such biblical phrases as “by the life of Yaho (I swear)” and “the Lord of Hosts” completes the impression of scenes from the Bible transplanted to Egypt. References to other gods (Khnum, Bel, Nabu, Nergal, and Shamash) are rare. They occur only in greeting formulas and could be explained as mere rhetorical flourishes. If the ostraca were all we had to go by, there would be little reason to question the Jewish identity of this community.

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The papyri, however, open a different window onto the religious practices of the Jews. Their most striking revelation concerns the religion that was practiced in the temple. The first Jewish temple at Elephantine was destroyed during an Egyptian insurrection in 410 BCE. It took the Jews almost a decade to build a new one. In 400, there was a collection to raise money for new furniture. Each family unit paid 2 shekels. The final compilation of lists with names of contributors makes the addition. In all, 318 shekels are to be divided between Yaho (126 shekels), Eshem-Bethel (70 shekels), and Anat-Bethel (120 shekels—2 shekels have gone missing). In the present connection this administrative document is important for its candid admission of the fact that there were three gods in the temple—although “admission” is the wrong word because the Jews had nothing to hide. Yaho, it would seem, needs no further introduction. His companion gods are more enigmatic. “Eshem-Bethel” and “Anat-Bethel” are both compound names related to the god Bethel. In two Neo-Assyrian treaty texts from the first half of the seventh century BCE, Anat-Bethel occurs as Bethel’s consort. The treaties show that Bethel and Anat-Bethel were Syrian deities that had been incorporated into the Assyrian pantheon. Other evidence, too, points to Syria as the place where the worship of Bethel originated. A debt record from Sefire, a town close to Aleppo, is full of personal names containing a reference to the god Bethel. Zeus Betylos (“the God Bethel”) is “the ancestral god of those that dwell along the Orontes,” as a later inscription from Dura-Europos has it. The connection of Eshem with Bethel also goes back to this area, in view of the occurrence of the god Symbetylos in an inscription from northern Syria. “Symbetylos” is the Greek transcription of Eshem-Bethel. Yaho is the god of the Jews. But at Elephantine, the god found himself in the company of two deities from the Bethel circle. Those gods are Aramean. It is very unlikely they were an innovation introduced in the final decade of the century. Since the new temple had to be a copy of the previous one, it would hardly have been on the community’s mind to build chapels for new gods. If the two Bethel gods were in the second temple, they must have been present in the first one as well. Two other documents from the late fifth century add yet another dimension to the religious pluralism of the community. They are records of oath, one by Herem-Bethel and the other by Herem the god and Anat-Yaho. There is no need to elaborate upon the precise identity of these gods in order to establish their Aramean background. Herem-Bethel is another god whose compound

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name links him with Bethel. And Anat-Yaho seems to be the twin sister or alter ego of Anat-Bethel. For the time being, these gods are a mystery. They are names whose meaning will have to be elucidated on the basis of other evidence. But their Aramean connection seems certain. The Jewish veneration of Bethel, Eshem, and Herem is reflected in some of the personal names from the papyri. A marriage contract from the last third of the fifth century has one Herem-natan son of Bethel-natan, as well as Bethel-natan son of Yeho-natan, among the witnesses. Jewish marriage contracts from Elephantine consistently employ Jewish witnesses only. The fact that one Bethel-natan is the son of Yeho-natan confirms the former’s Jewish identity. Presumably, then, Herem-natan son of Bethel-natan was Jewish too. Some of the other personal names containing the divine names “Bethel,” “Eshem,” and “Herem” were also Jewish. Across from Elephantine, on the east bank of the Nile, there was an important military colony of Syrians. They had a temple for Bethel and the Queen of Heaven. One would have expected to find Anat-Bethel and Eshem-Bethel on their side of the river. As it turns out, however, these Syrian gods had found a home among the Jews. It is further proof of the degree to which the cultural heritage of these Jews was Aramean, even more than the worship of the compound Bethel deities lets on. The more or less contemporaneous references to Anat-Yaho (402 BCE) and Anat-Bethel (400 BCE), plus the absence of any mention of the god Bethel himself, convey the suggestion that Yaho was actually identified with Bethel. Perhaps that should not come as a complete surprise. A later passage in the book of Jeremiah denounces the worship of Bethel as one of the deviations of Israel ( Jer 48:13). Elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, too, there are allusions to this Syrian God. “Bethel” occurs with some regularity in Israelite personal names too. The evidence from Elephantine, at any rate, shows that the Jewish community worshipped several Aramean gods related to the god Bethel on the tacit assumption that “Bethel” and “Yaho” were names for the same deity. The Elephantine Jews were polytheists and Aramean in their religious outlook. Ultimately, the combined witness of language, literature, and religion calls into question the ethnic identity of the Elephantine Jews.

Ethnicity at Elephantine The Elephantine Papyri contain one particularly promising lead that can be used to establish the ethnic identity of the community. Records

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of sale, loan, litigation, or donation must always identify the parties involved. To make sure there was no room for misunderstanding, the scribes laid down the particulars of their clients in writing: name, father’s name, ethnicity, place of residence, and army unit. For example, “Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, Jew who is in the fortress of Elephantine, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata.” Scribes might leave out one or another element from the list, but they normally would not skip ethnicity. Since we possess a significant number of contracts from the Jewish community of the island, there would seem to be sufficient data to establish their ethnicity. As it turns out, however, there is a strange discrepancy in the evidence. Where we would expect to encounter unambiguous ethnic identity, we find conflicting indications. There are several cases where one and the same person is identified one time as a Jew and the next as an Aramean, or first as an Aramean and next as a Jew, as though the two designations were synonymous. But that is a possibility that cannot be seriously entertained. Unless words are meaningless, a Jew is not an Aramean. If one and the same man is both a Jew and an Aramean, then there must be another explanation. Prior to a search for explanations, the evidence needs to be laid out. The contracts document five cases in which particular individuals are identified now as Jews and now as Arameans. In none of these cases is there evidence of a change in circumstance that might entail a change in identity. The texts document double identity, not identity change. A sixth case of double identity emerges from a comparison between a contract defining someone as Aramean and a letter in which the same man is referred to as a Jew. Because the devil is in the details, the following survey of the documented cases of double identity cites all the attested identity statements concerning the person in question. The first case of double identity is that of Mahseyah. Born toward the end of the sixth century BCE, Mahseyah was still alive in 416, when he acted as witness to a transaction between two of his grandsons. He belonged to the powerful family of Yedanyah son of Mahseyah, successive generations of which served in the leadership of the Jewish community. Mahseyah, also known as Mahsah, was identified as an Aramean in 471, as a Jew in 464, and as an Aramean again in 449. Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, Aramean of Syene, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata.

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The Aramean Heritage Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, Jew who is in the fortress of Elephantine, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata. Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, Jew having property in Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Haoma-data. Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, Jew of Elephantine, belonging to the battalion of Haoma-data. Mahseyah, Aramean of Syene, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata.” Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, Aramean of Syene, belonging to battalion of Varyazata.

The first two texts that mention Mahseyah also refer to Qonyah. A neighbor of Mahseyah, Qonyah is identified as an Aramean in 471, and as a Jew seven years later: Qonyah son of Zadaq, Aramean of Syene, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata. Qonyah son of Zadaq, Jew, belonging to the battalion of Atropharna.

The third case concerns two of Mahseyah’s grandsons—both born from the union of his daughter Mibtahyah with her Egyptian husband, Eshor (also known under the name “Natan”)—who experience a similar chameleonic change in the texts. While a 420 BCE contract calls them Jews, they are called Arameans ten years later: Yedanyah and Mahseyah, two in all, sons of Eshor son of Zeha, by Mibtahyah daughter of Mahseyah, Jews, belonging to the same battalion (that is, of Iddin-Nabu). Mahseyah son of Natan—one; Yedanyah son of Natan—one; all told two;

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Arameans of Syene, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata.

The fourth case involves another prominent member of the Elephantine community, Meshullam son of Zakkur son of Ater. Meshullam was a trader. He sold houses, gave loans, and had a harem of Egyptian women, one of whom he married out to a man who was steward of the Yaho temple. The proper name of Meshullam’s grandfather was Meshullam, “Ater” being a nickname meaning “hunchback.” Meshullam was identified as a Jew in 456, as an Aramean in 449, and as a Jew again in 427: Meshullam son of Zakkur, Jew of Elephantine the fortress. Meshullam son of Zakkur, Aramean of Syene, belonging to the battalion of Varyazata. Meshullam son of Zakkur, Jew of Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Iddin-Nabu.

The fifth instance of double ethnic identity concerns Ananyah son of Haggai son of Meshullam son of Besas. Ananyah (variant: Anani) was the man who, in 420, married Yeho-yishma, daughter of Tamet and Anani, the temple steward. Ananyah’s exact occupation is unknown, but he did receive a ration from the treasury of the king. Texts identify Ananyah as Aramean in 420 and 402, while another text written in 402 calls him a Jew: Ananyah son of Haggai, Aramean of Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Iddin-Nabu. Anani son of Haggai, Aramean of Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Nabu-kudurri. Anani son of Haggai son of Meshullam, Jew, belonging to the battalion of Nabu-kudurri.

The sixth instance of a double identity differs from the ones previously cited because this man is mentioned in one contract only:

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The Aramean Heritage Mattan son of Yashobyah, Aramean, Syenian, belonging to the battalion of [PN].

There is one other reference to Mattan, however, where it is implied that he is a Jew. In 411 BCE, the secretary-treasurer of the Jewish community of Elephantine wrote a letter to the leadership. The heading of his letter reads, “To my Lords Yedanyah; Uriyah and the priests of Yaho the God; Mattan son of Yashobyah (and) Berekyah son of [PN].” The address contains a variant of this formula: “To my Lords Yedanyah; Uriyah and the priests; and the Jews.” A comparison between heading and address indicates that Mattan and Berekyah represented the Jews and were, by implication, Jews themselves. In all, then, there are six cases where one and the same member of the Jewish community of Elephantine is successively identified as Jew and Aramean—or vice versa. In order to obtain an overview of the formal markers of identity, as well as the variations in their wording, the survey above has listed all known identifications of the men in question. In fact, the overview is as good as exhaustive, since a perusal of the rest of the Elephantine papyri yields only a few variants. The first variant consists of a combination of the expressions “Syenian” and “property holder.” In a formal letter of entreaty to the Persian authorities, five prominent members of the Jewish community present themselves as “Syenians who are holding property in Elephantine the fortress.” A second variant applies to the Jewish community as a whole. It is employed in a draft of a letter to the governor of Judah: “Your servants Yedanyah and his colleagues, and all the Jews living in Elephantine.” Among the Jews whose names occur in the contracts, there are many more who are identified as either “Aramean of Syene” or “Jew of Elephantine the fortress.” It would be pointless to list them all, for this would only confirm the fact of the double identity that has already been established. The real question is about the meaning of this double identity. Is this a dual ethnic identity, or are the two identities somehow different in nature—the one being ethnic, the other something else? In order to discover the meaning of the double identity of the Elephantine Jews, we shall proceed by elimination. Several explanations have been advanced. All of them deserve serious consideration even if, at first sight, one seems a little more far-fetched than the others. One possibility is to say that there is no double identity at issue. What we interpret as the

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dual identity of one person is in fact distinct identities belonging to distinct individuals who happen to carry the same name—a case of mistaken identity rather than one of double identity. A second solution holds that the scribes used the term “Aramean” by error; it is a careless use of language, triggered perhaps by the free association of thoughts. The third suggestion is based on the association of Aramean as ethnicity and Aramaic as a language. Jews could be said to be Arameans because they spoke Aramaic. And the fourth way out of the dilemma assumes that the Jews were Jews by ethnicity and Arameans in terms of the Persian administration, military or otherwise. The four solutions have been listed in order of increasing probability. Ultimately, however, we will find that none of these solutions is completely satisfying. The solution of the mistaken identities is linked to the name of Edoardo Volterra. In several publications, Volterra first suggested and later insisted that all the alleged cases of double identity were based on homonymy. Yet the admirable consistency of Volterra’s theory comes at the cost of utter improbability. One case of mistaken identities is in the realm of possibility; two is an extraordinary coincidence; but six or seven is a stretch of the imagination that cannot be sustained. The second theory promotes error as explanation. It goes back to one of the great pioneers of Elephantine studies, Arthur E. Cowley. He suggested that the Aramean identity of the Elephantine Jews was due to a “loose” use of language. Cowley did in fact accuse the scribes responsible for these mistakes of “mere carelessness.” This is an unsatisfactory explanation. Scribes were also the notaries of antiquity. It would be remarkable, to say the least, to find that they should be careless when drafting legal documents. Avoiding ambiguity was part of their training. A variant of Cowley’s solution lifts the blame off the shoulders of the scribes and argues that the Elephantine Jews mistook themselves for Arameans. Though Judeans and Arameans were distinct ethnic groups, the Elephantine experience had blurred the boundaries between them. As a matter of consequence, the Jews began to think of themselves as Arameans. This variant of the error theory is hardly more likely to be correct. As a rule, the diaspora experience does not diminish a group’s sense of ethnic identity. The third solution uses a semantic twist. Several authors hold that the term “Aramean,” when applied to Jews, does not define ethnicity but refers to language. As Bezalel Porten argues, “The designation ‘Aramean’ was probably due to the fact that the Jews were considered members of

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the larger Aramaic-speaking group.” Other authors have taken a similar stance. The language theory does not withstand critical examination. Other mercenaries in the service of the Persian army spoke Aramaic too. The case of the Iranian community at Elephantine is an example. Yet none of them, other than the Elephantine Jews, were systematically referred to as Arameans, as the discussion of the identity tags of the Iranians will show. Perhaps one could make the argument that other mercenaries spoke Aramaic as their second language, whereas the Elephantine Jews spoke it as their first. Witness the ostraca: Aramaic is what they spoke at home. Conceivably, the Persian authorities identified the Jews as Arameans because Aramaic seemed to be their native tongue. In that case, however, language would have served as a marker of ethnicity, and the term ʾărāmāy would refer to ethnicity. The fourth solution holds that the Jews were Arameans because they belonged to the Aramean garrison. Pierre Grelot draws a comparison with a practice from later times: “Likewise, in the Ptolemaic Era, Jews will qualify themselves as Macedonians because they serve in a Macedonian battalion.” For Grelot, the Jews were not ethnic Arameans. Their Aramean identity was purely military-administrative. The administrative theory deserves to be developed in some more detail, as it links up with the fact that there is a privileged relation between Arameans and Syene, on the one hand, and Jews and Elephantine, on the other. Oversimplifying matters, we might say that in the Elephantine papyri, an Aramean is by definition “an Aramean of Syene,” and a Jew, “a Jew of Elephantine.” The Jew-Elephantine connection occurs in four variants: 1. 2. 3. 4.

“Jew of Elephantine” “Jew who is in the fortress of Elephantine” “Jew having property in Elephantine the fortress” “All the Jews living in Elephantine”

The variety occurring in the connection between Arameans and Syene is lower. The normal expression is “Aramean of Syene,” but it is equally possible to refer to someone as “an Aramean, a Syenian.” Now the Elephantine Jews refer on occasion to themselves as “Syenians.” Individually, many a “Jew of Elephantine” is at the same time an “Aramean of Syene.” The military-administrative theory holds that the Jews lived at Elephantine and were ethnically Jews but were administratively reckoned among the Aramean forces stationed at Syene. The odd reference to a Jew as an “Aramean

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of Elephantine the fortress” might seem to invalidate this theory but could arguably combine military-administrative identity with a reference to the place of residence. In fact, the written evidence on the members of the Jewish community provides no decisive argument against the militaryadministrative theory. In order to test its plausibility, we must look at a counterexample. The case of the Iranian community of Elephantine offers a promising parallel.

The Countercase of the Iranian Community The Iranian community of Elephantine Island also consisted of military families in the employ of the Persians. They were conversant with Aramaic and administratively part of the Syenian garrison. If the Jews were Arameans in terms of the Persian military administration, it is to be expected the Iranians were Arameans too. The following is a list of the identity formulas encountered in connection with the Iranians of the island: Horesmians, Caspians, Bactrians, Medes, and Magians. It exhibits both similarities to and contrasts with the Jews: Dargamana son of Harashayana, Horesmian stationed in Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Artabanu. Barbari son of Dargi, Caspian stationed [in Elephantine the fortress]. Bagazushta son of Bazu, Caspian, belonging to the battalion of Namasava. Ubil daughter of Shatibara, Caspian woman of Syene, belonging to the battalion of Namasava. Ubil daughter of Shatibara, and [her husband] Bagazushta, Caspians of Elephantine the fortress. Barzanarava son of Artabarzana, that is Patu, Bactrian [st]ationed in Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Marya. Yanabulliya son of Misdaya, Caspian who holds property in Elephantine.

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Elsewhere in the Elephantine papyri and potsherds there are other occurrences of Caspians and Horesmians. They lived in close proximity to the Jews and would frequently serve as witnesses to their contracts. However, there is no other identification formula aside from the seven quoted above. They suffice to make some observations about the similarities and the contrasts between the Iranian and the Jewish identity. In terms of similarities, there is the general structure of the identification tags of the Iranians in the legal documents. They, too, are normally identified by name, name of the father, ethnicity, place of residence, and military detachment. As in the case of the Jews, both men and women have a place in the military organization, women normally through the battalion of their husband or their father. One striking detail is the double address of Lady Ubil, daughter of Shatibara. Her husband and she are once qualified as “Caspians of Elephantine the fortress.” Individually, however, Ubil was also “a Caspian woman of Syene.” Does this mean Ubil had houses in both Elephantine and Syene? Hardy so. The most likely explanation would take “of Syene” as an administrative identity, in the sense that Ubil fell under the purview of the Syenian garrison. Assuming her case is paradigmatic for the Iranian group as a whole, their situation is similar to that of the Jews. The Jews, too, though living in Elephantine, could be said to be “Syenians” or “of Syene.” Which brings us immediately to a significant contrast: Iranians are never identified as Arameans. The scribes do sometimes hesitate about their exact ethnicity. Was Dargamana a Horesmian (so according to one scribe) or a Caspian (so according to another)? But Iranians do not have a double ethnicity as the Jews do. Nowhere in the texts are they referred to as Arameans, even though they served in the Syenian garrison and were familiar with Aramaic, as is clear from their role as witnesses to contracts written in Aramaic. Another element that seems particular to the Caspian identity is the phrase “stationed in Elephantine the fortress.” Porten speculates that this expression indicates “a semipermanent status,” as opposed to those who were “holding property” in Elephantine. While the phrase is indeed unattested in connection with the Jews, it should not be overinterpreted. Some of the Iranian men “stationed” in Elephantine did engage in real estate transactions, which implies that they did hold property. In fact, the term “holding property” also occurs in connection with a Caspian. The Persians recognized the distinct ethnicity of the Iranian community at Elephantine by the creation of a separate battalion. Battalions were

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based on ethnicity, as indicated, for instance, by the reference to “the battalions of the Egyptians.” The battalion that the Caspians were attached to presumably included other Iranian soldiers as well, such as Horesmians, Bactrians, Medes, and Magians. Each of the various battalions was usually named after its commander. For the Iranian battalion, those are Artabanu, Namasava, and Marya. It is no coincidence that there is no overlap whatsoever with the names of the men commanding the battalions mentioned in connection with the Jews. Jews and Iranians lived as neighbors on the island but served in different battalions. There were social interactions and economic transactions between the two groups but no intermarriage. In fact, the available evidence contains several echoes of ethnic tensions between the Jews and the Iranian community of Elephantine.

The Aramean Ethnicity of the Jews If the Jews were identified as Arameans, it was not by mistake, through carelessness, for reasons of language, or on account of their place in the military organization. In the eyes of the Persian administration, they were truly part of the Aramean community. This was not only in the eyes of the Persians; it was also how the Jews saw themselves. So far, the predominant assumption among scholars has been that the core identity of the Elephantine Jews was Jewish or Judean. This has given a particular twist to the problem of their double identity. Since their Aramean identity has been seen as secondary, explanations have generally attempted to understand this double identity in a nonethnic sense. As it turns out, however, ʾărāmāy is really an ethnic term. And when we look at the evidence from the papyri, we find that for most Elephantine Jews it was their ethnic identity by default. As Reuven Yaron argued in the 1960s, the Elephantine Jews thought of themselves as Arameans first: “Amongst themselves they are ‘Arameans,’ but when they come into contact with outsiders, they tend to describe themselves as ‘Jews’ (or are so described by others).” If Yaron is correct, the Aramean identity was the default identity of the Elephantine Jews. References to their Jewish ethnicity would have served the purpose of a more particular identity. The Jews of Elephantine were Arameans, but not all Arameans were Jews. In other words, the Jews were a distinct segment of the Aramean ethnic community. A survey of the available evidence would seem to support Yaron’s claim. The ethnic identification of Jews in contracts exhibit a preponderance of ascribed Aramean ethnicity over against ascribed Jewish ethnicity:

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twenty-four instances to thirteen. In terms of documents, the breakdown is only slightly different: nineteen to ten. Statistically, then, Yaron is correct when he posits that Aramean is the default ethnicity—though it must be admitted that the basis for a comparison is small. As far as can be ascertained, nearly all cases in which the ascribed ethnicity is Jewish involve a non-Jewish party in one capacity or another. In a contract from 464 BCE, there are three persons defined as Jews. But the document is about litigation with a Horesmian, and the scribe is non-Jewish. Another document, concerning a suit brought by one Jew against another, was drawn up in Elephantine by a Jewish scribe, but it was brought before and was decided by the Persian governor of the southern province and the Persian garrison commander. A most interesting case is the record of a loan made by an Aramean to a Jew. The Aramean (Pa-Khnum son of Besa, living in Syene) was clearly not Jewish, and the contract was drawn up in Syene by a nonJewish scribe. Another contract, preserved very fragmentarily, involves a Bactrian and a Jew. Not every case where Jewish ethnicity is mentioned can be explained by the presence of a non-Jewish party. But the instances just mentioned are significant. Apparently, then, the Elephantine Jews belonged to the larger group of Arameans and thought of themselves as Jews when it came to their more specific identity. The Jews who lived in Elephantine were Arameans first. It may not be what one expects, but those are the facts of the case. The Aramean ethnicity having been established, the logical follow-up is to ask what it actually implied. Those who wish to minimize the significance of the Aramean ethnicity of the Jews could argue that, to the Persians, all the inhabitants of Syria-Palestine were Arameans. When Herodotus traveled through Egypt in the fifth century BCE, he also visited Elephantine Island. It is difficult to conceive that he did not encounter the Jewish colony. Yet he makes no mention of the Jews of Egypt. In fact, there is not a single reference to Jews in any of the books of Herodotus’s Histories, not because Herodotus never met Jews but because he did not identify them as such. One of Herodotus’s theories is that the Phoenicians and the Jews adopted the practice of male circumcision from the Egyptians. Herodotus calls the Phoenicians “Phoenicians,” but he calls the Jews “Syrians of Palestine.” In his view, Palestine was part of Syria, and the inhabitants of Palestine were therefore, in his eyes, Syrians. This is not an idiosyncrasy on the part of Herodotus. In fact, he followed a Persian practice. To the Persians, the entire territory south of the River (Euphrates) was Syria. It was one satrapy, including

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Cyprus, Samaria, and Judah. The list of subject nations, written in Egyptian hieroglyphs on the base of the statue of Darius I in Susa, does not mention Phoenicia, Samaria, Judah, or Cyprus. They are simply included in the general category of “Syria” (Eshur). Assuming the terms “Aramean” in the papyri and “Syrian” in Greek and Persian sources refer to the same ethnicity, the Jews were Arameans in terms of territory. According to this reading of the evidence, the Jews were technically Arameans but, in reality, Judeans. Considering their language, literature, and religion, however, it is doubtful whether the Elephantine Jews were Arameans in a merely technical sense. In view of their personal names, the Jews were not Arameans by birth but by adoption. Their culture betrays longtime exposure to an Aramean environment. It is difficult to believe that this happened only in Egypt. At some point in its earlier history, the Elephantine community must have gone through a period of intense interaction with Arameans, to the point where they came to identify themselves as Arameans. Neither the papyri nor the ostraca tell us when and where this happened. What the Aramaic documents from Egypt do reveal, however, is the presence of a significant Aramean diaspora. Chapter 3 looks at the Aramean community in Persian Egypt in an attempt to find a clue to the Aramean connection of the Elephantine Jews.

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3 The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt

Across from Elephantine Island, on the east bank of the Nile, lies the city of Aswan. The Greeks called it Syene, which was the name customarily used in antiquity when referencing the town. Herodotus does not mention Syene. To him, “Elephantine” stood for both the island and the town on the mainland because he considered them as one conglomeration. Elephantine and Syene have been called twin cities. The phrase is perhaps not entirely felicitous, as Syene had long been much larger than Elephantine, but the close connection between the two goes back to a very early period. Syene and Elephantine constituted the southern border of Egypt. They were garrison towns manned by frontier soldiers serving, in the fifth century BCE, in the Persian army. Though Herodotus speaks of Elephantine only, Syene was the main location. The Persian garrison commander had his headquarters in Syene. Other officials, such as Persian judges, also had their offices in the city. And, naturally, the main body of the garrison was stationed at Syene. The Jews lived on Elephantine Island. Most of the soldiers at Syene were Arameans. Since the Elephantine Jews referred to themselves as Arameans too, there is reason to take a closer look at the Arameans of ancient Aswan. By the witness of their literary and religious culture, the Jews had a strong Aramean connection. The Arameans of Syene were their neighbors on the mainland and their colleagues in the garrison. These Arameans may provide help figuring out the Aramean connection of the Jews. This chapter will focus on their origins and their relations with the Jews. Prior to a discussion of the Aramean community of Syene, however, it is necessary to consider the identity of the Arameans more generally. Though their language ended up being spoken all over the Middle East—Jesus spoke Ara-

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maic—the Arameans themselves never reached prominence in the public perception. Assyrians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and Jews—those are familiar peoples. Such fame has not been the lot of the Arameans.

Aramaic, Aram, and the Arameans Before the Hellenistic rulers implanted Greek as the new language of western Asia and the eastern Mediterranean, the biggest linguistic transformation in those parts of the world was the spread of Aramaic as the common vehicle of communication. Like Hebrew, Phoenician, and Arabic, Aramaic is one of the Semitic languages. There is no relation with Armenian, in spite of the deceptive similarity of the names. First encountered in stone inscriptions from the late ninth century BCE, all from the area of Aleppo, Aramaic rose to prominence as an international language of commerce, diplomacy, and literature from the time of the Neo-Assyrian Empire on. Under such Babylonian emperors as Nebuchadnezzar II, Aramaic became the colloquial language of many peoples, in an area stretching from southern Mesopotamia to the upper course of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and down from there to the foot of the Lebanon Mountains. When the Persians created an even vaster empire, they continued to use Aramaic. The linguistic area came to include all of Syria and Palestine and reached Egypt as well. The diffusion of Aramaic led to an innovation in the writing technology in Mesopotamia and other places. The language came with an alphabetic script adopted from the earlier Phoenician. Like Hebrew, the Aramaic alphabet has twenty-two letters. In fact, the Hebrew square script is based on the Aramaic. Its use was far easier than that of Assyrian and Babylonian cuneiform, a syllabic script that uses a basic group of some two hundred characters. For cuneiform writing, the scribes wrote on clay with a reed stylus. For Aramaic, the wax board was more convenient. For longer messages, there was the scroll—in Mesopotamia, mostly made from leather. On reliefs from the Neo-Assyrian period, there are representations of two types of scribes serving at court: the traditional t.upšarru, who wrote on clay, and the new sepīru, who wrote on wax or skin. Aramaic is the language of the Arameans. These were pastoralists, who moved their flocks from place to place and set up their camps for only a few months at a time. It was a lifestyle that has been called seminomadic. The corresponding social structures were those of the clan and the tribe. In the first millennium BCE, the earliest Aramean kingdoms arose, most

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of them in northern Syria. The new political organization reflected and encouraged a more sedentary lifestyle for at least part of the population. Most Aramean kingdoms, however, were dimorphic. This meant that some inhabitants were settled, while others continued to be “wandering Arameans” (see Deut 26:5). The Aramean states in Syria normally had their center in a city and sometimes carried the name of that city. Hamath, on the middle Orontes, is a case in point. More often, though, the kingdom would be named after the leading tribe or the royal dynasty. Politically speaking, the number and size of Aramean kingdoms yield an image of fragmentation. There never was one unified Aramean empire. Only when faced with a common enemy would the Aramean kings enter into a coalition and only for as long as it suited their purpose. The spread of the Aramaic language followed the dissemination of the Aramean people over the West Asiatic world. Aramaic ended up being the main language of Babylonia for various reasons, one of them being the longtime presence of Aramean tribes. By the count of modern researchers, there were about forty Aramean clans and tribes in southern Babylonia. Centuries of coexistence with the local population led to various forms of assimilation. The Arameans retained their own language but adopted a great number of loanwords. In religion, they honored their traditional gods, such as the storm god Hadad, but paid tribute, too, to various Babylonian deities, such as Nabu and Bel. To some degree, the cultural interaction went the other way as well. Aramaic terms entered the Babylonian language, and Hadad acquired a place in the Babylonian pantheon. The case of the Babylonian Arameans is not unique. Elsewhere, too, there was interaction between the Arameans and the local population. It led to a great diversity among the various branches of the Arameans. They shared an ascribed ethnicity, mode of life, and language but exhibited variety in their religious loyalties and practices—so much so that it would make little sense to speak about Aramean religion as though it were a uniform set of beliefs and practices. Nor is there an Aramean pantheon, properly speaking. The Arameans never were a nation in the modern sense of the term. There is no Aramean national epic nor a shared Aramean mythology. Confusion about the meaning of the term “Aramean” arises from the fact that “Aram” was also the name of a territory. Whereas Assyrian sources from the late second millennium BCE speak about “the land of the Arameans,” in the first millennium “Aram” became a topographical reference. “Aram” was the name of various territories in north-western Syria, distin-

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guished from one another by the addition of a tribal name or the name of a city. Where the name “Aram” occurs without reference to political divisions, it refers to the whole of north-western Syria, an area stretching from the upper course of the Euphrates in the north to the foot of Mount Lebanon in the south. Geographically, it consisted of Upper and Lower Aram, the two parts constituting “all of Aram.” It ran from the border of Phoenicia in the west to Palmyra (then Tadmor) in the east. This is the area referred to in cuneiform sources as Ebir-Nari, “Beyond-the-River,” the river being the Euphrates. In the administrative terminology of the Persian Empire, this area was known as Syria, a term that came to include Palestine as well. When the Greeks of the time, such as Herodotus, spoke of “Syria,” they followed the Persian terminology. Though Aramean was and remained a term of ethnicity, then, it could also refer to inhabitants of the territory known as Aram, that is SyriaPalestine. In that sense, even inhabitants of Judah might be referred to as “Syrians.” Herodotus calls them “the Syrians of Palestine.” In the Aramaic vernacular, they were “Arameans.” It was, one might argue, a purely administrative identity. As the previous chapter has demonstrated, however, the Elephantine Jews were Arameans in more than a purely administrative sense. Much of their literary and religious culture was Aramean too. This raises the issue of the nature of their relation to the other Arameans who dwelt in Egypt, especially their neighbors who lived in Syene.

The Arameans from Hamath By comparison with the Jews of Elephantine Island, our knowledge of their Aramean neighbors on the mainland is modest. The Aramean soldiers had come to Egypt at the same time as most of the Jews. Their number was higher than that of the Jews, and yet their story is largely unknown. Due to urban development in modern Aswan, large-scale excavations of the ancient city are impossible. By a happy twist of fate, we have come across a bundle of Aramaic letters to Syene that never reached their destination, as noted in Chapter 1. Found in a vase among the graves of Hermopolis, still sealed and unread at the time of their discovery, these letters constitute the main direct evidence of the Arameans of Syene. Other written evidence comes from a handful of coffins, one from Saqqara and three from Syene. In addition, there are many references to Arameans from Syene in the Elephantine papyri and ostraca. These references, though, yield a

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harvest primarily of names. The relative dearth of data is counterbalanced to some degree by the Aramaic papyri found elsewhere in Egypt, especially at Memphis and in its vicinity. As it turns out, the Aramean soldiers in Egypt, though employed in different garrisons, had a similar background. Thus it is possible to use the evidence regarding the Arameans in Memphis and other places to supplement the data on the Arameans of Syene. But even so, the available documents give access primarily to more names. They reveal little to nothing about the story behind them. Writing a history on the basis of names seems impossible. Yet if the focus is on origins, names do tell a story of their own. Many of the Aramean personal names contain a reference to a deity. They read like religious statements. Such names as “Bethel-natan” (Bethel-has-given) are fossilized expressions of religious belief. The name need not reflect the private conviction of the parents who gave it. It may simply have been the name of a grandfather or some other family member. Most names run in a family. But if particular gods are a frequent element of personal names of people from one community, they do provide a lead in establishing that community’s origins. Gods point to origins because gods are localized. They are never homeless. Bethel, for instance, was worshipped mostly in central Syria. Many gods enjoyed more than mere local popularity. But even so, the local origins of their worshippers can often be narrowed down on the basis of a particular constellation of deities. A god and a goddess, as a pair, constitute a nuclear constellation. When other gods are associated with them, the constellation of deities will often point to a more specific place of origin. The Hermopolis letters show that the Aramean community at Syene had a particular veneration for Bethel and the Queen of Heaven, on the one hand, and Nabu and Banit, on the other. Each pair of deities had its own temple. The fact that the Arameans had more than one temple reflects the composite nature of their community. One group focused its devotion on Bethel and his consort, whereas the other was traditionally attached to Nabu and his spouse. The difference in religious orientation is presumably linked to a difference in local origins. We should expect to see the duality reflected in personal names. People belonging to the Bethel group are likely to have names referring to Bethel or to gods from Bethel’s orbit. In the Nabu group, on the other hand, names referring to Nabu or to gods associated with Nabu are popular. In order to let the names tell their story, therefore, we must seek to group them. The basis for so doing will be family connections. If a father named Bethel-natan has a son named Herem-natan,

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Bethel and Herem are likely to belong to the same constellation. Working along these lines, we must try to identify the gods of the Bethel group and the gods of the Nabu group separately. Due to intermarriage and other forms of cohabitation, there may be some overlap. On the whole, however, we should expect to find a clear boundary between the two components of the Aramean community in Egypt. The nucleus of the personal names current in the Bethel group are those in which “Bethel” serves as the central element. The names read like short statements of belief or hope. Among the Arameans of Syene, the following Bethel names are attested: Bethel-[ . . . ] Bethel-ʿaqab (“Bethel-has-protected”) Bethel-dalah (“Bethel-has-rescued”; reading uncertain) Bethel-nadar (“Bethel-has-guarded”) Bethel-natan (“Bethel-has-given”) Bethel-nuri (“Bethel-is-my-light”) Bethel-reʿi (“Bethel-is-my-shepherd”) Bethel-shezib (“Bethel-deliver!”) Bethel-taden (“Bethel-you-will-judge”) Bethel-taqum (“Bethel-you-will-arise”) Bethel-zabad (“Bethel-has-given”) Bethel names also occur outside Syene, among the Arameans stationed at Memphis and other places in Egypt: Bethel-[xx] (Abydos) Bethel-[ . . . ] (Memphis) Bethel-nuri (“Bethel-is-my-light”; Memphis) Bethel-śagab (“Bethel-has-protected”; Memphis) Bethel-sharah (“Bethel-has-released”; Memphis) Bethel-shezib (“Bethel-deliver!”; Memphis) Bethel-shezib (“Bethel-deliver!”; Thebes) Bethel-taqum (“Bethel-you-will-arise”; Memphis) Bethel-zabad (“Bethel-has-given”; Memphis) Linked to the circle of Bethel are the gods Herem and Eshem and the goddess Anat. Herem and Eshem can be connected to Bethel on account of certain patterns in family names. The occurrence of “Herem-natan son of Bethel-natan” may be taken as an indication of a family’s veneration for

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both Bethel and Herem. “Bethel-zabad son of Eshem-ram” establishes a similar pattern for Bethel and Eshem. The link between Bethel and Anat can be established on the basis of the occurrence of an Anat name among the people associated with the Bethel temple. Given the relatively low frequency of the Herem and Eshem names, the survey groups together names from Syene with those from other places: ʿAnati Herem-natan (“Herem-has-given”) Herem-natan (“Herem-has-given”; Cairo) Herem-natan (“Herem-has-given”; Memphis) Herem-shezib (“Herem-deliver!”; Memphis) Herem-shezib (“Herem-deliver!”; Dahshur, forty kilometers south of Cairo) Her-zabad (“Herem-has-given”; Wadi Tumas, south of Aswan) Eshem-ram (“Eshem-is-exalted”; Memphis, Nile delta) Eshem-ram (“Eshem-is-exalted”) Eshem-shezib (“Eshem-deliver!”) Even though the sample of Syrian names from Egypt is limited, a survey of the names of the Bethel group does exhibit specific patterns. All names in this group begin with a reference to a god. Not once do we find the name of the god in the second position. Furthermore, all names are distinctly Aramaic. The verb, the adjective, or the noun that qualifies the meaning of the god for the bearer of the name (or, more likely, for the parents) is always Aramaic. As might be expected, names compounded with “Bethel” are clearly in the majority. Also, we encounter them in Syene as well as in other places in Egypt, most notably Memphis. Apparently, the composition of the Syrian community in both Syene and Memphis included a “Bethel” component. These people originated from a place in Syria characterized by the combined worship of Bethel, Anat, Herem, and Eshem. The low number of names that refer to a goddess is striking. There is no reference to the Queen of Heaven in any of the names and just a single reference to Anat. On the basis of an analysis of the names of the Arameans in Egypt, Noël Aimé-Giron concluded in 1931 that most of the Aramean soldiers stationed at Syene and Memphis originated from the area of Hamath on the Orontes. His reasoning was simple and clear. Given the fact that Bethel

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and Eshem are part of one constellation, the local origins of Eshem are a clue to the origins of the worship of Bethel. According to the Hebrew Bible, Eshem was the god venerated by the deported population of Hamath (2 Kgs 17:30). The name occurs in the Bible as “Ashima,” which AiméGiron took to be the female counterpart of Eshem. Since Eshem was the god of the population of Hamath, the Bethel Syrians must have come from Hamath. Aimé-Giron’s straightforward logic has since been corroborated by the occurrence of a reference to Bethel (Zeus Betylos) as “the ancestral god of those that dwell along the Orontes.” The connection of Eshem with Bethel was also familiar to Syria in view of the occurrence of the god Symbetylos (Eshem-Bethel) in an inscription from Kafr Nebo in Syria. The absence of the “Queen of Heaven” from the personal names is easily explained by the fact that it is a title of Anat. The goddess, who occurs only once in the personal names, was known as Anat-Bethel on account of her role as Bethel’s consort. The pair occurs twice in Neo-Assyrian treaties. A link with the territory of Hamath may be found in the occurrence of the name Abdi-Anati, carried by one of the kings of Siyannu, a city-state later incorporated in the kingdom of Hamath.

The Arameans from Babylonia On the assumption that the Nabu group is the most significant other component of the Aramean community at Syene, here follows a survey of the Nabu names encountered at Syene: Nabu-ʿaqab (“Nabu-has-protected”) Nabu-barak (“Nabu-has-blessed”) Nabu-dalah (“Nabu-has-rescued”) Nabu-h.ay (“Nabu-keep-alive!”) Nabu-kas.ir (“Nabu-gives-strength”) Nabu-kudurri (“Nabu-[protect]-my-firstborn”) Nabu-nadin (“Nabu-gives”; possibly to be read as Nabu-nuri) Nabu-natan (“Nabu-has-given”) Nabu-reʿi (“Nabu-is-my-shepherd”) Nabu-sum-iskun (“Nabu-has-given-a-heir”) Nabusha (short for Nabu-shezib, “Nabu-deliver!”) Nabu-shezib (“Nabu-deliver!”) Nabu-ushallim (“Nabu-has-kept-in-good-health”) Nabu-tukulti (“Nabu-is-my-trust”)

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Nabu-zer-ibni (“Nabu-has-created-offspring”) Iddin-Nabu (“Nabu-has-given”) Mushezib-Nabu (“Nabu-saves”) Outside Syene, there are a significant number of Nabu names attested at Memphis. Their occurrence should be no cause for surprise since we know that the Aramean community at Memphis had a temple for Nabu in the city. The presence of both a Bethel group and a Nabu group at Memphis is an indication of the fact that the Aramean diaspora in Egypt, spread over the country, originated from a limited number of geographical horizons: Nabu-ah.a-bullit. (“Nabu-keep-the-brother-alive!”; Memphis) Nabu-ʿaqab (“Nabu-has-protected”; Memphis) Nabu-dalah (“Nabu-has-rescued”; Memphis) Nabu-yahab (“Nabu-has-given”; provenance unknown) Nabu-natan (“Nabu-has-given”; Wadi Hammamat, between Thebes and the Red Sea) Nabu-s.adaq (“Nabu-is-righteous”; Memphis) Nabu-sharah (“Nabu-has-released”; Memphis) Nabu-shezib (“Nabu-deliver!”; Memphis) ʿAl-Nabu (“Nabu-has-entered”; Memphis) Mannu-ki-Nabu (“Who-is-like-Nabu?”; Memphis [Abusir]) An analysis of the Nabu names finds one specific point on which they distinguish themselves from the Bethel names. All the Bethel names are in pure Aramaic. Among the Nabu names, on the other hand, the majority consist of outright Babylonian names: Nabu-ah.a-bullit. , Nabu-kas.ir, Nabukudurri, Nabu-ushallim, Nabu-sum-iskun, Nabu-tukulti, Nabu-zer-ibni, Iddin-Nabu, and Mannu-ki-Nabu. On the other hand, some of the Nabu names are Aramaic: Nabu-ʿaqab, Nabu-barak, Nabu-yahab, Nabu-natan, and Nabu-s.adaq. Nabu is a Babylonian god. His presence in purely Babylonian personal names suggests Babylonian origins for the people carrying them. The presence of Aramaic Nabu names, however, implies an Aramean background. At Syene, there was a close connection between the “house of Nabu” and the “house of Banit,” the two “houses” most likely being shrines within the same temple compound. Like the “Queen of Heaven,” “Banit” is originally not a personal name but a title. It is the Babylonian word for “beautiful” and

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serves as the standard epithet of Nanay, traditionally the consort of Nabu. In Neo-Babylonian personal names, especially among women, the epithet bānītu occurs regularly as the name of a goddess. Such names as “Banitudannat” (Banitu-is-strong), “Banitu-et. irat” (Banitu-saves), and “Banitu-ramat” (Banitu-is-elevated) are good examples. A comparison between the names “Nanay-bel-us.ri” (Nanay-protect-the-lord) and “Banitu-bel-us.ri” (Banit-protect-the lord), on the one hand, and “Nanay-kilīli-us.ri” (Nanayprotect-my-wreath) and “Banitu-agâ-us.ri” (Banit-protect-the-crown), on the other, are suggestive of the close correspondence between Nanay and Banitu. There can be little doubt that, in the eyes of the Arameans from the Nabu group, Nabu and Banit/Nanay belonged together. Makki-Banit, one of the writers of the so-called Hermopolis letters, was the grandson of Nabu-natan. Another Syrian called Banit-sar was a nephew of Nabusha. This Nabusha—his full name was Nabu-shezib—had a sister called Nanay-h.am. “Banit” and “Nanay” appear quite frequently as divine elements in personal names at Syene and elsewhere in Egypt. Banit (fem.; possibly Israelite) Banit (masc.; Memphis) Banit-eresh (“Banit-has-requested”) Banit-sar (“[May]-Banit-[protect]-the-king”) Banit-sar-el (“May-Banit-[protect]-the-king”) Makki-Banit (“Who-is-like-Banit?”) Nanay (masc.; Korobis, Middle Egypt) Nanay-h.am (fem.; “Nanay-is-mistress”) Nanay-shuri (“Nanay-is-my-protective-wall”) Using the criterion of family connections between people each having a different deity as a name element, the gods of the Nabu group include: Eshem (“Eshem-ram son of Nabu-n[atan]”); ʿAttar (“ʿAttar-shuri son of Nabu-zer-ibni”); El (“Śaka-El son of Nabu-kas.ir”); Nushku (“Nushkuʿidri son of Nabu-natan”); and Sin (Sin-kashir son of Nabu-sum-iskun). The following occurrences are attested: Eshem-[ . . . ] (Wadi Hammamat) Eshem-kudurri (“Eshem-[protect]-my-heir”) Eshem-ram (“Eshem-is-exalted”) Eshem-ram (“Eshem-is-exalted”; Abydos) Eshem-zabad (Eshem-has-given”)

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ʿAttar-dimri (fem.; “ʿAttar-is-my-protection”; also known in the shortened form ʿAttar-di) ʿAttar-malki (“ʿAttar-is-my-king”) ʿAttar-śaga (“ʿAttar-has-multiplied”; Memphis) ʿAttar-shuri (“ʿAttar-is-my-protective-wall”) Berik-El (“Blessed-by-El”; Memphis) [Mi]ka-El (“Who-is-like-El?”) Reʿi-El (“My-shepherd-is-El”; Memphis) Śaka-El (“El-is-my-hope”) Shezib-El (“Rescue, El!”) Nushku-ʿidri (“Nusku-is-my-help”) Sin-ʿerish (“Requested-from-Sin”; southern province?) Sin-iddin (“Sin-has-given”) Sin-kashir (“Sin-gives-compensation”) Apparently, Eshem is the only god whom the two components of the Syrian population at Syene have in common. As a matter of consequence, it is often unclear whether we should attribute a given Eshem name to the Bethel or the Nabu group. On account of the filiation with Nabu-natan, there was definitely one Eshem-ram in the Nabu group. The Babylonian element kudurri in the name “Eshem-kudurri” qualifies it as a name also belonging to the Nabu group. Other Eshem names might be ascribed to the one or the other group. Nabu and Nanay (Banit) are Babylonian gods. Many of the personal names of the Arameans belonging to the Nabu group are, grammatically speaking, perfectly Babylonian too. The Babylonian connection of this part of the Aramean community in Egypt explains the reference to one “Hadad-nuri, the Babylonian.” The name of this man refers to the Aramean storm god, but his origins are apparently in Babylonia. In the written record, there are several Aramaic names that refer to a Babylonian god. The clearest instances are “Marduk-ʿidri” (Marduk-is-my-help), “Belhabeh” (Bel-give-him), and “Bel-natan” (Bel-has-given). In addition, there are other names from Syene that are clearly Babylonian; some of them refer to a Babylonian god, while others do not: Bel-ibni (“Bel-has-created”) Nergal-iddin (“Nergal-has-given”)

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Nergal-ushezib (“Nergal-has-rescued”) Nur-Shawash, (“Light-of-Shamash”) Shamash-nuri (“Shamash-is-my-light”) Ahatsunu (“Their-sister”) Ahuni (“Our-brother”) Ahushunu (“Their-brother”) Ahutab (“The-brother-is-good”) Mannuki (“Who-is-like?”; short for “Who is like god DN?”) The people who carried these names had their origins in a place that was permeated by the linguistic and religious culture of the Babylonians. In 1931, Aimé-Giron concluded that the Bethel Arameans originated from the territory of Hamath in central Syria. As for the Nabu component of the community, he felt less confident. In view of the extension and persistence of the veneration of Nabu in North Syria, however, Aimé-Giron surmised that a good deal of the Nabu Arameans came from the region of Aleppo or Edessa. But the mix of Babylonian and Aramean elements is typical not only for the border zones of the Babylonian Empire but also for the very heartland of Babylonia, where there had long been an Aramean community. Like so many other people in antiquity and today, they had a double identity. The reference to “Hadad-nuri, the Babylonian” in one of the Elephantine papyri suggest that the Nabu group had its roots in Babylonia. The analysis of the personal names of the Arameans at Syene, completed and corroborated by the inventory of Aramean names attested elsewhere in Persian Egypt, shows that the community consisted of two components. There was a Bethel group and a Nabu group. Each group had its own temple compound. The one group had the temple of Bethel and the Queen of Heaven; the other, the temple of Nabu and Banit. In view of the particular constellation of gods from the Bethel group, the Bethel Arameans hailed from central Syria. Their place of origin can be more narrowly defined as the former kingdom of Hamath on the Orontes River. They are the Syrian Arameans. The Nabu Arameans were not Syrians. They were devoted to Babylonian gods—most prominently Nabu and Nanay, the goddess being worshipped under her title “Banit” (beautiful)—and many carried Babylonian names. Yet the presence in their personal names of Aramaic features, as well as the occasional occurrence of Aramean gods, is evidence of Aramean origins. These are the Babylonian Arameans.

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Jews and Arameans, Jews and Egyptians In the fifth century BCE, the Persian army in southern Egypt employed Arameans from Syria, Arameans from Babylonia, and Jews. The latter identified themselves as Arameans too. Their language was Aramaic, and their literary and religious culture bore an Aramean slant. Now the question is whether the Aramean identity of the Elephantine Jews was due to their exposure to the Aramean culture of their neighbors and colleagues from Syene or whether it had older roots. A first step toward an answer is to look at the nature of the contact between the Aramean communities on the mainland and the Jews of the island. If the Aramean culture of the Jews was the result of syncretism on Egyptian soil, their contact with the Aramean communities must have been more frequent and more serious than their contact with any other ethnic group. There are comparatively few traces of Egyptian influence on the religion of the Elephantine Jews. Unlike their Aramean neighbors from Syene, as well as Arameans elsewhere in Egypt, the Jews do not seem to have adopted Egyptian burial practices and beliefs. Nor did they routinely invoke Egyptian gods the way that Aramean letter writers did. When it comes to religion, there is the one reference to Khnum in a greeting formula and the individual case of Lady Mibtahyah taking an oath by Sati. Syncretism being the result of social interaction, the hypothesis of Jewish-Aramean syncretism on Egyptian soil can be put to the test by comparing the interaction between Jews and Arameans, on the one hand, and Jews and Egyptians, on the other. There are various areas and degrees of social interaction. Perhaps the most intensive form of interaction is intermarriage. Doing business together, fighting in the same battalion, and being neighbors is all well and good, but marriage creates a bond that affects your identity and that of your descendants in ways that cannot be erased. In the hundred years for which we have written documentation, there were only a few cases of Jewish-Aramean intermarriage. The most significant one was that of Ahutab, a woman whose name occurs, time and again, in the ostraca. She is somewhat of a mystery. Her name shows that she came from the community of the Babylonian Arameans. She must have married a Jewish man, apparently one in a position of command, considering her prominence at Elephantine. The best guess is that she married Yedanyah, then the leader of the Jewish community and the great-grandfather of Yedanyah son of Gemaryah, whom we know to have been the leader of the Jews during the final decades of the fifth century.

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The only other indubitable case of Aramean-Jewish intermarriage involves an Aramean man and a Jewish woman, as attested by the case of Malkiyah son of Yathom son of Hadad-nuri. By the witness of his name and a scribal notice from 464 BCE, Hadad-nuri was an Aramean from Babylonia. Had this Babylonian man joined the Jewish community? In the patrilineal society of the time it was the woman who normally moved to the community of her husband. For Ahutab, it was normal to live at Elephantine, once she had become the wife of one of the leading men of the community. As a rule, a man would not do so. The reason why Hadadnuri’s offspring belonged to the Jewish community may have to do with his personal history. The name of his Jewish son is “Yathom” (orphan). It suggests that the father had died before or not long after Yathom’s birth. Children would often receive their official name toward the age of three, when they were weaned. Assuming that Hadad-nuri was the real father, his Jewish wife might have returned to her Elephantine family after his death. In addition to these two cases of Jewish-Aramean intermarriage, the papyri document three instances of Jews with a possibly Aramean filiation: Hosea son of Bethel-nuri, Zephanyah son of Makki, and Yedanyah son of Anati. “Bethel-nuri,” “Makki,” and “Anati” are Aramean names, but it is not impossible that they had been given to Jewish children. After all, names composed with “Bethel,” “Eshem,” and “Herem” all occur among the Elephantine Jews. Even if we assume that the filiations do indeed reflect Jewish-Aramean intermarriage, its incidence was relatively low—possibly five documented cases in all of the fifth century BCE. By comparison, Jewish-Egyptian intermarriage was a far more frequent phenomenon. The most famous case is the marriage of Lady Mibtahyah to Eshor son of S.eha. Born to one of the leading families in the Jewish community of Elephantine, Mibtahyah first married the son of the main priest of the temple. Her second marriage was to Eshor, an Egyptian architect in the service of the Persian government. Theirs was an upper-class marriage with social benefits for both sides. Most mixed marriages concerned Jewish men who took an Egyptian wife. There were no religious objections. In 449 BCE, the steward of the Yaho temple married an Egyptian girl who was a servant in the house of Meshullam son of Zakkur, one of the wealthiest Jews of the island. Their children carried Jewish names and were respected members of the community. A string of other Jewish men and women with an Egyptian filiation indicates that Jewish-Egyptian intermarriage was quite common—more common, at any rate, than Jewish-Aramean intermarriage.

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The Jewish interaction with Egyptians was, in several respects, more extensive than that with the Arameans of Syene. The Egyptians lived nearby. The Jewish quarter was not a ghetto. Though it contained a concentration of Jewish families, several of them had non-Jewish neighbors. Some of those were attached to the temple of Khnum, situated just opposite the Jewish quarter. Ananyah, the steward of the Jewish temple, lived opposite Hor son of Peteisi, “a gardener of the god Khnum.” Lady Mibtahyah had a house that was contiguous with the house of one Harwoz son of Palto, “the priest of the god Kh[num].” Both houses directly faced the temple of Yaho. Other Egyptians living in the Jewish quarter worked as boatmen. Right across the street on which Qonyah and Mahseyah had their houses was the house of Peftuaneith and his son Espemet. These were “boatmen of the rough waters,” as the Aramaic expression has it, echoing the Egyptian title “boatman of the bad water.” Espemet appears a few times in the ostraca as well. The Jews of the quarter would frequently use his services. There lived at least one other boatman family in the neighborhood. The interaction between Jews and the Egyptian boatmen living nearby was frequent. Transport over water was an Egyptian monopoly. Elephantine Island was surrounded by water on all sides—more or less the definition of an island. It had a harbor on the west side and one on the southeast, connected to each other by the King’s Street. For their ferry rides to Aswan and back, the Jews depended on the Egyptian boatmen. The same was true for river travel over longer distances. The Egyptian boatmen, for their part, depended on their Jewish clients for a good deal of their business. Jews did business with Arameans as well, but their commercial dealings with the Egyptians were more frequent. Some Jews had an Egyptian spouse, some Jews had Egyptians servants, and some Jews had an Egyptian spouse and Egyptian servants. At her death, Lady Mibtahyah left two Egyptian servants to her sons. As noted in the previous chapter, one of the richest Jews of Elephantine was Meshullam son of Zakkur. He gave out loans, sold houses, and acquired several Egyptian slave girls. We know two of them by name: Tapamet and Pakhoi. They were mothers of children who carried Jewish names. Tapamet had a boy named Paltiyah (nicknamed Pilti), and Pakhoi had a boy named Yedanyah (nicknamed Didi). In 449 BCE, the steward of the temple of Yaho married Tapamet and got her son as part of the deal. Was he actually Pilti’s father, and was the marriage the formalization of an earlier relationship? The other Egyptian servant of Meshullam, Pakhoi,

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never married. In 416, however, the main priest of the temple, one Uriyah son of Mahseyah, adopted her son Yedanyah, after which the boy became Yedanyah son of Uriyah. Once again, one wonders about the biological connection. Judging by the number of references to Egyptian servants—in fact a euphemism for slaves, for these people were branded with a property mark like chattel—there may have been as many Egyptians in the Jewish community through wedlock as through slavery. This paradox points to the strong socioeconomic position of the Elephantine Jews. They may have come as refugees but had risen to affluence and influence. As far as we can tell from the available evidence, there were no Jewish families with Aramean slaves. Would it have been something utterly unthinkable? Perhaps. The asymmetric relationship between master and servant would have been at odds with the overall equality between Arameans and Jews as brothers in arms and fellow Arameans. In addition, there was one capacity in which Arameans occurred with some frequency and Egyptians never. On occasion, Arameans acted as witnesses to Jewish contracts, especially those drawn up in Syene. Egyptians never did. Was this because their witness was void by law, like the witness of a woman? Or was it simply because they did not understand Aramaic? Although Jewish-Aramean intermarriage was infrequent, business contacts were rare, and the Arameans lived in their own neighborhoods on the other side of the river, there was one area in which the interaction was intense. This was the army. Both the Elephantine Jews and the Arameans of Syene served in the “Syenian garrison.” This term occurs in a 400 BCE record of disbursements of grain to members of the garrison. In his discussion of this text, Bezalel Porten implies that the Syenian garrison did not include Jews: “The term ‘Syenian garrison’ probably indicates a preponderance of non-Jews in Syene. Of eighteen wholly or partially legible names in a ration record . . . of the Syenian garrison . . . , none can with certainty be considered Jewish.” From Porten’s later edition of this text, however, it is clear that the Syenian garrison did have Jewish members. One line mentions Haggai son of Shemayah, the well-known Jewish scribe, as a recipient of one measure of barley. Other Jews may have been on the list (note the reference to “[PN son of ] Natan”), but damage to the papyrus precludes their identification. Owing to their connection to the Syenian garrison, five prominent men of the Jewish community could refer to themselves as “Syenians holding property in Elephantine the fortress.” This expression shows that “Syenian” does not automatically imply residence at Syene. The

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same reasoning may be applied to the far more frequent references to Jews as Arameans “of Syene.” While Aramean was their default ethnic identity, the Syenian connection was military-administrative. The Jews of Elephantine could call themselves “Syenians” because they belonged to “the Syenian garrison.” The men serving in the garrison were divided into battalions and centuries (groups of hundred). Attachment to a particular battalion or century was based on language and ethnicity. The Egyptian soldiers had their own battalions. The Iranians from Elephantine Island—mostly Horesmians and Caspians—belonged to a separate battalion as well. In view of the battalion commanders mentioned—Artabanu, Namasava, and Marya—there was no overlap between the Iranian battalion and the battalion that the Jews were attached to. The Jews served in an Aramaic-language battalion, called the Varyazata battalion after its founder or first commander. Among the successors of Varyazata, there were at least two Arameans, one called Iddin-Nabu, the other Nabu-kudurri. It was a mixed battalion consisting of both Jews from Elephantine and Arameans from Syene. The centuries into which the Varyazata battalion was subdivided were under the command of Arameans. We encounter references to Bethel-taqum, Nabushalew, Nabu-shezib, Nabu-ʿaqab, and Sin-iddin, all Syrian and Babylonian Arameans who served as leaders of centuries that were made up, at least in part, of Jewish soldiers. Interestingly, there is not a single case of a Jew in the position of head of a battalion or century. On occasion, Jews did rise to influential positions within the Persian administration in Egypt, but in the military they had to accept Arameans as their superiors. Though separated by the river, the Arameans of Syene and the Jews of Elephantine rubbed shoulders in the line of duty. They had a close collaboration in the army. Not only did they belong to the same Syenian garrison; they were also attached to the same battalions. Moreover, the centuries that the Jews had been assigned to were under the command of Syrian and Babylonian Arameans. Does this mean the Persian army was the melting pot that transformed the traditional heritage of the Elephantine Jews into a mishmash of Aramean and Jewish deities? This is hard to believe.

Conclusion In the deep south of Egypt, there were three Aramean communities: the Jews, the Syrians, and the Babylonians. They lived in close proximity to

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one another and served in the same garrison. By the evidence of their language, their official ethnic identity, and their literary and religious culture, the Jews were as much Aramean as Jewish. What made them Jewish were their names and their veneration of Yaho. But otherwise they come across as a subgroup of the Aramean community in Egypt. The most frequent explanation adduced for their Aramean culture is syncretism: due to the long years of living together with the Aramean community at Syene, the Jews would have adopted their language, their literature, and some of their gods. A closer look at the social interaction of the Elephantine Jews does not offer much support for this hypothesis. In their day-to-day existence, contact with the Egyptians of the island seems to have been more frequent than their contact with the Arameans. Most of the Jews did not adopt the religious aspect of Egyptian culture, though. Why should they have conformed to Aramean practices if their contacts with the Arameans were less substantial? Did their experience in the army, where Arameans were their closest brothers-in-arms, have an impact beyond that of their daily commerce with the Egyptians? In the absence of positive evidence to this effect, this speculative explanation lacks plausibility. Nonetheless, the Aramean culture of the Elephantine Jews does suggest that they were connected, in one way or another, to the Aramean soldiers in Syene. One of the two groups that constituted the Aramean colony of Syene had its roots in Hamath. This is the Bethel group. In view of the veneration of several gods from Bethel’s orbit in the Elephantine community, the Jews were especially close to this group. Assuming that “AnatBethel” and “Anat-Yaho” are two names for the same divine persona, the Jews identified their own god with Bethel. By the witness of Jeremiah 44, they worshipped the Queen of Heaven—Bethel’s consort in the Aramean temple at Syene. The Elephantine papyri also mention Eshem-Bethel and Herem-Bethel (also known as Herem), two other gods whose occurrence in personal names (in the forms “Eshem” and “Herem”) bears witness to their veneration by the Syrian Arameans. If the Jews did not adopt these gods in Egypt, they must have done so at an earlier stage. On closer analysis, then, the religion of the Elephantine Jews points in the same direction as their use of Aramaic as their daily language. Even before they came to Egypt, the ancestors of these men and women must have lived in a milieu permeated by Aramean culture. And in view of the religion at Elephantine, that culture must have borne the marks of the Aramean culture from central Syria.

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For the time being, the hypothesis of Aramean influence upon the antecedents of the Elephantine Jews is just that: a working hypothesis designed to make sense of the available evidence and to orient further research. It is a conjecture in need of corroboration. Until recently, scholars were inclined to search for such corroboration by focusing on two spots on the map of the Middle East: one in North Israel in the territory of what once was the Assyrian province of Samaria, the other in the former kingdom of Hamath on the middle Orontes. Hamath (modern Hama) had seemed the natural place to start, since it was a center of worship of the gods Bethel and AnatBethel. Invoking the evidence of several Yahu names of some of the kings of northern and central Syria (notably Azri-Yaʾu and Yaʾu-bidi), several scholars have argued there were Yahweh worshippers in Hamath. Conceivably, the Elephantine Jews were the descendants of these people. Alternatively, the exposure to Aramean religious practices may have occurred in Samaria after the Assyrians had turned it into a province of their empire. According to 2 Kgs 17:24–41, the Assyrians settled several new population groups in Samaria, Arameans from Hamath being one of them. Under their influence, the Israelites of Samaria could have picked up the worship of Eshem (“Ashima,” in the reading of 2 Kgs 17:30) and other gods from Bethel’s orbit (cf. Jer 48:13). If not for the decipherment of what has long been a mysterious papyrus, the Israel-Hamath connections adumbrated above would have been the main avenues of investigation for any attempt to elucidate the historical background of the Elephantine Jews. The recent publication of Papyrus Amherst 63 opens up a new vista. Now that the complete text has become available in transliteration and translation, it is possible to explore the history of the Aramaic-speaking communities at Elephantine and Syene on the basis of literary texts from their own tradition. Chapter 4 offers an assessment of the contribution of the Amherst papyrus to our understanding of the Elephantine Jews’ origins.

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4 The Origins of the Elephantine Jews

Since the early days of Elephantine studies, the origins of the Jewish colony have been shrouded in mystery. There are two sides to the puzzle: When did the migrants settle in Egypt, and where exactly did they come from? On both scores, a consensus has yet to be reached. Most scholars date the beginnings of the Jewish diaspora in Egypt to between the mid-seventh and mid-sixth centuries BCE. Suggested dates before or after this period have failed to rally any substantial support. Though none of the papyri and ostraca predate the fifth century BCE, the Jewish community must have been present before then. As noted in Chapter 1, a historical reference in the petition to Bagohi, the governor of Judah, implies that the Jews already had a temple when King Cambyses II came to Egypt in 525 BCE. It would seem that the archaeological record supports the claim. Yet neither the written nor the archaeological evidence from Elephantine allows any greater precision in determining the beginnings of the settlement. A similar situation obtains with respect to the geographic origins of the community. If there is a majority view, it favors Judah as the homeland. The principal arguments adduced in support are the use of the ethnic label ye˘hûdāy (interpreted as “Judean”) and the biblical reference to a migration to Egypt after the fall of Jerusalem. On the other hand, there have also been scholars who argue for the Samarian origin of the migrants. They base their conviction on the polytheistic practices of the Elephantine community, notably its veneration of Eshem-Bethel, Anat-Bethel, and Herem-Bethel. The nature of the written records from Elephantine is an important cause of the continuing uncertainty about the origins of the Jewish community. In his masterful introduction to ancient Mesopotamian civilizations,

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A. Leo Oppenheim divides the cuneiform documents into those that belonged to the “stream of tradition” and those that record day-to-day activities. If this dichotomy is used for the classification of the Elephantine documents, nearly all of them are records of day-to-day activities. They constitute an incredibly rich source of information but one that leaves the community’s origins in the dark. Normally, works from the stream of tradition are more forthcoming with information about the background of the textual community. As it turns out, the two literary works discovered at Elephantine—the Life and Sayings of Ahiqar and the Aramaic translation of the Behistun inscription—are not Jewish. Ahiqar is an Aramean composition, and the Behistun inscription is Persian propaganda. To the chagrin of the first explorers of Elephantine Island, they found nothing in the way of Jewish literature. All of the written evidence from Elephantine deals with the daily life of the community. In the absence of any historical text, determining the origins of the Elephantine Jews has mostly been a matter of guesswork. The discovery of Papyrus Amherst 63 has totally changed the situation. Transcribed in Demotic characters, all of the Aramaic texts collected in the papyrus belong to the stream of tradition. Though both the findspot and the date of the papyrus are unclear, there can be no doubt that the literary texts it contains go back to the Aramaic-speaking diaspora communities in Egypt. Based on the form of the script, the papyrus is generally surmised to have been written in the mid-fourth century BCE. The earliest reports said it was found, together with other Egyptian papyri, in a jar in Thebes. Subsequent research has not confirmed this provenance. One researcher has argued, with reference to the particular orthography of a Demotic sign, that the papyrus must have been written at Aswan (Syene). While the argument might not be completely compelling, the texts of the papyrus betray obvious affinities with the religious situation encountered among the diaspora communities of Syene and Elephantine. The papyrus is a collection of ritual songs, laments, and historical narratives. The songs address several gods who are familiar from the Elephantine papyri and the Hermopolis letters. They mention Yaho, Bethel, Anat-Bethel, the Queen of Heaven, Eshem-Bethel, Herem-Bethel, and Nabu—among other West Semitic and Babylonian deities. There are also references made to places— Hamath, Aram, Lebanon, Babylon, Judah, Jerusalem, Samaria—that have been associated with the origins of the Arameans of Aswan and the Elephantine Jews.

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The story of the Amherst papyrus reads like a novel. Discovered in Egypt in the late nineteenth century, it came into the possession of Lord Amherst in the 1890s. Over the years, Lord Amherst had been patiently building a collection of Egyptian antiquities, transforming his country home into a private museum. Papyrus 63 would be one of the last additions. For many years the Amherst family solicitor had been diverting funds to his own account to finance a gambling habit. When the matter came to light, the family was forced to sell its collection to make up for the losses. Lord Amherst died in 1909 at the age of seventy-three. In 1912 his daughter Mary, Lady William Cecil—the very one who had bought a batch of Elephantine papyri in 1904 (see Chapter 1)—reached an agreement with the New York banker J. Pierpont Morgan Sr. about the price. The papyri were temporarily stored in the British Museum and found their way to the Pierpont Morgan Library only in 1947. Unfortunately, over the years one fragment of the Amherst papyrus had become separated from the rest. It ended up at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where it is catalogued as Papyrus Amherst 43b. Photographs of Papyrus Amherst 63, taken in 1901, circulated among a small group of Egyptologists. To them, the text looked enigmatic. The signs it was written in were clear enough, but the experts could not make head or tail of their meaning. It took the collaboration of a specialist in Semitic languages and two Egyptologists to discover that the Demotic script of the papyrus had been used to write Aramaic. The first official breakthrough occurred in 1944, when Raymond Bowman offered a translation of four lines of the text, which constituted a small litany of blessings by Syrian and Babylonian gods. It took almost forty years before another passage of the papyrus was deciphered. In the early 1980s, more or less simultaneously, two teams of scholars identified in column xii of the papyrus what was then referred to as “a pagan version of Psalm 20.” Until the 1980s, biblical scholars had shown no interest in the Amherst papyrus. But with the discovery of another version of Psalm 20, “Amherst 63” became a buzzword in biblical studies. Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints welcomed the discoveries as proof of the existence of “reformed Egyptian,” the original language of the Book of Mormon. The unusual combination of Demotic script and Aramaic language is one of the reasons why Papyrus Amherst 63 has long been inaccessible in an authoritative scholarly edition. Richard C. Steiner published an English translation of the entire text in the first volume of The Context of Scripture

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(1997), an anthology of texts from the world of the Bible. It is a serious work of scholarship but, as the author admitted, “with many uncertainties and controversial elements.” Twenty years later, on February 28, 2017, Steiner made his transliteration and translation of the text available online. Though “still incomplete in various ways,” the publication of the online edition was a major event. It is, in fact, the first edition of the complete text. Considering the challenges presented by the papyrus, there will be room for improvement, both in the readings and in the interpretations, but the credit for the first edition goes to Steiner, one of the great pioneers of the papyrus. Another Aramaic scholar working on the Amherst papyrus is Tawny L. Holm. As the present volume goes to press, her translation of the text is forthcoming from the Society of Biblical Literature’s Writings from the Ancient World series. My first encounter with the text was in 2014, in the context of a research visit to the Pierpont Morgan Library. It was soon clear to me that the Amherst papyrus was a very significant yet largely untapped source on the culture and history of the Aramaic-speaking diaspora communities of Syene and Elephantine. Through the kindness of colleagues and curators I obtained two sets of photographs and used them to prepare an edition that came out in 2018. For a detailed defense of the interpretations here offered and a discussion of the alternatives, the reader is referred to that edition.

The Three Communities and Their Contributions to the Compilation The story of the Amherst papyrus is fascinating, but the real significance of the papyrus resides in its contents. They shed new light upon the historical and cultural background of the Elephantine Jews. The only way to get access to this new information is through a study of the papyrus as a whole. Papyrus Amherst 63 is a scroll of about three and a half meters by thirty centimeters. Each of its twenty-three columns consists, on average, of 20 lines. With exactly 434 lines in all, the text of the papyrus is not one unified literary work but a compilation. Some of the collected compositions are quite long (the Tale of Two Brothers has 94 lines), and some are very short (the prayer against enemies in column xi 16–20 covers only 5 lines). Exactly how many literary units are in the papyrus is not absolutely clear, since the scribes did not formally delimit the boundaries of each separate composition. Also, many ritual songs have been gathered into cycles. But

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by a conservative count, the papyrus contains some thirty-five compositions. The texts have not been transcribed haphazardly onto the papyrus but follow a particular sequence. In order to understand the nature of the compilation and the meaning of its constituent parts, we need to be aware of the way in which the scribes have structured the whole. Close inspection reveals that the Amherst papyrus consists of five sections. The first three sections each correspond to a particular segment of the textual community; section 4 contains traditions from the time that those segments had come together; and section 5 is an appendix. Since the boundaries of the five sections have no formal markers, they might easily go undetected. Steiner fails to recognize them. He takes the papyrus as one extended liturgy for the New Year festival. The identification of the sections does require an eye for detail, but it is not a feat of magic. It is important to be aware of the fact that the titles “Lord” and “Lady” are applied to many gods in the papyrus. They should not be taken as proper names, for that would obfuscate the fact that each section focuses on distinct deities. Sections 5 and 3 are more easily recognizable than the other ones; they can serve as our point of departure. Section 5 is the appendix. It consists of the Tale of Two Brothers, preceded by an introduction, and runs from the beginning of column xviii to the end of column xxiii. All students of the text acknowledge this as one unit. Another unit that all scholars recognize comprises the three Yahwistic songs in columns xii–xiii. Let us assume for a moment that the lament over a fallen city, with which column xii opens, belongs together with the three psalms. This would mean that section 3, the Israelite section, consists of columns xii–xiii and is recognizable by the references to the god Yaho/Adonai. The texts in the columns immediately preceding the Israelite section focus on the god Bethel. His name occurs throughout columns vi–xi, although he is more frequently referred to by the titles “Lord,” “God of Rash,” “Resident of Hamath,” and “Guardian of Siyan.” Column vi opens with another lament about the ravaging of the cities “in the land” and the deportation of the staff of the god’s temple (vi 1–11). We can tentatively identify columns vi–xi as section 2. On account of the central place of the god Bethel and the references to Hamath, this is the Syrian section. Columns i–v are quite clearly a unit too. They contain a cycle of songs to Nanay and Nabu, celebrating the elevation of the goddess as Queen of Heaven at the beginning of the New Year. This is section 1. Let us tentatively call it the Babylonian section because Nabu and Nanay are, in origin, Babylonian

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gods. This leaves us with columns xiv–xvii. What distinguishes these columns from the rest is the plurality of gods and the particular combination of deities, notably Eshem-Bethel in conjunction with Nabu (xvi 1–3) and Herem-Bethel as the lover of Nanay (xvii 7–14). In addition, there is repeated reference to a caravan city in the desert, close to a perennial source of water, and offering shelter and protection. This is section 4. Its compositions reflect a religious pluralism that is best explained as the consequence of the encounter of the three communities in a common place of refuge. Though the sections are not formally delimited, their identification is essential for the correct understanding of the compilation. The textual community behind the papyrus is composite. The first three sections reflect its composition: there are Babylonians, Syrians, and Israelites. Our papyrus comes from Egypt. It is no coincidence that the three communities whose traditions the Amherst papyrus preserves correspond to the main groups of West Asiatic migrants in Persian Egypt. These diaspora communities could be found throughout the country in all major garrison towns, especially at the borders. We know them best through the Aramaic papyri and ostraca from Elephantine, Hermopolis, and Memphis. Their religion echoes the traditions contained in the Amherst papyrus. In the Jewish quarter of Elephantine Island, there was a temple of Yaho. The Hermopolis letters refer to temples in Syene for Nabu and Banit, on the one hand, and for Bethel and the Queen of Heaven, on the other. The goddess Banit is none other than Nanay. As noted in Chapter 3, her name comes from the Babylonian word bānītu, “Beautiful One,” an epithet of Nanay. The consort of Bethel is Anat (or Anat-Bethel); her epithet, “Queen of Heaven,” was also familiar to the Jews of Egypt ( Jeremiah 44). The presence of three ethnic communities (Babylonians, Syrians, Jews) is also reflected in the personal names encountered in the West Semitic diaspora of early Egypt. The most frequent theophoric elements of those names are “Nabu,” “Banit,” and “Nanay” (among the Babylonians); “Bethel” (the Syrians); and “Yaho” (the Jews).

The Syrian Section Though most of the compositions in the compilation are ritual songs, there are also laments and historical narratives. The laments are about violence and destruction and about ravages done to cities and sanctuaries. They preserve the memory of the catastrophes that impelled the forebears of the community to leave their country and to look for shelter elsewhere. So the

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different sections of the papyrus can lead us to the three communities’ places and times of origin. Since this book is about the Elephantine Jews, our first impulse may be to start with the Israelite section of the papyrus (columns xii–xiii). However, the historical and geographic data of the Syrian section (columns vi–xi) are more explicit. Wisdom counsels an approach that starts with the section about the Arameans from Syria. Chapter 3 demonstrated that a major component of the Aramean diaspora in Egypt had its roots in central Syria, more specifically in the region of Hamath. Important evidence for this is the combined worship of Bethel, Anat-Bethel, and Eshem. The Syrian section of the Amherst papyrus provides corroborating evidence, most explicitly Bethel’s title “Resident of Hamath.” Another one of the god’s titles is “Guardian of Siyan.” Siyan (modern Tall Siyānu) is the name of a town in Syria, about eighty kilometers west of Hamath, located on the western flank of the Jebel Ansariya, the mountain range that prolongs the Lebanon and leads up to Mount Zaphon in the north. Under Tiglath-Pileser III (r. 745–727 BCE), the Assyrians defeated the “land” or “city” of Siyan. The Hamath connection of the Arameans from Syria is implied, too, by a royal prayer, followed by a divine assurance of support. Both the structure of the text and the content of the oracle are strongly reminiscent of the Zakkur inscription. Zakkur reigned as king of Hamath in the early eighth century BCE. His inscription commemorates an attack by a coalition of enemy kings and his delivery by the god Baal-Shamayin. In response to the king’s call for help, the god gave an oracle: “Do not fear. ( . . . ) I will deliver you.” Those words echo in the oracle that the unidentified king in the Amherst papyrus receives: “⌈PN⌉, my servant, do not fear! I will deliver you!” The only partly legible opening and closing lines that bracket the prayer in the papyrus seem to turn the oracle into a promise for the future. What the god said in the past is still valid. According to the Syrian section, the Arameans left their homeland to escape from military violence. A chorus, connecting four Bethel songs into a cycle, speaks about their present troubles and their hope for a brighter future: He will help us, We shall rise again in peace. May he keep watch, the Guardian of Siyan, May he help us, the God of Rash. I keep groaning and moaning.

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The Origins of the Elephantine Jews Both my father and my generation Shall magnify the Lord. May the troubles of the fugitives Become bright again! Even amid the ravages Let the crowd say, “Amen, amen.”

These Syrians have become “fugitives.” The reference to “my father and my generation” suggests that the traumatic events they are looking back upon are relatively recent. One song of this cycle describes a dream in which the protagonist is transported back to the land of his youth. Apparently, not more than one generation has passed since the catastrophe. The lament that opens the Syrian section evokes the nature of the violence that the community has experienced: [The ter]rors, Lord, The t[errors,] we are howling, The terrors [we have] se[en.] They [ru]ined for you All your cities. Trembling dwells in the land. The [dis]tressed ones turn to you, The entire community Of your consecrated ones. The people of your sons And your servant girls— They put their hands in shackles, All of them they carried and drove away.

There follows an enumeration of the various groups of temple personnel that have been captured and deported: cooks, butchers, priests, musicians, and cupbearers. The land of Hamath has gone through a period of military violence. Cities have suffered damage, and the main temple of the land— presumably the temple in Hamath—has ceased to function. The scenes depicted are typical in the context of warfare. Devastating victories and captured enemies are standard elements in Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian royal inscriptions. Since the hostile attack occurred after the reign of Zakkur, the lament most likely commemorates the Assyrian conquest of Hamath in 720 BCE. Parts of Hamath’s population took flight and searched for shelter elsewhere.

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The Israelite Section At the heart of the Israelite section of Papyrus Amherst 63 are three Yahwistic psalms. The term “psalms” is appropriate insofar as these songs resemble the biblical psalms. In fact, the first song of the section is an Aramaic version of a text that was later reedited as Psalm 20. In all other respects, the Israelite psalms do not really differ from the rest of the songs in the papyrus. They are Yahwistic because they are addressed to Yahweh. The god’s name was presumably pronounced as “Yaho,” in conformity with the pronunciation reflected in the Elephantine papyri and ostraca. The divine name “Yaho” alternates with the Hebrew title “Adonai” (Lord), which occurs only in the three Israelite songs. At various places in the text, the Hebrew substratum of the Aramaic is still visible. Clearly, the three Aramaic songs are translations of texts originally in Hebrew. The people who contributed them to the collection had their roots in the land of Israel. In view of the discussion about the precise meaning of yěhûdāy in connection with the Elephantine colony—“Judean” or “Jew”—it would be helpful to narrow down the origins of the community behind the Israelite section. Is it Judean or Samarian? The three psalms do not offer many indications. Read as a single liturgical sequence, they celebrate Yaho’s kingship over all the other gods. The New Year festival in autumn is their seasonal setting. It is the time of the new wine and the determination of destinies. The most vivid descriptions of this festival in the Hebrew Bible reflect its celebration in central and northern Israel and thus pertain to its Samarian version. However, the New Year festival itself was common to both Judah and Samaria. So the fact that these songs celebrate Yaho’s kingship at the beginning of the New Year does not provide any clues to their geographic origins. Such a clue is available, however, in the reference to Yaho as “our Bull” in the first of the three Yahwistic psalms: Some by the bow, Some by the spear— Behold, as for us, My Lord, our God is Yaho! May our Bull be with us. May Bethel answer us tomorrow.

The attribution of the title “Bull” is evidence of the Samarian origin of the song. According to the book of Kings, King Jeroboam had set up images

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of a golden calf, one in Bethel and one in Dan. They represented Yahweh: “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt!” (1 Kgs 12:28). The occasion on which Jeroboam inaugurated the bull calf image at Bethel was precisely the New Year festival (1 Kgs 12:32). This bovine god would henceforth be the god of Israel—the “Calf of Samaria,” as Hosea says, embodying the “Yahweh of Samaria,” known from an inscription from the Negev. This Samarian tradition contrasts with the Jerusalem iconography in which Yahweh is the one “who is enthroned on the cherubim.” The identification of Yaho and Bethel could be taken as another indication of the song’s northern origins. The book of Jeremiah speaks about the veneration of Bethel as an aberration of Israel, that is, the Northern Kingdom ( Jer 48:13). A historical narrative in the midst of section 4 confirms the Samarian antecedents of the Israelite group that came to be included in the textual community of the Amherst papyrus. The passage in question presents itself as an eyewitness account of the arrival of a group of soldiers at the gates of the city: They [came (?)] toward the evening watch. Broken men during [the mor]ning watch. [With] my own eyes I saw A troop of men co[mi]ng up. The Samarians made their way To my lord, the king. —From where are you, young man? From where are the [pe]ople of your dialect? —I come from [ J]udah, My brothers have been brou[ght] From Samaria. And now a man is bringing My sister from Jerusalem. —Come in, you, young man, We will give you shelter. Take a qab-measure of wheat On your shoulder, boy. We will know your people as a banner. On your table There will be put bowls. And from every pitcher Wine will be gulped down.

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And from every vessel There will be a plentiful measure.

The reference to this group as a “troop” (gayyās) suggests that it consisted of soldiers. The same term occurs in the Tale of Two Brothers, where it denotes a unit of the Assyrian army. Most of the men are from Samaria, hence the plural šmryn, “Samarians.” In view of this plural, the signs transliterated as ʾhy have to be understood as “my brothers” instead  of the singular “my brother” (“My brothers have been brought from Sa maria”). The Samarians were apparently under Judean leadership, since it was a Judean who acted as their spokesman (“I have come from Judah”). All this conveys the impression of Samarians as mercenaries in the service of Judah. The arrangement of a group of Samarian military men under Judean command could have occurred at various points in history, but there is one period in particular where it fits: the time shortly after the fall of Samaria. In the aftermath of 721 BCE, many Samarians moved to Judah. For men who had lost their land, the army offered alternative employment. This Samarian battalion under Judean command had apparently left Judah in search of shelter. What defeat had led them to escape? The best guess puts their flight in the time when the Assyrian campaign against Judah brought Sennacherib’s army to the gates of Jerusalem (701 BCE). The identification of the place of refuge that the Samarians reached is one of the more tantalizing problems of the papyrus. According to the passage discussed above, it was a city where Hebrew was considered a foreign language. Its actual location will be a subject of investigation later in this chapter. At this point, it is interesting to take a closer look at the composition that immediately precedes the three Yahwistic psalms. It is about the defeat of a city. If the structure of the Israelite section (columns xii–xiii) corresponds to that of the Syrian one (columns vi–xi), this text is part of section 3. If so, it must be a Samarian city that has been the victim of violence. The composition is framed as a lament by means of a few lines in which the city itself speaks: [She] lam[ents] the cal[amity:] “Establish me again [and] raise (me) up! [Esta]blish me in [my place] again, make me stand!”

The account of the city’s devastation that follows is put in the mouth of the conqueror:

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The Origins of the Elephantine Jews Under tall cedars, There [I saw y]ou. Where you had firmly established yourself, You whose people feasted on plenty. ( . . . ) —My brothers have mixed your bowl On account of (your) filthy insolence. A bowl plenty of filth, And destruction and fury. They will thoroughly pollute the source, And its water shall perish in the channel. Our anger has smitten you, City full of people And profanity and wickedness! A wild ass is at its windows {its windows}. Those that move about its walls (are) The wild ass, the wild cat, and the snake.

The literary persona who speaks these words is most likely the army commander. His “brothers” are the soldiers who take his orders. The city they have ruined has no name. It was fortified (“its walls”), located in the highlands (“under tall cedars”), prosperous (“whose people feasted on plenty”), and dependent for its water supply on a well (or cistern) and a channel. Richard Steiner has suggested that the reference is to the town of Bethel. Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius have speculated that the text is speaking about Jerusalem or Tyre. Since the refugees are from Samaria, the description most likely refers to a major city in the Samarian highlands—perhaps the city of Samaria itself. Located on “the hill of Samaria,” the city of Samaria was surrounded by walls. In view of Amos’s reference to “the cows of Bashan on the hill of Samaria,” the prosperity of Samaria’s citizens was, at one time, proverbial (Amos 4:1; cf. Amos 6:4–6). The well or cistern could be “the pool of Samaria.” The identification remains conjecture but fits the historical context. In 721 BCE, Sargon II besieged and conquered Samaria. According to Assyrian sources, the Samarians had been hostile and refused to bring tribute. The “filthy insolence” our text speaks about may well refer to Samaria’s attempts to rid itself of its vassal status. The event that caused an Aramean exodus from central Syria was the fall of Hamath in 720 BCE. The Israelite section of the Amherst papyrus

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intimates—in the interpretation here offered—that the fall of Samaria in 721 triggered a comparable exodus of Samarians. They left their homeland but did not forget it. The songs for Yaho collected in the compilation come from one of the temples in the Samarian highlands. The lament over the fallen city cultivates the memory of what had happened and hopes for a turn for the better. Based on the account of an arriving troop of Samarians under Judean command, the ancestors of the soldiers at Elephantine had been serving as mercenaries in the Judean forces. Not long before 700 BCE, they had suffered a defeat and barely saved their own skins. The Assyrian aggression had set them on a journey in search of a safe haven. Eventually they found it. The narrative of their arrival promises them prosperity. What city offered them asylum?

A City of Sources, a Fortress of Palms The narrative about the Samarians finding shelter is crucial for the understanding of the historical background of the Elephantine Jews. Since the Amherst papyrus is a compilation of literary traditions from the Aramaic-speaking diaspora communities in Egypt, the Samarians whom the papyrus speaks about were most likely the ancestors of the colony at Elephantine. Like the Elephantine Jews, the Samarians were employed in the military. Like them, they worshipped Yaho. Like them, they identified their god Yaho with the Syrian god Bethel. Such parallels are not fortuitous but point to a historical connection. The Samarians of the Amherst papyrus left their legacy to the Elephantine Jews. The latter were their descendants, even though we have come to know them as “Jews” rather than Samarians. But the transformation of Samarians into Jews is a separate issue that should not detain us in the present connection. How and why the diaspora community developed a Jewish identity is the subject of the final chapter of this book. At this point, we must try to trace their history from before 525 BCE, the year that Cambyses II turned Egypt into a part of the Persian Empire. According to the interpretation of the historical allusions in the Amherst papyrus here presented, the Samarians left their homeland after 721 BCE, hired themselves out to the Judeans as soldiers, then ran away from Judah after suffering defeat at the hands of the Assyrians at the very end of the eighth century. Around 700 BCE, their search for shelter came to a close at a place that offered them protection and the promise of a prosperous future. About the same time, the Aramean community from

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Hamath was exiled from its homeland. They, too, were trying to escape the Assyrian violence. At some point, the Samarians on the run and the Syrian refugees found themselves in the same place. Their encounter was not a transitory meeting but the beginning of a period of prolonged interaction. They came to constitute two components of a society that included the Babylonian Arameans as well. There is more to be said about the Babylonian community and its background. For now, though, let us focus on the locality where the refugee communities met. In order to determine the place of asylum for the three communities— Syrians, Samarians, and Babylonians—we have to sift through the evidence contained in section 4 of Papyrus Amherst 63 (columns xiv–xvii). This is where the architects of the compilation inserted the narrative about the Samarians looking for shelter (xvii 1–6). It is the section that closes the compilation, since section 5—the Tale of Two Brothers—is in fact an appendix. What characterizes section 4 is an atmosphere of religious pluralism. It is as though the three communities have pooled their traditions so as to create a new religious universe. The traditional deities have not disappeared but have been equated with others and find themselves in new constellations. The only other part of the papyrus where this happens is in columns viii–ix (in the Syrian section), which may also reflect the realities that obtained in the new multicultural surroundings. Section 4 of the papyrus also contains a description of, and various references to, the place of refuge that the Arameans had come to and where the Samarians found shelter. More or less in keeping with the practice in other parts of the papyrus, this place of refuge remains anonymous. Yet the descriptions do allow us to make an informed guess. The most extensive description of the city is found in column xvi. It pictures a city in the evening. The daily activities have come to a stop, and humans and beasts are resting from their labor: At sunset Haddu is strong, The Overseer of Rash. And the people have put themselves at ease In the temple of the Lord. The caravan of wanderers Lies down in your guardroom. The cattle have been sated, Within you, at your source. How should you ever be abandoned Or be laid waste?

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Nabu has made you illustrious. He has adorned With stars of gold. And he has placed you In a fortress of palms, That shall not be captured And that hides no breach.

There will be occasion to discuss the role of the various deities mentioned here. At this juncture, the descriptive elements of the song deserve consideration. The city is situated in a “fortress of palms.” It is evening, and under the clear night sky, the stars put a special glow on the city. The evocation of tranquility is almost idyllic. The caravan of wanderers—the traders who have made the city their stopover—is lying in its quarters. The cattle have been brought to rest at the source. The people have ceased working and have gathered in the temple of the Lord. This is the picture of a fortified city confident in its safety. It shall neither be abandoned nor captured, and its walls hide no breach. Its location in the desert is hinted at in two other phrases in section 4. The song to Nanay in columns xiv–xv asks her to “order cold for the desert.” Once again, the song is set in the evening, when the heat of the day makes way for the cool of the night. Another reference to the city’s desert location is found in the request to Baal-Shamayin to “build” the city that finds itself “next to the sun.” Water sources are its major asset. It is “the land near the sources.” Some of the songs of the fourth section of the Amherst papyrus exhibit a particular focus on one source and its divine guardian. The god Hadad, invoked as the city’s patron, is once referred to as the “Gatekeeper of the Perennial Source” and twice as the “One who makes the perennial fountain murmur.” The terms mqr (“source”) and ʾytn (“perennial fountain, perennial stream”) make it clear that the reference is not to a cistern or a well but to a spring. In the absence of a name, the identification of the city is a matter of conjecture. While the descriptions could apply to several places, they rule out many others—at least one of which has been suggested as the possible background of the narrative about the arrival of the Samarians. Two experts on the papyrus have speculated that the story about the “broken men” describes the migration to Egypt; the king who received the Judean officer would have been the king of Egypt. Such a reading of the text is possible only if the narrative about the Samarians were unrelated to the rest of section 4. The latter assumption lacks plausibility in view of the careful composition of the section. The Samarian soldiers were welcomed

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to a caravan city, an oasis in the desert with palms and a perennial spring. Some of these elements could apply to Aswan or Elephantine. However, the absence of any reference to a river rules them out as candidates. For the twin cities in the deep south, the Nile was a lifeline. It was bound to figure in any description. If the city that offered shelter was not in Egypt, where was it located? In addition to the description of a caravan city at an oasis in the desert, section 4 contains two other clues. One is the constellation of deities: the city must have had sanctuaries for Nabu, Nanay, Baal-Shamayin, and Bethel and his avatars. The other is the name of the land the city belonged to. Haddu (Hadad), the patron of the city, is called the “Overseer of Rash.” Nanay shines “from Rash” and is “the Queen over all of Aram.” Rash and Aram designate a territory. By identifying that territory, we narrow down the number of cities that the description in section 4 might refer to. The territory of Aram runs from Aleppo in the north to Damascus in the south, and from the Mediterranean in the west to Palmyra in the east. Rash, on the other hand, is an unfamiliar name. What area does it refer to? According to Steiner, the land of Rash mentioned in the Amherst papyrus is the land between Babylonia and Elam, which the Assyrians called Rashu or Arashu. The strongest argument in favor of this identification is the name. Also, the references to Elam and places in Elam could be interpreted as supporting evidence. However, it is hard to believe that the Samarians would have wandered all the way to the borders of Elam in search of shelter. Also, the partial parallelism between Aram and Rash does not point in the direction of southern Babylonia and Elam. There is reason to question Steiner’s identification of Rash, then. In order to properly evaluate the data about Rash, it is necessary to differentiate between the five sections that make up the papyrus. The only section in which the name “Rash” does not figure at all is the appendix (section 5, columns xviii–xxiii). In all other sections, Rash occurs as the homeland of the gods and the theater from which they operate. Nevertheless, a statistical comparison between the four sections shows a significant concentration of references to Rash in the Syrian section (section 2, columns vi–xi). Here we have nineteen mentions of Rash—not counting the references to “the God of Rash”—versus three mentions of Rash in section 1 (columns i–v), one mention in section 3 (columns xii–xiii), and five mentions in section 4 (columns xiv–xvii). The Syrian section has a focus on the god Bethel. Not only does Bethel operate from Rash, he is also the only god

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in the papyrus to carry the title “God of Rash.” The latter phrase has almost become a proper name in its own right. The orthography reflects the conventional character of the expression. As demonstrated by this traditional epithet, then, Rash is the home of Bethel first and foremost. According to the Syrian section, Rash is a land with cities and towns. The women who live there are “the daughters of Rash.” The occasional reference to Darga-and-Rash suggests that the land of Rash is a mountainous area, a highland of sorts. The word “Darga” means “staircase, stairs” and is used metaphorically for an ascent or mountain slope. Rash means “head” and is used metaphorically for striking elevations in the landscape. “Darga-and-Rash” may be tentatively translated as “Ascent-andMountaintop.” This fits with the fact that Bethel is said to be “dwelling on the mountains.” Once Rash occurs in parallel with Lebanon, which supports the interpretation of Rash as the name of a highland: From the Lebanon, Lord, from Rash, You strike the entire earth.

Finally, there is a parallelism, partial or complete, between Rash and Aram: The land of your love, Lord, The land of your love, and Rash, The land of your love, Rash, That celebrates in song The Destroyer of the Sea— May the Gods order for it old age. Take away your yoke, Lord of Heaven, Bring the wheat and barley close to you. Raise them high on the soil of Aram.

Assuming that the name “Rash” does indeed refer to a mountaintop or a mountain plateau, it cannot be coterminous with Aram but must be part of Aram. In view of the close association with Mount Lebanon, Rash might be tentatively identified with the Jebel Ansariya. Rash, then, would be the central mountain range of Aram. Zaphon and Lebanon were known in antiquity as dwelling places of the gods. Apparently, the Jebel Ansariya was viewed as a divine abode as well. If the city of sources lies within the territory of Aram, the most plausible identification is with Palmyra (ancient Tadmor). The fit is almost perfect. Palmyra is a caravan city in the Syrian Desert. It lies at the border

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but is still part of the territory known in antiquity as Aram (and earlier as Amurru or Hatti). In the late Roman period, a succession of local kings ruled over the city-state. It is also quite conceivable that Palmyra was a monarchy at the time the Samarians arrived there. The oasis owed its existence to the presence of a perennial spring called the Efca. Though all the written evidence from Palmyra is from the late Hellenistic and Roman periods, the city had been an important port of call on the trade route from Damascus to the middle Euphrates since the third millennium BCE. Such was its renown in antiquity that a late biblical source attributes its foundation to King Solomon (2 Chr 8:3): “He built Tadmor in the desert.” Elaborating upon this passage, Josephus provides a more detailed description in his Antiquities of the Jews (late first century CE): Solomon went as far as the desert above Syria, and possessed himself of it, and built there a very great city, which was distant two days’ journey from Upper Syria, and one day’s journey from the Euphrates, and six long days’ journey from Babylon the Great. Now the reason why this city lay so remote from the parts of Syria that are inhabited is this: That below there is no water to be had, and that it is in that place only that there are springs and pits of water. When he had therefore built this city, and encompassed it with very strong walls, he gave it the name of Tadmor, and that is the name it is still called by at this day among the Syrians; but the Greeks name it Palmyra.

The name of the city is intriguing. As Josephus indicates, the original name was “Tadmor.” This is the name we find at 2 Chr 8:3 and which already occurs in Old Assyrian texts as “Tadmur.” The Greek “Palmyra” is an adaptation of this name, presumably on the basis of Latin palma, “palm.” The association between “Tadmor” and tāmār, “palm,” is already found in the Bible. It is a folk etymology triggered by a prominent feature of the oasis city. Palms were so characteristic of Palmyra that the city gave its name to a genus (the Palmyra palm or Borassus). While the original meaning of the name “Tadmor” is probably “fortress, watchtower,” in the popular perception Tadmor was foremost the City of Palms. It was, as the Amherst papyrus says, “a fortress of palms.” Other evidence in favor of the identification of the “fortress of palms” with Palmyra is extant in the references to several gods whose connection with Palmyra is not in doubt. The clearest instance is the occurrence of the god Bol, who had once been the patron god of Palmyra. In Roman times, the Babylonian god Bel had taken over his position. Yet the traditional

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prominence of Bol still echoes in personal names from the period and in such compound divine names as “Yarhi-Bol” and “Agli-Bol.” In the Amherst papyrus, the name of the god Bol occurs three times. It is written as bʾl, and its pronunciation may have been /bāl/, similar to the appearance of the god’s name in the Amorite personal name “Yamūt-Bāl” (Bāl-hasdied). The name “Bāl”/ “Bol” goes back to “Baal” (Lord), the standard title of the West Semitic storm god Hadad. In the Amherst papyrus, the name “Bol” (or “Bāl”) is used twice to address the god Bethel. In one other instance, Nabu is called the “son of Bol,” which implies an early identification of Bol with the Babylonian god Bel/Hadad. On the basis of this evidence, it is legitimate to surmise that the Arameans from Syria and Babylonia adopted the cult of Bol, identifying this Palmyrene deity with their own gods Bethel (the Syrians) and Bel/Hadad (the Babylonians). All the written evidence from Palmyra is from late Hellenistic and Roman times. It would be naïve to suppose that the religious panorama reflected in these later texts has a one-to-one correspondence with the situation in Palmyra in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. Nevertheless, there are some striking parallels. Two major gods in section 4 of the Amherst papyrus are Nabu and Baal-Shamayin. Both gods had sanctuaries in Roman Palmyra. As for Nanay, her name is attested in Palmyrene tesserae (entrance tickets to religious banquets). In Roman Palmyra, Nanay was also known under her title “Baʿaltak,” meaning “Lady of the Sanctuary.” It occurs in the Amherst papyrus under the form “Mārat-ʾayāk,” which is the Aramaic variant of the Assyrian “Belat-ayakki.” Two other goddesses of Roman Palmyra can also be traced back to divine titles encountered in our papyrus. On the tesserae from Palmyra, there are references to Herta. “Herta” means “the Spouse” and occurs in Amherst 63 as the title of the consort of Bethel. Another Palmyrene goddess is Shalmat (variant Shalma). She is likely related to the goddess Shalma, consort of Bethel in her manifestation as the evening star, also mentioned in Papyrus Amherst 63. One could make the counterargument that Bethel and his avatars Eshem-Bethel and Herem-Bethel never occur in Palmyrene texts. This is true inasmuch as their names are absent. Whether this means that the gods themselves were unknown is another matter. As demonstrated above, the Syrians identified their god Bethel with the local Palmyrene deity Bol. In the Palmyrene pantheon, the god Bol has two avatars: Agli-Bol and Yarhi-Bol. The literal meanings of these names are “Calf-(of-)Bol” and “Golden-Bol.” The former is Bol in his manifestation as the moon, the

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latter as the sun. The sun god Yarhi-Bol was also the “Idol of the Source,” meaning the Efca. In this capacity, the god was represented by a bethel. In the Amherst papyrus, such a standing stone incorporates the divine presence of Bethel (who draws his name from the symbol) and Hadad/Bel, the “Bull-of-Babylon,” as one text calls him. According to the Amherst papyrus, Hadad is the patron god of the “perennial fountain.” All this confirms the identification of Bethel, Hadad/Bel, and Bol. It also shows that Yarhi-Bol and Agli-Bol are not deities separate from Bol but distinct manifestations of the latter. In this respect, there is a correspondence between Agli-Bol and Eshem-Bethel, since the latter is Bethel in his manifestation as god of the night. How about Yaho at Palmyra? Given his identification with Bethel, the Israelite deity Yaho might be included in Bethel’s identification with Bol. Perhaps, however, Yaho is to be identified with the anonymous god in the Palmyrene texts, “blessed be his name forever,” “the merciful one,” “the god who is good and generous.” In this connection, the one-time reference to “Throne-of-Yaho” in the Amherst papyrus deserves to be noted, as a Palmyra dedicatory inscription calls the anonymous god the “Lord of the Throne.” Based on the description of the place that offered the Samarians shelter, its identification with Palmyra is quite compelling. Corroborative evidence may be found in the cultural and religious pluralism that marked the place where Babylonians, Syrians, and Samarians came to live together and that seems to foreshadow the multicultural conditions of Palmyra in the late Hellenistic and Roman periods. Nevertheless, the identification with Palmyra is tentative and in need of attendant corroboration. The descriptions and allusions do not totally exclude other places, such as Edessa in upper Mesopotamia. But even if there is no absolute certainty about the identity of the city the Samarians came to, the description does exclude a location in Egypt. This means that Samarians must have been in close contact with Aramean groups from Syria and Babylonia before they migrated to Egypt. Assuming the Samarians came looking for shelter around 700 BCE, their encounter with Syrians and Babylonians preceded the migration to Egypt by at least half a century. It meant exposure to a language and a culture with which they previously had not been familiar, during a period of two or more generations. At the end of this chapter, we will probe the Amherst papyrus for more information on the timeline, paying particular attention to the date of the move to Egypt.

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The Babylonian Arameans So far, the discussion has hardly touched upon the third component of the textual community behind the Amherst papyrus. This is partly due to the fact that some of the more explicit information on the origins of this group appears in section 4; it would have been difficult to use it without paying attention to the context into which it was inserted. Another reason is the relative complexity of the issue. Whereas the Samarian origins of the Israelites and the Syrian origins of the Bethel worshippers leave little room for doubt, the Babylonian background of the group devoted to Nabu and Nanay is more problematic. This has to do with the fact that Nabu and Nanay, though Babylonian in origin, were quite popular in Assyria as well. Even though the litany of blessings in column viii says that Nabu is from Barsippa and Nanay from “the sanctuary” (presumably the Eanna temple in Uruk), their Babylonian provenance did not prevent the Assyrian kings from giving these gods a place of honor in their devotion. The fact that an Assyrian paean to Nanaya enumerates a string of cult centers in Babylonia shows that the Assyrians had accepted the Babylonian heritage of these gods. Nanay’s title “Mārat-ʾayak” (Lady of the Sanctuary) was quite familiar among the Assyrians as “Belat-Ayakki.” So the veneration of Nabu and Nanay is not, by itself, proof of the Babylonian origins of the community. However, section 4 (the Palmyra section) opens with a composition that puts an unmistakably Babylonian slant on the religion of the devotees of Nanay and Nabu. The text covers two columns. It mixes hymn and lament. The overt subject is the ravage done to the temple of Nanay, but the actual significance of the text resides in the historical legitimation of a stele representing Hadad/Bel, as well as the presence of an image of Nabu in the renovated temple. One of the arresting elements in this song is the equation of Hadad (Haddu) with Bel. In fact, the name “Bel” as such does not appear in this text. Yet it lies at the basis of the Babylonian phrase “Mar-Bol” or “Mar-Bāl” (Son of Bol), which occurs as a title of Nabu. In Babylonian theology, Nabu is the son of Bel, so the expression “Mar-Bol” implies the equation of Bel with Bol. The implicit identification of Hadad and Bel is reflected in Hadad’s title, “Bull-of-Babylon.” According to the text, Nanay and Hadad used to be a couple. Whereas Nanay “shines from Rash” as “Queen over all of Aram,” Hadad is the “King of Rash.” He is the “husband.” Nanay is “Cow Nanay,” and Hadad is “the Bull.” Ultimately, the

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text is about a transfer of roles, it seems. As the Son-of-Bol, Nabu is to take the place of his father as the guardian of the sanctuary. The rise of Nabu to a position of equality with Bel is a traditional theme in the Babylonian mythology of the first millennium BCE. In the Amherst papyrus, this piece of mythological lore occurs in combination with the equation of two gods with Bel: Hadad and Bol. Hadad is here the Aramean alter ego of Bel, just as Nanay is the Aramean alter ego of Ishtar. An echo of the Babylonian background of Hadad occurs in the Elephantine reference to one “Hadadnuri the Babylonian.” Bol, on the other hand, used to be the patron god of Palmyra (see above). The composition reflects a rearrangement of names and roles designed to adapt the traditional religion of the Arameans from Babylonia to the cultic realities of Palmyra. Additional confirmation of the Babylonian background of the third component of the Amherst textual community may be found in the Tale of Two Brothers. It tells the story of Assurbanipal and Shamashshumukin, known in the tale as Sarbanabal and Sarmugi. The Assyrian king and his brother were sons of Esarhaddon. According to Assyrian sources, Shamashshumukin was the older of the two. Normally, he would have succeeded his father to the throne. But Esarhaddon decided otherwise: Shamashshumukin would be coregent in Babylon, whereas his younger brother would reign as king of Assyria. After many years in Babylon, Shamashshumukin eventually revolted against his younger brother. During the military confrontation that ensued, the Assyrian army defeated Babylon, and Shamashshumukin was killed. As a court novella, the Tale of Two Brothers gives its own twist to these historical events. In its general outline, it is based on Assyrian sources and betrays an Assyrian bias. It exonerates Assurbanipal from fratricide by attributing his brother’s death to others: Shamashshumukin was killed by his own troops, who threw him into the fire in the temple of Marduk. In the Amherst papyrus, the scribes have added an introduction. It is a lament that gives a Babylonian frame to the story: May the King observe my lament, And may he take pity at this sound. —What worry makes her moan, Continually in my garden? You (fem.) offer sweet scents among the cedars, You (fem.) sing to the lyre sweet sounds. —Baal-Shamayin, come out!

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Wake up, my God, and observe! I shall utter my lament and prolong it, My lament, the lament of the marshlands.

This poetic dialogue between a woman and the god Baal-Shamayin frames the tale that follows. In an important study of this passage, Ingo Kottsieper has suggested the woman is a personification of the city of Babylon. This is an attractive interpretation. It fits with the characterization of this song as a “lament of the marshlands,” the marshlands being the area south of Babylon. The narrative that follows makes it clear that the civilian population of Babylonia had been a victim of the disproportionate violence perpetrated by the Tartan (commander in chief ) of the Assyrian army. Even if the Babylonian community of the Amherst papyrus had left Babylon before all this happened, its members must have been sympathetic to the tribulations of those who had stayed behind. Finally, the religious landscape of Roman Palmyra betrays Babylonian influence. The city venerated Bel as its supreme deity. In his temple, there was a representation of the battle against the sea monster, a motif well known from the Babylonian creation epic. Other Babylonian gods that received worship in Palmyra were Nabu, Nanay, Nergal, and Shamash. All this constitutes no proof, since the identification of the city of refuge with Palmyra is likely but conjectural. But the fact that Bel, Nabu, Nanay, Nergal, and Shamash are precisely the Babylonian gods that occur in personal names from Persian Egypt is food for thought. If the community of Babylonian Arameans in Egypt had not come directly from Babylonia but by way of an earlier settlement abroad, Palmyra is a plausible candidate.

The Origins of the Compilation Papyrus Amherst 63 was found in Egypt. The scribes who produced it used typically Egyptian writing materials and wrote in Egyptian characters. Obviously, then, this text is an Egyptian product. Yet the fact that the one copy of the compilation we have is from Egypt does not necessarily mean the compilation itself originated in Egypt. Many of the individual texts collected in the papyrus convey the impression of considerable antiquity. The ritual songs to Nanay, Bethel, and Yaho are full of motifs and phrases that bear the mark of a long tradition. In most cases it is difficult to rise above impressions because there is no hard evidence to date the texts. But there is one exception: The first ritual song of the Israelite section is an Aramaic

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version of a forerunner of Psalm 20. The biblical text is the Judean edition of an originally North Israelite composition. The most likely scenario to explain the transmission and transformation of the text is the transfer of traditional religious literature from Samaria to Judah in the aftermath of the fall of Samaria (721 BCE). The Hebrew original underlying the Aramaic version in the Amherst papyrus, then, must go back to the eighth century BCE or earlier. The songs to Bethel borrow several elements of the Baal mythology known from the Ugaritic texts of the Late Bronze Age (ca. 1400 BCE). The presentation of Bethel as the “Destroyer of Yamm” and as the god of thunderstorms especially goes back to an early period. The songs in question presumably date to the eighth century BCE as well, if not earlier. Assuming that several texts collected in the Amherst papyrus are from the eighth century BCE or before, one wonders when they found their way into the compilation. It cannot have happened before 700 BCE because the Samarians would have had no incentive to transform their Hebrew psalms into Aramaic songs prior to their integration into an Aramaic-speaking community. As argued above, the most likely event that impelled them to seek shelter in the caravan city in the desert was Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah in 701. The analysis of the structure of the compilation yields another argument in favor of a date after 700. The first three sections collect individual traditions of the three separate communities (Babylonians, Syrians, Samarians), while section 4 consists of material that reflects their interaction in their newfound home. The logic of this structure implies that the compilation of sections 1–4 took place after 700 BCE—the earliest conceivable date of their encounter. One might argue that the post quem date should be brought down considerably lower because the death of Shamashshumukin, described in the Tale of Two Brothers, occurred in 648 BCE. Some decades may have elapsed between the events and their integration into a court novella. This would bring the earliest date of the compilation down to about 620 BCE. However, since the Tale of Two Brothers is clearly an appendix, it should not be used to determine the date of the compilation to which it has been attached. The Tale of Two Brothers occupies a position comparable to that of tablet xii with respect to the rest of the Gilgamesh Epic, Isaiah 37–39 with respect to the First Isaiah collection, or Jeremiah 52 with respect to the book of Jeremiah. In fact, it is also possible to argue that the compilation of sections 1–4 must have occurred

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before the Tale of Two Brothers came into circulation. On that premise, the original compilation would have been made between 700 and 600 BCE. A close look at the contents of Papyrus Amherst 63 yields a clue about the occasion that may have impelled the scribes to produce the compilation. This occasion may lead us, in turn, to the time of composition. Richard C. Steiner has characterized the Amherst papyrus as “the liturgy of a New Year’s festival.” Though Steiner’s reading of the text prevents him from seeing the way it was structured in sections, his observation that much of it deals with the New Year festival is correct. The sections that contain the separate traditions of the Babylonian, Syrian, and Samarian communities have a common focus on the celebrations of the New Year. The term “New Year” occurs only in the Babylonian section, where the girls chant to Nanay, “My gift is for you on New Year’s Day.” Yet much of the Syrian and the Samarian sections is set in the New Year festival as well. Each section has its particular accents. In the Babylonian section, the focus is on the marriage of Nabu and Nanay, Nanay’s loving care for the king, and Nanay’s elevation as Queen of Heaven, embodied by the rise of the evening star. The Syrian section shares the focus on sacred marriage and the rise of the evening star. Here the marriage is between Bethel and his queen in heaven, which has a counterpart down below in the selection of a girl to be the god’s priestess for the year to come. Both Bethel and his queen—no proper name is given—are to manifest themselves in the sky, one as the new moon and the other as the evening star. The Samarian section, finally, deviates from the pattern inasmuch as Yaho/Adonai is without a partner in the songs. As a matter of consequence, there is no sacred marriage. But the three Israelite psalms do speak about the appearance of the new moon and a banquet of choice meat and wine to celebrate Yaho’s kingship over the gods. Yaho determines the destinies for the year to come. The cycle of three songs provides an insight into the New Year festival as it was celebrated in Israel. Several elements of sections 1–3 return in a modified form in section 4. The songs in the Palmyra section yield their full meaning only when read as a sequence of ritual texts to mark the beginning of the New Year. A string of references indicates that the ceremonies start in the evening and continue throughout the night: cold descends upon the desert; it is evening; stars illuminate the city; and people keep a vigil until the sun rises. Two classic elements of the New Year celebrations are the divine endorsement of the human king and the marriage of the leading god and goddess. In section 4

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of the Amherst papyrus, these elements take the form of a divine oracle by Eshem-Bethel and Nabu promising the king a reign of everlasting peace and a love lyric on Nanay’s marriage to Herem-Bethel. The composition that opens this sequence of songs speaks about a chariot procession carrying a stele of Bel/Hadad and hints at the inauguration of the renovated temple of Nanay. Throughout, there are references to the population getting their fill from jars of wine and inebriating drink. Everything in these texts points to celebrations of the New Year. From the written records of Roman Palmyra we know that the inauguration of the temple of Bel was scheduled to coincide with the beginning of the New Year. According to the Syrian section of the Amherst papyrus, there was a similar connection between the New Year festival and the inauguration of the temple of Bethel. In light of these data, it is legitimate to link the New Year festivities described in section 4 of the papyrus to the inauguration of the renovated temple of Nanay and Nabu. We have no date for the event. Given the context, the temple must have stood in the city of sources. If the latter is indeed to be identified with Palmyra, the temple of Nanay and Nabu must have been a predecessor of the Nabu temple discovered in Roman Palmyra. Its inauguration took place sometime in the seventh century BCE. It was this particular occasion, it would seem, that provided the incentive to collect traditional songs of the constituent communities of the city into one compilation. If the reconstruction outlined here is correct, the texts in sections 1–4 of Papyrus Amherst 63 were compiled before (parts of ) the Babylonian, Syrian, and Samarian communities migrated to Egypt. It was a literary heritage they brought to Egypt. Attendant confirmation of this scenario may be found in the fact that there is nothing in the Amherst papyrus that betrays an exposure to Egyptian culture. It seems as though the people whose traditions it preserves had never been to Egypt. There is not a single Egyptian loanword nor any reference to an Egyptian god or to conditions of life on Egyptian soil. In this respect, the use of Demotic to transliterate the Aramaic is deceptive. It should not be taken as a sign of the Egyptian setting of the traditions contained in the papyrus. There is nothing Egyptian about those. As the analysis above has demonstrated, many of the texts in the collection go back to the eighth century or earlier. Except for the Tale of Two Brothers, added later as an appendix, scribes compiled these traditions in the seventh century BCE.

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The Beginnings of the Aramaic-Speaking Diaspora in Egypt According to the evidence of several later sources, the earliest presence in Egypt of military men from Syria, Phoenicia, and Israel dates to the late seventh century BCE. This was the time when the Neo-Assyrian Empire was disintegrating and Babylonia was emerging as the new superpower. The Babylonians sacked Assur in 614 and took Nineveh in 612. Under Nebuchadnezzar II (r. 605–562), the Babylonians forced the Egyptian forces out of Syria and turned Syria, Samaria, and Judah into satellite states. Under the impact of these events, a significant number of people from Syria and Palestine migrated to Egypt, attracted by the prospect of houses, land, and perhaps a salary, in exchange for military service. Mercenary colonies sprang up at many places along the Nile, both in Lower and Upper Egypt. The garrison of Syene, which included the military families living at Elephantine, was just one of them. This is where many of the Aramaicspeaking migrants from Palmyra ended up, most likely toward the end of the seventh century BCE. The migration from Palmyra to Egypt was part of a pattern. To many inhabitants of Syria-Palestine at the time, Egypt seemed to be the promised land. The biblical record documents a migration to Egypt from Judah, in the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem, around 580 BCE ( Jeremiah 44). It is very likely that there had been a comparable migration from Samaria. When Samaria was an Assyrian province, it had become as composite as Palmyra in terms of ethnic groups and religious practice. According to 2 Kings 17, the population consisted of Babylonians, Syrians from Hamath, and people from other places, alongside the native Israelites. The migrants from Hamath worshipped Ashima, and the Babylonians had an image of Banit (2 Kgs 17:30). The parallels with the religious situation reflected in the Amherst papyrus—and encountered later among the Aramaic-speaking diaspora communities in Syene and Elephantine—are hard to ignore. They should caution us not to posit a single origin for the migrant communities in Egypt. They came from different places and arrived at slightly different moments. Nevertheless, the correspondences between the traditions reflected in the Amherst papyrus and the ethnic and religious situation at Elephantine and Syene demonstrate that the Babylonian, Syrian, and Samarian communities from Palmyra formed the nucleus of the Syenian garrison.

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For more than a century, the origins of the Elephantine Jews have been a mystery. Owing to the decipherment of Papyrus Amherst 63, many pieces of the puzzle now fall into place. Most of the men and women we have come to think of as Jews were in fact Samarian Arameans. They had a hyphenated identity, somewhat similar to the double identity of Jewish Americans. By geographical origin, they were from Samaria. Having lived for about a century in the Aramaic-speaking environment of Palmyra, they had become Arameans. They had stayed loyal to their ancestral god Yaho but equated him with the storm god Bethel. In addition to Aramaic as their new language, they had also adopted several Aramean deities associated with Bethel: Anat-Bethel, Eshem-Bethel, and Herem-Bethel. Toward 600 BCE, they had migrated to Egypt, along with the Syrians and Babylonians they had lived with in Palmyra. In the deep south of Egypt, they settled in different neighborhoods: the Samarians at Elephantine, the Syrians and the Babylonians at Syene. The settlement pattern probably corresponded to the one they were used to in the place they had come from. The three groups considered themselves Arameans but were also aware of their distinct identities. As the final chapter will show, the particular identity of the Samarian Arameans would go through a transformation. In the end, the Elephantine experience would turn them into Jews.

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5 A Military Colony and Its Religion

Even if the greatest impact of Papyrus Amherst 63 on the study of the Elephantine Jews concerns their origins and early history, its significance does not stop there. The papyrus also throws new light on several aspects of the life of the Elephantine colony in the fifth century BCE. So far, this book has paid little attention to the Egyptian experience of the Elephantine Jews. For many aspects of their daily life, there is no reason to rehearse what other studies have already discussed in detail. But there are two areas that merit a renewed inquiry because they are central to the Elephantine experience. One is the role of Jews as soldiers in the service of the Persians; the other concerns their religion. On both scores, the Amherst papyrus has bearing—modest in one case, significant in the other. This chapter looks first at the military side of the colony, then discusses various aspects of the religious life of what was essentially a temple community, and finally seeks to present the profile of the various gods that the Jews venerated.

The Elephantine Jews as a Military Colony In 1911, the first full-fledged edition of the Elephantine papyri defined the Jewish community of the island as a military colony. Half a century later, Bezalel Porten could not think of a better term. The subtitle of his 1968 monograph speaks about “the Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony.” More than a century after the discovery of the Elephantine Jews, there continues to be a consensus about the fact that they served as frontier soldiers. In light of the information from the Amherst papyrus, it is now clear that the military activity in Egypt continued a tradition. The

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ancestors of the Elephantine Jews had already been in the armed forces. The account of their arrival at Palmyra says they were part of a “troop.” After their Judean commander had explained where they came from, the local king told him that his men would be a “banner,” that is a military unit. It is the equivalent of what, in the Elephantine documents, is known as a degel (literally, “flag”), customarily translated as “battalion” or “detachment.” In the seventh century BCE, the caravan route through the Syrian Desert was dangerous. Given the importance of safe trade, several Assyrian kings sent troops to secure unimpeded traffic. One such king was Assurbanipal. The campaign against raiding Arab tribes brought his armed forces to Arak, a satellite town twenty-seven kilometers northeast of Palmyra and part of its territory. Palmyra needed trained men for its defense. The Samarians had come as soldiers and would be employed as soldiers. The references to “much booty” and “fines imposed upon the enemy,” also in the Palmyra section of the Amherst papyrus, suggest that the military exploits they were expected to perform were not merely defensive. The Samarians migrated to southern Egypt toward the end of the seventh century. They had a background as military professionals. In an attempt to get away from political instability and oppression, they chose to come to Egypt because they knew that their skills were in demand. They were not the only ones. The fall of Jerusalem in 587 BCE led to a migration of Judeans too. It was an exodus in reverse, under the leadership of the military. According to Jer 44:1, there were Judean colonies in the Nile delta (Migdol, Tahpanhes), Memphis (Noph), and the southern province (Pathros)—all places with garrisons. In light of Aramaic and Greek texts from Egypt, the names of Edfu (midway between Thebes and Elephantine) and Thebes may be added to the list. From all over the East Mediterranean and West Asia, foreign soldiers were arriving in Egypt. Besides Samarians and Judeans, there were Arab, Carian, Greek, Phoenician, Asiatic, and Iranian mercenaries. Egypt had been employing non-Egyptian soldiers for some time. At the beginning of the sixth century BCE, foreign mercenaries left their graffiti in the Ramses temple at Abu Simbel. They were part of the troops of Psammetichus the Younger on his expedition against the Nubians. After 525, the Persians continued the Egyptian practice. From the Nile delta to the deep south, the garrisons employed soldiers from a variety of backgrounds. Studies of the foreign military colonies in Egypt often refer to them as “mercenary communities.” The adjective implies that the men received

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a salary for their services. There is some written evidence in support of this assumption. The so-called Padua letter is a message from a Jewish father to his son, both active in the military. Amid several inquiries and words of encouragement, the father mentions the wages to be paid to his son and his colleagues. The letter refers to a practice at Migdol up in the north. Another letter, written in the late sixth or early fifth century BCE, suggests that at least some of the soldiers in the south were mercenaries too. The letter is from Makki-Banit, an Aramean from Syene on a mission in Memphis. Writing home, he informs his sister that “wages have been given to them here,” “them” being the group of Syenian soldiers temporarily in Memphis. The letter implies that wages were normally paid out in Syene. From Elephantine Island, we have an ostracon listing four names of “the Jews that received wages.” Another ostracon has a reference to the distribution of wages. And among the few papyri dating to the time of the ostraca (first quarter of the fifth century BCE), there is a contract in which a Jewish scribe promises to pay back a loan “month by month from my wages, which they will pay me from the treasury.” His wages, then, were monthly and paid out in cash. In addition to the money paid out to various members of the Jewish community, there are also references to remunerations in kind, consisting mostly of grain. This payment in kind, disbursed from a place that was known as “the royal treasury” or “the royal storehouse,” was called the “ration.” On occasion, the texts mention a woman as recipient. Mibtahyah, the sister of Yedanyah, the leader of the Jewish community during the final decades of the fifth century BCE, donated her ration from the royal storehouse to her sister, in return for the support she had received. The civil status of Mibtahyah is unknown, as are the grounds on which she was entitled to a ration. Do these data imply that all the Jews received wages in silver and in kind? Such is the conclusion reached by Arthur Cowley, who writes that all the Jews “received rations and pay, as a retaining fee.” Cowley’s choice of words is intriguing. He speaks of a “retaining fee,” implying that the wages were not remuneration for full-time employment. The Jews had other sources of income. It might seem a technical matter, but it is not. In later times, when Egypt was under the rule of the Ptolemies, there was a difference between mercenaries and cleruchs. The mercenaries were the misthophoroi, the ones who were employed as full-time soldiers with a fixed salary (misthos). The cleruchs, on the other hand, did not receive a salary but had an income through the parcel of land they had been given

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(their kleros, “lot”). It is the difference between professional soldiers and the men who could be called upon to do their military duty on the basis of a land-for-service system. The cleruchs had a very different relation to the country they defended because they were, in a way, defending their own land. They resembled somewhat the medieval tenants in the European feudal system. Cowley suggests that the situation of the Elephantine Jews was mixed. They were both cleruchs and mercenaries. The matter deserves closer attention because it affects the significance of the military identity of the Elephantine Jews. Were they first and foremost a military colony, employed as full-time soldiers in the Persian armed forces, or were they landholders who could, on occasion, be called upon to defend the Persian interests? On the side of caution, it should be observed first that there is no incontrovertible support for the theory that all of the Elephantine Jews received wages. In fact, the distribution patterns in the texts suggest that only selected community members received a ration. For the time being, we should be careful not to extrapolate individual cases of wages into a general rule. There is all the more reason for caution as the Elephantine papyri also refer to the cultivation of fields by battalions. A judicial plea speaks about a battalion possessing a “field” ploughed by one of its members. Attention must be paid to the choice of words. The battalion does not “own” the field but “has it in possession.” The Aramaic verb occurs elsewhere with the particular nuance of keeping or taking something into possession. Another judicial record illustrates the distinction between ownership and possession. One man had deposited goods (garments of wool and cotton, vessels of bronze and iron, implements of wood and ivory, corn, etc.) with another party. Although he had explicitly declared, “They are on deposit,” the other man “took possession of them and did not return them to him.” Here is one man taking possession of what the other one owns. The soldiers of the battalion did not own the land but had it in possession. The judicial plea about the field actually specifies the period during which the battalion had usufruct of the land: from year 24 until year 31 of King Artaxerxes I. There are other written references to land in the possession of the families of Jewish soldiers. After the death of their father, two sisters were assigned a “share” by the king’s judges and the garrison commander. They exchanged half of it for a similar half elsewhere in the possession of two other women. The deed of conveyance is from 495 BCE. Another document from over fifty years later refers to the same piece of land and men-

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tions that it was to be held in possession by a particular battalion. The situation to which these documents are alluding is one in which a battalion was assigned a particular area of land, which was subsequently parceled out to the separate families that fell under the authority of the battalion. Each family had a share. They were, in the Greek terminology, cleruchs. Families might cultivate the land themselves, as evidenced by the reference to a member of the battalion “plowing” the land, or they might lease it out to someone else. The Aramaic evidence attests to the continuation of a practice that was already known from Egyptian sources from the New Kingdom. Soldiers held land on condition of rendering military service. According to Herodotus, the Egyptian soldiers paid no taxes on the yield of their fields. Such was not the case for the foreign garrisons in Persian Egypt. The troops had to pay a tax known as the “tribute of the garrison.” Amélie Kuhrt notes the fact with some surprise. If the troops were entirely dependent on the Persian authorities for their income, how could they be asked to pay tribute? Only if they were not without possession might such tribute be exacted. From other Aramaic sources on taxation it is clear that “tribute” (mindah) usually refers to a collective rent on landed domains. Since the soldiers received fields in reward for their services, a tribute did make sense. The system that prevailed in the relations between the Persian overlords and their Jewish soldiers is reminiscent of the land-for-service system that the Persians adopted in Babylonia from the Babylonians. The essence of this system is that land is allotted to new populations in return for certain services that the new tenants have to perform. In Babylonia, those services were primarily military. That is the reason why the Babylonian word hat ru, designating the fiscal district corresponding to the land, has been ˘ . translated at times as “military colony,” the very term used for the Jewish community at Elephantine. Over time, however, the Babylonian service duty could be bought off by paying taxes. This is not exactly the system we encounter in Egypt, where all members of the Jewish colony were divided into battalions. Being the troops of a border garrison, the Jews had to be available for military duties. But most of the time, the army was sleeping rather than standing because all was quiet on the southern front. At those times, the Jews were happily cultivating their fields and harvesting the yield. For most of them, it was a profitable business. Some of them got rich in the process. But for all of them, the fields they cultivated or the plantations they took care of were essential sources of income.

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The various house transactions documented in the Elephantine papyri demonstrate that the Jews were free to buy and to sell. Yet the term that refers to the possession of real estate on the island derives from the same verb that was used in connection with land. The Jews did not really own their houses any more than they owned their land; they had them in usufruct. The Jews were, as the Aramaic expression has it, “holding property in Elephantine the fortress.” The implied lack of ownership is connected to the origins of the colony in Egypt. When the Jews came, they depended on the goodwill of the Egyptian authorities to give them shelter. Service in the armed forces was the condition on which the mercenaries received houses and land. The unwritten contract that underlay the deal stipulated that the Jews would forfeit the title to their houses the moment they stopped performing the services they were expected to render. It was a hypothetical possibility. In reality, no Elephantine Jews needed to fear that their houses might be confiscated. Though technically a lease, in the course of time the houses came to be regarded as individual property—to be bought, sold, or donated without interference from the Persian authorities. The Jews of Elephantine were frontier soldiers attached to a permanent garrison. As the short texts of the ostraca show, though, their daily activities were nonmilitary. The men lived at Elephantine Island, but they worked on the mainland. They would usually be away for a week or longer. In their messages home, they ask for bread, barley, and flour, as well as salt to be added to the flour. As is clear from the supplies of cereals, as well as the reference to grinding, some prepared their own bread. In terms of clothing, the objects most frequently asked for are tunics and sandals. A request for thread indicates they mended their own clothes when necessary. Other food items and clothes have a minor place in the correspondence. Sometimes they ask their families to send certain implements. This is rare. But on occasion, the men did need a new pickaxe, axe, or saw. Goods also went the other way, from the mainland to the island. The main product the men shipped home to Elephantine was timber. In addition, they sent vegetables, cucumbers, figs, and fish. Sundry other items occur too sporadically for mention. Judging by the products they sent home, the men were working on wood plantations, in the fields, and as fishermen. Did they do their daily work in the line of duty? There is no evidence to say they did, other than the fact that they stayed away for several days at a time. They did not commute, even though the ferry ride to the island took only a couple of minutes.

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Aside from such duties as protecting commercial transports and patrolling the border, the military activity of the colony was limited to times of tension. The mere presence of the garrison would normally be enough to deter invaders from the south and to prevent the population from rebelling against the Persian occupation. But when conflict did break out, the soldiers were called upon to defend the fortress. The papyri use a technical term of Persian origin for the mobilization of the troops. It implies that the men were to gather in the fortress and could only leave when the enemy had been repelled. The fortress offered protection but was also a trap. For water and bread the soldiers depended on the well within the fortress and the royal granary to which they had access. But when the hostilities lasted, food shortages could become acute. The fields that in times of peace provided the men with cereals, vegetables, and fruit were out of reach. Some men had well-to-do relatives in the fortress who might help them out in time of need. But nothing is free. The father of Mibtahyah—arguably the wealthiest woman in the Jewish community—gave his daughter a house in 446 BCE. The document that formalizes the grant explains that the gift was in exchange for goods received: “When I was garrisoned in the fortress, I consumed them but did not find silver or gold to repay you. Then I gave you this house in exchange for those goods of yours.” As the Ahiqar proverb says, “The consumption of a loan is sweet . . . , but its return is the contents of a house.” Or, as in this case, a house itself.

A Temple Community Even though the ancestors of the Elephantine Jews had lived at close quarters with the Arameans in Palmyra, in the deep south of Egypt, Jews and Arameans lived in different neighborhoods. Whereas the Syrians and the Babylonians lived in Syene, the Jews lived on Elephantine Island. Jews and Arameans served in the same garrison (known in the texts as the “Syenian garrison”), but each group had its domestic life in its own quarters. These quarters were built around a temple. The temple of Yaho was at the heart of the Jewish neighborhood, whereas the Babylonian Arameans had their houses in proximity to the temples of Nabu and Banit, and the Syrians lived around the temples of Bethel and the Queen of Heaven. The settlement pattern shows that the boundaries between the three communities had not been erased through their stay in Palmyra. Though the texts make it clear that the Jews had adopted much of the Aramean culture of

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their neighbors (including several Aramean gods), they had not sacrificed their distinct identity. Nor had the Babylonians or the Syrians. The three communities shared a past in Palmyra but remained aware of their separate origins. Many, if not all, of the foreign communities in Egypt had temples for their ancestral gods. Religion was important to them. Military life came with dangers. And living abroad gave new significance to the gods of the ancestors. The places of worship provided access to the gods and cemented the cohesion of the community. They were an embodiment in timber and stone of their identity as a people in the diaspora. In the eastern Nile delta, the Arab soldiers had a shrine for their goddess Han-Ilat. In Memphis, the Aramean community from Babylonia had a temple for Nabu. One text speaks about the priests of the temples in the plural, implying there were other Aramean temples in Memphis. A funerary stele for a certain Anan, “the priest of Baal,” might be interpreted as evidence for a Baal temple in Memphis. The presence of a temple for Yaho at Elephantine and of temples for Nabu, Banit, Bethel, and the Queen of Heaven at Syene, then, is part of a pattern. Since temples for foreign gods were part of a pattern among the various diaspora communities, there is reason to reconsider the traditional bias against the Elephantine Jews. Many authors have implied that the Yaho temple at Elephantine was unique to the Jewish community of the island, that it was proof of their isolation. But the Elephantine temple was less unusual than commonly granted. About one hundred kilometers north of Aswan lies the town of Edfu (t. bh, in Aramaic). Like Syene and Elephantine, it was a city with a fortress. From the Persian period onward, there was a Jewish community living there. Aramaic documents from the third century BCE indicate there were several priests in the community—the term is khn, as in Elephantine and in the Bible. The most plausible explanation is that the colony at Edfu, like that of Elephantine, had a temple. In the Ptolemaic era, there was another Jewish temple at Leontopolis. Had it been erected as a rival to the Jerusalem temple, as Josephus intimates? It must have appeared so from the perspective of the normative Judaism of later times. Given the presence of Jewish temples in Elephantine and Edfu, however, the Leontopolis sanctuary may in fact have been just another Jewish temple in Egypt. The presence of a Yaho temple at Elephantine, at any rate, was hardly unique.

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Both the Elephantine ostraca and the earliest papyri mention the temple. They refer to it as “the house of Yaho” or simply as “the temple.” The phrase “house of Yaho” combines the common Semitic word for “habitation” with the name of the deity. It characterizes the temple as the dwelling place of the god of the Jews. The term commonly translated as “temple” has a Babylonian pedigree. The Aramaic word ʾagûrāʾ is an adaptation of the Babylonian term ekurru, which is based on Sumerian ekur, meaning “mountain house.” It was the name of a famous temple in southern Mesopotamia and conveys the idea that the gods inhabited a place elevated above human dwellings. By the fifth century BCE, ʾagûrāʾ was mainly the current term for a prestigious religious building. A description from the year 407 implies that it had been a monumental building (the temple was in ruins at the time). This was not a roadside chapel but a palace with a courtyard surrounded by a heavy wall. The temple of Yaho did not merely symbolize the god’s presence at Elephantine Island but served as its material guarantee. This is where Yaho lived. The phrase “Yaho the god who dwells in Elephantine” echoes the biblical phrase “Yahweh S.ebaoth who dwells on Mount Zion.” The Jews of Elephantine practiced a local cult of Yahweh the way worshippers all over the eastern Mediterranean honored local manifestations of their gods. At Elephantine, the Jews were not cultivating memories of the temple at Zion, as some have speculated. Nor did they long for Samaria as the true dwelling place of Yaho. Yaho had a real presence down in Egypt, in his temple on the island. The temple was not a forerunner of the synagogue, a meeting place for religious Jews, but the true abode of the god. If they wanted to meet him, to beseech his favors, or make him a witness to their solemn declarations, this is where they went. Somehow, some way, this is where their god was physically present. Precisely because a god inhabits his temple, it is first of all a place of worship. The term “worship” should not be confused with spiritual exercises and meditations designed to cultivate feelings of devotion. Worship was not concerned with worshippers but with the god. As the divine patron of the community, the deity was entitled to what A. Leo Oppenheim has called “the care and feeding of the gods.” The root metaphor of the temple cult is the ceremony of the royal court. The temple is a god’s palace, and the priests are his servants. Priests at Elephantine came from high-ranking families. Temple stewards assisted them, performing most of the daily

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chores. Through rites of feeding, fumigation, clothing, and obeisance, the temple staff gave body to the belief that god dwelled in the sanctuary, leading the life of a sovereign. Most of the daily worship consisted of offerings and sacrifices. In keeping with the prominence of the sacrificial cult, the temple is on occasion referred to as the “altar house.” This was the place where the Jews brought their vegetal offerings, burnt incense, and sweet reeds, where they poured out their libations and presented the holocaust offerings. On special occasions, the temple hosted a sacrificial banquet for the community. At Elephantine, such a banquet was known as the marzeah. The word was common in Palmyra, occurs two times in the Hebrew Bible, and is found once in the Elephantine ostraca. Participants in the marzeah banquet paid a fee to cover the costs of the festivities. The plentiful meal with a liberal distribution of fermented drink united the worshippers with their god in joint revelry. Although the temple of Yaho was situated at the edge of the Jewish quarter, it had a central place in the life of the community. The Jews were a temple community. The Jew from the Nile delta who was writing to his son on a mission to Elephantine, sent his greeting “to the temple of Yaho.” In like manner, Arameans in Memphis, writing to their family in Aswan, sent their greetings to the sanctuaries of Nabu and Banit and, in a different letter, to the sanctuaries of Bethel and the Queen of Heaven. In all instances, it is clear that the greetings were addressed to the communities that patronized these temples. But it is striking that the greetings were not to “the Jews,” “the Babylonians,” or “the Syrians” but to the temples of their gods. It suggests that these communities took their ethnic identity from their religious orientation. On occasion, the leader of the Jewish community presented himself as a “priest.” He used the Hebrew term khn (pronounced kōhēn in Hebrew) rather than the more common noun kmr, employed for the priests of Khnum and the priests of the Babylonian gods in Syene and Memphis. The fact that the political leader was a priest fits with the concept of a temple community. The same pattern prevails in connection with the Egyptians of Elephantine Island. The temple of Khnum was responsible for the collection of the harvest tax to be paid to the Persians. The priests of Khnum were the leaders of the local community. As several scholars have pointed out, religion today is not exactly the same thing as religion in earlier times, so much so that one could make the argument that religion is a misnomer when it comes to the beliefs and ritual practices of the ancients. Although it will prove to be as good as

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impossible to eradicate the notion of religion as a conceptual category, it is important to be aware of the fact that religion has not always been something private; it used to permeate societies in all their fibers to the degree that no one saw it as a separate field of human culture. The phenomenon of temple communities illustrates the pervasive presence of religion. The fact that the leadership of these communities consisted of priests is telling of the porous boundary between the sacred and the secular. In our eyes, the leader of the Jewish community at Elephantine was more an administrator than a priest. In terms of his political role, this is true. But the ties between the leading family in the Elephantine colony and the priests were strong. And when the occasion demanded it, the leader would present himself as a priest. The interpenetration of the sacred and the secular also meant that the temple served a variety of functions, many of which were not (exclusively) religious. Aside from being a place of offerings and prayer, the temple also served as the public square of the community. It was a meeting place and a kind of town hall. Some scribes may have worked out of the temple. And the temple was the place to go when litigation led to the imposition of an oath—a common outcome when there was no evidence other than the contradictory statements of the two opponents. The practice of the judicial oath illustrates the extent to which religion put its stamp on public life at Elephantine—as it did elsewhere in the ancient world. The oath is at home in a time with a strong belief in divine retribution. In cases where the evidence did not allow judges to reach a verdict of guilty or not guilty, the defendant was ordered to swear his innocence “by” or “before” the gods. Perjury would have dire consequences. In order to make the juror realize the seriousness of the situation, the oath ceremony could be followed by an ordeal. The juror would be exposed to a danger he could only survive by the grace of the gods: the consumption of a sacred substance with potentially lethal effects, submersion in a river with stones tied to his feet, or a variety of other tests. In most cases, the risks involved would be enough to put the fear of god into anyone even marginally guilty. They preferred to pay a penalty rather than to risk perjury. At Elephantine, nobody took the oath unless there was a court order. Was this because the oath involved a fee that people were reluctant to pay? Or did the oath involve an ordeal of sorts? We don’t know. The fact is that records of an oath obligation reckon with the possibility that the defendant might “turn away from” the oath. Refusal to take the oath automatically entailed the obligation to fully indemnify the opponent.

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While the judges imposed the “oath of litigation” at their court in Syene, for the oath itself both accuser and accused would go to the temple. The oath was “a declaration by gods” made by the one litigant to the other. The god was not the recipient of the declaration but its witness. The oath was made “by” or “upon” the god and was addressed “to” the accuser. One text refers to the presence of four “attendants.” They were most likely acting as witnesses, each party having the right to bring two witnesses. The defendant would normally swear by his or her own god. For a Jew, that would usually be Yaho “the god in Elephantine the fortress” or, more simply, “Yaho the god.” Sworn in the temple, in the presence of Yaho, the oath settled the matter. It was now in the hands of a god whose faculties of perception and powers of retribution far exceeded the resources of human justice.

The Gods of the Elephantine Jews The Elephantine Jews worshipped Yaho as their ancestral god. Their temple was the “house of Yaho,” they took their oaths by Yaho, and they gave extra force to their assertions with the phrase “by the life of Yaho.” The three Israelite psalms of the Amherst papyrus are addressed to Yaho and echo the religious orientation encountered in the ostraca and the papyri. In the religion of the Elephantine Jews, Yaho had a unique place, but he was not the only god they venerated. A document from 400 BCE shows that the temple at Elephantine accommodated two other gods besides Yaho. This is a list of names of all those who contributed money, each person two shekels, for Yaho the god (see the discussion in Chapter 2). According to a summary at the end, the money was allocated to Yaho, EshemBethel, and Anat-Bethel. The account does not specify the purpose of the money, but the context suggests that it served religious ends and that Eshem-Bethel and Anat-Bethel are gods. The Amherst papyrus contains an oracle by, and a song to, Eshem-Bethel. There can be no doubt, then, that it is indeed the name of a god. Anat-Bethel is a goddess. Her name occurs in two Assyrian texts from the seventh century as the consort of the Syrian god Bethel. Eshem-Bethel and Anat-Bethel were apparently theoi sunnaoi, “gods in residence,” in the Yaho temple at Elephantine. Other Elephantine papyri mention two other gods in addition to Yaho, EshemBethel, and Anat-Bethel. The documents in question are oath texts. A papyrus dated 401 BCE is a promissory note to make a judicial declaration “upon Herem-Bethel the god.” The other text is undated, but on the basis

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of the script and the people mentioned, it is most likely from the late fifth century too. This time the oath is “by He[rem the go]d in the sanctuary and by Anat-Yaho.” Anat-Yaho looks like a variant of Anat-Bethel and must refer to a goddess. Herem or Herem-Bethel is qualified as “the god” or “the god in the sanctuary.” The occurrence of Herem-Bethel as the lover of Nanay in the Amherst papyrus proves that Herem-Bethel is really the name of a god and not a reference to “the sacred property” of Bethel. If the temple at Elephantine resembled temples elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean and West Asian world of the time, the presence of the gods that lived there must have been embodied by symbols. The usual form of such a symbol represents the god in the image of a human being, an animal, or an object. Israelite religion has often been thought of as the exception to this rule. The cult of Yahweh would have been aniconic, meaning without an image. This school of thought turns the Israelites into the Protestants of the past. There is room for suspicion, though. It is likely that the portable shrine known as the ark contained an image that was later substituted with a copy of the Torah. In the religious practice of Samaria (the Northern Kingdom), Yahweh’s presence was symbolized by an image of a bull calf (the calves of Bethel and Dan, satirized in the story of the golden calf ) or through a bethel. Against this background, the presence of material symbols of the gods in the Elephantine temple is a plausible scenario. In the one description that we have of the temple, in the 407 BCE petition to the Judean governor, there is no reference to divine images, unless they were included in “the furniture and other things that were there” or “the gold and silver basins and other things that were in that temple.” Several scholars have argued that the collection account of 400 BCE implies that there had been images. They argue that that the money divided between Yaho, Eshem-Bethel, and Anat-Bethel was in fact for the production of new images or symbols of these gods. Ernst-Axel Knauf was the first to suggest this; other scholars have followed him. It is, all things considered, a distinct possibility. Without material symbols of the divine presence, a temple cannot function. Jews of Elephantine would normally take the oath by Yaho. The occasional oath by other gods (Herem, Herem-Bethel, Anat-Yaho) was probably related to the circumstance that there was no cult symbol of Yaho available at the time. It is no coincidence that the texts that mention the oath by Yaho are all from before the temple’s destruction in 410, whereas the cases of an oath by other gods are from the final decade of the fifth century. Without the cultic presence of the god, the oath by Yaho would have been a hollow gesture.

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If the presence of divine images or symbols is a plausible conjecture, their actual form is unknown. Also, it makes little sense to speculate about these symbols without first paying attention to the profile of the individual gods. Studies of the religious life of the Elephantine Jews tend to contain quite extensive discussions of the names of the different deities. For all the pages written on the subject, however, some of the gods are still largely unknown. To the Jews who venerated them, they must have been more than mere names. They each had their own profile and iconography. When it comes to the religion of the Elephantine Jews, the importance of Papyrus Amherst 63 can hardly be overrated. The traditional texts of the compilation allow a privileged access to the ideas that people entertained about their gods. In the cases of Eshem-Bethel and Herem-Bethel, this evidence is unparalleled. The rest of this chapter will use the Amherst papyrus to sketch a portrait of the gods of the Jewish community.

Yaho The Hebrew Bible writes the name of the Jewish god with the four letters yhwh. Among contemporary scholars, the conventional pronunciation is “Yahweh,” but we are not absolutely sure this is correct. The earliest biblical manuscripts are consonantal, meaning that the scribes did not add vowel signs. The later Bible manuscripts on which modern editions are based have added the vowels for ʾădōnāy, “the Lord.” This has led to the mispronunciation of the divine name as Jehovah—as in “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” The cuneiform writing system does denote vowels. They indicate that the forebears of the Jews pronounced the name of their god as “Yahu” or “Yaho.” It is this abbreviated form that we find in the Elephantine ostraca and papyri. Because of the variant spellings yhh (mostly in the ostraca) and yhw (mostly in the papyri), the Elephantine Jews presumably pronounced the name as “Yaho.” This is also the name we find in the three Israelite psalms of the Amherst papyrus, where it alternates with Adonai (ʾdny). Apparently, there was not a taboo on the utterance of the divine name. It is tempting to think that the Yaho whom the Elephantine Jews worshipped is the same god as “the Lord” (yhwh) of the Hebrew Bible. He is, and he is not. The name is the same, but the god of the Bible is the edited version. Modern Jews—or Christians, for that matter—would hesitate to call their god “our Bull,” the way the forerunner of Psalm 20 in the Amherst papyrus does. In fact, the Hebrew Bible criticizes the veneration of Yah-

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weh in the form of a young bull calf: “I reject your calf, Samaria. . . . It is not a god. No, the calf of Samaria shall be reduced to splinters.” In those places in the Bible where Yahweh is referred to as a bull (ʾabbîr), the scribal editors took care to read the word as “strong, mighty” (ʾābîr). The songs preserved in the Amherst papyrus have not gone through this editorial process. They do not shy away from the metaphor of the bull to extol the power of their gods. Hadad is the “Bull-of-Babylon,” Eshem-Bethel has “the force of a divine bull,” and Yaho is “our Bull.” Since the Elephantine Jews descended from Samarians, it is possible they represented Yaho in their temple by the image of a bullock. It would be entirely in keeping with the ritual practice in what used to be the Northern Kingdom and in line with the iconography of such West Semitic storm gods as Hadad and Baal. The three songs to Yaho in the Samarian section of the Amherst papyrus celebrate Yaho as king of the gods. The third song does so by saying that the host of heaven (literally, “the council of heaven”) proclaims Yaho’s rule. The Aramaic expression “council of heaven” echoes the phrase “the council of the heavens” from Ugaritic mythological texts. In a myth about Baal and Anat, the council of the heavens occurs in parallel with “the assembly of the stars.” From the context it is clear that these stars are the signs of the gods (“the sons of El”). The parallel between stars and gods is familiar from the Bible, too. There are several implications. First, the conceptual context of these affirmations of Yaho’s position is polytheistic. Precisely because there are many gods, it matters to be their leader. The polytheistic atmosphere that pervades the Israelite psalms of the Amherst papyrus is tangible, too, in the references to Baal-Shamayin and Baal-Zaphon congratulating Yaho on the occasion of his rise to kingship. Second, if the multitude of the stars stands for the council of the gods, the manifestation of their king is either the moon or the sun—or both. This is a point we will have to address when discussing the astral aspect of Yaho. The third implication is indirect; it concerns the interpretation of the name “Yaho of hosts,” found twice in the ostraca. It is the Elephantine variant of the biblical expression Yahweh S.ebaoth. Several scholars have suggested the Elephantine Jews had a certain predilection for this divine name because they understood the term s.e˘bāʾôt, “hosts,” in the sense of “armies.” Since they were a military colony, the term seemed particularly appropriate. In view of the songs to Yaho in the Amherst papyrus (as well as a lot of evidence from the Hebrew Bible), the reference is most likely to the host of heaven. “Yaho of hosts” is a reminder of the prominence of Yaho among the gods.

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In the Samarian section of the Amherst papyrus, the first of the three songs to Yaho—the forerunner to Psalm 20—contains another crucial piece of information. At one point, the text equates Yaho and Bethel. The identification of the two gods does not come as a complete surprise. Many scholars had deduced as much from the occurrence of Anat-Bethel alongside Anat-Yaho. If the gods differ only in name, it must be possible to flesh out the profile of Yaho on the basis of descriptions of Bethel. For this purpose, we must turn to the Syrian section of the Amherst papyrus. The songs to Bethel portray him as a storm god in the image of Baal. In fact, Bethel comes across as the successor to Baal since he has inherited much of the mythological lore about Baal found in the texts from Ugarit. The themes of Baal’s battle against the sea (Yamm), his accession to kingship, and the building of a heavenly palace have been transferred to Bethel. Like Baal, Bethel is both beneficent and terrifying: his rains bring fertility, while his thunder sets the world ablaze. Scholars have long noted that the Hebrew Bible uses many of these elements in its portrayal of Yahweh. In that sense, the Elephantine conception of Yaho is not an innovation but a continuation of a strand in Israelite tradition. The god of the Bible is not the opposite of a storm god but a more perfect version. Some of the most outspoken polemics against Baal in the Hebrew Bible make Yahweh succeed where Baal fails: He is the god who answers with fire and sends down his rains. These views have strong roots in Samaria. They were part of the religion that the Samarians brought to Palmyra and later to Elephantine. Being a storm god, Bethel is typically a warrior. The songs collected in the Amherst papyrus are full of references to Bethel doing battle. Bethel is a god who “destroys enemies.” He “slays” them and “smashes them with a righteous punishment.” Under the aspect of Eshem-Bethel, he is a warrior with the strength of a divine bull, shooting poisonous arrows at his enemies and killing them off with a combat hammer. Yaho is not any less martial. It must have been a reassurance for the Jewish soldiers at Elephantine to know he was in their camp: “Some by the bow, some by the spear—behold, as for us, my Lord, our God is Yaho!” The implication of these words is not that the Jews should lay down their arms and become pacifists. On the contrary, the belief that they had the divine warrior on their side—“may our Bull be with us”—made them all the more valorous. The prayer for new strength, found as a chorus in the third Israelite psalm of the Amherst papyrus, is a soldier’s prayer. The god of these soldiers was himself a powerful warrior.

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If there is one aspect by which Bethel differs from Baal, it is his astral appearance. In a sense, Bethel is more than a storm god. In the ritual songs for the New Year celebration, Bethel is said to turn red like the sun and to shine like the moon. From what follows it is clear that these are not merely metaphors. The temporal setting of the ceremony is the evening. The community celebrates the union of Bethel and his queen, the one rising as the moon, the other as the evening star. At some point, clouds cover the sky and obscurity sets in. It leads the worshippers to address Bethel as their “Crescent”: Our Crescent has been taken away, The God of Rash. The God of Rash is slumbering On the day of [his] king[ship.] And along with you, the Sons of El Have put themselves to rest. When the Crescent is slumbering, All of them slumber. And the chamber smells of slumber, Which they built among your Mighty Ones. ( . . . ) Our Crescent, You slumber in (lit., from) Rash! You are dimmed because of love. The light of his radiance has passed. And his light is not high. His light has turned dark. Your oud is a seal, O Lord, Send away your cloud for me! Arise, wake up for me!

The song offers two explanations for the invisibility of the moon. The one is natural, the other mythological. In the natural explanation, clouds have covered the sky. In the mythological explanation, the moon is Bethel, who has withdrawn to his heavenly chamber to sleep with his wife. In keeping with the logic of the first explanation, Bethel is asked to send away the clouds. Following the logic of the second interpretation, Bethel is to rouse himself from sleep and come out of the bedchamber. Perhaps there is no opposition: the clouds could be viewed as the curtains of the bedroom. The mythological reading of the events draws a correspondence between the rise of the crescent and the evening star, on the one hand, and the sacred

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marriage of Bethel and his bride, on the other. By implication, the storm god Bethel, here referred to as “our Crescent,” is also a lunar god. The literary occurrence of the god Bethel in a lunar capacity is perhaps unexpected yet is consonant with an increasing amount of iconographical data. Some of those data come from Roman Palmyra. Several entrance tickets to religious festivals represent the god Agli-Bol as a bull carrying a crescent on his back. The name “Agli-Bol” means “Calf-(of-)Bol.” He is normally defined as a moon god, but it would perhaps be more precise to say that he is the storm god in his manifestation as the moon. Earlier iconographic evidence linking the storm god and the moon comes from Tayma. A pedestal, originally located in a corner of the local sanctuary, has two sides with decorations. One side portrays the head of a bull, holding a moon disk between his horns, with a winged sun disk to the left and a crescent moon and Venus star to the right. The other side of the block pictures a walking bull, with a full moon between his horns and a winged sun disk above him, flanked by the eight-pointed star (Venus) and the crescent moon. The gods of Tayma form a triad: S.ulmu, Shegal (šnglʾ), and Ashima. As several scholars have argued, these gods have Syrian origins and may be linked more specifically with Hamath. Significantly older is the so-called Bethsaida stele (eighth century BCE). It depicts a bull-headed figure with horns in the shape of crescents. The stele was presumably erected at the gate of an ancient city belonging to the Aramean kingdom of Geshur in the Golan Heights. There has been discussion of whether the deity represented is the moon god or the storm god. In light of the literary evidence of the traditions preserved in the Amherst papyrus, we may now conclude that this image represents the storm god in his lunar capacity. The notion of Bethel appearing as the moon is a clue to the understanding of an otherwise enigmatic phrase in the first Israelite psalm: “Be a bow in heaven, Crescent! Send your messengers from all of Rash!” The translation is tentative. However, all interpreters agree that there is a reference to the moon (“crescent,” shr), and most of them think the song here actually addresses the moon. The central issue, then, concerns the relationship between Yaho and the crescent. On the strength of the references to Bethel discussed above, the most plausible reading of the text takes the crescent as a manifestation of Yaho and not as a separate deity. It implies that Yaho, like Bethel, is associated with the moon. Under the impact of the Arameans, it would seem, the Elephantine Jews came to understand the crescent (and perhaps the moon in general) as a manifestation of Yaho. This is not

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something that one would have guessed on the basis of the Hebrew Bible, where the veneration of the moon counts among pagan practices. But at Elephantine, the Jewish community did not have such scruples. At night, their god was visible as the moon. At Elephantine, finally, Yaho was believed to be a deity with a Dionysian side. He drank wine in large quantities and liked to hear music. The sacrifice of fine lambs pleased him. In the three Yahwistic psalms of the Amherst papyrus, Yaho is depicted as a bachelor. At Elephantine, however, he had a partner called Anat (Anat-Bethel or Anat-Yaho, see the discussion below), also known as the Queen of Heaven. In view of the love lyrics between Nanay and Herem-Bethel in the Amherst papyrus, the relationship between Yaho and his consort was hardly platonic. The presence of such ideas in a Jewish community might come as a surprise to those who believe that the Jews were the Puritans of antiquity. The latter, however, is a questionable assumption.

Eshem-Bethel One of the gods in residence in the Jewish temple at Elephantine was Eshem-Bethel. The name of this deity occurs twice in the Amherst papyrus, both times in the Palmyra section. The first reference to Eshem-Bethel occurs in an oracle where Eshem-Bethel is said to have chosen a young man to be king and promises him a reign of everlasting peace. The text contains very little that might help us in determining the profile of the deity, except that Eshem-Bethel must have been a leading deity and perhaps the god of the royal dynasty. One attendant detail of the oracle is its temporal setting. Like the rest of the texts in the Palmyra section, the oracle to the king is spoken in the evening. It is possible, then, that Eshem-Bethel has a particular connection with the evening or the night. The second text that mentions Eshem-Bethel is considerably more forthcoming with descriptions of the deity. The ritual song casts EshemBethel in the role of protector of the city. At night, the god watches over its safety and keeps its enemies at bay: The force of a divine bull is your force. Indeed, Eshem-Bethel, The force of a divine bull is your force. Your venom is like asps. Your bow in heaven,

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A Military Colony and Its Religion You, O Lord, you draw, Biting, Eshem-Bethel, Your enemies. You see that it is good, Your hammer. With force against Elam You raise it. —You see that it is good, My protection. My protection to your fortress Shall be near. Should they raise their head, Your enemies; Should they be heated against you, The adversaries; Should they stretch out their hand Against the Lord— It is powerless against the sealed gates. I myself am coming forth From Darga-and-Rash In a fire you have never seen.

The song depicts Eshem-Bethel as a warrior god as strong as “a divine bull” (literally, “a bull of El”). He is armed with bow and combat hammer. The reference to his venom, likened to that of asps, does not imply a switch of metaphors. Venom was applied to the tips of arrows to make them deadlier: “For the arrows of Shadday are in me, my spirit absorbs their poison” ( Job 6:4). Bow, combat hammer, and arrows—alluded to through the reference to venom—belong to the battle gear of a storm god: rainbow, thunder, and lightning bolts. The comparison with the bull also hints at the fact that Eshem-Bethel is a manifestation of the storm god. In the second part of the song, the god Eshem-Bethel speaks in the first person. Here the text reads as a “frozen oracle,” comparable to certain oracles that have been incorporated into the biblical psalms. The god assures the citizens of his “protection.” The Aramaic word is kdn, based on the Babylonian kidinnu. The kidinnu that Eshem-Bethel provides will deter human enemies from attacking. Should adversaries lay siege to the city, the god himself will come forth “from Darga-and-Rash in a fire (ʾš ) you

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have never seen.” The divine epiphany will be from the traditional land of Bethel, also referred to in the oracle in the Syrian section of the Amherst papyrus. Fire, too, is typical of Bethel. Several songs in the Amherst papyrus picture him as the god who answers with fire. Eshem-Bethel does so too. Clearly, the relation of Eshem-Bethel to Bethel is close. In fact, it is difficult to really distinguish between the profiles of the two deities, except for the fact that Eshem-Bethel seems to be connected more specially with the evening and the night. The name “Eshem” occurs in two variants. In the Aramaic texts from Egypt and in the Amherst papyrus, the name is spelled ʾš(m). Usually, the form is transcribed in modern languages as “Eshem.” The alternative pronunciation is “Ashim,” based on the assumption that Eshem is identical with Ashima, the god of the people of Hamath (2 Kgs 17:30). In fact, “Ashima” (ʾšymʾ) is the other spelling of the god’s name. For many years, scholars believed that the biblical rendering of the god’s name was a garbled version. Since the discovery of references to Ashima in Aramaic inscriptions from Tayma, it is clear that the biblical spelling is correct. The Tayma texts write the god’s name in exactly the same way. “Ashima” (ʾšymʾ), then, was a well-established variant of “Eshem” (ʾšm). The form ʾšm is Babylonian in origin. Pronounced as “Ishum,” it is the name of a warrior god to whom humans turn for protection, especially at night. Ishum is, as the Song of Erra says, the “torch” that makes the night as light as the day. The god was known in Syria, as demonstrated by a sacrificial list from Ugarit. The alphabetic version of the list writes the name as itm, whereas the paral¯ lel list has his name in the traditional syllabic writing. At Ugarit, the god Ishum is associated with the moon god Shaggar. Ishum’s association with the moon seems to fit the evidence from Tayma, where the iconographic evidence points to a link between Ashima and the moon. The Aramaic-speaking communities of Palmyra that later moved to Syene and Elephantine abandoned the dialectal variant “Ashima” and adopted the Babylonian spelling “Eshem.” We don’t know how they actually pronounced the name. A perfectly Babylonian name such as Ishum-kudurri (written ʾšmkdry), encountered at Syene, demonstrates that ʾšm is really the Babylonian variant of the name. The reference to Eshem-Bethel’s coming forth “in a fire” (bʾš) suggests that the Aramaic-speaking worshippers of the god associated his name with the word for fire (ʾš). Several scholars have argued that this is the correct explanation for Ishum’s name. Perhaps it

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is merely a folk etymology, however. At any rate, Eshem’s connection with Ishum and the association with fire lay to rest the speculative interpretation of the name “Eshem-Bethel” as “Name-of-Bethel.” Eshem/Ishum is originally an independent god, as is also evident from the occurrences of “Eshem” in personal names. “Eshem-Bethel” is a secondary construct. The compound name is best understood as an apposition, to be paraphrased as “Bethel-in-his-appearance-as-Eshem.” The name interprets Ishum, the warrior god who illuminates the night, as a manifestation of Bethel. There is no connection, it would seem, with the god Eshmun.

Herem-Bethel The most enigmatic god of the Elephantine papyri is Herem. The name occurs mostly separate and once in the construct “Herem-Bethel.” The compound name has been interpreted as a reference to the “sacred precinct, sanctuary” or the “sacred substance, taboo” of Bethel. The occurrence of Herem as an independent deity, especially in personal names, has always been a challenge to this interpretation. Papyrus Amherst 63 now sheds new light on the god. The compilation contains a song in which a lover and a group of bridesmaids alternately turn to Nanay and invite her to abandon her coyness. The name of the lover turns out to be “Herem-Bethel.” Nanay, you be my wife! A bed of fennel they have brought, Sweet fragrances for your nostrils. —Our goddess, a bedspread Has been carried to your darling, Twigs of cedar to the darling. In your bridal chamber a priest is singing: “Nanay, put your lips close to me. Please enter our bed, Nanay. In the evening I have sung a serenade for you.” Indeed! The chosen lad has come. His voice will sing you a serenade In our sanctuary: “My favorite, where are you? Let my harp bring you a serenade

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In the bedroom of my beauty. Let the sound of my lyre Bring you a serenade, In the bedroom of my girl.” Please enter the door of our inner room! With his mouth, Consort of Our Lord, He will kiss you. “And as I come and enter, She is pleasant to my nostrils. Come and let us enter The perfumed hideaway!” Herem-Bethel will make you lie down On the bedspread, My God on embroidered sheets In his heavens.

The song does not go into detail about the profile of Herem-Bethel, but it is clear that the traditional interpretation “sanctuary of Bethel” or “sacred substance of Bethel” does not fit. Herem-Bethel is a lover. He is the “chosen lad” who brings the goddess a serenade to the sound of the harp and the lyre. In view of the evidence of the personal names that refer to Herem as an independent deity, we must seek to interpret his name without reference to Bethel. The god is a protagonist in what is traditionally referred to as the sacred marriage (after the Greek hieros gamos). In fact, the opening line of this love lyric—“Nanay, you be my wife!”—is a traditional phrase in the formal celebration of marriage in Babylonia. In Mesopotamia, the sacred marriage ritual had a variety of local traditions involving different deities. But the most famous pair of lovers was Ishtar and Dumuzi. In the context of the ritual, Dumuzi bore the title harmu, “lover,” the masculine form of ˘ harimtu, “lady lover, courtesan.” Ishtar is the patroness of harimtus and ˘ ˘ refers to herself as a “loving harimtu.” Since Nanay is an alter ego of ˘ Ishtar, it is quite fitting that she is referred to as a courtesan in the Amherst papyrus as well. Her male partner is Herem, whose name must go back to Dumuzi’s title harmu. Herem is “the lover.” His name is etymologically ˘ related to the root h.rm, “sacred, taboo,” but it developed a very specific meaning. Since the name is a title, “Herem” could refer to various deities.

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Tammuz and Hadad are the most obvious candidates. In the Amherst papyrus, it is Bethel who plays the role of divine lover. “Herem-Bethel” may be paraphrased as “Bethel-in-his-capacity-as-divine-lover.” Since the title “Herem” is specific to a god in his role as youthful lover, the coupling of Herem and Anat-Yaho in an oath text from the late fifth century BCE may carry a meaning that goes beyond an occasional association. For the full reference, I follow the reading proposed by Bezalel Porten and Ada Yardeni. One Jew will swear to the other “by He[rem] the [god] in the sanctuary and by Anat-Yaho.” The word for “sanctuary” is literally a “place of prostration, place of worship.” Technically it might be a reference to the Yaho temple at Elephantine. Normally, however, the Elephantine temple is called “the house of Yaho” or “the temple,” so it is quite possible that the word refers here to a separate chapel, either within or outside of the Yaho temple. The oath by Herem (or Herem-Bethel) was exceptional; a Jew would normally swear by Yaho. The choice of Herem may have been due to the fact that there was no Yaho image or symbol available at the time. The alternative was to take an oath by Herem and Anat-Yaho, gods whose images had been left unharmed during the outburst of violence in 410 BCE. They were a couple with their own chapel. If Herem was the god in his role as a lover, Anat-Yaho must have been the mistress. At Elephantine, the sacred marriage was not some exotic ritual only practiced by others. The Jews of the island honored the tradition too.

The Queen of Heaven According to the book of Jeremiah, the Jews of southern Egypt (Pathros) venerated the Queen of Heaven. They made offerings to her, poured libations, and made cakes in her likeness ( Jer 44:15–28). The Elephantine papyri do not mention the Queen of Heaven. The goddesses they refer to are Anat-Bethel (present in the temple of Yaho) and Anat-Yaho (apparently the consort of Herem/Herem-Bethel). Perhaps the two names refer to the same goddess. On the mainland just across from Elephantine Island, the Syrian Arameans had temples for Bethel and the Queen of Heaven. Because the usual consort of Bethel is Anat-Bethel, many commentators surmise that “Queen of Heaven” was a title of Anat-Bethel, just as “Banit” was a title of Nanay. Reasoning along these lines, the discrepancy between the book of Jeremiah and the Elephantine papyri might be explained by assuming that Jeremiah uses the title and the papyri use the name of the

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goddess. According to later tradition, the goddess owed her title to her association with the Venus star. An early Jewish translation of the book of Jeremiah into Aramaic renders the Hebrew “Queen of Heaven” as “the Star of Heaven,” meaning the Venus star. Pursuant to this identification, it is often assumed that the cakes made “in her likeness” (literally, “to represent her”) were in the shape of the eight-pointed star well known as the symbol of Venus. The ritual songs collected in Papyrus Amherst 63 favor the interpretation of the Queen of Heaven as the Venus star. There is only one direct reference to Anat in the papyrus. The goddess is mentioned in a context that reveals nothing of her profile. The Syrian section of the papyrus celebrates the marriage of Bethel and his partner, but the name “Anat” does not occur. The goddess is called “the Beautiful One” (šapirāʾ), “the Bride” (kallāʾ), “the Perfect One” (šalmāʾ), “the Spouse” (h.êrtāʾ), and “the Queen” (malkāʾ). The focus is entirely on the rise of the goddess and the god, she as the evening star, he as the lunar crescent. Their marriage is figured in the evening sky. The title Queen of Heaven is implicit at best. The goddess is “the Queen,” and she is to rise in heaven, but she does not go by the name “Queen of Heaven.” In fact, the only time the Amherst papyrus uses the title “Queen of Heaven” is in connection with Nanay. The Babylonian section describes her elevation to sovereignty as the result of her marriage to Nabu. All the gods of heaven rise from their thrones as she makes her entry in the evening skies. She is the Queen of Heaven. In the Amherst papyrus, there is no clear difference between the profiles of Nanay and Anat. Nanay is “the maiden” (rh.mʾ) and the royal wet-nurse, in much the same way as Anat is “the maiden” (rh.m) and the royal wet-nurse in Ugaritic texts. The compilation emphasizes their celestial manifestation and pays little attention to the warrior traits both goddesses have. Their roles in the ritual songs are so similar that the sacred marriage between Herem-Bethel and Nanay is hardly unnatural. Normally, Bethel’s sexual mate would be Anat. His union with Nanay could be taken to symbolize the close collaboration between Arameans from Syria and Arameans from Babylonia. It should be noted that the sacred marriage of Herem-Bethel and Nanay is also a heavenly union. The god makes her lie down “on embroidered sheets in his heavens.” What actually happened down below is a matter of speculation. But the real event took place above. Given the general likeness between Nanay and Anat in the Amherst papyrus, it is to be expected that the goddess Anat who was venerated in

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the Jewish quarter of Elephantine would be viewed as Yaho’s consort. In the nocturnal sky, god and goddess showed themselves as the moon and the Venus star. Yaho was king of the host of heaven, and Anat was the Queen of Heaven. Were “Anat-Bethel” and “Anat-Yaho” two names for the same goddess? It would seem so in view of the equation of Yaho and Bethel. However, it may be necessary to make a distinction between the typological identity of the two goddesses and their different representations. There is only one Holy Virgin Mary, but she has different statues and pictorial forms. Those devoted to her cult will often feel emotionally attached to one of her representations more than to others. While “Anat-Bethel” and “Anat-Yaho” ultimately refer to the same goddess, the two names may stand for two statues. In the interpretation of the texts here followed, the statue of Anat-Bethel had been stolen or destroyed in 410 BCE. During the final decade of the fifth century, Jews could still take their oath by the statue or symbol of Anat-Yaho.

Conclusion Among the Judeans who ended up in Babylonia during the first quarter of the sixth century BCE, there were some who cultivated memories of Jerusalem in its glory days. No more songs of Zion for them. “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand whither” (Ps 137:5). The nostalgia for their homeland led them to call one of the towns where they settled AlYahudu, “Judah-town,” after a name used in Babylonian sources for Jerusalem. There is no evidence, in either the ostraca or the papyri, to suggest that the Jews of Elephantine thought along similar lines. To them, the Elephantine temple was not a substitute for the temple in Jerusalem. They were Jews abroad who simply practiced their religion, itself a mix of Jewish and Aramean elements. Were they Jews in the diaspora? That’s how they have come to be defined, but it is doubtful whether they themselves would initially have shared the view. Their diaspora was one without nostalgia. The temple they had built for their god was in timber and stone, surrounded by an imposing wall, as though it would stand forever. It was not a temporary shelter. They were there to stay. The Babylonian Jews may have dreamt of a return to Zion, but the ones at Elephantine did not.

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6 Becoming Diaspora Jews How did the Samarians of Palmyra become the Jews of Elephantine? The final chapter of this book will seek to solve the mysterious transformation of Samarian Arameans into Jews. In the light of Papyrus Amherst 63, it is clear that the core of the Elephantine community consisted of people of Samarian extraction. This new information confirms the earlier intuition of several scholars that many of the Elephantine Jews came in fact from Samaria. These Samarians may have thought of themselves as Arameans due to their integration into the Aramaic-speaking society of Palmyra, where they had lived for several generations. When they migrated to Egypt, they were presumably aware of their double heritage. They were both Aramean and Samarian. But it is unlikely that they thought of themselves as Jews. So what happened that eventually made them embrace a Jewish identity as their defining one? The earliest written record of the Elephantine Jews is from the very beginning of the fifth century BCE. From that point on, the stream of short messages and other more extended texts begins to flow, with a concentration of papyri from the final decades of the fifth century. There is nothing from the sixth century. Yet the Jews must have been there already. By their own witness, the temple of Yaho had been built before 525, the year that Cambyses II conquered Egypt and turned it into a Persian territory. The absence of written evidence of their presence should not be taken as evidence of their absence. They were there, but due to the fortuities of the archaeological record, the sixth century is a century of silence. This should be cause for caution in writing the story of the Elephantine Jews. When a century lies more than two millennia behind us, it may seem like

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a short stretch of time. Close to the horizon, everything becomes small. But a century then was just as long as a century now. A lot may have happened. When the community at Elephantine emerged from its century of silence, it called itself Aramean or Jewish. Samarians had vanished from the picture. Yet given what we know, a major part of the Elephantine Jews had their historical roots in Samaria. Why did they make themselves invisible? This chapter looks at the phenomenon of an emerging Jewish identity under the dual impact of the diaspora experience and the Persian policy of ethnic diversity. It distinguishes three phases in the process of becoming Jews. In the first phase, the term ye˘hûdāyēʾ was used collectively to qualify the community as a whole. The ostraca, written between 500 and 475 BCE, are the earliest witness to this development. The term is ethnic, embraces both Judeans and Samarians, and is probably best translated as “Jews.” The second phase in the development began when the Persian authorities recognized the ye˘hûdāyēʾ as a separate ethnic group entitled to live by its own laws and customs. This happened around 420 BCE. It consolidated the Jewish identity of the community. The third phase was reached when the leadership of the community at Elephantine deliberately deployed their Jewish identity to win the support of the leaders in Judah and Samaria. This happened in 407. The cause for the petition was the destruction of the Elephantine temple in 410. The temple demolition might seem like an act of religious violence, but a detailed investigation shows that the antagonism between Jews and Egyptians had very little to do with religion. However, in their letter to Jerusalem and Samaria, the leadership of the community presented it as a religious conflict, thereby casting themselves in the role of victims of religious intolerance. They turned the event into a Jewish story.

How a Mixed Diaspora Community Embraced a Jewish Identity Studies on the ethnicity of the Elephantine Jews have normally focused on the meaning of the term “Aramean.” People have been puzzled by the seemingly random identification of individual members of the community sometimes as Jews and other times as Arameans. The scribes of the contracts used these ethnic qualifications as though they were synonyms. Based on their names and the god they worshipped, the Elephantine Jews were Jews. How could they be Arameans? In their attempts to solve this problem, scholars have twisted the meaning of the term “Aramean” in order

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to get rid of its reference to ethnicity. In light of the new evidence provided by Papyrus Amherst 63, it is clear that we have been asking the wrong question. The fact that Samarians thought of themselves as Arameans was only natural given their century-long participation in an Aramean society. The real question is why they should identify themselves as Jews. The decision to translate ye˘hûdāyēʾ as “Jews” rather than “Judeans” was the subject of a few observations in the Preface and a longer discussion in Chapter 1. There is no need to reiterate the argument. It is important to bear in mind, though, that for the diaspora Jews in Egypt there was no difference between Judeans and Jews. The words go back to the same Aramaic term. That term is, in origin, a reference to a territory: the kingdom, and later the province, of Judah. From the way it is used in the Elephantine documents, it is clear that the Aramaic term has extended its meaning beyond that of “those born or living in Judah.” The Samarians are included in the term. This inclusive use of the term—inclusive of people from Samaria—is an instance of the more general phenomenon wherein a specific territorial name is given an extended meaning. All citizens of the Roman Empire are Romans, even if they are not from the city of Rome. Persians derive their name from Fars, which is actually just a province in the country. The Turkish name for a Moroccan is Faslı, literally someone from Fès. The earliest references to a Jewish identity of the Elephantine community are collective. They occur in the ostraca and date from the first quarter of the fifth century BCE. The short messages mention “the Jews” four times. Two of the occurrences are not very illuminating. One potsherd gives the names of a handful of men, presented as “the Jews who received wages.” In view of their names and the fact that regular members of the colony did not receive wages, the reference may be to the community’s leadership. The second fragment seems to belong to a list with a similar scope. The third ostracon mentions a Caspian who is uttering words against “the Jews” (the term occurs twice). This is an example of Jewish ethnic identity used to delineate one group from the other. It can hardly be a coincidence that the ostraca contain only references to Jews in the plural. A perusal of the Elephantine papyri shows that their earliest reference to Jewish ethnicity is from 464 BCE. The text in question registers the formal ownership of a piece of land. It is the outcome of a process involving a Jew and a Horesmian, arbitrated by the judges in Syene. As Chapter 2 has argued, the reference to Jewish ethnicity may have been triggered by the desire to claim membership in a group that differed from the

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other ethnic communities in Elephantine and Syene. For individuals, the Aramean identity was their identity by default. Jewish identity emphasized difference. In this sense, individual Jewish identity echoed the collective identity of the Elephantine community. If there is a pattern in the references to Jewish ethnicity in documents from the first half of the fifth century, the claim of Jewish identity is primarily collective and occurs more particularly with reference to the leadership of the community. The latter usage also occurs once or twice in the late fifth century. It may be related to either the specifically Judean background of the community leaders or their role as the community’s representatives. Three factors contributed to the shift from a Samarian to a Jewish identity. First, the influx of Judean migrants into Egypt led to an increasingly mixed composition of the community. Second, its presence in the network of Jewish diaspora communities in Egypt produced a sense of shared identity. Third, the Persian encounter with the mixed community of Jewish exiles in Babylonia promoted the term ye˘hûdāyēʾ as the designation for the diaspora communities elsewhere in the Achaemenid Empire. Each factor merits close consideration. The narrative of the arrival of Samarian soldiers in Palmyra has implications for the ethnic composition of the Jewish community at Elephantine. On the basis of a detailed analysis of Papyrus Amherst 63, Chapter 4 has shown that the Samarians came to Palmyra around 700 BCE. Their descendants migrated to southern Egypt a century later. Around 600, then, the principal component of the Jewish community of Elephantine was Samarian. The colony was not exclusively Samarian, though, because the narrative in the Amherst papyrus—the charter story of the Samarian community at Palmyra—mentions a Judean who acted as spokesman of the group. Since the group consisted of soldiers, the particular constellation suggests that the Samarians had been mercenaries in the service of the Judeans. The Judean minority was apparently in a position of command. It is unclear whether this became a pattern that persisted after their integration into the society of Palmyra. In the sixth century, migrants to Egypt came from other places in Syria and Palestine as well. The Hebrew Bible documents the arrival in Egypt of a substantial number of Judeans around 580. Some of them settled in the southern province, the area that ran from Thebes to Elephantine. The “tower houses” in the Jewish quarter, built in the first half of the sixth century, demonstrate the growth of the colony’s population. Multiple floors were designed to accommodate an influx of people within

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an area that could not expand. While Samarians were perhaps still the majority, the community came to include a Judean component. Much of its culture continued to be Aramean, but in terms of geographical origins, the community was increasingly diverse. Some migrants had their roots in Samaria, others in Judah. The sources contain no trace of tension between the two groups, unless one interprets the references to the leaders as “Jews” in this sense. In the search for a common identity, they settled on the terms “Aramean” and “Jewish.” Another factor that contributed to the emergence of a Jewish identity for the Elephantine community as a whole was relations between the various Jewish diaspora communities in Egypt. Elephantine was part of a network. There were Jews at Elephantine, but also at Migdol, Tahpanhes, Memphis, Abydos, Thebes, and Edfu. Between the various nodes of the Jewish diaspora in Egypt, communication and movement of persons was frequent, more so than with Judah or Samaria. The Jewish communities in Egypt felt connected most of all to one another. Their encounters favored the emergence of a sense of community that looked at a common identity beyond the differences of geographical background. This phenomenon has analogies in modern diasporas. Gandhi was from Gujarat and grew up as a Gujarati. He developed his sense of Indian identity outside his homeland in the Indian diaspora in London and South Africa. By good fortune, the ruin hill on the south side of Elephantine has yielded a text documenting an instance of the contacts between Jews from the delta and those in the deep south. It is a letter sent by a Jewish man from Migdol to his son on a mission to Elephantine: “[Greetings] to the [H]ouse of Yaho in Elephantine. To my son Shelomam, [fr]om your brother Osea. [I send you greetings] of welfare and strength. [Now then,] from the day you went on that journey, I have not been happy. The same goes for your mother. Now then, may you be blessed [by Yaho the God, that he may sh]ow me your face in peace. ( . . . ) Now then, how is the family? And how was your trip? Yaho [the God willing you are] well and there is no injury. Be a man! ( . . . ). To my brother Shelomam son of Osea, your brother Osea ( . . . ).” Many observations could be made about this letter. In the present connection, however, its significance resides in the fact that it documents the contacts between the different diaspora communities in Egypt. The son had traveled all the way from Migdol to Elephantine, a journey of more than one thousand kilometers, the two towns being at opposite ends of Egypt. Following in the footsteps of his father, he served as a soldier and was now

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on a mission. Possibly he was married to a girl from the Jewish community of the island. The father sent his greetings to the house of Yaho in Elephantine. These temple greetings were actually addressed to the community that patronized the temple. Even if the other references to Yaho are merely rhetorical, they convey a sense of shared identity between the Jews at Migdol and those in Elephantine. Was that identity Judean or Jewish? It was a mix of religion and ethnicity. The letter is from the second quarter of the fifth century. Let us call this sense of identity “Jewish,” since the term embraced people of both Judean and Samarian descent. The third factor that may have played a role in the gradual transformation of the geographical term “Judean” into a broader term of ethnicity was the Persian perception of the Judean diaspora. This is a moot point. In the absence of direct evidence from the Persian side it is based on deduction. In the course of the fifth century BCE, the Persian authorities gave official recognition to the Jewish people. Since the Persians used religion as a significant parameter of ethnicity, this was arguably the consecration of the Jewish community as an ethnic group defined by roots and religion. The Persian decree that legitimized Hananyah’s mission (see below) presupposes an awareness that there was a diaspora community in the Persian Empire that referred to itself as “Judean.” The Persians’ first encounter with these Judeans was with the community of Judean exiles in Babylonia. The fact that these exiles called one of the places where they lived “Al-Yahudu” (“Judah-town”) defined them as Judeans. With the recent publication of some hundred cuneiform documents from the Judean diaspora in Babylonia, it has become clear that the community of exiles included people of Samarian descent. Their personal names often contain a reference to the god Bethel (Bīt-il). Whether Bethel was identified with Yaho or not, his veneration was typical of Samarians. These Samarians may have been the descendants of families that had moved to Judah after the fall of Samaria in 721. They were included in the group of “Judeans” (Yāhūdāya). Through˘ out the Persian Empire the Judean diaspora was not purely Judean but included Samarian elements. But the Judeans gave the diaspora its name.

Persian Policies and the Jewish People The second phase in the transformation of Samarians into Jews may be said to have begun with the mission of Hananyah, who was sent to Egypt by order of the Persian king. It is unclear whether he ever visited Elephantine. His activity, however, had quite an impact on the Elephantine

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community. Hananyah sent instructions about the Jewish festival calendar to the colony at Elephantine. The remains of his letter turned up during the German excavations on the island and were first published in 1911. Despite the damage to the text, it stirred a great interest among scholars. The message seemed to give directions about Pesach (Passover), one of the great festivals of the Jewish calendar and an annual reminder of the exodus from Egypt. The text came to be known as the Passover Papyrus. As it turns out, the title is misleading, since the Passover Papyrus is actually not about Pesach but about the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Matzoth). The body of the letter contains detailed instructions about its date and proper observance. Matzoth and Pesach were originally distinct agrarian rites that were later combined into a liturgical sequence with the exodus story as its cultic tale. It is possible that the link between them had already been established at Elephantine. In view of the references to Pesach in the ostraca, we know that the community was familiar with the festival by the beginning of the fifth century BCE, two generations before Hananyah came to Egypt. The significance of the Passover Papyrus, therefore, does not consist in the introduction of a new festival. The purpose of Hananyah’s intervention in the ritual practices of the Elephantine colony was to make it observe the proper rites and dates as they had been established for the Jewish community throughout the Persian Empire. Aside from his name, there is very little we know about Hananyah. The Passover Papyrus is the only direct evidence of his mission. Elsewhere in the documents from Elephantine, his name occurs one other time. In 411 BCE, the Persian commander of the garrison at Syene arrested the secretary of the Jewish community. The event took place in Abydos, a city located some 330 kilometers downstream from Syene, beyond Thebes. Shortly after his release, the secretary wrote home to solicit the cooperation of the community in the investigation that two Egyptian officials were coming to conduct. The historical background of the incident—a precious stone was reported stolen by the Egyptians, then found in the possession of Jewish traders—deserves a longer treatment in its own right. In the present connection, the point of interest is the reference to Hananyah. The secretary reminds his superiors of the fact that “Khnum has been against us from the time Hananyah came to Egypt until now.” “Khnum” stands for the Egyptian community of Elephantine. Hananyah’s mission of 419, then, had led to a deterioration in relations between Egyptians and Jews on the island. What had antagonized the Egyptians? A close reading of Hananyah’s letter gives a clue.

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The real significance of Hananyah’s letter does not reside in his instructions about the festival calendar but in the lines that introduce them. Hananyah has a peculiar way of addressing his readers. They are his “brothers”—not brothers in arms, as in Osea’s letter, but brothers because they belong to one people: “To my brothers Yedanyah and his colleagues the Jewish garrison, your brother Hananyah.” This is the first occurrence of the expression “the Jewish garrison.” In an important study from 2002, Ingo Kottsieper argues that the use of this expression reflects the official recognition on the part of the Persian authorities of the Jews as a nation. Since the Jews were in fact serving in the Syenian garrison—for which reason the leadership of the community referred to itself in 407 BCE as “Syenians”—it is questionable whether the term h.aylāʾ, literally “the force,” is to be taken in the narrow, technical sense of “garrison.” The more likely interpretation assigns to the term the wider meaning of “community.” Irrespective of the precise translation of the term h.aylāʾ, however, the highlighting of the Elephantine community’s Jewish identity is unmistakable. They are brothers—members of one ethnoreligious community living throughout the Persian Empire, from Babylonia to Egypt. Hananyah’s salutation reflects a self-conscious Jewish identity. The second element of significance is the reference to a Persian decree: “And now, this very year, year 5 of King Darius, it has been sent to Arsames [as follows: . . . ].” Before Hananyah gives instructions about Matzoth, then, he quotes the text of an official decree of Darius II. Its contents can only be guessed at. There is room in the gap for five to seven words. Because the decree is quoted to legitimize and lend authority to the instructions about Matzoth, it must have been about the Jews and their right to practice their religion—something along the lines of “Let the Jews observe the rites of their religion.” Hananyah’s letter is evidence about a change in the Persian policy toward the Jews. The decree that he quotes implies official recognition of the Jews as an ethnic group with its own religious practice. In the scholarly discussion of the Passover Papyrus, the Darius decree is frequently called a firman, a word that commentators also use in connection with the Artaxerxes decree that legitimized the mission of Ezra (Ezra 7:12–26). The term firman suggests a parallel between the Persian policy toward the various ethnic groups in their empire and the millet system practiced in the Ottoman Empire. Firman is a Persian term and refers to a written order issued by the sovereign. Applied to the decrees of the ancient Persian kings, however, the word is an anachronism, since it makes its first

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appearance only in the seventeenth century. The practice of the firman is best known through the fermans of the Ottoman sultans ( ferman being the Turkish term). There is indeed a remarkable parallel between the management of diversity in the Ottoman Empire and the policy of the Persians— more specifically the Achaemenids. Although the Ottoman sultans were Muslims, the empire over which they ruled was not Islamic. The majority of their subjects may have been Muslims, but there were large groups of nonMuslims as well—most notably Christian communities from various backgrounds, persuasions, and traditions, as well as significant groups of Jews. These were not expected to adopt the religion of the sultan. The Ottomans followed a policy that promoted loyalty to the sultan as a core virtue among all their subjects, while allowing each “nation” (the Turkish word is millet) to live in accordance with its own tradition. The millets were largely defined on the basis of religion; also, their leaders were usually religious dignitaries. As long as a millet paid its dues to the sultan, in terms of taxes and services, it would enjoy a great deal of autonomy. The millet system eventually collapsed under the impact of Ottoman, and later Turkish, nationalism in the nineteenth century. About two thousand years earlier, Persian rulers had followed a similar policy. They practiced a millet system without the benefit of the term. Loyalty to the king—and, through the chain of command, to the satrap, governor, and garrison commander—was the first commandment. But the second commandment recognized that the different communities in the empire had a right to live by the rules of their own religious codes. Once an ethnic community was recognized as such, the Persian administration focused on two tasks. One was the creation and maintenance of a properly functioning infrastructure, in terms of administrative centers and leadership. Second was the written codification of the rules and laws practiced within the community. It was the Persian way to deal with diversity. Under these circumstances, the claim to nationhood was almost as politically significant as it is today, when nationhood implies the right to an independent state. Nationhood and religion were intimately linked. The Persians took the latter as an important parameter of the former. At some point during the fifth century BCE, the Persian authorities decided to grant the Jews the status of a nation—a millet, in the Ottoman terminology. It is unlikely that their decision was the outcome of lobbying by the Jews in Egypt. As we have seen, the Elephantine Jews thought of themselves as Arameans first and as Jews second. The campaign for the

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recognition of the Jewish nation probably originated in the heartland of the Persian Empire. In Babylonia, the Judean diaspora had sparked a movement, among men and women of the third generation, propagating a religious nationalism. We don’t know the names of its leaders. The Bible has turned Ezra and Nehemiah into the focal figures of the nascent Judaism, but the historical reliability of the stories about them is doubtful. History writers have a tendency to telescope complex and long-term developments into the doings of unique historical figures. Yet there can be no doubt about the presence of a movement of religious nationalism among the descendants of the Judean deportees. They must have pleaded with the Persian authorities to recognize their people as a distinct nation, defined by descent and religion. And in that religion, Jerusalem—a place most of them only knew from stories—became the holy city that could not be left in ruins. We have no idea how many of the Babylonian Jews supported this view. It may have been just a fraction, but it was a group that carried the day in the end. In the course of the fifth century, the Persians were persuaded to acknowledge the Jews as a distinct nation. They recognized the Jews’ right to live by their own laws—a mix of religious and family law—and imposed a uniform religious calendar on the various diaspora communities in the empire. The Passover Papyrus is an echo of the new Persian policy vis-à-vis the Jewish diaspora in Egypt. Its real significance was the official definition of the Elephantine Jews as “the Jewish community.” Many of them may have come to Egypt as Samarians—or Samarian Arameans—but they now belonged to the Jewish nation abroad. Jewish ethnicity, loosely based on origin but more narrowly defined by worship of Yahweh (or Yaho, according to the name they employed in Elephantine), had taken the place of the more particular geographic references to Judah and Samaria. It was a change of identity that hardly affected religious practice. Until the very end of the fifth century BCE, the Elephantine Jews continued to honor Aramean gods besides Yaho. But the new status of the Jewish community did cause tensions between Jews and Egyptians. The two groups still intermarried, but something had changed. The increasingly uneasy relation between the two communities came to a crisis in the summer of 410.

Claiming Jewish Identity In the classic version of its story, the Jewish community of Elephantine went through the most momentous episode of its existence in July

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of 410 BCE. As the summer heat was at its peak, the Egyptians of the island attacked the temple of Yaho. They entered by force, took everything of value, destroyed the rest, and burned the building to the ground. The Jews were left with the smoldering ruins of what had once been the heart of their community. To them, it was an act of wanton violence inspired by anti-Jewish sentiments. In the public perception, this “anti-Jewish outburst” has come to determine the meaning of the Elephantine experience. In the end, this is what it means to be Jewish: no matter how hard you try to be on good terms with your neighbors, no matter how faithful you are in your duties, for some reason you will always end up on the wrong side of history. The demolition of the Jewish temple has thus become a symbol for and a premonition of what was in store for later generations of diaspora communities. It is the story of the Jews in a nutshell. This perception of the temple destruction as an act of religious violence is not based on a critical analysis of the event and its historical context but is a consequence of the way in which the leadership of the Jewish community framed the story. Three years after the event, they wrote to the governor of Judah. Their purpose in writing was to solicit his support in obtaining a building permit for a new temple. In order to present their case in the most favorable light, they chose to highlight the religious aspects of the conflict. At the time, the leader of the Elephantine community was Yedanyah. He came from a family that had been in power for more than a century. Writing to the Judean leadership, he calls himself a priest (khn). Speaking on behalf of his “colleagues the priests and the Jews,” he gives a strongly biased report of the events of 410 BCE: In the month of Tammuz, year 14 of King Darius (II), when Arsames had departed and gone to the king—at that time the priests of Khnub, the god who is in Elephantine the fortress, gave silver and valuables to Vidranga, the governor over here, saying, “Let them remove from there the temple of Yaho, the god who is in Elephantine the fortress.” Then this Vidranga, the wicked, sent a message to Naphaina his son, who was the garrison commander of Syene the fortress, saying, “Let them demolish the temple of Yaho, the god who is in Elephantine the fortress.” Then this Naphaina led the Egyptians and the other troops. They came to the fortress of Elephantine with their weapons, broke into that temple, razed it to the ground, and smashed the stone pillars that were there. In addition, they destroyed five great gateways, built of hewn stone, which were in that temple. And their standing doors, plus the bronze fittings of those doors, and the roof of the

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Becoming Diaspora Jews temple, all of it cedarwood, along with the rest of the furniture and the other things that were there—all of it they burned with fire. But the gold and silver basins and other things that were in that temple—all of these they took and made their own. Now, during the days of the kings of Egypt, our fathers had built that temple in Elephantine the fortress. And when Cambyses (II) entered Egypt he found that temple built. And while they overthrew the temples of the gods of the Egyptians, all of them, they did no damage to anything in that temple. And as this had happened, we with our wives and children were wearing sackcloth, fasting and praying to Yaho, the Lord of Heaven, who let us gloat over this Vidranga. The dogs removed his fetters from his feet, and all the goods he had acquired were lost. And everyone who sought evil for that temple, all of them were killed, and we gazed upon them.

The long quotation is from the second draft of the letter. Two scribes were involved in the composition of the text. Two scribes, two drafts— clearly the Jews were keen to use the right words and strike the proper chord. Yedanyah presents the temple demolition as the outcome of a conflict that opposed one group of priests against another. The instigators of the violence were the priests of Khnum (“Khnub” is a variant of the Egyptian god’s name). They bribed the provincial governor. The Persian official collaborated and ordered the commander of the Syenian garrison to demolish the Jewish temple. A good deal of the message is a description of the rage of the Egyptians against what must have been a monumental building. In the second half of the letter, Yedanyah emphasizes the impact of the catastrophe. The Jews are still in a state of shock: Also, since the month of Tammuz, year 14 of King Darius, and until this day, we have been wearing sackcloth and have been fasting. Our wives have become like widows. We do not anoint ourselves with oil and we do not drink wine. Also, from that time until today, year 17 of King Darius, they have not made vegetal offering, incense, or holocaust in that temple.

All the grief is about the temple. No fine clothes, no fancy food, no sex, no ointments, no alcohol. The fast that the Jews claim to be keeping is not total, or else they would not be alive. They keep a vegetarian diet, since meat consumption became taboo after the cessation of holocaust offerings in the temple. The message that the Jews of Elephantine want to get across is that their life is in tatters. Without the temple the community is com-

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ing apart. They have given up on the things that make life enjoyable—as though the traditional counsel of “carpe diem,” which rings from the Gilgamesh Epic up till the book of Ecclesiastes, has become an abomination. Mourning after a calamity is normal, but three years of communal mourning seems unusual. Yedanyah was playing the Jewish card. Another petition with the same message was being sent to Samaria. In response to these petitions, the authorities of Judah and Samaria jointly endorsed the new temple project. Yedanyah, then, was not playing the Judean but the Jewish card. The community he represented consisted of pious Jews whose devotion to Yaho was evident from the selfless fast they were keeping. Their life was all about the temple of Yaho. This thoroughly religious community had become victim to the hatred of the priests of a different god. Whereas the Jewish community had always enjoyed the protection of the Persians, its Egyptian opponents had turned to bribery in order to get the local Persian administrators to condone their plan. Normally, the Persians would have been above such despicable practices, but these were not normal times because the Persian satrap had left Egypt. The Jews were unprotected. But they had God on their side. Their fasting and praying had not been in vain. In the end they had witnessed the terrible fate of the corrupt Persian governor and all those who had plotted evil against the temple. It did not mean the end of their grief. For the Jews, the matter would not be over until their god had a new temple. By presenting the Jews as the victims of a religious conflict, Yedanyah and his colleagues were asserting their Jewish identity. In the early fifth century BCE, the mixed community of Elephantine had come to define itself collectively as Jewish. Shortly after 420, the Persian authorities had confirmed this Jewish ethnicity by the imposition of a uniform ritual calendar. In 407, the leadership of the community claimed Jewish identity as a means to win sympathy for their cause. The petitions to Judah and Samaria marked what for the Elephantine community would be the end of an evolution. Henceforth, they would be remembered as the Elephantine Jews. The way they described the events of 410 suggests that their religion was the cause of all the trouble, as though the enmity of the Egyptians proved how thoroughly Jewish they were. In fact, Jewish identity was a choice. It was part of a strategy to come to terms with the recent past. But as Ernest Renan has said, becoming a nation takes a lot of forgetting. The same is true of Jewish identity at Elephantine; becoming Jewish took a lot of

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forgetting. The Jews chose to forget not only their Samarian background but also some of the more uncomfortable aspects of their more recent history. Like most of us, they had a very selective memory. It is the duty of the historian to show the other side of the story. As a closer look at the previous episodes shows, the outburst of violence of 410 had been in the making for some time. The conflict had little to do with religion.

Previously at Elephantine Less than a year before the temple demolition, another conflict had pitted Egyptians against Jews. The cause of their clash was a precious stone. Jewish traders were trafficking the piece, expecting to make a good profit from its sale. As it turned out, the stone had been stolen from the Egyptian community. After the boat with the traders’ cargo had left Elephantine harbor, the Egyptians of the island discovered the theft and notified the authorities. They suspected the Jews of robbery or receiving stolen goods. The conflict was initially dealt with by the garrison commander at Syene. He went after the shipment and made sure the cargo did not reach its destination. But the matter was too big to remain local. The Persian authorities in Memphis were informed and started an investigation. From that moment on, matters went from bad to worse. The conflict over the precious stone involved three parties: the Elephantine Jews as suspects, the local Egyptians as accusers, and the Persian authorities as arbitrators. Although the entire community was under suspicion, three Jewish parties played a more prominent role in the matter. One was a business consortium operating out of Elephantine Island, consisting of women from influential families, many of whom were related to men in positions of leadership or responsibility for the temple. The Jewish second party was a man called Hosea son of Natan. During the years 411–410, Hosea was stationed in Memphis as representative and commercial agent of the Jewish business consortium. He was from Elephantine and would later return to the island. As a consequence of the alleged theft, Hosea found himself caught up in a very unpleasant situation and eventually ended up in jail for failure to pay a fine. The leadership of the Jewish community was the third party to play a role. Some of them were closely connected with the business consortium. In fact, it is not perfectly clear where to draw the line between private and public here. It is possible that the consortium was actually working for the temple. That would explain why the secretary of

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the presidium came with the traders on their journey to Memphis. When matters escalated, the leadership of the community—including its president, Yedanyah—felt it necessary to go to the Persian authorities in person in order to plead the cause of the Jews. The nature of the object that triggered the conflict is not entirely clear. The secretary of the Jewish community refers to it as “one ʾbns.rp.” In their discussion of the term, Jacob Hoftijzer and Karel Jongeling conclude that it probably indicates some kind of precious stone. Most specialists agree. The word ʾeben means “stone,” and it is clear the item was precious. The exact meaning of .srp, however, has not been established. It might be connected to the Assyrian word .sarpu, “silver,” itself a derivative of the verb .sarāpu, “to refine.” Could the word refer to a precious stone set in silver? Irrespective of the actual shape and composition of the object, it must have been an expensive piece of jewelry. A letter by Hosea son of Natan to one of his employers in Elephantine implies that he had received orders to sell the precious object for gold. In the fall of 411, a commercial transport was carrying the stone to Memphis when the Persian authorities stopped the traders halfway, in Abydos. The secretary of the Jewish community—a man named Mauzyah—reported the event in a letter to the leadership. To my lords Yedanyah, Uriyah and the priests of Yaho the god, Mattan son of Yashobyah, Berekyah son of [PN]. (From) your servant Mauzyah. [May the God of Heaven seek after] the welfare of my lords [very much at all times; and] may you be in favor before the God of Heaven. Now then, when Vidranga, the garrison commander, arrived in Abydos he arrested me on account of a precious stone, one, which they found stolen in the hands of the traders. Afterwards, Zeha and Hor, the servants of Anani, pleaded with Vidranga and Hornufi, with the help of the God of Heaven, until they set me free. And now, behold, they are coming there to you. You must look after them. Anything or any action that Zeha and Hor might ask from you—you must be at their disposition, so that they will not find anything reprehensible about you. You know that Khnum has been against us from the time Hananyah came to Egypt until now. Now whatever you will do for Hor, you will be doing for the ch[ancell]or (lb[ʿl t.]ʿm). Hor is an assistant of Hananyah (error for Anani?). You must bring out from our houses our possessions. Give him whatever your hand finds. This shall not be a loss for you. That is why I am sending you (this message). He said to me, “Send a written order ahead of me (saying:) ‘[Bri]ng out! For a serious loss there is back-up in the house of Anani.’” The way you will deal with him will not be hidden

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Becoming Diaspora Jews from Anani. [Address:] To my lords Yedanyah, Uriyah and the priests, and the Jews. (From) your servant Mauzyah son of Natan.

The secretary’s letter leaves out some elements of the story because the people he reported to had no need to be told what they already knew. Nevertheless, the contours of the affair are clear enough. The Egyptians of Elephantine had gone to the Persian authorities to report a case of theft. Apparently they had reason to suspect that Jewish traders had smuggled the wares out of the island because Vidranga—then still garrison commander but promoted to provincial governor the following year—came after the commercial convoy. He stopped it at Abydos, did a search, and found one precious stone “in the hands of the traders.” It proved that the Egyptians had been right. But the case was not yet closed. The secretary specifically mentions “a precious stone, one,” thereby suggesting that there were more of them. The rest of the letter shows that other objects were still missing. To put pressure on the Jews, the garrison commander imprisoned the community’s secretary. In the meantime, news of the accusation against the Jews had reached Memphis. The central authorities decided that the matter was too important to be left to the discretion of the local garrison commander. Anani sent two officials to conduct an investigation. This Anani was the Jewish chancellor of the Persian satrap in Memphis. He was an influential man. His officials persuaded Vidranga to release the secretary. Since they were on their way to Elephantine to do a house search in the Jewish quarter, the secretary sent a letter of recommendation that urged the community’s leadership to fully cooperate. The affair of the stolen stone developed in an atmosphere that had been going awry for some time: “Khnum has been against us from the time Hananyah came to Egypt until now.” Looking back, the mission of Hananyah in 419 BCE had been the beginning of soured relations with the Egyptians. Because the instructions of Hananyah were about the ritual calendar, it is possible to argue that the Egyptians took offense at the new religious practices of their Jewish neighbors. “Hananiah’s mission probably served to antagonize the Khnum priests . . . simply because it emphasized strict observance of a seven day festival which commemorated the Exodus from Egypt and the victory of the Israelites over the Egyptians,” Bezalel Porten writes in Archives from Elephantine. This interpretation turns the conflict again into a religious one. According to the ostraca, however, the Jews of Elephantine had been celebrating Pesach all through the fifth cen-

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tury BCE—so why should it now all of a sudden upset the Egyptians? It is hardly more convincing to suggest that the sacrifice of a Pesach lamb offended the worshippers of Khnum. Jews and Egyptians had been living side by side for more than a century. Each group had celebrated its own rituals without offending the religious sensibilities of the other. The real significance of Hananyah’s mission resided in the Persian decree that served as its legitimation. The Persian authorities had established that the Jews of their empire constituted a separate people entitled to live by their own religious code. It was this new status of the Jews that made the Egyptians uneasy. The Jews seemed to receive preferential treatment. They enjoyed state protection. In one report about the events of the summer of 410, the Jews imply that the Egyptian violence was triggered by the growth of the Jewish community: “[When] ( . . . ) we grew, the battalions of the Egyptians rebelled.” It may just have been a matter of perception, but the Egyptians had a sense that they were being pushed aside on their own island. Religion had very little to do with this. These were two communities at odds because one felt threatened by the other. In this climate of tension, the affair of the stolen stone could assume proportions well-beyond anything warranted by the material value of the object—or, more likely, the objects in the plural. The matter got out of hand. Two letters to the agent of the Elephantine business consortium at Memphis give a sense of increasing nervousness on the Jewish side. Hosea wrote the first letter in response to letters that he had received from the Jewish leadership in January 410 BCE. His answer must have been prompt: To my lords Yedanyah, Mauzyah, Uriyah, and the garrison. (From) your servan[t Hosea son of Natan. May all the gods] seek after [the well-being of my lords] at all times. All is well for us here. And now, every day that [they are investigating, PN] has been complaining to our investigator, a certain Zivaka. And he complained to an[other] investigator. [So far all blame in the matter] lies with us because the Egyptians are giving them bribes. And since [the investigation began, the agents] of the Egyptians [have been accusing us] before Arsames, but they are acting like thieves. Also [there is a new administrator] of the province of Thebes. And they are saying, “A Mazdean is the provincial administrator. [He is responsible for the rest of the investigation.”] We are afraid because we are (now) smaller (in number) by two. And now, behold, they are favoring [the Egyptians ever since Arsames left Egypt.] If only we had shown ourselves to Arsames before, then it would not have been like this [for us. Now no one, neither we nor anyone

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Becoming Diaspora Jews else,] will plead our cause before Arsames. Pisina is reassuring us [saying a few gifts might change our situation. Now, whatever] you can find—honey, castor oil, strings, ropes, tanned skins, boards—[do send it as gifts to us here because] they are full of anger against you. ( . . . ) Tiri[. .] gave orders [to arrest Zeha and Hori] by order of the King. And they are detaining them. And the indemnification for Arsames and the ransom for Zeha [and Hori, I shall pay it—both the indemnification and the ransom for Zeha] and Hori whom they put in detention. The sixth of the month Paopi (ca. January 20) the letters arrived [here. Do not worry about anything.] We will take care of the matter. [Address:] To my lords Yedanyah, Mauzyah. (From) your [servant Hosea son of Natan.]

“All is well for us here.” In light of what follows, this rings hollow. Nothing was well. In fact, the Egyptians had the ear of the authorities, and the Jews had lost sympathy. Hosea blamed it on the Egyptians, who were shamelessly distributing bribes. He urged the leaders of the Elephantine community to send counterbribes. Would this bring about a reversal of the situation? It was questionable. The letter hints at a deeper cause for worry. Due to the damaged state of the papyrus we literally have to read between the lines, but the message seems clear. The Persian satrap Arsames had left the country. Arsames was not in Egypt when the Yaho temple was attacked in the summer of 410. His absence from Egypt put the Jews at a disadvantage, since he had traditionally been sympathetic to the Jewish cause. Such is also the meaning of Hosea’s complaint, “If only we had shown ourselves to Arsames before”—meaning, before he left the country—“then it would not have been like this.” Arsames must have left Egypt in early 410. His departure brought about a reshuffling of the local Persian administration. One significant change was the promotion of Vidranga to the post of governor of the southern province. He was the “Mazdean” recently appointed chief of the “province of Thebes,” another name for the province of Tshetres. The absence of Arsames and the changes in the Persian administration were a major setback for the Jews. The fact that Zeha and Hori, back in Memphis from their mission in Elephantine, have been put in fetters was an omen. Anani, the Jewish chancellor of Arsames, had apparently lost his influence. In mid-May 410, Hosea wrote another letter, this one addressed to someone whose name does not occur elsewhere in the papyri, Haggus son of Hodo: [To my brother Hagg]us. (From) your brother H[os]ea. I send you many (wishes of ) well-being and strength. [And now, . . . . We went to Pi]sina the

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judge and we paid him cash (lit. “in his hand”) ten karsh of silver, plus one karsh [in addition. But he requested another five karsh. The money was not] in my hand [so] that I find myself de[tained fo]r five karsh of silver. And now, [take this letter] with you, that you might be given five karsh of silver. And write them a debt acknowledgement for it. And if [they] don’t [lend] all the silver against interest, and if they don’t give it to you, saying “Give a security,” sell the house of Zakkur and the house of Ashan. And if they don’t buy them, look for a man who will buy the big house of Hodo and sell it to him for the price that it will go for. And when this letter reaches you, do not delay, come down to Memphis at once. If you find the money come down at once, and if you don’t find any, come down at once. ( . . . ) Now if you come down to Memphis alone, do not leave Ashan [without suppl]ies. Give him grain so that you [do] not [sin.] When the Jews bring them in before [ . . . ] . . . I have been abandoned [ . . . ] their words. Do not delay. Come down at once, and bring down with you at once for me one tunic for [ . . . ] to bring to me. Written on the 27th of Tybi (ca. May 10). [(Address:) To my] bro[ther] Haggus son of Hodo. (From) your brother H[osea son of Natan].

About three months separate Hosea’s letter to the Jewish leadership at Elephantine and this letter to Haggus son of Hodo. Judging by the tone of concern and urgency, matters in Memphis had come to a crisis. Hosea and his unnamed companion had gone to Judge Pisina again. They paid the judge one hundred shekels and maybe an additional ten shekels, but the judge wanted more. Hosea was in urgent need of a sum of five karsh, that is, fifty shekels. The urgency derived from the fact that the judge had put Hosea in prison as a way to make him pay. Confinement for debt was not unusual. The main thrust of the letter is that Haggus was to do everything in his power to raise fifty shekels. A simple loan against interest would be best. But if necessary, he was to give two houses as security. And if worse came to worst, he was to sell the big house of his own father for any acceptable offer. Hosea feared for the future: “I have been abandoned.” Because Hosea would subsequently act as witness to a house bequest in 404, we know that he eventually survived his trials. But at the time he was writing to Haggus, he was desperate. In his other letters, Hosea had been keeping up appearances. This letter is more candid. The name of the man whose help he was soliciting does not occur in the rest of the papyri. It is clear from Hosea’s various requests that there was a special bond between them. Otherwise, how would he have dared to ask Haggus to sell the house of his own father? Since the assistance Hosea was asking for went beyond anything that might be expected from a mere colleague, Haggus and Hosea

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were presumably family. If so, they must have been in-laws, the one having married the sister of the other. Toward the end of the letter, Hosea mentions “the Jews.” It is an intriguing phrase in view of the fact that both he and his correspondent were Jews too. The reference is most likely to the leadership of the Elephantine community. From the use of the verb “to bring up,” it would appear that the Jews were on their way to Memphis. The purpose of the leadership was most likely a personal intervention with the Persian authorities to put an end to a conflict that had been dragging on for far too long. The leaders of the Elephantine community never reached Memphis, however. According to an undated report by Yislah son of Natan, the delegation was apprehended in Thebes. They were now in prison: [To my brother Yislah son of Gaddul, your brother Yislah son of Natan. It is well with me here.] May the gods seek after your well-being at all times. And now, [. . . . . . . . . P]N son of P[N] went to Syene. And he did [ . . . ] to the Jew[s][ . . . . . . . . And these are the names of the men th]at have been taken prisoner in Elephantine: Berekyah, Hosea, [PN son of PN] [PN son of PN] [PN son of ] Pa-Khnum. And these are the names of the women who were appre[hended in the gate in Thebes, and who were taken p]risoner: Rami wife of Hodo Isireshwet wife of Hosea Pallul wife of Yislah Raiya [wife of PN] Tabla daughter of Meshullam, Qaw(i)la her sister. Here are the names of the men who were apprehended in the gate in Thebes and who were taken [prisoner:] Yedanyah son of Gemaryah Hosea son of Yatom Hosea son of Nattum (error for Nattun) Haggai his brother Ahyo the son of Mikayah. [The investigators have left] the houses that they had entered in Elephantine. And the possessions that they confiscated, they shall certainly return to

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their owners. However, they fined their owners (an amount of ) 120 karsh of silver. Hopefully there will not be another decree for them here. Greetings to your house(hold) and to your children until the gods show me [your face in peace.] [Address:] To my brother Yislah son] of Gaddul, your brother Yislah son of Natan.

The report lists the names of the Jews who had been arrested. These arrests occurred in connection with what is best described as a second investigation into the matter of the stolen stone. This time, the Persians did not leave the matter to Egyptian officials. The name of the man who went to Syene is in the lacuna of the text. Several reconstructions are possible, but none of them is certain. The Persian investigators entered the houses of the Jews and confiscated their possessions. The inhabitants were temporarily evicted. By the time Yislah wrote his report, the investigators had left the houses, and the confiscated goods would be returned to their owners. But in the course of the proceedings, several men and women had been arrested. Yislah distinguishes three groups: men who were taken prisoner in Elephantine; women who were apprehended “in the gate in Thebes”; and men who were apprehended “in the gate in Thebes.” The reference to the gate in Thebes—point of entry, point of exit—suggests that Yislah wrote from Thebes, seat of the governor of the southern province. Most of the names of the men arrested in Elephantine are lost due to gaps in the papyrus. The names of the women and the men apprehended in Thebes, on the other hand, are nearly completely preserved. Among the men there are some familiar figures. Yedanyah son of Gemaryah was the leader of the Elephantine community. Two of the other men were signatories, along with Yedanyah, of a letter offering a huge sum of money in return for a building permit. They belonged to the leading families of the community. The women are harder to identity. Since they were not married to the men that have been captured, the most plausible explanation for their presence is to assume they represented the business consortium. Yislah simply reports their arrests. Even though he does not mention any motive, it seems obvious. Detention of influential members of the Jewish community was a way to coerce it into collaborating with the authorities and, here more specifically, to pay the fine that had been imposed. The Persians had condemned the community to a payment of 120 karsh, the equivalent of 1,200 shekels. It is a substantial sum. The special tax for all families of the Jewish community in 400 BCE netted a total of 318 shekels. When Hosea son of Natan was in urgent need of 50 shekels, he thought that two regular

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houses would do as security. So 1,200 shekels was a serious fine indeed. “Hopefully there will not be another decree for them here.” Did it mean that the matter had been settled to the satisfaction of all concerned? Yislah’s report is the last piece in the file on the missing stone. There were some loose ends—goods to be returned to their owners, a fine to be paid—but otherwise the case seemed closed. And since Hosea son of Natan appears some years later as witness to an Elephantine marriage, all seems to have ended well for him, too. Hosea wrote his letter for help in May of 410. Yislah’s report must have been written around the same time, perhaps June. Yislah was expecting that now everything would return to normal. Many others would have entertained similar hopes. They were on the eve of a summer that would prove them terribly wrong.

The Egyptian Revolt and the Role of Vidranga Less than two months after the verdict in the case of the stolen stone, the Jewish community of Elephantine witnessed the demolition of its temple. In their description of the event in the petition to Jerusalem, the community leaders framed it as an outburst of anti-Jewish violence inspired by religious motives. Although the troops had attacked the Jewish temple at the orders of the provincial governor, the Egyptians were the actual instigators of the violence. Once again, they had bribed the Persians. There is room for suspicion about this version of the events. The Jewish bias is evident. There is no hint of the affair of the stolen stone in which the Jews had been found guilty. The Egyptians’ anger had been justified. It is unlikely that the penalty imposed by the Persians had completely pacified the Egyptians. Who knows? They may have had other motives for their acts of aggression. Another element of the story that deserves closer examination is the role of Vidranga, the provincial governor. It is hard to believe that he allowed bribes to dictate his behavior toward the Jews. They had been serving the Persian cause with diligence. If he turned against a group of loyal soldiers, he must have been motivated by more than mere greed. The principal document that allows us to look at the summer of 410 BCE from a different angle is the draft of a petition to Arsames. The authors of this letter are the same as those who wrote to Jerusalem. The time of composition is the same too. Several phrases occur almost verbatim in the one and the other petition. But the petition to the Persian satrap presents a version of the events that puts them in a very different light.

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One element that both petitions have in common is the reference to Arsames’s absence at the time the horrors happened: In the month of Tammuz, year 14 of King Darius, when Arsames had departed and gone to the king—at that time the priests of Khnub, the god who is in Elephantine the fortress, in league with Vidranga, the governor over here . . . (First draft of the petition to Bagohi) In the month of Tammuz, year 14 of King Darius, when Arsames had departed and gone to the king—at that time the priests of Khnub, the god who is in Elephantine the fortress, gave silver and valuables to Vidranga, the governor over here . . . (Second draft of the petition to Bagohi) In the year 14 of King Darius, when our lord Arsames had gone to the king, this is the crime which the priests of Khnub the god [di]d in Elephantine the fortress, in league with Vidranga the governor over here. They gave him silver and valuables. (Draft of the petition to Arsames)

On the basis of the letter of Hosea to the Elephantine leadership, Arsames’s departure from Egypt can be dated to the beginning of 410. From the correspondence of Arsames with his subordinates in Memphis, we know that he was away for several years. In 406 BCE, Arsames was back. He had probably returned to Egypt in 407. The Jewish leadership mentions Arsames’s stay abroad to imply that he might have prevented the destruction of the temple: “Also, Arsames did not know about all that was done to us.” Hosea had suggested something similar in connection with the matter of the stolen stone: “If only we had shown ourselves to Arsames before (he left), then it would not have been like this [for us].” Arsames, apparently, had protected the Jews. He had been satrap at the time of Hananyah’s mission and had to make sure that the new status of the Jews was respected. The appointment of a Jewish chancellor, Anani, was his doing. His absence created a fateful vacuum. The papyrus with the draft of the petition to Arsames is in a bad state of preservation. The opening lines are missing, so the name of the intended recipient of the letter has to be inferred from the contents of the message. The man being addressed is consistently referred to as “our lord.” He must have been someone from the Persian administration in view of the plethora of rather technical Persian terms employed in the text. Since Arsames is referred to as “our lord” in the second preserved line of the letter, it makes sense to identify him as the intended recipient. By implication, this letter must have been composed at the time when Arsames was back. It can be

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dated to the same year as the petition to Jerusalem, that is, 407. The similarities of phraseology lead to the same conclusion. These were the same scribes, searching for the best formulation of petitions dispatched around the same time to Memphis, to Judah, and to Samaria. The petition to Bagohi mentions earlier letters sent to him, to the Jerusalem priests, and to the Judean nobles. We have no record of those letters and no knowledge of their dates. But it is no coincidence that the two petitions whose drafts have been preserved are both from 407. The reason the community waited for more than three years to start a campaign for the reconstruction of its temple was related to the absence of Arsames. It made no sense to try to obtain a building permit as long as Arsames was away. In his absence, others were in power. The new rulers—temporary, as it would turn out—had proven to be unsympathetic to the Jewish cause. The draft of the petition to Arsames has suffered serious damage. Some lines have gone missing, other lines are only partially preserved. The scribe used the strip of papyrus as a piece of scrap paper to write down a rough draft, writing in different directions, and sometimes repeating a line or two. The significance of the text is such, however, that it warrants a full quotation: [ . . . ] . . . we grew in number, the battalions of the Egyptians revolted. We did not abandon our posts and nothing bad was found in us. In the year 14 of King Darius, when our lord Arsames had gone to the king, this is the crime which the priests of Khnub the god [di]d in Elephantine the fortress, in league with Vidranga the governor over here. They gave him silver and valuables. There is a part of the royal grain-house which is in Elephantine the fortress—they demolished it and built a wall in the middle of the fortress of Elephantine. [ . . . ] And now, that wall is built right in the middle of the fortress. There is a well that is built within the fortress. It was not lacking in water to satiate the garrison. Whenever they would be garrisoned here, they would drink the water from that well. Those priests of Khnub stopped up that well. If inquiry is made of the judges, police, and informers that have been appointed in the Southern Province, it shall be known to our lord that it is exactly like this, as we are saying. Indeed, we are separated [from . . . ] [ . . . .] We grew in number [. . . . Nothing ba]d was found in [us. . . . .] . . . to bring offering [. . . .] to do there for Yaho the g[od . . . ] . . . [ . . . ] but one brazier [ . . . .] The furniture they took and [made] their own. [ . . . ] If it please our lord . . . [ . . . ] we from the [ Jewish] community [ . . . ] If it please our lord, may [an order] be issued [ . . . ] we. If [it please our lo]rd

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[ . . . that they] protect the things that . . . [ . . . ] to [rebuild] our [tem]ple which they demolished . . .

The report mentions the destruction of the temple only on the reverse side of the papyrus. Owing to the fact that the scribe rotated the papyrus sheet by ninety degrees, the damage to the top and bottom of the recto affects the right and left sides of the verso. It leaves us with a very truncated message. But we can make out references to offerings and a brazier, as well as a phrase about “the furniture they took and made their own.” Also the occurrence of the verb “to demolish” in the last line suggests that the description is about the ruined temple. The petition presumably ended with a request for permission to rebuild. The significance of the petition to Arsames is the light it throws on the historical context of the temple demolition. In fact, the message to the satrap is relatively succinct when it comes to the damage to the temple, in comparison with the description of three other “crimes” of the priests of Khnum: they demolished the part of the royal granary that stood in the fortress of Elephantine, built a wall in the middle of the fortress, and occluded the well that had provided the soldiers with water when garrisoned. Such interventions in the infrastructure of the fortress seem unrelated to the demolition of the temple. The common explanation interprets the destruction of the granary, the building of the wall, and the occlusion of the well as collateral damage or merely provocations. Such qualifications assume that the principal aim of the Egyptians was the demolition of the Jewish temple, the rest being side effects. This might be argued with respect to the granary and the well, but the construction of a wall of separation does not fall into the category of collateral damage. No one builds a wall overnight. It requires planning and time. These actions convey the impression of premeditation. Apparently the Egyptians intended to create a situation in which the Jewish garrison would be unable to perform its duties. Without access to water and food, the soldiers would be helpless if anyone attacked the fortress; it would turn into a death trap. The function of the wall was to isolate the Jewish quarter, turning it into the ghetto it had never been before. It also cut the Jewish soldiers off from the part of the royal granary the Egyptians did not destroy. This is what you would do if you wanted to neutralize a military opponent. The acts of aggression listed in the first part of the petition to Arsames were directed against the Jews—not, however, because the Jews honored the wrong god or practiced ritual abominations but because they were

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military opponents. The Egyptians attacked the Jews in their capacity as soldiers. These acts make sense in the context of a revolt. That is exactly what the petition is saying: “The Egyptian battalions revolted.” To mark the contrast with the Egyptian insurrection, the Jews stress their loyalty: “We did not abandon our posts, and nothing bad was found in us.” The usual reading of this phrase takes it as a reference to the demonstrated loyalty of the Jews during an Egyptian insurrection in the past. Yet nothing in the text implies that the Jews were reminding the Persian authorities of their loyalty during a crisis that had long ago been resolved. Their reference would far more likely be to some recent event. In fact, there are several references to an Egyptian rebellion in the letters that Arsames sent to Egypt between 410 and 407 BCE. Around 410, the Egyptian insurrection had reached Memphis. “When Egypt revolted and the garrison was summoned to the fortress,” Arsames writes, thirteen of his slaves had failed to make it to the fortress in time. They fell into the hands of “the wicked Inaros(?),” the leader of the insurrection. This was a time of “turmoil” in Egypt. Locally Egyptians profited from the absence of Arsames to take matters into their own hands. The events in Lower Egypt had repercussions in the deep south. Here, too, the Egyptian troops had rebelled in an attempt to regain their independence. While the motives of the Egyptians are not a mystery, the attitude of Vidranga is puzzling. All the accounts agree. The Egyptians had acted “in league with” Vidranga, the provincial governor at the time. It would be too simple to say that Vidranga had allowed himself to be bribed. There is no reason to assume he did not take bribes, but it is hard to believe he would be willing to act against his own interests. In search of an explanation for Vidranga’s behavior, it is important to look at the total picture. Not only did he order the demolition of the Jewish temple, he also consented to acts that amounted to the practical dismantlement of the fortress of Elephantine. It has been suggested that Vidranga ordered the removal of the Yaho temple because the Jews had no formal permit for the building. They didn’t, but that is no reason why the Persians should suddenly revoke their implicit acceptance of the Jewish temple. Also, the program of the Egyptian rebels was far more ambitious than just the destruction of a temple. In fact, in the petition to Arsames, the temple demolition comes across as the finishing touch in the elimination of an adversary. The most likely scenario is that Vidranga profited from the troubled circumstances of the time to strengthen his own hold over southern Egypt.

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Just after the departure of Arsames, Vidranga had been promoted to the position of governor of the southern province. His son Naphaina had become garrison commander at Syene in his stead. The absence of Arsames created a power vacuum. The Egyptians seized the opportunity to try to throw off the yoke of Persian domination. Vidranga had been appointed to serve the Persian central authorities. Instead he chose to follow a policy that allowed him to navigate between Egyptian interests and personal gain. These were years of turmoil and political fragmentation. Vidranga turned the southern province into his personal domain. In our book, he would be guilty of treason. It is unlikely that Vidranga’s contemporaries took a more benign view of the matter. In the formal statement of support from Bagohi and Delayah, the Egyptians go unmentioned. All the blame falls on Vidranga, “the wicked one.” It is the exact same qualification—lh.yʾ, “the wicked one”—that Arsames had employed for the leader of the Egyptian revolt at Memphis. In the end, Vidranga proved to be a traitor to the Persian cause. He sacrificed a group of loyal soldiers to his personal ambition. In 407, the temple was still in ruins, but the Jewish community had witnessed the defeat of their opponents. All those who had done harm to the temple had been killed. The letter does not specify the circumstances of their deaths. They probably died when the Persian forces brought the southern province under the control of the Egyptian satrapy again. Vidranga did not survive either. He died an ignominious death: “The dogs removed his shackles from his feet, and all the goods he had acquired were lost.” The translation of the phrase is unproblematic, but its meaning is obscure. Let us assume that the dogs are real dogs and the shackles real shackles. This suggests a scenario in which Vidranga had been captured, fettered by the feet, and left to die somewhere. The dogs had come to feed on his body. It is a classic image of a disgraceful death. “Let dogs tear his unburied body to pieces,” says an Assyrian curse upon a possible grave robber. Torn to pieces, Vidranga had been “released” of his shackles. It is, indeed, a cynical way of celebrating the end of an enemy. By 407, Vidranga was very much dead. Later references to a man by the same name apply to a different person. The petition the Elephantine community sent to Judah and Samaria presented the demolition of the temple as an act of religiously inspired anti-Judaism. To the authors of the petition, the dramatic events of the summer of 410 served as a certificate of Jewish identity. Many modern scholars have accepted this reading of the events: “The trouble which brought down the Temple of Yahu was perhaps unavoidable. It specialized,

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after all, in sacrificing animals, most of which were undoubtedly sheep, exactly the creatures venerated by their next-door neighbors at the Temple of Khnum.” The quote is from Simon Schama’s The Story of the Jews. It echoes Bezalel Porten’s take on the matter. The conflict did not merely oppose Egyptians to Jews; it had been “between the devotees of the god Khnum and the followers of the God YHW.” This interpretation fits the presentation of Elephantine as a typical Jewish diaspora story: Jews run into trouble because they are Jewish. The Jews of the island had experienced an “anti-Jewish outburst” that amounted to a “proto-pogrom.” The facts of the matter tell a different story. A careful analysis of the available evidence shows that the summer of 410 had a prelude, as well as a specific context. Leading up to the violent summer of 410, there had been the affair of the stolen stone, with all its unpleasant repercussions. The Jews had been found guilty in the matter. In this respect, the story of the temple demolition is about unappeased anger. The context of the violence against the Jews was the Egyptian revolt. Once the satrap had left the country, insurrections erupted in the north and the south. The Jews chose the side of the Persians, as loyal soldiers should. They ended up being the victims of a political choice that was all about personal gain and had nothing to do with anti-Jewish sentiments.

Conclusion Over a period of a hundred years, perhaps longer, the Samarians of Palmyra became the Jews of Elephantine. Up to a point, the new identity happened to them through the force of circumstance. The diaspora experience in Egypt led others to perceive them as Jews. The community became part of the network of Jewish diaspora nodes. Around 420 BCE, the Persian authorities included them in the Jewish nation. Commissioned by the Persians, a Jewish ambassador for religious affairs ordered them to bring their religious calendar into conformity with the calendar observed by Jews all over the empire. During the final decade of the fifth century, the leadership of the Elephantine Jews deliberately claimed their new identity to present their situation in the most favorable light. At first the Jewish identity had happened to them. In the end, they claimed it. They would henceforth be remembered as the Elephantine Jews.

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Epilogue

In the more than one hundred years that have passed since the discovery of the Elephantine Jews, several versions of their story have sought to define who they really were. Some scholars have pictured them as an insulated community far from the homeland that preserved pre-Deuteronomic practices. Others have presented them as Jews abroad who had deviated from the Mosaic religion under the powerful influence of other religions. Some have proposed that they were actually quite ordinary diaspora Jews, who were devoted to their ancestral god and observed Pesach and Shabbat but paid occasional tribute to other gods as a way of cultivating good relations with their non-Jewish neighbors. Most scholars have argued that the diaspora community came into being sometime between 650 and 550 BCE. Where the Elephantine Jews came from has been a matter of controversy. While many have considered it likely that they migrated from Judah, the hypothesis of Samarian origins has been vigorously defended as well. Who were the Elephantine Jews? This epilogue seeks to answer that question by summing up the results of a review of all the evidence, including the texts from the Aramaic papyrus in Demotic script. If it had not been for Papyrus Amherst 63, it is doubtful whether a review of the evidence, however rigorous, would have been able to come up with a compelling narrative to take the place of earlier versions of the story. Recent monographs have challenged conventional interpretations and illuminated many aspects of the Elephantine experience. Yet it has proven very difficult, if not impossible, to offer a comprehensive counternarrative on the basis of more or less the same evidence that was used to write the classic version of the story. All the Aramaic texts from Elephantine are from the

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fifth century BCE. This fact alone renders speculation about the origins and development of the Elephantine Jewish community a hazardous affair. The Amherst papyrus sheds new light on the origins of the community. Owing to the historical data it contains, it is now possible to follow the trajectory of the Elephantine community and its antecedents over a period spanning three hundred years. Except for the references in the book of Jeremiah, we still have nothing from the sixth century. But the information in the Amherst papyrus allows us to answer some of the most tantalizing questions about the origins and the history of the community. One of the things the papyrus shows is that the ancestors of the Elephantine Jews were Samarians. As a result of the Assyrian victory over Samaria in 721, they had left their homeland and moved to Judah, where they found employment as mercenaries. These men came from a religious tradition in which Yaho had all the traits of a storm god. In their temples, they worshipped him in the form of a bull calf. He was “our Bull,” as one of their traditional songs stated. Yaho was a warrior god. To men from the military profession, this must have felt reassuring: “Some by the bow, some by the spear—behold, as for us, my Lord, our God is Yaho!” When the descendants of these Samarians ended up in the deep south of Egypt, they held on to the god of their fathers. In a way, they followed in their fathers’ footsteps professionally as well, since they kept serving in the armed forces. Some served as mercenaries, but most of them served in a land-for-service arrangement that entitled them to houses and fields in return for their readiness to take up arms to defend the interests of their new masters. Originally, these Samarians spoke Hebrew, like the rest of the population of Samaria. The religious songs that they took with them were in Hebrew, as is clear from the various Hebraisms that appear in the Aramaic version of three of their psalms in the Amherst papyrus. Although the northern dialect of Hebrew differed from the Judean variant, Samarians and Judeans were perfectly able to communicate. So when the Samarian soldiers went to Judah—along with many others after the fall of Samaria in 721—they continued speaking Hebrew. The reason that, at some point, they completely abandoned Hebrew had to do with their longtime stay in Palmyra. The Amherst papyrus does not mention Palmyra—or rather Tadmor, as it used to be called. But the references to a “fortress of palms” situated near a spring on the fringe of the desert along a trade route make the identification with Palmyra compelling. The Samarians ended up in Palmyra because they had been looking for shelter. We can only guess at

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the reason they left Judah. The most plausible scenario assumes that Sennacherib’s campaign in 701 was so devastating that it resulted in mass migration from Judah. The Samarian mercenaries were among these migrants. Along with their Judean commander, they found shelter at Palmyra. The Amherst papyrus has a historical narrative of their arrival. The reference to “the people of your dialect,” unintelligible to the people who welcomed them, demonstrates that they did not speak Aramaic when they came. At Palmyra, the dominant language was Aramaic. The switch to Aramaic was inevitable. If the Samarians wanted to be part of the ethnically mixed community of Palmyra, they had to speak its language. When they left Palmyra for Egypt, toward the end of the seventh century, they spoke Aramaic. Though originally from Samaria, they had become Arameans in language. Language and ethnicity are two different things. The ethnicity of the Elephantine Jews is complex. The Amherst papyrus shows that the forebears of the Elephantine Jews had accumulated ethnic identities. They had come to Palmyra as a troop of Samarian soldiers under the leadership of a Judean commander. Their stay at Palmyra of about a century had turned them into Arameans. This was their new identity, though their Samarian roots did not cease to matter. As Israelites, they worshipped the god of their ancestors—the three Israelite psalms celebrate Yaho as the supreme deity— but they identified him with the Aramean god Bethel. In addition, they made room in their devotion for such gods as Anat-Yaho, Eshem-Bethel, and Herem-Bethel. While religion is not a direct echo of ethnicity, it suggests that these Samarians had come to see themselves as a subgroup of the Aramean community. The fifth-century texts from Elephantine waver between an Aramean and a Jewish identity. The fact that the Elephantine Jews should look at themselves as Arameans is no cause for wonder, given their history in Palmyra. But their self-reference as Jews is arresting. Samarians have disappeared from the picture. The Jewish identity of the Jews of the island was the outcome of the Elephantine experience rather than the identity they carried with them when they came. When they arrived they were Arameans with a Samarian background. By the time they were forced to leave the island, they were Jews. This was the result of their time in Egypt. The diaspora experience had brought them into contact with various other Jewish communities. The Jewish community of Migdol, for instance, had little affinity with the Samarian roots of the Elephantine Jews. But if the Elephantine community had a temple for Yaho, it meant it was Jewish. In Egypt, Jewish identity

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prevailed over previous commitments to a more particular ethnic identity. The Persian decree to recognize the Jews as a separate nation clinched the matter. From that point on, the Elephantine Jews would be Jews. The mission of Hananyah gave an inkling of what this would mean. With the full backing of the Persian central authorities, Hananyah told the Elephantine Jews to bring their ritual calendar into conformity with that of the other Jews in the Persian Empire. Hananyah’s intervention did not put an end to mixed marriages, nor did it turn the Elephantine Jews into monotheists. Yet it is doubtful that the descendants of the Elephantine Jews would have continued to honor Aramean gods. In Egypt, the Elephantine community got caught up in a process of change that made Jewish ethnicity their primary identity. Over time they would have forgotten their Aramean heritage. It would be too simple to say that the entire Jewish diaspora in Ptolemaic Egypt ended up embracing the Torah as their sacred law. But the particular religious situation that had obtained in Elephantine during the fifth century BCE got lost among the succeeding generations. The story of the Elephantine Jews is a typical diaspora story and a useful reminder of the fact that the diaspora experience is as much about the production of identity as it is about the preservation of identity. When the community settled at Elephantine in the late seventh or early sixth century, they were not yet Jewish. They developed a Jewish identity in Egypt under the impact of the diaspora experience and the Persian diversity politics. The long-term effect of their acquired Jewish identity was the creation of a new cultural memory. The process is visible in the transformation of Ahiqar and the rewriting of one of the Samarian songs preserved in the Amherst papyrus. In the book of Tobit, the Aramean protagonist of the Life and Sayings of Ahiqar is transformed into a Jew from Samaria. It amounts to a cultural amnesia of his Aramean origins. Psalm 20 is a revision of the first of the three Samarian songs known through Papyrus Amherst 63. In the biblical version, all Samarian and Aramean references have been suppressed, and the name of Zion has been inserted. What once was a Samarian text has become a Jewish psalm. Does it mean that others were censoring the cultural memory of the Elephantine community? That argument supposes that the Elephantine Jews were keen to preserve the memory of their Samarian and Aramean past. It is not certain that they were. Creating a nation takes a lot of forgetting, as Ernest Renan has said. For the Elephantine Jews, becoming a Jew took a lot of forgetting too.

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But forgetting is not the purpose of scholarly inquiry. This book has attempted to look at the other side of a familiar diaspora story. It reveals a reality that perhaps does not fit the classic diaspora narrative. The Elephantine Jews were originally much less Jewish than many authors like to think. Their story illustrates the formative role of the diaspora experience in the creation of Judaism. Elephantine is an early chapter in the story of the Jews. It is, in some respects, an unusual chapter. At Elephantine, it was possible to be a Jew and a polytheist. It was possible to be a Jew and have your own temple far away from Jerusalem. It was possible to be a Jew, marry an Egyptian wife, and still have Jewish children. It was possible to be a Jew and never read the Torah because there was, as yet, no Torah. To anyone who hears it, the story of the Elephantine community is a reminder of the fact that the story of the Jews has many chapters. To believe that every chapter tells the same story in a slightly different way would be a big mistake.

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Appendix: Translation of Papyrus Amherst 63, Adapted from AOAT 448 Section 1: The Babylonians (columns i–v) Magnificat for the Lady of the Sanctuary (i 1–17) The herald of Gaddi-El [comes out (?).] [He appears before Nabu (?)] [. . . .] and he announces: “Your [reign], O Lord, is enduring! And your heroism is [great] [Among Gods and m]en. Lighten up, [O Lord!] [Show (?)] your manhood to the Lady! Crown the Lady of the Sanctuary! [Send out] your heralds and your messengers! Be shin[ing like] Resheph! Gi[ve sp]lendor to the sta[rs] [Like gold (?)] that shi[nes.] In your light we will tr[ust.] [In heaven your] light is exalted.” In the gate [of the p]alace [ . . . .] [. . . . .] Present yourself (?) [ . . . !] [. . . .] “Magnify the Lady, my [Queen,] [. . . . ,] O King!” The Lord answered [and said:] [“Take the har]p (and) the lyre, And let [them sing to the Lady] On the harp and the lyre.

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[. . . .] your gatekeeper (?) All your [ . . . ] in [ . . . ] [. . . .] your [. . . .]. Rash, [sing] to the Lady!” [All the king]s (and) all the Gods [Will see the Lady] of the Sanctuary [And will b]le[ss her:] “Exalted is the Lady, [our Lady!] [Exalted is] the Lady, my [Queen.”] May the Lady Rear Her Child (i 17–21 // ii 12–18; iii 3–6; iii 14–17; iv 3–6) Your deer [we] have sacri[ficed, O La]dy. And may [your] ey[es] [Take pleasure] in our sacrifice. I will sing the praises of the Radiant One, [So li]sten [to me:] [“I am exalted,] I have reared [you,] I [have suckled my darling.”] [Elevate, my Lady, your baby!] [You will make (him) glorious,] [You will ma]ke [him] stro[ng. End.] He Smells as Pleasant as You (ii 1–12) “Install and place for me A cou[ch in the sanctuary.”] “We will set up your couch [In the midst] of your sanctuary.” She is crouching in the san[ctu]ary. Your people are how[li]ng: “Come out to the [day]light! [The mi]dwife will carry you. She will carry, and she will suckle.” And we shall establish you, Radiant One, On the throne. [W]ash (him), and swaddle (him)! And we shall watch the little darling Whom [you su]ckle.

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Sprinkle your loved one! Your darling whom you [will sati]ate! And he will get drowsy And lay himself to rest On a bed of fir. “Inspect the baby! Protect the baby, My God, my Lord!” “He smells as pleasant as you, Que[en] of Heaven. Kiss the one [Who dw]ells in the sanctuary, O La[dy.”] May the Lady Rear Her Child (ii 12–18 // i 17–21; iii 3–6; iii 14–17; iv 3–6) Your deer we have [sa]crificed, Lady. And may [your] eyes Take pleasure [in] our sacrifice. I will sing the praises of the Radiant One, [So list]en to me: “I am exalted, I have reared [you], I have suckled my darling.” Elevate, my Lady, your baby! [You will make (him) glor]ious, You will make him strong. End. I Am the Cow (ii 18–22) To a[ll . . . ] You call: “Listen [to me! . . . . .] I am the Cow. [I am] glorio[us.”] Deliver the Radiant One The Radiant One [. . . .] Call [ . . . ] [Ins]pect [your] bab[y . . . . . .] [. . . .]

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Nabu Chooses His Bride (iii 1–6 // iii 12–17; iv 1–6) Nabu co[mes out.] He sings to [the Lady of the Sanctuary.] “I will choose you. I have purified (you) and pour[ed the oil], I have made my pride rule Over all the G⌈ods.”⌉ [I] will sing the praises of the Radiant One, So listen to me: “I am exalted, I have reared you, I have suckled my darling.” Elevate, my Lady, your baby! You will make (him) glorious, You will make him strong. End. The Judge at the Gate (iii 6–12) The Judge was taken To the gate and halted, My Lord, sevenfold blessed. All my mouth is saying As it cries out: “Please enter, O King, Bless the Radiant One. Stand on your place! Wash his hands, Kothar! My Lord, bless the Lady!” Nabu Chooses His Bride (iii 12–17 // iii 1–6; iv 1–6) Nabu comes out. [He sings to] the Lady of the Sanctuary: “I will choose you. [I] have purified (you) [and poured the oil,] I [have made] my pride [rule] Over all the Gods.” [I will sing the praises] of the [Radiant One,] [So] listen to me:

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“[I am exa]lted, [I have reared you,] I have suckled my darling.” [Elevate, my Lady, your baby!] [You will make (him) glorious,] [You will make] him strong. A Blessing (iii 17–19) . . . [. . . . . . . . . . . . .] [. . . . . .] you will ble[ss . . . ] [. . . . . . . . .] . . . [. . . . . . . .] Nabu Chooses His Bride (iv 1–6 // iii 1–6; iii 12–17) [Nabu comes out.] He sin[gs to the Lady] of the Sanctuary: [“I will choose you.] I [have purified (you)] and poured the oil, [I have made my pri]de [rule] Over all the Gods.” I will sing the praises [of the Radiant One], So listen to me: “I am exalted, I have reared you, I have suckled my darling.” Elevate, my Lady, your baby! You will make (him) glorious, You will make him strong. Kings Saw You and Were Fearful (iv 6–24) Kings saw you, And they were fearful. They were in a[we,] Saying before their magnates: “At the sta[rt] of the day she is elevated. And we have seen The [ri]se of the Queen of Rash, The entrance of the Lady Among the Gods.” And all of them rose their thrones.

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“Let the Lady be seated Among the Gods. Let her throne be precious in [Rash!] In Rash a footstool Has been se[t up] for you!” They were intoxicated By the goodness of the Lady, The Gods by [her] love. Kings made the Lady go up, “Please ent[er and] be seate[d] [Upon your throne.”] They burned incense for her throne, And they crowned her, and they said: “Let the sunrise bless the Lady!” “I am Nanay, [the Queen of Heaven (?)].” What is my Lady saying? “[Bless (?)] my appearance!” Let the m[oon] bless you, Who brightens up the Gods of the N[ight]. Let the sun [say a bl]essing, The light [that ill]uminates [the earth (?).] [Let] the King bless [his] Bride. Let the constellations speak a bles[sing]. Just so the lights [of the night,] The planets and the constellations: “Elevate between us [your light (?)]!” They bless the Lady: “[You are] the Lady of the Sanctuary, Lady.” My Gift Is for You on New Year’s Day (v 1–17) [The King comes out.] He bles[ses the L]ady. [. . . .] [. . . .] [He] sings to the Lady of the Sanc[tuary.] [He praises] the Lady [in song.] [And he says] to the Lady: “Lady, illuminate the heavens. [Lady,] illuminate the earth.” The [maiden]s have come. They have come before my Bride:

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“She is absolutely glorious Always as my Lady. Forever, over those declared unclean.” Al[l the mi]ghty ones approached, The people approached. “[You] shine in the assembly of the stars (!), You are bright at the sta[rt of the day.] You are my Fortuna. [To] the Creator she is the Beautiful One.” And kin[gs] were struck with awe. They set up your throne, [And they cr]owned her. The people of your maidens exult: “My gift is for you On New Year’s Day.” Dress Nanay with a [cro]wn. Master of the lyre, si[ng] [To] Nanay on the harp. [The priests (?)] come and take a stand. They speak [and they sa]y: “Arise, my Lord, With a [sp]lendid rise for your servants! [Shine (?) in] splendor!” Let all the Gods Bless Gaddi-El: “Nanay, [you (?) are] beautiful. At harvest ti[me (?) you illu]minate The high [heavens.”] And your [ . . . ] calls out: “Amen, [you ligh]t up your heavens, [You b]righten up [your he]avens, All the [ea]rth as you rise. You are my [queen (?)], Nanay!” [ ...] [Musicia]ns (?) prai[se . . . ] [ ...] [They offer up (?)] incense [ . . . ] [. . . .] [. . . .]

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Section 2: The Syrians (columns vi–xi) They Put Their Hands in Shackles (vi 1–11) [The ter]rors, Lord, The t[errors,] we are howling, The terrors [we have] se[en.] They [ru]ined for you All your cities. Trembling dwells in the land. The [dis]tressed ones turn to you, The entire community Of your consecrated ones. The people of your sons And your servant girls— They put their hands in shackles, All of them they carried and drove away. They are scattered, they are howling: Your cook(s) who used to offer bread And prepare all the barley of your offerings. Your butcher(s) Who used to offer a ram— He/They would slaughter a lamb, He/They would slaughter a mountain goat. He/They prepared all the food Of your offerings. Your priests who used to offer Soothing incense— They would bring you Fragrances and reeds. Your musicians Who used to offer merriment— They would carry the harp, They would carry the lyre. The cupbearers are ho[wling.] They would make him drink The mixed drink of his belly. End. What the God of Rash Said (vi 12–22) He [appears], he comes up (?), The Resident of [Hama]th from Rash.

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Those who disturb you, O Rash, [ . . . ] he will strike. His mouth that [ . . . ] [He strike]s and he shatters. [ ...] [ . . . ] and ⌈he⌉ will find. [. . . . the Lord answered], [And] the God of Rash sa[id to me:] [“I have come before you] [I have heard] your call for help. [ ...] [. . . .] [Don’t you fear, my servant,] [Ra]⌈kib⌉-Bol (?)! [ ...] [ . . . ] . . . you . . . [ ...] [ . . . ] . . . me . . . [ ...] [ . . . ] you have lamented. [ ...] [And you will praise (?)] Bethel.” My Servant, Do Not Fear (vii 1–18) His mercies that we shall [ex]alt [Forever (?)] in the valleys of [ . . . .] Lord, our good God, Our God, my Creator! I know my murderers, our God. Our God, there is no evil on my hands, Our God, there is no duplicity in my mouth. Yet you have made me a sheep in their flock And a ram in their fold. All the time they keep an eye on me: “Let us kill him, become fat and opulent! Let us eat his flesh and become fat! Let us drink his blood and be satiated!” Great God of Rash, Lord! They have packed lies in their mouth,

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Bitter things underneath their tongue. Lord, our good God, Our God, my Creator! I know my murderers, our God. There is no evil on my hands, our God, There is no duplicity in my mouth. Yet you have made me a date in their mouth And sweets under their tongue. Great God of Rash, Lord! They have packed venom in their mouth, Bitter things underneath their tongue. The Lord answered and said to me: “[R]⌈akib⌉-[B]ol, my servant, Do not fear! I will save you! I bless you by the Lady, By the Lord from Darga-and-Rash [I bless you.] [In] your days [Your] e[nemies shall be] de[stroyed.] During your years [Your] fo[es] shall be slain. [Your opponents] I Will destroy before you, Your foot on their necks [You will plant . . . ]. [I] will be like your right hand In all your land. [You shall rule (?)] your house in peace.” [Lord, for] you we [sacri]fice your offerings. Your cup [shall be filled] with goodness, And you will pou[r (it) out.] End. A Dwelling for Bethel (viii 1–23) When [you speak] your blessings, All the Gods will bless you. The Lord will bless you from Rash, The Lady will bless you from Syria.

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Baal will bless you from Zaphon, Pidray will bless you from the Orontes (?). Bel will bless you from Babylon, Belet will bless you from Esaggil. Nabu will bless you from Barsippa, Nanay will bless you from the sanctuary. Throne-of-Yaho and Asherah Will bless you from the south. Give offerings, and make them go up in fire. Multiply, Rash, the sheep. Multiply, Rash, multiply The incense for the Lord, And he will multiply your blessings. Bow to Anat, Swear by Nabu, Kiss his courtesan. Let sixty musicians sprinkle The stele of the Lord, Let them lift their voice and bless the Lord. Let sixty temple stewards sprinkle The stele of the Lord, Their palms full of frankincense For Bethel’s nostrils. Let sixty young men (?) sprinkle The stele of the Lord. The land of your love, Lord, The land of your love, and Rash, The land of your love, Rash, That celebrates in song The Destroyer of the Sea— May the Gods order for it old age. Take away your yoke, Lord of Heaven, Bring the wheat and barley close to you. Raise them high on the soil of Aram. Our Master, we will set up your dwelling. Please do come out, O Lord, And please enter the abode.

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A strong wall has been erected. Through the rift (?), call (?) [upon] Kothar, Your windows [in the house, let him build.] The opening (?) in your palace, Lord. [. . . .] [. . . .] [. . . .] Bethel’s Beauty Contest (ix 1–x 8) [L]ady, may you be blessed, Forever and ever. [She] comes [before our G]od And before our Lord, [Our G]oddess, the Lady. Your sons and the people of your daughters Have adorned the Beautiful One. The Lady is clad in bracelets. And the God of Rash is strong. He takes precedence over all the Gods. Open your shrine, my God, And let your mouth order your food. Your table will be provided With bulls and with deer. Butchers wait upon him, All of them with swift hands. Every ox is becoming weak. Your drinking bowl shall be poured out, Resident of Hamath. It will be poured out, and they will fill it. And cupbearers wait upon him, All of them standing in attendance And saying: “You are at a banquet! Lift your eyes, Behold and drink it!” Lord, through your snorts You turn every reed marsh red, Like the smoke of incense, Through your breaths.

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You fly over the places you drenched. You lift your wings like an eagle, Also they spring back again. The beams of your temple, Bethel, are from the Lebanon. From the Lebanon, Yes, your garden, are they. Now, Resident of Hamath, Strike them down toward you. Select the girl! Who is the girl? All your appearances We closely watch. End. The Lord turns red like the sun, And he shines like the moon, Like the moon along the length of his heavens. Yes, let them build Your house in the heavens, An abode with the stars. Let your couch be installed in the sanctuary. Let them build in your palace A thousand altars for Bethel. Examine them, and select the beauty queen, That she may bring the sacrifices of the city, In Rash plenty of bulls. This is the beauty queen! Adorn her face with embroidered scarfs. Select the girl! Who is the girl? All your appearances We closely watch. End. And the daughters of Rash Light up and shout out:

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“This is the one!” And the Lord has crowned the Perfect One. The God of Rash has crowned her In his house, And he established her In his palace. He elevates her like the day in his house. When [he comes] out, his rays, My Goddess, are illuminating you. Our Crescent has been taken away, The God of Rash. The God of Rash is slumbering On the day of [his] king[ship.] And along with you, the Sons of El Have put themselves to rest. When the Crescent is slumbering, All of them slumber. And the chamber smells of slumber, Which they built among your Mighty Ones. And the Lord is wailing: “Protector of Rash, wake up! Where is the Beautiful One, the Bride? Lord, God of Rash, [In] your pal[ace], crown the Perfect One, ⌈The Glorio⌉us One among the princes of he[aven!”] Howl and [mo]an to Bol: “Bol, have mercy, have compassion! [Shake off ] the sleep that is upon you! [Illu]mi[nate the heavens], Illumin[ate the earth.] Shine brightly, our Perennial One! And shine brightly, our Goddess! Shine brightly, like the sun [ . . . ] [. . . .] Let him sprinkle your a[bode (?)], Perennial One! When you have intercourse (?), love [. . . .]

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Your throne [ . . . ] [ ...] Please [enter!”] [ ...] Our Crescent, You slumber in (lit., from) Rash! You are dimmed because of love. The light of his radiance has passed. And his light is not high. His light has turned dark. Your oud is a seal, O Lord, Send away your cloud for me! Arise, wake up for me! Wake up, Lady, his Spouse! The guard looks At the inner room of the Lady. The Gods are watching out for the Queen, Also the princes, for the Spouse. The young woman, once examined, Is established in his palace. Now come, Bride of his, Shake off slumber! Let me see her rays. And you will be called upon: “Bring the God, the Lord!” Let me see their rise. End. Praying for Rain (x 9–13) Bethel, God Most High, Who sweeps up the sea, Who dwells on the mountains— All the rainclouds, It is you who builds them! We celebrate you in our song! Do let it rain, Lord, In vessel, pond, and cistern. For you, our silver and our gold. For you is the fullness of our possessions.

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For you are our bulls, Amen, our firstborn. Hope for the Fugitives (x 13–17 // x 21–24; xi 6–8; xi 13–16) Bring me close, listen! He will help us, We shall rise again in peace. May he keep watch, the Guardian of Siyan, May he help us, the God of Rash. I keep groaning and moaning. Both my father and my generation Shall magnify the Lord. May the troubles of the fugitives Become bright again! Even amid the ravages Let the crowd say, “Amen, amen.” End. Father of the Orphan, Champion of the Widow (x 17–20) Lord, God, Father of the orphan, Judge of the widow! When to you she lifts up her hands, In the wink of an eye She breaks into praise and rejoices. She lifts up her hands, In the wink of an eye She breaks into praise and rejoices. God protects those who are brought down. The Lord will [. . . .] their distress In [the wink of an eye.] Hope for the Fugitives (x 21–24 // x 13–17; xi 6–8; xi 13–16) To you I call out in battle, Among the wounded whom you struck. [He will] help me, We shall rise again in peace. May the Gu[ardian of Siyan] keep watch, May he help us, the God of Rash. I [keep groaning and moaning.]

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Both my father and my generation Shall m[agnify] the Lord. May the trou[bles of the fu]giti[ves] Become bright again! Even amid the ravages [Let the crowd say, “Amen, amen.”] [End.] The Lord of Thunderstorms (xi 1–6) From the Lebanon, Lord, from Rash, You strike the entire earth. You lift up the skies, O Lord. You attack the stars and make (them) dark. In all of Rash, the land of our God, He howls, he throws his thunders; He throws, he howls with his thunders, Illuminating with fire The places drenched by the sea. He shines, and he speaks, Until he burns them, the Lord, He burns them, the God of Rash, Like columns of fire. Hope for the Fugitives (xi 6–8 // x 15–17; x 22–24; xi 15–16) Both my father and my generation Shall magnify the Lord. May the troubles of the fugitives Become bright again! Even amid the ravages Let the crowd say, “Amen, amen.” End. Dreaming of the City in Rash (xi 8–13) In my dream I was young again, I was transported to Rash. I spotted a city in Rash, I went and heard its name: “Near-the-borders-of-Rash-she-is-founded.” Our Master protects “Near-the-borders.” He will slay her enemies on her fields,

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He will smash with a righteous punishment. His words will sustain me Against his anger, So I shall be lifted To the broad place of the Lord. Hope for the Fugitives (xi 13–16 // x 13–17; x 21–24; xi 6–8) He will help me, I shall rise again in peace. May he keep watch, the Guardian of Siyan, May he help me, the God of Rash. I keep groaning and moaning. Both my father and my generation Shall magnify the Lord. May the troubles of the fugitives Become bright again! Even amid the ravages Let the crowd say, “Amen, amen.” End. Prayer against Enemies (xi 16–20) The Lord is coming forth from Rash. Who is like you? Who more compassionate than you? Take away and destroy the enemy! Arise, my Lord, Take away and destroy our enemy! Do make the enemy powerless, That Cush and Elam Not annihilate us. That we not wander about restless, Lord, we who are close to you. That we not be sacrificed, That they not feast on us. Before our enemy we call out: “De[liver (?)] your wandering ones!”

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Section 3: The Samarians (columns xii–xiii) A Desolate City under Tall Cedars (xii 1–11) [She] lam[ents] the cal[amity:] “Establish me again [and] raise (me) up! [Esta]blish me in [my place] again, Make me stand!” Under tall cedars, There [I saw y]ou. For you had firmly established yourself, You whose people feasted on plenty. —Your father is old and unfit, Your brothers are small. —“My father is not old and unfit, My brothers are not small! For my father is like a solid house, And my brothers are like vultures and eagles!” —My brothers have mixed your bowl On account of (your) filthy insolence. A bowl plenty of filth, And destruction and fury. They will thoroughly pollute the source, And its water shall perish in the canal. Our anger has smitten you, City full of people And profanity and wickedness! A wild ass is at its windows {its windows}. Those that move about its walls (are) The wild ass, the wild cat, and the snake. End. May Yaho Answer Us in Our Troubles (xii 11–19) May Yaho answer us In our troubles. May Adonai answer us In our troubles. Be a bow In heaven, Crescent!

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Send your messengers From all of Rash! And from Zaphon May Yaho help us. May Yaho give to us Our heart’s desire. May the Lord give to us Our heart’s desire. Every wish, May Yaho fulfill. May Yaho fulfill, May Adonai not diminish Any request of our heart. Some by the bow, Some by the spear— Behold, as for us, My Lord, our God is Yaho! May our Bull be with us. May Bethel answer us tomorrow. Baal-Shamayin Shall bless the Lord: “By your loyal ones I bless you!” End. Our Banquet Is for You (xiii 1–10) Hear me, our God! Fine lambs (and) sh[ee]p We will sacrifice for you among the Gods. Our banquet is for you Among the Mighty Ones of the people, Adonai, for you, Among the Mighty Ones of the people. Adonai, the people will bless you. Your annual offerings we will perform. From the pitcher, saturate yourself, my God! Let it be announced forever: “The Merciful One exalts the great, Yaho humiliates the lowly one.”

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They have mixed the wine in our jar, In our jar, at our New Moon festival! Drink, Yaho, From the bounty of a thousand bowls! Be satiated, Adonai, From the bounty of the people! Singers wait upon the Lord, The player of the harp, the player of the lyre: “We will play for you The song of the Sidonian lyre, And our flutes resoundingly, At the banquets of humankind.” End. The Host of Heaven Proclaims Your Rule (xiii 11–17) Who among the Gods, Among humankind, Yaho— Who among the Gods, Among king and nonking, Who is like you, Yaho, among the Gods? From the very beginning, Adonai, avenge Your worshippers, the longstanding people. Take note of our pursuer, And restore my strength. Beneath you, Yaho, Beneath you, Adonai, The host of heaven is (as plentiful) as sand. Yaho, the host of heaven Proclaims to us your rule. Take note of our pursuer, And restore my strength. Let Baal from Zaphon Bless Yaho. Arise, Yaho, to our rescue. Let his ears turn To the prayer, Lord.

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Arise Yaho! Do protect, As you have been protecting Your people since olden times. End.

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Section 4: In Palmyra (columns xiv–xvii) Lady, Restore Your Sanctuary! (xiv 1–xv 9) Be you blessed, Lady, Over all the blessed ones. Come (and) order cold for the desert! You are my Queen. Yes, come (and) shine from Rash, Lady! You are the Queen over all of Aram. Observe the ruins of the chapel! You must take pity on the trampled (and) The pulverized parts of your house. Maiden, your pedestal Who will rebuild it? Who will rebuild, O Maiden, The stand by its side? Cow Nanay, Rebuild the stand of your image. Fully restore, my Goddess, The socle of your witness. A sun of blinding light Shines through your windows, Your windows, divine Cow, Into the gate of your image, The image of the Dove. I will watch over you, A watch that will not grow weak. And I will satiate myself with your presence. I will get my fill, my Sister, Of your features. The day they came up against the Lord, They stretched their hand Against the wings of Nanay. They came in and raised their hand Against the Maiden. Get up, watchman, Herald of tidings for us,

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That I may learn about The demolition of the Delicate One. From the tidings I heard, I learn about the calamity. The herald of the Delicate One, The herald of the Dove, The herald of my Voluptuous One, No longer sets up the harp. Baalat, his tongue has been plucked out. We entered— He had been very much dismembered. The very spot where you were lying down, We quickly entered, and we wailed. “Come, Nanay, get up! Move! That we may exalt you! Our Companion has fallen, Our Holy One has fallen. Between the (sculpted) panthers, Haddu has become undone. I will cry to you until he gets up. Get up, Gatekeeper of the Perennial Source! Arise! That he may cause to murmur (again) The stream for the Maiden. Of the image of the husband We have been deprived. His feet have been smashed, His hands have been smashed. Come and have mercy! His feet have been smashed— Our statue, the Guardian.” Who are you? You are my strong Goddess! From our raiders Please grant us rest! End of section. On the chariot Of the King of Rash, the Bull,

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Put a stele! On the throne, on the throne Of the Bull-of-Babylon, our guard. Who are you? You are our Goddess: The Great One, the Exalted One! Exalt my people! My people, Establish them like Gods! Nanay, let them get their fill (From) jars of wine, (From) his inebriating drink, That used to intoxicate me. Who are you? You are my Goddess, the Strong One! From our raiders Please grant us rest. End of section. “Upon my back The horses have marched. I am a viper At their heels. The horses have marched Upon my belly. They turned gray from my saliva, And from my venom they fell ill.” Our community by your mercy, Save (and) exalt! Those who fainted from thirst, Heal, O Lady! Make Mar-Bol The Guardian! Elevate, Nanay, The one who loves your house! A divine stand establish! Appoint, Nanay, Nabu The Herald-of-Heaven.

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A Reign of Everlasting Peace (xvi 1–3) Prai⌈se me, my ser⌉vant! Eshem-Bethel will choose you. Nab[u] will proclaim [Your] kingship. Be seated, young man, On ⌈your⌉ [thro]⌈ne.⌉ I presented myself at your call, Son of man. For you will establish peace Forever and ever! In the month of [ . . . ] Nabu will remember you. He will put you among the esteemed ones On earth and on high. Haddu, Bless Gaddi-El! (xvi 3–4; cf. xvii 17–18) Blessed are you, Hadad! Haddu, bless Gaddi-El: “Blessed are you! Baal-Shamayin controls your fortress. Patroller Nabu is your guard. Pidray is your closing-beam.” Evening in the City of Palms (xvi 4–12) At sunset Haddu is strong, The Overseer of Rash. And the people have put themselves at ease In the temple of the Lord; The caravan of wanderers Lies down in your guardroom; The cattle have been sated, Within you, at your source. How should you ever be abandoned Or be laid waste? Nabu has made you illustrious. He has adorned With stars of gold. And he has placed you

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In a fortress of palms, That shall not be captured And that hides no breach. To me, you have indeed Conducted much booty. To you silver shall be added, To you gold has been brought. And the One who makes The perennial fountain murmur Says to me: “Exalt the Lord, The God who gives And does not deceive! Exalt Me! For whom would you put next me?” Within me, you, who makes The perennial fountain murmur, You whisper: “Come up to me!” Present to your citizens A fountain of wine. Present to your citizens A vessel, Nanay. A beautiful vessel, A vessel from Anshan bring! Put it upon the table, Queen. Divide, divide The fines imposed on the enemy. Divide the booty! Through drunkenness of much wine You make them revel. Song to the Rising Sun (xvi 12–13 // 17–19) You wake up completely As the day comes out. You shine like a diadem Of gold!

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Wake up, let go of sleep, Bright-Eye! We drink from the source That shines As you come out with a golden sunrise, Swift-Hands. The God Who Answers with Fire (xvi 13–17) The force of a divine bull is your force. Indeed, Eshem-Bethel, The force of a divine bull is your force. Your venom is like asps. Your bow in heaven, You, O Lord, you draw, Biting, Eshem-Bethel, Your enemies. You see that it is good, Your hammer. With force against Elam You raise it. —You see that it is good, My protection. My protection to your fortress Shall be near. Should they raise their head, Your enemies; Should they be heated against you, The adversaries; Should they stretch out their hand Against the Lord— It is powerless against the sealed gates. I myself am coming forth from Darga-and-Rash In a fire you have never seen. Song to the Rising Sun (xvi 17–19 // 12–13) You wake up completely As the day comes out. You shine like a diadem Of gold!

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Wake up, let go of sleep, Bright-Eye! We drink from the source That shines As you come out with a golden sunrise, Swift-Hands. Shelter for the Samarians (xvii 1–6) They [came (?)] toward the evening watch. Broken men during [the mor]ning watch. [With] my own eyes I saw A troop of men co[mi]ng up. The Samarians made their way To my lord, the king. —From where are you, young man? From where are the [pe]ople of your dialect? —I come from [ J]udah, My brothers have been brou[ght] From Samaria. And now a man is bringing My sister from Jerusalem. —Come in, you, young man, We will give you shelter. Take a qab-measure of wheat On your shoulder, boy. We will know your people as a banner. On your table There will be put bowls. And from every pitcher Wine will be gulped down. And from every vessel There will be a plentiful measure. Nanay and Her Lover (xvii 7–14) “Nanay, you be my wife!” A bed of fennel they have brought, Sweet fragrances for your nostrils. Our Goddess, a bedspread Has been carried to your darling, Twigs of cedar to the darling.

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In your bridal chamber a priest is singing: “Nanay, put your lips close to me. Please enter our bed, Nanay. In the evening I have sung a serenade for you.” Indeed! The chosen lad has come. His voice will sing you a serenade In our sanctuary: “My favorite, where are you? Let my harp bring you a serenade In the bedroom of my beauty. Let the sound of my lyre Bring you a serenade, In the bedroom of my girl.” Please enter the door of our inner room! With his mouth, Consort of Our Lord, He will kiss you. “And as I come and enter, She is pleasant to my nostrils. Come and let us enter The perfumed hideaway!” Herem-Bethel will make you lie down On the bedspread, My God on embroidered sheets In his heavens. A Blessing before Bethel (xvii 15–16) May the Lord bless from Rash. Lord, speak a blessing before Bethel Who is forever and ever. “My Sister, Lady, May you be blessed. Cow, our Lady, May you be blessed.” Haddu, Bless Gaddi-El (xvii 17–19) Haddu, bless Gaddi-El: “Blessed are you!

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Baal-Shamayin, build her! Build the land near the source(s)! Build the city of ruins, Next to the sun, build her! Extend her territory! Sustain the poor one, The son of the lowly man!” End.

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Section 5: Appendix (columns xviii–xxiii) A Complaint among the Cedars (xviii 1–4) May the King observe my lament, And may he take pity at this sound. What worry makes her moan Continually in my garden? You (fem.) offer sweet scents Among the cedars, You (fem.) sing to the lyre Sweet sounds. Baal-Shamayin, come out! Wake up, my God, and observe! I shall utter my lament and prolong it, My lament, the lament of the marshlands. A Tale of Two Brothers (xviii 4–xxiii 9) In Nineveh—which made the population Wander away from your city— The year our lord was born, The king, Sarbanabal, The earth was prospering, Likewise the accumulated rain of the clouds. A man would find its gatekeepers. “You live in peace, my brother! Please, enter this gate! In our house we will still your hunger (With) a morsel (of food) And a roast piece of goat. Enter! Get up! We will sustain you.” Days went by, And years passed. The year our lord was born, Our brother Sarmugi, The earth was of copper, The skies of iron. The earth was tainted by evil, The skies by profanity.

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A man would find its gatekeepers. They were dejected, every one of them. “This gate is closed (lit., guarded).” They watched him suspiciously. They cursed him. Days went by, And years passed. The king answered and said, And he spoke to Sarmugi: “Come and go To the land of Babylon. Eat its bread (as sweet) as (honey)dew, Drink its wine (as good) as premium wine. Discontinue the goodwill gift to me, The tribute to the land of Ashur.” Sarmugi went To the land of Babylon. He ate its bread (as sweet) as (honey)dew, He drank its wine (as good) As premium wine. He discontinued his goodwill gift, The tribute to the land of A[shur]. Days went by, And years passed. The messengers came out of Babylon Until they were escorted into Nineveh. “I have been appointed and sworn in At the head of these young men. (Message) from Sarmugi to Sarbanabal: ‘I am king in Babylon, And you are governor in Nineveh. Render the tribute owed to me, Lest I destroy your honor.’” The king got angry with the messengers. They were brought to the prison And rationed bread and water. The sun began to glow and shine. The Tartan (commander in chief ) dispatched Watchmen to the palace.

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“Message of our lord to the king: Listen, lord of kings! Since the days of your father, Since the days of your father’s fathers, Messengers have not been locked up And given rations of bread and water. Lead the messengers out of the prison. Bring them to the bathhouse. Dress them in embroidered clothes. Go to the hospitality officer And assign him To the right hand of the scoundrels.” The advice pleased the king. The king answered and said: “Lead the messengers out of the prison, And let them be brought to the bathhouse. Dress them in embroidered clothes. Go to the hospitality officer And give him instructions: ‘Release the messengers from the prison, Bring them to the bathhouse, And dress them in embroidered clothes.’” They went to [the majordomo] [And] instructed him. The king [answered and said]: “Let them call [Sa]ritra, the [king’s] sister.” Saritra came to the guard At the ga[te of the pa]lace. The king [answered and sa]id, And he spoke to [his s]ister, to Saritra: “Haven’t you [se]en the arrogant one? For he acted badly against me. I appointed him governor in Babylon. He offended me, the king in Nineveh. Mighty horses from Media— They were brought to Sarmugi. Wonderful linen from Egypt— It was brought to our brother. Dogs from Suhu— They were brought to Sarmugi; Mighty bows from Elam—

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They were brought to our brother. Come and go to the arrogant one. Talk and speak to him. Let him know and listen to what you say, And let him pay attention to your words.” Saritra went out of the palace. They seated her in her chariot. She set her face toward Babylon. The watchmen climbed The wall of Babylon. The watchmen answered and said: “The force that is coming Is too great for messengers, Too small for warriors.” Saritra was made to descend From the chariot. “From where is someone like this?” “I am Saritra, The sister of the twins.” Sarmugi answered and said: “We will keep you in custody. Now it is between us and between you.” Saritra’s face He actually slapped, and he humiliated her. Saritra answered and said: “Who turned me Into his footstool? Sarmugi, my brother! When you treat your maidservant well, It will be good for your own life. When you listen to my speech, You pay attention to my words. Behave yourself as a governor. Take your feet away from here. Go to the king, your brother. For he is [len]ient And will not avenge your bravado.” Sarmugi answered and said: “Why did you (pl.) multiply the men Beside your (pl.) horses?

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Why did you reduce your riders?” Saritra answered and said: “Listen to me, my lord, listen! Truly, truly, Two kings are being overthrown On account of one of them. The one brother and the other are fighting On account of one of them. If my king will listen to me, Disregard the tribute That they did not bring you. Behave yourself as a governor. Take your feet away from here! Go to the king, your brother.” Sarmugi did not listen to her And did not pay he to her words. Saritra answered and said: “If you do not listen to my words And pay no heed to my message, Go up to the house of Bel, Indeed, to the house of Marduk. Let them build you A house of the summit, Your house of fire and conflagration. Heap up frankincense/tar and incense/pitch And Arabian spices. Make your sons enter and your daughters And your doctors who made you haughty. When you see a flash above you, The fire will burn you, Along with your sons and your daughters And your doctors who made you haughty.” Saritra left Babylon. She set her face to Nineveh. She stamped her foot. Saritra was leaving Babylon Until she was escorted into Nineveh. The king answered and said And spoke to Saritra: “What did the arrogant one say to you,

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The one to whom I sent you?” “He was hot tempered Like a blazing furnace. He has slighted and insulted me.” The king answered and said And spoke to the Tartan: “Call the assistance of my standing army.” The king summoned the administrator: “Appoint your scribe As scribe for battle.” And the king said to the army: “Summon your standing forces. Then you will slay Babylon, With the Tartan at the head of the troo[p].” The king answered and said And spoke to the Tartan: “Eventually, let them strike Babylon, But spare my brother.” [ . . . ] The Tartan left the palace. They seated him in his ch[ar]iot, And he [set] his face [to Ba]bylon. The watchmen went up To the wall of Babylon. The wat[chmen ans]wered and said: “The force [that is] coming Is too great for messengers, Too small for the royal army.” The Tartan answered and said And spoke to Sarmugi: “Listen to me, my lord, listen to me! Truly, two kings are being overthrown On account of one of them. If my king will listen to me, Disregard the tribute That they did not bring to you. Behave yourself as a governor. Take your feet away from here, And go to the king, your brother, For he is lenient,

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And he will not avenge your bravado.” Sarmugi answered and said: “Thus it has been decided Over the governor, your servant— Thus it has been decided.” “If that’s how it is, Listen to your own words, And pay heed to your own advice. Go up! For the wall of Babylon We shall take in three days. For my brothers destroy The wall in a single day. Let Sarmugi go To the house of Bel, Indeed, to the house of Marduk. Let him build for himself a house on high, Their house of fire and burning. Heap up frankincense/tar and incense/pitch, [As well as] Arabian spices. Make his sons and his daughters enter, [As well as his doctors] Who made him haughty. When [he sees the flash] above him, [The fire will burn h]im, Along with his son[s and his daughters] And his doctors who made him haughty.” The Ta[rt]an set fi[re to the wa]lls. The k[ing] made [Saritra] mount, He seated her in her chariot. She set [her] face [to Ba]bylon. Sarmugi answered [and said]: “Truly, [the Tart]an is fu[ri]ous. A devastating [fi]re [he set to the walls (?).] While I relented in [our meeting (?),] He burned my doctors When the pyre was [kind]led. While I was seeking ag[reement,] He was pi[ling up] the skulls.” Thereupon Sari [went to find the Tar]tan.

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She hastened to him. [ ...] “Wh[y . . . ?”] “The walls [. . . .] Their daughters [ . . . ] And we will sla[y . . . (?).”] “Let [my l]or[d] listen [to me:] [. . . .] [. . . . That] he has heaped up.” The Tartan s[poke to Saritra and said:] “My [ha]nds [are innocent] of the bloodshed. [The battle] was not [like that!] On whom did he heap [insults (?)?] Indeed, the battle was not like that!” The [Tar]tan sent a message and said: “I just responded to his attacks. He raised his hand against me. His army started to do battle.” [Sari]tra sent urgently to the king, She quickly sent a message to the king. Her account reached [the king:] “Make the Tartan desist From warfare, you!” “I will break that enemy, our lord. I will destroy Sarmugi On his throne. —The enemy is very much terminated. Remember, you (pl.), his end: For his own army burned him. They set fire to the house Of the one who controls heaven and earth.” The king an[swered] and said And spoke to the Tartan: “Let the [army] come (back) to me. And if you [still have] some compassion, Turn your face to me. Come to me, to the pa[lace.] I said [to you:] ‘Let them slay Babylon, But spare my brother!’”

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Abbreviations

ABD AHw AOAT AS BiOr BZAW CAD

CBR CHANE Cl.-G.

COS

CUSAS DDD

DJBA

Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David Noel Freedman. 6 vols. New York, 1992. Akkadisches Handwörterbuch. W. von Soden. 3 vols. Wiesbaden, 1965–1981. Alter Orient und Altes Testament Assyriological Studies Bibliotheca Orientalis Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft The Assyrian Dictionary of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Edited by I. J. Gelb et al. 21 vols. Chicago, 1956–2010. Currents in Biblical Research Culture and History of the Ancient Near East Ostraca from the Clermont-Ganneau collection, published by H. Lozachmeur. La collection Clermont-Ganneau. Paris, 2006. The Context of Scripture. Edited by W. W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger Jr. 3 vols. Leiden, 1997–2002. Cornell University Studies in Assyriology and Sumerology Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible. Edited by K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, and P. W. van der Horst. Rev. ed. Leiden, 1999. A Dictionary of Jewish Babylonian Aramaic of the Talmudic and Geonic Periods. M. Sokoloff. Ramat-Gan and Baltimore, 2002. 189

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Abbreviations

DN DNWSI DQA DUL

EncJud HALAT

Jastrow

JAOS JBL JEA JEOL JNES Joüon JQR JSJ JSOTSup JSSSup KAI KTU



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Divine name Dictionary of the North-West Semitic Inscriptions. J. Hoftijzer and K. Jongeling. 2 vols. Leiden, 1995. Dictionary of Qumran Aramaic. E. M. Cook. Winona Lake, Ind., 2015. A Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language in the Alphabetic Tradition. G. del Olmo Lete and J. Sanmartín. Transl. W. G. E. Watson. 3rd rev. ed. 2 vols. Leiden, 2015. Encyclopaedia Judaica. Edited by F. Skolnik and M. Berenbaum. 2nd ed. 22 vols. Detroit, Ill., 2007. Hebräisches und Aramäisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament. L. Koehler, W. Baumgartner, and J. J. Stamm. 5 vols. Leiden, 1967–1995. A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushalmi, and the Midrashic Literature. M. Jastrow. 2nd ed. New York, 1903. Journal of the American Oriental Society Journal of Biblical Literature Journal of Egyptian Archaeology Jaarbericht van het Vooraziatisch-Egyptisch Genootschap Ex Oriente Lux Journal of Near Eastern Studies Joüon, P. Grammaire de l’hébreu biblique. Rome, 1923 Jewish Quarterly Review Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Periods Journal for the Study of the Old Testament: Supplement Series Journal of Semitic Studies Supplement Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften. H. Donner and W. Röllig. 2nd ed. Wiesbaden. 1966–1969. The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani and Other Places. M. Dietrich, O. Loretz, and J. Sanmartín. Münster, 1995. Lexikon der Ägyptologie. Edited by W. Helck, E. Otto, and W. Westendof. 7 vols. Wiesbaden, 1972–1992.

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Abbreviations

LAOS LAPO MDAIK NJPS OBO OLA PAT PN RAr RIMA RlA SAA SBL SDAIK SHANE Sokoloff

TAD

ThWAT

TSAJ TUAT UF

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191

Leipziger Altorientalische Studien Littératures anciennes du Proche-Orient Mitteilungen des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts in Kairo NJPS Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures: The New JPS Translation According to the Traditional Hebrew Text Orbis biblicus et orientalis Orientalia Lovaniensa Analecta Palmyrene Aramaic Texts. D. R. Hillers and E. Cussini. Baltimore, 1996. Personal name Revue Archéologique The Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia, Assyrian Periods Reallexikon der Assyriologie. Edited by E. Ebeling et al. Berlin, 1928– . State Archives of Assyria Society of Biblical Literature Sonderschriften des Deutschen Archeologischen Instituts, Kairo Studies in the History of the Ancient Near East A Syriac Lexicon: A Translation from the Latin, Correction, Expansion, and Update of C. Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum. M. Sokoloff. Winona Lake, Ind., 2009. Textbook of Aramaic Documents from Ancient Egypt. B. Porten and A. Yardeni. 4 vols. Jerusalem, 1986–1999. (Note: In the interest of clarity, the four volumes are represented by letters [A–D] rather than numbers in the references.) Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testaments. Edited by G. J. Botterweck and H. Ringgren. 8 vols., Stuttgart, 1970–1995. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments. Edited by O. Kaiser et al. Gütersloh, 1984– . Ugarit-Forschungen

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192

Abbreviations

VT WAW ZAW ZDMG

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Vetus Testamentum Writings from the Ancient World Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft

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Notes

Unless otherwise identified, all translations are my own.

Chapter 1. Elephantine Revisited 1. For a selective list of the secondary literature until 1912, see Hedwig Anneler, Zur Geschichte der Juden von Elephantine (Bern: Max Drechsel, 1912), 151–155. 2. Eduard Sachau, Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen MilitärKolonie zu Elephantine (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911). 3. Bezalel Porten, Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968). On recent monographs, see, e.g., Anke Joisten-Pruschke, Das religiöse Leben der Juden von Elephantine in der Achämenidenzeit (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008); Alejandro F. Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine (London: T&T Clark, 2009); Annalisa Azzoni, The Private Lives of Women in Persian Egypt (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013); Angela Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult der Judäo-Aramäer von Elephantine (AOAT 396; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014); Hélène Nutkowicz, Destins de femmes à Éléphantine au Ve siècle avant notre ère (Paris: l’Harmattan, 2015); Gard Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism in the Persian Period: Studies in the Religion and Society of the Judean Community at Elephantine (BZAW 488; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016). 4. See Charles F. Nims and Richard C. Steiner, “A Paganized Version of Psalm 20:2–6 from the Aramaic Text in Demotic Script,” JAOS 103 (1983): 261–274; Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius, “An Aramaic Hymn from the Fourth Century B.C.,” BiOr 39 (1982 [1983]): 501–509. 5. See the observations by Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius, “Betel the Saviour: Papyrus Amherst 63, col. 7:1–18,” JEOL 28 (1983–1984): 110–140, esp. 111; Vleeming and Wesselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63: Essays on the Aramaic Text in Aramaic/Demotic Papyrus Amherst 63 (2 vols.; Amsterdam: Juda Palache Instituut, 1985–1990), 1:7. See also Richard C. Steiner, “Papyrus Amherst 63: A New Source for the Language, Literature, Religion, and History of the Arameans,” in Studia Aramaica: New Sources and New Approaches (ed. Markham J. Geller, Jonas C. Greenfield, and Michael P. Weitzman; JSSSup 4; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 199–207, esp. 204.

193

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Notes to Pages 3–6

6. “The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script,” translated by Richard C. Steiner (COS 1.99:309–327). 7. Richard C. Steiner, “The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text, Translation, and Notes,” February 28, 2017, at https://www.academia.edu/31662776/ The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text, Translation, and Notes. 8. Karel van der Toorn, Papyrus Amherst 63 (AOAT 448; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2018). 9. Tawny L. Holm, Aramaic Literary Texts (WAW; Atlanta: SBL Press, forthcoming). 10. Quoted in Thomas G. H. James, Howard Carter: The Path to Tutankhamun (rev. ed.; London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2001), 95. 11. See James, Howard Carter, 11–12. 12. See Archibald Henry Sayce, ed., Aramaic Papyri Discovered at Assuan (with the assistance of Arthur Ernest Cowley, and with appendices by W. Spiegelberg and Seymour de Ricci; London: A. Moring, 1906). 13. For a brief history of the discovery of the Aramaic papyri from Egypt, most of them from Elephantine, see Bezalel Porten’s forewords in TAD A:v–vi; B:v–vi; C:v–vi; D:v–x. 14. See Julius Euting, “Notice sur un papyrus égypto-araméen de la Bibliothèque impériale de Strasbourg,” Mémoires presentés par divers savants à l’Académie des Inscriptions et des Belles-Lettres de l’Institut de France: Première série, Sujets divers d’érudition 11, no. 2 (1903): 297–311 [TAD A4.5]; Arthur Ernest Cowley, “Some Egyptian Aramaic Documents,” Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology 25 (1903): 202–208, 264–266, 311–314, esp. 202–208 [reedited as TAD B4.2]. 15. See Oliver Primavesi, “Zur Geschichte des Deutschen Papyruskartells,” Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik 114 (1996): 173–187, esp. 174–177. 16. See Walter Honroth, Otto Rubensohn, and Friedrich Zucker, “Bericht über die Ausgrabungen auf Elephantine in den Jahren 1906–1908,” Zeitschrift für ägyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde 46 (1909): 14–61, esp. 14–15. 17. Draft of a letter dated March 29, 1905, probably addressed to Melchior de Vogüé, then president of the commission responsible for the publication of the Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum, quoted in Hélène Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau: Ostraca, épigraphes sur jarre, étiquettes de bois (Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et des Belles-Lettres 35; Paris: de Boccard, 2006), 28–29. 18. See Honroth, Rubensohn, and Zucker, “Bericht über die Ausgrabungen”; Wolfgang Müller, “Die Papyrusgrabung auf Elephantine 1906–1908: Das Grabungstagebuch der 1. und 2. Kampagne,” Forschungen und Berichte, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin 20–21 (1980): 75–88; Müller, “Die Papyrusgrabung auf Elephantine 1906–1908: Das Grabungstagebuch der 3. Kampagne,” Forschungen und Berichte, Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin 22 (1982): 7–50; Verena M. Lepper, “Die ägyptische und orientalische ‘Rubensohn-Bibliothek’ von Elephantine,”

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Notes to Pages 6–9

19.

20. 21.

22. 23. 24. 25.

26.

27.

28. 29.

30.

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195

in Forschung in der Papyrussammlung: Eine Festgabe für das neue Museum (ed. Verena M. Lepper; Berlin: Staatlichen Museen zu Berlin—Preussischer Kulturbesitz und Akademie Verlag, 2012), 497–502. See Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 28–67; Élisabeth Delange, ed., Les fouilles françaises d’Éléphantine (Assouan), 1906–1911: Les archives ClermontGanneau et Clédat (Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres 46; Paris: de Boccard, 2012). See Honroth, Rubensohn, and Zucker, “Bericht über die Ausgrabungen,” 15. Eduard Sachau published his lecture under the title Drei aramäische Papyrusurkunden aus Elephantine (Berlin: Preussische Akademie der Wissenschaften, 1907). See Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 50. Sachau, Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka; Arthur Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923). See Emil G. Kraeling, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1953). See Edda Bresciani, “Papiri aramaichi egiziani di epoca persiana presso il Museo Civico di Padova,” Rivista degli Studi Orientali 35 (1960): 11–24, esp. 12 n. 2. Porten and Yardeni have reedited the Padua papyri as TAD A3.3–4. Giovanni Battista Belzoni published an account of his travels and experiences in Egypt under the title Narrative of the Operations and Recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations in Egypt and Nubia (London: John Murray, 1820), but it does not mention the Elephantine papyri. News of the discovery was first announced by Semi Gabra, “Lettres araméennes trouvées à Touna el Gebel Hermoupolis ouest,” Bulletin de l’Institut d’Égypte 28 (1945–1946): 161–162. For their publication, see Edda Bresciani and Murad Kamil, Le lettere aramaiche di Hermopoli (Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Memorie 8/12.5; Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1966), 356–428. See Ludwig Borchardt, “Nachricht von einem weiteren Funde aramäischer Urkunden,” in Borchardt, Allerhand Kleinigkeiten: Seiner wissenschaftlichen Freunden und Bekannten zu seinem 70. Geburtstage am 5. Oktober 1933 überreicht (Leipzig: s.n., 1933), 47–49. The texts were published by Godfrey R. Driver, Aramaic Documents of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1954), with revised editions in 1957 and 1965. For the texts, see also TAD A6.3–16. Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau. The project is funded by the European Research Council and runs from July 2015 to June 2020. It is headed by Professor Verena Lepper from the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, Berlin. For an edition of some of the epigraphic discoveries, see Wolfgang Röllig, “Neue phönizische und aramäische Krugaufschriften und Ostraka aus Elephantine,” in The First Cataract of the Nile: One Region, Diverse Perspectives (ed. Dietrich

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31.

32. 33. 34.

35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48.

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Notes to Pages 9–15 Raue, Stephan J. Seidlmayer, and Philipp Speiser; SDAIK 36; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013), 185–203, pl. 32–41. August von Gall, Die Papyrusurkunden der jüdischen Gemeinde in Elephantine und ihrer Bedeutung für jüdische Religion und Geschichte (Giessen: Töpelmann, 1912), 5. Sachau, Drei aramäische Papyrusurkunden, 44. Charles Clermont-Ganneau, “Jéhovah à Éléphantine,” RAr 10 (1907): 432–439. See Oskar K. Rabinowitz, “The Shapira Scroll: A Nineteenth-Century Forgery,” JQR 56 (1965): 1–21. For a romanticized version of the events plus a case for Shapira’s innocence, see John Marco Allegro, The Shapira Affair (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1965). For references to further literature, see Fred N. Reiner, “C. D. Ginsburg and the Shapira Affair: A Nineteenth-Century Dead Sea Scroll Controversy,” in Reiner, Standing at Sinai: Sermons and Writings (Bloomington, Ind.: AuthorHouse, 2011), 296–322, esp. 316–317. The most recent study is Chanan Tigay, The Lost Book of Moses: The Hunt for the World’s Oldest Bible (New York: Ecco, 2016). Owen Chadwick, The Secularization of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977). George Smith, The Chaldean Account of Genesis (London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1875). Clermont-Ganneau, “Jéhovah à Éléphantine,” 432. See Julius Wellhausen, Israelitische und jüdische Geschichte (7th ed.; Berlin: Reimer, 1914; repr., Berlin: de Gruyter, 1958), 176. Eduard Meyer, Der Papyrusfund von Elephantine: Dokumente einer jüdischen Gemeinde aus der Perserzeit (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912), esp. 53. Wellhausen, Israelitische und jüdische Geschichte, 178. Gall, Die Papyrusurkunden, 25 (“die glänzendste Bestätigung für die Ergebnisse der modernen alttest. Wissenschaft nach ihrer literarkritischen Seite hin.”) Law of Return, 5710–1950, § 4A(a) (as amended). Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 17, 33, 33 n. 27. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 251. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 174–175. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 122–133, 150, 299. See, e.g., Joisten-Pruschke, Das religiöse Leben; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult; Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism. The following paragraphs have especially benefited from the insights developed in Daniel R. Schwartz, Judeans and Jews: Four Faces of Dichotomy in Ancient Jewish History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014) [reference courtesy Benjamin Sommer, Jewish Theological Seminary]; John J. Collins, The Invention of Judaism: Torah and Jewish Identity from Deuteronomy to Paul (Oakland: University of California Press, 2017), esp. 1–19. See also Shaye J. D. Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness: Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999).

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Notes to Pages 15–17

197

49. See 2 Macc 2:21, 8:1, 14:38 (twice). On the term Ioudaïsmos, see also Martha Himmelfarb, “Judaism and Hellenism in 2 Maccabees,” Poetics Today 19 (1988): 19–40. 50. See André Lemaire, “Judean Identity in Elephantine: Everyday Life According to the Ostraca,” in Judah and the Judeans in the Achaemenid Period: Negotiating Identity in an International Context (ed. Oded Lipschits, Gary N. Knoppers, and Manfred Oeming; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), 365–373, esp. 368; Annalisa Azzoni, “Women of Elephantine and Women in the Land of Israel,” in In the Shadow of Bezalel: Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten (ed. Alejandro F. Botta; CHANE 60; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 3–12, esp. 3 n. 1; Manfred Weippert, Historisches Textbuch zum Alten Testament (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010), 476–478; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 6; Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism; Collin Cornell, “Cult Statuary at the Judean Temple at Yeb,” JSJ 47 (2016): 291–309. 51. Steve Mason, “Jews, Judaeans, Judaizing, Judaism: Problems of Categorization in Ancient History,” JSJ 38 (2007): 457–512, quotation p. 457. 52. See, e.g., Philip F. Esler, “Judean Ethnic Identity in Josephus’ ‘Against Apion,’” in A Wandering Galilean: Essays in Honour of Seán Freyne (ed. Zuleika Rodgers, Margaret Daly-Denton, and Anne Fitzpatrick McKinley; Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 132; Leiden: Brill, 2009), 73–92; Daniel Boyarin, “Semantic Differences; or, ‘Judaism’/‘Christianity,’” in The Ways That Never Parted: Jews and Christians in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (ed. Adam H. Becker and Annette Yoshiko Reed; TSAJ 95; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), 65–86, esp. 67–68; Boyarin, “Rethinking Jewish Christianity: An Argument for Dismantling a Dubious Category (to Which Is Appended a Correction of My Border Lines),” JQR 99 (2009): 7–36. 53. Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies (London: Faber & Faber, 2011), 251. 54. Brent Nongbri, Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2013). 55. Nongbri, Before Religion, 12. 56. See Wilfred Cantwell Smith, The Meaning and End of Religion: A Revolutionary Approach to the Great Religious Traditions (New York: Macmillan, 1962). 57. See, e.g., the discussion of thrēskeia in Schwartz, Judeans and Jews, esp. 93–102. Compare also the Hebrew notion of yirʾat YHWH, “fear of the Lord.” 58. Most authors would put the composition of Tobit in either the late third or early second century BCE. See Andrew B. Perrin, “An Almanac of Tobit Studies: 2000–2014,” CBR 13 (2014): 107–142, esp. 113–115. A majority of scholars assign Judith to the Maccabean era, i.e., the second century BCE. See, e.g., Benedikt Otzen, Tobit and Judith (London: Sheffield Academic, 2002), 132–135. 59. Tobit descends from the tribe of Naphtali (Tob 1:1–2), while Judith is genealogically linked to Israel and Jacob ( Jdt 8:1). 60. See Tob 1:2; Jdt 8:3–4; 16:21, 23. 61. For references, see Tob 1:6; 14:8–9, 16–17; Jdt 8:21; 15:9; Tob 1:10; Jdt 12:1–4.

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Notes to Pages 17–22

62. Note especially Tob 1:17–18, where refugees from Judah are included in “my people” (ek tou genous mou). See also Tob 2:3. 63. See Jdt 7:17, 15:8, 6:17, 13:14. 64. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 1–6, for which see the discussion in Chapter 4. 65. Simon Schama, The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BCE–1492 CE (London: Bodley Head, 2013), xvi. 66. See Robin Cohen, Global Diasporas: An Introduction (2nd ed.; London: Routledge, 2008). 67. See Kim D. Butler, “Defining Diaspora, Refining a Discourse,” Diaspora 10 (2001): 189–219.

Chapter 2. The Aramean Heritage 1. See Albin van Hoonacker, Une communauté Judéo-Araméenne à Éléphantine, en Égypte, aux VIe et Ve siècles av. J.-C. (The Schweich Lectures 1914; London: Oxford University Press, 1915); Albert Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens d’Éléphantine (Paris: Geuthner, 1937); Angela Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult der Judäo-Aramäer von Elephantine (AOAT 396; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014). 2. Quoted in Thomas G. H. James, Howard Carter: The Path to Tutankhamun (rev. ed.; London: Tauris Parke Paperbacks, 2001), 95. 3. See TAD B2.2 and B2.1 and the references to their provenance in the foreword to TAD B:v. 4. For the Lachish letters, see Harry Torczyner, Lachish I: The Lachish Letters (London: Oxford University Press, 1938); David Diringer, “Early Hebrew Inscriptions,” in Olga Tufnell, with contributions by Margaret A. Murray and David Diringer, Lachish III: The Iron Age (2 vols.; London: Oxford University Press, 1953), 1:21–23, 331–339. For the Arad inscriptions, see Yohanan Aharoni, Arad Inscriptions ( Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1981). 5. For example, Bezalel Porten asserts that Jews “acquired Aramaic as a spoken language in their new home” (Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony [Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968], 33 n. 27). So too, well before him, Eduard Meyer, Der Papyrusfund von Elephantine: Dokumente einer jüdischen Gemeinde aus der Perserzeit (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912), 38. 6. The phrase “the days of the Egyptian kings,” referring to the time of the Jewish presence in Egypt before 525 BCE, is found in TAD A4.8:12 (cf. A4.7:13). 7. See Cary J. Martin, “The Demotic Texts,” in Bezalel Porten et al., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 276–384, esp. 288– 294, C1–C3. Note that Günter Vittmann observes that Aramaic was at times used in correspondence between the Persian authorities and Egyptians (“Arameans in Egypt,” in Wandering Arameans: Arameans outside Syria [ed. Angelika

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Notes to Pages 22–25

8. 9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15. 16.

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199

Berlejung, Aren M. Maeir, and Andreas Schüle; LAOS 5; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2017], 229–279, esp. 229). See TAD A4.5:1. In 1955, Cyrus H. Gordon made similar observations about the linguistic background of the Elephantine Jews but reached a different conclusion about their origin (from Yaudi in northern Syria). See Gordon, “The Origins of the Jews in Elephantine,” JNES 14 (1955): 56–58. Gösta W. Ahlström has suggested that Samaria, once it had been integrated into the Neo-Assyrian Empire, might have become Aramaic-speaking after a generation, since Aramaic was the official language of the empire. See Ahlström, The History of Ancient Palestine from the Palaeolithic Period to Alexander’s Conquest ( JSOTSup 146; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), 751 n. 4. Raymond A. Bowman has discussed the total absence of Hebrew at Elephantine and suggests that Aramaic was the official language in Palestine in Persian times. See Bowman, “Arameans, Aramaic, and the Bible,” JNES 7 (1948): 65–90, esp. 81–82. In fact, there is no evidence of the use of Aramaic as a colloquial language in Samaria in the seventh century. TAD C2.1. For a presentation of the inscription, see Heidemarie Koch, Es kündet Dareios der König . . . : Vom Leben im persischen Grossreich (Mainz: von Zabern, 1992), 13–22. TAD C3.13. For a discussion, see Gard Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism in the Persian Period: Studies in the Religion and Society of the Judean Community at Elephantine (BZAW 488; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016), 240–242, 264–265, 320–322. TAD C1.1. For an excellent introduction, translation, and textual notes, see Ingo Kottsieper, “Die Geschichte und die Sprüche des weisen Achiqar,” TUAT 1/3.2:320–347. See also James M. Lindenberger, “Ahiqar,” in Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. James H. Charlesworth; 2 vols.; Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1983–1985), 2:479–507. As part of the European Research Council grant “Localizing 4000 Years of Cultural History: Texts and Scripts from Elephantine Island in Egypt,” which is directed by Verena Lepper at the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, James D. Moore is preparing for publication over eight hundred previously unpublished Aramaic papyrus fragments from the 1906–1907 Rubensohn excavations. Of them, nearly two hundred seem to belong to the Life and Sayings of Ahiqar ( J. D. Moore, personal communication with the author). For a presentation of the different versions, see F. C. Conybeare, J. Rendel Harris, and Agnes Smith Lewis, The Story of Ah.ik.ar from the Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, Old Turkish, Greek and Slavonic Versions (2nd ed.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1913). See Charles Clermont-Ganneau, “Jéhovah à Éléphantine,” RAr 10 (1907): 432–439. For the expression “skillful scribe” (spr mhyr), see Ahiqar i 1.

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200

Notes to Pages 25–27

17. See Andrew B. Perrin, “An Almanac of Tobit Studies: 2000–2014,” CBR 13 (2014): 107–142, esp. 113–115. 18. Tob 1:21–22, 2:10, 11:18–19, 14:10. Also see Jonas C. Greenfield, “Ahiqar in the Book of Tobit,” in De la Torah au Messie (ed. Maurice Carrez, Joseph Doré, and Pierre Grelot; Paris: Desclée, 1981), 329–336. 19. See Johannes van Dijk, “Die Inschriftenfunde: II. Die Tontafeln aus dem rēšHeiligtum,” in Heinrich J. Lenzen et al., XVIII. vorläufiger Bericht über die von dem Deutschen Archäologischen Institut und der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft aus Mitteln der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft unternommenen Ausgrabungen in Uruk-Warka: Winter 1959 /60 (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 1962), 43–61, esp. 45, lines 19–20. 20. For an example, see the Instructions of Shuruppak in Wilfred G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature (Oxford: Clarendon, 1960), 92–95; Bendt Alster, The Instructions of Suruppak: A Sumerian Proverb Collection (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1974). 21. See Jonas C. Greenfield, “The Dialects of Early Aramaic,” JNES 37 (1978): 93–99, esp. 97; James M. Lindenberger, The Aramaic Proverbs of Ahiqar (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983), 279–304; Ingo Kottsieper, Die Sprache der Ah.iqarsprüche (BZAW 194; Berlin: de Gruyter, 1990), 241–246. 22. See Simo Parpola, “The Forlorn Scholar,” in Language, Literature, and History: Philological and Historical Studies Presented to Erica Reiner (ed. Francesca Rochberg-Halton; American Oriental Series 67; New Haven, Conn.: American Oriental Society, 1987), 257–278; Karel van der Toorn, “Scholars at the Oriental Court: The Figure of Daniel against Its Mesopotamian Background,” in The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception (ed. John J. Collins and Peter W. Flint; 2 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 2001), 1:37–54. 23. See Karl-Theodor Zauzich, “Demotische Fragmente zum Ahikar-Roman,” in Folia rara: Wolfgang Voigt LXV. diem natalem celebranti ab amicis et catalogorum codicum orientalium conscribendorum dedicata (ed. Herbert Franke; Wiesbaden: Steiner, 1976), 80–85; Joachim Friedrich Quack, “The Interaction of Egyptian and Aramaic Literature,” in Judah and the Judeans in the Achaemenid Era: Negotiating Identity in an International Context (ed. Oded Lipschits, Gary N. Knoppers, and Manfred Oeming; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), 375–401, esp. 376–378 (with references to further literature). 24. See Quack, “Interaction of Egyptian and Aramaic Literature,” 381–383. 25. André Lemaire, “Aramaic Literacy and School in Elephantine,” Maarav 21 (2014 [2017]): 295–307, esp. 302–307. 26. The spelling yhh is characteristic of the ostraca, while the spelling yhw is usual in the papyri. However, the spelling yhh does occur in the papyri. In the two instances where the scribe Natan son of Ananyah writes the name of Yaho, he uses the spelling yhh instead of yhw. So this was apparently the orthography that he had been taught to use. See TAD B2.7:14 (ʾgwrʾ zy yhh ʾlh; 446 BCE);

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Notes to Pages 28–29

27.

28.

29.

30.

31.

32.

33.

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B3.3:2 (lh.n zy yhh ʾlhʾ zy byb byrtʾ; 449 BCE). There is yet a third variant in the Yaho orthography. Haggai son of Shemayah writes the divine name on one occasion as yh. See TAD B3.4:25 (lh.n lyh byb; 437 BCE). The differences in spelling reflect different scribal practices within the Jewish community. In view of the dates of the yhh spelling in the papyri, it is difficult to sustain that yhh is the older spelling and yhw the younger one. For the Elephantine “pantheon,” see Max L. Margolis, “The Elephantine Documents,” JQR 2 (1912): 419–443, esp. 435 (“The Elephantine Jews could apparently boast of a pantheon”); E. C. B. MacLaurin, “Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony at Elephantine,” JNES 27 (1968): 89–96, esp. 92 (“The personnel of the Elephantine pantheon.”); Raik Heckl, “Remembering Jacob in the Late Persian/Early Hellenistic Era,” in Remembering Biblical Figures in the Late Persian and Early Hellenistic Periods (ed. Diana V. Edelman and Ehud Ben Zvi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 38–80, esp. 46–48; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 150; James S. Anderson, Monotheism and Yahweh’s Appropriation of Baal (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2015), 32–33 (“pantheon of Elephantine”); Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism, 245–252 (“The Pantheons of the Garrisons in Syene and Elephantine”). For the notion of the polytheism of the Elephantine Jews, see, e.g., Van Hoonacker, Une communauté Judéo-Araméenne, 82 (“polythéisme relatif ”); Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens, 100, 143 (“contaminated by polytheism”), 712. See Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 134–135. Very similar, though more sophisticated, is the approach in Michael H. Silverman, Religious Values in the Jewish Proper Names at Elephantine (AOAT 217; Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1985). See TAD D7.18:2–3 (byt yhh). Compare also the references in the early papyri: TAD D1.6, frag. b (bʾgwrʾ; Padua letter; first half fifth century BCE); A3.3:1 ([b]yt yhw; Padua letter); D4.9:1 ([by]t yhw; first half fifth century BCE). For references to Shabbat, see Cl.-G. 44:5 = TAD D7.10:5; Cl.-G. 152:2 = TAD D7.16:2 (reading uncertain); Cl.-G. 186:7 = TAD D7.35:7; Cl.-G. 205:4 (broken context); TAD D7.12:9; D7.16:2; D7.28:4; D7.48:5 (reading uncertain). For references to Pesach, see TAD D7.6:9–10; D7.24:5. For the expression h.y yhh, see Cl.-G. 14, 20, 41, 56, 152 (= TAD D7.16), 174, 185. Also see X16 and Join 8, presented and discussed in Hélène Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau: Ostraca, épigraphes sur jarre, étiquettes de bois (Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et des Belles-Lettres 35; Paris: de Boccard, 2006), 528–529. For the epithet yhh s.bʾt, see Cl.-G. 167:1 ([šlm NN yh] h s.bʾt yšʾl [bkl ʿdn . . . ]); TAD D7.35:1–2 = Cl.-G. 186:1–2 (šlmk yhh [s.bʾt yšʾ]l bkl ʿdn). See also Cl.-G. 175+185 (= Join 8):9. See the 402 BCE contract laying down the sale of an apartment, which mentions “the temple of Yaho” (ʾgwrʾ zy yhw) as a topographical reference (TAD B3.12:18–19).

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34. TAD C3.15:126–128. 35. See Simo Parpola and Kazuko Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths (SAA 2; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1988), no. 5, col. iv, lines 6′–7′; no. 6, lines 467–468. 36. See Herbert Donner and Wolfgang Röllig, Kanaanäische und Aramäische Inschriften (3 vols.; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1979), no. 227 (570 BCE). Note the names bytʾlʿšny, bytʾlydʿ, and bytʾldlny (twice) among nine local names. 37. Henri Seyrig, “Altar Dedicated to Zeus Betylos,” in Excavations at DuraEuropos: Preliminary Report of the Fourth Season of Work (ed. Paul V. C. Baur, Michael I. Rostovtzeff, and Alfred R. Bellinger; New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1933), 68–71, no. 168, pl. XV/1: “To [his] national god (theō patrōō) Zeus Betylos, [god] of the dwellers along the Orontes, Aurelius Diphilianus, soldier . . . , has dedicated this altar.” See also Józef Tadeusz Milik, “Les papyrus araméens d’Hermoupolis et les cultes syro-phéniciens en Égypte perse,” Biblica 48 (1967): 546–622, esp. 569, regarding another dedicatory inscription from Qalat Kalota, about twenty kilometers northwest of Aleppo, which mentions Baitylos as one of the “ancestral gods.” 38. See Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik (3 vols.; Giessen: Töpelmann, 1902–1915), 2:323–324. 39. In the petition to Bagohi, the Jews are explicit about their wish to build the second temple “just as it was formerly built.” See TAD A4.7:25. 40. See TAD B7.2:7–8; B7.3:3. 41. For the text, see TAD B6.4. Note that the contract had been drawn up at Elephantine by a Jewish scribe. For other marriage contracts, see TAD B2.6; 3.3; 3.8; 6.1–4. 42. See Silverman, Religious Values, 221–224. 43. For a discussion of the biblical evidence, see Otto Eissfeldt, “Der Gott Bethel,” Archiv für Religionswissenschaft 28 (1930): 1–30; Sergio Ribichini, “Baetyl,” DDD 157–159; Wolfgang Röllig, “Bethel,” DDD 173–175. 44. Silverman, Religious Values, 221–224. See also the name “Bethelsharezer” (Zech 7:2) and the names “Bītil-ibni,” “Bītil-ab-us.ur,” “Bītil-ah-iddin,” ˘ “Bītil-dīnī-īpuš,” “Bītil-hanna,” “Bītil-hisnī,” “Bītil-idrā,” “Bītil-naʾid,” “Bītil˘ ˘ natanna,” “Bītil-šar-us.ur” (= “Bethelsharezer”), “Bītil-sūru,” and “Zū-Bātil” found in the Al-Yahudu tablets (Laurie E. Pearce and Cornelia Wunsch, Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer [CUSAS 28; Bethesda, Md.: CDL, 2014], 13–14, 306). 45. See TAD B2.2:3–4. 46. For the first occurrence of Mahseyah, as a witness in 487 BCE, see TAD B4.2:14. For the latest occurrence, also as witness, see TAD B2.10:18. Yedanyah son of Gemaryah, leader of the Jewish community in ca. 420–400 (for the dates, see TAD A4.1 and C3.15), was a grandson of Mahseyah. The genealogical line descends from Mahseyah the elder (born ca. 570 BCE), through Yedanyah the elder (born ca. 540), Mahseyah the younger (ca. 500–415), and Gemaryah

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Notes to Pages 31–33

47. 48. 49. 50.

51. 52.

53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58.

59.

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(born ca. 475), to Yedanyah the younger (born ca. 450). Lady Mibtahyah, perhaps the most prominent woman of the Jewish community around 450 BCE, was the daughter of Mahseyah and thus a sister of Gemaryah. See, e.g., the discussion in Annalisa Azzoni, The Private Lives of Women in Persian Egypt ( Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 134–136. For Yedanyah the elder son of Mahseyah the elder, see the discussion in Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 464–465. For “Mahsah” as the shortened form of his name, see TAD B2.1:9; B2.3:35–36; Cl.-G. 2:2, for which see Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 175–176. TAD B2.1:2–3 (471 BCE; scribe: Pelatyah son of Ah.yo). TAD B2.2:3–4 (464 BCE; scribe: Itu son of Abah). TAD B2.3:1–2 (459 BCE; scribe: Attar-shuri son of Nabu-zer-ibni). For the reading of the date, see Bezalel Porten, “The Aramaic Texts,” in Porten et al., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 75–275, esp. 166 n. 3. TAD B2.4:1–2 (459 BCE; scribe: Attar-shuri son of Nabu-zer-ibni). TAD B2.6 (449 BCE; scribe: Natan son of Ananyah). This is the marriage contract of Mibtahyah daughter of Mahseyah to the Egyptian architect Eshor son of Zeha. For the reading of the date, see Porten, “Aramaic Texts,” 178 and n. 1. TAD B2.7:1–2 (446 BCE; scribe: Natan son of Ananyah). TAD B2.1:2 (471 BCE; scribe: Pelatyah son of Ahyo). TAD B2.2:8–9 (464 BCE; scribe: Itu son of Abah). TAD B2.9:3–4 (420 BCE; scribe: Mauzyah son of Natan). TAD B2.11:2 (410 BCE; scribe: Nabu-tukulti son of Nabu-zer-ibni). For Meshullam as seller of a house, see TAD B2.7:3. For a reference to a loan, see TAD B3.1 (456 BCE). In 449, Meshullam gave his “handmaiden” Tamet (variant: Tapamet) in marriage to Anani, “a temple steward of Yaho the god who is in Elephantine the fortress” (TAD B3.3). In TAD B3.12 (402 BCE), Tapamet is said to have been his “favorite wife” (ʾntth prypt), viz. of Meshullam son of Zakkur (line 11) and his gwʾ (line 24), interpreted as “female slave” (see DNWSI, s.v. “gw”), all of which suggests that Tamet used to be an odalisque or concubine. Azzoni prefers to translate gwʾ as “member of the household” (Private Lives, 92–93, and n. 36). For the meaning of lh.n, going back to Akkadian (a)lahhinu (“a kind of temple steward,” see CAD 1.1, s.v. “alahhinu”), see ˘˘ ˘˘ DNWSI, s.v. “lh.n” (“certain type of temple servant”); Stephen A. Kaufman, The Akkadian Influences on Aramaic (AS 19; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 66 and n. 176; cf. Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 12–13 (“Let sixty temple stewards (bny lh.n) sprinkle the stele of the Lord, their palms full of frankincense for the nostrils of Bethel”). As a personal name, ʾāt. ēr is also attested in Ezra 2:16, 42; Neh 7:21, 45; 10:18. For the meaning “hunchback,” see Martin Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der gemeinsemitischen Namengebung (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1928),

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60. 61. 62.

63.

64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70.

71.

72. 73. 74. 75. 76.

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Notes to Pages 33–36 227; cf. also Hebrew and Palestinian Aramaic ʾit. .t ēr, “left-handed, left-legged.” For Ater’s real name, Meshullam, see Lozachmeur, La collection ClermontGanneau, Join 9 (= Cl.-G. 221+231+X1): 1, 9 (Zakkur son of Meshullam, twice); 11 (Shillem son of Meshullam). In TAD B2.3:30, the Zekaryah son of Meshullam who acted as witness to the donation of a house by Mahseyah son of Yedanyah to his daughter Mibtahyah in 460 BCE, is to be identified with Zakkur son of Meshullam, the father of Meshullam son of Zakkur son of Ater. TAD B3.1:3 (456 BCE; scribe: Natan son of Anani). TAD B3.3:2–3 (449 BCE; scribe: Natan son of Ananyah). TAD B3.6:2 (427 BCE; scribe: Haggai = Haggai son of Shemayah). Haggai son of Shemayah son of Haggai was active as a scribe in Elephantine in 437–400 BCE. For his style and training, see the observations by Alejandro F. Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 40–43. See also TAD B2.7:19 (446 BCE; as witness); B3.4:23 (437 BCE; as scribe); B3.6:15–16 (427 BCE; as scribe); B3.8:43 (420 BCE); B3.10:23 (404 BCE); B3.11:17 (402 BCE); B3.12:32 (402 BCE); B4.6 (400 BCE). For the full name of Ananyah, see TAD B3.11:8. For his marriage with Yehoyishma, see TAD B3.8. For the ration Ananyah received, see TAD B3.13:4 (402 BCE). TAD B3.8:1–2 (420 BCE; scribe: Mauzyah son of Natan). TAD B3.12:2–3 (402 BCE; scribe: Haggai son Shemayah). TAD B3.13 (402 BCE; scribe: Shaweh-ram son of Eshem-ram son of Eshem-shezib). TAD B5.2:2 (last quarter fifth century BCE; scribe unknown). PN = Personal Name. TAD A4.3:1, 12. The expression is swnknn zy byb byrtʾ mh[h.s]nn (TAD A4.10:6; ca. 407–406 BCE). The expression is wyhwdyʾ kl bʿly yb (TAD A4.7:22 // A4.8:21–22; var. klʾ for kl). See also A4.7:26–27 // A4.8:25–26: “We, and our wives, and our children, and all the Jews over here” (407 BCE). See, most notably, Edoardo Volterra, “‘YHWDY’ e ‘ʾRMY’ nei papiri aramaici del V secolo provenienti dall’Egitto,” Rendiconti dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Classe di Scienze morali, storiche e filologiche 8/18 (1963): 131–173. Arthur Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), xvi. See Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 8. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 33. See, e.g., Anke Joisten-Pruschke, Das religiöse Leben der Juden von Elephantine in der Achämenidenzeit (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008), 84. Pierre Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte (LAPO 5; Paris: Cerf, 1972), 174. See also Botta, Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions, 54.

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Notes to Pages 36–38 77. 78. 79. 80. 81.

82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88.

89.

90.

91.

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205

See TAD B2.4:2; B2.2:3; B2.3:2; A4.7:22 // A4.8:21–22. TAD B5.2:2 (ʾrmy swnkn). TAD A4.10:6. See TAD B3.8:1–2; B3.12:2–3. The precise meaning of mgšyʾ, “the Magian,” in TAD B3.5:24 (twice) is unclear. It is possible that the reference is to members of a priestly class, but more likely the term designates ethnicity. TAD B2.2:2–3 (464 BCE; scribe: Itu son of Abah). TAD B2.7:19 (446 BCE; scribe: Natan son of Ananyah). TAD B3.4:2 (437 BCE; scribe: Haggai son of Shemayah). TAD B3.4:2 (437 BCE; scribe: Haggai son of Shemayah). TAD B3.5:3–4 (434 BCE; scribe: Mauzyah son of Natan). TAD D2.12:2–3 (403 BCE; scribe unknown). TAD B3.12:4–5 (402 BCE; scribe: Haggai son of Shemayah). Note the orthographic variants, which betray the difficulty that Jewish scribes had with a Caspian name: ynbwly (“Yanabulliya,” in B3.12:4); plyn (“Palliyana,” in B3.12:4); ʾpwly (“Apulliya,” in B3.4:4). Examples of Iranians acting as witnesses include Shatibarzana son of Ataraliya (TAD B2.1:16; 471 BCE); Phratanzana son of Atrakarana (B2.1:17; 471 BCE); Yanabulliya son of Darga (B2.1:18; 471 BCE); Barbari son of Dargi (B2.7:19; 446 BCE); Hiru son of Ataraliya (B3.4:23; 437 BCE); Wyzblw son of Ataraliya (B2.6:39; 449 BCE; B2.7:18; 446 BCE); the “house” of the Caspian Wyzbl (byt wyzbl kspy; B3.4:24; 437 BCE). See also Atropharna (ʾtrprn) son of Nisaya, a “Mede” who was witness to the manumission of Tapamet and her daughter Yeho-yishma by Meshullam son of Zakkur in 427 BCE (TAD B3.6:16–17; D2.10:9). For examples of Magians as witnesses include Mitra-sarah, mgšyʾ, and Tata, mgšyʾ (TAD B3.5:24; 434 BCE); cf. Mitra-sarah son of Mitra-sarah (B2.7:18; 446 BCE). For Iranians as neighbors of Jews, see Dargamana son of Harshayna, a Horesmian whose house was next to one of Mibtahyah’s houses (TAD B2.3:5; 459 BCE). Shatibara was the neighbor of Anani son of Azaryah (TAD B3.7:7; 420 BCE; see H. Zvi Szubin and Bezalel Porten, “Life Estate of Usufruct: A New Interpretation of Kraeling 6,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 269 [1988]: 29–45, esp. 36). Phranava son of Ziliya and his brother Mardava were the new owners of the house that used to belong to Shatibara, also neighbors of a Jewish family. See TAD B3.12:19 (402 BCE); cf. Porten, “Aramaic Texts,” 248 n. 38. For the expression “Caspians of Elephantine the fortress,” see TAD B3.5:3–4 (434 BCE; scribe: Mauzyah son of Natan). For the reference to Ubil as kspyʾ zy swn, see TAD B3.4:2 (437 BCE; scribe: Haggai son of Shemayah). For the Horesmian connection, see TAD B2.2:2–3 (464 BCE; scribe: Itu son of Abah). For the same man as a Caspian, see TAD B2.7:19 (446 BCE; scribe: Natan son of Ananyah), assuming “Dargi” is short for “Dargamana.”

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92. The expression is zy ʾtrh byb byrtʾ ʿbyd (TAD B2.2:2–3; B2.7:19; D2.12:2–3). For the translations, see DNWSI, s.v. “ʾšr”: “whose office is in the fortress of Yeb.” 93. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 35. 94. TAD B3.12:4–5. 95. For dgln zy ms.ryʾ, see TAD A4.5:1. 96. TAD D9.11, an ostracon from the mid-fifth century BCE, lists the names of nine soldiers belonging to the Iranian battalion: Rawata, [PN], Atarali, Vayarashnu, Malayad, Apulli, Saraya, Malanawari, and Pawasamaka. NonCaspians in the Iranian regiment included Arta-frada son of Arvastamara (B7.2:3–4; 401 BCE) and Barzanarava son of Artabarzana, a Bactrian (D2.12:2– 3; 403 BCE). 97. For Artabanu, see TAD B2.2:3 (464 BCE); D2.3:3 (473–465 BCE). For Namasava, see TAD B3.4:2 (twice; 437 BCE). For Marya, see TAD D2.12:3 (403 BCE); B7.2:3–4 (401 BCE). See also TAD D3.39, frag. b, found at Saqqara, the necropolis of Memphis, where there is a reference to a Horesmian [and?] Mushezib-Nabu “belonging to the battalion of Marya” (second half fifth century BCE). For the initial publication, see Noël Aimé-Giron, Textes araméens d’Égypte (Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1931), no. 27, line 4. 98. Porten’s reconstruction of the contract TAD D2.3 is therefore to be corrected: [Zadaq son of ] Qon does not have a contract with another Jew but with a Caspian or a Horesmian, “belonging to the battalion of Ar[tabanu].” According to TAD B2.2:2, 8–9, “Dargamana son of Harshayna, a Horesmian stationed in Elephantine the fortress, belonging to the battalion of Artabanu” was a neighbor of Qonyah son of Zadaq. There is a strong likelihood that [Zadaq son of ] Qon was the father of Qonyah and that his contract was with either Dargamana or the latter’s father. 99. TAD B2.2 (464 BCE) deals with a complaint by a Horesmian against a Jew that was arbitrated by the Persian judiciary. TAD B7.2 (401 BCE) records an oath taken by a Jew in response to a complaint by Artafrada son of Arvastamara, of the battalion of Marya, who accused the Jew of breaking and entering. An older relative of Artafrada acted as a witness in the settlement of a case that opposed another Jew to a Caspian (TAD B2.2:21; 464 BCE). Cl.-G. 135 (first quarter fifth century BCE) refers to a man with the Caspian name “Shatirbarzana,” who apparently was making accusations against “the Jews.” See Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 288–289. For the Caspian identity of Shati(r)barzana, see TAD B3.5:11. 100. Reuven Yaron, “Who Is Who in Elephantine?,” Iura 15 (1964): 172. 101. Aramean ethnicity: TAD B2.1:2 (twice); B2.6:2; B2.7:2, 3; B2.8:3; B2.10:2; B2.11:2; B3.3:2; B3.8:2 (twice); B3.9:2, 3; B3.12:2; B4.5:1, 2; B4.6:2; B5.2:2; B6.1:2; B7.1:2; B7.2:2; D2.3:2; D2.4:2; D.2.10:2. Jewish ethnicity: TAD B2.2:3, 9, 10; B2.4:2; B2.9:2, 3; B3.1:3; B3.6:2; B3.13:2; B5.5:2 (uncertain); D2.5:2; D2.7a:2; D2.12:4.

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Notes to Pages 40–45 102. 103. 104. 105. 106. 107. 108. 109.

207

See TAD B2.2. See TAD B2.9. See TAD B3.13. See TAD D2.12. See Herodotus, Hist. 2.29. See Herodotus, Hist. 2.104. See Herodotus, Hist. 7.89. For images of the statue and a translation of its inscriptions, see Amélie Kuhrt, The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period (London: Routledge, 2010), 477–482. See also Heidemarie Koch, “Zu den Satrapien im Achämenidenreich,” in Koch, Achämeniden-Studien (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1993), 5–48, esp. 38–39.

Chapter 3.The Aramean Diaspora in Egypt 1. See, e.g., Jill Kamil, Aswan and Abu Simbel: History and Guide (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1993), 33. 2. For a history of Aramaic, see Klaus Beyer, The Aramaic Language: Its Distribution and Subdivisions (trans. John F. Healey; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1986); Holger Gzella, A Cultural History of Aramaic: From the Beginnings to the Advent of Islam (Leiden: Brill, 2015). 3. Nadav Naʾaman, “Arpad and Aram: Reflection of a Dimorphic Society in the Sefîre Treaty,” Revue d’Assyriologie et d’archéologie orientale 110 (2016): 79–88. 4. On the Arameans of Syria, see Herbert Niehr, The Arameans in Ancient Syria (Handbuch der Orientalistik 106; Leiden: Brill, 2014); K. Lawson Younger Jr., A Political History of the Arameans (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016). 5. On the Arameans of Babylonia, see Manfried Dietrich, Die Aramäer Südbabyloniens in der Sargonidenzeit (700–648) (AOAT 7; Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1970); Younger, Political History, 655–740. 6. For the expression māt arime (kur a-ri-me; var. a-ra-me) in the inscriptions of Ashur-bel-kala (r. 1073–1056), see A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC (1114–859 BC) (RIMA 2; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 93–94, 98, 101–103, 107. 7. For the expression “all of Aram,” see the Sefire Treaty (750 BCE), KAI 222A, line 5 (ʾrm klh); Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 3 (ʾnty šgl ʿl kl ʾrm, “You are queen over all of Aram”). 8. See Herodotus, Hist. 2.104; cf. 3.5; 7.39. 9. See Bezalel Porten and John Gee, “Aramaic Funerary Practices in Egypt,” in The World of the Aramaeans II: Studies in History and Archaeology in Honour of PaulEugène Dion (ed. P. M. Michèle Daviau, John W. Wevers, and Michael Weigl; JSOTSup 325; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2001), 270–308, esp. 271–279. The texts from the four sarcophagi can be found in TAD D18.1 (“to Sheil priest of

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10.

11. 12.

13.

14.

15.

16.

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Notes to Pages 46–47 Nabu who dwells forever in Syene,” from Saqqara); D18.16 (“Abuti daughter of Shamash-nuri”); D18.17 (“Hor”); D.18.18 (“Shabbetay”). For the Hermopolis letters, see Edda Bresciani and Murad Kamil, Le lettere aramaiche di Hermopoli (Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Memorie 8/12.5; Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1966), reedited as TAD A2.1–7 and D1.1. For references to the temples of Bethel and the Queen of Heaven and of Nabu and Banit, see the temple greetings in TAD A2.1:1; A2.2:1; A2.3:1; A2.4:1. Note that the texts do not speak of “the temple of Bethel and the Queen of Heaven” nor of “the temple of Nabu and Banit.” The four deities each had a separate byt, “house.” In the genitival construction byt DN, the word byt has a semantic spectrum that runs from “chapel” to “temple.” Compare the expression “the house of the house of Yaho” (byt byt yhw) in TAD D7.18:2–3. Also see the discussion in Gard Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism in the Persian Period: Studies in the Religion and Society of the Judean Community at Elephantine (BZAW 488; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016), 94–95. TAD D2.25:9 (late fifth century BCE). TAD D5.37:8 (end fifth century BCE); D7.25:9 (first quarter fifth century BCE); D9.13:3 (second half fifth century BCE); C4.4:9 (ca. 420 BCE; Syrian or Israelite). For the meaning of the verb ʿqb, “to protect,” see Martin Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen im Rahmen der gemeinsemitischen Namengebung (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1928), 45–46, 177–178; Herbert B. Huffmon, Amorite Personal Names in the Mari Texts: A Structural and Lexical Study (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1965), 203–204; Ignace Gelb, Computer-Aided Analysis of Amorite (AS 21; Chicago: Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 1980), 15; HALAT, s.v. “ʿqb II.” TAD D3.13:4 (mid-fifth century BCE). For the meaning of dlh, see Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen, 180; HALAT, s.v. “dlh I”; Michael H. Silverman, Religious Values in the Jewish Proper Names at Elephantine (AOAT 217; Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1985), 141–142. TAD A3.2:1 (first half fifth century BCE). Arthur Cowley has read the name as bytʾlnd[n], which yields a Babylonian form that would be unique in Bethel names (Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. [Oxford: Clarendon, 1923], 161). Walter Kornfeld and Michael H. Silverman follow Cowley’s reading (Kornfeld, Onomastica aramaica aus Ägypten [Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschapften, 1978], 43; Silverman, Religious Values, 159). The tentative translation of the name is based on Hebrew and Aramaic nt. r (HALAT, s.v. “nt.r”; DNWSI, s.v. “ns.r”). TAD A2.1:3 (ca. 500 BCE); B6.4:9, 10 (ca. 420 BCE); D3.13:3 (mid-fifth century BCE); D7.41:2 (first quarter fifth century BCE); D9.10:2 (mid-fifth century BCE). TAD D9.9:14 (mid-fifth century BCE).

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17. TAD B3.9:11 (416 BCE); D3.13:4 (mid-fifth century BCE; reading uncertain). For the meaning, see CAD 14, s.v. “rēʾû,” 2a–c; PAT, s.v. “rʿyʾ.” 18. TAD D9.10:7 (mid-fifth century BCE). 19. TAD A3.8:9 (ca. 410 BCE). For the meaning, see Silverman, Religious Values, 136. 20. TAD B4.4:6, 10 // B4.3 (483 BCE). The name belongs to a centurion. For the meaning, see Silverman, Religious Values, 136. 21. TAD B3.9:11 (416 BCE). For the meaning, see Silverman, Religious Values, 136. 22. TAD D22.21 (first half fifth century BCE). 23. TAD C4.3:12, 16 (mid-fifth century BCE). 24. TAD C4.3:20 (mid-fifth century BCE). 25. TAD B8.4:3 (431 BCE); B8.6:8. The name belongs to a battalion commander. For the meaning of śgb, see DNWSI, s.v. “šgb.” 26. TAD B8.4:3 (431 BCE). For the meaning of the name, see Judah B. Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqâra (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983), 49 n. 16. 27. TAD B4.4:6, 10; C3.6:11 (first half fifth century BCE). For the meaning, see Segal, Aramaic Texts, 67 n. 15. 28. TAD A2.5:6 (ca. 500 BCE). 29. TAD C3.6:12 (first half fifth century BCE). 30. TAD D18.7; D19.2 (sarcophagus and mummy label; fifth century BCE); D19.3 (mummy label; fifth century BCE). 31. See TAD B6.4:9. 32. See TAD D18.7; D19.2. 33. TAD A2.1:3 (ca. 500 BCE). In a list of temple contributions from Elephantine (400 BCE), there is a reference to “Menahemet daughter of Yedanyah son of Anati.” See TAD C3.15:111. 34. TAD B6.4:9 (ca. 420 BCE); B3.9:12 (416 BCE). 35. TAD D22.36 (graffito from Jebel Abu-Ghorab). 36. TAD D18.6; D18.10 (sarcophagus). 37. TAD D18.2: “sarcophagus of priest (kmrʾ) Herem-shezib son of Eshah.” 38. TAD D22.5; D22.6 (graffito on pyramid of Senusret III). 39. TAD D22.53 (graffito). 40. TAD D18.7; D19.2 (sarcophagus and mummy label; fifth century BCE); D22.18 (graffito). 41. TAD B3.9:11 (416 BCE). 42. TAD B3.9:11 (416 BCE). 43. Noël Aimé-Giron, Textes araméens d’Égypte (Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1931), 116–117. 44. Henri Seyrig, “Altar Dedicated to Zeus Betylos,” in Excavations at DuraEuropos: Preliminary Report of Fourth Season of Work (ed. Paul V. C. Baur, Michael I. Rostovtzeff, and Alfred R. Bellinger; New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1933), 68–71, no. 168, pl. XV/1: “To [his] ancestral god (theō patrōō)

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45. 46.

47.

48. 49. 50. 51. 52.

53.

54.

55.

56. 57. 58. 59. 60.

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Notes to Page 49 Zeus Betylos, [god] of the dwellers along the Orontes, Aurelius Diphilianus, soldier . . . , has dedicated this altar.” See also Józef Tadeusz Milik, who cites another dedicatory inscription from Qalat Kalota, about twenty kilometers northwest of Aleppo, mentioning Baitylos as one of the “ancestral gods” (“Les papyrus araméens d’Hermoupolis et les cultes syro-phéniciens en Égypte perse,” Biblica 48 [1967]: 546–622, esp. 569). See Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik (3 vols.; Giessen: Töpelmann, 1902–1915), 2:323–324. See Simo Parpola and Kazuko Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths (SAA 2; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1988), no. 5, col. iv, lines 6′–7′; no. 6, lines 467–468. The name occurs in logographic writing as mèr-dnin.urta. See Michael C. Astour, “Kingdom of Siyannu-Ušnatu,” UF 11 (1979): 13–28, esp. 21; Nadav Naʾaman, “On Gods and Scribal Traditions in the Amarna Letters,” UF 22 (1990): 247–255, esp. 254. Name of a centurion: TAD C3.13:54 (ca. 410 BCE); C3.15:20 (400 BCE); C4.4:11 (ca. 420 BCE; reading uncertain, see also Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, no. 12). TAD D11.12:1 (jar). TAD A3.4:3 (last quarter fifth century BCE); D9.10:5 (mid-fifth century BCE). TAD B3.2:11 (451 BCE). TAD B3.2:11 (451 BCE). For this Akkadian name and its meaning, see Johann Jakob Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1939), 219; CAD 8, s.v. “kas.āru,” 1e1′. TAD D1.1:8 (ca. 500 BCE; reading uncertain); B2.1:18 (471 BCE). In later texts, “Nabu-kudurri” occurs as the name of a battalion commander. See TAD B3.12:3 (402 BCE); B3.13:2 (402 BCE); B4.5:2 (407 BCE); B4.6:2 (400 BCE); B7.2:3 (401 BCE). TAD C4.8:8. Pierre Grelot suggests reading this as Nabu-nura-l[umur], “Nabumay-I-see-the-light” (Documents araméens d’Égypte [LAPO 5; Paris: Cerf, 1972], 279). TAD A2.3:14 (ca. 500 BCE); A3.1:3, second letter 4, 6 (first half fifth century BCE); B2.8:11, 12 (440 BCE); D1.1:8 (ca. 500 BCE; reading uncertain); D9.10:4 (mid-fifth century BCE). The Nabu-natan mentioned in B2.8:11, 12 (440 BCE) is from a scribal family. See Eleonora Cussini, “The Career of Some Elephantine and Murašû Scribes and Witnesses,” in In the Shadow of Bezalel: Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten (ed. Alejandro F. Botta; CHANE 60; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 39–52, esp. 51. TAD B2.8:12, 13 (440 BCE). TAD B2.2:19 (464 BCE). TAD A2.1:2, 15; A2.2:2, 6 (ca. 500 BCE). TAD D11.12:2 (jar, twice; name of a centurion; first half fifth century BCE). TAD B3.9:11 (416 BCE); C3.14:2 (400 BCE). For the name and its meaning, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 187; CAD 17.1, s.v. “šalāmu,” esp. 7a3′.

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61.

62. 63.

64.

65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75.

76.

77.

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211

In B4.4:8 (483 BCE), the same name occurs under the form nbwšlw. For another instance of confusion between vav and mem in personal names, compare the spelling šwš for šmš, “Shamash,” in C3.14:13. TAD B2.11:14 (410 BCE; from a scribal family). See Bezalel Porten, Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 237 n. 7. TAD B2.3:28 (460 BCE); B2.4:16 (460 BCE); B2.11:14 (410 BCE; from a scribal family). See Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 237 n. 7. Name of a battalion commander: TAD B2.9:2 (420 BCE); B3.6:2 (427 BCE); B3.8:2 (420 BCE); B6.1:2 (446 BCE); B7.1:2 (413 BCE); D2.6:2 (second half fifth century BCE). For another Iddin-Nabu, see TAD D7.40:8 (first quarter fifth century BCE). TAD A3.1, second letter 1 (first half fifth century BCE; read [m]⌈š⌉zbnbw); D3.39b:4 (second half fifth century BCE). Note the absence of ShezibDN names in the Akkadian onomasticon, as opposed to the popularity of Mushezib-DN names. See the index to Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung. For the reference to a man who was “servant of Nabu the god” (ʿbd nbw ʾlhʾ), see TAD B8.4:7 (431 BCE). TAD C3.8, scroll IIIA:12. For the name and its meaning, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 154; CAD 2, s.v. “balāt.u,” 6a4′. TAD A6.2:23, 28 (name of a scribe in the office of the Persian satrap). TAD C4.2, frag. a:2 (mid-fifth century BCE). TAD C4.9 ii 2. TAD D22.30 (493 BCE). TAD C3.8, scroll IIIB:28 (Memphis shipyard journal). TAD B8.4:1 (431 BCE). Judge, TAD B8.4:1, 13 (431 BCE). TAD C3.6:10 = Segal, Aramaic Texts, no. 47, ii 5 (first half fifth century BCE). For this name, see the comments by Segal, Aramaic Texts, 67 n. 11. See Jan Dušek and Jana Mynářová, “Phoenician and Aramaic Inscriptions from Abusir,” in In the Shadow of Bezalel: Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten (ed. Alejandro F. Botta; CHANE 60; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 53–69, esp. 67–69, where the reading mnknʿn must be corrected to mnknbw. For the meaning of this adjective, see CAD 2, s.v. “banû.” For a reference to Nanay as bānītu, see the Nanaya Hymn of Sargon II in Alasdair Livingstone, Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea (SAA 3; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1989), no. 4, verso, col. ii, lines 13′–14′: “Hear, O world, the praise of Queen Nanaya! Exalt the beautiful one (bānītu), magnify the resonant one!” See Knut L. Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch zu den Geschäftsurkunden aus der Zeit des Šamaššumukîn bis Xerxes (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1905), 21–22. For Banitu names in Neo-Assyrian texts, such as Ardi-Banitu,

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78.

79. 80. 81. 82.

83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88.

89. 90.

91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96. 97. 98. 99. 100. 101. 102.

103.

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Notes to Pages 51–52 Banitu-bel-us.ri, and Banitu-eresh, see Claude H. W. Johns, Assyrian Deeds and Documents (4 vols.; Cambridge: Deighton Bell, 1901), 3:34–35. For the name “Nanay-bel-us.ri,” see Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 159a. For “Banitu-bel-us.ri,” see Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 21b. For “Nanay-kilīli-us.ri,” see Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 159a (four times). For “Banitu-agâ-us.ri,” see Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 21b. See also CAD 8, s.v. “kilīlu A,” 1d. See TAD A2.3:14. See TAD A2.2:5–6. See TAD A2.2:2. For Aramaic personal names compounded with “Banit” outside Egypt, see the name s.lbnt, “S.il-Banit” (Protection-of-Banit), in a graffito from Tarsus (ca. 700 BCE), in Niehr, Arameans in Ancient Syria, 321 and n. 34. Cl.-G. 181 (first quarter fifth century BCE). TAD D20.1:1, 3 (earlier published as KAI 268). TAD B2.1:19 (471 BCE). For the meaning of this Babylonian name, see CAD 4, s.v. “erēšu A,” 1d). TAD A2.2:5; A2.6:8 (ca. 500 BCE). TAD A2.3:2 (ca. 500 BCE). TAD A2.1:8; A2.2:1, 18; A2.3:1, 14; A2.4:1, 14; A2.5:1, cf. 10 (ca. 500 BCE). The name is also attested at Korobis, Middle Egypt, in a document from 515 BCE, see TAD B1.1:17. TAD B1.1:16 (515 BCE). TAD A2.1:1, 15; A2.2:4 (ca. 500 BCE). This name (nnyh.m) follows the pattern of such names as “Ištar-hammat” (Ishtar-is-Mistress). See CAD 6, s.v. “hammatu ˘ ˘ A” (“mistress, female head of the family”). TAD B4.7:1 (second half fifth century BCE). TAD C4.8:8. TAD B2.3:27–28; B2.4:16. TAD B3.2:11. TAD B4.3:23; B4.4:19. TAD B2.2:19. TAD D22.33 (493 BCE). TAD C4.8:6 (late fifth century BCE). TAD B3.9:11 (416 BCE); B3.13:12 (402 BCE); B4.7:1 (second half fifth century BCE); C4.8:8 (late fifth century BCE); C3.14:1 (400 BCE). TAD D22.18:1–2. TAD B3.9:12 (416 BCE). TAD A2.7:1, 5 (500 BCE). For the meaning of the name, see Kornfeld, Onomastica aramaica aus Ägypten, 68 (“ʿAttar-is-my-force”); cf. DNWSI, s.v. “dmr” (“to be protector, to protect”). TAD B3.2:13 (451 BCE); B3.9:10 (416 BCE).

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104. TAD C4.2:5 (mid-fifth century BCE). 105. From a scribal family: TAD B2.3:27–28 (459 BCE); B2.4:16 (459 BCE). On the genealogy of this scribal family, see Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 237 n. 7. 106. TAD B8.4:3, 13 (431 BCE). See the commentary in Segal, Aramaic Texts, 46 n. 4. 107. TAD D2.25:8 (late fifth century BCE). 108. TAD B8.4:3 (431 BCE). 109. TAD B3.2:11 (451 BCE). For the meaning of the name, see Silverman, Religious Values, 177. 110. TAD C3.13:57. 111. TAD B4.3:23 (483 BCE); B4.4:19 (483 BCE); D2.2:5 (483 BCE); D4.29:2 (late fifth century BCE). 112. TAD A6.1:7. For the interpretation, see CAD 4, s.v. “erēšu A,” 1d. 113. TAD C3.15:19. 114. TAD B2.2:19; B3.9:10 For the meaning of the name, see CAD 8, s.v. “kašāru C” (“to replace, to compensate”). 115. See TAD B2.2:19; cf. C3.15:23. 116. For another Babylonian Hadad name, presumably carried by an Aramean from Babylonia, “Addu-liddin” (May-Adad-give), see TAD B1.1:16 (515 BCE; from Korobis, west of Oxyrhynchos). 117. For “Marduk-ʿidri,” see TAD C4.2:8 (mid-fifth century BCE; Memphis). For “Bel-habeh,” see D22.13:1. For “Bel-natan,” see Cl.-G. 269:1. 118. TAD C3.14:14. 119. TAD D1.33, frag. d, line 2 (473 BCE). 120. TAD B3.9:9 (416 BCE). 121. TAD C3.14:13. For the construction of the name, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 275–277. 122. TAD B4.2:12. 123. TAD A2.3:5. For the Babylonian background, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 244. 124. TAD D9.10:4. For the Babylonian background, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 244. 125. TAD B3.2:12 (451 BCE). For the Babylonian background, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 244. 126. See Hélène Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau: Ostraca, épigraphes sur jarre, étiquettes de bois (Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et des Belles-Lettres 35; Paris: de Boccard, 2006), 489–490, with references. For the Babylonian background of the name, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 295. 127. TAD B2.8:13; A4.2:11; C4.8:9; B3.2:10, 13; B5.5:12. See also, from Memphis: TAD B8.7:2, 3, 6, 9, 10; B8.10:7. For the Babylonian background of the name, see Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung, 237–238. 128. Aimé-Giron, Textes araméens d’Égypte, 99–100.

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129. Regarding the Aramean funerary practices in Egypt, Porten and Gee conclude that “the Aramaic funerary material taken as a whole shows an adoption of Egyptian burial practices and religious beliefs” (“Aramaic Funerary Practices,” 302). See also Günter Vittmann, “Arameans in Egypt,” in Wandering Arameans: Arameans outside Syria (ed. Angelika Berlejung, Aren M. Maeir, and Andreas Schüle; LAOS 5; Wiesaden: Harrassowitz, 2017), 229–279, esp. 254–258. 130. Compare the almost standard invocation of Ptah in the so-called Hermopolis letters, dispatched from Memphis to Syene and Thebes (TAD A2.1:2; A2.2:2; A2.3:2; A2.4:2; A2.5:2; A2.6:1; D1.1:2), with the lack of any such invocation in the letters that Hosea son of Natan sent from Memphis to Elephantine (A3.7; A3.8; A3.9; presumably A4.2). 131. For the Khnum greeting formula, see TAD D7.21:3 (“I bless you by Yaho and Khnum”). For Mibtahyah’s oath by the Egyptian goddess Sati, see TAD B2.8:5. 132. For a discussion of Ahutab and references to the occurrences of her name in the ostraca, see Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 489–490. 133. The full lineage is Yedanyah son of Gemaryah son of Mahseyah son of Yedanyah son of Mahseyah. For Yedanyah son of Gemaryah, the great-grandson of Yedanyah son of Mahseyah, see especially TAD A4.1:1; A4.2:1; A4.3:1, 12; A4.4:7; A4.7:1 // A4.8:1; A4.10:1; B3.8:44; B3.11:20; C3.13:1–9; C3.15:124. 134. TAD C3.15:23 (400 BCE). 135. TAD B2.2:19. 136. TAD C3.15:6; B5.1:9; C3.15:111. 137. TAD B2.4:1–4 (495 BCE). Yezanyah son of Uriyah was the son of the Uriyah who is mentioned in the ostraca in connection with sacrifices (Cl.-G. 17); libations (D7.9); and a tunic left in the temple (D7.18). Yezanyah lived in the house next to Mibtahyah’s family (TAD B2.2:9–10 [464 BCE]). 138. TAD B2.6 (449 BCE). For the date, see Bezalel Porten, “The Aramaic Texts,” in Porten et al., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of CrossCultural Continuity and Change (2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 75–275, esp. 178 n. 1. 139. See TAD C4.6:5 (400 BCE; Hanan son of Pa-Khnum); C4.4:2 (420 BCE; Harmen son of Osea); cf. C3.15:4 (Hosea son of Harmen). For the Egyptian name, see Wolfgang Röllig, “Neue phönizische und aramäische Krugaufschriften und Ostraka aus Elephantine,” in The First Cataract of the Nile: One Region, Diverse Perspectives (ed. Dietrich Raue, Stephan J. Seidlmayer, and Philipp Speiser; SDAIK 36; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2013), 185–203, pls 32–41, esp. 194. Also see TAD B2.2:17 (464 BCE) and Cl.-G. 177 (Hosea son of Pete-Khnum); A4.4:5 (ca. 410 BCE; Isireshwet wife of Hosea); D3.17:10 (Mauzyah son of Pawesi and Menahem son of Pawesi); cf. C4.4:6; C3.15:82; D3.17:10; C3.15:84 (400 BCE; Menahemet daughter of Anani son of Es-Ptah); Cl.-G. 96 (Yedanyah son of Pa-Khnum); Cl.-G. 143 (Yigdal son of Psamy); B5.3:9 (Zekaryah son of Psamy); D9.10 (mid-fifth century BCE; Ananyah son of Psamishek).

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140. TAD B3.10:10; 3.11:6. In TAD B3.7:8, Hor is referred to more generally as a “servant” (ʿbd) of Khnum. 141. TAD B2.7:15. Arthur Cowley reads “son of Palt.o priest of the gods Khnum and Sati” (Aramaic Papyri, 40, commentary to line 15). The reading “Harwoz son of Palto” goes back to TAD B2.7:15. Since “Harwoz” (Horus-prospers) is a good Egyptian name, the reconstruction of “the god Khnum” is plausible, also in view of the proximity of the temple of Khnum. For the meaning of the name “Harwoz” and other occurrences, see Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 496. 142. TAD B2.1:13; B2.2:10–11. 143. See Cary J. Martin, “The Demotic Texts,” in Bezalel Porten et al., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), no. C27, line 1; Günter Dreyer, “Katarakt(e),” LÄ 3:356–358; S. Steve Vinson, The Nile Boatmen at Work (Müncher ägyptologische Studien 48; Mainz: von Zabern, 1998), 112. 144. See Cl.-G. 203, 220. For other references and discussion, see Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 494–495. 145. Pakhoi and Pamet lived next to the gardener of Khnum, facing the house of Ananyah and his family (TAD B3.12:20). 146. Note the Aramaic expression ʾlpy ʿbwrʾ (TAD D7.2:4 = Cl.-G. 169:4), meaning “ferryboats,” rather than “grain boats,” contra Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 320. The term ʿbwrʾ goes back to the root ʿbr (to cross), not to the Sumerian ebur, via Akkadian ebūru (harvest, crop). 147. For Jewish business contacts with the Arameans, see TAD A3.8:9 (Betheltaden); A4.2:11 (Passu son of Mannuki). 148. TAD B2.11 (410 BCE). 149. The name “Zakkur son of Meshullam” occurs twice in Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, Join 9 (= Cl.-G. 221+231+X1). His grandson Zakkur son of Meshullam is identified as the grandson of Zakkur son of Ater in TAD B2.7:3. Ater (ʾt. r) is a nickname meaning “hunchback.” See Noth, Die israelitischen Personennamen, 227. 150. TAD B2.7:3 (house sale); B3.1 (loan, 456 BCE). 151. For Yedanyah’s nickname “Didi,” see TAD C4.6:14 (400 BCE). 152. TAD B3.3. 153. TAD B3.9; cf. C4.6:14. 154. See TAD D7.9:3–5: “Morover, take care of our Tetosiri. Let them mark her (yktbwh) on her arm above the writing that is (already) on her arm.” 155. See TAD B2.1:18–19 (471 BCE); B2.2:19 (464 BCE; Syene); B2.8:13 (440 BCE; Syene); B3.2:11–14 (451 BCE; Syene [?]); B3.9:10–12 (416 BCE; Syene); B4.2:12 (487 BCE); B4.3:22–24 (483 BCE); B4.4:19–21 (483 BCE). 156. The term is h.ylʾ swnknʾ. See TAD C3.14:32.

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157. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 34. 158. Haggai son of Shemayah son of Haggai was active as a scribe in Elephantine in 437–400 BCE. For his style and training, see the observations by Alejandro F. Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 40–43. See TAD B2.7:19 (446 BCE; as witness); B3.4:23 (437 BCE; as scribe); B3.6:15–16 (427 BCE; as scribe); B3.8:43 (420 BCE); B3.10:23 (404 BCE); B3.11:17 (402 BCE); B3.12:32 (402 BCE); B4.6 (400 BCE). 159. TAD C3.14:11. The grain disbursements have been registered on the basis of the profession of the beneficiaries, it seems. Haggai son of Shemayah’s name occurs among those of a number of other scribes, such as Zubaidu son of Nabuushallim (TAD C3.14:2) and Eshem-[ra]m son of [Eshem-shezib] (C3.14:4). A number of the senior scribes mentioned in the disbursement list occur as witnesses in TAD B3.9 (416 BCE), an adoption contract made in the governor’s scribal office in Syene (Nabu-ushallim son of Bethel-reʿi, Eshem-ram son of Eshem-shezib). Assuming the first group of barley recipients consisted of scribes, perhaps TAD C3.14:11 is to be restored as “[Mauzyah son of ] Natan.” 160. TAD A4.10:6. 161. See TAD A4.5:1. 162. See the discussion in Chapter 2, section “The Counter Case of the Iranian Community.” 163. There are five battalion commanders mentioned in connection with Jews: (1) Varyazata: TAD B2.1:2, 3 (471 BCE); B2.2:4, 10 (464 BCE); B3.3:3 (449 BCE); B2.6:3 (449 BCE); B2.7:2 (446 BCE); B2.8:3 (440 BCE); B5.5:2 (420–400 BCE); B2.11:2 (410 BCE); (2) Atropharna: B2.2:9 (464 BCE); B3.6:16 (Atropharna son of Nisaya, a Median, first witness; 427 BCE); (3) Haomadata: B2.3:2 (459 BCE); B2.4:2 (459 BCE); (4) Iddin-Nabu: B6.1:2 (446 BCE); B3.6:2 (427 BCE); D2.6:2 (date unknown); B3.8:2 (420 BCE); B2.9:2 (420 BCE); B7.1:2 (413 BCE); (5) Nabu-kudurri: B4.5:2 (407 BCE); B3.12:3 (402 BCE); B3.13:2 (402 BCE); B7.2:3 (401 BCE); B4.6:2 (400 BCE). In view of these names, the majority opinion holds that there were several Jewish battalions. See, e.g., Hedwig Anneler, Zur Geschichte der Juden von Elephantine (Bern: Max Drechsel, 1912), 57; Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 30–31. Angela Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult der Judäo-Aramäer von Elephantine (AOAT 396; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014), 48. Porten estimates there were six battalions at Elephantine. Given the dates, it is more likely that Varyazata was the founder of the battalion and that the four others were its successive commanders. 164. For Iddin-Nabu, see TAD B6.1:2 (446 BCE); B3.6:2 (427 BCE); D2.6:2 (date unknown); B2.9:2 (420 BCE); B3.8:2 (420 BCE); B7.1:2 (413 BCE). For Nabukudurri, see B4.5:2 (407 BCE); B3.12:3 (402 BCE); B3.13:2 (402 BCE); B7.2:3 (401 BCE); B4.6:2 (400 BCE).

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165. See, e.g., TAD B3.13:1–2 (“Anani son of Haggai son of Meshullam, a Jew of the battalion of Nabu-kudurri, said to Pa-Khnum son of Besa, an Aramean of Syene of that battalion also, saying . . .”). 166. See TAD B4.4:6, 10 // B4.3:9 (483 BCE; Bethel-taqum and Nabu-shalew); Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, X2 (first quarter fifth century BCE; Nabu-shezib); C4.4:11 (ca. 420 BCE; Nabu-ʿaqab; for the reading, see Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, 36); C3.13:54 (after 411 BCE; Nabu-ʿaqab); C3.15:20 (400 BCE; Nabu-ʿaqab); C3.15:19 (400 BCE; Sin-iddin). 167. See Stephanie Dalley, “Yahweh in Hamath in the 8th Century BC: Cuneiform Material and Historical Deductions,” VT 40 (1990): 21–32; Ziony Zevit, “Yahweh Worship and Worshippers in 8th-Century Syria,” VT 41 (1991): 363– 366. Dalley and Zevit appear to have been unaware that they were recycling, in a slightly different form, an idea already formulated in the early twentieth century. See Hermann Gunkel, Genesis (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1917), 54. On the two Ya’u names, see John D. Hawkins, “Izrijau,” RlA 5:227; “Jau-biʾdi,” RlA 5:272–273.

Chapter 4.The Origins of the Elephantine Jews 1. See, e.g., Bezalel Porten, Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 11–13, 119 (ca. 650 BCE, time of Manasseh); Albert Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens d’Éléphantine (Paris: Geuthner, 1937), 90, 483–486 (ca. 622 BCE, time of Josiah’s reform); Gösta W. Ahlström, The History of Ancient Palestine from the Palaeolithic Period to Alexander’s Conquest ( JSOTSup 146; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1993), 751 (end seventh century BCE); Pierre Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte (LAPO 5; Paris: Cerf, 1972), 38–40 (610–580 BCE); Hedwig Anneler, Zur Geschichte der Juden von Elephantine (Bern: Max Drechsel, 1912), 101–117 (585–570 BCE). 2. See, e.g., Bob Becking, “Die Gottheiten der Juden in Elephantine,” in Der eine Gott und die Götter: Polytheismus und Monotheismus im antiken Israel (ed. Manfred Oeming and Konrad Schmid; Abhandlungen zur Theologie des Alten und Neuen Testaments 82; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 2003), 203–226, esp. 208 (after 525 BCE); E. C. B. MacLaurin, “Date of the Foundation of the Jewish Colony at Elephantine,” JNES 27 (1968): 89–96 (descendants of the Israelites who did not join the exodus but stayed behind in Egypt). 3. See TAD A4.7:13–14 // A4.8:12–13. 4. See Cornelius von Pilgrim, “XII. Der Tempel des Jahwe,” MDAIK 55 (1999): 142–145. 5. See Jeremiah 43–44; 2 Kgs 25:26. 6. See, e.g., Albin van Hoonacker, Une communauté Judéo-Araméenne à Éléphantine, en Égypte, aux VIe et Ve siècles av. J.-C. (The Schweich Lectures 1914; London: Oxford University Press, 1915), 82–85; Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens,

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7.

8. 9.

10. 11.

12.

13.

14.

15. 16.

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Notes to Pages 62–64 passim; Manfred Weippert, Historisches Textbuch zum Alten Testament (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010), 478. See A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization (rev. ed. completed by Erica Reiner; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1977), 13–29. See Tawny L. Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover: An Aramaic Sacred Marriage Text from Egypt,” JNES 76 (2017): 1–37, esp. 3 and n. 12. See Percy E. Newberry, The Amherst Papyri, Being an Account of the Egyptian Papyri in the Collection of Lord Amherst of Hackney (London: Bernard Quaritz, 1899). Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover,” 3 and n. 14. For the story behind the Amherst papyrus, see Richard C. Steiner, “Papyrus Amherst 63: A New Source for the Language, Literature, Religion, and History of the Aramaeans,” in Studia Aramaica: New Sources and New Approaches (ed. Markham J. Geller, Jonas C. Greenfield, and Michael P. Weitzman; JSSSup 4; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), 199–207, esp. 199; Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover,” 2–3. I owe some of the details of the story to private communications with Richard Steiner. Raymond A. Bowman, “An Aramaic Religious Text in Demotic Script,” JNES 3 (1944): 219–231, esp. 227. The 1901 photographs of the Amherst papyrus had first come into the possession of Wilhelm Spiegelberg, professor of Egyptology at Strasbourg, who bequeathed them to his student William F. Edgerton, then Egyptologist at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Bowman also had a position at the Oriental Institute. Two Egyptology colleagues— George R. Hughes and Charles F. Nims—were studying the photographs and asked Bowman’s opinion. It led to the solution of the problem. For many years after, Nims would continue to work on the papyrus, first with Bowman and later with Steiner. The discovery of the parallel between Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 11–19 and (parts of ) Psalm 20 was made by Richard Steiner and, independently, about a year later, by Jan Willem Wesselius. Their discoveries appeared in print at almost the same time. See Charles F. Nims and Richard C. Steiner, “A Paganized Version of Psalm 20:2–6 from the Aramaic Text in Demotic Script,” JAOS 103 (1983): 261–274; Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius, “An Aramaic Hymn from the Fourth Century B.C.,” BiOr 39 (1982 [1983]): 501–509. See Terryl L. Givens, By the Hand of Mormon: The American Scripture That Launched a New World Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 132–135. “The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script,” translated by Richard C. Steiner (COS 1.99:310). Richard C. Steiner, “The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text, Translation, and Notes,” February 28, 2017, at https://www.academia.edu/31662776/The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text, Translation, and Notes, 3.

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17. Tawny L. Holm, Aramaic Literary Texts (WAW; Atlanta: SBL Press, forthcoming). The manuscript of the present monograph was finished before Holm’s volume came out. 18. See Karel van der Toorn, Papyrus Amherst 63 (AOAT 448; Münster: UgaritVerlag, 2018). 19. Readers should be aware of the fact that in Steiner’s count, there are only twentytwo columns. Following the interpretation offered in the 1901 photographs of the papyrus, now in the collections of the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, Steiner distinguishes between column iv(a) and iv(b). Most other scholars of the papyrus, including Wesselius and Holm, identify column iv(b) as column v. The contents of the text show that they are right. 20. The scribes signal the end of a composition with the words sak pe˘rāšāʾ, “end of section” (see, e.g., Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 17, xv 4). The normal sign marking the end of one composition and the transition to another is sp, “end,” possibly an abbreviation for sak pe˘rāšāʾ. See Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius, “Betel the Saviour: Papyrus Amherst 63, col. 7:1–18,” JEOL 28 (1983–1984): 110–140, esp. 136. 21. See Richard C. Steiner, “The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: The Liturgy of a New Year’s Festival Imported from Bethel to Syene by Exiles from Rash,” JAOS 111 (1991): 362–363; Steiner, “Papyrus Amherst 63,” 206–207. 22. For references to Bethel in the Syrian section, see Papyrus Amherst 63, vi 22; viii 13; ix 9, 13; x 9. For references to Bethel as “the Lord,” see vi 1; vii 2, 7, 8, 12, 13; viii 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20, 22; ix 1, 8, 11, 16, 20 (twice); x 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 20, 23; xi 1, 2, 5, 6, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19. For references to “the God of Rash,” see vi 15; vii 7, 11; ix 3, 16, 18 (twice), 20; x 15, 22; xi 6, 14. For the titles “the Resident of Hamath” and “the Guardian of Siyan,” see ix 6, 10 and x 14 and parallels, respectively. 23. For Nanay, see Papyrus Amherst 63, iv 17; v 9 (twice), 11, 14. For Nabu, see iii 1, 12. For the title “Queen of Heaven,” see ii 11. 24. See especially Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 3–4; xvi 4–12; xvii 17–19. 25. For the Hermopolis letters, see Edda Bresciani and Murad Kamil, Le lettere aramaiche di Hermopoli (Atti della Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Memorie 8/12.5; Rome: Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, 1966), reedited as TAD A2.1– 2.7; D1.1. Most of the documents from Memphis (Saqqara) are published in Noël Aimé-Giron, Textes araméens d’Égypte (Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1931); Judah B. Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqâra (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983). Many of them have been reedited in TAD (see the concordances there), but note Günter Vittmann’s observation that “only some [of the texts published by Segal] have been incorporated in TAD” (“Arameans in Egypt,” in Wandering Arameans: Arameans outside Syria [ed. Angelika Berlejung, Aren M. Maeir, and Andreas Schüle; LAOS 5; Wiesaden: Harrassowitz, 2017], 253 and n. 142). 26. See the temple greetings in TAD A2.1:1; 2.2:1; 2.3:1; 2.4:1.

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27. For the meaning of the adjective, see CAD 2, s.v. “banû.” For a reference to Nanay as bānītu, see the Nanaya Hymn of Sargon II in Alasdair Livingstone, Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea (SAA 3; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1989), no. 4, verso, col. ii, lines 13′–14′: “Hear, O world, the praise of Queen Nanaya! Exalt the beautiful one (bānītu), magnify the resonant one!” “Banitu” occurs regularly in Neo-Babylonian personal names, especially among women. Such names as “Banitu-dannat” (Banitu-is-strong), “Banitu-et.irat” (Banitu-saves), and “Banitu-ramat” (Banitu-is-elevated) leave no doubt about the use of “Banitu” as the name of a deity. See Knut L. Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch zu den Geschäftsurkunden aus der Zeit des Šamaššumukîn bis Xerxes (Helsinki: Societas Scientiarum Fennica, 1905), 21–22. For Banitu names in Neo-Assyrian texts (such as “Ardi-Banitu,” “Banitu-bel-us.ri,” and “Banitu-eresh”), see Claude H. W. Johns, Assyrian Deeds and Documents (4 vols.; Cambridge: Deighton Bell, 1901), 3:34–35. A comparison between the names “Nanay-bel-us.ri” (Nanay-protect-the-lord) and “Banitu-bel-us.ri” (Banitu-protect-the-lord), on the one hand, and “Nanay-kilīli-us.ri” (Nanayprotect-my-wreath) and “Banitu-agâ-us.ri” (Banit-protect-the-crown), on the other, are suggestive of the close correspondence between Nanay and Banitu. For the names “Nanay-bel-us.ri” and “Nanay-kilīli-us.ri” (four times), see Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 159a. For the names “Banitu-bel-us.ri” and “Banitu-agâ-us.ri,” see Tallqvist, Neubabylonisches Namenbuch, 21b. See also CAD 8, s.v. “kilīlu A,” 1d. 28. See Walter Kornfeld,Onomastica Aramaica aus Ägypten (Vienna: Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschapften, 1978); Michael H. Silverman, Religious Values in the Jewish Proper Names at Elephantine (AOAT 217; Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1985). 29. The Aramaic expression is dr h.mt. See Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 6, 10. 30. The Aramaic expression is h.rd syn. See Papyrus Amherst 63, x 14 and parallels. For the interpretation, see Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63: Essays on the Aramaic Text in Aramaic/Demotic Papyrus Amherst 63 (2 vols.; Amsterdam: Juda Palache Instituut, 1985–1990), 2:40; Ingo Kottsieper, “Anmerkungen zu Pap Amherst 63, I, Teil II–V,” UF 29 (1997 [1998]): 385–434, esp. 408–409. The alternative interpretation “(May he guard) our rear/loins” (Steiner, Holm) fails to catch the parallelism between “the Guardian of Siyan” and “the God of Rash.” For a discussion, see Van der Toorn, Papyrus Amherst 63, 147–148. 31. See Michael C. Astour, “The Kingdom of Siyannu-Ušnatu,” UF 11 (1979): 13–28; Wilfred van Soldt, “Studies in the Topography of Ugarit (2): The Borders of Ugarit,” UF 29 (1997): 683–703, esp. 701–703; Trevor Bryce, The Routledge Handbook of the Peoples and Places of Ancient Western Asia: The Near East from the Early Bronze Age to the Fall of the Persian Empire (London: Routledge, 2009), 658; Van Soldt, “Sijannu,” RlA 12:480–428.

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32. Written as either kur or uru Si-an-nu /Si-a-nu. See Hayim Tadmor, The Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III King of Assyria ( Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994), 60–61 (Annals 19*:5); 66–67 (Annals 13*:6); 102–103 (Stele II B 10′, with commentary); 148–149 (Summary Inscription 5, II 18). 33. For the Zakkur inscription, with references to previous literature, see K. Lawson Younger Jr., A Political History of the Arameans (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2016), 476–481. 34. For the text, see Papyrus Amherst 63, vii 1–18. 35. Papyrus Amherst 63, x 13–17 (// x 21–24; xi 6–8; xi 13–16). 36. The Aramaic term is mnbt, related to Akkadian munnabtu, “fugitive, refugee” (see CAD 10.2, s.v. “munnabtu”). Steiner’s suggestion to understand it as .t mn ʾbd, “He shelters those perishing” (“Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text,” 35 and elsewhere) is hard to reconcile with the writing dmm2nbʾt (the Demotic signs representing Aramaic d mnbt, “of the fugitives”) in Papyrus Amherst 63, xi 16. 37. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xi 8–13. 38. Papyrus Amherst 63, vi 1–5. 39. For the conquest and sack of Hamath, see John David Hawkins, “Hamath,” RlA 4:67–70, esp. 69. For the Zakkur inscription, with references to previous literature, see Younger, Political History, 476–481. 40. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 11–19; xiii 1–10; xiii 11–17. 41. For a detailed study of the history of the text, see Karel van der Toorn, “Psalm 20 and Amherst Papyrus 63, XII, 11–19: A Case Study of a Text in Transit,” in Le-maʿan Ziony: Essays in Honor of Ziony Zevit (ed. Frederick E. Greenspahn and Gary A. Rendsburg; Eugene, Ore.: Cascade, 2017), 244–259. 42. On the basis of the orthography of yhh as a free variant of yhw, the divine name was presumably pronounced “Yaho.” See Weippert, Historisches Textbuch, 477. 43. The name “Yaho” occurs in Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 11, 14 (twice), 15 (twice), 17; xiii 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 (twice), 17. For “Adonai,” see xii 12, 16; xiii 3, 4, 8, 12, 14. 44. Two clear illustration are the forms nzbh., “we will sacrifice,” for ndbh. (Papyrus Amherst 63, xiii 2) and m(y), “who,” for mn (xiii 11–12; three times). 45. See Karel van der Toorn, “Celebrating the New Year with the Israelites: Three Extrabiblical Psalms from Papyrus Amherst 63,” JBL 136 (2017): 657–673. 46. See 1 Samuel 1, 9–10, 20. 47. Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 16–18. The text uses the term tr, “Bull,” the Aramaic equivalent of the Hebrew šôr. 48. For the Kuntillet ʿAjrud pithos 1, with reference to secondary literature, see Johannes Renz and Wolfgang Röllig, Handbuch der althebräischen Epigraphik (2 vols.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 2016), 1:61. For the biblical evidence, see Exodus 32 and 1 Kgs 12:25–33. For the expression “Calf of Samaria,” see Hos 8:5, 6; 10:5. Compare also the personal name ʿglyh, “Calf-(of-) Yaho,” from Samaria Ostracon 41.

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49. See Tryggve D. Mettinger, “Cherubim,” DDD 189–192. 50. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 1–6. 51. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xxi 17 (“With the Tartan at the head of the troo[p]”). For the word gayyās, see Jastrow, s.v. “gayyās”; DJBA, s.v. “gayysāʾ 1”; Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover,” 7. 52. Richard Steiner and Tawny Holm both interpret the text to read “a band of Samarians.” See Steiner, “Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text,” 63; Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover,” 7. 53. Contra Steiner and Holm, who both translate it as “my brother.” 54. See Karel van der Toorn, Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel (SHANE 7; Leiden: Brill, 1996), 339–344; Israel Finkelstein, The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2013), 154. 55. For the campaign, see Nazek Khalid Matty, Sennacherib’s Campaign against Judah and Jerusalem in 701 B.C.: A Historical Reconstruction (BZAW 487; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016). 56. Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 1–2. 57. Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 2–3, 6–11. 58. The Aramaic terms are bʾr, “well,” and rt, “channel”; cf. Akkadian rātu, see CAD 14, s.v. “rāt.u.” For a description of wells and cisterns, see Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager, Life in Biblical Israel (Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 123–127. 59. Steiner, “Papyrus Amherst 63,” 205. 60. Vleeming and Wesselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63, 2:72–74. 61. See 1 Kgs 22:38. On this cistern, see also Helga Weippert, Palästina in vorhellenistischer Zeit (Munich: Beck, 1988), 535. 62. For a survey and translation of the Mesopotamian sources on the fall of Samaria, see Bob Becking, The Fall of Samaria: An Historical and Archaeological Study (SHANE 2; Leiden: Brill, 1992), 21–45. 63. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 4–7. 64. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 7 (h.ls. tmr). 65. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 4 (bʿrb). 66. Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 1–2 (pqdy qr lmdbr). 67. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 18 (ʿl yd lh.mh); xvii 17–18 (ʾdmʾ ʿl p-mqrt). 68. Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 15 ( trʿ ʾytm); xvi 8, 9 (mh.bb ʾytn). 69. See Steiner, “Papyrus Amherst 63,” 204; Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover,” 22. 70. Note especially the presence of the benediction of the city in Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 3–4; xvii 17–18. This serves as a chorus bracketing the compositions in between, including the narrative about the Samarians in xvii 1–6. 71. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 4 (ngd rš). 72. Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 2–3 (ns. mrty mn rš / ʾnty šgl ʿl kl ʾrm). For the expression kl ʾrm, see also the Sefire Treaty (750 BCE), KAI 222A, line 5 (ʾrm klh, “all of Aram”).

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73. Steiner, “Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Liturgy,” 362–363; Steiner, “Papyrus Amherst 63: A New Source,” 205. Tawny Holm follows Steiner. See Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover,” 28. 74. For Rashu near Elam, see Simo Parpola, “Rāši/u,” RlA 11:255–256. 75. For references to Elam (ʿylm), see Papyrus Amherst 63, xi 18; xvi 15. In xvi 10, there is a reference to a “vessel from Anshan” (mn d ʾnšn), Anshan being a city in Elam. 76. For references to Rash, see Papyrus Amherst 63, i 14; iv 10, 13; vi 12 (twice); vii 7, 13; viii 2, 8 (twice), 15, 16; ix 3, 14, 16; x 1; xi 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 16; xii 13; xiv 2, 18; xvi 4, 17; xvii 15. 77. The name occurs in the Demotic spellings ʾlhrʾrʾšʾH (Papyrus Amherst 63, vi 15; ix 3); ʾlhrʾr2šʾH (vii 7); ʾlhrršʾH (vii 11; xi 6); ʾlhrʾšʾH (ix 16, 18 [twice]); ʾlhršH (ix 20); ʾlhʾršʾH (x 15); ʾlhršH (x 22); ʾlhʾr2ʾšʾH (xi 14). Especially the occurrence of the multiconsonantal sign hr and the reduplication of the resh convey the impression of its being a stock epithet. 78. In Papyrus Amherst 63, xi 3, there is a reference to “Rash, the land (mt) of our God.” This must have been the “land” (mt) in which trembling dwelled and whose “towns” or “cities” (qryk, “your cities”) had been destroyed (vi 2). In the dream that one song describes, a man is transported back to Rash and there descries a city (qry): “I spotted a city in Rash” (xi 9). Another song refers to Rash as “the land” (ʾrq) that Bethel loves (viii 15–16). 79. Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 16 (bnt rš). 80. See Papyrus Amherst 63, vii 13; xvi 17. 81. See DNWSI, s.v. “drg”; cf. Akkadian daraggu (see CAD 3, s.v. “duruggu” [“mountain path”]) and durgu (see CAD 3, s.v. “durgu”). For the metaphorical use of rʾš, “head,” see Edouard Dhorme, L’emploi métaphorique des noms de parties du corps en hébreu et akkadien (Paris: Geuthner, 1963), 22. 82. Papyrus Amherst 63, x 9 (dr .t ryʾ). 83. Papyrus Amherst 63, xi 1. 84. Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 15–19. 85. See Manfred Weippert, “Libanon,” RlA 6:641–650, esp. §5. 86. Compare also Herbert Niehr, “Die Wohnsitze des Gottes El nach den Mythen aus Ugarit,” in Das biblische Weltbild und seine altorientalischen Kontexte (ed. Bernd Janowski and Beate Ego; Forschungen zum Alten Testament 32; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2001), 325–360, esp. 330–339. Niehr makes the case that the Jebel Ansariya was the abode of El according to the Ugaritic texts. For a possible reference to Rash outside the Amherst papyrus, see Rainer Degen, “Die aramäischen Inschriften aus Taimāʾ und Umgebung,” in Neue Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik (ed. Rainer Degen, Walter W. Müller, and Wolfgang Röllig; 3 vols.; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1972–1978), 2:79–98 and tables VII– VIII, esp. 87–88 no. 6. This votive stele reads lph.wr zy ršh, which Degen translates as “(belonging) to the potter of Rasha.” Whether ph.wr refers to a potter is

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87.

88. 89. 90. 91.

92.

93.

94. 95.

96.

97. 98. 99.

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Notes to Pages 77–79 not certain. The word could be a calque upon Ugaritic phr and Akkadian puhru, ˘ ˘ “assembly,” frequently used in the phrase phr ilm or puhur ilī, “assembly of the ˘ ˘ gods.” The text might be a dedication “to the (divine) assembly of Rash.” See the classic presentation by Michael Rostovtzeff, Caravan Cities: Petra, Jerash, Palmyra, Dura (trans. D. Talbot Rice and T. Talbot Rice; Oxford: Clarendon; New York: Oxford University Press, 1932). See Jean Starcky and Michael Gawlikowski, Palmyre (2nd ed.; Paris: Adrien Maisonneuve, 1985), 57–72. Note also the oracle for a king in section four of Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 1–3. Josephus, Ant. 8.153–154 (Whiston). See Michael P. Streck, “Palmyra,” RlA 10:292–293. For variant spellings, see Daniel Arnaud, Recherches au pays d’Aštata: Emar VI (4 vols.; Paris: Éditions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1985–1987), vol. 3, no. 21:16, 18 (“Tadmer”); Francis Joannès, “Palmyre et les routes du désert au début du deuxième millénaire av. J.-C.,” MARI 8 (1997): 393–415 (“Tadmir”); Ernst Weidner, “Die Feldzüge und Bauten Tiglatpilesers I.,” Archiv für Orientforschung 18 (1957–1958): 342–360, reedited by A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC (1114–859 BC) (RIMA 2; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 34 A.0.87:4, lines 34–36; 37. A.0.87.3, lines 29–35 (“Tadmar”). See 1 Kgs 9:18, where the name of the city is written as tmr (“palm, place of palms”), to be pronounced, according to the masoretic signs added to the text, as “Tadmor.” The meaning “fortress, watch-post,” is based on the root dmr, “to protect, guard.” See DUL, s.v. “/ḏ-m-r/ (I)” and the etymology section there. For the word tmr, “date palm,” in the Semitic languages, see HALAT, s.v. “tāmār I”; John Huehnergard, Ugaritic Vocabulary in Syllabic Transcription (Harvard Semitic Studies 32; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1987), 185; DNWSI, s.v. “tmr”; DQA, s.v. “tmrh”; DJBA, s.v. “te˘martāʾ, tûmartāʾ, pl. tamrê”; Sokoloff, s.v. “tmartāʾ.” Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 7 (h.ls. tmr). See Jacob Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica (Leiden: Ex Oriente Lux, 1968), 27; Javier Teixidor, The Pantheon of Palmyra (Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain 79; Leiden: Brill, 1979), 1–11, esp. 1; Starcky and Gawlikowski, Palmyre, 90–92. On the name “Yamūt-Bāl” (written ba-la), see Albrecht Goetze, “SumuYamūtbāl, a Local Ruler of the Old-Babylonian Period,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 4 (1950): 65–72, esp. 72. Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 21 (“Howl and [mo]an to Bol: ‘Bol, have mercy, have compassion! [Shake off ] the sleep that is upon you!’”). See Papyrus Amherst 63, xv 7 (mr bʾl). See Adnan Bounni, “Nabu palmyrénien,” Orientalia 45 (1976): 46–52; Paul Collart and Jacques Vicari, Le sanctuaire de Baalshamîn à Palmyre (Rome: Institut Suisse de Rome, 1969).

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100. See Harald Ingholt, Henri Seyrig, and Jean Starcky, eds., Recueil de tessères de Palmyre (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, Geuthner, 1955), nos. 134 (“Symposium of Bel and Herta and Nanay”); 238 (“Herta Nanay”); 240 (“Herta and Nanay”), 241 (“Herta Nanay”); 242 (“Herta and Nanay”); PAT, no. 2766 (priests of Herta have erected a statue for PN because of his beneficence “for Herta and Nanay and Resheph the gods”). See also PAT, s.v. “nny.” 101. For Baʿaltak at Palmyra, see the references in PAT s.v. “bʿltk.” “Baʿaltak” is a fossilized form of the unattested reconstruction “Baʿalat-Ayak” and is not to be interpreted as “Your Lady,” contra Jozef Tadeusz Milik, Dédicaces faites par des dieux (Paris: Geuthner, 1972), 174–175. 102. For the expression mrt ʾyk or mrtʾ dy ʾyk, see Papyrus Amherst 63, i 4, 15; iii 1, 12–13; iv 1, 14; v 2. Note the variant in viii 6. For Bēlat-ayakki, see the references in CAD 1.1, s.v. “ajakku,” b; and Rintje Frankena, Tākultu (Leiden: s.n., 1953), 80. See Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica, 46–47. 103. For Herta (written h.rtʾ), see Ingholt, Seyrig, and Starcky, Recueil de tessères, no. 133 (“Symposium of Bel and Herta”); no. 134 (“Symposium of Bel and Herta and Nanay”); no. 238 (“Herta Nanay”); no. 239 (“Herta”); no. 240 (“Herta and Nanay”); no. 241 (“Herta Nanay”); no. 242 (“Herta and Nanay”). Also see PAT, no. 2766 (priests of Herta have erected a statue for NN because of his beneficence “for Herta and Nanay and Resheph the gods”). 104. See Papyrus Amherst 63, x 4. 105. For Shalmat, see Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica, 44 n. 118; Teixidor, Pantheon of Palmyra, 84–85. There are two votive inscriptions (see PAT, nos. 2752, 2783), plus the occurrence of šlm as a theophoric element in personal names from Palmyra. See André Caquot, “Remarques linguistiques sur les inscriptions des tessères de Palmyre,” in Recueil de tessères de Palmyre (ed. Harald Ingholt, Henri Seyrig, and Jean Starcky; Paris: Imprimerie nationale, Geuthner, 1955), 139–203, esp.178. 106. See Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 16, 20. 107. The meaning of the name “Yarhi-Bol” is contested. Scholars have traditionally interpreted it as “Moon of Bol,” which made little sense since Yarhi-Bol is a sun god. In light of the chorus to the sun in Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 12–13 // 17–19, yrh. should be interpreted on the basis of Akkadian yarahhu, “gold.” See ˘˘ Karel van der Toorn, Papyrus Amherst 63 (AOAT 448; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2018), 198. 108. Note the reference to “Yarhibol, the good god, sacred stone of the source (ms.bʾ dy ʿynʾ).” See PAT, no. 1099; Lucinda Dirven, The Palmyrenes of DuraEuropos (Religions in the Graeco-Roman World 138; Leiden: Brill, 1999), 233–235; cf. ms.b ʿynʾ, PAT, no. 0410:6. 109. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 18–19: “On the chariot of the King of Rash, the Bull, put a stele (skn)! On the throne, on the throne of the Bull-of-Babylon, our guard.”

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110. The Aramaic term is ʾytn, variant ʾytm, see Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 15; xvi 8, 9; see also the discussion in HALAT, s.v. “ʾêtān I” and compare the place name ʾētām, a location in the desert (Exod 13:20; Num 33:6, 7, 8). 111. See especially Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 13–17, and the discussion of EshemBethel in Chapter 5. 112. See Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica, 38–40; PAT, s.vv. “ʾlh,” “bryk šmh lʿlmʾ,” “t.b,” “skr,” “rh.mn.” 113. For “the Lord of the Throne” (mrʾ myt[bʾ]), see Michel Gawlikowski, Recueil d’inscriptions Palmyréniennes (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, Klincksieck, 1974), no. 145 = PAT, no. 1931. For the deified throne (mwtb) in Nabatean inscriptions, see Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica, 23; DNWSI, s.v. “mšb.” For the reference to “Throne-of-Yaho” (krs yhw), see Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 7. 114. For the litany, see Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 5–6. On the identification of the Ayakku with Eanna, see CAD 1.1, “ajakku.” For Assyrian worship of Nanaya and Nabu, see Livingstone, Court Poetry, nos. 4–6, 9. 115. This is the so-called Psalm in Praise of Uruk. See Livingstone, Court Poetry, no. 9. 116. For Nanay’s title mrt ʾyk or mrtʾ dy ʾyk, see Papyrus Amherst 63, i 4, 15; iii 1, 12–13; iv 1, 14; v 2. For “Bēlat-ayakki,” see Frankena, Tākultu, 80, no. 20; CAD 1.1, s.v. “ajakku.” 117. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xv 7. 118. The Aramaic expression is pr bbl. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 19. 119. Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 2–3, 18. 120. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 16. 121. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 5, 18–19. 122. See Wilfred G. Lambert, Babylonian Creation Myths (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 275–277, 346–349. 123. See TAD B2.2:19 (hddnwry bblyʾ). 124. For the relevant Assurbanipal annals, with references to various prisms, see Rykle Borger, Beiträge zum Inschriftenwerk Assurbanipals (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996), 232–235. For studies of the parallels, see Ingo Kottsieper, “Die literarische Aufnahme assyrischer Begebenheiten in frühen aramäischen Texten,” in La circulation des biens, des personnes et des idées dans le Proche-Orient ancien (ed. Dominique Charpin and Francis Joannès; Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale 38; Paris: Éditions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1992), 283– 289; Stephanie Dalley, “Assyrian Court Narratives in Aramaic and Egyptian: Historical Fiction,” in Proceedings of Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale 45 (ed. Tzvi Abusch et al.; Bethesda, Md.: CDL, 2001), 149–162. 125. Note the repeated instructions to the Tartan (commander in chief ) to spare the life of Shamshshumukin (Papyrus Amherst 63, xxi 18; xxii 8–9). According to the report of the Tartan, he was not responsible for the death of Shamashshumukin: “His own army burned him. They set fire to the house of the one who

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126. 127. 128.

129. 130.

131.

132. 133.

134.

135. 136.

137.

138.

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controls heaven and earth,” thereby killing Shamashshumukin, who had made Marduk’s temple his final place of refuge (Papyrus Amherst 63, xxiii 6–7). See Papyrus Amherst 63, xviii 1–4. Kottsieper, “Anmerkungen zu Pap Amherst 63,” 385–434, esp. 387–399. See especially the descriptions in Papyrus Amherst 63, xxii–xxiii. The Assurbanipal annals’ explicit denial of any harm done to the Babylonian citizens suggests that there was something to deny. See, e.g., Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica, 26–33; Teixidor, Pantheon of Palmyra, 1–11; Starcky and Gawlikowski, Palmyre, 90–92. See PAT, s.vv. “nbw,” “nny,” “nrgl,” and “šmš I,” with references to the secondary literature. Note also Ingholt, Seyrig, and Starcky, Recueil de tessères, no. 285: “Nanay (and) Shaknay, the saviors of Babylon” (nny škny šyʿt bbl). PAT, s.v. “bbl,” translates “DN (and) DN, who accompany Babylon.” See the survey of the theophoric names in Chapter 3, section “The Arameans from Babylonia.” Note also the greeting by “Bel and Nabu, Shamash and Nergal” in an Elephantine ostracon (TAD D7.30). Note the insertion of the reference to Zion, the Anointed One, and the king, and see Van der Toorn, “Psalm 20,” 253–254. For the expression mʾbd ym, “Destroyer of Yamm,” see Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 16. For descriptions of Bethel as a god of thunderstorms, see Papyrus Amherst 63, x 9; xi 4–5. Vleeming and Wesselius find the conformity between the Tale of Two Brothers and the Assyrian annals so striking that they conclude that “the story underlying this text, if not the actual composition, must be dated quite close to the events it describes, certainly not later than the sixth century BC” (Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63, 1:32). Steiner, “Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Liturgy,” 362–363. See Papyrus Amherst 63, v 8 (brš šnn). Compare also the phrase mn šrw, “from the beginning (of the year),” in one of the Israelite songs (xiii 12). For the interpretation, see Vleeming and Wesselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63, 1:75; Sokoloff, s.v. “šry” in the pael; Jastrow, s.v. “šêrûy.” For a translation of section 1 (columns i–v), see the Appendix. The descriptions have more affinity with the references and allusions to the New Year rituals in the older Mesopotamian texts than with the Babylonian Akitu festival as we know it from first-millennium BCE texts. Compare, for instance, the Sumerian Inanna Hymn of Ishme-Dagan from Isin (Thorkild Jacobsen, The Harps That Once . . . : Sumerian Poetry in Translation [New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1987], 112–124); the Old Babylonian Ishtar Hymn of Ammiditana (Benjamin R. Foster, Before the Muses: An Anthology of Akkadian Literature [2 vols.; Bethesda, Md.: CDL, 1993], 1:65–68); the Old Babylonian Nanay Hymn of Samsuiluna (Foster, Before the Muses, 1:69–71); and the Old Babylonian love lyrics of Nanay and Muati of Abieshuh (Foster, Before the Muses, 1:96–97). See Van der Toorn, “Celebrating the New Year,” 657–673.

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139. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 1–2 (“Order cold for the desert!”); xvi 4 (“At sunset Haddu is strong”); xvi 6 (“Nabu . . . has adorned with stars of gold”); xvi 12–13 // 17–19. 140. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 1–3; xvii 7–14. 141. For the stele (skn = sikkannu) on the chariot, see Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 18– 19. For hints at the inauguration of the renovated temple, see especially xv 7–9. 142. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xv 2–3; xvi 10–12; xvii 6. 143. For the dedicatory text, see PAT, no. 1347. For comments, see Hoftijzer, Religio Aramaica, 27; Han J. W. Drijvers, The Religion of Palmyra (Iconography of Religions 15; Leiden: Brill, 1976), 9. 144. See Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 19–20 (“Our Master, we will set up your dwelling. Please do come out, O Lord, and please enter the abode”); ix 9–10, 12–13. 145. See Bounni, “Nabu palmyrénien,” 46–52. 146. Steiner, on the contrary, claims to have found several references to Egypt. In 1991, he read one line of the text (Papyrus Amherst 63, x 17) as “raise up our home, Syene (swynʾ)” (“Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Liturgy,” 363), but he abandoned this reading in his 1997 translation (“Aramaic Text in Demotic Script,” COS 1.99:309–329). He finds two references to the Egyptian month Epiph (= Tishri) (“Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Liturgy,” 362 [ix 13; xvi 2, see there for commentary]) and a mention of “Horus and Osiris” in viii 7, instead of “Yaho and Asherah” (COS 1.99:314). See also his interpretation of xi 1–6 as “a prayer for the rising of the Nile” (COS 1.99:316). 147. See, e.g., the Babyloniaca of Berossus, in Felix Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker (3 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1958), 3.C.1, no. 680, esp. line 15. See also the Letter of Aristeas 12–13 (“And even before this time large numbers of Jews had come with the Persians; and in an earlier period still others had been sent to Egypt to help Psammetichus in his campaign against the King of the Ethiopians”). 148. See Mordechai Cogan, “Sukkoth-Benoth,” DDD 821–822. Note also the rendering of be˘nôt (Benoth) as Bainith in the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible (LXX). 149. Compare a fragmentary ostracon from Saqqara, written around 600 BCE, which attests to the presence of an Aramaic-speaking community in Memphis, see Aimé-Giron, Textes araméens d’Égypte, no. 2; Vittmann, “Arameans in Egypt,” 253.

Chapter 5. A Military Colony and Its Religion 1. Eduard Sachau, Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen MilitärKolonie zu Elephantine (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911). 2. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 1–6. The Aramaic term is nys, which may be linked with the Hebrew nēs, a military emblem. See Heinz-Josef Fabry, “nēs,” ThWAT 5:468–473, esp. 470–471.

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3. For a discussion of the Assyrian evidence, see Israel Ephʿal, The Ancient Arabs: Nomads on the Borders of the Fertile Crescent 9th–5th Centuries B.C. ( Jerusalem: Magnes, 1984), 93, 100, 159–164. On Arak (Greek Aracha, modern Erek), see René Dussaud, Topographie historique de la Syrie antique et médiévale (Paris: Geuthner, 1927), 247–322, chapter 5: “Palmyre et la Damascène”; Alois Musil, Palmyrena (New York: American Geographical Society, 1928), esp. 86 n. 22; Henri Seyrig, “L’incorporation de Palmyre à l’Empire romain,” Syria 13 (1932): 266–277, esp. 270; Michael Gawlikowski, “Palmyre et l’Euphratène,” Syria 60 (1983): 53–68. 4. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 7: “To me, you have indeed conducted much booty (bz sgy).” Also see xvi 11: “Divide, divide the fines imposed upon the enemy. Divide the booty (bz)!” 5. See Jer 42:1–43:7. The prophecy about Pharaoh Hophra ( Jer 44:29–30) gives a time frame for the Judean migration to Egypt. Hophra is to be identified with Apries, who ruled from 589 to 570 BCE. 6. For the term “Pathros,” see David W. Baker and Donald B. Redford, “Pathros,” ABD 5:178. 7. See Sylvie Honigman, “Jewish Communities in Hellenistic Egypt: Different Responses to Different Environments,” in Jewish Identities in Antiquity: Studies in Memory of Menahem Stern (ed. Lee I. Levine and Daniel R. Schwartz; TSAJ 130; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 117–135, esp. 120–125; Günter Vittmann, “Arameans in Egypt,” in Wandering Arameans: Arameans outside Egypt (ed. Angelika Berlejung, Aren M. Maeir, and Andreas Schüle; LAOS 5; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2017), 229–279, esp. 250–252. 8. See Philip Kaplan, “Cross-Cultural Contacts among Mercenary Communities in Saite and Persian Egypt,” Mediterranean Historical Review 18 (2003): 1–31; Kaplan, “Sojourner in the Land: The Resident Alien in Late Period Egypt,” in Walls of the Prince: Egyptian Interactions with Southwest Asia in Antiquity: Essays in Honour of John S. Holladay, Jr. (ed. Timothy P. Harrison, Edward B. Banning, and Stanley Klassen; Leiden: Brill, 2015), 396–413. For the Phoenicians, see Philip C. Schmitz, The Phoenician Diaspora: Epigraphic and Historical Studies (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2012), 32–42, 43–53. There was a Phoenician military colony at Memphis, according to Herodotus, Hist. 2.112 (Tyriōn stratópedon, “camp of the Tyrians”). For Arab soldiers, see Isaac Rabinowitz, “Aramaic Inscriptions of the Fifth Century B.C.E. from a NorthArab Shrine in Egypt,” JNES 15 (1956): 1–9; the texts have been reedited as TAD D15.1–4. 9. See Serge Sauneron and Jean Yoyotte, “Une campagne nubienne,” Bulletin de l’Institut français d’archéologie orientale 50 (1952): 157–207. 10. See, e.g., Kaplan, “Cross-Cultural Contacts.” 11. The Aramaic term for these wages is prs. See TAD A3.3:3–5. 12. For mercenaries in the south, see TAD A2.3.

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Notes to Pages 91–93

13. Note the phrase “and it will be subtracted from their account in Syene.” For the interpretation, see especially Pierre Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte (LAPO 5; Paris: Cerf, 1972), 152 n. j. 14. See Hélène Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau: Ostraca, épigraphes sur jarre, étiquettes de bois (Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et des BellesLettres 35; Paris: de Boccard, 2006), X11. 15. TAD D7.9:10–12: “Moreover, when you hear (pl.) that they have started disbursing salary (yhbn prs) in Syene, send word to me.” See also Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, Cl.-G. 170, cc 4–5: “Lo, with respect to the wages (prs) of Yedanyah, I/you have been delayed.” See also Cl.-G. 235:11–14, with a possible reference to prs in line 14. 16. See TAD B4.2:5–6 (ca. 487 BCE). 17. See, e.g., TAD B4.3 // B4.4. For a discussion of the texts and an estimation of the size of the rations allotted, see Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte, 266–271. For another example, see TAD C3.14. 18. For ʾws.r mlkʾ, “the royal treasury,” see TAD B3.13:4. For byt mlkʾ, “the royal storehouse,” see TAD B5.5:8. The identity between “(royal) treasury” and “royal storehouse” is implied by the phrase “at the royal storehouse (byt mlkʾ) and before the scribes of the treasury (spry ʾws.rʾ)” (TAD B4.4:12). Furthermore, the “salary” (prs), the normal term for mercenary wages, was paid out by “the royal storehouse” (byt mlkʾ; B4.4:16) or “the treasury” (ʾws.rʾ; TAD B4.2:6)—apparently the same place. The term for ration is ptpʾ. See TAD B3.13:5. For other occurrences of ptp, “ration,” see TAD A6.9:2, 4, 5, 6; A6.12:1 (letters by Arsames the satrap); D3.12 (fragment with a single word). The word ptp is an Aramaic calque upon the Persian pithfa. See Jan Tavernier, Iranica in the Achaemenid Period (ca. 550–330 B.C.): Lexicon of Old Iranian Proper Names and Loanwords, Attested in Non-Iranian Texts (OLA 158; Leuven: Peeters, 2007), 410, no. 4.4.3.15. 19. See TAD B5.5:8, 10. 20. Arthur Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), 12. 21. See Christelle Fischer-Bovet, Army and Society in Ptolemaic Egypt (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 118–123. 22. See TAD C3.14; B4.3 // 4.4. 23. See TAD A5.2. The Aramaic term for “field” or “land” is h.ql. See TAD A5.2:2, 4; DNWSI, s.v. “h.ql.” 24. See TAD B2.9:7. 25. The first text is TAD B5.1, which employs the Aramaic term mnh, “share, portion” (B5.1:3). For the expression hwh lhh.snw[th], see TAD B5.2:4. 26. For the interpretation of the Jewish soldiers as cleruchs, see also Eduard Meyer, Der Papyrusfund von Elephantine: Dokumente einer jüdischen Gemeinde aus der Perserzeit (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1912), 29; Hedwig Anneler, Zur Geschichte der Juden von Elephantine (Bern: Max Drechsel, 1912), 59; Abraham Schalit and

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27. 28. 29. 30.

31. 32.

33.

34.

35. 36.

37. 38.

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Lidia Matassa, “Elephantine,” EncJud 6:311–314; Angela Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel, und Kult der Judäo-Aramäer von Elephantine (AOAT 396; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014), 48. For a different view, see Elias Joseph Bickerman, The Jews in the Greek Age (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1988), 39 (“Native Egyptian soldiers received land on condition of fulfilling their military service; foreign mercenaries obtained houses in cities but, it seems, no fields to cultivate”). For the reference to ploughing, rdyt, “I ploughed,” see TAD A5.2:4. For the practice of leasing out the land, see TAD B1.1. See Raymond O. Faulkner, “Egyptian Military Organization,” JEA 39 (1953): 32–47, esp. 45. Herodotus, Hist. 2.168. The Aramaic expression is mindat h.aylāʾ. See Judah B. Segal, Aramaic Texts from North Saqqâra (London: Egypt Exploration Society, 1983), no. 24:11; TAD C3.5:7. Amélie Kuhrt, The Persian Empire: A Corpus of Sources from the Achaemenid Period (London: Routledge, 2010), 671. See the discussion in Joseph Naveh and Shaul Shaked, Aramaic Documents from Ancient Bactria from the Khalili Collections (London: Khalili Family Trust, 2012), 30. Another document that seems to hint at taxation on the produce of the fields is TAD A6.1, which refers to an order from Arsames to supply him with detailed monthly reports about the “plots” (mntʾ; line 2) that had been given out (yhb) in the province (bmdyntʾ), presumably in view of the tax to be levied. The mindah, according to another Arsames letter, is levied on domains; it is the mndt bgyʾ (TAD A6.13:4). TAD D7.27 is an early fifth-century ostracon that refers to silver in payment of “the tax” (krgʾ; line 8) by Jews at Elephantine (reading and context uncertain). See the discussion in Matthew Stolper, Entrepreneurs and Empire: The Murašû Archive, the Murašû Firm, and Persian Rule in Babylonia (Istanbul: Nederlands Historisch-Archeologisch Instituut, 1985), 70–103, esp. 98–99. The expression is byb byrtʾ mhh.snn. See TAD A4.10:6. Bread (lh.m): TAD D7.1:13; D7.8:13; D7.10:3; D7.19:5; D7:44; D7.48:3; Cl.-G. 13:2; 33:2; 50:3; 112:1; 133:2–3; 154:1; 280:10–11; Lozachmeur, La collection ClermontGanneau, Join 7:20–21. Barley (sʿrn/šʿrn): TAD D7.12:4; D7.16:5; D7.45; D7.50:2; Cl.-G 2:3; 14:3; 15:2; 22:7, 10; 25:2; 120:2–3; Lozachmeur, La collection ClermontGanneau, Join 2:8, 11 [?]. Flour (qmh.): TAD D7.1:13; Cl.-G. 11:4; Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, X7:3. Salt (mlh.): TAD D7.2:2; D7.7:2; D7.28:2; D7.35:5; Cl.-G. 128:9. For the reference to grinding, see TAD D7.10:7. Tunic (ktwn): TAD D7.7:7; D7.14:2, 6; Cl.-G. 108; 159:2; 237:3; 241:2. Sandals (šʾnyʾ): Cl.-G. 112:6; 115:13.

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39. Thread (h.wt. ): Cl.-G. 241:3. 40. Pickaxe (tly): TAD D7.7:6; Cl.-G. 3:2. Axe (mgzrh): Cl.-G. 109:1. Saw (mnšr): Cl.-G. 115:6, 9. 41. Wood (ʿq): TAD D7.5:6; D7.36:4; D7.37:3; Cl.-G. 41:17; 81:7; 126:5; 154:2; 233:3; 280:8; Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, Join 3:2. 42. Vegetables (bql): TAD D7.16:1; Cl.-G. 126:6; 233:3. Cucumbers (qt. yn): Cl.-G. 115:3. Figs (šqmn): Cl.-G. 246:2. Fish (nwnn): TAD D7.35:8; Cl.-G. 55:7; 128:2, 4. 43. For a study of the archaeological remains of the walls of the fortress at Elephantine, see Cornelius von Pilgrim, “Die ‘Festung’ von Elephantine in der Spätzeit: Anmerkungen zum archäologischen Befund,” in In the Shadow of Bezalel: Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten (ed. Alejandro F. Botta; CHANE 60; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 203–208. 44. The term is hndyz, “(said of soldiers) being held (sc. in the fortress), confined (sc. to the fortress)” (DNWSI, s.v. “hndyz”) or “garrisoned” (Tavernier, Iranica, 45). 45. See TAD A4.5:2–8, discussed in Chapter 6. 46. TAD B2.7:4–6. 47. Ahiqar ix 6. 48. The references to these temples are nearly all from the so-called Hermopolis papyri. See TAD A2.1:1; A2.2:1, 12; A2.3:1; A2.4:1. Note also the inscription identifying a sarcophagus as belonging to “Sheʾil, the priest of Nabu, who dwells forever (ytb tqmʾ) in Syene” (D18.1). 49. See Rabinowitz, “Aramaic Inscriptions.” 50. TAD C3.5:11 has a reference to silver paid by kmrn bbty ʾlhyʾ, “priests in the temples of the gods” (Memphis papyrus). 51. See André Dupont-Sommer, “Une stèle araméenne d’un prêtre de Baʿal trouvée en Égypte,” Syria 33 (1956): 79–87. See also TAD D21.17. Noël Aimé-Giron made a rapid examination of the stele in 1926, when it was in the possession of an Egyptian antiquities dealer who said it was found at Saqqara (Memphis). See Textes Araméens d’Égypte (Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale, 1931), 107–108. Dupont-Sommer bought the stele thirty years later from an antiquities dealer in Paris, “par un hasard peu ordinaire” (“Une stèle araméenne,” 80). 52. Note also the reference to two “Magians” who acted as witnesses to a house document that a Jew wrote for his wife (see TAD B3.5:24). It is not clear whether mgšyʾ serves as a term of ethnicity or as a reference to the priestly class that these men belonged to. If the latter is the case, this would be an indication of a Zoroastrian cult among the Iranians of Elephantine Island. 53. Famously, Julius Wellhausen characterized the Elephantine Jews as a “vestige of Hebraism from before the Torah” (Israelitische und jüdische Geschichte [7th ed.; Berlin: Reimer, 1914; repr., Berlin: de Gruyter, 1958], 176). 54. See the expression “in Edfu the fortress” (bt. bh byrtʾ) in TAD D1.17:3.

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55. See TAD C3.28:85 (“Yohanan the priest”), 113 (“Shelemyah the priest”), 114. For an insightful discussion of the evidence, see Honigman, “Jewish Communities,” 121–123. 56. See Josephus, J.W. 7.420–425; Ant. 13.62–73. 57. See the observations in Reinhard G. Kratz, Historical and Biblical Israel: The History, Tradition, and Archives of Israel and Judah (trans. Paul Michael Kurtz; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 137–147, esp. 143. Kratz may have overstated his case (“the situation at Elephantine would typify Judaism of the Persian epoch, a standard manifestation not only in the Israelite-Samarian region but also in Judah itself ”), but his argument against Elephantine being the exception is valid. 58. See TAD D7.18:2–3 (byt yhh). For references to the temple in early papyri, see TAD A3.3:1 ([b]yt yhw; Padua letter; second quarter fifth century BCE); D1.6, frag. b (bʾgwrʾ; Padua letter; first half fifth century BCE); D4.9:1 ([by]t yhw; first half fifth century BCE). 59. See DNWSI, s.v. “ʾgwr”; CAD 4, s.v. “ekurru A”; AHw, s.vv. “Ekur,” “ekurru.” 60. See TAD A4.7:9–13 // A4.8:8–12. For the archaeological remains of the temple, see Cornelius von Pilgrim, “XII. Der Tempel des Jahwe,” MDAIK 55 (1999): 142–145. 61. The Aramaic expression is yhw ʾlhʾ škn yb byrtʾ, see TAD B3.12:2, see the variant yhw ʾlhʾ (zy) byb byrtʾ, see B3.3:2; B3.5:2; B3.10:2; B3.11:2. The expression is reminiscent of the biblical phrase yhwh s.e˘bāʾôt haššōkēn be˘har s.iyyôn and its variants (see, e.g., Isa 8:18; Joel 4:17, 21). Compare also the expression “Nabu residing forever in Syene,” nbw ytb tqmʾ bswn (TAD D18.1). 62. See the discussion in P. Kyle McCarter Jr., “Aspects of the Religion of the Israelite Monarchy: Biblical and Epigraphic Data,” in Ancient Israelite Religion: Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross (ed. Patrick D. Miller, Paul D. Hanson, and S. Dean McBride; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987), 137–155, esp. 139–143. 63. Bezalel Porten argues that the Elephantine temple was oriented toward Jerusalem as a token of the abiding loyalty of the community to the sacred center (“The Structure and Orientation of the Jewish Temple at Elephantine: A Revised Plan of the Jewish District,” JAOS 81 [1961]: 38–42). See also Jörg Frey, “Temple and Rival Temple: The Cases of Elephantine, Mt. Gerizim, and Leontopolis,” in Gemeinde ohne Tempel/Community without Temple: Zur Substituierung und Transformation des Jerusalemer Tempels und seines Kults im Alten Testament, antiken Judentum, und frühen Christentum (ed. Beate Ego, Armin Lange, and Peter Pilhofer; Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 118; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999), 171–203. For a critique, see Gard Granerød, Dimensions of Yahwism in the Persian Period: Studies in the Religion and Society of the Judean Community at Elephantine (BZAW 488; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2016), 116–124. 64. See A. Leo Oppenheim, Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization

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65.

66. 67. 68.

69.

70.

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Notes to Page 98 (rev. ed. completed by Erica Reiner; Chicago: University of Chicago, 1977), 183–198. For the priests, see, e.g., TAD A4.3:1, 12 (“Uriyah and the priests of Yaho the God”); A4.7:1 (“Yedanyah and his colleagues the priests”). For the temple steward Ananyah son of Azaryah, see TAD B3.2 (451 BCE). Ananyah son of Azaryah was presumably the brother of Menahem son of Azaryah, married to Shelewah (TAD A3.7; B2.9:17 [420 BCE]; B3.8:44 [420 BCE]; C3.13:10–19). The word for priest is khn, a specifically Jewish term as opposed to the designation kmr used for priests of Egyptian or Aramean gods. For the term lh.n, see DNWSI, s.v. “lh.n” (“certain type of temple servant”); CAD 1.1, s.v. “alahhinu,” ˘˘ esp. the discussion on p. 296; Stephen A. Kaufman, The Akkadian Influences on Aramaic (AS 19; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974), 66 and n. 176. For a seventh-century BCE occurrence of lh.n in Phoenician, see Frank Moore Cross, “Inscriptions in Phoenician and Other Scripts,” in Ashkelon 1: Introduction and Overview (1985–2006) (ed. Lawrence E. Stager, J. David Schloen, and Daniel M. Master; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2008), 333–372, esp. 343–344. Papyrus Amherst 63 contains a reference to bny lh.n in viii 12–13: “Let sixty temple stewards (bny lh.n) sprinkle the stele of the Lord, their palms full of frankincense for Bethel’s nostrils.” It is clear that the word lh.n was not distinctly Jewish. See also the occurrence of the term for an Aramean temple steward (lšrh lh.nʾ) in TAD D21.2. TAD A4.9:3 (byt mdbh.ʾ ). For references to the offerings in the Jewish temple at Elephantine, see especially TAD A4.7:25–28 // A4.8:25–27; A4.9:9–11; A4.10:10–11; C3.13. For the marzeah ostracon, see D7.29. For references to the marzeah in Palmyra, see PAT s.v. “mrzh..” The Hebrew texts are found at Jer 16:5 and Amos 6:7. For a study of the marzeah institution, see Mark S. Smith, The Ugaritic Baal Cycle (2 vols.; Leiden: Brill, 1994), 1:140–144, with references to further literature. Although the term marzeah does not occur in Papyrus Amherst 63, there are several references to banquets in the temple (e.g., xiii 1–10; xv 1–3; xvi 9–12). “[Greetings to the t]emple of Yaho in Elephantine” (TAD A3.3:1); “Greetings to the temple of Bethel (byt btʾl) and the temple of the Queen of Heaven (wbyt mlkt šmyn)” (A2.1:1); “Greetings to the temple of Banit (byt bnt) in Syene” (A2.2:1; 2.4:1); “Greetings to the temple of Nabu (byt nbw)” (A2.3:1). The interpretation of the temple greeting as a periphrastic blessing addressed to the recipient of the letter is unnecessary, contra F. Mario Fales, “Aramaic Letters and Neo-Assyrian Letters: Philological and Methodological Notes,” JAOS 107 (1987): 451–469, esp. 455–456 (“The well-being of the temple of DN to PN from PN”). Fales’s interpretation has been adopted by Dirk Schwiderski, Handbuch des nordwestsemitischen Briefformulars: Ein Beitrag zur Echtheitsfrage der aramäischen Briefe des Esrabuches (BZAW 295; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2000), esp. 146–149. See TAD A4.8:1.

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71. See TAD A4.5:3, 8 (Khnub); A4.7:5 // A4.8:4 (Khnub); A5.4:2 (Egyptian priest); B2.7:15 (Khnum?); C3.5:11 (“the priests in the temples”); D5.10:2; D18.1:1 (Nabu); D18.2; D23.1 ii 9. 72. See Cary J. Martin, “The Demotic Texts,” in Bezalel Porten et al., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 276–384, esp. 276– 287 and nos. 1–3. 73. See Brent Nongbri, Before Religion: A History of a Modern Concept (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2013), and the more extended discussion in Chapter 1, section “Jews or Judeans.” 74. See especially TAD A4.8:1. 75. See Eleonora Cussini, “Witnesses in Aramaic Legal Documents and Inscriptions,” in Witnessing in the Ancient Near East: Proceedings of the Round Table Held at the University of Verona (ed. Nicoletta Bellotto and Simonetta Ponchia; Acta Sileni 2; Padua: Sargon, 2010), 191–224; Cussini, “The Career of Some Elephantine and Murašû Scribes and Witnesses,” in In the Shadow of Bezalel: Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten (ed. Alejandro F. Botta; CHANE 60; Leiden: Brill, 2013), 39–52. 76. An Akkadian wisdom text from Ugarit mentions the fee for the oath: šukun kaspī ša māmīti itti ilī teleqqe, “Deposit the money for the oath: you will get it back from the gods.” See Wilfred G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature (Oxford: Clarendon, 1960), 116, line 1. 77. The Aramaic expression is twb mn (TAD B7.1:5); cf. the parallel Akkadian expressions ištu māmīti târu and ašar ilāni târu (CAD 18, s.v. “târu,” 3d). 78. For the “oath of litigation,” mwmʾ nprt, see TAD B8.9:5 (a papyrus from Memphis). For the oath as “a declaration by gods,” mqryʾ ʿl ʾlhn, see TAD B7.2:6. For gods as witnesses of the oath, see the following expressions: “You swore to me (ly) by Yaho (byhw) the god in Elephantine the fortress” (TAD B2.2:4); “And an oath to him was imposed upon me, and I swore to him (lh)” (B2.3:24); “Then an oath came upon you and you swore to me (ly) about them (ʿlyhm) by Sati (bsty) the goddess” (B2.8:4–5); “[an oa]th to you (lk) by Yaho (byhw) the god that [I] did not steal fish [from you]” (B7.1:4); “I will declare to you (lk) upon (ʿl) Herem-Bethel the god” (B7.2:7–8); “Oath (mwm[ʾh] which PN swore to (l) PN by (b) He[rem the go]d in the sanctuary and by (b) AnatYaho” (B7.3:1–3). 79. See TAD B7.2:8, 10. The earlier translation of the term as “avengers” (Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, 21, comments to no. 7, line 8) is based on the reading nqmn/ nqmyʾ. The new Porten/Yardeni edition of the text in TAD B7.2 has established that the reading must be mqmn/mqmyʾ. Derived from verb qwm, mqm refers to someone standing in attendance, in our case attending (and witnessing) the oath ceremony. The fact that the juror (and his opponent) was positioned “between (byn) the four attendants” suggests that each party was entitled to bring two witnesses.

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80. See TAD B2.2:4 (464 BCE); B7.1:4 (413 BCE). 81. The expression is attested in Cl.-G. 14; 20; 41; 56; 152 (= TAD D7.16); 174; 185; and in collection X16 and Join 8, presented and discussed in Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, esp. 528–529. 82. TAD C3.15, esp. lines 1, 123–128. 83. For references to Eshem-Bethel, see Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 1, 14, 15. For the Assyrian references to Anat-Bethel, see Simo Parpola and Kazuko Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths (SAA 2; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1988), no. 5, column iv, line 6; no. 6, line 467. The term theoi sunnaoi is borrowed from Manfred Weippert, Historisches Textbuch zum Alten Testament (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2010), 477. 84. TAD B7.2:7–8. 85. See TAD B7.3:3. For Menahem son of Shallum, see TAD D3.17:1–2; B2.10:18 (416 BCE); B3.13:13 (402 BCE); B4.6 (400 BCE); C3.13:46–47 (after 411 BCE); D1.13 (late fifth century BCE). For Meshullam son of Nathan, see TAD D3.17:9. 86. For the reference to Herem-Bethel, see Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 14. For the interpretation of Herem as “sacred property,” now to be abandoned, see Karel van der Toorn, “H . erem-Bethel and Elephantine Oath Procedure,” ZAW 98 (1986): 282–285. 87. See the observations in Karel van der Toorn, “The Iconic Book: Analogies between the Babylonian Cult of Images and the Veneration of the Torah,” in The Image and the Book (ed. Karel van der Toorn; Leuven: Peeters, 1997), 229–248, esp. 241–242. See also the reference to the ark (ʾrn) of Bethel in Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 3, and see the comments in Karel van der Toorn, Papyrus Amherst 63 (AOAT 448; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2018), 135. 88. See 1 Kgs 12:25–33; Exodus 32; and Nicholas Wyatt, “Calf,” DDD 180–182. For the bethel, see Gen 28:10–22. 89. See TAD A4.7:9–13 // A4.8:8–12. The two quotations translate the Aramaic phrases ʾšrnʾ wʾh.rn zy tmh hwh (TAD A4.7:11–12) and wmzrqyʾ zy zhbʾ wksp wmndʿmtʾ zy hwh bʾgwrʾ zk (A4.7:12; cf. A4.8:11). For the meaning of ʾšrnʾ, see Tavernier, Iranica, 437, under 4.4.8.1. See also TAD C3.13, a cumulative list of memoranda drawn up by the temple administration not long before the destruction. It lists such implements and materials as bronze and silver cups, sweet-smelling reeds, and costly instruments used for libations. 90. Ernst Axel Knauf, “Elephantine und das vor-biblische Judentum,” in Religion und Religionskontakte im Zeitalter der Achämeniden (ed. Reinhard G. Kratz; Veröffentlichungen der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie 22; Gütersloh: Kaiser, 2002), 179–188, esp. 185; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 197; Collin Cornell, “Cult Statuary at the Judean Temple at Yeb,” JSJ 47 (2016): 291–309, esp. 15. There is no need to assume a one-to-one relation between the money raised for the three deities and the actual costs involved in the production of these symbols, contra Knauf, “Elephantine,” 185.

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91. See TAD B2.2:4 (464 BCE); B7.1:4 (413 BCE). 92. See, most notably, Albert Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens d’Éléphantine (Paris: Geuthner, 1937), 25–143 (Yaho), 562–592 (Bethel), 593–621 (HeremBethel), 622–653 (Anat), 654–680 (Eshem-Bethel); Anke Joisten-Pruschke, Das religiöse Leben der Juden von Elephantine in der Achämenidenzeit (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008), 83–95; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 107– 126 (Yaho), 127–134 (Bethel), 134–141 (Anat), 141–144 (Eshem-Bethel), 144–149 (Herem-Bethel). 93. For a careful discussion, see Manfred Weippert, “Jahwe,” RlA 5:246–253, esp. 246–250. See also Joüon §16f. 94. For occurrences of “Yaho,” see Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 7; xii 11, 14 (twice), 15 (twice), 17; xiii 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16 (twice), 17. For “Adonai,” see Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 12, 16; xiii 3, 4, 8, 12, 14. 95. The expression is trn, “our Bull” (Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 17). 96. Quotations from Hos 8:5–6, with emendation of the form “he rejects” into “I reject” (divine speech). For other criticism of the “golden” or “molten” calf (or calves), see Exodus 32; Deut 9:13–21; 1 Kgs 11–12; 13:33–34; 14:7–11; 2 Kgs 10:29–31; 17:16; Hos 10:5–6; 13:2; Ps 106:19; 2 Chr 11:15; 13:8. 97. See the discussion by Arvid Kapelrud, “ʾābîr,” ThWAT 1:43–46, esp. 44. 98. Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 18–19; xvi 13–14; xii 17. 99. See, e.g., Helga Weippert, Palästina in vorhellenistischer Zeit (Munich: Beck, 1988), 408–409; Othmar Keel and Christoph Uehlinger, Göttinnen, Götter und Gottessymbole (Freiburg: Herder, 1992), 57; Izak Cornelius, The Iconography of the Canaanite Gods Reshef and Baʿal (OBO 140; Fribourg: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994), esp. 226–229. In view of the iconography, it is possible the “calf of Samaria” served in fact as the pedestal or vehicle of the invisible god, as argued in Moses Aberbach and Leivy Smolar, “Aaron, Jeroboam, and the Golden Calves,” JBL 86 (1967): 129–140, esp. 134–135. However, the fact that the first Israelite psalm of the Amherst papyrus addresses Yaho as “our Bull” suggests that the bull actually symbolized Yaho. Note also the formulation in Hos 8:6, “It is not a god,” referring to the calf of Samaria. 100. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiii 13–15, especially the phrase “Yaho, the host of heaven proclaims to us your rule” (yhw dr šmyn qry ʾln mrwtk). 101. The Aramaic expression is dr šmyn. The Ugarit phrase is dr dt šmm. The “assembly of the stars” is the phr kkbm, for which see KTU 1.10 i 3–5; Simon B. ˘ Parker, ed., Ugaritic Narrative Poetry (WAW 9; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1997), 181–186. For the concept of the council of heaven, see E. Theodore Mullen Jr., The Assembly of the Gods (HSM 24; Chico, Cal.: Scholars Press, 1980), esp. 195. 102. See, e.g., Job 38:7; Judg 5:20. See also Fabrizio Lelli, “Stars,” DDD 809–815. 103. The texts use the verb brk, “to bless,” in the sense of “to congratulate.” See Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 18–19; xiii 15–16. See also the references to Yaho’s incomparability in Papyrus Amherst 63, xiii 11–12 (“Who is like you, Yaho, among the Gods?”).

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104. The Aramaic expression is yhh s.bʾt. See Cl.-G. 167; 175. See also the proposed restoration in TAD D7.35:1–2 (= Cl.-G. 186). 105. See Tryggve N. D. Mettinger, “Yahweh Zebaoth,” DDD 920–924. 106. See, e.g., André Lemaire, “Judean Identity in Elephantine: Everyday Life According to the Ostraca,” in Judah and the Judeans in the Achaemenid Period: Negotiating Identity in an International Context (ed. Oded Lipschits, Gary N. Knoppers, and Manfred Oeming; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), 365–373, esp. 369. 107. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 18. 108. See, e.g., August von Gall, Die Papyrusurkunden der jüdischen Gemeinde in Elephantine und ihrer Bedeutung für jüdische Religion und Geschichte (Giessen: Töpelmann, 1912), 20; Weippert, Historisches Textbuch, 478. 109. For Bethel’s battle against the sea, see the epithet “Destroyer of Yamm” (mʾbd ym) in Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 16. Note also xi 4–5 (“He throws, he howls with his thunders, illuminating with fire the places drenched by the sea”). An allusion to Bethel’s kingship is extant in ix 3 (“He takes precedence over all the gods”). For the construction of Bethel’s palace, see ix 9–10, 12–13. 110. Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 8–9; x 9–13; xi 1–6. 111. See, e.g., John Day, God’s Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea: Echoes of a Canaanite Myth in the Old Testament (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985). 112. See especially the story of the contest between Elijah and the Baal prophets in 1 Kgs 18:20–46. Also see Hermann Gunkel, Elijah, Yahweh, and Baal (trans. K. C. Hanson; Eugene, Ore.: Cascade, 2014). 113. Another striking example is the phrase “father of the orphan, judge of the widow,” applied to Bethel in Papyrus Amherst 63, x 17, and to Yahweh in Ps 68:6. 114. See Papyrus Amherst 63, vii 14–15; xi 11–12. See also the prayer against enemies in xi 16–20. 115. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 13–17, and see the discussion of Eshem-Bethel below. 116. Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 16–19. 117. Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 11–12. 118. Quotations from Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 18–20; x 1–4. 119. See Harald Ingholt, Henri Seyrig, and Jean Starcky, eds., Recueil de tessères de Palmyre (Paris: Imprimerie nationale, Geuthner, 1955), nos. 155, 162 (no inscription), 471 (no inscription); cf. nos. 122 (obv. “Symposion of Bel” [ʾgn bl]; rev. “Agli-Bol” and representation of crescent and two bull’s heads), 146 (AgliBol represented by a bull’s head supported by crescent). See the discussion by Monika Bernett and Othmar Keel, Mond, Stier und Kult am Stadttor: Die Stele von Betsaida (et-Tell) (OBO 161; Fribourg: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1998), 41.

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120. See Garth Bawden et al., “Preliminary Archaeological Investigations at Taymā,” Atlal 4 (1980): 69–106 and pls. 60–69, esp. p. 83. 121. See photographs in Garth Bawden, “Khief El-Zahrah and the Nature of Dedanite Hegemony in the Al-ʿUla Oasis,” Atlal 3 (1979): 63–72 and pls. 44– 49, esp. pl. 49/B; Bawden et al., “Preliminary Archaeological Investigations,” pl. 69/A. 122. For a photograph, see Bawden et al., “Preliminary Archaeological Investigations,” pl. 69/B. For drawings of the scenes, see Stephanie Dalley, “The God S.almu and the Winged Disk,” Iraq 48 (1986): 85–101, esp. 87, figs. 1 and 2. 123. See Basile Aggoula, “Studia aramaica, II,” Syria 62 (1985): 61–76, esp. 70; Mohammed Maraqten, “The Aramaic Pantheon of Taymaʾ,” Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 7 (1996): 17–31. 124. For a thorough study of the Bethsaida stele and a survey of related evidence, see Bernett and Keel, Mond, Stier und Kult. 125. See Sven P. Vleeming and Jan Willem Wesselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63: Essays on the Aramaic Text in Aramaic/Demotic Papyrus Amherst 63 (2 vols.; Amsterdam: Juda Palache Instituut, 1985–1990), 1:51 (“He adorns the moon in the sky”); Richard C. Steiner, “The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text, Translation, and Notes,” February 28, 2017, at https://www.academia.edu/31662776/ The Aramaic Text in Demotic Script: Text, Translation, and Notes, 43 (“O bow in heaven, crescent moon”); Tawny Holm, private communication with the author: “O Bow in Heaven, Śahar (the moon-god).” 126. See Brian Schmidt, “Moon,” DDD 585–593, esp. 590. 127. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xiii 1–10. 128. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 7–14. See Tawny L. Holm, “Nanay and Her Lover: An Aramaic Sacred Marriage Text from Egypt,” JNES 76 (2017): 1–37. Note the conjunction of Herem and Anat-Yaho in TAD B7.3:3. 129. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 1–3. 130. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 13–17. 131. The word for “bow” is qšt; cf. Papyrus Amherst xii 16–17: “Some by the bow (qšt), some by the spear—behold, as for us, my Lord, our God is Yaho!” The word for “combat hammer” is pt. yš, for which see Helga Weippert, “Hammer,” BRL, 133–134. 132. The Aramaic term used in the Eshem-Bethel song is h.mt, “venom, poison.” Against the phrase h.mtk ktnnn, “Your venom is like asps,” compare h.ămat tannînim yênām, “Their wine is the venom of asps” (Deut 32:33). The Hebrew term in Job 6:4 is the same (h.ămātām, “their poison”). 133. See, e.g., Pss 50:7–23; 60:8–10; 81:7–14; 95:8–11; 132:11–18. 134. According to cuneiform sources, there is divine protection against demons (“you should know that I have entered into the kidinnu-protection of my lords [i.e., gods]”) and against human enemies (Babylon is an āl kidinni, “city under divine protection”). See CAD 8, s.v. “kidinnu.” See also James Nathan Ford,

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“The Ancient Mesopotamian Motif of Kidinnu ‘Divine Protection (of Temple Cities and Their Citizens)’ in Akkadian and Aramaic Magic,” in Encounters by the Rivers of Babylon: Scholarly Conversations between Jews, Iranians and Babylonians in Antiquity (ed. Uri Gabbay and Shai Secunda; TSAJ 160; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014), 271–283. 135. See Papyrus Amherst 63, vii 13. 136. The scribes of the Amherst papyrus write the name “Eshem-Bethel” as ʾšbytl (Papyrus Amherst 63, xvi 1, 15) or ʾšʾbytʾl (xvi 14). In view of the orthographic variants h.nwm (the usual spelling) and h.nwb (TAD A4.5:3, 8; A4.7:5) for the Egyptian god H . num in the Elephantine papyri, the elision of the mem before a bet in composite divine names should be no cause for wonder. To mark the elision, we might adapt the transliteration slightly so as to read either ʾšbytl or ʾšbytl. 137. For surveys, see Rainer Degen, “Die aramäischen Inschriften aus Taimāʾ und Umgebung,” in Neue Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik (ed. Rainer Degen, Walter W. Müller, and Wolfgang Röllig; 3 vols.; Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1972–1978), 2:79–98 and tables VII–VIII; Klaus Beyer and Alasdair Livingstone, “Die neuesten aramäischen Inschriften aus Taima,” ZDMG 137 (1987): 285–296; Beyer and Livingstone, “Eine neue reichsaramäische Inschrift aus Taima,” ZDMG 140 (1990): 1–2; Solaiman Abdal-Rahman al-Theeb, Aramaic and Nabataean Inscriptions from North-West Saudi Arabia (Riyadh: King Fahd National Library, 1993), 30–54; Ricardo Eichmann, Hanspeter Schaudig, and Arnulf Hausleiter, “Archaeology and Epigraphy at Tayma (Saudi-Arabia),” Arabian Archaeology and Epigraphy 17 (2006): 163–176, esp. 168. For the first publication with the correct reading of the name, see Livingstone et al., “Taimāʾ: Recent Soundings and New Inscribed Material,” Atlal 7 (1983): 102– 116, esp. 111. Livingstone credits Hamid I. Abu Duruk with the discovery. 138. Erra Epic, tablet I, lines 10, 21–22. See Luigi Cagni, L’epopea di Erra (Studi Semitici 34; Rome: Istituto di Studi del Vicino Oriente, 1969), 58–60. For Ishum in general, see Dieter O. Edzard and Claus Wilcke, “Die Hendursanga˘ Hymne,” in Kramer Anniversary Volume (ed. Barry L. Eichler; AOAT 25; Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker; Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1976), 139–176, esp. 143; Edzard, “Išum,” RlA 5:213–214, §2. On Ishum as the god of street-lighting, see Andrew R. George, “The Gods Išum and Hendursanga: ˘ Night Watchmen and Street-Lighting in Babylonia,” JNES 74 (2015): 1–8. 139. See Dennis Pardee, Les textes rituels (2 vols.; Ras Shamra-Ougarit 12; Paris: Éditions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 2000), 779–806, RS 24.643:31, see discussion on pp. 801–802. A ritual from Emar speaks of the fifteenth day of the month as the day of Shaggar, which suggests that Shaggar was more particularly the god of the full moon. See Daniel Arnaud, Recherches au Pays d’Aštata: Emar VI (4 vols.; Paris: Éditions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1985–1987), vol. 3, no. 373:42 (i-na u.15.kám i-na u-mi š[a-a]g-ga-ri); cf. line 192′.

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140. See the discussion about the lunar aspect of Bethel above. 141. For the name, see Berlin Papyrus 13481:6 = TAD C4.8:6. For the meaning, see Johann Jakob Stamm, Die akkadische Namengebung (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1939), 43; CAD 8, s.v. “kudurru C.” 142. See Edouard Paul Dhorme, “Les dieux Uraš et Išum,” Orientalische Literaturzeitung 12 (1909): 114–115; Jean Bottéro, “Les divinités sémitiques anciennes en Mésopotamie,” in Le antiche divinità semitiche (ed. Sabatino Moscati; Studi Semitici 1; Rome: Istituto di Studi Orientali, 1958), 17–63, esp. 43–43. Note the cautious observations in Edzard, “Išum,” §5. 143. See William Foxwell Albright, Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1942), 171, repeated in subsequent editions. Albright has a wide following. See, e.g., William Fulco, “Ashima,” ABD 1:487; Mordechai Cogan, “Ashima,” DDD 105–106, esp. 106. 144. For the equation of Eshem with Ishum, see Arthur Ungnad, Aramäische Papyrus aus Elephantine: Kleine Ausgabe unter Zugrundelegung von Eduard Sachau’s Erstausgabe (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911), 41; Friedrich Eduard König, “Die Gottheit Aschima,” ZAW 34 (1914): 16–30, esp. 23–25. 145. Contra Anneler, Zur Geschichte der Juden, 84. 146. See TAD B7.2:7–8 (“Herem-Bethel the god”); B7.3:3 (“He[rem] the [god]). For other occurrences, see the Herem names discussed in Chapter 3. 147. See Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte, 94; Meir Malul, “Taboo,” DDD 824–827, esp. 824. 148. Contra Holm, who identifies Baal-Shamayin/Hadad as Nanay’s lover (“Nanay and Her Lover,” esp. 18–19). Holm’s interpretation fails to recognize the parallel between Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 17–19 and xvi 3–4, and it mistakenly links bšmwhy, “in his heavens” (xvii 14) with “May the Lord bless from Rash” as “In his heavens, may Mar from Rash bless” (xvii 5). 149. See Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 7–14. 150. See Samuel J. Greengus, “The Old Babylonian Marriage Contract,” JAOS 89 (1969): 505–532, esp. 515–520. One instance of the verba solemnia is found in Theophilus G. Pinches, “Some Recent Discoveries in the Realm of Assyriology, with Special Reference to the Private Life of the Babylonians,” Journal of the Transactions of the Victoria Institute 26 (1892–1893): 123–185, esp. 154, col. ii, line 14 (atta lu aššatu anāku lu mutka, “You be my wife, I your husband”). 151. See Samuel Noah Kramer, Le mariage sacré (translated, adapted, and supplemented by Jean Bottéro; Paris: Berg International, 1983); Wilfred G. Lambert, “Devotion: The Language of Religion and Love,” in Figurative Language in the Ancient Near East (ed. M. Mindlin, M. J. Geller, and J. E. Wansbrough; London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1987), 25–39; Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro, eds., Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early Christianity (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2008); Nissinen, “Akkadian Rituals and Poetry of Divine Love,” in Mythology and

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Mythologies: Methodological Approaches to Intercultural Influences (ed. Robert M. Whiting; Melammu Symposia 2; Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 2001), 93–136; Nissinen, “Love Lyrics of Nabû and Tašmetu: An Assyrian Song of Songs?,” in Und Mose schrieb dieses Lied auf: Festschrift Oswald Loretz (ed. Manfried Dietrich and Ingo Kottsieper; AOAT 250; Münster: UgaritVerlag, 1998), 585–634. 152. See Walter Farber, Beschwörungsrituale an Ištar und Dumuzi: Attī Ištar ša harmaša Dumuzi (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1977). On the Akkadian harmu, ˘ ˘ see also the observations by Julia Assante, “The kar.kid / harimtu, Prostitute or ˘ Single Woman? A Reconsideration of the Evidence,” UF 30 (1998): 5–96, esp. 13–14 (reference courtesy of Tawny Holm). 153. See CAD 6, s.v. “harīmtu.” ˘ 154. See Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 10 (“Kiss his/the Courtesan,” šq lh.rmt). 155. At one time, Tammuz was venerated in Jerusalem (Ezek 8:14), and his cult was familiar in Palmyra. see PAT, s.v. “tmwzʾ,” with references to secondary literature. A reference to the wailing for Hadad-Rimmon on the plain of Megiddo (Zech 12:11) alludes to the cult of the god as a young lover who met an untimely death. 156. See TAD B7.3. 157. See DNWSI, s.v. “msgd.” 158. See Tg. Neb. Jer 7:18; 44:17–19, 25. Isaac of Antioch (fifth century CE) interpreted the Queen of Heaven as Kaukabta, “the Star.” See Cees Houtman, “Queen of Heaven,” DDD 678–680, esp. 679. 159. See Urs Winter, Frau und Göttin (OBO 53; Fribourg: Universitätsverlag; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1983), 455–460. For the meaning of the expression le˘haʿăs.ibāh, see HALAT, s.v. “ʿs.b I.” 160. See Papyrus Amherst 63, viii 9 (sgd lʿnt, “Bow to Anat”). 161. See Papyrus Amherst 63, ix 16, 20 (šlm for šlmʾ); ix 20 (špr for šprʾ); ix 20, x 7 (klʾ and klt); x 4, 5 (hrtʾ); x 5 (mlkt). ˘ 162. See Papyrus Amherst 63, i–v and, more particularly, ii 11 (ml[kt] šmyn). 163. For Nanay as “the maiden,” see Papyrus Amherst 63, xiv 4, 5, 10, 16; xvii 12. For Nanay as royal wet-nurse, see Amherst Papyrus 63, i 17–21 and parallels. For Anat as “maiden,” see Neal H. Walls, The Goddess Anat in Ugaritic Myth (SBL Dissertation Series 135; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992), 79–82. For Anat as wetnurse, see Walls, Goddess Anat, 152–154. 164. For Nanay as a warrior goddess, see, e.g., the Nanaya Hymn of Sargon II in Alasdair Livingstone, Court Poetry and Literary Miscellanea (SAA 3; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1989), no. 4. For Anat as warrior goddess, see KTU 1.3 ii; Walls, Goddess Anat, 161–215. 165. Papyrus Amherst 63, xvii 14. 166. See A. Kirk Grayson, Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles (Texts from Cuneiform Sources 5; Locust Valley, N.Y.: Augustin, 1975), 102:12. See the comments

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in Francis Joannès and André Lemaire, “Trois tablettes cunéiformes à onomastique ouest-sémitique,” Transeuphratène 17 (1999): 17–34, esp. 24–25.

Chapter 6. Becoming Diaspora Jews 1. See TAD A4.7:13–14 // 4.8:12–13. 2. See Hélène Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau: Ostraca, épigraphes sur jarre, étiquettes de bois (Paris: de Boccard, 2006), X11:1–2 (ʾlh yhwdyʾ zy lqh.w prs). 3. Cl.-G.182:3 ([y]hwdy[ʾ zy]).See Lozachmeur,La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 332. 4. Cl.-G. 135:6, 7. See Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 288–289. 5. See TAD B2.2. 6. See the discussion in Chapter 2, section “Ethnicity at Elephantine.” 7. Note especially TAD A3.8:12. As the sender and the recipient of the letter are both members of the Elephantine community, the reference to the “the Jews” is not to the community as a whole but to its leadership. Compare also TAD A4.3:1; A4.3:12. 8. See Jeremiah 43–44, esp. Jer 44:1, 15, where “Pathros” is the name of the southern province; cf. 2 Kgs 25:25–26. 9. On the Jewish neighborhood and its houses, see Bezalel Porten, Archives from Elephantine: The Life of an Ancient Jewish Military Colony (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), 94–102; Cornelius von Pilgrim, “VI. Das aramäische Quartier im Stadtgebiet der 27. Dynastie,” MDAIK 58 (2002): 192–197. 10. See, e.g., Jonathan Hyslop, “Gandhi 1869–1915: The Transnational Emergence of a Public Figure,” in The Cambridge Companion to Gandhi (ed. Judith M. Brown and Anthony Parel; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 30–50, esp. 32. 11. See the edition of the letter in TAD A3.3. 12. Cf. Ezek 29:10 (NJPS): “I will reduce the land of Egypt to utter ruin and desolation, from Migdol to Syene, all the way to the border of Nubia.” 13. The father addresses his son both as “my son” and “my brother,” because they are father and son and, at the same time, brothers in arms. The references to prskn (“your salary,” (lines 4, 6) and the verbal form tʾtwn (“you come,” line 5) indicate that the son had left the Nile delta as part of a military convoy or with his family. 14. The father’s question, “How is the family?” (ʾyk bytʾ ʿbyd, line 6), means that the son either visited the family in Elephantine or that he brought the family along. 15. See Laurie E. Pearce and Cornelia Wunsch, Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer (CUSAS 28; Bethesda, Md.: CDL, 2014), 13–14. 16. See Jer 48:13; the equation of Bethel and Yaho in Papyrus Amherst 63, xii 11–19; as well as the occurrence of Anat-Bethel alongside Anat-Yaho, discussed in Chapter 5.

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17. See Karel van der Toorn, Family Religion in Babylonia, Syria and Israel (SHANE 7; Leiden: Brill, 1996), 339–344; Israel Finkelstein, The Forgotten Kingdom: The Archaeology and History of Northern Israel (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2013), 154. 18. The ethnic designation occurs in the name āl-Yāhūdāya. See Pearce and Wunsch, ˘ Documents of Judean Exiles, 312. 19. There had been a Samarian diaspora since 721 BCE. Neo-Assyrian sources recognize them as a distinct ethnic group; witness the references to “Samarians.” See Angelika Berlejung, “Sāmerīna,” RlA 11:623–624. It is unclear whether, a century later, the Babylonians distinguished between a Judean and a Samarian diaspora, just as it is unclear whether, after the fall of Jerusalem, Judah became a separate province or part of the Samarian province. 20. Eduard Sachau, Aramäische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einer jüdischen MilitärKolonie zu Elephantine (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911), 36–40 and table 6; Arthur Ungnad, Aramäische Papyrus aus Elephantine: Kleine Ausgabe unter Zugrundelegung von Eduard Sachau’s Erstausgabe (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1911), 13, no. 6 (“Sendschreiben betreffend das Passahfest”). The letter has been reedited as TAD A4.1. 21. Instead of a complete list, the reader is referred to some of the more significant studies. See Albert Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens d’Éléphantine (Paris: Geuthner, 1937), 234–311; Pierre Grelot, “Le papyrus pascal d’Éléphantine et le problème du Pentateuque,” VT 5 (1955): 250–265; Ingo Kottsieper, “Die Religionspolitik der Achämeniden und die Juden von Elephantine,” in Religion und Religionskontakte im Zeitalter der Achämeniden (ed. Reinhard G. Kratz; Veröffentlichungen der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie 22; Gütersloh: Kaiser, 2002), 150–178, esp. 150–158; Reinhard G. Kratz, “Temple and Torah: Reflections on the Legal Status of the Pentateuch between Elephantine and Qumran,” in The Pentateuch as Torah: New Models for Understanding Its Promulgation and Acceptance (ed. Gary N. Knoppers and Bernard M. Levinson; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2007), 77–103, esp. 84–87; Angela Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult der Judäo-Aramäer von Elephantine (AOAT 396; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014), 341–357. 22. See Baruch M. Bokser, “Unleavened Bread and Passover, Feasts of,” ABD 6:755–765. 23. For references to Pesach in the ostraca, see Cl.-G. 62, rev. 4, for which see Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 229–230; TAD D7.6; D7.24. 24. TAD A4.3:7. 25. TAD A4.1:1, cf. 10. 26. The second occurrence of the phrase is in the heading of the collection account of 400 BCE. See TAD C3.15:1. 27. Kottsieper, “Die Religionspolitik der Achämeniden,” esp. 157. 28. For the expression h.ylʾ swnknyʾ, see TAD C3.14:32. For the Jews’ self-reference as “Syenians,” see TAD A4.10:6. Hedwig Anneler points out the problematic fact that the Syenian garrison had a commander (see TAD A5.2:7; last third

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29.

30. 31.

32.

33.

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of the fifth century BCE [“garrison commander of Syene”]), while there is not a single mention of a garrison commander of the Jews (Zur Geschichte der Juden von Elephantine [Bern: Max Drechsel, 1912], 55–56). Bezalel Porten is not totally clear on the matter. The second chapter of his book is devoted to the “Elephantine-Syene Garrison”—a title that suggests there was in fact only one garrison (Archives from Elephantine, 28). But later in the chapter, Porter writes that “by the Persian period, both towns [i.e., Syene and Elephantine] had garrisons and wharves” (Archives from Elephantine, 36). See Albin van Hoonacker, Une communauté Judéo-Araméenne à Éléphantine, en Égypte, aux VIe et Ve siècles av. J.-C. (The Schweich Lectures 1914; London: Oxford University Press, 1915), 82–83 (“Il est evident que cette ‘armée’ dont Jedonja-bar-Gemarja et consorts sont les chefs, et dont font partie les femmes, n’est pas autre chose que la société nationale-religieuse des serviteurs de Jahô à Éléphantine; c’est l’équivalent du qhl ou du ʿm hébreu”). TAD A4.1:2. See, e.g., Vincent, La religion des Judéo-Araméens, 259; Pierre Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte (LAPO 5; Paris: Cerf, 1972), 381. For the use of the term in connection with the Ezra decree, see, e.g., Reinhard G. Kratz, “Judean Ambassadors and the Making of Jewish Identity: The Case of Hananiah, Ezra, and Nehemiah,” in Judah and the Judeans in the Achaemenid Period (ed. Oded Lipschits, Gary N. Knoppers, and Manfred Oeming; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2011), 421–444, esp. 432; Gary N. Knoppers, “The Construction of Judean Diasporic Identity in Ezra-Nehemiah,” Journal of Hebrew Scripture 15 (2015): 1–21 (e.g., 8, 10); Dieter Böhler, I Esdras (trans. Linda M. Maloney; International Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament; Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 2016), commentary on 1 Esd 8:8. See Karen Barkey, “Rethinking Ottoman Management of Diversity,” in Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey (ed. Ahmet T. Kuru and Alfred Stepan; New York: Columbia University Press, 2012), 12–31; Julia Phillips Cohen, Becoming Ottomans: Sephardi Jews and Imperial Citizenship in the Modern Era (New York: Oxford University Press, 2014), esp. xi–xiii. For an illustration of this policy with respect to the Egyptians, compare the reference to the law codification on the reverse side of the Demotic Chronicle (see Wilhelm Spiegelberg, Die sogenannte Demotische Chronik des Pap. 215 der Bibliothèque Nationale zu Paris [Demotische Studien 7; Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1914], esp. 30–32) with the description of the mission of Udjahorresnet (see Eberhard Otto, Die biographischen Inschriften der ägyptischen Spätzeit [Leiden: Brill, 1954], 169–173, no. 30, esp. 172–173). For more recent translations, see Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature (3 vols.; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973–1980), 3:36–41; Ursula Kaplony-Heckel, “Der Naoforo Vaticano des Oberartzes Udja-Hor-resenet, 519/8 v. Chr.,” TUAT 1/1.3:603– 608. See also Alan B. Lloyd, “The Inscription of Udjah.orresnet: A Collaborator’s Testament,” JEA 68 (1982): 166–180.

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34. For Jerusalem as “the holy city” (ʿîr haqqōdeš), see Neh 11:1. 35. For the archaeological evidence for the temple demolition and the remains of a second temple, see Cornelius von Pilgrim, “XII. Der Tempel des Jahwe,” MDAIK 55 (1999): 142–145; Pilgrim, “VI. Das aramäische Quartier”; Pilgrim, “Tempel des Jahu und ‘Strasse des Königs’: Ein Konflikt in der späten Perserzeit auf Elephantine,” in Egypt: Temple of the Whole World: Studies in Honour of Jan Assmann (ed. Sibylle Meyer; Leiden: Brill, 2003), 303–317. 36. Among a spate of publications showcasing the destruction of the Yaho temple at Elephantine as a symbol of “the emergence of an anti-Jewish tradition,” see David Nirenberg, Anti-Judaism: The Western Tradition (New York: Norton, 2013), 17–19; Peter Schäfer, Judeophobia: Attitudes towards the Jews in the Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997) 121–135. 37. Yedanyah son of Gemaryah, leader of the Jewish community between ca. 420 and 400 BCE (for the dates, see TAD A4.1; C3.15), was a grandson of Mahseyah. The genealogical line descends from Mahseyah the elder (born ca. 570 BCE), through Yedanyah the elder (born ca. 540), Mahseyah the younger (ca. 500–415), and Gemaryah (born ca. 475 BCE), to Yedanyah the younger (born ca. 450 BCE). Lady Mibtahyah, perhaps the most prominent woman of the Jewish community around 450 BCE, was the daughter of Mahseyah the younger and thus a sister of Gemaryah. See, e.g., the discussion in Annalisa Azzoni, The Private Lives of Women in Persian Egypt (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 2013), 134–136. For Yedanyah the elder son of Mahseyah the elder, see the discussion in Lozachmeur, La collection Clermont-Ganneau, 464–465. 38. The translation here offered is based on the second draft (TAD A4.8:3–16), the damaged parts of which have been supplemented by the first draft of the petition (A4.7:4–17). 39. See Bezalel Porten, “The Aramaic Texts,” in Porten et al., The Elephantine Papyri in English: Three Millennia of Cross-Cultural Continuity and Change (2nd rev. ed.; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), 75–275, esp. 141. 40. Quotation from TAD A4.7:19–22 // A4.8:18–21. 41. For references to the mourning of the Jewish community, see TAD A4.7:15, 19–21 // A4.8:14, 19–20. For the carpe diem counsel in Gilgamesh, see the Old Babylonian Sippar tablet, iii 6–13, a translation of which is conveniently accessible in Andrew George, The Epic of Gilgamesh: A New Translation (London: Allen Lane, 1999), 124. The parallel passage in the book of Ecclesiastes is found in 9:7–9. For the possible relationship between the two, see Karel van der Toorn, “Echoes of Gilgamesh in the Book of Qohelet?,” in Veenhof Anniversary Volume (ed. Wilfred H. van Soldt; Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 2001), 503–514. 42. See TAD A4.8:27–28 // A4.7:29 (“Also, we sent, in our name, all these words in one letter to Delayah and Shelemyah sons of Sanballat the governor of

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43. 44.

45.

46.

47. 48.

49. 50.

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Samaria”). The formulation of the petition to Samaria was a copy of the text sent to Bagohi. See TAD A4.9. See Ernest Renan, Qu’est-ce qu’une nation? (Paris: Lévy, 1882); repr. in Renan, Discours et conférences (Paris: Lévy, 1887), 277–310. The phrase here quoted is a slightly modified version of the sentence “L’oubli, et je dirai même l’erreur historique, sont un facteur essentiel de la création d’une nation.” The case of the stolen stone can be reconstructed on the basis of six letters: TAD A3.6; A3.7; A3.8; A4.2; A4.3; A4.4. Their chronological order is TAD A3.7; A3.6; A4.3 (all from the fall of 411 BCE); A4.2 ( January–February 410); A3.8 (May 410); A4.4 (May–June 410). For a detailed study, see Karel van der Toorn, “Previously, at Elephantine,” JAOS 138 (2018): 255–270. In TAD A3.7, Hosea son of Natan sends respectful greetings to various women that participate in the business consortium whose interests he manages in Memphis. Shelewah was married to Menahem, to be identified with Menahem son of Azaryah, a temple steward (TAD B3.8:44; B2.9:17; C3.13:45, 48; C3.13:10–19). Yeho-yishma was the daughter of Anani the temple steward (TAD B3.5; B3.7). Meshullemet was the sister of Yedanyah son of Gemaryah, the leader of the Jewish community. She was married to Zakkur son of Hosea son of Zakkur and, thereby, was sister-in-law of Abihi (TAD C3.15:2–3). Abihi had married Shelomam son of Hodawyah, the brother of Haggus son of Hodo. Hazzul was the daughter of Hodawyah and thus was the sister of Shelomam and Haggus and the sister-in-law of Abihi (TAD B6.3 and C3.15:114–115). See the discussion in DNWSI, s.v. “s.rp.” See CAD 16, s.v. “s.arpu A.” A Middle Assyrian text has abnu and s.arpu occurring in the same phrase: “She must not give to any palace official either gold or silver or precious stones (lu hurās.a lu s.arpa u lu abna).” See Martha T. Roth, ˘ Law Collections from Mesopotamia and Asia Minor (WAW 6; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1995), 199. Compare the Syriac s.rāpāʾ, “pure metal.” See Sokoloff, s.v. “s.rāpāʾ 2.” The association with silver may underlie the Jewish Aramaic s.arrāp, “money changer.” See DJBA, s.v. “s.arrāpāʾ”; cf. Syriac s.arāpāʾ (same meaning). See TAD A3.7:4 (“Sell it for gold”; hbh bzhb). Mauzyah son of Natan was from a scribal family, some of whose members served in the capacity of secretary of the Jewish community. Mauzyah’s full lineage is Mauzyah son of Natan son of Ananyah son of Hosea son of Hodawyah. On the scribal family that Mauzyah belonged to, see Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 193 and n. 19; Alejandro F. Botta, The Aramaic and Egyptian Legal Traditions at Elephantine (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 40–43; Eleonora Cussini, “The Career of Some Elephantine and Murašû Scribes and Witnesses,” in In the Shadow of Bezalel: Aramaic, Biblical, and Ancient Near Eastern Studies in Honor of Bezalel Porten (ed. Alejandro F. Botta; CHANE 60; Leiden: Brill,

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51.

52.

53. 54.

55. 56. 57.

58. 59.

60.

61.

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Notes to Pages 130–132 2013), 39–52, esp. 39–40. To their discussion of the evidence, it may be added that the scribe Ananyah (variant: Anani) was the son of Hosea. See Lozachmeur, La Collection Clermont-Ganneau, X11:5. In view of the scribal profession that ran in the family, we may identify this Hosea, father of he scribe Ananyah, with Hosea son of Hodawyah, who was the secretary-treasurer of the Jewish community of Elephantine during the first quarter of the fifth century BCE. See TAD B5.1:9 (495 BCE; as witness); B4.4:1–2, 18 (// B4.3:1–2, 21; 483 BCE; as scribe); D7.6 (message addressed to Hosea [hwšʿyh], where it is implied that he is responsible for determining the date of Pesach); D7.24 (with a reference to a letter order by Rawaka, garrison commander at the time, to be shown to Hosea). TAD A4.3. Some of the more recent treatments of this letter include “Recommendation to Aid Two Benefactors,” translated by Bezalel Porten (COS 3.48:119–121); James M. Lindenberger, Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew Letters (2nd ed.; WAW 14; Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), 67–68, no. 31; Ingo Kottsieper, “Aramäische Briefe aus Ägypten,” TUAT 2/3.6:360–361; Anke Joisten-Pruschke, Das religiöse Leben der Juden von Elephantine in der Achämenidenzeit (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2008), 168–173; Porten, “Aramaic Texts,” 75–275, esp. 131–133; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 388–390. The Aramaic has the term ʾbns.rp, followed by the sign for the numeral one, implying that it is an item in a (hypothetical) series. The correct translation is “one precious stone” or “a precious stone, one,” rather than “a precious stone.” See TAD A6.2:23 (411 BCE). For a discussion, see Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 56–57. Ingo Kottsieper argues that Anani combined his duties as chancellor with activity as commissioner for Jewish affairs in Egypt (“Die Religionspolitik der Achämeniden,” 165–166). TAD A4.3:7. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 281. This is Simon Schama’s suggestion in The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words, 1000 BCE–1492 CE (London: Bodley Head, 2013), 25. For an earlier suggestion to the same effect, see Arthur Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Clarendon, 1923), 62. TAD A4.5:1. The contracts contain little evidence of any expansions of the Jewish quarter that would reflect a growth in number and influence. The only deed of sale where a Jew buys a house from a non-Jew is B3.4 (437 BCE). For property issues involving Jews and non-Jews, see TAD B2.2 (464 BCE); B7.2 (401 BCE). See TAD A4.2. For recent treatments of the letter, see Joisten-Pruschke, Das religiöse Leben, 162–167; Porten, “Aramaic Texts,” 128–130; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 386–388. See TAD A4.7:4–5 // A4.8:4. See also A4.5:2–3.

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62. See TAD A6.4 (Psamshek succeeds his father Ahhapi as pe˘qîd, “official”); A6.9 (Nahthor is appointed as new pe˘qîd). 63. See TAD A4.5:4; A4.7:5 // A4.8:5; A4.7:7 // A4.8:6; B2.9:4–5. On the function of frataraka, “governor,” see Jan Tavernier, Iranica in the Achaemenid Period (ca. 550–330 B.C.): Lexicon of Old Iranian Proper Names and Loanwords, Attested in Non-Iranian Texts (OLA 158; Leuven: Peeters, 2007), 412. 64. See TAD C3.14:35; D3.19:7; C3.14:38 ([mdynt t]št. rs); B3.13:11; C3.19:14. According to Porten, “It is likely that the two terms in the Aramaic papyri, ‘province of Thebes’ and ‘province of Tshetres,’ usually taken as two distinct administrative districts, are actually synonymous” (Archives from Elephantine, 43). Tshetres is biblical Pathros ( Jer 44:1, 15) and Assyrian Paturisi. Most commentators prefer to translate mzdyzn as a proper name, because the reference to someone as a worshipper of a particular deity is unusual in antiquity. See, e.g., Grelot, Documents araméens d’Égypte, 332–333. I take the term as a deprecative reference to a Persian official known to Hosea and his superiors for his devotion to the cult of Mazda. For a dedicatory text of a Mazdean socle by an unknown garrison commander of Syene (458 BCE), see TAD D17.1. 65. Translation based on this reconstruction of line 3: [ksp lʾ] bydy [k]zy h[š]kh.t k[lyʾ] ⌈b⌉ksp kršn IIIII. 66. See TAD A3.8. For a recent treatment of the letter, see Porten, “Aramaic Texts,” 111–113. 67. See TAD B3.10:24 (404 BCE); C3.15:7 (400 BCE). 68. In view of the name of his father (“Hodo” being the abbreviated form of “Hodawyah”), Haggus was the brother of Shelomam. This Shelomam was married to Abihi (the Lady Abihi who was one of Hosea’s clients), the daughter of Hosea son of Zakkur and the sister of Zakkur son of Hosea son of Zakkur. For the marriage between Shelomam son of Hodawyah and Abihi, see TAD B6.3 (ca. 430 BCE). For the ancestry of Abihi, see TAD C3.15:93 (daughter of Hosea), her father to be identified with Hosea son of Zakkur mentioned in D6.1. For Zakkur son of Hosea son of Zakkur, see TAD C3.15:3, where he is linked with Meshullemet daughter of Gemaryah son of Mahseyah, sister of the leader of the Jewish community, and presumably wife of Zakkur son of Hosea son of Zakkur. Zakkur, brother of Abihi, was presumably the first witness to her marriage with Shelomam (TAD B6.3:13). 69. TAD A4.4, being a join of Cowley, Aramaic Papyri, nos. 56 and 34. For recent treatments of the letter, see Lindenberger, Ancient Aramaic, 68–70, no. 32; “Report of Imprisonment of Jewish Leaders,” translated by Bezalel Porten (COS 3.49:121–122); Porten, “Aramaic Texts,” 134–135; Rohrmoser, Götter, Tempel und Kult, 391–393; Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, “Female Diplomats in Jewish Elephantine? A New Look at a Papyrus from the Yedaniah Archive,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 40 (2016): 491–510; Bob Becking, “Burglars, Diplomats, or Victims? Remarks on the Interpretation of a Document from

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70. 71.

72.

73. 74. 75. 76.

77.

78.

79. 80. 81. 82.

83. 84.

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Notes to Pages 135–138 Elephantine,” Zeitschrift für Altorientalische und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte 23 (2017): 223–228. The recipient of the report is here tentatively identified as Yislah son of Gaddul son of Yigdal. He belonged to a family of scribes associated with the Yaho temple and was the paternal uncle of Yislah son of Natan. Line 2 reads, “he went to Syene wʿbd lyhwd[yʾ . . . ].” See TAD A4.10:4–5. For other mentions of Hosea son of Yatom, see TAD B3.5:24 (434 BCE; as witness); C4.4:3 (ca. 410 BCE; in list of names); B3.10:23–24 (407 BCE; as witness). For other mentions of Hosea son of Nattun, see TAD D3:17 (in list of names) and C3.15:50 (400 BCE; listed as contributor to the temple). For his brother Haggai son of Nattun, see TAD C4.4:1. Rami wife of Hodo was presumably the mother of Haggus and the mother-inlaw of Lady Abihi. Lady Abihi belonged to the business consortium (TAD A3.7:2). TAD A4.7:4–6. TAD A4.8:3–5. TAD A4.5:2–4. See TAD A4.2:8: “If only we had shown ourselves to Arsames before (he left), then it would not have been like this [for us].” The letter was written in January–February 410. The memorandum of Bagohi and Delayah of early 406 (?) implies that Arsames is back in Egypt. See TAD A4.9:2–3 (“You may say in Egypt before Arsames”). For a discussion of the duration of Arsames’s absence, see Godfrey R. Driver, Aramaic Documents of the Fifth Century B.C. (abr. and rev. ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1957), 8–10. See also TAD A4.8:28–29 // A4.7:30. See TAD A4.1:2. The earliest mention of Arsames as satrap of Egypt occurs in a document from 427 BCE (TAD A6.1). See TAD A4.5:10, 19, 21, 22 (mrʾn, restored in line 22). The following terms are old Iranian loanwords with a particular technical nuance: dwškrt, “crime, evil act” (line 3; see Tavernier, Iranica, 448); hmwnyt, “in agreement with, in league with” (line 4; see Tavernier, Iranica, 411); ywdn, “grain-house, barley house” (line 5; see Tavernier, Iranica, 441); hndyz, “garrisoned, confined in the fortress” (line 7; see Tavernier, Iranica, 451); ʾzd, “inquiry” (line 8; see Tavernier, Iranica, 411); typt, “police officer” (line 9; see Tavernier, Iranica, 431; Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 50 n. 83); gwšk, “hearer, member of intelligence system, informer, spy” (line 9; see Tavernier, Iranica, 423); ʾtrwdn, “brazier” (line 17; see Tavernier, Iranica, 461); ʾšrn, “furniture, equipment” (line 18; see Tavernier, Iranica, 437). See also Ingo Kottsieper, “Die Religionspolitik der Achämeniden,” esp. 159 and n. 34. The reason that Bezalel Porten and Ada Yardeni date this draft in “410 B.C.E. or slightly later” is presumably the reference to an inquiry by the Persian authori-

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85.

86.

87. 88. 89.

90. 91. 92.

93.

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251

ties to establish the truth of the Jewish allegations. See TAD A4.5:8–10. The necessity of an inquiry could mean the events were so recent that the central administration did not know about them yet. Alternatively, though, the reference is to an investigation ordered by Arsames upon his return to Egypt in order to find out exactly what had happened in his absence. For the suggested date of 410 BCE, see TAD A:62; Lindenberger, Ancient Aramaic, 70. For the striking correspondences between the lines about Arsames’s absence, the role of the priests of Khnub, and the complicity of Vidranga, see TAD A4.7:4–6; A4.8:3–5; A4.5:2–4. For another similarity, see TAD A4.5:18 (“They took the equipment and made it their own”), which corresponds with A4.7:12– 13 // A4.8:11–12 (“But the gold and silver basins and other things that were in that temple—all of these they took and made their own”). TAD A4.5 is a draft of the petition sent to Arsames in Memphis; A4.7 and A4.8 are drafts of the petition sent to Bagohi the governor of Judah. A4.7:29 // A4.8:28 mentions a written petition sent out to Delayah and Shelemyah sons of Sanballat the governor of Samaria. TAD A4.9 is the memorandum with a statement of support by Bagohi and Delayah in response to the petitions they had received. See TAD A4.8:16–18 // A4.7:17–19. TAD A4.5. Compare the similar phrases in TAD A4.7:7–8 (“Let them demolish the temple that is in Elephantine the fortress”) // A4.8:6–7 (“Let them demolish the temple of Yaho the god that is in Elephantine the fortress”) and A4.7:23 // A4.8:22–23 (“If it please our lord, take thought of that temple to rebuild it since they do not let us rebuild it”). See Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 287; Kottsieper, “Die Religionspolitik der Achämeniden,” 159–160; Schama, Story of the Jews, 24. See, e.g., Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 279; Kottsieper, “Die Religionspolitik der Achämeniden,” 160 n. 37. The Aramaic phrase is kzy ms.ryn mrdt wh.ylʾ hndyz hww (TAD A6.7:6). Compare the reference in TAD A6.10:1 (kzy ms.ryʾ mrdw, “when the Egyptians rebelled”). See TAD A6.7:7. Tawny Holm has proposed to read the name as Inaros, [y]n[h.]rw (“The Sheikh Fadl Inscription in Its Literary and Historical Context,” Aramaic Studies 5 [2007]: 193–224, esp. 208–209). If the reading is correct, this cannot be the Inaros of an earlier rebellion, since the latter reportedly died in Susa in 454. Note the considerations about Inaros in Pierre Briant, “Ethno-classe dominante et populations soumises dans l’Empire achéménide: Le cas de l’Égypte,” in Achaemenid History 3: Method and Theory: Proceedings of the London 1985 Achaemenid History Workshop (ed. Amélie Kuhrt and Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg; Leiden: Nederlands Instituut voor het Nabije Oosten, 1988), 137–173, esp. 144 n. 16 (“Le nom d’Inaros est probablement générique en ce qu’il exprime un sentiment d’hostilité aux étrangers”).

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Notes to Pages 140–141

94. See TAD A6.11:1–2, 4 (kzy ywzʾ hwh bms.ryn, “when there was turmoil in Egypt”). 95. For this line of interpretation, see Driver, Aramaic Documents, 9; Edda Bresciani, “The Persian Occupation of Egypt,” in The Cambridge History of Iran (ed. Ilya Gershevitch; 7 vols.; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 2:502–528, esp. 511. 96. The verb used for the Egyptian insurrection is consistently mrd, “to rebel, to revolt.” The response to the revolt is also the same: the garrison is summoned to the fortress to defend it, referred to with the circumlocution hndyz hwy, “to be garrisoned, to be confined to the fortress.” 97. Contra Briant, “Ethno-classe dominante,” 144–147. See also Briant, Histoire de l’Empire Perse: De Cyrus à Alexandre (Paris: Fayard, 1996), esp. 620–623. For a more popularized version, see Briant, “Une curieuse affaire à Éléphantine en 410 av. n. è.: Widranga, le temple de Yahweh et le sanctuaire de Khnûm,” Méditerranées 6 (1996): 115–135. The Swiss archaeologist Cornelius von Pilgrim follows Briant’s interpretation of the events and marshals archaeological evidence to support it. See especially Pilgrim, “Tempel des Jahu.” 98. See TAD A4.9:6; A6.7:7. See also the use of this term to qualify Vidranga in the petition to Bagohi in TAD A4.7:7 // A4.8:6. 99. Contrast F. Mario Fales who translates klbyʾ as “auxiliaries,” on the basis of Akkadian kallāb/pu (“Aramaic Letters and Neo-Assyrian Letters: Philological and Methodological Notes,” JAOS 107 (1987): 451–469, esp. 468–469). James M. Lindenberger proposes translating kblwhy as “his entrails, guts,” on the basis of Babylonian qablu (“What Ever Happened to Vidranga? A Jewish Liturgy of Cursing from Elephantine,” in The World of the Arameans III: Studies in Language and Literature in Honour of Paul-Eugène Dion [ed. P. M. Michèle Daviau, John W. Wevers, and Michael Weigl; JSOTSup 326; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 2001], 134–157). Jacob Nahum Epstein was the first to suggest translating kblwhy as “his anklets,” an ornament purportedly carried as a sign of rank (“Glossen zu den ‘aramäischen Papyrus und Ostraka,’” ZAW 32 (1912): 128–138, esp. 128). 100. See Laura Kataja and Robert M. Whiting, Grants, Decrees and Gifts of the Neo-Assyrian Period (SAA 12; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1995), no. 25, recto 31; no. 26, recto 31 (pagaršu in la qebēri libas.s.iru kalbū). For other instances, see CAD 8, s.v. “kalbu,” esp. 1b. For illustrations from the Hebrew Bible, see 1 Kgs 14:11; 16:4; 21:19, 23, 24; 22:38; 2 Kgs 9:10, 36. 101. The interpretation here advanced implies that the Vidranga mentioned in a source dated 399 BCE is not our Vidranga but a different man by the same name, contra Emil G. Kraeling, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1953), 283. Note also the interpretation of TAD D17.1 advanced in André Lemaire, “Recherches d’épigraphie araméenne en Asie mineure et en Égypte et le problème de l’acculturation,” in Asia Minor

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and Egypt: Old Cultures in a New Empire (ed. Heleen Sancisi-Weerdenburg and Amélie Kuhrt; Achaemenid History 6; Leiden: Netherlands Institute of the Near East, 1991), 199–206, esp. 199–201. 102. Schama, Story of the Jews, 25. 103. Porten, Archives from Elephantine, 286. 104. The phrase “anti-Jewish outburst” goes back to Schäfer, Judeophobia, 135, and the term “proto-pogrom” is found in Schama, Story of the Jews, 24.

Epilogue 1. On the assimilation and Hellenization of the Jewish community of Herakleopolis, see James M. S. Cowey and Klaus Maresh, Urkunden des Politeuma der Juden von Herakleopolis (144/3–133/2 v. Chr.) (P. Polit. Jud.): Papyri aus den Sammlungen von Heidelberg, Köln, München und Wien (Papyrologica Coloniensia 39; Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 2001), esp. 23–29. The papyri offer no evidence of specifically Jewish judicial practices, although there are references to “ancestral law” (patrios nomos). In fact, the occasional application of a 24 percent interest rate on loans runs against Torah prescriptions. See also Sylvie Honigman, “Jewish Communities of Hellenistic Egypt: Different Responses to Different Environments,” in Jewish Identities in Antiquity: Studies in Memory of Menahem Stern (ed. Lee I. Levine and Daniel R. Schwartz; TSAJ 130; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2009), 117–135.

Appendix The translation is adapted from Karel van der Toorn, Papyrus Amherst 63 (AOAT 448; Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2018) and published with permission by Ugarit-Verlag.

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General Index

Abdi-Anati, 49 Abihi, 247n46, 249n68 Abu Simbel, 90 Abydos, 121, 129, 130 Adonai, 69, 85, 102 adoption, 216n159 Agli-Bol, 79, 80, 106 Ahiqar, 24–27, 146; Demotic, 26–27 Ahura-Mazda, 23 Ahutab, 54 Aimé-Giron, Noël, 48–49, 53 Akitu festival, 227n137 Aleppo, 43, 53, 76, 210n44 altar house, 98 Al-Yahudu, 114, 120 Amherst, Lord, 3–5, 63 amnesia, cultural, 146 Amurru, 78 Anani, chancellor of satrap in Memphis, 130, 132, 137 Ananyah: son of Azaryah, 205n89, 234n65; son of Haggai, 33; son of Hosea, 248n50 Anat, 47–48, 66, 107, 114; as “maiden” and “wet-nurse,” 113 Anat-Bethel, 29–30, 49, 59–60, 66, 67, 88, 100, 107, 112, 114 Anat-Yaho, 29–30, 59, 101, 107, 112, 114 aniconism, 101 Anshan, 223n75 anti-Judaism, 141–142 appendix, 74, 84 Apries, 229n5 Arak, town of, 90

Aram, 44–45, 76, 77, 81 Aramaic, 43–45; as daily language of Elephantine Jews, 21–23 Arameans: in Babylonia, 44; from Hamath, 45–49 Arashu, 76 ark, 101 arrow, 108 Arsames, 8, 122, 132, 137, 141; letters from, 140; petition to, 136–140 Artaxerxes I, 92 Ashima, 49, 87, 106, 109 Assurbanipal, 82, 90 Ater, 33 ʿAttar, 51–52 Azri-Yaʾu, 60 Baal, 79, 103, 104; temple in Memphis, 96 Baal-Shamayin, 67, 75, 76, 79, 83, 103 Baʿaltak, 79, 225n101 Baal-Zaphon, 103 Babylonia, Arameans from, 53, 81–83 Bagohi, 141, 251n86; petition to, 137–138, 141 Bāl, 79 Banit, 46, 50–51, 66, 87, 221n76; temple of, 95, 208n10 banquet, sacrificial, 98 Barsippa, 81 battalion, 38–39, 58, 90; commander, 216n163; holding fields, 92–93 battle gear, of storm god, 108 Behistun inscription, 23–24

255

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256

General Index

Bel, 44, 52, 78, 81–83, 86, 225n103 Belat-ayakki, 79, 81 Belzoni, Giovanni Battista, 8 bethel, 80, 101 Bethel (god), 29–30, 46–49, 59–60, 65, 66, 67–68, 70, 73, 76–77, 79, 80, 85, 88, 100, 104–106, 112, 120, 202n37; and Eshem-Bethel, 109; successor of Baal, 104; temple of, 95, 208n10 Bethel (town), 72 Bethsaida stele, 106 boatmen, 56 Bol, 78–80, 81–82 Bowman, Raymond, 63 bribery, 127, 132, 136, 140 bull: calf image, 101; as divine title, 69, 80, 81, 102, 108 burial practices, 54, 214n129 business consortium, 128–129, 135 calendar, Jewish festival, 121–122, 124, 127 calf: golden, 70; of Samaria, 70, 71, 103 Cambyses II, 61, 73, 115 caravan: city, 66, 76; route, 90 Carter, Howard, 4, 21 Caspians, 37–39 Cecil, Mary, 3–5, 22, 63 chancellor, of satrap in Egypt, 130, 132 cherubim, 70 circumcision, 40 Clermont-Ganneau, Charles, 5, 10–11, 12, 24 cleruchs, 91, 93 coffin, with Aramaic inscription, 45, 232n48 council of heaven, 103, 237n101 cow, as divine title, 81 Cowley, Arthur E., 7, 35, 91–92 Creation Epic, Babylonian, 83 crescent, as divine title, 105–106 Damascus, 76, 78 Daniel, book of, 5, 26

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Darga-and-Rash, 77, 108–109 Darius II, 122 decalogue, 11 Delayah, 141, 251n86 demons, 239n134 Demotic Chronicle, 245n33 desert, 75, 76; Syrian, 77 Deuteronomy, 12 diaspora, 18–20, 119–120; Aramean, 42–60; Judean, in Babylonia, 120; story, 26 dogs, 141 Dumuzi, 111 Dura-Europos, 29 Eanna temple, 81 Edessa, 53, 80 Edfu, 90, 232n54; Jews at, 96; Yaho temple at, 96 Efca, 78, 80 El, 51–52; bull of, 108; sons of, 103 Elam, 76 Esarhaddon, 24, 25, 82 Eshem-Bethel, 29–30, 47–49, 51–52, 66, 67, 80, 86, 88, 100, 103, 107–110 Eshmun, 110 Eshor (Natan) son of Zeha, 32, 55, 203n52 Espemet son of Peftuaneith, 56 ethnicity, 30–41, 145 etymology, folk, 110 evening star, 79, 85 fast, 126 ferry, 56, 94 fire, as divine weapon, 108–109 firman, ferman, 122–123 fortress, 95 Gall, August von, 12 garrison: border, 93; cities in Egypt, 90; commander, 42, 92, 121; Jewish, 57–58, 95, 122 German Papyrus Cartel, 5

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General Index Geshur, 106 Gilgamesh Epic, 127 god, anonymous, 80 graffiti, 90, 209nn35,38,39,40, 212n82 Grelot, Pierre, 36 Hadad, 44, 52, 76, 79, 80, 81–82, 86, 103, 112, 213n116 Hadad-nuri, 55, 82 Hadad-Rimmon, 242n155 Haggai son of Shemayah, 57, 201n26, 204n62 Haggus son of Hodo, 132–133, 247n46, 249n68 Hamath, 44, 59–60, 65, 67–68, 106; Arameans from, 45–49, 66–68; fall of, 72 Hananyah, 120–124, 130, 137, 146 Han-Ilat, 96 Harwoz, 215n141 Hatti, 78 Hebrew, 144 Herakleopolis, 253n1 Herem-Bethel, 29–30, 47–48, 66, 88, 100, 101, 110–112, 113 Hermopolis, 66; letters, 208n10, 214n30 Herodotus, 40, 45; at Elephantine, 40, 42 Herta, 79 Hoftijzer, Jacob, 129 Holm, Tawny L., 3, 64 holocaust, 19 Hophra, 229n5 Horesmians, 37–39, 40 Hosea: son of Hodawyah, 248n50; son of Natan, 128, 129, 131, 133, 136 house sales, 94 images, divine, 101 Inaros, 140, 251n93 intermarriage, 39, 47; Jewish-Aramean, 54–55; Jewish-Egyptian, 55 Ioudaios, 15–18

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257

Iranians, at Elephantine, 37–39, 58 Ishtar, 82, 111 Ishum, 109–110, 240n138 ius sanguinis, 14 Jeroboam, 69–70 Jerusalem, 114; fall of, 90; holy city, 124; temple of, 233n63 Jongeling, Karel, 129 Judaism, 15–18, 96, 197n49 judges, Persian, 42, 92, 99–100, 133 Judith, 17 Khnum, 54, 121, 131, 142, 214n131, 215n145, 240n136; priests of, 22, 56, 98, 126, 130, 139; temple of, 56 Knauf, Ernst-Axel, 101 Korobis, 212n88, 213n116 Kottsieper, Ingo, 83, 122 Kuhrt, Amélie, 93 land-for-service system, 92–93 Lebanon, 77 Lemaire, André, 27 Leontopolis, 96 libations, 214n137, 236n89 loan, 253n1 Lozachmeur, Hélène, 9 Ludlul bēl nēmeqi, 26 Mahseyah son of Yedanyah, 31–32, 202–203n46 Makki-Banit, 91 Malkiyah son of Yathom, 55 Mārat-ʾayāk, 79, 81, 225n102 Marduk, 52 marriage: contracts, 30; sacred, 85, 105–106, 110–112 Mason, Steve, 15–16 Mattan son of Yashobyah, 34 matzoth, 121–122 Mauzyah son of Natan, 129, 247n50 Mazdaism, 249n63 Megiddo, 242n155

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258

General Index

memory, cultural, 146 Memphis, 90, 128, 129, 130, 134, 141, 213n127, 214n130, 229n8; Arameans in, 46, 48, 50, 66, 91, 96, 228n149 Menahem: son of Azaryah, 234n65, 247n46; son of Shallum, 236n85 mercenaries, 71, 73, 90–95, 144 Meshullam: son of Natan, 236n85; son of Zakkur, 33, 55, 56, 205n89 Meshullemet, 247n46 Meyer, Eduard, 12 Mibtahyah: daughter of Mahseyah, 32, 55, 56, 95, 203nn46,52, 214n137, 246n37; sister of Yedanyah, 91 Migdol, 90, 91, 119 military colony, 89, 93 millet system, 123 misthophoroi, 91 mobilization, of the troops, 95 moon: associated with Ishum and Eshem, 109; as divine manifestation, 103, 105–107; god, 106; new, 85, 105 Morgan, J. Pierpont, 63 Mormon, Book of, 63 mummy label, 209nn30,40 Nabu, 44, 46, 49–51, 53, 65, 66, 76, 79, 81–83, 85–86; priest of, 232n48; temple of, 95, 96, 208n10 Nanay, 51, 65, 66, 75, 76, 79, 81–82, 85–86, 101, 110–111, 211n76, 225n103; as Queen of Heaven, 86; temple of, 86 Naphaina son of Vidranga, 141 Natan son of Ananyah, 200n26 nation, 123–124, 127 nationalism, religious, 124 Nebuchadnezzar II, 87 necropolis, 206n97 Nergal, 52–53, 83 New Year, 65; festival, 69, 70, 85–86, 105 Nongbri, Brent, 16 Nushku, 51–52

Y7557-Toorn.indb 258

oasis, 76 oath, 29; judicial, 99–100, 101 offerings, temple, 98 Oppenheim, A. Leo, 61–62, 97 oracle: frozen, 108; for king, 86, 107 ordeal, 99 Orontes, 29, 44, 49, 210n44 orphan, 238n113 ostraca, 22, 28, 116–117 ownership, versus possession, 92, 94 Padua letter, 91 palm trees, 78 Palmyra, 45, 76–80, 82, 83, 86, 87–88, 90, 106, 144–145 Paltiyah (Pilti), 56 pantheon, of Elephantine, 28, 201n27 Papyrus Amherst 63, 62–88; translated text of, 149–187 Passover Papyrus, 121 Pathros, 90, 112, 249n64 perennial source of water, 66, 75, 80 perjury, 99 Pesach, 28, 121, 130–131, 201n31 Phoenicians, 40 pluralism, religious, 66, 74, 80 polytheism, Jewish, 28, 201n28 Porten, Bezalel, 9, 13–15, 18, 19–20, 35, 38, 57, 89, 130, 142 priest of Yaho temple, 55, 57, 97 prison, 133, 134–135 Psammetichus the Younger, 90 Ptah, 214n130 Qonyah son of Zadaq, 32, 206n98 Queen of Heaven, 30, 46, 48, 59, 65, 66, 85, 112–114; temple of, 95, 208n10 rainbow, 108 Rash, 76–77, 81; god of, 77 religion, concept of, 15–18 Renan, Ernest, 127, 146 Resheph, 225n103 retribution, divine, 99

5/7/19 11:50 AM

General Index revolt, Egyptian, 136–142 Rubensohn, Otto, 5, 6 Sachau, Eduard, 6, 7, 10 sacrifices, 214n137 Samaria, 17, 69–73, 87–88 Sanballat, 251n86 Saqqara, 206n97, 208n9 Sargon II, 72 Sati, 54, 215n141 satrap, 127, 130, 132, 137, 139 Sayce, Archibald Henry, 5 Schama, Simon, 18, 142 scholar, tale of the slandered, 26 school, 27 scribal education, 24–25, 27 scribes, 57, 99; Jewish, 91, 204n62, 247n50 sea monster, 83 secretary, of Jewish community, 129 Sennacherib, 24, 71, 84 serenade, 111 Shabbat, 28, 201n31 Shaggar, 109, 240n139 Shalma(t), 79 Shamash, 53, 83, 211n60 Shamashshumukin, 82, 84 Shapira, Moses Wilhelm, 11 Shegal, 106 Shelomam son of Hodawyah, 247n46, 249n68 Shillem son of Meshullam, 204n59 Sin, 51–52 Siyan, 49, 65, 67 slaves, Egyptian, 57 Smith, George, 11–12 Smith, William Cantwell, 17 soldiers, 144; frontier, 89 Solomon, 78 Spiegelberg, Wilhelm, 218n12 stars, 103; assembly of, 103 Steiner, Richard, 2, 63–64, 65, 72, 76, 85 steward of Yaho temple, 56, 97, 203n58 stone, story of the stolen, 128–136

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259

storehouse, royal treasury, 91, 95, 139 storm god, 104, 106, 108, 144 S.ulmu, 106 sun, as divine manifestation, 103, 105 syncretism, 20, 54, 59 Syria, 45 Syrians, 40–41, 45 Tahpanes, 90 Tamet (Tapamet), 203n58, 205n89 Tammuz, 112, 242n155 Tarsus, 212n82 Tartan, 226n125 taxes, land, 93, 231n33 Tayma, 106, 109 temple: community, 95–100; greetings, 98, 120; personnel, 68 Thebes, 90, 134–135, 214n130; province of, 132, 135 theophoric names, 28, 46–53 throne, deified, 226n113 Tobit, 17, 25–26, 146 Torah, 101, 146, 253n1 tower houses, 118 Tshetres, province of, 132 Two Brothers, Tale of, 65, 71, 74, 82–83, 84–85 Tyre, 72 Ubil daughter of Shatibara, 38 Udjahorresnet, 245n33 Uriyah, 214n137 Uriyah son of Mahseyah, 57 Uruk, 81 venom, 108 Venus star, 106, 113 Vidranga, 130, 132, 136–142 Vleeming, Sven P., 72 Volterra, Edoardo, 35 wall inside fortress of Elephantine, 139 warrior god, 104, 108, 144 Wellhausen, Julius, 12

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260

General Index

well inside fortress of Elephantine, 95, 139 Wesselius, Jan Willem, 72 widow, 238n113 Wilbour, Charles Edwin, 7 wine, 107; new, 69 witnesses: Arameans as, 57; to contracts, 30; Iranians as, 38; to oaths, 100 Yaho, 102–107; in Amherst papyrus, 69, 85; of Hosts, 103; identified with Bethel, 104; kingship of, 69, 85; at Palmyra, 80; orthography of, 27, 102, 200–201n26; Throne of, 80 Yaho temple, 56, 95–98, 208n10, 214n137; demolition of, 125–128; 136–142; at Edfu, 96; at Leontopolis, 96

Y7557-Toorn.indb 260

Yahweh: of Samaria, 70; S.ebaoth, 97, 103 Yamm, 84, 104 Yardeni, Ada, 9 Yarhi-Bol, 79, 80 Yaron, Reuven, 39 Yaʾu-bidi, 60 Yedanyah (Didi), 56 Yedanyah son of Gemaryah, 54, 125–127, 129, 135, 202n46, 246n37 Yeho-yishma, 33, 204n63, 205n89 Yezanyah son of Uriyah, 214n137 Yislah son of Natan, 134–135, 250n69 Zadak son of Qon, 206n98 Zakkur: of Hamath, 68; inscription, 67; son of Hosea, 247n46; son of Meshullam, 204n59, 215n149 Zion, 97, 114 Zoroastrianism, 232n52

5/7/19 11:50 AM

Index of Ancient Sources

Hebrew Bible Genesis 28:10–22 Exodus 13:20 Chapter 32

236n88 226n110 221n48, 236n88, 237n96

Numbers 33:6, 7, 8

226n110

Deuteronomy 9:13–21 26:5 32:33

237n96 44 239n132

Judges 5:20

237n102

1 Samuel 1:9–10, 20

221n46

1 Kings 9:18 Chapters 11–12 12:25–33 12:28, 32 13:33–34 14:1 14:7–11 16:4 18:20–46 21:19, 23, 24 22:38

224n92 237n96 221n48, 236n88 70 237n96 252n100 237n96 252n100 238n112 252n100 222n61, 252n100

2 Kings 9:10, 36 10:29–31 Chapter 17 17:16 17:24–41 17:30 25:25–26 25:26

252n100 237n96 87 237n96 60 49, 60, 87 243n8 217n5

Isaiah 8:18

233n61

Jeremiah 16:5 42:1–43:7 Chapters 43–44 Chapter 44 44:1 44:15–28 44:15 44:29–30 48:13

234n68 229n5 217n5, 243n8 59, 66, 87 90, 243n8, 249n64 112 243n8, 249n64 229n5 30, 60, 70, 243n16

Ezekiel 8:14 29:10

242n155 243n12

Hosea 8:5–6 8:5 8:6 10:5–6 10:5 13:2

237n96 221n48 221n48, 237n99 237n96 221n48 237n96

261

Y7557-Toorn.indb 261

5/7/19 11:50 AM

262

Index of Ancient Sources

Joel 4:17, 21

233n61

Amos 4:1 6:4–6 6:7

72 72 234n68

Zechariah 7:2 12:11

202n44 242n155

Psalms Psalm 20 50:7–23 60:8–10 68:6 81:7–14 95:8–11 106:19 132:11–18 137:5

69, 84, 104, 146 239n133 239n133 238n113 239n133 239n133 237n96 239n133 114

Job 6:4 38:7

108, 239n132 237n102

Ecclesiastes 9:7–9

246n41

Ezra 2:16, 42 7:12–26

203n59 122

Nehemiah 7:21, 45 10:18 11:1 2 Chronicles 8:33 11:15 13:8

203n59 203n59 246n34 78 237n96 237n96

Apocrypha Tobit 1:1–2

Y7557-Toorn.indb 262

197n59

1:2 1:6, 10 1:17–18 1:21–22 2:3 2:10 11:18–19 14:8–9 14:10 14:16–17

197n60 197n61 198n62 200n18 198n62 200n18 200n18 197n61 200n18 197n61

Judith 6:17 7:17 8:1 8:3–4 8:21 12:1–4 13:14 15:8 15:9 16:21, 23

198n63 198n63 197n59 197n60 197n61 197n61 198n63 198n63 17, 197n61 197n60

2 Maccabees 2:21 8:1 14:38

197n49 197n49 197n49

West Semitic Inscriptions KAI 222A:5 227 268 TAD A2.1–7 A2.1:1 A2.1:2 A2.1:3 A2.1:8 A2.1:15 A2.2:1

222n72 202n36 212n84

208n10 208n10, 212n90, 219n26, 234n69 210n58, 214n130 208n15, 209n33 212n88 210n58, 212n90 208n10, 212n88, 219n26, 234n69

5/7/19 11:50 AM

Index of Ancient Sources A2.2:2 A2.2:4 A2.2:5–6 A2.2:5 A2.2:6 A2.2:18 A2.3 A2.3:1 A2.3:2 A2.3:5 A2.3:14 A2.4:1 A2.4:2 A2.4:14 A2.5:1 A2.5:2 A2.5:6 A2.6:1 A2.6:8 A2.7:1, 5 A3.1:3 A3.1 rev. 1 A3.1 rev. 4, 6 A3.2:1 A3.3 A3.3–4 A3.3:1 A3.3:3–5 A3.4:3 A3.6 A3.7 A3.7:2 A3.7:4 A3.8 A3.8:9 A3.8:12 A3.9 A4.1 A4.1:1

Y7557-Toorn.indb 263

210n58, 212n81, 214n130 212n90 212n80 212n86 210n58 212n88 229n12 208n10, 212n88, 219n26, 234n69 212n87, 214n130 213n123 210n55, 212nn79, 88 208n10, 212n88, 219n26, 234n69 214n130 212n88 212n88 214n130 209n28 214n130 212n86 212n102 210n55 211n64 210n55 208n14 243n11 195n25 201n30, 233n58, 234n69 229n11 210n50 247n45 214n130, 234n65, 247nn45, 46 250n72 247n49 214n130, 247n45, 49n66 209n19, 215n147 243n7 214n130 202n46, 244n20 214n133, 244n25

A4.1:2 A4.2 A4.2:1 A4.2:8 A4.2:11 A4.3 A4.3:1, 12 A4.3:7 A4.4 A4.4:5 A4.4:7 A4.5 A4.5:1 A4.5:2–4 A4.5:2–3 A4.5:3, 8 A4.5:4 A4.5:8–10 A4.5:10 A4.5:18 A4.5:19, 21, 22 A4.7:1 A4.7:4–17 A4.7:4–6 A4.7:4–5 A4.7:5 A4.7:7–8 A4.7:7 A4.7:9–13 A4.7:12–13 A4.7:13–14 A4.7:13 A4.7:15 A4.7:17–19 A4.7:19–22 A4.7:19–21 A4.7:22 A4.7:23 A4.7:25–28 A4.7:25

263

245n30, 250n80 214n130, 247n45, 248n60 214n133 250n76 213n127, 215n147 247n45, 248n51 204n68, 214n133, 234n65, 243n7 244n24, 248n55 247n45, 249n69 214n139 214n133 194n14, 232n45, 251nn86, 88 199n8, 206n95, 216n161, 248n58 250n75, 251n85 248n61 235n71, 240n136 249n63 251n84 250n81 251n85 250n81 214n133, 234n65 246n38 250n73, 251n85 248n61 235n71, 240n136, 249n63 251n89 249n63, 252n98 233n60, 236n89 251n85 217n3, 243n1 198n6 246n41 251n87 246n40 246n41 204n70, 205n77 251n89 234n67 202n39

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264

Index of Ancient Sources

TAD (continued) A4.7:26–27 204n70 A4.7:29 246n42, 251n86 A4.8:1 214n133, 234n70, 235n74 A4.8:3–16 246n38 A4.8:3–5 250n74, 251n85 A4.8:4 235n71, 248n61 A4.8:5, 6 249n63 A4.8:6–7 251n89 A4.8:6 252n98 A4.8:8–12 233n60, 236n89 A4.8:11–12 251n85 A4.8:12–13 217n3, 243n1 A4.8:12 198n6 A4.8:14 246n41 A4.8:16–18 251n87 A4.8:18–21 246n40 A4.8:19–20 246n41 A4.8:21–22 204n70, 205n77 A4.8:22–23 251n89 A4.8:25–27 234n67 A4.8:25–26 204n70 A4.8:27–28 246n42 A4.8:28–29 250n79 A4.8:28 251n86 A4.9 247n43, 251n86 A4.9:2–3 250n77 A4.9:3 234n66 A4.9:6 252n98 A4.9:9–11 234n67 A4.10:1 214n133 A4.10:4–5 250n71 A4.10:6 204n69, 205n79, 216n160, 231n35, 244n28 A4.10:10–11 234n67 A5.2 230n23 A5.2:4 231n27 A5.2:7 244n28 A5.4:2 235n71 A6.1 230n33, 250n80 A6.1:7 213n112 A6.2:23, 28 211n67, 248n53

Y7557-Toorn.indb 264

A6.3–16 A6.4 A6.7:6 A6.7:7 A6.9 A6.9:2, 4, 5, 6 A6.10:1 A6.11:1–2, 4 A6.12:1 A6.13:4

195n27 249n62 251n92 251n93, 252n98 249n62 230n18 251n92 252n94 230n18 231n33

B1.1 B1.1:16 B2.1 B2.1:2–3 B2.1:2

231n27 212n89, 213n116 198n3 203n48 203n54, 206n101, 216n163 203n47 215n142 205n89 205n89 215n155 205n89, 210n53 212n85 198n3, 206n99, 207n102, 243n5, 248n59 205nn82, 91, 206n92 206n98 202n45, 203n49 205n77, 206nn97, 101 216n168, 235n78, 236n80, 237n91 203n55, 206n98 214n137 206n101, 216n163 215n142 206n101 214n139 210n57, 212n96, 213nn114, 115, 214n135, 215n155, 226n123

B2.1:9 B2.1:13 B2.1:16 B2.1:17 B2.1:18–19 B2.1:18 B2.1:19 B2.2

B2.2:2–3 B2.2:2 B2.2:3–4 B2.2:3 B2.2:4 B2.2:8–9 B2.2:9–10 B2.2:9 B2.2:10–11 B2.2:10 B2.2:17 B2.2:19

5/7/19 11:50 AM

Index of Ancient Sources B2.2:21 B2.3:1–2 B2.3:2 B2.3:3 B2.3:5 B2.3:27–28 B2.3:28 B2.3:30 B2.3:35–36 B2.4:1–4 B2.4:1–2 B2.4:2 B2.4:16 B2.6 B2.6:2 B2.6:3 B2.6:39 B2.7:1–2 B2.7:2 B2.7:3 B2.7:4–6 B2.7:14 B2.7:15 B2.7:18 B2.7:19 B2.8:3 B2.8:4 B2.8:5 B2.8:11 B2.8:12 B2.8:13 B2.9 B2.9:2 B2.9:3–4 B2.9:3 B2.9:4–5 B2.9:7 B2.9:17

Y7557-Toorn.indb 265

206n99 203n50 205n77, 216n163 206n97 205n89 212b93, 213n105 211n62 204n59 203n47 214n137 203n51 205n77, 206n101, 216n163 211n62, 212n93, 213n105 202n41, 203n52, 214n138 206n101 216n163 205n89 203n53 206n101, 216n163 203n58, 215nn149, 150 232n46 200n56 215n141, 235n71 205n89 204n62, 205nn83, 89, 91, 206n92, 216n58 206n101, 216n163 235n78 214n31 210n55 210nn55, 56 210n56, 213n127, 215n155 207n103 206n101, 211n63, 216n163 203n56 206n101 249n63 230n24 234n65, 247n46

B2.10:2 B2.10:18 B2.11 B2.11:2 B2.11:14 B3.1 B3.1:3 B3.2 B3.2:10 B3.2:11–14 B3.2:11 B3.2:12 B3.2:13 B3.3 B3.3:2–3 B3.3:2 B3.3:3 B3.4 B3.4:2 B3.4:4 B3.4:23 B3.4:24 B3.4:25 B3.5 B3.5:2 B3.5:3–4 B3.5:11 B3.5:24 B3.6:2 B3.6:15–16 B3.6:16–17 B3.6:16 B3.7 B3.7:7 B3.7:8 B3.8 B3.8:1–2

265

206n101 202n46, 236n85 215n148 203n57, 206n101, 216n163 211nn61, 62 203n58, 215n150 204n60, 206n101 234n65 213n127 215n155 210nn51, 52, 212n94, 213n109 213n125 212n103, 213n127 202n41, 215n152 204n61 201n26, 206n101, 233n61 216n163 248n59 205nn84, 85, 90, 206n97 205n88 204n62, 205n89, 216n158 205n89 201n26 247n46 233n61 205nn86, 90 206n99 205nn81, 89, 232n52, 250n71 204n62, 206n101, 211n63, 216n163 204n62, 216n158 205n89 216n163 247n46 205n89 215n140 202n41, 204n63 204n64, 205n80

5/7/19 11:50 AM

266

Index of Ancient Sources

TAD (continued) B3.8:2 206n101, 211n63, 2216n163 B3.8:43 204n62, 216n158 B3.8:44 214n133, 234n65, 247n46 B3.9 215n153, 216n159 B3.9:2, 3 206n101 B3.9:9 213n120 B3.9:10–12 215n155 B3.9:10 212n103, 213n114 B3.9:11 209nn17, 21, 41, 42, 210n60, 212n99 B3.9:12 209n34, 212n101 B3.10:2 233n61 B3.10:10 215n140 B3.10:23–24 250n71 B3.10:23 204n62, 216n158 B3.10:24 249n67 B3.11:2 233n61 B3.11:6 215n140 B3.11:8 204n63 B3.11:17 204n62, 216n158 B3.11:20 214n133 B3.12 203n58 B3.12:2–3 204n65, 205n80 B3.12:2 206n101, 233n61 B3.12:3 210n53, 216n163 B3.12:4–5 205n88, 206n94 B3.12:4 205n88 B3.12:18–19 201n33 B3.12:19 205n89 B3.12:20 215m145 B3.12:32 204n62, 216n158 B3.13 204n66, 207n104 B3.13:1–2 217n165 B3.13:2 206n101, 210n53, 216n163 B3.13:4 204n63, 230n18 B3.13:5 230n18 B3.13:11 249n64 B3.13:12 212n99 B3.13:13 236n85 B4.2 194n14

Y7557-Toorn.indb 266

B4.2:5–6 B4.2:12 B4.2:14 B4.2:23 B4.3 B4.3:1–2 B4.3:9 B4.3:21 B4.3:22–24 B4.4 B4.4:1–2 B4.4:6 B4.4:8 B4.4:10 B4.4:12 B4.4:18 B4.4:19–21 B4.4:19 B4.5:1 B5.1:9 B4.5:2 B4.6 B4.6:2 B4.7:1 B5.1 B5.1:3 B5.1:9 B5.2:2 B5.2:4 B5.3:9 B5.5:2 B5.5:8 B5.5:10 B5.5:12 B6.1–4 B6.1:2 B6.3 B6.3:13

230n16 213n122, 215n155 202n46 212n95, 213n111 209n20, 230nn17, 22 248n50 217n166 248n50 215n155 230nn17, 22 248n50 209nn20, 27, 217n166 211n60 209n20, 209n27, 217n166 230n18 248n50 215n155 212n95, 213n111 206n101 248n50 206n101, 210n53, 216n163 204n62, 216n158, 236n85 206n101, 210n53, 216n163 212nn91, 99 230n25 230n25 214n136 204n67, 205n78, 206n101 230n25 214n139 206n101, 216n163 230nn18, 19 230n19 213n127 202n41 206n101, 211n63, 216n163 247n46, 249n68 249n68

5/7/19 11:50 AM

Index of Ancient Sources B6.4 B6.4:9 B6.4:10 B7.1:2

202n41 208n15, 209nn31, 34 208n15 206n101, 211n63, 216n163 B7.1:4 235n78, 236n80, 237n91 B7.1:5 235n77 B7.2 206n99, 248n59 B7.2:2 206n101 B7.2:3–4 206n97 B7.2:3 210n53, 216n163 B7.2:6 235m78 B7.2:7–8 202n40, 235n78, 236n84, 241n146 B7.2:8–10 235n79 B7.3 242n156 B7.3:1–3 235n78 B7.3:3 202n40, 236n85, 239n128, 241n146 B8.4:1 211nn72, 73 B8.4:3 209nn25, 26, 213nn106, 108 B8.4:7 211n65 B8.4:13 211n73, 213n106 B8.6:8 209n25 B8.7:2, 3, 6, 9, 10 213n127 B8.9:5 235n78 B8.10:7 213n127 C1.1 C1.1 i 1 C1.1 ix 6 C2.1 C3.5:7 C3.5:11 C3.6:10 C3.6:11 C3.6:12 C3.8 IIIA:12 C3.8 IIIB:28 C3.13 C3.13:1–9

Y7557-Toorn.indb 267

199n13 199n16 232n47 199n11 231n30 232n50, 235n71 211n74 209n27 209n29 21n66 211n71 199n12, 234n67, 236n89 214n133

C3.13:10–19 C3.13:45 C3.13:46–47 C3.13:48 C3.13:54 C3.13:57 C3.14 C3.14:1 C3.14:2 C3.14:4, 11 C3.14:13 C3.14:14 C4.14:32 C3.14:35, 38 C3.15 C3.15:1 C3.15:2–3 C3.15:3 C3.15:4 C3.15:7 C3.15:6 C3.15:19 C3.15:20 C3.15:23 C3.15:50 C3.15:82, 84 C3.15:93 C3.15:111 C3.15:114–115 C3.15:124 C3.15:126–128 C3.17:10 C3.19:14 C3.28:85, 113, 114 C4.2:5 C4.2:8 C4.2a:2 C4.3:12, 16 C4.3:20 C4.4:1 C4.4:2 C4.4:3 C4.4:6 C4.4:9

267

234n65, 247n46 247n46 236n85 247n46 210n48, 217n166 213n110 230nn17, 22 212n99 210n60, 216n159 216n159 211n60, 213n121 n213n118 215n156, 244n28 249n64 202n46, 236n82 244n26 247n46 249n68 214n139 249n67 214n136 213n113, 217n166 210n48, 217n166 213n115, 214n134 250n71 214n139 249n68 209n33, 214n136 247n46 214n133 202n34 214n139 249n64 233n55 213n104 213n117 211n68 209n23 209n24 250n71 214n139 250n71 214n139 208n12

5/7/19 11:50 AM

268

Index of Ancient Sources

TAD (continued) C4.4:11 C4.6:5 C4.6:14 C4.8:6 C4.8:8 C4.8:9 C4.9 ii 2 D1.1 D1.1:2 D1.1:8 D1.6b D1.13 D1.17:3 D1.33d:2 D2.2:5 D2.3 D2.3:2 D2.4:2 D2.5:2 D2.6:2 D2.7a:2 D2.10:2 D2.10:9 D2.12 D2.12:2–3 D2.12:3 D2.12:4 D2.25:8 D2.25:9 D3.12 D3.13:3 D3.13:4 D3.17 D3.17:1–2 D3.17:9 D3.17:10 D3.19:7 D3.39b D3.39b:4 D4.9:1 D4.29:2

Y7557-Toorn.indb 268

210n48, 217n166 214n139 215nn151, 153 212n98, 241n141 210n54, 212nn92, 99 213n1w7 211n69 208n10 214n130 210nn53, 55 201n30, 233n58 236n85 232n54 213n119 213n111 206n98 206n101 206n101 206n101 211n63, 216n163 206n101 206n101 205n89 207n105 205n87, 206n92, 206n96 206n97 206n101 213n107 208n11 230n18 208n15 208n13, 209n17 230n18 236n85 236n85 214n139 249n64 206n97 211n64 201n30, 233n58 213n111

D5.10:2 D5.37:8 D6.1 D7.1:13 D7.2:2 D7.2:4 D7.5:6 D7.6 D7.6:9–10 D7.7:2 D7.7:6 D7.7:7 D7.8:13 D7.9 D7.9:3–5 D7.9:10–12 D7.10:3 D7.10:5 D7.10:7 D7.12:4 D7.12:9 D7.14:2, 6 D7.16 D7.16:1 D7.16:2 D7.16:5 D7.18 D7.18:2–3 D7.19:5 D7.21:3 D7.24 D7.24:5 D7.25:9 D7.27 D7.28:2 D7.28:4 D7.29 D7.35:1–2 D7.35:5 D7.35:7 D7.35:8 D7.36:4 D7.37:3

235n71 208n12 249n68 231n36 231n36 215n146 232n41 244n23, 248n50 201n31 231n36 232n40 231n37 231n36 214n137 215n154 230n15 231n36 201n31 231n37 231n36 201n31 231n38 201n32, 236n81 232n42 201n31 231n36 214n137 201n30, 208n10, 233n58 231n36 214n131 244n23, 248n50 201n31 208n12 231n33 231n36 201n31 234n68 201n32, 238n104 231n36 201n31 232n41 232n41 232n41

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Index of Ancient Sources D7.40:8 D7.41:2 D7.44, 45 D7.48:3 D7.48:5 D7.50:2 D9.9:14 D9.10 D9.10:2 D9.10:4 D9.10:5 D9.10:7 D9.11 D9.13:3 D11.12:1 D11.12:2 D15.1–4 D17.1 D18.1 D18.2 D18:6 D18.7 D18.10 D18.16, 17, 18 D19.2 D19.3 D20.1:1, 3 D21.2 D21.17 D22.5, 6 D22.13 D22.18 D22.18:1–2 D22.36 D22.53 D23.1 ii 9

211n63 208n15 231n36 231n36 201n31 231n36 208n16 214n139 208n15 210n55 210n50, 213n124 209n18 206n96 208n12 210n49 210n59 229n8 249n64, 25n101 207n9, 232n48, 233n61, 235n71 209n37, 235n71 209n36 209nn30, 32, 40 209n36 208n9 209nn30, 32, 40 209n30 212n84 234n65 232n51 209n38 213n117 209n40 212n97 209n35 209n39 235n71

Cl.-G. 2:2 2:3 3:2 11:4 13:2

203n47 231n36 232n40 231n36 231n36

Y7557-Toorn.indb 269

14 14:3 15:2 17 20 22:7, 10 25:2 33:2 41 41:17 44:5 50:3 55:7 56 62 rev. 4 96 108 109:1 112:1 112:6 115:3 115:6, 9 115:13 120:2–3 126:5 126:6 128:2, 4 128:9 133:2–3 135 135:6, 7 143 152 15:2 154:1 154:2 159:2 167 167:1 170:4–5 174 175 177 181

269

201n32, 236n81 231n36 231n36 214n137 201n32, 236n81 231n36 231n36 231n36 201n32, 236n81 232n41 201n31 231n36 232n42 201n32, 236n81 244n41 214n139 231n38 232n40 231n36 231n38 232n42 232n40 231n38 231n36 232n41 232n42 232n42 231n36 231n36 206n99 243n4 214n139 201n32, 236n81 201n31 231n36 232n41 231n38 238n104 201n32 230n15 201n32, 236n81 238n104 214n139 212n83

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270

Index of Ancient Sources

Cl.-G. (continued) 182:3 243n3 185 201n32, 236n81 186:1–2 201n32 186:7 201n31 203 215n144 205:4 201n31 220 215n144 233:3 232nn41, 42 235:11–14 230n15 237:3 231n38 241:2 231n38 241:3 232n39 246:2 232n42 269:1 213n117 280:8 232n41 280:10–11 231n36

Y7557-Toorn.indb 270

X2 X7:3 X11 X11:1–2 X11:5 X16

217n166 231n36 230n14 243n2 248n50 201n32, 236n81

J2:8, 11 J3:2 J7:20–21 J8 J8:9 J9 J9:1 J9:9

231n36 232n41 231n36 201n32, 236n81 201n32 215n149 204n59 204n59

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