Middle Semitic Scripts

This is a potsherd with the Hebrew word "sh'ma", meaning to hear, written on it and dates to about 500 BCE. More.

This inscription is written in the Moabite language, a sister language to Hebrew, and is dated to about 1000 BCE. More.

Known as the "Tel Dan" inscription, this stone tablet contains the phrases "King of Israel" and "House of David" and is one of two non-Biblical source confirming the existence of King David from the Bible. More.

Dated to about 1000 BCE and written in the Amonite language, another sister language to Hebrew. More.

This inscription, discovered in the Ancient city of Gezer, chronicles the different growing seasons of the different months and is therefore known as the Gezer Calender. More.

Known as the "Temple Ostraca," This potsherd (called an ostraca) is a receipt for 3 shekels from Zekaryahu (Zecheriah) for the "Temple of Yahweh." This is the only non-Biblical record for the Temple of Yahweh. However, because the origins of this inscription is not known (it was in a private collection) some have proposed that it is a fake. More.

This stele is famously known as the "Moabite Stone" and the "Mesha Stelle." It was discovered in 1868 in Dibon Jordan. The text is the account of King Meshe and is the second non-Biblical reference to "King David" of the Bible. It is written in the Moabite language, another sister language to Hebrew. This stele is now located in the Louvre Museum in Paris France. More.

The inscription is the Ten Commandments and written in the same style of Hebrew (Middle Semitic script) that was commonly used from 1000 BCE to 100 CE. But what is amazing about this rock is that it was found in the mid 19th century in Los Lunas New Mexico. Because of the location of this "Ancient Hebrew" inscription much, controversy surrounds its origins and authenticity. More.

This tablet, from a private collection, is called the Jehoash Tablet and discusses repairs to King Solomon's Temple. The inscription closely parallels 2 Kings 12:1-6. It has recently been determined by Israeli archeologists that this tablet is a forgery. More.

This silver coin is dated to between 66 and 70 CE. While most inscriptions from this period are in the Late Semitic Script, these coins show that the "paleo" or "Middle Semitic Script" was still in use. More.

This fragment of Job 42:11-12 from the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) manuscript uses a middle Hebrew font for the Tetragrammaton (YHVH/Yahweh, the name of God - located in black box). All later copies of the Septuagint replaced this Hebrew name with the Greek word Kyrios meaning "lord". Hebrew copies of the Hebrew Bible written with the late Hebrew script often used the middle Hebrew script for the name of God in order to preserve the original appearance of the name (See the Dead Sea Scroll example). The use of the middle Hebrew script in this fragment suggests a strict Jewish origin of this Septuagint. More.

Clay bullaes such as this one are made by placing a lump of wet clay on a document then using a signet ring to impress the seal of the owner on the clay. It is possible that this seal belonged to Baruch, Jeremiah's scribe (see Jeremiah 36:4) More.

The Samaritans claim this scroll was written by Abisha, the son of Aaron, but this can not be substantiated. The script, though slightly different, is very similar to the middle Hebrew script used by Israel around 1000 BCE. More.

Written on the potsherd is a letter of protest which was written by a Jewish farmer to the governor of the region 2600 years ago. In this letter the farmer complains that his garment was taken from him unjustly, and he asks the governor to act on his behalf in order that his garment be returned to him. This fragment of pottery is now in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. More.

An Israeli coin dated to between 100 BCE and 130 CE contains the Hebrew word sh'ma meaning to hear and is a common "motto" in ancient Israel. More.

This inscription, carved on a boulder, was discovered at the Tel Zayit archeological dig south of Jerusalem. The inscription is dated to the 10th Century CE and is the ABCs of the Hebrew alphabet. More.

The inscription is written in the middle Semitic script. The two words read ALWT and WLT, names similar to the Biblical name Goliath. More.

This painted piece of pottery is dated to between 1000 and 400 BCE. The writing is incomplete but the letters resemble the Hebrew word hayah meaning to be/exist. More.

The gold sheet, discovered in Pyrgi Italy, is written in the Phonecian language, another sister language to Hebrew, and is written in parallel with an Etruscan inscription. More.

Paleo-Hebrew Leviticus: Some of the Biblical scrolls found in the Dead Sea Caves were written with the middle (Paleo) Hebrew script such as these fragments from the book of Leviticus. More.

Aaronic Blessing: A silver scroll with the Aaronic Blessing from the 7th Century B.C. This is the oldest known text of the Hebrew Bible. More.