Proto-Canaanite is the name scholars give to the oldest known alphabet. Presumably many Semitic languages, including Hebrew, were written in this alphabet.


Three occupational strata were found at Izbet Sartah. The earliest, Stratum III, dates from the 12th century. Stratum II from later in the 12th century revealed the most important occupation. The Stratum II village was abandoned after the battle of Aphek-Ebenezer in about 1050 B.C. The site was unoccupied until about 1000 B.C. when it was very briefly resettled, as revealed in Stratum I. Then Izbet Sartah was abandoned forever.


The text of the Gezer Calendar is as follows: (as translated by W. F. Albright Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ANET), p. 320)

His two months are (olive) harvest,
His two months are planting (grain),
His two months are late planting;
His month is hoeing up of flax,
His month is harvest of barley,
His month is harvest and feasting;
His two months are vine-tending,
His month is summer fruit.

It was found by R. A. S. Macalister during his extensive Gezer excavations between 1902 and 1909.


The Hebrew word here translated “scribe” is sopher, the first time it appears in the Bible. Some scholars have deleted it from their reconstruction of the original poem, others have translated it “official.”


Cuneiform denotes writing systems which use wedge-shaped signs made by pressing a stylus into soft clay tablets.


The sequence pe-ayin is also found in the Septuagint version of Proverbs 31:25–26. At least two Psalms (Psalms 10 and Psalms 34) have been reconstructed by scholars who suggest that the original form of the poem included an acrostic with a pe-ayin sequence.