See “Babatha’s Story”in this issue.



He also found a second ostracon, of much less significance, which will not be treated here and should not be confused with the two pieces of the ostracon that we deal with.


See Frank Moore Cross and Esther Eshel, “Ostraca from Khirbet Qumrân,” Israel Exploration Journal 47 (1997), pp. 17–28.


We wish to thank Mr. and Mrs. Melvin Cohen and Mr. and Mrs. Gerald Charnoff for making possible a travel grant from the Biblical Archaeology Society, enabling Esther Eshel to work with James Wilson Henderson and for both of us to work together at Cambridge and study the actual ostraca as well as the new photographs.


The date formula is unusual. In virtually all date formulae on legal documents found in Palestine, the day and the month are mentioned before the year.


Cross has defined “Late Herodian” as 20 C.E. to 68 C.E.; see “The Development of the Jewish Scripts,” in The Bible and the Ancient Near East: Essays in Honor of William Foxwell Albright, ed. G. Ernest Wright (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961), pp. 133–202, esp. 173–181. See also his excursus dating the Copper Document in Maurice Baillet, J.T. Milik and Roland de Vaux, Les ‘petites grottes’ de Qumrân, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD) 3 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1962), pp. 217–221.


The script shares many traits with the script of the Copper Document, a vulgar semiformal hand of the same date. See the excursus cited in n. 5, esp. p. 218, fig. 12.


It could also be an accounting (hsûbwn) for the overseer (see 1QS 6:20).


Scholars have proposed that the ancient name of Qumrân was Salt City (yr hmlk) or Secacah (skkh). See the bibliography in Hanan Eshel, “A Note on Joshua 15:61–62 and the Identification of the City of Salt,” Israel Exploration Journal 45 (1995), pp. 37–40.


Pliny, Natural History 5.14.70.


Josephus, The Jewish War 3.54–55.


See Naphtali Lewis in The Documents from the Bar Kokhba Period in the Cave of the Letters: Greek Papyri (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1989), pp. 65–70, and papyrus 13.


This may be read as the frequent and familiar “H|oµnî” (Onias), though this name is usually spelled hwny. Alternatively, we can vocalize the name as “H|annî,” comparing such names as ywhny and hn’.


The name of the father appears in the Palestinian and Babylonian Talmuds. Compare the Biblical Nahaûmaµnî (Nehemiah 7:7).


This reading (or rather the words hzh l<“>lm) has been suggested to us by Professor Joseph Naveh. This paper has benefited greatly by Professor Naveh’s reading of our manuscript. In addition to offering readings that we have accepted, he has stimulated us to clarify some of our arguments where we have divergent views.


The scribe probably meant to write kml’wt. It is to be analyzed either as a qal infinitive construct (the form appears in several orthographies at Qumrân: mwl’t [1QS 6:17, 18, 21]; mwlw’t [1QSa 1:10]; mlw’t [1QS 7:20, 22]; mwlwt [4Q511 63 III: 2 (Baillet, Qumrân Grotte 4, DJD 7 [Oxford: Clarendon, 1982], pp. 248–249)]) or more likely as the pi‘el infinitive construct of ml’ with the preposition k used in a temporal sense. In the Bible, the qal infinitive means “to fulfill a certain number of days, years,” etc. In the qal it means in this context “to fulfill” or “to confirm” one’s word or oath (see, for example, 1 Kings 1:14).


The reading lyhd was first suggested to us by Dr. Hanan Eshel.


Philo, Quod omnis probus 12 (69).


See the discussion of John Strugnell, “Flavius Josephus and the Essenes: Antiquities XVIII.18–21, ” Journal of Biblical Literature 77 (1958), pp. 109–110.


On this law forbidding a non-Jewish slave from working for a Jew on the Sabbath, see Lawrence H. Schiffman, The Halakhah at Qumrân (Leiden: Brill, 1975), pp. 120–121.


Cf. 1QS 6:19–20.