André Lemaire, adapted from G. van der Kooij

Biblical Balaam speaks. Found at Deir ‘Alla, Jordan, the inscription in this drawing records a prophetic text in which Balaam, undoubtedly the prophet from Numbers 22–24, describes his vision of a divine punishment of his people. Although fragmentary in the first line, Balaam’s name appears in complete form in line 4. About 800 B.C., a professional scribe painted this text on the plaster coating of a mudbrick wall. Epigrapher Joseph Naveh identified the script as cursive Aramaic, but the exact Northwest Semitic language is uncertain. Ancient Deir ‘Alla may have been Biblical Succoth, as discussed in the accompanying review.