Israel Exploration Society

The Abba inscription demonstrates that yhwd, an Aramaic spelling for Judah introduced in the Persian period (538–332 B.C.), can appear in the paleo-Hebrew script, just as it does in the Bat Creek inscription, even though paleo-Hebrew script, when used, was ordinarily used for the Hebrew language. The tint highlights the name yhwd in the sixth line. Found engraved on the wall of a burial chamber in a tomb in the Giv‘at Ha-Mivtar area of Jerusalem, the inscription dates to the Herodian period (37 B.C.–70 A.D.). The complete inscription, translated by Joseph Naveh, reads, “I, Abba, son of the priest//Eleaz(ar), son of Aaron the high (priest), I//Abba, the oppressed and persecuted,//who was born in Jerusalem, and went to exile into Babylonia and brought (back to Jerusalem) Mattathi(ah),//son of Jud(ah), and I buried him in the// cave, which I acquired by the writ.”