Israel Antiquities Authority

The Edomites are coming! This Hebrew ostracon, addressed to the commander of the Arad fortress, asks that reinforcements be sent immediately to Elisha, the Israelite commander at another fortress, “lest Edom should come there.” Part of a cache of late-seventh- or early-sixth-century B.C.E. Hebrew documents found at Arad and addressed to the Arad commander Eliashib, this dispatch urgently testifies to the threat Edom posed to Judah’s southern flank. During this period, Israelite fortresses were constructed at H|orvat ‘Uza, H|orvat Radum, H|orvat ‘Anim and H|orvat Tov; and the fortress at Arad, originally built in the tenth century B.C.E., was refurbished by Eliashib—presumably in reaction to the possibility of Edomite incursion.