According to authors Cross and Eshel’s reconstruction (below), this recently discovered Hebrew inscription records the transfer of an estate, including figs and olives, from a man named Yahad to the “Community,” the H|oµ in Hebrew (highlighted in red). Yahad is the term used in the Dead Sea Scrolls to identify the communal group described by the scrolls. Although the final d (or dalet) of the term Yahad is partially broken, Cross and Eshel explain in the sidebar “The Key to the Community” why they believe Yahad is the only possible reconstruction. Their reconstruction, however, is a matter of hot dispute. A different reading—by Israeli paleographer Ada Yardeni—will appear in a future issue.

Hebrew text English translation
]l˜ mytv tnvb 1 In year two of the [
â]b ynJ âtn wJdyb 2 in Jericho, H|oµnî son of [] gave
]ynm˜Jn âb dz[lal 3 to ’El‘azar son of Nahaámaµnî [
]nlw/jm ydsj ja 4 H|isday from H|oµlô[n
µ]lâjw/[l hwâh µwyhâm 5 from this day to perpetui[ty
]djyl wtwlmâkw 6 the boundaries of the house and [
µyt]yâwh µynathw 7 and the figs, the ol[ives (?), and
]djyl wtwlmâkwµwlmâkw 8 when he fulfills (his oath) to the Community ]
]yânâjâwâ 9 and H|oµnî (?)[
yd]µâjâ ta wl 10 to him H|is[day (?)
])taw 11 and the [
]h)dybw 12 And into the hand of [
]÷n[ ]l 13 to guard(?) [
[÷m yn]jâ db[ yâdsj 14 H|isday servant of H|[oµnî(?) from]
]÷wlj 15 H|oµlôn[