In the ostracon recording the donation to the Temple, described in the accompanying article, word dividers in the form of dots separate most, but not all, of the words. This has important implications for a controversy involving the famous “Beit David” inscription from Tel Dan.a

The excavator and the epigrapher from Tel Dan read “Beit David” in that inscription as “the House [or Dynasty] of David,” claiming it was the first appearance of the Biblical David in an extra-Biblical text. Their detractors argued that because no word divider separated “Beit” and “David,” it should be read as one word and therefore meant something other than “Beit David,” such as the place-name “Beth-dod,” or “Bethdaud.”b

This argument is substantially undercut by the inscription recording a donation to the Temple. The Temple is referred to there as “Beit Yahweh” (the inscription may well become known as the “Beit Yahweh” inscription), meaning “the House [or Temple] of the Lord.” There is no word divider between “Beit” and “Yahweh,” however—just as there is no word divider between “Beit” and “David” in the Tel Dan inscription.

There is no question that “Beit Yahweh” must be understood as “the Temple of Yahweh.” And since there is no word divider in the recently published Temple inscription, there is no reason to question “the House of David” reading in the Tel Dan inscription simply because it lacks a word divider.c