Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem
A reaper's plea
Mezad Hashavyahu
Iron Age II, 7th century BCE
Ink on pottery
H: 21; W: 16 cm
Israel Antiquities Authority
Accession number: IAA 1960-67
 
 
Inscription:
“May the official, my lord, hear the plea of his servant. Your servant is working in the harvest; your servant was at Hasar-Asam (when the following incident occurred). Your servant did his reaping, finished, and stored (the grain) a few days ago before stopping (work). When your servant had finished (his) reaping and had stored it a few days ago, Hoshayahu ben Shabay came and took your servant's garment. When I had finished my reaping, at that time, a few days ago, he took your servant's garment. All my companions will vouch for me, all who were reaping with me in the heat of the sun: my companions will vouch for me (that) truly I am guiltless of any in[fraction]. [(So) please return] my garment. If the official does not consider it an obligation to return [your servant's garment, then have] pity upon him [and return] your servant's [garment] from that motivation. You must not remain silent [when your servant is without his garment].”

Publications:
Hestrin, Ruth, Israeli, Yael, Meshorer, Yaakov, Eitan, Avraham, Inscriptions reveal: Documents from the time of the Bible, the Mishna and the Talmud, The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, 1973, English / Hebrew

Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir