The Yavneh-Yam Ostracon




Ostracon (pottery)


20 centimeters high

16.5 centimeters wide


Official letter of petition


639-609 B.C.

Place of Discovery

Mesad Hashavyahu (near Yavneh-Yam, on the Mediterranean coast)

Date of Discovery



Joseph Naveh

Current Location

Israel Museum, Jerusalem


Let my lord, the governor, listen to the word of his servant. Your servant is a harvester. Your servant was in Hasar- ĎAsam, and your servant harvested, and finished, and stored (the grain) during these days before the sabbath. When your servant had completed the harvest, and stored (the grain) during these days, Hoshabyahu ben-Shobi arrived, and he confiscated the garment of your servant when I had completed the harvest. It is already days since he took the garment of your servant. And all my companions can testify for me, those who are harvesting with me . . . all my companions will testify for me. If I am innocent of any wrong, [give back] my garment; and if not, it is the governor's right to [consider my case] and send word to him so that he restores the garment of your servant. And do not let [the plea of your servant] be displeasing to him...


Exodus 22:25-26; Leviticus 6:1-7; Deuteronomy 24:12-17; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Amos 2:8; Proverbs 20:16.

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