Tel Rehov Temple Storage Jar 850 BCE

Inscription on Tel Rehov, Israel Temple Storage Jar 850 BCE

Picture from Mazar (2003). Letter assignments by Olmsted

Map from Mazar (2003)

Jar's Contents Are For Expelling a Drought

(Feb 12, 2023) This inscription was found on a storage jar. Its letter style is similar to that of the Gezer tablet. It  has not been successfully translated until now.  

Translation in Akkadian

(Read right to left. Capital letters on pot. Small letters are inferred inner vowels. Verb is italic bold)
  1. 'Ṣ  QaMu  U  NaṢu (Levant Text 5) Author puts cross lines on Q and N

In English. 

  1. To expel the burning and repelling (of the rain)

This jar was found in 1999 at Tel Rahov located in the middle of the fertile Beth Shean valley at the junction of the Jordan River valley and the Jezreel Valley. At the time this text was written this city was one of the largest cities in the state of Israel.

This jar was found in an Iron Age II archaeological layer (stratum IV) which dates it to between 800 and 900 BCE and it was found in a temple complex (Mazar 2003). This building was violently destroyed in a fire probably during the drought induced Yahwist revolution of 850 BCE which destroyed the established order.

The room in which it was found was plastered and full of various items indicating that it was used as a storage room for the temple complex. A series of teaching rooms existed across the hall as evidenced by the built-in benches along their sides.

The inscription was found on a fourteen inch diameter storage jar having two big round handles. These handles make the jar look like a hippo face with ears on top of its head so these jars are called “hippo” jars. The inscription was cut into the surface after the jar was fired. How long before the city’s destruction the inscription was made is not known.

Previous Translation Attempts

Some scholars have different letter assignments then what I identified. As reported in a review of the inscriptions found so far at the site by Mazar (2003). Their letter assignments are (differences in red):

L  ṢQ _ N M

 The worst error is that they leave out a letter

These biased translators want to see the Biblical name “Nimshi” (NMŞ) in this inscription which is referenced 1 Kings 19:16. Consequently, they force the last three letters to fit that name. They do not assign any word to the first three letter


Mazar, A. (2003) Three 10th - 9th Century BCE Inscriptions From Tel-Rahov. Saxa Ioquentur: Studien zur Archäologie Palälstinas/Israels – Festschift für Volkmar Fritz 171-184. Online at

Translation Resources Used

All texts translated to the scholar's standard.

Lexicon Used

Olmsted, D.D (January 1, 2022) Mediterranean Akkadian Lexicon 3rd Edition – 2022. DOI Permanent URL: Online at:

Letter Charts Used

Letter Class Comparison ChartLevant Letter Chart