Khirbet el-Qom

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Khirbet el-Qom (or: al-Kum) is an archaeological site from the West Bank, in the territory of the biblical kingdom of Judah, between Lachish and Hebron, 14 km to the west of the latter. A cache of 1,700 ostraca in Aramaic was found there, dating from the Persian and Hellenistic periods, during which the area was classified as the Persian province of Idumea, with a mixed population of North Arabs, Edomites and Jews.[1] The site is called Maqqedah in the Idumean ostraca .[2] Based on this, some scholars identify Kh. el-Qom with biblical Makkedah (Joshua 10:10, 16, 17, 21, 28, 29; 12:16; 15:41).[3]

The site contains two tombs. The tombs were investigated by William Dever in 1967 following their discovery by tomb-robbers and following the earlier discoveries of Asherah-relating inscriptions at Kuntillet Ajrud. Both tombs contain inscriptions. The inscription from Tomb 2 is associated with a "magic hand" symbol, and reads:

"Uriyahu the honourable has written this
Blessed is/be Uriyahu by Yahweh
And [because?] from his oppressors by his asherah he has saved him
[written] by Oniyahu"
" his asherah
...and his asherah"[4][5]

The inscriptions date from the second half of the 8th century BCE, slightly after the Kuntillet Ajrud inscriptions. Unlike the Kuntillet Ajrud inscriptions, they do not include a place-name with the name of Yahweh (the Kuntillet Ajrud inscriptions talk of "Yahweh of Samaria" and "Yahweh of Teman"); this seems to indicate that they were written after the fall of Samaria, which left Yahweh as the god of one state only.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ André Lemaire, 'Edom and the Edomites,' in André Lemaire,Baruch Halpern (eds.), The Books of Kings: Sources, Composition, Historiography and Reception, BRILL 2010pp.225-245 p.243.
  2. ^ David F. Graf, 'Petra and the Nabataeans in the Early Hellenistic Period: the literary and archaeological evidence,' in Michel Mouton,Stephan G. Schmid (eds.), Men on the Rocks: The Formation of Nabataean Petra, Logos Verlag Berlin GmbH, 2013 pp.35-55 p.47
  3. ^ Diana Vikander Edelman, The Origins of the Second Temple: Persion Imperial Policy and the Rebuilding of Jerusalem, Routledge 2005, ISBN 9781845530174, p. 265 [1]
  4. ^ Keel, Othmar, and Uehlinger, Christoph, "Gods, goddesses, and images of God in ancient Israel" (Fortress Press, 1998) p.239.
  5. ^ Meindert Djikstra, I Have Blessed you by YHWH of Samaria and his Asherah: Texts With Religious Elements from the Soil Archive of Ancient Israel, in Bob Becking, (ed), "Only One God? Monotheism in Ancient Israel and the Veneration of the Goddess Asherah" (Sheffield Academic Press, 2001), p.p.32-34
  6. ^ Keel, Othmar, and Uehlinger, Christoph, "Gods, goddesses, and images of God in ancient Israel" (Fortress Press, 1998) p.239.