Two examples of inscriptions lacking the medial formulaic “bar”.

The Sinaitic Exodus Inscriptions     Online Index     Required Fonts

Two examples of inscriptions lacking the medial formulaic “bar”.

The two following inscriptions, which are very clearly written, lack the medial formula “bar”, meaning “son of”, and the final formulaic phrase “in good”. Since they are not broken up into separate components by the word “bar”, the longer than average character-strings of which they are composed might be thought to represent either excessively long single names, or a succession of names without apparent connection. However, when they are transcribed without emendation or omission, they are found to contain names and other supplementary phrases. In each case Euting’s copy is given first, followed by as accurate a transliteration and translation as possible, and finally by Euting’s (failed) attempt to turn these character-strings into personal names. These examples, in additions to less obvious ones already considered, demonstrate how additional phrases in the inscriptions can be misread because of an expectation to find only and always names and formulaic phrases of the standard type.


In the inscriptions as transcribed into Hebrew characters and translated by Euting (in German), a dot in place of a Hebrew letter means the character in the original Sinaitic is completely unreadable or nonsensical, according to him, and a dot over a Hebrew letter means the letter in the original Sinaitic does not make sense to him or is otherwise unclear and therefore it has been emended to produce a sensible result.

Euting No. 601


שלם צדמצצו עלים אלהי

šlm ṣdmṣṣw ‘lym ’lhy

Attention!: Zed-m’zezu, the mighty man of God

The inscription is very clear, but Euting has to emend two letters and omit two (almost a quarter of the total, 4 out of 17, with a misreading of the last two letters which are often written loosely in this particular word), and still can make no sense of the inscription! “Sehr undeutlich”, “Quite meaningless” is his conclusion. But that is because he is looking for personal names with standard formulae and nothing else.

Euting No. 474




שלם שלם נתל

פו חית


šlm šlm ntl pw ḥyt ’wṭr

Attention!: Shalim stationed here maintains discipline over the company.

The overriding necessity to find a “bar”, “son of”, in this inscription, in order to dismember the long string of characters, has led Euting once again to emend two very clear characters in the original, which need no emending. The proportion of emended characters is 5 out of 18, between a third and a quarter of the total. He also turns the last four characters into five by splitting a single character into two. His reference to No. 370 to explain his last, improbable, name is marked as questionable, and understandably so, since there he reads the name with a resh instead of a waw as its second character.

Previous     Next