Manumission of a female slave and her daughter, June
12, 427 B.C. [a]
Emil G. Kraeling, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic
Papyri: New Documents of the Jewish Colony at
Elephantine (New Haven, 1953), Papyrus 5, pp. 178
ff. Pls. V and XIX. H. L. Ginsberg, JAOS,
LXXIV (1954), 158.
(I) On the 20th of Siwan, that
is the 7th day of Phamenoth, the
year 38 of King Artaxerxes--at that
time, (2) Meshullam son of Zakkur, a Jew of the fortress
Elephantine, of the detachment of Arpakhu said to the
woman Tapmut (as she is called), (3) his slave, who has on her right hand the marking
"Of Meshullam," as follows: I have taken kindly thought of
you (4) in my lifetime. I hereby declare you released at
my death and likewise declare released the daughter
Yehoyishma' (as she is called) whom (5) you have borne to
me. No son or daughter, close or
distant relative, kinsman, or clansman of mine (6) has any
right to you or to the daughter Yehoyishma' whom you have
borne to me; none has any right (7)
to mark you or to deliver you as a payment of
money. Whoever attempts such action against you or
the daughter Yehoyishma' (8) whom you have borne to me must pay you a fine of 50 karsh of
silver by the king's weights. You are released, with your
daughter Yehoyishma', from the shade for the sun, and no other man is master (10) of
you or your daughter Yehoyishma'. You are released for
(II) And Tapmut and her daughter Yehoyishma' de-
clared: We shall serve you [a]s a
son or daughter supports his or her father (I2) as long as
you live; and when you die, we shall support your son
Zakkur like a son who supports his father, just as we
shall have been doing (13) for you while
you were alive. (....) If we ever
say, "We will not support you as a son supports (I4) his
father, and your son Zakkur after your death," we shall be
liable to you and your son Zakkur for a fine (IS) in the
amount of 50 karsh of refined silver by the king's weights
without suit or process.
Written by Haggai (I6) the scribe, at Elephantine, at
the dictation of Meshullam son of Zakkur, the witnesses
herein being: Atarparan son of
Nisai (I7) the Mede; witness Micaiah son of Ahio; witness
Berechiah son of Miptah; witness Dalah son of Gaddul.
(Endorsement) Quit-claim written by Meshullam son of
Zakkur to Tapmut and Yehoyishma['].
 By the Babylonian calendar, adopted
by the Persians.
 By the Egyptian calendar.
 Artaxerxes 11 (464-424).
 Though she was acquired in marriage
22 years earlier by a contract (Brooklyn, 2) between her
master and her husband, and though her daughter has issued
from that marriage, she has remained in law the slave of
her master, and her daughter has been born into that
 In a proprietary, not biological,
sense; see JAOS, LXXIV (1954), 157f.
 Cf. Isa. 42:7; 49:9; 61:1- Ps.
 The k of the word
kzy (cf. the identical phrase in l. 13) was omitted by haplography.
 Similar arrangements, by which the
manumitted slave is bound to render certain services to
his master for the duration of the latter's life, were
common in the Hellenistic world, in which they were known
 The witnesses' names are not signed
by them but simply recorded by the scribe; cf. Jer. 32:12
"the witnesses who were recorded (hakktúbím the
better reading) in the deed." On other fifth century
Aramaic deeds from Elephantine, the witnesses, or some of
them sign in their own hands. The transition to the latter
practice was in progress.
Marriage contract of a former slave girl who is
subject to paramoné, 420 B.C. [b]
Kraeling, op. cit., Papyrus 7, pp. 201 ff.,
Pls. VIIa, VIIb; Ginsberg, op. cit., 58-59.
(I) On (the first day of) the
month of Tishri, that is Epiphi, the year 4 of King Darius, in the fortress Elephantine, said
Ananiah son of Haggai, (2) an Aramean of the fortress Elephantine, [of] the
detachment of [Iddin]-Nabu, to Zakkur son of Me[shullam,
an Arame]an of Syene, of the same detachment, as
follows: (3) I have come to your [hous]e and asked you for
your sister the woman Yehoyishma'
(as she is called) in marriage, and you have given her (4)
to me. She is my wife and I am [her] husband from this day
to eternity. I have paid to you as the bride price of your
sister Yehoyishma' (5) I karsh of silver; you have received it
[and have been satisfied therewi]th. Your sister
Yehoyishma' has brought into my house a cash sum (6a) of
two karsh, (two) 2 shekels, and 5 hallurs of silver, . . .
(Lines 6b-13a, defective, a list of probably I2 articles
of wool and linen with their respective values; 13b-15a, 5
articles of copper with their respective values; 15b
missing.) (15c) [Garments and articles of co]pper with the
cash and the bride price: seven
(that is, 7) karsh, eight (that is, 8) shekels, and 5
hallurs of silver by the king's (17a) weights, silver of 2
R to the ten. (17b-21aa,
containers of palm leaves, reeds, wood, and stone and
quantities of various sorts of oil—no values specified.)
((21 cont.) If at some future date
Ananiah should arise in an/the assembly and declare, "I
divorce my wife Yehoyishma'; (25) she
shall not be a wife to me," he shall become liable for
divorce money. < He shall forfeit her bride price > he must surrender to her all that
she brought into his house. Her dowry of cash (23) and
clothing, worth karsh seven, sh[ekels eight, and hallurs
5] of silver, and the rest of the goods listed (above) (24a-b) he must hand over to her on
one day and in a single act, and she may [leave him for
where]ver [she will]....
(24c) If, on the other hand, Yehoyishma' should di-
vorce her husband (25) Ananiah and say to
him, "I divorce you, I will not be wife to you," she shall
become liable for divorce money. . (26) She shall sit by the scales
and weigh out to her husband Ananiah 7 shekels and 2 R and
shall leave him with the balance of her (27) cash, goods,
and pos[sessions, worth karsh 7; shekels 5+] 3, and
hallurs 5; and the rest of her goods, (28) which are
listed (above), he shall hand over to her on one day and
in a single act, and she shall depart for her father's
If Ananiah should die having no male or (29) female
child from his wife [Yehoyi]shma', Yehoyishma' shall be
[mistress] of his [pr]operty: of his house, his goods, to)
his possession, [and all that he owns. Anyone who]
attempts to banish Yehoyishma' from his house, [goods,
possessions], and all that [he] owns, [shall p]ay to [her
a fi]ne of silver, (32) twenty karsh by [the king's]
weights, silver of 2 R to the 10
and shall accord [her] her due under this deed without
lawsuit. (33) However, Yeh[oyishma'] is not permitted [to]
acquire a husband other [than] Anani. Should she
do so, (34) that shall constitute a divorce, and [the
provisions for divorcement] shall be applied to [her]. (So,
too,) if [Yehoyishma'] should die having no (35) [male] or
female child by [her] hus[band] Anani, [Anani] shall
inherit from her her [cash], goods, possessions, and all
(3') that she own[s]. And [Anani] likewise [may] no[t
ta]ke any woman [other than his wife Yehoyishma'] (37) in
marriage. Should he do [so, that shall constitute a
divorce, and the provisions for di]vorcement [shall be applied to him].
Further, Ananiah (38) may not omit to accord to his
wife Yehoyishma' the right of any of the wives of his
fellows. Should (39) he fail to
do so, that shall constitute a divorce, and he shall
implement for her the provisions for divorcement. Neither may Yehoyishma' (40) omit
to accord to her husband Ananiah the right of any
(husband). Should she fail to
accord it to him, that shall constitute a divorce.
Further, (41) Zakkur may not say with reference to
[his] sister], "I gave those [goo]ds to Yehoyishma'
gratis; now I wish (42) to take them back." If he speaks
[thus], no attention shall be paid to him; he is in the
This deed was written by Ma'uziah son of Nathan (43)
at the dictation of Ananiah son of Haggai [and] Zakkur son
of Meshullam, and the witnesses thereto are: (There
followed the names of six witnesses and those of their
fathers, making twelve names in all, of which nine are
preserved, all of them Jewish, and all of them in the
handwriting of the scribe.)
 Omitted in the original, apparently
 0f the Babylonian calendar, adopted
by the Persians.
 Of the Egyptian calendar.
 Darius 11 (423-405).
 Jews are sometimes thus described in
these documents, no doubt by reason of their language.
 Legally speaking, not biologically;
see [above] note 5.
 The bride price, though formally
paid to the bride's legal guardian, becomes part of her
dowry; cf. [Mibtahiah’s 3rd Marriage], n. 6.
 See [Mibtahiah’s 1st Marriage], n. 3.
 So also in the contract abridged [in
25, to 1. 22. Cf. ll. 5ff.
 ll. 21-28.
 i.e. conjugal rights.
 cf. [above] n.
[a] ANET p.
[b] ANET p.