About the Poem
The poem may well capture a request for divine blessing so that the natural order flows uninterrupted throughout the seasons. The farmers’ economic lives depended on it. In this agricultural calendar the year runs from autumn until summer. (Ancient Israel sometimes started years in the spring and sometimes in the fall.) Probably the ditty also served as a teaching tool for children; compare our modern Thirty Days Has September.
|yarchew ‘asip||Two months of ingathering|
|yarchew zera`||Two months of sowing|
|yarchew laqqish||Two months of late planting|
|yarcho `atsad pishta||A month of cutting flax|
|yarcho qetsir se`orim||A month of reaping barley|
|yarcho qatsir wakel||A month of reaping and measuring|
|yarchew zamir||Two months of pruning|
|yarcho qets||A month of summer harvesting|
Listen to the Poem
This limestone tablet dates to the late tenth century BCE. Its surface shows evidence of being a palimpsest. Its language is best identified as a South Canaanite dialect rather than more narrowly as Hebrew. There is indication in the margin that the inscriber could have been named Abijah.
***translation and vocalized transliteration by the curator***
Curated by Edwin Hostetter, Department of Religion, George Washington University