Petition to Bagoas in English- destroyed Jewish temple. (Elephantine Papyri)

This letter was a petition of the Jews of Yebu - (Elephantine) to the Persian governor of Judaea Bagohi -Bagoas in Greek asking for permission and help to rebuild the destroyed by Egyptian troops Jewish temple of the god Jhy (Yahwah) in Yeb (Elephantine).

According to the letter the priests  of another rival temple in Yeb  of the Egyptian god Khnub plotted with the local governor Uirdng and destroyed and looted the temple of Jhy also in Yeb. A letter was initially sent to the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem which was ignored and no answer was sent.

The entire letter follows in English.

Petition to Bagoas requesting help to rebuild the Temple of Yeb (Elephantine)

The translation is based on a translation of American journal of theology which is more like a word-to-word,phrase-to-phrase translation to correspond with the original.A free translation approach is needed to make more sense.

1 To our Lord Bagohi,governor of Judaea,your servants Idnih and his partners who are in the fortress of Yeb (Elephantine).

2.May the god of heavens provide for the welfare of our Lord always generously and may you win the favour of Darius King because of him.
Khnum-god of the source of the Nile.

3.And of his court more abundantly than now a thousandfold and may he give you long life and may you always be strong and healthy.

4.Going further your servant Idnih and his associates say the following: In the month of Tammuz the fourteenth year of Darius the king,when Arsham

temple of Elephantine


5.departed and gone to the king,the priests of the god Hnub who are in the fortress of Yeb plotted with Uidrng who was military governor here.That is to say: Let the temple of Jhy- the god which is in Yeb fortress be removed thence. Then that Uidrng,

6.the accursed, sent a letter to Npin his son, who was commander of the army at Syene the fortress, as follows: The temple which is in Yeb

7.the fortress shall be destroyed. Thereupon Npin led forth the Egyptians and other troops;they came to the fortress of Yeb with their implements|

8.they entered into that temple, they razed it to the ground; and the pillars of stone which were there, they broke them in pieces. Moreover there were gates of

9.stone built of hewn stone, which were in that templet theyd (them), and their doors, which were in place, and the pivots
10 of those doors, which were of bronze. And the roof,  which was built  wholly of cedar beams,  with the rest of the woodwork,etc., which was

11 there, everything they burnt with fire. The libationo bowls of gold and silver and whatsoever else there was in that temple,
everything they took

12 and appropriated. And since the days of the kings of Egypt our fathers had built that temple in Yeb the fortress
and when Cambyses' invaded Egypt,

13he found that temple standing;
and the temples of the gods of Egypt' were all destroyed, but no one did any injury at all to that temple. But when this had happened,we with our wives and our children put on sackcloth and fasted and
and prayed" to Jhu, the lord of heaven: |
Show us that cur Uidrng with his anklets wrenched from his feet and
bereft of all his possessions, and all the men

14 who sought evil against that temple slain, so that we may look upon
their (dead bodies) Moreover before this, at the time when this evil

15 was done to us, we sent a letter to our
lord and unto Jehohanan 1 * the high priest and his associates the priests who are in Jerusalem, and to =ystn the brother of | 'Anani and the nobles of the Jews.' Not a single letter did they send to us. Moreover, from the month of Tammuz, the 14th year of Darius  the king

16 to the present day we are wearing sackcloth and fasting, our wives are made
as widows, we are not anointing ourselves with oil

17 nor drinking wine;moreover, from that 5 and to the present 17th year of Darius the
king' meal-offering and 8 incense and burnt-offering

18 have not been offered' in that temple. Now thy servants Jdnih and his associates and
the Jews, all of them citizens of Yeb, 10 say thus:

19 If it seem good to our lord, let him take an interest in that temple that it maybe re built," since we are not permitted to rebuild it. Lo, there are" men under obligation
to thee I for thy kindnesses and thy favors" who are here in Egypt; let a letter from thee be sent to them concerning the temple of Jhy the god

20that it may be rebuilt in Yeb the fortress, as it was built aforetime,
and the meal offering and incense and burnt offering shall be offered

21upon the altar of Jhu the god in thy name, IS and we will pray for thee at all time(s), we and our wives and our children and the Jews,

22 all who are here. If thus it be done 1 ' to the end that that temple may be re built,
then there will be greater righteousness 1 to thee before Jhu the god

23 of heaven than that of a man who offers to him burnt offerings and sacri-
fices to the value of 1 thousand 2 talents. And as for the gold, concerning this

24 we have sent information. Moreover, all the news we have sent in' one letter in our name to Delayah and Shelemyah, the sons of Stebltf governor of Samaria.

25 Moreover, of all this which happened to us Arsam knew nothing. On the 20th of Marcheshwan,the 17th year of Darius the king.


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