11. Jewish Aramaic Marriage Contract for the Marriage of Ananiah ben Azariah and the Handmaiden Tamut, Kraeling 2, BM 47.218.89, dated, August 9, 449 B.C.E.
In the late 19th century, a cache of papyrus documents from a private archive was found by farmers on the island of Elephantine, in the Nile River near Aswan, Egypt. Many other documents from a Jewish community in Egypt were later found by archaeologists in the same area. The Ananiah (or Anani) mentioned here was a priest of Yahu, the Aramaic version of Yahweh, the God of Israel. The document records his marriage with the slave of another resident of Elephantine. Note the writing between the lines and the erasures, indicating that negotiations were probably going on right up to the last minute!
Photograph by Bruce and Kenneth Zuckerman, West Semitic Research. Courtesy Brooklyn Museum.