Hebrew Bible with colophon

In the colophon of this bible manuscript, the scribe tells the reader about the distressing circumstances under which he worked. He had to flee and hide from Jews of his local town who wanted to give him up to the authorities (we don’t know why). He complains about the lack of good quality copies to work from, asking future readers to correct any errors they encounter and judge him kindly. Eventually, he finished the book in 1601 in the Jewish town of Darb Al-Hanashat. Later owners from the al-Nadaf family have also left their mark on the volume, including a harsh curse against anyone who would dare to steal it.

Hebrew Bible containing the Latter Prophets

Darb Al-Hanashat (Yemen), 1601
Gaster Hebrew MS 673
Folio 272b from Gaster Hebrew MS 673, showing signatures of Moses Gaster.

Folio 272b

Colophon by the scribe Joseph ben Jonah ben Oded ben Saadiah ben Ḥaṭar ben Masʿūd known as al-Fatiḥi.

Folio 1a from Gaster Hebrew MS 673,  showing a note in ink reading "N. 673 M. Gaster".

Two ownership inscriptions by Sālim ibn Saʿid al-Nadaf in Judeo-Arabic: 

“This book is rightfully owned by Sālim ibn Saʿid al-Nadaf.” 

האדא אלכתאב חק סאלם ן' סעיד אלנדאף יצ"ו 

“This Neviʾim [Prophets] is rightfully owned by Salīm bin Said al-Nadaf.” 

האדת אלנביאים חק סאלם ן' סעיד אלנדאף יצ"ו 

Folio 1Aa from Gaster Hebrew MS 673,  showing a partially erased note (by owner) beginning with the blessing of the reader and buyer

Curse: “Let the reader rejoice and the thief be eliminated, and if someone finds it, and does not return it to me, let he and all that belongs to him be bitten by the snake of the Rabbis, but the rest of the people go in peace. The insignificant Ḥayim Sālim al-Nadaf" (cf. Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 110a). 

ישמח הקורא וימח הגונב ואם ימצא אותו לא יחזירו לי טרקיה חיויא דרבנן הוא וכל דיליה ושאר עם בשלום זעיר חיים סאלם אלנדאף יצ"ו סט