The text is a royal dedicatory inscription by a king of Byblos. Several similar inscriptions also dating to the tenth century B.C.E. have been found at Byblos – Abibaal, Elibaal, and Shiptibaal. The basic pattern throughout these inscriptions is:
The object which PN king of Byblos, son of PN, king of Byblos built/brought for DN. May DN prolong the days of PN and his years over Byblos. (PN = proper name; DN = deity name)This pattern was not limited to the inscriptions from Byblos but should be seen as a common formula for dedicatory inscriptions in the Canaanite dialects. The formula has even been found in a seventh century BCE inscription from Ekron, a prominent Philistine city (Gitin 1997).
1 (This is the) temple which Yehimilk king of Byblos rebuilt. 2 He restored all the ruins of 3 these temples. May Ba’al-shamem and Ba’alat 4 of Byblos and the assembly of the 5 holy gods of Byblos prolong the days of Yehimilk and his years 6 over Byblos. For [he is] a legitimate king and a 7 good king before the h[oly] gods of Byblos.The fact that Yehimilk doesn’t give us his lineage (i.e., I am Yehimilk, son of Abibaal, son of . . . ) but stresses that he is a good and legitimate king of Byblos suggests that he is a usurper (like Zakkur in an Aramaic inscription that we’ll get to later).
Gibson, John C. L. 1982. Textbook of Syrian Semitic inscriptions: Volume III: Phoenician Inscriptions. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Gitin, Seymour, Trude Dothan, and Joseph Naveh. 1997. A royal dedicatory inscription from Ekron. Israel Exploration Journal 47, : 1-16.