Ancient Hebraic texts, the Lachish letters were the first ever records that described the culture of the ancient kingdom of Judah. The Lachish letters were written on potsherds (pottery fragments) just before the Babylonians came and destroyed Jerusalem around 600 B.C. They were discovered in 1938 by J.L. Starkey. Eighteen potsherds were found in the ruins of a gate room in the city of Lachish (today known as Tell ed-Duweir, 25 miles south of Jerusalem).

Written in Phoenician-Hebrew script, the letters suggest to historians that the alphabet was actually developed for writing in ink on parchment and potsherds. The letters are written in biblical Hebrew similar to that found in the Old Testament books of Kings and Jeremiah and are consistent with material in the Old Testament. They contain the correspondence between Hosha'yahu, who was believed to be the commander of a small outpost near the western border of the kingdom, and his superior, Lord Jaush, stationed at Lachish.

It is suggested that the gate room where the potsherds were found was actually a court room, where Hosha'yahu may have been tried for allowing his outpost to fall to the Babalonyian invaders in 587 B.C.