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Diurnal Prayers of Diviners (1.116)

(372 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Hymns and Prayers Commentary As with the immediately preceding selection (above, Text COSB.1.115, note 1), divination (here again by means of the entrails) demanded and relied on a “truthful” answer from the deity. To secure such an answer, the divination priest invoked Shamash and Adad, patrons of divination, here in the company of other great deities. [WWH] Diurnal Prayers of Diviners (1.116) Subject: Exod 40:23; Lev 24:5f; 1 Sam 14:41 O Shamash, I hold up to you seven …

A Neo-Babylonian Lament for Tammuz (1.118)

(761 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Lamentations and Elegies Commentary This text, of Seleucid date, laments the destruction of the cities of Sumer and Akkad at the hand of the Gutians, a theme strangely out of place two millennia after their historic incursions. So it either represents a late version of a much earlier original or, more likely, a case of deliberate archaizing. A Neo-Babylonian Lament for Tammuz (1.118) Subject: Gen 10:10; Mic 5:4; Eccl 11:2 “Oh grieving women of Uruk, (a) oh grieving women of Akkad, a …

Epic of Creation (1.111)

(7,491 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary The so-called epic of Creation preserves a relatively late Babylonian conception of the creation of the physical world (including humanity), but its real focus is on the elevation of Marduk to the top of the pantheon in return for taking up the cause of the embattled gods, who build his great temple of Esagila in Babylon in recognition of his leadership. The composition could therefore be as readily called “The Exaltation of Marduk.” As such it provi…

Assyrian King Lists (1.135)

(1,646 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary Lists of Assyrian kings have been found at Assur, Nineveh and Dur-Sharrukin (Khorsabad). The ‘Assyrian King List’ is known in five copies, none complete, two being only small fragments; there are slight variants between them. It begins with names of nomadic kings who lived about 2000 bce, which some scholars think may be names of tribes rather than persons because there are similarities between them and names in the Genealogy o…

The Installation of the Storm God’s High Priestess (1.122)

(4,046 words)

Author(s): Fleming, Daniel
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals The Installation of the Storm God’s High Priestess1 (1.122)2 Subject: Exod 29; Lev 8; Lev 8:33–35; 9:1, 23; Ezek 23:1–5; Joel 4:6; Isa 14:12; Lev 16:8; Num 26:55; 34:13; Josh 14:2; 18:6; Esth 3:7; 9:24; 1 Sam 8:12; 2 Kgs 1:9; Exod 29:7; Lev 8:12; 1 Sam 10:1; 16:13; Num 6:19; Deut 32:51; Isa 30:29; Lev 3:4–5; Num 6:9, 18; Gen 24:65; Ezek 46:4, 6; Neh 5:18; Judg 11:37; Ps 45:15; Josh 6:4, 8; Ps 68:26; Isa 49:18; 61:10; Lev 8:4; Gen 15:17; 2 Chr 32:33; 2 Kgs 4:10; Exod 29:40; Lev 23:13; Isa…

Erra and Ishum (1.113)

(8,540 words)

Author(s): Dalley, Stephanie
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary In the extant text known to us at present, Erra and Ishum may date no earlier than the eighth century bce, but it almost certainly incorporates older elements. It consists of five tablets comprising some 750 lines; the final tablet is shorter than the others. Tablets with the text come from both Assyria (Nineveh, Assur, Sultantepe) and Babylonia (Babylon, Ur, Tell Haddad). The main tablet, from Assur, takes the form of an amulet. The introductory lines belong to…

The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer (1.153)

(3,623 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Just Sufferer Compositions Commentary This is the most elaborate treatment of the theme of theodicy. It includes a veritable thesaurus of medical symptoms (Tablet II) and their cure (Tablet III). Because the sufferer protests not so much innocence as ignorance of his sins, his modern designation could well be “pious sufferer” rather than “just sufferer.”1 He is identified by name in the text (Tablet III, line 43) and was possibly its author. The ancient…

Two Months Joined by the Underworld, with Barring and Opening of Doors (1.125)

(2,209 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary1 Emar’s tablet of rites for the month of Abî focuses on observances at the middle and end of the moon’s cycle, set in a frame of offerings through the remaining intervals. The largest section of the text addresses rites at various abû shrines, with a central event on the 26th day, when “they bar the doors.” This act is carried out with the last visibility of the lunar crescent and has its complement in the first line of a se…

A Psephomancy Ritual From Assur (1.127)

(809 words)

Author(s): Hurowitz, Victor
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This text was found by the German excavations at Assur.1 It is an incantation recited while performing a ritual for divination by use of black (hematite) and white (alabaster) stones (psephomancy). The ritualist, while pronouncing the liturgy, tells which cultic manipulations he is performing, thus permitting the reader to follow his actions. The type of divination described has general similarit…

A Hymn Celebrating Assurnasirpal Ii’s Campaigns to the West (1.139)

(1,631 words)

Author(s): Hurowitz, Victor
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Commentary This text was found by the German excavations at Assur in the house of a nargallu (chief singer).1 It begins as a hymn to Enlil (Assur),2 but then praises Assurnasirpal II (883–859 bce) for his campaigns to the mountains in the west and for contributing to various temples the wood taken on the campaigns. It ends with a blessing of the king.3 The events referred to are described in detail in the king’s annals and mentioned briefly in his royal titles.4 A Hymn Ce…

The Babylonian Theodicy (1.154)

(1,853 words)

Author(s): Foster, Benjamin R.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Just Sufferer Compositions Commentary Formally, this classic statement of the theme of theodicy comes closest to the biblical book of Job, for it is cast in the form of a dialogue, albeit the sufferer has only one “friend” to put up with as interlocutor, and that friend is unnamed. A further formal parallel to biblical poetry in general is provided by the strophic structure which, like Ps. 119, features successive stanzas of equal length whose initial signs spell out…

An Assurbanipal Prayer for Mullissu (1.144)

(520 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns An Assurbanipal Prayer for Mullissu (1.144) (1) […] … […] […] she provides […][…] … she is in authority, does not … […][…], who grants scepter, throne, and a long reign, ( 5) [who makes] their offspring abundant, fashions totality, […]. at its mention the Igigi tremble.[At its …] who made the Anunnaki tremble.[Humanity], — mankind, the black-headed people, beseech you for their lives!Merciful, sparing [sovereign], who grants clemency, ( 10) [who makes joyful] the wa…

Dialogue of Pessimism or the Obliging Slave (1.155)

(861 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Individual Focus; Dialogue Dialogue of Pessimism or the Obliging Slave (1.155) (1) [“Slave, oblige me again!”] “Here, master! Here!” [“Get a move on and get ready] the chariot and harness up so I can go driving to the palace!”[“Go driving, master, go driving!] You’ll achieve your goal!”[“…] will show you preference!” ( 5) [“No, slave,] I will not go driving to the palace!” [“Do not go driving, master, do not go driving!”][The palace n]otable will send you off on his businessand will make you tak…

Nergal and Ereshkigal (1.109)

(3,560 words)

Author(s): Dalley, Stephanie
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary Two very different versions of this story are extant. The earlier one was found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, dating from the fifteenth or fourteenth centuries bce, and is told in a highly abbreviated manner in about ninety lines. Nergal visits the Underworld accompanied by demons, seizes the throne of Ereshkigal, queen of the Underworld, by force, and remains thereafter as king. The version known from Sultantepe of the seventh century bce and from Uruk in the L…

Mesopotamian Omens (1.120)

(4,231 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Divination Mesopotamian Omens (1.120) Subject: Ezek 21:26; Dan 2:4; 2 Kgs 16:15; Gen 44:5, 15; Dan 8:3; Dan 5:11; Isa 47:12–13; Jer 10:2; Nah 3:16; Gen 11:1–9; Dan 5:5; Lev 14:33; Exod 26:1; 1 Sam 14:8–12; 1 Kgs 20:30–35; Judg 7:13f; Lev 18:22; Lev 20:13; Deut 18:10–11; Lev 19:31; 20:6–7; 1 Sam 28:6–14; Isa 8:19; 2 Kgs 21:6; 1 Sam 3; Jer 23:25; 1 Sam 28:6; Gen 40:1–23; Dan 2:1–49; Judg 7:13f; Deut 13:2–6; Lev 13 Extispicy1  a  1. If there is a Hal sign at the emplacement of “the well–b…

The Babylonian Chronicle (1.137)

(1,597 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Historiography Commentary The series of cuneiform tablets known as The Babylonian Chronicle covers the years from 745 bce into the late Seleucid period (2nd century bce). Entries follow a chronological order, introduced by the year of reign of the king of Babylon, although not every year is included. Warfare is the most common topic, within Babylonia and beyond, the accessions and deaths of kings are noted, the celebration or laps…

A Hymn to Nanaya With A Blessing for Sargon II (1.141)

(588 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns A Hymn to Nanaya With A Blessing for Sargon II (1.141) Subject: 1 Sam 2:8; Ps 113:7 Obverse I.1´ [… she grasps in her hand] the naked sword, [the emblem of Nergal], and the pointed axe, appropriate to the [Pleiades].Right and left, battle is set in lines. I.5´ She is the foremost of the gods, whose play is combat, she who leads the coalition of the seven demons. Musicians of wide repertoire are seated before her, performers on the lyre, the harpsichord, the clapp…

Dialogue Between Assurbanipal and Nabu (1.145)

(646 words)

Author(s): Livingstone, Alasdair
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Royal Focus; Royal Hymns Dialogue Between Assurbanipal and Nabu (1.145) (1) In the assembly of the great gods [I constantly] speak in your adulation, Nabu! May the [assembly] of my detractors not take control of me! ( 3) [In the temple of the Queen of] Nineveh I approach you, hero among the gods, his gods, his brothers. You are the eternal trust of Assurbanipal! ( 5) [Since I was a small] child I have lain at the feet of Nabu! Nabu, do not leave me to the assembly of my detractors! ( 7) Please listen, Assurb…

Six Months of Ritual Supervision By the Diviner See  Emar  446. (1.124)

(1,983 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This tablet belongs to a separate type entirely from the previous two festivals. It is much smaller, especially relative to the material squeezed onto it, and is written in a cramped script with distinct sign forms. Instead of treating one ritual event, this text gathers diverse rites for unrelated cults, apparently united by involvement of the official who calls himself the diviner. The tablet is divided into four columns. The first treats one mont…

The Theogony of Dunnu (1.112)

(982 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Myths Commentary The city of Dunnu (m), whose name is a generic term for “fort, fortress,” is equated in a lexical text with the “pristine heavenly city” (URU-SAG-AN-NA), and in a date formula with the “ancient capital city” or rather perhaps the “bolt” (URU-SAG-MAH) of the kingdom of Isin. Its fall in 1795 bce ushered in the fall of Isin to Larsa in the following year. In the present text, it is even called an “eternal city” (ālu ṣātu; line 6), built by…
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