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Abbael’s Gift of Alalakh (AT 1) (2.127)

(500 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary This Old Babylonian text from Alalakh Level VII records the background behind the gift of the city of Alalakh as a reward for military efforts. Gifts of lands and towns are also reported in Joshua 13 where, as in  AT 1, they serve as a recollection of past events. See also Joshua 20 and 21 and the towns of asylum and of the Levites, both of which are presented as gifts of towns from the tribes to these groups. A similar gift of towns appears in  AT 456. Bot…

The Neo-Babylonian Laws (2.133)

(1,454 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Laws Commentary For almost a thousand years after the fall of the Old Babylonian dynasty of Hammurabi, the Assyrian empires held dominance throughout most of the Near East before the Neo-Babylonian dynasty (ca. 635–539 bce), established following the defeat of the Assyrians by the combined Median and Babylonian forces, assumed the central military, political, and cultural position in the area. The first rulers of this dynasty, Nabopolassar (ca. 625–605 bce) …

Will of Ammitaku Leader of Alalakh (2.136)

(364 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Royal Grants Commentary This Middle Bronze Age (Level VII) text may be compared to the account of David’s arrangement for the public proclamation of Solomon as king and his successor in 1 Kings 1. Both examples reflect the concern for royal succession which provides for the stability of the government. Will of Ammitaku Leader of Alalakh (2.136) Subject: 2 Sam 10:6, 8 1 Ammitaku 2 the governor of Alalakh,1  a  3 during his lifetime, 4 in the presence of Yarimlim t…

The Middle Assyrian Laws (2.132)

(6,083 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Laws Commentary A number of cuneiform tablets preserving thematic collections of laws were excavated in the Assyrian capital of Assur. The tablets are datable to about the eleventh century bce, but are copies of compositions that probably date to fourteenth-century originals, and the language is the Middle Assyrian dialect. The laws recorded are thus as much as five hundred years later than the well-known Sumerian and …

The Laws of Hammurabi (2.131)

(15,921 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Laws Commentary By the beginning of the second millennium, Amorite and other nomadic population groups integrated into Mesopotamian urban political and social life. The Amorite Sumu-abum (ca. 1894–1881 bce) settled in Babylon, in the wasp-waist center of Mesopotamia, at the time that the rival cities of Isin and Larsa were struggling for dominance in the south. He and his successors for one hundred years stayed focuse…

Treaty Between Muršili and Duppi-Tešub (2.17B)

(2,488 words)

Author(s): Singer, Itamar
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary The Akkadian version is preserved in one text, the Hittite in four duplicates. The composite translation is based primarily on the Hittite version, with restorations afforded by the Akkadian version and other Amurru treaties. Significant variants in the Akkadian version are indicated in the footnotes. The paragraphs correspond to the original division lines in the text. Treaty Between Muršili and Duppi-Tešub (2.17B) Subject: 2 Sam 18…

The Treaties Between Ḫatti and Amurru (2.17)

(494 words)

Author(s): Singer, Itamar
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary The Amurru treaties represent the largest series of Hittite vassal treaties with a Syrian state: four separate treaties extending from the mid-14th to the late 13th centuries BCE. In comparison, Carchemish and Ugarit are represented with two treaties each (plus royal decrees), whereas only one each is attested from Aleppo, Mitanni, Tunip, Nuḫḫašše, Alašia, and Mukiš(?…

The Treaty of Tudḫaliya IV with Kurunta of Tarḫuntašša On the Bronze Tablet Found In Ḫattuša (2.18)

(5,405 words)

Author(s): Hoffner, Harry A., Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties The Treaty of Tudḫaliya IV with Kurunta of Tarḫuntašša On the Bronze Tablet Found In Ḫattuša (2.18) Subject: 1 Sam 18–23; 1 Sam 20; 22:16; 2 Sam 19:23; 1 Kgs 2:42; 1 Kgs 22; Deut 4:2; 13:1; 12:32; Deut 4:26; 30:19; 31:28; Ezek 6:3; 36:1, 4; Micah 6:1–2; Deut 4:2; 13:1; 12:32; Deut 10:2 §1 (i.1–5) The words of the Tabarna, Tudḫaliya, Great King, King of the Land of Ḫatti, Hero, son of Ḫattušili (III), Great King, King of the Lan…

The Agreement Between Ir-addu and Niqmepa (AT 2) (2.128)

(1,295 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary This is a treaty text from the Middle Babylonian period of Alalakh (Level IV). The stipulations are largely concerned with citizens of Niqmepa’s lands who, for various reasons, find themselves in the land of Ir-Addu. The clauses provide for extradition of these people back to the lands of Niqmepa. Fugitives were a common cause for concern as witnessed in the second millenn…

The “Sun Disk” Tablet of Nabû-apla-iddina (2.135)

(3,525 words)

Author(s): Hurowitz, Victor
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Boundary Stones Commentary This inscription, beautifully engraved on a black stone tablet measuring 7“ x 11 5/8“ x 2", was found at Abu-Habbah (= Sippar) in 1881 by H. Rassam and is now in the British Museum.1 A relief occupying the top third of the obverse shows a large disk sitting on a table, suspended by ropes held by two deities.2 To the right of the disk and facing it, the sun-god Šamaš is seated on a throne under a canopy.3 To the left of the disk, facing i…

Treaty Between Šuppiluliuma and Aziru (2.17A)

(2,369 words)

Author(s): Singer, Itamar
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary There are six duplicates of the Akkadian version of the treaty but only one in Hittite. The following is a composite translation based primarily on the better-preserved Hittite text. Significant variants in the Akkadian version are indicated in the footnotes. Additional restorations are afforded by parallel Syrian treaties, notably those between Šuppiluliuma I and Tette of Nuḫḫašše ( CTH 53), and between Muršili II and Niqm…

The Edicts of Samsu-iluna and His Successors (2.134)

(2,352 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Edicts Commentary The dynasty of Hammurapi survived his death by over 150 years (1749–1595 bce).1 But such was the fame of his laws that his five successors did not openly dare to replace them. Instead they apparently contrived to modify them by issuing relatively briefer collections of laws in the form of edicts. The process began with Hammurapi’s immediate successor, his son Samsu-iluna (1749–1712), c…

Treaty Between Tudḫaliya and Šaušgamuwa (2.17C)

(1,514 words)

Author(s): Singer, Itamar
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary This treaty has come down to us only in two Hittite duplicates. The main text (A) has numerous erasures and insertions, some of them quite telling. The excerpts presented below include the historical introduction and other fragments dealing with Amurru’s foreign relations, past and future. The remaining text includes the regular repertory of stipulations as also found in th…

The Laws of Lipit-Ishtar (2.154)

(2,910 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary The last ruler of the Ur III Dynasty, Ibbi-Sin (the son or brother of King Shu-Sin), held the throne for twenty-four years in the face of the increasing pressures from the Elamite invaders from the east and the Amorite incursions from the west. With the collapse of Ur III hegemony, one of Ibbi-Sin’s governors, Ishbi-Erra of Mari, founded his own dynasty at Isin (modern…

Land Grant AT 456* (2.137)

(992 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Royal Grants Commentary This Middle Bronze Age (Level VII) document from Alalakh begins with a record of eight towns that Abbael gave to Yarimlim. Yarimlim in turn gave to Abbael Uwiya (lines 1–9). Adrate (see also  AT 79 where Adrate is exchanged between Yarimlim and Ammitaku) is given in exchange for some areas (lines 11–12). Six towns are then noted as in the possession of Yarimlim (lines 13–18). As a land grant this is an important document for comparis…

The Inscriptions of Bar-gaʾyah and Matiʿel From Sefire (2.82)

(4,780 words)

Author(s): Fitzmyer, S.J., Joseph A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary These inscriptions of Sefire (once called Sujin) were discovered by S. Ronzevalle in 1930 in a village southeast of Aleppo. Two of them became the property of the Damascus Museum in 1948. The third stele was acquired by the Beirut Museum in 1956. The three steles are related not only by their provenience, but also by their contents, script, and language. They are inscri…

The Laws of Eshnunna (2.130)

(3,144 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Laws Commentary After the fall of the Ur III Dynasty, the north Mesopotamian city of Eshnunna, east of Babylon, fell under the sway of the Amorite settlers in the region. Under King Naram-Sin of Eshnunna, Eshnunna became one of the great military powers at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the eighteenth centuries bce, alternately warring and allying with the other great powers of the time, Assur (or the Kingdom of Upper Mesopotamia…

The Laws of Ur-Namma (Ur-Nammu) (2.153)

(2,009 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary At the end of the third millennium BCE, the Sumerian city-states had been subject to the occupations of the Akkad Dynasty of Sargon the Great and then of the barbarian Gutian invaders from the east. These foreign invaders finally were expelled by King Utu-hegal of Uruk (biblical Erech). After Utu-hegal’s death, his brother Ur-Namma, governor in Ur, assumed leadership t…

Reforms of Uru-inimgina (2.152)

(1,219 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary The last ruler of the “First Dynasty of Lagash” (ca. 2570–2342 BCE) is known in the literature variously as Uru-inimgina or Uru-kagina (ca. 2351–2342 BCE).1 He promulgated the first known systematic legal reforms which, though not yet cast in the casuistic (conditional) form of later precedent law, nevertheless stand at the head of the long tradition of “social justice in ancient Israel and in the ancient Near East” (Weinfeld 1995). In …

Agreement Between Pillia and Idrimi (AT 3) (2.129)

(533 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Treaties Commentary Like  AT 2, this text stipulates only the extradition of fugitives. Agreement Between Pillia and Idrimi ( AT 3) (2.129) Subject: Lev 27:2–8 I. Introduction ( lines 1–5) 1 A tablet of agreement (was made) 2 when Pillia 3 swore a divine oath, 4 and made this agreement 5 [be]tween them. II. Stipulations regarding fugitives ( lines 6–43) 6 Fugitives who are among them 7 they shall always return. 8 Pillia’s fugitive 9 whom Idrimi seizes 10 to Pillia 11 he …
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