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Ur-Nammu (2.138D)

(291 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A tablet copy of a royal inscription of Ur-Nammu deals with a campaign against the Elamite King Kutik-Inshushinak (Puzur-Inshushinak). The copy was found at Isin, excavated by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft under B. Hrouda since 1973. Elam was the ancient name for the land east of Sumer and Akkad, corresponding in part to modern-day Iran. Of inte…

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…

Weight Inscriptions (2.146A 2.146B 2.147 2.148) (2.SU.D.1)

(917 words)

Author(s): Powell, Marvin A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions Commentary This selection is organized in (approximate) chronological order, oldest first (see the Akkadian Weight Inscriptions above,  COS COSB.2.126A-O for further introductory comments). Published mass and “implied mina norms” are given to assist the reader in interpretation, but it must be borne in mind that these are approximations whose precision depends upon the accuracy of the modern weighing, the state of conservation of the object, and the accuracy of the ancient standard. 2.1…

The Ekron Inscription of Akhayus (2.42)

(947 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Philistine Inscriptions Commentary Written in a lapidary style script developed by the Philistines at Ekron, the text is a royal dedicatory inscription for the temple of the goddess Ptgyh made by Akhayus,1 the son of Padi, the ruler of Ekron. The royal names (“Padi” and “Akhayus”) are names known from Assyrian sources: for Padi, the inscriptions of Sennacherib ( COS COSB.2.119B) and another inscription from Ekron (see n. 2 below); for Akhayus…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Plaster Wall Inscription (2.47D)

(582 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This inscription fell from the doorjamb of the entryway to the western storage room in the main building at Kuntillet ʿAjrud. Preserved on the plaster are portions of five lines of a much longer text, which was poetic in character and similar in striking ways to certain theophanic passages found in archaic biblical poetry. Though the script is Phoenician, the language is probably Hebrew (cf. notes 1 and 2). Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Plast…

Votive Inscriptions (2.SU.B.1)

(185 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions Commentary Like the Biblical vow (neder), a the Mesopotamian votive offering was of two kinds: before the fact or after. In the former, it was made in the hope of a favor to be granted by the deity in the future, as expressed in the Latin motto do ut des, “I give that you might give.” The most general and common “votive motive” in this case was “for (long) life” of the donor and/or designat…

Second Beth-Shan Stela, [year Lost] (2.4D)

(796 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Regrettably, the year-date is broken away on this monument, but is likely to have been [Year 2 or later]. Again, on his way back south, the king was obliged to quell dissidents, seemingly in Lower Galilee, as his troops “turned back” to deal with the matter. The ʿApiru are here given the determinative of an armed man; so they were regarded in this case as armed bands by the Egyptians. Second Beth-Shan Stela, [year Lost] (2.4D) Subjec…

Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur — Suḫu Annals (#18) (2.115C)

(698 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary Inscribed on a stone stela discovered on the island of ʿĀnā, this text describes a revolt of the city of Anat (before the days of Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur) and the subsequent disaster when “the Assyrian” took action against the city. It records Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur’s restoration of the city, emphasizing his goodness and kindness. Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur — Suḫu Annals (#18) (2.115C) ( lines i.1–5) I, Ninurta…

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…

Pyramid Texts 213 and 219 (2.8)

(2,268 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Pyramid Texts Commentary First carved in the Fifth Dynasty tomb of Unas (ca. 2350 BCE), the collection of 759 spells known as the “Pyramid Texts” was originally restricted to royal use, appearing in varying numbers in the pyramids of nine kings and queens of the Sixth to Eighth Dynasties. The texts stress the divinity and immortality of the monarch, and provide the earliest extensive commentary on…

The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath (2.35)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary H. Pognon bought parts of a basalt stele in north Syria which he published in 1907–8; they are now in the Louvre (AO 8185). Now 1.03 m. high, 62 cm. wide, the squared block was originally taller, the upper part carved with a figure in relief of which only the feet resting upon a dais or stool survive. Below the sculpture an inscription was engraved in Aramaic, starting on the front (a), continuing on the left (b) and righ…

The Die (Pūru) of Yaḫali (2.113I)

(711 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary In ancient Assyria, the system of dating was by eponym (see  COS COSB.1.136). Each year was named after the līmu, “eponym,” who was a high officer of state. Inscribed clay cubes were used as dice for casting lots to determine the eponyms. This die (× x 28 mm) belonged to Yaḫali, an official of Shalmaneser III. He held the office of eponym twice during Shalmaneser’s reign (833 and 824 bce). The use of lots for many leg…

The Inscription of King Mesha (2.23)

(1,435 words)

Author(s): Smelik, K. A. D.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Moabite Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, which was carved on a black basalt stone, measuring 1.15 m. high and 60–68 cm. across, was discovered by the Alsatian missionary Klein at Dhiban in 1868. Due to the great interest in the stone shown by various Europeans in Palestine, the local population decided to demolish it and use the pieces as amulets in their granaries. The Fre…

Sin-kashid (2.104)

(109 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary German excavations at Uruk have unearthed a large palace built by Sin-kashid, the probable founder of the Old Babylonian period Uruk dynasty. Innumerable bricks and clay tablets found in the walls of the palace (and scattered over the surface of the mound) commemorate its construction in Sumerian. Of interest is Sin-kashid’s title “king of Amnanum,” an Amorite tribal name. Sin-kashid (2.104) ( 1–7) Sin-kas…

The Seal of ʿAśayāhū (2.79)

(288 words)

Author(s): Heltzer, Michael
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions; Seals and Seal Impressions Commentary The Hebrew seal is dated paleographically to the second half of the 7th century bce.1 (Belonging) to ʿAśayāhū“servant” (minister) of the king It is most probable that this ʿAśayāhū of the seal is identical with “Aśayā, servant of the king,” mentioned in 2 Kings 22:12, 14 and 2 Chronicles 34:20. He appears as one of the team, sent by king Josiah ( Yošiyāhū) in the year 622 to the temple in connection wit…

The Panamuwa Inscription (2.37)

(2,178 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary The inscription, engraved on the lower half of a statue, is written in Samalian Aramaic (see  COS COSB.2.36). It was discovered in the German excavations at Zinjirli. Bar-Rakib, the son of Panamuwa II, probably raised this monument early in his reign to memorialize his father because of his sudden and unexpected death during Tiglath-Pileser III’s campaign against Damascus (733–732 bce). The text also serv…

Funerary Stela (Vatican Museum 10 Sala 22787) (2.65)

(141 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Funerary Stela (Vatican Museum 10 Sala 22787) (2.65) Ankhoḥapi son of Takhabes,1 excellent (one)2 of Osiris the god. Bibliographical References  CIS 2.142 H. Donner, ‛“Elemente ägyptischen Totenglaubens bei den Aramäern Ägyptens.” Pp. 35–44 in Religions en Égypte hellénistique et romaine. Ed. by P. Derchain. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France. ( 1969 ) ’ , Fitzmyer and Kaufman 1992:B.3.f.28  HNE 1:448,2:Pl. 28.4  KAI #2…

Sethos I (2.4)

(69 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary Karnak, Campaign from Sile to Pa-Canaan, Year 1 First Beth-Shan Stela, Year 1 Karnak, Campaign to Yenoam and Lebanon (Year 1 or Later) Second Beth-Shan Stela, Year Lost Karnak, Campaign Against the Hittites (Undated) Karnak, Campaign Against the Libyans (Undated) Karnak, Campaign Against Qadesh and Amurru (Undated) Sethos I (2.4)

Calah Orthostat Slab (2.114G)

(372 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary Discovered in 1854 at Calah, the text was inscribed on a broken stone slab which was left on the mound of Nimrud. It is known only through its publication based on the paper squeezes1 made by Norris on the site. Only the latter half of the inscription is translated here. Calah Orthostat Slab (2.114G) ( lines 11–14) I subdued from the bank of the Euphrates, the land of Ḫatti, the land of Amurru in its enti…

Hebrew (2.70)

(2,766 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Seal and Stamp Inscriptions; Seals and Seal Impressions Commentary 2.70A. Two bullae of Berechyahu son of Neriyahu the scribe, made by the same seal (Hebrew; provenience unknown).1 These identical inscriptions are written in the Hebrew script of the seventh century bce. This Berechyahu is probably Jeremiah’s secretary “Baruch son of Neriyahu the scribe” (Jer 36:32). Baruch is the hypocoristicon, or nickname, for Berechyahu. The shorter form of Baruch’s patronym, N…
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