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The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text (2.5B)

(1,648 words)

Author(s): Kitchen, K. A.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Nineteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary The so-called “Bulletin” is a compact text that gives details supplementary to the main account in the “Poem.” By its position in the first great tableau-scene, it functions as a label-text to that part of the scene (the king interrogating two Hittite spies). But its length and cohesion also ranks it as almost an independent text within the overall composition. The Battle of Qadesh — the “Bulletin” Text (2.5B) Subject: Josh 9; Nu…

Stela of Sammuramat (Semiramis) (2.114H)

(389 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 This engraved stela was discovered in the row of stelae unearthed by the German excavations in the southern part of the city wall built by Shalmaneser III at Aššur (Andrae 1913). Sammuramat (classical references know her as Semiramis) was the wife of Šamši-Adad V and mother of Adad-nirari III. It is a most unusual aspect of the reign of Adad-nirar…

Sin-iddinam (2.100)

(717 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary A Sumerian inscription known from an Old Babylonian period tablet copy deals with the construction by Sin-iddinam (the ninth king of the Larsa dynasty, who reigned ca. 1849–1843 bce) of a throne for the storm god Ishkur/Adad. The inscription’s account of two butting bull (figures) standing on either side of the base of the throne (lines 75–78) can be compared with the passage in 1 Kings 10:14 describing two li…

Early Aramaic (2.76)

(170 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 The seal of Hadadezer (Aramaic).1 This seal, found at Saqqarah, Egypt, is inscribed in the Old Aramaic script and orthography of ca. the eighth century bce. (Belonging) to Hadadezer2 Early Aramaic (2.76) Notes^ back to text1. Avigad and Sass 1997 #785; CIS 2:124; Galling 1941 no. 103; Herr 1978 Aram. #1.^ back to text2. Hadadezer, “Hadad is (my) help,” is a typical Aram. name. Essentially same name appears on an Ara…

Funerary Stela (Saqqarah; Location Unknown) (2.63)

(70 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Funerary Stela (Saqqarah; Location Unknown) (2.63) Blessed be Peṭees[e] son of Yhʾ[1… by/before DN] Bibliographical References Aimé-Giron 1939 Fitzmyer and Kaufman 1992:B.3.e.28  TAD D20.4. Notes^ back to text1. The praenomen is Eg. ( pʾ-dy-ʾs.t, “The [One] whom Isis Gave”) but the fragmentary patronym is unrecoverable.Porten, Bezalel

The Siloam Tunnel Inscription (2.28)

(875 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The inscription was discovered in 1880 on the wall of a Jerusalem tunnel that leads from the Gihon Spring to the pool of Siloam. The inscription occupies the lower half of a prepared panel that is approximately 0.50 m in height and 0.66 m in width. The tunnel winds through the Mizzi Ahmar dolomite rock for a length of approximately 533 m (corresponding roughly to the inscription’s 1,200 cubits).1 It is essentially an…

Mari (2.MARI)

(130 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Late Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary The ancient city of Mari (modern Tell Hariri) was a major player on the Mesopotamian stage from Early Dynastic to Old Babylonian times. The site has been excavated by a long series of French expeditions led by A. Parrot (1933–38, 1951–74) and J.-Cl. Margueron (since 1979). After a long period of rule by “viceroys” ( šakkanakkū) in the Sargonic, Ur III and early Old Babylonian periods, the Amorite l…

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…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 2 (2.47B)

(783 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The second pithos from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, like the first, is decorated with a number of drawings, including a cow, an archer with his bow drawn, and a group of five human figures, standing with their hands extended as if in worship or supplication. The pithos also bears four separate inscriptions. First is a complete Hebrew abecedary, with the letters pe and ʿayin re…

Kuntillet ʿAjrud: Inscribed Pithos 1 (2.47A)

(916 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary A number of Hebrew inscriptions, primarily religious in content, were found in excavations conducted during the 1970’s by Ze’ev Meshel for the Tel Aviv Institute of Archaeology at the site of Kuntillet ʿAjrud, a major crossroads in the northeastern Sinai. The inscriptions were found in the ruins of the better preserved of the two buildings found at the site, which h…

The Borowski Stela (2.118B)

(378 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 This text is inscribed on a broken stone stela,1 belonging to a type of stela which was set up locally to commemorate events in the district. Thus it was probably incised after the successful completion of the campaign in Syria and Palestine in 720 bce. This document reveals what had not been known before its publication, namely that thousands of Assyrians were “guilty” of rebellion according …

Sennacherib’s First Campaign: Against Merodach-baladan (2.119A)

(1,760 words)

Author(s): Cogan, Mordechai
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary The date of this earliest of Sennacherib’s campaigns is disputed; it was directed against Merodach-baladan, who had seized the opportunity of Sargon’s death (705 bce) to proclaim himself king of Babylon, in opposition to the upstart rebel Marduk-zakir-shumi. Levine (1982) favors a date from winter 704 through early 702, while Brinkman (1984) opts for 703–702, considerably sh…

Book of the Dead 109 (2.11)

(548 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; The Book of the Dead Commentary The New Kingdom vignette depicts the deceased standing behind the spotted Khurer-calf, with his arms raised in daily adoration of a seated Re-Harakhty. The spell is a counterpart to Coffin Text 160 ( COS COSB.1.21) and Book of the Dead 108 for “Knowing the Souls of the Westerners.” For discussion, see Sethe 1924:1–20; and the bibliography in Hornung 1979:482. As in the earlier Coffin Texts, the remarkable size of the underwor…

Šamši-ilu — Stone Lions Inscription (2.115A)

(853 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 This inscription was incised on two colossal, dark gray basalt lions that were discovered at Tell Ahmar (Tīl-Barsip/Kār Shalmaneser)1 originally in 1908. A study of one of the lions in 1988 revealed that it was 258 cm in height; with a length of 250 cm; and a width of 120 cm (Roobaert 1990:127). While the text is in the form of a royal dedicatory inscription, its au…

Funerary Inscriptions (2.22)

(27 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Commentary Maraş 4 Kululu 4 3. Funerary Inscriptions (2.22)

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…

Ibbi-Sin (2.141A)

(240 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary A twenty-two line inscription known from clay cones, a stone foundation tablet and an Old Babylonian (?) tablet copy deals with the construction of the “great wall” (likely a temenos wall) of Ur by Ibbi-Sin (the fifth and last king of the Ur III Dynasty, who reigned ca. 2028–2004 BCE). Ibbi-Sin (2.141A) (1–5) Ibbi-Sin, god of his land, mighty king, king of Ur, king of the four quarters, (6–7) on account of the great l…

Nabu-apla-iddina (2.125B)

(117 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Seal Inscriptions Commentary This four-sided bead is described as a seal in its inscription. It provides a parallel of sorts to the seal from Beer-sheba, since it mentions the same unusual divine name. The donor is a namesake of a king of Babylon who ruled in the first half of the ninth century, but had a different patronymic. A seal of lapis lazuli — Nabu-apla-iddina, son of Shamash-eresh, for the well-being of his life, the length of his days (and) the furthering …

Sabaʾa Stela (2.114E)

(812 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 This inscription is engraved on a badly worn stone stela from Sabaʾa, south of Jebel Sinjar. The stela is 192 cm in height and contains a relief of the king along with divine symbols on its top and text below. Interestingly, about two-thirds of the text (lines 1–22) are a royal dedicatory inscription; then Nergal-ēreš, a governor under Adad-nirari I…

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…
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