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Coffin Text 159 (2.10)

(436 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Coffin Texts Commentary Depicting the wonders of the region from which the sun rises, this spell (with its parallel Coffin Text 161 and descendants Book of the Dead 109 and 149b) details the otherworldly paradise known as “The Field of Reeds” where both the grain and the blessed inhabitants are giants in size. Coffin Text 159 (2.10) ENTERING AND EXITING FROM THE EASTERN GATES OF HEAVEN AMONG THE FOLLOWERS OF RE. KNOWING THE SOULS OF THE EASTERNERS.1 I know that centra…

Aššur Basalt Statue (2.113G)

(407 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 is a Summary or Display inscription which is incised on the front, left hip and back of a broken basalt statue of Shalmaneser. It was discovered in the 1903 German excavations at the entrance to a Parthian building where it had been moved from its original location at the Tabira Gate. The statue had been broken into two large and many small pieces and the head was missing. The text appears to date to 833 bce based on the…

The Bar-Rakib Inscription (2.38)

(511 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 Composed not long after the Panamuwa inscription (i.e. 733–727 bce), the Bar-Rakib inscription was written in an Old Aramaic dialect which as been identified as “Mesopotamian Aramaic.”1 Its form is that of the memorial genre, though the emphasis is on Bar-Rakib’s vassal loyalty to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria.2 The inscription was discovered in excavations conducted at Zenjirli (cf.  COS

Nur-Adad (2.99A)

(379 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 from Ur belonging to Nur-Adad, eighth king of the Larsa dynasty (who reigned ca. 1865–1850 bce) deals with the king’s construction of a kir4-MAḪ “great (bread) oven” and a du8-MAḪ (possibly “great cauldron”) for the moon god Nanna. Copies of the text are inscribed on three copper cylinders and several clay cones that were found in a room northwest of t…

Sennacherib: the “Azekah” Inscription (2.119D)

(615 words)

Author(s): Cogan, Mordechai
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary The remains of twenty-one lines of a tablet, one fragment of which (K 6205) was formerly ascribed to Tiglath-pileser III ( ANET 282b), the other (82–3–23, 131) to Sargon. The reference to the Judean city of Azekah, as well as the name of Hezekiah (partially restored) definitively set the location of the battles in Judah, but there is still some question as to their date.…

Lipit-Eshtar (2.95)

(189 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary Numerous clay cones found or excavated at Isin record the construction by Lipit-Eshtar (the fourth king of the Isin I dynasty, who reigned ca. 1934–1924 bce) of a storehouse (ganīnum) for the gods Enlil and Ninlil. This text provides us with the earliest Akkadian translation of the Sumerian royal title lugal ki-en-gi ki-uri, Akkadian šar māt šumerim u akkadim, “king of the land of Sumer and Akkad.” Lipit-Es…

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…

Pavement Inscription 4 (2.118G)

(233 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 The text was inscribed on a pavement slab for the gates at Dūr-Šarrukīn (Khorsabad). Pavement Inscription 4 (2.118G) ( lines 31–41) (Sargon II) … who conquered Samaria and the entire land of Bīt-Ḫumria (Israel);1 who plundered Ashdod (and) Šinuḫtu,2 who caught the Ionians3 like fish in the middle of the sea; who deported the Kasku, all of Tabal, and Ḫilakku; who drove away Mita (Mi…

The Dedication of A Statue to the Divinized Nabataean King (2.44)

(533 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary While belonging to a common genre of inscription commemorating an individual in the presence of a god,1 this particular example is noteworthy for the possibility that the god in question is the divinized Nabataean king, Obodas. It also contains a probably poetic section, the meaning of which is uncertain, but which appears to be in Arabic. It thus contains the earliest Arabic known to us, from the 1st century ce.2…

Rim-Sin (2.102B)

(213 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary A different Sumerian cone inscription of Rim-Sin commemorates the construction of a temple of Nergal in Ur. Nergal was a deity venerated by Assyrian deportees (especially those from Cuthah) who were re-located in Samaria following the downfall of Israel in 722 bce. Rim-Sin (2.102B) Subject: 2 Kgs 17:30 ( 1–6) For the god Nergal, a supreme lord, who possesses great might, the one with a perfect fea…

Tombstone Inscription (Greco-Roman Museum 18361) (2.66)

(466 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Among the tombstones uncovered at the necropolis in el-Ibrahimiya, Alexandria, in 1906 by E. Breccia were three of limestone with Aramaic inscriptions. They were published in 1907 by Clermont-Ganneau ( TAD D21.4-6) and have been much discussed. The one reproduced here bears a name reminiscent of that of one of the last Davidides — Akkub son of Elioenai (1 Chr 3:24).2 The praenomen, of course, is the hypocoristicon of Ak…

Gungunum (2.98)

(197 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Early Old Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary Gungunum, the fifth member of the Larsa dynasty and its first effective king, reigned from ca. 1931–1906 bce. A Sumerian cone inscription from Ur deals with the construction there of a storehouse for the sun god by En-ana-tuma, en-priestess of the moon god Nanna. Though installed by her father Ishme-Dagan of Isin (above, COSB.2.94), she was allowed to keep her p…

Nabonidus’ Rebuilding of E-lugal-galga-sisa, The Ziggurat of Ur (2.123B)

(990 words)

Author(s): Beaulieu, Paul-Alain
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Babylonian Inscriptions Commentary This inscription, recorded on several clay cylinders found at Ur in the remains of the ziggurat, is probably the last building inscription of Nabonidus. It attests to the intensity of the king’s personal devotion to the moon god Sîn, and to his attempt to impose him as supreme deity of the Neo-Babylonian empire. Sîn is praised as “king/lord of the…

Annals: Calaḫ Bulls (2.113C)

(1,210 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 is a reconstructed recension (Recension D according to Schramm  EAK 2:76–77) based on inscriptions on two monumental bulls found at Calaḫ and supplemented by two small fragments of inscribed stones. The edition apparently dates to 841 bce1 and is the first edition of Shalmaneser’s annals that documents Shalmaneser’s campaign in his eighteenth regnal year against Hazael of Damascus…

Black Obelisk (2.113F)

(1,136 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 Sculpted from black alabaster, the famous “Black Obelisk,” is 2.02 meters in height and contains the longest account of Shalmaneser’s reign, stretching down to the king’s thirty-first regnal year.1 It was discovered by Layard at Calaḫ in 1846. The text is identified as Recension F and dates to 828–827 bce. The Obelisk is formed in the shape of a ziggurat, having four sides with five panels on each…

An Amulet From Arslan Tash (2.86)

(828 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Miscellaneous Inscriptions Commentary Two small limestone plaques, bearing a series of inscriptions and drawings and perforated at the top for wall-mounting, were purchased in 1933 at Arslan Tash, Syria (ancient Ḫadattu). The first plaque, which was published in 1939, is translated here. The main text is written on the front and back of the plaque in the spaces not occupied by illustrations; it consists of six lin…

The Tomb Inscription of Siʾgabbar, Priest of Sahar (2.59)

(661 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Two funerary reliefs depicting deceased priests and inscribed with their epitaphs were found in 1891 at Nerab, southeast of Aleppo. The two inscriptions, which date to the early seventh century bce, are written in the dialect known as Empire Aramaic, recognizable from a number of features of grammar and lexicon that show the influence of the dominant Assyrian language and culture of the perio…

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)

The Annals of Thutmose III (2.2A)

(5,910 words)

Author(s): Hoffmeier, James K.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Egyptian Monumental Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions; Eighteenth Dynasty Inscriptions Commentary These annals are among the most celebrated of ancient Egyptian historical texts. The annals are carved in raised relief on walls that surrounded the bark shrine of Amun which likewise was erected by Thutmose III. K. Sethe’s collation of the annals (Urk. IV:625–756), despite its predisposition to offer speculative restorations, has served as the standard trans…

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 …
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