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A Record of Hire (3.137B)

(191 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Rental and Hire Transactions Commentary The text originates from Nippur and dates to the Ur III period (8th year of Šu-Sin, 12th month, ca. 2030 BCE). A Record of Hire (3.137B) (lines 1–6) Geme-Nungal and Šu-Durul, her son, received from Lugal-azida 1 shekel of silver, the wages of Ur-Iškur.1 (lines 7–14) Before Ur-Iškur, before 〈PN〉, son of Ur-Sin, before Lu-Iškur, (and) before Tulta, son of Lugal-hegal, they swore by the name of the king to measure out 6 l…

A Functional Courtcase (3.142)

(289 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Courtcases Commentary Functional court cases are well-attested for both Old Sumerian and neo-Sumerian periods. See in detail Edzard 1968 and Falkenstein 1956 respectively. 2. A Functional Courtcase (3.142) Subject: Gen 17:12f, 23, 27; Lev 22:11 William W. Hallo (1) A completed judgment: (2–4) Shesh-kalla the son of Ur-Lamma declared here: “I am not the slave of Ur-Sahar-Ba’u.”1 (5–9) That Ur-Lamma the father of Shesh-kalla was given barley rations and wool rations from the hand o…

A Loan of Silver to Šuna (3.136E)

(212 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary This tablet and its envelope come from Nippur and date to the Ur III period (1st year of Ibbi-Sin, 6th month, ca. 2028 BCE). The transaction involves an antichretic arrangement, in which the interest on the loan is paid off by the labor of the pledged slave woman (see also the next two loans, COSB.3.136F and COSB.3.136G and above, COSB.3.116). A Loan of Silver to Šuna (3.136E) (lines 1–6) Šuna received 7 shekels of silver from Šeš-dada (as a loan); in l…

A Shipping Contract (3.139)

(258 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts Commentary Functional contracts typically end with a witness list and a date. In the latter, note that the month name in the standard Babylonian calendar became the basis of the later Hebrew month names, replacing the Canaanite names of pre-exilic times. The present text also features a Persian Gulf seal, crucial for dating the civilization of the Persian Gulf. 7. A Shipping Contract (3.139) Subject: 1 Kgs 6:1 (1–3) 4 talents of haltikku-wool,1 2 bushels of wheat, 2 (bushels) of sesame (4–7) Hat…

The Marriage of Puzur-haya and Ubartum (3.135B)

(119 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Marriage Agreements Commentary This tablet and its envelope originate from Lagaš and date to the Ur III period (4th year of Ibbi-Sin, ca. 2025 BCE). The Marriage of Puzur-haya and Ubartum (3.135B) (lines 1–4) Puzur-Haya took Ubartum as his wife. (lines 5–11) Before Ur-Damu, son of Ur-meme, (before) Ur-Dumuzi, (before) Bulali, (and before) Alduga, son of Ur-Dumuzi, the witnesses, before them, the oath by the name of the king was sworn. (line 12) Year that En-amgalana, the high-priest of…

Slave Sale (3.133A)

(239 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Sale Transactions Commentary This text comes from Lagaš and dates to the Sargonic period (ca. 2250 BCE). Slave Sale (3.133A) Subject: Gen 10:10 (lines 1–6) Gala, Geme-LIŠ (and) her two daughters — they are his wife and children (i.e., of Gala); Lu-TAR (and) Šadu — they are his brothers. (lines 7–10) Lugal-ušumgal, the governor of Lagaš, bought them from Šu-ilišu, the judge. (lines 11–16) Puzur-Adad, son of Dudu, brother of Šu-ilišu, brought them from Akkade a (and) made them “cr…

A Loan of Silver to Ur-Enlila (3.136F)

(227 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary The text may originate from Nippur and dates from the Ur III period (1st year of Šu-Sin). This is an antichretic loan transaction, in which the interest on the loan is covered by the produce of the pledged field (see COSB.3.136D above and COSB.3.136G below). A Loan of Silver to Ur-Enlila (3.136F) (lines 1–5) Ur-Enlila, the farmer, received from Ga’akam 9 shekels of silver (as a loan); its interest (is) 2 shekels and 36 grains of silver.1 (lines 6–7) (In lieu of th…

A Loan of Sheep Fat (3.136C)

(205 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary This text comes from Nippur. It dates to the Ur III period (9th year of Šu-Sin, 10th month, 23rd day, ca. 2029 BCE). A Loan of Sheep Fat (3.136C) (lines 1–5) Adda-kala and Pussa, his wife, received 20 qû (liters) of sheep fat from Adda-kala (as an interest-free loan). (lines 6–7) They are to return it till the 30th day of the month ZÍZ.DURU5 (= 11th month). (lines 8–13) They swore by the name of the king that, if they do not return it (as specified), the…

A Loan of Silver to Šu-Ašli (3.136A)

(215 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary This tablet and its envelope come from Nippur and date to the Ur III period (5th year of Šu-Sin, 2nd? month, ca. 2033 BCE). A Loan of Silver to Šu-Ašli (3.136A) (lines 1–3) Šu-Ašli received 25 shekels of silver from A-zida (as an interest-free loan). (lines 4–5) He is to return the capital of the silver to Nippur till the month Apin-du8-a (= 8th month). (lines 6–8) If he does not return (this) silver (as specified), he will measure out 2 kor (= 600 l…

A Letter-order (3.132)

(373 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Letters Commentary Functional letters were chiefly of a simpler cast. Most often they were simply orders to furnish the bearer with specified materials out of the state stores on the authority of the letter-writer. Except for the fact that the payment was in kind rather than in cash (silver), they thus served much the same purpose as modern checks or bank-drafts. In the following unique case, the envelope enclosing the letter-…

Real Estate Transaction (3.133D)

(203 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Sale Transactions Commentary This text comes from Umma and dates to the Ur III period (before Šulgi’s 33rd year, ca. 2062 BCE). Real Estate Transaction (3.133D) (lines 1–14) 11/3 sar of a house — 17 1/6 shekels of silver being the price of the house; 1 mina of wool, 1 headband, (and) 1 liter of oil being the gift for the house — Ur-nigingar, son of Girini, the chief constable, bought (this) house from Gugu, son of Ušmu, (and) Išagani, his wife, from both of them. (line 15) He (i.e, Ur-nigingar) com…

The Manumission of Umanigar (3.134A)

(280 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Manumissions Commentary This text comes from Nippur and dates to the Ur III period (the 6th year of Amar-Sin, ca. 2041 BCE). The Manumission of Umanigar (3.134A) Subject: Gen 15:3 (lines 1–5) In the city-gate of Ninurta (named) “Lofty-city-gate-of-heaven-and earth,”1 Atu, his father, manumitted2 Umanigar, the slave of [PN], because of his being the (only) heir.3  a  (lines 6–9) Lu-kirizal (and) Lu-dingira, brothers of Atu, swore by the name of the king that (in the futu…

Inheritance (3.141)

(276 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Courtcases; Model Courtcases Inheritance (3.141) (1–2) Ur-Suena son of Enlil-mashsu and Anne-babdu his brother (3) by mutual agreement divided (their inheritance) by lot. (4–5) After Ur-Suena died — 10 years having passed — (6–9) Anne-babdu confronted the assembly of Nippur, appeared (in court) and declared: (10–12) “One-third pound (20 shekels) of silver, the price of 2 slave-girls, Ur-Suena my older brother in no wise whatever gave to me!” (13–14) Aabba-kalla son of Ur-Suena appeared (in co…

Another Record of Hire (3.137C)

(183 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Rental and Hire Transactions Commentary The text comes from Nippur and dates to the Ur III period (2nd year of Ibbi-Sin, 6th month, ca. 2027 BCE). Another Record of Hire (3.137C) (lines 1–6) Geme-Nungal received from Lugal-azida 3 shekels of silver, the yearly wages of Šu-Durul, (her son).1 (lines 7–11) She swore by the name of the king to measure out 10 liters of barley (as his) daily (wages), if Šu-Durul stops working. (lines 12–16) Abinu’a, Lateniš, Lu-Sin, (and) Adda-kala — these…

A Letter From an Angry Housewife (3.130)

(650 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Letters Commentary Following the interpretation of its original editor, this unusual letter seems to involve a woman’s defending herself against charges of waste and mismanagement of her husband’s estate as dealt with both in §§141–143 of the Laws of Hammurabi ( COS COSB.2.131) and in a model court-case (below, COSB.3.140). It may thus represent a model letter rather than a “functional” one, using the terminology of Roth (1979:101f.; for a different sense of “functional,” see  COS 2:91, 211, 327, 405.…

The Manumission of Šarakam and Ur-guna’a (3.134B)

(205 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Manumissions Commentary This text originates from Umma and dates to the Ur III period (5th year of Amar-Sin, 8th month, ca. 2042 BCE). The Manumission of Šarakam and Ur-guna’a (3.134B) (lines 1–8) Gudaga, their mother, manumitted1 Šarakam (and) Ur-guna’a, both of them, from Mansum, for 1/3 mina (= 20 shekels) of silver. (lines 9–11) Mansum swore by the name of the king that (in the future) he will not raise claims regarding this silver. (lines 12–17) Before Lugale-banšag, before Lugal-…

A Model Contract (3.138)

(198 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts Commentary Model contracts were part of the scribal curriculum, and may have been ultimately derived, like literary letters, from real archival copies, but they typically lack the witness list and date of archival contracts; cf. Veldhuis 1997:60f.; Bodine 2001. 6. A Model Contract (3.138) Subject: Exod 21:2–4; Deut 15:12–15; Jer 34 (1–3) In the street(s) of his city, he (the herald) sounded the horn. (4–6) They ordered his sealed tablet (of manumission) to be fired on his forehead. (7–9) (Thus…

The BALA-contributions for One Month (3.144B)

(173 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Accounts; A Sumerian Amphictyony The BALA-contributions for One Month (3.144B) (1–2) 1 fatted ox (for) Ninsun, the evening of the first day of the month,1 (3–5) 2 fatted oxen, the evening of the second day of the month, 1 fatted ox, the evening of the third day of the month, (for) Enki-nin-ul-íl,2 (6–8) 1 fatted ox, (for) Ulmashitum, 1 fatted ox (for) Annunitum, the evening of the seventeenth day of the month, (9–10) 1 fatted ox (for) Ninhursag-nubanda, the evening of the twentieth day of the month: (11–1…

A Loan of Silver to Gina and Mani (3.136D)

(222 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary This text was found in Nippur1 and dates to the Ur III period (3rd year of Ibbi-Sin, 12th month, ca. 2026 BCE). A Loan of Silver to Gina and Mani (3.136D) (lines 1–5) Gina and Mani, (his mother),2 received 8 shekels of silver from Adda-kala (as an interest-free loan). (line 6) They are to restore it by the month Nesag (= 4th month). (lines 7–8) They swore by the name of the king that, if they do not restore it (as specified), they will double it (as a penalty).3 (lines 9–1…

A Loan of Silver to Girini (3.136G)

(354 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Loan Transactions Commentary This tablet and its envelope originate from Nippur and date to the Ur III period (6th year of Šu-Sin, 5th month, ca. 2032 BCE). It is an antichretic loan transaction. For similar transactions, see COSB.3.136E and COSB.3.136F above). Girini borrows 6 shekels of silver from Ur-Nanibgal. At the same time, Ur-Nanibgal rents, for 5 years, Girini’s house. The yearly rent of the house (2/3 shekel) will be deducted from the yearly interest on the loan (11/5 shekel). A Loa…
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