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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…

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…

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.…

A Loan of Silver to Ur-ga (3.136B)

(191 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 (2nd year of Amar-Sin, 7th month, 20th day, ca. 2045 BCE). A Loan of Silver to Ur-ga (3.136B) (lines 1–4) Ur-ga received 10 shekels of silver from Adda’a as a loan; the yearly interest is 1 shekel for each 5 shekels. (lines 5–6) He is to restore it (any time) between the 20th day of the month DU6.KUG (= 7th month) and the (next) month DU6.KUG. (lines 7–10) Before Damu, (before) Puzur-Aššur…

A Lease of Land (3.137A)

(189 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 (7th year of Šu-Sin, 3rd month, ca. 2031 BCE). A Lease of Land (3.137A) (lines 1–10) Madake, Ur-gagi’a, Katar, (and) Lu-melam leased out1 6 iku of land, (located in) the field Dalbana,2 to Ur-Sin, son of A-kala, for 3 years, (in exchange) for 1/3 (of its produce). (line 11) They (i.e., the lessors) swore by the name of the king (not to contest the agreement). (lines 12–15) Lu-Inanna, Šeš-kal…

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-…

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…

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…

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 Trial for Adultery (3.140)

(285 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Courtcases; Model Courtcases Commentary No more than eight examples of Sumerian “model court cases” are known so far. They belong to the scribal school curriculum and are thus, strictly speaking, canonical texts. But they ultimately derive from genuine archival records, particularly of the early Isin I Dynasty, and were preserved because they were thought to illustrate some particularly interesting points of law. See in detail, Hallo in press. A Trial for Adultery (3.140) Subject: Exod 22:2f (1–4) Is…

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…

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…

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…

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 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 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…

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…

Weights and Measures (3.145)

(215 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Accounts; A Sumerian Amphictyony Commentary Babylonian weights and measures find some echo in biblical metrology; cf. Powell 1987–90; 1992. 3. Weights and Measures (3.145) Subject: 1 Kgs 5:2; 2 Kgs 7:1 (1) 3 vessels of one large kor1  a  (2) 1 second-quality vessel2 (3) 7 one- seah vessels3  b  (4) for the stele of Enlil4 (5) from Inim-[…] (6) receipted by Nig-urum (7) in the month of (Umma’s) BALA-obligation.5 (8) Year after the year when the wall (against) the Amorites was built.6 (Seal impres…

Calendar Text (3.144A)

(195 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Accounts; A Sumerian Amphictyony Calendar Text (3.144A) (1–3) Month I, month II: turn of the governor of Girsu.2 (4–5) Month III: turn of the governor of Adab. (6–7) Month IV: turn of the governor of Marad. (8–9) Month V: turn of the governor of Kazallu. (break) (10´) [Month XIII:] turn of the governor of Girsu.3 (11´) Year that Enmahgal-anna the high priestess of Nanna was installed.4 Notes^ back to text1. The text was part of the collection of Hartford Theological Seminary (HTS) when f…

A Letter to the King (3.131)

(441 words)

Author(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Letters Commentary The royal correspondence of the dynasties of Ur, Isin and Larsa served as models for epistolary art and therefore entered the scribal curriculum or canon; see  COS COSB.1.164 and COSB.165 for examples. But they ultimately derived from genuine archival copies in the royal chanceries, as suggested by their many correspondences with details known from contemporaneous sources, and illustrated by this example. 2. A Letter to the King (3.131) (1) Speak to my king!1 (2) This is what Ir…
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