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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…

Demotic Self-Dedication Texts (3.EG.B.2)

(269 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts Commentary Attested from Memphis and the Faiyum during the Ptolemaic period, “self-dedication texts” date to the second century bce. The texts show similarities both to the Saïte self-sales into slavery and to earlier oracular amuletic decrees issued by temples in the name of a protective deity. Amuletic decrees of the Third Intermediate Period (Dynasties 21–22) present the god as listing a long series of individual evils from which…

Land Sale (3.118)

(341 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary Dating to 649 bce (reign of Assurbanipal), this tablet was discovered by Macalister during excavations in 1905 (a year after the first tablet, Gezer 1, see above). It records the sale of a plot of land by an Israelite named Natan-Yau. Like Gezer 1, this text’s personal names demonstrate the mixed population of the city as well as the role that some Israelites continued to play in the economics of the region. Land Sale (3.118) Subject: Jer 39:9 ( lines 1–2) Seal o…

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…

A Debt Note (3.116)

(675 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary This second tablet from Tel Hadid is dated by eponym to 664 bce. It was discovered in situ in rescue excavations in 1997 on a plaster floor of the central unit of a three-room late Iron II building (Brand 1998). The tablet is nearly intact and very readable. The text is a debt-note with an antichretic pledge1 — a pledge of a person or persons (usually family members) in lieu of the interest on the principal of a loan. There are no risk o…

A Barley Loan from Assur (3.56)

(383 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; West Semitic Archival Documents; Contracts; Assyrian Aramaic Commentary Discovered in excavations at Assur, this Assyrian Aramaic inscription recording a loan of barley is written on a triangular clay docket. It dates to the mid-7th century bce based on its archival context.1 A Barley Loan from Assur (3.56) Subject: Exod 22:24; Lev 25:36–37; 15:2; 23:20–21 ( Five fingernail marks on the top of the tablet) ( lines 1-reverse 1) Barley belonging to Aššur-šallim-aḫḫē,2 (debited) against Akkadayu.3 3 ( emāru “homers”)…

Marriage Customs (AT 92) (3.101B)

(499 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This is an important Level IV text for understanding marriage customs in Late Bronze Age Alalakh. Unfortunately, it is fragmentary and difficult to interpret due to grammatical anomalies. Apparently this is a “pre-nuptial agreement” that provides for contexts in which the wife may offend the husband and thereby cause a divorce. The settlement of the divorce is envisioned and different for each case (lines 6´-14´).1 As in so many other marriage documents from t…

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…

Seven Years of Barrenness Before a Second Wife (AT 93) (3.101C)

(184 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This text, from Level IV, compares with the manner in which Jacob worked seven years for Laban before he was allowed one of his daughters as a wife (Gen 29:15–35). However, there are significant differences because with Jacob the issue was not barrenness but his desire for Rachel. Seven Years of Barrenness Before a Second Wife ( AT 93) (3.101C) 1 x x du 2 From this day, before [Niqmepa the king:] 3 The daughter of Ilimili, 4 Zunzuri, Idat[ti (?) 5 has taken for a wife. 6 Two hundred s…

Sale of an Estate (3.117)

(607 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary Dating to 652 bce, the tablet was discovered in 1904 by R. A. S. Macalister during excavations at Gezer. The text is a sale contract for an entire estate: land, house, servants, etc. Unfortunately, because of the fragmentary nature of lines 6–9, the particulars (including the sale price) are missing. The personal names mentioned in the text give an important insight into the mixed population of the city of Gezer during the period of…

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…

Royal Land Grant (3.110)

(171 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Property Conveyances from Ugarit Royal Land Grant (3.110) From the present day on, Ammistamru, son of Niqmepa, king of Ugarit1 has given to Yaṣiranu, son of Ḫuṣanu, the village ( ālu) E[—]ish with everything it has forever, (also) to his sons and grandsons. Its grain, its beer ( šikaru)2 of its (the village’s) tithe, and the sheep — the pasturing tax ( ma-aq-qa-du)3 shall be for Yaṣiranu. The silver of the gifts and silver of the bridegroom’s friend and service boys ( sú-sa-pi-in-nu-ti…

Sale of a Slave (3.114)

(590 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary Recently a number of inscriptions from T ī l Barsip (Tel Aḫmar) have been published.1 Most of the Neo-Assyrian cuneiform documents from the site seem to come from a single archive, that of a man named Hanni. Interestingly, three of the tablets (13, 18 and 20) mention a man named Issār-dūri who is further identified as “the son of Samiraya” (“the Samarian”).2 Two of the other personal names in this tablet are gentilics like Samiraya: Hama…

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-…

Sale of a Slave Woman (3.112)

(508 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary Dating to approximately 642 bce (see note 1 below), this text (BM 103956) records the sale of a slave woman named Bānât-Esaggil. The person selling the slave woman has a Yahwistic name, Yadiʾ-Yau. This same woman appears to have been sold some years later (see note 2 below). Sale of a Slave Woman (3.112) ( lines 1–3) The seal of Yadiʾ-Yau,3 the […] of the chief of public works,4 owner of the woman being sold. ( Seals, faded) ( lines 4–8a) Nabû-metu-uballi…

Receipt for the Purchase of a Debt Slave (AT 65) (3.100)

(299 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This level VII tablet records the purchase of a debt slave. Debt slavery was well known in the ancient Near East. The use of the andarārum was a special dispensation that allowed all those in debt to be freed of their debts. In order to circumvent this possibility, Sumunnabi had a special clause written into the agreement. Perhaps this type of permanent servitude, with no exclusions, was what Leviticus 25:39–42 addressed. It required release of all those in debt du…

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…
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