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The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Ḥalafu at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.68)

(453 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary For general comments see the Kamkam inscription above. The Ḥalafu inscription is dated 31/32 ce and located on the facade of tomb no. E 18.1 The Nabataean Tomb Inscription of Ḥalafu at Madāʾin ṣāliḥ (2.68) Subject: Gen 31:5; 32:10; 43:23 Ownership ( lines 1–7a) This is the tomb which Ḥalafu son of Qosnatan2 made for himself and for Suʿaydu, his son, and his brothers, whatever male children may be born to this Ḥalafu,3 a…

Jerusalem Ostracon (2.49)

(269 words)

Author(s): McCarter, P. Kyle
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary The ostracon, a fragment of the shoulder of a storage jar bearing three incomplete lines of Hebrew script written in ink, was found in 1971 during N. Avigad’s excavations in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem. The poorly-preserved inscription is of special interest because of its third line, which may read “Creator of the Earth,” a well-known epithet of the biblical an…

Inscription of Narām-sîn: Campaign Against Armānum and Ebla (2.91)

(1,308 words)

Author(s): Kienast, Burkhart
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Old Akkadian Inscriptions Commentary This inscription was originally carved on the socle of a statue also showing the relief of a city on top of a mountain; it is preserved in three Old Babylonian copies on clay tablets from Ur. Exemplar A contains lines 1–118 and the captions describing the city, exemplar B has the lines 119–185 and two short captions while exemplar C seems to contain th…

The Jerusalem Pomegranate (2.48)

(703 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Votive Inscriptions; Hebrew Inscriptions Commentary This inscription is carved on a thumb-sized ivory in the shape of a pomegranate (height 4.3 cm, diameter 2.1 cm). It has been dated on paleographic grounds to the end of eighth century bce. Since the text circles on the pomegranate, there is some uncertainty concerning the starting and ending points. The text appears to mention a sanctuary of Yahweh which may possibly be associated with the temple …

A Nabataean Commemorative Inscription From ʿAvdat (2.43)

(345 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This is a rare example of a non-funerary Nabataean building inscription. Found ca. 2 km south of ʿAvdat on what was probably a libation altar, it mentions a religious celebration (mrzḥ) connected with Dushara and is dated, though the reading of the date is uncertain.1 A Nabataean Commemorative Inscription From ʿAvdat (2.43) Subject: Jer 16:5; Amos 6:7 Event being recorded ( lines 1–2a) This is the dam (whic…

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…

Azatiwata (2.21)

(1,997 words)

Author(s): Hawkins, J. D.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Hittite Monumental Inscriptions; Hieroglyphic Inscriptions; Royal Inscriptions Commentary The Karatepe inscriptions are famous as one of the ancient world’s longest bilingual texts. The hilltop fortress of Karatepe was defended by a circuit of walls with two monumental gateways, each decorated with sculptured orthostats and a bilingual version of the same inscription in Phoenician and Hieroglyphic Luwian. The lower North Gate is better preserved with mo…

Warad-Sin (2.101B)

(679 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 Kudur-mabuk’s construction of the throne of the god Nanna of Ur for his son Warad-Sin is known from two Sumerian school tablet copies found in Sir Leonard Woolley’s excavations at Ur. The deed was commemorated in the name of the sixth year of Warad-Sin. The two protective genie (Sumerian lamma) described in lines 68–75 of this text as protecting the god Nanna’s throne may be compared with the Hebrew cherubim who …

A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46)

(197 words)

Author(s): Healey, J. F.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Nabataean Inscriptions Commentary This well-preserved inscription on a white limestone block is particularly important historically because of the detailed chronological synchronism it gives. It comes from the site of Tell esh-Shuqafiya in the eastern delta of lower Egypt and is dated to 34 bce.1 The Nabataeans were active in Egypt and have left many inscriptions there. A Nabataean Shrine Inscription From Egypt (2.46) Dedication ( lines 1–4a)…

Shulgi (2.139B)

(172 words)

Author(s): Frayne, Douglas
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Sumerian Inscriptions Commentary An eight-line brick inscription records Shulgi’s construction of Inanna’s temple E-dur-anki in Nippur. The temple was excavated during 1955–58 and 1960–61 by a team of archaeologists from the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago and the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania. Shulgi (2.139B) (1–2) For the goddess Inanna, his lady, (3–6) Shulgi, mighty man, king of Ur, king of the…

The Cylinders of Gudea (2.155)

(17,675 words)

Author(s): Averbeck, Richard E.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Temple Hymns of Gudea Commentary The composition known as the Cylinders of Gudea is inscribed on two large cylinders (i.e., hollow clay barrels), referred to as Cylinders A and B. The rims of the two cylinders are ca. 2.9 and 2.5 cm thick, respectively. Cylinder A is 61 cm long and 32 cm in diameter, and has 30 columns of writing parallel to the long axis. Cylinder B is 56.5 cm long and 33 cm in diameter, and has 24 col…

Nebuchadnezzar II’s Restoration of the Ebabbar Temple In Larsa (2.122A)

(650 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 is recorded on several clay cylinders and baked bricks found at Larsa, all written in Neo-Babylonian script. It commemorates the rebuilding of Ebabbar, the temple of the sun god Shamash at Larsa, by Nebuchadnezzar II (605–562 bce), the son and successor of Nabopolassar and the real architect of Neo-Babylonian hegemony. Nabonidus restored Ebabbar again in his 10th regnal year (546–45 bce). He c…

Ur-dukuga (2.97)

(258 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 cone inscription of Ur-dukuga, the thirteenth king of the Isin I dynasty (who reigned ca. 1830–1828 bce), records the construction of a temple of the god Dagan in the royal city of Isin. Dagan was an important Mesopotamian and West Semitic deity with major cult centres at ancient Tuttul (modern Tell Biʿa near the junction of the Euphrates and Balih rivers) and Terqa (m…

Tiglath-pileser III (2.117)

(43 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Display Inscriptions; Neo-Assyrian Inscriptions Commentary The Calaḫ Annals The Iran Stela Summary Inscription 4 Summary Inscription 7 Summary Inscription 8 Summary Inscription 9-10 Summary Inscription 13 Tiglath-pileser III (2.117)

Babati (2.144)

(265 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; Seal Inscriptions; Seal Inscriptions Commentary The queen-mother wielded great influence in Sumer as she did in Judah and Israel, where she was known as gevira and shegal respectively (de Vaux 1961:117–119). The latter term presumably derives from Akkadian ša ekalli, lit. “she of the palace,” and this in turn from Sumerian É.GAL, “palace” (cf. Hebrew hēkāl). In the case of Abi-simti, Babati used his sister’s influence to attain multiple posts for himself — military…

The Inscription of Zakkur, King of Hamath (2.35)

(1,206 words)

Author(s): Millard, Alan
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Building and Dedicatory Inscriptions; Old Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary H. Pognon bought parts of a basalt stele in north Syria which he published in 1907–8; they are now in the Louvre (AO 8185). Now 1.03 m. high, 62 cm. wide, the squared block was originally taller, the upper part carved with a figure in relief of which only the feet resting upon a dais or stool survive. Below the sculpture an inscription was engraved in Aramaic, starting on the front (a), continuing on the left (b) and righ…

The Laws of Lipit-Ishtar (2.154)

(2,910 words)

Author(s): Roth, Martha
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; Sumerian Monumental Inscriptions; “Functional” Inscriptions; Sumerian Laws Commentary The last ruler of the Ur III Dynasty, Ibbi-Sin (the son or brother of King Shu-Sin), held the throne for twenty-four years in the face of the increasing pressures from the Elamite invaders from the east and the Amorite incursions from the west. With the collapse of Ur III hegemony, one of Ibbi-Sin’s governors, Ishbi-Erra of Mari, founded his own dynasty at Isin (modern…

Funerary Stela From Saqqarah (Berlin Gipsformerei 939 Formerly ÄM 7707 [destroyed WW II]) (2.62)

(1,296 words)

Author(s): Porten, Bezalel
Subject: Monumental Inscriptions from the Biblical World; West Semitic Monumental Inscriptions; Mortuary Inscriptions; Aramaic Inscriptions Commentary Aramaic text Funerary Stela From Saqqarah (Berlin Gipsformerei 939 Formerly ÄM 7707 [destroyed WW II]) (2.62) Subject: Esth 1:1; Dan 9:1; Ezra 4:6 Blessed be Abah son of Ḥor1 and Aḥatabu daughter of Adiyah,2 all (told),3 of Khastemeḥi the city4 before Osiris the god.5 Absali son of Abah,6 his mother (being) Aḥatabu,7 thus said8 in year 4, month of Meḥir, (of) Xerxes9  a the king10 … Hieroglyphic text ( Transcrip…

Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur — Suḫu Annals (#18) (2.115C)

(698 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 Inscribed on a stone stela discovered on the island of ʿĀnā, this text describes a revolt of the city of Anat (before the days of Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur) and the subsequent disaster when “the Assyrian” took action against the city. It records Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur’s restoration of the city, emphasizing his goodness and kindness. Ninurta-kudurrī-uṣur — Suḫu Annals (#18) (2.115C) ( lines i.1–5) I, Ninurta…

Warad-Sin (2.101A)

(317 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 cone inscription of Warad-Sin (the thirteenth king of the Larsa dynasty who reigned from 1834–23 bce) records the construction of the chief storehouse in Ur. This building was apparently not a storeroom for grain, but rather a repository for precious objects donated to the city temples. Warad-Sin (2.101A) ( 1–4) For the god Nanna, lord who beams forth brightly in shining heaven, first…
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