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Papyrus British Museum 10624 (3.7B)

(380 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Demotic Self-Dedication Texts Papyrus British Museum 10624 (3.7B) Regnal year 10, second month of winter, of Ptolemy (V),1 son of Ptolemy (IV) and Arsinoë the father-loving gods, and of the priest of Alexander, the brotherly gods, the beneficent gods, the god manifest whose goodness is beautiful, and Pharaoh Ptolemy Eucharistos,2 Zoilos son of Andron, while the lady athlophoros3 Iamneia daughter of Huper-bassas is the bearer of the prize of valor before Bernice the b…

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…

Land Purchase Text (3.104)

(296 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Property Conveyances from Ugarit Land Purchase Text (3.104) 1 From the present day on, before witnesses, Yashinu, son of Addulanu, freed the dimtu2 which is between the fields of Ḫuppatu3 with the fields of Shuqalu,4 its olive-trees with its orchards (and) vineyards for 400 (shekels) of silver5 from the hands of Aziranu and Abdi-Adati,6 son of Buranu. Further, if in future Aziranu and Abdi-Adati, son of Buranu, and their sons (and) grandsons change their decision,7 they shall pa…

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…

Papyrus Rylands VI (3.6)

(387 words)

Author(s): Ritner, Robert K.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Saīte Demotic Self-Sales into Slavery Commentary A cultivator Peftjauawykhonsu, attested in five papyri from El-Hîbeh in Middle Egypt, sells himself into slavery in return for payment and actions performed by the priest Nessematawy “in year 2 when I was dying.”1 Subsequent documents renew the initial contract and record temporary transfers of ownership. The self-sale documents are distinct from most slave contracts, in which the slave is treated as ch…

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”)…

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…

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…

Land Sale (3.115)

(496 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary Dated by eponym to 698 bce, this recently published Neo-Assyrian land sale tablet was discovered in 1995 during rescue excavations at Tel Hadid (biblical Hadid), a located about 4.5 km northeast of Lod. The tablet was found in situ on a floor dated to the second half of the eighth century bce (Brand 1996:3, fig 4). The right side of both the obverse and reverse is damaged with the ends of many lines eroded; but because it seems to f…

Real Estate Transaction (3.133C)

(203 words)

Author(s): Steinkeller, Piotr
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Sumerian Archival Documents; Contracts; Sale Transactions Commentary This text comes from Šuruppak and dates to the Fara period (ca. 2400 BCE). Real Estate Transaction (3.133C) (lines 1–2) 1 mina (i.e. a pound) of copper (is) the price of the field. (line 3) 1 sar (is the size of) the field. (lines 4–5) 2 minas of copper (is) the additional payment. (lines 6–7) 6 minas of copper (is) the gift. (lines 8–11) 10 loaves of breads, 10 cakes, 2 PAB-measures of soup, (and) 2 PAB-measures of fish chowder (is the food offering). (lines 12–15) Ur-ens…

Sale of a Town (AT 52) (3.99B)

(482 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This is one of several texts at Alalakh from Level VII in which towns are bought and sold (see  AT 53–58). In this case a woman and her son, and therefore the one living heir, sell the town of Iburia to Yarimlim of Alalakh. The sale of towns recalls their use in payment from Solomon to Hiram (1 Kgs 11:11) and as a wedding gift from pharaoh to Solomon (1 Kgs 9:16–17). See also  AT 1 ( COS COSB.2.127) and  AT 456 ( COS COSB.2.137). Sale of a Town ( AT 52) (3.99B) Subject: Gen 1:4, 10, 12, 1…

A Loan of Silver from Assur (3.57)

(448 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 silver is written on a triangular clay docket. While the text contains no date, it can be dated on the basis of its archival context to the reign of Assurbanipal or later.1 A Loan of Silver from Assur (3.57) Subject: Exod 22:24; Lev 25:36–37; 15:2; 23:20–21; 1 Kgs 6:38; 12:32, 33; Zech 1:1; 1 Chr 27:11 ( Five fingernail marks on the top of the tablet) ( lines 1–5a) 8 shekels of…

Transfer of Creditors (at 28) (3.102B)

(381 words)

Author(s): Hess, Richard S.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary This Level VII text describes the debt owed by the fowlers (lines 1–4) and their family. The debt is transferred from one creditor (Kurbišan) to another (Ammitaku). Transfer of Creditors (at 28) (3.102B) The debtors ( lines 1–5) 1 Ašma-Addu son of Inakabiti, 2 Wikken, 3 Zuḫerasi, 4 (and) Taʾuzen, 5 the fowlers. The change of creditors ( lines 6–12) 6 Regarding the principal investment of thirty silver shekels, 7 Kurbišan son of Niminašu 8 has seized them. 9 Ammitaku 12 the…

Royal Land Grant (3.109)

(223 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Property Conveyances from Ugarit Royal Land Grant (3.109) From the present day on, before Ammistamru, son of Niqmepa, king of Ugarit,1 Kalbiya, son of Kabityanu, has released 6 ikû fields,2 around the fields of the city3 for 520 (shekels) of silver4 to Kurwanu,5 son of Baʾal-azki and to his sons. These fields are granted6 to Kurwanu and to his sons forever. No person shall take away these fields from the hands of Kurwanu, or from the hands of his sons forever. And there is no pilku-service f…

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…

Sale of Three Slaves (3.111)

(518 words)

Author(s): Younger, K. Lawson, Jr.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Neo-assyrian Contracts Commentary This text is dated by eponym to 709 bce (Mannu-kī-Aššur-lēʾi, see Millard 1994:47). It records the sale of three slaves (two men and a woman) to a chariot driver named Šumma-ilāni (known from other texts). Another chariot driver, Nadbi-Yau (Ina-ad-bi-ia-a-ú), is also mentioned; his name contains the Yahwistic theophoric element. He serves as a witness to the transaction. Sale of Three Slaves (3.111) Subject: 1 Chr 3:18 ( lines 1–2) Seal of D[aga…

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…

Papyrus Milan 6 (3.7C)

(288 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Egyptian Archival Documents; Contracts; Demotic Self-Dedication Texts Papyrus Milan 6 (3.7C) There has said the female servant born within the estate, Taamon daughter of anonymous, whose mother is Baket,1 the one who says before Sobek, Lord of Tebtunis, the great god: “I am your servant together with the children of my children from today onward. And I shall give to you 2½ kite as servant-fee every month. No male or female spirit, sleeping man, ghost, drowned man, demon, ill-f…

Sale Transactions (3.99)

(34 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Archival Documents from the Biblical World; Akkadian Archival Documents; Contracts; Alalakh Commentary The Purchase of Beer ( AT 33) Sale of a Town ( AT 52) Sale Transactions (3.99)

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…
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