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The Installation of the Storm God’s High Priestess (1.122)

(4,046 words)

Author(s): Fleming, Daniel
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals The Installation of the Storm God’s High Priestess1 (1.122)2 Subject: Exod 29; Lev 8; Lev 8:33–35; 9:1, 23; Ezek 23:1–5; Joel 4:6; Isa 14:12; Lev 16:8; Num 26:55; 34:13; Josh 14:2; 18:6; Esth 3:7; 9:24; 1 Sam 8:12; 2 Kgs 1:9; Exod 29:7; Lev 8:12; 1 Sam 10:1; 16:13; Num 6:19; Deut 32:51; Isa 30:29; Lev 3:4–5; Num 6:9, 18; Gen 24:65; Ezek 46:4, 6; Neh 5:18; Judg 11:37; Ps 45:15; Josh 6:4, 8; Ps 68:26; Isa 49:18; 61:10; Lev 8:4; Gen 15:17; 2 Chr 32:33; 2 Kgs 4:10; Exod 29:40; Lev 23:13; Isa…

Two Months Joined by the Underworld, with Barring and Opening of Doors (1.125)

(2,209 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary1 Emar’s tablet of rites for the month of Abî focuses on observances at the middle and end of the moon’s cycle, set in a frame of offerings through the remaining intervals. The largest section of the text addresses rites at various abû shrines, with a central event on the 26th day, when “they bar the doors.” This act is carried out with the last visibility of the lunar crescent and has its complement in the first line of a se…

A Psephomancy Ritual From Assur (1.127)

(809 words)

Author(s): Hurowitz, Victor
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This text was found by the German excavations at Assur.1 It is an incantation recited while performing a ritual for divination by use of black (hematite) and white (alabaster) stones (psephomancy). The ritualist, while pronouncing the liturgy, tells which cultic manipulations he is performing, thus permitting the reader to follow his actions. The type of divination described has general similarit…

Zarpiya’s Ritual (1.64)

(1,316 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The Ritual of Zarpiya  a is the second of three scapegoat rituals contained on a single Sammeltafel. The author of the text is from Kizzuwatna and as a result the text is laden with Luwian words and incantations, often rendering translation difficult. The first half of the ritual involves an oath–taking on the part of the participants; the second half is a scapegoat ritual of sorts. The human …

The Second Soldiers’ Oath (1.67)

(733 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This text is of New Hittite date and shows many developments from the older example translated above. Among other things, there are marked Hurrian influences.1 The Second Soldiers’ Oath (1.67) §1´ [… If you transgress these oaths …] may they […], may they […], may they […]. §2´ But [if you keep them], for you (pl.). […] he says: […] §3´ [He] h[olds] out torches [to them, and says,] “[…] these torches […], if [you transgress] these [words,] may Umpa2 and Šarruma3 […

Puliša’s Ritual Against Plague (1.62)

(775 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary Puliša’s Ritual  a was recorded on a Sammeltafel. It is one of a handful of Hittite scapegoat rituals, all of which were performed to counteract plague. This particular ritual uses human beings as the scapegoats, both belonging to the enemy population and therefore expendable. They act as substitutes for the king, with whom responsibility for divine disfavor and the welfare of the populatio…

The “Ritual Between the Pieces” (1.61)

(333 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This ritual is written on a Sammeltafel, which, judging by the use of double paragraph dividers, contains at least ten separate compositions. The final composition is a lustration ritual to performed in the event of military defeat. It has been dated to the Middle Hittite period. The tablet itself, however, was copied in the Empire period. The “Ritual Between the Pieces” (1.61) Subject: Isa 66:3–4a; Gen 15:7–18; Jer 34:18–20 If the troops are defeated by th…

Uḫḫamuwa’s Ritual Against Plague (1.63)  a 

(453 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Uḫḫamuwa’s Ritual Against Plague (1.63)  a  Subject: Lev 16 §1 Thus says Uḫḫamūwa, man of Arzawa. If in the land there is continual dying and if some god of the enemy has caused it, then I do as follows: §2 They bring in one wether and they combine blue wool, red wool, yellow–green wool, black wool and white wool and they make it into a wreath and they wreathe the one wether and they drive the wether forth on the road to the enemy an…

Six Months of Ritual Supervision By the Diviner See  Emar  446. (1.124)

(1,983 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary This tablet belongs to a separate type entirely from the previous two festivals. It is much smaller, especially relative to the material squeezed onto it, and is written in a cramped script with distinct sign forms. Instead of treating one ritual event, this text gathers diverse rites for unrelated cults, apparently united by involvement of the official who calls himself the diviner. The tablet is divided into four columns. The first treats one mont…

The Zukru Festival See  Emar  373. (1.123)

(4,094 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary In a culture that generally observed two axes in the turn of the year, at spring and autumn, the term “new year” is often too loosely applied. Nevertheless, the Israelite feasts of Unleavened Bread and Booths and the Mesopotamian akītu festival do occupy these key turning points in the annual cycle, with special significance for public religious commitments. Emar’s zukru festival provides a first early Syrian representative of this practice, att…

Two Kissu Festivals See  Emar  385 and 387. (1.126)

(1,651 words)

Contributor(s): Hallo, William W.
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Akkadian Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The most often copied ritual texts from the diviner’s collection are also among the most mysterious. Emar’s kissu festivals serve a cluster of deities at the nearby village of Šatappi, though the language and procedure share the common stock of the larger center, especially of the installations for the storm god’s high priestess and for the mašʾartu. The festivals are found in several combinations on individual tablets, gathered once as a fu…

The First Soldiers’ Oath (1.66)

(1,990 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The following is the second tablet1 of a two-tablet text of a military oath, known as the first soldiers’ oath. The language of the composition indicates that it was composed in the Middle Hittite period (late 15th century BCE), although the copies that survive were inscribed in the Empire period. The text is especially interesting for its parallels in the literature of other cultures, including Indian, Mesopotamian, Greek and Israelite. The First Soldiers’…

Ritual and Prayer to Ishtar of Nineveh (1.65)

(1,057 words)

Author(s): Collins, Billie Jean
Subject: Canonical Compositions from the Biblical World; Hittite Canonical Compositions; Divine Focus; Rituals Commentary The beginning of this text, containing a ritual for the goddess, is broken. In §4, where the text becomes legible, the officiant is reciting an invocation. Ritual and Prayer to Ishtar of Nineveh (1.65) Subject: Deut 18:9–12; 22:5; 1 Sam 28:8–15; Isa 8:19; 29:4 §3 […] they cover [her?] with a cloth […] all the singers play [the … –instruments] and sin[g]. […] outside on seven paths […] they go to […] and […]. The diviner [sets (?)] do…