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BABYLONIAN PENITENTIAL PSALMS

(I)[1]

O that the anger of my lord’s heart would be pacified!
O that the god who is unknown would be pacified!
O that the goddess who is unknown would be pacified!
O that the god known or unknown would be pacified!
O that the goddess known or unknown would be pacified!
O that the heart of my god would be pacified!
O that the heart of my goddess would be pacified!
O that the god or goddess known or unknown would be pacified!
O that the god who is wroth with me would be pacified!
O that the goddess who is wroth with me would be pacified!
The sin which I have committed I know not,
My misdeeds I know not.
May my god name a favourable name!
May my goddess name a favourable name!
May the god known or unknown name a favourable name!
May the goddess known or unknown name a favourable name!
Clean food have I . . . eaten,
Clear water have I . . . drunk.
The unclean . . ., my god, have I unwittingly eaten,
Upon the impure . . ., my goddess, have I unwittingly trodden.
O lord, my sins are many, great are my transgressions,
O my god, my sins are many, great are my transgressions,
O my goddess, my sins are many, great are my transgressions,
O god, known or unknown, my sins are many, great are my transgressions,
O goddess, known or unknown, my sins are many, great are my transgressions.
The sins I have committed I know not.
The transgressions which I have committed I know not.
The unclean that I have eaten I know not.
The impure on which I have trodden I know not.

*****

The lord in the anger of his heart has looked on me,
The god in the fury of his heart has encompassed me.
The goddess who has become angry with me and brought me into pain,
A god, known or unknown, has oppressed me.
A goddess, known or unknown, has brought sorrow upon me.
I sought for help, but no one took me by the hand,
I wept, but no one came to my side,
I broke forth into lamentations, but no one hearkened unto me.
Full of sorrow, I am overpowered and cannot look up.
To my compassionate god I turn, proclaiming my sorrow.
The feet of my goddess I kiss, and . . .
To the god, known or unknown, I proclaim my sorrow.
To the goddess, known or unknown, I proclaim my sorrow.
O lord, look upon me, accept my sighing!
O goddess, look upon me, accept my sighing!
O god, known or unknown, . . .
O goddess, known or unknown, . . .
How long, my god . . .
How long, my goddess . . .

O god, known or unknown, may thy angered heart be pacified!
O goddess, known or unknown, may thy angered heart be pacified!
Mankind is perverse, and no one has understanding.
Among all who are, who knows anything?
Whether they do evil or good, no one has knowledge.
O lord, do not cast aside thy servant.
Prostrate in the watery morass he lies, take hold of his hand!
The sins which I have committed, change to grace!
The transgressions which I have committed, let the wind carry away!
My many iniquities, tear asunder like a garment!
My god, my sins are seven times seven, forgive me my sins!
My goddess, my sins are seven times seven, forgive me my sins!
O god, known or unknown, my sins are seven times seven, forgive me my sins!
O goddess, known or unknown, my sins are seven times seven, forgive me my sins!
Forgive me my sins, and I will humble myself before thee.
May thy heart be pacified, as the heart of the mother that has given birth!
May thy heart be pacified as that of a mother who has given birth, as that of a father who has begotten a child!

 
  1. The text is published in Rawlinson, iv. (2nd ed.), Pl. 1O, and transliterated and translated by Zimmern in Babylonische Busspsalmen, pp. 61 ff. See also Jastrow, Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens, ii., pp. 1O1 ff.