who, however capricious, were the givers of vegetation and life. They could be entreated, and man's hope lay in placating them. The text exhibits the neighborly admixture of religion and magic so characteristic of Babylonian thought.
When compared with the pyramid texts it presents one striking difference. They centre around the king and are interested in his fortunes as he enters among the gods. One text represents the Egyptian king as a cannibal, who in heaven eats gods to obtain their strength! This Babylonian text, on the other hand, represents the community. If not the religious expression of a democracy, it comes at least from an aristocracy. The interests involved are those of the city of Nippur. It represents the point of view of a Babylonian city-state.
|1'.||é-ê-da||1'.||He came forth,|
|2'.||keš-ta ba-ta-ê||2'.||from Kesh he came,|
|3'.||nik-ku d en-lil||3'.||the food of Enlil|
|4'.||..da-[an]-til||4'.||gives him life.|
|5'.||d muš-ir pad-balag(?)||5'.||Unto Sir there is a cry;|
|6'.||i]n-sag-g||6'.||she grants favor,|
|7'.||....nigin....til(?)||7'.||makes all live.|
- See Breasted, Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, New York, 1912, 127ff.
- This might, of course be rendered, "It came forth." Since the preceding context is lost, it is not certain what the subject of the verb is. From later portions of the text it is tempting to conjecture that it was some epidemic which spread from Kesh, as the pestilence is said to have spread from city to city in Philistia in 1 Sam. 5.
- The ideogram for Kesh is almost identical with the form of it in the Laws of Hammurabi, iii, 32, except that there it is followed by ki while here it is followed by liš, possibly to be read tu. At Nippur, the sign tu apparently had the value of ki, for in the "Sumerian Epic," published by Langdon, the name of the god Enki is several times spelled en-tu.
- The expression pad-balag appears to be a compound phrase for a cry. Pad = qibû (OBW, 40712), and balag = balaggu or balangu, "cry" or "howl." The expression could, apparently, denote either a cry of sorrow or of joy.
- For a discussion of this deity, see the general comments on this text below.