COMMENTARY ON THE DELUGE TABLET
By H. F. Talbot, F.R.S., &c.
Read 6th May, 1875.
[Extracted from Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology, vol. 4:1 (1876), pp. 49-83.]
In the last part of our Transactions Mr. G. Smith has published the cuneiform text of the Deluge Tablet, which has been long looked for with great interest, together with an excellent translation. But some parts of the tablet are so broken and defaced as to leave considerable uncertainty as to the meaning of the narrative. In the following pages I have endeavoured to remove some of these difficulties. I should not perhaps have attempted it so soon but as I have no doubt that our French and German friends will very soon publish commentaries upon it, my remarks, if deferred, would probably be more or less anticipated and rendered useless.
The account of the Deluge in Genesis appears to me to offer some remarkable points of agreement, which have not yet been pointed out, with the Chaldean tablet as I interpret it.
Genesis viii, 20. And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings upon the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour.
Now since we know from chapter vii, 2, that Noah had taken "of every clean beast by sevens, and of fowls of the air also by sevens," it seems not improbable that when he made this great burnt offering, to return thanks for his unparalleled deliverance, he took of "the clean beasts and birds" by sevens for his sacrifice. If I am right in this, there is here a great agreement with the Chaldean tablet, which says that Xisuthrus built an altar on the very summit of the mountain and sacrificed thereon victims by seven at a time [glyphs] [seven and seven]."
Then Genesis says "he offered them as burnt offerings upon the altar." So the
tablet, "Beneath them I placed sweet cane, cedar wood, and spikenard."
Genesis: And the Lord smelled a sweet savour.
The Chaldean tablet: "The gods smelled the smell of it. The gods smelled the good smell of it. The gods in swarms assembled over the sacrifice."
Here the gods are imagined as floating in the air over the altar.
Moreover, the Chaldean account agrees with Genesis vi, 16 and viii, 6, in describing the Ark as furnished with a door, and only one window.
Lines 1-7 form a kind of introduction to the story.
1-4. Izdubar said to Xisuthrus, I am troubled concerning this matter. Why is it that thou makest to me no answer?
5. Determine thy heart to make a clear narrative
6. Why thou didst emigrate to this foreign land
7. and didst found this city: and livest now in the company of the gods?
The last three lines stand thus in Roman characters: the portion within brackets being restored.
5. ganmur ka libbi ana epis tuquntu
determine thou thy heart to make a clear narrative,
6. [ki ta]\uada atta eli tsiri-ka
how thou didst emigrate unto thy foreign land
7. ki tazbat-ma, as pukhri ili balada tasum
[and this] city thou didst found, and in the company of the gods thy life thou hast placed.
Remarks.—Ganmur (from the Heb. גמר) terminare, perficere, absolvere, &c. Ex. gr. on one of the tablets a king rewards and promotes his officer because his heart is perfect (libbiir su ganmur) in the king's service.
Tuquntu. The Heb. verb
תקן means to arrange or set in order a book, or
statement of any kind, ex. gr. a book of proverbs (Eccles. xii, 9). I have here
rendered it 'a clear narrative.'
Tanada: from the well-known Heb. root נור migrare: emigrare.
Tsiri: forest, desert, open field. Also foreign country. A very common word, but usually written by the symbol [glyphs] as in Col. 2, 29 of this tablet.
Tazhat. We frequently find Azbat "I founded," ex. gr. Alani suatun ana issuti azbat, those (ruined) cities I founded anew. Hence zibit the foundation of a city or state, ex. gr. "the remote days of the foundation of Assyria" (G. Smith, Transactions Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 3, p. 378).
Tasum. Heb. שומ ponere.
The name Xisuthrus has been discovered by Mr. Smith to be latent in the Assyrian name Khasis-adra. This seems a very probable conjecture. I would suggest that Khasisadra means "the Sage," being composed of Khasis 'intelligence' and adra 'great.' The word khasis occurs frequently.
In lines 8-10 Xisuthrus replies to Izdubar, "Be it revealed to thee the concealed story, the secret of the gods."
Nitsirti, here translated 'concealed,' is from Heb. אצר to lock up. Treasuries are generally locked up, hence nitsirti ekali-su 'the treasures of his palace' a very frequent phrase. So in Hebrew 'treasure' is אוצר from אצר to lock up.
In this tablet Xisuthrus has usually the epithet ruki 'the remote,' because he dwelt in such a remote country. It does not imply that he was remote from the person who was speaking to him, for in Col. iv, 39 it is said 'his wife then spoke to Xisuthrus the remote.' Muku is a standing or constant epithet, as Homer calls Achilles [Greek] even when he is sitting still.
Commencement of the story. What caused the building of the Ark? Why were the gods angry? Who gave the warning?
At this important point the tablet is greatly injured. One-half of each line is
broken off. Only by help of [p.52] conjectures can a tolerable sense be obtained. I place in brackets the words I
Col. I. 11. The city Surippak, the city which thou knowest, stands on the seacoast.
12. That city was grown old, and the gods who dwelt in it [were neglected]
13. The service of the great gods [was disused]
14. The god Anu [grew angry]
15. The god Bel [grew angry]
16. The god Ninip [grew angry]
17. But Hea lord of Hades
18. repeated to me their words [in a dream]
19. I heard his voice, and thus he spake [to me]
20. Surippakite son of Ubaratutu
21. Build a ship after the [fashion that I will tell thee]
22. [to preserve in it] the seed of life.
Remarks.—In line 11 [glyph] tidu-su thou knowest it.
Ida he knows: from
ידע to know.
Saknu 'is situated.' שכן to place. Tamti [glyph] on the seacoast.
In line 13 [glyph] 'their service.'
" 18. amat-zmi usanna, their words he repeated, anaki (to me) as sunatima (in a dream). The last word is restored from comparison with Col. iv, 22 where this dream of Xisuthrus [glyph] Sanata is mentioned. Moreover Berosus says that the god Cronos appeared to Xisuthrus in a vision and warned him that a flood was coming by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore commanded him to build a ship (see Mr. G. Smith in the Transactions, vol. 2, p. 227).
Line 19. Tunamtu-ssu his voice. [glyph] nam is used for nahu 'to speak' (see Smith's phonetic values, No. 56).
After this broken part the tablet becomes much clearer and Mr. Smith's
translation seems very good. Xisuthrus builds the ship as he had been commanded.
I, 41. Here [glyph] is rendered grain; but may it not be money?
42. I would read [glyph] kilat. Ardat (a female servant) is frequently rendered
44. inazzaru from אצר atzer to shut up: passive natzer to be shut up: inazzaru bah-ka they shall be shut up, within thy door. We had the verbal form natzer in Col. 1, 1. 9 (nitsirti shut up, or concealed).
The building of the ship is continued. In line 8 its portholes are mentioned. I
have shown [glyph] to be 'doors' in vol. 3, p. 515 of the Transactions.
Therefore with [glyph] (water) added they are 'water-doors' or 'port-holes.'
II, 10. Attabah from בוק evacuavit.
II, 11. Here we see that the ark of Xisuthrus was daubed with pitch both outside and inside. This agrees fully with the account in Genesis vi, 14 where a command is given to Noah, "Thou shalt pitch it within and without with pitch."
When the ship was nearly completed, Xisuthrus made great sacrifices to the gods to obtain a prosperous voyage. But this part of the tablet is difficult. I think [glyph] (kisallu, see Mr. Smith's phonetic values No. 104) means an Altar, for it often has that meaning clearly. For instance, the following passage leaves no doubt, see 2 R 58, 31 [glyphs]. The altars with libations they sprinkle. Nadaluni is Chald. נזל nazal. Syr. נצל fluxit: super fudit.
I do not think that bissatu in line 20 has the same meaning as [glyphs]. Mr. Smith says that the unusual character [glyph] is a variant of [glyph]. Perhaps so; but I also think that this character is the same as the old symbol for 'stone' [glyphs] which is found in the Michaux inscription 1 R 70, 22. I therefore render [glyphs] 'a stone altar.' I suppose this altar was on the shore, near to the ship; it could not well have been on board the ship, which would probably have been set on fire by it.
The passage about altars and sacrifices may perhaps be explained thus:
Col. II, 12. [glyphs] zabi nash zuzzul sha izabhilu lisallu
Three stone-cutters carrying pickaxes (?) for to build up an altar
13. itzuh [glyphs] sa ikulu niqqu
erected the stone altar on which to burn the sacrifices.
14. [glyphs] upazziru malakhi
two stone-altars they added for the boatmen.
[glyphs] Zabi in 1. 12 (and probably in many other places) seems to mean 'young
men'; Arab sabi (Schindler has צבי juvenes. See more on this word in my note
to V. 25). And with [glyph] (stone) added, it will mean 'stonemasons.' I observe
that there were three of them and three altars, therefore each made one altar.
Izabbilu, in same line. We find the verb stibiil 'to build' in Smith's Assurbanipal p. 227 and elsewhere.
Itzub [glyphs] in 1. 13 erected or set up, from יצב to erect.
Ikulu 'to burn'; future used as infinitive: from קלה to burn (occurs frequently).
Upazziru 'they added.' I give this on the authority of Buxtorf, who says, p. 1785 that פצר means 'to add to' or 'multiply.'
The tablet then goes on to describe the sacrifices of oxen, &c., which were offered on these altars every day. Wine was poured on them "as freely as the waters of a river."
Line 20, which concludes the account of the sacrifices, is remarkable. The first half of it is broken off, but the end remains, thus: hissati qati addi, which I think means "I placed white linen (or byssus) on my hands." Because we know (Ezek. xliv, 15) that when a Priest offered a victim to the Lord on the altar he always wore linen. Any other dress was rigorously forbidden. Now, that bissati means [p.55] white linen or byssus I think I have clearly shown in the last volume of the Transactions, p. 499. But I may briefly explain it here. The original text of this line 20 has [glyphs] pissati, which word being in the genitive case shows that some other substantive had preceded it when the tablet was entire. The nominative is pissatu [glyphs] which is explained in 2 R 25, 28 by [glyphs] which I have shown to mean 'white linen.' Indeed, it is translated (see p. 499) by [glyphs] Sis, which is the Heb. שש Byssus.
At length, in 1. 21 we find that the ship was completed [glyphs] gamrat. But before loading it, they measured its shape and dimensions. At least so I understand lines 23 and 24. Elis u siplis 'up and down.' Sinipat-zu 'its circuit,' from Heb, צנפ zinip 'circuit.' For I do not think that sinijyat can mean two-thirds, in this passage.
Then comes a long narration very well translated by Mr. Smith, relating how Xisuthrus entered into the ark with all his goods, his family, and all creatures of the earth of every kind.
The predicted time had now arrived. A voice was heard in the night time crying aloud, "The great Flood is coming. Enter into thy ship and shut thy door." In line 31 I render hikru 'a voice' or 'cry,' from קרא clamavit. In the same line I have to propose an important correction as likewise in line 34. [glyph] has been twice written instead of [glyphs] gab. The word is shagabta [glyphs] 'heavy rain,' Usaznannu I will cause it to rain, shagabta kibati, a heavy down-pour.
There are many other examples of this word, ex. gr. 1 R. 43, 43. "In the month of December a great storm arose, and [glyphs] shagabtu (deluge of rain) la ziztu (irresistible, from ziz to withstand), illik (came). Shalgu (the snow), &c., &c. Another account of the same event is found in 1 R 40, 75. "In the month of December a great storm arose, and shagabtu (a deluge of rain) mattu (very great: same as mahidu) usaznin poured down. [glyphs] (rains upon rains) u shalgu (and snow) &c., &c. Observe that the verb usaznin (it rained) is [p.56] the same as on the Deluge Tablet maznannu (future, I will cause it to rain). This completes the proof. In the second passage which I have adduced the word shagahtu is misprinted [glyphs] just as it is on the Deluge Tablet. Hence I presume there can be no doubt as to the propriety of this correction.
Shagabtu is related to the Heb. שכבת a pouring forth of water. There is a remarkable passage in Job xxxviii, 37, which according to some means "Who can cause the swelling clouds of Heaven to pour down their rain when the earth is all hard and dried up?"
"The swelling clouds of heaven." Vulg. utres coeli [Heb.]. Gesenius says, "This is a very common metaphor in Arabic."
[Heb.] quis effundet? Schindler: who explains it thus: Quis efficiet ut nubes coeli demittant pluviam? I think then that we may render shagah or שכב 'to rain heavily.'
Enter into thy ship, and shut thy door.
II. 32. [glyphs] (hab-ha), close thy door!
Line 37 aptihla I closed it. This verb occurs in the legend of the first Sargina (Transactions, vol. 1, p. 275) bab-ya ipkhi, she closed my door [glyphs].
The next line 33 says "the Flood happened as predicted" [glyphs] ikrida 'it happened,' from קרה to happen.
II, 40. Bagmu seri, the pelting of a storm, from רגמ lapidare: obruere. Seru is the Heb. סער procella: turuo.
II, 42. [glyphs] (Jupiter Tonans) the god of the sky in libbi-su, in his rage (a very frequent meaning of lib) irtamma-mma, thundered loudly, from רעמ to thunder.
II, 48. Ninip mikhn usardi, hurled down thunderbolts.
II, 49. Sumnrmt-zu, his terrors, from סרמ to terrify (horruit, Buxt.).
The storm increased. Line 4 says "Brother saw not his brother." This is a Hebrew
idiom meaning "One person could not see another." No relationship is implied in
the [p.57] phrase, ex. gr. 'said one man to another'
[Heb.] (alter alteri).
Ul utaddd nisi as sami: "Men could not discern the sky." This verb is used of viewing the sky in 4 R 15, 8. I will give the passage [glyphs] as kakkab samami val utaddu, they do not regard (or know) the stars of heaven. Utaddu is a T conjugation of ידע to know, as appears from its being occasionally translated by the Accadian verb Zu 'to know.'
III, 6. The gods sought refuge, ittikhzu, the verb is חסה 'to seek refuge.'
Lines 5, 6 seem very well translated: "The gods feared the tempest and sought refuge. They ascended to the heaven of Anu." But for line 7 I would propose a different translation.
7. ili kima'kalbi kunnunu: as kamati rabitzu, "the gods crouched down like dogs: they hid themselves in the standing corn." For, there were harvests in heaven, according to their mythology.
Kunnnnu 'they crouched down,' from the Heb. כנען Kanan humble, lowly, depressed: which is from verb כנע to stoop down, to humble oneself (submisit, Gesen.).
Kaniat, standing corn, is the Chaldee word קמע 'Seges': see Schindler, p. 1601.
Rabitzu is the Heb. verb רבצ recumbere: also, 'recubare fecit gregem.' Substantive רבצ is 'a place where flocks and herds lie down.' Many examples of this word occur on the tablets.
III, 18. Katma sajyta-sim, 'they closed their lips' (spoke not: their lips were sealed) from חתמ to shut, or seal.
III, 21. Read [glyphs] shagahta suhu, that deluge of rain, see note on Col. II, 31.
III, 22. kima haialti. Mr. Smith has. 'earthquake'; perhaps from חול a trembling.
III, 24. sakin qidu, 'making a tossing' (Smith). Perhaps from קל. Gesenius explains קלקל 'motitavit.'
III, 26. usallu, 'they floated' (Smith). Doubtless from Heb.
III, 27. I opened the window and the light fell on my face: imtakut.
III, 31. The land appeared high and mountainous, for it rose 12 degrees above the horizon. This curious passage seems to show that the Chaldeans used instruments for measuring or surveying: astrolabes perhaps. And since 12 degrees is a very reasonable and probable elevation for a mountainous coast, seen not far off, it is likely that they divided the circle into 360 degrees, as we do.
III, 32. On the coast of Nizir the ship struck, or stood fast קל. This verb may be itihat (Arab. תבת 'stetit firmus'): but itiziz is a possible reading.
III, 33. val iddin, gave not (allowed not) the ship to pass over it.
The lines III, 43 and 44, I understand differently. I do not think that the raven met with corpses. I would translate the passage thus:
43. illih arihi ma bharura sa mi iniur
went the raven and the dryness of the waters it saw,
i.e., it saw that the waters were now quite dried up.
44. ikkal isakkhi itarri ul issikhra.
it did eat, it did drink, it remained, and did not return.
[glyphs] kharura 'the dryness' from Heb.
חרר siccitas (Buxt.). I think
there can be no doubt of this word if we refer back to line 23 of this column,
aabba uskharir 'the sea became dry' [glyphs] the chief difference is
that in one passage we have [glyphs] 'the waters' and in the other passage aabba
III, 26. Isakkhi 'it did drink.' Heb. השקה to drink.
Itarri 'it remained.' Heb. יתר 'to remain:' נותר 'the remainder.'
III, 46. Surqinu, an Altar. The discovery of this word by Mr. Smith is most valuable, and I think it a great addition to our knowledge. The Hebrew שלחן 'an altar' by the permutation of the cognate letters L and R has become שרחן in Assyrian. Few words are more curious than שלחן [p.59] it originally meant 'a table,' from the root שלח 'to spread' (compare the Homeric [Greek]). But most frequently a dinner table. 2 Sam. ix, 11, 'he shall eat at my table.' 1 Kings xviii, 19, 'the prophets which eat at Jezebel's table.' Thence it came to mean food: cibus: convivium. Psalm lxxviii, 19, 'Can God furnish a table in the wilderness?' And thence by a natural transition שלחן came to mean a table spread for the gods, that is, "an Altar." Isaiah lxv. 11, "Ye forsake the Lord, and prepare a table for your idol Gad, and a drink offering for Minni." And thence again by a natural, but still a very important change [Heb.] came to signify 'the table of the Lord,' meaning 'his altar' מזבח. For, the prophet Malachi ch. i, lines 7 and 12 uses these terms indifferently. 1 Corinthians x, 21 is an important text, contrasting the Table of the Lord with the table of the heathen gods. We read in Ezekiel xli, 22 and xliv, 16 that when the priests offered a victim to the Lord (at the Lord's table or altar) they were commanded to wear linen garments only.
III, 46. Ashm surqinu as eli ziggurrat sadi
I made an altar upon the peak of the mountain
47. Sibitti u sibitti duh adagur ulitin
seven by seven the victims I slew and I laid them down.
48. in siph-sun itabak kan erinu u simbur.
beneath them I poured forth sweet cane cedar wood and spikenard.
49. ili izinu iri-sa: ili izinu iri-sa dabu.
the gods smelled the smell of it: the gods smelled the sweet smell of it.
50. Ili hima zwnhi elin niqi iptakhru.
the gods like flies over the sacrifices assembled.
The word [glyphs] sometimes means harpat a flaggon: but in line 47 it has its usual
value namely duk 'a victim'; from the verb duk 'to slay' either a man or an
animal. It is a very common verb. See Norris's Dict. p. 218 [glyphs] or [glyphs]
aduk 'I slew.' In Syll. 339 [glyphs] daku is explained [glyphs] which
means 'a victim.'
ibid. Adagur 'I stabbed.' From Heb. דקר transfixit.
ibid. Uktin is the T conjugation of Ukin I placed.
III, 48. Itabak I poured forth (or placed abundantly) from בוק.
ibid. Kan, sweet cane, the Calamus aromaticus; mentioned in Solomon's song, see Furst, Lex. p. 1244.
ibid. Cedar wood gives out when burning a very sweet smell.
ibid. Simbur is Spikenard: Spanish azumbar which is derived from the Arabic sunbal 'spica odorata' vel 'spica nardi.' The root of these words is the Heb. שבל spica. Schindler says that the spikenard is sometimes called sunbal Hindi or spica Indica. The Nardus is a very celebrated Indian aromatic. Galen calls it [Greek], the [Greek] being spica.
III, 49. izinu they smelled. Chald. zin צחן 'a strong smell' (Schindler p. 1543).
ibid, iri: probably Heb. ריח 'odour,' or הריח 'to be sweet scented.'
III, 50. Zumbi 'flies.' A variant of zubbi or zebubi. Heb. זבוב musca.
This is followed by several difficult lines, sajang that the god Bel was formerly a welcome guest at the table, or altar, of Xisuthrus, but shall be so no more, since in his rage he brought this deluge upon the earth. I think we may translate thus:—
III, 51. Of old, whenever this deity came
52. to celebrate the great festivals of heaven with his companions,
53. those gods I never rejected from my side at my table of alabaster [or lapis lazuli] (i.e. I never refused to receive them as my guests).
IV, 1. In those days I received them kindly. Never at any time did I reject them.
2. The (other) gods may still come to my table.
3. But Bel shall never more come to my table,
4. because he fell into a rage, and made a deluge.
I would read in III. 52 [glyphs] Issinuti 'festivals.' I have explained
this word in my Glossary No. 153.
ibid. ibusu, he had made, i.e. had been accustomed to make, those feasts.
ibid. ki zukhi-su, 'with his invited companions'—Zukhi [glyphs] 'invited' or 'assembled,' from זעק accersivit: congregavit se. (Gesenius).
III, 53. Lu [glyphs] frequently means 'a table' (Glossary No. 389), and may therefore be an equivalent of surkina in IV, 2. It is the Heb. לוח tabula.
ibid. Kisadi 'the side,' is a frequent word.
ibid. amsi 'I rejected': from the verb מאס sprevit: respuit: aversatus est. This verb is specially used of rejecting or despising the gods. Tarqu danan Assur imsi: Tirhaka despised the power of Assur. And Gesenius says of the verb מאס dicitur de hominibus Deum respuentibus.
IV, 1. akhzuza-mma is a doubtful word, Perhaps the root is חסיר benignus fuit.
IV, 4. La imtalku 'he fell into a rage.' The tablets frequently use the verb malik to be wise or reasonable (Heb. מלד consilium) whence in the T conjugation amtallik (I was wise) and the verb of opposite signification la malik 'to fall into a rage,' whence la imtallik 'he was enraged.'
At line 6 the story goes back a little to explain one cause of this wrath of Bel. It was because some one had betrayed the secret to mortals that the gods were going to cause a deluge, and had therefore advised them to build an ark of safety.
IV, 6. At a former time Bel in his course
7. saw the ship; and Bel went full of anger and said to the spirits
8. Let not any one come out alive! let not a man be saved from the deep!
(This provoked an expostulation on the part of Ninip, who was a god of milder character).
IV, 9. Ninip opened his mouth, and said to the warrior Bel
10. Who, except Hea, can have built this ship? For Hea knows everything.
This passage is interesting. Hea was the god to whom all clever contrivances were attributed, and an almost universal knowledge. Lines 10, 11 are—
10. Mannu-mma sa la Hea abatu ibanmi
Who then, if not Hea, the ship built?
11. Hea idi-ma kalami.
for Hea knows everything.
The important word here is Abatu 'a ship' of which I have once before pointed
out an example (Glossary No. 397).
It occurs in the annals of Assurbanipal page 192 of Mr. Smith's edition, in the description of a storm at sea which assailed the ship of Tammaritu king of Elam. I gave the following version in my glossary: "The ship of Tammaritu was caught by a terrible tempest. The steersman of the ship leaped from the ship upon the sand. Tammaritu following him was thrown upon the dangerous rocky ground and very much injured." In this passage we find Sihidi abati, the steersman of the ship, [glyphs] abati being the [p.63] genitive case of abatu 'a ship' which is found on the deluge tablet. Now this is a most interesting word because it occurs once, and once only, in the Old Testament, being in all probability the אבה of Job ix. 26, where the commentators disagree exceedingly as to its meaning (except that it is a ship of some kind), it is therefore very satisfactory to find it in Assyrian.
ibid. [glyphs] idi 'who knows,' from ידע to know.
(Hea then speaks for himself and expostulates thus with Bel.)
IV, 13. Art thou a just prince of the gods,
14. ki ki la tamtalik, abuba taskun
who when thou wast enraged a great storm did'st make.
La tamtalik [glyphs] "thou did'st fall into a rage." See my remarks on
the verb la malik 'to rage' at line IV, 14. The second person is tamtalik, the
third person imtalik.
IV, 15. The sinner may (justly) die for his sins; the criminal may (justly) die for his crime,
IV, 16. But a just prince will never cut off the pure.
[glyphs] 'the pure,' from Heb. עשת purus (see Schindler p. 1407). This word occurs again in Col. V, 39 isuda 'he is purified,' and V, 44 tassuda 'thou art purified.'
IV, 17 to 20. Hea now says that a deluge was unnecessary. Bel might have sent lions and leopards; famine and pestilence: which would have sufficiently reduced the numbers of mankind.
Hea then goes on to say:
IV, 21. It was not I who revealed the secret of the gods.
22. They sent a dream to Xisuthrus and he thus heard the secret of the gods.
Bel appears to have been satisfied by this discourse of Hea, and his wrath was appeased (or his judgment returned to him, milik su milku: the reverse of his former state of rage, la malik).
IV, 23. When his mind grew calm, Bel went up into the ship,
24. he took my hand and raised me up,
25. and brought my wife to my side.
Immediately after this, Xisuthrus and his people were transported to a happy
region "at the mouth of the rivers" perhaps on the shores of the Persian Gulf,
for we see by the sequel that their dwelling was accessible to ships.
Xisuthrus has now answered the question put to him, by what means he had been so much exalted as to dwell henceforth in the company of the gods? And he now turns to Izdubar and thus addresses him:
IV, 31. And lo! again, some one of the gods has brought thee hither also!
32. The health which thou soughtest, thou hast now attained to it:
33. Thy disease has been made quite well in six days and seven nights.
The original is:
31. Eninna-ma ana kasa mannu ili upakhard-hku-ma.
lo! again thee some one of the gods has brought thee also!
Note.—Upakhara 'has brought': from pakhar to assemble or bring together; a very common verb. Ku 'thee' ( = ka) the K being doubled because ka is an enclitic pronoun casting back the accent.
IV, 32. Balada sa tuhahu, tutta atta
the health which thou soughtest, thou art come to it.
Tutta from Ch. and Syr. אתא, venit, advenit, pervenit.
33. Ganai tatbi urra u musati
Of thy disease thou hast been cured in six days and seven nights.
Gana 'a foul disease.' Syr.
גנא turpitude, see Schindler p. 330. Buxtorf p.
454, also גנות ganut, from gan 'turpis.'
Tatbi 'thou hast been cured': 'hast been made quite well': from Heb. יטב 'to be well': from root טב bonus: bene.
Six days and seven nights. This agrees with Col. V, 1 which says that Izdubar was quite well at daybreak on the seventh day.
The Story of Izdubar; his Illness and his Cure.
The story now goes back a good deal, in order to relate how the cure of Izdubar took place. This mode of narration is very unskilful, but perhaps the Scribe could not help it: for if the account had been introduced earlier, it would have interrupted the story of the deluge.
IV, 34. Kima asbu-ma as birit burdisu
35. Mistu kima im-bari inappus eli-su.
"As he was sitting one day in the interior of his garden,
"An effluvium like a gust blew over him."
IV,. 36. Xisuthrus said to his wife:
37. Amri idlu sa irisu balathu,
"I see a Chieftain whose health is bad!"
38. "For, an effluvium like a gust blows over him!"
39. Then his wife replied to Xisuthrus
40. Lubus-su, likkabad nisu
Give him a dress of honour, and reverence him
41. And then, by the road that he came let him return in peace!
42. Open the great gate, and let him return to his country!
43. Xisuthrus replied to his wife:
44. raggat amiluttu iraggik-ki
The malady of the man might make thee ill also.
ibid. Buridisu or Puridisu 'his garden.' I consider this word to be the Heb. פררס Paradis 'a garden,' which is found in Greek as [Greek].
Mistu [glyphs] Effluvium. From the verb
מס contabuit, diffluxit. In Isaiah x,
18 Gesenius explains it "de aegroto contabescente." The verb
מאס is nearly related, and has the same
meaning. Job, who suffered from a similar kind of leprosy, says (vii, 5) "My
skin, is crusted, and sanie diffluit (Gesen.).
Inappus 'blows,' from נפש spiravit.
Line 37. Am I behold: from the Assyrian verb mar 'to see.'
Idlu 'a chief': or 'man of distinction,' occurs frequently.
Balathu 'health.' Iri 'it is bad,' from malus.
Sha iri-su balatlia, literally: 'who, his health to him is bad.'
IV, 40. Lubus-su. לבש is 'a dress': but especially a dress which is splendid (Gesen.).
Likkabad is the same as likkabad 'let him be honoured,' from כבד honoravit. Similarly izzabta = izzabat, and many other examples might be given.
IV, 44. Ragat 'the disease': from רגע. See the passage just now quoted from Job vii, 5.
Iraggi-kki 'will infect thee.' Same verb. Ki is the feminine pronoun 'thee.' Being an enclitic without accent, the accent falls on the end of the preceding word, and thus doubles the letter K. So panu-ssun 'to them,' and very many other examples.
IV, 45. Gana epi kurummati-su, sitahkan in risi-su
guard against the infection of his leprosy: he has an ulcer upon his head.
Notes.—Gana, guard against! from Heb.
גנן ganan (fut.
ינן igan) to guard or
protect, כנן kanan has nearly the same meaning ex. gr.
כנה kana protect! Psalm lxxx. 16. The same in Arabic, kan (Gesen.)
Epi the giving or communicating (the disease). We have here I think an example of the verb in 'to give,' which is so important in Chaldee and Syriac.
Kurummat: a kind of leprosy or skin disease from the Syriac קרמ the skin: or a skin-like incrustation. Castelli gives קרמא incrustatio, tegumentum.
Sitakkan 'ulceratiis est': from Sikkan or Zikan 'ulcus,' see the clear example
in IV, 50 ipti zikani-su he opened the ulcer.
It is the Heb. שחן of the same meaning. Line 47 reads
istakkari, which is
better than sitakkan.
IV, 47 is a line of similar meaning to IV, 45, and therefore superfluous.
It appears that there were two editions of the deluge tablet, varying a little in diction, and the scribe has here, by some oversight, introduced both readings, IV, 47 reads Si ipi kurummati-su, istakkan in risi-su which differs from the former, by using the verb Si instead of gana 'guard against.' This verb Si appears to be the Heb. שוה timuit (see Gesenius).
The Seven Days' Cure of Izdubar's Illness.
IV, 48. Every day [Xisuthrus] ascended to the deck of the ship.
49. Istat samunat kurummat-zu
the first day [he brought] ointment for his leprosy
50. Sanatu rmissnkat: salsatu radhat: ribatu ipti zikani-ssu
The second day [he brought] musk: the third day [he brought] the fourth day he opened his ulcer
51. Khamsatu siba ittadi: sissatu basmat:
the fifth day ointment he spread on it: the sixth day [he brought] balsam:
V, 1. Sibutu in pit-imma ilbus-su-ma ikkabdd nisu.
On the seventh day at daybreak he gave him a dress of honour and exalted the man.
Observations.—The text of 1. 49 has [glyphs] sabunat. If this is correct, I cannot explain it: but I suspect that we should read [glyphs] instead of [glyphs], which gives samunat 'ointment' Heb. שמן unguentum. Compare VI, 23 samnut 'ointment'.
Musk has the same name in Arabic.
Zikan, an ulcer, is the Heb. שחן ulcus: inflammatio.
Siba 'ointment' in 1. 51 is from the Chald. שפ unxit.
Basmat is the Heb. בשמ balsamum.
In pittimma, at daybreak. Piti, the opening; imma, of the day. Immu 'the day' is not a frequent word, but I have given examples in my Glossary No. 66. Inmui u musa 'day and night' occurs in Opp. Khors. 1. 190, written [glyphs].
Izdubar Prepares to Depart.
V, 2. Izdubar said to Xisuthrus
3. Anni mis-inistu irkhu eli-ya:
That leprosy has been softened upon me
4. Khandis tallatt-annima taddini atta!
with sweet ointments thou didst bandage me and didst anoint me thou!
Notes.—Irhhu has been softened: from
חרד 'to soften' (from Heb.
The leprosy or incrustation of the skin (kurummat) had been softened by these
dressings, and was now apparently ready to fall off and leave the skin clean and
Mis-mistu 'leprosy': from the root מסס or מאס which denotes this disease in Job vii, 5.
Khandis, adv., 'with sweet ointments or unguents.' From the Heb. verb הנט 'condivit aromatibus,' and subst. 'conditura: balsanntm' Schindler p. 612. In Chald. and Syr. 'unguentura.'
Tallata 'thou didst bandage,' annima 'me.' From לוט 'a bandage.' Gesenius has obvolvere, obvelatio, velamen.
Taddini 'thou didst anoint me.' For we had in IV, 51 siba ittadi, 'he spread the ointment' on the diseased part: which shows that the verb addi, which is Heb. ידה jecit, was used also as a medical term.
V, 5. Xisuthrus said to Izdubar.
6. (....) mana hurummati-ka
I [this was] the remedy of thy leprosy.
7. (....) lu-edakka kasa
[in this way] I cleansed thee.
I have restored the beginning of lines 6 and 7 as I think must have been.
Muna or mina 'a remedy' is a word which occurs frequently on the tablets. It is written in two ways [glyphs] and [glyphs]. Example, 4R 7, 29 where Marduk wishes to cure a sick man, but knows not how to do it. His father Hea says to him: Mina la tidi, knowest thou not the remedy? Mina lu-raddi-ka, I will tell thee? the remedy. Sha anaku idu, atta tidi, whatever I know, thou shalt also know.
Edakka I cleansed, or purified. Chald. דכא is same as Heb. זכה purum fecit.
Having said, 'In this way I cleansed thee' Xisuthrus then recapitulates the seven days' cure in the same words as before. The next few lines are too much broken to translate. Xisuthrus speaks to Urhamsi the boatman (malakhi, a sailor), but the lines are injured till we get to line 21.
V, 21. Nis sha tallaka pand-ssu iktazu malu pagar-su
the man whom, thou wentest before him (i.e., whom thou didst conduct; or bring hither in thy ship) (disease had hardened his body).
22. Masku uktattu: udumuk seri-su
his skin was broken: was lifeless his flesh.
Iktazu from קשה durus fuit: rigidus vel asper fuit. This 'hardness' agrees
well with the previous term kunimma Syriac kurma, incrustatio.
Malu should perhaps be read Balu Heb. בלה 'disease': it occurs again in line 24.
Masku, the skin. Chald. משד 'skin' occurs frequently.
Uktattu 'was broken,' from כתת fregit.
Udiimuk 'was lifeless' from Syriac דמד mortuus, see Schindler p. 398.
V, 23. Take him, Urhamsi! carry him to be cleansed.
24. His disease may it be washed off in the water like
25. Laddi mashi-su-ma libil tamtu dahu lu-zabu zmnur-su
may he cast off his (diseased) skin, and may the sea carry it away: (that) a good (one) may grow young again over his body.
Notes.—Laddi from Heb.
Libil: from bil 'to carry': frequent in Assyrian.
Lu-zabu is a remarkable word. It exactly represents the Arabic verb zabi which Schindler (p. 1, 513) translates juvenem se facere: juvenescere: re-puerascere: the root of the word being צדי juvenis (see Schindler same page). Catafago's Arabic dictionary has young, shab: youth, shabab: boy, sabi: boys, subyan: boyishness, suba. This is the same word as צבה in Schindler.
V, 26. Luddus parsigu sha kakkadi-su
(and that) may grow new the hair(?) of his head.
Notes.—Luddus (from Heb.
הדש 'new,' a very common verb in Assyrian) means 'be
it renewed or restored.'
Parsigu is an unknown word. Mr. Smith conjectures 'hair.'
V, 27. Tidiki lu-labis zubat bulti-su
take care that he keeps covered the cloak of his body.
28. adi illaku ana ali-su: adi ikassadu ana urhu-su
until he shall come to his city: until he shall arrive at his road (destination?)
Notes.—Tidiki, take thou care! from Heb, דאגה 'to be careful': solicitus fiut. Gesenius has many examples.
Zubat bulti-su occurs also in the legend of Ishtar.
V, 29. Tidiku sipa ai iddi-ma edis lidis.
take care that the ointment never he may cast off, (but with) new let him renew it.
These two words edis lidis are from the same root Heb.
חדש 'new.' See note to
V, 26. The spelling of this verb varies a good deal.
Sipa, ointment. Chald. שפ unxit. This word has already occurred in IV, 51.
Iddi 'he may cast off.' Heb. ידה jecit, abjecit.
After this the narrative goes on to say (in nearly the same words) that Urhamsi followed these orders, washed Izdubar in the sea, and nearly completed his cure. The only word necessary to point out is [glyphs] izzapi 'it grew young again,' the preterite of the verb in V, 25 where we had its optative [glyphs] lu-zabu.
Departure of Izdubar.
V, 36. Izdubar and Urhamsi got into their ship (irkabu elappu).
37. ana iddu-sun irtahbu
side by side they rode.
38. Then his wife said to Xisuthrus.
39. Izdidur illaka: inakha, isuda.
Izdubar is going away: he is purified, he is bright.
40. Mina tattadanna-ma: itar ana mati-su.
a remedy thou hast given him: he returns to his country
Notes.—Inakha he is purified, from Heb. נקה purus, mundus.
Isuda from Heb. עשת nitidum esse: to shine: to be bright: used of the skin in Jerem. v, 28 "they; are anointed (or fat), and they shine." Furst also says (p. 1105) עשת 'to shine' (of the skin).
V, 41. U su islim parissa Izduhar
then he (Xisuthrus) saluted the departure of Izdubar.
Notes.—Islim: from salam, to salute.
Parissa, departure: separation. Heb. פוש separare.
V, 42. Elappu uddikha ana klpri.
the ship was pushed to the shore.
Uddikha was pushed (close to the shore, so that the parties could converse):
from נדה to be pushed, the Niphal of
דחה to push.
It seems quite unnecessary to admit also a primitive נדה which Buxtorf gives us.
V, 43. Then Xisuthrus said to Izdubar.
44. Izduhar tallika: tannakha: tasuda
Izdubar, thou goest: thou art pure: thou shinest.
45. Mina addanakku-mma: tatar ana mati-ka.
a remedy I have given to thee, and thou returnest to thy country.
46. Lupki Izdubar amat nitsirti
I have revealed Izdubar the concealed story,
[and the secret of the gods] I have told unto thee.
Note.—Mina 'a remedy' in line 45 is written in the usual way
[glyphs] previous line V, 40).
V, 46 to VI, 10. I think I can clear up some parts of this obscure narrative. I will first go over it briefly, and then examine the words more in detail.
46. I have revealed to thee, Izdubar, the concealed story.
47. I have told unto thee the secret of the gods.
48. This history, as I have told it to thee, in writing
49. Engrave! as a sacred Scribe would engrave it
50. If he were to take this History in his hand!"
51. When Izdubar heard this, he opened [his hand]
52. and moved a great stone;
VI, 1. They dragged it along, to
2. Then he carried it away [to write on it?]
3. and he carved the great stone,
4. and set it up as a memorial,
5. Then he said to Urhamsi [the boatman]
6. Urhamsi! this History [which I have written]
7. if a man shall retain it in his mind
8. let him repeat it in the midst of Erech Suburi
9. Move than the graving tool has written
10. I shall remember; and I will return to engrave it.
(The homeward voyage of Izdubar is then related.)
I will now examine the words more particularly.
V, 48. Sammu su kima iddid, in musari
History this as I have told it, in writing
49. zikhil-su, kima khartannum [ukitzab]
do thou engrave it I like as a sacred scribe would engrave it.
50. summa samma sasu ikassada kata-su.
if history this were to reach his hand.
Notes.—Sammu, history. Heb.
שמ monumentum: vel memoria (Gesen.)
Iddid 'I have shown it' or 'related it.'
From Heb. ידד monstravit: indicavit (Gesen.) Musari,
writing: a very frequent word. [glyphs] The first letter [glyph] is broken off, but I think there can be
no doubt about it.
Zikhil, engrave! [glyphs] (see Smith's Assurbanipal p. 54) "two lofty obelisks covered with beautiful carving" [glyphs] Zakhali. These were part of the plunder of Thebes. The carving was therefore executed in hieroglyphics. Zakhal occurs as a verb 'to adorn with figures' in Assurbanipal p. 227.
Khartannum is a most interesting word. It is the Heb. Khartwmnim (the first מ being doubled), which Gesenius renders Scribae sacri, scripturae sacrae, i.e. hieroglyphicae periti, [Greek], The word is used both of Egyptian scribes who of course used hieroglyphic characters, and also of the Babylonian Magi in Daniel i, 20 and ii, 2, &c. Gesenius says the origin of the word is to be sought in the Hebrew חרט stylus, in which I quite agree with him. Line 49 seems to read Ahartannum (for I hardly think that the A can belong to the previous word kima). This initial A seems to represent the Hebrew article ה which is prefixed to the word in Daniel thus: [Heb.]. It is possible that from this frequent usage the ה may have become part of the word in common parlance.
The broken word [glyphs] at the end of line 49 I would restore thus: [glyphs] adding [glyphs] to complete the line. This gives ukitzaha 'he would carve or engrave it,' from צחב !in 'to carve stone,' or from קצב 'to cut.'
V, 51. Izduhar annitu as semi-su ipti-ma [kata-su].
Izdubar this when he heard, he opened [his hand].
The phrase annitu as semi-sa is also found in the legend of Ishtar, Col. II, 20.
V, 52. urakkiz abni kaptu.
and moved a stone great.
VI, 1. ildudu-su ana (...)
They dragged it along to (...)
(The last word m this hue is broken off.)
VI, 2. Su uki-sa-yuna [izkur]
He carried it away [to write on it?]
VI, 3. uhattik almi kaptu
he carved the stone great (and)
VI, 4. ana id itzuli-su.
for a monument he erected it.
Here we have the same verb יצב statuit. I can hardly doubt that the scribe
wrote or intended to write the two first words of this line thus: [glyphs]
Id is 'a monument,' (Hebrew יד) and
usually takes the verb יצב statuit. Gesenius
says: יד monumentum, idem quod
שמ (the sammu of our tablet).
Thus we read in 2 Sam. xviii, 18, "Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the King's dale, and he called the pillar after his own name, and it is called unto this day Id Absalom, the monument of Absalom."
In this passage of Scripture 'he reared up' is in the original itzub, and 'pillar' is matzabat, derived from the same verb יצב itzub.
VI, 5 and 6. Izdubar said to Urhamsi: sammu annu (this history).
7. sa nisu in libbi-su ikassadu
if a man in his mind shall retain it
8. lu disu ana libbi Uruk
let him renew it in the midst of Erech.
Note.—Ludisu [glyphs] 'let him renew': one of the forms of the verb idis חדש 'novus fuit' which occurs so frequently, and varies so much in its spelling. Let him repeat it: make a similar monument, at Erech.
VI, 9. il sa sibu izkur
More than the graving tool has written
VI, 10. anahu lu-zikir-ma lu-tuf ana zilli
I may remember (and) I may return to engrave it.
Notes, il (preposition) above: beyond: more than: The same as
eli. Occurs rather
Sibu a graving too], a stylus. Schindler p. 478 has זיפ Zip Stylus. Buxtorf p. 665 says זיפא Zipa Stylus: Coelum, sculpendi instrumentum, quoting Exodus xxxii, 4 et formavit illud stylo בזיפ. This is from the Targum, the Hebrew text has חרט.
Zikir is here (and elsewhere) written by the Accadian sign [glyph] for the sake of brevity (see Col. I, 28).
Zil 'to engrave.' Same as zibil which we had in Col. V, 49.
IZDUBAR RETURNS HOME.
The account of the homeward voyage of Izdubar now commences, but as it is greatly damaged I can only offer a few observations.
VI, 11. Ana ‹ kasbu iksupu kusapu: ana, « kasbu (...)
About ten kasbu (70 miles) they had reckoned the reckoning: (but) about twenty kasbu [they had really gone].
Note.—The last word is broken off. The sense of the passage (and especially what follows) appears to require the translation which I have given. Iksupu. Heb. חשב is to count, reckon, or estimate.
VI, 12. imur-ma bura Izdubar
then Izdubar perceived a lighthouse.
Bura a lighthouse or beacon (Chald. בעור, lanipas from בער ignis. What follows next is very much broken; but the part [p.77] which is left implies that Izdubar found, to his great sorrow, that his calculation (or reckoning) had been very erroneous. On discovering this he lamented himself:
VI, 17. Tears ran down his cheeks, and he said to Urhamsi
18. To what purpose, Urhamsi, have I spent my time in deep thinking?
19. For what has my mind been searching?
20. I did not obtain this success for myself
21. But this great light upon the land has caused this success.
By 'this success' he means their safe arrival. The beacon of lire probably guided them to the entrance of the port.
22. For lo! now at the twentieth kasbu this fiery beacon blazes up.
23. Now I will open the cover of the Vase and I will pour away the ointment.
24. For, the sea will not bring back what I now throw away
25. Then the ship grounded upon the shore, and they reckoned the reckoning to be 20 kasbu
26. And after 30 kasbu they made joyful music, and arrived at the city of Erech Suburi.
So primitive a narration cannot be without its difficulties. But I think that
they sailed on the Persian Gulf and having
reached the land after 20 kasbu they were employed during several more kasbu in
ascending the river to Erech. The joy of Izdubar on making the land is very
quaintly expressed: "Now I will throw away my medicaments, and all signs of my
illness shall disappear in the sea."
Observations.—VI, 18. [glyphs] in khaidai 'in my deep thoughts.'
This is the Chald. חידא res perplexa: senigma: calliditas. He means his calculations to discover the ship's course, or perhaps his observations with the astrolabe, which they were in the habit of employing.
VI, 19. [glyphs] 'has been searching;' Heb.
בעה 'to search'
VI, 21. [glyphs] Ur makh the great light: from Heb. אור Ur, light. Written exactly the same as Ur makh 'a Lion,' which is likely to cause mistakes of translation. I will therefore add a few remarks. One meaning of [glyphs] Ur in Assyrian is 'a dog' (Syllab. 762 [glyphs]) ur. kalbu (Heb. a dog). Hence most Assyriologists are of opinion that a Lion was called Ur makh, quasi 'Canis maximus.' Similarly a Leopard was called Ur barra. But as Ur has several meanings so Ur makh may have as many, makh being merely an adjective magnus: praegrandis.
I will take this opportunity of remarking that in vol. 3 p. 593 of the Transactions Mr. Smith says that [glyphs] nisi sometimes means 'a Lion,' being explained by [glyphs] in the tablet S 954. But is not this gloss susceptible of a quite different explanation? The consideration of the passage in VI, 21 makes me think that the scribe meant to explain nisi by ur makh a great light, or beacon. This is strongly confirmed by the fact that Nis (in Hebrew) signifies 'a beacon.' Gesenius says: 'res elata: signum late conspiciendum.' Also in Syriac ניסא nisa.
Urru (day) is derived from Ur (light) as the Latins say lux for 'a day.' Centesima lux est haec: this is the hundredth day (Cicero).
The next few lines stand thus in the original:
VI, 22. eninna ana 20 kasbu edu unassa-mma.
behold! after 20 kasbu this fire is displayed.
23. dada ki ahfu, attakhu sainnut.
the vase now I will open, I will pour away the ointment.
24. tamta ai itasha slia ki anahu lu-akklaz.
the sea not will bring back what now I throw away.
25. u elappu etiziz as kipri. Ana 20 kasbu iksupu kusapa.
then the ship stood fast upon the shore. At 20 kasbu they reckoned the reckoning
26. ana 30 kasbu iskunu nuhatta. Tksudu-mma
at 30 kasbu they made music. And they arrived
27. ana libbi Uruk Suburi.
within Erech Suburi.
Notes.—VI, 22. Edu unassa-mma.
this beacon fire is displayed.
Edu [glyphs] Heb. אוד or Syr. אודא a burning brand; Lampas. Lignum ardens (Schindler). Hence any fire signal or beacon might be so called.
Unassa-mma 'blazes up.' From [glyphs] to blaze up (Sch. p. 1170) whence Heb. masa 'a fire': incendium: and a fire-signal: signum igne datum (Gesenius). Example: Jerem. vi, 1, Blow the trumpet: set up a fire-signal! [This was to alarm the country and give notice of the approach of the enemy's army],
Dada, the cover of the Vase. In Chaldee דד dad (see Buxt. p. 503) who says, דד epistomium vasis, aquam continentis, quod instar mamm, muliebris factum erat, et aquas effundebat. A more usual form is in mammae: ubera. It is the same as the Hebrew שד mamma. It is possible however that Dada may be the Heb. דוד 'a pot.' Olla.
Ki. Now. Heb. כה nunc. Also in 1. 24.
Aptu. [glyphs] 'I will open.'
Attakhu. I will pour away: from Syriac נקא libavit which occurs frequently on the tablets.
Samnut [glyphs] ointment. This word is not unfrequent in Assyrian: it is the Heb. שמן ointment. (Unguentmn: oleum: pinguedo: Buxt. 'oil, fat, or unguent.')
Itaslia (1. 24) 'it will bring': from
נשא 'to bring': portavit.
Akkhiz 'I threw away'—foras ejeci: from foras.
Etiziz (1. 25) stood fast—was aground—I think we should read in the text [glyphs] as in the nearly similar passage III, 32 "the ship [glyphs] itiziz stood fast, or was ashore, on the land of Nizir."
Line 26 may perhaps mean that when the travellers drew nigh to the city of Erech, the inhabitants 'made joyful music' in honour of their safe return. The words are [glyphs] nulatta. I have treated of this word in No. 494 of my glossary and also in vol. 2, p. 42 of our Transactions. [glyphs] nubatta means a festival accompanied with music. It comes from the Arab. nobat music, whence nobati a musician (see Catafago's dictionary). And the word has been adopted into Persian nobat-khanali or nobat-gah 'a music gallery' Richardson's Dictionary, p. 1608. In the older Assyrian it is naba, plur. nabdan, see line 70 of the obelisk of Salmaneser, where the king says that he reached with his army the source of the Tigris, and nabdan khudut askun "I made joyful music." It will be observed that the same verb is used (askun on the obelisk, iskunu on the tablet).
The remainder of the Deluge Tablet appears not to present any points of salient
interest. Urhamsi is sent forward to examine the present state of the city of
Erech, and he reports (though I translate this doubtfully) that one-third of it
contains the citadel, one-third gardens, and one-third the temple of Ishtar with
its precincts. However that may be, the next line VI, 32 says: "these three
joined together (attabak from דבק to join) are the sections or divisions of the
city of Erech." Mr. Smith renders [glyphs] bitru 'the divisions,' in which I
think he is right, for the Hebrew has the word sectio.
The title of the tablet is found in line 34, which says "Eleventh tablet, sa naqbi imuru [glyphs] Izdubar.
Mr. Smith renders [glyphs] "the hero" but ought we not rather
to read [glyphs] Kubur
'the Hero'? Heb. גבור heros: (so Gesenius translates it). It seems to be
the word we want. Genesis vi, 4, "there were Giants in the Earth in
I would suggest the following translation: "Eleventh portion of the wanderings (or adventures) of the hero Izdubar."
[glyphs] naqbi: from the verb נקפ. Gesenius says it means in orbem ire, both in Job and Isaiah: both passages refer to the circulating year and its festivals. This suits the idea of Izdubar being Hercules with his twelve labours, or Odysseus the traveller.
Although I have made numerous remarks upon the Deluge Tablet, yet I agree very generally with Mr. Smith in his translation of all the essential parts of the narrative—the building of the Ark—the flood—the sending birds out of the Ark to see whether the land was dry—the sacrifice of thanksgiving offered by Xisuthrus or Noah after he came out of the Ark, &c., &c. I differ from him chiefly in the unimportant sequel of the story, the details of the illness and cure of Izdubar.
REMARKS ON THE NAME OF THE FATHER OF XISUTHRUS.
Ubara-tutu according to Mr. Smith p. 533 means 'servant of the god Tutu.' And in p. 590 he quotes the tablet K 2107 where this god is named Tutu muallat ili, muddis ili, "the generator and restorer of the gods." Such a title implies one of the principal deities. Now I find on tablet 140 (otherwise marked 109b) an Ode to Nebo, in the first line of which he is called bunu [glyphs] servant? of the god Tutu, whereas on the tablet 111a he is called bunu [glyphs] the servant? of Bel. Hence Tutu is no other than Bel himself.
Tutu or Uttu is used in the Accadian language for parent or father. This agrees well with his title of "generator and restorer of the gods." And the Greek name Ardates in Berosus may easily be explained as Arda-uttu 'servant of Uttu': while Otiartes may be the same name reversed viz. Uttu-arda.
Addendum to the Notes on III, 48, the Sacrifice of Thanksgiving.
There is a passage in the tablet marked 52a, which describes a similar pile of aromatic substances. The list of them is as follows: [glyphs] (Cedar-wood) [glyphs] (Cypress-wood). [glyphs] (sweet cane). [glyphs] (Simbur, Spikenard). [glyphs] (Simbul, Spice. This is the Heb. שבל spica) ‹ (and) [glyphs] (Kunat, Cinnamon? this last is doubtful).
III, 44. Ul issikhra, 'it did not return'—This verb is the Heb.
IV, 32. Tutta may be from the Heb. root ערת help: succour. Tutta atta, thou hast been succoured.
V, 21. Xisuthrus says to the boatman: 'the man whom thou hast brought hither iktazu mala pagar-su, his whole body is diseased.'
Iktazu from קצע decorticavit (Schindler).
V, 23. The boatman is then told to nurse Izdubar with the greatest care, during his homeward voyage. And he is directed to bathe him in the sea.
Line 23 says: Carry him, Urhamsi; take him to be washed (ana namsi, from to wash).
Line 24. Mali-su in mi kima illi limsi, dip the whole of him into the sea, "like an infant."
Limsi, 'dip' or 'plunge': from the same verb
Illi, 'an infant,' is the Heb. and Syr. עול infans: parvulus. The word occurs elsewhere in the inscriptions.
In lines 30, 31 the boatman obeys these commands, which causes the same words to be repeated again. But the verb imsi is now in the preterite tense.
V, 41. This passage should be translated: "Xisuthrus assisted the departure of Izdubar."
[glyphs] Issi 'he assisted,' from Heb. ישע to help or assist. This verb occurs in several other places.
VI, 1. He chose a great stone. Ildudu su ana zumbi, 'and they dragged it to a waggon': su ilki-samma, 'and he carried it away.' The broken word zu .... may be zumbi, waggon.
VI, 12. Bura seems identical with the Greek [Gr.], a fire-beacon. This shows the connection between [Gr.] and the Hebrew root בער of the same meaning.
VI, 24. I would now translate this passage: Tamti ai itaslia sa ki anaku lu-akkhiz, 'it will not pollute the sea, what I now throw into it.' The sense remains nearly the same, but I think itasha means 'it will pollute,' from Heb. מוש in Hiph. polluit.
Akkhitz 'I throw away': from Arabic נקצ nakhits abrogavit; sustulit: delevit (Schindler).