Amarna Tablet 298
Letter from Yapahu of Gazru to the Pharaoh


DESCRIPTION

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Language: Akkadian
Medium: clay tablet
Length: 33 lines of writing
Genre: Letter
Sender: Yapahu of Gazru
Recipient: Pharaoh
Date: 14th cent. BCE
Place of Discovery: Tel el-Amarna, Egypt
(ancient Akhetaten)
Date of Discovery: 1887
Discoverer: peasant woman
Current Location: British Museum
(London, England)
Inventory Number: BM 29833
Tablet Number: EA 298
Knudtzon 1907–1915
BB 50
Bezold & Budge 1892




TEXT
TRANSLITERATION
(from Mercer 1939:2:736, 738)

TRANSLATION
(adapted from Mercer 1939:2:737, 739
Albright 1969:490;
and Moran 1992:340)
a-namŠarri bêli-ia ilâni-ia 1 To the king, my lord, my god,
dŠamŠi-iad ŠamaŠŠá 2 my sun, the sun
iŠ-tuansa-me-i 3 in the sky.
um-mamYa-pa-hu amêlu Šá 4 Thus says Yapahu, the ruler of
alGa-az-riki 5 Gazru,
ardu-ka ip-ri Šá 6 your servant, the dust of
2 Šêpê-ka amêl qar-tab-bi 7 your two feet, the stable-man
Šá sisî-ka 8 of your horse:
a-na 2 Šêpê Šarri bêli-ia 9 At the two feet of the king, my lord,
dŠamaŠá i Š -tu sa-me-i 10 the sun in the sky,
7 Šú u 7 ta-a-an 11 seven times and seven times I prostrate myself
lu-ú iŠ-ta-ha-hi-in 12 both upon
ka-bat-tum-ma u 13 the belly and
si-ru-ma u me-ma 14 back. And to all
Šá i-qa-ab-bi
Šarru bêli-ia a-na ia-Š i
15-16 that the king, my lord, has told me
iŠ-ti-me danniŠ danni Š 17 I have paid close attention.
arad Šarri a-na-ku 18 I am the king's servant
u ip-ri Šá 2 Š êpê 19 and the dust of your two feet.
li-il-ma-ad Šarru
bêli-ia i-nu-ma
20-21 Let the king, my lord, be aware that
amêlahi-ia sihhiru 22 my younger brother,
na-ka-ar iŠ-tu 23 has rebeled against
is-Ši u i-ru-ub 24 me and has entered
a-naalMu-uh-ha-zi 25 Muhhazu,
u na-da-an 2 qa-Šú 26 and he has given over his two hands
a-naamêlSA.GAZ.KI 27 to the leader of the 'Apiru.
u a-nu-mamât[Ti-]an-na 28 And since [Ti]anna
nu-gur-tum muhhi-ia 29 is at war with me,
u mi-lik a-na mâti-ka 30 take care of your land.
li-iŠ-pu-ra bêli-ia 31 May my lord write
a-naamêlra-bi-zi-Š ú 32 to his deputy
muhhi ip an-nu-ú 33 about this matter.
NOTES

My god is Moran's reading. Mercer reads it as a plural "my gods," which corresponds to Albright's "my pantheon."
Yapahu is also the sender of EA 297, 299, 300, and 378.
Ruler (amêlu) is literally "man," "person." But connected with a city, it indicates the ruler.
Gazru is biblical Gezer, located in the Judean foothills, approximately 21 miles west of Jerusalem. In the Amarna correspondence, it is also mentioned in EA 253, 254, 287, 290, 292, 299, 300, 369, and 378. For biblical references, see Joshua 10:33; 16:10; Judges 1:29; 1 Kings 9:15-17. See Ross (1967) and Dever (1992).
Seven times is a common Semitic expression for "repeatedly." Note some biblical examples: Psalm 12:6; 119:164; Proverbs 24:16; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 17:4.
Muhhazu is the name of a town, but its location is unknown. This is the only mention of it in the Amarna correspondence.
He has given over his two hands appears to be an idiom for making a pledge (Moran).
Tianna is a reconstructed reading by Moran, following Na'aman. It seems to be a town near Muhhazu. It may also be mentioned in EA 284 and 306, but those are both reconstructed readings as well.
Deputy (rabitsu) refers to a palace official, who would report to the king.




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Who are the 'Apiru (see Astour [1976], Gottwald [1979:401-26], Greenberg [1955], Lemche [1992], and Moran [1967]? What role do they play here?

2. What are some of the reasons that a younger brother (such as that of Yapahu's) might rebel against his older brother. Note the biblical stories of Cain & Abel, Jacob & Esau, Joseph & his brothers, Amnon & Absalom, Adonijah & Solomon.
3. What does Yapahu expect the Pharaoh to do in this situation?




SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
Albright, W. F. "Akkadian Letters." In Ancient Near Eastern Text Relating to the Old Testament, edited by J. B. Pritchard, 482-90. 3rd ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969.
Astour, Michael C. "Habiru." In Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, edited by K. Crim, 382-85. Nashville: Abingdon, 1976.
Bezold, Carl, and E. A. Wallis Budge. The Tell el-Amarna Tablets in the British Museum. London: Trustees of the British Museum, 1892.
Campbell, Edward A. "The Amarna Letters and the Amarna Period." In Biblical Archaeologist Reader vol. 3, 54-75. New York: Doubleday, 1970.
Chaney, Marvin L. "Ancient Palestinian Peasant Movements and the Formation of Premonarchic Israel." In Palestine in Transition: The Emergence of Ancient Israel, edited by D. N. Freedman and D. F. Graf, 39-90. Social World of Biblical Antiquity Series 2. Sheffield: Almond, 1983.
Dever, William G. 1992. In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 2.998-1003. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Gottwald, Norman K. The Tribes of Yahweh: A Sociology of the Religion of Liberated Israel 1250-1050 B.C.E. Maryknoll, N.Y.: Orbis, 1979.
Greenberg, Moshe. Hab/piru. American Oriental Series 39. New Haven, Conn.: American Oriental Society, 1955.
Knudtzon, J. A. Die El-Amarna-Tafeln. Vorderasiatische Bibliotek, vol. 2. Leipzig: J. C. Hinrichs, 1907–1915 (repr. Aalen: O. Zeller, 1964).
Lemche, Niels Peter. "Habiru / Hapiru." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 3.6-10. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Mercer, Samuel A. B. The Tell El-Amarna Tablets. 2 vols. Toronto: Macmillan, 1939.
Moran, Willam L. The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992.
Moran, William L. "Habiru (Habiri)." In The New Catholic Encyclopedia, 6.878b-80b. Washington, D.C.: Catholic Univ. Press, 1967.
Na'aman, Nadav. "Amarna Letters." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 1.174-81. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Na'aman, Nadav. "Habiru and Hebrews: The Transfer of a Social Term to the Literary Sphere." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 45 (1986) 271ff.
Oppenheim, A. Leo. Letters from Mesopotamia. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1967.
Ross, J. F. "Gezer in the Tell el-Amarna Letters." Biblical Archaeologist 30 (1967) 62-70.
Winckler, Hugo. The Tell-el-Amarna Letters. Translated by J. Metcalf. New York and London: Lemcke & Buechner, 1896.


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Last Modified: 29 June 2004