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|Length:||47 lines of writing|
|Genre:||Letter Requesting Assistance|
|Date:||14th cent. BCE|
|Place of Discovery:||Tel el-Amarna, Egypt
|Date of Discovery:||1887
|Current Location:||Vorderasiatisches Museum
|Inventory Number:||VAT 1634|
|Tablet Number:||EA 79
(from Mercer 1939:1:286, 288)
(adapted from Mercer 1939:1:287, 289
and Moran 1992:149-50)
|mRi-ib-Addi iq-bi||1||Rib-Hadda says|
|a-na beli-Šu Šàr mâtâti Šarri rabî||2||to his lord, the King of Lands, the Great King,|
|Šàr ta-am-ha-ra ilat Bêlit||3||the King of Battle: May the Lady|
|ŠáalGub-la ti-di-en||4||of Gubla grant|
|dunna a-na Šarriribêli-ia||5||power to the king, my lord.|
|a-na Šêpê bêli-ia d ŠamŠi-ia||6||At the feet of my lord, my Sun,|
|7-Šú 7-a-an am-ku-ut li-ma-ad||7||I fall down seven times and seven times. Be informed|
|i-nu-ma iŠ-tu ka-Š á-ad||8||that since|
|mA-ma-an-ap-pa a-na mu-hi-ia||9||Amanappa's arrival to me,|
|ka-liamêlûtGAZ.MEŠ na-ad-nu||10||all the 'Apiru have turned|
|pa-ni-Šú-nu a-na ia- Š i a-na||11||their face against me|
|ka bi-imAbdi-AŠi-ir-ta||12||at the instigation of Abdi-AŠirta.|
|ú ji-eŠ-me bêlili||13||Let my lord listen to|
|a-wa-temeŠardi- Šú ù uŠ- Š i-ra-ni||14||the words of his servant, and let him send me|
|amêlûta ma-sa-ar-ta a-na||15||a garrison to|
|na-sa-ar àl Šarri a-di||16||defend the city of the king, until|
|a-sa sâbê bi-ta-ti ù||17||the archers come out. And|
|Šum-ma ia-nu sâbê bi-bi-ta-ti||18||if there are no archers,|
|ù en-ni-ip-Šú ka-li||19||then all the lands will unite|
|mâtâti a-naamêlûtGAZ.MEŠ Ši-me||20||with the 'Apiru. Listen,|
|eŠ-tu sa-ba-atal Bît-Ar-ha||21||since the conquest of Bit-Arha|
|a-na bi-imAbdi-A-Ši-ir-ta||22||in accordance with the demand of Abdi-AŠ irta,|
|ù ki-na-na tu-ba-ú-na||23||they seek in the same way|
|i-bi-ŠáalGub-la ù||24||to unite Gubla and|
|alBat-ru-nakiù en-ni-ip- Šú||25||Batruna; and thus all lands would be united|
|ka-li mâtâti a-naamêlût GAZ.MEŠ||26||with the 'Apiru.|
|2 alâni Šá ir-ti-h u a-na ia- Ši||27||Two cities remain with me,|
|ù tu-ba-ú-na la-qa-Šú-nu||28||and they are also attempting to take|
|eŠ-tu qa-at Šarri riju-wa-Ši-ra||29||them from the king's hand. Let my lord send|
|bêliliamêlûta ma-s a-ar-ta||30||a garrison|
|a-na 2 ala-ni-Šú a-di a-zi s âbê||31||to his two cities until the arrival|
|bi-ta-ti ù mi-im-ma||32||of the archers, and give me something|
|ji-da-na-ni a-na a-ka-li-Šú-nu||33||to feed them.|
|ia-nu mi-im-ma a-na ia-Ši||34||I have nothing.|
|ki-ma issuri Šá i-na libbi bi||35||Like a bird that lies in|
|hu-ha-ri ki-lu-bi Šá-ak-na-at||36||a net, a kilubi/cage,|
|ki-Šú-ma a-na-ku i-na||37||so I am in|
|alGub-lakiŠ á-ni-tú||38||Gubla. Furthermore,|
|Šum-ma la-a i-li-e||39||if the king is not able|
|Šarrurula-qa-ia e Š-tu||40||to rescue me from|
|qa-at na-ak-ri-Šú||41||the hand of his enemy,|
|ù en-ni-ip-Šá-at||42||then all lands|
|ka-li mâtâti||43||will unite|
|mi-nu Šú-tú kalbu ù||45||What is he, the dog, that|
|íl-ti-ku mâtâ Šarri ri a-na||46||he takes the king's lands for|
Great King was the ancient Semitic phrase describing an emperor (for biblical examples, see: 2 Kings 18:19; Psalm 48:2; 95:3; Isaiah 36:4; Jeremiah 27:7; Matthew 5:35.)
Gubla is biblical Gebel, later called Byblos, on the Phoenician coast (in modern Lebanon).
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.
Amanappa is the name of a an Egyptian official, who is mentioned in ten of the Amarna letters.
Bit-Arha is an unknown location.
Batruna is the name of a Phoenician coastal town located north of Beirut (in modern Lebanon).
Dog is a common Semitic metaphor of either derision or self-deprecation (for biblical examples, see: 1 Samuel 17:43; 2 Samuel 9:8; 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13).
1. The author of this letter, Rib-Addi, is the "mayor" of Gubla. What is his relationship to the recipient of the letter, the Pharaoh of Egypt? Why would Rib-Addi describe himself as bowing 7 times and 7 times before the Pharaoh?
2. Who is Abdi-AŠirta? What role does he play in this drama? What is his strategy? Why does he draw Rib-Addi's disdain?
3. Who are the 'Apiru (see Astour 1976, Buccellati 1977, Gottwald 1979:401-26, Greenberg 1955, Hallock 1939, Lemche 1992, and Moran 1967? What role do they play here?
4. Rib-Addi's comparison of himself in lines 35-38 to a bird in a snare is a common one in the ancient Mediterranean (see Psalm 124:7; Ecclesiastes 9:11-12; Amos 3:5). Compare Rib-Addi's self-description to Sennacherib's portrayal of his siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem ( Sennacherib Prism 3:18-43 ).
5. Who is the Lady (Bêlit) of Gubla? What is her role in this letter?
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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.
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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.
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