Amarna Tablet 122
Letter from Rib-Hadda to the Pharaoh


DESCRIPTION

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Language: Akkadian
Medium: clay tablet
Size: cm long
cm wide
Length: 55 lines of writing
Genre: Letter
Sender: Rib-Hadda
(the mayor of Gubla)
Recipient Pharaoh of Egypt
(probably Amenophis III)
Date: 14th cent. BCE
Place of Discovery: Tel el-Amarna, Egypt
(ancient Akhetaten)
Date of Discovery: 1887
Discoverer: peasant woman
Current Location: Cairo Museum
Inventory Number: VAT 1625
Tablet Number: EA 122
Knudtzon 1907–1915




TEXT
TRANSLITERATION
(from Mercer 1939:1:407, 409)

TRANSLATION
(adapted from Mercer 1939:1:406, 408
and Moran 1992:201-2)
mRi-ib-Ad-da iŠ-tap-par 1 Rib-Hadda wrote
a-na bêli-Šú Šàr mâtâti 2 to his lord, the "King of Lands":
ilatBêlit Šá al Gub-la 3 May the Mistress of Gubla
ti-din dunna a-na bêli-ia 4 grant power to my lord.
a-na Šêpê bêli-ia d ŠamŠi-ia 5 At the feet of my lord, my sun,
7-tam 7-a-an am-ku-ut 6 I fall down seven times and seven times.
i-di Šarru bêlili i-nu ma 7 Let the king, my lord, know that
Šal-ma-atalGub-la amtu-ka 8 Gubla, your handmaid from ancient times,
eŠ-iŠ da-ri-it ûmê 9 is well.
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26-27
28
29
30
31
32
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36
37
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39
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59
NOTES

Rib-Hadda was the mayor of Gubla. In the Amarna correspondence, Rib-Hadda is the sender of EA 68-71, 73-79, 81-96, 102-114, 116-119, 121-126, 129-130, 132, 136-138, 362. He is also mentioned in twelve other letters.
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.
Gubla is biblical Gebel, later called Byblos, on the Phoenician coast (in modern Lebanon).
Yarimuta is the name of a Phoenician coastal town, probably south of Beirut.
Irqata (biblical Arkite, modern Tell Arqa) is a Phoenician town northeast of Tripoli.
Arashni is an unknown location.
Ardata is a Phoenician town southeast of Tripoli.
Ammiya is probably modern Amyun, near Tripoli.
Hatti was the Hittite kingdom in eastern Asia Minor (modern Turkey).
Mitanni was the Hurrian kingdom between the Upper Euphrates and the Upper Tigris rivers (in northern modern Iraq and Syria).
Nahma (or Naharima) was the Egyptian name for Mitanni.
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.)
Dog was 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).




DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. What is Rib-Hadda's 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. Why is Rib-Hadda frightened? What catastrophes have already happened by the time he wrote this letter?
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 possibly play here?
4. Who is the Lady (Bêlit) of Gubla? What is her role in this letter?




SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
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.
Greenberg, Moshe. Hab/piru. American Oriental Series 39. New Haven, Conn.: American Oriental Society, 1955.
Hallock, F. H. "The Habiru and the SA.GAZ in the Tell El-Amarna Tablets." In Mercer 1939:2:838-45.
Knudtzon, J. A. Die El-Amarna-Tafeln. Vorderasiatische Bibliotek, vol. 2. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1907–1915 (repr. Aalen: O. Zeller, 1964).
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.
Morrison, Martha A. "Mitanni." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 4.874-76. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Na'aman, Nadav. "Amarna Letters." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 1.174-81. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Oppenheim, A. Leo. Letters from Mesopotamia. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1967.
Rogers, Robert William. Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament. New York: Eaton & Mains, 1912.
Winckler, Hugo. The Tell-el-Amarna Letters. Trans. J. Metcalf. New York and London: Lemcke & Buechner, 1896.


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Last Modified: 13 September 2002