|Length:||30 lines of writing|
(ruler of Ta'anach)
|Date:||15th cent. BCE|
|Place of Discovery:||Ta'anach
(modern Tell Ti'inik, West Bank)
|Date of Discovery:||c. 1903
|Current Location:||? Museum|
|Tablet Number:||Ta'anach 1|
(from Hrozny 1904:113ff;
and Albright 1944:12-27)
(adapted from Rogers 1912:281-82;
are particularly difficult to
translate with certainty.
|a-na mTal-wa-Šur||1||To Talwashur|
|um-ma mGu-li-Adad||3||Thus says Guli-Adad:|
|bu-lu-ut dam-ki-iŠ||4||Live well!|
|ilâni li-iŠ-a-lu||5||May the gods attend to|
|Šu-lum-ka Šu-lum||6||your welfare, the welfare|
|bîti-ka mârê-ka||7||of your house, (and) your sons.|
|at-ta ta-aŠ-pu-rum||8||You have written me|
|a-na ia-Ši aŠ- Šum kaspi . . .||9||concerning silver. . .|
|u a-nu-ma a-na-din||10||And behold,|
|50 kaspu ki la e-te-pu-Šu||11||I will give you 50 (shekels) of silver|
|Ša-ni-tam a-na mi-nim||12||Further, regarding another matter,|
|u-tir tu-wa-Ša-ru-ni||13||Why have you sent|
|Šu-lum-ka a-na-mu||14||your greeting so soon?|
|u a-wa-tam mi-im-ma||15||Everything|
|Ša ti-iŠ-mi||16||you have heard|
|iŠ-tu aŠ-ra-nu-um . . .||17||I have also (learned)|
|kat iluBêl-ra-am id-i||18||from Belram.|
|Ša-ni-tam u Šum-ma||19||Furthermore, if|
|i-ba-Ši u-mi-an-nu||20||there is a diviner|
|iluA-Ši-rat li Š-ni-nu||21||of Asherah, then let him discern our fortunes|
|u liŠ-mu-ur-ru||22||and the omen|
|u it-ta-am||23||and the interpretation|
|u a-wa-tam te-ra-ni||24||send to me.|
|aŠ-Šura Šalmârti-ka ni-du||25||Furthermore, regarding your daughter|
|Ša i-na aluru-bu-teki||26||who is in Rubutu,|
|u Šum-ma i-ra-bi||28||when she is grown,|
|ta-da-an-Ši a-na Ša-ru-te||29||let her become a singer,|
|Ši-i lu-u a-na be-lim||30||or give her to a husband.|
The Ta'anach archive consists of thirteen documents: four letters and nine lists of names. The town of Ta'anach was located in the foothills above the Jezreel Valley, and approximately 8km southeast of Megiddo. Excavations of the most ancient levels of Ta'anach were carried out by Prof. Ernst Sellin (University of Vienna) in 1902-1904, and by Prof. Paul Lapp (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) in 1963, 1966, 1968. It is mentioned in the Bible in Josh 12:21; 17:11-12; 21:25; Jud 1:27; 5:19; 1 Kgs 4:12; 1 Chron 7:29.
Talwashur was the local ruler of Ta'anach, which was part of the Egyptian empire. I follow here Glock's reading of his name. Hrozny read his name as "Ishtar-washur"; Rogers read it as "Ashirat-yashur"; and Albright read it as "Rewashsha."
Guli-Adad was probably the mayor of a town near Ta'anach. His name includes the divine name Hadad, the Semitic storm god, associated with Ba'al (see Greenfield 1999:377-82). Rainey and Glock read his name as Ehli-TeŠub, using the Hurrian form of the storm god: TeŠub.
diviner of Asherah refers to some sort of fortuneteller associated with the goddess Asherah. Compare the "prophets of Asherah" in 1 Kings 18:19. This reading follows Albright's of u-mi-an-nu ("specialist"), rather than Rogers's u-ba-an ("finger").
Asherah is the principal West Semitic goddess (see Day 1992; and Wyatt 1999).
Rubutu is a town whose location is not precisely known; but it seems to have been between Gezer and Jerusalem (see in the Amarna correspondence EA 289:13 and 290:11).
Shalmisha : Compare this girl's name to that of one of Herod's granddaughter's: Salampsio.
1. What can you determine about the relationship between the sender and receiver of this letter?
2. Why did people consult diviners in the ancient world? Compare this passage to the passages in 1 & 2 Samuel about "consulting Yahweh," especially 2 Samuel 16:23. (See Mendelsohn 1962; Long 1976; and Grabbe 1995.)
3. In the 15th century B.C.E., was 50 shekels a great deal or a little? What can you conclude from the fact that they are dealing with silver rather than with "in-kind" goods?
4. Where does the name "Hadad" show up in the Bible? What significance does the use of this name have for bibical interpretation?
5. Where does the name "Asherah" show up in the Bible? What significance does the use of this name have for bibical interpretation?
| 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.
Albright, W. F. "A Prince of Taanach in the Fifteenth Century B.C." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 94 (1944) 12-27.
Cryer, Frederick. Divination in Ancient Israel and Its Near Eastern Environment: A Socio-Historical Investigation. JSOT Supplements 142. Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1994.
Day, John. "Asherah." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 1.483-87. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Glock, Albert E. "Taanach." In Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, edited by K. Crim, 855-56. Nashville: Abingdon, 1976.
Glock, Albert E. "Taanach." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by D. N. Freedman, 6.287-90. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Glock, Albert E. "Texts and Archaeology at Tell Ta'anech." Berytus 31 (1983) 57-66.
Görg, Manfred. "Zum Namen des Fürsten von Taanach." Biblische Notizen 41 (1988) 15-18.
Grabbe, Lester L. Priests, Prophets, Diviners, Sages: A Socio-Historical Study of Religious Specialists in Ancient Israel. Valley Forge, Pa.: Trinity Press International, 1995.
Greenfield, Jonas C. "Hadad." In Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, edited by K. van der Toorn et al., 377-82. 2nd ed. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
Hrozny, Friedrich. "Die Keilschrifttexte von Ta'annek." In Tell Ta'anek, edited by Ernst Sellin, 113ff. Denkschriften der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften 4. Vienna: Gerold, 1904.
Long, Burke O. "Divination." In Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, edited by K. Crim, 241-43. Nashville: Abingdon, 1976.
Mendelsohn, Isaac. "Divination." In Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, edited by G. A. Buttrick, 1.856-58. Nashville: Abingdon.
Moran, Willam L. The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992.
Rainey, Anson F. "Verbal Usages in the Taanach Texts." Israel Oriental Studies 7 (1977) 33-64.
Rainey, Anson F. "Taanach Letters." Eretz-Israel 26 (1998) 153*-162*.
Rogers, Robert William. Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament. New York: Eaton & Mains, 1912.
Wyatt, Nicholas. "Asherah." In Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, edited by K. van der Toorn et al., 99-105. 2nd ed. Leiden: Brill, 1999.