Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Akkadian Inscription of Idrimi

John Gee of the LDS Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship asks: "How did Joseph Smith manage to publish in the Book of Abraham a story that closely matched a Middle-Bronze-Age Syrian autobiography that would not be discovered for nearly a hundred years?"   

I agree with Brother Gee that the style in this text is unlike anything else found in the region except the Book of Abraham.  The text dates to 200 years after Abraham. So, while Brother Gee may not feel like he can say it in scholarly paper, it seems evident to me that this authentic ancient text closely emulated the original Book of Abraham.

God hath said, I will establish my word. Nevertheless, God sendeth more witnesses, and he proveth all his words. (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, 2 Nephi 11:3)

And if they are not the words of Christ, judge ye—for Christ will show unto you, with power and great glory, that they are his words, at the last day; (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi, 2 Nephi 33:11)

1–14 In Aleppo, my ancestral home, a hostile [incident] occurred so that we had to flee to the people of Emar, my mother's relatives, and stay there. My older brothers also stayed with me, but none of them had the plans I had. So I, Idrimi, the son of Ilimilimma, devotee of IM, Ḫebat, and my lady Ištar, lady of Alalaḫ, thinking to myself, "Whoever his patrimony is a great nobleman, but whoever [remains] among the citizens of Emar is a vassal," took my horse, chariot, and groom and went away.

14–20 I crossed over the desert and came among the Sutu warriors. I spent the night with them in my covered chariot. The next day I set forth and went to Canaan. The town of Ammiya is located in Canaan.

20–27 People from Aleppo, Mukišḫe, Ni'i, and Nuḫašše were living in Ammiya, and when they realized that I was their lord's son, they gathered to me. I said the following: "I have become chief, I have been appointed."

27–29 Then I stayed among the Ḫapiru warriors seven years. I released birds and practiced extispicy.

29–34 In the seventh year IM became favorably inclined toward me, so I made ships and had auxiliary troops board them and proceeded via the sea to Mukišḫe. I reached land at Mount Casius and went ashore.

35–42 Now, when my country heard of me they brought me large cattle and small cattle, and in one day, in unison, the countries of Ni'i, Nuḫašše, Mukišḫe, and my own city Alalaḫ became reconciled to me. When my allies heard, they came to me. And when they concluded a treaty with me, I established them truly as my allies.

42–51 Now for seven years Barattarna, the mighty king, the king of the Hurrian warriors, was hostile to me. In the seventh year I sent Anwanda to Barattarna, the mighty king, the king of the Hurrian warriors, and told him of the treaties of my ancestors when they were allied with them, and that our actions were pleasing to the (former) kings of the Hurrian warriors for they had made a binding agreement between them.

51–58 The mighty king heard of the treaties of our predecessors and the agreement made between them, and with the treaty they read to him the words of the treaty in detail. So on account of our treaty terms he received my tribute. Then Ipr<esented> the (gestures of) loyalty, which were considerable, I made great sacrifices, and restored to him a lost estate. I swore to him a binding oath as a loyal vassal.

58–63 Then I became king. Kings from all around attacked me in Alalaḫ. Just as they had heaped up on the ground the corpses of (my) ancestors,corpse upon corpse, so I, too, caused (their corpses) to be heaped up on the ground thus putting an end to their warfare.

64–77 Then I took troops and attacked Hatti-land. As for the seven cities under their protection, namely, Paššaḫe, Damarut-re'i, Ḫulaḫḫan, Zise, Ie, Uluzina, and Zaruna, these I destroyed. Hatti-land did not assemble and did not march against me, so I did what I wanted. I took captives from them and took their property, valuables, and possessions and distributed them to my auxiliaries, kinsmen, and friends. Together with them I took (booty).

77–86 Then I returned to Mukišḫe and entered my capital Alalaḫ. With the captives, goods, property, and possessions which I brought down from Hatti I had a palace built. I made my regime like the regime of kings. I made my brothers like royal brothers, my sons like their sons, and my relatives like their relatives. The inhabitants who were in my land I made to dwell securely, and even those who did not have a dwelling I settled.

86–91 Then I organized my land, and made my cities like they were before. Just as our ancestors had established regular rites for the gods of Alalaḫ, and just as our forefathers had performed sacrifices, I constantly performed them. These things I did, and I entrusted them to my son IM-nirari.

92–98 Whoever effaces this statue of mine, may the Heaven god curse him, may the Earth below destroy his progeny, may the gods of heaven and earth diminish his kingship. Let them have him executed (lit., measure him by a rope). Whoever changes or erases it, may IM, the lord of heaven and earth, and the great gods extirpate his progeny and seed from his land.

98–101 Šarruwa is the official scribe. He has written, copied and reviewed (the text). And now may the gods of heaven and earth keep Šarruwa, the scribe, who has written (the text of) this statue for him, in good health; may they protect him and be his guardian. May Šamaš, lord of the upper and nether worlds, lord of the spirits, be his protector.

102–4 I reigned for 30 years. I inscribed my achievements upon my statue. Let [the people read it] and continually bless me.

Edward L. Greenstein and David Marcus, "The Akkadian Inscription of Idrimi," Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society 8 (1976): 67–68.

No comments: