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Records of the Past, 2nd series, Vol. II, ed. by A. H. Sayce, [1888], at

Number 2

This is a letter containing a complaint to the king concerning some gold which seems to have been missing. The text is numbered K 538 in the National Collection.

p. 184

To the king my lord, thy servant Arad-Nabû. May there be peace to the king my lord; may the gods Assur, Samas1 Bel, Zirpanitum2 Nabû3 Tasmetum4 Istar of Nineveh 5 (and) Istar of Arbela6 these great gods, lovers of thy rule, let the king my lord live for a hundred years. May they satisfy the king my lord with old age and offspring.

The gold which, in the month Tisri, the ittu, the prefect of the palace, and I with them, missed—2 talents of standard gold (and) 6 talents of gold not standard—(this gold) the hands of the rab-danibe 7 placed in the house, he sealed it up, (and) the gold for the image of the kings 8 and for the image of the king's mother he gave not. Let the king my lord give command to the ittu (and) the prefect of the palace, that they may discover the gold. The beginning of the month is good. 9 Let them give it to the men. Let them do the work. 10


A translation of this interesting text was contributed by me to the first series of the Records of the Past11 eleven years ago. Since that time the text itself, with a translation, has been published by the Rev. S. A. Smith in his Keilschrifttexte Asurbanipals (Heft II, plate 7, and pp. 30–33); and I also contributed

p. 185

to the same work (p. 86), a "free" translation in English, which does not essentially differ from that given above. These translations are much better than that which I gave at first, the improvements being due to the advances which have been made in the science of Assyriology since that was published.

The principal difference in the translation occurs in the second part, this difference being caused by translating the word nikhidhuni by "we missed," instead of "sinned" or "transgressed." It is unlikely that a man would voluntarily accuse himself of being a thief, hence this rendering. The meaning of "to miss," however, attached to this root, occurs in Hebrew, Job v. 24, "thou shalt visit thy fold and shalt miss nothing," 1 so that the meaning here proposed for the word may be regarded as quite certain.

Another text referring to the making of images will be found in S. A. Smith's Keilschrifttexte Asurbanipals, Heft III, plates 12–13, and pp. 39–43.


184:1 The Sun-god.

184:2 The consort of Bel-Merodach, also given as Zir-banitum, "seed creatress."

184:3 Nebo, "the teacher."

184:4 "She who hears," Nebo's consort.

184:5 Goddess of love.

184:6 Goddess of war.

184:7 Apparently this word means "chief of the metal-workers."

184:8 Or, "for the image of our king."

184:9 Apparently "good to begin the work."

184:10 The following is a transcription of the original text: "Ana sarri belîa, arad-ka Arad-Nabû. Lûsalīmu ana sarri belîa. Assur, Samas, Bel, Zirpanitum, Nabû, Tasmetum, Istar sa Ninua, Istar sa Arba’-ili, ilani annuti rabuti, raimuti sarruti-ka, estin mê sanati ana sarri belîa luballidhu; sibutu littutu, ana sarri belîa lusabbiu khuratsu sa ina arakh Tisriti ittu aba-êgala û anaku issi-sunu nikhidhûni, salsu bilti khuratsu sakru, sissu bilti la sakru ina biti qata sa rabdanibe issakna, iktanak; khuratsu ana tsalam sarrani, ana tsalam sa ummi sarri lâ iddin. Sarru bêli ana itti ana aha-êgala dhêmu liskun, khuratsu liptiu. Res arkhi dhabûni. Ana ummâni liddinu, Dullu lipusu."

184:11 Vol. xi. pp. 75, 76.

185:1 Revised version. See also Tregelles’ (Bagster and Sons), and Mühlau and Volck's Gesenius, under ‏חָטָא‎.

Next: Number 3