Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: The Assyrian and Hebrew Hymns of Praise
Author: Cumming, Charles Gordon
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Assyrian and Hebrew Hymns of Praise" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



                THE ASSYRIAN AND HEBREW HYMNS OF PRAISE


                                   BY
                         CHARLES GORDON CUMMING

                            AMS PRESS, INC.
                          NEW YORK, N.Y. 10003
                                  1966

                             Copyright 1934
                       Columbia University Press

        Reprinted with the permission of the original publisher

              Manufactured in the United States of America


                          GRATEFULLY DEDICATED
                                   TO
                         RICHARD J. H. GOTTHEIL



                                  NOTE


Professor Cumming has chosen a most interesting subject upon which to
write a comparison of “The Assyrian and the Hebrew Hymns of Praise.” He
has spent a number of years developing his theme, and has produced a
book which I commend heartily to the attention of scholars who are
interested in this field. Of course, we do not possess all the hymns
Hebrew songsters. But we certainly have sufficient to make it possible
for us to form a just idea of their character and of their beauty.

                                                        Richard Gottheil



                                FOREWORD


It was the author’s original intention to add to this book a translation
of all the important Assyrian hymns; for a bringing together of hymns
now scattered through many books and periodicals would be a very real
service to Old Testament scholarship. Such a task however calls for the
knowledge and skill of the thoroughly competent Assyriologist. It is
hoped that the list of texts and translations appended to this book may
make it easier for any interested reader to locate and carry further the
study of any particular hymn. In the case of the Hebrew psalms some
slight confusion may be spared the reader if he recognizes that the
numbering of the verses is that of the Hebrew text, which differs
slightly in certain psalms from that of the English translations.

                                                  Charles Gordon Cumming

  Bangor Theological Seminary
    Bangor, Maine
    December, 1933



                                CONTENTS


                       THE HEBREW HYMNS OF PRAISE
  I. Hebrew Psalms Which Are Not Hymns                                  3
  II. Hebrew Sanctuary Hymns of Praise                                 18
  III. Hebrew Eschatological Hymns                                     32
  IV. Hebrew Nature Hymns                                              39
  V. Hebrew Hymns in Praise of Sacred Institutions                     44


                      THE ASSYRIAN HYMNS OF PRAISE
  VI. Assyrian Hymnal Introductions to Prayers                         53
  VII. Assyrian Antiphonal Hymns                                       72
  VIII. Assyrian Self-Laudations of the Gods                           83


           A COMPARISON OF THE ASSYRIAN AND THE HEBREW HYMNS
  IX. The Literary Form of the Assyrian and the Hebrew Hymns           95
  X. The Supreme God among the Gods                                   100
  XI. The Supreme God in His Dwelling Place                           108
  XII. The Supreme God as Creator                                     120
  XIII. The Supreme God as Wise, Powerful, Merciful                   130
  XIV. The Supreme God as King and Judge                              146
  XV. Conclusion                                                      154


                              BIBLIOGRAPHY
  Texts and Translations of Assyrian Hymns                            161
  Selected Bibliography                                               169
  Indexes                                                             171



                               Division I
                       THE HEBREW HYMNS OF PRAISE



                               Chapter I
                   HEBREW PSALMS WHICH ARE NOT HYMNS


The Book of Psalms is no longer to be regarded by Old Testament scholars
as an isolated phenomenon. Similar religious poetry is found not only in
the narrative and prophetic portions of the Old Testament, in the
Apocrypha, and the New Testament, but also in the literatures of Egypt,
Babylonia, Persia, India, and Greece. Indeed, wherever religion really
develops beyond the primitive stage, it expresses itself in poetry and
we get something comparable to the Hebrew psalms.

One primary fact, then, to be considered in the study of the Old
Testament psalms is that they are only the surviving fragments of the
religious poetry of a race; and that they have been preserved partly by
reason of the literary merit that made it difficult for them to be
forgotten, and partly by reason of the fact that they happened to be
included in the song books of the sanctuaries. One must accordingly bear
constantly in mind the larger literature of which they were a part, and
employ to a legitimate degree the imagination, in order to rightly
comprehend the life out of which the psalms have come, and to see in any
true perspective the significance of the surviving psalms.

Furthermore, it is now to be clearly recognized that the careful
philological study of words and sentences, and the further effort to
determine the date and authorship of the psalms, while always
indispensable, are yet inadequate methods of procedure. It is true that
again and again fixing with philological accuracy the meaning of a word
or clause is the clue to the understanding of a psalm, yet to arrive at
any just appreciation of the psalms it is absolutely necessary to
classify them scientifically on the basis of their similarities and
dissimilarities, and so to arrange them in the species or groups into
which they naturally fall. It is then possible to compare psalm with
psalm within the species, fixing as nearly as possible the type and
noting every variation from the type. In this way the eye of the reader
is opened to the originality and literary beauty of particular psalms,
which originality and literary beauty are in turn the expression of the
uniqueness and power of the psalmist’s spiritual experience.

It may also be suggested that another principle of investigation should
prove fruitful, namely, an attempt to arrange the groups of psalms, and
the individual psalms within the groups, according to the principle of
development from the lower to the higher stages of religious experience.
Of course opinions may and do differ as to what is highest in religion,
but the student of religion may never cease in his effort to find the
line of development and to determine the highest. Since then the psalms
are almost exclusively religious literature, and since the supreme
motive for studying them is to gain the more complete understanding of
religion, it is necessary to arrange the psalms in ascending order, so
that one can more readily appraise the worth of religion in them, and
determine and properly appreciate that which is most precious.

Finally, a further source of enlightenment and a valuable standard of
appraisal has been neglected, unless the Old Testament psalms in their
respective groups are compared with the psalms of Egypt, Babylonia,
Persia, India, and Greece. Many decades have passed since a succession
of studies first pointed out striking similarities between the Hebrew
and the Babylonian so-called penitential psalms. Recent commentaries on
the psalms such as Staerks in 1911 and Kittels in 1916 have printed in
the appendices a number of Egyptian and Babylonian psalms, but the
comparative method has not yet been widely and thoroughly applied.

An immense amount of work yet remains to be done in comparative study of
the religious poetry of the different literatures. Species must be
compared with species; prayer of supplication with prayer of
supplication; prayer of thanksgiving with prayer of thanksgiving;
affirmation of faith with affirmation of faith; hymn of praise with hymn
of praise, and teaching psalm with teaching psalm. Before Hebrew hymns
of praise, however, can be properly studied, the relationship of the
hymns to the other groups that make up Hebrew religious poesy ought to
be understood. Consideration must first be given, therefore, to the
different groups of psalms to be found in the Hebrew Psalter.


                   Psalms of Lamentation and Petition

It has been suggested that the psalms ought to be classified in groups,
and that the groups ought to be arranged in an ascending order,
according to the stage of religious development which they represent.
Following this principle, one can quite properly place lowest the Psalms
of Lamentation and Petition. The lament in such psalms describes the
unhappy plight of the oppressed nation, the persecuted religious
community, or the afflicted individual. The petition makes earnest
appeal to Yahwe for deliverance. Frequently the petition is reinforced
by rather naïve considerations, such as are calculated to persuade the
Deity to action. Surely Yahwe ought to be concerned for the glory of his
name! Why should the unbelievers say scoffingly, “Where is now your
God?” Again what profit is there to Yahwe in the death of his followers?
Assuredly the dead in Sheol do not praise him. Most commonly does the
psalmist urge that he has long trusted Yahwe; that Yahwe is his only
hope, and that therefore Yahwe can not fail him.

In addition to the lament and the petition—the two most characteristic
features of this group—one generally finds the vow. If God will come to
the help of the sufferer, he will in turn render some specified service
to Yahwe. It may be an animal sacrifice at the sanctuary, or it may be
such a spiritual sacrifice of praise and testimony as will turn sinners
to Yahwe. Yet another common feature of this group is the protestation
of confidence that Yahwe will most certainly deliver the suppliant.
Frequently it is found near the end of the psalm, and so confident is
the sufferer of deliverance that he commonly uses the perfect tense, as
if his salvation were already effected.

Of the fifty Psalms of Lamentation in the Psalter, thirteen express the
petition of the nation or the religious community for Yahwe’s
deliverance. Psalms 79, 74, 44, 80, 83, 60, 137, and 129 lament the
humiliation and suffering endured by the nation at the hands of foreign
enemies; 85 and 126 recognize in general terms Israel’s affliction, and
implore Yahwe’s mercy; while Psalms 10 and 123 lament the wrongs
inflicted upon the pious of the land by the powerful and godless rich.

Of these Psalms 137, 129, 125, and 123 are distinctive both for
originality and simplicity of expression and for sincerity and intensity
of feeling. Psalm 137 recalls the wrongs and the insults received at the
hands of Babylonians and Edomites and calls for vengeance upon those
nations. Psalm 129, in much the same spirit, remembers Israel’s manifold
sufferings at the hands of many foes and petitions vindictively for
revenge. On the other hand 125 recalls Yahwe’s goodness in restoring the
nation from exile and pleads with confidence for a further manifestation
of his favor; while in 123 the contempt of the rich and the proud causes
the pious to look with humble and childlike confidence to the God of
mercy.

Undoubtedly greater far than any of the preceding psalms is Psalm 90,
which, transcending the limitations of the nation and the sect, laments
the brevity and troubled nature of human life, and pleads for some
knowledge of the plan of the eternal God, some permanency for human
effort, some small measure of happiness in life’s brief day.

To this group of national prayers of lamentation and petition ought
possibly to be added Psalm 67. There is here, to be sure, no lament, but
verses 2 and 3 are a petition for the coming of Yahwe’s salvation to
earth, and verses 4, 5, and 6 may also be understood as a petition for
the establishment of divine government upon earth:

  May peoples praise Thee, O God;
  May all peoples praise Thee.
  May nations be glad and sing for joy.
  For thou shalt judge peoples righteously
  And govern nations upon earth.

Verses 7 and 8 are then simply a positive expression of confidence that
the prayer just uttered is to be answered and God’s supreme blessing
received. The psalm is not then an eschatological hymn of praise, but
rather an eschatological prayer.

Psalms 20 and 72 have distinctive positions in this group, since each
offers up a petition in behalf of the king. In Psalm 20 the king had
apparently presented his offerings and sacrifices at the sanctuary, and
the priest prays, in verses 2-6 that God will remember the king’s
sacrifices and grant him help in the day of trouble and all his hearts
desires. Naturally, in the case of a king, the chief concern is that he
should be victorious over his enemies whenever war should come. In verse
7 the priest, possibly informed by some sign that the sacrifice had
indeed been accepted by Yahwe, gives positive assurance that the prayer
has been answered:

  Now I know that Yahwe will save his anointed.

Verse 8 reaffirms faith in Yahwe as mightier than horse or chariot,
while verse 9 again predicts victory over the enemy. The psalm concludes
in verse 10, as it began, with a petition for the king.

Psalm 72 might be fitted into the coronation service, being then the
prayer offered for a just and successful reign. This would mean
translating the successive sentences of the psalm from verse 1 to verse
11 and from verse 15 to verse 17 as petitions. Thus verse 2 would be
translated:

  May he judge thy people with righteousness
  And thy poor with justice.

and other verses correspondingly. This psalm is then in no sense a psalm
of lamentation, but it seems to be a psalm of petition in behalf of the
king who is about to begin his reign.

The remaining thirty-seven Psalms of Lamentation, or almost one-fourth
of the Psalter, arise out of the distress of the individual. The most
common misfortune is sickness (Psalms 13, 6, 88, 70, 39, 77, and 102),
accordingly the petition is that the afflicted one may be saved from
death by Yahwe’s merciful power.

Together with sickness there is usually the bitter complaint against the
wicked enemies (Psalms 3, 13, 70, 64, 140, 7, 55, and 109). It is of
course altogether understandable that men should be alienated from a
sick person, regarding him as justly smitten of God and afflicted, and
that such men should in turn be regarded by the sick man as enemies. It
is also possible that in some instances, as in Psalms 22 and 69, it may
be a matter of religious persecution. On the other hand the language
used in a number of psalms (13, 70, 64, 140, 7, 55, 57, 59, and 109)
rather strongly suggests that the enemies are practicers of black magic,
an art familiar to every land unilluminated by modern scientific
knowledge.

Yet in a considerable number of these psalms it is Yahwe himself who has
sent the affliction. When this is the case the psalmist may do either of
two things: he may acknowledge his misfortune to be just punishment for
his sin, and accordingly petition for forgiveness and deliverance
(Psalms 38, 88, 39, and 102); or he may affirm his innocence and demand
deliverance as a matter of justice (Psalms 26, 7, 17, 59, and 71).

Of all the individual psalms of lamentation, unquestionably the three
finest are 51, 42-43, and 130. Psalm 51 has but one single clause
referring to physical distress! “that the bones which thou hast broken
may rejoice,” and is remarkable for its profound consciousness of guilt,
and its strong conviction that cleansing and regeneration and the
righteous life can only be achieved by divine mercy and divine
redemptive power. As for Psalms 42-43, there is expressed in language of
haunting beauty, both an intense thirst for the presence of God, and the
awakening realization of a something of superior worth in man that can
only be satisfied by the experience of God. This would seem to be the
road along which the Hebrew ultimately arrived at the consciousness of
his own supreme worth and immortality. Yet possibly the rarest of these
psalms both for simplicity of expression and depth of religious insight
is 130. The psalmist, who “waits for God more than they who watch for
the morning” has an amazingly profound consciousness of sin expressed in
the words:

  If iniquities thou should’st record, O Yahwe,
  Lord who could stand ...

and likewise a sublime conception of God’s mercy:

  But with Thee is forgiveness
  That Thou mays’t be revered.


                  Psalms of Testimony and Thanksgiving

Corresponding to the Psalms of Lamentation and Petition are the Psalms
of Testimony and Thanksgiving. The afflicted community or individual
which has, in answer to its petition to Yahwe, experienced deliverance
is obligated to give public expression to its gratitude for Yahwe’s
salvation. Such psalms may be expected to tell the story of the
affliction, the appeal for divine help, and the deliverance. Furthermore
it is altogether natural for any people with a national and a religious
consciousness to look back through the years and the centuries and to
give thanks for the favors manifested by Deity to the fathers.
Originally the first words of such psalms may well have been: “Give
thanks to Yahwe” or “I will give thanks to Yahwe.”

It is best to begin with the individual psalms of thanksgiving, since
the individual experience of affliction and deliverance recurs with
little change from age to age, and the individual psalm of thanksgiving
accordingly approximates more nearly than the national the original
type. The individual psalms of thanksgiving in the Psalter are 116, 30,
32, 138, 66, 21, 18, 118, and 103.

Psalm 116 is the testimony of a man who has been sick unto death. In
anguish and despair he prayed: “O Yahwe save my life.” Yahwe heard his
prayer, restored him to health, and accordingly he is in the temple to
pay his vows, to offer up his sacrifices of thanksgiving and to give his
testimony in the presence of all Yahwe’s people.

Again Psalm 30 is the testimony of a man who had once been very
prosperous, but who by the loss of Yahwe’s favor had been brought low.
Near unto death, he cried unto Yahwe, pleading that his death could not
profit the Deity since the dead in Sheol praise not God. Yahwe saved his
life to the end that he might praise and give thanks to his God
continually.

Psalm 32 is in form and content quite similar to the teaching or wisdom
psalms. Here, however, the teaching is based on a personal experience of
deliverance from sickness, and the teaching is itself a testimony of
gratitude for recovery. In his distress this psalmist made confession of
his sin. Yahwe forgave and healed him. Jonah 2:3-10 is likewise a psalm
of thanksgiving. The afflicted one at the point of death made his prayer
and his vow. That prayer came to Yahwe in his sanctuary and he was
saved. Accordingly he offered to Yahwe the sacrifice of thanksgiving.

Psalms 138 and 66 do not state the nature of the deliverance for which
they give thanks, but the author of 66 follows time honored custom by
offering an actual animal sacrifice at the sanctuary in fulfillment of
his vow. Psalms 18 and 118 express the gratitude of two national leaders
for deliverance from great peril.

The difficulty of deciding with certainty to which group a number of
psalms belong is illustrated by Psalm 21. Verses 2 and 8 are addressed
to Yahwe and express the king’s devotion to his God, while verses 3-7
describe the goodness of Yahwe to the king. Yahwe had bestowed upon him
the crown, had given him length of days, and had maintained him in
security and honor upon his throne. Verses 9-13 are addressed to the
king, probably by the priest, and promise the king complete victory over
his enemies. The concluding verse 14 addressed to Yahwe:

  Be exalted, O Yahwe in thy strength
    We will sing and praise thy Power.

This verse has the form of a petition, but its formal language amounts
to an ascription of praise. The psalm then does not in the main utter a
petition, nor express faith in Deity, but is rather an expression of
thanksgiving and may well have been originally used in the celebration
of an anniversary of the king’s ascension to the throne.

The classic individual psalm of thanksgiving in the Psalter is 103.
Though it is here an individual who calls upon his soul to bless Yahwe,
yet there is little that is personal about the psalm, for the psalmist
identifies himself with his fellow Israelites and for that matter with
universal humanity. Also there is little to distinguish this psalm of
thanksgiving from the hymn of praise. The psalmist does not refer in
verses 3-5, nor anywhere else, to any single individual personal
concrete experience of Jehovah’s salvation, and the psalm is not in that
sense a psalm of testimony. Yet exhortation to “forget not all His
benefits,” the mention at the very outset of the psalm of the healing of
diseases; linking of this healing with the forgiveness of sin as in the
psalms of lamentation; the enumeration of Yahwe’s gracious favors to
man; all these are calculated to call forth gratitude, and it is
actually as a psalm of thanksgiving that the readers of the Bible have
always regarded it. Notable in the psalm is the conception of the all
but limitless mercy of God; the comparison of God’s compassion to that
of an earthly father’s, the emphasis upon the eternity of God in
contrast to the frail mortality of man and the fact that God’s mercy is
extended to successive generations of men.

The transition to the national psalms of thanksgiving is splendidly made
by Psalm 107. This might perhaps be called a liturgical psalm of
thanksgiving. Verses 1-3 are clearly introductory. There is the general
call to thanksgiving in verse 1:

  Give thanks unto Yahwe for he is good,
  For his mercy endureth forever.

Then in verses 2 and 3 the call is directed especially to the
representatives of the Diaspora who by divine mercy have returned from
all lands to Zion. The service of thanksgiving proper falls into four
parts. The author has selected the four most wonderful deliverances of
which he has knowledge; the deliverance of travelers hopelessly lost in
the great desert; the deliverance of men who for their rebellion against
God had been fettered and cast into prison; the deliverance of the sick
who for their iniquities had been brought to the gates of death; the
deliverance of sailors from a terrible storm on the much-dreaded sea. We
may suppose that processions representing each of these groups came
forward in the temple, while their stories were being told—possibly by a
soloist—after which the chorus summoned them to give thanks, adding to
the refrain a couplet suitable to each group. The psalm concludes with a
hymn of praise to the God who manifests his power both over nature and
over the affairs of men.

The National Psalms of Thanksgiving in the Psalter are fewer in number
than the individual and further removed from the original type. This may
be because national escapes from peril are rarer and more difficult to
celebrate; and as they become more remote in time, the few psalms of
thanksgiving that have been written to celebrate those deliverances have
less and less interest for the public, and correspondingly less
suitability for public worship, and so are lost. In the Psalter we have
in addition to Psalm 107, Psalms 124, 136, 114, 124, and 65. Of these
Psalm 124 is the only one which could be supposed to have been composed
to celebrate a recent deliverance. On the one hand the language is
general and the figures of speech are familiar, but on the other hand
there is a spontaneity, simplicity and power of expression that suggest
a recent experience of escape from great peril. This is especially true
of verse 7.

Likewise delightful for its originality of literary form is Psalm 114.
It celebrates in poetic and dramatic language the triumphant crossing of
the Red Sea and the Jordan. Obviously it is looking back at these events
through the media of legend and myth, and verse 2 makes it clear that
the poem can not be earlier than the division of the kingdom.
Nevertheless the author is so thrilled by the stories that have come
down to him that his poem possesses amazing spontaneity and power.

In contrast with the two preceding poems, Psalms 136 and 105 are highly
stereotyped. Every second line in 136 is the refrain: “For his mercy
endureth forever” and the psalm was therefor probably written for public
rendition. Both psalms deal with the theme so dear to the Hebrew heart,
Yahwe’s gift to the fathers of the land of Canaan, and both retell
something of the biblical story of the patriarchs, the deliverance from
Egypt, and the conquest.

Psalm 65 seems to be essentially a psalm of harvest thanksgiving. It
accompanies the payment of vows (verse 2). Verses 2-5 are introductory,
announcing the presence of the worshipers at the sanctuary. Verses 6-9
express faith in the God of land and sea, while verses 10-14 accredit to
him the increase of the fields and the flocks. The psalms of testimony
and thanksgiving pass over naturally into the hymns of praise, but as
the hymns form the chief object of this study their treatment is
postponed until the next chapter.


                            Psalms of Faith

Out of the experience of affliction as expressed in the psalms of
lamentation and petition, and out of the further experience of
deliverance as expressed in the psalms of testimony and thanksgiving,
develops a serene faith and confidence over against the perplexities,
the perils, and the conflicts of life. One characteristic element in the
Psalm of Lamentation and Petition is the affirmation of faith in Yahwe.
That affirmation of faith gradually develops until it becomes the entire
theme of the psalm. This development can be traced to some extent in the
psalms themselves. It is well to begin with Psalm 9, for while it
expresses predominatingly confidence, yet it petitions at some length
for Yahwe’s help against Israel’s enemies. Psalm 27 makes a much
stronger affirmation of faith in Yahwe and a correspondingly briefer
petition for divine protection; while Psalms 4 and 16, expressing quiet
confidence in Yahwe, have only the very briefest appeals for his
assistance. Psalms 11, 62, 63, and 92 still recognize the presence of
enemies, but all are confident that their wicked foes must perish, while
the faithful will experience Yahwe’s blessing.

The classic expressions of faith in Yahwe, however, are Psalms 23, 131,
121, and 91. Psalm 23:1-4 conceives of God under the figure of a
shepherd, who gives to his own food, drink, guidance, protection. With
the thought of danger in verse 4 the psalmist apparently felt the need
of a stronger figure of speech to express his perfect security and good
fortune, so in verse 5 he conceives of God as his host. God is providing
for him most generously and he is confident that he will be the happy
guest of God for the rest of his days.

Psalm 131 is of rarest beauty in its simplicity. This psalmist is aware
that there are problems which he cannot solve by reason, and which might
be permitted to harass his soul. Not in presumptuous pride, but in
sincere humility, he simply trusts Yahwe, with a mind as free from
protest as that of a weaned child in its mother’s arms.

Psalm 121 and more especially Psalm 91 seem to be liturgical in
character. In Psalm 121, verse 1, the psalmist recognizes his need of
help and that the help must come from Deity. Many of his fellow
countrymen had through the centuries uncritically sought help from the
gods of the high places. This psalmist asks with intense yearning and
earnestness whence his help is to come. In verse 2 he answers his own
question:

  My help cometh from the Lord,
  Maker of heaven and earth.

It is perhaps a question whether verses 3-8 are a soliloquy, or whether
they are addressed to the psalmist by the priest. In either case the
psalmist has the assurance that Israel’s God, who neither slumbers nor
sleeps, will keep him everywhere and at all times, secure from evil.

In Psalm 91, verses 1 and 2 state the general truth that the man who
trusts God is happy:

  Blessed is the man, who dwelleth in the secret place of the most High,
        Who abideth under the shadow of the Almighty,
        Who saith of Yahwe, “My refuge and my fortress,
        My God in whom I trust.”

The verses 3-13 bring to the psalmist the assurance, presumably from
God’s spokesman, the priest, that Yahwe will keep him under his constant
protection, and that he need fear no peril however great. Finally in
verses 14-16 the assurance is confirmed by a divine oracle, the voice of
God, promising the psalmist deliverance from every trouble, long life
and honor.

Among these psalms of faith ought certainly to be included Psalm 46.
Although this psalm does not contemplate any present situation in life,
it looks forward with confidence to the turmoil and conflict, that in
the last days will precede Yahwe’s final victory and subsequent reign of
righteousness and peace. The psalm is written, not from an individual
but from a national point of view. Its motive is sounded forth in the
refrain which occurs at verse 8 and verse 12, and which undoubtedly
ought to be inserted after verse 4 to divide the psalm into three equal
sections:

  Yahwe of Hosts is with us,
  A fortress for us is the God of Jacob.

It may accordingly be described as a national eschatological psalm of
faith.

The psalm opens with the strong profession of faith of verse 2:

  God is for us refuge and strength,
  In troubles he proves himself help indeed.

Verses 3 and 4 introduce us to the dread and terrifying phenomena of the
last days; yet are not the believers in Yahwe afraid:

  Therefore will we not fear though the earth tremble,
  And the mountains sink down into the heart of the sea.
  Let its waters roar and rage,
  Let the mountains shake with its violence;
  Yahwe of hosts is with us,
  A fortress for us is the God of Jacob.

The second division, verses 5-7, pictures the serenity of the new
Jerusalem already enjoying what the old Jerusalem lacked, a river
flowing through its midst, and protected by God in this great hour while
the hostile nations rage without its walls. Finally the third division,
verses 9-11, invites us to behold the evidence of the complete and final
defeat of the enemies of God, the bows snapped, the spears broken, and
the chariots burning up in fire. Also one is to hear the voice of God
claiming forevermore his rightful and supreme sovereignty among the
nations of the earth.

Unique among the psalms of confidence is Psalm 139. The psalmist
marvels, in verses 1-6, at Yahwe’s complete knowledge of his earthly
life; in verses 7-12, at the omnipresent power of Deity, from which
there is no escape; in verses 14-16, at the divine wisdom manifested in
the creation of the psalmist’s body and the complete determining of his
life’s course, in verse 17 at the innumerable thoughts and purposes of
God. Verses 19-22 descend to the commonplace in petitioning for the
death of the wicked while the concluding verses 23-24 ask God that his
heart be searched for the discovery of wrong and that he be divinely
guided in the right way. It is perhaps possible to regard verses 1-18 as
an expression of faith in Yahwe, introductory to the petitions 19-24 and
so class the poem as a psalm of lamentation and petition, but the verses
1-18 seem to be relatively so much more important that it seems wiser to
regard it as a psalm of faith.


                       Teaching or Wisdom Psalms

There is a natural line of development from the psalm of faith to what
may perhaps be called teaching or wisdom psalms. The believing psalmist
assumes that God is in complete control of all the circumstances of
life, and is convinced that God will protect him from all evil and give
him success. This assumption of faith then becomes for many the all
important, fundamental law of life, and as such it must needs be taught
to youth. Thus doubtless originated the wisdom psalms; of which we have
in the Psalter 1, 112, 34, 78, 127, 128, 133, 125, 73, 37, 49.

Psalm 1 is a splendid type of the wisdom psalm, since it begins with the
characteristic opening words: “Blessed is the man,” and then sets forth
the qualities of the good man and claims for him success, while it
asserts for the wicked certain condemnation and ruin. Psalms 112 and 34
are also characteristic wisdom psalms, confined however in the
artificial limitations of alphabetical acrostics. Psalm 78 teaches the
same lesson as to the secret of success from history, recalling how
Yahwe had again and again punished disobedience and rewarded obedience
until he finally rejected Ephraim and accepted Judah, and chose David to
be his servant.

If there were in Israel wise men, such as the author of Ecclesiastes,
who taught that all life was vanity, there were other wise men such as
the author of Psalm 127 who taught that while all human effort without
God’s cooperation was vain, yet life with God’s cooperation was certain
of happiness. God does give his help to man, and one of his very best
gifts is children. Again 128 gives the assurance that he who walks in
Yahwe’s ways will enjoy the fruits of his labor, and in happiness see
his children and children’s children round about him. Psalm 133 pays
simple and charming tribute to the joy of human fellowship.

The assertion that the righteous always prosper and that the wicked
suffer misfortune was inevitably challenged by the sceptics and scorned
by the scoffers, who mocked the believing psalmist in his distress
saying: “Where is now your God?” It became necessary therefore to deal
with this problem on the basis of the facts of life, and we get
accordingly a somewhat different type of wisdom psalm. Psalm 125
testifies to the existence of this problem. Verses 1 and 2, to be sure,
affirm the security of the righteous. Verse 3, however, attempts to
justify the affirmation of the preceding verses by a rational argument.
If the righteous were not certain to prosper in the world, why should
men be righteous? Would not the righteous become wicked and the moral
foundations of life crumble? The petition in verses 4 and 5 requesting
Yahwe’s favor for the good and his punishment for the wicked, while
properly no part of a teaching psalm, are further recognition that
actually certain of the facts of life contradict the psalmist’s theory.
Nevertheless, his own conviction is expressed in verse 1:

  They who trust in Yahwe are as Mount Zion
  Which cannot be moved but abideth forever.

Psalm 73 is the teaching of one who wrestled with this same problem of
the theodicy. Verse 1 is an assertion of his faith:

  Yes God is good to Israel
  To those who are pure of heart.

But verses 2-20 tell how nearly the psalmist came to losing that faith
as he saw the wicked prosper, while he himself suffered misfortunes, and
how he recovered his faith with the conviction that the prosperity of
the wicked was but temporary and their ultimate doom certain. Verses
23-28 are accordingly an assertion of the psalmist’s devotion to Yahwe
as in a psalm of faith, but the main thesis of the psalm is stated in
verse 1, and so may therefore be best grouped with the wisdom psalms.

Psalm 37 is composed in stanzas of four lines, the first letters of the
first lines of the stanzas spelling out the alphabet. The author of the
psalm is an old man who gives warning against fretting over the
prosperity of the wicked, and who affirms on the basis of his long
experience of life, that, while the prosperity of the wicked is
short-lived, God never forsakes the righteous. The use of the acrostic
form may itself be taken as evidence of this psalmist’s unquestioning
belief in the above dogma.

The author of Psalm 49 has no certain promise of prosperity for the
righteous, nor does he threaten the wicked with premature death, but he
does smile at their fatuous confidence, since death must surely overtake
them. Therefore he does not let their possession of wealth trouble him
because it cannot be taken to Sheol. On the other hand there seems to be
just a suggestion in verse 16 that God can relieve the pious from the
grasp of death:

  Surely God will redeem my life from the power of Sheol
  For he will receive me.



                               Chapter II
                    HEBREW SANCTUARY HYMNS OF PRAISE


The hymn of praise is very similar to the psalm of thanksgiving. Indeed
it is sometimes difficult to decide in which category a psalm belongs,
as in the case of Psalm 103. The fundamental difference is that the
psalm of thanksgiving expresses gratitude while the hymn of praise
expresses adoration. The psalm of thanksgiving testifies to that which
has actually been experienced, the hymn of praise voices enthusiasm for
the wisdom and power and goodness that are in God. The psalm of
thanksgiving is thus in its nature subjective, conscious of what the
psalmist has experienced, while the genuine hymn is objective,
forgetting self in adoration of Deity.

The question of the nature of the hymn of praise is involved with the
question of its origin. Praise did not in the beginning burst forth
spontaneously from the human heart. Religion arose out of a
consciousness of need, and a feeling that there was a power to meet that
need. In Babylonia, as in India and elsewhere the hymn of praise is
often but little more than an introduction to a petition. The singer
tells the Deity that He is wise and then asks for wisdom; or strong and
asks for strength, or rich and asks for material blessings. Praise is
suspiciously close to flattery and far from disinterested. In Israel
also it is believed that the Deity desires praise. There is no profit
for Yahwe in the death of the psalmist, since the dead praise not Yahwe.
But in Israel praise is not a mere preliminary to a petition. The Old
Testament psalmist does not praise God and then ask for favors. Almost
no hymns are found in the psalter followed by what can actually be
called a petition. The Hebrew hymn of praise has passed beyond that
stage of development. As the expression of faith in Deity in the psalm
of lamentation developed into the independent psalm of faith, so the
words of praise that once introduced the petition for help have
developed into the independent hymn of praise. Nor is the Old Testament
hymn of praise just an expression of gratitude for the divine favors
received; with or without anticipation of favors to come. The hymn of
praise is not a mere variant of the psalm of gratitude. The hymn of
praise has transcended the human experience of need and deliverance and
forgets the self in adoration of Deity. Praise is an end in itself,
desired of God, and necessary for the human spirit.

The first home of the hymn of praise, in the light of all that is known
of the development of religion, must undoubtedly have been the
sanctuary. This judgment is confirmed by the testimony of the Old
Testament psalms:

  Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Zion.
                                                            —Psalm 65:2.

  Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
  And into his courts with praise.
                                                           —Psalm 100:4.

  Praise him ye servants of Yahwe,
  Ye who stand in the house of Yahwe.
                                                        —Psalm 135:1, 2.

  Sing unto Yahwe a new song,
  His praise in the congregation of saints.
                                                           —Psalm 149:1.

  Behold bless ye Yahwe, ye servants of Yahwe,
  Who by night stand in the house of Yahwe.
                                                           —Psalm 134:1.

  I will praise Yahwe with my whole heart,
  In the assembly of the upright and the congregation.
                                                           —Psalm 111:1.

Such pious Hebrews as the authors of Psalms 42-43 and 84 longed for the
sanctuary because it was preëminently the place for worship and praise.
Typical sanctuary hymns of praise are Psalms 150, 148, 147, 146, 145,
111, 135, 117, 113, 33, 115.

The external form of the hymn of praise is very simple. It is introduced
by the call to praise, originally addressed by the priesthood of the
sanctuary to the worshippers. The characteristic form of the call was:
“Praise ye Yahwe,” “Hallelujah.” So Miriam called upon her Hebrew
sisters to praise Yahwe when the victory had been gained at the Sea of
Reeds over Pharaoh’s forces:

  Praise ye Yahwe, for he hath triumphed;
  Horse and rider hath he thrown into the sea.
                                                          —Exodus 15:21.

This call to praise was followed by the body of the hymn setting forth
in participial phrases, adjectival clauses, or independent sentences the
reasons why men should praise Yahwe. Then the hymn was rounded out in
good symmetrical form with the same concluding call to
praise:—“Hallelujah.”

While the above is the standard form of the hymn, a few psalms repeat
the call to praise at intervals throughout the psalm, creating somewhat
the impression of a union of little hymns. Thus Psalm 147 is in three
parts each introduced by a call to praise. Part I has the call to praise
in verse 1, and the reasons for praise in verses 2-6. Part II has the
call to praise in verse 7 and the reasons for praise in verses 8-11.
Part III has the call to praise in verse 12 and the reasons for praise
in verses 13-20. The whole hymn then concludes with “Hallelujah.”
Likewise Psalm 148 is in two parts. Part I has the call to praise in
verses 1-5a, and the reasons for praise in verse 5b and verse 6. Part II
has the call to praise in verses 7-13a, and the reasons for praise in
verses 13bc and 14abc. Again there is a concluding “Hallelujah.”

It is worth observing that in general the Old Testament hymn of praise
speaks of Yahwe in the third person. Human being calls upon human being
to praise Yahwe, and human being tells human being why Yahwe is worthy
to be praised. Hymns which thus use the third person exclusively are
Psalms 150, 149, 148, 147, 146, 134, 117, 113, 111, 100, 98, 96, 95, 47,
29, 24, 19:2-5b; 19:5c-7. Yahwe is addressed in the second person in the
following verses: Psalm 135:13; Psalm 97:9; Psalm 99:3, 8; Psalm 115:1,
2; Psalm 93:2, 3, 5. The second and third persons are used in about
equal degree in Psalm 68, 145, 194, while Psalms 8, 84, 67 use the
second person exclusively. Now the use of the second person is of course
characteristic of prayer. The fact therefore that in the standard Hebrew
hymn of praise the third person is used, because Hebrew is calling upon
his fellow Hebrew to Praise Yahwe, testifies rather powerfully to the
social and democratic character of worship in Israel.

Taking up now the three divisions of the Hebrew hymn in order, it is to
be noticed that the call to praise has undergone certain changes in the
wording. While in the great majority of the hymns the call to praise is
“Hallelujah” in Psalm 134 the call is: “Bless ye Yahwe”; and in Psalm
100 all the land is bidden: “Shout to Yahwe”; and in Psalm 33 the
righteous are called upon to: “Rejoice in Yahwe.” Most impressive
perhaps of all the calls to praise is that of Psalm 29, where the
summons is addressed to the residents of heaven:

  Ascribe to Yahwe, ye gods,
  Ascribe to Yahwe glory and strength.

Again, when it is an individual who sings his hymn of praise, he must
either address deity in the first person, as in Psalm 145:1:

  I will extol thee, my God, O King;
  And I will bless thy name for ever and ever;

or he must call upon himself to praise Yahwe as in Psalm 146:1:

  Praise Yahwe, O my soul.

Still further variation from the standard form is found, when the call
to praise takes the form of a petition to Yahwe, a petition however
which is really an ascription of glory to him. This occurs very
beautifully in Psalm 115:1:

  Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
  But unto thy name give glory.

So also in Psalms 67 and 68, the petitions of the opening verses are
really that God will glorify his own name, and the petitions merge
altogether naturally into the calls to praise that follow.

The calls to praise in the various hymns, however they vary, yet bear
eloquent testimony to the enthusiasm which animated the Hebrew hymns.
They were sung not only to the accompaniment of many musical
instruments, but also with dancing. The singing was not limited to
sanctuary choirs, but was participated in by the entire concourse of
people. The call to praise goes out to those in the sanctuary Psalm
150:1; to priests, Levites, Israelites, proselytes Psalm 135:19ff; to
Jerusalem Psalm 147:12; to all nations Psalm 117; to everything that
hath breath Psalm 150:6; to all things animate and inanimate in heaven
and earth Psalm 148.

The reasons given in the body of the hymns why men should praise Yahwe
naturally vary somewhat. However one predominant reason is that God in
wisdom and power created the entire physical universe as it was visible
to the ancient Hebrew; the firmament with sun, moon and stars, and the
waters above the firmament; the earth and everything upon the earth, and
the waters beneath the earth. It is Yahwe who causeth the winds to blow,
and the lightnings to flash, and hail and snow and rain to fall upon the
earth; it is Yahwe who causeth all vegetation to grow, and giveth
increase to the flock, and sustaineth life in everything that breatheth.
(Psalms 148:5-6; 147:4, 8, 15-18; 146:6; 135:6, 7; 115:15; 104:2-32;
68:10, and 29:3-10.)

A second almost equally prominent reason for praising Yahwe is for his
wisdom, might, and goodness revealed in his dealings with Israel. He had
chosen the race for his own, had redeemed it from the power of Egypt,
had revealed unto it his will in laws, statutes and commandments, had
led it safely through the great desert, and had given it possession of
the land of Canaan. (Psalms 148:14; 147:2,13,20; 135:4,9-12; 33:12.) It
is noteworthy that little attention is given to the return from exile,
partly, perhaps, because it may have been easier to see the hand of God
in remote history, and partly because the return from Babylon and the
subsequent history were not themes to create hymnal enthusiasm. On the
other hand Israel did, as it will appear, look toward the future for
Yahwe’s final and most glorious participation in human affairs.

A third potent reason for praising Yahwe is because of his merciful help
extended to the weak and lowly on the earth, the widow, the orphan and
the stranger, the oppressed and the troubled. Especially is he to be
praised, because he saves the righteous and destroys the wicked. (Psalms
147:3; 146:7-9; 145:14, 18-20; 113:6-9; 103:13; 33:18-20; 68:6.)

Again the psalmist praises Yahwe for what he is in himself. His
greatness is unsearchable. He is high above all Gods. His understanding
is infinite. He is gracious and full of compassion. He is righteous in
all his ways and holy in all his works. He is good, his mercy is
everlasting and his faithfulness is extended to generation after
generation. His name is holy and to be revered. (Psalms 150:2; 147:5;
146:7-9; 135:3, 5; 113:4; 111:4, 9; 100:5.)

Yet another reason for praising Yahwe is that he stands in such contrast
to the gold and silver idols of the nations, which are the work of men’s
hands, and powerless to see or hear or help. (Psalms 135:15-17;
115:4-8.) Likewise Yahwe is an infinitely more reliable and potent
source of help than the mortal human prince who goeth so soon to the
grave and whose thoughts and plans then perish forever. (Psalm 146:3,
4.)

As the hymns in praise of Yahwe quite fittingly begin with Hallelujah
“Praise ye Yahwe,” so also the great majority of them come to a
conclusion with “Hallelujah.” (Psalms 150, 149, 148, 147, 146, 135, 117,
115, 113, 104.) There are a few hymns which have not the Hallelujah at
the close (Psalms 29, 33, 111, 145), but these are not typical hymns.
Psalms 29 and 33 do not use “Hallelujah” in the opening call to praise,
while 111 and 145 are individual and alphabetical hymns of praise, in
which “Hallelujah” could not well be made an integral part of the hymn.
On the other hand a number of hymns have a longer and stronger
concluding call to praise than the simple “Hallelujah”:

  Let everything that breatheth praise Yahwe.
  Praise ye Yahwe.
                                                           —Psalm 150:6.

  The praise of Yahwe shall my mouth speak;
  And let all flesh bless his holy name
  For ever and ever.
                                                          —Psalm 145:21.

  The dead praise not Yahwe,
  Nor any who go down into silence;
  But as for us we will praise Yahwe
  Both now and evermore;
  Praise ye Yahwe.
                                                      —Psalm 115:17, 18.

  House of Israel, bless ye Yahwe;
  House of Aaron, bless ye Yahwe;
  House of Levi, bless ye Yahwe;
  Worshippers of Yahwe, bless ye Yahwe;
  Blessed by Yahwe from Zion who inhabits Jerusalem;
  Praise ye Yahwe.
                                                       —Psalm 135:19-21.

Such in general is the sanctuary hymn of praise, but each of the hymns
in this group (Psalms 150, 148, 147, 135, 113, 145, 111, 146, 115, 33,
117) merits or demands at least brief individual mention. Of all these
Psalm 150 deserves to be mentioned first because its position at the end
of the psalter may be accepted as strong testimony of the great
importance attached to praise in the worship of Israel. The psalm also
merits consideration for its own sake because of the clarity and
symmetry of its arrangement:

Call to praise Yahwe (verse 1a); where praise Yahwe (verse 1bc);
wherefore praise Yahwe (verse 2); wherewith praise Yahwe (verses 3, 4,
5); concluding call to praise Yahwe (verse 6).

Psalm 148 is particularly notable for the universality of its call to
praise. Verses 1-5 call upon everybody and everything in the heavens
above to praise Yahwe, while verses 7-13 call to his praise everything
and everybody on the earth beneath including:

  Kings of the earth, and all people;
  Princes, and all judges of the earth;
  Both young men and maidens;
  Old men and children.

After the tremendous universality of this call to praise, the brevity of
the body of the hymn, with the reference to Yahwe’s supreme glory on the
one hand, and the reference to his goodness to Israel on the other hand,
is very effective:

  Let them praise the name of Yahwe,
  For his name alone is supreme.
  His glory is above earth and heaven,
  And he hath given victory to his people.
  The praise is he of all his faithful ones,
  Even of the Israelites, the people near to him,
  Praise ye Yahwe.

Psalm 147 is a splendid example of the union of three little hymns in
one composition. The absence of a concluding call to praise is
surprising; it has doubtless been lost in process of transmission.

Psalm 135 has a number of little variations from the ordinary usage of
the hymns. Verses 1 and 2 are a typical call to praise:

  Praise ye Yahwe;
  Praise ye the name of Yahwe;
  Praise him, ye servants of Yahwe,
  Ye who stand in the house of Yahwe,
  In the courts of the house of our God.

But then verses 3 and 4 are two little hymns in themselves:

  Praise Yahwe; for Yahwe is good.
  Sing praises unto him, for he is gracious,
  For Yahwe hath chosen Jacob for himself,
  And Israel is his treasure.

With verse 5 one would expect a renewed call to praise, as for example:

  Praise Yahwe for Yahwe is great,

but instead of the call to praise there is substituted an affirmation of
faith:

  For we know that Yahwe is great,
  And our Lord above all gods.

Verses 6-12 proceed in normal course reciting the greatness of Yahwe in
creation and in history, but verse 13 contains its surprise, for the
third person is exchanged for the second and Yahwe is directly
addressed:

  Thy name, O Yahwe, endureth for ever,
  Thy remembrance, O Yahwe, to all generations.

The second person is the natural usage of prayer, and the subject of
verse 14 would have been appropriate for petition:

  For Yahwe will deliver his people,
  And he will show mercy to his servants.

Possibly this very fact accounts for the use of the second person in
verse 13. The thought of rescue naturally suggests the idea of the idol
worship of the oppressors (verses 15-18), and the contrast between the
impotent idols and Yahwe lends enthusiasm to the mighty concluding call
to praise (verses 19-21).

In this group of sanctuary hymns, Psalm 113 undoubtedly deserves a
unique place. The call to praise is distinctive both for its sublimity
of conception and the beauty of the language:

  Praise ye Yahwe;
  Praise, ye servants of Yahwe,
  Praise the name of Yahwe.
  Blessed be the name of Yahwe
  Now and evermore;
  From the rising of the sun to its going down
  Yahwe’s name is to be praised.
                                                            —Verses 1-3.

However the rarest beauty and chiefest charm of this hymn is in the
unexpected contrast between the Yahwe exalted high above all nations and
Yahwe stooping from on high to the poorest and weakest of the earth.
There is here a beautiful illustration of the characteristic Hebrew
tendency to make truth concrete, in the case of the childless wife whom
Yahwe remembers, and saves from being divorced, causing her to remain at
home the joyful mother of children:

  High above all nations is Yahwe;
  Above the heavens his glory.
  Who is like Yahwe our God,
  Who dwelling in high heaven,
  Stoopeth to look upon the earth?
  He raiseth up poor men from the dust;
  From the dung hill he lifteth needy men,
  To seat them beside princes.
  Even with the princes of his people.
  He causeth the barren woman to live at home
  The mother of children joyful.
  Praise ye Yahwe.

It is safe to say that no greater hymn of praise is to be found in the
psalter than Psalm 100. It is great in its originality, clarity, and
strength. It is addressed to the congregation entering the temple, and
though not sung by the procession might yet be called a processional
hymn. It is perhaps a question how wide the application of verse 1 is,
whether the call to praise goes out to all the earth and all humanity,
or whether the call is intended simply for all the land of Palestine.
Verses 3 and 4 seem to make it reasonably clear that the call to praise
is here meant not for humanity but for the Jewish people. The psalm is
not then an eschatological hymn as the wider application of verse 1
might suggest. The hymn falls into two divisions of almost equal
lengths, verses 1-3 and verses 4-5. In the first division verses 1 and 2
constitute the call to praise:

  Shout to Yahwe all the land:
  Serve Yahwe with gladness;
  Come in before him with singing.

Verse 3 makes up the body of the hymn in this division, and it is to be
noted that while the actual content of verse 3 is characteristic reason
for praise, yet the introduction of “Know ye” adds another to the
succession of imperatives in this psalm, increases its strength, and is
reminiscent of the fact that there were requirements for those who would
enter Yahwe’s temple as Psalm 24:3-5 makes clear:

  Know ye that Yahwe is God:
  It is He who hath made us, and we are
  His people and sheep of his pasture.

In the second division verse 4 is the call to praise:

  Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
  His courts with praise;
  Be thankful to him, bless his name,

and verse 5 the body of the hymn:

  For good is Yahwe: unto everlasting his mercy
  And to all generations his faithfulness.

There is no further conclusion and assuredly none is needed.

Psalm 134 is a simple liturgical hymn of a night service in the
Jerusalem temple. Some one representing the congregation standing
without calls upon the priests in the sanctuary to lift up hands to the
Holy of Holies and bless Yahwe (verses 1-2). The priests from within
replying invoke Yahwe’s blessing upon the worshipper.

Another very beautiful liturgical hymn of praise is Psalm 24. Verses 1
and 2 are sung by the congregation approaching the sanctuary, and are
hymnal in character. Arrived at the sanctuary the question is asked, who
are worthy to enter Yahwe’s sanctuary (verse 3), and the answer is given
in verses 4, 5. These three verses belong to the category of the
teaching psalms. In verse 6 the congregation announces that it seeks the
God of Jacob. However the temple doors are closed and the congregation
demands that the gates be lifted up to permit the King of Glory to
enter, verse 7. Verse 8 brings the challenge from within the temple:
“Who is this king of glory?” and the answer is returned by the company
without: “Yahwe strong and mighty, Yahwe mighty in battle.” Again the
demand is made that the temple gates be lifted up (verse 9), but again
the challenge comes from within: “Who is this king of glory?” And now
the company returns the age-old title of the king, “Yahwe of hosts, he
is the king of glory,” and we are to understand that the gates did lift
up, and that the mighty God passed in.

It is clear that this liturgical hymn is made up of what were once
independent literary units. This is sufficiently obvious from the fact
that in verse 6 the worshipping company are seeking the deity’s
presence, as indeed is presupposed by verses 3-5, while in verses 7-10
the company is seeking entrance for Yahwe himself into the temple or
more probably into the city. The whole constitutes a noble liturgical
hymn of praise.

Psalms 111 and 145 have little claim to recognition other than that they
are alphabetical psalms, the twenty-two lines of 111 beginning with the
twenty-two successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet, while the first
lines of the twenty-two couplets of Psalm 145 likewise begin with the
twenty-two successive letters of the alphabet.

Psalm 146 opens in the characteristic style of an individual hymn of
praise:

  Praise ye Yahwe:
  Praise Yahwe, O my soul;
  While I live I will praise Yahwe;
  I will sing praises unto my God, while I exist.

Then, however, there are three verses in the manner of wisdom
literature, although introduced by verse 3 in the hortatory style of the
prophet:

  Trust ye not in princes,
  Nor in man in whom is no help:
  His breath goeth out, he returneth to his ground;
  In that day his thoughts perish.
  Happy is he who has Jacob’s God for his help,
  Whose hope is in Yahwe his God,
  Maker of heaven and earth.

Verses 6-9 give the standard reasons why men should praise Yahwe, and
verse 10 closes the hymn with that hopeful outlook for the future so
significant, and so characteristic of the Hebrew religion and the Hebrew
hymn of praise:

  Yahwe shall reign forever,
  Thy God, O Zion, unto all generations.
  Praise ye Yahwe.

Psalm 115 varies so widely from the standard hymn of praise that it is
just a question whether it belongs with the hymns, or with the psalms of
petition. As previously pointed out, the introductory call to praise
here takes on the form of a petition, fortified moreover as in prayers
of petition with reasons why Yahwe should answer it.

  Not to us, Yahwe, not to us,
  But to thy name give glory,
  For thy mercy’s sake, for thy truth’s sake.
  Why should the nations say,
  Where is their God?
                                                           —Verses 1, 2.

What would ordinarily be the body of the first division of the hymn
begins with verse 3 and runs on to verse 8 contrasting the God who is in
the heavens and who has power to do whatever he wills with the impotent
and useless idols of the nations (verses 3-8).

A new section clearly begins with verse 9. In a hymn proper verses 9-11
would constitute a renewed call to praise, but here they are a summons
to Israelites, priests, proselytes to trust Yahwe:

  Israel, trust in Yahwe:
  Their help and their shield is he.
  House of Aaron, trust in Yahwe;
  Their help and their shield is he.
  Worshippers of Yahwe, trust in Yahwe;
  Their help and their shield is he.

There follows in verses 12-14 not reasons why Yahwe should be trusted,
corresponding to the manner in which the body of a hymn gives reasons
why Yahwe should be praised, but rather a strong affirmation of
confidence, which again is a common feature of the prayer of petition.

  Yahwe remembers us and will bless,
  He will bless the house of Israel.
  He will bless the house of Aaron.
  He will bless the worshippers of Yahwe,
  The small with the great,

  Yahwe will increase you,
  You and your children.
  Blessed are ye of Yahwe,
  Maker of heaven and earth.

Finally where in verses 16-18 would ordinarily be expected a renewed
call to praise, we have here something that resembles the vow of a
prayer of petition, although it is hymnal to the extent that it promises
to praise Yahwe for evermore.

It ought also to be observed that the psalm has a number of features
that indicate it to be liturgical in character. Verses 1-8, it may be
supposed, were sung by the congregation made up of Israelites, and
proselytes, led by priests and Levites. Then verses 9-11 constitute an
antiphonal response to their petition, one choir singing: “O Israel,
trust in Yahwe,” while the second choir responded: “He is their help and
their shield.” The whole congregation that first sang verses 1-8 now
sings verses 12-13, and in reply to their affirmation of faith, the
temple choir gives the comforting assurance of Yahwe’s favor in verses
14-15. Then the congregation sings the hymnal vow of verses 16-18. It
remains accordingly a question whether we have in Psalm 115 a liturgical
hymn of praise, or a liturgical psalm of petition in which the hymnal
spirit and form has a prominent place.

Psalm 33 is also difficult of classification. Verses 1-3 are a typical
hymnal call to praise and verses 4-7 give customary reasons for praising
Yahwe. Then verse 8 issues a renewed call to worship Yahwe and verses
9-11 again give customary reasons for so doing. But when we arrive at
verse 12 we have the characteristic introduction to a wisdom psalm:

  Happy the nation whose God is Yahwe,
  The people he hath chosen for his inheritance.

and there follow in verses 13-19 the sententious utterances,
characteristic of the wisdom literature, teaching that neither men nor
nations are saved by physical might, but only by the mercy of Yahwe
extended to those who fear him. Not inappropriately there follows, in
verses 20 and 21, an affirmation of faith in Yahwe, which is followed in
turn by the brief petition:

  Let thy mercy, O Yahwe, be upon us,
  According as we have trusted in thee.

The first half of the psalm, verses 1-11 is a hymn of praise; the second
half, verses 12-22, despite the petition at the close is perhaps best
called a wisdom psalm.

In the very short Psalm 117 the call to praise goes out in verse 1 to
“all nations” and to “all peoples.” It is a question however whether the
mercy of Yahwe in verse 2 is extended to all peoples or limited to the
Hebrews. In any case this little hymn of praise forms a suitable
transition to the special group of eschatological hymns of praise.



                              Chapter III
                      HEBREW ESCHATOLOGICAL HYMNS


The sanctuary hymns of praise which we have been studying have for, the
most part, the backward look through Israel’s history to the creation of
the world. A few of them also have in small degree the forward look
calling for Yahwe’s praise because of what he will yet accomplish in the
world; and certainly many of the hymns are characterized by an
enthusiasm for Yahwe’s greatness that asserts or presupposes his
supremacy in the universe. Nevertheless it is right to gather together a
special group of hymns which look forward more definitely and concretely
to the actual triumphant consummation of Yahwe’s plan, and the
achievement of Israel’s glorious destiny. These hymns are sung in
contemplation of Yahwe’s great final victory. He has at long last
appeared to judge the world; his mightiest enemies have suffered
complete and final defeat. He has taken his rightful position upon his
throne, and all nations acknowledge his authority. The physical world
will now yield its abundant increase, and the divine reign of peace and
righteousness will begin. Such hymns, fittingly called eschatological,
are Psalms 96, 98, 149, 47, 99, 97, 93, 82.

One not inconspicuous difference in these eschatological hymns is in the
call to praise. Many eschatological hymns indeed seem to have been
introduced simply by the triumphant shout: “Yahwe is king.” (Psalms 99,
97, 93.) The announcement of the momentous fact, that at last Israel’s
God has actually ascended his throne to take to himself power and
sovereignty over the earth, does of itself inspire hymnal enthusiasm.
Quite probably the abruptness of the announcement corresponds to the
suddenness and unexpectedness of the event itself. However hymns
beginning with the shout: “Yahwe is king” sometimes follow up that
announcement with a summons to praise Yahwe. Indeed the very fact that
Yahwe has become king is reason why men and nations should be called
upon to praise him. So while Psalm 93, beginning with “Yahwe is king,”
has no further call to praise, Psalm 97 does complete the great
announcement with a brief call to praise:

  Yahwe is king, let the earth rejoice;
  Let the many shores be glad.

And Psalm 99 follows up the announcement not with one but with repeated
calls to worship Yahwe (verses 1, 3, 5, 9).

Another group of eschatological hymns (Psalms 96, 98, 149) begins indeed
with a call to praise, but feels the utter inadequacy of the old songs.
The amazingly new world situation demands a new song. Consequently they
start with:

  Sing to Yahwe a new song.

They may later make explicit announcement that Yahwe has become king as
in Psalm 96:10:

  Say among the nations, Yahwe is king,

or that fact may be made implicitly understood by the general context of
the hymn.

  Shout before the king Yahwe.
                                                            —Psalm 98:6.

  Let Zion’s sons rejoice in their king.
                                                           —Psalm 149:2.

Undoubtedly there were also in Israel eschatological hymns, which issued
the great call to praise in varied and impressive ways, following up the
call to praise with the momentous announcement of Yahwe’s assumption of
world government. Of such hymns Psalm 47 is a representative. It calls
the peoples to the praise of Yahwe in verse 2 and announces the great
fact of his newly accepted kingship in verse 3:

  All ye peoples, clap your hands,
  Shout to God with the voice of triumph,
  For Yahwe most high is to be feared,
  A great king is he over all the earth.

It was observed in the study of the sanctuary hymns that certain of them
(147, 148) repeated the call to praise at intervals throughout the hymn,
creating somewhat the impression of a union of little hymns in one. This
phenomenon seems to be particularly conspicuous in the eschatological
hymns. Thus Psalm 96 may be divided into three hymns: I, verses 1-6; II,
verses 7-10; III, verses 11-13. So also Psalm 98 divides into: I, verses
1-3; II, verses 4-6a; III, verses 6b-9. Likewise Psalm 99: I, verses
1-4; II, verses 5-8; III, verse 9. Psalm 47 breaks into two parts: I,
verses 1-5; II, verses 6-9; and Psalm 149 likewise: I, verses 1-4; II,
verses 5-9. In all these hymns the repeated calls to praise represent
growing momentum and power of hymnal enthusiasm for Yahwe, the great
king.

Turning from the introductions to the conclusions of the eschatological
hymns we find that Psalm 149 is the only one of those found in the
psalter that does actually end with, “Hallelujah.” Others, however
(Psalms 97, 99, 96, 98), do end with the hymnal note of praise and all
conclude with the note of triumph. In Psalm 149 it is Israel’s national
triumph:

  To execute vengeance upon the nations,
  Punishments upon the peoples,
  To bind their kings with chains,
  And their nobles with fetters of iron,
  To execute upon them the Judgment written,
  An honor is it for all His faithful ones.
                                                            —Verses 7-9.

In Psalm 47 it is Yahwe’s great political triumph:

  For to God belong the shields of the earth;
  He is greatly exalted.

Psalms 96 and 98 close with the joyous anticipation that the reign of
Justice is at hand:

  ... For he has come to judge the earth;
  He will judge the world with righteousness,
  And the peoples with equity.

It is interesting that three other psalms conclude with the thought of
the holiness of Yahwe and Yahwe’s house:

  Exalt Yahwe our God,
  And worship at his holy hill,
  For holy is Yahwe our God.
                                                            —Psalm 99:9.

  Rejoice ye righteous in Yahwe,
  And give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.
                                                           —Psalm 97:12.

  Thy testimonies are very sure:
  Holiness becometh thy house,
  O Yahwe, forever.
                                                            —Psalm 93:5.

In the study of the standard hymns of praise it was observed that Deity
is regularly spoken of in the third person, while in only a very few
instances the second person, the usage of prayer, is employed. Of the
eschatological hymns we have examined there are four in which the second
person occurs, Psalms 97, 99, 93, and 82. Psalm 97 is a hymn in three
sections. The first section, verses 1-6, makes the announcement of
Yahwe’s appearance on earth and the third person is used. The second
section, verses 7-9, speaks of Yahwe’s supremacy over the gods, and
where the psalmist is speaking of the joy of Jerusalem and Judah’s towns
over Yahwe’s victory he uses the second person. But the third section,
treating of Yahwe’s deliverance of the righteous again uses the third
person. It is difficult to account for the use of the second person in
the second section of this hymn, unless it is that the very thought of
Judah’s joy over Yahwe’s triumph brought Yahwe nearer to the
consciousness of the psalmist, and so put the psalmist into the attitude
of mind of a suppliant toward Yahwe, with the consequent use of the
second person, as in prayer.

Psalm 99 seems to be a hymn of four sections. The first section consists
of verses 1, 2, 3, containing six lines ending with the refrain: “Holy
is he.” The second section consists of verses 4 and 5 containing also
six lines and ending likewise with the refrain: “Holy is he.” There is
furthermore a natural line of division at the end of verse 7, and if we
can suppose that the refrain was here inadvertently omitted, we should
again have six lines ending with the same refrain. This leaves us in
verses 8 and 9 a fourth section of six lines ending in the refrain
slightly expanded: “For holy is Yahwe our God.” Moreover the hymn is
divided into two main divisions of twelve lines each, each ending with a
little hymn of three lines, which is substantially the same:

  Exalt ye Yahwe our God,
  And worship at his footstool,
  Holy is he.
                                                           —Verses 5, 9.

Again there is in this hymn the same difficulty in accounting for the
use of the second person as in Psalm 97, and again the same explanation
is to be offered. In verse 3a, to be sure, there may be a mistake in the
text, for it is scarcely felicitous to have the second person in verse
3a and the third person in verse 3b. In verses 4 and 8 however, the very
subject matter is that which would ordinarily be followed by petitions,
and which would bring about the attitude of the mind in prayer, and the
consequent direct address to God:

  Thou has restored equity;
  Thou has executed justice and righteousness in Jacob.

  Yahwe, our God, thou didst answer them:
  A forgiving god wast thou to them,
  And one avenging their wrongs.

Again Psalm 93 may be divided into four sections, though not all four of
equal length. Verse 1, of three lines, makes the great announcement in
the third person that Yahwe is king. Verses 2 and 3, of four lines, are
addressed to Yahwe in the second person and inform him that his throne
is from everlasting, but that mighty foes are in rebellion against him.
Then verse 4, of three lines, makes the reassuring announcement in the
third person that Yahwe is mightier than the foes. Verse 5 addresses
Yahwe in the second person, expressing confidence that his divine
authority will endure, and his house retain forever its sanctity. It
seems not improbable that the verses employing the third person, and the
verses employing the second persons were sung by different choirs, and
that we have in this psalm a liturgical eschatological hymn.

The actual content of the eschatological hymns has to some extent been
shadowed forth in this discussion. The one great fact in the hymns is
the triumphant intervention of Yahwe in the affairs of the world. His
appearance on the earth is accompanied by the most spectacular physical
phenomena. The heavens declare his glory and the earth trembles. While
clouds and darkness surround his person, his lightnings illuminate the
world; the hills melt like wax beneath his feet, and a fire goeth before
him and destroyeth his enemies (Psalm 97:2-6; Psalm 99:1). The
appearance of Yahwe on the earth is followed by his complete and final
victory. Turbulent and mighty as the waves of the great ocean, all his
enemies are speedily vanquished. His right hand and his holy arm achieve
for him the victory, and all the ends of the earth witness the salvation
achieved by God (Psalm 98:1; Psalm 93:3, 4). In virtue of this great
victory Yahwe is now to be feared above all gods; indeed he is
recognized as the one and only god. All those who had served graven
images and boasted of their idols are put to shame. Yahwe reigns from
his temple in Jerusalem, and the peoples of the earth bring their
offerings into his courts, as they worship him, ascribing to him all
glory and strength (Psalm 96:3, 4, 7, 8; Psalm 97:7). Yahwe’s
sovereignty extends into the political realm. He who is great in Zion is
high above all peoples. He is the great king over all the earth. His
sovereignty means the extention of his favor to Israel, the rescue of
his faithful servants from the might of wicked oppressors, and the
elevation of the Hebrew race to power:

  He subdueth peoples under us,
  And nations under our feet.

Indeed according to Psalm 149 it means the most complete and vindictive
vengeance of Israel upon the nations (verses 6-9). However, in hymns
broader and more generous of conception it means the establishment of a
reign of righteousness and peace over all the earth, for which not only
the peoples but the physical world itself will rejoice. The world is to
be established so that it can not be moved. The earth will give her
increase. Yahwe will bless his people and the very ends of the earth
will fear him (Psalms 96:13; 98:9, 67; 82).

Unique in the group of eschatological hymns is Psalm 82. It has no call
to praise, no summons to the Israelites, nor to the nations, nor to the
physical universe, to rejoice at God’s appearing; it does not even
announce that God has become king. What it does is to single out from
all the momentous events of God’s final victory on earth one scene, but
the description of that one scene is of itself such as to kindle hymnal
enthusiasm and to give the psalm the atmosphere and character of a hymn.

God takes his place as judge in the council of the gods (verse 1). He
arraigns the gods for their protection of the wicked, and exhorts them
to do justice to the poor and the fatherless, and to rescue them from
their oppressors. He realizes, however (verse 5), that appeal to these
judges is hopeless. They are without understanding and in darkness,
while the very moral foundations of the world tremble. Therefore God
pronounces final judgment upon the judges. They had been given the
status of gods but now they are to die like men (verses 6, 7). This
pronouncement, implying as it does that God will now himself give
justice to the earth, calls forth the petition of verse 8:

  Arise O God, judge the earth,
  For thou shalt inherit all nations.

Despite this anticipatory petition at the close, Psalm 82 is essentially
a positive announcement of God’s triumph, and calling forth as it does
hymnal enthusiasm, is itself essentially a hymn.

Similarly Psalm 2 must be assigned to the group of eschatological hymns.
Here again there is no call to praise, no summoning of the nations to
welcome God’s appearing, no proclamation that Yahwe has become king over
all the earth. Like Psalm 82 this psalm also selects and describes a
single situation out of the many that go to make up Yahwe’s final
establishment of his kingdom upon earth. It is presupposed in the psalm
that Yahwe has already proclaimed his sovereignty over the earth and
established his own anointed king upon the throne of the world in
Jerusalem. But (verses 1-3) the nations of the world are plotting
rebellion against Yahwe and against his anointed king. Their rebellion
(verses 4-6) simply provokes Yahwe to derisive laughter. Over against
their impotence he simply reaffirms his inflexible decision:

  As for me I have set my king
  Upon my holy hill of Zion.

Then the king takes up the word (verses 7-9) and announces the divine
decree. Yahwe had formally adopted him as son, and had given to him the
kingdoms of the earth with power over them to break them in pieces. The
king has spoken. Another voice makes the practical application (verses
10-12) and warns the kings and the rulers of the earth to make their
humble peace with Yahwe, and with his anointed, before his wrath is
fully aroused.



                               Chapter IV
                          HEBREW NATURE HYMNS


The abode of the hymns already discussed was the sanctuary and their
place was in sanctuary worship, but there is a group of hymns, the real
background of which was Nature’s great out of doors. These hymns include
Psalms 29; 19:1-5b; 19:5c-7; 104; and 8. Of these Psalm 29 resembles
most closely in its literary form the standard hymns. It has the call to
praise, the body of the hymn setting forth the greatness of Yahwe; and
it has a conclusion, though the conclusion is not a renewed summons to
exalt the deity. The hymn as a whole expresses the reaction of the
psalmist to a thunder and lightning storm. He watches it rise in the
Lebanon mountains in the North, and follows it with his eye and ear and
imagination until it loses itself in the desert of Kadesh. He observes
the forked lightning (verse 7) but is vastly more impressed by the
thunder to which he attributes the destructive power of the storm. The
significant fact is that the storm does not create in the psalmist fear,
but moves him to adoration of his great God, and to renewed faith and
confidence. The introductory call to praise (verses 1-2) summons the
gods above to worship Yahwe and to ascribe to him glory and strength.
The body of the hymn celebrates the thunder, “The Voice of Yahwe,”
somewhat as Psalm 19:8-10 celebrates: “The Law of Yahwe.” Verse 9c: “But
in his temple every one saith Glory” forms a transition to the
conclusion in verses 9-10, which remembers that the God of the thunder
storm was also the God of the flood, the eternal king, who because of
his eternal existence and his great power can give strength and peace to
his people.

Psalm 19 contains two short nature hymns or more probably two fragments
of hymns. The first Psalm 19:1-5b seems to be a hymn of the night. It
does not call upon the heavens to praise God, as the typical hymn would
do, but simply announces that the heavens do declare God’s glory. This
they do without language or words or sounds over all the earth,
ceaselessly declaring his glory from day to day, from night to night,
from age to age. Psalm 19:5c-7 has no introductory nor concluding call
to praise, and the few lines that we have, effective though they are,
are probably only a fraction of the body of the original hymn. Moreover
the original was undoubtedly a hymn to Shamash the Assyrian Sun God. The
Assyrians watched with reverent eye the Sun God’s glorious journey
across the heavens. They knew also of his wearisome return in the
underworld from West to East, and they were glad to think of the bride
and the repast awaiting him in his tent on the edge of the heavenly
ocean. The Hebrew like the Assyrian had great admiration for the
illuminating rays and the fervent heat of the sun, but he would go no
further than to compare the sun to a bridegroom, and a strong man. It
does seem strange that the psalmist has retained in verse 4c the sun’s
tent: “For the sun he hath set a tent in the sea,” but even so it is
Yahwe who has placed the tent there, even as it is Yahwe who has placed
the sun in the heavens. The Hebrew who used this fragment of a poem saw
God’s glory revealed in the progress of the sun across the sky by day,
even as he saw that glory revealed in the star studded heavens by night.

Psalm 104 differs from the standard Hebrew hymns of praise in two
respects. It is addressed in considerable part directly to Deity in the
second person, while the standard Hebrew hymn regularly uses the third
person. Also it has a petition at its close, which the standard hymn has
not. In these two respects Psalm 104 resembles a prayer. However the
petition is very brief, formal, almost incidental; it can scarcely be
said to grow out of the psalm, and certainly the hymnal portion (verses
1-34) can not be regarded as introductory to it. Psalm 104 is also
remarkable among Hebrew hymns for its length, as a hymn devoted
exclusively to the activity of God in nature. Of the other nature hymns
in the Psalter, Psalm 19:1-5b and Psalm 19:5c-7 are mere fragments, and
Psalms 8 and 29 are relatively short, but Psalm 104 contains
seventy-nine lines of which the first seventy-one are dominated by the
theme:

  How manifold are thy works, O Yahwe!
  All of them in wisdom thou hast made.
                                                              —Verse 24.

As it stands in the text Psalm 104 has a hymnal introduction and
conclusion. The brief introduction may indeed be a liturgical addition.
In it the psalmist calls upon himself to praise Yahwe: “Bless my soul
Yahwe.” The conclusion is longer and expresses the psalmist’s life long
devotion to his God:

  I will sing to Yahwe while I live;
  I will sing praises to my God so long as I exist.
  May my meditation be pleasing to him;
  As for me I rejoice in Yahwe.

  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

  Bless my soul Yahwe
  Praise ye Yahwe.
                                                    Verses 33, 34, 35cd.

Again it may be noted that the petition in verse 35ab: “Let sinners be
consumed, out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more,” has no real
organic connection with the hymn, and certainly the concluding
“Hallelujah” may well be an addition.

The analysis of the body of the hymn is clear. Verses 1-4 praise the God
of heaven; verses 5-9, the God of creation; verses 10-18, the God of the
earth, the domestic animals, and man; verses 19-21, the God of the
night; verses 22-24, the God of the day; verses 25-26, the God of the
sea; verses 27-30, the God who giveth life to everything that liveth.
The body of the hymn then culminates in the pious wish that Yahwe’s
glory may endure forever and that the mighty God may rejoice in his
works, even he who causes the earthquake and the volcanic eruption. Here
also comes the petition, but a petition has really no place in a genuine
Hebrew hymn of praise.

It is clear that Psalm 104 is predominatingly and essentially a hymn of
praise. Yet it has in its use of the second person; in the presence of
the petition; and perhaps also in its length, since it is a nature hymn,
features that seem unhebraic. It is perhaps also significant that its
close resemblance to the famous Egyptian hymn of Pharaoh Iknaton has
often been observed. We have, it would seem, in Psalm 104 a very
probable example of the influence of foreign literature, Egyptian,
Assyrian, or both.

Psalm 8 might be considered an impressionistic soliloquy of the starry
night, were it not dominated by the thought of God, and addressed
directly to God. It begins with an exclamation for the psalmist is
overwhelmingly impressed with the realization of the glory of God:

  Yahwe our God,
  How sublime is thy name in all the earth,
  Thou who hast placed thy glory upon the heavens.
                                                               —Verse 2.

Yet how strange that the great God of the universe should have revealed
himself to the weak children of Israel. It is assuredly the knowledge of
God as the creator of the heavens that is to overcome arrogant rebellion
against God, such rebellion as actually prevails in the psalmist’s
world. May it not be true that the great God hath chosen through the
testimony of the humble to confound the mighty:

  Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou has established strength
  To bring to silence the enemy and the rebel.

But how marvelous this condescension of God to stoop to man in his
weakness, and then what a marvelous place God has given man in the
universe! The psalmist feels first the insignificance of man:

  As I look at thy heavens, the fine workmanship of thy fingers,
  The moon and the stars which thou hast shaped,
  What is man that thou should’st remember him?
  Even the son of man that thou should’st care for him?
                                                            —Verses 4-5.

Then, however, he pays tribute to the place that God has given man:

  Yet thou hast made him but a little lower than God,
  And crownest him with glory and honor,
  Thou causest him to rule over the works of thy hands;
  Everything hast thou placed beneath his feet,
  Sheep and oxen all of them,
  And also the beasts of the field,
  The birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea,
  That which passeth on the paths of the sea.
                                                            —Verses 6-9.

And now in recognition both of the glory of God revealed in the heavens
and also of the goodness of God to man, the psalmist again exclaims out
of the fullness of his heart:

  Yahwe our lord,
  How sublime is thy name in all the earth.

Psalm 8 takes a unique position among the Old Testament hymns of praise.
It is addressed altogether in the second person to Yahwe, and to that
extent takes on the form and nature of a prayer. But it has no
suggestion of a petition, nor does it make any definite effort to
express gratitude. It has something of the reflective attitude, as it
seems to ponder over man’s place in the universe, but it is assuredly
not a teaching nor a wisdom psalm. It has been maintained by some
scholars that the first two and last two lines were meant to be sung by
a chorus, while the body of the hymn is a solo. However, it is more
natural to suppose that in the use of the plural, “Yahwe _our_ Lord,”
the psalmist is simply recognizing himself as one of the many followers
of Yahwe, rather than that a choir is singing. The truth is that the
psalm is intensely individualistic and dominated from beginning to end
by the feeling of adoration for Yahwe, the Hebrews’ God and only God,
whose name is glorious in all the earth. It is a hymn of praise, but one
that stands apart because of the originality and beauty of its literary
form, and the sincerity and profundity of the spiritual experience that
inspired it.



                               Chapter V
             HEBREW HYMNS IN PRAISE OF SACRED INSTITUTIONS


But there were in Hebrew religious poesie not only hymns in praise of
deity, but also hymns in praise of sacred institutions. Especially
prominent were hymns in praise of the sanctuary. Naturally however, only
those that were written in praise of the temple in Jerusalem, or could
be so interpreted had a chance for survival, and of those we have in the
Psalter only 84, 122, 48, and 87.

It is best to begin with Psalm 84, for it represents a transition stage
between the psalm of lamentation and petition and the hymn of praise. In
great part Psalm 84 is addressed in the second person to deity, and it
actually has, in verses 9, 10, a petition for Yahwe’s favor. The request
in these verses is not explicit, yet the context, especially verses 3
and 11, makes it clear that our psalmist, like the author of Psalms
42-43, earnestly desires the privilege of worshipping in the temple.
Moreover the petition of verses 9, 10 is reinforced by a profession of
devotion in verses 11-13 that corresponds to the affirmation of faith,
so characteristic a feature of the prayer of supplication. In so far
this psalm is also itself a psalm of lamentation and supplication. On
the other hand verses 2-8 are essentially an expression of devotion to
the temple:

  How lovely is thy dwelling,
  O Yahwe of hosts!
  Longeth, yea fainteth my soul
  For the courts of Yahwe;
  My heart and my flesh cry out unto the living God.
                                                            —Verses 2-3.

He envies the birds which nest in the temple (verse 4), the priests who
are continually in the sanctuary praising God, and the men who, by God’s
favor, are privileged to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, to pass from rampart
to rampart, and to behold God in Zion. Psalm 84 therefore deserves to be
grouped with the hymns in praise of the temple.

As Psalm 84 has kinship with the psalms of lamentation and supplication,
so Psalm 122 has a certain kinship with the psalms of faith. In the
latter the psalmist has a joyous confidence in Yahwe, in this psalm he
has great joy in the temple and the holy city. Verses 1 and 2 affirm his
joy in the temple, and his positive intention of attending in company
with others the great festivals:

  I am glad whenever they say unto me,
  Let us go to the house of Yahwe.
  Our feet shall assuredly stand
  Within thy gates O Jerusalem.

Then follows, in verses 3-5, his praise of Jerusalem the city of David:

  Jerusalem that is built
  As a city compact and solid,
  Whither go up Yahwe’s tribes.
  A law is it for Israel to give thanks to Yahwe’s name,
  For there abide the thrones of justice,
  The thrones of the house of David.

Having thus praised the city, the psalmist exhorts others to pray for
it:

  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
  May thy dwellings prosper,
  May peace be within thy walls,
  Prosperity in thy palaces.
                                                           —Verses 6, 7.

The psalm then closes with his personal protestation of devotion to the
city:

  For the sake of my brethren and companions
  I will say: “Peace be in Thee.”
  For the sake of the house of Yahwe our God
  I will seek thy good.
                                                            —Verses 8-9.

It has been said above that this psalm has some similarity to the psalms
of faith. It is possible that it also, in verses 6-9, reflects the
influence of prophetic style. But, since the spirit that animates it is
one of enthusiasm for the holy city, it is best classed among the hymns
of praise.

Psalm 48 is also, in a sense, a transition hymn, for it praises, not God
alone, but both God and the city in which he dwells. Verse 2 praises
Yahwe, and verse 3 the city:

  Great is Yahwe and to be praised exceedingly
  In the city of our God on his holy mountain.
  Beautiful for situation, the joy of all the earth,
  Is Mount Zion, on the Northern slope,
  The city of the great King.

Then verses 4-8 record the city’s chief glory, that Yahwe has been in
its midst, its mighty defender against its foes:

  God is known in her palaces as a defense:
  For lo, kings assembled;
  They invaded her together;
  They saw, so they marveled;
  They were troubled, they fled.
  Fear seized them there,
  As pain seizes a woman in travail,
  While thou didst shatter them,
  As an east wind the great merchantmen.

Our psalmist and his associates are obviously pilgrims to Jerusalem.
They had previously heard of such events as the deliverance of Jerusalem
from Sennacherib; they have now seen with their own eyes the sacred
sites which testify to such deliverances. They have meditated on Yahwe’s
goodness in the holy temple, and are certain of his universal fame.
Therefore, they can bid Zion and the towns of Judah rejoice in their
God:

  As we have heard, so have we seen
  In the city of Yahwe of hosts, in the city of our God.
  God will establish it forever.
  We have thought O God of thy loving kindness
  In the midst of thy temple.
  As thy name O God,
  So is thy praise unto the ends of the earth.
  Victories fill thy right hand.
  Let Mount Zion rejoice,
  Let the towns of Judah be glad
  Because of thy deliverances.

It is evident that the closing verses (13-15) must have been spoken in
Jerusalem, and it is perhaps equally clear that they must have been
spoken, not by the pilgrims to residents of Jerusalem, but rather by
residents of Jerusalem, probably the temple choir to the pilgrims,
exhorting them to make their final procession around the city, that they
may know it and be able to tell the story of the city to the oncoming
generation, and so inspire in them reverence and loyalty for the God of
their fathers:

  Walk about Zion and go round her:
  Count up her towers;
  Give heed to her ramparts;
  Consider her palaces,
  That you may tell it to the coming generation,
  For this God is our God forever and ever;
  He will be our guide even unto death.

But if verses 9-12 were spoken by the pilgrims, and verses 13-15 by the
temple choir, then it is probable that likewise verses 2-4 were spoken
by the pilgrims, and verses 5-8 by the temple choir. Thus Psalm 48 may
be considered a liturgical hymn of praise, rendered in the temple on one
of the great religious festivals that brought the pilgrims of the
diaspora to the holy city.

Psalm 87 is a hymn devoted entirely to the praise of the temple and the
holy city. Unfortunately the text is in disorder. Probably verse 5b
should be brought back to verse 1, and then the introductory verses 1-3
would read:

  Its foundation is in the holy mountains,
  And the Most High doth sustain her.
  Yahwe loveth the gates of Zion
  More than all the dwellings of Jacob.
  Glorious things he speaketh concerning thee,
  O city of God.

The rest of the psalm is exceedingly difficult. Verse 3 leads us to
expect a divine pronouncement regarding Zion’s future glory. In that day
Egypt and Babylon, Philistia and Tyre, together with far distant
Ethiopia, will recognize it as a distinction to be a Hebrew. Verses 4
and 5 perhaps read:

  I will cause Egypt and Babylon to remember thy children,
  Behold Philistia and Tyre with Ethiopia,
  They shall say of Zion, “This one and that one was born in her.”

Then the psalmist informs us (verses 6, 7) that Yahwe himself will count
up the scattered Jews of the diaspora, and they in turn in that great
day will be proudly mindful of the mother city:

  Yahwe will count them in the midst of the peoples
  This one and that one was born there;
  And princes as common people will say
  We shall all make our home in thee.

Two psalms, 119 and 19:8-15, are in praise of the Jewish law. Since
Psalm 119 is an alphabetical psalm, each successive eight lines
beginning with the twenty-two successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet,
its one hundred seventy-six lines are necessarily a very mechanical and
mediocre production. Psalm 19:8-15, on the other hand, is a much finer
piece of craftsmanship. The first six lines (verses 8-10) which are
strikingly uniform in style, draw attention to six complementary virtues
of the law. Then four lines (verses 11-12) express in general terms the
joy that is to be found in knowledge of the law and the practical
benefit to be derived from obedience to it. Verses 13 and 14 present his
humble petition that he be delivered from violating the law unwittingly
or presumptuously, while verse 15 dedicates the hymn so carefully
written, not to any princely patron but to Yahwe, his strength and
redeemer.

Another little group of hymns deals with the king, who as the anointed
of Yahwe was also a sacred institution. From a modern standpoint however
Psalm 45 is purely secular in character, celebrating as it does the
king’s wedding day. Verse 2 is introductory in which the author
announces himself as a clever poet. Verses 3-10 are in
characteristically extravagant praise of the king. Verses 11-16 are
devoted to the bride, while verse 17 makes tactful and appropriate
reference to the princes yet to be born. Verse 18 concluding the poem,
makes the naïvely modest promise that the pen of the poet will guarantee
immortal fame to the king.

Psalm 101 is likewise secular, for it is evidently a king’s
proclamation. As such it may have been used in the coronation service in
the temple, and so preserved in the sanctuary song book. Quite
naturally, as is always to be expected, the king promises to walk
uprightly in his own private life, to choose wise counsellors, to turn a
deaf ear to slanderers, to give protection to honest men, and to
suppress the wicked.

Psalm 72 might likewise be fitted into the coronation service, being
then the prayer offered for a just and successful reign. This would mean
translating the successive sentences of the psalm from verse 1 to verse
11 and from verse 15 to verse 17 as petitions. Thus verse 2 would be
translated:

  May he judge thy people with righteousness
  And thy poor with justice,

and the other verses correspondingly, and the psalm would accordingly be
classed as a prayer of supplication. On the other hand if the successive
sentences, with the necessary exception of verse 1 are to be regarded as
predictions of a glorious reign, then the psalm is to be regarded as a
hymn in praise of the Messiah, or possibly of an ordinary king who has
just ascended the throne.

Psalm 110 and Psalm 2 are clearly hymns in praise of the king. Psalm 110
brings to the king in verse 1 the oracle of Yahwe:

  Oracle of Yahwe to my lord, sit on my right hand
  Until I make thy enemies my footstool.

Then in verses 2-7 the priest supplements this oracle with his assurance
of Yahwe’s effective support, and the king’s great triumph over all his
enemies. The imagery describing Yahwe’s activity belongs to eschatology,
and we undoubtedly have here an eschatological hymn in praise of the
king.

Psalm 2 is likewise an eschatological hymn, dealing with that same
feature of the last days as Psalm 110, and the last futile rebellion of
the nations against the will of Yahwe and Yahwe’s king. In verses 1-3
some one, perhaps a layman, asks why the nations are so foolish as to
rebel against Yahwe:

  Why do the nations rage,
  And the peoples plan a mad thing?
  The kings of the earth take their stand,
  And princes plot together
  Against Yahwe and against his anointed:
  “Let us break their bands
  And cast from us their cords.”

Then in verses 4-5 a priest, one who knows the plan of God, gives
answer:

  He that sitteth in the heavens laugheth;
  The lord is scornful of them.
  Presently he will speak to them in his anger,
  And terrify them in his rage:
  “I, on my part, have set my king
  Upon Zion, my holy hill.”

And now it is for the king himself to add a final authoritative word
concerning Yahwe’s plan, for to the king himself Yahwe had actually
spoken:

  I will declare the decree;
  Yahwe said to me: “You are my son;”
  I this day have adopted you.
  Ask me, and I will make the nations your inheritance,
  And the entire earth your possession.
  You can beat them with an iron rod;
  You can break them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.

Yahwe’s decree, bestowing such power over the nations upon Israel’s
king, having thus been made known, it only remained to advise the
nations to make humble submission to Yahwe and to Yahwe’s representative
upon the throne in Zion:

  And now, O kings, be prudent;
  Take warning, ye judges of the earth.
  Worship Yahwe with reverence,
  Submit to him with trembling.
  Do homage to the son, lest he be angry and ye perish,
  For his anger is quickly kindled.
  Happy are all who secure his protection.

Here again, as in Psalm 110, because of the prominence of the king in
this dramatic setting forth of one of the important features of the last
days, Psalm 2 must be classed as an eschatological hymn in praise of the
king.



                              Division II
                        ASSYRIAN HYMNS OF PRAISE



                               Chapter VI
                ASSYRIAN HYMNAL INTRODUCTIONS TO PRAYERS


As in the case of the Hebrew hymns of praise, so also it is right to
attempt to see the Assyrian hymns in relation to the whole body of
Assyrian religious poetry. Assyrian communities and Assyrian individuals
inevitably had their afflictions, and like their kinsmen the Hebrews
they called out unto deity in their distresses in prayers of lamentation
and supplication. They experienced also on various occasions what they
believed to be deliverances out of their troubles, and when they could
attribute those deliverances to the aid of deity, they felt gratitude
and expressed their gratitude by sacrifices and thanksgiving to the
gods. Furthermore the Assyrians felt adoration for deity, trusted in
deity, reflected upon the will of deity and the secret of the prosperous
life, and like their kinsmen the Hebrews they strove to express their
ideas and their emotions in poetry. Accordingly we have in Assyrian
religious poetry much that corresponds to what is found in the Old
Testament psalter.

However, one striking difference between Hebrew and Assyrian religious
poetry confronts us at the very outset. The Hebrew poetry is concerned
with the one god Yahwe, while Assyrian poetry has to do with many gods,
Shamash, Sin, Nebo, Ninib, Nergal, Adad, Nusku, Bel, Marduk, and others.
This might seem to make it very difficult, if not impossible, to form
any unified conception of Assyrian religion, or to make any satisfactory
comparison between the psalms of Assyrian and Israel. But from the
beginning there were many points of similarity between the Assyrian gods
of the various city states, who frequently bore, to be sure, different
names, but who represented or were associated with the same objects or
forces in nature. Furthermore the growth of political unity in
Mesopotamia was accompanied there, as it has been elsewhere, by a growth
in religious unity. As one city gained authority over other cities, its
god not only acquired greater prestige, but he also extended his
authority in greater or lesser measure over the conquered cities and
over the gods of those cities. Moreover he tended to take to himself the
chief prerogatives and attributes of the conquered deities. With the
growth and organization of empire there developed, in the exaltation of
one god to a supreme place, a tendency toward monotheism; and with the
inevitable interchange of religious ideas a gradually increasing
similarity in the attributes and prerogatives of the chief gods.
Especially is it to be recognized that hymnal enthusiasm tends to blot
out for the time the consciousness of other deities, and to exalt in
wisdom and power and goodness the deity which is being worshipped, so
that for the moment the attitude of the worshipper may be practically
that of a monotheist. Accordingly the many names for deity have
relatively little significance; they offer no serious obstacle to the
student who would compare the religious ideas and experiences of
Mesopotamia with the religious ideas and experiences of Israel.

Here again, however, it must be borne in mind that the literature of
Assyria which has survived is only a small fraction of that which once
existed, and what we now have owes its survival in part, to be sure to
merit, but in part also to mere chance. Nevertheless sufficient
literature exists to justify two general observations. The first is
this, that the closest correspondence between Assyrian and Hebrew
religious poetry is to be found in the psalms of lamentation and
supplication, which represent and express only the lowest level of
religious experience in the Hebrew psalms. The second general
observation is that while Hebrew religious poetry develops, and clearly
differentiates into independent literary species, the Assyrian religious
poetry does not achieve so full a development, nor so clear a
differentiation. The one explanation of this fact would seem to be that
Assyrian religion did not go so far in emancipating itself from
superstition and formalism, and in achieving a lofty conception of deity
and a profound religious experience. Certain it is that Assyria did not
develop to the same degree as did Israel the independent prayer of
thanksgiving, the independent psalm of faith, the independent wisdom
psalm, nor the independent hymn of praise.

The number of Assyrian hymns copied, transliterated, and translated by
Assyriologists, is between sixty and seventy. The number can not be
definitely fixed, since many texts are but mere fragments because of the
breaking and marring of the clay tablets. The fact that so many hymnal
compositions are incomplete necessarily makes the task of interpreting
the individual hymns and of arriving at well founded general conclusions
much more difficult. The sixty odd hymns, it may be of interest now to
note, are distributed among the Assyrian deities as follows: Marduk 14,
Nergal 8, Shamash 7, Ninib 7, Ishtar 6, Sin 5, Adad and Nusku 3 each,
Nebo, Bel, and Belit two each, Enlil, Asshur, Sarpanitum, Damkina one
each.

Perhaps the most important general fact about the Assyrian hymns is that
the great majority of them are addressed directly to the deity in the
second person, which is the usage of prayer. Moreover a very large
proportion of these can not be called independent literary compositions,
since they are followed by, and are introductory to, prayers, or magical
ceremonies, or the offering of sacrifices. In some cases the prayer is
much longer than the hymn, while in others the prayer shrinks to a very
brief petition, couched in general terms. This has occasioned much
confusion of terminology, some calling a poem a hymn, others naming it a
prayer. It is necessary therefore at this point to attempt to
distinguish clearly between the hymn and the prayer.

The purpose of the hymn is to praise the deity and the emotion behind
the hymn is enthusiasm for the great and glorious god; for his power,
for his wisdom, for his great achievements. The genuine hymn,
accordingly, is objective rather than subjective. The prayer, on the
other hand, is concerned with the relationship of worshipper and deity.
The worshipper is in trouble and looks to the deity for forgiveness, or
prosperous and turns to the deity with gratitude. The prayer is
accordingly subjective rather than objective. In the hymn, the deity is
prominent; in the prayer the worshipper. Prayers are most naturally
addressed to the deity in the second person, while the hymn, in which
the worshipper recedes into the background and the thought is of God
alone, would more naturally employ the third person. Since then these
Assyrian hymns are in the second person, which is the usage of prayer,
and since the vast majority of these hymns are actually followed by
prayers, it is best to begin with the hymns which are clearly only
hymnal introductions to prayers, and then to pass by way of those, in
which the petition is secondary and unimportant, to that which
approaches the genuine independent hymn. It seems at least possible that
the Assyrian hymn is an evolution from the hymnal introduction of the
prayers.

Beginning then with class I of Assyrian hymns, the hymnal introductions
to prayers, it is to be further observed, that these prayers are temple
prayers. Marduk No. 9 has fourteen lines of directions for the
performance of certain ceremonies, after which the priest is instructed
to take the hand of the sick man and repeat the psalm, of which lines 17
to 44 are the hymnal portion, and 45 to 94 the prayer proper. So also
Marduk No. 12 states in lines 1 to 5 of the text that the Urugallu
priest is to arise in the first hour of the night on the second day of
Nisan, wash in river water, put on a linen garment, and repeat the
psalm; of which lines 6 to 28 are hymnal, 29 to 32 petition the favor of
the deity for the city Babylon and the temple Esagila.

In a hymn to Marduk No. 11, the connecting link between the hymnal
portion and the petition is: “I, the Urugallu priest of Ekur, would
speak the favorable word.”

A hymn to Ishtar No. 3 is followed by an enumeration of the sacrifices
for the goddess and of presents for the temple servants. Above all, the
hymns are in such a uniform and formal style, and the gods are so
frequently addressed as lords of such and such temples that one is
compelled to look to the temple as the birthplace and home of many of
these Assyrian hymns.

It is altogether natural that there should be a hymnal introduction to
the temple prayer. The Assyrian god in his temple is as the king in his
palace. He must not be approached abruptly or brusquely. Indeed the
Assyrian gods are kings, queens, princes. Consequently the formal court
style is used in addressing them. It is not used rigidly in all hymns,
but it is the norm from which it is advisable to take our departure. An
example of this formal court style is Nergal No. 1.

  O lord mighty and exalted,    first born of Nunammir,
  Prince of the Annunaki,    lord of the battle,
  Offspring of Kutushar,    the mighty queen,
  O Nergal, strong one of the gods,    darling of Ninnenna.

  Thou treadest in the high heavens,    lofty is thy place.
  Thou art great in Hades,    there is none like thee
  With Ea, in the multitude of the gods,    is thy council preëminent.
  With Sin in the heavens    thou see’st through everything.
  Given thee has Bel, thy father    the black headed race, all living
              creatures,
  The living creatures of the field    he has entrusted to thy hand.

Assyrian hymns of class I can be divided into two portions, the first
portion, the invocation, the second portion, the ascription of praise.
It is especially the invocation in which the court style is seen. Every
member at the court of a monarchy has an official title, be that member
king, queen, prince or noble. That title consists first of all in the
lineage or genealogy by virtue of which he has his rank. So it is with
the Assyrian deity. Thus the hymn to Nebo No. 1 begins:

  O lord, first born of Marduk,
  O Nebo lofty offspring of Sarpanitum.

A hymn to Ninib No. 1:

  O strong son,    first born of Bel,
  Great perfect    son of Isara.

A hymn to Nergal No. 1:

  O lord, mighty and exalted,    first born of Nunammir,
  Prince of the Annunaki,    lord of the battle.
  Offspring of Kutushar,    the mighty queen, Ninnenna,
  O Nergal, strong one of the gods,    darling of Ninnenna.

Hymn to Marduk No. 7:

  O mighty, powerful, strong one of Eridu,
  O noble, exalted, first-born of Ea.

Just as the king’s title includes mention of the provinces and countries
over which he holds sway, so the god is to be addressed as lord of those
cities and temples, in which he is recognized and honored. Nebo is:

  Lord of Ezida,    protection of Borsippa.[1]

Marduk is:

  Marduk, the mighty, who causeth Itura to rejoice;[2]
  Lord of Isagila, help of Babylon, lover of Ezida.

Sin is:

  Father Nannar, lord of Ur,    chief of the gods,[3]
  Father Nannar, lord of Egissirgal,    chief of the gods.

Nusku is:

  God of Nippur, leader and counsellor of the gods.[4]

The sway of the gods was extended however far beyond their temples and
temple cities. Marduk is not merely “King of Ezida, lord of Emachtila,”
he is “Marduk, lord of the lands,” and “Marduk, king of heaven and
earth.”[5] So also Ishtar is “Ishtar, queen of all peoples, directress
of mankind”;[6] while Shamash is:

  Shamash, king of heaven and earth,[7]
  Ruler of things above and below.

It would be expected that the gods would have official duties at the
heavenly court, and that these offices would be included in their
titles. Opposed to this, however, must have been the tendency of the
worshippers to exalt their own special deity to a supreme position; and
this would tend to bring with it the elimination of all titles that
would suggest a subordinate position, and they would be inclined at the
same time to attribute to their own deity those offices, for which other
deities were famed. Nebo however is addressed as

  Nebo, bearer of the tablets of destiny of the gods, director of
              Esagila.[8]

Nusku is:

  Protector of the sacrificial gifts of all the Igigi,[9]
  Messenger of Anu, who brings Bel’s commands to fulfilment.

  Founder of the cities, renewer of the sanctuaries,[10]

a title quite appropriate for an earthly king but seemingly rather
incongruous when applied to a god.

It is Nusku, leader and counsellor of the great gods,[11] Ninib is

  Ninib, mighty god, warrior, prince of the Annunaki, commander of the
              Igigi.[12]

It may be said here that we probably owe to the court style the ever
recurring adjectives: “strong,” “mighty,” “powerful,” “perfect,”
“unique,” “glorious,” “noble,” “exalted,” and such nouns as “ruler,”
“governor,” “judge,” “lord,” “prince,” “king,” which have been
transferred from the earthly sovereigns to the gods they worshipped.
Here too it may be pointed out that it is altogether in harmony with
court style that the god’s prowess as a warrior, or wisdom as a
counsellor, or ethical virtues as a ruler should be expressed in his
titles, even as such qualities have been expressed in the titles of
earthly kings.

Not all hymns, however, of class I are, strictly speaking, temple hymns.
The Assyrian deities were not limited to their temples and the cities
over which their sway extended. They were also identified with natural
forces and the heavenly bodies, the sun, the moon and the stars. The
Babylonians and Assyrians were impressed by the glory of the rising and
the setting sun, the beauty of the waxing and waning moon; by the
brilliancy of the evening star and the planets and by the grandeur of
the thunder-storm. Certain phenomena also had their deep significance.
An eclipse of the moon might well bode disaster for king and court and
land. The rising of the sun was the auspicious moment for the banishing
of all the demons and all the powers of darkness.

Accordingly we have a group of hymns which do not belong so much to the
temple as to the great out-of-doors. In other words they are nature
hymns. They have such invocations as the following:

  O lord, chief of the gods, who alone is exalted on earth and in
              heaven.[13]

or thus:

  O Sin, O Nannar, mighty one,[14]
  Sin who art unique, thou that brightenest
  That giveth light unto the nations,

or this:

  Sarpanitum, shining star, dwelling in Endul,[15]
  Strongest of the goddesses, whose clothing is the light;
  Who crossest the heavens, who passest over the earth,
  Sarpanitum whose station is lofty.

or this:

  Lord, illuminator of the darkness, opener of the face of heaven[16]

or this:

  To Nusku mighty lord (lofty) judge,[17]
  Shining Light, illuminator of the night, god ...

The following first lines of a hymn are neither invocation nor
ascription, yet how naturally does an appeal made to the sun-god for
freeing of the king from the ban resting upon him, at the moment of the
scattering of darkness before the rising sun, begin with such an hymnal
introduction, as this:

  O Shamash, when out of the great mountain thou comest forth,[18]
  Out of the great mountain, the mountain of the springs, thou comest
              forth,
  When out of the mountain, the place of destinies, thou comest forth,
  Where heaven and earth meet together out of the heaven’s foundations,—

So far we have been dealing with the first portion of the hymnal
introduction, namely the invocation. We have seen that the court style
would prescribe that the god be addressed by his proper title, which
includes his lineage and his sovereignty over temple and city, or his
exalted place in nature, or both. Naturally however when the sway of the
god extended far beyond temple and city to all lands, to heaven and
earth, it was not so necessary to salute the god as lord of city and
temple. And similarly when the god was exalted to a supreme position
among the gods, the matter of pedigree became secondary. Perhaps this
explains the shortening of the invocation in certain hymns to a single
line:

  (Holy) Ishtar, heroine among goddesses,[19]
  Thy seat ... in the midst of the bright heavens,

or even to a single word

  Lord, warlike art thou, perfect in understanding thro’ thyself,[20]
  Ninib, warlike art thou, perfect in understanding thro’ thyself,

  Shamash, when out of the great mountain thou comest forth[21]

  Shamash, from the foundation of the heavens thou shinest forth[22]

On the other hand, it was easy to expand indefinitely the invocation
from its natural length of four to six lines, until the invocation
became itself hymnal praise of the god. So with Sin No. 5 where the
hymnal invocation to Sin covers 23 lines.

Following the invocation in the hymnal introductions of Assyrian prayers
is the ascription of praise, just as modern prayers frequently begin
with the elements of invocation and ascription. The ascription of praise
may be quite similar in content, but while the invocation assumes
certain attributes of the deity as already recognized and known by
everyone and as having become official titles of the deity, the
ascription definitely assigns virtues or attributes to the deity. The
invocation consists of phrases and adjectival clauses: it makes no
statement. It is simply an extended nominative of address. The
ascription consists of independent sentences, asserting certain
attributes of the deity. It is altogether natural that the humble
worshipper, approaching the god, should assign to that god greatness and
wisdom and authority and might, for this not only pleases the god, but
also tends to awaken sympathy for the helpless and suffering suppliant,
and reminds the deity of his responsibility for the worshippers.

More particularly it is also to be expected that the worshipper assigns
those special virtues or powers to the deity, to which he is about to
make his appeal. Man posits in God that which corresponds to his own
need. Accordingly, correspondence between the ascriptions and the
petitions show the unity of the whole composition and indicate that it
is a prayer. Frequently the suppliant is a sick person, and so naturally
reference is made to the power of the deity to heal:

  Shamash, to give life to the dead, to loosen the captive is in thy
              hand.[23]

  Where thou dost regard, the dead live, the sick arise,
  The afflicted is saved from his affliction, beholding thy face.[24]

The cause of his misfortune, the Babylonian seeks not in natural causes,
but in the displeasures of the deity, and this displeasure may be due to
sin. To Ninib he prays:

  Free me from sin, remit the transgression,[25]
  Take the shame away, remove the sin

and this petition is made to the god of whom he says in the ascription:

  From him who sin possesses    thou dost remove the sin,[26]
  The man with whom his god is angry    thou art quick to favor.

If, however, the worshipper feels that he has been unjustly treated,
then he appeals to the justice of God:

  The law of all men thou directest.
  Eternally just in Heaven art thou.
  The just wisdom of the lands art thou.
  The pious man thou knowest,    the evil man thou knowest[27]

  Shamash honors the head of the just man;
  Shamash rends the evil man like a thong;
  Shamash, the support of Anu and Bel, art thou;
  Shamash, lofty judge of heaven and earth art thou.

Here follows the plea for the healing of the king.

As healing of sickness was a magical performance, magical powers are
attributed to the gods, in the hymnal introduction. Thus:

  Heaven and earth are thine;
  The space of heaven and earth is thine;[28]
  The magic of life is thine;
  The spittle of life is thine;
  The pure incantation of the ocean is thine.

In a Nusku magical text No. 3 Nusku is addressed as:

  Mighty in battle, whose attack is powerful,
  Nusku, who burns up and conquers the fire

and there follows in the petition:

  Burn the sorcerer and the sorceress;
  May the life of my sorcerer and my sorceress be destroyed.

In Sin No. 4 the suppliant is one with whom his god and goddess were
angry, upon whom destruction and ruin had come, whose heart was darkened
and soul troubled. It is appropriate that he should say to his god,

  The fallen one whom thou seizest thou raisest up;
  A judgment of right and justice thou judgest.
  The fallen one whom thou seizest thou raisest up;
  A judgment of right and justice thou judgest.
  He who has sin thou forgivest quickly the sin;
  Him against whom his god is angry thou regardest with favor.

In Marduk No. 12 the petition:

  To thy city Babylon show favor

corresponds to the ascription:

  Bel, thy dwelling is Babylon, Borsippa thy crown.

It has been seen in the case of the invocations that they vary in length
from a single word to twenty-three lines, and it is fairly obvious that
the increasing length of the invocation gives it more and more of hymnal
character. There is a similar variation in the length of the
ascriptions. There are some of a single line:

  Thy name is altogether good in the mouth of the people.[29]

  Thy name is (spread) in the mouth of men, O protecting God,[30]
  Among all gods thy deity is praised.

In other hymnal introductions the ascription is three, six, eight,
eleven, and more lines in length. As the ascription increases in length,
and as the lament and petition of the prayer likewise diminish in
length, and as the ascription of praise changes in character, no longer
corresponding to the petitions of the suppliant, we get the evolution of
the hymn.

In the well-known prayer to Ishtar (No. 7), the hymnal introduction
consists of thirty-seven lines. In it occur such rhetorical questions
as:

  Where is thy name not heard,    where not thy decrees?
  Where are thy images not made,    where are thy temples not founded?
  Where art thou not great,    where art thou not exalted?
  Anu, Enlil and Ea have exalted thee;    among the gods have they
              increased thy dominion.

Yet the last lines of this same hymn are particularly suitable to a
prayer of lamentation and petition:

  Where thou dost regard, the dead live, the sick arise;
  The afflicted is saved from his affliction, beholding thy face

and this same hymn to Ishtar opens with the words:

  I pray unto thee, lady of ladies, goddess of goddesses,

Furthermore, in the hymnal portion is imbedded a lament of four lines,
with the refrain:

  How long wilt thou tarry?

Therefore this psalm, although containing hymnal material of exceptional
beauty, is a single composition, a prayer with a hymnal introduction. On
the other hand, Marduk No. 4 has sixteen lines extolling the exploits of
the war god, when the text breaks off. The breaking of the text makes a
decision difficult, but as there is no indication in any of the
ascriptions of praise that a prayer is to follow, one would be inclined
to pronounce it a fragment of a hymn rather than of a prayer.

Marduk No. 1 is actually followed by a prayer of an individual, but
since the hymnal portion consists of thirty-eight lines describing in
large measure mythical feats of the god, one is almost justified in
regarding this hymnal portion as an independent hymn.

On the border line between prayer and hymn is Sarpanitum No. 1. The
petition is a very general one, asking favor for the worshipper, the
king and the sons of Babylon:

  To the servant who graciously calls upon thy name, be gracious;
  For the king who fears thee determine a good fate;
  To the sons of Babylon give generously.

It would seem that this petition might be little more than a pious
conclusion, or even a postscript to the hymn. If this be true, then the
main purpose of the psalm is that of praise, and one must class it among
the hymns, remembering however that it is an evolution from the hymnal
introduction of the prayer.

Very similar is the case of Sin No. 5. In this psalm are twenty-three
lines of invocation, fifteen lines of ascription, and eleven lines of
petition. Moreover the portion which we have called ascription opens
with a couplet of question and answer:

  Who is exalted in heaven,    thou alone art exalted;
  Who is exalted on earth,    thou alone art exalted.

This couplet is followed by eight lines in praise of the word of Sin,
expressed however in the second person, not the third. Unfortunately,
the translation of four of the remaining lines is so uncertain that no
conclusion can be drawn from them as to the nature of the whole psalm.
However, the petition at the close is a general one in behalf of temple
and city, and the calling upon the various gods of the pantheon to
placate Sin is a recognition of the supreme place of that deity. Here
again then, as in the case of the hymn to Sarpanitum, we have a hymn,
standing at the end of the line of development of the hymnal
introductions.

We have left of the hymns of Class I, two hymns which have no petition
at the close. The first of these, however, the hymn to Enlil, may be
regarded as introductory to the offering of sacrifices. Nevertheless it
is practically an independent hymn and sung, as the conclusion shows, by
a congregation:

Father Enlil, with song majestically we come. The hymn to Shamash (No.
7) is unique among the Assyrian hymns, because of its length, being four
hundred and twenty-four lines. The style is uniform throughout. In the
beginning of the poem line four is a repetition of line two, and line
three simply adds the name Shamash to line one. As in other hymns so
here the god’s name is held back from the first line in order that it
may be inserted with greater emphasis in the second line. Here too there
are repeated invocations to the god, that is we have an invocation and
ascription of praise, then a second invocation and ascription of praise.
Throughout the poem nearly every line is complete by itself and there is
no strophic arrangement. Nor are there rhetorical questions, nor
questions and answers, to relieve the monotony. Portions of it read like
wisdom literature:

  He who receives not a bribe, who has regard for the weak,
  Shall be well pleasing to Shamash, he shall prolong his life,
  The judge, the arbitrer who gives righteous judgment,
  Shall complete a palace, a princely abode for his dwelling place.
  He who gives money at usury, what does he profit?
  He cheats himself of gain, he empties his purse.

These two features, the great length of the hymn and the presence of
these wisdom passages would seem to indicate a late and somewhat _blasé_
development of the hymn. Not great enthusiasm for the deity, but sober
reflection and the pious wish to say everything possible about the deity
controlled the writer. The complete absence of any magical element,
whether of ceremonies or prayers, shows that there must have been a
considerable hymnal literature of which unfortunately we are not in
possession.

We have seen that the great majority of Assyrian hymns are addressed in
the second person to deity, which is the usage of prayer; that the
temple is the home of these hymns but that a few of them might be called
Nature hymns; that they may be divided into two portions, the invocation
and the ascription of praise; that they are written in the court style,
employing the honorific titles of royalty and nobility; that with very
few exceptions they are followed by petitions for divine help, and that
the ascriptions of praise are frequently so worded as to be little else
than introductory to such petitions; that, as the hymnal portion is
lengthened, and as the lament and petition are shortened until they
disappear entirely, we have the evolution of the hymn; that it begins
with something approaching flattery of the god, as introductory to the
appeal for aid, and develops into a genuine expression of adoration for
deity.

The invocation of the Assyrian hymn corresponds in a loose way to the
call to praise of the Hebrew hymn, and the Ascription of praise
corresponds much more closely to the body of the Hebrew hymn. It exalts
the deity as being great in the midst of the gods, as bearing a glorious
name, as possessor of temples and cities, and as ruler over wide areas,
as the creator and preserver of the physical universe, and as being
himself wise, and powerful, and merciful, a king and judge among gods
and men. Closer attention will be given to the content of the Assyrian
hymn when comparing that content with the content of the Hebrew hymns of
praise.

It ought to be observed that in many instances the Assyrian hymnal
introduction to prayer is clearly attested to be the vehicle of
individual rather than congregational worship. In certain hymns we have
examples of god addressing god in hymnal language, and in connection
with other hymns there are directions for the priest to repeat himself
both hymnal introduction and the petition which follows it. Moreover in
the petition which follows the hymnal introduction a space is frequently
left for the insertion of the name of the suppliant. Still more
important is the fact that in the hymnal introductions themselves the
first personal pronoun frequently occurs:

  I pray unto thee, lady of ladies, goddess of goddesses.[31]

  I reverence thy name, Marduk, powerful one of the gods,[32]
  Regent of heaven and earth.

  Lord, leader of the Igigi, I am obedient to thy word.[33]

  Strong one, glorious one, begotten of Nunammir
  Who art clothed with sublimity, powerful one I will praise thy
              name.[34]

On the other hand there is but one example of the actual use of the
first person plural in the hymnal introductions:

  Father Enlil with song majestically we come,
  The presents of the ground are offered to thee as sacrifice.[35]

It is not contended that the hymnal introductions are strongly
individual in character, showing the marks of individual originality and
genius; on the contrary they are on the whole rather stereotyped and
monotonous in their sameness: neither is it urged that the god of these
hymnal introductions seems to be in any very marked way the god of the
individual human being, but that the hymnal prayer does provide a way
for the individual to approach deity in the sanctuary, and that worship
was accordingly individual as well as social.

For very many of the Assyrian Hymnal Introductions there is no clear and
certain way of determining whether the hymn is congregational or
individual, although the general character of the titles and attributes
ascribed to deity suggests in many instances the social rather than the
individual hymn. However we do have two examples of the processional
hymn. Above we quoted the first two lines of a twenty-five line Sumerian
processional hymn to Enlil. In this case the worshippers are advancing
into the sanctuary bringing with them their sacrificial gifts:

  O lord of Sumer figs to thy dwelling we bring.

We have another splendid example of a processional hymn in the hymn to
Marduk, No. 13. It is a hymn of thirty-seven lines, of which the first
thirty lines welcome the god to his temple, while the last seven lines
implore his favor for the cities of Nippur and Sippar and especially for
Babylon and his temple Esagila:

  Thy city Nippur    cast not away    let her cry to thee: O lord peace.
  Sippar    cast not away    let her cry to thee: O lord peace.
  Babylon the city of thy peace    cast not away    let her cry to thee:
              O lord peace.
  Look graciously upon thy house    look graciously upon thy city    let
              them cry to thee: O lord peace.

This hymn was sung while the great god, Marduk was being conducted in
triumphant procession to his temple:

  Return lord, on thine entrance into thy house, may thy house rejoice
              in thee.

In the first thirty lines this pious wish is repeated with a succession
of titles for the deity. Then not only the city, but the great Gods one
by one greet Marduk, wishing him on his entrance into his house peace.
But processional hymns were also sung when the god was carried forth
from the temple:

  Arise, come out, O Bel    the king expects thee.
  Arise, come out, our Belit    the king expects thee.
  Bel comes out from Babylon    the lands bow before him.
  Sarpanitum comes out    fragrant incense is burned.
  Tashmitum comes out    frankincense full of cypresses is burned.

It has been mentioned that a common motif for praise was the possession
of sanctuaries. It is of interest that out of such hymnal lines as the
following developed the independent hymn in praise of the sanctuary:

  Thy house Izida    is a house incomparable;[36]
  Thy city Borsippa    is a city incomparable.

  In Ekur, the house of festivals,    is thy name exalted.[37]

  In Ekur, the temple of holiness,    exalted are his decrees.[38]

In Marduk No. 7 and Bel No. 1 we have two fragments of hymns which
apparently were devoted entirely to the praise of the sanctuary, as
these two hymns are not addressed in the second person to deity, the
discussion of them is postponed for a later section.

It is also of interest that hymnal lines in praise of the divine word
tended to develop into the independent hymn in praise of the word. Such
lines are:

  Thy word, when it extends to the sea    the sea is frightened;[39]
  Thy word, when it extends to the marsh    the marsh laments.

  Thy word, when it is proclaimed in heaven,    the Igigi prostrate
              themselves.[40]
  Thy word, when it is proclaimed on earth,    the Annunaki kiss the
              ground.
  Thy word, when it sounds on high like a stormwind,    makes food and
              drink to abound.
  Thy word, when it sounds over the earth,    vegetation springs up.
  Thy word, it makes fat stall and stable,    it multiplies living
              creatures.
  Thy word, it causes truth and righteousness to arise    so that men
              speak the truth.
  Thy word, it is like the distant heaven,    the hidden underworld,
              which no man can see.
  Thy word, who can know it,    who can compare (anything) with it.

Before concluding this chapter on Assyrian hymnal introductions to
prayers, it is well to give one complete example of such a hymn, the
home of which was the sanctuary:

  Strong son, first born of Bel,[41]
  Great perfect offspring of Isara,
  Who art clothed with might, who art full of fury,
  Storm god, whose onslaught is irresistible,
  Mighty is thy place among the great gods,
  In Ekur, the house of festivals, is thy head exalted.
  Bel thy father has granted thee
  That the law of all the gods thy hand should hold;
  Thou renderest the judgment of mankind;
  Thou leadest him that is without a leader, the man that is in need;
  Thou graspest the hand of the weak, thou raisest up him that is bowed
              down;
  The body of the man that to the lower world has been brought down thou
              dost restore.
  From him who sin possesses the sin thou dost remove;
  The man with whom his guardian god is angry, thou art quick to favor.
  Ninib, prince among the gods, a warrior art thou.
        [There follows a petition for the forgiveness of sins.]

The following hymn, which belongs not so much to the sanctuary as to
Nature, is of peculiar interest because of the light it throws upon
Psalm 19:40-6. Here indeed the Sun god not only runs his course but is
in very truth a bridegroom, and has his tent, and, refreshed by the
banquet he has enjoyed, is strong to run his race:

  Shamash, at thy entrance into the midst of heaven,[42]
  May the door of the pure heaven greet thee,
  May the gate of heaven bless thee;
  May justice, thy beloved messenger, direct thy way;
  In Ebarra the seat of thy sovereignty, let thy sublimity shine,
  May Ea, thy beloved wife, come before thee with joy,
  May thy heart be at rest,
  May for thy divinity a banquet be prepared.
  Shamash, warrior hero, be praised.
  Lord of Ebarra, may thy course be guided aright,
  Walk the straight path, go upon the course permanently fixed for you.
  Shamash, judge of the world, determiner of its decisions art thou.

The following delightful fragment of a hymn to Shamash seems to belong
even more to Nature’s out of doors than the preceding hymn:

                     [Beginning of tablet broken.]
  Lord, illuminator of the darkness, opener of the face of [heaven][43]
  Merciful God, who raisest up the lowly, who protectest the weak,
  For thy light wait the great gods
  The Annunaki all of them gaze upon thy face
  The mortals all together as a single individual thou leadest.
  Expectant with raised head they look for the light of the sun;
  When thou appearest they exult and rejoice;
  Thou art their light unto the ends of the distant heaven.
  Of the wide earth the object of attention art thou;
  There gaze upon thee with joy numerous peoples.
                           [Text breaks off.]

Corresponding to this hymn to the Sun God, the following hymn to the
Moon God, Sin, is likewise very beautiful:

  O Sin, O Nannar, mighty one,[44]
  Sin who art unique, thou that brightenest,
  That givest light unto the nations,
  That unto the human race art favorable,
  Bright is thy light in heaven,
  Brilliant is thy flame like the fire god.
  Thy brightness fills the broad earth;
  The mortals rejoice, they grow strong who see thee.
  O Anu of the heavens whose purpose no man understands,
  Overwhelming is thy light like Shamash thy first born;
  Before thy face the great gods bow down, the fate of the world is
              determined by thee.



                              Chapter VII
                       ASSYRIAN ANTIPHONAL HYMNS


There is also among the Assyrian hymns addressed in the second person to
deity a group of hymns, which are distinguished by refrains, frequent
repetitions of a phrase or clause, or marked parallelisms of lines. It
is, however, in most cases very difficult to know whether the hymn is
actually antiphonal or not.

Nergal No. 4 is a hymn fragment of ten lines. For the first eight lines,
the second half of each line is the refrain: “Destroyer of the hostile
land,” while the first half of each line gives a separate title of the
god. Thus:

  Warrior raging flood ...,    destroyer of the hostile land;
  Warrior, lord of the underworld,    destroyer of the hostile land;
  God that comest forth from Shitlam,    destroyer of the hostile land;
  Great steer, mighty lord,    destroyer of the hostile land.

One would be inclined to suggest that a priest chanted the first half
line and a choir the refrain. The difficulty is that elsewhere we have
such refrains where an individual is the speaker.

In a hymn to Ramman (No. 3) Enlil thus addressed his son Ramman:

  Thou, O my son, thou storm with all seeing eyes,
  Thou storm god with vision from on high;
  Ramman, thou storm,
  Thou storm god with vision from on high;
  Thou storm who like the seven demons flieth,
  Thou storm god with vision from on high.
  Storm, may thy sonorous voice give forth its utterance,
  Thou storm god with vision from on high.
  The lightning thy messenger send forth,
  Thou storm god with vision from on high.

The next five lines, still continuing the message of Enlil to his son,
has the refrain: “Who can strive with thee.”

  My son, go forth, go up, who that cometh can strive with thee?
  If the foe do harm, the father is over thee, who can strive with thee?
  With the small hail stones thou art skillful, who can strive with
              thee?
  With the great hail stones thou art skillful, who can strive with
              thee?
  Let thy small and great stones be upon him, who can strive with thee?

Since these two refrains are both in a passage spoken by an individual,
it must be concluded that in this hymn at any rate the refrain is used,
not for antiphonal rendering, but for impressiveness, perhaps for
magical power.

In the light of the above fact, it is altogether possible that the
refrain occurring eight times in the invocation to Sin (Sin No. 5) may
have been recited by the priest, and not by the choir in antiphonal
response to the priest. The refrain differs from the preceding examples
in that the titles of deities which lend variety to the lines are
imbedded in the middle of the refrain:

  Father Nannar, lord Anshar,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, lord great Anu,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, lord Sin,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, lord of Ur,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, lord of Egishirgal,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, lord of the tiara, brilliant one,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, whose rule is perfect,    chief of the gods;
  Father Nannar, who dost go forth in the robe of majesty,    chief of
              the gods.

A fragment of a hymn to Nebo (Nebo No. 2) has in a passage of five lines
yet a different use of the refrain. The refrain which makes up the
second half of each line is varied in three lines by the introduction of
a new word from the first half line:

  O lord, thy might    is a might incomparable;
  O Nebo, thy might    is a might incomparable;
  Thy house Ezida    is a house incomparable;
  Thy city Borsippa    is a city incomparable;
  Thy district of Babylon    is a district incomparable.

The carrying forward in the refrain of the important word of the first
half line does suggest very forcibly that an individual chanted the
first half line, and a choir the second half line. The same arrangement
would hold for the couplet that follows the above lines, the second line
of the couplet being a response to the first.

  Thy weapon is a dragon    from whose mouth no poison flows;
  Thy weapon is a dragon    from whose mouth no blood sprays.

But mere arrangement in couplets and close parallelisms seems
insufficient to prove the presence of responses, for in a hymn to Nebo
(Nebo No. 4) it is Nusku who speaks, though the couplet would suggest a
response:

  Lord, warlike art thou,    perfect in understanding through thyself,
  Ninib, warlike art thou,    perfect in understanding through thyself.

Likewise the priest, we are informed, speaks in the following couplet:

  Bel, to whom in his strength there is no equal,
  Bel, gracious king, lord of the lands.
                                                        (Marduk No. 12.)

So also the hymnal introduction of the two following couplets is to the
prayer of an individual:

  Thou treadest in the high heavens,    lofty is thy place;
  Thou art great in Hades    there is none like thee.

  With Ea in the multitude of the gods    is thy counsel preëminent
  With Sin in the heavens    thou see’st through everything.
                                                         (Nergal No. 1.)

There are two long hymns to Nergal (Nergal No. 5 and No. 6) in which the
antiphonal response seems to be a certainty. In Nergal No. 5 the
response, coming in the second line, consists of the words: “God Nergal”
followed by an additional word or phrase borrowed from the preceding
line.

  Warrior whose terribleness ...
  God Nergal, Warrior;
  Prince of the shining face and flaming mouth ...
  God Nergal, Prince of the Shining Face;
  Legitimate son, favorite of Bel,    Great Guardian ...
  God Nergal, Legitimate Son;
  Chief of the great gods    Clothed in grandeur and splendor ...
  God Nergal, Chief;
  Mighty one over the Annunaki    Whose splendor is terrifying ...
  God Nergal, Mighty One
  Lord of the raised head,    Lofty one, favorite of Ekur ...
  God Nergal, Lord of the Raised Head
  High one of the great gods    Whose judgment and decision ...
  God Nergal, High One
  Lofty giant    Who spittest out poison ...
  God Nergal, Lofty Giant
  Of gigantic size with terrible limbs, raging demons to right and left
              of him,
  God Nergal, of Gigantic Size
  Of tremendous power, whose blow is effective, crouches a demon at his
              side,
  God Nergal, of Tremendous Power;
  Great sword god, at the noise of whose feet the barred house opens,
  God Nergal, Great Sword God
  Lord who goeth about by night, to whom bolted doors open of
              themselves,
  God Nergal, Lord Who Goeth by Night;
  Warrior his whip cracks and men cry: “The noise of his weapon”
  God Nergal, Warrior His Whip Cracks;
  Perfect one, whose strength is overwhelming ...
  God Nergal, Perfect One;
  Combatter of the enemy of Ekur, the foe of Duranki thou combattest,
  God Nergal, Combatter of the Enemy;
  Frightful one, raging fire god ...
  God Nergal, Frightful One;
  Storm flood which overwhelms the disobedient land ...
  God Nergal, Storm Flood which Overwhelms.
                          [Tablet breaks off.]

Since the second line of each of the twenty-five couplets above begins
with the words: “God Nergal” and, then adds the first word or phrase of
the preceding line, it may be called a refrain with variations. Moreover
it would seem probable that a priest chanted the longer first line, and
a choir the second line in response.

Nergal No. 6 opens with an introductory couplet:

  Flood watering the harvest    knows any one thy name?
  Powerful one, flood watering the harvest    knows any one thy name?

This usage of repeating the first line and adding a word to it, suggests
that the second line was repeated with greater emphasis, and possibly by
a choir in response to a priest. After this introductory couplet there
follow eleven couplets with a double refrain, made up of the first half
lines of each couplet. Thus:

  Powerful one,    mighty one, lord of the kingdom of the dead,
  Most mighty one,    divine scion of Shitlam;
  Powerful one,    great strong steer,
  Most mighty one,    lord of Gushidi;
  Powerful one,    ruler, divine prince of Erech,
  Most mighty one,    lord of Kutha.

For the eleven such couplets one is inclined to surmise a choir chanting
the refrains, and a priest announcing the titles of the deity. This
seems more probable than that one choir repeated the first line and a
second choir the second line. After two ordinary couplets, marked only
by fairly close parallelism, there follows a triplet in praise of the
incomparable god:

  Lord    who is like thee    who rivals thee?
  Most mighty one    who is like thee    who rivals thee?
  Nergal    who is like thee    who rivals thee?

With the change of the invocation from “Lord” to “Most mighty one” to
“Nergal” the lines undoubtedly grow in intensity until the name Nergal,
which is held back until the third line, would be thundered forth in
that third line with the greatest enthusiasm. Here again it seems highly
probable that a choir chanted the refrain: “Who is like unto thee, who
rivals thee?” The second part of this hymn consists of eighteen lines in
couplets and triplets in praise of the word of Nergal. The ease with
which the second half line follows from the first half line suggests
that here the priest chanted the first half line, and a choir the second
half line.

In this same class of Antiphonal hymns belong two hymns with a veritable
din of repetitions. The first is Sin No. 3. It opens with the formal
invocation:

  Thou whose glory in the sacred boat of heaven is self created,
  Father Nannar    lord of Ur,
  Father Nannar    lord of Ekissirgal,
  Father Nannar    lord of the new moon.
  Lord Nannar    first born son of Enlil.

It is easy to suppose that a priest chanted the entire first line, and
that a choir chanted the first half lines of the next four lines while
the priest supplied in the second half lines the titles of the deity.
There follows what might be regarded as an imitation of the huzzas of a
crowd welcoming a sovereign. Here it is welcoming the ascent of the moon
god in the heavens:

  When thou ascendest,    when thou ascendest,
  When before thy father    before Bel thou art glorious,
  Father Nannar when thou art glorious,    when thou pursuest thy way,
  When in the boat that in the heavens ascendest    thou art glorious,
  Father Nannar    when unto Esaguz thou mountest,
  Father Nannar    when like skiff upon the floods thou ascendest,
  When thou ascendest, when thou ascendest,    thou when thou ascendest,
  In thy rising and in thy completion of thy course,    yea in thine
              ascension.

After one further couplet the long subordinate clause ends, and the
principal statement is made:

  “Hail thou that in the majesty of a king daily rises.”

In the above, the clause: “when thou ascendest” is repeated nine times
and may well have been shouted by the choir or concourse of worshippers.

Nergal No. 7 is a hymn with an even greater complexity of repetitions,
and is somewhat suggestive of the repetitions characteristic of the
Hindu hymns sung to the accompaniment of the rattling Indian drums. The
first fourteen lines are:

  Nergal’s heroism    I will praise (I will sing)
  When with a shout    the house of the hostile land the lord attacked,
  When Shitlam’s scion    the house of the hostile land the lord
              attacked,
  Shitlam’s scion    who alone is a warrior,
  (When with a shout)    the house of the hostile land the lord
              attacked,
  When with rejoicing    the house of the hostile land the lord
              attacked,
  The great steer    the strong one    who alone is a warrior,
  When with rejoicing    the house of the hostile land the lord
              attacked,
  When with a shout    the house of the hostile land the lord attacked,
              an ox bound in the yoke,
  When Shitlam’s scion    the house of the hostile land the lord
              attacked, his creative implement ...

  When with a shout    the house of the hostile land the lord attacked,
              whose reed is in process of growth,
  When the great steer    the strong one    the house of the hostile
              land the lord attacked, his raven is black,
  When with a shout    the house of the hostile land the lord attacked,
  When Shitlam’s scion    the house of the hostile land the lord
              attacked, his raven is white.
                             [Gap in text.]

As to the rendering of this first part of Nergal No. 7, the first line
“Nergal’s heroism, I will praise, I will sing” makes it certain that an
individual, probably a priest or a choir leader, sang the first line,
and highly probable that he recited the beginnings of each line, and the
new additions to the lines, leaving to the choir to recite the refrain.
The main purpose of the hymn, as announced in the opening line, was to
narrate the heroic exploits of the gods in war against the enemy. The
narration was sung by the leader, and the repetitions, giving clarity
and emphasis, and possibly magical power, were evidently sung by the
choir. The second portion of the hymn, as it is continued beyond the gap
in the inscription until the tablet breaks off, differs from the first
part, in that it largely lacks the repetitions, and in that it does not
employ the third person of the verb, but is addressed directly to deity.
It belongs accordingly among the hymnal introductions.

Finally there is now appended to this chapter the discussion of three
hymns, which might perhaps be better called dramatic rather than
antiphonal compositions. The first hymn is Ishtar No. 6, and it has
three distinct parts. Part I is addressed by the worshipper to the
deity, and consists of eleven lines. In lines 1-7 the worshipper
attempts to set forth clearly certain prominent characteristics of the
deity he is seeking:

  Light of heaven, which flames like fire over the earth    thou art;
  Goddess when over the earth thou standest
  One who as the earth stands firm    thou art;
  Unto thee the way of truth pays homage;
  When thou enterest a man’s house,
  A leopard gone forth to seize the lamb    thou art;
  A lion which strides over the plains    thou art.

And having thus stated her attributes, the worshipper goes on to summon
the goddess by her names:

  Storming Virgin    Ornament of heaven,
  Virgin Ishtar    Ornament of heaven,
  Thou who art adorned with the brilliancy of sparkling stones
                 Ornament of heaven,
  Sister of Shamash    Ornament of heaven.

Part II is the reply of the deity to the worshipper, announcing first in
a strophe of four lines her appearance and the purpose thereof:

  To give omens    I rise    I arise in perfection;
  Beside my father to give omens    I rise    I arise in perfection;
  Beside my brother Shamash to give omens    I rise    I arise in
              perfection;
  In the bright heavens to give omens    I rise    I arise in
              perfection.

In the next strophe of four lines she expresses her gratification over
her praise, possibly in allusion to the hymnal lines just sung by her
worshipper or worshippers:

  In joy over my praise,    in joy over my praise
  In joy    a goddess    I walk proudly.
  Ishtar    goddess of the evening    I am
  Ishtar    goddess of the evening    I am.

Part II concludes in a strophe of seven lines, each line setting forth a
great feat of Ishtar’s, and ending with the clause: “that is my glory.”
Here again it is shown that the presence of a refrain is no certain
proof of antiphonal rendering, since the repetition is in the mouth of
the individual Ishtar. Part III is the petition.

The hymn to Ramman (Adad No. 3) is also a composition in three parts.
Part I, lines 1-14 is a hymn of praise addressed in the second person
directly to Ramman, of which the first ten lines are in praise of the
name of Ramman. The lines are in three divisions, and the first six
lines end with the refrain: “Bull mighty and glorious, is thy name
exalted God.”

  Ramman the glorious,    bull mighty and glorious,    is thy name
              exalted God;
  Lord Ramman,    bull mighty and glorious,    is thy name exalted God;
  Ramman heaven’s child    bull mighty and glorious,    is thy name
              exalted God;
  Lord of Karkar,    bull mighty and glorious,    is thy name exalted
              God;
  Ramman, lord of plenty,    bull mighty and glorious,    is thy name
              exalted God;
  Companion of Lord Ea    bull mighty and glorious,    is thy name
              exalted God.

The next three lines introduce variety into the second division, while
the tenth line is uniform with the first six, save for a change of
wording in the first division:

  Father Ramman    lord that rideth the storm    is thy name exalted
              God;
  Father Ramman    that rideth the great storm    is thy name exalted
              God;
  Father Ramman    that rideth the great lion    is thy name exalted
              God;
  Ramman lion of heaven    bull mighty and glorious    is thy name
              exalted God.

The last four lines of Part I pass over from the praise of the name of
Ramman to praise of the activity of the god of the storm:

  Thy name doth dominate the land;
  Thy majesty covers the land like a garment;
  At thy thunder the great mountain father Mullil is shaken;
  At thy rumbling the great mother Ninlil trembles.

Part II of this hymn, lines 15-26, is made up of Enid’s summons to his
son Ramman to go up with sonorous voice, with lightning, and with small
and great hail stones against the hostile land. This section has already
been discussed earlier in this chapter. Part III is in reality a brief
conclusion to the hymn. It relates in four lines that Ramman obeyed the
summons of Enlil:

  Ramman gave ear to the words    which his father spoke to him;
  The father Ramman went out of the house    storm of sonorous voice;
  Out of the house, out of the city went he up,    the youthful lion;
  Out of the city took his way    the storm of sonorous voice.

The third hymnal composition of this group, the so-called litany to
Asshur, is in two parts. Part I is a long hymn addressed by an
individual, possibly Asshurbanipal, to Asshur, of which the chief
distinguishing characteristic is the oft repeated vow of the individual
to praise the deity. Nineteen of the twenty-two lines of Part I are as
follows:

  Mighty lord of the gods,    all knowing one;
  Powerful stately lord of the gods,    determiner of fates;
  Asshur mighty lord,    all knowing one;
  Powerful stately lord of the gods,    determiner of fates;
  Asshur almighty one, lord of the gods,    lord of the lands;
  His greatness (I will praise),    his sublimity proclaim;
  The memory of Asshur I will glorify,    his name I will magnify;
  The sublimity of him who dwells    at Ekharraggalkurra I will
              proclaim;
  His might I will praise,    to his will I will submit;
  He who dwells at Ascharra,    Asshur determiner of fates;
  To reveal (his glory)    to the inhabitants of the land
  That later generations may learn of his fame
  I will for ever praise his lordship
  Mighty one with broad understanding    potentate of the gods;
  Mighty creator of the heavens,    builder of the mountains;
  Mighty creator of the gods,    begetter of the goddesses;
  Of great heart and deep understanding
        O glorious one,    whose name arouses fear;
        O Asshur,    whose decrees reach into the distance.

The promise of the poet here to make the fame of Asshur known to later
generations corresponds to the promise of the author of Psalm 45 for the
fame of the reigning Hebrew king. In Part II of this litany to Asshur,
first Anu, Bel, and Ea, the lords of the gods proclaim Asshurbanipal as
ruler of Assyria, promising him many years of sovereignty, lines 1-6;
and then Asshur appoints him to lordship over lands and men, lines 7-8.
The concluding couplet, lines 9-10 is suggestive of the close
relationship between the fame of the king, and the fame of the patron
god of the kingdom.

  Through the mouth let it be proclaimed    continually let the ear hear
              it,
  That I Asshur have named you    to lordship over lands and men.
  May the memory of Asshur be praised,    his divinity be exalted,
  So that the exaltation of Asshur,    the lord of lords, may be known.

Common to these three compositions and of great interest to the Old
Testament student is the appearance and message of the deity, since
there are parallels to this in the Old Testament. Especially close is
the parallel to the decree of Yahwe in Psalm 2, and the oracle of Yahwe
in Psalm 110.



                              Chapter VIII
                  ASSYRIAN SELF-LAUDATIONS OF THE GODS


In addition to the hymnal introductions to prayers, and the antiphonal
hymns, there was in Assyrian poesie a distinct and notable group of
hymns in which the gods praise themselves. It is of course presupposed
in the hymnal introductions that the gods desire and welcome the praise
of men. The gods do praise one another. Enlil praised Ramman in the hymn
to Ramman No. 2 which was discussed in the last chapter. Also Nusku
praises Ninib in Ninib No. 4:

  Nusku the lofty messenger of Bel in Ekur met him,
  Unto Lord Ninib greeting he spoke:
  Lord warlike art thou, perfect in understanding through thyself,
  Ninib warlike art thou, perfect in understanding through thyself.
  Thy dazzling brilliancy covers Bel’s house as a garment.
  Thy wagon, because of its thundering noise,
  At its going shakes heaven and earth;
  At the raising of thy hand darkness stretches itself out.
  The Annunaki, the great gods are terrified.

Since the gods thus welcome the praise of gods and men, there is no
reason why the Assyrian god should not appear to proclaim his greatness
and to challenge the admiration of gods and men. In the hymn to Ishtar
No. 6, which was studied in the preceding chapter, the goddess in
response to the opening hymn of praise announced her appearance to give
omens, and proclaimed in hymnal lines her own glory.

But there are other hymns sung by the gods in their own praise. Ninib
No. 5 is a fragment of a hymn, fourteen lines in length, sung by Ninib
in his own honor. Some of the lines are:

  King who by day shines like Anu I am:
  He whom Anu in her sovereign power hath chosen I am.
  The warrior, who at the command of Ea into the terrible battle goes, I
              am.
  He whose sovereignty shines to the borders of heaven and earth I am;
  The mighty one among the gods, robed in brilliancy I am.

Similarly Ninib No. 6 is another hymnal fragment of fourteen lines in
which the deity praises himself. Some of the lines exalting his prowess
are:

  Against my terrible brilliancy which like Anu is mighty who raises
              himself?
  Storm god with fifty mouths my divine weapons I carry;
  A warrior who destroys mountains, merciless storm I carry;
  A weapon like a corpse-eating dragon I carry;
  Mountain destroyer, the heavy weapon of Anu I carry.

More impressive is a hymn of some fifty lines, though the tablet is
broken off, sung by Belit in her own honor. The theme of the hymn is the
supremacy of Belit. Thus she announces herself:

  Am I not the daughter of Bel?
  Am I not supreme? I am the warrior.
  Am I not the goddess? The warlike daughter of Bel I am.
  The high placed daughter of Bel I am.

Her power is irresistible:

  The waters which I stir up do not become clear;
  The fire which I kindle does not go out;
  The house of heaven, the house of earth unto my hand he has entrusted;
  The city which I plunder is not restored;
  The utterance of my exalted command destroys the land of the foe.

Belit is supreme in heaven and in earth:

  At the lifting of my hand the heavens stand still, and the lofty
              powers of heaven supplicate me.
  I am supreme, the hand of him who contends with me shall not stand
              against my hand.
  My mighty pace fills the earth
  I am supreme, the foot of him who contends with me shall not stand
              against my foot.
  Who is there before me? Who is there behind me?
  From the lifting up of mine eyes who can escape?
  From the rush of my onslaught who can flee?

Yet this warlike goddess is apparently not without some tenderness:

  The exalted daughter of Bel I am,
  The noble heroine of my father Sin I am,
  I am supreme, the legitimate wife of Ea I am,
  Him who is bowed down I lift up, the aged one I lift up.

Similar in its theme is a hymn to Ishtar (No. 4), for it begins thus:

  Who is equal to me    me?
  Who is comparable to me    me?
  Goddess I am    I am mistress;
  Small and great    I uproot, I lay low.

She is like Belit a goddess of war:

  In the midst of the battle    when I take my place,
  The heart of battle, the arm of valiant courage, the strength of
              heroism I am.
  Behind the battle    when I approach,
  A conquering power    which fiercely attacks I am.

She is the goddess of the evening star, and of the earth’s vegetation,
the goddess of fertility:

  In the heavens in the evening when I take my place,
  The lady who fills the firmament of heaven I am.
  Through my appearance fear is established in the heavens;
  Through my radiance the fishes are affrighted in the deep.
  In the heavens I take my place,    and send rain;
  In the earth I take my place,    and cause the vegetation to spring
              forth.
  Who is equal to me    me?
  Who is equal to me    me?

There are three strophes in praise of the name of the goddess, beginning
with the announcement of the seven names of the deity, after this
fashion:

  My first name is    I am Ishtar
  My second name is    Lady of the lands
  My third name is    The lofty one who causes the heavens to tremble,
              the earth to quake;
  My fourth name is    Flaming fire.

The last and twenty-third strophe is almost identical with the first
strophe, in obedience to the same instinct or artistic principle, which
causes the Hebrew hymn of praise to return in its conclusion to the
opening call to praise:

  Who is equal to me    me?
  Who is comparable to me    me?
  I am Ishtar    I
  Small and great    I uproot, I lay low.

Rather effective is the single line in response to the hymn of the
goddess:

  Resplendent goddess, art thou not an overwhelming flood?

Is this line a pious gloss, the comment of a devout reader of the hymn,
or is it an integral part of the hymnal composition? If the latter, then
this hymn would belong in the same group with hymn to Ishtar No. 6,
Ramman No. 2, and the litany to Asshur.

There is a second hymn to Ishtar (No. 5), of which the first lines are
broken off, and which is followed by a priest’s short prayer, but which
is spoken altogether by Ishtar in her own praise. At the beginning we
have a strophe of nine lines, four couplets, and an additional line. The
first half line of each couplet continues the same, “She who in the days
of long ago,” and the first half line of the second line of each couplet
remains just the name: “Ishtar.” The second half lines of each couplet
are almost identical, and the second half of each couplet differs from
the second half of the preceding couplet only by the changing of a
single word. If the hymn were not in the first person, and thus put into
the mouth of Ishtar herself, one would say that the first line of the
couplet was recited by a priest, and that the second line was shouted by
a choir in response:

  She    who in the days of long ago    in the earth was magnified am I
  Ishtar    who    in the earth is magnified am I
  She    who in the days of long ago    in all lands was magnified am I
  Ishtar    who    in all lands is magnified am I
  She    who in the days of long ago    in the sanctuary was magnified
              am I
  Ishtar    who    in the sanctuary is magnified am I
  She    who in the days of long ago    in all sanctuaries was magnified
              am I
  Ishtar    who    in all sanctuaries is magnified am I
  She    who in the days of long ago    in the holy sanctuaries is
              magnified am I.

There follows a strophe of six lines, of which the first half lines give
different titles of Ishtar, and the second half lines have the refrain,
“in the temple of my riches am I.” Then after three broken lines this
hymnal composition closes with a brief petition of four lines repeated
by the priest in behalf of the temple.

The five hymns, just reviewed, are all in the nature of a
self-introduction of the gods and goddesses as powerful, incomparable
beings. This is what one would expect. There is among gods as among
kings a great deal of rivalry about prestige. The God must sound abroad
his own glory. Beyond that, however, is the fact that in every religion
a god must be, to a large extent, an unknown deity. His
self-manifestations can be only occasional, and never clearly
apprehended by man, so that when the god appears, man must necessarily
ask: “Who art thou?” and the deity must reply, as did Ninib and Belit
and Ishtar: “I am ...” These self-introductions of deity inevitably
recall to the mind of the Old Testament student Yahwe’s introduction of
himself to Moses in Exodus 3:6; and again the self-introduction of Yahwe
that precedes the promulgation of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:2.
Especially are they, however, suggestive of the repeated
self-announcements of deity, that occur in almost every chapter of
Isaiah 40-55. Here also we have again and again the rhetorical question,
and the emphasis upon the power, the wisdom, the fame, and the
incomparable status of Yahwe. Just a few of these hymnal lines are here
quoted:

  Who raised up from the East    the man who is ever victorious?
  Who delivers to him the nations,    and makes him rule over kings?
  Who hath indeed done this,    He who calls the generations from the
              beginning;
  I Yahwe am the first,    and I am the last, I am he.
                                                       —Isaiah 41: 2, 4.

  I am Yahwe,    that is my name;
  I yield my glory to no one,    nor my praise to idols.
                                                           —Isaiah 42:8.

  I, I am Yahwe    besides me there is no saviour;
  I have foretold    and I have saved;
  I and no foreign god among you,    thereto are ye my witnesses.
                                                         —Isaiah 43:11f.

  I am Yahwe and there is none else,    besides me there is no god.
  I form the light    and create darkness
  I make peace    and cause calamity
  I Yahwe do all things.
                                                        —Isaiah 45:5, 7.

These and a great many similar lines have a good deal of the phraseology
and the atmosphere of the Assyrian hymns of Belit and Ishtar, and in so
far support the Babylonian origin of Isaiah 40-45, but there is in the
Assyrian hymns no such clear relationship of the deity to history as is
characteristic of the Hebrew hymns in Isaiah 40-45.

There remains of Assyrian hymns still to be recognized a small and
distinct group in which deity is praised by man in the third person. One
of these, Nergal No. 7, has been included among the Antiphonal hymns and
already studied. That portion, which is in the third person is simply
narrative, with many repetitions, telling of Nergal’s heroic attack upon
the hostile land. It is mythological and epic material adapted to hymnal
purposes. Similarly the hymn to Ramman No. 2 was included among the
Antiphonal hymns, beginning as it does with fourteen lines spoken by man
in praise of Ramman, and continuing with Enlil’s charge to Ramman in the
next twelve lines. However, this hymn comes to its conclusion in the
next four and last lines with the use of the third person, telling how
Ramman obeyed the bidding of his father Enlil:

  Ramman gave heed to the words which his father spoke to him;
  Father Ramman went out of the house, the storm of sonorous voice,
  Out of the house, out of the city he went up, the youthful lion,
  Out of the city he took his way, the storm of thunderous voice.

Beside this can be placed the fragment of eight lines, Ramman No. 1.
Heaven and earth quake before Ramman’s anger. The gods flee to the
heights and to the depths before the mighty god of the tempest. This
hymn invites comparison with Psalm 29, the Hebrew hymn in praise of the
“Voice of Yahwe”:

  The lord in his fury,    the heavens quake before him;
  Ramman in his fury,    the earth trembles;
  The great mountains    break to pieces before him.
  Before his anger,    before his fury,
  Before his roaring,    before his thunder;
  The gods of heaven    to heaven ascend;
  The gods of earth    to earth retire;
  To the heights of heaven    they penetrate;
  Into the depths of the earth    they enter.

In Marduk No. 4, following the hymnal invocation of six lines addressed
in the second person to the deity, there is a section of fifteen lines
making up the rest of the hymn, and extolling the greatness of Marduk,
especially his might in war. When he attacks, the heavens above and the
earth beneath are troubled; the gods flee; his weapons flash forth and
destroy mountains. However the hymn is not a narrative of any event.
Though the language is of a myth, yet the poem is not in its nature an
epic. It is recited not to inspire interest, but to arouse enthusiasm
for the deity. It is thus, along with Ramman No. 1, more hymnal in
character than the narrative portions in Nergal No. 7 and Ramman No. 2:

  The direction of conflict and battle is in the hands of Marduk, the
              leader of the gods;
  At whose wrath the heaven quakes;
  At whose wrath the deep is troubled;
  At the point of whose weapon the gods turn back;
  Whose furious attack no one ventures to oppose;
  The mighty lord, to whom there is no rival in the assembly of the
              gods.
  In the bright firmament of heaven, his course is powerful;
  In Ekur, the temple of holiness, exalted are his decrees.
  In the storm wind his weapons blaze forth;
  With his flame steep mountains are destroyed.
  He overwhelms the expanse of the billowy ocean.
  Son of Esara is his name, warrior of the gods his title.
  From the depths is he lord of the gods and men.
  Before his terrible bow the heavens tremble,
  Who the lofty house of death’s shadow overthrows and destroys.

In the chapter on Assyrian Hymnal Introductions, it was observed that in
Sin No. 3 and Sin No. 5 there were hymnal lines in praise of the divine
word, addressed directly to deity in the second person:

  Thy word, when it sounds over the earth, vegetation springs up.

In Marduk No. 5 there are five hymnal lines in praise of the word of
deity, in four of which the third person is used, although one would
hesitate to say that the hymn ceases to be addressed to deity, or that
the change of person is here particularly significant:

  Thy word is a lofty net    which over heaven and earth thou spreadest
              out.
  Unto the sea it turns,    the sea it takes fright.
  Unto the marsh it turns,    the marsh laments.
  To the flood of Euphrates    it turns,
  The word of Marduk    stirs up the bottom
  Lord, thou art lofty,    who equals thee?

In the hymn to Nergal No. 7 there is a large hymnal passage in praise of
the word of deity. It begins apparently with the last line on the
obverse side of the tablet, in which the second person of the direct
address to deity is used:

  Thy word is a lofty net    Which stretches out over heaven and earth.

Unfortunately the first lines on the reverse side of the tablet are
lost, but the lines which remain are all in the third person, and unlike
the preceding hymn deity is not being directly addressed. We have here
then the hymnal form which is characteristic of the Hebrew hymn of
praise. It is however somewhat difficult to account for this use of the
third person. Possibly it is because the word when once spoken has its
independent existence, and cannot be recalled, but goes forth to exert
its harmful or helpful influence. Consequently in thinking of the
effects to be accomplished by Nergal’s word one can completely forget
Nergal, since the word has left the god behind and goes on its own way,
whither soever it was directed. It is to be noted that the effects of
the word mentioned in this hymn are all harmful. There is no record of
any magical ceremony or magical use of the word following the hymn,
although the language of the hymn would almost seem to be introductory
to such a use of the mighty word of Nergal. Possibly then it can be
conjectured that we have actually here a genuine hymn in praise of the
aweful word of deity. The hymn as preserved is as follows:

  Thy word is a lofty net    which stretches out over heaven and earth
  . . . . . . . . .
  His word goes to the seer,    the seer takes fright;
  His word goes to the enchanter,    the enchanter takes fright.
  His word is announced to an afflicted man,    that man laments;
  His word is announced to an afflicted woman,    that woman laments.
  His word when it goes softly    ruins the land;
  His word when it goes powerfully    destroys the houses.
  His word is as a closed vessel    its innermost thoughts who can
              learn?
  His word is as a covered net    in which he snares.
  His word within is not understood,    without it tramples down;
  His word without is not understood,    within it tramples down;
  His word makes the people sick,    the people it makes weak.
  His word when it goes on high    the land makes sick;
  His word when it goes below    destroys the land.
  Warrior Nergal, below he commands    below he tramples underfoot
  His word when there are five in a house    drives out five;
  Warrior Nergal when there are ten in a house    drives out ten.
  The word of the lord when it hastens on high    I am troubled;
  The word of the lord because of its destructiveness    I sit and
              lament.
  At his word on high the heavens become dark,    mighty is his word.

It has also been observed in the chapter on Hymnal Introductions, that
in Nebo No. 1 there was a couplet, and in Ninib No. 1 there was a hymnal
line, both in praise of the sanctuary, and both addressed in the second
person to deity. Furthermore there is in the hymn to Marduk No. 4,
reproduced above in this chapter a line in praise of the temple in Ekur:

  In Ekur, the house of festivals,    is thy name exalted.

Beyond this we have, however two hymnal fragments, which so far as they
remain to us, are devoted to the praise of sanctuaries. The first of
these is Marduk No. 7:

  ... day when he named Babylon faithfully by its name,
  The lord of the crown built at the door of the ocean the house which
              he loved.
  The land with exultation and joy he filled;
  Its head like the heavens he made high;
  A house at the door of the ocean endowed with grandeur and glory for
              the honor of his godhead is suitable.
  ... Nebo and Sarpanitum a glittering sanctuary inhabit;
  ... he caused to inhabit a dwelling of luxury.
                          [Tablet breaks off.]

The second fragment, hymn to Bel, No. 1, consists only of five lines,
which unfortunately are not altogether intelligible. Apparently the
sanctuary of Enlil is compared first to a mountain, whose peak reaches
to the heavens, and then to a majestic wild ox stretched out in the
mountains, whose horns glitter in the rays of the sun. These hymnal
fragments recall the Old Testament psalms in praise of Zion, and perhaps
especially Psalm 48:2:

  Beautiful for situation,    the joy of all the earth
  Is Mount Zion,    on the northern slope
  The city of the great King.

The above small group of hymns are the only hymns or hymnal passages in
which the third person is exclusively used. As has been seen, the great
majority of Assyrian hymns employ the second person and are really only
hymnal introductions to prayers. A small but notable group is made up of
the self-laudations of the gods. On the other hand the vast majority of
Hebrew hymns speak of Yahwe in the third person in their praise of him,
and their praise is disinterested; it is not introductory to a petition.
It is likewise significant that where Yahwe speaks in hymnal praise of
himself in Isaiah 40-45, it is to convince despairing, doubting Israel
of his intention and power to save Israel, and to use Israel in the
fulfillment of his eternal purpose. Here again one might say that while
the Assyrian deities haughtily and arrogantly proclaim their own
greatness, seeking thereby only their own glory, Yahwe’s praise of
himself is almost altogether disinterested, since his concern is to
achieve salvation of Israel and the world. In the Hebrew sense of the
word then, the genuine hymn is only beginning to emerge in Assyrian
poetry.



                              Division III
           A COMPARISON OF THE ASSYRIAN AND THE HEBREW HYMNS



                               Chapter IX
         THE LITERARY FORM OF THE ASSYRIAN AND THE HEBREW HYMNS


The comparison of the Assyrian and the Hebrew hymns ought naturally to
begin with the consideration of their literary form. This brings us to
the first and most obvious distinctive mark of poetry in both
literatures, the relatively uniform length of the lines in each poem.
Wherever a line lengthens out unduly it is clear that there is a lapse
into prose. A second phenomenon that meets the eye frequently in the
Assyrian poems and even more often in the Hebrew psalms, is the falling
of the line into two divisions:

  He who accepts no bribe,    who takes the side of the weak,
  Is well pleasing to Shamash,    prolongs his life.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

  Shining Fire God,    who surveys the tops of the mountains
  Mighty Fire God,    illuminator of the darkness.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 1.

  Who leadest the rivers    in the midst of the mountains,
  Who openest the springs    in the midst of the hills.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

  What is man,    that thou should’st remember him?
  Even the son of man,    that thou should’st care for him?
                                                             —Psalm 8:5.

  The law of Yahwe is perfect,    converting the soul:
  The testimony of Yahwe is sure,    making wise the simple;
  The statutes of Yahwe are right,    rejoicing the heart.
                                                            —Psalm 19:8.

  Mouths to them,    but they speak not;
  Eyes to them,    but they see not.
                                                           —Psalm 115:5.

Occasionally the lines in both Assyrian and Hebrew psalms fall into
three divisions:

  When thou ascendest,    when thou ascendest,    when thou ascendest
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

  In heaven thou art lofty,    on earth thou art king,    clever adviser
              of the gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Father Ramman,    Lord that rideth the storm,    is thy name exalted
              God.
                                                  —Hymn to Ramman No. 3.

  Yahwe our Lord,    how glorious thy name,    in all the earth!
                                                             —Psalm 8:2.

  God will bless us,    and shall fear him    all the ends of the earth.
                                                            —Psalm 67:8.

  Who is this king of glory?    Yahwe strong and mighty,    Yahwe mighty
              in battle.
                                                            —Psalm 24:8.

However the most conspicuous feature of both Assyrian and Hebrew poetry
is the occurrence of two parallel lines in the distich or couplet.
Parallelism may also occur between the parts of the line, and hence it
is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two half lines and the
couplet, and between the line of three divisions and the tristich. In
the Assyrian hymns, as in the Hebrew hymns, the most common form of
parallelism is the synonymous, the second line practically repeating the
thought of the first line:

  Thou treadest in the high heavens,    lofty is thy place:
  Thou art great in the lower world,    there is none like thee.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

  The living creatures,    all of them thou shepherdest;
  Thou art the protector of those,    which are above and below.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

  More to be desired than gold,    than much fine gold,
  And sweeter than honey,    yea than honey from the comb.
                                                           —Psalm 19:11.

  Yahwe has made known his salvation,    before the nations he has
              revealed his righteousness
  He has remembered his mercy to Jacob,    and his loyalty to the house
              of Israel.
                                                            —Psalm 98:2.

Very common in the Assyrian hymns, but not so frequent in the Hebrew
hymns is tautological parallelism, where the second line repeats the
thought of the first line in almost the same words. The frequency of
this form in the Assyrian hymns is most certainly in part due to the
magical potency attached to the repetition of significant lines.

  O Lord, who is like thee,    who can be compared to thee?
  Mighty one, who is like thee,    who can be compared to thee?
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

  When thou callest inside,    the people within thou killest;
  When thou callest outside,    the people outside thou killest.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 7.

  Sing praises to God,    sing praises:
  Sing praises unto our king,    sing praises.
                                                            —Psalm 47:7.

  Let peoples thank thee O God;
  Let peoples all of them thank thee.
                                                            —Psalm 67:4.

The synthetical parallelism, in which the second line continues the
thought of the first line is relatively common in both Assyrian and
Hebrew hymns:

  Bel, thy father, has granted thee,
  That the law of all the gods thy hand should hold.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

  From all countries,    so many as speak with the tongue,
  Thou knowest their plans,    their walk thou observest.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

  The mountains rose,    the valleys fell
  Unto the place,    thou hadst appointed for them.
                                                           —Psalm 104:8.

  Sing to Yahwe a new song,    for wonders he hath done;
  Hath helped him his right hand    and his holy arm.
                                                            —Psalm 98:1.

It is one indication of the superior literary quality of the Hebrew
hymns that antithetical parallelism, in which the thought of the second
line is opposed to that of the first line, occurs quite frequently in
the Hebrew hymns, and almost not at all in the Assyrian hymns:

  I said, ye are gods,    and sons of the Most High all of you;
  But ye shall die like men,    and fall like one of the demons.
                                                           —Psalm 82:6f.

  The dead do not praise Yahwe,    nor any who go down into silence,
  But we will bless Yahwe    from henceforth and forever.
                                                        —Psalm 115:171f.

  Shamash honors the head of the just man;
  Shamash rends the evil man like a thong.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 1.

Beyond the couplet, strophes of three, four, five, six, and more lines
are common in the Assyrian hymns, even as in the Hebrew Psalter. Perhaps
the fact that interests the Old Testament student most in the strophic
arrangement is that the number of lines in the strophes in the same hymn
is by no means always uniform. Accordingly if one may draw a conclusion
from Assyrian usage for the Old Testament, the effort often so zealously
made to restore by elimination of lines a uniform strophic arrangement,
is a grievous error. Variety rather than uniformity was often the end
sought.

Another characteristic feature of both Assyrian and Hebrew hymns is the
occasional appearance of the refrain. This refrain does not however
appear artistically at the end of the strophe, as in Psalm 99 where the
refrain, “Holy is He,” is to be found at the end of verses 2, 5, 9, and
probably ought to be inserted at the end of verse 7. Rather the refrain
usually forms the second half of the individual lines for a succession
of three, five, seven, ten, or more lines. The same hymn may employ a
variety of refrains. The hymn to Ramman No. 3 has for the last two
thirds of the first six lines:

  —Mighty Bull and glorious is thy name exalted God—

Then for three lines it repeats only the last third of the refrain:

  —is thy name exalted God—

returning to the full refrain however for the tenth line. Then lines 16
to 20 have for the last third of the line the refrain:

  —thou storm with elevated vision—

while lines 21 to 25 have for the last third of the line the refrain:

  —who can stand with thee?—

In general this use of the refrain in the Assyrian hymns would seem to
correspond to what we have in Psalm 115:9-11:

  O Israel,    trust in Yahwe; their help and their shield is He.
  O house of Aaron,    trust in Yahwe; their help and their shield is
              He.
  Ye fearers of Yahwe,    trust in Yahwe; their help and their shield is
              He.

In a number of instances the refrain of the Assyrian hymn occurs in the
first third or half of the line, and the occurrence of the double
refrain is also frequent:

  She who in the days of long ago    in the earth was magnified am I;
  Ishtar    who in the earth is magnified am I.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

No such skill in the use of the double refrain is shown, however, as in
Psalm 107.

Yet another feature common to Assyrian and Hebrew hymn is the prominence
of the rhetorical question:

  O Lord who is like thee,    who can be compared to thee?
  Mighty One who is like thee,    who can be compared to thee?
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

  Who is equal to me,    me?
  Who is comparable to me,    me?
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

  Who is like Yahwe our God,    in heaven or on earth
  Who has placed his throne on high,    who stoops to regard the earth?
                                                          —Psalm 113:5f.

  How many are thy works, O Yahwe?    all of them in wisdom thou hast
              made.
                                                          —Psalm 104:24.

It has already been pointed out in a previous chapter, that the use of
the refrain in the Assyrian hymns, as in the case of the Hebrew hymns,
indicates antiphonal responses between priest and choir, and choir and
choir. Likewise the hymns of both literatures have been seen to take on
more decided liturgical character with the introduction of the divine
pronouncement through the priest as in the Litany to Asshur and the
second Psalm. Both literatures have the sanctuary hymn, and the
processional and the recessional hymn. The most significant difference
between the Assyrian hymn and the Hebrew hymn would seem to be that the
former is usually addressed in the second person to deity, and is
accordingly of the nature of prayer, while the Hebrew hymn is the
response to the summons to praise deity, is expressed in the third
person, and is more genuinely hymnal in character.



                               Chapter X
                     THE SUPREME GOD AMONG THE GODS


Having compared the Assyrian and Hebrew hymns, with reference to their
external form, and the circumstances under which they were sung, it is
now proper to examine more closely the actual contents of the hymns. The
subject of all genuine hymns is God. It is an argument for the common
nature of the Assyrian and Hebrew hymns that practically all the hymnal
phrases can be classified under the following heads:

  1. The supreme God among the gods.
  2. The glory of His name.
  3. The supreme God a heaven’s god.
  4. The supreme God in his sanctuary.
  5. The supreme God as creator.
  6. The supreme God as God of nature.
  7. The supreme God as wise.
  8. The supreme God as powerful.
  9. The supreme God as merciful.
  10. The supreme God as king.
  11. The supreme God as judge.

This classification enables us to study at one and the same time the
phraseology and the content of the Assyrian and Hebrew hymns. It may be
said at the outset, that there are practically no specific cases where
literary dependence can be demonstrated, but, what is more important,
there is a very striking similarity of phraseology, implying similar
religious ideas. This phraseology of the Assyrian hymns has its value
for the interpretation of the Hebrew hymns, and their content, and a
like value for the study of the Hebrew religion.

In comparing the phraseology of the Assyrian and the Hebrew hymns, the
most obvious difference is that the Assyrian hymns are addressed to many
different deities, each with its own proper name, Shamash, Sin, Marduk,
Ninib, and many others. The existence of the other gods is implied in
some Hebrew hymns, but the Hebrew hymnist never concedes to them an
individual independent existence, much less a name. Furthermore, one
meets everywhere in the Assyrian hymns the distinction of sex. There are
husbands and wives, sons and daughters, among the gods:

  Strong, lofty one, highest of the goddesses;
  O Damkina, Queen of all the gods,
  Strong wife of Ea, valiant art thou.
                                                    —Hymn to Sarpanitum.

  Am I not the daughter of Bel?
                                                         —Hymn to Belit.

  O strong son. First born of Bel;
  Great perfect offspring of Isara.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

  O lord, first born of Marduk,
  O ruler, lofty offspring of Sarpanitum.
                                                    —Hymn to Nebo No. 1.

  The father who begot thee    Ea thou excellest.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Sister of Shamash, Ornament of heaven
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

  Sin, bright brilliant god, Ninnar, first born of Ekur, son of Bel.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 2.

  First born of Ea.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Lord, mighty and exalted, first born of Nunnammir,
  Offspring of Kutushar the mighty queen.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

One would expect that the god to whom the hymn is addressed would be
regarded as the supreme God, but in some hymns his subordinate
relationship to other gods is recognized:

  Shamash, the support of Anu and Bel art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 1.

  He whom Anu in his lofty power hath chosen I am.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 3.

  Mighty art thou among the gods, Ea has made thee splendid;
  (Through the proclamation) of the oracle has Bel made thee great.
  O Nebo, bearer of the tables of destiny of the gods,
  Messenger of Anu, who brings Bel’s commands to fulfillment.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 3.

The Assyrian refers altogether naturally to his deity as a god among
gods, and frequently ascribes to him only a relative degree of strength
and power:

  A mighty one among the gods art thou.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 4.

  O Marduk, powerful one of the gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

  Great one, ruler of the gods, Marduk mighty one.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Thou art great among the gods, mighty is thy command.
                                                       —Hymn to Damkina.

It is only when the Assyrian hymn applies to its deity the superlative
degree, that it touches common ground with the Hebrew hymn. For both
Assyrian and Hebrew worshippers praise their deity as the incomparable
god. Such passages from Assyrian hymns are:

  O mighty God, to whom there is no rival in the assembly of the great
              gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

  Marduk, among all gods thou excellest.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 6.

  (Prince) of heaven and earth who hath not his equal.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 7.

  Bel to whom in his strength there is no opponent.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 12.

  Among the goddesses is none like unto her.
                                                    —Hymn to Sarpanitum.

  King of kings, exalted one, whose decrees none can oppose,
  No god is like unto thy divinity.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

And some Hebrew hymns recognize the existence of the gods in asserting
the absolute superiority of Yahwe:

  For I know that Yahwe is great,
  Even our Lord than all gods.
                                                           —Psalm 135:5.

  For a great God is Yahwe,
  And a great King over all gods.
                                                            —Psalm 95:3.

  For great is Yahwe, and to be praised exceedingly;
  Terrible is He above all gods.
                                                            —Psalm 96:4.

Also the existence of many gods is implied in the rhetorical questions
common to the Assyrian and Hebrew hymns. Assyrian:

  O lord who is like thee, who can be compared to thee;
  Mighty one, who is like thee, who can be compared to thee;
  Lord Nannar who is like thee, who can be compared to thee?
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

Identical in form is the question addressed to Nergal:

  O lord who is like thee, who can be compared to thee;
  Most mighty one, who is like unto thee, who can be compared to thee;
  Nergal who is like thee, who can be compared to thee?
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

Ishtar herself asks the question:

  Who is equal to me, me;
  Who is comparable to me, me?
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

The question is followed by the answer in the following examples:

  Who is exalted in heaven,    Thou alone art exalted;
  Who is exalted on earth,    Thou alone art exalted.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  What god in heaven or earth can be compared to thee,
  Thou art high over all of them
  Among the gods superior is thy counsel.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

Biblical examples of such rhetorical questions are:

  For who in the skies can be compared unto Yahwe,
  Who is like Yahwe among the gods?
                                                            —Psalm 89:7.

  Yahwe god of hosts who is like thee?
  Strong art thou Yahwe and thy faithfulness is round about thee.
                                                            —Psalm 89:9.

  Who is like Yahwe our God, in heaven or in earth,
  Who sittest on high, who peereth into the depths?
                                                          —Psalm 113:5f.

Moreover there is, for Assyrian, as for Hebrew, the council of the gods,
in which one god is the supreme judge.

  O mighty god to whom there is no rival in the assembly of the great
              gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Then come the great gods for trial before thee.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 3.

  Yahwe takes his stand in the council of gods:
  In the midst of gods he judgeth.
                                                            —Psalm 82:1.

  A God very terrible in the council of the holy ones,
  And to be feared above all them that are round about Him.
                                                            —Psalm 89:8.

Furthermore, both in Assyrian and Biblical hymns, the gods themselves do
homage to the highest god:

  O Sin, at thy appearance the gods assemble;
  Kings, all of them, prostrate themselves.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

  There bow before thee the Igigi, the Annunaki, the gods, the
              goddesses.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Worship him all ye gods.
                                                            —Psalm 97:7.

  Ascribe unto Yahwe    Ye sons of God,
  Ascribe unto Yahwe    Glory and strength.
                                                            —Psalm 29:1.

Yahwe, who is thus worshipped by the gods, can appropriately be called
“God of gods and Lord of lords”:

  O give thanks unto the God of gods.
                                                           —Psalm 136:2.

  O give thanks unto the Lord of lords.
                                                           —Psalm 136:3.

The Assyrian hymn passes beyond the point where the deity is exalted
above other gods:

  Whose great glory through Bel the regent of heaven,
  Is exceedingly high over all gods,
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

to the point where the god alone is exalted:

  O lord chief of the gods, who alone is exalted on earth and in heaven;
  Who is exalted in heaven, thou alone art exalted;
  Who is exalted on earth, thou alone art exalted.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

Likewise the Hebrew hymn speaks of the exaltation of Yahwe and passes
beyond the point where Yahwe is high above all gods.

  For thou art high over all the earth,
  Thou art gone up exceedingly above all gods.
                                                            —Psalm 97:9.

  High over all nations is Yahwe;
  Over the heavens his glory.
                                                           —Psalm 113:4.

to the point where Yahwe alone is exalted in the earth:

  Be still and know that I am God:
  I will be exalted in the earth;
  I will be exalted among the nations.
                                                           —Psalm 46:11.

It was said above that certain Hebrew hymnal passages recognize the
existence of other gods. It might have been pointed out there that one
of those passages,

  For great is Yahwe and to be praised exceedingly;
  Terrible is he above all gods
                                                            —Psalm 96:4.

is followed by:

  For all the gods of the peoples are idols;
  But Yahwe made the heavens
                                                            —Psalm 96:5.

and Psalm 135:5:

  For I know that Yahwe is great,
  Even our Lord than all gods

is followed by 135:15:

  The idols of the nations are silver and gold,
  The work of men’s hands.

Yet this may not be an outright denial of the existence of all gods, nor
an interesting example of the retention of phraseology which the
religion had outgrown. The Israel of most of the hymns was very much a
nation among the nations. With feeling, at once intensely national and
intensely religious, Israel poured its contempt upon idolatry, and
declared that the nations had no god. On earth Yahwe is the supreme God,
and in heaven in the heavenly court he reigns supreme, and the gods who
are there, serve him and enhance his glory.


                         The Glory of His Name

Assyrian and Hebrew hymns are alike, in that both exalt the name of
deity. For both the name of the god is great and glorious and to be
feared. It is known in all the earth and is not to be forgotten. There
seems to have been an element of mystery, possibly due to magic,
attached to the name of the Assyrian deity.

  Flood watering the harvest, knows anyone thy name.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

And in this connection it is well to notice that Ishtar announces
herself by several names:

  My first name is    I am Ishtar
  My second name is    Lady of the countries.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

Great and terrible is the name of the Assyrian and Hebrew deity.

  The lord Ninib I am, at the naming of my name may be prostrated the
              lofty powers.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 5.

  Exceeding great is thy name, Marduk mighty one.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Asshur, glorious one, whose name arouses fear,
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

  Let them praise thy name great and terrible.
                                                            —Psalm 99:3.

  Known in Judah is God, in Israel great is his name.
                                                            —Psalm 76:2.

  Lord whose name is glorious, recorder of the world.
                                                         —Hymn to Enlil.

  Not to us. Not to us, but to thy name give glory.
                                                           —Psalm 115:1.

  Thy name is altogether good in the mouths of the peoples.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 13.

  Thy name is spread abroad, in the mouths of men, O protecting god.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 1.

  Whose name is brilliant in all the earth, that is my glory.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

  As thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth.
                                                           —Psalm 48:11.

  Yahwe, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth.
                                                             —Psalm 8:2.

Not only universal, but also eternal, is the fame of Assyrian and Hebrew
deity:

  Therefore may the fame of Asshur not be forgotten, may men remember
              Essharra.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

  Yahwe thy name is forever,
  Yahwe thy remembrance to generation and generation.
                                                          —Psalm 135:13.

It may be significant also, that, while the name of the Assyrian and the
Hebrew deity is great and glorious and terrible, universally known and
never to be forgotten, it is said only of the Hebrew deity, that his
name is holy:

  For in Him doth our heart rejoice,
  For in His Holy Name do we trust.
                                                           —Psalm 33:21.

  Bless my soul Yahwe, and all that is within me His Holy name.
                                                           —Psalm 103:1.

While both Assyrian and Hebrew hymns exalt the name of the deity, there
is no passage in any Assyrian hymn, revealing such enthusiasm on the
part of an individual, for the name of the god as Psalm 145:1b:

  I will exalt thee,    my god,    O king,
  And I will bless    thy name    for ever
  Every day will I bless thee,
  And I will praise thy name for ever and aye,

Nor is there any passage in an Assyrian hymn calling upon universal
nature, sun, moon and stars, mountains, and hills, rain and snow, all
living creatures, all men and women, old and young, kings and nations,
to praise the name of God, as Psalm 148:13:

  Let them praise the name of Yahwe
  For his name alone is exalted.



                               Chapter XI
                 THE SUPREME GOD IN HIS DWELLING PLACE


The Assyrians are known to readers of the Old Testament as worshippers
of the hosts of heaven, and while their hymns represent them as adoring
also the Atmospheric Gods, and furthermore finding Deity not only in the
heights above, but also in the depths beneath, nevertheless their
reverent gaze was most frequently turned skyward. Their gods were mainly
gods of heaven, and were associated, at times almost to the point of
identification, with the heavenly bodies. Thus the God Shamash bears the
name of Sun, and is unmistakably and very closely associated with the
solar orb:

  The mighty mountains has thy glory covered;
  Thy brilliancy fills and overwhelms the countries;
  Thou marchest regularly across the heavens.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

Likewise Nusku is a solar deity:

  Strong fire god who surveys the tops of the mountains,
  Mighty fire god, illuminator of the darkness.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 1.

Also Marduk:

  Lofty in form, Marduk, shining sun god, bright torch,
  Who by his rising illumines the (darkness), makes brilliant (    ).
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

The moon has its very worthy representative among the gods in the person
of the great God Sin:

  Thou that brightenest the night,
  That givest light to all nations,
  Bright is thy light in heaven;
  Thy brightness fills the whole earth.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 1.

  Thou that from the base of heaven to the height of heaven dost march
              in glory;
  Opening the door of heaven, and granting light to all men.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

The evening star, the star which shines preëminent in the heavens is
represented by two glorious goddesses, Ishtar and Sarpanitum:

  Light of heaven which flames like fire over the earth art thou.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 6.

  In the heavens in the evening when I take my stand,
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

  She that flameth in the horizon of heaven.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 6.

  Who art adorned with the brilliancy of sparkling stones, ornament of
              heaven.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 6.

  Ishtar who opens the bolt of the pure heavens, that is my glory.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 6.

  Sarpanitum, shining star, dwelling in Endul,
  Who crossest the heavens, who passest over the earth,
  Sarpanitum, whose station is lofty,
  Brilliant is my lady, lofty and high.
                                                    —Hymn to Sarpanitum.

Just as Shamash, Sin, and Ishtar are so closely associated with sun,
moon, and evening star, so Ramman, in the two hymns written in his
honor, is almost identified with the thunderstorm.

Yahwe is not identified, nor closely associated, in the Hebrew hymns,
with any of the heavenly bodies, not even with the sun, but he, like the
Assyrian deities, dwells in heaven, and his glory, as is theirs, is that
of the stars. Of Yahwe it might have been said, as of Nergal and Ishtar:

  Thou treadest in the high heavens, lofty is thy place.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

  Thy seat is in the high heavens, in the midst of the bright heavens,
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 2.

  But our God is in the heavens,
  Everything that he pleaseth, he doeth.
                                                           —Psalm 115:3.

  The heavens are Yahwe’s heavens.
                                                          —Psalm 115:16.

  Yahwe is in his holy temple;
  Yahwe, in the heavens is his throne.
                                                            —Psalm 11:4.

Yahwe was not identified with sun, moon or stars. No more was he
identified with the thunderstorm. ’Tis true, in Psalm 29 the thunder is
described as the voice of Yahwe, but while the tempest rages below,
Yahwe sits exalted in heaven, the mighty God, who gives strength to his
people, and blesses them with peace. It is the glory of the Hebrew
religion, that its God has been released from all identification with
nature’s forces and is lord in his universe. So he controls also the
winds:

  Who bringeth forth the wind out of his treasuries.
                                                           —Psalm 135:7.

  To him that rideth in the ancient heavens.
                                                           —Psalm 68:34.

  Who maketh clouds his chariot,
  Who walketh upon the wings of the wind.
                                                           —Psalm 104:3.

As gods of heaven, both the Assyrian deities and Yahwe are revered as
lofty, exalted beings. Marduk is addressed as the one

  “who alone art lofty.”
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  In heaven thou art lofty, on earth thou art king, clever adviser of
              the gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

To Ninib it is said:

  In Ekur, the house of festivals, is thy head exalted
  Ninib, king, son of Bel, who himself is exalted.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

And for Asshur the wish is expressed:

  May the memory of Asshur be praised, his divinity be exalted,
  So that the exaltation of Asshur, the lord of lords, the warrior, may
              shine.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

Similarly Yahwe is exalted:

  But thou art high for ever, O Yahwe.
                                                            —Psalm 92:9.

  That they may know that thou alone art Yahwe
  The most high over all the earth.
                                                           —Psalm 83:19.

Yahwe’s exaltation above the earth brings with it also exaltation over
all nations:

  Yahwe in Zion is great,
  And High is He above all nations.
                                                            —Psalm 99:2.

  High over all nations is Yahwe;
  Over the heaven is his glory.
                                                           —Psalm 113:4.

So also Marduk’s exaltation has its significance for men:

  High art thou    in heaven:
  All people    thou see’st.
  Great art thou    upon earth:
  Their omens    thou see’st.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

Yahwe’s exaltation seems to be not only above the earth, but he is also
highly exalted in the heavens:

  His majesty is above earth and heaven.
                                                          —Psalm 148:13.

  Thou whose majesty is placed above the heavens.
                                                             —Psalm 8:2.

Before the exalted heavens’ God, the Assyrian worshipper is reverent:

  O lord thy divinity is full of awe
  Like the far off heaven and the broad ocean.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

and as Heaven’s God, Yahwe is to be praised:

  Praise Yahwe from the Heavens;
  Praise Him in the heights.
                                                           —Psalm 148:1.

The Assyrian religion, in contrast to the Hebrew religion, finds God in
the lower world, and glorifies the deity of the lower world:

  Thou art great in Hades, there is none like thee.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

  Warrior, lord of the under world.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 4.

She, who is goddess of heaven and earth is also goddess of the deep:

  Lady of Egurra, ruler of the deep,
  Who inhabitest the deep, lady of heaven and earth.
                                                       —Hymn to Damkina.

The Hebrew hymns have only the negative statements regarding Yahwe’s
prestige in the lower world:

  The dead praise not Yahwe,
  Neither any that go down to silence
                                                          —Psalm 115:17.

and the assertion of Psalm 139:8 that Yahwe the omnipresent is present
also in Sheol.


                    The Supreme God in His Sanctuary

Although the Assyrian deities and Yahwe are gods of heaven, yet they
take up their abode in earthly sanctuaries:

  Who hast taken up his exalted habitation among living creatures
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  For Yahwe hath chosen Zion,
  He hath desired it for his habitation.
                                                          —Psalm 132:13.

  In Salem also is his tabernacle
  And his dwelling place in Zion
                                                            —Psalm 76:3.

  Bel thy dwelling is Babylon, Borsippa is thy crown.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 12.

  Lord of Izida, shadow of Borsippa, director of Isagila.
                                                    —Hymn to Nebo No. 1.

  Virgin. Virgin in the temple of my riches am I.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

The sanctuary itself is venerated by Assyrian and Hebrew:

  Thy house Ezida is a house incomparable.
                                                    —Hymn to Nebo No. 2.

  How lovely are thy tabernacles O Yahwe of hosts.
                                                            —Psalm 84:2.

  Honor and majesty are before Him;
  Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
                                                            —Psalm 96:6.

There is nothing in the Hebrew hymns to indicate that Yahwe has more
than one sanctuary. This is due of course to the fact that the Hebrew
hymns are preserved in a collection, whose editors recognized only
Jerusalem as a legitimate place of worship. On the other hand the
Assyrian gods have usually several sanctuaries:

  The sovereign of sanctuaries all of them.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 13.

  Ishtar, who in all sanctuaries was magnified am I.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

It is curious that the god should be addressed as the founder of cities
and sanctuaries:

  Founder of the cities, renewer of the sanctuaries.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 3.

  Founder of sanctuaries, proclaimer of their names.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

Apparently the Assyrian sanctuaries were thought to be as old as the
world itself, for the erection and naming of the sanctuaries is
mentioned in connection with the creation of the earth:

  Creator of the land, founder of sanctuaries, proclaimer of their
              names.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 7.

But of Yahwe it is said:

  Doth build up Jerusalem Yahwe;
  The dispersed of Israel he gathereth together.
                                                           —Psalm 147:2.

It is not forgotten in the Assyrian hymns, that the deity gives joy to
city and temple:

  O Marduk the mighty who causest Itura to rejoice.
  Lord of Isagila, help of Babylon, lover of Izida.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 8.

The processional hymn to Marduk opens with the line:

  O lord on thine entrance into thy house may thy house rejoice in thee.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 13.

Hebrew temple worship must also have been joyful, when the worshippers
obeyed the exhortation, Psalm 100:2: “Serve Yahwe with gladness”; when
they praised him “with trumpet sound,” “with psaltery and harp,” “with
timbrel and dance,” “with stringed instruments” and “pipe” “with loud
cymbals” and “high sounding cymbals,” Psalm 150. Distinctive of the
Hebrew hymns is, as we would expect, the great prominence given to the
praise of Yahwe in the temple:

  Praise, O Jerusalem, Yahwe;
  Praise thy God, O Zion.
                                                          —Psalm 147:12.

  Blessed be Yahwe from Zion,
  Who dwelleth at Jerusalem.
                                                          —Psalm 135:21.

Not only do Assyrian and Hebrew deity dwell in earthly sanctuaries, but
their sanctuaries seem to have been alike situated on holy mountains:

  Great and to be praised exceedingly
  Is the city of our God.
  His holy mountain, beautiful of situation,
  Is the joy of the whole earth.
  Mount Zion, on the sides of the North,
  Is the city of a great King.
                                                           —Psalm 48:2f.

Another reference to the holy mountain is found in Psalm 87:1

  Its foundation is in the holy mountains.

To be compared with the last two selections is the couplet from a hymn
to Bel:

  Great mountain of Enlil Imkharkag whose peak reaches to heaven,
  Whose foundation is laid in the glittering deep.

This couplet describes a temple of Bel which resembles a mountain. The
name Great Mountain was also applied to Bel himself. Possibly the line
of development was thus. The god dwells in the holy mountain. For that
reason, the temple is built to resemble a mountain, and the name
mountain passes over from the temple to the deity. At any rate, it is
interesting to note that Yahwe also dwells in the holy mountain and was
likewise called rock:

  Rock of our salvation.
                                                            —Psalm 95:1.

  He only is my rock and my salvation,
  My tower, I shall not be greatly moved.
                                                            —Psalm 62:3.

It is natural to pass from the sanctuary to the physical representation
of the deity. This in the Assyrian hymns is frequently crass:

  Prince of shining face and flaming mouth raging fire god.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 5.

  Of gigantic size with terrible limbs,
  Raging demons to right and left of him.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 5.

  Mighty in form, lofty in stature, and powerful for the exercise of his
              lordship.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

In a number of passages, the god takes the still crasser form of an
animal. In Sin No. 5, line 19, it is the form of a horse:

  O hastening steed, sturdy one, whose knees do not grow weary,
  Who dost open the road for the gods, thy brothers.

In other passages, it is a bull or steer:

  O strong young bull with huge horns, perfect in limbs,
  with beard of lapis-lazuli color, full of glory and perfection.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Great steer mighty lord, destroyer of the hostile land.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 4.

  Powerful one great strong steer.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

  Thou who bearest horns who art clothed with glory.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 8.

  A crouching ox art thou, bull that dost institute destruction.
                                                         —Hymn to Enlil.

  Warrior who as a steer stands firm at one’s side,
  Warrior who resembles a wild ox with great horns.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 5.

In the hymns proper, there is no such crass representation of Yahwe, but
it is well to recall that Yahwe was not only represented by bull images
at Bethel and Dan, but is referred to as the “Bull of Jacob.”

  How he sware unto Yahwe,
  And vowed to the Bull of Jacob.
                                                           —Psalm 132:2.

It is a stage higher in refinement, when the god is not represented as a
naked demon, nor as a powerful animal, however majestic in its strength,
but as a clothed being. Such a representation of the deity we have both
in the Assyrian and the Hebrew hymns:

  Father Nannar who dost go forth in the robe of majesty chief of the
              gods.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Robed in splendor, clothed in terror.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 2.

  Chief of the great gods, clothed in grandeur and splendor.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 5.

  Who art clothed with terror, who art full of glory.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

  The mighty one among the gods with brilliancy clothed am I.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 3.

  Strongest of the goddesses whose clothing is the light.
                                                    —Hymn to Sarpanitum.

From out of such imagery as that cited in so many passages has come
these two chaste references to Yahwe as clothed:

  Yahwe is King: he is clothed with majesty
  Clothed is Yahwe    he hath girded himself with strength.
                                                            —Psalm 93:1.

  My God thou art exceeding great,
  With honor and majesty thou art clothed,
  Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment.
                                                           —Psalm 104:1.

There is but one instance in the Assyrian Hymns, when the beauty of the
god is the delight of the worshipper. This is somewhat akin to the
feeling of the mystic:

  Fruit which hath created itself, of lofty form beautiful to look upon,
  in whose being one cannot sufficiently state oneself.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

There are no parallels to this among the biblical hymns but there are
parallels among other psalms:

  That I may dwell in the house of Yahwe
  All the days of my life
  To behold the beauty of Yahwe.
                                                            —Psalm 27:4.

  As for me I shall behold thy face in righteousness;
  I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with (beholding) thy form.
                                                           —Psalm 17:15.

  So have I looked upon thee in the sanctuary
  To see thy power and thy glory.
                                                            —Psalm 63:3.

Homage was paid to the Assyrian deities by the bringing of offerings to
their temples, and this fact of the offering of sacrifices, finds a
place in the hymns:

  Father Enlil with song majestically we come:
  The presents of the ground are offered to thee as gifts of sacrifice
      O lord of Sumer figs to thy dwelling we bring;
      To give life to the ground thou dost exist.
                                                         —Hymn to Enlil.

A special distinction of Marduk’s is that:

  Among all gods who dwell in sanctuaries, sacrifice of every kind is
              brought into his sanctuary.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 7.

The sacrifice, and especially the offering of wine, would favorably
affect the disposition of the god:

  On the festal day when he takes his seat in joy,
  When on equality with Anu and Bel sesame wine made him genial.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 4.

On the other hand, the favorable disposition of the deity is manifested
by his acceptance of the offering, and the proof of the magnanimity of
the god finds its due place in the hymn:

  Thou eatest, drinkest their pure wine, noble beer from the cask
  When they pour the noble beer for thee, thou acceptest it.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

It is curious that, just as the gods for whom the temples were built,
were addressed as the builders of the temples, so the gods to whom
sacrifices were offered, were addressed as those who maintained the
offering of sacrifices. Doubtless the sacrifices of the temples had come
to be regarded as in themselves absolutely essential to the established
order, and the gods, as the givers of the earth’s products, became thus
the patrons of the sacrifices.

  Thou givest the bread of sacrifice, the daily sacrifices.
                                           —Marduk No. II, col. III:1.2.

  Protector of the offerings for the gods, renewer of the temple cities.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Who dost build dwellings and establishest offerings.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 7.

  Protector of the sacrificial gifts of all the Igigi.
                                                           —Nusku No. 3.

Nusku as the fire god is particularly essential to the offering of
sacrifices:

  Without thee is no banquet held in the temple;
  Without thee the gods smell no incense.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 3.

  The bestower of incense who burns the freewill offering for the gods.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 2.

It is surely very significant that all this is absent from the Hebrew
hymns. There is but one single reference to a sacrifice.

  Give to Yahwe the glory due to his name;
  Bring an offering and come into His courts.
                                                            —Psalm 96:8.

What the Hebrews in their hymns bring to Yahwe is an offering of praise
for:

  His praise endureth forever.
                                                          —Psalm 111:10.

and the individual devoutly says:

  I will praise Yahwe    while I live;
  I will sing praises to my God    while I have my being.
                                                           —Psalm 146:2.

and a temple congregation says:

  But we will bless Yahwe
  From now and for evermore.
                                                          —Psalm 115:18.

Sacrifice had its place, and on that great day of Yahwe’s final triumph,
the kindreds of the peoples are called upon to bring an offering (Psalm
96:8), but this seems to be only incidental to their acknowledgment in
Yahwe’s temple of his universal lordship. I am assuming that the glory
and strength of Psalm 96:7:

  Give to Yahwe    ye kindreds of the peoples;
  Give to Yahwe    glory and strength

are to be understood in the spiritual rather than the material sense, as
elsewhere the hymns only call for spiritual homage to Yahwe:

  Worship Yahwe    in holy garments;
  Tremble before Him all the earth.
                                                            —Psalm 96:9.

  Come let us worship and bow down;
  Let us kneel before Yahwe our maker.
                                                            —Psalm 95:6.

  Exalt ye Yahwe    our God,
  And worship    at his footstool.
                                                            —Psalm 99:5.

  The praise of Yahwe    my mouth shall speak,
  And all flesh shall bless his holy name.
                                                          —Psalm 145:21.

The Hebrew hymn does not praise Yahwe as the one who establishes
sacrifice, nor as the God who accepts sacrifice. Although sacrifices
continued to be offered in the temple, the hymn, as a hymn, transcends
all formalism. The hymn is the expression of enthusiasm for Yahwe, the
exalted and great God whom all the earth is to acknowledge, and
conversely, it may perhaps be said that only such a magnificent
conception of deity as the Hebrews had could produce such hymns.



                              Chapter XII
                       THE SUPREME GOD AS CREATOR


The ordinary person is very likely to limit the thought of God as
creator to the monotheistic religions. However the religious imagination
is by no means controlled by logical reasoning. The problem of creation,
in some form or other, has its fascination even for the primitive mind,
and the conception of God as creator is not foreign to the religious
thinking of polytheistic religions. Accordingly, although the Assyrian
deities never completely succeeded in emancipating themselves from close
association with heavenly bodies and atmospheric forces, yet some of
them did win for themselves the significant title of creator:

  O Lord of heaven    who created the earth.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 4.

  Creator of the land, founder of sanctuaries, proclaimer of names.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 7.

  Creator of the totality of heaven and earth, art thou O Shamash.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

  Creator of the upper universe, builder of the mountains,
  Creator of the gods, begetter of the goddesses.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

In the preceding couplet one might expect instead of “builder of the
mountains,” “builder of the earth,” but the second line would seem to
suggest that the mountains were the abodes of the gods, and therefore
the creation of mountains and gods is associated together. The following
couplet, while not affirming explicitly the act of creation by deity,
seems nevertheless to presuppose it:

  Heaven and earth are thine;
  The space of heaven and earth is thine.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 6.

Turning to the Hebrew hymns, there is a great variety of passages, in
which Yahwe is referred to as creator:

  Let all the earth fear Yahwe;
  Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him,
  For he spake and it was done,
  He commanded and it stood fast.
                                                           —Psalm 33:8f.

  To him that spread forth the earth above the waters.
                                                           —Psalm 136:6.

  To him that by understanding made the heavens.
                                                           —Psalm 136:5.

  To him that made great lights,
  The sun to rule by day,
  The moon and stars to rule by night.
                                                         —Psalm 136:7-9.

  When I behold thy heavens,
  The work of thy fingers,
  The moon and the stars,
  Which thou hast ordained.
                                                             —Psalm 8:4.

  By the word of Yahwe were the heavens made,
  And by the breath of his mouth all their host.
                                                            —Psalm 33:6.

The sun, moon and stars, the highest heaven and the waters above the
heavens are called upon to praise Yahwe their creator:

  Let them praise the name of Yahwe,
  For he commanded, and they were created.
                                                           —Psalm 148:5.

He is also the creator of the sea:

  He gathereth the waters of the sea together as a heap;
  He layeth up the deeps in storehouses.
                                                            —Psalm 33:7.

Here may be inserted the only reference in an Assyrian hymn to the
creation of the sea:

  Thou didst bind the wide sea.

Beside this should be placed the somewhat similar statement in Psalm
104:9:

  Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over,
  That they turn not again    to cover the earth.

Once Yahwe is praised as the creator of the sea and the land:

  The sea is his and he made it,
  And his hand formed the dry land.
                                                            —Psalm 95:5.

Twice Yahwe is referred to as “maker of heaven and earth”:

  Yahwe bless thee out of Zion,
  Maker of Heaven and Earth.
                                                           —Psalm 134:3.

  Blessed are ye of Yahwe,
  Maker of heaven and earth.
                                                          —Psalm 115:15.

In Psalm 33:6-9, the creation of the heavens, the sea, the earth are
referred to in order and Psalm 104:2-9 treats of the creation of the
heavens, the earth and the sea, singling out that which is especially
marvelous in the creation of each. As for the heavens, it is that the
beams of heaven’s chambers are laid upon the waters of the heavenly
ocean. As for the earth, it is that its foundations are so surely fixed
that it is immovable; and as for the sea, it is that its unruly waters
should be imprisoned within their bounds and restrained from overflowing
the earth.

The Assyrian deity is also credited with the creation of gods and
goddesses:

  Creator of the gods, begetter of the goddesses.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

This creation is probably to be understood in the physical sense, for
which there are many parallels in polytheistic religions, but no
parallel in the Hebrew hymns. On the other hand the phraseology of the
following passages:

  King and rulers thou namest,
  Since to create gods and kings rests with thee.
                                                     —Hymn to Bel No. 3.

  Through the mouth may it be proclaimed;
  Without interruption may the ear hear it,
  That I Asshur have named you to lordship
  Over land and men
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

is entirely similar to Hebrew usage. Here the creation of God and King
is equivalent to nomination or appointment. Similarly Yahwe appoints a
king over Zion:

  Yet I have set my king
  Upon my holy hill of Zion.
  I will tell of the decree:
  Yahwe said to me Thou art my son;
  This day have I begotten thee.
                                                            —Psalm 2:6f.

and in Psalm 82:6, although it is not said that Yahwe creates or begets
the gods, yet it seems to be his fiat, his decree that calls them into
being:

  I said, gods shall ye be
  And sons of the Most High all of you.

It is also his decree that destroys them:

  Nevertheless as men shall ye die,
  And as one of the princes shall ye fall.

It is a question of secondary importance whether the Elohim is here to
be interpreted as actually gods, or judges. In either case, there is the
similarity in Assyrian and Hebrew usage.

Finally the creation of mankind is ascribed to the Assyrian deity, and
by this is apparently meant the creation of the entire human family:

  At thy command created was mankind.
                                                     —Hymn to Bel No. 3.

  The creator of all mankind.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 14.

  Heroine Ishtar, creator of mankind.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 3.

The Hebrew hymnists also believed that Yahwe created mankind, and they
marvelled at the perfection of man’s body:

  For I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
                                                          —Psalm 139:14.

They marvelled also at his supreme place in the universe:

  For thou hast caused him to lack little of the gods;
  With glory and honor thou hast crowned him.
                                                             —Psalm 8:6.

It is significant, however, that Hebrew hymnal enthusiasm is not so much
stirred by the thought of Yahwe as the creator of mankind, as it is by
the thought of him as the creator of the Hebrew nation:

  Let Israel rejoice in its maker,
  Let the sons of Zion be joyful in their King.
                                                           —Psalm 149:2.

  Come, let us worship and bow down,
  Let us kneel before Yahwe our maker,
  For he is our god,    and we are
  His people    and the sheep of his pasture.
                                                           —Psalm 95:6f.

This conviction, that Yahwe was the creator of their nation, was in no
small degree both cause and result of the powerful national and
religious enthusiasm of the Hebrews, and of that mighty religious
experience, which finds so full and so free expression in the Hebrew
hymns.


                  The Supreme God as the God of Nature

The Assyrian and Hebrew hymnal literature which praise the deity as the
creator of the world, are also concerned with the deity as the god of
nature. One prominent function of both Assyrian and Hebrew deity was to
maintain the food supply. Assyrian and Hebrew God, give the increase of
the soil:

  Enlil, who makest to abound pure oil and milk:
  Father Enlil, keeper of the plants of the garden;
  Keeper of the grain fields are thou.
                                                         —Hymn to Enlil.

  Lord of the lands, king of heaven and earth, who heaps up abundance,
  Lord of the living things, merciful one, increaser of the wheat.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Who maketh peace    in the borders
  Who filleth thee    with the purest of the wheat.
                                                          —Psalm 147:14.

  Who causeth grass to sprout for the cattle,
  And herbs for the service of man,
  To bring forth food from the earth,
  And wine to make glad the heart of man.
                                                          —Psalm 104:14.

  Thou distributest the food of cultivation to all habitations
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

The Assyrian deity of the hymnist also provides food for the gods,
probably through the sacrifices, which in turn were dependent upon the
crops:

  Thou suppliest the food of god and goddess,
  The creator among them    art thou.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 9.

Yahwe provides food not only for man but also for the beasts:

  Who giveth to the beast its food,
  To the young ravens which cry.
                                                           —Psalm 147:9.

  The young lions roar after their prey,
  And seek from God their food.
                                                          —Psalm 104:21.

It may be remarked that these verses reveal a close bond of sympathy
between the Hebrew God and the lower animals. This finds fullest
expression in Psalm 104 where the brooks in the mountains afford drink
for the wild beasts, and the birds and the cedars of Lebanon avail for
birds’ nests, the high mountains for the wild goats and the rocks for
the conies.

While the Assyrian hymns do not happen to speak of the god as providing
food for the animals, yet there is one hymnal passage which reveals
regard for the lower animals and perhaps also suggests a bond of
sympathy between deity and the lower animals:

  The creeping beast,    the four footed one,
  For thy great light    their eyes are directed to thee.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

The fertility of the soil is directly due to the act of the deity in
sending rain:

  In the heavens I take my place and send rain;
  In the earth I take my place and cause the verdure to spring forth.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

  Thou causest to rain the abundant rains, mighty floods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

The Hebrew poet remarks that the rain comes from the clouds, and he has
also observed that lightning is followed by rain. It is Yahwe:

  Who covereth the heavens with clouds;
  Who prepareth for the earth rain;
  Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.
                                                           —Psalm 147:8.

  Who bringeth up vapors from the ends of the earth;
  Lightnings for rain he maketh.
                                                           —Psalm 135:7.

  He watereth the mountains from his chambers.
                                                          —Psalm 104:13.

Likewise the fertility occasioned by the rivers and streams is due, in
the first place, to the deities which have opened the springs, and
guided the streams down into the plains:

  Who guidest the rivers in the midst of the mountains,
  Who openest the springs in the midst of the hills.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

  Thou maintainest abundance without end,    the dried up spring thou
              openest.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

  Director of the river courses, opener of the springs.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Marduk, lord of abundance of riches, who pours down fullness,
  Lord of the mountain streams and waters, ruler of the mountains,
  Opener of the fountains and springs, guide of the rivers,
  Bestower of corn and grain, creator of wheat and barley, renewer of
              the green herb.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 9.

  Gushea who gives the growth of plants,
  Without thee is no river opened, no river shut off.
  Thou who grantest life, without thee is no canal opened,
  No canal shut off from which numerous people drink;
  Without thee is no sacrificial portion, no portion of food.
                                                        —Hymn to Ishtar.

Yahwe also can open the spring:

  Who turnest the rock into a pool of water,
  The flint into a fountain of water
                                                           —Psalm 114:8.

and Yahwe is also the guide of the streams:

  Who sendest forth springs into the valleys,
  Between the mountains they run.
                                                          —Psalm 104:10.

In addition to sending rain from heaven and causing streams to irrigate
the plains, the Assyrian deity also sows the seed:

  Over the land thou goest scattering seed.
                                                           —Ninib No. 5.

The work of the deities in nature as elsewhere need not always be done
immediately, but can be accomplished by the spoken word. Assyrian and
Hebrew hymns alike exalt the power of the divine word. The voice that
speaks the word is a voice of thunder.

  To him that rideth in the ancient heavens,
  He uttereth his voice, a voice of strength.
                                                           —Psalm 68:34.

  As the sound of Adad’s thunder thy voice is awe inspiring.
                                                    —Marduk II col. III.

The word of God is irresistible:

  Counsellor, favorite of Ea, whose word cannot be withstood,
  To whose powerful word the great Igigi give heed.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Thy word is proclaimed in heaven, and the Igigi prostrate themselves:
  Thy word is proclaimed on earth, and the Annunaki kiss the ground.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

The word once spoken is not to be recalled. It is unalterable. It goes
on to do that work which the deity hath pleased:

  The exalted hero, whose word is unalterable.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 14.

  Perfect in judgment, whose word is not altered:
  Determiner of destinies, whose word is not altered.
                                                           —Hymn to Bel.

  Ninib, whose command is not altered.
                                                            —Ninib 4:32.

The word of the deity has its mysterious independent existence:

  Thy word is like the distant heaven and the concealed earth, which no
              man can see
  Thy word who can know it, who can compare with it?
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

The word exerts its power in nature:

  Thy word sounds on high like a storm wind and food and drink do
              abound;
  The word makes fat stall and stable and multiplies living creatures.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

More wonderful still, the word has ethical power:

  Thy word causest truth and righteousness to arise,
  That men may speak the truth.
                                                   —Hymn to Sin line 26.

The word also exerts its destructive power in nature:

  Thy word when it extends to the sea the very sea is frightened;
  Thy word when it extends to the marsh, the marsh laments.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 4.

  Thy word is a lofty net which over heaven and earth thou spreadest
              out:
  Unto the sea it turns, the sea takes fright:
  Unto the marsh it turns, the marsh laments:
  To the flood of Euphrates it turns;
  The word of Marduk stirs up the bottom.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

The word may bring disaster to people and to lands:

  His word is brought to an enchanter, that enchanter takes fright;
  His word is brought to a seer, that seer takes fright;
  His word is brought to a sorrowful man, that man laments;
  His word is brought to a sorrowful woman, that woman laments;
  His word when it goes softly, ruins the land;
  His word when it goes powerfully, destroys the houses;
  His word makes people sick, it makes the people weak;
  His word when it goes on high, makes the land sick;
  His word when it goes below, devastates the land;
  His word when there are five in a house, drives out five;
  His word when there are ten in a house, drives out ten.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

  The utterance of my exalted command destroys the land of the foe.
                                                         —Hymn to Belit.

Likewise the word of Yahwe has in the biblical hymns its independent
existence. This is apparent in Psalm 29, although in this instance it is
the thunder, as the voice of the deity, to which the devastation in
nature is attributed. Yahwe’s word exerts its power in nature; causing
the snow and ice to form, and again causing them to disappear:

  He sendeth his command to earth;
  Swiftly runneth his word.
                                                          —Psalm 147:15.

  He sendeth his word and melteth them;
  He causeth his wind to blow and the water flows.
                                                          —Psalm 147:18.

  Fire and hail, snow and vapor,
  Storm wind fulfilling his word.
                                                           —Psalm 148:8.

For the Hebrew, the power of Yahwe’s word is manifested supremely in the
creation of the world:

  Over the mountains stood the waters:
  At thy rebuke they fled;
  At the voice of the thunder they hasted away.
                                                           —Psalm 104:7.

  By the word of Yahwe were the heavens made,
  And by the breath of his mouth their host.
                                                            —Psalm 33:6.

  For he spake, and it was done;
  He commanded, and it stood fast.
                                                            —Psalm 33:9.

  For he commanded and they were created.
                                                           —Psalm 148:5.



                              Chapter XIII
              THE SUPREME GOD AS WISE, POWERFUL, MERCIFUL


From the works of God in creation and nature, the hymnist passes readily
and naturally to the thought of God’s wisdom. The Assyrian hymns in many
passages extol the wisdom of God, but wisdom, as one might expect in a
polytheistic religion is attributed to the deities in varying degree.
Some passages almost seem to appraise the god’s intellectual capacity:

  Of clever mind exceeding wise to whose plans nothing is comparable.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

  Of big heart and deep understanding.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

  O lord, Bel, thou prince, who art mighty in understanding.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 10.

  Powerful one, of open mind, director of gods and men.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 9.

Very similar to this in the juxtaposition of power and wisdom is Psalm
147:5:

  Great is our Lord and mighty in power;
  To his understanding there is no measurement.

The knowledge of the god is due in part to the fact that from his place
of vantage in heaven he is able to observe all things:

  Lady of heaven, the lands, and the seas,
  All living beings of the earth thou beholdest.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 1.

  As for those who speak with the tongue in all countries,
  Thou knowest their plans, their walk thou observest,
  Shamash, wise one, lofty one, thine own counsellor art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

Very similarly it is said of Yahwe:

  From Heaven looketh Yahwe:
  He beholdeth all the sons of men;
  From his dwelling place he regardeth
  All the inhabitants of the earth.
  He hath formed of all of them their hearts,
  He that considereth all their deeds.
                                                        —Psalm 33:13-15.

But the knowledge of some Assyrian deities is deeper than that, for the
gods read the omens and so learn the fates of men and nations for the
years to come:

  With Sin in the heavens thou seest through everything.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

  Who looks through all signs, introduces omens.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 2.

  The god apart from whom in the deep the lot of man is not determined
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

While the gods, in some passages, are thought of as simply reading the
signs, in others, they actually have in their hands the determination of
destinies:

  Bel thy father has granted thee,
  That the law of all the gods thy hand should hold;
  Thou renderest the judgment of mankind.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

  Who gave the fates of the great gods into thy hand;
  Who commanded the kissing of thy feet, and appointed for thee homage.
                                             —Hymn to Marduk Nos. 1, 10.

  O lord, who determines the decision of heaven and earth,
  Whose command is not set aside.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Perfect in judgment, whose word is not altered;
  Determiner of destinies, whose word is not altered.
                                                           —Hymn to Bel.

  Powerful, stately lord of gods, determiner of fates,
  Thou who fixest the law of the deep, impartest to the gods sacrifice
              and presents.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Who dost call to lordship, dost bestow the sceptre;
  Determinest destinies for far off days.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Asshur, powerful stately lord of the gods, determiner of fates.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

Yahwe is also the determiner of destiny, but he is a rational power
behind events. It is the plan of his own heart that he carries into
effect:

  Yahwe bringeth to nought the counsel of the nations;
  He maketh of no effect the plans of peoples.
                                                           —Psalm 33:10.

  The counsel of Yahwe for ever shall stand;
  The plans of his heart for all generations.
                                                           —Psalm 33:11.

  He cutteth off the spirit of princes;
  Terrible is he to the kings of the earth.
                                                           —Psalm 76:13.

Since the events of earth are influenced so largely by the earthly
sovereign, it is altogether natural that the deity’s determination of
destinies should have special application to the case of the king. This
makes it easier to understand how the Hebrews looked to Yahwe to set
upon the throne of Zion an ideal king. (Psalms 2, 110, and 72.) However
magical the Assyrian conception of the determination of fate, the
Assyrian deities are in some passages hailed as omniscient:

  O lord that knowest fate, who of thyself art glorious in Sumer,
  Father Enlil, lord of unerring word,
  Father Enlil, whose omniscience is self-created,
  Thou possest all wisdom, perfect in power.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Mighty lord of the gods, all knowing one.
                                                        —Hymn to Asshur.

  Of open mind, knower of the word, knower of everything.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

The wisdom of the gods is so deep that it cannot be easily fathomed and
understood:

  O Anu of the heavens, whose purpose no man knows,
  Whose command is not altered and whose purpose no god knows.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  O mighty leader whose deep inner being no god understands.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

With these passages may be compared:

  How great are thy works, Yahwe;
  Exceeding deep are thy purposes.
                                                            —Psalm 92:6.

It is especially in the works of Yahwe that the Hebrew finds His wisdom
revealed:

  How many are thy works, Yahwe,
  All of them in wisdom hast thou done.
                                                          —Psalm 104:24.

The gods thus possessed of wisdom and knowledge are counsellors:

  Shamash, wise one, lofty one, thine own counsellor art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

  With Ea in the multitude of the gods is thy counsel preëminent.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

  Lord, leader and counsellor of the great gods.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 1.

  Judge of the world, leader ... powerful one,
  Thou impartest counsel, lord of the gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Among the gods superior is thy counsel.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

Reading these words, one hears again the voice of the great prophet of
the Babylonian exile. He seems to scoff at this feature of polytheism,
just as elsewhere he scoffs at idolatry:

  Who hath directed the spirit of Yahwe,
  And as a counsellor hath taught him,
  With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him,
  And taught him knowledge and showed him the way of understanding?
                                                          —Isaiah 40:13.

Counsel is given to gods and men by means of oracles:

  Before thy face the great gods bow down, the fate of the world is set
              before thee,
  The great gods beseech thee, and thou givest counsel;
  They take their stand all of them, they petition at thy feet;
  O Sin, glorious one of Ekur, they beseech thee,
  And thou givest the oracle of the gods.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 1.

  To give omens do I arise, do I arise in perfection,
  Beside my father Sin to give omens do I arise in perfection,
  Beside my brother Shamash to give omens do I arise in perfection.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

  If one seeks advice, demands a suitable decision, so toward Marduk is
              his attention.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Kindly is thy thoughtfulness, thou impartest careful counsel.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

One must remark here the complete absence from the biblical hymns of any
reference to Yahwe as the giver of oracles. When one remembers how
frequently, in the historical narratives, resort is had to the deity for
disclosure of the future, its absence from the hymns seems significant.
The hymns are curiously silent about Yahwe as the counsellor of men,
although testimony is given in the non-hymnal psalms to the attainment
of spiritual insight in the temple.

For the author of Psalm 19:8-15, wisdom and knowledge are stored up in
the law. There may have been a certain reaction against seeking guidance
of the deity because of Assyrian magical practises, but the fact is that
the hymns are less concerned with God’s plans for the individual than
they are with his eternal plan for his people.


                      The Supreme God as Powerful

The wise God is also the powerful God. The Assyrian deities, as well as
Yahwe, are preëminently war gods. This fact is established by the
astonishingly large number of references to their war activities. I will
first cite examples to establish the fact that they are warriors:

  O Shamash, warrior hero, be praised.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 4.

  Destroyer of the enemy who in the midst of combat, amid the clash of
              weapons and confusion of battle, art fearless.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  Mighty in battle whose attack is powerful.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 3.

  Beside my father in battle I take my place;
  Beside Bel in combat and battle I stand.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

  Lord great warrior,    endued with strength,
  Inhabiting Imila    casting down the foe.
                                                     —Hymn to Bel No. 2.

  Am I not supreme    I am the warrior.
                                                         —Hymn to Belit.

  The warrior who at the decision of Ea into the terrible battle goes am
              I.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 3.

  Warrior raging flood, destroyer of the hostile land.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 4.

There are very many references to Yahwe as warrior. His warlike titles
are given in Psalm 24:

  Yahwe,    strong and mighty,
  Yahwe,    mighty in battle.
                                                            —Psalm 24:8.

  Yahwe of hosts,
  He is the king of glory.
                                                           —Psalm 24:10.

The Assyrian deity may be the commander of an army:

  Terrible one to plunder the enemy’s land he assembles his army,
  Ninib mighty god, warrior, prince of the Annunaki, commander of the
              Igigi
                                                  —Hymn to Ninib No. 21.

Yahwe also has his army:

  The chariots of God are myriads
  Against his enemies.
                                                           —Psalm 68:18.

Yahwe’s momentous title is:

  Yahwe of hosts.
                                                           —Psalm 24:10.

Due homage is paid to the strength and prowess of the deity:

  Before his might, the gods in his city humbly prostrate themselves.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 5.

  Bel, filled with power,
  With terrible brilliancy adorned, destructive storm, furnished with
              frightfulness.
                                                     —Hymn to Bel No. 1.

  First-born of Ea, who in heaven and upon earth art overpowering
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 7.

  I will praise his power, reverence his strength.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 4.

  Of tremendous power, whose blow is visible, crouches an evil demon at
              his side.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 5.

  Powerful one
  Most mighty one.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

Likewise Yahwe is, to repeat again the words of Psalm 24:

  Yahwe    strong and mighty
  Yahwe    might in battle.

  Ascribe ye strength unto God;
  His excellency is over Israel,
  And his strength is in the skies.
  Terrible art thou, O God from the sanctuary.
                                                           —Psalm 68:35.

Yahwe’s strength is in his arm:

  Hath wrought salvation for him his right hand
  And his holy arm.
                                                            —Psalm 98:1.

  To thee is an arm with strength;
  Strong is thy hand, and high thy right hand.
                                                           —Psalm 89:14.

The attack of the war god is as the onrush of a terrible electric storm:

  In the face of the battle when I take my place,
  A storm whose power is exalted am I.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 4.

  Ninib, thy terrible shadow stretches over the land.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 4.

  In the storm wind his weapons blaze forth.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

  A thundering storm over the world regions breaking,
  A raging storm laying waste heaven and earth.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 3.

Heaven and earth are shaken. The mountains are ablaze with flame. The
ocean depths are stirred up:

  The heavens I cause to quake, the earth to shake that is my glory.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

  At whose battle heaven quakes.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

  Before the Lord tremble, O earth,
  Before the God of Jacob.
                                                           —Psalm 114:7.

  The earth shook, also the heavens dropped rain before God.
                                                            —Psalm 68:9.

  With his flame steep mountains are destroyed.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

  The mountains I overwhelm altogether.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

  The weapon which destroys the high mountains chosen for royal lordship
              am I.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 3.

  The mountains skipped like rams,
  The hills like lambs.
                                                           —Psalm 114:3.

  Who looketh on the earth and it trembleth;
  He toucheth the mountains and they smoke.
                                                          —Psalm 104:32.

  His lightnings lightened the earth;
  The earth saw, and trembled;
  The mountains melted like wax before Yahwe,
  Before the Lord of all the earth.
                                                           —Psalm 97:4f.

The sea also is affected by the attack of the war god:

  At whose wrath the deep is troubled.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

  He overwhelmeth the expanse of the billowy ocean.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 5.

One can compare with this:

  The sea saw and fled;
  The Jordan turned backward.
                                                           —Psalm 114:3.

The attack of the war god is of course irresistible and his enemies
suffer defeat. The great Marduk not even the gods can oppose:

  At the point of whose weapon the gods turn back,
  Whose furious attack no one ventures to oppose,
  Storm flood, weapon against which no resistance is possible.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 14.

  Who establishest defeat, who bringeth about victory,
  King of the battle, wise one, powerful one, merciless,
  Who destroyest all enemies.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 2.

  Hero, whose snare casts down the foe.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 4.

  Lance unresisting which destroys all enemies.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 2.

Similarly Yahwe is irresistible:

  Terrible art thou, and who shall stand before thee,
  Before the strength of thy anger?
                                                            —Psalm 76:8.

  Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered,
  And let those who hate him flee before him.
                                                            —Psalm 68:2.

  For Yahwe most high is terrible,
  A great king over all the earth.
  He will trample nations beneath us,
  And peoples beneath our feet.
                                                           —Psalm 47:3f.

  I would soon subdue their enemies
  And turn my hand against their adversaries.
                                                           —Psalm 81:15.

In the hymns a good deal of attention is paid to the weapon of the god.
It may be a “bow”:

  Before his terrible bow the heavens stand fast.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 4.

And this may mean that on the production of his terrible weapon, the
enemy surrenders and the storm ceases, just as when Yahwe hangs up his
bow after the conflict of the thunderstorm, one knows that the rain is
over, and that there will be no flood. Or the weapon may be a lance:

  Lance unresting which destroys all enemies
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 2.

or more terrible still a dragon:

  Thy weapon is a dragon, from whose mouth no poison flows;
  The weapon is a dragon, from whose mouth no blood springs.
                                                    —Hymn to Nebo No. 2.

Yahwe certainly wields an effective weapon:

  But God will smite through the head of his enemies
  The hairy head of such a one as goeth on in his wickedness.
                                                           —Psalm 68:22.

  Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces as one that is slain;
  Thou hast scattered thy enemies with the arm of thy strength.
                                                           —Psalm 89:11.

Both Assyrian and Hebrew war god use fire as a weapon:

  Nusku who burns up and overpowers the foe.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 3.

  A fire goeth before him and burneth his enemies round about.
                                                            —Psalm 97:3.

The Assyrian hymns emphasize the impossibility of escape from the sight
and power of the god:

  Thy glance    who avoids it,
  Thy attack    who escapes it?
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 4.

  Thou gazest upon all inhabited places;
  The evil doer thou destroyest quickly.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Bel who through his glance casts down the mighty
  Bel, with thine eyes thou seest everything;
  Over the wide heavens goes out thy mind.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 12.

  When thou liftest up thine eyes, who can escape?
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 6.

  Who is there before me, who is there behind me,
  From the lifting up of mine eyes who can escape,
  From the rush of my onslaught who can flee?
                                                         —Hymn to Belit.

There is an incomparably finer conception of god’s omnipresence and
omniscience in Psalm 139:7-12:

  Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
  Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?
  If I ascend up unto heaven thou art there;
  If I make my bed in Sheol behold thou art there;
  If I take the wings of the morning,
  And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
  Even there shall thy hand lead me,
  And thy right hand hold me.
  If I say: Surely the darkness shall overwhelm me,
  And the light about me shall be night,
  Even the darkness hideth not from thee,
  But the night shineth as the day.
  The darkness and the light are both alike to thee.


                      The Supreme God as Merciful

The wise and powerful God is also the merciful one, for mercy is an
attribute of the Assyrian deities as of Yahwe:

  Lord of all creatures, merciful unto the lands art thou,
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 1.

  Merciful one among the gods.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 7.

  [Marduk] the merciful, whose turning [i.e. mercy] is near.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 4.

  Merciful and gracious is Yahwe;
  Slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.
                                                           —Psalm 103:8.

  Gracious and merciful is Yahwe,
  Slow to anger and great in mercy,
  Good is Yahwe to all,
  And his mercy is over all his works.
                                                          —Psalm 145:8f.

  But thou, Lord art a god, merciful and gracious,
  Slow to anger and plenteous in mercy and truth.
                                                           —Psalm 86:15.

The divine mercy is extended to the unfortunate, the oppressed the weak
and the aged, the bowed down and the fallen, the obedient and those who
fear the deity:

  He has established the god-fearers, to the oppressed he has brought
              deliverance;
  He has granted favors to the obedient, brought salvation to the just.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 2.

  The fallen one thou seizest and raisest up,
  A judgment of right and justice thou judgest.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 4.

  Yahwe executeth righteous acts,
  And judgments for all oppressed.
                                                           —Psalm 103:6.

  Who keepeth truth for ever,
  Who executeth judgment for the oppressed.
                                                           —Psalm 146:6.

  Thou liftest up the weak, thou increasest the small;
  Thou raisest up the powerless, thou protectest the weak.
  Marduk, unto the fallen thou grantest mercy;
  Stands under thy protection the weakling ... thou commandest his
              raising up.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 12.

  Merciful god, who raisest up the lowly,
  Who protectest the weak.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 5.

  Him who is bowed down    I lift up;
  The aged one    I lift up.
                                                         —Hymn to Belit.

  Yahwe upholdeth all who fall;
  He raiseth up all who are bowed down.
                                                          —Psalm 145:14.

Assyrian usage supports the view that the poor and the needy of the
psalms, and the barren woman of Psalm 113 are not to be interpreted as
the Jewish nation, but as individuals. Yahwe, says the Psalmist, is the
incomparable God, in that from his glorious seat in the heavens he
bendeth low to help the needy upon the earth,

  He raiseth from the dust the poor;
  From the dunghill he lifteth up the needy,
  To cause him to sit with princes,
  Even with the princes of his people;
  He maketh the barren woman to remain at home,
  As a mother of children, joyous.
                                                         —Psalm 113:7ff.

The Hebrew hymn is, if anything more concrete than the Assyrian, in that
it mentions not only the barren wife as above (one thinks of Sarah,
Rachel, Hannah), but also the widow and the orphan and the sojourner, as
special objects of the deity’s compassion.

  Yahwe loveth the righteous:
  Yahwe protecteth the sojourners;
  The fatherless and the widow he upholdeth;
  But the way of the wicked he perverteth.
                                                           —Psalm 146:9.

  A father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widow,
  Is God in his holy habitation.
                                                            —Psalm 68:6.

Yahwe’s mercy, as was that of the Assyrian deity, is extended in a
special degree to those who keep his covenant and obey his commandments:

  But the mercy of Yahwe is everlasting,
  And his righteousness to children’s children,
  To those who faithfully keep his covenant,
  And remember his precepts to do them.
                                                       —Psalm 103:17-18.

Marvellously tender is the quality of that mercy extended to the exiles
returning to Jerusalem:

  Yahwe buildeth up Jerusalem:
  The dispersed of Israel he gathers together:
  He healeth the broken in heart,
  And bindeth up their wounds.
                                                          —Psalm 147:2f.

There are many phrases in the Assyrian hymns to express the compassion
of the deity for the sick and his power to heal. Two forms of expression
are particularly interesting. The sick man is spoken of as one who is
bound, his cure as the loosing of a captive; and a person extremely sick
is spoken of as already dead, so that his cure is equivalent to the
bringing of the dead back to life:

  [Marduk Son of] the abyss, whose holy formula bestows life;
  [Marduk], great magician of the gods who maketh alive the dead;
  Terrible storm, which driveth away the great demons;
  Lord of magic, before whom devils and demons of sickness hide
              themselves;
  [Lord], who drives out sickness, destroys the mountains;
  Prince of the world regions, guardian of life;
  Who maketh alive the dead, sole ruler of heaven and earth.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 17.

  Merciful one among the gods
  Merciful one who loves the awakening of the dead.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 7.

  Shamash, to give life to the dead, to loosen the captive is in thy
              hand.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

  Thou leadest him that is without a leader, the man that is in need:
  Thou graspeth the hand of the weak;
  Thou raisest up him that is bowed down;
  The body of the man that has been brought to the lower world thou dost
              restore.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

  Shining lord, who doeth good to the land, who through his word
  The evil sickness seized, to its place banished it;
  Merciful one, giver of life, restorer of the dead to life,
  Who supporteth truth and justice, who destroyeth the evil.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 2.

Although the Hebrews in sickness prayed unto Yahwe and were cured Psalms
86:13, 16; 31; 38, yet there are few ascriptions of praise to Yahwe as
the healer of disease. This may be because the cure of sickness was apt
to be so largely a matter of magic:

  Yahwe looseth the bound:
  Yahwe openeth the eyes of the blind;
  Yahwe raiseth up them that are bowed down.
                                                          —Psalm 146:7f.

  Who forgiveth all thine iniquities:
  Who healeth all thy diseases;
  Who satisfieth thy desire with good things,
  So that thy youth is renewed like the eagle.
                                                        —Psalm 103:3, 5.

In both the Assyrian and Hebrew hymns there are a few references to the
deity as preserving life:

  Preserver of life, prince of Emachtila, renewer of life.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 13.

  Darling of Ea, giver of life;
  Prince of Babylon, protector of life.
                                                    —Hymn to Nebo No. 1.

  Who holdeth our soul in life,
  And suffereth not our feet to be moved.
                                                            —Psalm 66:9.

The next two passages refer to Yahwe’s protection in time of famine and
war:

  Behold, the eye of Yahwe is unto those who fear him,
  To those who wait for his loving kindness,
  To deliver from death their soul,
  And to keep them alive in famine.
                                                          —Psalm 33:18f.

  God is to us a god of deliverance,
  And to Yahwe our lord belongeth escape from death.
                                                           —Psalm 68:21.

There are in the Assyrian hymns a number of examples of the god’s mercy
in forgiving sin:

  He who has sin, thou forgivest quickly the sin;
  He against whom his god [guardian] is angry, thou turnest to him with
              favor.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 4.

  He who has sinned thou sparest.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 16.

  For him who possesses sin the sin thou dost remove;
  The man with whom his [guardian] god is angry thou art quick to favor.

Just as there were few references in the biblical hymns to Yahwe as
healing sickness, so there are astonishingly few references to him as
forgiving sin. In fact there are but two, and they are both found in an
individual hymn:

  Who forgiveth all thy iniquities,
  Who healeth all thy diseases.
                                                           —Psalm 103:3.

  As far as the East is from the West,
  So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
                                                          —Psalm 103:12.

The mercy of the God is sometimes attested by the titles which he bears.
Both in the Assyrian and the biblical hymns, the deity is called
Shepherd. In the Assyrian hymns, the god is shepherd not only of the
Assyrians, but of all peoples and of all living things:

  Father Enlil, shepherd of the dark headed people.
                                                         —Hymn to Enlil.

  Shepherdess of all lands of the world,
  Which are submissive to thee, which remember to worship thee.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 3.

  The people of the countries all of them thou protectest;
  What Ea the king, the prince has created of all thou art protector,
  Thou shepherdest all created life together.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 7.

  Given thee has Bel thy father the blackheaded race, all living
              creatures;
  The cattle of the field, the living creatures he has entrusted to thy
              hand.
                                                  —Hymn to Nergal No. 1.

  Humanity, the black headed peoples,
  The living souls as many as are in the land,
  The four world regions entire,
  The divine beings of all heaven and earth, as many as there are,
  To thee is their attention turned:
  Thou art their god, thou art their guardian god;
  It is thou who grantest them life;
  It is thou who preserveth them unhurt.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

The Hebrew God is Shepherd of Israel, his own peculiar people.

  For He is our God, and we are
  The people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
                                                            —Psalm 95:7.

  Know that Yahwe, He is God:
  He made us, and we are His,
  His people, and the sheep of his pasture.
                                                           —Psalm 100:3.

The Assyrian deity is frequently addressed in the hymns as father.
Probably it originally meant father of the gods in a physical sense. In
some instances it may have meant no more than the supreme god:

  Father Nannar, lord Anshar, chief of the gods.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Father Enlil—lord of lands.
                                                         —Hymn to Enlil.

The title of Father is also assigned to the deity as creator of men and
all living things:

  Father, begetter of gods and men,
  Who dost build dwellings and establishest offerings.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Father, begetter of all things,
  Who lookest upon all living things.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

With the same significance the deity is addressed in the following
couplet:

  Mother womb begetter of all things
  Who has taken up his exalted habitation among living creatures.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

Religious meaning is put into the term in the following two examples:

  O merciful gracious father,
  Who hath taken into his care the life of the whole world.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  Thou art lord, as Father and mother [among men] art thou.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 9.

Yahwe is elsewhere in the Old Testament the father of the Hebrew nation
(Hosea), and the father of the Messiah (Psalm 2), but in the hymns he is
not actually called father, though his compassion is likened to that of
a father for his children.

  Like as a father pitieth his children,
  So Yahwe pitieth those who fear him.
  For He, indeed, knoweth our frame;
  He remembereth that we are dust.
                                                         —Psalm 103:13f.



                              Chapter XIV
                   THE SUPREME GOD AS KING AND JUDGE


The final significance and supreme importance of deity for Assyrian and
Hebrew hymnists is perhaps best summed up in the words: “King” and
“Judge.” To be sure the person in sickness of any kind could and did
have recourse to the god who had wisdom and power to work deliverance.
But, even as the life of the Assyrian and Hebrew peoples revolved around
the earthly king upon his throne, so they sought for authority and
leadership, protection and prosperity, in a heavenly king, whose right
it was to reign in heaven and on earth. It is not strange then that many
Assyrian hymns do homage to the deity as, “King of heaven and earth”:

  Shamash king of heaven and earth governor of things above and below.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

  Lord of the lands, king of heaven and earth, who heaps up abundance.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 3.

  Marduk king of heaven and earth.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 6.

  Marduk regent of heaven and earth.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

  He whose sovereignty glitters to the borders of heaven and earth am I.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 3.

Here may be placed the corresponding title of the goddess:

  Queen of heaven above and below let it be spoken.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 5.

There are three references to the throne:

  Thou placest on the glittering heavens thy throne.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 2.

  When he sits upon the great throne of the holy chamber,
  On the festal day when he takes his seat in joy, raising himself in
              brilliancy.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 4.

  Amid shouts of joy as king ascendest thou.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

Twice the sceptre is referred to:

  A sceptre for remote days has Bel finished for thy hand.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

  Marduk holds in his hand the sceptre.
                                                        —Hymn to Marduk.

While the god’s throne is in heaven, it is his sovereignty over the
earth which the hymnist has especially in mind:

  In powerful sovereignty thou rulest the lands,
  Thou placest on the glittering heavens thy throne.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 2.

  Bel, gracious king, lord of the lands.
                                                 —Hymn to Marduk No. 12.

  Ninib, king, whose father made submissive to him distant lands.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 7.

The “king of heaven and earth” is at the same time:

  King of Babylon,    lord of Esagila,
  King of Ezida,    lord of Emachtila.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 6.

Kingship may be entrusted to the particular deity by the supreme god:

  A sceptre for remote days has Bel furnished for thy hand.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 3.

On the other hand, a certain measure of independence of the supreme god
seems to be assigned in the same two hymns to the two deities:

  Ninib King son of Bel, who of himself is exalted.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 7.

  Thou placest on the glittering heavens thy throne.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 2.

There are two statements related to the quality of the kingly rule:

  Father Nannar,    whose kingship is perfect.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

  King of kings, exalted, whose decrees none rival.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 5.

“King of kings” occurs only here in the Assyrian hymns. It is a title
that would come naturally into use, where city kings were compelled to
pay homage to royal founders of empires.


Turning to the biblical hymns, it is noteworthy that, while Yahwe is
spoken of several times as the “Maker of heaven and earth,” he is no
where called “King of heaven and earth.” This would be such an
appropriate title for Yahwe that its absence tends to indicate that
there was little verbal borrowing of Hebrew hymnists from the Assyrian.
Reference is made however in the biblical hymns to Yahwe’s throne:

  Yahwe hath established his throne in the heavens,
  And his kingdom ruleth over all.
                                                          —Psalm 103:19.

which is quite similar to the following passage from Hymn to Sin No. 2:

  In powerful sovereignty thou rulest the lands,
  Thou placest on the glittering heavens thy throne.

In both cases the throne (1) is in the heavens, (2) is established by
deity himself, (3) is the seat from which wide sovereignty is exerted
over the earth.

  God reigneth over the nations,
  He sitteth upon his holy throne.
                                                            —Psalm 47:9.

One is tempted to translate this: “He sitteth upon the throne of his
sanctuary,” which is parallel to the following passage from Hymn to
Ninib No. 7:

  When he sits upon the great throne of the holy chamber.

This translation is supported by Psalm 150:1: “Praise God in his
sanctuary.” There are two references to the throne in the biblical
hymns:

  Established is thy throne of old.
                                                            —Psalm 93:2.

  Righteousness and justice are the establishment of his throne.
                                                            —Psalm 97:2.

In both Assyrian and Hebrew hymns, the ascension to the throne is
referred to as a joyous occasion:

  Amid shouts of joy as king ascendest thou;
  A sceptre for remote days has Bel furnished for thy hand.
                                                     —Hymn to Sin No. 7.

  God is gone up with a shout,
  Yahwe with the sound of a trumpet.
                                                            —Psalm 47:6.

There is no reference to the sceptre as in Yahwe’s hand, in the biblical
hymns, although the sceptre is in the hands of the Messiah. (Psalm 2) As
in the Assyrian hymns, emphasis is placed upon Yahwe’s sovereignty over
the earth:

  For Yahwe most high is terrible
  A great king over all the earth.
                                                            —Psalm 47:3.

  For God is the king of all the earth.
                                                            —Psalm 47:8.

  God reigneth over the nations.
                                                            —Psalm 47:9.

  Say among the nations, Yahwe is king.
                                                           —Psalm 96:10.

  Yahwe is king; let the earth rejoice.
                                                            —Psalm 97:1.

  Yahwe reigneth, let the people tremble;
  He sitteth above the cherubims, let the earth be moved.
                                                            —Psalm 99:1.

There can be no question of Yahwe’s subordination to any other God or
accepting sovereignty from any other deity:

  For a great God is Yahwe and a great king over all gods.
                                                            —Psalm 95:3.

Sin has been given by Bel: “a sceptre for remote days,” but:

  Yahwe will be king forever,
  Thy God, O Zion, unto all generations.
                                                          —Psalm 146:10.

  Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
  And thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.
                                                          —Psalm 145:13.

Not only will Yahwe reign forever, but Yahwe has been reigning from the
beginning:

  Established is thy throne of old.
                                                            —Psalm 93:2.

  Yahwe sat at the flood,
  Yea Yahwe sitteth as king forever.
                                                           —Psalm 29:10.

It is perhaps important for Old Testament scholarship to bear in mind
that the conception of the deity as king is so very old, and that it is
present in the biblical hymns which can not be classed as
eschatological. It is in Psalm 103 that one finds the words:

  Yahwe in the heavens hath established his throne,
  And his kingdom ruleth over all

and in Psalm 95 which can not be called eschatological, we have:

  For a great God is Yahwe,
  And a great king over all gods
                                                            —Psalm 95:3.

while in Psalm 48:3, Jerusalem is the: “City of the great king.” While
therefore “Yahwe is King” is actually the opening line of several
eschatological hymns, and while those hymns exult in the complete
triumph of Yahwe yet it is only the completeness of the triumph that
distinguishes in the matter of kingship the eschatological hymns from
the others.


                        The Supreme God as Judge

Kingship also implied Judgeship, the latter word having particular
application to the rendering of judicial decisions or the achievement of
justice for the oppressed. The actual word judge occurs occasionally in
the Assyrian hymns as a title of the deity:

  Shamash, lofty Judge of heaven and earth art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 1.

  Judge of heaven and earth; shining one of the world regions.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 2.

Judgeship in the Assyrian hymns implies authority. The deity as judge
determines the course of events in the world:

  Shamash, judge of the world, director of decisions art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 4.

  Shamash the lofty decider, the judge of heaven and earth art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 3.

  Judge of all, who closest the door before the darkness,
  Who makes the decisions for men in their settlements.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 2.

  Bel thy father has granted thee,
  That the law of all the gods thy hand should hold,
  Thou renderest the judgment of mankind.
                                                   —Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

The judgeship of the Assyrian god has also ethical content:

  Eternally just in heaven art thou.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 1.

  Judge incorruptible, governor of mankind.
                                                 —Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

Consequently the god intervenes in earthly affairs to overthrow
wickedness and establish righteousness:

  Just judge, who surveys the hearts of man who like the ...
  Makes right and justice to shine, who against the evil ...
                                                  —Hymn to Nusku No. 12.

  Nusku, mighty warrior god, who burns up the evil doer,
  Who introduces law and insight, administrator.
                                                   —Hymn to Nusku No. 2.

  The wicked and the violent man thou correctest, proclaimest their
              condemnation.
                                                  —Hymn to Ishtar No. 3.

Yahwe also exercised judgeship. The idea of kingship surely involves
that of judgeship with it. And as king it is said of Yahwe:

  Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
                                                            —Psalm 97:2.

  A strong one has become king,
  He loveth justice.
                                                            —Psalm 99:4.

Yahwe overthrows wickedness and establishes righteousness:

  Thou dost establish equity,
  Thou executest justice and righteousness in Jacob.
                                                            —Psalm 99:4.

Psalm 11 says of Yahwe as king:

  Yahwe trieth the righteous,
  But the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
  Upon the wicked he will rain snares;
  Fire and brimstone and burning wind
  Shall be the portion of their cup.
                                                          —Psalm 11:5-6.

  For God is the judge
  This one he putteth down, and this one he raiseth up.
                                                            —Psalm 75:8.

  And men shall say, Truly there is a reward for the righteous;
  Verily there is a God, who judgeth in the earth.
                                                           —Psalm 58:12.

Yahwe’s act of judgment, therefore, is equivalent to the deliverance of
his own people:

  Yahwe will judge his people,
  And upon his servants he will have mercy.
                                                          —Psalm 135:14.

Yahwe is thus continually judge of his people, but the supreme
manifestation of his justice will be seen in the eschatological
judgment:

  He shall judge the world with righteousness,
  And the peoples with his truth.
                                                           —Psalm 96:13.

  He shall judge the world with righteousness,
  And the peoples with equity.
                                                            —Psalm 98:9.

  Arise O God, judge the earth,
  For thou shalt inherit all the nations.
                                                            —Psalm 82:8.

The rendering of justice by the Assyrian deity is contemplated by his
worshippers with joy:

  Let Babylon rejoice in thee, let Esagila exult in thee,
  Thou judgest with justice, and formest decisions.
                                                  —Hymn to Marduk No. 1.

As Yahwe’s final act of judgment is so comprehensive and momentous, the
joy of Yahwe’s people is immeasurably greater than the enthusiasm of
military victory. It is interesting to recall that one of the earliest,
if not the earliest of all the Hebrew hymns, that sung by Miriam and the
Hebrew women, celebrated a victory:

  Sing ye to Yahwe, for he hath triumphed gloriously,
  The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
                                                          —Exodus 15:21.

It is the same strong national spirit that flames forth in confidence of
the great final victory in Psalm 68:2, 4:

  Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered;
  Let them that hate him flee before him,
  But let the righteous be glad;
  Let them exult before God,
  And let them rejoice with gladness.

While Yahwe’s victory has primary significance for Israel:

  Let Israel rejoice in its maker,
  Let the sons of Zion be joyful in their king.
                                                           —Psalm 149:2.

Yet the whole earth will rejoice when Yahwe cometh to judge the earth:

  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
  Let the sea roar and its fulness;
  Let the field exult, and all that is therein;
  Then all the trees of the field shall sing for joy;
  Before Yahwe, for he cometh;
  For he cometh to judge the earth;
  He will judge the world with righteousness,
  And the peoples with his truth.
                                                        —Psalm 96:11-13.

  Yahwe is king; let the earth rejoice;
  Let the multitude of isles be glad.
                                                            —Psalm 97:1.

  Shout to Yahwe all the earth;
  Break forth and sing for joy, yea sing praises.
                                                            —Psalm 98:4.

It is important to bear in mind that the conception of God as judge,
even as the conception of God as king, is very old, and that Yahwe
appears as king and judge in hymns that are not eschatological. It is
only when religious faith extends Yahwe’s kingship and judgeship to the
whole world, and conceives of Yahwe as triumphantly transforming the
world in accordance with justice and truth, that the conception of Yahwe
as Judge becomes eschatological.



                               Chapter XV
                               CONCLUSION


It is now universally recognized by scholars that the Hebrew nation came
late upon the stage of history, and that when the Hebrew Bedouin passed
over out of the desert into the land of Canaan, they entered a land that
had already experienced millenniums of civilization. In successive
decades and centuries the Hebrew conquerors took over not only the land
with its walled cities and its cultivated fields, but they took over
also the land’s sanctuaries, and in large measure its religious and
moral ideas.

One civilization among others that exerted very great influence for many
centuries over Canaan came from the Tigris Euphrates valley. It brought
to Canaan its language, its literary forms, its myths and legends, its
legal statutes; it brought also in some degree the knowledge of its
gods, and the hymns and prayers with which those gods were worshipped.
The Hebrews were inevitably directly and indirectly influenced by
Assyrian culture and religion.

It is of some importance to recognize, although the fact is by no means
surprising, that the situations in life out of which the hymnal
literatures grew were quite similar in Assyria and in Israel. Both
peoples had a certain number of hymns, which can best be characterized
as Nature hymns; but both peoples had also hymns which belong very
clearly to the sanctuary. Some of these are processional hymns: the
procession bringing the god to his sanctuary as in Psalm 24 and Hymn to
Marduk No. 13; or the procession entering the sanctuary to bring gifts
to the god as in Psalm 95 and the Hymn to Enlil; or the procession
passing out from the sanctuary in solemn procession through the sacred
city as in Psalm 48 and a number of the Assyrian hymns. The great
majority of hymns, however in both literatures, just as one would
expect, offer praise to the deity in the sanctuary.

Not only is the background of the hymns relatively similar in both
civilizations, but the principal features of Hebrew poetry, the rhythm,
the uniform length of lines, parallelism, arrangement in strophes, the
rhetorical question, the refrain, the antiphonal responses, the
introduction into the hymn of the divine oracle, all belong to the
literature of the older civilization. Israel did not invent, but rather
found already in existence, its literary forms.

Moreover Israel undoubtedly found in the older civilization much of its
hymnal phraseology and many of its basic religious ideas. The conception
of God as creator of heaven and earth did not first emerge with
Israelitic monotheism, but is expressed in more than one Assyrian hymn.
The thought of God as king, and as exerting authority above and below,
did not wait for the establishment of the Israelitic monarchy under
Saul, David, and Solomon, but was familiar to the Assyrian hymnist.
Certainly the thought of the God of heaven, as making his earthy
dwelling in a sacred sanctuary on holy ground, is many centuries older
than Solomon’s temple. Finally the conception of God as wise, powerful,
righteous, and merciful found frequent expression in the Assyrian hymns
long before the Hebrews attributed those attributes to Yahwe.

However, this certainly does not mean that the Hebrews were merely
passive recipients of Assyrian Culture. They did obviously take over
certain literary forms and devices, but they created a new and distinct
type of hymn, which begins and ends with the exhortation to praise
Yahwe. What is even more important Hebrew genius has employed such
simplicity, variety, beauty, and power of expression as to create such
masterpieces of literature as Psalms 8; 24; 29; 47; 67; 100; 96 and 150.

Again, Israel did undoubtedly take over, as has been indicated, certain
basic conceptions of God, but Hebrew religious genius purified and
exalted those conceptions. The Assyrian could conceive of one god as
supreme among the gods; the Hebrew came to think of Yahwe as the only
God, the altogether Spiritual Being, freed from the contamination of
polytheism. The Assyrian exalted his god to the high heavens; the Hebrew
emancipated Yahwe from any possibility of identification with sun, moon,
or star, or any natural force. The Assyrian attributed to his god great
power to bless or curse; the Hebrew attributed power to Yahwe, but
dissociated him from all magical practise. The Assyrian does indeed
ascribe to his god righteousness and mercy, but the Hebrew makes
righteousness and mercy the essential attributes of Yahwe. In a word the
hymnists of Israel at their highest and best reflect the influence of
the prophets, to which there was nothing comparable in Assyria.

One very important fact to be recognized is the emergence or development
of the genuine hymn in Israel. It has been suggested that the great
majority of so called Assyrian hymns are really only hymnal
introductions to prayers or ceremonies; and furthermore that there may
well be a line of development from the hymnal introduction to the
independent hymn. There are two examples of hymnal introductions in the
Old Testament Psalter, Psalms 89 and 144; and there is some
justification for selecting Psalms 104 and 8 as hymns which represent
the completion of the process of development. Praise has thus attained
to a much greater place in the Hebrew religion than in the religion of
Assyria. Praise is no longer subordinate to any other goal; it has
become an end in itself, profitable to man, and pleasing to God.

The Hebrew religion carries the hymn to its highest pitch of development
in the eschatological hymn, which is sung in anticipation of Yahwe’s
complete and final triumph upon earth. The eschatological hymn owes its
origin to the strong national spirit of the Hebrews, the strength of
their conviction that a moral order exists in the world, and their faith
in Yahwe as the wise and good, and powerful God who will bring justice
and righteousness to triumph in the earth. There was in Assyria also, as
we have seen, the thought of god as exalted king, but the Assyrians
never attained to the conception of a god establishing complete and
final ethical sovereignty over the earth.

The study of the Assyrian psalms has value for the Old Testament student
in widening his field of knowledge, and thus saving him from the danger
of setting up false standards. It is enlightening for him to observe in
the Assyrian hymns the very frequent fact of irregularity, in the length
of lines, in the number of lines in the strophe, in the type of
parallelism employed. This suggests that often it may be variety and not
uniformity that the poet is seeking, and that extreme caution ought to
be observed in altering the Hebrew text, to make it conform to a Western
conception of order and regularity.

One is impressed also by the prominence of the individual in the
Assyrian hymn, and in the Assyrian cult, and is thus warned against the
highly artificial assumption that the individual of the Hebrew psalms is
a personification of the Hebrew nation. The individual may well have
played a much larger part in the early religion of Israel than has been
commonly supposed.

The study of the Assyrian hymns will have value at various other points.
The consideration of the place of the refrains, the antiphonal
renderings, the divine oracles will help us to understand the use of the
hymn in the Hebrew cult. Acquaintance with the Assyrian hymnal
phraseology will undoubtedly be of assistance in the interpretation and
clearer understanding of many phrases in the Hebrew hymns. The Assyrian
hymns make however their indispensable contribution in that practically
all the religious ideas of the Hebrew hymns exist in cruder form in the
Assyrian hymns. They help us to reconstruct the polytheistic background
of the Hebrew religion. They leave us with a clearer perception that
Yahwe was primarily a god of heaven, and with a fuller knowledge of just
what that means. They help us to understand the prominence given to the
attributes of Yahwe as a mighty god of war. They prove the antiquity of
the conception of God as king and judge, shepherd and father. They
reflect crude and crass ideas of the divine wisdom, power, and mercy.
Against the background of the Assyrian hymns one gains a juster
appreciation of the developed Hebrew doctrine of God, the omnipresent,
the omniscient, the omnipotent, whose eternal plan is to be fulfilled,
who will cause truth and righteousness to prevail in the earth, who is
to be universally and eternally adored.



                              BIBLIOGRAPHY



                TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS OF ASSYRIAN HYMNS


                            Hymns to Shamash

1. Rawlinson, _Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia_, IV: 2, 28 No. 1;
translated by Jastrow, _Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens_, I, 426;
and by Fossey, _La Magie Assyrienne_, No. 30. It is a hymn of fourteen
lines, introducing a petition to Shamash for the healing of the king.
The first two lines of the obverse and reverse sides of the tablet are
missing.

2. R. IV: 2, 20 No. 2, translated by Jastrow, I, 427. There remain only
the first five lines of a hymn, introducing a prayer to Shamash at the
rising of the sun.

3. R. V, 50; translated by Jastrow, I, 428; by Zimmern, _Babylonische
Hymnen und Gebete in Auswahl, Der Alte Orient_, 1905, page 15; and by
Fossey, _La Magie Assyrienne_, No. 42. It is a hymn of eleven lines,
introducing a petition to Shamash for the freeing of the king from the
ban resting upon him, the prayer being offered at sunrise.

4. Abel-Winckler, _Keilschrifttexte_, pages 59 to 60; translated by
Jastrow, I, 429. It is a hymn of twelve lines addressed to Shamash at
sunset, wishing the God a safe return and glad welcome to his home from
Ea his wife.

5. R. IV: 2, 19 No. 2; translated by Jastrow, I, 429; and by Zimmern,
_Der Alte Orient_, 1905, page 15. It is a hymn of ten lines addressed to
Shamash at sunrise. After this hymnal section the poem goes on to
describe how the gods inhale the odor of the sacrifice and refresh
themselves with the “food of heaven.” This suggests that the rising of
the sun was the signal for the offering of sacrifice and the praise of
Shamash, even as it was also the favorable moment for the banning of the
powers of darkness which troubled men. (See Jastrow, I, 430.)

6. Craig, _Assyrian and Babylonian Religious Texts_, II, 3; also Gray,
_The Shamash Religious Texts_, IV; translated by Jastrow II, 72; by
Zimmern, _Der Alte Orient_, 1905, page 15; by Martin, _Textes religieux
Assyriens et Babyloniens_, pages 14-26. It is a hymn of six lines,
followed by a prayer, in which an individual petitions for release from
the ban occasioning his sickness.

7. Gray, _The Shamash Religious Texts_, pages 9-23; translated by Gray;
also by Jastrow, I, 432. It is a hymn, complete in four columns of four
hundred and twenty lines, and is entirely free from any reference to
incantation.


                              Hymns to Sin

1. Published and translated by Perry, _Hymnen und Gebete an Sin_
(_Leipz. Sem. Studien_, 1907); by King, _Babylonian Magic and Sorcery_
(London 1896); by Combe, _Histoire du Culte de Sin_ (Paris 1908). It is
a hymn of eleven lines introducing a petition of sixteen lines, in which
the king, on an occasion of an eclipse of the moon, requests an oracle
promising deliverance from the evil which has befallen his palace and
land. It is addressed to Sin in the second person.

2. Published and translated by Perry and Combe. It gives the first
fourteen lines of a hymnal introduction to prayer, and then breaks off.
It is addressed to Sin in the second person.

3. Published and translated by Perry. It is a hymn of twenty-one lines
with many repetitions. The last three lines of Perry No. 3, form the
first four lines of Perry No. 4, the two apparently forming one hymn. Of
No. 4 some nineteen lines are preserved, the last lines of the obverse
and reverse being missing and other lines damaged. It is addressed to
Sin in the second person.

4. Published and translated by Perry, King, and Combe. It is a hymn of
eleven lines, introducing a prayer of fourteen lines seeking the favor
of Sin. It is in the second person. The prayer contains the lament and
petition of an individual who feels that his god is angry with him and
afflicting him.

5. Published by Rawlinson IV, 5; also by Perry; and Combe: translated by
Jastrow, I, 436; by Zimmern, _Der Alte Orient_, page II, 1905; by Perry;
by Combe; by Ungnad in Gressmann, _Altorientalische Texte und Bilder_,
page 80; by Rogers, _Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament_, page
141. It is a hymn of thirty-nine lines, introducing a petition nine
lines in length for a temple of the god Sin. It is addressed in the
second person to Sin, and was probably recited or sung at the full moon
festival.


                             Hymns to Nebo

1. Published and translated by King, _Babylonian Magic_, No. 22; also
translated by Jastrow, I, 445. It contains eight lines of invocation,
followed by the petition at much greater length of an individual,
requesting healing of his disease, favorable dreams, and the support of
his god.

2. R. IV: 2, 20 No. 3; translated by Jastrow, I, 447. It is a fragment,
giving ten lines of a hymn in couplets, of which the second line largely
repeats the preceding line.


                             Hymns to Ninib

1. Published and translated by King, _Babylonian Magic_, No. 2;
translated by Jastrow, I, 448. The first fourteen lines are addressed to
the god in epithets of praise. In the lines which follow an individual
reminds the god of his sacrifice, and pleads for forgiveness of his sin
and the favor of the god.

2. Transliterated and translated by Jensen, _Kosmologie der Babylonier_,
pages 470-472; also translated by Jastrow, I, 449. It is an hymnal
introduction to prayer, twelve lines in length.

3. Kouyunjik Collection, 2864, 1-22; published and translated by Hrozny,
_Sumerisch-babylonische Mythen von dem Gotte Ninrag in Mitteilungen der
vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft_, 1903. It is a hymn addressed in the
second person to Ninib, of which unfortunately only twelve lines are
preserved, and of these no single line is complete. The hymn is composed
in couplets the second line being a response to the first.

4. K 8531 and Rm 126; published and translated by Hrozny; translated by
Jastrow, I, 455. Here we have an address of the God Nusku to the God
Ninib, of which the first seven lines are epithets of praise, which are
then followed by a petition that the anger of the God may abate, and
that he be honored by the great God.

5. K 4829; published and translated by Hrozny; translated by Jastrow, I,
459. It is a hymn of fourteen lines, in which Ninib praises his own
power.

6. R. II, 19 No. 2; published and translated by Hrozny; translated by
Jastrow, I, 460. This is a hymn of thirteen lines in which the God Ninib
sings his own praise.

7. Published and translated by Hrozny; translated by Jastrow, I, 463.
This is a hymnal composition of thirty lines in the course of which the
god Sharur addresses Ninib with hymnal praises.


                            Hymns to Nergal

1. Published and translated by King, _Babylonian Magic_, No. 27;
translated by Jastrow, I, 467; also by Böllenrücher, _Gebete und Hymnen
an Nergal_, No. 1. The first ten lines constitute a hymnal introduction
to the prayer that follows. Lines 11-13 are a lament, lines 14-23 a
petition, and line 24 a vow.

2. Published and translated by Böllenrücher, _Gebete und Hymnen an
Nergal_ No. 2; also by King, _Babylonian Magic_, No. 46; translated by
Jastrow, I, 471. Nine lines of praise are addressed to the god, when the
tablet breaks off.

3. Published and translated by Böllenrücher, _Gebete und Hymnen an
Nergal_ No. 3. The beginning and end of the hymn are missing. Of the
twelve lines remaining no single line is complete.

4. R. IV: 2, 26 No. 1; published and translated by Böllenrücher, No. 4;
translated by Jastrow, I, 470. Only the first ten lines of this hymn are
preserved. For the first eight lines, the second half line is a refrain.

5. R. IV: 2, 24 No. 1; published and translated by Böllenrücher, No. 5;
translated by Jastrow, I, 469. Of this hymn thirty-eight lines are
preserved and are so arranged in couplets that the first line gives a
title or attribute of the deity, while the second lines begin with the
words: “God Nergal” and repeat the first words of the preceding line. It
is thus a hymn with responses, made probably by priest and choir.

6. Published by Craig, _Zeitschrift für Assyriologie_, X, 276; Published
and translated by Böllenrücher, No. 6. The hymn is divided into two
parts. The first part of some forty lines is addressed directly to the
god. Of these forty lines there are eleven couplets, of which the first
half lines make a double refrain. The second half of the hymn is in
praise of the word of the god. Thirteen lines begin with, “His word.”
The entire hymn is antiphonal in character.

7. R. IV: 2, 30 No. 1; Haupt, _Akkadisch-Sumerische Keilschrifttexte_,
No. 20; published and translated by Böllenrücher, No. 7; translated by
Jastrow, I, 478. The first fourteen lines of the hymn are in narrative
style, praising the attack of Nergal upon the hostile land. After a gap,
where some lines are missing, there are twenty-one lines of praise
addressed directly to the god in the second person.

8. K 9880; published and translated by Böllenrücher, No. 8; translated
by Jastrow, I, 477. It is an individual hymn, addressed directly to
Nergal, of which after the twelfth line the tablet breaks off.


                             Hymns to Adad

1. R. IV: 2, 28 No. 2; transliterated and translated by Strong,
_Proceedings_ of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, XX, 161;
translated by Jastrow, I, 482. It is a fragment of nine lines of a hymn
praising in the third person of the verb the power of Adad.

2. Transliterated and translated by Langdon, Sumerian and Babylonian
Hymns, pages 280-283; also by Rogers, _Cuneiform Parallels_, page 147;
also by Ungnad in Gressmann, _Altorientalische Texte_, pages 83f. It is
characterized by Langdon, Rogers, and Ungnad as a hymn. It includes an
invocation to the god of ten lines, a hymn proper of four lines, an
address of Enlil to Ramman of ten lines and a narrative section of four
lines.

3. Transliterated and translated by King, Babylonian Magic, No. 21. It
is a fragment of a hymn, containing nine broken lines.


                             Hymns to Nusku

1. R. IV: 2, No. 3; translated by Jastrow, I, 487. It is a short hymnal
introduction of eight lines, little more than an invocation to the god.

2. Craig, _Assyrian and Babylonian Religious Texts_, I, plate 35;
translated by Jastrow, I, 487. After nineteen lines the text breaks off.
The nineteen lines are of the nature of an invocation.

3. Tallquist, _Die assyrische Beschworungsserie_, Maklu II, pages 1-17;
translated by Jastrow, I, 297. It is a hymnal introduction of eleven
lines, addressed directly to the god, and followed by an individual’s
petition in seven lines for the destruction of those whose witchcraft
was afflicting him.


                              Hymns to Bel

1. R. IV: 2, 27 No. 2; translated by Jastrow, I, 489. Only five lines of
the hymn are preserved. They seem to praise the great tower of Bel’s
temple at Ekur.

2. R. IV: 2, 27 No. 4; Haupt, _Akkadische und sumerische
Keilinschrifttexte_, page 183; translated by Jastrow, I, 490. Eleven
lines constitute an invocation to Bel. The text then breaks off.

3. King, _Babylonian Magic_, No. 19; Jastrow, I, 492. Sixteen broken
hymnal lines introduce the petition of a king.


                            Hymns to Marduk

1. Craig, Religious Texts, I, plates 29-31; published and translated by
Brünnow, _Assyrian Hymns_, in _Zeitschrift für Assyriologie_, IV,
246-248 and V, 58-66, 77-78; translated by Martin, _Textes religieux
Assyriens et Babyloniens_, and by Jastrow, I, 513. The hymn consists of
thirty-eight lines, and is followed by the petition that the anger of
the god may abate and favor be shown the suppliant.

2. K 3459; Hehn, _Hymnen und Gebete an Marduk_, in _Beitrage zur
Assyriologie_, V, 278-400. The poem is in three columns. Of column I,
seven lines out of twenty are preserved entire. Of the twenty-one lines
of column II, twelve are missing, and no single line is complete.
Columns I and III are in praise of Marduk, while column II seeks
forgiveness of sin and deliverance of a sufferer from trouble.

3. K 3505; The first seventeen lines of a hymn are addressed directly to
Marduk. The text then breaks off.

4. King, _Tablets of Creation_, I, 204 ff; Craig, _Religious Texts_, I,
Plate 43; Hehn, No. 5; Jastrow, I, 496ff. The first twenty-one lines of
a hymn are in praise of Marduk. The text then breaks off. In the hymnal
portion the third person of the verb is used.

5. R. IV: 2, 26 No. 4; translated by Jastrow, I, 496; also by Jeremias
in Roscher’s _Lexicon_, II, col. 2367; also by Hehn, No. 6. Nine lines
of a hymn in praise of Marduk, the God of War, are preserved. The text
then breaks off.

6. R. IV: 2, 29, No. 1; translated by Jastrow, I, 501; also by Fossey,
_La Magie assyrienne_, pages 364-369; also by Jeremias in Roscher’s
_Lexicon_, II, col. 2355; also by Hehn, No. 7. It is a hymn twenty-nine
lines in length, of definite strophic arrangement, addressed directly to
Marduk, and followed by exorcisms of various demons.

7. R. IV: 2, 18, No. 1; translated by Hehn, No. 12. It is a fragment of
eight lines, referring to the founding of Babylon and the temple of
Marduk.

8. R. IV: 2, 21, No. 1; also King, _Babylonian Magic_, No. 9; translated
by King; by Hehn, No. 13; also by Jastrow, I, 500f. Though characterized
by King and Jastrow as a prayer, yet the first nine lines, constituting
the invocation to the god may be regarded as hymnal material. The body
of the prayer consists of seventeen lines, and may well be from a king,
seeking health and the favor and support of his god.

9. R. IV: 2, 57; translated by King No. 12; by Hehn No. 14; by Jastrow,
I, 499; by Lenormant, _La Divination_, page 212ff; by Sayce, _Hibbert
Lectures_, pages 536ff. This tablet is concerned with the curing by
Marduk’s help of a sick man. The first sixteen lines give directions for
the ceremonies to be performed. The priest is instructed to hold the
hand of the sick man, and repeat the prayer, lines 17-94. Of these lines
17-44 are hymnal, serving as an invocation to the prayer. Following the
prayer there are directions for further ceremonies. The hymn is in the
second person addressed directly to the god.

10. K 8961; Craig, _Assyrian and Babylonian Religious Texts_, I, Pl. 59;
translated by Hehn, No. 17; also by Jastrow, I, 497. An incantation
hymn, of which only twelve lines remain, is addressed directly to Marduk
as an invocation to prayer.

11. Craig, _Assyrian and Babylonian Religious Texts_, I, Pl. 1;
translated by Martin, _Textes religieux_; also by Jastrow, I, 509. Of
this text the opening lines are missing. Ten lines are preserved, being
a prayer in the mouth of the priest, of which the first five lines
supply the element of adoration.

12. R. IV: 2, 40, No. 1 transliterated and translated by Ball,
_Proceedings_ of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, XV, 51-54;
translated also by Hehn, No. 25; by Sayce, _Hibbert Lectures_, pages
80f; by Jastrow, I, 509. The text comprises thirty-two lines. Lines 1 to
6 state that the priest is to rise in the first hour of the night on the
second day of Nisan, wash in river water, put on a linen garment and
repeat his prayer. Of the prayer, lines 7 to 28 are hymnal; lines 29 to
32 petition the favor of the god for the city, Babylon and the temple,
Esagila.

13. R. IV: 2, 18 No. 2; Also published and translated by Weissbach,
_Babylonische Miscellen_, pages 36-41; translated also by Ungnad, page
85; by Rogers, page 130; by Jastrow, I, 503. This is a text of
thirty-seven lines. A colophon at the end directs that the hymn should
be used on the eleventh day of Nisan, when Marduk enters his own
sanctuary in the temple Esagila. It is a processional hymn apparently
sung antiphonally, a priest or choir chanting the first half of the
line, and a choir responding with the refrain. The first thirty-three
lines welcome the god to his temple; the last four lines petition his
favor for the city and its temple.

14. Hehn No. 16; King No. 18; Jastrow, I, 513. This is a fragment of
which the first lines are missing. A petition for relief from sickness
is preceded by hymnal lines praising Marduk, and expressing confidence
in him.


                             Hymn to Asshur

1. Craig, _Religious Texts_, I, plates 32-34; translated by Jastrow, I,
520. This is called by Jastrow a Litany to Asshur. It begins with a
hymn, twenty-two lines of which are preserved. Then in six lines Anu,
Bel, Ea, and the great gods proclaim Asshurbanapal ruler of Assyria, and
in the last four lines the god Asshur himself calls Asshurbanapal to
lordship.


                            Hymns to Ishtar

1. King No. 1; duplicate, No. 5; translated by Jastrow, I, 529. It is
only a fragment of five lines of praise addressed directly to Ishtar.

2. King No. 32; translated by Jastrow, I, 529. It is a fragment of ten
lines of praise, addressed directly to Ishtar.

3. Craig, Religious Texts, I, plates 15-17; translated by Jastrow, I,
535. Eighteen lines of praise are followed by an enumeration of the
sacrifices, foods for the temple servants, and of gifts of gold, as well
as by directions for the purification of the sick, who wish to be healed
by Ishtar.

4. Reisner, Sumerisch-babylonische Hymnen, No. 56; transliterated and
translated by Hussey, No. 1. The tablet was according to the colophon
ninety-five lines in length, but only fifteen strophes of four lines
each are in good preservation. It is a hymn sung by Ishtar in praise of
herself.

5. Reisner No. 53; translated by Hussey, No. 5; by Langdon, _Sumerian
and Babylonian Psalms_, page 192; by Jastrow, I, 530. This hymn opens
with three strophes of four, three, and four lines respectively in
praise of the goddess. Then in strophes of five, four, and seven lines
Ishtar appears singing her own praise. There follows the prayer of
thirteen lines petitioning the removal of her anger.


                           Hymn to Sarpanitum

1. Craig, I, plate 1; translated by Jastrow, I, 536. This is a hymn of
eleven lines addressed directly to the goddess, followed by a brief
petition for the suppliant, the king, and the people of Babylon.


                            Hymn to Damkina

1. King No. 4; translated by Jastrow, I, 537. The hymn consists of seven
lines of invocation to Damkina, and is followed by a petition for the
averting of evil threatened by an eclipse of the moon.


                             Hymns to Belit

1. Haupt, _Assyrisch-sumerische Keilinschrifttexte_, pages 126-131;
Prince, _The Hymn to Belit_ K 357, in the _Journal_ of the American
Oriental Society, XXIV, 103-128; translated by Jastrow, I, 538f. This is
a hymn of some fifty lines sung entirely by Belit in her own praise.

2. Text and transliteration by Scheil, _Zeitschrift für Assyriologie_,
X, 291-298; also Scheil, _Une saison de fouilles a Sippar_, page 98 and
Tablet II; translated by Jastrow, I, 541. The first twelve lines of the
hymn are addressed to Nippur the city of Bel. The following thirty-eight
lines are in praise of Belit, and are for the most part addressed
directly to her.


                             Hymn to Enlil

1. Transliterated and translated by Langdon, _Sumerian and Babylonian
Hymns_, page 277. It is a psalm of twenty-five lines. The singers are
the bearers of sacrificial gifts to Enlil. The hymn is addressed
directly to the god.



                        A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY


Balla, E. Das Ich der Psalmen in Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur
des Alten und Neuen Testaments. 16. Heft, 1912.

Barton, G. A. Archaeology and the Bible, 1914.

Bewer, J. A. The Psalms and the Song of Songs, Chapter XX in The
Literature of The Old Testament, 1926.

Böllenrücher, J. Gebete und Hymnen an Nergal. (_Leipziger semitische
Studien_, 1904.)

Briggs, C. A. The Book of Psalms, I.C.C. (2 vols. 1906, 1907.)

Combe, E. Histoire du Culte de Sin, 1908.

Craig, J. A. Assyrian und Babylonian Religious Texts, I and II.
(_Assyrische Bibliothek_, herausgegeben von Delitzsch und Haupt, XIII,
1895).

Fossey, C. La Magie assyrienne, 1902.

Gunkel, H. Ausgewählte Psalmen, 1911.

—— Die Psalmen. (_Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart_, Band IV,
1913.)

—— Die Psalmen, übersetzt und erklärt, 1926.

—— Einleitung in die Psalmen, 1928.

Haupt, P. Akkadische und sumerische Keilschrifttexte. (_Assyrische
Bibliothek_, herausgegeben von Delitzsch und Haupt, XIII, 1895.)

Hehn, J. Hymnen und Gebete an Marduk. (_Beitrage zur Assyriologie_,
1906, Vol. V.)

Hussey, M. I. Some Sumerian-Babylonian Hymns of the Berlin Collection.
(_American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literature_, January, 1907.)

Hrozny, F. Myten von dem Gotte Ninrag (Ninib). (_Mitteilungen der
vorderasiatischen Gesellschaft_, 1903.)

Jastrow, M. Die Religion babyloniens und assyriens, 1905-12.

Jensen, P. Texte zur asyrisch-babylonischen Religion. I Lieferung, 1915.

Jeremias, A. Das Alte Testament in Lichte des alten Orients, 1906.

Kent, C. F. Songs, Hymns, and Prayers of the Old Testament, 1914.

King, L. W. Babylonian Magic and Sorcery, 1896.

Kittel, R. Kommentar zum Alten Testament XIII: Die Psalmen, 1914.

Langdon, S. Sumerian and Babylonian Psalms, 1909.

Lods, A. Les Idees de M. Mowinckel. (_Revue de l’histoire des
religions_, 1925, pp. 15-34.)

MacMillan, K. D. Some Cuneiform tablets bearing on the Religion of
Babylonia and Assyria. (_Beitrage zur Assyriologie_, Vol. V. 19.)

Martin, F. Textes Religieux Assyriens et Babyloniens, 1900.

Mowinckel, S. Psalmen Studien, Vols. I-VI, 1921-24.

Nikolsky, N. Spuren magischen Formeln in den Psalmen, 1927.

Perry, E. G. Hymnen und Gebete an Sin. (_Leipziger semitische Studien_,
1907.)

Peters, J. P. The Psalms as Liturgies, 1922.

Pinckert, J. Hymnen und Gebete an Nebo. (_Leipziger semitische Studien_,
1907.)

Radau, H. Sumerian Hymns and Prayers to Ninib. (_The Babylonian
Expedition of the University of Pennsylvania_, Series A, Vol. XXIX, Part
I.) 1911.

—— Miscellaneous Sumerian Texts from the Temple Library of Nippur.
(_Hilprecht Anniversary Volume_, 1909.)

Rawlinson, G. Cuneiform Inscriptions of Western Asia, 1861-1884.

Rogers, R. The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, 1908.

—— Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament, 1912.

Sayce, A. H. Hibbert Lectures, 1887.

Simpson, D. C. (ed.) The Psalmists, 1926.

Smith, J. M. P. The Religion of the Psalms, 1922.

Staerk, W. Lyrik. (_Schriften des Alten Testaments in Auswahl_, III: 1,
1911.)

Strong, S. A. Proceedings, Society of Biblical Archaeology, Vol. XX:
161, 1898.

Ungnad, A. F. E. In Gressmann, Altorientalische Texte und Bilder, 1909.

Weber, C. Die Literatur der Babylonier und Assyrier, 1907.

Welch, A. C. The Psalter in Life, Worship, and History, 1926.

Zimmern, H. Babylonische Hymnen und Gebete in Auswahl. (_Der alte
Orient_, 1905.)

—— Babylonische Hymnen und Gebete, Zweite Auswahl. (_Der alte Orient_,
1911.)



                               FOOTNOTES


[1]Hymn to Nebo No. 1.

[2]Hymn to Marduk No. 8.

[3]Hymn to Sin No. 3.

[4]Hymn to Nusku No. 1.

[5]Hymn to Marduk No. 6.

[6]Hymn to Ishtar No. 7.

[7]Hymn to Shamash No. 6.

[8]Nebo No. 1.

[9]Nusku No. 3.

[10]Nusku No. 3.

[11]Nusku No. 1.

[12]Ninib No. 2.

[13]Sin No. 5.

[14]Sin No. 1.

[15]Sarpanitum No. 1.

[16]Shamash No. 5.

[17]Nusku No. 2.

[18]Shamash No. 3.

[19]Ishtar No. 2.

[20]Ninib No. 4.

[21]Shamash No. 3.

[22]Shamash No. 2.

[23]Shamash No. 6.

[24]Ishtar No. 7.

[25]Ninib No. 1.

[26]Ninib No. 1.

[27]Shamash No. 1.

[28]Marduk No. 6.

[29]Marduk No. 8.

[30]Nebo No. 1.

[31]Ishtar No. 7.

[32]Marduk No. 1.

[33]Marduk No. 2.

[34]Nergal No. 8.

[35]Enlil No. 1.

[36]Nebo No. 1.

[37]Ninib No. 1.

[38]Marduk No. 4.

[39]Sin No. 3.

[40]Sin No. 5.

[41]Hymn to Ninib No. 1.

[42]Hymn to Shamash No. 4.

[43]Hymn to Shamash No. 5.

[44]Hymn to Sin No. 4.



                                INDEXES



                             GENERAL INDEX


                                   A
  Adad, 53, 55
  Adoration, 18, 19, 45, 53
  Alphabetical psalms, 15, 17, 23, 28, 48
  Anointed, 38, 48
  Antiphonal hymns, 30, 72-82, 99, 157
  Antithetical parallelism, 97
  Apocrypha, 3
  Ascription of praise, 57, 61, 63, 65, 66
  Asshur, 55, 81, 110

                                   B
  Babylonia, 3, 4, 6
  Bel, 55, 69, 92
  Belit, 55, 84
  Blessing, 12
  Body of hymn, 19, 21, 26
  Bull of Jacob, 80

                                   C
  Call to praise, 19-21, 24, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 37,
          39, 40, 85
  Choir, 11, 43, 46, 47, 72, 73, 76, 77, 78, 86, 99
  City, 45, 46, 73
  Classification, 3
  Comparative study, 4, 95
  Conclusion of hymns, 10, 11, 15, 20, 23, 25, 27, 34, 39, 40, 64,
          81, 85, 88
  Confidence, 5, 6, 12, 15, 29
  Coronation, 7, 48
  Council of the Gods, 37, 103
  Couplet, 73, 74, 75, 76, 86, 96
  Court style, 56, 57, 59, 60, 66
  Creator, 21, 81, 120, 121, 122, 123, 129, 155

                                   D
  Damkina, 55
  Date, 1
  Decree, 82
  Destiny, 131, 132
  Development, 4, 5, 12, 15, 18, 53, 56, 65, 66, 69, 92, 156
  Diaspora, 11, 47
  Divisions of line, 95

                                   E
  Egypt, 3, 4
  Enemies, 5, 6, 7, 12, 14
  Enlil, 55, 65, 72, 80
  Enthusiasm, 18, 21, 22, 32, 34, 38, 54, 55, 107, 119, 123
  Eschatological psalms, 6, 14, 26, 31, 32-38, 49, 50, 150, 152
  Ethical character of Assyrian god, 59, 151
  Exalted deity, 110, 111

                                   F
  Faith, 4, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 25, 30, 45
  Father, 145, 157
  Fertility, 22, 85, 125, 126
  Forgiveness, 8, 9, 10, 55, 143

                                   G
  Gloss, 86
  Goodness, 22, 24, 42
  Gratitude, 10, 18, 53, 55
  Groups, 3, 4, 5, 9, 53

                                   H
  Hallelujah, 19, 20, 22, 23, 34, 41
  Harvest, 12
  Healing, 9, 10, 61, 62, 142
  Heavens, 42, 109, 111, 120, 157
  Holiness of Gawe, 22, 34, 107
  Holy mountain, 114
  Hymn, 4, 11, 12, 18, 20, 23, 24, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 41, 43, 44,
          45, 53, 56, 65, 92
  Hymnal introductions, 18, 40, 53, 60, 64, 65, 67, 74, 78, 83, 92,
          156

                                   I
  Idols, 22, 25, 29, 37, 105
  Iknaton, 41
  Individual, the, in Assyrian and Hebrew religion, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14,
          21, 28, 43, 67, 68, 72, 78, 141, 157
  Invocation, 57, 60, 61, 65, 66, 73, 76, 89
  Ishtar, 53, 55, 56, 58, 63, 64, 78, 79, 85, 86, 109

                                   J
  Jerusalem, 14, 21, 44, 45, 46, 141
  Judge, 37, 104, 150, 151, 157

                                   K
  King, 6, 9, 10, 32, 36, 37, 38, 48, 49, 50, 82, 132, 146, 155,
          156, 157

                                   L
  Lament, 5, 7, 8, 15, 44, 53, 54, 64
  Legend, 11
  Length of line, 95
  Lightning, 40, 80
  Litany, 81, 82
  Literary dependence, 105, 155
  Liturgical psalms, 10, 13, 27, 28, 30, 36, 41, 47
  Lord, 80, 81, 82, 104
  Lower world, 111

                                   M
  Magic, 7, 55, 62, 66, 73, 78, 90, 96, 106, 132, 134, 142, 155
  Marduk, 53, 55, 56, 57, 58, 63, 64, 68, 69, 89, 91, 108, 110, 111
  Mercy, 8, 10, 22, 26, 139, 140, 141, 142, 143, 144, 155
  Monotheism, 36, 53, 54, 102, 105, 120, 155
  Moon, 109
  Mountains, 114, 120

                                   N
  Name, 42, 75, 80, 81, 85, 106, 107
  Nationalism, 5, 6, 8, 10, 14, 22, 152
  Nature, 39, 53, 59, 71, 107, 109, 124, 154
  Nebo, 57, 58, 73
  Nergal, 53, 55, 56, 57, 72, 74, 75, 77, 88, 90
  New song, 33
  Night, 39
  Ninib, 53, 55, 57, 58, 70, 83, 84, 110
  Nusku, 53, 55, 58, 59, 62, 83, 108, 118

                                   O
  Oracle, 13, 49, 82, 133, 155, 157
  Originality, 4, 5, 11, 26

                                   P
  Parallelism, 72, 74, 76, 96, 97, 154
  Penitential, 4
  Persecution, 7
  Petition, 5-8, 10, 15, 21, 29, 38, 40, 41, 44, 48, 62, 63, 64, 87
  Philological study of psalms, 3
  Phraseology, 88, 100, 155, 157
  Pilgrimage, 44, 46, 47
  Polytheism, 53, 100, 101, 102, 103, 122, 133, 157
  Power, 22, 84, 130, 131, 134, 135, 136, 137, 138, 155
  Praise, 4, 6, 11, 18, 19, 23, 65, 83, 156
  Prayer, 4, 6, 7, 9, 40, 53, 55
  Priest, 6, 10, 13, 21, 29, 30, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 86
  Processional, 11, 26, 27, 46, 68, 99, 154
  Prophetic, 28, 45, 156
  Proselytes, 21, 29

                                   R
  Ramman, 72, 79, 80, 88, 109
  Reasons for praise, 20, 21, 22, 28, 29
  Refrain, 35, 64, 72, 73, 75, 76, 79, 80, 87, 98, 154, 157
  Repetitions, 72, 76, 77, 78, 88
  Responses, 73, 74, 75, 86
  Rhetorical questions, 63, 66, 87, 99, 103, 154
  Righteousness, 151, 152, 155

                                   S
  Sacrifice, 5, 6, 9, 53, 55, 56, 65, 116, 117, 118, 119, 125
  Sanctuary, 3, 5, 6, 9, 11, 12, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 32, 44, 59, 69,
          86, 91, 92, 112, 154
  Sarpanitum, 55, 59, 64, 65, 109
  Sceptre, 146, 149
  Second person, 20, 25, 35, 36, 40, 43, 55, 65, 66, 72, 89, 90, 92
  Self-introduction, 87, 92
  Sennacherib, 46
  Shamash, 40, 53, 55, 58, 70, 71, 108
  Sheol, 9, 17
  Shepherd, 13, 144, 157
  Sickness, 7, 8, 9, 61, 142
  Simplicity, 5, 8, 11, 13
  Sin, 53, 55, 57, 59, 63, 65, 71, 73, 76, 108
  Soliloquy, 13, 41
  Solo, 11, 43
  Strophic arrangement, 65, 79, 86, 98, 154
  Supplication, 4
  Supreme God, 104, 105
  Synonymous parallelism, 96
  Synthetical parallelism, 97

                                   T
  Tautological parallelism, 96
  Teaching, 4, 9, 15, 17, 30
  Testimony, 8, 9, 12, 18, 42
  Thanksgiving, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 53
  Third person, 20, 25, 35, 36, 40, 55, 89, 90, 92, 99
  Throne, 146, 148
  Thunder, 39, 40, 88, 109, 127, 129
  Titles, 57, 58, 68, 72, 73, 76, 87
  Tristich, 76, 96
  Type, 3, 9

                                   U
  Universalism, 24, 26, 31, 37, 53, 107

                                   V
  Variation, 3, 24, 75
  Voice, 39, 88, 110
  Vow, 5, 9, 12, 30, 81

                                   W
  War God, 134, 135, 136, 137, 157
  Wisdom, 15, 28, 30, 65, 66, 130, 131, 132, 134, 155
  Word, 69, 89, 90, 91, 127, 128, 129



                       INDEX OF BIBLICAL PASSAGES


                                 Psalm

            1      15
            2      38, 49, 50, 82, 123
            3      7
            4      12
            7      7, 8
            8      20, 22, 39, 41, 42, 47, 95, 96, 106, 110, 111, 121,
                   123, 155, 156
            9      12
           10      5
           11      12, 109, 151
           13      7, 142
           16      12
           17      8, 116
           18      9
           19      20, 39, 40, 95, 96, 134
           20      6
           21      9
           22      7
           23      12
           24      20, 27, 96, 135, 154, 155
           26      8
           27      12, 116
           29      20, 21, 22, 23, 39, 104, 109, 128, 149, 155
           30      9
           31      142
           32      9, 19
           33      20, 22, 23, 30, 107, 121, 122, 129, 131, 132, 143
           34      15
           37      15, 16
           38      8, 142
           39      8
           42      8, 19
           43      8, 19
           44      5, 44
           45      48
           46      14, 105
           47      20, 32, 34, 97, 138, 148, 149, 155
           48      45, 46, 47, 92, 106, 114, 150, 154
           49      15, 16
           51      8
           55      7
           56      7
           57      7
           58      151
           59      7, 8
           60      5
           62      12, 114
           63      12, 116
           64      7
           65      11, 12, 19
           66      9, 20, 143
           67      6, 21, 37, 96, 97, 155
           68      20, 21, 22, 110, 127, 135, 136, 137, 138, 141, 143,
                   151
           69      7
           70      7
           71      8
           72      6, 7, 48, 49
           73      15, 16
           74      5
           75      151
           76      106, 112, 132, 138
           78      15
           79      5
           80      5
           81      138
           82      32, 35, 37, 38, 97, 104, 110, 123, 151
           83      5, 110
           84      20, 44, 112
           85      5
           86      140, 142
           87      44, 47, 48, 114
           88      8
           89      103, 104, 136, 138, 156
           90      6
           91      13
           92      12, 110, 132
           93      20, 32, 35, 36, 116, 148, 149
           95      20, 102, 114, 118, 121, 124, 144, 149, 150, 154
           96      20, 32, 33, 34, 37, 102, 103, 105, 112, 118, 149,
                   152, 153, 155
           97      20, 32, 34, 35, 36, 37, 104, 137, 138, 148, 149, 151,
                   153
           98      20, 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 96, 97, 136, 152, 153
           99      20, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 98, 106, 110, 118, 149, 151
          100      19, 20, 22, 26, 113, 144, 155
          101      48
          102      8
          103      9, 10, 18, 22, 107, 140, 141, 143, 144, 145, 148, 150
          104      22, 23, 39, 40, 41, 97, 99, 110, 116, 122, 124, 125,
                   126, 129, 133, 137, 156
          105      12
          107      10
          109      7
          110      49, 82
          111      19, 20, 22, 23, 28, 118
          112      15
          113      19, 20, 22, 23, 25, 99, 103, 105, 110, 111, 140, 141
          114      11, 126, 136, 137
          115      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 29, 95, 97, 98, 106, 109, 112,
                   118, 122
          116      9, 142
          117      19, 20, 21, 23, 31
          118      9
          119      48
          121      13
          122      44, 45
          123      5, 6
          124      11
          125      5, 6, 15, 16
          126      5
          127      15, 16
          128      15, 16
          129      5, 6
          130      8
          131      13
          132      112, 115
          133      15, 16
          134      19, 20, 27, 122
          135      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 102, 105, 107, 110, 114, 136,
                   152
          136      5, 11, 12, 104, 121
          137      5
          138      9
          139      15, 112, 123, 139
          144      156
          145      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 28, 107, 118, 140, 149
          146      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 28, 118, 140, 141, 142, 149
          147      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 113, 114, 124, 125, 126, 129,
                   130, 141
          148      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 107, 110, 111, 121, 129
          149      19, 20, 23, 32, 33, 34, 37, 124, 153
          150      19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 113, 148, 155


                                 Jonah

            2      9


                                 Exodus

          3:6      87
         20:2      87


                                 Isaiah

      41:2, 4      87
         42:8      87
    43:11, 12      87
      45:5, 7      88



                          TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES


--A few typographical errors or inconsistent spellings were corrected.

--An original cover image was produced, for unrestricted distribution
  with this Distributed-Proofreaders eBook.

--In the text version only, delimited italicized text within
  _underscores_.

--The original copyright notice is preserved, although this edition is
  in the public domain in the country of publication.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Assyrian and Hebrew Hymns of Praise" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home