Shabucot 38b, near the bottom, and as reflected in the Targum attributed to Jonathan and in the commentaries of Rashi and Jacob ben Asher.


Two of these texts have been translated by Finkelstein in J. B. Pritchard (ed.), Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd edition (Princeton, 1969), 543–544 (text A) and 544–545 (text B). The crucial sections of several of the texts are translated and discussed in the Harris article (see note 7).


Code of Hammurabi §§23, 120, 126, and 240. Compare §9.


A goddess of healing worshipped particularly at Isin. This listing is made complete by the addition of the following: the axe of the god Lugal-kiduna the surinnu-symbol of Sin (and Adad?), and the hand of the goddess Mah.


Explicitly stated in C. F. Jean, Tell Sifre (Paris, 1931), no. 71:16–19, “Iddin-Sin took the axe of the god Lugal-kiduna, walked around the field and swore his oath, and took possession of the orchard.”


Thus, the divine symbol can even be listed among the witnesses: T. G. Pinches, Cuneiform Texts from Babylonian Tablets in the British Museum, vol. 6 (London, 1898), pl. 22, text a. Also important in this regard are two texts in which those who are to swear stand near the symbol to swear: G. R. Driver, Oxford Editions of Cuneiform Texts, vol. 3 (Oxford, 1924), no. 40:24–25, “Let the elders of the city and the previous witnesses stand by the weapon of the city god and swear their oaths”; and H. H. Figulla, Ur Excavations Texts, vol. 5 (London, 1953), no. 256:1–3, “The copper mace of Ninurta was stationed in the assembly of the city ward, and the witnesses stood by … (and swore).”


Studies in Honor of Benno Landsberger (Oriental Institute Assyriological Studies 16) (Chicago, 1965), 217–224.


G. R. Driver, Genesis (Westminister Commentary, London, 1904), 231; and N. M. Sarna, Understanding Genesis (New York, 1966), 171.


E. A. Speiser, Genesis (Anchor Bible), p. 178 to xxiv:2.


Compare the list of curses in the Epilogue to the Code of Hammurabi.


The only apparent exception proves the rule. R. Harris, “The Archive of the Sin Temple in Khafajah,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol. 9 (1955) p. 101, no. 98, has published a text which records the donation of private property to the high priest of the Sin temple. The reverse of the tablet provides that if the donor raises claims against the gift, two gods should “pluck up his offspring, and the Son God should be the commisary (to take the offender to court for condemnation).” (lines 1–4). Two things must be pointed out: first, the tablet is from Tutub (modern Khafajah, about 15 miles East-Northeast of Baghdad, on the Diyala River), from which we hardly expect to find legal holdovers in the Patriarchal narratives. Second, the dire sanctions on this tablet are due to the fact that the gift is being made to the high priest and the temple estates, claims against the gift would involve expropriation of temple land to private ownership, and the curse formula is therefore present. We can hardly count this tablet as a private contract.