Delilah was his second Philistine wife. He never learned.


Bible translations follow the New Jewish Version, except as noted.


The Talmud is a collection of Jewish law and teachings, comprising the Mishnah and the Gemara, a commentary on the Mishnah. It exists in two versions: the Palestinian or Jerusalem Talmud, compiled around 400 A.D., and the Babylonian Talmud, compiled around 500 A.D.


Reading Genesis 4:17 thus: “and Cain knew his wife and she conceived and gave birth to Enoch, and he became the (first) city-builder, and he—that is, Enoch—called the name of the city after the name of his son,” on the analogy of Genesis 4:1–2.


On Reed Sea versus Red Sea, see Bernard F. Batto, “Red Sea or Reed Sea?” BAR 10:04.



Or Arabian Gulf, depending on the point of view. A recent New York Times editorial (September 20, 1987) suggested that, to avoid offense to either side in the current hostilities, it should be renamed the Sumerian Gulf.


Samuel Noah Kramer, History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-nine Firsts in Man’s Recorded History (Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1981).


See Kramer, In the World of Sumer: An Autobiography (Detroit: Wayne State Univ. Press, 1986), and my review in Books in Brief, BR 14:01.


For a convenient summary, see D. O. Edzard, “Literatur,” in Reallexikon der Assyriologie, vol. 7, ed. Edzard (Berlin: Walter DeGruyter, 1987), pp. 35–48. Edzard’s figures add up to 19,000 lines, but exclude some large categories such as liturgical hymns, royal hymns, litanies, Dumuzi laments, individual players, literary letters, proverbs and incantations.


So with Menahem Haran, Journal of Semitic Studies 36 (1985), pp. 3f. My own count is 23,199.


See M. Civil, “Sumerian Riddles: A Corpus,” Aula Orientalis 5 (1987), pp. 17–37.


This saying has been compared to a proverb much cited by a 14th-century ruler of Byblos: “My field is likened to a woman without a husband, because is it not ploughed”; see James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 1956), p. 426.


William W. Hallo, “The Lame and the Halt,” Eretz-Israel 9 (1969), pp. 66–70.


See Hallo, “Biblical Abominations and Sumerian Taboos,” Jewish Quarterly Review 76 (1985): 21–40.


See, most recently, B. Alster and H. Vanstiphout, “Lahar and Ashnan: Presentation and Analysis of a Sumerian Disputation,” Acta Sumerologica 9 (1987), pp. 1–43.


Compare this to the fable of the trees that wanted a king to reign over them and had to settle for the thornbush (Judges 9:8–15).


J. J. A Van Dijk, “La découverte de la culture littéraire sumérienne et sa signification pour l’histoire de l’antiquité orientale,” Orientalia et Biblica Lovaniensia 1 (1957), pp. 5–28, esp. pp. 15–18.


Hallo, “Antediluvian Cities,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 23 (1970), pp. 57–67.


Aaron Shaffer, “The Mesopotamian Background of Lamentations [sic!] 4:9–12, ” Eretz-Israel 8 (1967), pp. 246–250 (in Hebrew; English summary p. 75*).


Shaffer, “New light on the ‘three-ply cord,’ ” Eretz-Israel 9 (1969), pp. 159f. (in Hebrew; English summary pp. 138f.)


Hallo, “The Coronation of Ur-Nammu,” Journal of Cuneiform Studies 20 (1966), pp. 133–141, esp. p. 141, line 15.


Hallo, “The Royal Correspondence of Larsa: I. A Sumerian Prototype for the Prayer of Hezekiah?” Alter Orient und Altes Testament 25 (1976), pp. 209–224.


J. J. Finkelstein, “Sex Offenses in Sumerian Laws,” Journal of the American Oriental Society 86 (1966), pp. 355–372.


Martin Buber, Pointing the Way (London: Harper & Row, 1957), p. 197; republished in On the Bible (New York: Schocken, 1968), p. 177.


Hallo and J. J. A van Dijk, The Exaltation of Inanna (New Haven, CT: Yale Univ. Press, 1968).


W. C. Gwaltney, Jr., “The Biblical Book of Lamentations in the Conext of Near Eastern Lament Literature,” in Scripture in Context 2, ed. Hallo, J. C. Moyer, and L. G. Perdue (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 1983), pp. 191–211.


Jerrold Cooper, “New Cuneiform Parallels to the Song of Songs,” Journal of Biblical Literature 90 (1971), pp. 157–162.


Hallo, “Compare and Contrast: The Contextual Approach to Biblical Literature,” in Scripture in Context 3 (forthcoming).