The New Jewish Publication Society translation contains a footnote that indicates “rested” is only an alternative translation of sûaµbat, the primary meaning being “to cease.”



See Raffaele Pettazzoni, “Myths of Beginnings and Creation-Myths,” Essays on the History of Religions, Numen Suppl. 1 (Leiden: Brill, 1954), pp. 24–36, esp. 32–34; cited with approval by Claus Westermann in Genesis 1–11 (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984), p. 167.


For a convenient translation, see John Wilson in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (ANET), ed. James Pritchard (Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press, 3rd ed., 1969), pp. 4–5; or Miriam Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, vol. 1, The Old and Middle Kingdoms (Berkeley, CA: Univ. of California, 1973), pp. 51–57.


Following Wilson’s alternative translation (ANET, p. 5, note 19). Fearing that they were being too much influenced by the parallel in Genesis 2:1–3, some scholars have preferred to translate more neutrally, “so Ptah was satisfied”; see Wilson in The Intellectual Adventure of Man, ed. Henri Frankfort et al. (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago, 1946), p. 59. The translation “rested” has been accepted by, among others, Westermann (Genesis 1–11, p. 167) and Hellmut Brunner (Near Eastern Religious Tests Relating to the Old Testament, ed. Walter Beyerlin, Old Testament Library [Philadelphia: Westminster, 1978], pp. 4–5).


In a text so explicitly self-conscious about justifying every facet of Ptah’s role as creator, this statement is a clear witness to the belief that a creation account should conclude with a description of the creator resting. The creator may relax because his work is finished and perfect.


The theme is less explicit in other versions of the Chaoskampf myth. These include the Ugaritic Baal epic (ANET, pp. 129–142), the Canaanite/Israelite myth reconstructed from diffuse allusions in the Bible, and the Egyptian story of Astarte and the Sea (ANET, pp. 16–17). More remote are the Egyptian text, the Repulsing of the Dragon (ANET, pp. 6–7), and the Hittite Illuyankas myth (ANET, pp. 125–126).


The most recent scholarly treatment of the subject is that of John Day, God’s Conflict with the Dragon and the Sea; for a more popular presentation see Foster McCurley, Ancient Myths and Biblical Faith: Scriptural Transformations (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983), esp. pp. 11–71.


See Mitchell Dahood, Psalms 2, Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968): p. 205.


A common conjecture about the meaning of this crux; cf. Day, God’s Conflict with the Dragon, p. 22, note 57.


The mythic allusions are especially well-captured in this translation by Marvin Pope. Job, Anchor Bible (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965), pp. 163–164.


See Westermann, Isaiah 40–66, Old Testament Library (Philadephia: Westminster, 1969), pp. 239–240.


For a more detailed discussion on this topic see my two articles, “Red Sea or Reed Sea?” BAR 10:04 and “The Reed Sea: Requiescat in Pace,” Journal of Biblical Literature 102 (1983), pp. 27–35.


The best and most complete edition of the Atrahasis myth is by Wilfred G. Lambert and Alan R. Millard, Atra-hasis: The Babylonian Story of the Flood (Oxford: Clarendon, 1969). Composed during the Old Babylonian period (1950–1550 B.C.) out of prior Sumerian, traditions, Atrahasis represented the standard or “pan-Mesopotamian” view of creation. The better known Enuma Elish, composed later (c. 1100 B.C.), was a specifically Babylonian adaptation of this older creation tradition (see Lambert, “The Reign of Nebuchadnezzar I: A Turning Point in the History of Ancient Mesopotamian Religion,” in The Seed of Wisdom: Essays in Honour of T. J. Meek, ed. W. S. McCullough [Toronto, 1964], pp. 3–13).


Alternatively, “When the gods (still were) human….” For a survey of the scholarly debate over this controversial line and important observations on its implications, see Robert Oden, Jr., “Divine Aspirations in Atrahasis and in Genesis 1–11, ” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 93 (1981) pp. 197–216, esp. 199–200.


Enuma Elish, VI.8, 36, 131.


For a recent, particularly comprehensive treatment, see John Heil, Jesus Walking on the Sea: Meaning and Gospel Functions of Matt 14:22–33, Mark 6:45–52 and John 6:15b–21, Analecta Biblica 87 (Rome: Biblical Institute, 1981).


Cf. Alfred Plummer, An Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew, International Critical Commentary (New York: Scribner’s, 1910), p. 130; Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, New International Commentary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1979), pp. 251–252.


Cf. Dennis Nineham, Mark, Pelican Gospel Commentaries (Baltimore: Penguin, 1963), pp. 146–147; Albrecht Oepke, “kaqeuvdwTheological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. G. Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), vol. 3, p. 436; Eduard Schweizer, The Good News According to Mark (Atlanta: John Knox, 1970), p. 109.