Genesis 14:1 & the Incirli Inscription

This important inscription, translated by Seith L. Sanders, mentions the House of Mopsus and the Danunians. This inscription also offers absolute proof that the Amarp(h)al in Genesis 14 is Tiglath Pileser III. T.P. III’s name is transliterated as P’l where the ‘ indicates an aleph as indicated in Kaufman’s, (Stephen A. (2007)). “The Phoenician Inscription of the Incirli Trilingual: A Tentative Reconstruction and Translation”. MAARAV. 14 (2): 7–26. The Hebrew transliteration is of line 5 is: Pal ml(k) Asr rb or Pal Great King of Assyria – Pal, of course, means Pulu.

“The Incirli “Human Sacrifice” Trilingual: Not a Trilingual about Human Sacrifice
First part: Front of the inscription*Since the text of this incredibly interesting but horribly worn stela is not currently available in any digital form, including books or online journal articles, here is the text and translation, based on Steven Kaufman and Bruce Zuckerman’s careful work (S.A. Kaufman 2007. The Phoenician Inscription of the Incirli Trilingual: A Tentative Reconstruction and Translation, Maarav 14.2, 7–26). This is a very simplified version of Kaufmann’s edition, which should be consulted because it indicates many places where the characters are incompletely preserved.

I present here the front, from which the most text is preserved, along with a translation after his. I present the more obscure and uncertain passages in italics. Later I will add the other three sides and a more original translation.

hgbl z mtn/t tklt’plsr p’l mlk ‘šr
This frontier is a gift of Tiglath-Pileser—Pu?ul (P’l/Pal), king of Assyria,

lmlk wlšph’ mlk dnnym | hgbl gbl
to the king and the descendants of the king of the Danunians. This frontier has been the border

ph’t (/’rs’) ‘br nhr wgbl kmh lmym swsdd šr
of the province (or land) of Across-the-River and Kummuh from the reign of Shamshi-Adad, ruler

‘šr w’d kl ym tklt’plsr p’l ml[k]
of Assur, through the reign of Tiglath-Pileser—Pu’ul, (P’l or Pal)

‘šr rb | hgbl [z] gbl hr [g]rgm wph’ty
Great Kin[g] of Assyria. [This] frontier is the border between the mountains of [Gu]rgum and my province,

z'(/h’) hdšt ‘d b’ pht ‘šr lhgbl z

this new one up to where the Assyrian province reaches it, through this region

lm’br lbt trtn kb’ nhr sns ‘d
from across the Turtanu’s dynastic region along the River Sinis, up to

(h)r [‘]rr’ ‘nk wryks mlk z bt mp[š]
the [moun]tains of [U]rart’u. I am Warikis, king of the House of Mopsos

‘bd m[l]k [tk]lt’plsr mlk ‘šr mlk qw
servant of king T[ig]lathpileser, king of Assyria, king of Que

mlk bt mpš wkl [ ]t ht w’d lbnn
king of the house of Mopsos and all [ ] Hittite country up to the Lebanon

w kn mrd bkl mt h[t] wzbh mlk ‘rpd
There was a rebellion throughout the Hittitle country and the king of Arpad

ly’n hdd mlk wgzr mkpr k ‘rpd
sacrificed for the benefit of Hadad-Melek (or: as a mulk-offering for Hadad) and redeemed (the human sacrifice) with butchered animal parts because Arpad

phd mlk ‘m/šr [xx] w’s hkm l/w’mr
feared (a living molkomor/the king of Assyria. He arose, a wise man, and said)

km hq mlk ‘rpd whlb ‘l tgzr/l ‘d[m]
“According to the law of the King of Arpad and Aleppo, do not sacrifice a human being

[…]’l tphd k’m kpr ‘š phtk ‘l yhr[b/m]
[…] fear not, rather offer a substitute sacrifice so he will not destroy your province..”

This Stele confirms the contention that Genesis 14 references regarding Amarp(h)al refers to Tiglath Pileser III and that T(h)argal (Tidal) is Tarhulara of Gurgum. The remaining two kings listed in Gen 14:1 were Arioch or Yarechezzer king of Ammon (Ellasar or AluLasha) and Khumbanigash king of Elam aka Kudur Lagamal or Chedorlaomer.

So, the four kings in the Genesis 14 narrative were Muirru Pulu or AmarPal in the LXX, the Assyrian king of Babylon, (Amarp(h)al/Amrap(h)el), Khumbanigash king of Elam (Chedorlaomer), Tarhulara king of Gurgum (Tidal/Thargal) and Yarachezzer king of Ammon (Arioch of Ellasar). Tiglath Pileser III was king of Assyria and Babylon. Khumbanigash, Tarhulara, and Yarechezzer were kings of the Assyrian vassal states of Elam, Gurgum (a Neo Hittite state) and Ammon. Tiglath-Pileser III also defeated the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. It was Judean scribes in Babylon who wrote the Genesis 14 narrative and it was the LXX authors in Alexandria who edited it. This narrative does not record an historical event. The narrative is a literary motif; a reversal which reverses historical events; the defeat of the Kingdom of Israel and Judah by the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser III. Judean scribes reversed this historical event by writing that the father of the Israelites, Abram, defeated the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Pileser III, aka Amrpl, the King of Shinar (Babylon) as well as the king of the Assyrian vassal states of Elam, Gurgum and Ammon. There are many of these types of narratives throughout biblical texts. Genesis 14 is one great example of this type of reversal literature.

Comments are closed.

Search The Site

Can't find what are you looking for?