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The image of Assyria in Isaiah 2:5-22: the campaign motif reversed.

In 1983, Peter Machinist published an essay entitled "Assyria and its Image in the First Isaiah." (1) In it, he demonstrated that many passages in First Isaiah describe Assyria in language closely parallel to that of the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions. These parallels are highly specific, and point strongly to the probability that the author of the First Isaiah was familiar with both the ideas found in Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions and the stereotypical phrases and characteristic language found in them.

Based on these parallels, Machinist concluded that "Isaiah's knowledge of Assyria was gained not merely from actual experience of the Assyrians in Palestine, but from official Assyrian literature, especially of the court." (2) Judeans would have been exposed to such literature, probably in its oral form, in one of three settings. The first, as suggested by Machinist, was the presence of Judeans in the Assyrian capitals. Judean embassies were sent to the Neo-Assyrian capitals to deliver tribute at least as early as 734 B.C.E. (3) They continued to make these journeys until at least 712 B.C.E. (4) When visiting the Assyrian capitals, the tribute-bearers were conducted through the palaces, in order to subject them to what art historians have called the "program" of Assyrian palaces. (5) The program was a series of artistic images, often accompanied by cuneiform captions, presented in a logical and predetermined sequence, designed to impress Assyrian imperial ideology upon foreign emissaries. The emissaries would thus be encouraged to convince the potentates they represented to maintain their allegiance to the empire. Assyrian escorts may have explained the texts and pictures to the visitors, ensuring the intended impact. (6) This type of exposure would apprise visitors of the central concepts in Assyrian imperial ideology, but it is doubtful whether it would have apprised them of specific motifs.

A second possibility is through the establishment of rock reliefs and royal stelae by the Neo-Assyrians in the lands adjacent to and surrounding Judah, several of which were cut or erected during the campaigns of Sargon II. (7) The Assyrian practice of establishing such stelae to commemorate specific victories is discussed by Morandi, who categorizes the stelae according to the occasion of their establishment. (8) The function of such stelae was to ground more firmly Assyrian sovereignty in newly conquered areas by inculcating the local population with Assyrian imperial ideology. The text they contained would have been explained to the local political leaders by Assyrian military or administrative personnel at the time of its inscription, probably in Aramaic. This exposure to the text of the stele would have created an awareness of the motifs and diction typical of Assyrian royal inscriptions. This awareness may have persisted in the collective memory of the local population, but without it being reinforced by Assyrian personnel, it would eventually have waned.

A third possibility, evidence for which has emerged since Machinist's article, is the extensive Assyrian administrative presence in territories bordering on Judah from 720 B.C.E. on. (9) Assyrian administrators would have ensured an ongoing exposure of Judeans to Assyrian imperial ideology and the language in which it was expressed. Assyrian administrative practice in the southern Levant involved the establishment of secondary administrative centers at locations astride major roads, outside of the provincial capitals. (10) Two of these administrative centers (Tel Hadid and Gezer) were within a day's journey of Jerusalem. (11) It seems unlikely that the Assyrian administrators in these locales would have eschewed contact with the Judean political leaders. The language in which this ideology was expressed is the language known to us from Assyrian royal inscriptions. (12) This third possibility most easily accounts for the familiarity of the author of Isaiah with the language familiar to us from Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions. (13)

But beyond the fact that the author of Isaiah was familiar with this language and alludes to it in his writing lies the question of his rhetorical goals in using such language. What are the biblical writer's aims in using language which his audience (at least its literati members) could identify as coming directly from the language used to express Assyrian imperial ideology? Machinist notes that the use of this language allows Isaiah to depict a vivid image of Assyrian power. But Isaiah does not simply echo this language. Rather, he "sought to deflect and rework the Assyrian propaganda he encountered." (14)

More recently, Baruch Levine has argued that much of the universalist theology we find in the First Isaiah is motivated by the influence of Assyrian imperial and religious ideology. Levine argues for a socio-political approach to theological developments, and posits that the cult of Assur, which formed an integral part of Assyrian claims to empire, served as a catalyst for Isaiah's formulation of "a God-idea broad enough to measure up to empire." (15) Assur served as the hypostasis of the Assyrian kingship, whose ideology demanded that its kings expand the boundaries and reach of the kingdom. (16) The universal dominion of the king and of Assur is a basic element of Assyrian ideology, of which the standard title sar kibrat erbetti (ruler of the four corners of the world) is but the most common expression. (17)

The position of Assur as head of the pantheon, and his identity with the kingship created a system of relationships in which there existed no human force superior to the king. The king, who acted through the "power of Assur" (a ubiquitous phrase in Assyrian royal annals), is described as invincible, in accordance with the "heroic principle of royal omnipotence." (18) His invincible power is repeatedly emphasized and is indicated by the royal melammu, a mythic sheen which he received from the gods. (19) When attributed to divinities, the melammu expresses divine sovereignty, (20) but when used of a human king, it is a way of legitimating his kingship and a way of expressing his overwhelming power. (21) As Levine has argued, the invincible power of Assur and his king, which was broadcast to Judah through extensive contacts with Assyria in the last third of the eighth century, caused partisans of the "YHWH-alone" party to formulate new theological expressions. These portrayed YHWH as equal to and stronger than the Assyrian king.

These new formulations were required by the new challenge posed by Assyrian imperial ideology to the theology of this party. This challenge differed substantially from those faced by Israelite theologians before the Assyrian advances into the Levant. Earlier circumstances required Israelite writers to grapple with the perceived weakness of YHWH. As Levine notes, evidence for this earlier type of theological inquiry can be found in Judg. 6:13, which portrays Gideon as reacting to the Midianite ascendaqncy by asking: "If YHWH is with us, why has all this befallen us?" And where are all His miracles, about which our ancestors told us? The questioner sees past events as evidence for the power of YHWH, and questions why this power is not currently evident. One possible explanation for this limit, as Levine notes, is implicit in the concept of henotheism: If Israelite writers recognized other gods as potent, (22) then the temporary eclipse of the power of YHWH by these gods would not be surprising.

The theological challenge posed by the Assyrian ascendancy of the late eighth century, according to Levine, derives from its global horizon: Assur is portrayed as a universal sovereign, whose power knows no geographic bounds. Instead of being challenged by other national gods, in the eighth century YHWH's sovereignty and power were challenged by a universal sovereign.

But there was also another new element to the theological challenge posed by Assyrian imperial ideology. Assyria sought to portray its empire as a lasting and fixed political arrangement, in keeping with the tendency of empires to perceive themselves as culminations of historical processes. (23)

This differs from the reality of earlier episodes of Israelite weakness vis-a-vis neighboring nations, which provoked theological inquiry of the type found in Judg. 6:13. In these earlier episodes, it was clear that the ascendant nation would eventually become weak again (as happened to all of the various enemies of the Israelites portrayed in the Deuteronomistic history), and the power of YHWH would cease to be eclipsed by that particular nation's deity. But the ideology of empire seeks to portray the empire's sources of power as enduring, and this ideology therefore poses an additional challenge to believers in the supremacy and sovereignty of YHWH. (24) This challenge can be formulated as follows: Did the rise of Assyria demonstrate the truth of its ideology of a universal and invincible sovereign, whose power had permanently eclipsed those of other sovereigns, including other nations' gods?

One of Isaiah's early responses to Assyrian imperial ideology appears in Isa. 10:5ff., a passage on which both Machinist and Levine have commented. (25) Here, Assyria is portrayed as an instrument of YHWH, a response which can also be found in Isa. 14:24-27. YHWH is using Assyria for His own purposes, and will eventually wreak havoc on Assyria. This response recognizes Assyrian power, but sees it as a temporary state of affairs, ordained by YHWH, and leading to the defeat of Assyria at some later, unnamed but imminent time. It is in many ways similar to the approach of Judg. 6:13 which sees Midianite ascendancy as a temporary phenomenon. (26) But this response fails to engage the Assyrian claim that their imperial dominion is a permanent state of affairs. If flatly denies this Assyrian claim, but does not engage this essential element in the Assyrian narrative of empire. The repeated failure of rebellions against Assyria (such as that led by Hamath in 720, and the various uprisings led by Ashdod and supported by Egypt which took place between 720 and 712) (27) lends plausibility to the imperial claims, and partisans of the "YHWH-alone party" would have felt it necessary to address this claim.

Indications of Judean writers' concern with the new types of theological challenges raised by the imperial claims of Assyria can be found in the prophetic story of Sennacherib's campaign in Isa. 36-37 (parallel to II Kgs. 18:17-19:37). (28) The question placed in the mouth of the Rabshakeh indicates concern not just with the political and military effects of Assyrian imperial conquests, but with the theological issues they raise:
 Where is the god of Hamath and of Arpad?
 Where is the god of Sepharvayim?
 Did they save Samaria from my hand?

 Which of all the gods of these lands saved their lands from my hand,
 that YHWH should save Jerusalem from my hand? (Isa. 36:19-20, II Kgs.
 18:34-35) (29)

The author of the prophetic narrative (certainly a member of the YHWH-alone party) uses the campaign of Sennacherib in Judah as a background against which a conflict between the two claimants for world dominion can be portrayed. This conflict between Assyria and YHWH ends with the victory of YHWH over His rival, the Assyrian king, and thus His sovereignty is affirmed. This victory firmly puts to rest the theological questions raised by Assyrian claims of empire.

This view of the events permeates the prophetic story in Isa. 36-37. One literary device used to portray the campaign as a conflict between Assyria and YHWH is the repeated references to YHWH's weakness in the Assyrian siege speeches (Isa. 36:10, 15, 18-20; 37:10-12). (30) Another appears in Hezekiah's prayer (Isa. 37:15-20), which asks that Jerusalem be saved solely in order to provide an adequate answer to the theological challenge posed by Assyrian ideology. (31)
 Turn your ear, O YHWH, and hear
 Open your eyes, O YHWH, and see
 And hear all the words of Sennacherib,
 which he has sent to denigrate the living God.

The prayer heightens the sense of the direct conflict between Assyria and YHWH by stating that the goal of Sennacherib's rhetoric is to denigrate (hrp) YHWH. (32) This assertion might have surprised Sennacherib, who had no doubt never heard of YHWH, but it fits the prophetic writer's agenda, which is to present the campaign as a conflict between Sennacherib and YHWH. This view is further emphasized in the oracle in Isa. 37:24-25 (parallel to II Kgs. 18:22-23), in which Sennacherib's hubris is narrated by means of citations from his royal annals, and these claims of Assyrian royal power are also described as denigrating YHWH. (33) The repeated argument that Assyrian claims of empire "denigrate" YHWH reveals one of the key points in the objections of the author of Isa. 36-37 to Assyrian imperial ideology. He sees the royal boasts and hubris that are an essential part of this ideology as an arrogation of an attribute that belongs to YHWH: world dominion. The arrogation is insufferable, and the Assyrian ideology is seen, pars pro toto, as a challenge to divine sovereignty. Because they are an inseparable part of Assyrian imperial ideology, the royal boasts of the Assyrian kings are seen by the prophet as a "denigration" of YHWH, even though they do not refer to YHWH in any way. Portraying the end of the 701 campaign as a victory of YHWH over Assyria is one way of responding to this perceived challenge to divine sovereignty.

But the theological response in Isa. 36-37 has one major weakness: it fails to adequately explain the empirical reality on the ground. The end of the 701 campaign certainly did not mark the beginning of an Assyrian decline. At the beginning of the seventh century, Assyria was at the height of its power, and Assyrian military victories lent credence to the proposition that its king was an invincible and universal sovereign.

A longer-range strategy demanded a different response, one which recognized the reality of Assyrian power, and its claim to permanence, while affirming YHWH's supremacy over empires. Such a response can be found in Isa. 2:5-22.

Levine noted that "those who respond internalize: they factor in their own ideological culture, at times inverting the propaganda of the other." (34) This type of reversal can be found in Isa. 2:5-22. At the base of this oracle is a motif which is commonly found in Assyrian royal inscriptions: the campaign, in which the king forces the arrogant and obstinate to accept Assyrian sovereignty. The author of this passage has taken this motif, as well as other elements of Assyrian imperial ideology, and intentionally used these in order to portray YHWH, rather than the Assyrian king, as sovereign. The passage's rhetorical force comes from an acceptance of Assyrian imperial power; the elements of Assyrian rhetoric used in the passage convey strength only because Assyria is in fact all-powerful. Yet, while accepting and even affirming the reality of Assyrian power, it denies the enduring nature of Assyrian sovereignty, since it describes YHWH as the single possessor of true sovereignty. Levine notes that the principle "empires rise and fall, but YHWH retains possession of true kingship" is encapsulated by Isa. 45:1-5. However, this same principle can be seen in earlier Isa. 2:5-22.

The literary technique used here is profoundly subversive. While affirming Assyrian power, it implies that it is temporary and will be replaced by a more enduring sovereign. It is, in a sense, the original "replacement theology." It is based on motifs frequently found in the annals, but it subverts Assyrian ideology by using these motifs to declare the sovereignty of YHWH. I argue that a full understanding of Isaiah 2:5-22 requires us to recognize the use of these motifs, and their original context in Assyrian royal inscriptions.


Identification of Units

It was long customary in biblical studies to accept Duhm's comment that this passage is poorly preserved. (35) More recent scholarship has attempted to trace the historical development of the passage, seeing it as a progressive expansion of an original unit. (36) But the likelihood that much, if not all, of the passage before us forms an original unit should not be ignored. Bartelt's detailed study of the passage shows that verses 12-16 clearly form a unit. (37) Around these verses, verses 10-11 and 17-19 cohere logically and structurally. Verses 11 and 17 form an inclusio, as do verses 10 and 19, so that it is reasonable to regard at least vv. 10-19 as an organic unit.

I am inclined to accept Bartelt's determination that vv. 5-21 form a single unit, because of the many thematic and vocabulary links between these verses. (38) Nevertheless, it is possible that vv. 5-9 are a later addition to the passage, which was added to 10-19 in order to explain the evils which caused the "day of the Lord" mentioned in vv. 12-16. It is also possible that vv. 20-21 are a similar addition, perhaps added to explain the animated status of the idols in v. 18, as Goldstein suggests. (39) My analysis below will discuss the entire passage (vv. 5-22) but will consider the possibility that the original unit consisted of vv. 10-19 and that vv. 6-9 and 20-22 are later additions.

Genre: Day of the Lord or Sovereign's Day of Conquest?

Isaiah 2:5-22 is often identified in scholarly literature as a description of "the day of the Lord." (40) However, there is no definition that is commonly accepted among scholars for the term "day of the Lord." In analyzing ancient Near Eastern parallels to a particular biblical passage, the question of whether the passage speaks about the "day of the Lord" or not is therefore of limited import. I therefore focus instead on the terminology used in this passage.

In analyzing its genre and the larger narrative it contains, it is useful to refer to a study by Douglas Stuart, who noted a fairly obvious point: the combination of a "sovereign" and "a day of conquest" is a common theme in ancient Near Eastern royal inscriptions. More specifically, he noted a series of ancient Near Eastern texts that speak about the sovereign achieving significant conquests in the span of a single day. He suggests that many of the "day of the Lord" passages can be understood in the context of this literary convention. (41) While our passage does not emphasize the morning-to-evening span of the campaign (such as we find, for example, in the Mesha Stone's description of the conquest of Nebo in lines 14-15), vv. 10-19 (and arguably vv. 5-9 and 20-22 as well) narrate a victorious action by YHWH against the "high" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and the "lofty" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) (42) as well as against the targets enumerated in vv. 12-16. This action involves the use or show of force (how else to understand the bringing low of the high and lofty"?), and vv. 11, 12, and 17 refer to the action as contained in a single day. This suggests that the motif of the sovereign's campaign provides the most appropriate comparative context within which to analyze the passage.

The literary analysis below will survey four thematic units in the passage: 1) vv. 6-8, which accuse Israelites specifically of particular misdeeds; 2) vv. 9-11, which call on humans generally to evince humility so as to allow YHWH alone to be elevated; 3) vv. 12-19, which describe the military action; 4) vv. 20-22, which conclude the passage.

Verses 6-8, the "Accusation"

The passage begins with verses 6-8, which level four accusations against the "House of Jacob." (43)

 (6) For you have forsaken [the ways] of your people,
 O House of Jacob!
 For they are full [of practices] from the East,
 And of soothsaying like the Philistines;
 They abound in children of the aliens.
 (7) Their land is full of silver and gold,
 there is no limit to their treasures;
 Their land is full of horses,
 there is no limit to their chariots.
 (8) And their land is full of idols;
 They bow down to the work of their hands, to that made by their

The accusations in these verses become the basis for the action of YHWH in vv. 10-19. Conceptually, the common denominator among the accusations mentioned here is that they lead to hubris, arrogant pride. (44) Each of these practices inflates the individual's sense of self, by giving him tools with which he may more fully control his destiny. Soothsaying and divination are attempts to uncover directly an individual's fate; the accumulation of silver, gold, and war material (horses and chariots) obviously gives the individual practical power; and the description of idolatry in v. 8 clearly states that the progenitors of the idols are the worshippers themselves, thus making idolatry a sort of self-worship. The connection between these practices and hubris can also be seen from parallels to the evaluation of these practices found in Deuteronomy. (45) One important difference should be noted, however: While in Deuteronomy, these behaviors are connected to disloyalty to YHWH, here the focus is not on disloyalty but on interference with the sovereignty of YHWH, as appears in the next section, vv. 9-11.

The arrogance and inflated sense of self that the behaviors mentioned in vv. 6-8 engender are directly connected to the main event of the next unit, vv. 9-11. These behaviors account for humans' "highness" and "loftiness," which are set to be eliminated (vv. 9 and 11), since YHWH alone is elevated (v. 11). The passage clearly sees the bringing low of humans as a prerequisite for the elevation of YHWH alone.

In moving from vv. 6-8 to vv. 9-11, the passage shifts from addressing the "House of Jacob" to speak about humans ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) generally. This transition can be understood as the result of the oracle's use of the motif of the sovereign's day of conquest, which is a universal and not specifically Israelite motif. In texts which use this motif (more specifically, in ancient Near Eastern royal inscriptions), the arrogance of the opponent is often contrasted with the sovereign's conquest. (46) As the passage moves from vv. 6-8 to vv. 9-11, an implicit parallel is created between the Israelite behaviors criticized in vv. 6-8 and the arrogant vassal's trusting in his own strength. The passage as a whole is addressed to Israelites, but its use of the motif of the sovereign's day of conquest requires a more global form of expression in vv. 9-22 and thus these verses speak about [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] rather than about [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

Verses 9-11, the Call for Humility

The idea that the campaign is caused by human haughtiness is neatly encapsulated in vv. 9-11.

 (9) But man shall be humbled, and a person brought low--
 Oh, do not forgive them.
 (10) Go into the rock, and bury yourself in the dirt,
 From before (47) the pahad of YHWH and hadar ge'ono
 (11) The elevated eyes of man shall be brought low,
 And the loftiness of people shall be humbled.
 YHWH alone shall be exalted in that day.

Verse 9 states that even though humans are being lowered and humbled, they are not to be forgiven. Because humans are not forgiven, a campaign will take place during which they must "enter [caves or clefts in] the rock and hide in the dirt" due to pahad YHWH and hadar geono. The haughty eyes of men (48) will then be lowered, as will the loftiness of people, and as a result of this lowering, only YHWH will be exalted "on that day." The final result of the campaign is the exaltation of YHWH exclusively, and this shows that the raised-up character of the geeh and ram humans before the campaign is an impediment to the recognition of divine sovereignty.

Kaiser argued that v. 11 is not part of the nucleus of the poem. (49) Verse 11 breaks the flow of action between the exhortation in vv. 9-10 and the explanation for the exhortation in vv. 12-16, which describes the "day of YHWH." But its declaration "YHWH alone shall be exalted on that day" serves to make explicit a point which is implicit in the transition from v. 10 to vv. 12-16: By bringing low those who falsely claim highness, the objectives of the "sovereign's day of conquest" are achieved. These objectives always involve recognition of the rightful sovereign. (50)

Verses 12-19, the Campaign

Verses 12-16 describe in detail the divine action which was referred to briefly in v. 10:

 (12) For the Lord of Hosts will have a day
 Against every haughty one and lofty one, against every raised-up
 one--he will be brought down.
 (13) Against all the cedars of Lebanon, lofty and raised up,
 And all the oaks of Bashan;
 Against all the lofty mountains and all the raised-up hills.
 (15) Against every high tower, and every fortified wall.
 (16) Against all the ships of Tarshish and all the pleasure

This day is designated for Divine action against people who are "haughty" (ge'eh) or "lofty" (ram) as well as against possessions which seem to feed this pride. Several of the possessions enumerated here are used in other biblical passages as symbols of power and might (the cedars and oaks and the Tarshish ships) and arrogance and pride (the towers and walls). (51) Both the mountains and the trees are also high in a literal sense.

The result of this action is described in vv. 17-19. (52)

 (17) Then man's highness shall be humbled,
 And the loftiness of man brought low.
 The Lord alone shall be exalted on that day.
 (18) The idols shall pass away completely.
 (19) They shall enter caves in the rock, and dug-outs in the ground,
 --from before the pahad of YHWH and hadar ge'ono
 When He rises to overawe the land.

Verse 17 recapitulates the idea expressed in v. 11. As a result of this divine action, humans are lowered and God becomes exalted. At the same time, the idols are eliminated from the scene. It is not immediately clear whether the idols in v. 18 are abandoned by humans (as a result of their recognition of divine sovereignty) or whether they are independent actors. Goldstein has argued for the latter possibility, interpreting the root hlp in v. 18 as cognate in meaning to the Akk. halapu, "to slip away." (53) He understands the idols in this passage as independent actors who are also the subject of v. 19, thus allowing the grammatical subject of v. 18 to be the same as that of v. 19. (54)

I understand the subject of v. 19 to be the same as that of v. 10, viz., the "haughty" and "lofty" people whose actions imply a refusal to recognize the exclusive sovereignty of YHWH. Throughout the unit, and especially in vv. 11 and 17, the recognition of divine sovereignty is juxtaposed with human arrogance and haughtiness. Furthermore, the core of the passage (vv. 12-16) consists of a divine campaign against inanimate objects which represent and feed human pride. The passage as a whole speaks of the achievement of sovereignty by YHWH against those who refuse to recognize it. Heretofore in the passage, those who refuse to recognize the sovereignty have been the humans, characterized as [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. The idols are only mentioned in v. 8 as one of the acts committed by humans who have these characteristics. Therefore, v. 18 should be understood as referring to the passing away of the idols from the humans' sphere of interest. (55)

In the last three words of v. 19, the objective of God's actions is described: He arises to terrify the land. The formulation [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], referring to a divine act designed to achieve recognition of His sovereignty, has no parallel in biblical literature. Wildberger adduces similarities to Deut. 2:25 and 11:25, (56) but these refer to divine assistance in Israelite military campaigns. The use of the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] here deserves attention: It is more common in Isaiah than elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, and tends to be used in contexts where YHWH is compared or contrasted to a conqueror. The NJPS translation "to overawe" therefore fits the usage. The verb used in particular to contrast between Him whom the prophet ought to fear (YHWH) and those the common people fear (conquerors such as Rezin, and possibly the Assyrians) in 8:12-13, and in 10:33, where the hapax [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (perhaps built on the model of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], campaign) describes YHWH "lopping off" the Assyrian invaders compared to cedar trees of Lebanon. (57)
 Verses 20-22, Conclusion
 Verses 20-21 seem to recapitulate the ideas expressed in vv. 18-19.
 (20) On that day, men shall throw away,
 To the fruit-bats and the bats. (59)
 The idols of silver and the idols of gold, which they made for
 themselves to bow down to.
 (21) To enter clefts in the rock
 And the crevices in the stone
 From before the pahad of YHWH and hadar ge'ono
 When He rises to terrify the land.

The human beings will reject the idols, "which they have made for themselves to bow to," and abandon the idols to cave-dwelling animals, such as bats. They hide in caves and dugouts, and the reason for their terror is expressed by repeating the phrase found in v. 19 (which echoes and develops the phrase found in v. 10): [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], " from before the pahad of YHWH and hadar ge'ono when He rises to terrify the land."

Goldstein has argued that vv. 20-21 are a later compositional stratum. (60) The author of these verses rejected the position of the author of vv. 18-19, and considered the idols incapable of such action, necessitating a theological revision of vv. 18-19. This reading of these verses avoids what seems like an unnecessary repetition of ideas in vv. 17 and 19, but also eliminates or mitigates the parallel between vv. 10 and 19, which seems to be an important part of the passage's rhetoric. I would note that the action in v. 20 provides an important parallel to the initial action in v. 8. The humans (Israelites in v. 8) have filled the land with idols; the humans themselves must rid the land of idols before the "day of the Lord" can reach a successful conclusion. Therefore, it would seem that v. 20 is part of the same compositional stratum as v. 8.

Both of these verses indicate that the construction and worship of idols--not the idols themselves--is seen as an act of "haughtiness" because it prevents universal recognition of the exclusive sovereignty of YHWH. It is against such haughtiness that the "day of the Lord" here is directed. Its goal is to eliminate this haughtiness and achieve this recognition. Neo-Assyrian parallels to this goal are discussed in the next section.


The characterization of God's actions in this passage contains five elements not found in other "day of the Lord" passages. The elements have distinct and specific parallels to phrases that are ubiquitous in the royal inscriptions' descriptions of Neo-Assyrian campaigns. These parallels allow us to suggest that the description of the divine campaign in Isa. 2:5-21 is based on a Neo-Assyrian model.

First Parallel: Opposition to the Haughty and Lofty

The declared objective of this divine campaign is to bringing low the "haughty" and the "lofty," as is emphasized by the repetition of this theme in vv. 11, 12, and 17 (using the words ge'eh and ram), and in vv. 13-16 (God attacks possessions that feed pride). This corresponds precisely to one of the standard elements in Assyrian characterizations of the enemy, which appear in royal inscriptions from the thirteenth century down to the Neo-Assyrian period. It is against these enemies that the Assyrian king's campaigns are directed.

The characterization of the enemy as "arrogant," "obstinate," or "proud" is part of a stylized "moral profile" found in Assyrian royal inscriptions. Fales has explained this profile as part of a "unifying vision of the ideology of nakrutu," (61) a vision which is predicated on the Assyrian ideology of the king as one who cannot legitimately be opposed. One explanation for opposing the king is that the opponent is guilty of hubris, since he wrongly considers himself on a plane with Assur's issakku.

One of the terms used to express this characterization is the adjective mustarhu (or in later Assyrian, multarhu) "proud," which is a precise parallel to Heb. ge'eh. As Fales notes, the term is often used in titularies, which describe the king as subduing the mustarhu. The term usually appears in the first few lines of royal inscriptions, in the titulary, and is used in the general description of the king's campaign activities. The goal of the campaigns, according to this formula, is to subdue the "proud." Examples of such usage appear as early as the titulary of Tukulti-Ninurta I, a thirteenth-century Assyrian king:
 sar kissati, sarru dannu, sar mat Assur, kasid multarhi ...
 King of the world, strong king, king of the land of Assyria,
 conqueror of the proud, ... (62)

In a display inscription of Shalmaneser III from the ekal masarti ("Fort Shalmaneser") at Calah, the titulary is followed by the following description of the king:
 sa ina zikir belutisu kibrate ultanapsaqa, ihilu alane,
 zikaru dannu mukabbis kisad ajabisu
 muparrir kisri multarhi dais kullat nakiri

 ... at whose lordly command, the (four) quarters are
 distressed and cities convulsed,
 strong male who treads upon the necks of his foe,
 who breaks up the forces of the proud, trampler of all his
 enemies ... (63)

The context makes it clear that the multarhi here are the king's enemies. (64)

Multarhi is also used in the inscriptions as a designation for enemies against whom the king wars, including those of Sargon II, who describes the purpose of his campaign in a letter to the gods:
 assu hatam pi mustarhi, kas puriddi qardammi (65)
 to muzzle the lips of the proud, and hobble the feet of the

The same term is later used to describe those conquered by Esarhaddon:
 ina emuq DN DN aksud kullat nakiri multarhi
 With the power of the gods (names follow), I conquered all of the
 proud enemies. (66)

And in a different text:
 kullat nakiri multarhi la kansuti ... la palihuti ...
 All the proud unsubmissive foreigners, who did not fear ..., (67)

Although this text is broken, it is clear that "proud" and "unsubmissive" are here used together in describing the enemies.

It also describes the enemy in Ashurbanipal's inscriptions, where Teumman king of Elam is called multarhu sa ikpuda lemuttu, "the proud one, who planned evil" in the annalistic account of Ashurbanipal's first campaign. (68)

Another related term more directly expresses the arrogance inherent in the enemy's refusal to submit. This is the accusation that the enemy "trusted (takalu) in his own strength," frequently found in royal inscriptions. In Sargon's letter to the gods, he uses these terms to describe kings whose cities lay astride the roads to the lands of the Medes and Manneans, kings who had not previously acknowledged the sovereignty of Assyria:
 ana emuqi ramanisunu takluma la idu belutu
 In their own strength they trusted; they know not lordship. (69)

The very fact that a foreign potentate refuses to submit indicates his nakru-status. We find this expressed not only through the term mustarhu, but also in references to an especially obstinate enemy as sa la iknusu, "who did not submit," whose obstinacy intensifies his status as an enemy. (70) Mention of obstinacy serves in the annals as a literary justification for the war unleashed against the obstinate. This rhetorical usage corresponds to a deterministic conceptual understanding of Assyrian sovereignty as universal and inevitable.

A unique way of formulating this concept is found in Sennacherib's inscriptions, and it serves to highlight the obstinacy of specific enemies. These are the adjectives sipsu mitru, used together, which refer specifically to enemies who have not been defeated by previous Assyrian kings. While we might expect this term to refer to enemies who refuse to submit, despite repeated conquests, Gallagher has shown that the reverse is true: these are "virgin" enemies, who have not yet suffered Assyrian conquest. (71)

This phrase appears in Sennacherib's inscription on the Judi Dagh (Mount Nippur), describing his battle against the cities of the region:
 sipsu mitru la idu palah beluti

 strong and obstinate who knew not the fear of lordship. (72)

It appears in an account of Sennacherib's first campaign as an epithet for enemies who were subject to the particularly exemplary punishment of impalement:
 sipsu mitru sa ana niri la iknusu.

 strong and obstinate, who had not submitted to my yoke. (73)

And most relevant to our purposes, it is used in reference to Hezekiah, who is elsewhere labeled sa la kanasu, "unsubmissive." (74)
 [nagu.sup.KUR]laudi sipsu mitru [.sup.m]Hazaqiaya sarrasu

 The province of Judah, its strong and obstinate king Hezekiah, I
 brought into submission. (75)

What emerges is a characterization not only of the nakru, but also of the Assyrian campaign. The campaign's stated goal is to create submission, to bring the nakru to acknowledge their status in the hierarchy produced by the determinism of Assyrian imperial ideology. The degree to which a foreign king is considered proud, arrogant, or obstinate is in inverse proportion to the degree to which his kingdom has previously accepted Assyrian sovereignty. This particular type of rhetoric, the use of special terminology for "virgin" enemies, is a particular innovation of Sennacherib. The rhetoric of the campaign therefore shares significant and specific similarities with the language used in Isaiah to describe the actions of YHWH in 2:10-21. The targets of this action, the ram and the ge'eh, are those who refuse to acknowledge their place in a hierarchy which is as pre-determined as that of the Assyrians. Furthermore, ge'eh is the closest biblical Hebrew synonym for Akk. mustarhu. Thus, close similarities emerge between the characterization of the nakru in Assyrian royal inscriptions, particularly those of Sennacherib, and the identity of the targets of the campaign in Isa. 2:10-21. Both the nakru in the Assyrian material and the humans in the biblical passage refuse to acknowledge the sovereign's sovereignty, and are therefore considered arrogant.

But more important is the similarity in the action expected of the targets of the campaign. It is not sufficient, argues Isa. 2:9-11, for the humans to lower themselves and bend down. Those who do these actions in v. 9 are treated to the imprecation "forgive them not." Only those who hide in the caves and the dirt specifically because of the pahad of YHWH and his hadar ga'on are to be considered as having completed their task. It is not enough for humans to be lowered, they must acknowledge the sovereignty of YHWH either by hiding from the expression of His sovereignty (as in vv. 10-11), or by actively negating acts of haughtiness (as in vv. 20-21). Similarly, the nakru are expected to "submit to the yoke of Assyria." This can be accomplished either by submitting to Assyrian conquest, or by acknowledging Assyrian sovereignty through tribute. (76)

The goals of the Assyrian campaigns and the goals of the divine action described in these verses are also identical. (77) Both aim to extract recognition of the sovereign from those who refuse to acknowledge his/His sovereignty. The importance of the characterization of the nakru as "arrogant" is such that the Assyrian campaigns seem to have had as their primary goal the extraction of the recognition of Assyrian sovereignty from these kings. And in the biblical account, v. 11b suggests that exaltation of YHWH can only be accomplished through an acknowledgments of His sovereignty.

Second Parallel: Terrifying the Land

A second characterization of God's actions in this passage is their declared objective [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "to terrify the land," repeated in vv. 19 and 21. Above, I noted the unusual nature of this formulation in biblical passages, and its particular use in Isaiah in reference to comparisons or contrasts with conquerors. This characterization also indicates a similarity with the motif of the Assyrian campaign. The Assyrian texts do not declare "terrifying the land" as the objective of their campaigns; it is the acknowledgment of Assyrian sovereignty that is the campaigns' goal. Nevertheless, it is entirely obvious that the effect of Neo-Assyrian campaigns upon the local inhabitants was terrifying and frightening. The literary descriptions revel in describing the terror of the enemy kings' reactions to Assyrian might.

Thus in Tiglath-Pileser's inscriptions, the terror evinced by Sarduri of Urartu is described:
 [.sup.gis] kakkeya iplahma ana suzub napsatisu ... ihliqma

 He feared my weapons and fled to save his life. (78)

And Sennacherib's inscription similarly describes the reason for Marduk-apla-iddina's flight:
 tib tahaziya ezzi edurma,

 The onset of my terrible battle he feared. (79)

Sennacherib's Bavian inscription describes the intentional imposition of fear upon the objects of the campaign, causing their flight:
 hattu puluhtu eli mat [] kalisitnu ittabikma

 Fear and terror I poured out over the whole land of Elam. (80)

The description of YHWH as "rising to terrify the land" is consonant with the descriptions of the conquerors in the Assyrian royal inscriptions.

Third Parallel: Movement across the Land

A third element in this passage's depiction of God's actions is the motif of movement. In vv. 13-16, the order of locations and objects targeted by the campaign creates a sense of motion. As God targets these, it seems as though He is traveling from the Lebanon, to Bashan, to the hills, to the fortifications, to the sea. While depictions of God in motion are found in other passages (notably the "march in the south" passages such as Deut. 33:2; Judg. 5:4-5: Hab. 3:3), the route described here is quite different. Moreover, many of the elements frequently cited as part of the "march in the south" or "march of the divine warrior" motif are not found here: The earth and mountains are not said to tremble, and there is no mention of rain or storm, lightning or fire. (81) The focal element is not the battle, but the travel itself, the journey from Lebanon and Bashan to the sea, while subduing the proud and the symbols of pride.

The use of travel itself as a means of imposing sovereignty is well known from the Assyrian royal inscriptions. The inscriptions are replete with narrations of enemies who see or hear the movement of the campaign and abandon their opposition because they are alarmed at the speed and success of the campaign. One example appears in a narration of Sennacherib's first campaign, in regard to the action of Marduk-apla-iddina:
 akamu girriya ana ruqeti emurma
 imqusu hattu, gimir ellatisu ezibma
 ana mat Guzummani innabit

 the dust-cloud of my army's passage he saw from afar,
 and fear overtook him, he abandoned all of his troops
 and fled to the land of Guzummani. (82)

The importance of the element of travel in shaping the characterization of the campaign in Assyrian literary sources can be seen from the term used to refer to the campaign. It is girru, which can be translated "road," "way," or "travel." (83) The case with which the army could travel across difficult terrain is a much-vaunted motif in the royal inscriptions. One example of this appears in Sargon's letter to the gods, which describes how his troops "flew" over mountains like eagles and mountain goats, and crossed rivers as though they were irrigation ditches. (84)

Not only is the speed of the campaign vaunted in royal inscriptions, but also its scope. One example appears in the annals of Tiglath-Pileser III, who describes the extent of his conquests during his 738 campaign against Hamath by enumerating toponyms with particular reference to the mountains, which served as district borders. (85) A more geographically proximate example appears in Sennacherib's narration of his 710 campaign, which lists the cities of Sidqa in the region of Jaffa, which were conquered ina metiq girriya, "in the course of my campaign." (86)

The particular direction of movement described in Isa. 2:13-16 corresponds to the direction of the Assyrian campaigns to the Land of Israel, which proceed roughly from the north and east towards the south and west. Here, the campaign begins in the area of the Lebanon range and the Bashan, continues through the mountains, and ends at the sea. This was the general direction of the campaign of Tiglath-Pileser III in 733. In this campaign, the Assyrians entered the Land of Israel from the area around Dan in the northeast (while a separate force moved against the Gilead) and then moved across the Galilee and towards the sea. (87) Since the order in which the targets are listed in Isa. 2:13-16 does not correspond to the direction of movement known from other Divine March passages, but does correspond to the direction of the Assyrian campaign (as experienced by inhabitants of the Land of Israel), it is most reasonable to see it as a reflection of this experience.

Fourth Parallel: Reactions to the Campaign

The reaction of the humans to the advent of the campaign has few parallels in biblical literature. The humans are repeatedly described as taking refuge "from before pahad YHWH and hadar ge'ono," in vv. 10, 19, and 21. (88) They hide in the rock and dirt ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in v. 10, in caves in the rock and dugouts in the dirt ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in v. 19, and in clefts in the rock and crevices in the stone ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in v. 21. The common denominator of all these places is their inaccessibility, which makes them suitable refuges. One close biblical parallel is Judg. 6:2 "From before Midian, the Israelites made themselves the channels in the mountains, and the caves, and the fortresses." But that passage seems to refer to the use of these locations to hide agricultural produce, or as military redoubts for bands of Israelite defenders. (89) In contrast, the locations mentioned in Isa. 2:10, 19, and 21 are not used as hideouts in order to conduct some specific activity. In these verses, fleeing and/or hiding seems to be an end in and of itself, since no activity is conducted in these locations. The reason for hiding is not entirely clear: It would seem that the humans hope in this way to escape the onslaught of the campaign, but there is no mention of their escaping punishment, nor is punishment explicitly mentioned as an activity of the campaigner in the passage.

Each of the verses that mentions hiding locations also mentions that which causes the humans to hide: They hide "from before pahad YHWH and hadar ge'ono." The goal of the hiding and/or flight remains unclear, but it would seem that terror inspired by pahad YHWH and hadar ge'ono (the meaning of these is discussed below) is sufficient cause. The result of hiding is described similarly in v. 11 and v. 20: Both verses speak about an acknowledgement of the sovereignty of YHWH. This is explicit in v. 11 ("YHWH alone will be exalted on that day") and implicit in v. 20, which describes the humans abandoning their idols. The hiding therefore seems to lead to an acknowledgement of divine sovereignty.

The Neo-Assyrian campaign descriptions contain very close similarities to these descriptions of flight and hiding. Nakru kings who have heretofore refused to acknowledge Assyrian sovereignty are often said to flee the arrival of the campaign and to hide in inaccessible locations. Although the ostensible goal of flight is to escape punishment, the Assyrian literary descriptions portray this act as indicating an acknowledgment of Assyrian sovereignty. It is understood to indicate a policy of future non-resistance, and the Assyrians generally do not bother to pursue these escaping kings. The act of flight and the despoiling of the cities or troops abandoned by the fleeing nakru king usually end the description of that king's interaction with the Assyrians.

Often, the inaccessible location to which the nakru king flees is a mountaintop. Thus in the description of Sargon's eighth campaign:
 ina muhhi[.sup.KUR] Uasdirikka sade marsi palhis elima
 malak gerriya ana ruqeti ittulma irrutu sirusu
 kullat nise matisu upahhirma ana sade ruqute namrasis uselimma
 la innamer asarsun

 To the top of mount Uashdirikka, a difficult mountain, he fearfully
 The progress of my campaign he saw from afar, his flesh trembled.
 All the men of his land he gathered and with difficulty he caused
 them to mount far-away mountains (so that) their place would not be
 discovered. (90)

More frequently, the nakru king is said to flee alone, in a desperate attempt to save his life. One example among many appears in the annals of Sargon, describing the flight of Amitassi of Karalla:
 iplahma ana suzub napistisu [.sup.KUR] Surda sade ibbalkit

 He feared and to save his life he fled to Mount Surda. (91)

The flight is not always to a mountaintop; other inaccessible locations are also mentioned. In the following passage, describing Sennacherib's third campaign, Lulle of Sidon is said to flee across the ocean. As is often the case in the royal inscriptions, the flight is here said to be provoked by royal melammu:
 Lulli sar [.sup.URU] Siduni pulhe melamme belutiya ishupusuma,
 ana ruqqi qabal tamtim innabit

 Lulle king of Sidon, was overwhelmed by fear of my melammu
 He fled far away to the midst of the sea. (92)

These descriptions reflect a literary convention and are not simply a reflection of the particular circumstances in each individual campaign. This characterization of the nakru kings as fleeing to inaccessible locations is found as far back as the ninth-century inscriptions of Shalmaneser III. (93) The standard nature of this characterization is also reflected in its use in Sennacherib's titulary:
 malki sipsuti eduru tahazi
 dadmesun izzibuma kima sutinni nigissi edis ipparsu asar la a'ari

 Strong kings feared my battle, and they left their dwelling places,
 and they flew alone to some inaccessible place, like a cave-bat. (94)

The descriptions in Isa. 2:10, 19, 21 of humans hiding in the particular inaccessible locations mentioned in Sennacherib's titulary (dwellings of cave-bats) suggests the possibility that the biblical text responds to the motifs we find in the Assyrian source. Furthermore, the literary function of the flight and hiding in both texts is similar: it is an implicit acknowledgment of the sovereign's rule, and it closes the period in which the target of the campaign has refused to acknowledge the sovereign.

An additional parallel between the flight from the sovereign's melammu and that from pahad YHWH and hadar ge'ono is discussed in the next section.


Taken together, the four points noted above produce a series of similarities between the "day of the Lord" described in Isa. 2:5-22 and the image of the Neo-Assyrian campaign that emerges from the royal inscriptions. Independently, each of the points can be explained without necessarily positing a historical relationship between the Neo-Assyrian campaigns and this passage. However, the combined weight of the evidence makes such an explanation unlikely. Isaiah uses terminology taken from Neo-Assyrian campaigns to describe a campaign which God will wage against those who refuse to recognize His sovereignty.

The points noted suggest that it is not only the experience of the campaign that serves as the basis for the passage in Isa. 2:5-22, but also the literary image of the campaign that we know from the royal inscriptions. Below, I show that Isa. 2:5-22 uses the motif of royal melammu found in the campaign literature. This sharpens my conviction that it is the literary image of the campaign, rather than its experience, that serves as the basis for the passage in Isaiah, since melammu is a literary conceit, rather than an experiential phenomenon.


Verses 10, 19, and 21 in this chapter contain a recurring phrase: [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Above, I have rendered this phrase "from before pahad YHWH and hadar ge'ono" and my failure to translate it reflects the inadequacy of the existing translations. The NRSV renders "from the terror of the Lord and from the glory of his majesty," while NJPS renders "because of the terror of the Lord and His dread majesty." These translations differ both in their rendering of the preposition [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], and in their construction of the phrase hadar geono. NRSV understands this as a standard construct phrase, while NJPS takes hadar as a modifier. In order to create a parallel between the two objects of the preposition, NJPS understands hadar as meaning "dread" (cognate to Akk. adaru, "to fear, to be in awe"), a meaning which is otherwise unattested for this noun. (95)

The most problematic part of the translation, however, is the first object of the preposition, pahad YHWH. This is not a very common phrase in biblical Hebrew. Other than in this passage, it appears four times in Chronicles, where it refers to fear of Divine retribution (II Chr. 19:7) or to paralysis caused by recognition of God's overwhelming military strength (II Chr. 14:13; 17:10), and in I Sam. 11:7, where it refers either to fear of Divine retribution, or to "a great terror." (96)

But the verses under consideration use pahad YHWH in a syntactically unique way that differs from the other biblical usages. In each of the verses 10, 19, and 21, pahad YHWH functions as the object of the preposition mippene (lit., "from the face of"). Mippene modifies the verb bw' ("to enter" or "to come").


The Hebrew Bible contains dozens of formulations of this syntax. in which a verb of motion, such as brh ("escape"), nws ("flee") or bw ("enter/go") is followed by the preposition mippene and the object of the preposition. In these formulations, the object of the preposition is consistenly and invaribly the force or person that causes the flight, never the feeling of terror itself. (97) This rule applies to all passages using the verb bw (in the Qal) followed by the preposition mippene and an object, as well as those using the verb nws and brh (both in the Qal) and str (in the Niphal) in the same way. (98)

One illustrative examples is Jer. 35:11,a call to escape the countryside and take refuge in Jerusalem:

 Come, let us enter (bw') Jerusalem from before (mippene) the Chaldean

The Chaldeans are here the source of the danger. Another example appears in Num. 20:6:


Moses and Aaron went (bw') from before (mippene) the congregation to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

Yet another example of this is Jer. 48:44, which is the only other passage with the syntax nws/bw'/brh'nstr + mippene + object, where the object of mippene is pahad:


He who flees from before (mippene) the pahad shall fall into the pit ...

In this verse, the pahad itself is the terrifying force. This verse emphasizes that the Moabites flee from fear itself, not from an enemy. The verse might best be translated "He who flees from the panic ... " (99) The source of the danger is here, as elsewhere, the object of the preposition mippene.

Isa. 20:10, 19, and 21 should also be interpreted in light of this rule of syntax. In other words, pahad YHWH (one object of the preposition mippene), and hadar ge'ono (the preposition's second object) should designate the source of the terror from which humans flee and hide. Pahad YHWH, therefore, must refer to the source of the humans' terror and not the "fear of God" felt by them.

For pahad YHWH to refer to the source of the people's terror, it must mean something other than "fear of the Lord" in this passage. I posit that the word pahad here is a calque, or loan translation, on the Akkadian puluhtu. The literal meaning of this Akkadian word is "fear" (synonymous with pahad), but it is used in Akkadian to refer to the terrifying aspect of the melammu, and I have argued that puluhtu is an abbreviation of the construct puluhti melammi (semantically identical to pulhi melammi). (100) Elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible, yir'a (a synonym of pahad) is used as a loan translation of the Akk. puluhtu. (101) It is reasonable to suppose that pahad could be used similarly, since one seeking to translate the word puluhtu into Hebrew might well refer to the lexical meaning of puluhtu.

This understanding of pahad solves the syntactic problem in our verse. Flight from before puluhtu is well attested in the Neo-Assyrian annals. Consider the passage already cited above from the annals of Sennacherib, which describes the flight of Lulle, king of Sidon, during the third campaign:
 pulhi melamme belutija ishapsuma ana ruqqi qabal tamtim innabit

 Fear of the melammu of my lordship overwhelmed him, and he fled far
 into the sea ... (102)

This passage illustrates the concept of flight from before a king's puluhtu. It closely parallels the usage in Isa. 2:10, 19, and 21, since the flight is specifically to inaccessible locations. Flight to inaccessible locations from the melammu of the king or from his pulhi melamme is a frequent motif in the ninth-century annals of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III. Examples include, from a campaign of Ashurnasirpal II against Arbakku:
 ina pan melamme belutija iplahuma,
 alanisunu duresunu usseru
 ana suzub napsatesunu
 ana sadi matni sadi danni elu

 They took fright in the face of the melammu of my lordship;
 they abandoned their strong cities;
 and to save their lives,
 they went up to Mount Matnu, a strong mountain. (103)

From a campaign of Shalmaneser III against Ahuni of Bit Adini:
 ina pan namurrat kakkeja melamme belutija iplahma alesu
 umassir ana suzub napsatisu [] Puratti ebir

 He became afraid in the face of the terrifying appearance of my
 weapons, the melammu of my lordship; he abandoned his cities, and to
 save his life, he crossed the Euphrates. (104)

A slightly different motif containing another parallel to Isa. 2:22 appears in the inscriptions of Sargon and Sennacherib. The pulhi melamme or melammu of the king causes the nakru king to hand over or destroy military equipment and personnel. This decommissioning is of particular importance, since it is these men and material that give the nakru king the power in which he is said to trust, and it is this trust that leads him not to recognize the Assyrian king's sovereignty. (105) In Isa. 2:22, the humans are said to hide in inaccessible locations and abandon their idols, in the face of pahad YHWH. It is these idols that have previously prevented them from recognizing the sovereignty of YHWH. Thus, the pulhi melamme, melamme, or pahad of the sovereign causes the abandonment of those objects which have prevented the acknowledgement of the true ruler's sovereignty.

An example appears in Sennacherib's description of his battle against Hezekiah:
 su [.sup.m] Hazaqiau pulhi melamme belutija ishupsuma
 []Urbi []sabesu damquti

 sa ana dunnun [.sup.uru] Ursalimmu al sarrutisu useribumma irsu

 ana qereb [] al sarrutija arkija usebilamma

 As for Hezekiah, fear of my melammu of lordship overcame him, and the
 Urbi, his elite troops that he had brought in to strengthen
 Jerusalem, his royal city, and which he had acquired as auxiliaries,
 ... he sent after me to Nineveh my royal city. (106)

A more complex example, from Sargon's annals, describes a campaign against Amitassi of Karalla and Ada of Surda in the Zagros mountains:
 puluhti melammiya ishupsu
 sasu gadu [] sabesu ina [] [[.s.sup] kakke x] x-ma
 isten ina libbisunu ana dalil [[.sup.d]x (x) ul] ezib (107)

 Fear of my melammu overwhelmed him (Ada of Surda).
 He [defeated] him (Amitassi of Karalla) with his armies and
 He did [not] leave a single one of them to praise the [god].

Amitassi of Karalla had taken refuge on Mount Surda. Depriving him of his weapons and men is significant, since it ends his resistance to Sargon. The elimination of these nakru forces is here credited to Ada's fear of the royal melammu.

There are other linguistic parallels between the recurring phrase in Isa. 2:10, 19, and 21 and the language of the Assyrian royal inscriptions. These are Akkadian parallels to two other elements in these verses: the phrase hadar ge'ono and the phrase mippene.

In investigating the meaning of hadar in our verse, we note a syntactic peculiarity. Usually, when hadar appears as the first term in a construct phrase, the second term refers to the person or object that possesses the hadar. Thus, the phrase hadar hakkarmel (Isa. 35:2) refers to the hadar of the Carmel, and the phrase hadar zeqenim (Prov. 20:29) refers to the hadar of the elders. Only in post-exilic literature do we find construct phrases in which the noun following hadar is an abstract noun. Thus, we find hadar kebod hodeka and hadar malkut in Ps. 145:5 and 12, and heder malkut in Dan. 11:20. But in pre-exilic Hebrew, other than in Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, we never find hadar in construct with an abstract noun.

This peculiarity of usage can best be explained by positing that hadar ge'ono is a calque on the Akk. melam beluti. Melammu (which refers to an appearance that causes terror) shares a range of meaning with the Hebrew lexeme hadar (which refers to an appearance that engenders respect and admiration). Because of this shared range, hadar can be used to express the concept of melammu in Hebrew. (108) The phrase hadar ge'ono is similar both in meaning and in syntactic structure to the Akkadian melam beluti. Hadar parallels melammu in meaning, and ga'on is similar to belutu. (109) Syntactically, the two construct phrases are parallel.

Furthermore, the way hadar ge'ono is used in Isa. 2:10, 19, and 21 is precisely parallel to the way melam beluti is used in the annals. The king's enemies are said to flee and hide from the face of (ina pan = mippene) (110) the melam beluti of the king. Passages describing this are common in the ninth-century annals, and examples of this appear above in the citations from the annals of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III. The rhetoric of these particular passages is similar to that in Isa. 2:10-22 in several ways: (1) syntactically, ina pan melamme belutiya is parallel to "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (2) the opponents of the campaigner flee to an inaccessible place; (3) ancillary parallels are the elements of terror (v. 20) and strong cities (v. 15).

In the annals of Sargon and Sennacherib, the syntactic parallel between mippene and ina pan is not found. However, the syntactic and contextual parallels between Isa. 2:10, 19, and 21 and the use of puluhtu and melammu in the royal inscriptions allow us to posit that pahad is a calque on Akk. puluhtu, and hadar ge'ono on melam beluti. This is particularly the case in light of the similar function that these terms serve in these texts: the pahad and hadar ge'ono, like the puluhtu and melammu, cause those who have previously not acknowledged the sovereign's rule to flee.

One objection that can be raised to this thesis is that the syntactic forms are not precisely parallel. Isa. 2:10, 19, and 21 use pahad and hadar ge'ono as distinct elements, each of which is an object of the preposition mippene. In the annals of Sargon and Sennaacherib, however, the longer phrase pulhi melamme beluti is used, and earlier Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions usually refer either to puluhti melammi or to melam beluti. (111) In response to this objection, we ought to remember that a precise correspondence in style ought not to be expected, since I am not positing that the author of the biblical passage sought to imitate precisely the style of annals which he read. On the contrary, he is unlikely to have read these annals; as discussed above, he is more likely to have heard, from the mouths of Assyrian administrators, or from other Judeans who interacted with them, the motifs, linguistic forms, and dicta which we know from Assyrian royal inscriptions.

Thus, the existence of specific differences between the formulations in Isa. 2 and those typical of Assyrian royal inscriptions is not crucial to establishing the literary dependence of the former on the language we know from the latter. Relevant criteria for establishing such literary dependence are the existence of specific similarities that cannot easily be explained as the product of independent literary development. (112) Such criteria are clearly present here, since the similarities between the usages in the two corpora are highly specific, and the biblical Hebrew syntax in these phrases is best explained by reference to the Akkadian of the royal inscriptions.


The theological response that emerges from Isa. 2:5-22 succeeds precisely where the response in Isa. 36-37 fails: it recognizes the reality of Assyrian power. More than simply recognizing this power, the entire response is based on a motif that only has relevance as a function of this power: the description of the annual military campaign, designed to extract recognition of Assyrian sovereignty from the nakru. It takes this literary form, used to laud Assyrian power, and appropriates it, by describing that the principal in this future campaign is none other than YHWH, the sovereign whose rule is seen by some as permanently eclipsed by that of Assyria.

It might be argued that the response fails the empirical test: It does not correlate to any discernible political or military reality. It is certainly true that the power of YHWH in this chapter is not one found in the confines of perceptible space and time. But the prophet has no other choice: Acutely aware of Assyrian power, he does not wish to present a prophecy which ties the "day of the Lord" to a particular time period, since continued Assyrian domination will undermine the truth of such a prophecy. Instead, he uses the uncertainty engendered by Assyrian domination to his advantage, and presents a prophecy which, like the "End of Days" vision in 2:1-4, is disconnected from the constraints of space and time.

Convinced of the essential truth of the sovereignty of YHWH, but uncertain of the time when this sovereignty will be realized on earth, the prophet focuses on that which is certain and refrains from presenting a prophecy bound to specific events, which is necessarily falsifiable. He does not use the language of the eschaton in this prophecy, but rather leaves the question of the timing of these events utterly opaque. The prophecy is rooted in empirical reality, since it depends on the Assyrian campaign motif, but it is not limited by this reality, since it uses this reality as the basis for a timeless vision.

It is this timeless element that has allowed the prophecy to have relevance and resonate outside of its Assyrian context. It serves as the literary basis for the medieval liturgical acrostic used for centuries in the Jewish New Year's service, in the section which proclaims divine sovereignty (malkuyot):
 And they shall all come to serve You
 And they shall bless Your weighty name
 And the isles shall tell of your victories,
 And nations who know You not shall seek you out.

 And the ends of the earth shall praise You
 And they shall repeatedly declare Your greatness
 They shall abandon their idols,
 And dig into the earth with their statues.

 They shall all turn with one shoulder to worship You
 The seekers of Your countenance shall fear you
 And they shall acknowledge the power of Your kingship. (113)



The research for this paper was supported by a dissertation fellowship from the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture and by a postdoctoral fellowship from the Kreitman Foundation at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-sheba. Many thanks are due my advisors, Jeffrey Tigay, Barry Eichler, and Victor Avigdor Hurowitz.

(1.) JAOS 103 (1983): 719-38.

(2.) "Assyria and its Image," 729.

(3.) The delivery of tribute is recorded in the text from Calah which Tadmor labels "Summary Inscription 7" (published in Hayim Tadmor, The Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, King of Assyria [Jerusalem: Israel Academy, 1994], 154-71, 11'). The list of vassal kings reflects the state of events in 734, since it includes kings who were no longer on the throne after this date (M. Cogan, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] [Jerusalem: Mosad Bialik, 2003], 41; Imperialism and Religion: Assyria, Judah and Israel in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B.C.E. [Missoula: Scholars Press, 1974], 66. n. 5). This may correspond to the submission recorded in II Kgs. 16:7-8: "Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria: 'I am your servant and son ...' Ahaz took the silver and the gold stored in the House of the Lord and in the treasury of the house of the king, and sent them to the king of Assyria as a bribe," although this submission may have taken place after the campaign of 734-732. For a discussion of both possibilities, see H. Tadmor and M. Cogan, II Kings, Anchor Bible Commentary (Garden City: Doubleday, 1988), 191-92.

(4.) One attestation of this is the mention in Sargon's annals that Judah "brought tribute and gifts" to Assyria until Yamani (Yadani) of Ashdod incited them to cease doing so. The text (K 1668) is published by A. Fuchs, Die Annalen des Jahres 711 v. Chr. (Helsinki: Helsinki Univ. Press, 1998), 46, lines 25-28. An attestation of this practice appears in a letter from the governor of Calah to Sargon stating that "the emissaries from Egypt, Gaza, Judah, Moab and Ammon entered Calah on the 12th of the month with their tribute." The text is ND 2765 (IM 64159), published by Simo Parpola, The Correspondence of Sargon II, Part 1: Letters from Assyria and the West (Helsinki: Helsinki Univ. Press, 1987), text 110, liner 4.

(5.) On the ceremonial reception of caravans of tribute-bearers in the Assyrian capitals, see J. N. Postgate, Taxation and Conscription in the Assyrian Empire (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1974), 119-30. On the program of the Assyrian palaces, see the following general discussions: Michelle I. Marcus, "Art and Ideology in Ancient Western Asia," CANE 4: 2487-2506; J. E. Reade, "Neo-Assyrian Monuments in their Historical Context," in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: New Horizons in Literary, Ideological, and Historical Analysis: Papers of a Symposium held in Siena, June 26-28, 1980, ed. F. M. Fales (Rome: Istituto per l'Oriente, 1981), 143-67; Michelle I. Marcus, "Geography as Visual Ideology: Landscape, Knowledge, and Power in Neo-Assyrian Art," in Neo-Assyrian Geography, ed. Mario Liverani (Rome: Universita di Roma, 1995), 194-205; Irene Winter, "Art in Empire: The Royal Image and the Visual Dimensions of Assyrian Ideology," in Assyria 1995: Proceedings of the Tenth Anniversary Symposium of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project Helsinki, September 7-11, 1995, ed. S. Parpola and R. M. Whiting (Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1997), 359-81. On specific palaces, see as follows:

The palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Calah: Julian Reade, "Ideology and Propaganda in Assyrian Art," in Power and Propaganda: A Symposium on Ancient Empires, ed. M. T. Larsen (Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag, 1979), 329-43; J. M. Russell, "The Program of the Palace of Ashurnasirpal II," AJA 102 (1998): 655-725; Irene Winter, "The Program of the Throneroom of Ashurnasirpal II," in Essays in Near Eastern An and Archaeology in Honor of Charles Kyrle Wilkinson, ed. Prudence O. Harper and Holly Pittman (New York: Metropolitan Museum, 1993), 15-32; Barbara N. Porter, "Intimidation and Friendly Persuasion: Re-evaluating the Propaganda of Ashurnasirpal II." Eretz Israel 27 (2003): 180-91. This palace served as a royal residence through the beginning of the reign of Sargon II. On its use in the eighth century, see J. N. Postgate and J. E. Reade, s.v. Kalfeu, RIA 5: 311, who note the rebuilding work carried out by Sargon in the palace of Ashurnasirpal II.

The palace of Tiglath-Pileser III at Calah: Little is known about this structure, but some discussion of its artwork appears in H. Tadmor, The Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, King of Assyria (Jerusalem: Israel Academy, 1994), 238-58. A popular discussion appears in R. D. Barnett, Assyrian Palace Reliefs in the British Museum (London: British Museum, 1970), 21ff, and an art-historical discussion in Pauline Albenda, Monumental Art of the Assyrian Empire: Dynamics of Composition Styles (Malibu: Undena, 1998), 25ff.

The palace of Sargon II at Dur-Sharrukin: Pauline Albenda, The Palace of Sargon, King of Assyria (Paris: Editions Reeherce sur les civilisations, 1986).

The palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh: J. M. Russell, Sennacherib's Palace without Rival at Nineveh (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1991).

(6.) Porter, "Intimidation and Friendly Persuasion," 185. On the intended audience for the reliefs, see Russell, Sennacherib's Palace without Rival, 223-41.

(7.) Machinist, "Assyria and its Image," 730-31, notes further the fragmentary stelae from the period of Sargon II discovered at Samaria and at Ashdod as evidence for the establishment of display inscriptions in the Land of Israel. More recently, two additional fragments of stelae have been discovered, one at Qaqun, in the Sharon region, and the other at Ben-Shemen, near a site at Tel Hadid, which has been identified as an Assyrian administrative center. For recent bibliography on these two texts, see Wayne Horowitz and Takayoshi Oshima, Cuneiform in Canaan: Cuneiform. Sources from the Land of Israel in Ancient Times (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 2006), 45 and III. These two fragments have recently been published by M. Cogan, who suggests that they are pieces of a single stele: "The Assyrian Fragment from Ben-Shemen," in Treasures on Camels' Humps: Historical and Literary Studies from the Ancient Near East presented to Israel Ephal, ed. D. Kahn and M. Cogan (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 2008). 66-69.

(8.) Danielle Morandi, "Stele e statue reali assire: localizzazione, diffusione e implicazioni ideologiche," Mesopotamia (Rome) 23 (1988): 105-55. In particular, she notes (117) that stelae to mark victories were intended to be read by the local population.

(9.) On the Assyrian administrative presence in the Land of Israel, see R. Reich and B. Brandl, "Gezer under Assyrian Rule," PEQ 117 (1985): 41--54; N. Na'aman and R. Zadok, "Assyrian Deportations to the Province of Samerina in the Light of Two Cuneiform Tablets from Tel Hadid," Tel Aviv 27 (2000): 159--88; E. Stern, "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] EI 27 (2003): 218--29; Raz Kletter and Wolfgang Zwickel, "The Assyrian Building of Ayyelet ha-Shahar," ZDPV 122 (2006): 150--86.

(10.) In the Galilee, Ayyelet ha-Shahar and Hazor are examples of such sites, and farther south, there were Assyrian administrative centers at Tel Hadid and Gezer. Other Assyrian administrative personnel were stationed in Philistia, as overseers at Gaza and Ashdod.

(11.) Assyrian deportees were resettled at Tel Hadid in 708--706 B.C.E. (Na'aman and Zadok, "Assyrian Deportations," 178), and it is reasonable to see the establishment of the administrative center as dating from that period. The date of the foundation of the center at Gezer is far less certain. It was established sometime after the conquest of Gezer by Tiglath-Pileser III, but was in existence by 651, which is the date of the cuneiform land-sale tablets found at the site. See further in Reich and Brandl, "Gezer under Assyrian Rule." The most likely context for the establishment of this center is after the dismantling of the kingdom of Israel during the time of Sargon, or during the early years of Sennacherib, when the loyalty to Assyria of nearby Ekron was in question.

(12.) On the correspondence of the written language of the inscriptions to the language of oral discourse, note the narrative of Sargon's eighth campaign, written as a letter to the gods and designed for oral presentation (as appears from 1. 427). Except for the tendency to employ more poetic language and word plays, the motifs and formulaic language of the letter are similar to those we know from other royal inscriptions. The letter has most recently been published by Walter Mayer, "Sargons Feldzug gegen Urartu--714 v. Chr. Text und Ubersetzung," MDOG 115 (1983): 65--132.

(13.) A survey of the extensive network of contacts between Judah and Assyria in the period of First Isaiah, focusing on ways in which Assyrian imperial ideology could have been transmitted to Judah, has been prepared by the present author and is to be published in a forthcoming volume of the Hebrew Union College Annual.

(14.) Machinist, "Assyria and its Image," 734.

(15.) Baruch A. Levine, "Assyrian Ideology and Israelite Monotheism," Iraq 67 (2005): 414.

(16.) A full discussion of the ideology of Assyrian kingship and the link between Assur and the king is beyond the scope of the present discussion. The concept of Assur as the hypostasis of the kingship is presented by M. Liverani, "The Ideology of the Assyrian Empire," in Power and Propaganda, 301. A more precise formulation appears in W. G. Lambert. "The God Assur," Iraq 45 (1983): 81-86, who describes Assur as the deification of the city of Assur, and later, of the Assyrian empire.

(17.) The terminology used to describe the universal reach of the king is discussed by Paul Garelli, "L'etat et la legitimite royale sous I'empire assyrien," in Power and Propaganda, 323-27, and by Hayim Tadmor. "World Dominion: The Expanding Horizon of the Assyrian Empire," in Landscapes: Territories, Frontiers, and Horizons in the Ancient Near East: Papers Presented to the 44th Rencontre Assyriologique Internationale, 1997, ed. L. Milano et al. (Padova: Sargon srl, 1999). 1:55-62.

(18.) Tadmor, "Propaganda, Literature, Historiography: Cracking the Code of the Assyrian Royal Inscriptions," in Assyria 1995, 326.

(19.) Clear statements that the god placed the melammu upon the Neo-Assyrian king are found in the annals of Adad-nirari III and in those of Ashurbanipal. From Adad-nirari III:
 arki ilani rabuti isimuma, hatta mur[te'at] nise ana qateya umellu,
 eli sarrani sut age issuni, melamme sarruti ipirunni

 After the great gods had decreed (my destiny, after) they had
 entrusted to me the scepter for the shepherding of the people.
 (after) they had raised me above crowned kings (and) placed on my
 head the royal melammu ...

 And from Ashurbanipal:

 melamme sarrutiya iktumusuma, sa uza inuinni ili sut same erseti

 The royal melammus with which the gods of heaven and earth adorned
 me overwhelmed him (Tarqu of Egypt).

Source of Adad-nirari III text: Assyrian Rulers of the Early First Millennium BC I (1114-859 B.C.), ed, A. Kirk Grayson (Toronto: Univ. of Toronto Press, 1991) (henceforth RIMA 2), A.O.99.2, 147, II. 7-9; source of Ashurbanipal text: R. Borger, Beitrage zum Inschriftenwerk Assurbanipals (Weisbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996), 20; originally published by M. Streck, Assurbanipal (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1916), 2: 10. Citation from Rassam Cylinder A, col. 1. See also CAD M, 91.

The ceremony itself, which is known to us largely from neo-Babylonian texts, involved placing a cloak upon the king to represent the divinity's melammu. For further discussion, see A. Livingstone, Mystical and Mythological Explanatory \\ arks of Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986), 146; and Amar Annus, The Standard Babylonian Epic of Anzu (Helsinki: Univ. of Helsinki Press, 2001), xxiv, and bibliography in n. 83.

(20.) On the consistent association between the melammu of a divinity and his/her sovereignty, see my "The Phenomenon of Divine and Human Radiance in the Hebrew Bible and in Mesopotamian and Northwest Semitic Literature: A Philological and Comparative Study" (Ph.D. diss., Univ. of Pennsylvania, 2006), 90-100.

(21.) Melammu frequently refers to the overwhelming power of the king in the Neo-Assyrian annals. One clear example is the common phrase melam belutiya elisunu atbuk, "I unleashed upon them the melammu of my lord ship." The melammu of lordship clearly refers to the devastating power of the king's armies. This is apparent from the way this phrase is used in the annals of Ashurnasirpal II and those of Shalmaneser III. In both cases, the phrase concludes the account of a campaign which involved great devastation and destruction. This can be seen in the annals of Ashurnasirpal II, from the Ninurta temple at Calah, RIMA 2, A.O.101.1, p. 210, ii 110-12; in an identical passage from the Kurkh monolith, A.O.101.19, p. 260, i 77-79; and in the annals of Shalmaneser III from the gates of Balawat, RIMA 3, A.O.102.5, p. 29, ii 2-4.

(22.) Levine understands Jephtah's statement in Judg. 11:24, "That which Chemosh your god grants you as a possession, you shall possess, and all those whom YHWH our god dispossesses before us, we shall take possession from them," as indicating such a recognition.

(23.) See Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, Empire (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 2000), xiv-xv:
 The concept of Empire presents itself not as a historical regime
 originating in conquest, but rather as an order that effectively
 suspends history and thereby fixes the existing state of affairs for
 eternity. From the perspective of Empire, this is the way things will
 always be, and the way they were always meant to be. In other words,
 Empire presents its rule not as a transitory moment in the movement
 of history, but as a regime with no temporal boundaries and in this
 sense outside of history or at the end of history. (emphasis

This tendency is expressed in practical terms by the movement in Assyrian policy in the time of Tiglath-Pileser III towards "wars of permanent conquest" in the west, in the hope of preserving Assyrian control over the Levant. See on this topic P Machinist, "Palestine, Administration of (Assyro-Babylonian)," ABD 5: 70. In ideological terms, this tendency finds expression in the development of a complex network of connections between the king and a universal god, which is designed to provide the legitimacy for a lasting empire.

(24.). It is important to emphasize that the concept of YHWH as a king certainly belongs to the earliest strata of Israelite literature, as demonstrated by the ending of the song in Exod. 15, "YHWH will reign for ever and ever" (v. 18). The song is dated on linguistic grounds to the late second millennium. See David A. Robertson, Linguistic Evidence in Dating Early Hebrew Poetry (Missoula: Scholars Press, 1972), 155, and further discussion of the history of this concept in Marc Z. Brettler, God Is King: Understanding an Israelite Metaphor (Sheffield: JSOT, 1989), 14-16. This passage implies that the ascendancy of YHWH over the gods of other nations is designed to last eternally. On eternity as a characteristic of divine kingship in Israel, see Brettler, God Is King, 52-54.

(25.) The passage clearly begins in v. 5, but its end point is debatable. Verses 5-15 are clearly part of a single unit, and it seems reasonable to include at minimum vv. 16 and 17 in this unit as well.

The passage is to be dated after the Assyrian conquest of Samaria, as is clear from v. 9, but before the Assyrian campaign against Judah of 701. It is difficult to establish a more precise date, but the theological constructs it contains suggest that it was composed in an environment in which the permanence of Assyrian power could be denied (as appears from the description of the destruction of the Assyrian in vv. 17-18). By the time the Assyrian campaign of 701 became imminent (after the defeat of Babylon in 703), it would have been more difficult to assert such a position. The emphasis on the destruction of Samaria and a possible plan to attack Jerusalem suggests that it was composed after the campaign of Sargon II in 720, which exiled the people of Samaria. This campaign was first discussed by Hayim Tadmor, "The Campaigns of Sargon II of Assur: A Chronological-Historical Study," JCS 12 (1958): 33-40, and has been discussed extensively. The importance of this campaign is confirmed by K. Lawson Younger, Jr., "The Fall of Samaria in Light of Recent Research," (CBQ 61 (1999): 461-82. That the passage in Isaiah is a reaction to this campaign is suggested by 10:9b, which mentions Hamath, Arpad, Damascus, and Samaria, all of which were conquered in this campaign. See the mention of the 720 campaign in Andreas Fuchs, Die faschrifien Sargons II, aus Khorsabad (Gottingen: Cuvillier, 1994), 89, 11. 23-25 (translation, 314-15), and restorations there. Carchernish and Calneh (chief city of Unqi/Pattina) had been conquered earlier, by Tiglath-Pileser III in 739 or 738. See the mention of this campaign in Tadmor, Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, ann. 21, 54-57, and discussion of Calneh on 59). It is also suggested by 10:14, which implies a speedy and easy campaign. The campaign of 720 had these characteristics, as noted by Younger, "Fall of Samaria," 470-71.

Although there is no evidence that Judah participated in the rebellion that led to this campaign, several scholars have argued that this campaign also threatened Jerusalem. Among them are M. A. Sweeney, "Sargon's Threat against Jerusalem in Isa. 10,27-32," Biblica 75 (1994): 457-70, and K, Lawson Younger, Jr., "Sargon's Campaign against Jerusalem: A Further Note," Biblica 77 (1996): 108-10. Regardless of the precise movements of the Assyrian forces south of Samaria in 720, it is obvious that the speed, scope, and success of the campaign and the presence of Assyrian forces so close to Jerusalem would have caused the Judahite leadership to feel threatened, thus leading the prophet to place a putative plan to conquer Jerusalem in the mouth of the Assyrian in 10:11b.

The theological implications of the passage in its Assyrian context have been discussed by Machinist in a lecture to the Israel Association for Assyriology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies (January, 2007), and by Levine, "Assyrian Ideology," 420-21, and '"[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," EI 27 (2003): 136-42.

(26.) I would argue that 10:26 ("YHWH of Hosts will rouse a whip against him like the smiting of Midian at Zur-Oreb ...") is part of this passage, and that its author intends to create precisely this analogy with the Midianite episode. He seeks to show that like the Midianites, the Assyrians were a raiding nation, whose power and depredations would end. This coordinates closely with a distinction in the opening to the passage, 10:6-7. The Assyrians are permitted (such is the meaning of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in the D-stem) to take booty and spoil, and to trample down nations. These are the practices of most raiding nations, and such was the practice of Assyria up to the time of Tiglath-Pileser III. But this was not Assyrian policy in the period of Tiglath-Pileser III and his successors, as v. 7 indicates. See the brief discussion of Machinist, "Palestine, Administration of (Assyro-Babylonian)," ABD 5: 69-70; Hayim Tadmor, Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, 9-10; and B. Oded, Mass Deportations and Deportees in the Neo-Assyrian Empire (Wiesbaden: Ludwig Reichert, 1979), 43-54. By this period Assyrian policy included deportations, which eliminated the future existence of nations: "to destroy is in his heart, and to cut off now a few nations." The passage comes full circle in 10:26, where YHWH defeats Assyria just as He had defeated the archetypal raiding nation, the Midianites.

(27.) For a discussion of these attempts at rebellion, see Gershon Galil, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Haifa: Haifa Univ. Press, 2001), 77-99.

(28.) On the literary strata in this prophetic story, including the division into sources B1 and B2, see William Gallagher, Sennacherib's Campaign in Judah.- New Studies (Leiden: Brill, 1999), 149-59. I am not convinced that the narrative consists of two sources, and I discuss my skepticism in a forthcoming Hebrew article, "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(29.) The clear implication here is: "Is YHWH as powerless as the gods of these nations, who seem to have been permanently eclipsed by the rising of Assyria?" The mention of Hamath, Arpad, and Samaria contrasts with Isa. 10:9, where the rapid conquest of these and other cities by Assyria is mentioned in the context of Assyrian hubris, but is not cited as part of a pointed theological question.

(30.) These elements in the speeches cannot be seen as historical records of Assyrian diction. There is substantial evidence that Assyrian forces delivered speeches to besieged cities encouraging surrender; see the texts discussed by 1. Eph'al, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Siege Warfare in the Ancient Near East), second ed. (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1996), 45-55 (Heb.), and presented in Ivan Starr, Queries to the Sungod (Helsinki: Helsinki Univ. Press, 1990), text 30, lines 6-8; text 43, line 9; text 44, line 10; text 63, lines 7-8; text 267, lines 7ff., and the relief from Khorsabad showing an Assyrian scribe reading a call to surrender to a besieged city, Paul-Emile Botta and M. E. Flandin, Monument de Ninive (Paris: Imprimerie National. 1849-1850), vol. 2, plt. 145. But there is no evidence that theological motifs were a central part of these, as noted by I. Eph'al, Siege Warfare, 50 n. 39. The evidence marshaled by Gallagher, Sennacherib's Campaign to Judah, 188-200, who argues that these may be records of Assyrian diction, is not convincing, since there is no comparative basis for this in sources from the ancient Near East. The theological elements in the speeches are best understood as deriving from the prophet's desire to portray the clash between Sennacherib and Hezekiah as one between Assyrian hubris and the power of YHWH.

(31.) Note that the prayer does not mention the suffering of the Israelites as a reason for divine intervention, but only the need to provide a suitable answer to the theological challenges.

(32.) The verb hrp is often translated "mock" or "taunt," but its meaning seems to be closer to the phrase "make light of ..." This can be seen from the expression [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], which appears in Judg. 5:31, and refers to a willingness to risk one's life for a greater cause. The phrase refers to "considering one's life lightly" in comparison to the cause. Given the meaning "make light of ..., " the translation "denigrate" seems most appropriate in the context in Isa. 37:17 and 24 (II Kgs. 19:16 and 22).

(33.) On these verses' use of phrasing from Assyrian royal inscriptions, see Machinist, "Assyria and Its Image," 723; Hayim Tawil, "The Historicity of II Kings 19:24 (Isaiah 37:25): The Problem of Ye'ore Masor," JNES 41 (1982): 195-201; Elnathan Weissert, "Jesajas Beschreibung der Hybris des Assyrischen Konigs und seine Auseinandersetzung mit ihr," to be published in a volume in honor of the hundredth anniversary of the Deutsche Orient Gesellschaft, ed. J. Renger; and my forthcoming Hebrew article, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]."

(34.) Levine, "Assyrian Ideology," 422.

(35.) B. Duhm, Das Buck Jesaja, 2nd ed. (Gottingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1902), 17.

(36.) R. Clements, Isaiah 1-39 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), 43, takes this point of view. For a survey of the compositional history of the passage, see H. G. M. Williamson, "The Formation of Isaiah 2.6-22," in Biblical and Near Eastern Essays: Studies in Honour of Kevin, J. Cathcart, ed. Carmel McCarthy and John F. Healey (London: Clark, 2004), 57-68, esp. 57-60. More recently, Roni Goldstein has argued that vv. 20-21 are a later addition to the passage: R. Goldstein, "18-21 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], ed. Z. Talshir and Dalia Amara, Beer Sheva 18 (2005): 124-53.

(37.) Andrew H. Bartelt The Book Around Immanuel: Style and Structure in Isaiah 2-12 (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1996), 190-204, esp. 202.

(38.) Bartelt makes this point about vv. 5-22. Verse 22 is clearly intended as a conclusion to the passage, but I am not convinced that it is part of the original passage, as I discuss below at note 59.

(39.) See above, note 36. Considering vv. 5-9 and 20-22 as later additions to the passage ignores the thematic coordination between these two units. Verses 6-8 present the evils committed by Israelites, which lead to the need to bring man low in v. 9, while vv. 20-22 present the final achievement of this plan: Man is brought low by means of abandoning the idols, gold, and silver mentioned in vv. 6-8. Moreover, the requirement that the passage culminate with humans abandoning the idols, gold, and silver, as described in vv. 20-21, seems to be coordinated with v. 9, which demands that humans not be forgiven, even though they are no longer haughty. Verse 9 seems to require that humans take some definite action in regard to the evils described in vv. 6-8 before forgiveness and release can be granted, and this is achieved in vv. 20-21.

The transition from addressing the Israelites in vv. 6-8 to addressing humanity in general in vv. 9-21 seems to be part of the logical progression of the oracle, as I discuss below.

Verse 5 may be a later addition, intended as a general introduction to the oracle, but the fact that v. 6 begins with the conjunction [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] may militate against this, since it suggests that v. 6 is not the original beginning of the oracle.

(40.) In Mowinckel's words, this term refers to "the great transformation, when He comes and restores His people, and assumes kingly rule over the world." But the term "day of the Lord" is given different definitions by different scholars. Because of the way Mowinckel understands the term, he considers this passage to refer to this day. In contrast, von Rad, who defines the day of the Lord as a pure event of war, which is connected to the tradition of the holy wars of Yahweh in ancient Israel, argued that "the text of Isa ii 12 ff does not amount to more than an allusion" to this concept: S. Mowinckel, He That Cometh (Oxford: Blackwell, 1956), 145; G. von Rad, "The Origin of the Concept of the Day of Yahweh," JSS 4 (1958): 97-108.

For a critique of von Rad's position on Isaiah 2, see Kevin J. Cathcart, "Kingship and the Day of YHWH in Isaiah 2:6-22," Hermathena 125 (1978): 48-59, especially 50. For a more global critique of von Rad's position, see Meir Weiss. "The Origin of the day of the Lord Reconsidered," HUCA 37 (1966): 29-63. For a more recent review of the literature on the concept of the day of the Lord, see Mark A. LaRocca-Pitts, "The Day of Yahweh as a Rhetorical Strategy among Hebrew Prophets" (Ph.D. diss., Harvard, 2000).

(41.) Douglas Stuart, "The Sovereign's Day of Conquest, A Possible Ancient Near Eastern Parallel to the Israelite Day of Yahweh," BASOR 221 (1976): 159-64. The issue of conquest in this passage is described below.

(42.) [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is usually translated as "proud," and it does indeed have this meaning in this chapter, as it does in Job 40:11-12, where [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] is used as the opposite of "to be lowly" and "to submit." But its basic meaning is related to the root g'h, whose verbal forms mean "to be or become high," as in Ezek. 47:5 ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "for the waters had become high") and in Job 8:11 ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Shall the reeds become high ...?"). The nominal forms [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] are usually translated "pride," as in Prov. 16:18 ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII],"Pride goeth before a fall"). But at its basic level, pride means "to exalt oneself, to see oneself as high." Only because of presumption or excess (as in Isa. 16:6 Jer. 48:29, where the Moabites see themselves as higher than they really are) is this self-exaltation to be condemned. HNS, therefore, has a sense closer to the English "arrogant" or "haughty," and a precise definition might be "one who unjustifiably claims a high stature." [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] refers to objects which are high or raised up (as in Ezek. 6:13, 20: 28, and 34:6, where it describes hills), but especially to objects which have power, as in "a great and powerful nation" ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) in Deut. 1:28, and the English "lofty" closely parallels its meaning.

(43.) The placement of v. 5 is the subject of some controversy, and it is not directly relevant to the present discussion. Most commentaries see v. 5 as the conclusion of the End of Days oracle in Isa, 2:2-4, and note the parallels between Mic. 4:5 and Isa. 2:5 in support of this. However, the similarities between the vocabulary of Isa. 2:6 ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]) and that of Isa. 2:5 are not so easily dismissed, nor is the conjunction [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] with which v. 6 begins. While it is possible that Isa. 2:5 is a later addition to the oracle, I am inclined to regard it as the introduction to our passage.

(44.) Kevin J. Catheart, "Kingship and the Day of YHWH in Isaiah 2:6-22," 53, suggests that what is condemned here is the expenditure of wealth on war equipment and idol-manufacture. But this does not take into account the mention of divination in v. 6, nor does it connect to the repeated mention of the "high" and "lofty" in the continuation of the passage.

(45.) One does not need to posit an historical link between Deuteronomy and Isaiah in order for these parallels to be relevant. The two corpora may contain similar evaluations of these practices due to parallel lines of thought. Deuteronomy posits that accumulating wealth causes one to acquire a "high heart" (an idiomatic expression for arrogance), leading one to forget the debt of gratitude which one owes to YHWH (Deut. 8:14; cf. Deut. 32:15, "Jeshurun grew fat and kicked"). Similarly, Deuteronomy cautions against the king engaging in horse-accumulation, and this is one of the factors that might lead him to "raise his heart," and to see himself as superior to the rest of the people (Deut. 17:20). In a similar vein, divinatory practices are contrasted with receiving the word of God by means of a prophet (Deut. 18: 14-15); divination is thus contrasted with obedience to God. Divination is also contrasted with undivided loyalty to God (Deut. 18:12-13), as is idolatry.

(46.) One example appears in Mesha line 6, in which Ahab's arrogant declaration "I shall bring low Moab" is contrasted with Mesha's successful campaign. Similar concepts are also found in Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions, where a weaker power's failure to acknowledge a suzerain is often portrayed as a result of the weaker power's arrogance. This point is discussed below.

(47.) The Hebrew mippene literally means "from the face of." The basis for the translation "from before," rather than the standard "because of," is discussed below.

(48.) Haughtiness or arrogance is typically expressed by referring to the eyes, as in Prov. 21:4 and 30:13; Isa. 37:23 (= II Kgs. 19:22); Ps. 131:1. See in contrast Job 22:29, where lowliness is expressed in reference to the eyes.

(49.) Otto Kaiser, Isaiah 1-12, second ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1983), 52 and 65.

(50.) On the goals of the sovereign's day of conquest, see Stuart, "The Sovereign's Day of Conquest." The logic of v. 11 is that the hiding in the caves (described in v. 10) leads to God's being exalted because it is the direct result of His actions.

(51.) This point is discussed by Binyamin Uffenheimer, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Bet Mikra 39 (1994): 97-132, at 104. He notes the many verses which use the cedars and oaks as symbols of power and notes that in Gen. 11:4 (the tower of Babel) and in Deut. 9:1, high buildings are seen as signs of pride and haughtiness.

(52.) Many scholars, including Duhm, consider v. 17 to be the conclusion of the previous unit, and v. 18 to be the beginning of the next unit. I have here followed Williamson's division of the text's units, but the choice of how to divide the text does not substantially affect the analysis I offer of the text's message or of the parallels.

(53.) Goldstein, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 127-28.

(54. ) This interpretation raises a serious linguistic difficulty with the word [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in v. 18. As Goldstein notes (142), the function of the adverb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in v. 18 cannot be "wholly" if the verb is understood as "slip away." (On [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] meaning "wholly," see its use in sacrificial contexts in Lev. 6:15-16 and I Sam, 7:9, and in reference to the immolation of the wayward city in Deut. 13:17. The image of the idols "slipping away" lacks the sense of finality and completeness which [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] usually implies.) Goldstein suggests that the word might be understood as beginning with a comparative kaf, meaning "as the night slips away" or "as the demons of the night slip away." He cites several relevant parallels from Akkadian literature which use this imagery (143-46). These parallels are interesting, but do not seem to fit with the larger context of the passage: The imagery of the idols slipping away like night, or like demons, does not seem to be consonant with the rhetorical force of v. 17, which refers to the establishment of the exclusive sovereignty of YHWH.

(55.) The root hlp is used to refer to an object or concept that ceases to be of interest to the subject of the passage in Ps. 102:27, where the handiwork of YHWH is said to "pass away," in contrast to His eternal existence, and in Job 9:26, where Job bemoans his years that have passed and seem to have escaped from his grasp.

(56.) Hans Wildberger, Isaiah 1-12 (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), 120.

(57.) On the passage 10:27-34, see M. A. Sweeney, "Sargon's Threat against Jerusalem in Isa. 10,27-32," Biblica 75 (1994): 457-70. Elsewhere, the substantive [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE ASCII] is used to refer to the Babylonians in Isa. 13:11, again in a context designated "day of the Lord" (10:6), and one in which YHWH fights against conquerors (the Babylonians who have previously conquered many nations). The idea of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] as referring in particular to a conqueror who inspires terror is evident from its use in Ps. 10:18, where the activity of oppressing the orphans and the poor is called [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. In English, we tend not to call such oppression "conquest," but it is so designated in biblical Hebrew, which uses the verb [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] both for enslaving debtors (Jer. 34:11 and 16; Neh. 5:5) and for conquest (Num. 32:29, 33:22; Josh. 18:1).

(58.) Verse 22, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], "Cease to concern yourselves with humans, in whose nostrils is life, for what is he considered" is widely held to be an editorial peroration to the unit. It nicely encapsulates the unit's contrast of humans and YHWH, but it shifts this contrast away from the question of sovereignty and towards the dichotomy of ephemeral vs. eternal.

(59.) On the translation of [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], see Saul Lieberman, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] Studies in Palestinian Talmudic Literature, ed. David Rosenthal (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1991), 466-69. Lieberman's interpretation is based on the Aramaic cognate 'prpr, which refers to fruit bats in BT Ket. 71b, BT Ned. 81b, and Yer. Ket. 7:3 (31b), and D. Talshir provides an additional source in a Sifra ms for this term, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (diss. Heb. Univ., 1981), 80. Goldstein (140-41) raises the possibility that the word should be interpreted as a rodent, based on the root hpr, to dig, but there are no linguistic cognates to animal names on which this interpretation can be based. Another possible interpretation is G. R. Driver's "beetles" based on the Eg. hprr, linguistically a less precise cognate than the Aramaic one: Driver," Another Little Drink," in Words and Meanings, Essays Presented to David Winston Thomas, ed. P. Ackroyd and B. Lindars (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1968), 66. The cognate suggested by Tur-sinai, Arab. hafdud (which he sees as cognate to Aram. arpad), is even less precise; "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," Leshonenu 23 (1959): 5. Tur-sinai has argued that the phrase as a whole properly belongs at the end of v. 19, which should be translated "They shall enter caves in the rocks, and dug-outs in the ground, [to join] the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and the [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] from before the pahad of YHWH and hadar ge'ono when He rises to terrify the land." The meaning obtained is reasonable, but the suggested syntax is awkward in Hebrew, with [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] following [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]. It is preferable, therefore, to keep this phrase in v. 20 and understand it as indicating that the idols will be tossed to these animals, whose abode is in the locations mentioned in v. 19.

(60.) Goldstein, "[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]," 129-43.

(61.) Best translated by the English "enemy-ship." "Enmity" is not an appropriate translation, since it designates an emotion rather than a state. The discussion appears in F. M. Fales. "The Enemy in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions: The Moral Judgment," in Mesopotamien und seine Nachbarn, ed. Hans-J. Nissen and Johannes Renger (Berlin: Reimer, 1982), 2: 427-28.

(62.) RIMA 1, text A.O.78.6, p. 247, II. 1-3. Similar titularies in display inscriptions appear in text A.O.78.16, p. 262, and text A.O.78.17, p. 265. Many thanks to Paul Delnero and Matthew Rutz, who suggested that I investigate the use of the term mustarhu.

(63.) Inscription on Throne Base, A.O. 102.28, in RIMA 3, pp. 102-3, 11. 7-9.

(64.) RIMA translates multarhi here as "rebellious." This is an idiomatically appropriate translation, since the kings who are called multarhi refuse to recognize Assyrian sovereignty. Nevertheless, the meaning of the word is "proud," from the root sarahu. The word is translated "boastful" in CAD M/II, 286.

(65.) From a narration of Sargon's eighth campaign, published by Walter Mayer, "Sargons Feldzug gegen Urartu,"1.9.

(66.) R. Borger, Die Inschriften Asarhaddons Konigs von Assyrien (Graz: Ernst Weidner, 1956), 57,11.78-80.

(67.) Borger, Asarhaddan, 105, 11. 26-27.

(68.) R. Borger, Beitrage zum Inschriftenwerk Assurbanipals (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996), 38, Prism A, iii 37.

(69.) Published in Mayer, "Sargons Feldzug gegen Urartu," 74,1. 66; for other examples, see R. Borger, Beitrage zum Inschriftenwerk Assurbanipals, 17, Prism A, i 57.

(70.) This phrase is used in reference to Sidqa of Ashkelon in Sennacherib's annals: D. Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1924), text H-2, 30 ii 61 and 31 ii 71-72. The text is labeled T-16 in Eckhart Frahm, Einleitung in die Sanherib-Inschriften (Vienna: Institut fur Orientalistik, 1997), and is discussed at 102-5. It is used in reference to Hezekiah as well: Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, text F-1. 70, line 27; Frahm Einleitung, 116-18, T 29, See CAD K, 144 for additional examples.

(71.) W. Gallagher, Sennacherib's Campaign to Judah, 141-42.

(72.) Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 64, text E-3, 11. 20-21; Frahm, Einleitung, 150-51, text T-116.

(73.) Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 55, text A-l, 1.62; Frahm, Einleitung, 42-45, text T-1.

(74.) See above, n. 70.

(75.) The text appears on the bull inscriptions: Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 77, text F-2, 1. 21; Frahm, Einleitung, 115-15, text T-26.

(76.) On the two possible methods of accomplishing kanasu, see Younger, "Sargon's Campaign against Jerusalem," 108-10.

(77.) For this reason, the parallels Uffenheimer notes to the use of "pride" and "haughtiness" in wisdom literature ("[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII]." 104-6) are not as useful in understanding the rhetoric of Isaiah 2 as are the parallels to Mesopotamian royal inscriptions. Uffenheimer notes that "wisdom teachers repeatedly emphasize that the proud will be punished. In wisdom literature, lowliness of the human being's spirit before God and before man are an ideal. Isaiah takes the motif of pride out of its individualistic context and accuses the whole society of being haughty and proud." The parallel to wisdom literature is illustrative, because it demonstrates that the defeat of the proud and of pride is highlighted in different types of literature. However, the parallel to the Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions is unique and more specific: A campaign is being launched whose goal is to subdue the proud.

(78.) Tadmor, Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, 132-34, Summary Inscription 3, 11. 19'-21'.

(79.) Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, Chicago Prism, text H-2, 35 iii 62; Frahm, 102-5, text T-16.

(80.) Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 82, H-3, 1. 40; see discussion of this line in Frahm, Einleitung, 154, text T-122.

(81.) The terms are those used by F. M. Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1973), 155-56.

(82.) Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 51, text A-l, 1. 26; Frahm, Einleitung, 42-45, text T-1. Similar expressions of fear at seeing the dust cloud kicked up by the passing campaign appear in the letter to the gods narrating Sargon's eighth campaign; see W. Mayer, "Sargons Feldzug gegen Urartu," 11. 248 and 334.

(83.) As in the mention of Sennacherib's first campaign in the Chicago prism, published in Luckenbill 35 iii 59. The text is labeled T-16 by Frahm, but he does not discuss this line (pp. 102-5).

(84.) The motif is highlighted in Mayer, "Sargons Feldzug gegen Urartu," 11. 10-30. In particular, the crossing of the mountains is presented in 11. 25-26, and that of rivers in 11. 17 and 30.

(85.) Tadmor, Inscriptions of Tiglath-Pileser III, 59-62, ann. 19*. The listing of toponyms is unusual in the annals, but the emphasis on the conquest of a wide-ranging area is common. For example, in Sennacherib's annals, gimri matisu rapasti kima imbari ashup, "over the whole of his wide land, I swept like a windstorm": Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, text H-2, 28 ii 15.

(86.) Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, text H-2, 31 ii 68-72.

(87.) See further in Tadmor, Inscriptions of Tiglath Pileser III, 279-82.

(88.) The different forms of the verb bw' used in these verses is a function of the larger context, as discussed above in the literary analysis. Verse 10 is an injunction to hide, v. 19 is a narration of the act of hiding, and v. 21 is a continuation of v. 20.

(89.) Mountain caves would be suitable for the purpose of hiding agricultural produce, and the continuation of the passage indicates that Midianite despoiling of Israelite agricultural produce was a matter of serious concern: "When Israel would sow, Midian and Amalek and the children of the east would rise upon them and campaign against them and destroy the produce of the land ..." (6:3-4a). Both fortresses and mountain caves would be suitable redoubts for guerilla-style military action against the Midianites.

(90.) Mayer, "Sargons Feldzug gegen Urartu," 11. 82-83.

(91.) Andreas Fuchs, Die Annalen des Jahres 711 v. Chr. (Helsinki: Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus Project, 1998), 36 v 8-9.

(92.) Rassam Cylinder: E. Frahm, Einleitung in die Sanherib-Inschriften, 53, text T 4, 1. 32; parallel to the Chicago Prism: Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, text H-2, 29 ii 37-40; discussed by Frahm, Einleitung, 102-5, as text T-16.

(93.) Examples from the annals of Shalmaneser III can be found in RIMA 3, A.O. 102.5, 29 iii 2 and iii 4.

(94.) Chicago Prism: Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, text H2, 24 i 17-19; discussion in Frahm, Einleitung, 102-5, text T 16. See also CAD N II, 215.

(95.) Usually, hadar refers to an appearance or quality that would cause others to behave with deference towards its possessor. This is the case in Isa. 53:2, where the servant is described as lacking both to'ar and hadar, leading people not to accord him respect, and in Ezek. 27:10, where military equipment is said to give Tyre its hadar.

(96.) Compare the phrase [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] in Gen. 35:5, which refers to "a great terror," with the Divine element having a superlative sense, as in Ps. 80:11, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] and Song of Sol. 8:6, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(97.) It follows that the word mippene here should be translated "from before," rather than "because of." I have left the preposition untranslated in this discussion in order to focus on the characteristics of the object of the preposition, rather than on the preposition.

(98.) The full list of passages using this syntax is:

bw': Num. 20:6; Deut. 20:19; Jer. 35:11; 41:17-18; and Ps. 139:7.

nws: II Sam. 10:14, 10:18, 23:11; Isa. 31:8; Amos 5:19; Zech. 14:5; I Chr. 10:1, 11:14, 19:15; II Chr. 13:16.

brh: Gen. 16:8, 35:1, 7; Exod. 2:15, I Sam. 21:11; I Kgs. 2:7, 12:2; Ps. 3:1, 57:1; II Chr. 10:2.

str II kgs 11:2 Isa 16:4.

The verb tmn (Niph'al) which is used in Isa. 2:10, 19, 21, does not appear in any other biblical verse together with the preposition mippene. However, its meaning is similar to the verb str (Niph'ai).

(99.) The motif of fleeing from panic rather than from an enemy is also found in the curse formula in Lev. 26:17b and 26:36-37.

(100.) On the meaning of puluhtu, see my "Phenomenon of Divine and Human Radiance," 109-23. Note that the terms puluhtu and melammu frequently appear in parallel in Akkadian literature, and that the construct form puluhti melammi is also common. The reverse construct, * melam puluhti, does not exist. This suggests that the term puluhtu may be an abbreviation of the construct puluhti melammi, and that the phrase means "terror of melammu." Passages using this construct are frequently found in the annals, as in pulhe melamme sa Assur belija ishupsuma usuni sepeja isbutu, "Fear of the melammu of Ashur, my lord, overwhelmed him (the nakru king) and he came out to me and submitted to me (lit., seized my feet)," and pulhi melammeja elisunu atbuk, "I poured the terror of my melammu upon them (the inhabitants of the land Habhu)." Both citations are from the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, RIMA3 A.0.102.14. The first is from p. 68, 1. 134 and the second is from p. 69, 1.159.

(101.) In Ezek. 1:18, the word yir'a appears as a characteristic of the 'opanim. The word yir'a cannot mean "fear" in this verse, since the phrasing "they had fear" does not conform to normal biblical Hebrew syntax. If one sought to express the idea that the 'opanim were terrifying, one would expect the phrasing "fear seized me." Here, the 'opanim are described as possessing yir'a. The crux in this verse was solved by showing that the word yir'a here is a calque on the Akkadian, translating the term puluhtu (N. Waldman, "A Note on Ezekiel 1:18," JBL 103 [1984]: 614-18). The surrounding context, in which the other components of the vision are described as radiant, supports Waldman's interpretation.

(102.) Pulhu is semantically identical to puluhtu. On the difference in meaning between pulhi melam beluti and melam beluti, see "The Phenomenon of Divine and Human Radiance," 120-23. In general, the former appears in descriptions of campaigns from which the king was absent, and the latter is used in describing campaigns led by the king.

The passage is cited from the Rassam Cylinder, Frahm, Einleitung, 53, text T4, I. 32; parallel to the Chicago Prism, Luckenbill, Annuls of Sennacherib, text H-2, 29 ii 37-40; discussed by Frahm, Einleitung, 102-5, text T-16.

(103.) RIMA 3, A.O.101.1, 211 ii 113.

(104.) RIMA 3, A.O. 102.2, 21 ii 68, Kurkh Monolith. While I have found no other attestations of the combination of melammu + flight to inaccessible locations in the annals of Sargon or Sennacherib besides the episode of Lulle, the flight-provoking qualities of melammu are mentioned (as appears below), and the flight from the king to inaccessible locations (specifically bat-caves) appears in the Sennacherib titulary, as noted above.

(105.) On the motif of the nakru king's trust in his own strength, see above, n. 69.

(106.) Cited from Frahm, Einleitung, 55, 1. 55; published earlier by Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 34 iii 38-41. I have accepted Frahm's understanding of the meaning of the phrase irsu tillati, which accords with that presented by M. Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings, Anchor Bible Commentary (Garden City: Doubleday, 1988), 247. This differs from the reading and interpretation presented in CAD B, 176, irsu batlati, "put a stop to their service." In the Bull Inscription from the Palace at Nineveh, of which several lines correspond to this prism, the words irsu tillati are missing (Frahm, Einleitung, 117, text T 29, II. 30-31; Luckenbill, Annals of Sennacherib, 70, text F-1, 11. 30-31 (Luckenbill does not note the omission of these words.) This leads Frahm to conclude that these words can be excised from the text without rendering it nonsensical. This is one of the reasons that he prefers irsu tillati, "which he had acquired as auxiliaries," over irsu batlati, "pit a stop to their service." W. Gallagher, Sennacherib's Campaign in Judah, 136-40, presents further evidence for preferring irsu tillati.

(107.) Fuchs, Die Annalen des Jahres 711 v. Chr., 37, v b-d, 12-14.

(108.) On the parallels in meanings between these terms, see further in "The Phenomenon of Human and Divine Radiance," 168-257.

(109.) See note 41 above on the root g'h as meaning "to be high." The noun ga'on can mean "highness" or "majesty." Ga'on does mean pride, but at its basic level, pride means "to exalt oneself, to see oneself as high," and only presumptuous self-exaltation is condemned as pride. Since God's self-exaltation is neither presumptuous nor excessive, God's ga'on is not condemnable pride, but rather an expression of His supremacy and majesty. This is seen in Exod. 15:7 [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] "In Your great majesty, You destroy Your opponents"), where there is no hint of any damnable pride. Thus, the word ga'on has the meaning of majesty or supremacy, besides its meaning of pride. Because of its meaning of majesty and supremacy, it is similar in meaning to Akkadian belutu.

(110.) I am grateful to Prof. Shalom Paul for calling to my attention the parallel between ina pan and '[TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII].

(111.) On the semantic differences between these phrases, see "The Phenomenon of Divine and Human Radiance," 120-32.

(112.) This is similar to the "blind motif," whose significance in determining literary borrowing is discussed by Jeffrey H. Tigay, "On Evaluating Claims of Literary Borrowing," in The Tablet and the Scroll: Near Eastern Studies in Honor of William W. Hallo, ed. M. C. Cohen et al. (Betbesda: CDL Press, 1993), 255.

(113.) Cited from D. Goldsmith, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII] (Jerusalem: Koren, 1970), 227-28.
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Author:Aster, Shawn Zelig
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Date:Jul 1, 2007
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