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The idol of jealousy (1)

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04 Religious and philosophical literature and poetry

03 Religious festivals, cults, rituals and practices

sacred marriage
No period specified
Akkadian poetry
Old Testament

In Ezekiel 8:3 the prophet enumerates among the horrible things in Jerusalem an object in the northern (city-)gate which he calles sml hqnˀ hmqnh “the idol of jealousy to provoke to jealousy”. The commentaries have understood the name as “a jealousy to Yahweh”. But it is also possible to connect the description with the Babylonian word KI/KIN-na-a-(a)-ti which appears in the colophone and other places of the so-called “Love Lyrics”. The Love Lyrics contain a detailed description of the ritual performed in the beginning of the month Tammuz in Babylon which is dedicated to jealousy between Zarpanitu and Ištar for the love of Marduk. It is possible to read the Babylonian word as qinītu “concubine”, which is etymologically connected to the Hebrew qnˀ used in the Ezekiel passage. Another parallel with the Ezekiel passage is the fact that the scene, where the Love Lyrics were enacted was a city-gate, the Uraš-gate in the south Babylon. It is possible that Ezekiel disliked the explicit sexual character of a similar ritual of Babylonian origin in Jerusalem.

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Ezekiel 8:3


Frahm 2003, 298Frahm, Eckart. “Review of Mettinger 2001.” Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 93 (2003) 294-300.

Amar Annus

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