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Is There a Mari Parallel to the Israelite Enemy-herem? / היש הקבלה בתעודות מארי להחרמת (שלל-)האויב המקראית?
משה גרינברג and Moshe Greenberg
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה
Vol. כד, AVRAHAM MALAMAT VOLUME / ספר אברהם מלמט (1993 / תשנ"ד), pp. 49-53
Published by: Israel Exploration Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23624585
Page Count: 5
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Among the many fruitful cultural parallels that A. Malamat has drawn between the data of the Mari documents and the Bible, his comparison of the concept 'eating the asakku (taboo) of the king/god' with biblical proscription of the enemy as ḥerem (taboo), though widely accepted, bears revision. The Akkadian phrase in the Mari texts dealing with booty refers to the criminality of some deed done to the booty and not to the status of the booty itself. Doing such and such with the booty is (equivalent to) eating the taboo — i.e. violating the property — of the king/god. It is, as Malamat says, an administrative device to curb abuses connected with the distribution of booty. The biblical ḥerem, on the other hand, banned (originally all of) the booty itself. It was not an administrative device but a religious dedication of the wages of soldiering to God — a vow of abstinence from taking the normal fruits of victory, aimed at arousing God's sympathy and gaining his cooperation in battle.
Eretz-Israel: Archaeological, Historical and Geographical Studies / ארץ-ישראל: מחקרים בידיעת הארץ ועתיקותיה © 1993 Israel Exploration Society