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have used !qn in place of tmwy twm. Furthermore, all Israel became kin by enter-
ing into the covenant and, therefore, the realm of lag was no longer limited
to blood relatives. 2) Blood was the personal property of YHWH; therefore
recovering the victim™s blood was not the concern of the victim™s relatives
but of YHWH. 3) While the term !dh lag indicates the duty of the holder of
the title, there is no such speci¬cation with regard to the lag; therefore, it is
inconceivable that they designate the same person. 4) !dh lag only appears
in connection with the cities of refuge and so must have had an intimate
connection with them.
Sulzberger and Phillips both deny the existence of blood feud, the fam-
ily™s right to avenge the killing of one of its members. However, the motive
for establishing appropriately situated cities of refuge, to prevent the blood
avenger from overtaking the fugitive in hot anger, re¬‚ects the fury of a fam-
ily bent on vengeance (Num 35:12, 19, 26“27; Deut 19:6). Although Exod
21:12“14 does not mention !dh lag, it is clear that the killer ¬‚ees because he
is in immediate and grave danger of losing his life. If !dh lag were a state
of¬cial, it is reasonable to suppose that he would do his duty without need
for restraints. Why then would a place of refuge be necessary in the ¬rst
place? The basic point that underlies both Sulzberger and Phillips is, there-
fore, problematic. Furthermore, neither one has a satisfactory explanation
of the relationship of the term !dh lag to lag if, unlike lag, !dh lag is not a
relative of the victim.
In addition, other aspects of their theories are dif¬cult to con¬rm. Al-
though Sulzberger is justi¬ed in emphasizing the danger posed to the pu-
rity of the country by bloodshed, his understanding of lag as a “friend” to
the community is strained because he did not recognize that the blood of
the victim as the locus of the victim™s life has an objective existence of its
own that requires vengeance: The use of lag is not metaphorical or analog-
ical but concrete.76 Phillips™s four proofs are faulty: 1) His argument that
death in the course of a feud requires the use of the verb for vengeance,

75 Anthony Phillips, Ancient Israel™s Criminal Law: A New Approach to the Decalogue (Oxford:

Basil Blackwell, 1970), 103.
76 Seethe discussion in Chapter Three on the concept of blood in the Hebrew Bible.

m-q-n, does not work since that verb actually refers to the punishment not of
the wrongdoer himself but either the entire group he represents or selected
subordinate members of that group.77 In contrast, Exod 21:12 and 14 stip-
ulate the punishment for the one who actually in¬‚icted the fatal blow. Fur-
thermore, Phillips™s claim that feud did not operate within Israel because
all Israel became kin by entering into the covenant requires him to posit
that the hypothetical story in 2 Sam 14:4“17 does not deal with blood feud,
even though !dh lag is mentioned as being restrained by David™s order. 2) In
Phillips™s proof that the blood belongs to YHWH, he begins with Jer 38:16,
which states that the `pn, the life force, is the gift of YHWH, and basing
himself on the idea that the `pn is to be found in the blood, extrapolates that
blood, too, is the gift of YHWH and, therefore, belongs to YHWH. While
it is true that the Israelites believed that the `pn was contained in the blood,
extrapolating that since the `pn is a gift of YHWH, the blood then is also a
gift of YHWH and, therefore, it belongs to YHWH contains too many ques-
tionable inductive leaps. 3) Although Phillips is correct in drawing attention
to the distinction being made in the use of the term !dh lag, instead of lag,
there may be another reason for the distinction: While the lag was the closest
relative to the victim, it is probable that in many cases the closest relative
might not have the personal characteristics to serve as !dh lag. In fact, lag is
the larger category to which !dh lag belonged. 4) Finally, Phillips™s claim that
!dh lag appears only in connection with the cities of refuge is false since he
must ignore the mention of !dh lag in 2 Sam 14:11. (Even if Phillips is correct
about 2 Samuel 14, it would be logical if the two institutions were always
in proximity since the sole purpose of the cities of refuge was to protect the
killer from !dh lag.)

¯ ˆ

The phrase b¯ l damˆ refers to both the killer78 and to the claimant from
e e
the victim™s family. The phrase™s appearances in Samˇ i-Adad I, text 2, iv,
17, ABL 1109, r. 10, and ABL 1032, r. 8, clearly show that it refers to the

77 Cf. Westbrook, Studies in Biblical and Cuneiform Law, 94.
78 Cf. CAD/D, 80.
79 Cf. Roth, “Homicide in the Neo-Assyrian Period,” 363“365. Contra Ayala Mishaly, “The

B¯ l Dam¯ ™s [sic] Role in the Neo-Assyrian Legal Process,” Zeitschrift fur Altorientalis-
che und Biblische Rechtsgeschichte 6 (2000), 35“53, who claims that the b¯ l damˆ was
e e
an of¬cial, but this is based on an erroneous translation of the relative pronoun sa in
ADD 618 13.

Samˇ i-Adad I, text 280
col. iv
15 d
UTU da-a-ia-nu 16 rab-bu-´ sa AN u KI 17 ki-ma sa-ri-ku81 be-el
±ˇ ´ ˇ
18 19 20
da-mi a-na qa-at LUGAL be-el le-mu-ut-ti-ˇ u li-ma-al- li-ˇ u
s s
May the god, Shamash, the great judge of heaven and under-
world, hand him over to a king who is his enemy as one who gives
up a killer.82
ABL 1109 (excerpts)83
. . . u en-na i-qab-bu-u um-ma EN da-me sa EN-i-nu ina UGU-i-nu
´ ˇ
ul i-rab-bi . . .

Now, however, they are saying: “The murderer of our master
shall not lord it over us.”
ABL 103284
ˇˇ ˇˇ
en-na SES.MES sa I u-tu-mu EN da-me 9 sa la-pa-an LUGAL ih-li-
qu-u ki-i i[-qa-ab-bu]
How can the brothers of Utumu, a murderer, who ¬‚ed from the
king, say . . .

The phrase™s appearance in PPA 95, where the individual named as a
b¯ l damˆ is a witness to the payment made by a father for a homicide his
e e
son committed, and in Wiseman, The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon, where
the b¯ l damˆ acts for wronged Esarhaddon, is clear evidence that the term
e e
can refer to the claimant from the victim™s family.85 In PPA 95, if the term

80 Publication: Many copies are extant. Cf. A. K. Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Third and
Second Millennium (to 1115 B.C.) (RIMA I; Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1982),
51“52. Transliteration and translation: Grayson, Assyrian Rulers of the Third and Second
Millennium, 54.
81 This is a mistake for sa-ri-ik, “the one who hands over (in a legal case).” Cf. Grayson, 54,
ˇ ˇ
and CAD S/II, 42“43, s.v. sarku, “to hand over in a legal case.”
82 Cf. Benno Landsberger, “Lexikalisches Archiv,” ZA 41 (1933), 227.
83 Publication: Robert Francis Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Letters (Chicago: The Univer-

sity of Chicago Press, 1911), 11.1223“1224. Transliteration and translation: Simo Parpola,
Letters from Assyrian and Babylonian Scholars (SAA 10; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press,
1993), 94.
84 Publication: Harper, Assyrian and Babylonian Letters, 10.1131.
85 Victor Koroˇ ec argues that only in Hittite, the expression e-eˇ ha-na-aˇ -pat iˇ -ha-a-aˇ , “lord
s s s s s
of the blood,” refers to the person who has the claim on the blood money˜ (Hethitische
Staatsvertrage [Leipzig: Theodor Weicher, 1931], 38). The problem with Koroˇ ec™s argument is
that this phrase appears only twice in Hittite, once in the Hittite laws and once in a text where
its meaning is unclear. Cf. Roth, “Homicide in the Neo-Assyrian Period,” 364.

referred to the killer, then it would be applied to the son for whom the father
is paying compensation, not one of the witnesses.

PPA 95
se-lu-[b]u DUMU-ˇ u 2 sal-lu-[un]-tu-ˇ u 80 MA.NA URUDU.MES
ˇ s´ ˇ ´ s´
` ´´ ´
aˇ +ˇ ur-B[AD].PAP ina E LU.A.BA E.GAL u-[ˇ al]-li-me x x x x
3I 4
ˇ ˇ LU qur-bu-te 6 uru par-HA-a-a 7 IGI I d PA.PAP-
5 Id
´ ˇ´ `
ir LU! sa UGU URU 8 IGI I IR-d al-la-a-a 9 lu ha-za-nu 10 IGI I d PA-u-a
˜´ ´
11 lu 12 I
mu-tir-te-me IGI KAM-eˇ -DINGIR LU.GAL E.GAL!
IGI I ti-ni-x-x 14 uru ba-da-na-a-a 15 IGI I d PA-r´ m-a-ni 16 EN
´ S.MES sa GUB-ni 17 IGI I d PA-u-TI.LA 18 LU.A.BA sa-bit tup-pi
ˇ ˇˇ ´
U . .
I[TU.A]B UD 27 KAM lim-me [I]d PA.KAR-ir-a-ni 21 [L]U.GAL
ˇ ´ ˇ ´
KAS.LUL 22 IGI I d PA.S[U] LU.GAL URU.MES-ni 23 [ˇ a] LU.A.BA
[For] Shelubu his son, Assur-duru-usur has paid in full his
[Shelubu™s] payment of 80 minas of copper in the house of the
palace scribe. . . . 5“23 Witness: Nergal-na™id, the qurbutu-of¬cer of
(the city of) Parnunna. Witness: Nabu-nasir, the city overseer. Witness:
Urdu-allaya, the mayor. Witness: Nabua, the information of¬cer.
Witness: Eresh-ili, the palace overseer. Witness: Tini . . . , of [the city
of] Badana. Witness: Nabu-remanni, owner of the blood who was
present. Witness: Nabu-uballit, the scribe, writer of the tablet. Tenth
month, 27th day, eponym year of Nabu-etirani, the chief butler
[740 b.c.e.]. Witness: Nabu-eriba, the city inspector of the palace
The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhaddon86
576 577
ˇ s´
KIMIN ki-i sa a-a-lu ka-ˇ u-du-u-ni di-ku-u-ni
s a-na ka-ˇ u-nu
ˇˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ 578
SES.MES-ku-nu DUMU.MES-ku-nu EN US.MES lu-ka-ˇ i-du li-
ditto. Just as a stag is overtaken and killed, so may the
avenger87 overtake and kill you, your sons and your daughters.

86 Publication,translation, and transliteration: D. J. Wiseman, The Vassal-Treaties of Esarhad-
don (London: British School of Archaeology in Iraq, 1958), 71“74. Transliteration and
translation: Simo Parpola and Kazuko Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths
(SAA 2; Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 1988), 53“54.
87 Although Parpola and Watanabe renders b¯ l damˆ in the translation as “mortal enemy,” the
e e
glossary in their book renders it as “avenger” (Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths, 86).

KIMIN KIMIN ki-i sa MUSEN ina du-ba-qi is-sab-bat-u-ni
ˇˇ ˇ ˇ ˇ
a-na ka-ˇ u-nu SES.MES-ku-nu DUMU.MES-ku-nu ina SU.II EN
´ˇ ˇ 584
US.MES-ku-nu li-iˇ -ku-nu-ku-nu
Ditto, ditto. Just as one seizes a bird in a trap, so may your
brothers [and] your sons place you in the hands of your avenger.

There are a number of references that are ambiguous because of the poor
state of preservation of the text. In ABL 1008, it seems that a number of


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