error, the omission of -as, not known before. Furthermore, Remko Jas adduces examples of the
usage of tuaru with hursan (Neo-Assyrian Judicial Procedures, 9). This phrase, therefore, does
not require emendation. What is its meaning? Postgate renders it as ÔÇťto refuse an ordealÔÇŁ and
provides many examples of this usage (Fifty Neo-Assyrian Legal Documents, 160, 209).
[However, in Middle Babylonian legal texts, it clearly means ÔÇťto be found guilty by the or-
deal.ÔÇŁ (Cf. O. R. Gurney, The Middle Babylonian Legal and Economic Texts from Ur, 10ÔÇ“12).
Jas argues that this connotation is found in Neo-Assyrian texts as well (Neo-Assyrian Judicial
Procedures, 10, n. 40). The signi´¬ücance would be similar ÔÇ“ the subject has not been acquitted
of the offense.] The sequence of verbs and their ÔÇťtensesÔÇŁ requires some explanation. The ´¬ürst
verb in line 16, u╦ç esa, is a biform of the durative (cf. von Soden, Grundriss der akkadischen
Grammatik, 44*, 189), which is marked by the appearance of the ´¬ünal -a. It cannot be preterite
with a ventive ending because that form would entail an ultralong vowel that would need to
be indicated. The verb could either be itura, the preterite because of the appearance of the
middle -u vowel, or more likely iturra, the durative with the ventive. The subject of the
´¬ürst verb is the one who litigates on HaniÔÇ™s behalf, mentioned in line 12, while the subject
of the second is the killer himself, Hani.
128 Postgate, Fifty Neo-Assyrian Legal Documents, 60.
129 Kwasman, Neo-Assyrian Legal Documents, 129.
BLOOD FEUD AND STATE CONTROL
large number of documents that he identi´¬ües as constituting many single-
document archives is really that useful. Placing this document in a personal
archive is helpful only when there are other documents in that archive. Sec-
ond, Remko Jas argues that the identi´¬ücation of this text as part of HaniÔÇ™s
personal archive was unlikely since Hani and his family were arrested and his
possessions con´¬üscated.130 The winning party in the suit, the crown prince,
would be the more likely archive holder. This d┬» nu text was a formal record
of the permanent settlement of the case. Jas suggested as well that the texts
that refer to third-party arbitration but do not mention d┬» nu seem to be
ad hoc documents that were meant to be kept until a d┬» nu was issued.131
In sum, this document, a so-called d┬» nu text, is a formal document to be
kept after the affair has been settled. This particular d┬» nu text is one that
includes the phrase d┬» nu emadu, ÔÇťto impose a judgment,ÔÇŁ but lacks the
sulmu clause, which states that there is now peace between the parties.132
This may indicate that the case was not completely settled and that further
litigation was expected or that the convicted party was disappointed with the
With regard to the conduct of the case, it is remarkable that the crown
prince went to an of´¬ücial, in this case the sartinnu, for judgment like other
Assyrians. Who is the sartinnu? In ABL 716, r. 11, the king himself appoints
the sartinnu and the sukallu, the vizier, ÔÇťto give just and equitable judgment
in my land.ÔÇŁ In Iraq 32 132:2,133 the sartinnu and the vizier serve once again
as the court for those involved in a lawsuit. The sartinnu and the vizier own
comparable estates in Iraq 20 187, no. 40:18.134 The royal appointment
and the status on a par with that of the vizier justify identifying the role
of the sartinnu as chief judge and appointee of the crown.135 In the other
Neo-Assyrian d┬» nu texts, other of´¬ücials acting in a judicial capacity are men-
tioned. Most often a hazannu presides, but a sangu-priest, a sukallu, and a
sakin mati also hear cases. It is uncertain whether cases of a particular type
were put to of´¬ücials of a speci´¬üc rank. In the extant Neo-Assyrian texts, a
sartinnu is mentioned as presiding over two cases, this homicide case and
another involving a dispute over a slave (ADD 163). It is unclear what these
two cases have in common that would call for a judge at the rank of sartinnu.
Unfortunately, the language of these texts is terse, a characteristic of all d┬» nu
texts, and therefore the speci´¬ücs of the cases are barely mentioned. However,
line 17 reveals that Hani refused to undergo an ordeal, part of the procedure
undertaken to ascertain the defendantÔÇ™s guilt.
130 Jas,Neo-Assyrian Judicial Procedures, 10ÔÇ“11.
131 Ibid., 2.
132 Ibid., 6.
133 J. N. Postgate, ÔÇťMore Assyrian Deeds and Documents,ÔÇŁ Iraq 32 (1970), 132.
134 H. W. F. Saggs, ÔÇťThe Nimrud Letters IV: The Urartian Frontier,ÔÇŁ Iraq 20 (1958), 187.
135 K. Deller, ÔÇťDie Rolle des Richters im neuassyrischen Prozessrecht,ÔÇŁ in Studi in onore di
Edoardo Volterra VI (Milan: A. Giuffr` , 1971), 652.
68 HOMICIDE IN THE BIBLICAL WORLD
The last two texts, ADD 806 and PPA 95, originate in the ´¬ünal stages of
a case and record payments made to discharge the debt. ADD 806, a record
of the sale of a large estate, records that part of the land was forfeited as
compensation. This legal transaction was conducted by government of´¬ücials:
╦ç ╦ç` ` ╦ç╦ç ┬┤
10 ANSE A.SA ina uru ni-ra-ma-a-a 2 IR.MES sa LU.EN.NAM kur si-
me-e ku-um da-me ib-ta-at-qu . . .
The servants of the governor of Sime took possession of 10 homers
of ´¬üeld in Nirama in lieu of the blood money.
PPA 95 takes the form of a debt repayment record, that is, a receipt:
se-lu-[b]u DUMU-╦ç u 2 sal-lu-[un]-tu-╦ç u 80 MA.NA URUDU.MES
╦ç s┬┤ ╦ç ┬┤ s┬┤
` ┬┤┬┤ ┬┤
a╦ç +╦ç ur-B[AD].PAP ina E LU.A.BA E.GAL 4 u-[╦ç al]-li-me x x x x
╦ç ╦ç LU qur-bu-te 6 uru par-HA-a-a 7 IGI I d PA.PAP-
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
╦˜ U.GAL E.GAL!
mu-tir-te-me IGI KAM-e╦ç -DINGIR L ┬┤ ┬┤
11 lu 12 I
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-ni136 17 IGI I d PA-u-TI.LA 18 LU.A.BA sa-bit tup-pi
╦ç ╦ç╦ç ┬┤
U . .
I[TU.A]B UD 27 KAM lim-me [I]d PA.KAR-ir-a-ni 21 [L]U.GAL
╦ç ┬┤ ╦ç ┬┤
KAS.LUL 22 IGI I d PA.S[U] LU.GAL URU.MES-ni 23 [╦ç a] LU.A.BA
[For] Shelubu his son, Assur-duru-usur has paid in full his
[ShelubuÔÇ™s] payment of 80 minas of copper in the house of the palace
136 Postgate ╦ç
reads the last three signs as sa-du-ni and argues that the authorities that imposed
the penalty did check the payment because the tablet uses the s-stem, the causative, of the
verb nadanu to refer to the payment, implying that a coercive power is causing the subject of
the verb to pay the money to a third party (The GovernorÔÇ™s Palace Archive, 123ÔÇ“124). Roth
reads the last three signs as sa GUB-ni, in normalized form sa izzizzuni (ÔÇťHomicide in the
Neo-Assyrian Period,ÔÇŁ 359, 360, n. 20). PostgateÔÇ™s reading is clever but impossible. First of
all, the -a vowel needs to be explained because the two possible forms that the verb could
possibly be are the in´¬ünitive in the genitive, suddun┬», or the verbal adjective in the third-person
masculine singular, suddun. Secondly, the doubling of d is lacking. Third, the ´¬ünal -i vowel ´¬üts
only the genitive in´¬ünitive, not a third-person plural verbal adjective, suddunu, ÔÇťthey cause to be
paid,ÔÇŁ but it would make sense only if the verb was in the St-stem, a passive form. With regard
to the ´¬ürst problem, the form sadduni does exist as a biform (cf. von Soden, Grundriss der
akkadischen Grammatik, 27*, and the Neo-Assyrian examples in CAD N/I, 57a). However,
the second and third problems remain. I would add that RothÔÇ™s rendering is in consonance
with the other verbs of motion used to characterize the claimant from the victimÔÇ™s family. This
accurate understanding of this verb underscores the role of the victimÔÇ™s family in propelling the
case toward ´¬ünal settlement.
BLOOD FEUD AND STATE CONTROL
scribe. . . . 5ÔÇ“22 Witness: Nergal-naÔÇ™id, the qurbutu-of´¬ücer137 of [the
city of] Parnunna. Witness: Nabu-nasir, the city overseer. Witness:
Urdu-allaya, the mayor. Witness: Nabua, the information of´¬ücer.
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 scribe.
There are two elements that separate PPA 95 from other receipts. The pay-
ment recorded in this document is made in the of´¬üce of the palace scribe.
The creditor is not named in the operative section of the document that men-
tions the repayment, possibly because the money is not paid directly to him.
His name can be inferred because one of the witnesses, Nabu-remanni, is
identi´¬üed as b┬» l dam╦ć , ÔÇťthe owner of the blood,ÔÇŁ in this case the claimant
from the victimÔÇ™s family. Otherwise, we would not know that this debt139
has anything to do with homicide.
The money is not paid directly to Nabu-remanni but is paid into the house
of the palace scribe. Although the usual practice in Neo-Assyria is to pay the
´¬üne directly to the injured party,140 PPA 95 does not appear to be a receipt,
complete with the validating seal or ´¬üngernail impression of the party being
paid. PPA 95 is a record of a payment made before the authorities who had
decided the case and imposed the ´¬üne and was, therefore, deposited in the
public archives.141 The b┬» l dam╦ć does not act as a party to the transaction:
He is solely a witness because it is the palace that takes an active role at this
point in the proceedings.
With these ´¬üve documents, the outlines of the procedure put in effect
in the Neo-Assyrian period when a homicide has been committed can be
reconstructed. The social group to which the killer belonged took the initia-
tive and assumed corporate responsibility.142 First, the fact that a homi-
cide has been committed had to be determined. Second, the identity of
137 Itis clear that the qurbutu is an of´¬ücer of some variety, but his exact rank is unclear. Cf.
CAD/Q, 315ÔÇ“317, and AHw II, 929.
138 Cf. the other references to this city cited by Parpola, Neo-Assyrian Toponyms, 273.
139 The large size of the debt may be an indication that it is blood money.
140 Postgate, The GovernorÔÇ™s Palace Archive, 18. However, the practice of paying a ´¬üne before
the authorities is evidenced in other texts and is not limited to blood money, as can be seen in
PPA 92 and 96.
141 The governorÔÇ™s palace archives excavated in Nimrud are public archives and do not contain
the private archives of the governor; cf. Postgate, The GovernorÔÇ™s Palace Archive, 10.
142 Roth argues that it was in the best interest of the killer to recognize the rights of the parties
formally because in this way, the right of the victimÔÇ™s family to self-help and vengeance would
be limited; negotiation between the parties would then have suspended the right of the victimÔÇ™s
family to kill the murderer (ÔÇťHomicide in the Neo-Assyrian Period,ÔÇŁ 363). However, we do not
have any evidence that independent vengeance ever existed.
70 HOMICIDE IN THE BIBLICAL WORLD
the responsible party had to be ascertained. Third, the killer had to be
apprehended. There was an of´¬ücial recording institution of the monar-
chy at which outstanding homicide obligations were deposited, pending
the claim of the victimÔÇ™s family. Next, the parties negotiated the amount
of compensation with the intervention of a mediating authority, an of´¬ü-
cer of the crown. Finally, when a speci´¬üc amount had been agreed upon,
the obligation was paid in the presence of an of´¬ücial authority, a crown
The Development of Places of Refuge
in the Bible
EACH LEGAL corpus of the Pentateuch makes reference to refuges for a
killer. These sources differ on certain fundamental characteristics of such
refuges, raising the question of whether these differences re´¬‚ect historical
development in the system of asylum.
Julius Wellhausen, whose work represents the capstone of nineteenth-
century critical scholarship, argues that there were major changes in the
adjudication of homicide.1 In the earliest period, he proposes, sanctuaries
were places of asylum: A fugitive would enter a sanctuary and take hold