Baal

THE COSMOLOGY OF UGARIT

The Epic of Ba‘al

 

A set of at least six clay tablets records this myth, but the sequence is uncertain. Tablet 3 will be placed first here; it introduces the weather god Ba‘al, his sister (and spouse?) ‘Anat (his spouse ‘Athtart and the god ‘Athtar do not appear till tablet 2), the supreme god El, his consort Elat-Athirat, the craftsman god Kothar-Khasis, and the sun-goddess Shapash; also mentioned are Ba‘al's two main enemies, namely Yam-Nahar (sea and flood) and Mot (drought and death). Apparently the cycle of the seasons is followed in this myth, beginning with autumn (3), then winter (1-2), spring (4), summer (5-6), with a prolonged drought.


1. THE CONFLICT WITH YAM

3.1     . . . .       c.25 lines lost

         A divine functionary named Radman spreads a banquet before Ba‘al on Mount Sapan (Saphon).

Then Radman ministered to Almighty Ba‘al,      *al’iyn b‘l
he waited on the Prince, the Lord* of Earth*.     *
zbl b‘l ars

Rising he spread a table and offered him food:

he carved up a suckling before him, with a salted knife he cut up a fatling.

Standing  he spread a banquet and offered him drink:

he placed a cup in his hand, a goblet in both his hands;

a great beaker of spectacular size,

a vessel of celestial proportions*,                       *mt shmm,'of men of heaven'

a holy cup no woman would ever see,

a goblet no goddess* would set eyes on;            *'or '(even) Athirat would not see'

a thousand pitchers of wine he took, ten thousand he mixed in his mixture.

Rising up he rhapsodized and sang; cymbals were in the minstrel's hands;

the sweet-voiced hero sang of Ba‘al in the heights of Sapan.

Ba‘al looked at his daughters, he set his eyes on Pidray, Daughter of Mist,

and also Tallay, Daughter of Rain.

. . . .*        c. 12 lines

3.2     After a lengthy gap (c. 25 lines) ‘Anat is seen adorning and perfuming herself in preparation for a blood-bath, the reason for which is unclear, but she is presumably dealing with enemies of Ba‘al.

enough henna for seven girls*, *bnt 'daughters'; or 7 girls are waiting on her?

scent of coriander, and murex.

‘Anat closed the gates of the mansion,

and confronted the young men at the base of the mountain*  *her home mountain Inbab.

And now ‘Anat was fighting in the valley,  doing battle between the two cities,

smiting the people of the west*, silencing the men of the sunrise. *hpy, 'seashore'?

Heads rolled like balls beneath her, hands flew like locusts above her,

heroes' hands like swarming grasshoppers.

She fastened the heads to her back, she bound the hands to her belt.

She waded knee-deep in the blood of guards, her skirts immersed in heroes' gore.

With her shafts* she drove off the old men,  *or 'staves'

with her bowstring the townspeople*.           *mdnt, or 'opponents', 'veterans'

See ‘Anat proceeding to her house, the goddess* betaking herself to her palace,*ilt

yet she was not sated with her fighting in the valley,

with doing battle between the two cities.

Chairs she set up for* heroes,

tables she set up for* soldiers, stools for* warriors.*or 'as'

‘Anat fought hard and gazed, she did battle and considered;

her liver swelled with laughter,

her heart was filled with joy,‘Anat's liver with triumph,

as she waded knee-deep in guards' blood, her skirts immersed in heroes' gore,

until she was sated with fighting in the house, with doing battle between the tables.

The guards' blood was wiped from the house,

 a peace-offering of oil was poured from a bowl.

The Virgin* ‘Anat washed her hands,   *btlt

Yabamat Limim* her fingers;    *'sister-in-law of the people'? or s-in-law of Li’m' (a god)

she washed her hands clean of* guards' blood, her fingers clean of* heroes' gore.*or 'in'

She put chairs back with* chairs, tables back with* tables,

she put stools back with* stools.   *or 'as'

 

She drew water and bathed, dew of heaven and oil of earth,

showers of the Rider of Clouds*           *Ba‘al; .cp. Yahweh, Psalm 68:4,9

dew that the heavens poured over her, showers that the stars poured over her.

 

3.3    She adorned herself with murex . . . .

. . . .*        c. 20 lines

         Ba‘al is addressing his messengers, Gupan and Ugar, telling them to take a message to ‘Anat

She is taking her lyre in her hand, having set corals on her breast,

and she is singing of her love for Almighty Ba‘al,

her affection for Pidray Daughter of Mist,

her fondness for Tallay Daughter of Rain,

her love for Arsay Daughter of Moisture*.       *ya‘abdar, 'ample flowing'?

And so, young men make your entrance; bow and fall down at the feet of ‘Anat,

prostrate yourselves and pay her homage; and report to the Virgin ‘Anat,

repeat to Yamamat Limim*:                               *see 3.2 above: = Yabamat Limim.

The message of Almighty Ba‘al, the word of the Mightiest Warrior:

Put an offering of loaves* in the earth,  *or 'war'

place mandrakes* in the ground;                        *or 'love', or 'love offerings'

pour a peace-offering in the heart of the earth,

honey from a pot* in the heart of the fields.       *or 'much love', or 'tranquillity'

Make haste, press on, hurry; let your feet run to meet me,

let your legs speed towards me;

for I have something to disclose to you, some words to impart to you,

the murmur of trees* and whisper of stones,     *or 'wood'

the sighing of the heavens to the earth, of the oceans to the stars.

I understand* lightning unknown to the heavens,          *or 'create'

something that humans do not know, nor earth's multitudes understand.

Come and I will unfold it here in my divine Mount Sapan,

in the holy place, on my heritage mountain, in the pleasant place, on my victory hill.

As soon as ‘Anat sighted the two gods,

her feet started jerking under her,

her spine* broke up behind her,  *ksl, loins? spinal cord ? cp.ksl=bow string in 3.2

her face perspired above her;

she convulsed the joints of her spine,

the muscles of her back*. *details uncertain, but shivers and spasms from anxiety are meant

She lifted up her voice and cried out:

Why have Gupan and Ugar come?

What enemy has risen against Ba‘al, what foe against the Rider of Clouds?

Did I not destroy Yam, the favourite of El*, annihilate the great god Nahar?  *cp. 1.4

Was not the dragon Tannin caught and finished off?

I have destroyed the twisting serpent, the tyrant with seven heads,

destroyed Arsh, the favourite of the gods,

silenced ‘Atik, the bull-calf of El,

destroyed Ishat*, the bitch of the gods,     *'Fire'

annihilated Zabib*, the daughter of El.      *or Zebub? a monstrous fly?

I will fight and dispossess of gold

3.4    anyone who would banish Ba‘al from Sapan's heights, . . .

or drive him off the throne of his kingship,

from the cushion on the seat of his dominion.

What enemy has risen against Ba‘al, what foe against the Rider of Clouds?

The young men answered and gave reply:

No enemy has risen against Ba‘al, no foe against the Rider of Clouds.

The message of Almighty Ba‘al, the word of the Mightiest Warrior:

Put an offering of loaves in the earth*,   *et cetera (see above and below)

And the Virgin ‘Anat answered, Yabamat Limim replied:

Shall I put an offering of loaves in the earth,

shall I place mandrakes in the ground,

pour a peace-offering in the heart of the earth,

honey from a pot in the heart of the fields?

When Ba‘al sets his thunderbolt in the heavens,

when he kindles his lightning flash. . . ,

I shall put an offering of loaves in the earth,

place mandrakes in the ground,

pour a peace-offering in the heart of the earth,

honey from a pot in the heart of the flelds.

One thing more I have to say:

Go, go, lackeys of the gods.

While you are idling I am leaving

Ughar* for the most distant god,                   *name of her home?

Inbab* for the most distant deity,                  *name of her mountain

two layers beneath the wells* of the earth,    *‘nt, 'springs', or 'furrows'?

three spans beneath the mountains*.              *or marshes, lowlands? underground travel?

Then indeed she set her face to go to Ba‘al on the heights of Sapan,

across a thousand tracts, ten thousand spaces.

Ba‘al observed his sister's progress,

the advance of his father's daughter-in-law*.     *ybnt (cp.ybmt, ymmt); Dagan

Dismissing the women from his presence,

he set an ox before her, a fatling in front of her.

She drew water and bathed, dew of heaven and oil of earth,

dew that the heavens poured over her, showers that the stars poured over her.

She adorned herself with murex....

. . . .*                                                                  *c. 15 lines

         Ba‘al complains to ‘Anat that he has no palace.

Ba‘al has no house as the other gods have, no court as the sons of Athirat have.

The abode of El is his son's shelter; 

the abode of Lady Athirat of the sea  is the abode of Pidray Daughter of Mist,

the shelter of Tallay Daughter of Rain, the abode of Arsay Daughter of Moisture,

the abode of the Graceful Brides.

And the Virgin ‘Anat answered:

Bull El my father will listen to me, he will listen to me when I tell him

3.5     that I will throw him to the ground like a lamb,

I will make his grey hairs run with blood, the grey hairs of his beard with gore,

if he will not give Ba‘al a house like the other gods, a court like the sons of Athirat.

She stamped her foot and the earth shook*. *or 'she travelled over the earth' (flying?)

Then she set her face steadfastly to go to El at the sources of the rivers,

amidst the springs of the two oceans.

Penetrating the mountains of El,

and entering the tabernacle of the King, the Father of Years,* *or 'of the Exalted', the Gods

. . . .                                                          or 'Father of Shunama', known as a dutiful son of El

Bull El her father heard her voice. . . .

Shapash the luminary of the gods glowed hot*,  *the autumn Sirocco heat and dust?

the heavens languished* under the hand of Mot, son of gods**  *or 'were dusty'? **or 'of El'.

And the Virgin ‘Anat spoke out:

In the building* of your mansion, El,            *or 'children' in his palace rejoicing

in the building of your mansion do not rejoice,

do not rejoice in the [erecting] of your palace,

 I will seize them* with my right hand,     *the 'buildings' or the 'children'

. . . . them by the might of my long arm;

I will strike the top of your skull, making your grey hair run with blood,

the grey hairs of your beard with gore.

El replied from the seven rooms

from the eight secret chambers:*      *or 'through the eight entrances to the chamber'

I know, daughter, that you are manly*, *k’an[sht]

that there is no contempt like yours among goddesses.

What do you want, Virgin ‘Anat?

And the Virgin ‘Anat answered:

El, your decree is wise, your wisdom is everlasting,

a life of good fortune is your decree.

Our king is Almlghty Ba‘al, our judge who has no superior.

We should each* carry his chalice,   *or 'both'

we should each carry his cup*.        *be his cup-bearer, serve him

Groaning he implores Bull El his father,

El the king who established* him,   *yknnh, 'created' or 'installed'

he implores Athirat and her sons, Elat and her band of kinsfolk:

Ba‘al has no house as the other gods have, no court as the sons of Athirat have. . . .

. . . . .         c.22 lines

3.6    . . . . .        c. 15 lines

 

Because of a long break in the text, it is not clear whether ‘Anat is successful or not, in her plea to El. Someone now sends Qadesh-Amrur, the attendant of Athirat, through Phoenicia and Palestine to Egypt. In Memphis the messenger meets the craftsman-god Kothar-Khasis, here also called Heyan. What the message is and who sent it remains a mystery. One view is that it is Ba‘al, requesting the craft-god to make lavish gifts for Athirat (see 4.1; this assumes that tablet 3 immediately precedes 4, but there are many lines missing at the end of 3.6 and at the beginning of 4.1). Athirat would be the most likely person to send her own servant, but El in fact sends him on another occasion, to ‘Anat (2.1).

Go past Gubla*, go past Qa‘al**,   *Byblos, 1 Kings 5:18           **?

Go past the isles of heavenly Noph*.    *Memphis

Set off, fisherman of Athirat, proceed, Qadesh-Amrur.

Then set your face steadfastly to go

right into Hikuptah* the divine, *hqkpt =Hikuptah, 'sanctuary of the soul of Ptah', Memphis)

Kaptor* the throne on which he sits,*usually means Crete

Hikuptah the land of his inheritance.                                                                                   

After a thousand tracts, ten thousand spaces,     

bow and fall down at the feet of Kothar,

prostrate yourself and pay him homage;

and report to Kothar-Khasis*,   *ktr w hss 'skilful and intelligent'

repeat to Heyan* the skilled handworker:  *Akkadian Ea (Enki)

The message of A*. . . .  *Al[iyan Ba‘al] ; or Ad[t], the lady Athirat

Ba‘al seems the best choice here. If tablet 3 is in fact the beginning of the epic, then Ba‘al may want Kothar-Khasis to build his house for him (to ensure the arrival of the autumn rains), though El seems to make that request in 1.3 (but again the text is damaged at the vital point). Or he wants some works of art produced as presents (cp. 4.1). Or he needs some weapons made (cp. 2.4, and also bow and arrows in the story of Aqhat), perhaps even some thunderbolts. Ba‘al may be requesting Kothar-Khasis to provide assistance against sea monsters, as he does in 2.4, and in 6.6 at the very end of the epic.

 

1.4    At a banquet, El is told by his consort Athirat, here called simply Elat, Goddess, that unless the water-god Yam is placated he will wreak destruction. El declares Yam to be his favourite son..

. . . .          c. 20 lines

Elat and her companions spoke up.

They cried out to those who were near, to those who were far off they cried:

El is sitting in his banquet hall,

the shame of the bastard*. . .  *‘llmn  'issue of whom?' (?), 'a nobody '(?)

. . . the gods. . .

the house of your lord*  *(b‘lk, meaning Yam or Baal?)

lest he go swiftly through the earth. . .

wreaking havoc over the ground. . . .

He* gave them ...** to drink;   *El presumably    **tmny 'overflow'?, 'curdled milk'?

he placed a cup in their hands, a goblet in both their hands....

El the Kindly, the Benign replied:

My son's name is Yaw. . . .

So you, Elat (and your companions),

proclaim a  name for Yam.

(Athirat) answered. . . .

For our preservation . . .

you, Sire*, proclaim [his name]. . . .  *’adn; cp. Adonis and Adonay (YHWH)

(So El declared:)

Your name is Favourite* of El. . . .*(mdd, beloved, darling)

my house of silver*...   * or 'the house of my silver' (=I pay for its construction?) but see 4.5

from the hand of Almighty* Baal      *or 'Conquering'

he has reviled me . . .

drive him off the throne of his kingship,

from the cushion on the seat of his dominion . . .

if you do not . . .

he will smite you . . . .

El slaughtered (animals for a feast),

oxen he slew, sheep he felled, also bulls and fatted rams,

yearling calves, skipping lambs and kids....

. . . .

2.1     Ba‘al (or Kothar-Khasis showing his support for Ba‘al) is speaking to Yam, predicting his downfall.

. . . .

You have risen against . . .

Almighty Ba‘al. . . .

Ayyamur* be upon your head,    * club provided by Kothar-Khasis, 2.4

[Yagrush*] . . .  Judge Nahar;          * ditto

may Horon break you Yam, may Horon break your head,

may ‘Athtart-Name-of-Ba‘al crack your skull.

You will fall. . . .

two wives . . . Father of Years.*      *or Father of the Exalted, that is, El

Yam sends a message to the assembly of the gods.

Yam dispatched messengers, Judge Nahar an embassy. . . .

Be off, young men, do not delay.

Set your faces now to go to the meeting of the Assembly

in the midst of the mountain of El*.   *or Mount Lel

Do not* fall down at the feet of El,   *or Be sure to (dishonouring or honouring )

Do not* prostrate yourselves before the Assembly meeting.

Standing up tell what you have to tell, repeat what you have learned;

report it to Bull El my father, repeat it to the meeting of the Assembly:

The message of Yam your lord*,           *b‘l, Hebrew Ba‘al

of your master* Judge Nahar:    *adn, Hebrew Adon (see 1.4)

Gods, give up the one you are protecting, the one you multitudes are protecting;

give up Ba‘al and his lackeys, the son of Dagan, so that I may get his gold.  

The young men departed without delay.

There and then they set their faces

towards the mountain of El,*  *ll, error for il? or the goddess Lel?

to the meeting of the Assembly.

Meanwhile the gods had sat down to eat, the sons of Holiness to dine,

with Ba‘al standing beside El.

As soon as the gods espied* them,   *perceived from afar

espied the messengers of Yam, the embassy of Judge Nahar,

the gods let their heads droop down onto their knees,

and onto their seats of princeship.

Ba‘al rebuked them thus:

Why have you gods let your heads droop down onto your knees,

and onto your seats of princeship?

Will not one of the gods answer the dispatches* of Yam's messengers, *'tablets' (lht)

the embassy of Judge Nahar?

Lift up your heads, you gods, up from your knees,

and up from your seats of princeship;

I will answer Yam's messengers, the embassy of Judge Nahar.

So the gods lifted up their heads, up from their knees,

and up from their seats of princeship.

After Yam's messengers had arrived, the embassy of Judge Nahar,

they did not* fall down at the feet of El,   *or 'they did indeed'

and did not* prostrate themselves before the assembly;

standing up they told what they had to tell, they repeated what they had learned.

Like a fire, two fires, they looked, like a sharpened sword their tongue.

They reported to Bull El his father:

The message of Yam your lord, of your master Judge Nahar:

Gods, give up the one you are protecting,the one you multitudes are protecting;

give up Ba‘al and his lackeys, the son of Dagan, so that I may get his gold.    

And Bull El his father answered:

Ba‘al is your slave, Yam,  Ba‘al is your slave, Nahar,

the son of Dagan is your prisoner.

He will bring you tribute like the gods, bring you gifts like the sons of Holiness.

Prince Ba‘al was overcome with anger; he took a deadly weapon in his hand,

a smiting weapon in his right hand, [and lunged at] the young men.

[‘Anat] seized [his right hand], ‘Athtart seized his left hand:

How can you smite Yam's messengers,  the embassy of Judge Nahar?

A messenger (is inviolable)...;

the word of his lord is between his shoulders* .... *in a diplomatic bag, or in his heart

Prince Ba‘al was overcome with anger....

(Let me reply) to Yam your lord, to your master Judge Nahar:

Hear the word of the avenger Hadad*:  *Ba‘al, the thunderer

. . . do homage*. . . .      *apparently, but not certainly, Ba‘al is surrendering to Yam

 

2.2     This column is almost entirely lost. Possibly the violent flood-god Yam-Nahar destroys Ba‘al's house when he tries to occupy it, and another residence has to be built, in Yam's own habitat, namely the sea.

 

2.3     The supreme god El summons the craftsman god Kothar-Khasis and orders him to build a palace for Yam-Nahar in the sea.

Then Kothar-Khasis set his face to go to El at the source of the rivers,

amidst the springs of the two oceans.

Penetrating the mountain(s) of El,

and entering the tabernacle* of the King, the Father of Years, *q-r-sh

he bowed and fell down at the feet of El,

he prostrated himself and paid him homage.

Then Bull El his father said:

Kothar-Khasis go your way, build a mansion for Yam*,    *'Sea'

erect a palace for Judge Nahar, a house for Nahar in the midst of the sea*. . . .*yam

Let the house be built promptly, let the palace be erected promptly.

Let the house cover a thousand tracts, the palace ten thousand spaces.

He desires a house in the darkness, in the field of the bitter sea. . . .

The  god ‘Athtar objects to this, and he confronts Yam-Nahar; he possibly threatens to set fire to

Yam's palace; the sun-goddess Shapash counsels him to accept the will of El.

‘Athtar . . . .

fire. . .

Shapash the luminary of the gods spoke;

she lifted her voice and cried:

Hearken, I pray you (‘Athtar). . . .

Bull El your father is spreading a table

in favour of Prince Yam, in favour of Judge Nahar.

How then will Bull El your father heed you?

He will pull out the supports of your seat*      *or residence

he will overturn the throne of your kingship,

he will break the sceptre of your rule.

Then answered ‘Athtar the holder of kingship*:    *uncertain that the damaged text says this

Bull El my father . . . .

I have no house as the other gods have,

no court as the sons of Holiness* have. . . .*q-d-sh, apparently a title of Athirat, Qudsh

Prince Yam is living in a mansion, Judge Nahar is in a palace.                   

Bull El his father is spreading a table

in favour of Prince Yam, in favour of Judge Nahar.

Am I king or am I not king?    (meaning uncertain; is he speaking to Yam or Shapash or El?)

. . . .  c. 25 long lines

 

2.4    Ba‘al has joined battle with Yam, but he cries out to Kothar-Khasis that Yam and his sea monsters are getting the better of him. Kothar comes up with two weapons to use against Yam.

The power of my hand is shattered. . . .

In Yam* is the sieve of destruction,       *the sea

in Yam are the breasts* of death;           *or lungs

in Judge Nahar there are worms . . . .

My might and yours is falling to the earth,

my strength and yours to the dust.        

Scarcely had the words come from his mouth,

the speech and uttering of voice from his lips,

when he sank beneath the throne of Prince Yam.

But Kothar-Khasis gave the answer:

I am telling you, Prince Ba‘al, I am repeating to you, Rider of Clouds,

see now, your enemy*, Ba‘al, see now, your enemy* you shall smite,  *or enemies

see now, you shall silence your foe*.        *or foes (cp.Yahweh, Psalm 92:9)

You shall take up your eternal kingship, your everlasting dominion.

Kothar produces two weapons* and proclaims their names: *cp. picture of Ba‘al with club

You first, your name is Yagrush*; Yagrush, eject Yam,   *Ejecter

eject Yam from his throne, Nahar from his seat of dominion.

You shall swoop from Ba‘al's hand, like an eagle from his fingers;

strike the shoulder of Prince Yam, between the arms of Judge Nahar.

The weapon swooped from Ba‘al's hand, like an eagle from his fingers;

it struck the shoulder of Prince Yam, between the arms of Judge Nahar.

Yam stood firm, he was not laid low;

his joints were not shaken, his frame did not crumble.

Kothar has produced two weapons and proclaimed their names:

Now you, your name is Ayyamur*; Ayyamur, expel Yam,*    Expeller

expel Yam from his throne, Nahar from his seat of dominion.

You shall swoop from Ba‘al's hand, like an eagle from his fingers;

strike the top of Prince Yam's head, between the eyes of Judge Nahar.

Yam shall collapse and fall to the earth.

So the weapon swooped from Ba‘al's hand, like an eagle from his fingers;

it struck the top of Prince Yam's head, between the eyes of Judge Nahar.

Yam collapsed, fell to the earth;

his joints had been shaken, and his frame had crumbled.

Ba‘al dragged Yam away and laid him out*;    *y-sh-t ,or possibly 'drank him'

he had finished with Judge Nahar*.          *ykly, or: 'he was going to finish JN off'

 

The goddess ‘Athtart now speaks up, either urging Ba‘al to scatter Yam's dismembered corpse without delay, or else dissuading him from destroying Yam, who is now his captive, and prisoners (like envoys, see 2.1, where ‘Athtart and ‘Anat both restrain him) perhaps should not be harmed. In any case, Ba‘al can now take up the kingship, and the summer warmth will return along with calm seas (cp.Yahweh in Psalm 74: 12-17).

‘Athtart screamed at the name*: *of Ba‘al; that is, she reproached him?

Shame*, Almighty Ba‘al,  shame,  Rider of Clouds;   *or possibly 'scatter (him)'

for Prince Yam is our captive, Judge Nahar is our captive.

. . . .

Almighty Ba‘al . . .*                 *ybtt nn, 'was ashamed of her' or 'scattered him/her'

and. . . .

Yam is dead. Ba‘al is king. . . .

warmth is assured. . . .

 

The meaning of this picture is unknown. Could it represent the scene described above?

 

2. THE CONFLICT WITH MOT

4.1    . . . . .       c. 20 lines

Ba‘al is complaining about not having his own home, possibly because his previous palace was destroyed by Yam.  He is requesting Kothar-Khasis to make  works of art, to present to Athirat.

Groaning he implores Bull El his father, El the king who established* him, *or 'created'

he implores Athirat and her sons, Elat and her band of kinsfolk:

Ba‘al has no house as the other gods have, no court as the sons of Athirat have. (etc).

One thing more I have to tell to you:

Prepare, I pray you, a present for Lady Athirat of the Sea*,   *rbt atrt ym

a gift for the gods' creatress*.  *qnyt ilm

Heyan went up to the bellows; the tongs were in the hand of Khasis;

he cast silver, he poured gold,

he cast silver a thousandfold, gold he cast ten thousandfold;

he cast a canopy* and a couch,  *(?) hym; the meaning of many words are doubtful here

a divine dais of twice ten thousand pieces,

a divine dais coated in silver, overlaid with a covering of gold;

a dlvine seat with a cushion on top, a divine footstool covered with electrum,

divine sandals fitted with straps, which he plated over with gold,

a divine table which he filled with all manner of beasts from the earth's depths,

a divine bowl with a handle in Amorite style* *or 'shaped like a lamb'

its style like that of the land of Yam’an, with wild oxen by the ten thousands.

4.2    Athirat is working by the seashore when she sees Ba‘al and ‘Anat coming towards her; she thinks

          their visit is hostile, but she is reassured and delighted when she receives the presents.

. . . . .        c. 20 lines

She grasped her spindle in her hand, the spindle of high degree in her right hand;

she carried her garment for covering her flesh,

she carried her robe into the sea*,             *bym

her two garments into the river*;              *bnhrm, floods? waves?

she placed a cauldron on the fire, a pot on top of the coals.

She fluttered her eyelids at* Bull El the Benign,            *at the thought of?

she winked at the creator of creatures*          *bny bnwt.

 

Then lifting her eyes and looking, Athirat saw Ba‘al approaching ,

the Virgin ‘Anat approaching, Yabamat Limim advancing .

Her feet started jerking under her,

her spine broke up behind her,  her face perspired above her;

she convulsed the joints of her spine, the muscles of her back*. *anxiety shivers and spasms

She lifted up her voice and cried out:

Why has Almighty Baal come? Why has the Virgin Anat come?

Have my enemies come to smite my sons, or to kill off my band of kinsfolk?

But when Athirat caught sight of the silver coating,

the silver coating and the gold plating, Lady Athirat of the Sea rejoiced.

She cried out to her attendant:*  *Qadesh-Amrur

Look at this skilful work. . . .

Fisherman of Lady Athirat of the Sea,

take a net in your hand, Qadesh, a large one on your hands, Amrur;

(cast it) into Yam* the Favourite of El, *'the sea'

into Yam . . . .

into Nahar . . . .

4.3     Athirat is presumably wanting some tasty fish to present to her guests, who are talking with each other as they come along.

. . . . .        c. 15 lines

Let him not escape. . . .

O god possessing kingship.

Almighty Ba‘al gave answer, the Rider of Clouds replied:                          

he* stood up and derided me, he arose and spat upon me,    *Yam?

amid the Assembly of sons of gods*;  *or 'the sons of El'

(shame) was set on my table, disgrace in the cup I drank from. 

Two kinds of feasts* Ba‘al despises, three kinds the Rider of Clouds:     *'sacrifices''

a shameful feast and a vile feast, and a feast where servant girls act lewdly;

for shamefulness is seen there, and servant girls' lewdness there.

After Almighty Ba‘al had arrived, and the Virgin ‘Anat had arrived,

they entreated Lady Athirat of the Sea with gifts,

they supplicated the creatress of the gods with presents.

And Lady Athirat of the Sea answered:

Why are you entreating Lady Athirat of the Sea,

supplicating the creatress of the gods?

Have you entreated Bull El the Benign,

or supplicated the creator of creatures?

And the Virgin‘Anat answered:

We first entreat you, Mother, Lady Athirat of the Sea,

we first supplicate you, creatress of the gods.

 Only then will we entreat him with gifts. . . . . .

4.4     . . . . .        c. 12 lines

After enjoying a meal they prepare to go and see El.

Said Lady Athirat of the Sea:

Hear now, Qadesh-Amrur, fisherman of Lady Athirat of the Sea,

saddle a he-ass, harness a donkey,

attach the reins made of silver, the bridle made of gold,

fasten the reins of my jenny.

Qadesh-Amrur obeyed. . . .

Qadesh-Amrur lifted her in his arms, and seated Athirat on the back of the he-ass, 

on the comfortable part of the donkey's back.

Qadesh took hold of a torch, Amrur was like a star in front;

the Virgin Anat followed after, while Ba‘al went off to Sapan's heights.

Then she set her face to go to El at the sources of the rivers,

amidst the springs of the two oceans.

Penetrating the mountain(s) of El,

and entering the tabernacle of the King, the Father of Years,

she bowed and fell down at the feet of El,

she prostrated herself and paid him homage.

As soon as El caught sight of her he opened wide his mouth and laughed,

he tapped his feet on the footstool, and clicked* his fingers in glee.*(danced? drummed?)

He lifted up his voice and exclaimed:

Why has Lady Athirat of the Sea arrived, why has the creatress of the gods come?

Are you ravenously hungry after your far journey,

are you terribly thirsty after your night of travel?

Then have something to eat or drink; eat some food from the tables,

drink some wine from the goblets, the blood of trees* from a golden cup. *(vines)

Or does King El's passion* stir you,     *(or: passion for King El)

or the Bull's love* arouse you?  *(or: love for)

And Lady Athirat of the Sea replied:

El, your decree is wise, your wisdom is everlasting,

a life of good fortune is your decree.

Our king is Almighty Ba‘al, our judge who has no superior.

We should each carry his chalice*, we should each carry his cup.*(platter? gift?)

Groaning he implores Bull El his father, El the king who created him;

he implores Athirat and her sons, Elat and her band of kinsfolk:

Baal has no house as the other gods have, no court as the sons of Athirat have. . . .

And El the kindly, the Benign replied:

So I am a slave, a lackey of Athirat, So I am a slave, wielding a trowel,

with Athirat as a servant-girl moulding bricks?

4.5    Let a house be built for Ba‘al as other gods have, a court as the sons of Athirat have.

And Lady Athirat of the Sea replied:

You are great, El, you are truly wise, the grey hairs of your beard instruct you;

you have shown me kindness, your bosom friend. (? or: the kindness that is in your breast?)

Now Ba‘al can fix the time for his rains,

the time for his ship* in the snow, *(snow clouds? or: billows? Baal protects seafarers)

and to utter his voice in the clouds, flash forth his lightnings on the earth.

A house of cedars, let him complete it; a house of bricks, let him construct it.

Let it be told to Almighty Ba‘al:

Summon a caravan into your mansion, bringing wares into your palace;

the mountains shall yield you much silver, the hills the most exquisite gold,

they shall yield you the choicest of gems.

Then build a mansion of silver and gold, a mansion of bright lapis lazuli.

The Virgin ‘Anat rejoiced;*    *(she was there too, remember)

she stamped her feet and the earth shook.

Then she set her face to go to Ba‘al on the heights of Sapan,

over a thousand tracts, ten thousand spaces.

The Virgin ‘Anat laughed, lifted up her voice and exclaimed:

Ba‘al, you shall be jubilant; I have brought you glad tidings.

A house shall be built for* you as your brothers have, *(y[b]n, or y[t]n 'given to')

and a court as your kinsfolk have.

Summon a caravan into your mansion. . . (et cetera)

Almighty Ba‘al rejoiced;

he summoned a caravan into his mansion, bringing wares into his palace;

the mountains yielded him much silver, the hllls the most exquisite gold,

they yielded hlm the choicest of gems.

He sent for Kothar-Khasis.

Here the text asks the reader to "again recite: When the young men were sent", presumably a reference to an earlier passage, now lost, when Ba‘al sent messengers to Kothar-Khasis, or else simply the standard formula for dispatching envoys.

After Kothar-Khasis had arrived,

they set an ox before him, a fatling in front of him;

a chair was prepared and he was seated at the right hand of Almighty Ba‘al,

as the gods were drinking and eating.

Almighty Ba‘al began to speak:

Kothar-Khasis, set to work,

make haste, build a mansion,  make haste, erect a palace;

promptly let the mansion be built, promptly let the palace be erected,

amid the heights of Sapan.

Let the house cover a thousand tracts, the palace ten thousand spaces.

And Kothar-Khasis replied:

Pay heed, Almighty Ba‘al, consider, Rider of Clouds,

should I not put a lattice in the mansion, a window in the midst of the palace?

But Almighty Ba‘al answered:

No, do not put a lattice in the mansion,  a window in the midst of the palace. . . .

4.6     And Kothar-Khasis replied:

Ba‘al you will come round to my idea.

Then Kothar-Khasis repeated the question:

Pay heed, now, Almighty Ba‘al,  should I not put a lattlce in the manslon,

a window in the midst of the palace?

But Almighty Ba‘al replied:

Do not put a lattice in the mansion, a window in the midst of the palace,

lest Pidray Daughter of Mist runs out, Tallay Daughter of Rain. . . .

Yam the Favourite of El . . .

derided me and spat on me. . . .

But Kothar-Khasis answered:

Ba‘al you will come round to my idea.

His mansion was soon constructed, his palace was soon erected.

They went to Lebanon for its trees, to Sirion for its choicest cedars;

yes, to Lebanon for its trees, to Sirion* for its choicest cedars.*(Mt Hermon)

A fire was started in the mansion, flames were kindled in the palace.

For one day, then two,  fire blazed inside the mansion. flames inside the palace. . . .

On the seventh day the fire went out in the mansion,the flames inside the palace.

The silver had turned into plates*, the gold had been turned into bricks.

Almighty Ba‘al was exultant:

I have built my mansion out of silver, constructed my palace out of gold.

Ba‘al stocked his mansion with provisions, Hadad made preparations in his palace.

Oxen he slaughtered and sheep likewise; bulls he felled and fatted rams,

calves that were one year old, skipping lambs and kidlings.

He invited his brothers into his mansion, his kinsfolk into the midst of his palace,

he invited the seventy sons of Athirat.

He supplied the gods with he-lambs and wine,

supplied the goddesses with she-lambs and wine;

he supplied the gods wlth oxen and wine,

supplied the goddesses wlth heifers and wine;

he supplied the gods with seats and wine,

supplied the goddesses with thrones and wine;

he supplied the gods with tuns of wine,

supplied the goddesses with casks.

So long as the gods ate and drank,

they were supplied with tender sucklings,

with a salted knife they cut up a fatling;

they were drinking goblets of wine, the blood of trees in cups of gold. . . . .  6 lines

4.7    . . . .

lapis lazuli . . .

Almighty Ba‘al

(struck?) Yam the Favourite of El

on the top of his skull.*  *(reported or happening then? in either case the gods take fright?)

The gods withdrew from the mountain,

from Sapan llke mountain-goats.*   *(my hypothesls, y[lm])

Ba‘al moved from city to city*, *(his lightning is striking over sea [Yam] and land?)

he went round from town to town,

he captured sixty-six cities, seven and seventy towns,

eighty Ba‘al. . . , ninety Ba‘al. . . .

Thereupon Ba‘al entered the house, and Almighty Ba‘al declared:

I will do it, Kothar, this very day,

Kothar, this very moment*:  *(after all the thunder and lightning he will now release his rain)

let a window be opened in the mansion,  

a lattice* in the midst of the palace, *(same word 'rbt in Genesis 7:11-12, the Flood story:

and a rift be opened in the clouds,      'the windows of heaven were opened and rain fell')

in accordance with the idea of Kothar-Khasis.

Kothar-Khasis burst out laughing, he lifted up his voice and exclaimed:

Almighty Ba‘al, did I not say to you: Ba‘al you will come round to my idea?

He opened a window in the mansion, a lattice in the midst of the palace,

Ba‘al opened a rift in the clouds,

Ba‘al gave forth his holy voice, the utterance of his lips Ba‘al repeated;

at his holy voice the earth shook, the mountains at the utterance of his lips. . . .

The high places of the earth were quaking.

The enemies of Ba‘al took to the woods,

the haters of Hadad to the hollows of rocks.

And Almighty Ba‘al exclaimed:

Enemies of Hadad, why are you dismayed,

why are you dismayed at the weapons of Demarun*? *(another name of Ba‘al Hadad)

Because the eye of Ba‘al precedes* his hand          *(qdm, guides?)

when the cedar* is brandished in his right hand? *(thunderbolt, as a cedar spear; see picture)

 

Ba‘al, Hadad, Demarun son of Dagan,

brandishing  a club and a 'cedar' spear thunderbolt.

The identity of the smaller figure is not known.

If female, it could it be Athtart or Anat.


Thereupon Ba‘al sat down in his mansion:

Will anyone, king or non-king, occupy for himself the earth, my dominion?

I will send a courier to Mot, son of deities, a herald to the hero beloved of El,

to invite Mot* to swallow such a one,   *(the god of death and drought)

the beloved one to hide him in his innards.

I alone am king over the gods, who fattens gods and people,

who satisfies the multitudes of the earth.

Ba‘al called out to his young men:

See, Gupan and Ugar, the daylight is veiled in gloom,

the exalted princess is in deep darkness,

the glowing pinions of Menat*.   *(a name of the sun?)

Flocks are flying round in the clouds, birds are circling in the heavens.

I shall bind the snow . . .   *(in storehouses, cp.Job 38:22)

the lightning . . . . 7 lines

4.8    So then set your faces steadfastly to go to Targhizazi Mountain,

to Tharumagi Mountain, to the twin hills bounding the earth.

Lift up a mountain on your hands, a forested hill on your palms,

and descend to the house of 'freedom' in the earth;  (actually a place of imprisonment)

be numbered with those who descend into the earth.

Then set your faces steadfastly to go to Mot, son of deities,

in  his city the Miry Abyss*;                    *(hmry, watery  cp. mhmrt, 5.1.7)

a pit* is the throne on which he sits, a hole* the land of his heritage.

*(mk and hh, two words found in mining inscriptions in Sinai)

But beware, you servants of the gods: do not go near Mot, the son of gods,

lest he make you like a lamb in his mouth,

and you be gulped down like kids in the gulf of his gullet.

Shapash the luminary of the gods is glowing hot,

the heavens are languishing in the power of Mot, beloved of gods.

Crossing a thousand tracts, ten thousand spaces,

bow and fall down at the feet of Mot, prostrate yourselves and pay him homage,

and report to Mot, son of deities, repeat to the hero beloved of El:

The message of Almighty Baal, the word of the Mightiest Warrior:

I have built my mansion out of silver, constructed my palace out of gold.

My brothers . . . I invited . . . .

 

Ba‘al sends his messengers Gupan and Ugar to invite Mot to come to a feast with the gods in the new palace of Ba‘al and thereby acknowledge Ba‘al's sovereignty. Mot sends Gupan and Ugar back to Ba‘al with his answer.

 

5.1    The two gods did not stay but departed;

they then set their faces to go to Ba‘al on the heights of Sapan.

And Gupan and Ugar delivered the reply:

The message of Mot, son of deities, the word of the hero beloved of El:

My appetite is an appetite of lions in the desert,

like the longing of dolphins to be in the sea,

or like a pool attracting wild oxen, or a spring with herds of hinds.

If in very truth my appetite is for consuming clay*, *human flesh? or: an ass)

then in truth I eat with both my hands,

whether my seven portions are in the bowl,

or whether Nahar* mixes the cup.  *'river' (of death?)

Now Ba‘al has invited me to feast with my brothers,

Hadad has summoned me to feast with my kinsfolk;

but to eat mere bread with my brothers, and to drink mere wine with my kinsfolk!

Have you forgotten, Ba‘al, I can pierce you through? . . . .

Even though you smote Lotan* the slippery serpent, *(Leviathan,Isaiah 27:1)

and finished off the twisting serpent, the tyrant with seven heads,

the heavens will burn and wilt, for I myself will crush you in pieces, . . .

and you will slide down the throat of Mot, son of gods,

into the miry depths* of the hero beloved of El. *(mhmrt)

. . . .  25 lines?

5.2 . . . . 12 lines?

         Ba‘al expresses his terror of Mot.

A lip to the earth, a lip to the heavens*  *(the gaping jaws of Mot)

the tongue stretching to the stars.

Ba‘al must enter into his vitals, descending through his mouth;

because he has scorched the olives, the earth's produce and the trees' fruit,

Almighty Ba‘al is afraid of him, the Rider of Clouds is terrified of him.

Go and report to Mot, the son of gods, repeat to the hero beloved of El:

The message of Almighty Ba‘al, the word of the Mightiest Warrior:

Hail, Mot, son of gods, I am your servant, yours forever.

The two gods set off without stopping . . . .

Mot the son of gods rejoiced.

. . . .

 

5.3

This column is damaged and now consists only of half lines. Ba‘al apparently complains to El that the dominion he has won may soon pass to Mot. Evidently he plans to give Mot a feast that will not be of mere bread and wine but of copious quantities of cattle and sheep, obtained from the gods Sheger and Ithm respectively. Presumably Ba‘al hopes that this kind of sacrificial banquet will take away Mot's desire to swallow him up in death. (Animals dying in drought?)

5.4   

Again we are confronted with a collection of incomplete lines. There is a feasting assembly of gods (in the house of El, line 20?). Someone speaks (El? Mot, cp. Yam asking for Ba‘al in 2.1?)

He lifted up his voice and cried:

Where then is Ba‘al . . . , where is Hadad . . . ?

5.5   

Ba‘al seems to have been abandoned to his fate by El. The sun-goddess Shapash agrees to assist Ba‘al. Her plan appears to be that Ba‘al will find a substitute to present to Mot, and in this way only the life of a calf will be lost; Ba‘al should meanwhile hide in the underworld.

Almighty Ba‘al. . . . .

the life of a calf . . . .

I will put him in the hole* of the earth-gods.                *or: a hole

As for you, take your clouds, your winds, your thunderbolts, your rains;

take with you your seven young men and your eight boars;

take with you Pidray Daughter of Mist, take with you Tallay Daughter of Rain.

Then set your face to go to the mountains at my grave.(knkny; where the sun sets)

Lift up a mountain on your hands, a forested hill on your palms,

and descend to the house of 'freedom' in the earth,

be numbered with those who descend into the earth,

and experience weakness like mortals.

Almighty Ba‘al complied: he made love to a heifer in the grassland,

a cow in the fields by the shore of the realm of death;

he lay with her seventy-seven times, she had him mount her eighty-eight times;

and she conceived and bore him a man child*.      (or a twin?)

Almighty Ba‘al clothed him with his robe, . . .

as a present for the beloved*. . . .          *(of El, namely Mot)

5.6   

Two deities, possibly Ba‘al's servants Gupan and Ugar, report to El.

We have both been to the ends of the earth, to the edges of the watery region,

we came to the pleasant pasture land,

the delightful fields by the shore of the realm of death;

we came upon Ba‘al, fallen to the ground.

Almighty Ba‘al is dead, the Prince, the Lord* of Earth, has perished. *(ba‘al)

So El the kindly and benign stepped down from the throne and sat on the footstool,

and then down from the footstool and sat on the ground.

He poured straw of mourning on his head, dust of grovelling on his skull;

for clothing he covered himself with a loincloth; he scraped his skin with a stone;

with a flint for a razor he shaved his cheeks and chin;

he harrowed the length of his arm, he ploughed his chest like a garden,

he harrowed his back like a valley.

He lifted up his voice and cried:

Ba‘al is dead: what happens to the people?

Dagan's son: what happens to the multitudes?

I would go down into the earth after* Ba‘al.      *(or in place of)

 

‘Anat also went and searched every mountain to the heart of the earth,

every hill to the heart of the fields.

She came to the pleasant pasture land,

the delightful fields by the shore of the realm of death;

she came upon Ba‘al, fallen to the ground.

For clothing she covered herself with a loincloth. . . . (and she mourned exactly as El  did)

6.1

We would go down into the earth after* Ba‘al.  *(or in place of)

Shapash the luminary of the gods came down to her

as she sated herself with weeping, swallowing teardrops like wine.

She cried out to Shapash the luminary of the gods:

Pray lift Almighty Ba‘al onto me.

Shapash the luminary of the gods complied;

she picked up Almighty Ba‘al, and set him on ‘Anat's shoulder.

She took him up to the heights of Sapan;

she wept for him and buried him, she put him in a hole of the earth-gods.

She slaughtered seventy wild oxen as a sacrifice* for Almighty Ba‘al;   *(? gmn)

she slaughtered seventy oxen , . . . she slaughtered seventy sheep, . . .

she slaughtered seventy deer, . . . . she slaughtered seventy mountain-goats, . . .

she slaughtered seventy asses as a sacrifice for Almighty Baal.

She put...

... brother-in-law of the gods.

 

Then she* set her face to go to El at the sources of the rivers,   *‘Anat

amidst the springs of the two oceans.

Penetrating the mountain(s) of El,

and entering the tabernacle of the King, the Father of Years,

she bowed and fell down at the feet of El,

she prostrated herself and paid him homage.

She lifted up her voice and cried:

Now let Athirat and her sons rejoice, Elat and her band of kinsfolk;

Almighty Ba‘al is dead, the Prince, the Lord of Earth, has perished.

El called to Lady Athirat of the Sea:

Hearken, Lady Athirat of the Sea, give one of your sons for me to make him king.

And Lady Athirat of the Sea replied:

Yes, let us make him* king who has knowledge and understanding"   *(‘Athtar?)

And El the kindly, the benign retorted:

A weakling cannot compete with Ba‘al,

and let the lance fly at the right moment like Dagan's son.

But Lady Athirat of the Sea rejoined:

Not so, let us make ‘Athtar the Terrible king; let ‘Athtar the Terrible reign.

Accordingly ‘Athtar the Terrible went up onto the heights of Sapan;

but when he sat on the throne of Almighty Ba‘al,

his feet did not reach to the footstool, his head did not reach to its top.

And ‘Athtar the Terrible* declared:                   *meaning of the word uncertain

I cannot be king on the heights of Sapan.

‘Athtar the Terrible stepped down, down from the throne of Almighty Ba‘al,

and became king over the whole of El's earth.

. . . . drawing water in vessels . . . .  (He is in charge of irrigation, then?)

6.2    One day passed into days, while the Maiden ‘Anat searched for him.

Like the heart of a heifer towards her calf, like the heart of a ewe towards her lamb, so was the heart of ‘Anat after Ba‘al.

She seized Mot by the hem of his garment, restrained him by the end of his robe.

She lifted up her voice and exclaimed: Now, Mot, return my brother.

But Mot, son of gods, replied: What do you want of me, Virgin ‘Anat?

I myself went to and fro and searched every mountain to the heart of the earth, every hill to the heart of the fields.

My appetite was in want of human beings, my appetite was for earth's multitudes,

I came to the pleasant pasture land,

the delightful fields by the shore of the realm of death.

I confronted Almighty Ba‘al, I made him like a lamb in my mouth;

he was gulped down like a kid in the gulf of my gullet.

Shapash the luminary of the gods glowed hot,

the heavens languished under the hand of Mot, son of gods.

One day passed into days, days passed into months,

as the Maiden ‘Anat searched for him.

Like the heart of a heifer towards her calf, like the heart of a ewe for her lamb,

so was the heart of ‘Anat after Ba‘al.

She seized Mot, son of gods, she split him with a blade,

winnowed him in a sieve, burned him in a fire,

ground him in millstones, scattered him in a field;

his flesh was eaten by the birds, his pieces consumed by the sparrows.

Flesh cried out to flesh.

 

6.3

. . . .  40 lines   

‘Anat is reporting Mot's demise to El?

[Mot] has perished . . . .

and if Almighty Ba‘al lives and the Prince the Lord of Earth exists,

then in a dream of El the Kindly, the Benign, in a vision of the Creator of Creatures,

the heavens will rain down oil, the ravines will run with honey,

so will I know that Almighty Ba‘al lives, that the Prince the Lord of Earth exists.

In a dream of El the Kindly, the Benign, in a vision of the Creator of Creatures,

the heavens rained down oil, the ravines ran with honey.

El the Kindly, the Benign rejoiced, he tapped his feet on the footstool,

he opened wide his mouth and laughed, he lifted up his voice and exclaimed:

Now I can sit down and relax, and my soul can relax in my breast,

because Almighty Ba‘al is alive, the Prince the Lord of Earth exists.

Again El cried out, to the Virgin ‘Anat:

Hearken, Virgin ‘Anat, tell Shapash the luminary of the gods:

6.4    The furrows* in the fields are dried up, Shapash,   *(‘nt)

the furrows in El's fields are dried up;

Ba‘al should be occupying the plough-land furrows.

Where is Almighty Ba‘al, where is the Prince, the Lord of Earth?

The Virgin ‘Anat went off,

and set her face to go to Shapash the luminary of the gods;

she lifted up her voice and exclaimed:

The message of Bull El your father, the word of the Kindly your parent:

The furrows in the fields are dried up, Shapash,

the furrows in El's fields are dried up;

Ba‘al should be occupying the plough-land furrows.

Where is Almighty Ba‘al, where is the Prince the Lord of Earth?

And Shapash the luminary of the gods replied:

Pour sparkling wine from a vat, let the members of your family wear garlands,

and I will look for Almighty Ba‘al.

And the Virgin Anat answered:

Wherever you go, Shapash, wherever, may El protect you. . . .

. . . .  40 lines

 

This is a crucial passage for interpreting the story. The pouring of wine and the wearing of garlands would indicate a vineyard festival in the month of August, and expectation of the arrival of autumn, when Ba‘al would return with his rains, and establish his kingship again. What follows here seems to fit this scenario. However, the verbs could also be translated in the future tense, and they then become a pious hope or confident prediction of Ba‘al's eventual triumph over Mot; this would not happen till seven years later, when the battle with Mot takes place, at the end of summer and beginning of autumn (as the fight with Yam had occurred at the end of winter and beginning of spring). A seven-year drought seems to be implied here, which did not end till Mot was defeated at the end of the seventh summer. So the verbs in lines 1 to 6 will be put in the present tense, to be understood as narrative present for the first case, or with a future reference for the second possibility.

6.5    Ba‘al seizes the sons of Athirat,

he smites the great ones* with a broad-sword,             *(or Rabbim)

he smites the subduers of the sea* with a mace,           *(or Yam)

he throws the young ones to the ground.

Ba‘al ascends to his throne of kingshlp,

to the cushion on his seat of dominion.

Days passed into months, months into years;

then in the seventh year Mot the son of gods came to Almighty Ba‘al;

he lifted up his voice and cried:

Because of you, Ba‘al, I suffered disgrace,

because of you I suffered splitting with a blade,

because of you I suffered burning in a fire,

because of you I suffered grinding in millstones,

because of you I suffered winnowing in a sifter,

because of you I suffered sowing in the fields,

because of you I suffered scattering in the sea.

Give me one of your brothers for me to feed on,

and the anger that is in me will turn back;

if you do not give me one of your brothers . . . .

I will consume human beings,

I will consume earth's multitudes.

. . . .   25 lines

 6.6   I will drive him out . . . .

I will banish him . . . .

 

 Mot the son of gods feeds* on his seven young men.   *(or: Let Mot feed)

Without context speculation is rife here. Ba‘al has by some ruse caused Mot to eat some of his own relatives, or he has simply suggested that Mot should do so.

And Mot the son of gods retorted:

So Ba‘al gives me my own brothers to feed on,

the sons of my own mother to consume.

He came to Ba‘al on the heights of Sapan;

he lifted up his voice and cried:

My own brothers, Ba‘al, you have given me to feed on,

the sons of my own mother to consume.

They eyed each other like burning coals;

Mot held firm, Ba‘al held firm;

they gored each other like wild oxen;

Mot held firm, Ba‘al held firm;

they bit each other like serpents;

Mot held firm, Ba‘al held firm;

they tugged each other like greyhounds*; *(? lsmm, 'racers')

Mot fell, Ba‘al fell upon him.

Shapash called out to Mot:    (cp. her taunt to ‘Athtar, 2.3)

Hear me, pray, Mot, son of gods,

how can you fight with Almighty Ba‘al,

how will Bull El your father heed you?

He will pull out the supports of your seat,*  *(or dwelling)

he will overturn the throne of your kingship,

he will break the sceptre of your rule.

Mot the son of gods was afraid,

the hero beloved of El was terrified.

Mot was alarmed at her voice. . . .

Let them seat Ba‘al on his throne of kingship,

on the cushion on his seat of dominion!

 

Betake yourself to the fresh meat,

partake of the offertory bread,

imbibe the oblation wine.

Shapash, the shades are underneath you,

Shapash, the ghosts are below you;

the gods come to you,

see, the dead come to you.

Kothar is your companion, and Khasis your intimate friend.

In the sea are Arsh and the Dragon*;  *monsters threatening the sun

let them be banished by Kothar-Khasis, let Kothar-Khasis drive them off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The supreme god El on his throne and footstool.

The sun-goddess Shapash hovers above him as the winged sun-disk
NOTES

 

Before the clay tablets of Ugarit came to light in 1929 there were no myths of Ba‘al available for study. The Canaanite god Ba‘al was known from the Bible, notably in the story of the Mount Carmel contest between Eliyahu (Elijah) the prophet of Yahweh and the prophets of Ba‘al (1 Kings 18). Ba‘al was also mentioned in Egyptian sources (see the report on the battle of Qadesh, where Pharaoh Ramesses II is likened to Ba‘al); and his name occurred in Phoenician inscriptions. But now we possess a cycle of tales about this stormy deity and his tempestuous sister ‘Anat, and this has here been given the title The Epic of Ba‘al.

 

All the tablets are damaged and unnumbered, so there are gaps in our understanding and uncertainty about the order of events. We are also confronted with difficulties and ambiguities in the language of the text (the Ugaritic dialect of Canaanite). One frequent problem of interpretation is deciding whether a verb with the prefix l attached to it is emphatic ('I did indeed destroy Yam'), or negative ('I did not destroy Yam'), or negative interrogative ('Did I not destroy Yam?'). Another conundrum is whether the preposition b means 'in' or 'from' in each context. And the debate continues over the meaning of particular Ugaritic words, many of which are also found in Hebrew, or in Arabic, but some of which are unique and defy translation.

 

Tablets 4, 5, and 6 clearly belong together in that order; but the sequence for 1, 2, and 3 is a controversial subject. (See above, the note at the beginning of the translation.) There may have been more than six tablets, it should be noted. If tablet 3 is placed first, followed by 1 and 2, then there could have been a fourth tablet (4a) preceding tablet 4 (4b), which told of the aftermath of the defeat of Yam, leading up to the need to placate El and Athirat, hence the request for a costly gift to be made for Athirat. However, there is enough space in the missing lines at the end of 2 and the beginning of 4 to contain these details. One seemingly tidy arrangement of the tablets is to allot 3+1+2 to the conflict with Yam, and 4+5+6 to the conflict with Mot; in each case Ba‘al would need a palace, in order to perform his functions adequately, that is, providing the autumn and spring rains in their season.

 

The epic can thus be divided into two parts: (1) the storm god Ba‘al fights the sea god Yam for supremacy and wins, with the help of the craftsman god Kothar-and-Khasis (Skilful and Clever); (2) a palace (or temple) is built for Ba‘al, again with the aid of Kothar-Khasis (whose home is the city of Memphis, and who seems therefore to be the Egyptian god Ptah);  Ba‘al is confronted by his enemy Mot, god of death, and he succumbs, but is found dead by his sister ‘Anat (who is perhaps to be compared with Isis the reviver of Osiris in this regard, and with Venus the lover of Adonis), but  apparently this is only a substitute Ba‘al; the real Ba‘al is in hiding; the sun goddess Shapash also assists ‘Anat and Ba‘al in conquering Mot (as Shamash had been on hand when Gilgamesh and Enkidu slew Humbaba).

 

This is not a cosmogony, but El is called Creator of creatures (6.3). Throughout the Epic the god El is the final authority who is appealed to. It has been noted that Yahweh of Israel combines in himself the two persons: Ba‘al (meaning 'Lord') and El (a name applied to Yahweh in the Bible, meaning, simply 'God'). Yahweh is a god associated with storm and rain and mountain tops, as is Ba‘al-Hadad (the thunderer) or Ba‘al-Sapan (Lord of the Northern Mountain); both Yahweh and Ba‘al are called 'the rider of clouds'. But Yahweh is also El, the creator and ruler. Yahweh, however, has no consort, whereas El has Athirat (known as Asherah in the Bible, e.g. Judges 3:7, 1 Kings 18:19 ) and Ba‘al has ‘Athtart (‘Ashtoreth in the Bible, 1 Kings 11:5) and also ‘Anat, his 'sister' (not found in the Bible). Outside the Bible, Yahweh is in fact coupled with Asherah, as Hebrew inscriptions reveal.

 

Edition and Translations

J.C.L. Gibson, Canaanite Myths and Legends (1978). 37-81, with translation.

J.C. de Moor, A Cuneiform Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit (1987) 1-44.

J.C. de Moor, An Anthology of Religious Texts from Ugarit (1987) 1-100, with explanatory notes, and a table (101-108), arguing his case for a 'seasonal pattern' in the myth

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