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Psalm 29 - notes



3) The term "Great Sea" is used in various Old Testament geographical contexts, for example Numbers 34:6-7, Joshua 1:4, Ezekiel 47:15). Especially important is Joshua 9:1 "All along the coast of the Great Sea towards Lebanon" (hayyâm haggâdôl).



6) Siryon and Lebanon are paired in several old sources:

  1. An Old Babylonian fragment of Gilgameš, as part of the Huwawa section “Siryon and Lebanon which trembled at Huwawa's ‘word’.” The toponyms here are spelled sa-ri-a and la-ab-na-an. The name is also found in the Egyptian Execration texts as š3ynw. The list of Anti-Lebanon names in Deut 3:9 scrbies use of “Sirion” to the Sidonians.
  2. Lexical series XXII:6-7 of mountains in which si-ra-a-ra immediately precedes la-ab-na-nu, a pattern duplicated in the Lipšur litany (I, 2.8-9)
  3. The Ugaritic Ba‘al text in which trees from Lebanon and cedars from Sirion are used to construct Ba‘al's mansion.
  4. A Mari text of the Šamši-Adad era, in which Mari troops went from the Mediterranean coast to Mount Sirion (sariah) via Mount Lebanon (labnan)
The theme of royal or heroic journeys to acquire tribute, ritually wash items in the Mediterranean Sea and in most cases visit Lebanon for cedar and other woods, is found in:
  1. The Huwawa section of Gilgameš
  2. Sargon of Akkad (mid 24th century BCE) reached the coast but does not mention Lebanon
  3. Naram-Sin (Sargon's grandson, mid 23rd century BCE) provides the earliest mention of Lebanon ([La-a]b-na-an)
  4. Yahdun-Lim, king of Mari c. 1800 BCE. One portion of the inscription may be read as "he felled the trees and stripped the forests bare"
  5. Šamši-Adad a few years later, after the defeat of Mari, reporting the setting up of victory steles in Lebanone and on the shore of the "Great Ocean".
  6. Several Middle Assyrian rulers
The sources make it clear that both the cedars and the Great Sea are viewed as sacred, conferring honour on a person both for conducting religious rituals there and taking wood. Most of the sources stress that the feat would ensure the establishment and continuation of the person's name.

There are, therefore, multiple points of contact here: the link between the Great Waters (and also the Noahic Flood, see below) and Lebanon, the pairing of Lebanon and Siryon, the sacredness of the cedars, and the action of the hero-figure in felling them.


8) Hiph‘îyl stem only used here.


10) mabbûl as Flood only used here and in Genesis 6-11.