Hymn to Shamash (the Sun-God)

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Shamash is praised as a universal god. He shines on all the earth and even on the nether world. He enjoys the worship and devotion of all types of mankind even those in foreign lands. Appearing alternately with this thought throughout the hymn is the proclamation of the sun-god's interest in justice and righteousness. He punishes the wicked and rewards the righteous. The text is made up out of many fragments, all found in the library of Ashurbanipal, 668-633 BC.


O illuminator of [darkness ...],
Destroyer of [evil ...] above and below,
O Shamash, illuminator of [darkness ...],
Destroyer of [evil ...] above and below,
Cast down like a net [over the land] are thy rays;
Over the mighty mountains ... of the sea.
At thy appearance [all] princes are glad;
All the Igigi rejoice over thee.
They are always kept hidden [in] thy ...;
In the brilliance of thy light their path [is obscured].
... constantly look at thy radiance.
The four world regions like fire ....
Opened wide is the gate which entirely ....
The bread-offerings of all the Igigi ....
O Shamash, at thy rising ... are bowed down.
... O Shamash ...,
O shining one, who opens the darkness, who ...,
Who intensifies the noonday heat ... the grain fields.
The mighty mountains are covered with thy brightness.
Thy brilliance fills the extent of the land.
(When) thou art risen over the mountains thou dost scan the earth.
Thou art holding the ends of the earth
    suspended from the midst of heaven.
The people of the world, all of them, thou dost watch over.
Whatever Ea, the counselor-king, has willed to create,
    thou art guarding altogether.
Those endowed with life, thou likewise dost tend;
Thou indeed art their shepherd both above and below.
Faithfully thou dost continue to pass through the heavens;
The broad earth thou dost visit daily.
... the sea, the mountains, the earth, and th eheavens.
Like a ... steadfastly thou goest every day.
The lower region, belonging to the prince Kubu (and) the Anunnaki,
    thou dost guard.
The upper world, consisting of all inhabited places,
    thou dost lead aright.
Shepherd of the lower world, guardian of hte upper,
Guide, light of everything, O Shamash, art thou.
Thou dost constantly pass over the vast wide seas,
Whose innermost depths even the Igigi do not know.
... thy gleaming rays go down into the Deep;
The monsters of the sea look upon thy light.
... when thou art bound with a cord,
    when thou art clothed with a storm-cloud,
... thy protection is cast down on the lands.
As thou art [not] troubled in the daytime,
    and thy face is not darkened,
So thou art satiated at night; thou causest [thy light] to burn.
Over stretches of unknown distance and for countless hours,
O Shamash, thou dost keep awake;
    by day thou dost go and by night thou dost [return].
There is not among all the Igigi one who wearies (himself) except thee.
(Yet) none among the gods of all the world who is exuberant like thee.
At thy rising the gods of the land assemble;
By thy frightful brilliance the land is overwhelmed.
Of all countries (even) those different in language,
Thou knowest their plans; thou art observant of their course.
All mankind rejoices in thee;
O Shamash, all the world longs for thy light.
By the cup of the diviner, by the bundle of cedarwood,
Thou dost instruct the oracle priest and the interpreter of dreams.
... of spells are bowed down before thee;
[Before] thee are bowed down both the wicked and the just.

[Who] penetrates into the sea except thee?
For the good and the wicked (alike) thou dost set up judgment.
[line 3 is too incomplete for translation]
Pours over him, and sleep ...
Thou dost hold back the evildoer, who is not ...
Thou dost bring up ... which holds judgments.
By the true judgment, O Shamash, which thou hast spoken ...
Glorious are thy pronouncements; they are not changed ...
Thou dost stand by the traveler whose road is difficult;
To the seafarer who fears the waters thou dost give [courage].
(Over) roads which are not proven thou dost [guide] the hunter;
He follows along the high places just like the sun.
[The merchant with his] pouch thou dost save from the flood.
(seventeen broken lines omitted)
Spread out is thy wide net [to catch the man]
Who has coveted the wife of his comrade ...
On an unlucky day ...
(line omitted)
When thy weapon is turned on him [he has] no saviors.
In his trial his father will not stand by him;
To the word of the judge even his brothers do not answer;
By a bronze trap will he be caught unawares.
The horn of the perpetrator of abomination thou dost destroy.
He who manipulates the calculating of an account -
    his foundation will be changed.
The unrighteous judge thou dost make to see imprisonment.
The receiver of a bribe who perverts (justice)
    thou dost make to bear punishment.
He who does not accept a bribe (but) intercedes for the weak,
Is well-pleasing to Shamash (and) enriches (his) life.
The solicitous judge who pronounces a judgment of righteousness,
Shall prepare a palace;
    the abode of princes (shall be) his dwelling.
He who invests money at an exorbitant rate of reckoning -
    what does he gain?
He will make himself lie for the profit
    and then lost (his) bag of weights.
He who invests his money at liberal rates of reckoning,
    yielding one shekel for three,
Is well-pleasing to Shamash, (and) enriches his life.
He who handles the scales in falsehood,
He who deliberately changes the stone weights
    (and) lowers [their weight,]
Will make himself lie for the profit
    and then lose [his bag of weights.]
He who handles the scales in truth, much ...
As much as possible ...
He who handles the measure ...
(six broken lines omitted)
He is well-pleasing to Shamash (and) enriches his life.
He will expand (his) family; he will acquire wealth.
Like the water of eternal springs, there shall be enduring seed
For the doer of good deeds, who is not crafty in accounts.
He who changes the least (thing) in an offering of ...
Those who do evil - their seed shall not endure.
Those who make appeal - it is put before thee;
Quickly thou dost interpret their statements.
Thou dost hearken;
    thou dost support them;
    thou dost reinstate the right of
him who has been badly treated.
Each and every one is kept by thy hand;
Thou dost guide all their omens aright;
    what is bound thou dost loosen.
Thou hearkenest, O Shamash,
    to prayer, supplication, and adoration;
To devotion (and) kneeling,
    to reciting of prayers and prostration.
In his hollow voice the feeble man calls out to thee;
The miserable, the weak, the mistreated, the poor man
Comes before thee faithfully with psalms (and) offerings.
When his family is distant, his city is far away,
From the fear of the (open) field, the shepherd comes before thee.
The shepherd boy in confusion, the shepherd among enemies
O Shamash, comes before thee.
    The caravan which marches in fear,
The traveling trader, the peddler carrying the bag of weights,
O Shamash, comes before thee. The net fisherman,
The hunter, the fighter and guard against animals
In the hiding place, the bird-catcher comes before thee.
The burglar, the thief, the enemy of the king,
The vagabond in the roads of the desert, comes before thee.
The wandering dead, the fleeting ghosts
Came before thee, O Shamash ...
Thou didst not exclude; they came before thee ...
(three broken lines omitted)
[To guide] their omens [aright] thou art sitting on a throne.
In all directions thou dost investigate their past.
Thou dost open the ears of the whole world.
For the wings of the glance of thine eyes
    the heavens are not sufficient;
For a divination bowl all the countries are not enough.
On the twentieth day thou dost rejoice; in joy and gladness
Thou dost eat and drink.
    Their pure wine (and) beer of the quay tavern-keeper
They pour out for thee.
    Beer of the qual tavern-keeper thou dost receive.
Those whom ... and flood surround thou indeed dost spare;
Their bright, pure outpourings thou dost accept.
Thou dost drink their mixture, the wine;
The wishes which they conceive thou indeed dost cause to be realized.
Those who are submissive - thou dost release their bans;
Those who do homage - thou dost accept their prayers.
They then fear thee; they honor thy name;
They praise thy greatness forever.
The foolish of tngue who speak evil,
Who, like clouds, have no face or countenance,
Those who traverse the wide earth,
Those who tread upon the high mountains,
The monsters of the sea which are full of terror,
The product of the sea (and) what belongs in the Deep,
The spawn of the river which it produces from itself,
    (all) O Shamash are in thy presence.
Which are the mountains
    that have not clothed themselves with thy brilliance?
Which are the world regions
    that do not warm themselves by the glow of thy light?
O brightener of gloom, who makes darkness to shine,
O opener of darkness, who makes the broad earth to shine,
Who makes the day bright
    (and) sends down burning heat on the earth in the midday,
Who like a fire heats the broad earth,
Who makes the days dshort, who makes nights long,
...cold (and) frost, rain (and) snow,
(twenty more fragmentary lines)