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This text is in reality a hymn of praise to the god Shamash, to which has been appended a prayer for the well-being of Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, 668-633 BC. This composition has a feature in its final lines which is unusual for hymns and prayers, but which is reminiscent of numerous royal inscriptions from very early times in Mesopotamia; a blessing is pronounced on whoever makes proper use of the piece, and a corresponding curse is added for its misuse. Duplicate copies of the text are preserved on two tablets found in the German excavations at Ashur.
O light of the great gods, light of the earth, illuminator of the world-regions,
... exalted judge, the honored one of the upper and lower regions,
... Thou dost look into all the lands with thy light.
As one who does not cease from revelation, daily thou dost determine the decisions of heaven and earth.
Thy [rising] is a flaming fire; all the stars in heaven are covered over.
Thou art uniquely brilliant; no one among the gods is equal with thee.
With Sin, thy father, thou dost hold court; thou dost deliver ordinances.
Anu and Enlil without thy consent establish no decision.
Ea, the determiner of judgment in th emidst of the Deep, depends upon thee. [literally "looks upon thy face"]
The attention of all the gods is turned to thy bright rising.
They inhale incense; they receive pure bread-offerings.
The incantation priests [bow down] under thee in order to cause signs of evil to pass away.
The oracel priests [stand before] thee in order to make the hands worthy to bring oracles.
[I am] thy [servant], Ashurbanipal, the exercising of whose kingship thou didst command in a vision,
[The worshiper of] thy bright divinity, who makes glorious the appurtenances of thy divinity,
[The proclaimer of] thy greatness, who glorifies thy praise to widespread peoples.
Judge his case; turn his fate to prosperity.
[Keep] him in splendor; daily let him walk safely.
[Forever] may he rule over thy people whom thou hast given him in righteousness.
[In the house] which he made, and within which he caused thee to dwell in joy,
May he rejoice in his heart, in his disposition may he be happy, may he be satisified in living.
Whoever shall sing this psalm, (and) name the name of Ashurbanipal,
In abundance and righteousness may he rule over the people of Enlil.
Whoever shall learn this text (and) glorify the judge of the gods,
May Shamash enrich his ...; may he make pleasing his command over the people.
Whoever shall cause this song to cease, (and) shall not glorify Shamash, the light of the great gods,
Or shall change the name of Ashurbanipal,
the exercise of whose kingship Shamash in a vision commanded, and then shall name another royal name,
May his playing on the harp be displeasing to the people; may his song of rejoicing be a thorn and a thistle.