Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Who Was King Cushan-rishathaim of Judges 3:8?



According to Judges 3:

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7 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the people of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the people of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord was upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. And his hand prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
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Now Dean Hickman has, in his extremely useful attempted revision of Mesopotamian history ("The Dating of Hammurabi", Proc. 3rd Seminar of Catastrophism & Ancient History (CAH) (Uni. of Toronto, 1985, ed. M. Luckerman), p. 13-28), proposed for this enigmatic Cushan-rishathaim of c. C14th BC an historical identification with the similarly rather obscure Enshag-kushanna of the Uruk II dynasty.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enshakushanna) Enshakushanna (or En-shag-kush-ana, Enukduanna, En-Shakansha-Ana) was a king of Uruk in the later 3rd millennium BC who is named on the Sumerian king list, which states his reign to have been 60 years. He conquered Hamazi, Akkad, Kish, and Nippur, claiming hegemony over all of Sumer. He adopted the Sumerian title en ki-en-gi lugal kalam-ma en ki in Sumerian means god of the Apsû,[1][2] which may be translated as "lord of Sumer and king of all the land" (or possibly as "en of the region of Uruk and lugal of the region of Ur"[3]), and could correspond to the later title lugal ki-en-gi ki-uri "King of Sumer and Akkad" that eventually came to signify kingship over Babylonia as a whole.
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The 'Cushan' element here is obvious, but Hickman has also wonderfully explained how the name elements, enshag and rishathaim, can actually be correlated.
As for Hickman's further identification of this Enshag-kushanna (Cushan-rishathaim) with the famous Sargon of Akkad - an identification that we had previously favoured - we have reason now to reject it. Let it be said, however, that we regard Hickman's date for Sargon in the later second millennium BC to be far closer to the mark than Sargon's textbook date about a millennium earlier than this.

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