Amarna Tablet 79
Letter from Rib-Hadda to the King of Egypt


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Language: Akkadian
Medium: clay tablet
Length: 47 lines of writing
Genre: Letter Requesting Assistance
Date: 14th cent. BCE
Place of Discovery: Tel el-Amarna, Egypt
(ancient Akhetaten)
Date of Discovery: 1887
Discoverer: peasant woman
Current Location: Vorderasiatisches Museum
(Berlin, Germany)
Inventory Number: VAT 1634
Tablet Number: EA 79
Knudtzon 1907–1915

(from Mercer 1939:1:286, 288)

(adapted from Mercer 1939:1:287, 289
and Moran 1992:149-50)
mRi-ib-Addi iq-bi 1 Rib-Hadda says
a-na beli-Šu Šàr mâtâti Šarri rabî 2 to his lord, the King of Lands, the Great King,
Šàr ta-am-ha-ra ilatBêlit 3 the King of Battle: May the Lady
Šá alGub-la ti-di-en 4 of Gubla grant
dunna a-na Šarriri bêli-ia 5 power to the king, my lord.
a-na Šêpê bêli-ia dŠamŠi-ia 6 At the feet of my lord, my Sun,
7-Šú 7-a-an am-ku-ut li-ma-ad 7 I fall down seven times and seven times. Be informed
i-nu-ma iŠ-tu ka-Šá-ad 8 that since
mA-ma-an-ap-pa a-na mu-hi-ia 9 Amanappa's arrival to me,
ka-li amêlûtGAZ.MEŠ na-ad-nu 10 all the 'Apiru have turned
pa-ni-Šú-nu a-na ia- Ši a-na 11 their face against me
ka bi-i mAbdi-AŠi-ir-ta 12 at the instigation of Abdi-AŠirta.
ú yi-eŠ-me bêlili 13 Let my lord listen to
a-wa-temeŠ ardi-Šú ù uŠ-Ši-ra-ni 14 the words of his servant, and let him send me
amêlûta ma-sa-ar-ta a-na 15 a garrison to
na-sa-ar àl Šarri a-di 16 defend the city of the king, until
a-sa sâbê bi-ta-ti ù 17 the archers come out. And
Šum-ma ia-nu sâbê bi-bi-ta-ti 18 if there are no archers,
ù en-ni-ip-Šú ka-li 19 then all the lands will unite
mâtâti a-na amêlûtGAZ.MEŠ Ši-me 20 with the 'Apiru. Listen,
eŠ-tu sa-ba-at alBît-Ar-ha 21 since the conquest of Bit-Arha
a-na bi-i mAbdi-A-Ši-ir-ta 22 in accordance with the demand of Abdi-AŠ irta,
ù ki-na-na tu-ba-ú-na 23 they seek in the same way
i-bi-Šá alGub-la ù 24 to unite Gubla and
alBat-ru-naki ù en-ni-ip-Šú 25 Batruna; and thus all lands would be united
ka-li mâtâti a-na amêlûtGAZ.MEŠ 26 with the 'Apiru.
2 alâni Šá ir-ti-hu a-na ia- Ši 27 Two cities remain with me,
ù tu-ba-ú-na la-qa-Šú-nu 28 and they are also attempting to take
eŠ-tu qa-at Šarriri yu-wa-Ši-ra 29 them from the king's hand. Let my lord send
bêlili amêlûta ma-sa-ar-ta 30 a garrison
a-na 2 ala-ni-Šú a-di a-zi sâbê 31 to his two cities until the arrival
bi-ta-ti ù mi-im-ma 32 of the archers, and give me something
yi-da-na-ni a-na a-ka-li-Šú-nu 33 to feed them.
ia-nu mi-im-ma a-na ia-Ši 34 I have nothing.
ki-ma issuri Šá i-na libbibi 35 Like a bird that lies in
hu-ha-ri ki-lu-bi Šá-ak-na-at 36 a net, a kilubi/cage,
ki-Šú-ma a-na-ku i-na 37 so I am in
alGub-laki Šá-ni-tú 38 Gubla. Furthermore,
Šum-ma la-a i-li-e 39 if the king is not able
Šarruru la-qa-ia eŠ-tu 40 to rescue me from
qa-at na-ak-ri-Šú 41 the hand of his enemy,
ù en-ni-ip-Šá-at 42 then all lands
ka-li mâtâti 43 will unite
a-na mAbdi-A-Ši-ir-ta 44 with Abdi-AŠirta.
mi-nu Šú-tú kalbu ù 45 What is he, the dog, that
íl-ti-ku mâtâ Šarriri a-na 46 he takes the king's lands for
Šá-a-Šú 47 himself?

Great King was the ancient Semitic phrase describing an emperor (for biblical examples, see: 2 Kings 18:19; Psalm 48:2; 95:3; Isaiah 36:4; Jeremiah 27:7; Matthew 5:35).
Gubla is biblical Gebel, later called Byblos, on the Phoenician coast (in modern Lebanon).
Seven times is a common Semitic expression for "repeatedly." Note some biblical examples: Psalm 12:6; 119:164; Proverbs 24:16; Matthew 18:21-22; Luke 17:4.
Amanappa is the name of a an Egyptian official mentioned in ten of the Amarna letters.
Bit-Arha is an unknown location.
Batruna is the name of a Phoenician coastal town located north of Beirut (in modern Lebanon).
Dog is a common Semitic metaphor of either derision or self-deprecation (for biblical examples, see: 1 Samuel 17:43; 2 Samuel 9:8; 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13).


1. The author of this letter, Rib-Addi, is the "mayor" of Gubla. What is his relationship to the recipient of the letter, the Pharaoh of Egypt? Why would Rib-Addi describe himself as bowing 7 times and 7 times before the Pharaoh?

2. Who is Abdi-AŠirta? What role does he play in this drama? What is his strategy? Why does he draw Rib-Addi's disdain?
3. Who are the 'Apiru (see Astour 1976, Buccellati 1977, Gottwald 1979:401-26, Greenberg 1955, Hallock 1939, Lemche 1992, and Moran 1967? What role do they play here?
4. Rib-Addi's comparison of himself in lines 35-38 to a bird in a snare is a common one in the ancient Mediterranean (see Psalm 124:7; Ecclesiastes 9:11-12; Amos 3:5). Compare Rib-Addi's self-description to Sennacherib's portrayal of his siege of Hezekiah in Jerusalem ( Sennacherib Prism 3:18-43).
5. Who is the Lady (Bêlit) of Gubla? What is her role in this letter?

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