Incantation for
Protection Against
the Evil Eye

Language: Akkadian
Genre: Incantation
Approximate Date: BCE
Place of Discovery: Babylon
Date of Excavation:
Current Location:

(Adapted from Thompson 1904)

    The . . . which binds,
    a demon which envelops the person,
    the . . . bringing trouble, which binds,
    the . . . . . . upon the land,
    bringing sickness upon people,
    the roving Evil Eye has looked on the neighborhood
    and has vanished far away,
    has looked on the chamber of the land
    and has vanished far away,
    it has looked on the wanderer;
    and like wood cut off for poles,
    it has bent his neck.
    Ea has seen this person and
    has placed food at his head,
    has brought food near his body,
    has shown favor for his life—
    You, O man, son of his god,
    may the food which I have brought to your head—
    may the food with which I have made an atonement for your body
    assuage your sickness, and you be restored,
    that your foot may stand in the land of life;
    You, O man, son of his god,
    The Eye which has looked on you for harm,
    the Eye which has looked on you for evil,
    which in . . .
    . . . . . .
    May Ba'u smite [it] with flax,
    may Gunura [strike(?) it] with a great oar(?).
    Like rain that falls from the sky
    directed to the earth,
    so may Ea, King of the Deep, remove it from your body.
    Exorcism, incantation.

1. How did the peoples of the ancient Near East conceptualize the Evil Eye? How did they think it worked?
2. What values come into play in the perception of the Evil Eye?
3. Compare and contrast this document with Evil Eye passages in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
4. Click here to read a Greek document concerning a widow petition and the evil eye.

Dundes, Alan, editor. The Evil Eye: A Casebook. New York: Garland, 1981. [repr. Madison: Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 1992]
Elliott, John H. "The Evil Eye in the First Testament: The Ecology and Culture of a Pervasive Belief." In The Bible and the Politics of Exegesis: Essays in Honor of Norman K. Gottwald on His Sixty-Fifth Birthday. Edited by David Jobling et al., 147-59 Cleveland: Pilgrim, 1991.
Elliott, John H. "The Fear of the Leer. The Evil Eye from the Bible to Li'l Abner." Forum 4/4 (1988) 42-71.
Thompson, R. Campbell. The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia. Vol. 2. Luzac's Semitic Text and Translation Series 15. London: Luzac, 1904 [Reprinted by New York: AMS, 1976].

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Last Modified: 15 May 2002