The seventy bulls sacrificed at Sukkot (Num 29:12-34) in light of a ritual text from Emar (Emar 6, 373)

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Abstract

This article deals with the seventy bulls offered at Sukkot according to Numbers 29-a number unparalleled in any other Israelite festival for which no persuasive explanation has been adduced to date. In light of a ritual from the ancient Syrian city of Emar (Emar 6, 373: 36-38), it is suggested that the custom reflects an ancient Levantine tradition of sacrificing seventy sacrifices to the seventy gods-the whole pantheon- during the New Year celebration. The evident transformation of the seventy gods into seventy nations by biblical scribes may explain the late rabbinic midrashic tradition according to which the seventy offerings made at Sukkot correspond to the seventy nations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-19
Number of pages11
JournalVetus Testamentum
Volume65
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 28 Jan 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden.

Keywords

  • Emar
  • Numbers 29
  • Sukkot
  • bulls
  • eventy gods/nations
  • zukru-festival

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