I’m writing up some comparative material for the last of the Akkadian ritual/prayers I’m working on. I‘ve mentioned this ritual a few times before. It involves an exorcism by transferring a ghost from a patient to a figurine and then burying the figurine, and therefore the ghost, in some desolate place. I just wrote this unfinished paragraph.
Tawil demonstrates that Akkadian ṣalmu, “figurine, image” and Hebrew צלם are not only cognate but share nearly identical semantic ranges. In all cases but one (Gen 1:26-27, see below), Tanakh treats having or making a צלם negatively. Nowhere does it clearly portray a צלם as having the same or similar function as the ṣalmu in this Akkadian ritual. However, Ezek 7:20a does provide an interesting point of comparison, “For out of their beautiful adornments, in which they took pride, they made their images of their detestable things, their abominations (צלמי תועבתם שׁקוציהם).” While having somewhat differing semantic ranges, Hebrew √ שׁקצ is likely cognate with Akkadian šikṣu, somekind of mark on exta or on the body. The lexical text Milku IV:59 equates šikṣu with murṣu, “illness” (CAD Š 2, 440). A šikṣu predicts illness. . . .
And then it hit me. With this
forced supposed Ezekiel comparison, I was well down the path to nowhere. So I deleted it and went on to my remarks on Genesis 1:26 and 27. Perhaps they will actually lead to something abnormally interesting.