Enki and Enlil Establish order at Nippur With the Grain Goddess Ezinu

The great gods in their holy dwelling Drank; they were not satisfied; For the proper feeding of their holy flock Kingship in security they established.

A female figure which stood at the temple altar at Nippur.

In Sumerian mythology Nippur was the home of Enlil, the storm god and representation of force and the god who carried out the decrees of the assembly of gods that met at Nippur. Enlil, according to one account, created man at Nippur. Although a king's armies might subjugate the country, the transference to that king of Enlil's divine power to rule had to be sought and sanctioned. The necessity of this confirmation made the city and Enlil's sanctuary there especially sacred, regardless of which dynasty ruled Mesopotamia.

"...The organization of the cosmos parallels the organization of an estate with its varied tasks. In the myth called 'Enki and World Order" we hear how Enki organized the cosmos for Enlil in just such terms. He instituted the regime of the Euphrates and the Tigris, appointed the god Enbilulu as divine 'inspector of canals', and he arranged the marshes and the sea, appointing divine officials to take charge of them. Next he organized the rains and put Ishkur in charge. There followed the instituting of agriculture: ploughing, irrigation, and harvesting, the appointment of the farmer god Enkimdu and the grain goddess, Ezinu. After agriculture came brickmaking and the builder's craft under the brick god, Kulla, and the divine architect, Mushdama; and in similar manner Enki organized the wild life of the desert, founded husbandry, fixed boundaries, set limits for building plots and fields, and instituted weaving - in each case appointing appropriate gods to the offices of supervision. "The god whom Enki place in charge of boundaries was the sun god Utu, god of justice, and the universal scope of his responsibilities is underlined in the myth by the words 'for heaven and earth'." horkild Jacobsen, The Treasures of Darkness

  1. In the mountain of heaven and earth
  2. The day Anu brought forth the great gods;
  3. A tree of Ezinu had not been born, had not become green,
  4. Her land, the goddess Takku had not created.
  5. For Takku a temple-platform had not been filled in;
  6. A eqe(?) had not bleated (?), a lamb had not been dropped,
  7. A goat had not bleated, a kid had not been born,
  8. No ewe had born her lamb,
  9. No goat had born a kid,
  10. The name of Ezinu, tall and holy and of Sig (wool or flax from color)
  11. The Anunnaki, the great gods, had not known.
  12. There was no ses-grain of thirty-fold;
  13. There was no ses-grain of fifty-gold;
  14. Small grain, mountain-grain, and cattle-fodder there were not;
  15. A possession and houses there were not;
  16. Takku had not been brought forth, a shrine not lifted up.
  17. Together with the lady Nikki the lord had not brought forth men.
  18. Shamash as leader came, unto her desire came forth;
  19. Mankind he planned; many men were brought forth.
  20. Food and sleep they knew not;
  21. Clothing and dwellings they knew not.
  22. The people with rushes and skins came,
  23. Like sheep with their mouth....they ate grass,
  24. Garden water they drank.
  25. When the land was green with the forms of their gods
  26. And with edible plants the holy dwellings of sig and Ezinu were green,
  27. They brought foo for the gods to the established dwelling
  28. From the abundance of Sig and Ezinu.
  29. The great gods in their holy dwellings
  30. Ate; they were not satisfied;
  31. They gave good food to their holy flock.
Reverse Side
  1. The great gods in their holy dwelling
  2. Drank; they were not satisfied;
  3. For the proper feeding of their holy flock
  4. Kingship in security they established.
  5. When Enki spoke a word to Enlil,
  6. The waters of Enlil and Ezida
  7. Made the holy dwelling green.
  8. The might holy dwelling they inhabited for thee.
  9. Enki and Enlil their holy word
  10. To Sig and Enzu spoke from the holy dwelling;
  11. Wool from the flock they gave;
  12. Vegetables as food in abundance they gave.
  13. For vegetation they made canals,
  14. Irrigating machines with laborers attached they gave.
  15. Wool was taken from the flock:
  16. The shepherd of the flock revelled in abundance.
  17. Enzinu stood as tall vegetation;
  18. The bright land was green; it presented abundance in heaps;
  19. In the field the head was lifted high;
  20. From heaven abundance came;
  21. Sig and Ezinu made increase;
  22. For all they raised an abundance;
  23. They filled the land with exalted courage;
  24. The voice of their god uttered just decisions for them.
  25. A dwelling-place was their land; food increased for the people;
  26. The prosperity of their land brought them danger;
  27. For making house-bricks the clay of the land was burned.
  28. They became strong; they raised abundance;
  29. Companions were they; man with wife they dwelt;
  30. In misfortune the house assists them.

"Ezinu was a god of vegetation--trees, grain, etc. Sig usually signifies 'wool,' then 'garment.' As Sig is in this text said to have become green along with Ezinu, it may designate flax, or possible cotton, which produced a wooly substance from which garments were made. The goddess Takku was a partoness of agriculture. The story, therefore, begins before the existence of vegetation and domestic animals, before fields had been cultivated, or houses built, and before the establishment of political institutions, and it traces the coming of these into existence. In this respect it reminds one of Genesis 2:5, 6."

And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground. Genesis 2:5
But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. Genesis 2:6

Aunnaki (ah noo nah' kee) - spirit gods of the underworld who judged and determined the fates of the dead. The lgigi (ee gee' gee) - collective name for the great gods of heaven associated with blood, madness and revenge, often associated with the Anunnaki.


Prior to 2000 B.C.From: George A. Barton, Archaeology and The Bible, 7th Edition revised, (Philadelphia: American Sunday School, 1937), pg. 305-306

Kenneth Sublett

Babylonian Documents

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