Prayer of Lamentation to Ishtar

This prayer to Ishtar helps understand the Ishtar/Tammuz worship by the Hebrews in the Temple (Ezekiel 8). Ishtar is the mother of Easter and the musical sun rise rituals of modern churches.

A prayer to be accompanied by a ritual of incantation. Ishtar, in her aspect as goddess of valor and of war, is addressed as the greatest of goddesses. The supplicant describes his bitter afflition and prays for a restoration of his prosperity, so that he and all who see him may praise and glorify the goddess. A colophon of the text indicates that it was the property of the temple Esagila in Babylon; and that it was copied from an older version at Borsippa. The extant text was written in the Neo-Babylonian period as, in all probability, was the older text from which it was copied.

Notes: Irnini is another name of Ishtar, probably derived ultimately from Inanna, her Sumerian counterpart.Igigi is a collective name for the great gods of heaven.Gushea is another name for Ishtar, sometimes appearing as Agushea, or Agushaya.Anunnaki is a collective name for the gods, not always used in the same sense. Sometimes it appears to mean all the gods of heaven and earth, sometimes the gods of the earth and the nether world, and again only the gods of the netherworld.Eanna is the name of the temple of Inanna-Ishtar in Uruk, biblical Erech.While Ishtar is called a lioness on line 31, in her aspect of the fighting deity she is designated as male ferocious animals.


I pray to thee, O Lady of ladies, goddess of goddesses.
O Ishtar, queen of all peoples, who guides mankind aright,
O Irnini, ever exalted, greatest of the Igigi,
O mighty of princesses, exalted is thy name.
Thou indeed art the light of heaven and earth, O valiant daughter of Sin.

O supporter of arms, who determines battle,
O possessor of all divine power, who wears the crown of domination,

O Lady, glorious is thy greatness; over all the gods it is exalted.
O star of lamentation, who causes peaceable brothers to fight,
Yet who constantly gives friendship,

O mighty one, Lady of battle, who suppresses the mountains,
O Gushea, the one covered with fighting and clothed with terror

Thou doest make complete judgment and decision, the ordinances of heaven and earth.

Chapels, holy places, sacred sites, and shrines pay heed to thee.
Where is not thy name, where is not thy divine power?
Where are thy likenesses not fashioned, where are thy shrines not founded?

Where art thou not great, where art thou not exalted?
Anu, Enlil, and Ea have made thee high; among the gods they have caused thy domination to be great.

They have made thee high among all the Igigi; they have made thy position pre-eminent.
At the thought of thy name heaven and earth tremble.
The gods tremble; the Anunnaki stand in awe.
To thine awesome name mankind must pay heed.
For thou art great and thou art exalted.

All the black-headed (people Persians and) the masses of mankind pay homage to thy might.
The judgment of the people in truth and righteousness thou indeed dost decide.

Thou regardest the oppressed and mistreated; daily thou causest them to prosper.
Thy mercy! O Lady of heaven and earth, shepheress of the weary people.

Thy mercy! O Lady of holy Eanna the pure storehouse.
Thy mercy! O Lady; unwearied are thy feet; swift are thy knees.

Thy mercy! O Lady of conflict and of all battles.
O shining one, lioness of the Igigi, subduer of angry gods,
O most powerful of all princes, who holdest the reins (over) kings,

(But) who dost release the bridles of all maidservants,
Who art exalted and firmly fixed, O valiant Ishtar, great is thy might.

O brilliant one, torch of heaven and earth, light of all peoples,

O unequaled angry one of the fight, strong one of the battle,

O firebrand which is kindled against the enemy, which brings about the destruction of the furious,

O gleaming one, Ishtar, assembler of the host,
O deity of men, goddess of women, whose designs no one can conceive,

here thou dost look, one who is dead lives; one who is sick rises up;
The erring one who sees thy face goes aright.
I have cried to thee, suffering, wearied, and distressed, as thy servant.
See me O my Lady, accept my prayers.
Faithfully look upon me and hear my supplication.
Promise my forgiveness and let thy spirit be appeased.
Pity! For my wretched body which is full of confusion and trouble.
Pity! For my sickened heart which is full of tears and suffering.
Pity! For my wretched intestines (which are full of) confusion and trouble.

Pity! For my afflicted house which mourns bitterly.
Pity! For my feelings which are satiated with tears and suffering.
O exalted Irnini, fierce lion, let thy heart be at rest.
O angry wild ox, let thy spirit be appeased.

Let the favor of thine eyes be upon me.
With thy bright features look faithfully upon me.
Drive away the evil spells of my body (and) let me see thy bright light.

How long, O my Lady, shall my adversaries be looking upon me,
In lying and untruth shall they plan evil against me,

Shall my pursuers and those who exult over me rage against me?
How long, O my Lady, shall the crippled and weak seek me out?
One has made for me long sackcloth; thus I have appeared before thee.

The weak have become strong; but I am weak.
I toss about like flood-water, which an evil wind makes violent.
My heart is flying; it keeps fluttering like a bird of heaven.
I mourn like a dove night and day.

I am beaten down, and so I weep bitterly.
With "Oh" and "Alas" my spirit is distressed.
I - what have I done, O my god and my goddess?
Like one who does not fear my god and my goddess I am treated;
While sickness, headache, loss, and destruction are provided for me;

So are fixed upon me terror, disdain, and fullness of wrath,
Anger, choler, and indignation of gods and men.
I have to expect, O my Lady, dark days, gloomy months, and years of trouble.

I have to expect, O my Lady, judgment of confusion and violence.
Death and trouble are bringing me to an end.
Silent is my chapel; silent is my holy place;

Over my house, my gate, and my fields silence is poured out.
As for my god, his face is turned to the sanctuary of another.
My family is scattered; my roof is broken up.
(But) I have paid heed to thee, my Lady; my attention has been turned to thee.

To thee have I prayed; forgive my debt.
Forgive my sin, my iniquity, my shameful deeds, and my offence.
Overlook my shameful deeds; accept my prayer;
Loosen my fetters; secure my deliverance;

Guide my steps aright; radiantly like a hero let me enter the streets with the living.

Speak so that at thy command the angry god may be favorable;
(And) the goddess who has been angry with me may turn again.
(Now) dark and smoky, may my brazier glow;
(Now) extinguished, may my torch be lighted.

Let my scattered family be assembled;
May my fold be wide; may my stable be enlarged.
Accept the abasement of my countenance; hear my prayers.
Faithfully look upon me and accept my supplication.

How long, O my Lady, wilt thou be angered so that thy face is turned away?
How long, O my Lady, wilt thou be infuriated so that thy spirit is enraged?

Turn thy neck which thou hast set against me; set thy face [toward] good favor.
Like the water of the opening up of a canal let thy emotions be released.

My foes like the ground let me trample;
Subdue my haters and cause them to crouch down under me.
Let my prayers and my supplications come to thee.
Let thy great mercy be upon me.

Let those who see me in the street magnify thy name.
As for me, let me glorify thy divinity and thy might before the black-headed (people), [saying,]

Ishtar indeed is exalted; the Lady indeed is queen.
Irnini, the valorous daughter of Sin, has no rival.


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