Beth Shulman

In the el-Amarna letters #74 and #290 there is reference to a place read (by Knudtzon) Bet-NIN.IB. In Ages in Chaos, following Knudtzon, I understood that the reference is to Assyria (House of Nineveh). I was unaware of an article by Julius Lewy printed in the Journal of Biblical Literature 59 (1940) under the titles “The Sulman Temple in Jerusalem.” He claimed that it was a place of worship (in Canaanite times) of a god found in Akkadian sources as Shalmi, Shulmanu, or Salamu. This correction of the reading of Knudtzon (who was uncertain of his reading) fits well with the chronological reconstruction of the period. In Ages in Chaos Vol. I (ch. 6,7,8) deal with the el-Amarna letters; there it is shown that the king of Jerusalem whose name is differently read Ebed-Tov, Abdi-Hiba, etc., was King Jehoshaphat (ninth century). It was only to be expected that there would be in some of his letters a reference to the Temple of Solomon.

In an article preceding that of Lewy, P. Haupt (OLZ, XVIII (1915) Cols. 71-72) translated the verse in the letter # 290: “Die Landeshauptstadt Names Jerusalem, die Stadt des Ninib-Tempels, die Königsstadt.” Replacing Ninib by Shulman or Shalmi, we arrive at the conclusion that the sentence deals with Solomon’s Temple.

Latest is an article in Hebrew in Eretz-Israel, Vol. IX (Jerusalem, 1969), by Tadmor and Kalai who read the ideogram as Beth-Ninurta and locate it in Beth-Horon. This is an error; but they have brought the pertinent literary references together.

The Septuagint has a final n, in the name of Shlomo (Solomon) but it appears that Lewy’s reading needs to be corrected to a name without the final n (Salamu). Albright’s remark to me that the name is not accompanied by a sign of divinity and therefore Lewy is mistaken, only supports my interpretations King Solomon was no deity.

The idea that the reference in EA 74 to Beth-Ninurta or Beth-Shulman is to some other place is based on the erroneous location of Sumuru—it being not a Syrian coastal city, but nearby Samaria.