Enuma Elish Part 6

The Seven Tablets of the History of Creation.

The Sixth Tablet

  1. When Marduk heard the word of the gods,
  2. His heart prompted him and he devised [a cunning plan].
  3. He opened his mouth and unto Ea [he spake],
  4. [That which] he had conceived in his heart he imparted [unto him]:
  5. “My blood will I take and bone will I [fashion],
  6. “I will make man, that man may … […].
  7. “I will create man who shall inhabit [the earth],”
  8. “That the service of the gods may be established, and that [their] shrines [153] [may be built].
  9. “But I will alter the ways of the gods, and I will change [their paths];
  10. “Together shall they be oppressed [154], and unto evil shall [they …].”
  11. And Ea answered him and spake the word:
  12. “[…] the […] of the gods I have [changed]
  13. […] … and one … […]
  14. […shall be de]stroyed and men will I […]
  15. […] and the gods […]
  16. […] … and they […]
  17. […] … and the gods […]
  18. […] …. […]
  19. […] the gods […]
  20. […] the Anunnaki […]
  21. […] … […]

[The rest of the text is wanting [155] with the exception of the last few lines of the tablet, which read as follows.]

  1. […] … […]
  2. […] … […]
  3. When […] … […]
  4. They rejoiced […] … […]
  5. In Upshukkinnaku they set [their dwelling].
  6. Of the heroic son, their avenger, [they cried]:
  7. “We, whom he succoured, … […]!”
  8. They seated themselves and in the assembly they named [him …],
  9. They all [cried aloud (?), they exalted [him …]. [156]


[153] … literally the line reads “Let the service of the gods be established, and as for them let [their] shrines be built. It is interesting to note the reason that is here implied for the creation of mankind, i.e., that the gods my have worshipers. There is clearly a reference to this in l. 29 of the Seventh Tablet, where, after referring to Marduk’s mercy upon the gods, the text goes on … “For their forgiveness did he create mankind.”

[154] It seems preferable to assign to the Piel of [kabâtu] its usual meaning “to oppress,” rather than to render the passage as “Together shall they be honoured.” The sense seems to be that Marduk, by the creation of man, will establish the worship of the gods, but at the same time will punish the gods for their complaints. It is possible that in his speech that follows Ea dissuades Marduk from carrying out the second part of his proposal.

[155] It is probable that the missing portion of the text corresponded closely with the account of the creation of man and animals given by Berossus; for a further discussion of this subject, see the Introduction. The tablet K. 3,364 (Cun. Texts, part xiii, pl. 24 f.) has been thought to belong to the Creation Series, and to contain the instructions given by Marduk to man after his creation. Had this been so, it would have formed part of the Sixth Tablet. On plates lxiv ff. of Vol. II is published the text of a Neo-Babylonian tablet, No. 33,851, which gives a duplicate text to K. 3,364; and in Appendix II I have given reasons for believing that the text inscribed upon K. 3,364 and No. 33,851 has no connection with the Creation Series, but is part of a long composition containing moral precepts. Another fragment which it has been suggested belongs to one of the later tablets of the Creation Series is K. 3,445 + R. 396 (Cun. Texts, part xiii, pl. 24 f.; cf. also its duplicate K. 14,949, pl. 24); but there are strong reasons against the identification of the text as a fragment of the series Enuma elish, though it may well be part of a parallel version of the Creation story (see further, Appendix II).

[156] The address of the gods to Marduk forms the subject of the Seventh Tablet of the series.

Continue to The Seventh Tablet

Return to Enuma Elish – The Epic of Creation