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Now how shall we sing the lord's song in a strange land
lyrics: Psalms 104 (Creation of the universe Psalm)
composition: traditional Jewish Babylonian
arrangement: Yonnie (Jonathan) Dror
The cult and theology of Marduk began its expansion during the renewed expansion of Babylonian culture beyond Babylon in the Middle Babylonian-Assyrian period. Marduk was accepted into the Assyrian royal pantheon after Aššur and other important gods. The Babylonian elaboration of the theology of Marduk, which expressed itself also in speculative identification and the absorption of the functions of other gods into that of Marduk (this was not exclusive to Marduk), as well as the identification of Marduk with the Babylonian national entity, had momentous consequences in that in the course of time Marduk became identified as a symbol of Babylonian resistance to Assyria. The conception of Marduk decisively influenced the cult of Aššur who was also elevated to a parallel or even higher position. Thus, for example, in the Assyrian version of Enūma eliš, Aššur takes the place of Marduk. The tension between the two nations resulted in a most decisive dislike of Marduk in the middle of the first millennium. After the "experiments" of Tiglath-Pileser III and Sargon , who were kings of Babylon in every respect, came Sennacherib who during most of his reign was uniformly anti-Babylonian and "anti-Marduk," and who expressed this by destroying Babylon and Esagila. The emblems and statues of Marduk went into "captivity" many times. The return of the statue of Marduk, which was always connected with Babylonian resurrection, was interpreted as a theological change of destiny and as a punishment inflicted by Marduk on Babylon's enemies, as in the case of Sennacherib. Thus, this antagonism became a major issue in the entire destiny of the Ancient Near East in the middle of the first millennium. A very striking example of this antagonism is found in an Assyrian satirical, quasi-theological composition (correctly reinterpreted by W. von Soden) which, far from being an "apotheosis" of the "dead and resurrected Marduk" (as was suggested earlier), is a "mock trial" of Marduk ending probably with his "execution," as a god who – from the point of view of the Assyrians and other peoples – caused much enmity and treachery (see below). This trial is a "logical" continuation of that of the god Kingu and of his execution in Enūma eliš, where Marduk was the judge.
In the time of the final Assyrian period (Esarhaddon, Ašhurbanipal) and the Neo-Babylonian Dynasty, from Nabopolossar on, and again in the Early Persian period (Cyrus), Marduk was the chief god of Babylon. Because they opposed the oppressive measures of Nabonidus, the last Neo-Babylonian king, the priests of Marduk were those who made possible the peaceful occupation of Babylon by Cyrus
Jewish Virtual Library: Marduk
35 He fashioned a bow and made it his weapon,
36 He set an arrow in place, put the bow string on.
37 He took up his club and held it in his right hand,
38 His bow and quiver he hung at his side.
39 He placed lightning before him,
40 And filled his body with tongues of flame.
41 He made a net to enmesh the entrails of Tia-mat,
42 And stationed the four winds that no part of her escape.
43 The South Wind, the North Wind, the East Wind, the West Wind,
44 He put beside his net, winds given by his father, Anu.
45 He fashioned the Evil Wind, the Dust Storm, Tempest,
46 The Four-fold Wind, the Seven-fold Wind, the Chaos-spreading Wind, the . . . . .Wind.
47 He sent out the seven winds that he had fashioned,
48 And they took their stand behind him to harass Tia-mat's entrails.
49 Be-l took up the Storm-flood, his great weapon,
50 He rode the fearful chariot of the irresistible storm.
51 Four steeds he yoked to it and harnessed them to it,
52 The Destroyer, The Merciless, The Trampler, The Fleet.