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While a great deal of scholarly investigation has focused on parallels between biblical curses and imprecations found in Neo-Assyrian Treaties, the curses in the Aramaic treaty of Sefire have garnered relatively less attention.¹ In recent years there has been renewed interest in the Sefire treaty, the role of Aramaic, and its use and influence during the Neo-Assyrian period.² Since the publication of the Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon (STE) by Donald John Wiseman in 1958 studies have abounded that examine its parallels with Deut 13 and 28.³ While some scholars posit a direct dependence of Deuteronomy on the cuneiform text of the STE, or some version of it, others are more skeptical of textual borrowing of cuneiform state treaty documents by the authors of national literature in ancient Israel.⁴ One of the major objections to the theory of direct literary dependence is the relative dearth of cuneiform unearthed in Judah from the Iron Age, especially given the intensive nature of excavation undertaken in the Southern Levant.⁵ New evidence from the Tell Tayinat excavation of yet another copy of the STE does showcase the widespread distribution and influence of this oath text even in the Western periphery of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.⁶ However, the paucity of physical evidence for the use of cuneiform in Judah and the question of competency in cuneiform by scribes in Judah remain unresolved issues.


Originally published in Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, Volume 128, Issue 2, Pages 205–220, ISSN (Online) 1613-0103, ISSN (Print) 0044-2526, DOI: @ De Gruyter