Summa Alu 1

Akkadian Omen Series
Ancient Near East

11 If a city is repeatedly crying out, that city will be dispersed. 12 If a city moves underneath and makes a grumbling sound like an army camp, that city will soon be utterly dispersed. 13 If a city is regularly quiet, that city will go on normally. 14 If a city's springs are destroyed, that city will go to ruin. 15 If a city's top rises into the sky, that city will be abandoned. 16 If a city rises into the sky like a mountain peak, that city will be turned to rubble. 17 If cities rise into the sky like cloud(s), they will experience misfortune. 18 If the tops of cities' temples persistently rise to the sky, the foundation of the land will not be secure; the throne will change; the land will not be happy.

Genesis 11:4

Hebrew Bible

4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves. Otherwise we will be scattered across the face of the entire earth.” 5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the people had started building. 6 And the Lord said, “If as one people all sharing a common language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be beyond them. 7 Come, let’s go down and confuse their language so they won’t be able to understand each other.” 8 So the Lord scattered them from there across the face of the entire earth, and they stopped building the city.

 Notes and References

"... This phrase is reserved almost exclusively for the description of ziggurats in Akkadian usage. Additionally, there are some intriguing omens in the series entitled Summa Alu (“If a city ...”) that indicate an impending doom that hangs over cities or towers built high. If a city lifts its head to the heaven, it will be abandoned, or there will be a change on the throne. A city that rises like a mountain peak will become a ruin, and if it goes up like a cloud to heaven there will be calamity ..."

Walton, John H. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament (p. 42) InterVarsity Press, 2000

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