The Wandering Mind

Emesh and Enten aka Cain and Abel

Posted in Mythology,Old Testament,The Ancients by wandren on 2 March 2008
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I thought you might find interest in this Sumerian tale of two brothers, Emesh (Cain) and Enten (Abel) being farmer of the gods. Rather than this story ending with Cain murdering Abel in jealousy, they reconciled.

Enten caused the ewe to give birth to the lamb, the goat to give birth to the kid,
Cow and calf he caused to multiply, much fat and milk he caused to be produced,
In the plain, the heart of the wild goat, the sheep, and the donkey he made to rejoice,
The birds of the heaven, in the wide earth he had them set up their nests.
The fish of the sea, in the swampland he had them lay their eggs,
In the palm-grove and vineyard he made to abound honey and wine,
The trees, wherever planted, he caused to bear fruit,
The furrows . . .,
Grain and crops he caused to multiply,
Like Ashnan (the grain goddess), the kindly maid, he caused strength to appear.

Emesh brought into existence the trees and the fields, he made wide the stables and sheepfolds,
In the farms he multiplied the produce,
The . . . he caused to cover the earth,
The abundant harvest he caused to be brought into the houses, he caused the granaries to be heaped high.

Emesh apparently felt like his work was more important than Enten’s, and that he should be given the title of “farmer of the gods” and became irreverent, which is why his (Emesh-Cain’s) offering to the gods was rejected.

(Enlil is the air-god who “caused the good day to come forth,” developed the notion that the earth should bring forth seed, and be prosperous; he fashioned the prototype agricultural implements, the pickax and plow. Enki is the water god (Jesus) who organized the earth and decreed the fates of Sumer, Ur and Meluhha. Ashnan is the grain goddess, and Laha is the cattle-god, sent from heaven to earth to make abundant its cattle and grain.)

Enlil answers Emesh and Enten:
“The life-producing water of all the lands, Enten is its ’knower,’
As farmer of the gods he has produced everything,
Emesh, my son, how dost thou compare thyself with Eaten, thy brother?”
The exalted word of Enlil whose meaning is profound,
The decision taken, is unalterable, who dares transgress it!

Emesh bent the knees before Enten,
Into his house he brought . . ., the wine of the grape and the date,
Emesh presents Enten with gold, silver, and lapis lazuli,
In brotherhood and friendship, happily, they pour out libations,
Together to act wisely and well they determined.
In the struggle between Emesh and Enten,
Enten, the steadfast farmer of the gods, having proved greater than Emesh,
. . . O father Enlil, praise!