“The Poem of the Righteous Sufferer” (ca. 1700–1280 BCE)

Creators

Šubši-mašrâ-Šakkan (writer).

Extent

Read in 2019.

Read in the fragmentary version that existed in 1995, as presented in Foster’s Before the Muses.

Categorization

Long religious poem.

Subject

A fictionalized account of the rich narrator suffering various misfortunes including conspiracy and disease. Recovering, he attributes both his ordeal and his recovery to the god Marduk, while also speculating on the reasons why it happened.

What in one’s own heart seems abominable, could be good to one’s god!

Commentary

Structurally and philosophically unsophisticated, but I can imagine that a major public reading by a temple troupe would have been impressive.

References here: Job (ca. 550–200 BCE).

fiction poetry text