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Divinatory Livers

AO 19829
 
Richelieu room 3 showcase 8
  
 
“He has shaken the arrows.
He has asked by means of the teraphim;
he has looked into the liver. In his right hand
the divination proved to be for Jerusalem.”
 
Ezekiel 21:21, 22
  
 
These models form part of a collection
of 32 clay livers found in the Palace of Mari.
 
Considered the main seat of vitality and emotions,
the liver used to be examined to predict omens.

 Divinatory Livers

   
In Babylonia, astrology played a part in official worship as one of the two main ways used by priests to find out the will of the gods, the other method being to examine the liver of an animal offered in sacrifice. A177
 
Numerous liver models have been discovered, the most ancient in Babylon. They bear augurs and cuneiform texts used by the ‘priest-magicians’ belonging to the Court of Babylon at the time of Daniel (Daniel 1:20; 2:2). A miniature representation of the sky, a divinatory liver was thus divided into zones signifying the ‘day’ and the ‘night’, and its edge into 16 sections bearing the divinities of the sky. Assyrian priests were called baru, which meant ‘examiner’ or ‘he who sees’.

The divinatory liver was examined to determine
the wishes of the gods

Omen of Imprisonment

AO 19829
 
 It was only after seeking divination that Nebuchadnezzar decided to attack Jerusalem.
 
“He has shaken the arrows. He has
asked by means of the teraphim;
he has looked into the liver.
In his right hand the divination
proved to be for Jerusalem.”   
Ezekiel 21:21, 22
   

 Divinatory Livers

This Chaldean practice certainly influenced Etruscan augural science. Some liver models originating from Mesopotamia resemble a liver specimen in bronze discovered in Italy. It is divided into sections, with each one designated, in Etruscan, the name of a patron god.
 
The custom of making predictions through interpreting the liver of sheep or the flight of birds is purely Chaldean. A185

 " He has looked into the liver " - Ezekiel 21:21

 
Model of a Sheep’s Intestines    AO 6033
 
Richelieu room 3 showcase 15 (22)
 
Extispicy, or the examination of the entrails
of a sacrificed animal, was the most common divinatory technique. The tablet shows
the convolutions of a sacrificed sheep
for divinatory consultation.

“Belief held that the god to whom an animal was offered identified himself with it. Consequently,
the reading of signs observed in these organs enabled access to the spirit of the divinities
likely to bring a response to a question
regarding future events. In the Mesopotamian
and Near Eastern world, this answer was
obtained through examining a sheep’s liver.”
  
Jacqueline Gachet, Le pays d’Ougarit autour de 1200 av. J.-C.
 

Magic Formula and Treatment

 
AO 7682
 
Room 3 showcase 15 (19)
   
In the treatment of disease,
there was a belief in the efficacy of
two measures: plants and magic.
 
The two traditions intertwine in
this tablet: a remedy against scorpion bites containing a magical formula in Sumerian, followed by a treatment
in Akkadian.
 
 
Georges Roux, French doctor and scholar, makes this comment regarding Mesopotamian doctors, “Their diagnosis and prognostics are a subtle blend of superstition and sound clinical observations [...] They based their art on metaphysical concepts, thus closing the door to research into rational explanations.”   A218

 Astrology & Bible

 The Greek word used for spiritualism, pharmakia, originally signified the resort to drugs and magical formulas which accompanied the appeal to occult forces. 

 
All forms of spiritualism are condemned in
the Bible (Deuteronomy 18:9-12) and
nowhere is it spoken of in favourable terms.
 
The Greek word A179 used for spiritualism,
pharmakia, originally signified the resort to
drugs and magical formulas which accompanied
the appeal to occult forces. A180
 
It is not therefore a question of
‘spiritual practice’ but of a ‘work of the flesh’,
the practice of which is at odds with
Christian worship.  - Galatians 5:19-21
 
‘Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon
the great city be hurled down, […]
for by your spiritistic practice
all the nations were misled.’
 
Revelation 18:23
 
The final book of the Bible reminds us that Babylon the Great led all nations astray with its ‘spiritistics practices’. - Revelation 18:23; 21:8, note.
 
 
 
 

 




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