Origin/Historian/Author: Babylonian
Source: Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament, Robert William Rogers

This Babylonian Period text was published by Delitzsch and translated by LW King. There was another early translation which is nearly identical except Elill was replaced by Bel and the Labbu replaced by Tiamat.

This text is thought to be part of the Marduk vs Tiamat cycle, however it likely belongs to a period in which Enlil creates a serpent beast in an attempt to oppose Rammanu (here Tishpak), as referenced throughout other Ancient Near Eastern myths. Like these other mythological tales, a large serpentine creature plagues the inhabitants of the region. A protector god is tasked with defending or defeating this beast. While it may not be the oldest account of this event, it is very similar to the tales of the Egyptian Apep, the Anatolian Hedammu and Illuyanka, the Levantine Lotan, and the Biblical Leviathan.

This short text tells the story of a contest between Tishpak and a great sea monster, whose name may be read Labbu, that is, Lion. The name might also be read Kalbu (dog), or even Ribbu; if this latter reading be authenticated, it would form a most interesting parallel to the Rahab of the Old Testament (Job 9.13, 26.12). In this fragment the monster is represented as of great size, his length is fifty biru. The biru is the distance that may be covered in two hours travel, which is estimated to be about six or seven miles. This would make the dragon three hundred to three hundred and fifty miles long, and the height which is reared the head out of the water six or seven miles. Resembling the size of a mountain range more than anything, it is expected that this account had been corrupted as most Babylonian tales were, but previous accounts may offer a more realistic version.

When we compare other Babylonian distortions with the original Sumerian account, we can begin to understand what this text is portraying. Either a large serpent or perhaps lion, was terrorizing an area until a great hunter or warrior was tasked with killing the beast.

Full Text Below

The cities sighed, men [. . .]
Men uttered lamentation, [they . . .]
To their lament . . . not [. . .]
To their grief …. not [. . .]
o Who had [borne (?)] the dragon […?]
The sea had [borne(?) . . .]
Ellil in heaven hath formed [. . .]
Fifty biru in his length, one biru [his height?]
Six cubits is his mouth, twelve cubits [his . . . ]
Twelve cubits is the circuit of his [ears . . .]
For the space of sixty cubits he [. . .] birds
In water nine cubits deep he drags [. . .]
He raises his tail on high [. . .]
All the gods of heaven [. . .]
In heaven the gods bowed themselves down before [. . .]
The border of Sin’s robe they hasti[ly grasped]:
“Who will go and [slay] the Labbu (?)
And deliver the broad land [from . . .]
And become king [over . . .] ?”
Go, Tishpak, [slay] the Labbu (?)
And deliver the broad land [from . . .]
And exercise kingship [over . . .]
Thou hast sent me, Lord, of the offspring of the river to [. . .]
But I do not understand the [. . .] of the Labbu