Babylonian Proverbs

Sayings of Babylonian origin

Writing is the mother of eloquence and the father of artists.

If I put anything down it is snatched away; if I do more than is expected, who will repay me?

The tall grain thrives, but what do we understand of it? The meager grain thrives, but what do we understand of it?

The life of day before yesterday has departed today.

Be gentle to your enemy as to an old oven.

The gods do not deduct from marls allotted span the hours spent fishing.

There is strife where servants are, slander where anointers anoint.

Don’t trust the smile of your opponent.

An ass in another city becomes its head.

The strong live by their own wages; the weak by the wages of their children.

My knees go, my feet are unwearied; but a fool has cut into my course.

The city whose weapons are not strong the enemy before its gates shall not be thrust through.

Friendship in days of prosperity is servitude forever.

If you go and take the field of an enemy, the enemy will come and take your field.

Does a woman conceive when a virgin, or grow great without eating?

His ass I am; I am harnessed to a mule—a wagon I draw, to seek reeds and fodder I go forth.

The face of a toiling ox you shall not strike with a goad.

Upon a glad heart oil is poured out of which no one knows.

If the husk is not right, the kernel is not right, it will not produce seed.

He has dug a well where no water is, he has raised a husk without kernel.

He is altogether good, but he is clothed with darkness.

The gift of the king is the nobility of the exalted; the gift of the king is the favor of governors.

When you see the gain of the fear of god, exalt god and bless the king.

The Babylonian empire map

Babylon is the most famous city from ancient Mesopotamia whose ruins lie in modern-day Iraq 59 miles (94 kilometres) southwest of Baghdad. The name is thought to derive from bav-il or bav-ilim which, in the Akkadian language of the time, meant ‘Gate of God’ or `Gate of the Gods’ and `Babylon’ coming from Greek. The city owes its fame (or infamy) to the many references the Bible makes to it; all of which are unfavourable. In the Book of Genesis, chapter 11, Babylon is featured in the story of The Tower of Babel and the Hebrews claimed the city was named for the confusion which ensued after God caused the people to begin speaking in different languages so they would not be able to complete their great tower to the heavens (the Hebrew word bavel means `confusion’). Source

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