Suzerainty CovenantThis is a featured page

A Suzeranity Covenant is a covenant between two sides of unequal power. More or less its the Dominating faction making a treaty will the lesser or vassal power. The main sections in the covenant were the preamble, historical prologue, stipulations of the covenant, the provision for the periodic reading of the covenant, witnesses of the covenant, the blessing and curses, the ratification of the covenant, and the sacrificial meal. (Introducing the tanak podcasts; Covenant part A by Dr. Lester)

Formal Features

Preamble – names both covenant parties

Historical Prologue
  • Suzerain has already done good deeds for the vassal, before the Suzerain has a covenant with the vassals

  • Vassal is not allowed to recognize other foreign powers
  • Vassal is to help the Suzerain in time of war
Provision for Periodic Reading of the covenant
· To be read in the vassal state annually

Witnesses to the covenant
· Normally the gods of both countries involved
· Heaven and Earth – mirrorism Blessings and Curses

Ratification Ceremony – including a sacrificial meal

According to Coogan (p. 101), biblical study shows that its writers used this treat form found in other ancient Near East civilizations in order to describe the covenant between Yahweh and Israel. The Israelites of the ancient Near East are the "only group known to have characterized their relationship with a diety using the language of contract or treaty."

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