In an article in this journal, Christopher B. Hays argued that Nebuchadnezzar's affliction is best understood in the context of netherworld imagery (“Chirps from the Dust: The Afflictions of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:30 in Its Ancient Near Eastern Context,” JBL 126 [2007]: 305–25). On the other hand, Matthias Henze believes that Nebuchadnezzar's affliction follows the trope of the uncivilized man akin to Enkidu in the Epic of Gilgamesh (The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar [1999]). Hays appealed to the supposed lack of evidence that such a primal status could result from the curse of a deity. But magico-medical Mesopotamian texts known as the dingir.šà.dib.ba incantations do provide clear evidence that a primal earthly status could result from a divine curse. Accordingly, those texts support Henze's interpretation while validating Hays's argument that Mesopotamian prayer genres can illuminate Daniel 4.

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