In one of his last papers the late Professor van Dijk published a narrative composition about Inana (van Dijk 1998). This article attempts to present an alternative translation of ll. 146–7, and to offer an interpretation as to their meaning in the context of the composition as a whole.
The lines in question are preserved in two Old Babylonian mss. (sigla are van Dijk's; the two mss. differ in the order of the lines):
ms. A( = CBS 1531 )
146 [i3-ne-eš2]-ta ud-da šid-bi ba-da-tur ud 6-bi-a ba-da-bur2
147 [ud-da]-ta? en-nu-3-bi 3-am3 ud 6-bi-a ba-an-da-sa2
ms. B( = YBC 4665)
147 ud-da-ta ˹en˺-[nu-3-bi 3]-˹am3?˺ ud 6-ba ˹ba˺da-an-sa2
146 i3-ne-eš2-ta ud-da ˹šid-bi˺ a-ba-da-an-tur ud 6-ba a-ba-da-an-bur2
Van Dijk renders these lines as follows:
Ab heute wird dann die Summe des Tageslichtes geringer werden, in Tag und Nacht wird es getrennt,
an jeglichem Tage, an dessen dritter Nachtwache, werden Tag und Nacht sich gleichkommen!
Van Dijk's rendering of the verb bur2 in 1. 146 is based on the assumption that in this case it means šalāqum “to cut open, to split” (van Dijk 1998: 28). The evidence supporting this assumption is, however, by no means strong, as bur2 = šalāqum is qualified with ša ṣurrum “with reference to obsidian” in Aa VIII/2 174 (MSL 14: 501), and the Akkadian verb is not attested in connection with day and night.