Resheph ” God of Plague” was a god associated with war and plague, originally worshiped in Ebla in the third millennium BCE. He was one of the main members of the local pantheon, and was worshiped in numerous hypostases, some of which were associated with other nearby settlements, such as Tunip. He was associated with the goddess Adamma, who was his spouse in Eblaite tradition. Eblaites considered him and the Mesopotamian god Nergal to be equivalents, most likely based on their shared role as war deities.In the second millennium BCE, Resheph continued to be worshiped in various cities in Syria and beyond. He is best attested in texts from Ugarit, where he was one of the most popular deities. While well attested in ritual texts and theophoric names, he does not play a large role in Ugaritic mythology. An omen text describes him as the doorkeeper of the sun goddess, Shapash, and might identify him with the planet Mars.

Etymology The etymology of Resheph’s name is uncertain. According to Michael P. Streck, it is derived from the root ršp, and its cognates include Amorite yarśap (“to flame”), an element of personal names attested in texts from the Old Babylonian period, and the nominal rišp-, “flame” or “fever”, present in Hebrew and Aramaic. This possibility is the most commonly proposed explanation in scholarship, though it did not find universal support, and Maciej M. Münnich notes that it rests on biblical evidence, which comes at most from the sixth century BCE, in contrast with the oldest attestations of Resheph, which date back to the twenty fourth century BCE, with no sources supporting this derivation from within the nearly two-thousand-year period separating them. Streck, despite his support for this proposal, acknowledges the nature of the connection between the presumed meaning of Resheph’s name and his character is not fully clear.

Worship In Ebla Resheph was venerated both by common citizens and the royal family. Reference to two priests in his service, Re’i-Malik and Ennai, are also known. Furthermore, foreign kings visiting Ebla also made offerings to him, as indicated by records of sacrificial sheep provided by the royal palace for such occasions. One of the city gates of Ebla was named after Resheph. His two main cult centers in its proximity were seemingly Adanni and Tunip, both of which were relatively small settlements.