Andrzej Mrozek - Silvano Votto, «The Motif of the Sleeping Divinity», Vol. 80 (1999) 415-419
This note discusses biblical and Mesopotamian texts that contain the motif of a sleeping divinity. Their comparison shows that the presence of the same theme, sleep, is not sufficient of itself to make the texts parallel. The other common element, the need to awaken the sleeping divinity, must be present in the texts for parallelism. The note shows that the biblical texts have their Mesopotamian parallel not in the texts where a deity wishes to sleep and cannot, but rather where he is sleeping and must be awakened.
The most common element in these verses is God who wakes up and rises from sleep: why do you sleep? Wake up, get up! (Ps 44,24); he wakes up (Ps 78,65); perhaps he is sleeping, it is necessary to awaken him (1 Kings 18,27).
There are also some other texts in which an appeal to God uses the imperatives hrw( (e.g. Ps 7,7) and hcyqh (e.g. Ps 35,22-24; 59,5), "get up, wake up!". But since the verb N#$y is absent it is not certain that these passages refer to the motif of the sleeping divinity9.
Some texts from Mesopotamia are very useful, even necessary, for the understanding of the biblical motif of the sleeping divinity10 because they also contain it; but it appears in two explicitly different forms: a) the divinity wants to sleep but cannot; b) the divinity is sleeping and must be awakened.
In Atrahasis I Enlil cannot sleep because of the noise that the human race is making.
[Twel]ve hundred years [had not gone by],
[The land had grown wide], the peoples had increased,
The [land] was bellowing [like a bull].
The god was disturbed with [their uproar],
[Enlil heard] their clamor.
[He said to] the great gods,
"The clamor of mankind [has become burdensome to me],
"I am losing sleep [to their uproar]13.