INTRODUCTION Only a dim outline of the plot of the Hurro-Hittite Song of Release can be gleaned from the fragments that remain. The proemium (KBo 32.11) does tell us it is about the destruction of Ebla. The gods Tessub, Allani, and Ishara are involved, and a human hero, Pizikarra of Nineveh, will carry it out. Why the North Syrian city must be destroyed, however, is unclear. KBo 32.15, 19, and 20 tell us it has to do with the Eblaites' refusal to release certain captives, the people of the town of Ikinkalis, but why should Tessub feel the need to take their side, and why are these people obligated to render service to the nobles of Ebla? The assembly scene preserved in KBo 32.15 provides a further problem, the description of Tessub's suffering. Up to now scholars have attempted to argue that the description is fictive or sarcastic, perhaps finding it difficult to imagine that the gods could be thought to suffer "like men." (1) Here I offer a unified solution to these problems in the light of parallels from other Hittite and Hurro-Hittite texts. These show that Tessub's suffering is caused by neglect of his cult, since the people of Ikinkalis, because they are being forced to work for the Eblaite nobles, cannot fulfil the ritual obligations owed to him and to the royal ancestor cult of Ebla; this is the reason for Tessub's punishment of Ebla.