THE REV. A.H. SAYCE
PROFESSOR OF ASSYRIOLOGY, OXFORD
WITH A MAP
PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE TRACT COMMITTEE
LONDON: SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE, NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, CHARING CROSS, W.C.; 43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.
BRIGHTON: 129, NORTH STREET. NEW YORK: E. & J.B. YOUNG & CO.
RICHARD CLAY & SONS, LIMITED, LONDON & BUNGAY.
A few years ago the subject-matter of the present volume might have been condensed into a few pages. Beyond what we would gather from the Old Testament, we knew but little about the history and geography of Canaan before the age of its conquest by the Israelites. Thanks, however, to the discovery and decipherment of the ancient monuments of Babylonia and Assyria, of Egypt and of Palestine, all this is now changed. A flood of light has been poured upon the earlier history of the country and its inhabitants, and though we are still only at the beginning of our discoveries we can already sketch the outlines of Canaanitish history, and even fill them in here and there.
Throughout I have assumed that in the narrative of the Pentateuch we have history and not fiction. Indeed the archaeologist cannot do otherwise. Monumental research is making it clearer every day that the scepticism of the so-called "higher criticism" is not justified in fact. Those who would examine the proofs of this must turn to my book on The Higher Criticism and the Verdict of the Monuments. There I have written purely as an archaeologist, who belongs to no theological school, and consequently readers of the work must see in it merely the irreducible minimum of confidence in the historical trustworthiness of the Old Testament, with which oriental archaeology can be satisfied. But it is obvious that this irreducible minimum is a good deal less than what a fair-minded historian will admit. The archaeological facts support the traditional rather than the so-called "critical" view of the age and authority of the Pentateuch, and tend to show that we have in it not only a historical monument whose statements can be trusted, but also what is substantially a work of the great Hebrew legislator himself.
For those who "profess and call themselves Christians," however, there is another side to the question besides the archaeological. The modern "critical" views in regard to the Pentateuch are in violent contradiction to the teaching and belief of the Jewish Church in the time of our Lord, and this teaching and belief has been accepted by Christ and His Apostles, and inherited by the Christian Church. It is a teaching and belief which lies at the root of many of the dogmas of the Church, and if we are to reject or revise it, we must at the same time reject and revise historical Christianity. It is difficult to see how we can call ourselves Christians in the sense which the term has borne for the last eighteen hundred years, and at the same time repudiate or modify, in accordance with our individual fancies, the articles of faith which historical Christianity has maintained everywhere and at all periods. For those who look beyond the covers of grammars and lexicons, the great practical fact of historical Christianity must outweigh all the speculations of individual scholars, however ingenious and elaborate they may be. It is for the individual to harmonize his conclusions with the immemorial doctrine of the Church, not for the Church to reconcile its teaching with the theories of the individual. Christ promised that the Spirit of God should guide His Apostles and their followers into "all truth," and those who believe the promise cannot also believe that the "Spirit of Truth" has been at any time a Spirit of illusion.
Oriental archaeology, at all events, is on the side of those who see in the Hebrew patriarchs real men of flesh and blood, and who hold that in the narratives of the Pentateuch we have historical records many of which go back to the age of the events they describe. Each fresh discovery made by the archaeologist yields fresh testimony to the truth of the Old Testament stories. Since the manuscript of the present work was ready for the press, two such discoveries have been made by Mr. Pinches, to whom oriental archaeology and Biblical research are already under such deep obligations, and it has been possible only to glance at them in the text.
He has found a broken cuneiform tablet which once gave an account of the reign of Khammurabi, the contemporary of Chedor-laomer and Arioch, of the wars that he carried on, and of the steps by which he rose to the supreme power in Babylonia, driving the Elamites out of it, overthrowing his rival Arioch, and making Babylon for the first time the capital of a united kingdom. Unfortunately the tablet is much broken, but what is left alludes to his campaigns against Elam and Rabbatu—perhaps a city of Palestine, of his reduction of Babylon, and of his successes against Eri-Aku or Arioch of Larsa, Tudghulla or Tidal, the son of Gazza ... and Kudur-Lagamar or Chedor-laomer himself. The Hebrew text of Genesis has thus been verified even to the spelling of the proper names. The other discovery of Mr. Pinches is still more interesting. The name of Ab-ramu or Abram had already been found in Babylonian contracts of the age of Khammurabi; Mr. Pinches has now found in them the specifically Hebrew names of Ya'qub-ilu or Jacob-el and Yasup-ilu or Joseph-el. It will be remembered that the names of Jacob-el and Joseph-el had already been detected among the places in Palestine conquered by the Egyptian monarch Thothmes III., and it had been accordingly inferred that the full names of the Hebrew patriarchs must have been Jacob-el and Joseph-el. Jacob and Joseph are abbreviations analogous to Jephthah by the side of Jiphthah-el (Josh. xix. 14), of Jeshurun by the side of Isra-el, or of the Egyptian Yurahma by the side of the Biblical Jerahme-el. As is mentioned in a later page, a discovery recently made by Prof. Flinders Petrie has shown that the name of Jacob-el was actually borne not only in Babylonia, but also in the West. Scarabs exist, which he assigns to the period when Egypt was ruled by invaders from Asia, and on which is written the name of a Pharaoh Ya'aqub-hal or Jacob-el.
Besides the names of Jacob-el and Joseph-el, Mr. Pinches has met with other distinctively Hebrew names, like Abdiel, in deeds drawn up in the time of the dynasty to which Khammurabi belonged. There were therefore Hebrews—or at least a Hebrew-speaking population—living in Babylonia at the period to which the Old Testament assigns the lifetime of Abraham. But this is not all. As I pointed out five years ago, the name of Khammurabi himself, like those of the rest of the dynasty of which he was a member, are not Babylonian but South Arabian. The words with which they are compounded, and the divine names which they contain, do not belong to the Assyrian and Babylonian language, and there is a cuneiform tablet in which they are given with their Assyrian translations. The dynasty must have had close relations with South Arabia. This, however, is not the most interesting part of the matter. The names are not South Arabian only, they are Hebrew as well. That of Khammu-rabi, for instance, is compounded with the name of the god 'Am, which is written 'Ammi in the name of his descendant Ammi-zaduqa, and 'Am or 'Ammi characterizes not only South Arabia, but the Hebrew-speaking lands as well. We need only mention names like Ammi-nadab or Ben-Ammi in illustration of the fact. Equally Hebrew and South Arabian is zaduqa or zadoq; but it was a word unknown to the Assyrian language of Babylonia.
When Abraham therefore was born in Ur of the Chaldees, a dynasty was ruling there which was not of Babylonian origin, but belonged to a race which was at once Hebrew and South Arabian. The contract tablets prove that a population with similar characteristics was living under them in the country. Could there be a more remarkable confirmation of the statements which we find in the tenth chapter of Genesis? There we read that "unto Eber were born two sons: the name of the one was Peleg," the ancestor of the Hebrews, while the name of the other was Joktan, the ancestor of the tribes of South Arabia. The parallelism between the Biblical account and the latest discovery of archaeological science is thus complete, and makes it impossible to believe that the Biblical narrative would have been compiled in Palestine at the late date to which our modern "critics" would assign it. All recollection of the facts embodied in it would then have long passed away.
Even while I write Prof. Hommel is announcing fresh discoveries which bear on the early history of the Book of Genesis. Cuneiform tablets have turned up from which we gather that centuries before the age of Abraham, a king of Ur, Ine-Sin by name, had not only overrun Elam, but had also conquered Simurru, the Zemar of Gen. x. 18, in the land of Phoenicia. A daughter of the same king or of one of his immediate successors, was high-priestess both of Elam and of Markhas or Mer'ash in Northern Syria, while Kimas or Northern Arabia was overrun by the Babylonian arms. Proofs consequently are multiplying of the intimate relations that existed between Babylonia and Western Asia long before the era of the Patriarchs, and we need no longer feel any surprise that Abraham should have experienced so little difficulty in migrating into Canaan, or that he should have found there the same culture as that which he had left behind in Ur. The language and script of Babylonia must have been almost as well known to the educated Canaanite as to himself, and the records of the Patriarchal Age would have been preserved in the libraries of Canaan down to the time of its conquest by the Israelites.
Perhaps a word or two is needed in explanation of the repetitions which will be found here and there in the following pages. They have been necessitated by the form into which I have been obliged to cast the book. A consecutive history of Patriarchal Palestine cannot be written at present, if indeed it ever can be, and the subject therefore has to be treated under a series of separate heads. This has sometimes made repetitions unavoidable without a sacrifice of clearness.
In conclusion it will be noted, that the name of the people who were associated with the Philistines in their wars against Egypt and occupation of Palestine has been changed from Zakkur to Zakkal. This has been in consequence of a keen-sighted observation of Prof. Hommel. He has pointed out that in a Babylonian text of the Kassite period, the people in question are mentioned under the name of Zaqqalu, which settles the reading of the hieroglyphic word. (See the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology for May 1895.)
September 30, 1895.
THE KINGS OF EGYPT AND BABYLONIA DURING THE PATRIARCHAL AGE.
Dynasties XV., XVI., and XVII.—Hyksos or Shepherd-kings (from Manetho).
yrs. mths. 1. Salatis reigned 13 0 2. Beon, or Bnon reigned 44 0 3. Apakhnas, or Pakhnan reigned 36 7 4. Apophis I reigned 61 0 5. Yanias or Annas reigned 50 1 6. Assis reigned 49 2
Of the Sixteenth Dynasty nothing is known. Of the Seventeenth the monuments have given us the names of Apophis II. (Aa-user-Ra) and Apophis III. (Aa-ab-tani-Ra), in whose reign the war of independence began under the native prince of Thebes, and lasted for four generations.
Dynasty XVIII.— Manetho.
1. Neb-pehuti-Ra, Ahmes (more than 20 Amosis. years).
2. Ser-ka-Ra, Amon-hotep I., his son (20 years Amenophis I. 7 months.)
3. Aa-kheper-ka-Ra, Thothmes I., his son, and Chebron. queen Amen-sit.
4. Aa-kheper-n-Ra, Thothmes II., his son, and Amensis. wife Hatshepsu I. (more than 9 years).
5. Khnum-Amon, Hatshepsu II., Ma-ka-Ra ... his sister (more than 16 years).
6. Ra-men-Kheper, Thothmes III., her brother Misaphris. (57 years, 11 months, 1 day, from March 20, B.C. 1503 to Feb. 14, B.C. 1449).
7. Aa-khepru-Ra, Amon-hotep II., his son Misphragmuthosis. (more than 5 years).
8. Men-khepru-Ra, Thothmes IV., his son Touthmosis. (more than 7 years).
9. Neb-ma-Ra, Amon-hotep III., his son (more Amenophis II. than 35 years), and queen Teie.
10. Nefer-khepru-Ra, Amon-hotep IV., Khu-n-Aten Horos. (also called Khuriya), his son (more than 17 years).
11. Ankh-khepru-Ra and queen Meri-Aten. Akherres.
12. Tut-ankh-Amon Khepru-neb-Ra, and queen Rathotis. Ankh-nes-Amon.
13. Aten-Ra-nefer-nefru-mer-Aten. ...
14. Ai kheper-khepru-ar-ma-Ra, and queen ... Thi (more than 4 years).
15. Hor-m-hib Mi-Amon Ser-khepru-ka (more Armais. than 3 years).
1. Men-pehuti-Ra, Ramessu I. (more than 2 years). Ramesses.
2. Men-ma-Ra, Seti I., Mer-n-Ptah I. (more than Sethos. 27 years), his son.
3. User-ma-Ra, Sotep-n-Ra, Ramessu II., Mi-Amon ... (B.C. 1348-1281), his son.
4. Mer-n-Ptah II., Hotep-hi-ma Ba-n-Ra, Mi-Amon, Ammenephthes. his son.
5. User-khepru-Ra, Seti II., Mer-n-Ptah III., his Sethos Ramesses. brother.
6. Amon-mesu Hik-An Mer-Kha-Ra Sotep-n-Ra, usurper. Amenemes.
7. Khu-n-Ra Sotep-n-Ra, Mer-n-Ptah IV., Si-Ptah Thuoris. (more than 6 years), and queen Ta-user.
1. Set-nekht, Merer-Mi-Amon (recovered the kingdom from the Phoenician Arisu).
2. Ramessu III., Hik-An, his son (more than 32 years).
3. Ramessu IV., Hik-Ma Mi-Amon (more than 11 years).
4. Ramessu V., User-Ma-s-Kheper-n-Ra Mi-Amon (more than 4 years).
5. Ramessu VI., Neb-ma-Ra Mi-Amon Amon-hir-khopesh-f (Ramessu Meri-Tum, a rival king in Northern Egypt).
6. Ramessu VII., At-Amon User-ma-Ra Mi-Amon.
7. Ramessu VIII., Set-hir-khopesh-f Mi-Amon User-ma-Ra Khu-n-Amon.
8. Ramessu IX., Si-Ptah S-kha-n-Ra Mi-Amon (19 years).
9. Ramessu X., Nefer-ka-Ra Mi-Amon Sotep-n-Ra (more than 10 years).
10. Ramessu XI, Amon-hir-khopesh-f Kheper-ma-Ra Sotep-n-Ra.
11. Ramessu XII., Men-ma-Ra Mi-Amon Sotep-n-Ptah Kha-m-Uas (more than 27 years).
* * * * *
Dynasty I. of Babylon—
1. Sumu-abi, 15 years, B.C. 2458.
2. Sumu-la-ilu, his son, 35 years.
3. Zabu, his son, 14 years.
4. Abil-Sin, his son, 18 years.
5. Sin-muballidh, his son, 30 years.
6. Khammu-rabi, his son, 55 years (at first under the sovereignty of Chedor-laomer, the Elamite; by the conquest of Eri-Aku and the Elamites he unites Babylonia, B.C. 2320).
7. Samsu-iluna, his son, 35 years.
8. Ebisum, or Abi-esukh, his son, 25 years.
9. Ammi-satana, his son, 25 years.
10. Ammi-zaduga, his son, 21 years.
11. Samsu-satana, his son, 31 years.
Dynasty II. of Uru-azagga, B.C. 2154—
1. Anman, 51 (or 60) years.
2. Ki-nigas, 55 years.
3. Damki-ili-su, 46 years.
4. Iskipal, 15 years.
5. Sussi, his brother, 27 years.
6. Gul-kisar, 55 years.
7. Kirgal-daramas, his son, 50 years.
8. A-dara-kalama, his son, 28 years.
9. A-kur-du-ana, 26 years.
10. Melamma-kurkura, 6 years.
11. Bel-ga[mil?], 9 years.
Dynasty III., of the Kassites, B.C. 1786—
1. Gandis, or Gaddas, 16 years.
2. Agum-Sipak, his son, 22 years.
3. Guya-Sipak, his son, 22 years.
4. Ussi, his son, 8 years.
5. Adu-medas, ... years.
6. Tazzi-gurumas, ... years.
7. Agum-kak-rimi, his son, ... years.
* * * * *
(The following order of succession is taken from Dr. Hilprecht.)
16. Sagarakti-buryas, his son.
17. Kuri-galzu I.
19. Burna-buryas, his nephew, B.C. 1400.
20. Kara-Khardas, son of Kara-indas.
21. Nazi-bugas, or Su-zigas, an usurper.
22. Kuri-galzu II., son of Burna-buryas, 2. years.
23. Nazi-Maruttas, his son, 26 years.
24. Kadasman-Turgu, his son, 17 years.
25. Kadasman-Burias, his son, 2 years.
26. Gis-amme ti, 6 years.
27. Saga-rakti-suryas 13 years.
28. Kasbat, or Bibe-yasu, his son, 8 years.
29. Bel-nadin-sumi, 1 year 6 months.
30. Kadasman-Kharbe, 1 year 6 months.
31. Rimmon-nadin-sumi, 6 years.
32. Rimmon-sum-utsur, 30 years (including 7 years of occupation of Babylon by the Assyrian king, Tiglath-Ninip).
33. Mile-Sipak, 15 years.
34. Merodach-baladan I., his son, 13 years.
35. Zamania-nadin-sunii I., 1 year.
36. Bel-sum-iddin, 3 years.
Patriarchal Palestine! There are some who would tell us that the very name is a misnomer. Have we not been assured by the German critics and their English disciples that there were no patriarchs and no Patriarchal Age? And yet, the critics notwithstanding, the Patriarchal Age has actually existed. While criticism, so-called, has been busy in demolishing the records of the Pentateuch, archaeology, by the spade of the excavator and the patient skill of the decipherer, has been equally busy in restoring their credit. And the monuments of the past are a more solid argument than the guesses and prepossessions of the modern theorist. The clay tablet and inscribed stone are better witnesses to the truth than literary tact or critical scepticism. That Moses and his contemporaries could neither read nor write may have been proved to demonstration by the critic; yet nevertheless we now know, thanks to archaeological discovery, that it would have been a miracle if the critic were right. The Pentateuch is, after all, what it professes to be, and the records it contains are history and not romance.
The question of its authenticity involves issues more serious and important than those which have to do merely with history or archaeology. We are sometimes told indeed, in all honesty of purpose, that it is a question of purely literary interest, without influence on our theological faith. But the whole fabric of the Jewish Church in the time of our Lord was based upon the belief that the Law of Moses came from God, and that this God "is not a man that He should lie." And the belief of the Jewish Church was handed on to the Christian Church along with all its consequences. To revise that belief is to revise the dogmas of the Christian Church as they have been held for the last eighteen centuries; to reject it utterly is to reject the primary document of the faith into which we have been baptized.
It is not, however, with theological matters that we are now concerned. Patriarchal Palestine is for us the Palestine of the Patriarchal Age, as it has been disclosed by archaeological research, not the Palestine in which the revelation of God's will to man was to be made. It is sufficient for us that the Patriarchal Age has been shown by modern discovery to be a fact, and that in the narratives of the Book of Genesis we have authentic records of the past. There was indeed a Patriarchal Palestine, and the glimpses of it that we get in the Old Testament have been illustrated and supplemented by the ancient monuments of the Oriental world.
Whether the name of Palestine can be applied to the country with strict accuracy at this early period is a different question. Palestine is Philistia, the land of the Philistines, and the introduction of the name was subsequent to the settlement of the Philistines in Canaan and the era of their victories over Israel. As we shall see later on, it is probable that they did not reach the Canaanitish coast until the Patriarchal Age was almost, if not entirely, past Their name does not occur in the cuneiform correspondence which was carried on between Canaan and Egypt in the century before the Exodus, and they are first heard of as forming part of that great confederacy of northern tribes which attacked Egypt and Canaan in the days of Moses. But, though the term Canaan would doubtless be more correct than Palestine, the latter has become so purely geographical in meaning that we can employ it without reference to history or date. Its signification is too familiar to cause mistakes, and it can therefore be used proleptically, just as the name of the Philistines themselves is used proleptically in the twenty-first chapter of Genesis. Abimelech was king of a people who inhabited the same part of the country as the Philistines in later times, and were thus their earlier representatives.
The term "Palestine" then is used geographically without any reference to its historical origin. It denotes the country which is known as Canaan in the Old Testament, which was promised to Abraham and conquered by his descendants. It is the land in which David ruled and in which Christ was born, where the prophets prepared the way for the Gospel and the Christian Church was founded.
Shut in between the Desert of Arabia and the Mediterranean Sea on the east and west, it is a narrow strip of territory, for the most part mountainous, rugged, and barren. Northward the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon come to meet it from Syria, the Anti-Lebanon culminating in the lofty peaks and precipitous ravines of Mount Hermon (9383 feet above the level of the sea), while Lebanon runs southward till it juts out into the sea in its sacred headland of Carmel. The fertile plain of Esdraelon or Megiddo separates the mountains of the north from those of the south. These last form a broken plateau between the Jordan and the Dead Sea on the one side and the Plain of Sharon and the sea-coast of the Philistines on the other, until they finally slope away into the arid desert of the south. Here, on the borders of the wilderness, was Beersheba the southern limit of the land in the days of the monarchy, Dan, its northern limit, lying far away to the north at the foot of Hermon, and not far from the sources of the Jordan.
Granite and gneiss, overlaid with hard dark sandstone and masses of secondary limestone, form as it were the skeleton of the country. Here and there, at Carmel and Gerizim, patches of the tertiary nummulite of Egypt make their appearance, and in the plains of Megiddo and the coast, as well as in the "Ghor" or valley of the Jordan, there is rich alluvial soil. But elsewhere all is barren or nearly so, cultivation being possible only by terracing the cliffs, and bringing the soil up to them from the plains below with slow and painful labour. It has often been said that Palestine was more widely cultivated in ancient times than it is to-day. But if so, this was only because a larger area of the cultivable ground was tilled. The plains of the coast, which are now given over to malaria and Beduin thieves, were doubtless thickly populated and well sown. But of ground actually fit for cultivation there could not have been a larger amount than there is at present.
It was not in any way a well-wooded land. On the slopes of the Lebanon and of Carmel, it is true, there were forests of cedar-trees, a few of which still survive, and the Assyrian kings more than once speak of cutting them down or using them in their buildings at Nineveh. But south of the Lebanon forest trees were scarce; the terebinth was so unfamiliar a sight in the landscape as to become an object of worship or a road-side mark. Even the palm grew only on the sea-coast or in the valley of the Jordan, and the tamarisk and sycamore were hardly more than shrubs.
Nevertheless when the Israelites first entered Canaan, it was in truth a land "flowing with milk and honey." Goats abounded on the hills, and the bee of Palestine, though fierce, is still famous for its honey-producing powers. The Perizzites or "fellahin" industriously tilled the fields, and high-walled cities stood on the mountain as well as on the plain.
The highlands, however, were deficient in water. A few streams fall into the sea south of Carmel, but except in the spring, when they have been swollen by the rains, there is but little water in them. The Kishon, which irrigates the plain of Megiddo, is a more important river, but it too is little more than a mountain stream. In fact, the Jordan is the only river in the true sense of the word which Palestine possesses. Rising to the north of the waters of Merom, now called Lake Huleh, it flows first into the Lake of Tiberias, and then through a long deep valley into the Dead Sea. Here at a depth of 1293 feet below the level of the sea it is swallowed up and lost; the sea has no outlet, and parts with its stagnant waters through evaporation alone. The evaporation has made it intensely salt, and its shores are consequently for the most part the picture of death.
In the valley of the Jordan, on the other hand, vegetation is as luxuriant and tropical as in the forests of Brazil. Through a dense undergrowth of canes and shrubs the river forces its way, rushing forward towards its final gulf of extinction with a fall of 670 feet since it left the Lake of Tiberias. But the distance thus travelled by it is long in comparison with its earlier fall of 625 feet between Lake Huleh and the Sea of Galilee. Here it has cut its way through a deep gorge, the cliffs of which rise up almost sheer on either side.
The Jordan has taken its name from its rapid fall. The word comes from a root which signifies "to descend," and the name itself means "the down-flowing." We can trace it back to the Egyptian monuments of the nineteenth and twentieth dynasties. Ramses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression, has inscribed it on the walls of Karnak, and Ramses III., who must have reigned while the Israelites were still in the wilderness, enumerates the "Yordan" at Medinet Habu among his conquests in Palestine. In both cases it is associated with "the Lake of Rethpana," which must accordingly be the Egyptian name of the Dead Sea. Rethpana might correspond with a Hebrew Reshphon, a derivative from Resheph, the god of fire. Canaanite mythology makes the sparks his "children" (Job v. 7) and it may be, therefore, that in this old name of the Dead Sea we have a reference to the overthrow of the cities of the plain.
Eastward of the Dead Sea and the Jordan the country is again mountainous and bare. Here were the territories of Reuben and Gad, and the half-tribe of Manasseh; here also were the kingdoms of Moab and Ammon, of Bashan and the Amorites. Here too was the land of Gilead, south of the Lake of Tiberias and north of the Dead Sea.
We can read the name of Muab or Moab on the base of the second of the six colossal statues which Ramses II. erected in front of the northern pylon of the temple of Luxor. It is there included among his conquests. The statue is the only Egyptian monument on which the name has hitherto been found. But this single mention is sufficient to guarantee its antiquity, and to prove that in the days before the Exodus it was already well known in Egypt.
To the north of Moab came the kingdom of Ammon, or the children of Ammi. The name of Ammon was a derivative from that of the god Ammi or Ammo, who seems to have been regarded as the ancestor of the nation, and "the father of the children of Ammon" was accordingly called Ben-Ammi, "the son of Ammi" (Gen. xix. 38). Far away in the north, close to the junction of the rivers Euphrates and Sajur, and but a few miles to the south of the Hittite stronghold of Carchemish, the worship of the same god seems to have been known to the Aramaean tribes. It was here that Pethor stood, according to the Assyrian inscriptions, and it was from Pethor that the seer Balaam came to Moab to curse the children of Israel. Pethor, we are told, was "by the river (Euphrates) of the land of the children of Ammo," where the word represents a proper name (Num. xxii. 5). To translate it "his people," as is done by the Authorized Version, makes no sense. On the Assyrian monuments Ammon is sometimes spoken of as Beth-Ammon, "the house of Ammon," as if Ammon had been a living man.
Like Moab, Ammon was a region of limestone mountains and barren cliffs. But there were fertile fields on the banks of the Jabbok, the sources of which rose not far from the capital Rabbath.
North of Gilead and the Yarmuk was the volcanic plateau of Bashan, Ziri-Basana, or "the Plain of Bashan," as it is termed in the cuneiform tablets of Tel el-Amarna. Its western slope towards the Lakes of Merom and Tiberias was known as Golan (now Jolan); its eastern plateau of metallic lava was Argob, "the stony" (now El Lejja). Bashan was included in the Hauran, the name of which we first meet with on the monuments of the Assyrian king Assur-bani-pal. To the north it was bounded by Ituraea, so named from Jetur, the son of Ishmael (Gen. xxv. 15), the road through Ituraea (the modern Jedur) leading to Damascus and its well-watered plain.
The gardens of Damascus lie 2260 feet above the sea. In the summer the air is cooled by the mountain breezes; in the winter the snow sometimes lies upon the surface of the land. Westward the view is closed by the white peaks of Anti-Lebanon and Hermon; eastward the eye wanders over a green plain covered with the mounds of old towns and villages, and intersected by the clear and rapid streams of the Abana and Pharphar. But the Abana has now become the Barada, or "cold one," while the Pharphar is the Nahr el-Awaj.
The Damascus of to-day stands on the site of the city from which St. Paul escaped, and "the street which is called Straight" can still be traced by its line of Roman columns. But it is doubtful whether the Damascus of the New Testament and of to-day is the same as the Damascus of the Old Testament. Where the walls of the city have been exposed to view, we see that their Greek foundations rest on the virgin soil; no remains of an earlier period lie beneath them. It may be, therefore, that the Damascus of Ben-Hadad and Hazael is marked rather by one of the mounds in the plain than by the modern town. In one of these the stone statue of a man, in the Assyrian style, was discovered a few years ago.
An ancient road leads from the peach-orchards of Damascus, along the banks of the Abana and over Anti-Lebanon, to the ruins of the temple of the Sun-god at Baalbek. The temple as we see it is of the age of the Antonines, but it occupies the place of one which stood in Heliopolis, the city of the Sun-god, from immemorial antiquity. Relics of an older epoch still exist in the blocks of stone of colossal size which serve as the foundation of the western wall. Their bevelling reminds us of Phoenician work.
Baalbek was the sacred city of the Bek'a, or "cleft" formed between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon by the gorge through which the river Litany rushes down to the sea. Once and once only is it referred to in the Old Testament. Amos (i. 5) declares that the Lord "will break the bar of Damascus and cut off the inhabitant from Bikath-On"—the Bek'a of On. The name of On reminds us that the Heliopolis of Egypt, the city of the Egyptian Sun-god, was also called On, and the question arises whether the name and worship of the On of Syria were not derived from the On of Egypt. For nearly two centuries Syria was an Egyptian province, and the priests of On in Egypt may well have established themselves in the "cleft" valley of Coele-Syria.
From Baalbek, the city of "Baal of the Bek'a," the traveller makes his way across Lebanon, and under the snows of Jebel Sannin—nearly 9000 feet in height—to the old Phoenician city of Beyrout. Beyrout is already mentioned in the cuneiform tablets of Tel el-Amarna under the name of Beruta or Beruna, "the cisterns." It was already a seaport of Phoenicia, and a halting-place on the high road that ran along the coast.
The coastland was known to the Greeks and Romans as Phoenicia, "the land of the palm." But its own inhabitants called it Canaan, "the lowlands." It included not only the fringe of cultivated land by the sea-shore, but the western slopes of the Lebanon as well. Phoenician colonies and outposts had been planted inland, far away from the coast, as at Laish, the future Dan, where "the people dwelt careless," though "they were far away from the Sidonians," or at Zemar (the modern Sumra) and Arka (still called by the same name). The territory of the Phoenicians stretched southward as far as Dor (now Tanturah), where it met the advance guard of the Philistines.
Such was Palestine, the promised home of Israel. It was a land of rugged and picturesque mountains, interspersed with a few tracts of fertile country, shut in between the sea and the ravine of the Jordan, and falling away into the waterless desert of the south. It was, too, a land of small extent, hardly more than one hundred and sixty miles in length and sixty miles in width. And even this amount of territory was possessed by the Israelites only during the reigns of David and Solomon. The sea-coast with its harbours was in the hands of the Phoenicians and the Philistines, and though the Philistines at one time owned an unwilling allegiance to the Jewish king, the Phoenicians preserved their independence, and even Solomon had to find harbours for his merchantmen, not on the coast of his own native kingdom, but in the distant Edomite ports of Eloth and Ezion-geber, in the Gulf of Aqabah. With the loss of Edom Judah ceased to have a foreign trade.
The Negeb, or desert of the south, was then, what it still is, the haunt of robbers and marauders. The Beduin of to-day are the Amalekites of Old Testament history; and then, as now, they infested the southern frontier of Judah, wasting and robbing the fields of the husbandman, and allying themselves with every invader who came from the south, Saul, indeed, punished them, as Romans and Turks have punished them since; but the lesson is remembered only for a short while: when the strong hand is removed, the "sons of the desert" return again like the locusts to their prey.
It is true that the Beduin now range over the loamy plains and encamp among the marshes of Lake Huleh, where in happier times their presence was unknown. But this is the result of a weak and corrupt government, added to the depopulation of the lowlands. There are traces even in the Old Testament that in periods of anarchy and confusion the Amalekites penetrated far into the country in a similar fashion. In the Song of Deborah and Barak Ephraim is said to have contended against them, and accordingly "Pirathon in the land of Ephraim" is described as being "in the mount of the Amalekites" (Judges xii. 15). In the cuneiform tablets of Tel el-Amarna, too, there is frequent mention of the "Plunderers" by whom the Beduin, the Shasu of the Egyptian texts, must be meant, and who seem to have been generally ready at hand to assist a rebellious vassal or take part in a civil feud.
Lebanon, the "white" mountain, took its name from its cliffs of glistening limestone. In the early days of Canaan it was believed to be the habitation of the gods, and Phoenician inscriptions exist dedicated to Baal-Lebanon, "the Baal of Lebanon." He was the special form of the Sun-god whose seat was in the mountain-ranges that shut in Phoenicia on the east, and whose spirit was supposed to dwell in some mysterious way in the mountains themselves. But there were certain peaks which lifted themselves up prominently to heaven, and in which consequently the sanctity of the whole range was as it were concentrated. It was upon their summits that the worshipper felt himself peculiarly near the God of heaven, and where therefore the altar was built and the sacrifice performed. One of these peaks was Hermon, "the consecrated," whose name the Greeks changed into Harmonia, the wife of Agenor the Phoenician. From its top we can see Palestine spread as it were before us, and stretching southwards to the mountains of Judah. The walls of the temple, which in Greek times took the place of the primitive altar, can still be traced there, and on its slopes, or perched above its ravines, are the ruins of other temples of Baal—at Der el-'Ashair, at Rakleh, at Ain Hersha, at Rasheyat el-Fukhar—all pointing towards the central sanctuary on the summit of the mountain.
The name of Hermon, "the consecrated," was but an epithet, and the mountain had other and more special names of its own. The Sidonians, we are told (Deut. iii. 9), called it Sirion, and another of its titles was Sion (Deut. iv. 48), unless indeed this is a corrupt reading for Sirion. Its Amorite name was Shenir (Deut. iii. 9), which appears as Saniru in an Assyrian inscription, and goes back to the earliest dawn of history. When the Babylonians first began to make expeditions against the West, long before the birth of Abraham, the name of Sanir was already known. It was then used to denote the whole of Syria, so that its restriction to Mount Hermon alone must have been of later date.
Another holy peak was Carmel, "the fruitful field," or perhaps originally "the domain of the god." It was in Mount Carmel that the mountain ranges of the north ended finally, and the altar on its summit could be seen from afar by the Phoenician sailors. Here the priests of Baal called in vain upon their god that he might send them rain, and here was "the altar of the Lord" which Elijah repaired.
The mountains of the south present no striking peak or headland like Hermon and Carmel. Even Tabor belongs to the north. Ebal and Gerizim alone, above Shechem, stand out among their fellows, and were venerated as the abodes of deity from the earliest times. The temple-hill at Jerusalem owed its sanctity rather to the city within the boundaries of which it stood than to its own character. In fact, the neighbouring height of Zion towered above it. The mountains of the south were rather highlands than lofty chains and isolated peaks.
But on this very account they played an important part in the history of the world. They were not too high to be habitable; they were high enough to protect their inhabitants against invasion and war. "Mount Ephraim," the block of mountainous land of which Shechem and Samaria formed the centre, and at the southern extremity of which the sacred city of Shiloh stood, was the natural nucleus of a kingdom, like the southern block of which Hebron and Jerusalem were similarly the capitals. Here there were valleys and uplands in which sufficient food could be grown for the needs of the population, while the cities with their thick and lofty walls were strongholds difficult to approach and still more difficult to capture. The climate was bracing, though the winters were cold, and it reared a race of hardy warriors and industrious agriculturists. The want of water was the only difficulty; in most cases the people were dependent on rain-water, which they preserved in cisterns cut out of the rock.
This block of southern mountains was the first and latest stronghold of Israel. It constituted, in fact, the kingdoms of Samaria and Judah. Out of it, at Shechem, came the first attempt to found a monarchy in Israel, and thus unite the Israelitish tribes; out of it also came the second and more successful attempt under Saul the Benjamite and David the Jew. The Israelites never succeeded in establishing themselves on the sea-coast, and their possession of the plain of Megiddo and the southern slopes of the Lebanon was a source of weakness and not of strength. It led eventually to the overthrow of the kingdom of Samaria. The northern tribes in Galilee were absorbed by the older population, and their country became "Galilee of the Gentiles," rather than an integral part of Israel. The plain of Megiddo was long held by the Canaanites, and up to the last was exposed to invasion from the sea-coast. It was, in fact, the battle-field of Palestine. The army of the invader or the conqueror marched along the edge of the sea, not through the rugged paths and dangerous defiles of the mountainous interior, and the plain of Megiddo was the pass which led them into its midst. The possession of the plain cut off the mountaineers of the north from their brethren in the south, and opened the way into the heart of the mountains themselves.
But to possess the plain was also to possess chariots and horsemen, and a large and disciplined force. The guerilla warfare of the mountaineer was here of no avail. Success lay on the side of the more numerous legions and the wealthier state, on the side of the assailant and not of the assailed.
Herein lay the advantage of the kingdom of Judah. It was a compact state, with no level plain to defend, no outlying territories to protect. Its capital stood high upon the mountains, strongly fortified by nature and difficult of access. While Samaria fell hopelessly and easily before the armies of Assyria, Jerusalem witnessed the fall of Nineveh itself.
What was true of the later days of Israelitish history was equally true of the age of the patriarchs. The strength of Palestine lay in its southern highlands; whoever gained possession of these was master of the whole country, and the road lay open before him to Sinai and Egypt. But to gain possession of them was the difficulty, and campaign after campaign was needed before they could be reduced to quiet submission. In the time of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty Jerusalem was already the key to Southern Palestine.
Geographically, Palestine was thus a country of twofold character, and its population was necessarily twofold as well. It was a land of mountain and plain, of broken highlands and rocky sea-coast. Its people were partly mountaineers, active, patriotic, and poor, with a tendency to asceticism; partly a nation of sailors and merchants, industrious, wealthy, and luxurious, with no sense of country or unity, and accounting riches the supreme end of life. On the one hand, it gave the world its first lessons in maritime exploration and trade; on the other it has been the religious teacher of mankind.
In both respects its geographical position has aided the work of its people. Situated midway between the two great empires of the ancient Oriental world, it was at once the high road and the meeting-place of the civilizations of Egypt and Babylonia. Long before Abraham migrated to Canaan it had been deeply interpenetrated by Babylonian culture and religious ideas, and long before the Exodus it had become an Egyptian province. It barred the way to Egypt for the invader from Asia; it protected Asia from Egyptian assault. The trade of the world passed through it and met in it; the merchants of Egypt and Ethiopia could traffic in Palestine with the traders of Babylonia and the far East. It was destined by nature to be a land of commerce and trade.
And yet while thus forming a highway from the civilization of the Euphrates to that of the Nile, Palestine was too narrow a strip of country to become itself a formidable kingdom. The empire of David scarcely lasted for more than a single generation, and was due to the weakness at the same time of both Egypt and Assyria. With the Arabian desert on the one side and the Mediterranean on the other, it was impossible for Canaan to develop into a great state. Its rocks and mountains might produce a race of hardy warriors and energetic thinkers, but they could not create a rich and populous community. The Phoenicians on the coast were driven towards the sea, and had to seek in maritime enterprise the food and wealth which their own land refused to grant. Palestine was essentially formed to be the appropriator and carrier of the ideas and culture of others, not to be itself their origin and creator.
But when the ideas had once been brought to it they were modified and combined, improved and generalized in a way that made them capable of universal acceptance. Phoenician art is in no way original; its elements have been drawn partly from Babylonia, partly from Egypt; but their combination was the work of the Phoenicians, and it was just this combination which became the heritage of civilized man. The religion of Israel came from the wilderness, from the heights of Sinai, and the palm-grove of Kadesh, but it was in Palestine that it took shape and developed, until in the fullness of time the Messiah was born. Out of Canaan have come the Prophets and the Gospel, but the Law which lay behind them was brought from elsewhere.
In the days of Abraham, Chedor-laomer, king of Elam and lord over the kings of Babylonia, marched westward with his Babylonian allies, in order to punish his rebellious subjects in Canaan. The invading army entered Palestine from the eastern side of the Jordan. Instead of marching along the sea-coast, it took the line of the valley of the Jordan. It first attacked the plateau of Bashan, and then smote "the Rephaim in Ashteroth Karnaim, and the Zuzim in Ham, and the Emim in the plain of Kiriathaim." Then it passed into Mount Seir, and subjugated the Horites as far as El-Paran "by the wilderness." Thence it turned northward again through the oasis of En-mishpat or Kadesh-barnea, and after smiting the Amalekite Beduin, as well as the Amorites in Hazezon-tamar, made its way into the vale of Siddim. There the battle took place which ended in the defeat of the king of Sodom and his allies, who were carried away captive to the north. But at Hobah, "on the left hand of Damascus," the invaders were overtaken by "Abram the Hebrew," who dwelt with his Amorite confederates in the plain of Mamre, and the spoil they had seized was recovered from them.
The narrative gives us a picture of the geography and ethnology of Palestine as it was at the beginning of the Patriarchal Age. Before that age was over it had altered very materially; the old cities for the most part still remained, but new races had taken the place of the older ones, new kingdoms had arisen, and the earlier landmarks had been displaced. The Amalekite alone continued what he had always been, the untamable nomad of the southern desert.
Rephaim or "Giants" was a general epithet applied to the prehistoric population of the country. Og, king of Bashan in the time of the Exodus, was "of the remnant of the Rephaim" (Deut. iii. 11); but so also were the Anakim in Hebron, the Emim in Moab, and the Zamzummim in Ammon (Deut. ii. 11, 20). Doubtless they represented a tall race in comparison with the Hebrews and Arabs of the desert; and the Israelitish spies described themselves as grasshoppers by the side of them (Numb. xiii. 33). It is possible, however, that the name was really an ethnic one, which had only an accidental similarity in sound to the Hebrew word for "giants." At all events, in the list of conquered Canaanitish towns which the Pharaoh Thothmes III. of Egypt caused to be engraved on the walls of Karnak, the name of Astartu or Ashteroth Karnaim is followed by that of Anaurepa, in which Mr. Tomkins proposes to see On-Repha, "On of the Giant(s)." In the close neighbourhood in classical days stood Raphon or Raphana, Arpha of the Dekapolis, now called Er-Rafeh, and in Raphon it is difficult not to discern a reminiscence of the Rephaim of Genesis.
Did these Rephaim belong to the same race as the Emim and the Anakim, or were the latter called Rephaim or "Giants" merely because they represented the tall prehistoric population of Canaan? The question can be more easily asked than answered. We know from the Book of Genesis that Amorites as well as Hittites lived at Hebron, or in its immediate vicinity. Abram dwelt in the plain of Mamre along with three Amorite chieftains, and Hoham, king of Hebron, who fought against Joshua, is accounted among the Amorites (Josh. x. 1). The Anakim may therefore have been an Amorite tribe. They held themselves to be the descendants of Anak, an ancient Canaanite god, whose female counterpart was the Phoenician goddess Onka. But, on the other hand, the Amorites at Hebron may have been intruders; we know that Hebron was peculiarly a Hittite city, and it is at Mamre rather than at Hebron that the Amorite confederates of Abram had their home. It is equally possible that the Anakim themselves may have been the stranger element; we hear nothing about them in the days of the patriarchs, and it is only when the Israelites prepare to enter Canaan that they first make their appearance upon the stage.
Og, king of Bashan, however, was an Amorite; of this we are assured in the Book of Deuteronomy (iii. 8), and it is further said of him that he only "remained of the remnant of the Rephaim." The expression is a noticeable one, as it implies that the older population had been for the most part driven out. And such, in fact, was the case. At Rabbath, the capital of Ammon, the basalt sarcophagus of the last king of Bashan was preserved; but the king and his people had alike perished. Ammonites and Israelites had taken their place.
The children of Ammon had taken possession of the land once owned by the Zamzummim (Deut. ii. 20). The latter are called Zuzim in the narrative of Genesis, and they are said to have dwelt in Ham. But Zuzim and Ham are merely faulty transcriptions from a cuneiform text of the Hebrew Zamzummim and Ammon, and the same people are meant both in Genesis and in Deuteronomy. In Deuteronomy also the Emim are mentioned, and their geographical position defined. They were the predecessors of the Moabites, and like the Zamzummim, "a people great and many and tall," whom the Moabites expelled doubtless at the same time as that at which the Ammonites conquered the Zamzummim. The "plain of Kiriathaim," or "the two cities," must have lain south of the Arnon, where Ar and Kir Haraseth were built.
South of the Emim, in the rose-red mountains of Seir, afterwards occupied by the Edomites, came the Horites, whose name is generally supposed to be derived from a Hebrew word signifying "a cave." They have therefore been regarded as Troglodytes, or cave-dwellers, a savage race of men who possessed neither houses nor settled home. But it is quite possible to connect the name with another word which means "white," and to see in them the representatives of a white race. The name of Hor is associated with Beth-lehem, and Caleb, of the Edomite tribe of Kenaz, is called "the son of Hur" (1 Chron. ii. 50, iv. 4). There is no reason for believing that cave-dwellers ever existed in that part of Palestine.
The discovery of the site of Kadesh-barnea is due in the first instance to Dr. Rowlands, secondly to the archaeological skill of Dr. Clay Trumbull. It is still known as 'Ain Qadis, "the spring of Qadis," and lies hidden within the block of mountains which rise in the southern desert about midway between Mount Seir and the Mediterranean Sea. The water still gushes out of the rock, fresh and clear, and nourishes the oasis that surrounds it. It has been marked out by nature to be a meeting-place and "sanctuary" of the desert tribes. Its central position, its security from sudden attack, and its abundant supply of water all combined to make it the En-Mishpat or "Spring of Judgment," where cases were tried and laws enacted. It was here that the Israelites lingered year after year during their wanderings in the wilderness, and it was from hence that the spies were sent out to explore the Promised Land. In those days the mountains which encircled it were known as "the mountains of the Amorites" (Deut. i. 19, 20). In the age of the Babylonian invasion, however, the Amorites had not advanced so far to the south. They were as yet only at Hazezon-tamar, the "palm-grove" on the western shore of the Dead Sea, which a later generation called En-gedi (2 Chron. xx. 2). En-Mishpat was still in the hands of the Amalekites, the lords of "all the country" round about.
The Amalekites had not as yet intermingled with the Ishmaelites, and their Beduin blood was still pure. They were the Shasu or "Plunderers" of the Egyptian inscriptions, sometimes also termed the Sitti, the Sute of the cuneiform texts. Like their modern descendants, they lived by the plunder of their more peaceful neighbours. As was prophesied of Ishmael, so could it have been prophesied of the Amalekites, that their "hand should be against every man, and every man's hand against" them. They were the wild offspring of the wilderness, and accounted the first-born of mankind (Numb. xxiv. 20).
From En-Mishpat the Babylonian forces marched northward along the western edge of the Dead Sea. Leaving Jerusalem on their left, they descended into the vale of Siddim, where they found themselves in the valley of the Jordan, and consequently in the land of the Canaanites. As we are told in the Book of Numbers (xiii. 29), while "the Amalekites dwell in the land of the south, and the Hittites and the Jebusites and Amorites dwell in the mountains, the Canaanites dwell by the sea and by the coast of Jordan."
The word Canaan, as we have seen, meant "the lowlands," and appears sometimes in a longer, sometimes in a shorter form. The shorter form is written Khna by the Greeks: in the Tel el-Amarna tablets it is Kinakhkhi, while Canaan, the longer form, is Kinakhna. It is this longer form which alone appears in the hieroglyphic texts. Here we read how Seti I. destroyed the Shasu or Amalekites from the eastern frontier of Egypt to "the land of Kana'an," and captured their fortress of the same name which Major Conder has identified with Khurbet Kan'an near Hebron. It was also the longer form which was preserved among the Israelites as well as among the Phoenicians, the original inhabitants of the sea-coast. Coins of Laodicea, on the Orontes, bear the inscription, "Laodicea a metropolis in Canaan," and St. Augustine states that in his time the Carthaginian peasantry of Northern Africa, if questioned as to their descent, still answered that they were "Canaanites." (Exp. Epist. ad Rom. 13.)
In course of time the geographical signification of the name came to be widely extended beyond its original limits. Just as Philistia, the district of the Philistines, became the comprehensive Palestine, so Canaan, the land of the Canaanites of the coast and the valley, came to denote the whole of the country between the Jordan and the sea. It is already used in this sense in the cuneiform correspondence of Tel el-Amarna. Already in the century before the Exodus Kinakhna or Canaan represented pretty nearly all that we now mean by "Palestine." It was in fact the country to the south of "the land of the Amorites," and "the land of the Amorites" lay immediately to the north of the Waters of Merom.
In the geographical table in the tenth chapter of Genesis Canaan is stated to be the son of Ham and the brother of Mizraim or Egypt. The statement indicates the age to which the account must go back. There was only one period of history in which Canaan could be geographically described as a brother of Egypt, and that was the period of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties, when for a while it was a province of the Pharaohs. At no other time was it closely connected with the sons of Ham. At an earlier epoch its relations had been with Babylonia rather than with the valley of the Nile, and with the fall of the nineteenth dynasty the Asiatic empire of Egypt came finally to an end.
The city of Sidon, we are further told, was the first-born of Canaan. It claimed to be the oldest of the Phoenician cities in the "lowlands" of the coast. It had grown out of an assemblage of "fishermen's" huts, and Said the god of the fishermen continued to preside over it to the last. The fishermen became in time sailors and merchant-princes, and the fish for which they sought was the murex with its precious purple dye. Tyre, the city of the "rock," which in later days disputed the supremacy over Phoenicia with Sidon, was of younger foundation. Herodotus was told that the great temple of Baal Melkarth, "the city's king," which he saw there, had been built twenty-three centuries before his visit. But Sidon was still older, older even than Gebal, the sacred city of the goddess Baaltis.
The wider extension of the name of Canaan brought with it other geographical relationships besides those of the sea-coast. Hittites and Amorites, Jebusites and Girgashites, Hivites and the peoples of the southern Lebanon, were all settled within the limits of the larger Canaan, and were therefore accounted his sons. Even Hamath claimed the right to be included in the brotherhood. It is said with truth that "afterwards were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad."
Hittites and Amorites were interlocked both in the north and in the south. Kadesh, on the Orontes, the southern stronghold of the Hittite kingdom of the north, was, as the Egyptian records tell us, in the land of the Amorites; while in the south Hittites and Amorites were mingled together at Hebron, and Ezekiel (xvi. 3) declares that Jerusalem had a double parentage: its birth was in the land of Canaan, but its father was an Amorite and its mother a Hittite. Modern research, however, has shown that Hittites and Amorites were races widely separated in character and origin. About the Hittites we hear a good deal both in the hieroglyphic and in the cuneiform inscriptions. The Khata of the Egyptian texts were the most formidable power of Western Asia with whom the Egyptians of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties had to deal. They were tribes of mountaineers from the ranges of the Taurus who had descended on the plains of Syria and established themselves there in the midst of an Aramaic population. Carchemish on the Euphrates became one of their Syrian capitals, commanding the high-road of commerce and war from east to west. Thothmes III., the conqueror of Western Asia, boasts of the gifts he received from "the land of Khata the greater," so called, it would seem, to distinguish it from another and lesser land of Khata—that of the Hittites of the south.
The cuneiform tablets of Tel el-Amarna, in the closing days of the eighteenth dynasty, represent the Hittites as advancing steadily southward and menacing the Syrian possessions of the Pharaoh. Disaffected Amorites and Canaanites looked to them for help, and eventually "the land of the Amorites" to the north of Palestine fell into their possession. When the first Pharaohs of the nineteenth dynasty attempted to recover the Egyptian empire in Asia, they found themselves confronted by the most formidable of antagonists. Against Kadesh and "the great king of the Hittites" the Egyptian forces were driven in vain, and after twenty years of warfare Ramses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression, was fain to consent to peace. A treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, was drawn up between the two rivals, and Egypt was henceforth compelled to treat with the Hittites on equal terms. The Khatta or Khata of the Assyrian inscriptions are already a decaying power. They are broken into a number of separate states or kingdoms, of which Carchemish is the richest and most important. They are in fact in retreat towards those mountains of Asia Minor from which they had originally issued forth. But they still hold their ground in Syria for a long while. There were Hittites at Kadesh in the reign of David. Hittite kings could lend their services to Israel in the age of Elisha (2 Kings vii. 6), and it was not till B.C. 717 that Carchemish was captured by Sargon of Assyria, and the trade which passed through it diverted to Nineveh. But when the Assyrians first became acquainted with the coastland of the Mediterranean, the Hittites were to such an extent the ruling race there that they gave their name to the whole district. Like "Palestine," or "Canaan," the term "land of the Hittites" came to denote among the Assyrians, not only Northern Syria and the Lebanon, but Southern Syria as well. Even Ahab of Israel and Baasha the Ammonite are included by Shalmaneser II. among its kings.
This extended use of the name among the Assyrians is illustrated by the existence of a Hittite tribe at Hebron in the extreme south of Palestine. Various attempts have been made to get rid of the latter by unbelieving critics, but the statements of Genesis are corroborated by Ezekiel's account of the foundation of Jerusalem. They are, moreover, in full harmony with the monumental records. As we have seen, Thothmes III. implies that already in his day there was a second and smaller land of the Hittites, and the great Babylonian work on astronomy contains references to the Hittites which appear to go back to early days.
Assyrian and Babylonian texts are not the only cuneiform records which make mention of the "Khata" or Hittites. Their name is found also on the monuments of the kings of Ararat or Armenia who reigned in the ninth and eighth centuries before our era, and who had borrowed from Nineveh the cuneiform system of writing. But the Khata of these Vannic or Armenian texts lived considerably to the north of the Hittites of the Bible and of the Egyptian and Assyrian monuments. The country they inhabited lay in eastern Asia Minor in the neighbourhood of the modern Malatiyeh. Here, in fact, was their original home.
Thanks to the Egyptian artists, we are well acquainted with the Hittite physical type. It was not handsome. The nose was unduly protrusive, while the chin and the forehead retreated. The cheeks were square with prominent bones, and the face was beardless. In colour the Hittites were yellow-skinned with black hair and eyes. They seem to have worn their hair in three long plaits which fell over the back like the pigtail of a Chinaman, and they were distinguished by the use of boots with upturned toes.
We might perhaps imagine that the Egyptian artists have caricatured their adversaries. But this is not the case. Precisely the same profile of face, sometimes even exaggerated in its ugliness, is represented on the Hittite monuments by the native sculptors themselves. It is one of the surest proofs we possess that these monuments, with their still undeciphered inscriptions, are of Hittite origin. They belong to the people whom Israelites, Egyptians, Assyrians, and Armenians united in calling Hittites.
In marked contrast to the Hittites stood the Amorites. They too are depicted on the walls of the Egyptian temples and tombs. While the Hittite type of features is Mongoloid, that of the Amorite is European. His nose is straight and somewhat pointed, his lips and nostrils thin, his cheek-bones high, his mouth firm and regular, his forehead expressive of intelligence. He has a fair amount of whisker, ending in a pointed beard. At Abu-Simbel the skin is painted a pale yellow—the Egyptian equivalent for white—his eyes blue, and his beard and eyebrows red. At Medinet Habu, his skin, as Prof. Petrie expresses it, is "rather pinker than flesh-colour," while in a tomb of the eighteenth dynasty at Thebes it is painted white, the eyes and hair being a light red-brown.
The Amorite, it is clear, must be classed with the fair-skinned, blue-eyed Libyans of the Egyptian monuments, whose modern descendants are the Kabyles and other Berber tribes of Northern Africa. The latter are not only European in type, they claim special affinities to the blond, "golden-haired" Kelt. And their tall stature agrees well with what the Old Testament has to tell us about the Amorites. They too were classed among the Rephaim or "giants," by the side of whom the Israelite invaders were but as "grasshoppers."
While the Canaanites inhabited the lowlands, the highlands were the seat of the Amorites (Num. xiii. 29). This, again, is in accordance with their European affinities. They flourished best in the colder and more bracing climate of the mountains, as do the Berber tribes of Northern Africa to-day. The blond, blue-eyed race is better adapted to endure the cold than the heat.
Amorite tribes and kingdoms were to be found in all parts of Palestine. Southward, as we have seen, Kadesh-barnea was in "the mountain of the Amorites," while Chedor-laomer found them on the western shores of the Dead Sea. When Abraham pitched his tent in the plain above Hebron, it was in the possession of three Amorite chieftains, and at the time of the Israelitish conquest, Hebron and Jerusalem, Jarmuth, Lachish and Eglon were all Amorite (Josh. x. 5). Jacob assured Joseph the inheritance of his tribe should be in that district of Shechem which the patriarch had taken "out of the hand of the Amorite" (Gen. xlviii. 22), and on the eastern side of the Jordan were the Amorite kingdoms of Og and Sihon. But we learn from the Egyptian inscriptions, and more especially from the Tel el-Amarna tablets, that the chief seat of Amorite power lay immediately to the north of Palestine. Here was "the land of the Amorites," to which frequent reference is made by the monuments, among the ranges of Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon, from Hamath southward to Hermon. On the east it was bounded by the desert, on the west by the cities of Phoenicia.
In early days, long before the age of Abraham, the Amorites must already have been the predominant population in this part of Syria. When the Babylonian king, Sargon of Akkad, carried his victorious arms to the shores of the Mediterranean, it was against "the land of the Amorites" that his campaigns were directed. From that time forward this was the name under which Syria, and more particularly Canaan, was known to the Babylonians. The geographical extension of the term was parallel to that of "Hittites" among the Assyrians, of "Canaan" among the Israelites, and of "Palestine" among ourselves. But it bears witness to the important part which was played by the Amorites in what we must still call the prehistoric age of Syria, as well as to the extent of the area which they must have occupied.
Of course it does not follow that the whole of this area was occupied at one and the same time. Indeed we know that the conquest of the northern portion of Moab by the Amorite king Sihon took place only a short time before the Israelitish invasion, and part of the Amorite song of triumph on the occasion has been preserved in the Book of Numbers. "There is a fire gone out of Heshbon," it said, "a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon. Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites." (Num. xxi. 28, 29.) In the south, again, the Amorites do not seem to have made their way beyond Hazezon-Tamar, while the Tel el-Amarna tablets make it probable that neither Bashan nor Jerusalem were as yet Amorite at the time they were written. It may be that the Amorite conquests in the south were one of the results of the fall of the Egyptian empire and the Hittite irruption.
Between the Hittite and the Amorite the geographical table of Genesis interposes the Jebusite, and the Book of Numbers similarly states that "the Hittites and the Jebusites and the Amorites dwell in the mountains." The Jebusites, however, were merely the local tribe which in the early days of the Israelitish occupation of Canaan were in possession of Jerusalem, and they were probably either Hittite or Amorite in race. At any rate there is no trace of them in the cuneiform letters of Tel el-Amarna. On the contrary, in these Jerusalem is still known only by its old name of Uru-salim; of the name Jebus there is not a hint. But the letters show us that Ebed-Tob, the native king of Jerusalem and humble vassal of the Pharaoh, was being hard pressed by his enemies, and that, in spite of his urgent appeals for help, the Egyptians were unable to send any. His enemy were the Khabiri or "Confederates," about whose identification there has been much discussion, but who were assisted by the Beduin chief Labai and his sons. One by one the towns belonging to the territory of Jerusalem fell into the hands of his adversaries, and at last, as we learn from another letter, Ebed-Tob himself along with his capital was captured by the foe. It was this event, perhaps, which made Jerusalem a Jebusite city. If so, we must see in the enemies of Ebed-Tob the Jebusites of the Old Testament.
The Girgashite is named after the Amorite, but who he may have been it is hard to say. In the Egyptian epic composed by the court-poet Pentaur, to commemorate the heroic deeds of Ramses II. in his struggle with the Hittites, mention is twice made of "the country of Qarqish." It was one of those which had sent contingents to the Hittite army. But it seems to have been situated in Northern Syria, if not in Asia Minor, so that unless we can suppose that some of its inhabitants had followed in the wake of the Hittites and settled in Palestine, it is not easy to see how they could be included among the sons of Canaan. The Hivites, whose name follows that of the Girgashites, are simply the "villagers" or fellahin as opposed to the townsfolk. They are thus synonymous with the Perizzites, who take their place in Gen. xv. 20, and whose name has the same signification. But whereas the Perizzites were especially the country population of Southern Palestine, the Hivites were those of the north. In two passages, indeed, the name appears to be used in an ethnic sense, once in Gen. xxxvi. 2, where we read that Esau married the granddaughter of "Zibeon the Hivite," and once in Josh. xi. 3, where reference is made to "the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh." But a comparison of the first passage with a later part of the chapter (vv. 20, 24, 25) proves that "Hivite" is a corrupt reading for "Horite," while it is probable that in the second passage "Hittite" ought to be read for "Hivite."
The four last sons of Canaan represent cities, and not tribes. Arka, called Irqat in the Tel el-Amarna tablets, and now known as Tel 'Arqa, was one of the inland cities of Phoenicia, in the mountains between the Orontes and the sea. Sin, which is mentioned by Tiglath-pileser III., was in the same neighbourhood, as well as Zemar (now Sumra), which, like Arvad (the modern Ruad), is named repeatedly in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence. It was at the time an important Phoenician fortress,—"perched like a bird upon the rock,"—and was under the control of the governor of Gebal. Arvad was equally important as a sea-port, and its ships were used for war as well as for commerce. As for Hamath (now Hamah), the Khamat and Amat of the Assyrian texts, it was already a leading city in the days of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty. Thothmes III. includes it among his Syrian conquests under the name of Amatu, as also does Ramses III. The Hittite inscriptions discovered there go to show that, like Kadesh on the Orontes, it fell at one time into Hittite hands.
Such then was the ethnographical map of Palestine in the Patriarchal Age. Canaanites in the lowlands, Amorites and Hittites in the highlands contended for the mastery. In the desert of the south were the Amalekite Beduin, ever ready to raid and murder their settled neighbours. The mountains of Seir were occupied by the Horites, while prehistoric tribes, who probably belonged to the Amorite race, inhabited the plateau east of the Jordan.
This was the Palestine to which Abraham migrated, but it was a Palestine which his migration was destined eventually to change. Before many generations had passed Moab and Ammon, the children of his nephew, took the place of the older population of the eastern table-land, while Edom settled in Mount Seir. A few generations more, and Israel too entered into its inheritance in Canaan itself. The Amorites were extirpated or became tributary, and the valleys of the Jordan and Kishon were seized by the invading tribes. The cities of the extreme south had already become Philistine, and the strangers from Caphtor had supplanted in them the Avim of an earlier epoch.
Meanwhile the waves of foreign conquest had spread more than once across the country. Canaan had been made subject to Babylonia, and had received in exchange for its independence the gift of Babylonian culture. Next it was Egypt which entered upon its career of Asiatic conquest, and Canaan for a while was an Egyptian province. But the Egyptian dominion in its turn passed away, and Palestine was left the prey of other assailants, of the Hittites and the Beduin, of the people of Aram Naharaim and the northern hordes. Egyptians and Babylonians, Hittites and Mesopotamians mingled with the earlier races of the country and obliterated the older landmarks. Before the Patriarchal Age came to an end, the ethnographical map of Canaan had undergone a profound change.
THE BABYLONIANS IN CANAAN AND THE EGYPTIAN CONQUEST
It is in the cuneiform records of Babylonia that we catch the first glimpse of the early history of Canaan. Babylonia was not yet united under a single head. From time to time some prince arose whose conquests allowed him to claim the imperial title of "king of Sumer and Akkad," of Southern and Northern Babylonia, but the claim was never of long duration, and often it signified no more than a supremacy over the other rulers of the country.
It was while Babylonia was thus divided into more than one kingdom, that the first Chaldaean empire of which we know was formed by the military skill of Sargon of Akkad. Sargon was of Semitic origin, but his birth seems to have been obscure. His father, Itti-Bel, is not given the title of king, and the later legends which gathered around his name declared that his mother was of low degree, that his father he knew not, and that his father's brother lived in the mountain-land. Born in secrecy in the city of Azu-pirani, "whence the elephants issue forth," he was launched by his mother on the waters of the Euphrates in an ark of bulrushes daubed with pitch. The river carried the child to Akki the irrigator, who had compassion upon it, and brought it up as his own son. So Sargon became an agriculturist and gardener like his adopted father, till the goddess Istar beheld and loved him, and eventually gave him his kingdom and crown.
Whatever may have been the real history of Sargon's rise to power, certain it is that he showed himself worthy of it. He built himself a capital, which perhaps was Akkad near Sippara, and there founded a library stocked with books on clay and well provided with scribes. The standard works on astronomy and terrestrial omens were compiled for it, the first of which was translated into Greek by Berossos in days long subsequent. But it was as a conqueror and the founder of the first Semitic empire in Western Asia that posterity chiefly remembered him. He overthrew his rivals at home, and made himself master of Northern Babylonia. Then he marched into Elam on the east, and devastated its fields. Next he turned his attention to the west. Four times did he make his way to "the land of the Amorites," until at last it was thoroughly subdued. His final campaign occupied three years. The countries "of the sea of the setting sun" acknowledged his dominion, and he united them with his former conquests into "a single" empire. On the shores of the Mediterranean he erected images of himself in token of his victories, and caused the spoil of Cyprus "to pass over into the countries of the sea." Towards the end of his reign a revolt broke out against him in Babylonia, and he was besieged in the city of Akkad, but he "issued forth and smote" his enemies and utterly destroyed them. Then came his last campaign against Northern Mesopotamia, from which he returned with abundant prisoners and spoil.
Sargon's son and successor was Naram-Sin, "the beloved of the Moon-god," who continued the conquests of his father. His second campaign was against the land of Magan, the name under which Midian and the Sinaitic peninsula were known to the Babylonians. The result of it was the addition of Magan to his empire and the captivity of its king.
The copper mines of Magan, which are noticed in an early Babylonian geographical list, made its acquisition coveted alike by Babylonians and Egyptians. We find the Pharaohs of the third dynasty already establishing their garrisons and colonies of miners in the province of Mafkat, as they called it, and slaughtering the Beduin who interfered with them. The history of Naram-Sin shows that its conquest was equally an object of the Babylonian monarchs at the very outset of their history. But whereas the road from Egypt to Sinai was short and easy, that from Babylonia was long and difficult. Before a Babylonian army could march into the peninsula it was needful that Syria should be secure in the rear. The conquest of Palestine, in fact, was necessary before the copper mines of Sinai could fall into Babylonian hands.
The consolidation of Sargon's empire in the west, therefore, was needful before the invasion of the country of Magan could take place, and the invasion accordingly was reserved for Naram-Sin to make. The father had prepared the way; the son obtained the great prize—the source of the copper that was used in the ancient world.
The fact that the whole of Syria is described in the annals of Sargon as "the land of the Amorites," implies, not only that the Amorites were the ruling population in the country, but also that they must have extended far to the south. The "land of the Amorites" formed the basis and starting-point for the expedition of Naram-Sin into Magan; it must, therefore, have reached to the southern border of Palestine, if not even farther. The road trodden by his forces would have been the same as that which was afterwards traversed by Chedor-laomer, and would have led him through Kadesh-barnea. Is it possible that the Amorites were already in possession of the mountain-block within which Kadesh stood, and that this was their extreme limit to the south?
There were other names by which Palestine and Syria were known to the early Babylonians, besides the general title of "the land of the Amorites." One of these was Tidanum or Tidnum; another was Sanir or Shenir. There was yet another, the reading of which is uncertain, though it may be Khidhi or Titi.
Mr. Boscawen has pointed out a coincidence that is at least worthy of attention. The first Babylonian monarch who penetrated into the peninsula of Sinai bore a name compounded with that of the Moon-god, which thus bears witness to a special veneration for that deity. Now the name of Mount Sinai is similarly derived from that of the Babylonian Moon-god Sin. It was the high place where the god must have been adored from early times under his Babylonian name. It thus points to Babylonian influence, if not to the presence of Babylonians on the spot. Can it have been that the mountain whereon the God of Israel afterwards revealed Himself to Moses was dedicated to the Moon-god of Babylon by Naram-Sin the Chaldaen conqueror?
If such indeed were the case, it would have been more than two thousand years before the Israelitish exodus. Nabonidos, the last king of the later Babylonian empire, who had a fancy for antiquarian exploration, tells us that Naram-Sin reigned 3200 years before his own time, and therefore about 3750 B.C. The date, startlingly early as it seems to be, is indirectly confirmed by other evidence, and Assyriologists consequently have come to accept it as approximately correct.
How long Syria remained a part of the empire of Sargon of Akkad we do not know. But it must have been long enough for the elements of Babylonian culture to be introduced into it. The small stone cylinders used by the Babylonians for sealing their clay documents thus became known to the peoples of the West. More than one has been found in Syria and Cyprus which go back to the age of Sargon and Naram-Sin, while there are numerous others which are more or less barbarous attempts on the part of the natives to imitate the Babylonian originals. But the imitations prove that with the fall of Sargon's empire the use of seal-cylinders in Syria, and consequently of documents for sealing, did not disappear. That knowledge of writing, which was a characteristic of Babylonian civilization, must have been carried with it to the shores of the Mediterranean.
The seal-cylinders were engraved, sometimes with figures of men and gods, sometimes with symbols only. Very frequently lines of cuneiform writing were added, and a common formula gave the name of the owner of the seal, along with those of his father and of the deity whom he worshipped. One of the seal-cylinders found in Cyprus describes the owner as an adorer of "the god Naram-Sin." It is true that its workmanship shows it to belong to a much later date than the age of Naram-Sin himself, but the legend equally shows that the name of the conqueror of Magan was still remembered in the West. Another cylinder discovered in the Lebanon mentions "the gods of the Amorite," while a third from the same locality bears the inscription: "Multal-ili, the son of Ili-isme-anni, the worshipper of the god Nin-si-zida." The name of the god signified in the old pre-Semitic language of Chaldaea "the lord of the upright horn," while it is worth notice that the names of the owner and his father are compounded simply with the word ili or el, "god," not with the name of any special divinity. Multal-ili means "Provident is God," Ili-isme-anni, "O my God, hear me!"
Many centuries have to elapse before the monuments of Babylonia again throw light on the history of Canaan. Somewhere about B.C. 2700, a high-priest was ruling in a city of Southern Babylonia, under the suzerainty of Dungi, the king of Ur. The high-priest's name was Gudea, and his city (now called Tel-loh by the Arabs) was known as Lagas. The excavations made here by M. de Sarzec have brought to light temples and palaces, collections of clay books and carved stone statues, which go back to the early days of Babylonian history. The larger and better part of the monuments belong to Gudea, who seems to have spent most of his life in building and restoring the sanctuaries of the gods. Diorite statues of the prince are now in the Louvre, and inscriptions upon them state that the stone out of which they were made was brought from the land of Magan. On the lap of one of them is a plan of the royal palace, with the scale of measurement marked on the edge of a sort of drawing-board. Prof. Petrie has shown that the unit of measurement represented in it is the cubit of the pyramid-builders of Egypt.
The diorite of Sinai was not the only material which was imported into Babylonia for the buildings of Gudea. Beams of cedar and box were brought from Mount Amanus at the head of the Gulf of Antioch, blocks of stone were floated down the Euphrates from Barsip near Carchemish, gold-dust came from Melukhkha, the "salt" desert to the east of Egypt which the Old Testament calls Havilah; copper was conveyed from the north of Arabia, limestone from the Lebanon ("the mountains of Tidanum"), and another kind of stone from Subsalla in the mountains of the Amorite land. Before beams of wood and blocks of stone could thus be brought from the distant West, it was necessary that trade between Babylonia and the countries of the Mediterranean should have long been organized, that the roads throughout Western Asia should have been good and numerous, and that Babylonian influence should have been extended far and wide. The conquests of Sargon and Naram-Sin had borne fruit in the commerce that had followed upon them.
Once more the curtain falls, and Canaan is hidden for a while out of our sight. Babylonia has become a united kingdom with its capital and centre at Babylon. Khammurabi (B.C. 2356-2301) has succeeded in shaking off the suzerainty of Elam, in overthrowing his rival Eri-Aku, king of Larsa, with his Elamite allies, and in constituting himself sole monarch of Babylonia. His family seems to have been in part, if not wholly, of South Arabian extraction. Their names are Arabian rather than Babylonian, and the Babylonian scribes found a difficulty in transcribing them correctly. But once in the possession of the Babylonian throne, they became thoroughly national, and under Khammurabi the literary glories of the court of Sargon of Akkad revived once more.
Ammi-satana, the great-grandson of Khammurabi, calls himself king of "the land of the Amorites." Babylonia, therefore, still claimed to be paramount in Palestine. Even the name of the king is an indication of his connection with the West. Neither of the elements of which it is composed belonged to the Babylonian language. The first of them, Ammi, was explained by the Babylonian philologists as meaning "a family," but it is more probable that it represents the name of a god. We find it in the proper names both of Southern and of Northwestern Arabia. The early Minsaean inscriptions of Southern Arabia contain names like Ammi-karib, Ammi-zadiqa, and Ammi-zaduq, the last of which is identical with that of Ammi-zaduq, the son and successor of Ammi-satana. The Egyptian Sinuhit, who in the time of the twelfth dynasty fled, like Moses, for his life from the court of the Pharaoh to the Kadmonites east of the Jordan, found protection among them at the hands of their chieftain Ammu-anshi. The Ammonites themselves were the "sons of Ammi," and in numerous Hebrew names we find that of the god. Ammi-el, Ammi-nadab, and Ammi-shaddai are mentioned in the Old Testament, the Assyrian inscriptions tell us of Ammi-nadab the king of Ammon, and it is possible that even the name of Balaam, the Aramaean seer, may be compounded with that of the god. At all events, the city of Pethor from which he came was "by the river (Euphrates) of the land of the children of Ammo," for such is the literal rendering of the Hebrew words.
Ammi-satana was not the first of his line whose authority had been acknowledged in Palestine. The inscription in which he records the fact is but a confirmation of what had been long known to us from the Book of Genesis. There we read how Chedor-laomer, the king of Elam, with the three vassal princes, Arioch of Ellasar, Amraphel of Shinar, and Tidal of Goyyim invaded Canaan, and how the kings of the vale of Siddim with its pits of asphalt became their tributaries. For thirteen years they remained submissive and then rebelled. Thereupon the Babylonian army again marched to the west. Bashan and the eastern bank of the Jordan were subjugated, the Horites in Mount Seir were smitten, and the invaders then turned back through Kadesh-barnea, overthrowing the Amalekites and the Amorites on their way. Then came the battle in the vale of Siddim, which ended in the defeat of the Canaanites, the death of the kings of Sodom and Gomorrha, and the capture of abundant booty. Among the prisoners was Lot, the nephew of Abram, and it was to effect his rescue that the patriarch armed his followers and started in pursuit of the conquerors. Near Damascus he overtook them, and falling upon them by night, recovered the spoil of Sodom as well as his "brother's son."
Arioch is the Eri-Aku of the cuneiform texts. In the old language of Chaldea the name signified "servant of the Moon-god." The king is well known to us from contemporaneous inscriptions. Besides the inscribed bricks which have come from the temple of the Moon-god which he enlarged in the city of Ur, there are numerous contract tablets that are dated in his reign. He tells us that he was the son of an Elamite, Kudur-Mabug, son of Simti-silkhak, and prince (or "father") of Yamut-bal on the borders of Elam and Babylonia. But this is not all. He further gives Kudur-Mabug the title of "father of the Amorite land." What this title exactly means it is difficult to say; one thing, however, is certain, Kudur-Mabug must have exercised some kind of power and authority in the distant West.
His name, too, is remarkable. Names compounded with Kudur, "a servant," were common in the Elamite language, the second element of the name being that of a deity, to whose worship the owner of it was dedicated. Thus we have Kudur-Lagamar, "the servant of the god Lagamar," Kudur-Nakhkhunte, "the servant of Nakhkhunte." But Mabug was not an Elamite divinity. It was, on the contrary, a Mesopotamian deity from whom the town of Mabug near Carchemish, called Bambyke by the Greeks, and assimilated by the Arabs to their Membij, "a source," derived its name. Can it be from this Syrian deity that the father of Arioch received his name?
The capital of Arioch or Eri-Aku was Larsa, the city of the Sun-god, now called Senkereh. With the help of his Elamite kindred, he extended his power from thence over the greater part of Southern Babylonia. The old city of Ur, once the seat of the dominant dynasty of Chaldaean kings, formed part of his dominions; Nipur, now Niffer, fell into his hands like the seaport Eridu on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and in one of his inscriptions he celebrates his conquest of "the ancient city of Erech." On the day of its capture he erected in gratitude a temple to his god Ingirisa, "for the preservation of his life."
But the god did not protect him for ever. A time came when Khammurabi, king of Babylon, rose in revolt against the Elamite supremacy, and drove the Elamite forces out of the land. Eri-Aku was attacked and defeated, and his cities fell into the hands of the conqueror. Khammurabi became sole king of Babylonia, which from henceforth obeyed but a single sceptre.
Are we to see in the Amraphel of Genesis the Khammurabi of the cuneiform inscriptions? The difference in the names seems to make it impossible. Moreover, Amraphel, we are told, was king of Shinar, and it is not certain that the Shinar of the fourteenth chapter of Genesis was that part of Babylonia of which Babylon was the capital. This, in fact, was the northern division of the country, and if we are to identify the Shinar of scripture with the Sumer of the monuments, as Assyriologists have agreed to do, Shinar would have been its southern half. It is true that in the later days of Hebrew history Shinar denoted the whole plain of Chaldaea, including the city of Babylon, but this may have been an extension of the meaning of the name similar to that of which Canaan is an instance.
Unless Sumer and Shinar are the same words, outside the Old Testament there is only one Shinar known to ancient geography. That was in Mesopotamia. The Greek geographers called it Singara (now Sinjar), an oasis in the midst of deserts, and formed by an isolated mountain tract abounding in springs. It is already mentioned in the annals of the Egyptian conqueror Thothmes III. In his thirty-third year (B.C. 1470), the king of Sangar sent him tribute consisting of lapis-lazuli "of Babylon," and of various objects carved out of it. From Sangar also horses were exported into Egypt, and in one of the Tel el-Amarna letters, the king of Alasiya in Northern Syria writes to the Pharaoh,—"Do not set me with the king of the Hittites and the king of Sankhar; whatever gifts they have sent to me I will restore to thee twofold." In hieroglyphic and cuneiform spelling, Sangar and Sankhar are the exact equivalents of the Hebrew Shinar.
How the name of Shinar came to be transferred from Mesopotamia to Babylonia is a puzzle. The Mesopotamian Shinar is nowhere near the Babylonian frontier. It lies in a straight line westward of Mosul and the ancient Nineveh, and not far from the banks of the Khabur. Can its application to Babylonia be due to a confusion between Sumer and Sangar?
Whatever the explanation may be, it is clear that the position of the kingdom of Amraphel is by no means so easily determined as has hitherto been supposed. It may be Sumer or Southern Babylonia; it may be Northern Babylonia with its capital Babylon; or again, it may be the Mesopotamian oasis of Sinjar. Until we find the name of Amraphel in the cuneiform texts it is impossible to attain certainty.
There is one fact, however, which seems to indicate that it really is either Sumer or Northern Babylonia that is meant. The narrative of Chedor-laomer's campaign begins with the words that it took place "in the time of Amraphel, king of Shinar." Chedor-laomer the Elamite was the leader of the expedition; he too was the suzerain lord of his allies; and nevertheless the campaign is dated, not in his reign, but in that of one of the subject kings. That the narrative has been taken from the Babylonian annals there is little room for doubt, and consequently it would follow from the dating that Amraphel was a Babylonian prince, perhaps that he was the ruler of the city which, from the days of Khammurabi onward, became the capital of the country. In that case we should have to find some way of explaining the difference between the Hebrew and the Babylonian forms of the royal name.
Lagamar or Lagamer, written Laomer in Hebrew, was one of the principal deities of Elam, and the Babylonians made him a son of their own water-god Ea. The Elamite king Chedor-laomer, or Kudur-Lagamar, as his name was written in his own language, must have been related to the Elamite prince Kudur-Mabug, whose son Arioch was a subject-ally of the Elamite monarch. Possibly they were brothers, the younger brother receiving as his share of power the title of "father"—not "king"—of Yamutbal and the land of the Amorites. At any rate it is a son of Kudur-Mabug and not of the Elamite sovereign who receives a principality in Babylonia.
In the Book of Genesis Arioch is called "king of Ellasar." But Ellasar is clearly the Larsa of the cuneiform inscriptions, perhaps with the word al, "city," prefixed. Larsa, the modern Senkereh, was in Southern Babylonia, on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, not far from Erech, and to the north of Ur. Its king was virtually lord of Sumer, but he claimed to be lord also of the north. In his inscriptions Eri-Aku assumes the imperial title of "king of Sumer and Akkad," of both divisions of Babylonia, and it may be that at one time the rival king of Babylon acknowledged his supremacy.