[b-hebrew] 1 Kings 20:14 Who are the young men, princes of the districts?

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Thu Apr 29 10:03:36 EDT 2010


Karl:
 
A.  How could a BAR article publish this analysis:  “Hazor is a minor
player at best, however, in the Amarna letters. Only two letters from the
rulers of Hazor were found in the Amarna archive, and they shed no light on
the status of the city. … But if we had to deduce Hazor’s status from the
Amarna documents (and Egyptian royal inscriptions), we would have assumed it
was just one of numerous, relatively small Canaanite city-states. …”?
 
No way!
 
1.  Amarna Letter EA 364, from the Transjordan, says that the ruler of 
Hazor has captured 3 of his cities (in the Transjordan, across the Jordan River 
from Hazor).  How does that fit a pattern of Hazor being “just one of 
numerous, relatively small Canaanite city-states”?
 
2.  Amarna Letter EA 148 from Abimelek of Sur [Greek:  Tyre] on the far 
northwest corner of Upper Galilee (the same Abimelek that Abraham and Isaac 
deal with) claims that the ruler of Hazor has allied with the tent-dwelling 
Apiru [people somewhat similar to the early Hebrews] and grabbed a considerable 
amount of land wrongfully.  How does that fit a pattern of Hazor being “
just one of numerous, relatively small Canaanite city-states”?
 
Hazor has got the attention of both the Transjordan and the northwest 
corner of Upper Galilee!
 
[Now we know why Abraham wisely skipped Hazor, and instead went to visit 
Abimelek of Sur/$WR/CWR/Tyre by way of QD$ (of Upper Galilee).  Abimelek did 
not like Hazor!] 
 
3.  Meanwhile, the two Amarna Letters from the princeling ruler of Hazor 
are virtually the only two Amarna Letters in existence where a ruler says that 
everything is going just terrific, with there being no problems in his neck 
of the woods whatsoever.  Moran titles Amarna Letter EA 227 “The happy king 
of Hazor”, and it reads like no other Amarna Letter:
 
“Look, I have the cities of the king [Akhenaten], my lord, under guard 
until my lord reaches me.  [Note the reference to “cities”, in the plural, 
being solidly controlled by the princeling ruler of Hazor, who appears to have 
no problems at all.]  And when I heard these words of yours and the coming 
forth of the Sun to me, I rejoiced accordingly.  I pondered the news, and my 
jubilation came forth.  There was peace, and the gods themselves looked 
favorably on me.  …In my heart my joy is great.”
 
It sounds to me like the princeling ruler of Hazor is the biggest, 
strongest and most fearsome SOB in the eastern half of Galilee.  That big guy doesn’
t have a care in the world.  Rulers in the Transjordan and the northwest 
corner of Upper Galilee (Abimelek) are complaining about his depredations, but 
he for his part is doing just fine, thank you.
 
Compare the very different, tentative tone of the princeling ruler of 
nearby Qadesh of Upper Galilee in Amarna Letter EA 177, in what is much more 
typical of the Amarna Letters:
 
“May the king [Akhenaten], my lord, take cognizance of his lands and the men
….”
 
Meanwhile, four letters from the Beqa Valley all say the following, which 
once again is more typical of the Amarna Letters:
 
“Look, we are [Amorites] in Amqu [the Beqa Valley], in cities of the king 
[Akhenaten], and Etakkama, the [Hurrian] ruler of Kinsa [Qadesh on the 
Orontes, where it appears that in the various spellings of this foreign 
geographical place name, shin/$ is interchangeable with ssade/C, so that $WR could 
likewise be an alternative spelling of CWR, regarding Abimelek of $WR/CWR], 
assisted the troops of Hatti [the Hittites], and set the cities of the king, my 
lord, on fire.  May the king, my lord, take cognizance, and may the king, 
my lord, give archers that we may regain the cities of the king, my lord, my 
god, my Sun, and dwell in the cities of the king, my lord.”  Amarna Letters 
EA 174, EA 175, EA 176, EA 363
 
B.  One factor rarely mentioned by scholars here is that the ruler of Hazor 
appears to have a non-Amorite west Semitic name.  As such, he may have 
interacted more naturally with the common people of Canaan, including the 
tent-dwelling Apiru, virtually all of whom were non-Amorite west Semitic speakers. 
 By contrast, the vast majority of princeling rulers in the Amarna Letters 
either have Amorite names, or Hurrian-type names.  Thus Yamiuta, the ruler 
of Qadesh of Upper Galilee, has a Hurrian-type name, and Ildayyi, the ruler 
of Hasi, has an Amorite name.  When things got dicey, those “foreign” rulers 
may have felt more vulnerable than the indigenous ruler of Hazor.   
 
Karl, I will excuse you on this one.  But that BAR article is simply 
terrible.  How can scholars publish analyses like that?
 
C.  When you’re talkin’ the Amarna Letters, or chapter 14 of Genesis, you’
re talkin’ Amorites, Hurrians, and Hittites till the cows come home.  That’
s vintage Late Bronze Age, all the way, in every way.  Every place you look, 
in either source, there are Amorites, Hurrians and Hittites, who were 
potentially making life miserable for the early Hebrews.  Just look at the three 
Hurrian names I have pointed out in the Patriarchal narratives, two of which 
are in chapter 14 of Genesis:  XCCN TMR, $N(R, and XRN.  Compare Anson 
Rainey’s analysis of the first two of those names, being the two names that are 
found in chapter 14 of Genesis.  Rainey ignores XCCN entirely, and “matches”
 XCCN TMR to the Roman-era village of Tamar, a village name not attested 
until over 1,000 years after the composition of chapter 14 of Genesis.  As to 
$N(R, you will recall that as a secondary meaning, if the ayin is pronounced 
as a ghayin, then the sound is very similar to Singar, a truly ancient city 
in east-central Syria.  [$N(R, or se-ni-ra in Hurrian, is a simpler version 
of se-ni-xar-ra in Hurrian, with both of them having essentially the same 
meaning.  As to se-ni-xar-ra being spelled se-ni-gar-ra, having a G instead 
of a heth/X in an older form, consider the following comment at p. 86 of the 
Fournet-Bomhard Hurrian website:  “gisxi – throne.  …This word seems to be 
adapted in Hurrian under several forms:  kisxi, gisxi and xisxi.”  So heth/X 
and gimel/G can at times effectively be interchangeable in some Hurrian 
words.]  Here’s how Rainey disposes of the secular historical evidence that, 
consistent with my Hurrian analysis, $N(R is referring to the many Hurrian 
princelings in Syria (immediately west of the Hurrian state of Mitanni in 
eastern Syria), with $N(R thus meaning Syria, not southern Mesopotamia:
 
“Thutmosis IV [Akhenaten’s grandfather].  ...There are a few allusions to 
a campaign [by Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis IV in the late 15th century BCE]…
in Nahrina [the Egyptian name for the Hurrian state of Mitanni, located just 
east of the upper Euphrates River].  …[There is a] list of places on the 
inside of the chariot found in this king’s grave….  The places listed in the 
chariot are:  Na-h-ri-na, Si-n-ga-r, Tu-nip [located in the Orontes River 
Valley in western Syria], Sa-su, Qid-si [Qadesh on the Orontes, located in 
southwestern Syria, just north of the Beqa Valley] and Tah-su [located just 
southwest of Qadesh on the Orontes].  …Singar, which would otherwise might be 
thought to represent Sangar (Hebrew Shinar), is evidently an erroneous 
substitution….” Anson Rainey, The Sacred Bridge (2006), at p. 71.
 
That’s right, that wonderful Late Bronze Age secular historical 
confirmation of my view of the case that $N(R is Syria, not southern Mesopotamia, is 
written off by Rainey as being “an erroneous substitution”.  It’s allegedly a 
mistake made by the original Egyptian scribe who in the Late Bronze Age 
wrote of pharaoh’s accomplishments on the inside of pharaoh’s chariot.  Rainey 
will do anything to retain the age-old pre-scholarly view that, per the 
post-exilic Book of Daniel, which once again post-dates the composition of 
chapter 14 of Genesis by about 1,000 years, $N(R in the truly ancient chapter 14 
of Genesis is referring to Babylon in southern Mesopotamia.  Any contrary 
secular historical evidence, no matter how solid it might look, simply “is 
evidently an erroneous substitution”. 
 
Karl, no wonder you’ve largely given up on history.  You can’t trust 
scholarly analyses like the above any farther than you can throw them.  But you 
can trust chapter 14 of Genesis and the Amarna Letters.  They’re talking 
about the identical world, although from somewhat different points of view.  But 
all the characters and historical situations are one and the same.  
Amorites, Hurrians, and Hittites, everywhere you look, without end.  If you’re 
going to visit Abimelek of Sur/Tyre in that world, be sure to go by way of QD$ 
(of Upper Galilee), and skip Hazor.  And as an additional example, if you 
want to know what the historical “iniquity of the Amorites” at Genesis 15: 16 
was, it’s plastered all over the Amarna Letters, that’s for sure (starting 
with Amarna Letter EA 162 from Akhenaten himself).  It’s the same world, 
with the same grave dangers, and the same villains.  Amorites, Hurrians, and 
Hittites.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois



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