[b-hebrew] asherah (purim???)

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Mar 20 16:39:20 EDT 2012


 

Rob Acosta:
 
According to your favorite source, K.A. Kitchen, “Suppiluliuma and the 
Amarna Pharaohs”, Liverpool University Press (1962), which is now 50 years old, 
here is what is stated as to the timing of Abdi-Ashirta’s death, at p. 32:
 
“Abdi-a$irta…dying…in about year 11 of Akhenaten”.
 
After Abdi-Ashirta’s death, Aziru eventually took over Amurru, and then 
later sold out Amurru to the Hittites.  We can be quite sure that Aziru was 
well along in the drawn-out process of selling out Amurru to the Amorites 
before Akhenaten’s death in Year 17, given Akhenaten’s blistering Amarna Letter 
EA 162:
 
“Say to Aziru, ruler of Amurru:  …Now the king [Akhenaten] has heard as 
follows, ‘You are at peace with the ruler of Qid$a [Etakkama of Qadesh on the 
Orontes, who by this time has sold out to the Hittites].  …Why are you at 
peace with a ruler with whom the king [Akhenaten] is fighting?  …What happened 
to you among them that you are not on the side of the king, your lord?  
[Wm. Moran’s footnote:  “This seems to be a reference to an initial contact 
with the Hittites, which is alluded to elsewhere, before Aziru’s final 
capitulation as a Hittite vassal”.]  …If for any reason whatsoever you prefer to 
do evil [that is, sell out Amurru to the Hittites, just as Etakkama has 
recently sold out Qadesh on the Orontes to the Hittites], and if you plot evil, 
treacherous things, then you, together with your entire family, shall die by 
the axe of the king.”
 
It seems that Aziru began the process of selling out Amurru to the Hittites 
in Year 14, then went to Egypt at Akhenaten’s order, and then upon 
returning to northern Lebanon completed the process of selling out Amurru to the 
Hittites in or about Year 16.  The process had started by Year 14, though it 
was not completed until later.
 
I recognize that scholars disagree as to the exact dating of the above 
events.  I am respectful to scholars of Amarna, even in those cases where, as 
with Kitchen’s dating of the Great Syrian War, I see certain actions as 
occurring two years later than do some scholars.
 
But for purposes of this thread, all that really matters here is that some 
years after Year 11, and before Year 17, Aziru began, and probably 
completed, the process of selling out Amurru to the Hittites.  That’s the historical “
iniquity of the Amorites”.
 
Using your favorite source, the above-referenced book by Kitchen, Akhenaten’
s blistering Amarna Letter EA 162 to Aziru dates to Year 14.  Aziru is 
detained in Egypt in Year 15.  Aziru is back in Amurru in Year 16, and Aziru 
completes the process of selling out Amurru to the Hittites in Year 17.  
Kitchen, pp. 45-46.  The first stages of Aziru’s gradual decision to sell out 
Amurru to the Hittites date back to Year 14, as that is when Akhenaten in EA 162 
excoriates Aziru for seeming to be on the brink of selling out Amurru to 
the Hittites.  The full process of selling out Amurru to the Hittites took 
several years.  Kitchen sees the process as playing out between Years 14-17.
 
Even if we were to rely totally on Kitchen and ignore all scholarly work 
that has been done in the last 50 years, we see that Aziru started the process 
of selling out Amurru to the Hittites in Year 14, though that process was 
not completed, on Kitchen’s view, until Year 17.  I also agree with Kitchen 
that Etakkama became an overt Hittite partisan in Year 13.  So although my 
views are not identical to those of Kitchen’s 50-year-old work, my views are 
in the ballpark with Kitchen’s views.
 
The point is that if the Patriarchal narratives reflect Years 12-14, then 
already by Year 14, even on Kitchen’s view, Aziru had started the process of 
selling out the Amorite state of Amurru to the Hittites.  I see that as 
being the Biblical “iniquity of the Amorites”.  Accordingly, since Aziru’s 
predecessor, Abdi-Ashirta, had a name that referenced the pagan goddess Asherah, 
and since the early Hebrew author was horrified at the Amorites selling out 
northern Lebanon to the Hittites, there’s no way that at Genesis 30: 13, 
the early Hebrew author would choose as the name of one of Jacob’s sons born 
in Naharim a name that honors the pagan god Asherah.  The 2-year difference 
in dating that I have with Kitchen’s 50-year-old book as to certain matters 
is basically irrelevant to the issues raised by this thread.
 
No scholar today accepts Kitchen’s peculiar view that Akhenaten had an 
8-year co-regency with his father Amenhotep III.  I do not disparage K.A. 
Kitchen or call him a “liar” or anything remotely like that.  Rather, as with 
virtually all other scholars, I disagree with his 8-year dating of a 
co-regency, and as with some scholars, I also disagree with Kitchen by 2 years as to 
the dating of the Great Syrian War in western Syria.  I have cited more 
recent scholars who view Year 14 as a viable date for that war.  Scholars remain 
divided as to the exact dating of that war, because the non-biblical sources 
that we have are ambiguous as to the exact dating.  Most scholars agree 
that the Great Syrian War in western Syria was a 1-year war fought some time 
between Year 11 and Year 14, but there is no consensus as to the exact dating.
 
I do not know why you continue to raise this same issue over and over 
again, since it’s clear that there’s a scholarly split of opinion as to that 
issue.  Moreover, such exact dating has no relevance to the b-hebrew list as to 
the question of whether or not Jacob would be portrayed in the Patriarchal 
narratives as naming one of his sons after the pagan goddess Asherah.  If I 
am right that the Patriarchal narratives reflect Years 12-14, then even if, 
for sake of argument, we were to accept as gospel each and every single word 
in Kitchen’s 50-year-old book, then there’s no way that Jacob would be 
portrayed in the Patriarchal narratives as naming one of his sons after the 
goddess Asherah, since as of Year 11 [per Kitchen’s book] a prominent, 
iniquitous Amorite had a name that honored that pagan goddess.
 
Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois



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