[b-hebrew] Ecc 9:14
JimStinehart at aol.com
JimStinehart at aol.com
Fri Jul 12 16:49:04 EDT 2013
You wrote: “I am reminded of the account in Genesis where Abraham, for
example, sets off with just 500 of his servants and defeats 5 Kings, not one,
but 5. That should really sum it all up for an appetizer.”
1. Abram has the Hurrian number of armed men: 318. Genesis 14: 14. But
don’t feel too bad about that, because Akhenaten’s father, pharaoh
Amenhotep III, made a similar mistake. He told everyone in Egypt that the
Hurrian king of Mitanni/MDYN had sent him a Hurrian princess bride and 317 of her
retainers, never realizing that to the Hurrians, the number that counted
was the number of total women who were sent: 318. Note also that Hurrian
princeling IR-Heba of Jerusalem uses that same number, 318, at Amarna Letter
EA 287: 55. [By the way, regarding #2 below, although the dating of
Amarna Letters is controversial, I myself date Amarna Letter EA 287 to Year 13.]
Why is all this important? The early Hebrew author is deliberately
portraying Abram as being as powerful as a Hurrian princeling in mid-14th century
2. Abram did not defeat 5 kings. It was the 4 “kings” [two of whom
were mere princelings] who had taken Lot hostage. And Abram merely rescued Lot
and Lot’s wife and Lot’s daughters and the loot that had been taken from
Sodom, rather than inflicting a definitive military defeat on 5 kings.
Why did the coalition of 4 kings, one of whom has a bona fide Hittite
kingly name, “Tidal”, take Lot and Lot’s wife and Lot’s daughters hostage?
Lot had not participated in any fighting against them, so the motive was not
revenge. No ransom is ever mentioned, and if the Hittite-led coalition
wanted ransom, they would certainly have left the bereaved wife and daughters
of Lot in Sodom to beg for a ransom to be raised.
Here’s the historical explanation. This famous story is coming directly
from what happened in Year 13 historically, with “Year 13” being explicitly
mentioned at Genesis 14: 4. Mighty Hittite King Suppiluliuma, who had
seized the Hittite throne by the ruthless expedient of murdering his own older
brother named “Tidal” [so that the Biblical name “Tidal” is a nasty
Patriarchal nickname that effectively calls the Hittite king “Murderer”], and
who historically had 3 allies when operating in Syria [being the “4 kings”
at Genesis 14: 1], hoped to do to Lot and Lot’s family what he had
successfully done in or about Year 13 historically to Hurrian princeling Aitakkama
and Aitakkama’s family regarding Qadesh-on-the-Orontes in southern Syria:
turn the man into a Hittite puppet, to be installed as the new leader of
the prosperous city-state.
* * *
Just think Year 13 and the Hurrians, and suddenly chapter 14 of Genesis
makes perfect sense historically. Including the specific number 318.
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