The Hittites -- By: Bob Boyd

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 01:3 (Summer 1988)
Article: The Hittites
Author: Bob Boyd


The Hittites

Bob Boyd

Until about a century ago, only the Bible mentioned the Hittites.2 Since there was no evidence in secular history to substantiate the reality of these people, critics had a field day in labeling these portions of Scripture in error. Then references to them began to appear in Egyptian and Assyrian records.

Finally, archaeological discoveries in 1906, at Bogaskoy (the Hittite capital of Hattusas, now central Turkey), brought to light evidence to confirm their existence. In the second millennium BC, they were a major force, rivaling at times Egyptian and Mesopotamian powers. This confirms Genesis 15:17–2 I, which describes Abraham’s coming to Canaan, a land that included the Hittites. Later, the Tell el-Amarna letters (found in Egypt) confirm the activities of a Hittite people in Palestine. Even as late as Solomon’s time we are told that he sold horses and chariots to the “Kings of the Hittites” (2 Chr 1:17). They were obviously not an insignificant people.

When Bogazkoy was discovered, the style of writing on inscriptions and clay tablets made it difficult to determine who wrote them. Characters differed from the hieroglyphs of the Egyptians and the cuneiform style of the Mesopotamians.

Although some resembled cuneiform and hieroglyphs, A. H. Sayce (1846–1933) “broke the code,” so to speak, by discovering that picture writing in Syria was the same as that in Turkey. He was the pioneer in equating these people with the Hittites of the Bible and the “Kheta” named in Egyptian texts. (Other scholars later deciphered the strange language.) There was then no doubt that the Bible was correct all along in mentioning a Hittite people.

Inscriptions both in Hittite country and Egypt reveal battles between these two nations. In Karnak, Egypt, there is a text which refers to a treaty between Rameses II of Egypt and a Hittite king, Hattusilis III. The Oriental

Hittite Princess with Egyptian and Hittite Kings

Institute of Chicago has an inscribed plaque showing a Hittite king and an Egyptian king, all seated, with a Hittite princess in the center.

Archaeological discoveries which relate to the Bible not only confirm historical events, but often illuminate many passages as well, helping us to better understand many ancient customs. For example: often a defeated king would present one of his daughters to the victorious king to keep peace between themselves...

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