Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Hurrians and Their Kingdom of The Lion -- By: Gary A. Byers

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 11:1 (Winter 1998)
Article: Gone, But Not Forgotten: The Hurrians and Their Kingdom of The Lion
Author: Gary A. Byers

Gone, But Not Forgotten:
The Hurrians and Their Kingdom of The

Gary A. Byers

While Hurrians are not mentioned by that name in the Bible, scholars suggest they had contact with the Israelites during the second millennium BC. When Abraham stayed in Haran of northwest Mesopotamia, he was living in the major region of Hurrian influence. Some scholars also suggest Hurrians lived in Canaan before and during the Israelite period. On linguistic grounds the Hurrians, also known as Horites, are connected with two of the seven nations of Canaan-the Hivites and Jebusites (Dt 7:1). Thus, when the Jebusites of Jebus (Jerusalem -2 Sm 24:16), and the Hivites of Shechem (Gn 34:2) and Gibeon (Jos 9:7) were called Horites in some textual variants, they are possibly Hurrians living in the land of Canaan.

Richard Hess (1997:34–6) has noted four Hurrian names in the Conquest narrative, demonstrating the antiquity and accuracy of the account. Piram (king of Jarmuth) and Hoham (king of Hebron) (Jos 10:3), Sheshai and Talmai (sons of Anak-Jos 15:14) all have Hurrian-based names. A latter Talmai (king of Geshur and father-in-law to David; 2 Sm 3:3, 13:37; and 1 Chr 3:2) is the last Hurrian name in the Bible. Piram, Sheshai and Talmai are all common Hurrian names and are found in 15th century BC cuneiform tablets at Nuzi.

Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Akkadians and Hittites - all are familiar to students of ancient history. After 150 years of archaeological discovery, their cities, houses, daily habits and languages have been revealed. Yet, one of their ancient contemporaries has managed to keep hidden from modern eyes-the Hurrians. The first modern glimpse of the Hurrians came at the turn of the century when scholars found an unknown language on one of the clay tablets from Tell el-Amarna, Egypt. Yet, not until the 1920’s, was an actual reference to the Hurrians found on a Hittite tablet.

Hurrian Here and Hurrian There

Discovery of additional ancient texts began to fill in the picture. Egyptian pharaohs corresponded with Hurrian kings. The Hittites, whose kingdom lay in what is today Turkey, dreaded the approach of Hurrian armies. Court musicians in the Syrian coastal kingdom of Ugarit performed Hurrian compositions.

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