The Hãa-BI-ru—Kin Or Foe Of Israel? Second Article -- By: Meredith G. Kline
WTJ 19:2 (May 57) p. 170
The Hãa-BI-ru—Kin Or Foe Of Israel?
C. An Ethno-Professional Interpretation.
It has appeared that the currently dominant identifications of the ḫa-BI-ru as a social class of one sort or another are inadequate. They fail to discover a common denominator for all the ḫa-BI-ru (and the ḫa-BI-ru alone) that will satisfy all the known documents. The investigation must turn to other possibilities. Was ethnic unity the peculiar stamp of the ḫa-BI-ru? Was their hallmark the practice of a particular profession?
1. Ethnic Unity. Examination of the morphological data led to the conclusion that the variety of forms found for the word ḫa-BI-ru is most readily explained in terms of variations of the proper name for an ethnic group.113
Other features point in this same direction:
The word ḫa-BI-ru is used in contrast to particular ethnic terms and, therefore, as at least the equivalent of an ethnic term itself. Repeatedly in Hittite rituals and treaties the ḫa-BI-ru are paired with the Lulahhu (the people of Lullu). In one ritual116 this pair appears in a list of social classes,
WTJ 19:2 (May 57) p. 171
suggesting that “the Lulahhu and the ḫa-BI-ru” had become a cliché among the Hittites for the social category of foreigners.117 Such usage, however, would be only local and secondary in the case of the ḫa-BI-ru as it obviously must be in the case of the Lulahhu. As a matter of fact, once it has been established that the ḫa-BI-ru cannot successfully be identified as a social class, all evidence that they were regarded in particular areas as one specific group of foreigners118 becomes so much support for the interpretation of them as a specific ethnic entity.
Certain Egyptian texts also men...
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