Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon

 Image result for zimri-lim

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

If this reconstruction is correct, then it completely puts paid to the opinion that the Torah was influenced by the famous Law of Hammurabi. More likely, the Babylonian Code was based upon the law practiced in David’s and Solomon’s influential kingdom of Israel.

The following is a re-working of an old Christmas 2000 article of similar title.

 

Introduction

 

In an article published in 1986, entitled “The Dating of Hammurabi”, its author Professor George Albert Hickman, Dean of Toronto University, argued for an early C10th BC placement for King Hammurabi of Babylon (conventionally dated to c. C19th BC); thereby making him a contemporary of David and Solomon.

Hickman went even further than this and provided an outline revision of Mesopotamian history down to the mid-C9th, which, despite certain deficiencies, rendered some very plausible synchronisms between the Mesopotamian kings and their neighbours. Surprisingly though, as far as I am aware, Hickman’s article does not appear to have stimulated much interest or discussion amongst revisionists. One possible reason for this may be that he, like Velikovsky, was not able to offer a satisfactory revision of Mesopotamian history for the troublesome el Amarna [EA] period of Pharaoh Akhnaton (conventionally dated to c.1350 BC). The effect of Hickman’s revision, in bringing Hammurabi and his dynasty down some 800-900 years, into and beyond the C10th, was to clutter the EA period all the more. He made no real attempt to tie up the loose kings that he had circulating around in this period. This is unfortunate in that EA, probably more than any other period, is in need of a satisfactory solution as regards Mesopotamian chronology if the revision is to be taken seriously by the experts.

 

Here, though, I wish to consolidate one area only of Hickman’s research: the era of Solomon.

 

Now, just as Hickman began his interesting article with mention of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari – and certain events that occurred during his reign and that of his father, Iahdulim – it will be this same Zimri-Lim who will become the central character of this article. Hickman had managed to identify most of Zimri-Lim’s outstanding contemporaries with major characters of the C10 world, but he did not actually link Zimri-Lim or his father with any particular persons. The identification of Zimri-Lim, king of Mari, will therefore be the special task of this article.

 

I believe that a very satisfactory identification can be made between Zimri-Lim and Rezin (or Rezon), Syrian adversary of King Solomon, and son of Eliada (I Kings 11:23). It is wholly in keeping with the framework established by Hickman for the era of Hammurabi, Zimri-Lim’s contemporary, and may thus serve to reinforce Hickman’s thesis. Logically it must follow from this identification that Zimri-Lim’s father, Iahdulim/Yahdu-Lim, be identified with Rezin’s father, Eliada.

The similarity in the names Iahdulim and Eliada is actually quite striking.

 

Benjaminites and Davidites

 

Hickman found what he believed to be the people of Saul and David in the names “Benjamites” (Benjaminites) and “Dawidum” (Davidum), cited in “three date formulas” of the kings of Mari. It was customary for ancient kings to date certain years of their reigns with reference to notable historical events that occurred within those years. Thus the kings of Mari recorded these years:

 

  1. “The year in which Iahdulim went to Hen and laid hands on the territory of the Benjamites.”
  2. “The year that Zimri-Lim killed the Davidum of the Benjamites.”
  3. “The year after Zimri-Lim killed the Davidum of the Benjamites.”

 

Hickman was quite safe, from a linguistic point of view, in associating the “Benjamites” of the Mari Letters [ML] with the biblical Benjaminites. And, since Saul belonged to the tribe of Benjamin (I Samuel 9:1-2), he was quite entitled to suggest an identification between the “Benjamites” and the peoples ruled by Saul. André Lemaire concurred with this view that the “Benjamites” of ML corresponded in name precisely to the southern tribe of Israel. More controversial, though, was Hickman’s attempted revitalization of an old and not very popular theory according to which the word “dawidum” of the letters was thought to relate to David’s name. According to Lemaire, the word “dawidum” was actually derived from a word “dabduum” meaning “defeat”.

But more pressing than the linguistic question were the powerful historical reasons why, within the context of conventional reasoning, the ML could not possibly bear any references to King David or his era. It is an undisputed fact that Zimri-Lim was a contemporary of Hammurabi, king of Babylon. We know that Hammurabi eventually overthrew Zimri-Lim and brought destruction upon Mari. And, though historians may have found Hammurabi extremely difficult to date precisely, they certainly would not question that he preceded David by more than half a millennium. Though recently dated towards the end of the C19th, Hammurabi’s era tends to shift with variations ranging up to in excess of a century. No wonder then that Dr. Courville felt compelled to describe this great king of Babylon as “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea”!

Hickman, however, not bound by the stifling strictures of conventional chronology, was free to re-assess the earlier connection between the “dawidum” and the name David. As regards Lemaire’s “dabduum” he noted that the use of the letter “b” instead of “w” or “v”, did “not conclusively exclude the possibility that a word meaning ‘David'” was intended in the letters; and that in the Old Testament Hebrew “the name of David is variously written ‘Dawid’ () and ‘Dabid’ b=(/) instead of “w” or “v” ().” Even though, as he said, “current archaeological wisdom precludes it”, Hickman felt inclined nonetheless to explore the possibility that “Dawidum” related to David and that Hammurabi belonged to the Davidic era.

 

Here we are concerned more with historical, than philological considerations.

 

Shamsi-Adad’s Identity

Hickman’s first notable identification between a Mari correspondent and a C10th character was to equate Shamsi-Adad I (c.C19th BC) with David’s mighty adversary, Hadadezer, the Syrian. Not only David, but Saul also, had to contend with the aggressive kings of Zobah in Aram, or ancient Syria (I and II Samuel). Yet, according to conventional opinion, the kings of Zobah (pronounced Tzobah) are not supposed to have left any inscriptions concerning their accomplishments. In CAH, we read that the name Zobah occurs in the Assyrian documents of the C8th and C7th’s as “Subatu, Subutu or Subiti”. Josephus called Zobah, “Sophene”, and its king, “Hadad”. Accordingly, Hickman identified Shamsi-Adad, son of Ilu-kabkabu, with biblical Hadadezer, son of Rekhob. And he added that the ubiquitous Shamsi-Adad’s best known city of Shubat-Enlil was to be equated with Hadadezer’s city of Zobah or Subatu. Hickman also provided an interesting explanation as to why he thought that Rekhob, the name of Hadadezer’s father, bore “some resemblance to Ilu-kabkabu”, the name of Shamsi-Adad’s father.

The next task was to identify the regions wherein lay the kingdom of Shamsi-Adad and his alter ego Hadadezer. Shamsi-Adad’s kingdom is known to have included the plain of Assyria, stretching southward through the middle Euphrates Valley almost to the latitude of Eshnunna.

Cities described as belonging to Hadadezer were Betakh, Berothai, Tibhath or Tebah, and Chun (2 Samuel 8:8 and I Chronicles 18:8). In CAH, Tebah is identified as Late Bronze Tubikhu, Chun as Late Bronze Kunu (Roman Conna), and Berothai tentatively as Bereitan, a town south of Baalbek. Hickman added that Berothai, thought to be north of Damascus, “is probably the same as Berothai of Ezekiel 47:16, between Hamath and Damascus”.

In a date- formula from Eshnunna the army of Iasmakh-Adad, the son of Shamsi-Adad, is called “The host of Shubartu and Khana”.

Hickman suggested that Khana may possibly refer to the city of Chun in I Chronicles 18:8; and that Shubartu may be derived either “from Zobah or from Sibraim” (Ezekiel 47:16).

Shamsi-Adad boasted that he had erected triumphal stelae in Lebanon. He was allied with princes of upper Syria, notably Carchemish and Qatna, and with Hammurabi of Babylon.
We know from Scripture that Hadadezer liked to set up victory monuments; David defeated him “as he went to set up his monument at the river Euphrates(I Chronicles 18:3). Scripture records also that the Syrian was ruler of the kings beyond the river (2 Samuel 10:16, 19), i.e. the Euphrates, as later records from Assyria confirm as well.

Hickman thought that “this description resembles that of Shamsi-Adad”.

Hadadezer opposed David with phenomenal forces, but was defeated by the Israelite king in two major campaigns. In the first campaign David took from the Syrian an incredible 1000 chariots, as well as 7000 horseman, and 20,000 footmen (I Chronicles 18:4). Hickman was interested to discover that Shamsi-Adad had informed one of his sons, Ishme-Dagan, that he could supply him with 20,000 troops; the same number as cited in Scripture. In the second campaign, Hadadezer allied himself with the Ammonites who had called upon him for help (II Samuel 10:6).

Hickman identified Shobach, “the commander of the army of Hadadezer” (II Samuel 10:16) with Shamsi-Adad’s pleasure-loving son, Iasmakh-Adad.

The Kingdom of Hamath

The first conflict between David and Hadadezer had occurred near Hamath, when Hadadezer went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. Hickman wondered if Hamath might be the state of Yamkhad. The Mari archive has enabled us to know the greatness of the Syrian kingdoms, which previously had been overshadowed by Babylonia especially. As Dalley put it: “… we now know that Syria had cities and monarchs equal in power and civilisation to Larsa and Babylon”. She added that Syria’s mightiest kingdom “was centred on Aleppo, ancient Halab in the state of Yamkhad”; Halab being “the mightiest of many kingdoms in Zimri-Lim’s day”.

Dalley could back up this claim simply by citing the very celebrated ML which stated that”:

 

There is no king who is mighty by himself. Ten or fifteen kings follow Hammurabi the ruler of Babylon, a like number Rim-Sin of Larsa, a like number Ibal-pi-el of Eshnunna, a like number Amud-pi-el of Qatanum, but twenty follow Yarim-Lim of Yamhad.

 

When David had defeated Hadadezer and his allies in the region of Hamath, a king of Hamath named To’i sent him tribute by the hand of his son Joram (2 Samuel 8:9). Hickman identified this Joram of Hamath with Iarim-Lim of Aleppo (Halab) in the kingdom of Yamkhad.

This Iarim-Lim may even turn out to be the great Hiram, ally of David and Solomon.

 

Indeed, I have since identified Iarim-Lim with Hiram, in:

 

King Hiram the Historical and Hiram Abiff the Hysterical

https://www.academia.edu/10289638/King_Hiram_the_Historical_and_Hiram_Abiff_the_Hysterical

 

The Syrian (Amorite) world was a conglomerate of kingdoms loosely united and oftentimes prone to fall out one kingdom with another. We read in Scripture that Hadadezer, for instance, called upon “the Syrians of Damascus” (II Samuel 8:5), and that the Ammonites hired “the Syrians of Beth-rehob, and the Syrians of Zobah” (II Samuel 10:6). Then there was the Syrian kingdom of Hamath, which may eventually have absorbed Zobah; hence “Hamath-zobah”. But, as we shall see, there could be serious conflicts amongst the Syrian kingdoms. Thus Rezin, son of Eliada, fell out with his master Hadadezer, and fled from him, and became leader of his own army (I Kings 11:23-24). The reason for this enmity will become clearer in the next section as we pursue the identity of Rezin and Eliada, with Zimri-Lim and Iahdulim of ML.

 

Like Hadadezer, Shamsi-Adad employed confederate Syrian kingdoms to assist him in his campaigns. But it seems that the aggressive Shamsi-Adad was nervous when it came to the Benjaminites and their kinsmen. Shamsi-Adad wrote to his son, who had seized Mari from Zimri-Lim’s father:

Reference:“..the proposal to take a census of the Benjamites, about which you have written me …. The Benjamites are not well disposed to the idea of a census. If you carry it out, their kinsmen, the Ra-ab-ay-yi, who live on the other bank, of the river, will hear of it.”
“They will be annoyed with them and will not return to their country. On no account should this census be taken!”

Hickman’s summary of this letter was that Shamsi-Adad, characterised as “the greatest figure of his generation”, who claimed control of “the land between the Tigris and the Euphrates”, was wary of the Israelites. He identified the “Ra-ab-ay-yi” of Shamsi-Adad’s letter, who were dwelling “on the other bank of the river”, with the Reubenites (one of the 12 tribes of Israel) who dwelt east of the Jordan river along with the tribes of Gad and Manasseh. Scripture records that these Transjordanian Israelites began to expand eastwards in Saul’s day, and began to engage the Hagarites (Arabs) in battle, and defeated them (I Chronicles 5 and II Chronicles 5).

Era of Solomon

Peace, which had been unknown in the time of Saul and David, came to Israel during the glorious reign of Solomon, David’s son and successor. David had smashed the mighty forces of Hadadezer king of Zobah, and had put garrisons in the land of Aram around and in Damascus; and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute (II Samuel 8:5-6). For more than 20 years Solomon reigned in peace and prosperity, with Israel’s enemies subdued on every side. It appears that Solomon absorbed both the kingdoms of Hadadezer and of the Aleppo region, because he took Hamath-zobah (II Chronicles 8:3). He built Tadmor in the wilderness – which was connected by a desert road to Mari – and he also built store cities in Hamath (8:4). Even after his 20th year of rule (II Chronicles 8:1), things were still going well for Solomon; for Scripture recalls the celebrated visit of Queen Sheba. See my:

 

Solomon and Sheba

 https://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba

 

Solomon had an incredible 1400 chariots, and 12,000 horsemen with which to defend Jerusalem (I Kings 10:26).

But the happy situation was not to last. In the latter half of his long reign Solomon apostatised from Yahweh worship by courting the foreign gods of his wives (I Kings 11:4). Scripture names three adversaries who “lifted up their hand” against Solomon in those days (I Kings 11): Hadad, the Edomite; Rezin, son of Eliada, who had fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah and Jeroboam, an Ephraïmite.

It is this Rezin upon whom our attention will be focussed for the remaining pages.

From Rezin to Hammurabi

In identifying Rezin with Zimri-Lim, and his father, Eliada with Iahdulim, we are able to refine Hickman’s chronological scheme somewhat. Hickman had surmised that Zimri-Lim belonged to the time of David, which meant that Iahdulim was roughly contemporaneous with Saul: “Since … Iahdulim … mentions only the Benjamites [in the date-formula quoted earlier] he must belong to Saul’s time”. Hickman thought that there was reason to suspect “That the incursion of this [Iahdulim] into Benjamite territory resulted in Saul’s wars against Zobah and that Mari was associated with the Zobah kingdom”.

It seems that Hickman was correct in his last statement in that Iagit-Lim of Mari, who was Zimri-Lim’s grandfather, had once been an ally of Shamsi-Adad. But Iagit-Lim and Shamsi-Adad quarrelled eventually, with dire consequences. Iagit-Lim’s son and successor, Iahdulim – who claimed to have strengthened the foundations of Mari – was assassinated by his own servants. Shamsi-Adad then occupied the city of Mari, and set up his son, Iasmakh-Adad, as ruler. Zimri-Lim, the heir to the throne, was forced to flee for his life, spending many years in exile at Aleppo. Zimri-Lim returned to Mari about the 16th year of Hammurabi of Babylon, and ruled there for at least most of Hammurabi’s remaining years.

Since Shamsi-Adad’s death coincided with the 12th year of Hammurabi, Zimri-Lim apparently was returning to a less hostile environment, where he ruled for at least 17 years. For most of that time he and Hammurabi were on quite friendly terms with one another; but Hammurabi eventually turned against Zimri-Lim and, in his 33rd year, he came to Mari and dismantled its walls. However, this may not have been the end of Zimri-Lim because the number of years-names attested for his reign would indicate that he continued to rule Mari for some years after this event.

 

When we transfer all of these events onto a revised time plane, there emerges a more precise picture. Hadadezer (Shamsi-Adad), a one-time ally of Rezin’s (Zimri-Lim’s) grandfather, king of Mari, quarrelled with the king of Mari. Later, Eliada (Iahdulim), Rezin’s father, was assassinated by his servants – presumably at the instigation of Hadadezer – and Hadadezer’s son Shobach (Iasmakh-Adad) was established as ruler of Mari. The assassination of his father, and the occupation of the city throne to which he was heir, explains why Rezin “fled from his master Hadadezer king of Zobah” (I Kings 11:23).

We also now know the city to which Rezin fled, Aleppo, or Halab, in Hamath (Yamkhad).

Scripture goes on to record that “after the slaughter of David” (i.e. after David had slaughtered Hadadezer’s forces), Rezin “gathered men about him and became leader of a marauding band” (I Kings 11:24). Some of his band may have been remnants of Hadadezer’s decimated forces. We know from Scripture that it was just after Solomon’s 20th year as king of Jerusalem that adversaries began to spring up about him. Now, since Solomon’s 20th year is to be dated at approximately 950 BC, Rezin’s reign probably began shortly after that date.

What follows is a quotation of what Hammurabi wrote to Zimri-Lim:

 

“To Zimri-Lim communicate the following: Thus says your brother Hammurabi [of Yamhad]: The king of Ugarit has written me as follows: `Show me the palace of Zimri-Lim! I wish to see it.’ With this same courier I am sending on this man.”

 

Now since Zimri-Lim with whom we identify Rezin returned to Mari from exile “about the sixteenth year of Hammurabi”, Hammurabi’s 16th year must correspond closely to Solomon’s 20th year. It is more accurate to say, therefore, that Zimri-Lim was a contemporary of Hammurabi, it seems. Shamsi-Adad had died 5 years before Zimri-Lim returned from exile; in Hammurabi’s 12th year, approximating to Solomon’s 16th year. But he was already a spent force before that.

It is obvious then that the event of Zimri-lim’s return from exile in the 16th year of Hammurabi is a very crucial clue for organizing a chronology of this period; especially when it is associated with Rezin’s return from exile. Scripture does not say that Rezin seized Mari on his return, but Damascus, where he was made king (I Kings 11:24).

We cannot determine whether he took Damascus or Mari first.

Chances are that Rezin was, as Hickman described Shamsi-Adad: “… continually on the move and did not really possess a capital”.

A Syrian, as was Hadadezer also, Rezin too remained a foe of the House of David. Scripture records that Rezin “was an adversary of Israel all the days of Solomon, doing mischief as Hadad [the Edomite] did; and he abhorred Israel and reigned over Syria” (I Kings 11:25). After that, Scripture has no more to say about Rezin, and we have to turn back to ML. Actually the historical evidence matches the scriptural data very well, if we are correct in associating Zimri-Lim’s return from exile in Aleppo with that of Rezin. In both cases the master or overlord of the Syrians was dead. We know that Zimri-lim and Rezin ruled for close to two decades. Zimri-Lim definitely ruled for 17 years, until Hammurabi’s sack of Mari; and he may have ruled somewhat longer, as the inscriptions indicate. Rezin saw out at least 17-20 years of Solomon’s 40 year reign (I Kings 11:42); and he may have survived partly into the next reign; though we hear no more about him.

 

 

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King Hiram extended biblico-historically

Image result for idrimi

Part One:

Hiram as Idrimi of Alalakh

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Level VII [at Alalakh], which did not contain the [characteristic] pottery,

was the level containing the inscribed tablets of the Yarim-Lim dynasty.”

 

Introduction

 

To flesh out historically the biblical kings David and Solomon (c. C10th BC) one needs also to:

 

  • delve right back to a conventionally-estimated Syro-Mesopotamia of the era of c. 1800 BC so as to locate their contemporaries in Rekhob and Hadadezer (historically, Uru-kabkabu and Shamsi-Adad I); Eliada and Rezon (historically, Iahdulim and Zimri-Lim); and Hiram (historically, Iarim-Lim); and then to

 

  • dip into the conventionally-estimated Egypt of the era of c. 1500 BC to locate their Eighteenth Dynasty contemporaries in (Thutmose I and II), “Queen of Sheba” and “Shishak” (historically, Hatshepsut and Thutmose III).

 

In what will follow here, that same conventionally-estimated (but quite incorrect) era for the Eighteenth Egyptian dynasty (c. 1500 BC) will also to found to contain a colourful character who may be yet another face of the biblical king Hiram.

 

Hiram as Idrimi

 

I had previously sought to identify this Idrimi (conventionally dated to c. 1500 BC) with one of King Solomon’s three adversaries (I Kings 11:14-26) namely, Hadad, or Hadar, the Edomite: “That name, Hadar, is the same as Hadoram (Adoram), and, as it seems to me, as Idrimi”.

 

But Hadoram (Adoram), or Adoniram, are also names that can be associated with the Hebrew name, Joram, and also with Hiram, as according to Abarim:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Joram.html#.Wi3KHeRlJ9A

 

Associated Biblical names

 

♂Adoniramאדנירם

♂Ahiramאחירם

♂Hadoramהדורם
הדרם

♂♕Hiramחירם
חירום
חורם

♂♕Joramיורם

 

Moreover, the geography of Idrimi, Alalakh, is much more befitting of Hiram, as Iarim-Lim.

Thus I would write, in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

the following (very Courville-based) sections regarding Iarim-Lim, the Philistines (Cretans) and the archaeology of Alalakh:

 

The Earlier Philistine History

 

It remains to be determined whether or not the Philistines can be traced all the way back to Crete in accordance with the biblical data; though obviously, from what has been said, to well before the time of the ‘Sea Peoples’, whose immediate origins were Aegean, not Cretan.

Courville has looked to trace just such an archaeological trail, back through the era of the late Judges/Saul; to Alalakh (modern Atchana) at the time of Iarim-Lim (Yarim-Lim) of Iamkhad (Yamkhad) and Hammurabi of Babylon; and finally to Crete in early dynastic times. I shall be basically reproducing Courville here, though with one significant chronological divergence, in regard to his dating of the Alalakh sequences. Courville has, according to my own chronological estimation for Hammurabi and Iarim-Lim, based on Hickman … dated the Hammurabic era about four centuries too early (as opposed to the conventional system’s seven centuries too early) on the time scale. Courville had wonderfully described Hammurabi as “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea”, just after his having also correctly stated that: …  “Few problems of ancient chronology have been the topic of more extensive debate among scholars than the dates to be ascribed to the Babylonian king Hammurabi and his dynasty …”. And so he set out to establish Hammurabi in a more secure historical setting. This, I do not think he managed successfully to achieve however.

Courville’s re-location of Hammurabi to the approximate time of Joshua and the Conquest is still fairly “liquid” chronologically, as it seems to me, without his having been able to establish any plausible syncretisms beyond those already known for Hammurabi (e.g. with Shamsi-Adad I and Zimri-Lim). Revisionist Hickman on the other hand, despite his radical lowering of the Hammurabic era even beyond the standard [Velikovsky-date lowering] scale, by about seven centuries to the time of kings David and Solomon (c. C10th BC), has been able to propose and develop what are to my way of thinking some promising syncretisms, e.g. between David’s Syrian foe, Hadadezer, and Shamsi-Adad I (c. 1809-1776 BC, conventional dates), with the latter’s father Ilu-kabkabu being the biblical Rekhob, father of Hadadezer (2 Samuel 8:3); … and between Iarim-Lim and the biblical Joram (var. Hadoram), son of To’i, and prince of Hamath (cf. 2 Samuel 8:10 & 1 Chronicles 18:10).

I shall have cause to re-visit some of these kings in the following chapter.

So now, with Hammurabi and his era somewhat more securely located, as I think, than according to Courville’s proposed re-location – and hence with the potential for a more accurate archaeological matrix – we can continue on with Courville’s excellent discussion of the archaeology of the early Philistines: ….

 

VIII. The Culture of the Sea Peoples in the Era of the Late Judges

 

The new pottery found at Askelon [Ashkelon] at the opening of Iron I, and correlated with the invasion of the Sea Peoples, was identified as of Aegean origin. A similar, but not identical, pottery has been found in the territory north of Palestine belonging to the much earlier era of late Middle Bronze. By popular

views, this is prior to the Israelite occupation of Palestine. By the altered chronology, this is the period of the late judges and the era of Saul.

… That the similar pottery of late Middle Bronze, occurring both in the north and in the south, is related to the culture found only in the south at the later date is apparent from the descriptions of the two cultures. Of this earlier culture, which should be dated to the time of Saul, Miss Kenyon commented:

 

The pottery does in fact provide very useful evidence about culture. The first interesting point is the wealth of a particular class of painted pottery …. The decoration is bichrome, nearly always red and black, and the most typical vessels have a combination of metopes enclosing a bird or a fish with geometric decoration such as a “Union Jack” pattern or a Catherine wheel. At Megiddo the first bichrome pottery is attributed to Stratum X, but all the published material comes from tombs intrusive into this level. It is in fact characteristic of Stratum IX. Similar pottery is found in great profusion in southern Palestine … Very similar vessels are also found on the east coast of Cyprus and on the coastal Syrian sites as far north as Ras Shamra. [Emphasis Courville’s]

 

Drawings of typical examples of this pottery show the same stylized bird with

back-turned head that characterized the pottery centuries later at Askelon. … The anachronisms and anomalies in the current views on the interpretation of this invasion and its effects on Palestine are replaced by a consistent picture, and one that is in agreement with the background provided by Scripture for the later era in the very late [sic] 8th century B.C.

 

Courville now turns to the archaeology at the site of Alalakh on the shore of the Mediterranean at its most northeast protrusion, in order “to trace this culture one step farther back in time” (though in actual fact, by my chronology, it will bring him to approximately the same time – though a different place). ….

 

  1. The Culture of Level VI at Alalakh Is Related to That of the Philistines

 

He commences by recalling Sir Leonard Woolley’s investigations at this site in the

1930’s, during which Woolley discovered “seventeen archaeological levels of occupation”:

 

A solid synchronism is at hand to correlate Level VII at Alalakh with the era of Hammurabi of the First Dynasty at Babylon …. The basis for this synchronism is found in the Mari Letters where it is stated that “… there are ten or fifteen kings who follow Hammurabi of Babylon and ten or fifteen who follow Rim-sin of Larsa but twenty kings follow Yarim-Lim of Yamkhad”.

Investigations at Alalakh revealed numerous tablets inscribed in cuneiform, most of which are by the third of the three kings of the dynasty, Yarim-Lim by name.

…. Since the First Dynasty at Babylon was of Amorite origin, then so also was the Yarim-Lim dynasty of Amorite origin.

In the reports by Woolley, he indicates the find at Alalakh of two characteristic pottery types which were designated as “White-Slip milk bowls” and “Base-Ring Ware”. As the digging proceeded downward, he found that such types of pottery were plentiful in Level VI, all but disappeared in Level VII, and then reappeared in all levels from VIII to XVI. Level VII, which did not contain the pottery, was the level containing the inscribed tablets of the Yarim-Lim dynasty. The obvious conclusion was that the people of Yarim-Lim (Amorites) had conquered this city and probably also the surrounding territory, ruling it for a period estimated to have been about 50 years. At the end of this time, the original inhabitants were able to reconquer the site and reoccupy it.

Courville now turns his attention to seeking an identity for the people from whom the city of Alalakh was taken for about half a century, but who then reoccupied it: ….

What then was this culture like …? We let Woolley tell us about the culture:

 

… We do indeed know extremely little about the Level VI buildings. It is to the pottery that we must look for information about Level VI, and the pottery can tell us a good deal. On the one hand we have what I have called the “nationalist revival” of the traditional painted ware which had been suppressed under the late regime, and some examples of this are perfect replicas of the old both in form and in decoration, but as time goes on, there appear modifications of the long-established types – instead of the isolated and static figures of birds or animals these become active and are combined in running scenes surrounding the whole pot without the interruption of the triglyph-like partitions which were once the rule … For the first time we get a polychrome decoration in red and black paint on a buff surface, and the design includes not only birds but the “Union Jack” motive which is specially characteristic of contemporary Palestine … [Emphasis Courville’s]

 

As one examines this pottery description, he will be struck with the notable similarities of decoration found on the pottery at Megiddo for the era of Philistine occupation in the time of Saul. There is the same use of red and black paint, the similar use of birds as a decoration motif, and the same use of the “Union Jack”.

 

Finally, Courville traces this distinctive archaeological path all the way back to Crete. I am giving only the barest outlines of his discussion here: ….

 

  1. The Sea Peoples of Crete

 

With the evidences thus far noted before us, we are now in a position to examine the archaeological reports from Crete for evidences of the early occupation of this site by the Caphtorim (who are either identical to the Philistines of later Scripture or are closely related to them culturally). We now have at least an approximate idea of the nature of the culture for which we are looking …. … we can hardly be wrong in recognizing the earliest occupants of Crete as the people who represented the beginnings of the people later known in Scripture as the Philistines, by virtue of the stated origin of the Philistines in Crete. This concept holds regardless of the name that may be applied to this early era by scholars.

The only site at which Cretan archaeology has been examined for its earliest occupants is at the site of the palace at Knossos. At this site deep test pits were dug into the earlier occupation levels. If there is any archaeological evidence available from Crete for its earliest period, it should then be found from the archaeology of these test pits. The pottery found there is described by Dr. Furness, who is cited by Hutchinson.

“Dr. Furness divides the early Neolithic I fabrics into (a) coarse unburnished ware and (b) fine burnished ware, only differing from the former in that the pot walls are thinner, the clay better mixed, and the burnish more carefully executed. The surface colour is usually black, but examples also occur of red,

buff or yellow, sometimes brilliant red or orange, and sometimes highly variegated sherds”.

A relation was observed between the decoration of some of this pottery from early Neolithic I in Crete with that at the site of Alalakh ….

Continuing to cite Dr. Furness, Hutchinson commented:

 

Dr. Furness justly observes that “as the pottery of the late Neolithic phases seems to have developed at Knossos without a break, it is to the earliest that one must look for evidence of origin of foreign connections”, and she therefore stresses the importance of a small group with plastic decoration that seems mainly confined to the Early Neolithic I levels, consisting of rows of pellets immediately under the rim (paralleled on burnished pottery of Chalcolithic [predynastic] date from Gullucek in the Alaca [Alalakh] district of Asia Minor). [Emphasis Courville’s]

 

While the Archaeological Ages of early Crete cannot with certainty be correlated with the corresponding eras on the mainland, it would seem that Chalcolithic on the mainland is later than Early Neolithic in Crete; hence any influence of one culture on the other is more probably an influence of early Cretan culture on that of the mainland. This is in agreement with Scripture to the effect that the Philistines migrated from Crete to what is now the mainland at some point prior to the time of Abraham. ….