MARI AND THE BIBLICAL AMORITES

AMORITES


Poussin's "Joshua's Victory Over the Amorites"

The Amorites were an ancient Semitic-speaking people that dominated the history of Mesopotamia, Syria, and Palestine from about 2000 to about 1600 B.C. In the oldest cuneiform sources (c. 2400–c. 2000 B.C.), the Amorites were equated with the West, though their true place of origin was most likely Arabia, not Syria. They were troublesome nomads and were believed to be one of the causes of the downfall of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (c. 2112–c. 2004 bc). [Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica <>]

According to Encyclopaedia Britannica: “During the 2nd millennium B.C., the Akkadian term Amurru referred not only to an ethnic group but also to a language and to a geographic and political unit in Syria and Palestine. At the beginning of the millennium, a large-scale migration of great tribal federations from Arabia resulted in the occupation of Babylonia proper, the mid-Euphrates region, and Syria-Palestine. They set up a mosaic of small kingdoms and rapidly assimilated the Sumero-Akkadian culture. It is possible that this group was connected with the Amorites mentioned in earlier sources; some scholars, however, prefer to call this second group Eastern Canaanites, or Canaanites. <>

“Almost all of the local kings in Babylonia (such as Hammurabi of Babylon) belonged to this stock. One capital was at Mari (modern Tall al- arīrī, Syria). Farther west, the political centre was alab (Aleppo); in that area, as well as in Palestine, the newcomers were thoroughly mixed with the Hurrians. The region then called Amurru was northern Palestine, with its centre at Hazor, and the neighbouring Syrian desert. In the dark age between about 1600 and about 1100 bc, the language of the Amorites disappeared from Babylonia and the mid-Euphrates; in Syria and Palestine, however, it became dominant. In Assyrian inscriptions from about 1100 bc, the term Amurru designated part of Syria and all of Phoenicia and Palestine but no longer referred to any specific kingdom, language, or population.”

Morris Jastrow said: “The Amorites have generally been regarded as Semites. Professor Clay, we have seen, would regard Amurru as, in fact, the home of a large branch of the Semites; yet the manner in which the Old Testament contrasts the Canaanites—the old population of Palestine dispossessed by the invading Hebrews— with the Amorites, raises the question whether this contrast does not rest on an ethnic distinction. The Amoritish type as depicted on Egyptian monuments also is distinct from that of the Semitic inhabitants of Palestine and Syria. It is quite within the range of possibility that the Amorites, too, represent another non-Semitic factor further complicating the web of the Sumero-Akkadian culture, though it must also be borne in mind that the Amorites, whatever their original ethnic type may have been, became commingled with Semites, and in later times are not to be distinguished from the Semitic population of Syria. [Source: Morris Jastrow, Lectures more than ten years after publishing his book “Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria” 1911]

Websites and Resources on Mesopotamia: Ancient History Encyclopedia ancient.eu.com/Mesopotamia ; Mesopotamia University of Chicago site mesopotamia.lib.uchicago.edu; British Museum mesopotamia.co.uk ; Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Mesopotamia sourcebooks.fordham.edu ; Louvre louvre.fr/llv/oeuvres/detail_periode.jsp ; Metropolitan Museum of Art metmuseum.org/toah ; University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology penn.museum/sites/iraq ; Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago uchicago.edu/museum/highlights/meso ; Iraq Museum Database oi.uchicago.edu/OI/IRAQ/dbfiles/Iraqdatabasehome ; Wikipedia article Wikipedia ; ABZU etana.org/abzubib; Oriental Institute Virtual Museum oi.uchicago.edu/virtualtour ; Treasures from the Royal Tombs of Ur oi.uchicago.edu/museum-exhibits ; Ancient Near Eastern Art Metropolitan Museum of Art www.metmuseum.org

Archaeology News and Resources: Anthropology.net anthropology.net : serves the online community interested in anthropology and archaeology; archaeologica.org archaeologica.org is good source for archaeological news and information. Archaeology in Europe archeurope.com features educational resources, original material on many archaeological subjects and has information on archaeological events, study tours, field trips and archaeological courses, links to web sites and articles; Archaeology magazine archaeology.org has archaeology news and articles and is a publication of the Archaeological Institute of America; Archaeology News Network archaeologynewsnetwork is a non-profit, online open access, pro- community news website on archaeology; British Archaeology magazine british-archaeology-magazine is an excellent source published by the Council for British Archaeology; Current Archaeology magazine archaeology.co.uk is produced by the UK’s leading archaeology magazine; HeritageDaily heritagedaily.com is an online heritage and archaeology magazine, highlighting the latest news and new discoveries; Livescience livescience.com/ : general science website with plenty of archaeological content and news. Past Horizons : online magazine site covering archaeology and heritage news as well as news on other science fields; The Archaeology Channel archaeologychannel.org explores archaeology and cultural heritage through streaming media; Ancient History Encyclopedia ancient.eu : is put out by a non-profit organization and includes articles on pre-history; Best of History Websites besthistorysites.net is a good source for links to other sites; Essential Humanities essential-humanities.net: provides information on History and Art History, including sections Prehistory

Mari


Ebish II from Mari

The ancient city of Mari, located in northern Syria on the middle Euphrates, south of its junction with the Habor (Khabur), was founded around 2900 B.C. and was thriving metropolis from around 2800 B.C. to its demise in 1760 B.C.. According to UNESCO: “Mari is an archaeological site of major significance. It was the royal city-state of the 3rd millennium B.C. Its discovery in 1933, followed by the discovery of Ebla in 1963, improved our understanding of Syria in the Bronze Age. Previously, we only had little information collected from Kings of Summer and Akkad inscriptions found in the current territory of Iraq.” The site has been on UNESCO’s tentative list since 1999. [Source: UNESCO]

Mari was among the first sites in Syria to be excavated. The city was part of an ancient Bronze-Age kingdom centered on modern Tell-Hariri, around 70 kilometers to the south of Der Ezzor. Syria. Impressive architectural remains have been excavated on the site, including palaces and temples from the Early Bronze Age when the city was an important center for metalworking. There is also evidence linking Mari and Ebla as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. [Source: University of Copenhagen ~~]

According to the University of Copenhagen: “The best documented period at the site is the Bronze Age, in particular royal palaces and temples dated to the Early Bronze Age, as well as an impressive Middle Bronze Age royal palace-the Zimri-Lim palace named after the last king of Mari before its destruction by Babylonian troops around 1760 BC. The range of artefacts found at the site include a rich and varied cuneiform tablet archive dating from 2000-1600 BC, which provides one of the most extensive archive collections of the period. Another palace has also been excavated and named the Šakkanakku royal palace, after a local governor during Akkadian domination of the city. Temples dedicated to local Syrian deities such as Ishtar as well as Mesopotamian gods such as Shamash have also been found at the site.” ~~

According to Columbia Encyclopedia: “The site was discovered by chance in the early 1930s by Arabs digging graves and has subsequently been excavated by the French. The earliest evidence of habitation goes back to the Jemdet Nasr period in the 3d millennium BC, and Mari remained prosperous throughout the early dynastic period. The temple of Ishtar and other works of art show that Mari was at this time an artistic center with a highly developed style of its own. [Source: Columbia Encyclopedia]

“As the commercial and political focus of W Asia c.1800 BC, its power extended over 300 mi a1 (480 km) from the frontier of Babylon proper, up the Euphrates, to the border of Syria. The archives of the great King Zimri-lim, a contemporary of Hammurabi in the 18th cent. BC, were discovered in 1937. They contain over 20,000 clay documents, which have made it possible to fix the dates of events in Mesopotamia in the 2d millennium BC Also found at Mari is the great palace complex of Zimri-lim consisting of more than 200 rooms and covering 5 acres (2 hectares).” Mari was conquered by Hammurabi around 1700 B.C. and Babylon then became the center of W Asia. Mari never regained its former status. Between 1760 and 1757 BC, Mari was destroyed by Hammurabi of Babylon.

Mari, the World’s First Planned City?

According to ancient-origins.net Although only a third of the city has survived (the rest having been washed away by the Euphrates), excavations at Mari have provided us with some information about this ancient site. For instance, archaeologists have discovered that Mari was designed and built as two concentric rings. The outer ring was meant to protect the city from the flooding caused by the Euphrates, whilst the inner ring served as a defense against human enemies. Astonishing architectural discoveries for the age of the site include several palaces and temples in various layers. [Source: ancient-origins.net <>]

20120207-Mari.jpg
Mari

“Mari occupied a geographically strategic position in the landscape, between Babylonia in southern Mesopotamia and the Taurus Mountains, which was rich in natural resources, to the north, in modern day Turkey. As a result of this, Mari flourished as an important city state. It is thought to have been inhabited by people who migrated from the kingdoms of Ebla and Akkad. As the city is located between the southern Mesopotamian city states and the Taurus Mountains, as well as the northern part of Syria, Mari was able to control the flow of trade. For example, timber and stone from northern Syria had to pass through Mari to reach the south. In addition, metal ores came from the Taurus Mountains, and some of the city’s inhabitants began to specialize in copper and bronze smelting, thus increasing Mari’s significance. <>

“It is believed that the city had been entirely planned prior to its construction, hence, it is often regarded as an example of complex urban planning, and the first known of its kind in the world. As Mari is located on the Euphrates, and relied on trade, it also developed a system of canals, another piece of evidence for urban planning. A linkage canal, for example, allowed boats travelling along the river to gain access to the city, as well as provided water for its inhabitants. Additionally, there was also an irrigation canal for agricultural purposes, and a navigational canal that flowed past the city on the opposite side of the river. This canal provided boats with an alternate route into the city – a straight passage as opposed to the winding Euphrates. The entry points were controlled by the city, and Mari profited from the tolls collected there.” <>

Mari Under Zimri-Lim

Mary Shepperson wrote in The Guardian: “Ruling Mari wasn’t an easy job; the city was surrounded by more powerful kingdoms and beset by frequent internal troubles. King Yaggid-Lim was killed by his servants, while Yahdun-Lim was assassinated by his own son, who in turn was also assassinated after a reign of just two years. The best-known king of Mari was Zimri-Lim; a contemporary of the mighty Hammurabi of Babylon, famous for the earliest surviving law code. [Source: Mary Shepperson, The Guardian, April 19, 2018 ++]

“Zimri-Lim, whose father also seems to have been assassinated by untrustworthy servants, managed to wrestle Mari back from a rival royal house. He married Shibtu, a princess from the kingdom of Yamad, centred at modern Aleppo. They had at least eight daughters and many letters between the king and his grown-up daughters survive to illustrate a close and fond fatherly relationship. ++

“Zimri-Lim was less successful in his relationship with Hammurabi. After being an ally of Babylon in its wars with Elam and the city state of Larsa, the diplomatic relationship between Zimri-Lim and Hammurabi gradually soured, culminating in a Babylonian army being dispatched to conquer Mari in 1761 BC. It’s impossible to tell how much more of this history may have been hacked out of the ground by the IS-sponsored looters, written on tablets which were sold to fund the fighting. Zimri-Lim disappeared from the historical record when his city fell, presumably because he didn’t survive the encounter, but his palace did survive along with the records of his fourteen-year reign.” ++

20120207-Mari Cylinder_seal_battle_Louvre.jpg
Mari cylinder seal of a battle

Mari Palace

Mary Shepperson wrote in The Guardian: “Mari was home to an extraordinary palace. The earliest major structure dates to around 2500-2300 BC, and part of this early palace was restored and preserved at the site, providing a unique opportunity to walk through a third millennium BC Mesopotamian palace, standing almost to its roof beams. [Source: Mary Shepperson, The Guardian, April 19, 2018 ++]

“For archaeologists and historians, Mari’s royal palace is more famous in its later form. In around 1800 BC the palace was remodelled and expanded by the Lim dynasty and the excavation of this building has provided the most complete picture available of the life of a royal palace and the functioning of a Bronze Age city state. This is in part due to the good preservation of the architecture and the almost complete excavation of the palace’s 300 rooms, but also to the 25,000 cuneiform tablets recovered during the excavations, which mostly date to this time. The texts preserved on the tablets have left us the names of the rulers of Mari, provided a wealth of detail about the city and its people, and opened an exceptional window on the politics and diplomacy of the ancient Near East through the preservation of royal letters between the kings of Mari and the rulers of neighbouring kingdoms. ++

“The palace constructed by the kings of Mari was of unusual magnificence, and the diplomatic texts suggest it was famous in its day as one of the largest and most luxurious royal palaces in existence, the envy of other rulers. The huge courtyards were planted with palm trees and the walls of the palace were painted with elaborate scenes and decorative designs, including a large fresco showing the investiture of Zimri-Lim as King, now displayed in the Louvre. The palace’s chapel contained a life-sized statue of a goddess, which was drilled through so that real water could run from the mouth of the vase held in the goddess’ hands.”++

Mari and the Amorites

The inhabitants of Mari were referred to as Amorites in the Old Testament and spoke a language related to Hebrew. According to biblearchaeology.org, “From about 2000 to 1760 B.C., “Mari was the capital of the Amorites. Amorites were spread far and wide throughout the ancient Near East, including the hill country of Canaan vanquished by the Israelites (Nm 13:29; Jos 10:6).” The enormous palace covers six acres, with nearly 300 rooms on the ground level and an equal number on a second floor. “It was in use from ca. 2300 BC until its destruction by Hammurabi in 1760 BC. An archive of about 15,000 texts from the final years of the palace provides a detailed insight into the common social, economic and legal practices of that time. Contained in the archive are administrative and legal documents, letters, treaties, and literary and religious texts. [Source: biblearchaeology.org *\*

“The value of the Mari texts for Biblical studies lies in the fact that Mari is located in the vicinity of the homeland of the Patriarchs, being about 200 mi (320 km) southeast of Haran. It thus shares a common culture with the area where the Patriarchs originated. Some documents detail practices such as adoption and inheritance similar to those found in the Genesis accounts. The tablets speak of the slaughtering of animals when covenants were made, judges similar to the judges of the Old Testament, gods that are also named in the Hebrew Bible, and personal names such as Noah, Abram, Laban and Jacob. A city named Nahur is mentioned, possibly named after Abraham’s grandfather Nahor (Gn 11:22-25), as well as the city of Haran where Abraham lived for a time (Gn 11:31-12:4). Hazor is spoken of often in the Mari texts and there is a reference to Laish (Dan) as well. A unique collection of 30 texts deals with prophetic messages that were delivered to local rulers who relayed them to the king.” *\*



Decline of Ur, the Amorites and Gutians

Of the kings after Shar-kali-sharri (c. 2217-c. 2193 B.C.), only the names and a few brief inscriptions have survived. Quarrels arose over the succession, and the dynasty went under, although modern scholars know as little about the individual stages of this decline as about the rise of Akkad. [Source: piney.com]

Two factors contributed to its downfall: the invasion of the nomadic Amurrus (Amorites), called Martu by the Sumerians, from the northwest, and the infiltration of the Gutians, who came, apparently, from the region between the Tigris and the Zagros Mountains to the east. This argument, however, may be a vicious circle, as these invasions were provoked and facilitated by the very weakness of Akkad. In Ur III the Amorites, in part already sedentary, formed one ethnic component along with Sumerians and Akkadians. The Gutians, on the other hand, played only a temporary role, even if the memory of a Gutian dynasty persisted until the end of the 17th century B.C.. As a matter of fact, the wholly negative opinion that even some modern historians have of the Gutians is based solely on a few stereotyped statements by the Sumerians and Akkadians, especially on the victory inscription of Utu-hegal of Uruk (c. 2116-c. 2110). While Old Babylonian sources give the region between the Tigris and the Zagros Mountains as the home of the Gutians, these people probably also lived on the middle Euphrates during the 3rd millennium.

According to the Sumerian king list, the Gutians held the "kingship" in southern Mesopotamia for about 100 years. It has long been recognized that there is no question of a whole century of undivided Gutian rule and that some 50 years of this rule coincided with the final half century of Akkad. From this period there has also been preserved a record of a "Gutian interpreter." As it is altogether doubtful whether the Gutians had made any city of southern Mesopotamia their "capital" instead of controlling Babylonia more or less informally from outside, scholars cautiously refer to "viceroys" of this people. The Gutians have left no material records, and the original inscriptions about them are so scanty that no binding statements about them are possible.

Amorites, Akkadians and Hittites


Sargon of Akkad

Morris Jastrow said: “From the days of Sargon we find frequent traces of the Amorites; and there is at least one deity in the pantheon of this early period who was imported into the Euphrates Valley from the west, the home of the Amorites. This deity was a storm god known as Adad, appearing in Syria and Palestine as Hadad. According to Professor Clay, most of the other prominent members of what eventually became the definitely constituted Babylonian pantheon betray traces of having been subjected to this western influence. Indeed, Professor Clay goes even further and would ascribe many of the parallels between Biblical and Babylonian myths, traditions, customs, and rites to an early influence exerted by Amurru (which he regards as the home of the northern Semites) on Babylonia, and not, as has been hitherto assumed, to a western extension of Babylonian culture and religion. [Source: Morris Jastrow, Lectures more than ten years after publishing his book “Aspects of Religious Belief and Practice in Babylonia and Assyria” 1911 <>]

“It is too early to pronounce a definite opinion on this interesting and novel thesis; but, granting that Professor Clay has pressed his views beyond legitimate bounds, there can no longer be any doubt that in accounting for the later and for some of the earlier aspects of the Sumero-Akkadian civilisation this factor of Amurru must be taken into account; nor is it at all unlikely that long before the days of Sargon, a wave of migration from the north and north-west to the south and south-east had set in, which brought large bodies of Amorites into the Euphrates Valley as well as into Assyria. The circumstance that, as has been pointed out, the earliest permanent settlements of Semites in the Euphrates Valley appear to be in the northern portion, creates a strong presumption in favour of the view which makes the Semites come into Babylonia from the north-west. <>

“Hittites do not make their appearance in the Euphrates Valley until some centuries after Sargon, but since it now appears that ca. 1800 B.C. they had become strong enough to invade the district, and that a Hittite ruler actually occupied the throne of Babylonia for a short period, we are justified in carrying the beginnings of Hittite influence back to the time at least of the Ur dynasty. This conclusion is strengthened by the evidence for an early establishment of a Hittite principality in north-western Mesopotamia, known as Mitanni, which extended its sway as early at least as 2100 B.C. to Assyria proper. <>

“Thanks to the excavations conducted by the German expedition at Kalah-Shergat (the site of the old capital of Assyria known as Ashur), we can now trace the beginnings of Assyria several centuries further back than was possible only a few years ago. The proper names at this earliest period of Assyrian history show a marked Hittite or Mitanni influence in the district, and it is significant that Ushpia, the founder of the most famous and oldest sanctuary in Ashur, bears a Hittite name. The conclusion appears justified that Assyria began her rule as an extension of Hittite control. With a branch of the Hittites firmly established in Assyria as early as ca. 2100 B.C., we can now account for an invasion of Babylonia a few centuries later. The Hittites brought their gods with them, as did the Amorites, and, with the gods, religious conceptions peculiarly their own. Traces of Hittite influence are to be seen e.g., in the designs on the seal cylinders, as has been recently shown by Dr. Ward, who, indeed, is inclined to assign to this influence a share in the religious art, and, therefore, also in the general culture and religion, much larger than could have been suspected a decade ago. <>

“Who those Hittites were we do not as yet know. Probably they represent a motley group of various peoples, and they may turn out to be Aryans. It is quite certain that they originated in a mountainous district, and that they were not Semites. We should thus have a factor entering into the Babylo-nian-Assyrian civilisation—leaving its decided traces in the religion—which was wholly different from the two chief elements in that civilisation—the Sumerian and the Akkadian."

Biblical Amorites


Mari pendant mask

The Amorites are a people mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament, along with the Canaanites and Hittites. The term Amorites is used in the Bible to refer to certain highland mountaineers who inhabited the land of Canaan, described in Genesis 10:16 as descendants of Canaan, the son of Ham. They are described as a powerful people of great stature "like the height of the cedars" (Amos 2:9) who had occupied the land east and west of the Jordan. The height and strength mentioned in Amos 2:9 has led some Christian scholars, including Orville J. Nave, who wrote the classic Nave's Topical Bible, to refer to the Amorites as "giants". [Source: Wikipedia +]

The Amorite king, Og, was described as the last "of the remnant of the Rephaim" (Deuteronomy 3:11). The terms Amorite and Canaanite seem to be used more or less interchangeably, Canaan being more general and Amorite a specific component among the Canaanites who inhabited the land. +

The Biblical Amorites seem to have originally occupied the region stretching from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:7) to Hebron (13:8; Deut. 3:8; 4:46–48), embracing "all Gilead and all Bashan" (Deut. 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the river (4:49), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites". Sihon and Og (Deut. 31:4; Joshua 2:10; 9:10). Both Sihon and Og were independent kings. The Amorites seem to have been linked to the Jerusalem region, and the Jebusites may have been a subgroup of them (Ezek. 16:3). The southern slopes of the mountains of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (Deut. 1:7, 19, 20). +

Five kings of the Amorites were first defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (Josh. 10:5). Then, more Amorite kings were defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua (Josh. 11:8). It is mentioned that in the days of Samuel, there was peace between them and the Israelites (1 Sam. 7:14). The Gibeonites were said to be their descendants, being an offshoot of the Amorites who made a covenant with the Hebrews. When Saul later broke that vow and killed some of the Gibeonites, God sent a famine to Israel. +

On the topic of the Amorites from the Bible, Van Seters wrote: “To summarize we may say that “Amorite” in the Old Testament does not correspond to any political or ethnic entity known from the historical documents of the second millennium B.C. Instead the Old Testament writers probably learned of the term from Assyrian and Babylonian sources of the first millennium and construed it as an archaic term for the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Palestine. Their use of the term is largely ideological and rhetorical and represents the primeval wicked nations whom God displaced in order to give Israel its land.”

Bible Verses about the Amorites


Mari make-up box

Amos 2:9: "Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Though his height was like the height of cedars And he was strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below. [Source: Knowing Jesus bible.knowing-jesus.com ]

Joshua 24:12: 'Then I sent the hornet before you and it drove out the two kings of the Amorites from before you, but not by your sword or your bow.

Ezekiel 16:3: and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to Jerusalem, "Your origin and your birth are from the land of the Canaanite, your father was an Amorite and your mother a Hittite.

Genesis 15:19-21L the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite."

Psalm 136:17-19: To Him who smote great kings, For His lovingkindness is everlasting, And slew mighty kings, For His lovingkindness is everlasting: Sihon, king of the Amorites, For His lovingkindness is everlasting,

Amos 2:9: "Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Though his height was like the height of cedars And he was strong as the oaks; I even destroyed his fruit above and his root below.

Genesis 15:16: "Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete."

Judges 6:10: and I said to you, "I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me."'"

Judges 1:34-36: Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor. The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

1 Samuel 7:14: The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

Judges 3:5: The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites;

Wickedness of the Amorites and Judgments Against Them


Mari mirror

Genesis 15:16: "Then in the fourth generation they will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete." [Source: Knowing Jesus bible.knowing-jesus.com ]

2 Kings 21:11 "Because Manasseh king of Judah has done these abominations, having done wickedly more than all the Amorites did who were before him, and has also made Judah sin with his idols;

Ezra 9:1: Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites.

Exodus 23:24: "You shall not worship their gods, nor serve them, nor do according to their deeds; but you shall utterly overthrow them and break their sacred pillars in pieces.

Exodus 33:2: "I will send an angel before you and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.

Exodus 34:10-11: Then God said, "Behold, I am going to make a covenant Before all your people I will perform miracles which have not been produced in all the earth nor among any of the nations; and all the people among whom you live will see the working of the LORD, for it is a fearful thing that I am going to perform with you. "Be sure to observe what I am commanding you this day: behold, I am going to drive out the Amorite before you, and the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite.

Deuteronomy 20:17-18" "But you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittite and the Amorite, the Canaanite and the Perizzite, the Hivite and the Jebusite, as the LORD your God has commanded you, so that they may not teach you to do according to all their detestable things which they have done for their gods, so that you would sin against the LORD your God.

Amorites Intermarry with Jews and Worship Idols


Mari baking mold

Ezra 9:1-2: Now when these things had been completed, the princes approached me, saying, "The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations, those of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. "For they have taken some of their daughters as wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has intermingled with the peoples of the lands; indeed, the hands of the princes and the rulers have been foremost in this unfaithfulness." [Source: Knowing Jesus bible.knowing-jesus.com ]

Ezra 10:18-44: Among the sons of the priests who had married foreign wives were found of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brothers: Maaseiah, Eliezer, Jarib and Gedaliah. They pledged to put away their wives, and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their offense. Of the sons of Immer there were Hanani and Zebadiah;

1 Kings 21:26: He acted very abominably in following idols, according to all that the Amorites had done, whom the LORD cast out before the sons of Israel.

Judges 6:10: and I said to you, "I am the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. But you have not obeyed Me."'"

Amorite Kings, Chiefs and Alliances

Joshua 10:3-26: Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, "Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel." So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it. [Source: Knowing Jesus bible.knowing-jesus.com ]


Inside Mari Palace

Joshua 13:21: even all the cities of the plain and all the kingdom of Sihon king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon, whom Moses struck with the chiefs of Midian, Evi and Rekem and Zur and Hur and Reba, the princes of Sihon, who lived in the land.

Joshua 10:1-5: Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, that he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon.

Conquest of the Amorites and Their Defeat by the Israelites

Numbers 21:21-30: Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, "Let me pass through your land. We will not turn off into field or vineyard; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the king's highway until we have passed through your border." But Sihon would not permit Israel to pass through his border So Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel. [Source: Knowing Jesus bible.knowing-jesus.com ]

Joshua 10:11: As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword.

Numbers 21:21-32: Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, saying, "Let me pass through your land. We will not turn off into field or vineyard; we will not drink water from wells. We will go by the king's highway until we have passed through your border." But Sihon would not permit Israel to pass through his border So Sihon gathered all his people and went out against Israel in the wilderness, and came to Jahaz and fought against Israel.

Deuteronomy 2:24-35: 'Arise, set out, and pass through the valley of Arnon. Look! I have given Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land into your hand; begin to take possession and contend with him in battle. 'This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.' "So I sent messengers from the wilderness of Kedemoth to Sihon king of Heshbon with words of peace.

Joshua 10:1-43

Joshua 10:1-43: Now it came about when Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem heard that Joshua had captured Ai, and had utterly destroyed it (just as he had done to Jericho and its king, so he had done to Ai and its king), and that the inhabitants of Gibeon had made peace with Israel and were within their land, that he feared greatly, because Gibeon was a great city, like one of the royal cities, and because it was greater than Ai, and all its men were mighty. Therefore Adoni-zedek king of Jerusalem sent word to Hoham king of Hebron and to Piram king of Jarmuth and to Japhia king of Lachish and to Debir king of Eglon, saying, "Come up to me and help me, and let us attack Gibeon, for it has made peace with Joshua and with the sons of Israel." So the five kings of the Amorites, the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon, gathered together and went up, they with all their armies, and camped by Gibeon and fought against it. [Source: Knowing Jesus bible.knowing-jesus.com ]

Then the men of Gibeon sent word to Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, "Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly and save us and help us, for all the kings of the Amorites that live in the hill country have assembled against us." So Joshua went up from Gilgal, he and all the people of war with him and all the valiant warriors. The LORD said to Joshua, "Do not fear them, for I have given them into your hands; not one of them shall stand before you." So Joshua came upon them suddenly by marching all night from Gilgal. And the LORD confounded them before Israel, and He slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and pursued them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah. As they fled from before Israel, while they were at the descent of Beth-horon, the LORD threw large stones from heaven on them as far as Azekah, and they died; there were more who died from the hailstones than those whom the sons of Israel killed with the sword. Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, "O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon."


Army of the Amorites destroying


So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel. Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp to Gilgal. Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah. It was told Joshua, saying, "The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah." Joshua said, "Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them, but do not stay there yourselves; pursue your enemies and attack them in the rear. Do not allow them to enter their cities, for the LORD your God has delivered them into your hand." It came about when Joshua and the sons of Israel had finished slaying them with a very great slaughter, until they were destroyed, and the survivors who remained of them had entered the fortified cities, that all the people returned to the camp to Joshua at Makkedah in peace. No one uttered a word against any of the sons of Israel.

Then Joshua said, "Open the mouth of the cave and bring these five kings out to me from the cave." They did so, and brought these five kings out to him from the cave: the king of Jerusalem, the king of Hebron, the king of Jarmuth, the king of Lachish, and the king of Eglon. When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." So they came near and put their feet on their necks. Joshua then said to them, "Do not fear or be dismayed! Be strong and courageous, for thus the LORD will do to all your enemies with whom you fight." So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he hanged them on five trees; and they hung on the trees until evening. It came about at sunset that Joshua gave a command, and they took them down from the trees and threw them into the cave where they had hidden themselves, and put large stones over the mouth of the cave, to this very day.

Now Joshua captured Makkedah on that day, and struck it and its king with the edge of the sword; he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it He left no survivor Thus he did to the king of Makkedah just as he had done to the king of Jericho. Then Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Makkedah to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. The LORD gave it also with its king into the hands of Israel, and he struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor in it. Thus he did to its king just as he had done to the king of Jericho. And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Libnah to Lachish, and they camped by it and fought against it. The LORD gave Lachish into the hands of Israel; and he captured it on the second day, and struck it and every person who was in it with the edge of the sword, according to all that he had done to Libnah. Then Horam king of Gezer came up to help Lachish, and Joshua defeated him and his people until he had left him no survivor.

And Joshua and all Israel with him passed on from Lachish to Eglon, and they camped by it and fought against it. They captured it on that day and struck it with the edge of the sword; and he utterly destroyed that day every person who was in it, according to all that he had done to Lachish. Then Joshua and all Israel with him went up from Eglon to Hebron, and they fought against it. They captured it and struck it and its king and all its cities and all the persons who were in it with the edge of the sword. He left no survivor, according to all that he had done to Eglon. And he utterly destroyed it and every person who was in it. Then Joshua and all Israel with him returned to Debir, and they fought against it. He captured it and its king and all its cities, and they struck them with the edge of the sword, and utterly destroyed every person who was in it. He left no survivor. Just as he had done to Hebron, so he did to Debir and its king, as he had also done to Libnah and its king. Thus Joshua struck all the land, the hill country and the Negev and the lowland and the slopes and all their kings He left no survivor, but he utterly destroyed all who breathed, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had commanded. Joshua struck them from Kadesh-barnea even as far as Gaza, and all the country of Goshen even as far as Gibeon. Joshua captured all these kings and their lands at one time, because the LORD, the God of Israel, fought for Israel. So Joshua and all Israel with him returned to the camp at Gilgal.


Tissot's "Conquest of the Amorites"


Amorites Live On

Judges 3:5-8: The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods. The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. read more.

Judges 1:34-36: Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor. The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

Judges 3:1-3: Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath.

1 Samuel 7:14: The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron even to Gath; and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. So there was peace between Israel and the Amorites.

2 Samuel 21:2: So the king called the Gibeonites and spoke to them (now the Gibeonites were not of the sons of Israel but of the remnant of the Amorites, and the sons of Israel made a covenant with them, but Saul had sought to kill them in his zeal for the sons of Israel and Judah).

Destruction of Mari by Islamic State

Mari was one of the first archaeological sites to be occupied by Islamic State and suffered from destruction and looting while under its control.Mary Shepperson wrote in The Guardian: “When Islamic State emerged, the part of Deir ez-Zor province in which Mari lies was one of the first areas to fall under its control in early 2014. Under IS, the site suffered an immediate explosion of looting; satellite images revealed the change from archaeological site to lunar landscape in a matter of months. More than 1,500 new looting pits were recorded at Mari between 2013 and 2015, likely representing the removal of a huge quantity of ancient objects, sold into the illegal antiquities market to fund Isis and its war. [Source: Mary Shepperson, The Guardian, April 19, 2018]

“Sadly, this is a story common to many archaeological sites across the region, but Mari isn’t just another site. For archaeologists it’s one of the most important sites so far excavated for those interested in understanding the great urban centres of Bronze Age Mesopotamia, or in diving into the turbulent politics of the second millennium BC.

“This palace area is now very badly damaged. Its protective roof was compromised by a sand storm in 2011, and the security situation at that time left it impossible to make repairs, but the recently released photos show that large parts of the palace’s 2m thick walls have now collapsed. Prof Pascal Butterlin, who directed excavations at the site up until 2010, believes such a level of destruction suggests that explosives, either ground based or more likely from air strikes, were probably involved, adding to the damage caused by looting for financial gain. Butterlin gave a paper detailing the plight of Mari at the International Congress on the Archaeology of the Ancient Near East conference in Munich two weeks ago, to general dismay. Sadly, the palace chapel and all the royal reception rooms are now a mass of huge looters pits.

“Given the wonders of the palace of Mari and the importance of this site, it’s disappointing that the destruction of the palace and the plundering of the site in search of tablets and other saleable objects hasn’t received more attention. The first explanation is that cultural destruction in the Middle East has been so widespread in recent years that it’s ceased to be news-worthy in all but the most extreme cases, which is a depressing thought. A second disadvantage Mari has over more high-profile sites, such as Palmyra, is that its buildings were made of mud, and not the classical stonework which produces photogenic ruins and screams its artistic worth to a general audience. Nevertheless, Mari deserves to be considered as a loss on the same scale as any of the more celebrated sites to have suffered during the Isis conflict. “

Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons

Text Sources: Internet Ancient History Sourcebook: Mesopotamia sourcebooks.fordham.edu , National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, especially Merle Severy, National Geographic, May 1991 and Marion Steinmann, Smithsonian, December 1988, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Discover magazine, Times of London, Natural History magazine, Archaeology magazine, The New Yorker, BBC, Encyclopædia Britannica, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Time, Newsweek, Wikipedia, Reuters, Associated Press, The Guardian, AFP, Lonely Planet Guides, World Religions edited by Geoffrey Parrinder (Facts on File Publications, New York); History of Warfare by John Keegan (Vintage Books); History of Art by H.W. Janson Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.), Compton’s Encyclopedia and various books and other publications.

Last updated September 2018

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