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In the OT the Hittites are, firstly, a great nation which gave its name to
the whole region of Syria, 'from the wilderness and this
Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the
Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun' (Jos. 1:4);
and secondly, a group living in Canaan until after
the Israelite settlement (Gn. 15:20; Dt. 7:1; Jdg. 3:5), called literally 'the
children of Heth' (Gn. 23:3, (Gn. 10:15).
An early Hittite king, Tudhaliyas I (c. 1720 bc), with 'Tidal king of nations' of Gn. 14:1. About 1600 bc Hattusilis I extended his rule over parts of N Syria. His successor Mursilis wrote: I captured Aleppo and subsequently (c. 1560 bc) raided Babylon—an event which precipitated the fall of the 1st Babylonian Dynasty.
The purple dot is the general area where Noah and crew got off the ark. Their descendants would have to migrated through Turkey, down through Syria, Jordan, Canaan and Iraq ... to continue the accounts after the ark settled on dry land.
The last place the Israelites are found in Genesis is in Egypt (Yellow dot).
The Hittite empire reached the peak of its power under Suppiluliumas I (c.
1380-1350 bc). It was in his province of Kizzuwatna, in SE Asia Minor, that iron
was first smelted in the Near East on a scale which justifies one in
speaking of the beginning of the Iron Age. He extended his empire over Upper
Mesopotamia and over Syria as far S as the Lebanon.
The Hittites with the Egyptian empire in Asia, and hostilities continued between the two powers until 1284 bc, when a non-aggression pact between Hattusilis III and Rameses II recognized the Orontes as their common frontier.
The Hittite empire collapsed around 1200 bc as the result of blows from western enemies.
Hamath was allied with David (2 Sa. 8:9ff.), whose kingdom bordered on 'Kadesh in the land of the Hittites' (2 Sa. 24:6;
Solomon traded and intermarried with these 'kings of the Hittites' (1 Ki. 10:28f.; 11:1).
In the 9th century bc their military reputation could throw the army of
Damascus into panic (2 Ki. 7:6). But in the following century they
were reduced one by one by the Assyrians; Hamath fell in 720 bc and
Carchemish in 717 (2 Ki. 18:34; 19:13; Is. 10:9).
The Assyrian and Babylonian records of the period (as late as the Chaldean dynasty) regularly refer to the whole of Syria (including Palestine) as the 'Hatti-land'; Sargon II in 711 bc can speak of the people of Ashdod as 'the faithless Hatti'.
The language of the seven Hittite kingdoms is known from hieroglyphic texts which have been deciphered in recent years; bilingual inscriptions in hieroglyphic Hittite and Phoenician, discovered at Karatepe in Cilicia (1946-7), have helped considerably in their decipherment. The language of these texts is not identical with the official language of the earlier Hittite empire, which was written in cuneiform script and identified as an Indo-European language in 1917; it resembles rather a neighboring Indo-European language called Luvian.
The Hittites of Canaan in patriarchal times appear as inhabiting the central ridge of Judah, especially the Hebron district.
In Gn. 23 the Hittites are the resident population of Hebron ('the people of the land') among whom Abraham lives as 'a stranger and a sojourner' and from whom he buys the field of Machpelah, with its cave, as a family burying-ground.
Esau grieved his parents by marrying two 'Hittite women. (Gn. 27:46; 26:34.) Esau would have been a descendant of Shem. All of his wives were descendants of Ham and so all the Edomites would have been a composite of the descendants of Shem and Ham.
According to Ezk. 16:3, 45, they had a mixed Hittite and Amorite
foundation. The name of *Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sa. 24:16ff.) has been thought
to be Hittite, and Uriah the Hittite, evidently a
Jerusalemite, was one of David's mighty men (2 Sa.
23:39). Ahimelech, one of David's companions in the
days of his outlawry, is called a Hittite (1 Sa. 26:6).
The last reference to the Hittites of Canaan is in Solomon's reign (2 Ch. 8:7); thereafter they were merged in the general population of the land.
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