- Art Gallery -









A Hillside Street in Roman Jerusalem along which
Jesus and the Disciples may well have walked
(after Germer-Durand).—Frontispiece.



Green Fund Book, No. 17










1816 Chestnut Street



Copyright, 1916, by
American Sunday-School Union

All rights vested in and reserved by
American Sunday-School Union


First Edition, May, 1916.
Second Edition, June, 1917.



Faithful Comrade in
the Campaign of Life



[Pg v]



For a hundred years or more the explorer and the excavator have been busy in many parts of the world. They have brought to light monuments and texts that have in many cases revolutionized our conceptions of history and have in other cases thrown much new light on what was previously known.

In no part of the world have these labors been more fruitful than in the lands of the Bible. In Egypt and Babylonia vistas of history have been opened to view that were undreamed of before exploration began. The same is true for that part of the history of Palestine which antedates the coming of Israel. Information has also been obtained which illumines later portions of the history, and makes the Biblical narrative seem much more vivid. It is now possible to make real to oneself the details of the life of the Biblical heroes, and to understand the problems of their world as formerly one could not do. Exploration has also brought to light many inscriptions in the various countries that confirm or illuminate the traditions, history, poetry, and prophecy of the Bible. The sands of Egypt have even yielded us some reputed new sayings of our Lord.

It is the purpose of this book to gather into one volume the most valuable information of all sorts that the excavations in Bible lands have afforded, and to put it in such form that it may be of service to the pastor and Sunday-school teacher. An attempt has been made so to present the material that one may not only have the wealth of illumination for Biblical study that exploration has produced, but also that he may possess an outline of the history of the exploration and of the countries sufficient to enable him to place each item in its proper perspective. Whether in handling so large a mass of data the writer has achieved his aim, the reader must judge. The preparation of the volume was undertaken at the request of the Board of Managers of the American Sunday-School Union, for publication under the John C. Green Income Fund,—a fund founded in 1877 “for the purpose of aiding ... in securing[Pg vi] a Sunday-school literature of the highest order of merit ... by procuring works ... germane to the objects of the Society.” The foundation requires that the manuscripts procured by the fund shall become the exclusive property of the American Sunday-School Union, and, that the selling price may be reduced, the Society is prohibited from including the cost of the manuscript in the price of the book.

This work is confined to those phases of archæology upon which light has been thrown by exploration. No attempt is made, for example, to treat the constitution of the Hebrew family, or the dress worn in ancient Palestine, for these are subjects to which exploration has contributed no new knowledge.

The texts published in Part II have, with few exceptions, been freshly translated by the writer especially for this work. This is true of all except the majority of the Egyptian texts and two Greek papyri which were not accessible in the original. Translations of these were taken from the works of well-known scholars, to each of whom credit is given in connection with the passage quoted from his work. The quotations of Palestinian place names from the inscriptions of the Egyptian kings, of which the writer has made a special study, are based on his own translations of the originals.

An archæological fact, or a text brought to light by excavation, is often of little significance apart from its interpretation, and the interpretation of such data frequently varies according to the point of view occupied by the interpreter. As stated in the foreword of Part II, it has been the writer’s aim throughout to maintain a neutral attitude on controverted points.

Not the least service that archæology has rendered has been the presentation of a new background against which the inspiration of the Biblical writers stands out in striking vividness. Often one finds traditions in Babylonia identical with those embodied in the Old Testament, but they are so narrated that no such conception of God shines through them as shines through the Biblical narrative. Babylonians and Egyptians pour out their hearts in psalms with something of the same fervor and pathos as the Hebrews, but no such vital conception of God and his oneness gives shape to their faith and brings the longed-for strength to the spirit. Egyptian sages developed a social conscience comparable in many respects with that of the Hebrew prophets, but they lacked the vital touch[Pg vii] of religious devotion which took the conceptions of the prophets out of the realm of individual speculation and made them the working ethics of a whole people. Archæology thus reinforces to the modern man with unmistakable emphasis the ancient words, “Men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:21).

The writer is under obligation to all his predecessors. Endeavor has been made in the footnotes to acknowledge each individual obligation. Lest any oversight may have occurred there, he would here express both his indebtedness and his gratitude to all who by their various explorations and studies have preceded him and been his teachers.

Of these, Prof. R. A. Stewart Macalister should, perhaps, be singled out for an especial word of gratitude, for in Chapters VI-XI of Part I his work of excavation has been quoted more frequently than any other. This apparent partiality is due to the fact that Gezer was excavated more completely than any other Palestinian site; that, because of its early and long-continued occupation in ancient times, it reveals a great variety of civilizations; and that, in The Excavation of Gezer, Prof. Macalister has presented the results of his work with a completeness and a degree of intelligibility that no other excavator in Palestine has approached. He has made his work a model of what such a publication should be, and has thereby made us all his debtors.

Especial thanks are due to Dr. George B. Gordon, Director of the University Museum, Philadelphia, for his kindness in furnishing an advance copy of the proof-sheets of Volume X of the Publications of the Babylonian Section of the museum, from which the material embodied in Chapter VIII of Part II was translated, and to Prof. Morris Jastrow, Jr., and Dr. Edward Chiera for the benefit of their fresh collation of the text. This was of considerable importance, since Dr. Langdon’s copy of large portions of it had been made from photographs, rather than from the original tablet. The writer is also indebted to Prof. W. R. Arnold, of Andover Theological Seminary, for helpful suggestions concerning the interpretation of a passage in the temple-papyrus from Elephantine which has hitherto baffled translators. Thanks are also due to the following authors and publishers for permission to reproduce illustrations contained in books written or published by them: The Palestine Exploration Fund, for permission relating to Warren’s Jerusalem; Bliss and Macalister’s Excavations in Palestine, 1898-1900;[Pg viii] Macalister’s Excavation of Gezer, and Peters and Thiersch’s Painted Tombs of Marissa; Rev. Prof. C. J. Ball, of Oxford, Light from the East; J. C. Hinrichs’sche Buchhandlung, Koldewey’s Das Wieder Erstehende Babylon; Dr. I. Benzinger and Herr Paul Siebeck, Hebräische Archäologie; Monsieur J. Gabalda, Vincent’s Jérusalem; Prof. A. T. Clay, of Yale, Light on the Old Testament from Babel; Prof. Paul Haupt, of Johns Hopkins, The Psalms in his Sacred Books of the Old Testament; Rev. J. P. Peters and G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Peters’ Nippur; Prof. C. C. Torrey, of Yale, Journal of the American Oriental Society; George H. Doran Co., Ramsay’s Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia; Dr. Mitchell Carroll, American Journal of Archæology and Art and Archæology; Rev. A. E. Breen, Diary of My Life in the Holy Land; Thomas Nelson and Sons, The Illustrated Teachers’ Bible; and to Ferris and Leach, for permission to use again a number of photographs published in the writer’s A Year’s Wandering in Bible Lands. Dr. R. E. Brünnow not only granted permission to reproduce illustrations from Brünnow and Domaszewski’s Provincia Arabia, but generously loaned the original photographs and drawings. Prof. Harold N. Fowler, Editor of the American Journal of Archæology, also kindly loaned an original photograph of the excavation at Sardis. The source of each illustration, when not the writer’s own, is indicated in the list of illustrations by mentioning the name of the author of the book or article from which it is taken.

Grateful acknowledgment should also be made to Rev. Edwin Wilbur Rice, D. D., Litt. D., Honorary Editor of the Publications of the American Sunday-School Union, who carefully read the book in manuscript and made many valuable criticisms and suggestions.

The table of contents and the chapter-headings were prepared by James McConaughy, Litt. D., Editor of the Publications of the American Sunday-School Union; the indices, by A. J. R. Schumaker, M. A., Assistant Editor. The writer is grateful to them, not only for this service, but for many helpful criticisms and courtesies while the book has been passing through the press. Valuable suggestions have also been made by Mrs. Barton, who has carefully read the proofs. Miss Bertha V. Dreisbach has given intelligent and painstaking service in preparing the manuscript for the press, and in proof-reading; Mr. V. Winfield Challenger and Miss Laura G. Leach have rendered a like valuable service in assembling and arranging the illustrations.

[Pg ix]The quotations of Scripture passages throughout are from the American Standard Revised Version.

If this volume should bring to some remote worker or secluded young person a tithe of the inspiration and joy that such a book would have brought the writer in the rural home of his boyhood, he would ask no higher reward for the labor it has cost.

George A. Barton.

Bryn Mawr, Pa.
May, 1916.





It is gratifying to know that this book has been found useful by so many students of the Bible and that a second edition is necessary. Minor errors, especially typographical, have been corrected throughout the volume. The chief feature of this edition is the addition of an Appendix, in which will be found some material that has come to light in the last year, and one or two items that were overlooked when the first edition was written.

George A. Barton.

Bryn Mawr, Pa.
June, 1917.

[Pg x]



[Pg xi]


Chapter   Page
  List of Illustrations 1
  Table of Signs 9
  Introduction 11
I. Egypt 17
  The Land. The Preservation of Antiquities. Egyptian Discoveries. Decipherment. Chronology. Outline of the History. Egyptian Discoveries which bear on the Bible.
II. Babylonia and Assyria 40
  The Land. The Preservation of Antiquities. The Discovery of Antiquities. The Decipherment of the Inscriptions. Chronology. Outline of the History. Discoveries which illumine the Bible.
III. The Hittites 68
  A Forgotten Empire. Hittite Monuments. Hittite Decipherment. Hittite History.
IV. Palestine and Its Exploration 83
  The Land. Early Exploration. Early American Explorations. Palestine Exploration Fund. The German Palestine Society. The American School at Jerusalem. Samaria. Parker’s Excavations at Jerusalem. Latest Excavations.
V. Outline of Palestine’s Archæological History 103
  The Early Stone Age. The Late Stone Age. The Amorites. The Canaanites. Egyptian Domination. The Philistines. The Hebrews. Philistine Civilization. The Hebrew Kingdoms. The Exile and After. The Coming of Rome. Later History.
VI. The Cities of Palestine 123
  Their Sites. The Walls. The Stone Work. Houses. Palaces. Foundation Sacrifices. City Gates. Water Supply.
VII. Roads and Agriculture 132
VIII. Pottery 141
  Importance of Pottery. Pre-Semitic Pottery. First Semitic Pottery to 1800 B. C. Pottery of Second Semitic Period. Third Semitic Period. Israelitish or Fourth Semitic Period. Hellenistic Period.
IX. Utensils and Personal Ornaments 149
 [Pg xii]
X. Measures, Weights, and Money 158
  Measures. Weights. Inscribed Weights. Money.
XI. High Places and Temples 167
  A Sanctuary of the Pre-Semitic Cave-Dwellers. A Rock-Altar at Megiddo. A Rock-Altar at Jerusalem. High Place at Tell es-Safi. High Place at Gezer. At Taanach. High Places at Petra. A Supposed Philistine Temple. At Megiddo. The Temple to Augustus at Samaria.
XII. The Tombs of Palestine 179
  Burning the Dead. Cave Burials. Cistern Burial. Burial under Menhirs. Earth-Graves. Rock-Hewn Shaft Tombs. Doorway Tombs. Tombs with a Rolling-Stone.
XIII. Jerusalem 185
  Situation. Gihon. Cave-Dwellers. The El-Amarna Period. Jebusite Jerusalem. The City of David. Solomon’s Jerusalem. From Solomon to Hezekiah. Hezekiah. From Hezekiah to the Exile. The Destruction of 586 B. C. The Second Temple. Nehemiah and the Walls. Late Persian and Early Greek Periods. In the Time of the Maccabees. Asmonæan Jerusalem. Herod the Great. The Pool of Bethesda. Gethsemane. Calvary. Agrippa I and the Third Wall.
XIV. The Decapolis 213
  Origin. Damascus. Scythopolis. Cities East of the Sea of Galilee. Gadara. Pella and Dion. Gerasa. Philadelphia. Jesus in the Decapolis.
XV. Athens, Corinth, and the Churches of Asia 219
I. An Epic of the Creation which Circulated in Babylon and Assyria in the Seventh Century b. c. 235
  Text of the Epic. Comparison of the Epic with the First Chapter of Genesis. The Epic and Other Parts of the Bible.
II. Another Account of the Creation Found at Babylon 255
  Text of the Account. Comparison of it with Genesis 2.
III. The Babylonian Sabbath 258
  Feast of Marduk and Zarpanit. A Day called Shabatum. A Day in Some Tablets at Yale.
IV. The Legend of Adapa and the Fall of Man 260
  Comparison with Genesis 3. The Adapa Myth.
V. The Patriarchs before the Flood 264
  Babylonian Long-Lived Kings. Comparison with Genesis 5. Comparison with Genesis 4. Comparison with the List of Berossos.
 [Pg xiii]
VI. A Babylonian Account of the Flood, from a Tablet Written at Nineveh in the Seventh Century b. c. 273
  Translation of the Text. Comparison with Genesis 6-9. Another Babylonian Version.
VII. An Account of the Creation and Flood, from a Tablet Written at Nippur before 2000 b. c. 278
  Translation. Comparison with the Other Version.
VIII. An Account of the Origin of a City and the Beginning of Agriculture, from a Tablet Written at Nippur before 2000 b. c. 283
  Translation. Comparison with Biblical Material.
IX. Abraham and Archæology 290
  Abraham hired an Ox. Abraham leased a Farm. Abraham paid his Rent. Who was this Abraham? Travel between Babylonia and Palestine. Hammurapi, King of the Westland. Kadur-Mabug. Kings supposed by some to be those of Genesis 14.
X. Jacob and Joseph 299
  Appearances of these Names in Babylonian and Egyptian Records. “The Tale of the Two Brothers”; its Bearing on the Story of Joseph in Genesis. Letters to a Ruler like Joseph. The Seven Years of Famine. Inscription showing Preparation for Famine.
XI. Palestine in the Patriarchal Age 307
  The Tale of Sinuhe. Communication between Egypt and Palestine.
XII. Moses and the Exodus 310
  The Legend of Sargon of Agade; its Resemblance to the Story of Moses. The Pillar of Merneptah; the Only Appearance of the Name “Israel” outside of the Bible.
XIII. The Code of Hammurapi and the Pentateuch 313
  The Text of the Code; Resemblance to and Contrast with the Mosaic Code. The Mosaic Code not borrowed from the Babylonian; Different Underlying Conceptions.
XIV. An Alleged Parallel to Leviticus—a Carthaginian Law Concerning Sacrifices 342
  The Text of the Carthaginian Law. Comparison with the Levitical Law.
XV. Some Letters from Palestine 344
  Letters of Rib-Adda of Gebal. Of Ebed-Hepa of Jerusalem. Their Light on Conditions in the Period of the Egyptian Domination of Palestine.
XVI. Documents from the Time of Israel’s Judges 352
  Report of Wenamon. Its Illustration of Certain Points of Biblical History about the Time of Deborah or Gideon. Reference to the Philistines.
 [Pg xiv]
XVII. Archæological Light on the Books of Kings 358
  Gudea and Cedar-Wood for his Palace. The Eponym Canon. The Seal of Shema. Shishak’s List of Conquered Asiatic Cities. Ashurnasirpal’s Description of his Expedition to Mediterranean Lands. Shalmaneser III’s Claims regarding Tribute from the Kings of Israel. The Moabite Stone. Adadnirari IV’s Mention of the “Land of Omri.” Inscription describing Tiglathpileser IV’s Campaign. Sargon’s Conquests. Sennacherib’s Western Campaigns. The Siloam Inscription. Esarhaddon’s List of Conquered Kings. Ashurbanipal’s Assyrian Campaign. Necho of Egypt. Nebuchadrezzar II. Evil-Merodach. Discoveries in Sheba.
XVIII. The End of the Babylonian Exile 382
  Inscriptions of Nabuna’id; their Bearing on Biblical Statements regarding Belshazzar. Account of the Capture of Babylon bearing on the Book of Daniel. Inscription of Cyrus bearing on the Capture of Babylon. Cyrus’s Permission for the Return to Jerusalem.
XIX. A Jewish Colony in Egypt during the Time of Nehemiah 387
  Papyri Witness to the Existence of a Colony at Elephantine. Translation of a Petition relating to their Temple. Reply of Persian Governor. Historical Bearings of these Documents. A Letter relating to the Passover. A Letter showing that the Jews were Unpopular at Elephantine.
XX. A Babylonian Job 392
  Translation of a Poem relating to the Afflictions of a Good Man. Comparison with the Book of Job. A Fragment of Another Similar Poem.
XXI. Psalms from Babylonia and Egypt 398
  Character of their Psalms. Babylonian Prayers to the Goddess Ishtar. Comparison with the Psalter. A Babylonian Hymn to the Moon-God. A Babylonian Hymn to Bel. An Egyptian Hymn to the Sun-God. Is the Hymn Monotheistic? An Egyptian Hymn in Praise of Aton. Comparison with the Psalter.
XXII. Parallels to Proverbs and Ecclesiastes 407
  The Nature of the Book of Proverbs and the Parallels. Babylonian Proverbs from the Library of Ashurbanipal. Precepts from the Library of Ashurbanipal. Comparison with the Bible. Egyptian Precepts of Ptahhotep. Comparison with the Bible. Parallel to Ecclesiastes from the Gilgamesh Epic.
XXIII. Egyptian Parallels to the Song of Songs 413
  Nature of the Song of Songs. Translation of Some Egyptian Love-Poems. Comparison with Biblical Passages.
XXIV. Illustrations of Passages in the Prophets 417
  Uniqueness of the Prophetic Books. An Assyrian Prophetic[Pg xv]Vision. Comparison with the Bible. The Egyptian Social Conscience. Tale of the Eloquent Peasant. Comparison with the Bible. An Ideal King; Extract from the Admonitions of Ipuwer. Comparison with Messianic Expectations. Sheol. Ishtar’s Descent to the Underworld. Comparison with Prophetic Passages. A Lamentation for Tammuz.
XXV. Reputed Sayings of Jesus Found in Egypt 428
  Early Collections of the Words of Jesus. Translation of Sayings found in 1897. Comments. Translation of a Leaf found in 1904. Comments. Opinions as to these Sayings.
XXVI. Archæological Light on the Enrolment of Quirinius 432
  Translation of a Papyrus showing that in the Second Century Enrolment was made Every Fourteen Years. Comments. Translation referring to an Enrolment in the Reign of Nero. Fragment from the Reign of Tiberius. Enrolments probably inaugurated by Augustus. Document showing that People went to their own towns for Enrolment. Inscription supposed to refer to Quirinius. Inscription from Asia Minor referring to Quirinius. Discussion. Conclusions.
XXVII. Archæological Light on the Acts and Epistles 438
  The Politarchs of Thessalonica. An Altar to Unknown Gods. An Inscription from Delphi and the Date of Paul’s Contact with Gallio. Some Epistles from Egypt. Inscriptions mentioning Aretas, King of Arabia.
  Appendix 445
  Discoveries at Carchemish. Hrozny’s Decipherment of Hittite. Discoveries at Jerusalem and Balata. A New Babylonian Account of the Creation of Man. Reports of Commanders of Egyptian Frontier-Fortresses Relating to the Entrance of Asiatics into Egypt in Time of Famine. Supposed Trace of the Ten Lost Tribes in Mesopotamia.
  Index of Scripture Passages 453
  Index 459
  Illustrations: Plates 1-114.



[Pg 1]


  A Hillside Street in Roman Jerusalem along which Jesus and the Disciples may well
have walked
Figure Plate
1 Syrian Traders in Egypt, from a Tomb at Beni Hasan (after Ball) 1
2 Crown of Lower Egypt 1
3 Crown of Upper Egypt 1
4 Crown of United Egypt 1
5 Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre 1
6 Pyramids of Khufu and Khafre 2
7 Step Pyramid of Zoser 2
8 Body from a Pre-dynastic Tomb 3
9 Head of the Mummy of Ramses II 3
10 A Store-Chamber at Pithom (after Naville) 4
11 Ancient and Modern Brick-Making (after Petrie) 4
12 Plan of City and Temple of Leontopolis (after Petrie) 5
13 A Passover-Oven (after Petrie) 5
14 The Rosetta Stone (after Thomas Nelson and Sons) 6
15 The “Israel” Inscription of Merneptah 6
16 Mounds of Nuffar (after Clay) 7
17 Excavation at Nuffar (after Clay) 7
18 Gate of Ishtar, Babylon (after Koldewey) 8
19 Phalanx of Soldiers from Eannatum’s “Stele of Vultures” 8
20 Inscribed Column from Persepolis 9
21 Silver Vase of Entemena 9
22 Mound of Birs Nimrûd (after Peters) 9
23 Hittite Gates at Boghaz Koi (after Puchstein) 10
24 Hittite Types from Egyptian Monuments (after Garstang) 10
25 A Hittite King (after Puchstein) 11
26 The Boss of Tarkondemos 11
27 The Seal of Shema, Servant of Jeroboam 11
28 Tell el-Hesy after Excavation 12
29 The Site of the Old Testament Jericho 12
30 Excavation of Gezer 13
31 Remains of a Colonnaded Street at Samaria 13
32 Excavation at Tell Hum 14
33 Egyptians Attacking a Palestinian City (after Perrot and Chipiez) 14
34 Israelitish Jericho (after Sellin) 15
35 Israelitish Houses at Jericho (after Sellin) 15
[Pg 2]36 Philistines from the Palace of Ramses III 16
37 Canaanitish Fortress at Jericho (after Sellin) 16
38 Inscribed Disc from Phæstos (one-fourth actual size) 17
39 Gebel Fureidis 17
40 Bastion for the Protection of an Inserted Tower (after Macalister) 18
41 Remains of Walls of Megiddo (after Schumacher) 18
42 Walls of Buildings at Samaria (after Reisner) 19
43 Specimens of Stone-Work at Gezer (after Macalister) 19
44 Building-Bricks from Gezer (after Macalister) 19
45 Plan of Palace at Taanach (after Sellin) 20
46 The Great City Wall at Gezer (after Macalister) 20
47 Israelitish Houses at Gezer 21
48 Specimens of Mosaic Floors (after Macalister) 21
49 A Doorway at Gezer (after Macalister) 22
50 Door-Sockets from Gezer (after Macalister) 22
51 Supposed House of Hiel, Jericho (after Sellin) 23
52 Foundation of the Palace of Omri, Samaria (after Reisner) 23
53 Hebrew Palace at Megiddo (after Schumacher) 23
54 Plan of the Maccabæan Castle at Gezer (after Macalister) 24
55 Stone-Work of the Maccabæan Castle (after Macalister) 24
56 A Foundation-Deposit, Gezer (after Macalister) 24
57 A City Gate at Megiddo (after Schumacher) 25
58 The South Gate at Gezer (after Macalister) 25
59 The South Gate at Beth-shemesh (after Mackenzie) 25
60 Entrance to the Underground Tunnel at Gezer (after Macalister) 26
61 The North Gate at Gezer (after Macalister) 26
62 Plans of the Underground Tunnel at Gezer (after Macalister) 27
63 Plan of Underground Tunnel at Gibeon (after Abel) 28
64 One of Solomon’s Pools 28
65 Post of City Gate, Samaria (after Reisner) 29
66 Part of City Wall and Gate, Samaria (after Reisner) 29
67 Road South of Gerizim 30
68 Lines of Roman Roads at Tell el-Ful 30
69 Roman Road North of Amman 30
70 A Granary at Gezer (after Macalister) 31
71 Some Roman Mile-Stones 31
72 Plan of a Granary at Gezer (after Macalister) 31
73 A Hoe (after Macalister) 32
74 An Egyptian Reaping (after Wreszinski) 32
75 A Sickle (after Wreszinski) 32
76 Plowshares from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 32
77 Egyptian Plowing (after Wilkinson) 33
78 A Modern Threshing-Floor 33
[Pg 3]79 Egyptians Threshing and Winnowing (after Wilkinson) 33
80 Egyptian Threshing-Sledge (after Wilkinson) 33
81 A Saddle-Quern from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 34
82 A Rotary-Quern (after Macalister) 34
83 A Mortar and Pestle (after Macalister) 34
84 Two Women Grinding at a Mill (after Schumacher) 34
85 An Ancient Olive-Press (after Macalister) 35
86 A Modern Olive-Press (after Macalister) 35
87 A Wine Vat (after Macalister) 36
88 An Olive-Press at Work (after Macalister) 36
89 Cows’ Horns from Gezer (after Macalister) 37
90 Animals’ Heads from Gezer (after Macalister) 37
91 A Horse’s Bit from Gezer (after Macalister) 37
92 Drawings of Horses from Gezer (after Macalister) 37
93 A Clay Bird from Gezer (after Macalister) 38
94 A Cock from Marissa (after Peters and Thiersch) 38
95 A Bee-Hive from Gezer (after Macalister) 38
96 Pre-Semitic Jars (after Macalister) 39
97 Pre-Semitic Pottery (after Macalister) 39
98 Four Pitchers from the First Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 39
99 Three Pitchers from the First Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 39
100 A Jar from the First Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 39
101 Jugs from the Second Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 40
102 A Jug from the Second Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 40
103 A Jar from the Second Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 40
104 Some Fine Pottery from the First Semitic Stratum (after Macalister) 41
105 “Ear” and “Button” Jar-Handles (after Macalister) 41
106 A “Pillar” Handle (after Macalister) 41
107 A Flat-bottomed Jug (after Macalister) 41
108 A Painted Philistine Vase from Beth-shemesh (after Mackenzie) 42
109 War-Scene on Potsherd from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 42
110 Jars of Third Semitic Stratum from Beth-shemesh (after Mackenzie) 42
111 Hebrew Pottery from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 42
112 Hebrew Jars and Pitchers from Jericho (after Sellin) 43
113 Hebrew Pitchers and Bowls from Jericho (after Sellin) 43
114 A Funnel from Gezer (after Macalister) 44
115 A Potter’s Seal from Gezer (after Macalister) 44
116 An Inscribed Hebrew Jar-Stamp from the Shephelah (after Bliss and Macalister) 44
117 Hebrew Pottery from Gezer (after Macalister) 44
118 A Scarab used as a Jar-Stamp (after Macalister) 45
119 A Jar-Handle Stamped with a Scarab (after Macalister) 45
120 A Jar with Tapering Base from Gezer (after Macalister) 45
[Pg 4]121 Hellenistic Filter from Gezer (after Macalister) 45
122 Hellenistic Pottery from Gezer (after Macalister) 45
123 Hellenistic Strainer from Gezer (after Macalister) 46
124 Roman Pots from Gezer (after Macalister) 46
125 Hellenistic Jar from Gezer (after Macalister) 46
126 A Lamp of the First Semitic Period, Megiddo (after Schumacher) 46
127 Lamps from the Second Semitic Period, Gezer (after Macalister) 47
128 Lamps from the Israelitish Period, Gezer (after Macalister) 47
129 A Byzantine Lamp from Jericho (after Sellin) 47
130 A Lamp bearing a Christian Legend (after Macalister) 47
131 Hellenistic Lamps from Gezer (after Macalister) 48
132 Hebrew Lamps from Jericho (after Sellin) 48
133 Ovens found at Gezer (after Macalister) 49
134 A Baking-Tray from Gezer (after Macalister) 49
135 Bronze Dishes from Gezer (after Macalister) 49
136 Shell Spoons from Gezer (after Macalister) 49
137 Silver Dishes from a Philistine Grave at Gezer (after Macalister) 50
138 Glass Ointment Vessels from Gezer (after Macalister) 50
139 Feeding-Bottles (?), Gezer (after Macalister) 51
140 Forks from Gezer (after Macalister) 51
141 Philistine Silver Ladle, Gezer (after Macalister) 51
142 Bronze Needles and Pins from Gezer (after Macalister) 51
143 Bone Needles from Gezer (after Macalister) 52
144 Modern Woman Spinning 52
145 Spindle Whorls from Gezer (after Macalister) 52
146 A Large Key from Gezer (after Macalister) 52
147 A Smaller Key from Gezer (after Macalister) 52
148 Lamp-Stands from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 53
149 Flint Knives from Jericho (after Sellin) 53
150 Iron Knives from Gezer (after Macalister) 54
151 Bronze Knives from Gezer (after Macalister) 54
152 A Chisel from Gezer (after Macalister) 55
153 A File from Gezer (after Macalister) 55
154 A Cone of Flint for making Knives, Gezer (after Macalister) 55
155 A Bronze Hammer-Head, Gezer (after Macalister) 55
156 A Fish-Hook, Gezer (after Macalister) 55
157 A Bone Awl-Handle from Gezer (after Macalister) 55
158 Whetstones from Jericho (after Sellin) 55
159 Nails from Gezer (after Macalister) 55
160 Axe-Heads from Gezer (after Macalister) 56
161 Carpenters’ Tools from Gezer (after Macalister) 56
162 A Scimitar from Gezer (after Macalister) 57
163 Impression of a Basket on Mud, Gezer (after Macalister) 57
[Pg 5]164 Flint Arrow-Heads from Gezer (after Macalister) 57
165 Bronze Arrow-Heads from Gezer (after Macalister) 57
166 Bronze Swords from Gezer (after Macalister) 58
167 Bronze Spear-Heads, Gezer (after Macalister) 58
168 A Pipe from Gezer (after Macalister) 59
169 An Egyptian Harp (after Haupt) 59
170 An Assyrian Upright Harp (after Haupt) 59
171 An Assyrian Horizontal Harp (after Haupt) 59
172 A Babylonian Harp (after Haupt) 59
173 Jewish Harps on Coins of Bar Cocheba, 132-135 A. D. (after Madden) 59
174 Assyrian Dulcimer (after Haupt) 59
175 Seals from Gezer (after Macalister) 60
176 A Comb from Gezer (after Macalister) 60
177 Toys from Gezer (after Macalister) 60
178 Styli from Gezer (after Macalister) 60
179 Children’s Rattles from Gezer (after Macalister) 60
180 A Perfume-Box, Gezer (after Macalister) 61
181 A Necklace from Gezer (after Macalister) 61
182 Bracelets from Gezer (after Macalister) 61
183 Spatulæ from Gezer (after Macalister) 61
184 Rings from Gezer (after Macalister) 61
185 Supposed Hebrew Measures from Jerusalem (after Germer-Durand) 62
186 A Neseph Weight 63
187 A Payim Weight belonging to Haverford College 63
188 A Beqa Weight (after Torrey) 63
189 A “Daric” of Darius (after Benzinger) 63
190 A Tetradrachma of Alexander the Great (after Benzinger) 63
191 A Coin of Ptolemy Lagi (after Benzinger) 63
192 Half-Shekel of Simon the Maccabee (after Benzinger) 64
193 A Coin of John Hyrcanus (after Madden) 64
194 Tetradrachma of Lysimachus 64
195 A Coin of Augustus 64
196 A Denarius of Tiberius 64
197 A Coin of Claudius 64
198 A Coin of Herod the Great 64
199 A Roman Quadrans (?) 64
200 A Coin of Herod Agrippa I 64
201 A Shekel of the Revolt of A. D. 70 64
202 Cave-Dwellers’ Place of Sacrifice, Gezer (after Macalister) 65
203 Plan of Caves at Semitic High Place, Gezer (after Macalister) 65
204 “Pillars” of the High Place at Gezer 65
205 Rock-Altar at Megiddo (after Schumacher) 66
206 The “Beth-el” of Gezer (after Macalister) 66
[Pg 6]207 The Supposed Serpent-Pen at Gezer (after Macalister) 66
208 The Rock-Altar at Jerusalem (after Dalman) 67
209 The Laver at Gezer (after Macalister) 67
210 The Terra-cotta Altar from Taanach (after Sellin) 68
211 Supposed High Place at Taanach (after Sellin) 68
212 High Place at Tell es-Safi (after Bliss and Macalister) 69
213 Libation Bowl from Taanach (after Sellin) 69
214 An Astarte Plaque from Gezer (after Macalister) 69
215 Plan of the High Place at Petra (after Brünnow) 70
216 Plan of Herod’s Temple at Samaria (after Lyon) 70
217 The Altar at Petra (after Brünnow) 71
218 The “Round Altar” at Petra (after Brünnow) 71
219 Supposed “Pillars” at Petra (after Brünnow) 71
219a A Brazen Serpent from Gezer (after Macalister) 72
220 Plan of Supposed Semitic Temple at Gezer (after Macalister) 72
221 Walls of Herod’s Temple, Samaria (after Reisner) 72
222 “Pillars” of a Supposed Temple, Gezer (after Macalister) 73
223 Chapel of the Palace at Megiddo (after Schumacher) 73
224 Voluted Capital (probably Philistine) from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 74
225 Incense-Burner from Megiddo (after Schumacher) 74
226 Philistine Graves, Gezer (after Macalister) 75
227 A Rock-hewn Tomb at Siloam (after Benzinger) 75
228 A Shaft-Tomb (after Bliss and Macalister) 75
229 A Cistern-Burial at Gezer (after Macalister) 75
230 A Columbarium at Petra (after Dalman) 76
231 Entrance to the Tomb of the Judges 76
232 A Sunken-Door Tomb (after Mitt. u. Nach. d. Deutsch. Palästina-Vereins) 77
233 Kokim in the Tomb of the Judges 77
234 Plan of a Hellenistic Tomb at Marissa (after Peters and Thiersch) 78
235 A Cross-Section of the Tomb of the Judges 78
236 Architectural Decoration of a Hellenistic Tomb at Marissa (after Peters and Thiersch) 79
237 Plan of the Upper Floor of the Tomb of the Judges 79
238 A Tomb with a Rolling-Stone at Beit Jibrin (after Moulton) 80
239 Interior of a Hellenistic Tomb at Marissa (after Peters and Thiersch) 80
240 The Hills and Valleys of Jerusalem (after Vincent) 81
241 Underground Jebusite Tunnel at Gihon, Jerusalem (after Vincent) 82
242 Maudsley’s Scarp, Jerusalem 82
243 Plan of Solomon’s Buildings, Jerusalem (after Stade) 83
244 Phœnician Quarry-Marks, Jerusalem (after Warren) 83
245 Shaft at the Southeast Corner of the Temple Area (after Warren) 84
[Pg 7]246 Examining Ancient Walls in an Underground Tunnel (after Warren) 84
247 Front Views of Solomon’s Temple (after Stade) 85
248 Side Views of Solomon’s Temple (after Stade) 85
249 Plan of Solomon’s Temple (after Stade) 86
250 The Seven-branched Lamp-Stand from the Arch of Titus 86
251 The Brazen Laver of Solomon’s Temple (after Stade) 87
252 A Portable Laver of Solomon’s Temple (after Stade) 87
253 Stone-Work of a Wall of Jerusalem built in the Fifth Century A. D. 88
254 Stone-Work in Nehemiah’s Wall, Jerusalem 88
255 Restoration of the Asmonæan Bridge over the Tyropœon Valley (after Hanauer) 89
256 Front of “David’s Tower” (Herod’s Palace) Today (after Breen) 89
257 Reconstruction of Herod’s Temple (after Caldecott) 90
258 “Solomon’s Stables” 90
259 One of the Supposed Pools of Bethesda (after Hanauer) 91
260 Front of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher 91
261 “Gordon’s Calvary,” looking toward Jerusalem (after Breen) 92
262 “Gordon’s Calvary,” from the City Wall (after Breen) 92
263 Outside of “Gordon’s Holy Sepulcher” (after Breen) 93
264 Inside of “Gordon’s Holy Sepulcher” (after Breen) 93
265 The Barada (Abana), Damascus 94
266 The Street Called Straight, Damascus 94
267 Palace at Kanatha (after Brünnow) 95
268 Circular Forum and Colonnaded Street, Gerasa 95
269 Temple of the Sun, Gerasa 96
270 Site of Rabbah Ammon 96
271 Theater at Amman (Palestinian Philadelphia) 97
272 Roman Forum at Athens 97
273 Mars’ Hill, Athens 98
274 Fountain in the Agora, Corinth 98
275 Lintel of Jewish Synagogue, Corinth (after Richardson) 99
276 Lechæum Road, Corinth (after Richardson) 99
277 Parthenon, Athens, from the East 100
278 Main Street at Ephesus 100
279 Site of the Temple of Diana, Ephesus, in 1902 101
280 The Theater, Ephesus 101
281 The Amphitheater, Ephesus 102
282 The Stadium, Ephesus 102
283 Pergamum (after Ramsay) 103
284 The Acropolis and partly Excavated Temple, Sardis (after Butler) 103
285 Excavated Temple, Sardis, looking toward the Hermus Valley (after Butler) 104
286 A Christian Church at Sardis (after Butler) 105
[Pg 8]287 Smyrna (after Ramsay) 105
288 A Ruin at Laodicea (after Ramsay) 106
289 A Bridge over the Jordan on the Line of a Roman Road 106
290 Fragment of a Creation-Tablet 107
291 Assyrian Sacred Tree Conventionalized 107
292 Hammurapi Receiving the Laws from the Sun-God 107
293 The So-called Adam and Eve Seal 107
294 A Tablet from Nippur, Relating the Beginnings of Irrigation and Agriculture (after Langdon) 108
295 Top of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser 108
296 Jehu of Israel Doing Homage to Shalmaneser 108
297 The Siloam Inscription 109
298 Sennacherib Receiving Tribute at Lachish (after Ball) 109
299 An Altar to Unknown Gods (after Deissmann) 110
300 The Moabite Stone 110
301 Papyrus Containing Sayings of Jesus (after Grenfell and Hunt) 111
  Map of Egypt to First Cataract 18
  Map of the Ancient World 40
  Map of Palestine 104
  Map of Jerusalem in the Time of the Jebusites and David 112
  Map of Solomon’s Jerusalem 112
  Map of Jerusalem from Hezekiah to the Exile 113
  Map of Nehemiah’s Jerusalem 113
  Map of Asmonæan Jerusalem 114
  Map of Herodian Jerusalem 114



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§ = section.
ibid. = the same.
op. cit. = work cited.
f. = and following page.
ff. = and following pages.
cf. = compare.
v. = verse.
col. = column.
p. = page.
[ ]   in translations of tablets indicate words supplied where not decipherable.
.....   in translations of tablets indicate missing line or words which cannot be supplied.

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One who would write on archæology and the Bible must at the outset define the scope of his undertaking, for the word archæology conveys different meanings to different people. Judgments also differ as to how things ancient can best serve the interests of the Biblical student. To many the word archæology calls up visions of ancient pottery, jewelry, swords, utensils, etc., which are valued as objects of curiosity simply because they are old. Others, when they think of archæology, call to mind excavations, in which the walls of ancient temples and cities are laid bare, so that we may see how men lived in other days. To such, archæology is identical with antiquarianism. A book on archæology and the Bible written from this point of view would confine itself to the way in which texts of Scripture are illustrated or illumined by antiquarian objects.

To still others the word archæology calls up ancient tablets or papyri, inscribed with hieroglyphics or some other strange characters, from which the initiated can decipher texts that prove the truth of one’s views of Scripture. According to this view, archæology is the science of ancient documents, and a book dealing with archæology and the Bible should confine itself to the discussion of documents which confirm or illustrate the Biblical text.

Those who hold either of these views of archæology will find in this book much that will accord with their expectations, but much also that will seem to them irrelevant. In Part I, Chapters IV, VI-XII deal with antiquities, their discovery, and the light which these shed upon the inspired page, for antiquarianism is a part of archæology. Portions of Part I are devoted to the discovery of inscribed objects; in Part II the reader will find a full presentation of the bearing of these upon the different parts of the Sacred Volume. Those who hold the second of the views mentioned above will not, therefore, be disappointed.

Neither of the views mentioned corresponds, however, with the limits of archæology. Archæology is “that branch of knowledge which takes cognizance of past civilizations, and investigates their[Pg 12] history in all fields, by means of the remains of art, architecture, monuments, inscriptions, literature, language, implements, customs, and all other examples which have survived.”[1] This definition is accepted by the writer of this work and has guided him in the preparation of the following pages. It has, of course, been impossible in one volume to deal adequately with the antiquities and the ancient documents and to treat fully the history of the civilizations of the Biblical countries, but an endeavor has been made to place the reader in possession of an intelligent point of view with reference to these things. As the physical structure of a country determines to a large degree the nature of its buildings, the utensils employed by its inhabitants, their writing materials, and their relations with other peoples,—as well as the way the objects were preserved from ancient to modern times,—brief descriptions of the physical features of Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Palestine, the three most prominent of Biblical countries, have been introduced.

Our knowledge of the early history of Egypt and Babylonia has come almost wholly from archæological exploration; it has seemed fitting, therefore, to introduce in Part I, Chapter I, § 6, and Chapter II, § 6, brief sketches of the history of these countries. This appeared all the more necessary since the inhabitants of these two countries worked out, in advance of any other peoples, the initial problems of civilization. Palestine borrowed from them both, so that it is impossible to understand the history and archæology of Palestine apart from Egyptian and Babylonian antecedents. Whenever it is possible the reader should supplement these sketches by reference to the larger works cited in the notes.

Similarly in Part I, Chapter V, an outline of the history of Palestine from the earliest times is presented. To some this may seem unnecessary, since centuries of that history passed before the Hebrew people came to the country, but it is hoped that every reader will be glad to know the various vicissitudes through which passed the land that was chosen by God as the home of the religious leaders of the human race. This history also gives emphasis to the promise “to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, and houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and cisterns hewn out, which thou hewedst not, vineyards and olive-trees, which thou plantedst not” (Deut. 6:10, 11).

Some, too, may be surprised that the chronologies of Egypt and[Pg 13] Babylonia and Assyria should be treated as fully as they are in Part I, Chapter I, § 5, and Chapter II, § 5, but in the writer’s view this treatment was necessary and appropriate for several reasons: (1) The data on which these chronologies are built up are for the most part the fruits of archæological research. (2) They are our only means of measuring the antiquity of civilization, since the Bible itself affords no continuous system of chronology.[2] If the student of the Bible is to have any intelligent idea of what “the fulness of time” (Gal. 4:4) means, he should know what the sources of our chronology are and how they are rightly used. (3) Such a presentation seemed all the more necessary because in many books, especially those of some English Egyptologists, the materials are employed uncritically, and civilization is made to appear much older than it really is.

To accomplish all these aims the writer has adopted the following plan: In three chapters the archæology, history, and civilization of Egypt, Babylonia and Assyria, and the Hittites are briefly treated, together with the discoveries which especially interest the Biblical student. These are the three great civilizations which preceded the Israelitish. A much more detailed treatment is given to Palestine, to which Chapters IV-XIV of Part I are devoted. In the last chapter of Part I an attempt has been made to present the discoveries in Greece and Asia Minor which throw light on the New Testament. In Part II the texts, Babylonian, Assyrian, Egyptian, Hebrew, Moabitish, Phœnician, Aramaic, Greek, and Latin, which bear on the Bible, are translated. They are arranged in the order of the Biblical books which they illuminate. Each translation is accompanied by a brief discussion in which its chief bearing on the Bible is pointed out.

In conclusion it may not be out of place to offer a word of guidance to two or three classes of readers. Those who are not interested in the history of Babylonia and Egypt, but wish simply to know what has been discovered in those countries which throws light on the Scriptures, should turn at once to Part I, Chapter I, § 7, and Chapter II, § 7, and to the translations of the various texts in Part II. A reader that is interested especially in Palestine, rather than in the ancient civilizations to which the Hebrews were indebted, should begin Part I at Chapter IV. Possibly after he has read that[Pg 14] which the Holy Land has contributed to the understanding of the Bible, he may be ready to give a little attention to such outlying peoples as the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Hittites. In that case he will turn back and read Chapters I-III.

Pastors or Sunday-school teachers who wish to employ the book as a tool by means of which to study certain texts or lessons should follow a different course. These will be able with the aid of the full index of Scripture references to turn at once to all the material bearing on the passage in question. If the use of this index does not afford all the information desired, reference should then be made to the analytical table of contents at the beginning, or to the index of subjects at the end, or to both.

It is the writer’s hope that, in addition to its use as a book of reference for the elucidation or illustration of individual texts, there may be some who will enjoy reading the whole work, and who will find, as he himself has found, that every scrap of knowledge of ancient life in Bible lands serves to make the Bible story and the lives of Biblical characters so much more real, or puts them or their words in a perspective so much more clear, that the eternal message comes with new power and can be transmitted with greater efficiency.



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The Land. The Preservation of Antiquities. Egyptian Discoveries. Decipherment. Chronology. Outline of the History: The pre-dynastic period. The archaic period. The old kingdom. The first period of disintegration. The middle kingdom. Second period of disintegration. The empire period. The period of foreign dynasties. The lower empire. The Persian period. The Ptolemaic period. The Roman period. Egyptian Discoveries Which Bear on the Bible: Texts bearing on the story of Joseph. The Invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos. The El-Amarna letters. Period of the Oppression and the Exodus. Campaign of Sheshonk I. Papyri discovered at Elephantine. The palace of Hophra. The castle at Tahpanhes. The Jewish temple at Leontopolis. Papyri from Oxyrhynchus. Discoveries in Nubia.


1. The Land.—Egypt is in many ways unique among the countries of the world. One of these unique features is its form. If we omit the Delta, it has but one dimension,—length. From Cairo to the First Cataract is a distance of 583 miles, while the breadth of the valley, including the barren lands on each side of it, varies from 12½ to 31 miles. If we include Nubia to the Fourth Cataract, which the Egyptians ultimately conquered, the length is much greater, being about 1,100 miles. In Nubia the banks are much more precipitous, the valley varying from 5 to 9½ miles. The verdant portion is, however, often not more than a mile in width.

This land is flanked on each side by extensive barren deserts on which there is almost no rainfall. Egypt itself would be a part of this desert, were it not for the overflow of the Nile. This overflow is caused by the peculiar formation of this marvelous river.

The upper part of the Nile consists of two main branches, called, respectively, the White and the Blue Nile. The White Nile rises 3 degrees south of the equator, some 4,000 miles south of the Mediterranean, to the south of Lake Victoria Nyanza. This region is watered by tropical rains, which fall almost daily. This[Pg 18] steady water supply gives to the Nile its constant volume. At Khartum, 1,350 miles from the Mediterranean in a direct line, and 1,650 miles as the river winds, the White Nile is joined by the Blue Nile. This branch of the river drains a large part of Abyssinia, an upland and mountainous region which has a dry and a rainy season. In the dry season this stream dwindles almost to nothing; in the rainy season it is a turbid mountain torrent, which rushes impetuously onward, laden with loose soil from all the land which it drains. For this reason it is called the Blue, i. e., the Dark or Turbid, Nile.

At a distance of 140 miles north of the union of the two Niles the river receives its only other tributary, the Atbara, which also flows in from the eastern side. The Atbara, like the Blue Nile, is an insignificant stream except in the rainy season, when it is a torrent.

It is the variation of the water supply from the Blue Nile and Atbara which causes the overflow of the river in Egypt. At the beginning of June the river begins slowly to swell; between the 15th and the 20th of July the increase becomes very rapid; toward the end of September the water ceases to rise and remains at the same height for twenty to thirty days. In October it rises again, attaining its greatest height. It then decreases, and in January, February, and March the fields gradually dry off. This overflow prepares the soil of Egypt for cultivation, first by softening it and then by fertilizing it. It was easy, under these conditions, to develop agriculture there.

Indeed, the width of productive Egypt is determined by the lateral extent of this overflow. For the last 1,500 miles of its course the Nile receives no tributary. It plows its way through regions of desert which, but for the Nile itself, are unbroken. At six points, beginning at Khartum and ending at Assuan, the river makes its way over granite ridges, through which it has never succeeded in cutting a smooth channel. These are called the Cataracts. As civilized man discovered these from the north, that at Assuan is known as the First Cataract, and that at Khartum as the Sixth. The calendar of ancient Egypt was shaped in part by the Nile. The year was divided into three seasons of four months each. Beginning with the rise of the water about July 19th, there was the season of the inundation, which was followed by four months of winter and four months of summer.


Larger Image

Map of Egypt.


[Pg 19]In late geologic time all Egypt north of Cairo was a bay of the Mediterranean. In the course of the centuries the sea has been driven out by deposits of detritus brought down by the Nile. As the mud was deposited in this level region, the water continued to make its way through it here and there. Several mouths were kept open, and thus the Delta was formed. This Delta is called Lower Egypt. Upper Egypt extends from Cairo to the First Cataract; Nubia, from the First Cataract to the Sixth.

2. The Preservation of Antiquities.—Rain in Egypt is very, very rare. One might almost say that it never rains. The country lies in a latitude so far south that frost is rarely known. These two conditions have united to preserve the ruins of many ancient buildings in both Egypt and Nubia in a state of perfection which is rare in other countries. It was the custom of the ancient Egyptians to bury their dead in the dry land beyond the reach of the Nile’s overflow. Like many other peoples, they placed in the tombs of their dead many objects used by the departed in life. Further, their peculiar beliefs concerning immortality led them to mummify the bodies of the departed; i. e., they fortified them against decay. Thus archæological objects have been preserved in Egypt in an abundance and a perfection without parallel. So many of these are massive temples of stone, which, through all the ages, have stood unconcealed as silent witnesses of a past greatness, that from Cairo to the First Cataract Egypt is one great archæological museum.

3. Egyptian Discoveries.—Although many Egyptian antiquities have always been visible, they attracted little attention until modern times. Egyptian temple walls are covered with hieroglyphic writing, but the art of reading it had long been lost. Coptic, a language descended from the ancient Egyptian, was still preserved as the sacred language of the Egyptian Church, as Latin is the ecclesiastical language of Roman Catholics, but no one realized that Coptic was simply late Egyptian.

In the seventeenth century European travelers began to bring home Egyptian antiquities. In 1683 a specimen of Egyptian art was presented to the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford. In the eighteenth century R. Pococke (1704-1765) and F. L. Norden (1704-1742) described a number of Egyptian ruins and identified a number of the sites mentioned by classical authors. Pococke was an Englishman and Norden a Dane. Others, like the[Pg 20] explorer Bruce, who was seeking the sources of the Nile (1768-1773), participated to some extent in the work.

No systematic examination of the antiquities was made, however, until the time of Napoleon I. When Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, he was accompanied by an army of eminent scholars and artists, nearly a hundred strong, and although in the settlement with England, which followed in 1802, the French were compelled to surrender their archæological treasures to Great Britain, they were permitted to publish the results of their observations and explorations. The publication of these advanced slowly, but between 1809 and 1822 the great work, consisting of one volume of introduction, three volumes of plates, and three volumes of texts, was given to the world. In these volumes the antiquities from the First Cataract to Alexandria were systematically described, and many of them were reproduced in magnificent water-color illustrations. As the nineteenth century progressed, additional discoveries were made, partly by the labors of such scientists as Lepsius and Mariette, and partly through the rifling of tombs by natives, who often sold their finds to Europeans. Since Egypt passed under English control, exploration has been fostered by the government, and English, French, German, Italian, and American explorers have taken part in it. The tombs of many of the ancient Pharaohs, the mummies of a considerable number of them, all sorts of implements and household furniture, have been discovered, as well as a great variety of historical, literary, religious, and business documents.

Within the last twenty years a series of tombs of a previously unknown type has been discovered. The bodies buried in these tombs did not lie on the back as the ordinary Egyptian mummy does, but on the side, with the knees drawn up to the chin. It was at first thought that these tombs were the work of a new race of men who had invaded Egypt at some time in the historical period, but further study indicates that they are the tombs of the early Egyptians from whom the Egyptians known to history were descended.

4. Decipherment.—One of the objects found by the French at the time of Napoleon’s expedition was the “Rosetta Stone,” so called because found at Rosetta (Ar-Rashid), a town near the mouth of the westernmost of the large branches of the Nile. This[Pg 21] stone was set up about 200 B. C. by some priests, who expressed, through the inscription which it bore, their thanks to the young king, Ptolemy V, because certain taxes formerly imposed on them had been remitted. The inscription was written in three kinds of writing—hieroglyphic Egyptian (picture-writing), demotic Egyptian (developed from picture-writing), and Greek; (see Fig. 14). It was among the objects which the English took in 1802, and had been placed in the British Museum. Although the Greek portion of the inscription could be easily read, the attempts of various scholars, through a period of twenty years, had succeeded in establishing the values of only a few characters of the Egyptian. In 1818 Jean François Champollion, a French scholar, who before this had busied himself with the study of Coptic and Egyptian geography, began the study of the Rosetta Stone. He assumed that the language of the upper registers must be an older form of the Coptic tongue. By a most painstaking comparison of the characters in the upper registers with the Coptic equivalents of the words in the lower or Greek register, he succeeded in deciphering the long-forgotten writing of ancient Egypt. He published his discovery in 1822. Thus the door to the historical and literary treasures of ancient Egypt was unlocked, and from that time to this the study of Egyptian inscriptions and documents has gone steadily forward. Many universities now maintain chairs of Egyptology. The ability to read Egyptian has opened up vistas of history of which men had hitherto no conception.

5. Chronology.—We are dependent for our main outline of Egyptian chronology upon the work of Manetho, an Egyptian priest, who lived about 250 B. C., and wrote a chronicle of his native land in the Greek language. He grouped the kings of Egypt from the time of Menes (or Mena) to the conquest of Alexander the Great (332 B. C.) into thirty-one dynasties. Manetho’s dynasties enable scholars to determine the relative order of the kings, and thus form the backbone of our chronology. Around his statements the discoveries of the excavators and explorers are grouped. Manetho’s work has not, however, come down to us. We know it only through quotations in the Chronographiai of Julius Africanus (221 A. D.) and the Chronicon of Eusebius of Cesarea (265-340 A. D.). The number of years assigned to each king, and consequently the length of time covered by the dynasties, differ in these two copies, so that, while the work of Manetho[Pg 22] forms the backbone of our chronology, it gives us no absolutely reliable chronology. It is for this reason that the chronological schemes of modern scholars have differed so widely.

Another source of chronological information is the so-called “Palermo Stone,” which is preserved in the Museum of Palermo, Sicily. This stone is a hard diorite, and is but a fragment of the original. It was inscribed about the middle of the fifth dynasty, and originally contained a list of the kings of Egypt from a time long before Mena to the middle of the fifth dynasty. Though now but a fragment, it is still of great value for the period which it covers. In addition to this, we also have the King List of Karnak, set up by Thothmes III, of the eighteenth dynasty, the King List of Abydos, inscribed by Seti I and Ramses II, of the nineteenth dynasty, and the King List of Sakkarah, inscribed by Ramses II. As these are all simply selections from the list of the predecessors of their authors, they are of secondary importance. The “Turin Papyrus” would be of value chronologically, but for its unfortunate history. This papyrus originally contained the most complete list of Egyptian kings that has come down to us, with the exception of Manetho’s chronology. It formed part of the collection of M. Drovetti, the French Consul-General in Egypt. The collection was offered to the French government in 1818, but was finally purchased by the king of Sardinia. When the collection arrived in Turin, it was found that this papyrus was broken into small fragments in the bottom of the box in which it had been shipped. The fragments were afterward (1824) examined by Champollion the younger, who discovered their true character. In 1826 another Egyptologist went to Turin and joined the fragments; but the science of Egyptology was then in its infancy, and he in his ignorance joined pieces which did not naturally belong together. For this reason it is only occasionally that the document yields us any chronological data.

The greatest aid in fixing Egyptian chronology is the “Sothic Cycle.” At an early date the Egyptians adopted a calendar which made up a year of 365 days. Their year originally began when the rapid rising of the Nile coincided with the rising of the star Sirius, called by them Sothis. These events coincided on July 19th. As their calendar made no allowance for leap year, in four years their new year began a day too soon, in eight years two days too soon, and so on. In 1,460 years (i. e., 365 × 4) their[Pg 23] New Year’s Day would make a complete circuit of the year. These periods of 1,460 years are called Sothic Cycles. Censorinus, in Chapters XVIII and XXI of his De Die Natali, written in 238 A. D., tells us that a new Sothic cycle began at some time between 140 and 144 A. D. If a new cycle began in 140 A. D., the previous one began in 1320 B. C.; the one before that, in 2780 B. C.; and the one before that,—if they had their calendar so early,—in 4240 B. C. Reisner holds that the Egyptians adopted their calendar in 2780 B. C., but Meyer and Breasted hold that it is unthinkable that they should have been without a calendar until that time, as by that date the civilization of the pyramid builders was at its height; they accordingly maintain that the Egyptian calendar was adopted in 4240 B. C.

An illustration will show how the Sothic cycle helps in determining dates. A priest in the 120th year of the twelfth dynasty wrote a letter to his subordinates, to inform them that the rising of Sothis would occur on the fifteenth day of the eighth month. As there were thirty days in each month, the year diverged at this time 225 days. This date, then, was just 900 years after the beginning of the cycle in 2780 B. C.; i. e., the letter was written in the year 1880 B. C. It proves that the twelfth dynasty began in 2000 B. C., and fixes for us all the dates of that dynasty. The calendar in the so-called Papyrus Ebers shows that in the tenth year of Amenophis I, of the eighteenth dynasty, the divergence had increased to 308 days. This must have been 1,232 years after the beginning of the cycle, which was the year 1548 B. C. Data gained from these sources are supplemented by what is called dead reckoning; i. e., by adding together all the specific dates of the length of reigns which are given in the inscriptions, and testing them by collateral references. Meyer and Breasted have worked out the chronology from these data in this way. Meyer places the accession of Mena at 3200 B. C., while Breasted places it at 3400 B. C. This difference is slight when compared with the differences in the chronologies of the older Egyptologists.

6. Outline of History.[3]—The history of Egypt, as it concerns our subject, extends over a period of five thousand years. It falls into twelve periods:

[Pg 24](1) The Pre-Dynastic Period, which we suppose extended from about 5000 B. C., or earlier, until about 3400 B. C., is the period before that covered by Manetho’s dynasties. At the beginning of this period Egypt was divided into 42 districts, which the Egyptians called spt or ḥsp, and which the Greeks afterwards called nomes. Each nome was occupied by a different tribe, which at the first lived in isolation from the other tribes. Each tribe had its god, to which an animal was sacred. This condition prevailed for so many centuries that the customs of this time became permanently fixed. The sacredness of these animals continued right down to Roman times. During this period the dead were buried on their sides with the knees drawn up to the chin; (see Fig. 8). The Egyptians of this period lived partly by hunting, partly by fishing, and partly by agriculture. From objects found in their tombs we infer that they used stone implements, wore a great many beads, made implements and combs of bone, made decorated pottery, constructed boats for use on the Nile and fitted sails to them, and each tribe had its own standard or emblem. Of course, during the centuries when Egypt was so politically divided there were many wars between nome and nome.

After some centuries, through the conquest of one nome by another, these 42 nomes were consolidated into two kingdoms. The 20 nomes of the Delta formed the kingdom of Lower Egypt; the 22 nomes, which were ranged along the Nile from Cairo to the First Cataract, formed the kingdom of Upper Egypt. The symbol of Upper Egypt was a papyrus plant; that of Lower Egypt, the bee. The crown of Upper Egypt was a kind of tall helmet; that of Lower Egypt, a diadem of openwork; (see Figs. 2, 3, and 4).

At what period this union of the nomes into two kingdoms occurred, we can only conjecture. Probably it was as early as 4200 or 4300 B. C. At all events, the two kingdoms existed separately for so long a time that their memory was ever afterward preserved. To the end of Egyptian history the kings bore the title, “king of Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt.” Even in the Hebrew of the Old Testament the name for Egypt is literally “The two Egypts.” In this long pre-dynastic period the people were gradually emerging from savagery toward civilization. They were solving the initial problems of civilized life. According to Meyer and Breasted the people of Lower Egypt had progressed[Pg 25] far enough before 4200 B. C. to invent a calendar which approximately coincided with the solar year.

(2) The Archaic Period.—The history of united Egypt begins with the reign of Menes or Mena, who in some way, whether by conquest or marriage is uncertain, united the two crowns. He came from the nome of This, of which the city of Abydos, sacred to the worship of Osiris, was the chief town. He and his successors continued to administer the two parts of Egypt as separate countries. Mena founded the first dynasty, and the second dynasty seems to have been connected with his house; it was, at all events, from the nome of This. These two dynasties ruled Egypt for 420 years, from 3400 to 2980 B. C. This is known as the archaic period of Egyptian history. Men were, during this time, gradually developing the art of expressing thought by means of picture-writing. At some time during the first dynasty the Egyptians began to work the turquoise mines in the Wady Maghara in the peninsula of Sinai. The tombs of this period were low, flat houses of brick. The Arabs call them mastabas or “benches.” During the second dynasty the Egyptians began to conceive of their gods in human form. They preserved the continuity of the earlier animal and bird forms by putting the old heads on human bodies.

(3) The Old Kingdom embraces dynasties three to six, and extended from 2980 to 2475 B. C., a period of more than 500 years. During the third and fourth dynasties the power of the king was supreme and the first great culmination of Egypt’s civilization occurred. It was in this period that the pyramids developed. Zoser, the first king of the third dynasty, built as his tomb the so-called Step Pyramid; (see Fig. 7). It consists of five stages which vary from 29½ to 36 feet in height. It is not, therefore, a true pyramid. At the base it is 352 × 396 feet. Seneferu, the last king of the third dynasty, built a similar tomb, but, as he made the stages lower and more numerous, it approached more nearly the pyramidal form.

Khufu or Cheops, the founder of the fourth dynasty, improving upon the work of his predecessors, constructed the first real pyramid and the greatest of them all. The blocks with which he built were about three feet high, and he made a step with each course of stones. A covering, which has now been removed, was originally placed over the whole, thus securing a perfect pyramidal form.[Pg 26] This pyramid is now 750 (originally 768) feet on each side, and 451 (originally 482) feet high. It contains some 2,300,000 blocks of stone, each weighing on the average two and a half tons; (see Fig. 6). The stone was quarried from the Mokattam hills on the other side of the Nile, more than twelve miles away.

Khafre, the next king but one after Khufu, built the second pyramid, which is almost as high as that of Khufu, being 447½ feet, but measures on the sides but 690½ feet. Within and under the pyramids are the tomb chambers. Khafre also carved out of the native rock, not far from these two pyramids, the great Sphinx, the head of which bore a portrait of himself. From the top of the head to the pavement under the paws is 66 feet; the breadth of the face is 13 feet 8 inches, and the other parts are in proportion. Near the Sphinx stands a temple, built of polished granite, which is connected by an underground passage with the pyramid of Khafre. All these are silent but eloquent witnesses to the skill of the Egyptians of this period in stone work, and to the absolute power of the Pharaoh; (see Figs. 5 and 6).

Menkaure, the next king, constructed a smaller pyramid, the side of its base being 356½ feet and its height 204 (originally 219) feet. Either his power was less or the resources of the kingdom were becoming exhausted. Though the pyramidal form of tombs continued for several centuries, no others were ever built that approached these in size.

The fifth dynasty was founded by a priest of On. During its rule the power of the king was not so absolute, and a powerful nobility began to develop. These nobles had themselves buried in tombs of the old mastaba type, and adorned the walls with pictures of the industries which were carried on upon their country estates. One of the most famous of these is the tomb of a certain Ti, from the pictures in which much has been learned of the various industries of ancient Egypt.

By the time of the sixth dynasty a strong nobility had been developed in the different nomes, so that the monarchy was thoroughly feudal. The absolute power that the kings of the first four dynasties had exercised had passed away. During the sixth dynasty the conquest of northern Nubia was begun, an expedition was sent to the far-away land of Punt, a country far to the south. It was probably the region on both sides of the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, comprising southwestern Arabia and Somaliland. An[Pg 27] expedition was also sent over sea to Palestine, to chastise the inhabitants of the southern portion of that country for invading Egypt. The capital of Egypt during the whole of the Old Kingdom was Memphis. The city thus gained a prominence which made it ever afterward famous. In early times it had been called the White Wall, but after the sixth dynasty it was called Men-nofer, of which Memphis (Hosea 9:6) is a corruption. It is in the Old Testament more often called Noph, a corruption of the last part of the name. (See Isa. 19:13; Jer. 2:16; 44:1; 46:14, 19; Ezek. 30:13, 16.)

(4) The First Period of Disintegration covers dynasties seven to ten of Manetho’s list, a period lasting from 2475 to 2160 B. C. At the beginning of this period the powerful nobles in the different nomes seem, many of them, to have set up each a government of his own. Thus Egypt was once more resolved into many contending kingdoms. Through a cycle of 2,500 years a whole circle of political evolution had been completed. Starting with 42 chiefs or kinglets, the country had first become two kingdoms, then one kingdom. In this struggle the local nobility had been eliminated. Through nine hundred years the central monarchy was supreme, then slowly a new nobility developed, which finally overthrew the kingdom and once more made Egypt a group of weak and contending states.

During the last two hundred and fifty years of this period of darkness we gain some glimpses of a feudal monarchy which had its residence at Heracleopolis in central Egypt and controlled a good part of the land with varying degrees of success. These kings were apparently the ninth and tenth dynasties of Manetho.

(5) The Middle Kingdom.—About 2160 B. C. an eleventh dynasty arose and began to struggle for the supremacy, finally achieving it. This family belonged to the nome of Thebes, which had hitherto been of no particular importance. It now became the seat of government, and remained for 1,500 years one of the most important cities of Egypt.

About the year 2000 this dynasty was followed by the twelfth, a powerful line of kings which ruled from 2000 to 1788 B. C. This was the period of the great Middle Kingdom. The nobles were still strong, and the monarchy was thoroughly feudal in its organization. Three of these monarchs bore the name Sesostris. They raised Egypt to a high degree of prosperity and power. Trade[Pg 28] with Punt was resumed, Nubia was conquered to the Second Cataract, which was made the southern frontier of the realm, the mines of Sinai were worked, and one of the kings, Amenemhet III, built a large temple there, at a point now called Sarbut el-Khadem. This temple was explored a few years ago by Petrie.

Trade with Palestine and Syria flourished during this period. A noble of middle Egypt pictured in his tomb some of those who came to trade with him. When the pictures were first discovered, it was thought that they were the sons of Jacob, come to buy corn in Egypt; (see Fig. 1).

Sesostris III invaded Palestine before 1850 B. C. and captured a city which was apparently Shechem, though the spelling of the name is peculiar. The kings of this period were buried in tombs of pyramidal form, though the pyramids were not large. One of them built a great administration building at Hawara, which was known to the Greeks as the Labyrinth and was regarded as one of the wonders of the world.

During this and the preceding period a social conscience was developed in Egypt which found expression in a remarkable literature. Extracts from two examples of this, “The Eloquent Peasant” and “The Admonitions of Ipuwer,” are published in Part II, p. 418, ff., 421, ff.

(6) Second Period of Disintegration.—The thirteenth dynasty, which began in 1788 B. C., had not been long upon the throne, when powerful rebellions again broke up the kingdom. Petty kinglets ruled once more in many parts of the land. These kings comprise Manetho’s thirteenth and fourteenth dynasties. The land, disunited, became an easy prey to an invader. Such an invader came. For more than 3,000 years Egypt, protected by her deserts, had lived her life unmolested. The uncivilized Nubians on the south, the Lybians on the west of the Delta, and the uncivilized tribes of Sinai had been easily held in check. But now a powerful invader came from Asia with a well organized, though barbaric army. They conquered Egypt and imposed upon her two dynasties of kings, who ruled for about a hundred years, until they were driven out about 1580 B. C. These kings were Manetho’s fifteenth and sixteenth dynasties. He calls them Hyksos, which has been held to mean “Shepherd Kings,” but which probably meant “Ruler of Countries.” They have been generally believed to be Semitic, though some scholars now think they may have been of[Pg 29] Hittite origin. In any event, large numbers of Semites came to Egypt with them, and left many Semitic names in the Delta. Some of these will be discussed below. This invasion broke up Egypt’s splendid isolation and brought her into the current of world events, from which she was never afterward to free herself.

(7) The Empire Period.—At some time before 1600 B. C. a seventeenth dynasty arose at Thebes and began the struggle to expel the foreign kings. This was not accomplished until the founder of the eighteenth dynasty, Amosis I (1580-1577), achieved it. In order to secure freedom from invasion the kings of this dynasty were compelled to follow the invaders into Asia, and in time Thothmes III (1501-1447) conquered Palestine, Phœnicia, and Syria to the Euphrates, and organized it into a compact empire, which held together until about 1360. The kings of this dynasty also carried the conquest of Nubia to Napata, at the Fourth Cataract. They worked the mines of Sinai, traded with Punt, and inaugurated the “empire period,” which lasted in reality till well into the twentieth dynasty, about 1165, and which, for convenience, we count as extending to the fall of the twenty-first dynasty in 945 B. C.

The foreign conquests brought many immigrants to Egypt and also took many Egyptians for longer or shorter periods to foreign lands. Egyptian customs in dress as well as the Egyptian language changed rapidly during this time. The Asiatic conquests of Thothmes III brought Egypt into relations with Asiatic kings, and in time his successors, Amenophis III and Amenophis IV, had an interesting exchange of letters with kings of Babylon, Assyria, Mitanni, and Alashia (or Cyprus), as well as with Egyptian viceroys in Syria and Palestine. Some of these letters are translated in Part II, p. 344, ff.

Amenophis IV made the first attempt known in history to establish a monotheistic religion. Although it was unsuccessful, it produced a beautiful hymn, which is translated in Part II, p. 403, ff. The kings of this period were buried in tombs of a new type. These were excavated out of the solid rock, cut deep into the mountain-side. They were all in the famous Valley of the Tombs of the Kings back of Thebes.

The nineteenth dynasty succeeded the eighteenth about 1350 B. C. During a period of weakness between the two, the Asiatic dominions had been lost. These were in large part reconquered by Seti I and Ramses II. The last-mentioned king ruled 67 years,[Pg 30] from 1292 to 1225 B. C. He did much building in all parts of Egypt and Nubia. Among his enterprises were the cities of Pithom and Raamses in the Delta. He has long been thought to have been the Pharaoh who oppressed the Hebrews. Early in his reign he fought with the Hittites, but afterward made a treaty of peace with their king and married his daughter. The text of this treaty has been preserved. It is the earliest extant international treaty, and it contained an extradition clause, though this applied to political offenders only. (For head of Ramses, see Fig. 9.)

Merneptah, the son and successor of Ramses II, has been supposed to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. His hymn of victory over his enemies is translated in Part II, p. 311.

In the reign of Ramses III, of the twentieth dynasty (1198-1167 B. C.), the Philistines and other tribes, coming from across the sea, from Crete and Asia Minor, invaded Egypt. Repulsed by him, they invaded Palestine, where they secured a foothold. Ramses IV, his successor, was the last Pharaoh to work the mines in Sinai. By the reign of Ramses IX (1142-1123 B. C.), Egypt’s Asiatic empire was gone and her prosperity had so declined that the natives of Thebes took to robbing the tombs of kings for a living. The records of the trials of some of these have survived. In the reign of Ramses XII (1118-1090 B. C.), Wenamon made his famous expedition to Phœnicia, a part of which is narrated in Part II, p. 352, ff.

The twenty-first dynasty (1090-945 B. C.) was a line of weak monarchs, who simply held Egypt together. During their rule David built up Israel’s empire. One of them, either Siamon or Pesibkhenno II, was the Pharaoh whose daughter Solomon married. (See 1 Kings 3:1, f.; 9:16.)

(8) The Period of Foreign Dynasties (945-663 B. C.).—During the time of the twenty-first dynasty the Lybians, who for centuries had made unsuccessful attempts to invade Egypt, settled in large numbers in different parts of the country, and adopted Egyptian customs, while some of them became wealthy and powerful. In 945 B. C. one of these, named Sheshonk, founded the twenty-second dynasty. This king is the Shishak of the Bible. It was he who gave asylum to Jeroboam, when he fled from Solomon (1 Kings 11:40), and who in the days of Rehoboam invaded Palestine. (See 1 Kings 14:25-28.) The dynasty founded by Shishak lasted for two hundred years. During the first century of this time it was very flourishing. One of its kings, Osorkon II, was apparently an[Pg 31] ally of Ahab; at all events, a vase bearing Osorkon’s name was found at Samaria in Ahab’s palace. This dynasty made its capital at Bubastis in the Egyptian Delta, called Pi-beseth in Ezekiel 30:17.

During the last century of this dynasty’s rule Nubia, which had been for many centuries under Egyptian sway, gained her independence under a powerful dynasty which made Napata, at the Fourth Cataract, its capital. In 745 B. C. the twenty-second dynasty was succeeded by the twenty-third, which held a precarious existence until 718, when it was succeeded by the one king of the twenty-fourth. Egypt was during this period in great disorder, and in 712 the Nubian kings swept down from the south and conquered the country, establishing the twenty-fifth dynasty. The control thus passed from the Lybians to the Nubians. Tirhakah, the third king of this dynasty, took part in the wars against Sennacherib in Palestine. (See 2 Kings 19:9; Isa. 37:9, and Part II, p. 375, ff.) In 670 Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, invaded Egypt, defeated Tirhakah and made all the Delta as far as Memphis an Assyrian province. Some years later, when Tanut-amon, the successor of Tirhakah, endeavored to regain the Delta, Assurbanipal, of Assyria, marched up the Nile, took Thebes, that for 1,500 years had been mistress of Egypt, and during much of that time mistress of a large part of the then known world, and barbarously sacked it. This was in 661 B. C. This event made a great impression on surrounding nations. It is referred to in Nahum 3:8, where Thebes is called No-amon, or the city of the god Amon.

(9) The Lower Empire is the name given by scholars to the period of the twenty-sixth dynasty, 663-525 B. C. This dynasty was founded by Psammetik I, who became the viceroy of Egypt under Assurbanipal, of Assyria, in 663 B. C. Psammetik was descended from a native Egyptian family of the city of Sais in the western Delta, and a number of his ancestors had been prominent in the history of Egypt during the preceding century. At first he was a vassal of Assyria, but soon troubles in the eastern part of the Assyrian dominions enabled him to make Egypt independent. The Egyptians, finding themselves once more free under a native dynasty, experienced a great revival of national feeling. Everything Egyptian interested them. They looked with particular affection upon the age of the pyramid builders, who lived more than two thousand years before them. They revived old names and old titles, and emulated the art of the olden days. They manifested[Pg 32] such vigor and originality withal, that the art of the lower empire rivals that of the best periods of Egyptian history.

Necho, the son and successor of Psammetichus, endeavored, as Assyria was declining to her fall, to regain an Asiatic empire. Josiah, of Judah, who sought to thwart him, was defeated by Necho and killed at the battle of Megiddo in 608 B. C. (2 Kings 23:29). Necho afterward deposed Jehoahaz and took him captive to Egypt (2 Kings 23:34). Four years later, when Necho made a second campaign into Asia, he was defeated by Nebuchadrezzar at Charchemish on the Euphrates, and compelled to hastily retreat to Egypt, hotly pursued by the Babylonians. Jeremiah, who perhaps caught sight of the rapidly moving armies from the Judæan hills, has given a vivid account of the flight in Jeremiah 46. Jeremiah considered this event so important that he began then to commit his prophecies to writing. (See Jeremiah 36.) After this Necho devoted himself to the internal government of Egypt, though he became the patron of an enterprise for the circumnavigation of Africa, which was carried out by some Phœnicians. (See Herodotus, IV, 42.) Hophra, a later king of this dynasty (588-569 B. C.), in order to gain influence in Asia, tempted King Zedekiah to rebel against Babylon, and thus lured the little state of Judah to its destruction. During the reign of Hophra’s successor, Amosis II, Cyrus the Great founded the Persian empire, and in 525 B. C. Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, overthrew the twenty-sixth dynasty, and made Egypt a Persian province.

(10) The Persian Period.—Cambyses, after conquering Egypt, attempted in vain to conquer Nubia. The Nubian monarchs at this time moved their capital from Napata, at the Fourth Cataract, to Meroe, at the Sixth Cataract. Darius (521-485 B. C.) ruled Egypt with great wisdom and tact, but under his successors there were frequent rebellions. Finally, in 406 B. C., the Egyptians actually gained their independence, which they maintained until 342 B. C. During this period three native dynasties, the twenty-eighth, the twenty-ninth, and the thirtieth, successively occupied the throne. Manetho counts the Persians as the twenty-seventh dynasty. In 342 B. C. the Persians reconquered the country and held it for ten years until it was taken by Alexander the Great. This ten years of Persian rule constitutes Manetho’s thirty-first dynasty.

(11) The Ptolemaic Period (332-31 B. C.).—For eleven years[Pg 33] Egypt formed a part of Alexander’s empire. Upon his death, in 323 B. C., it fell to the control of his general, Ptolemy Lagi, who founded a line of Ptolemies that ruled until overthrown by Augustus in 31 B. C. With the accession of the Ptolemies many Greeks settled in Egypt; Greek became one of the languages of commerce, and had a considerable influence in transforming the Egyptian language into Coptic. Until the year 198 B. C. the Ptolemies controlled Palestine. Philadelphus, the second of the line, rebuilt in the Greek style the city of Rabbah Ammon east of the Jordan, and named it Philadelphia. He, like his father, encouraged many Jews to settle in Alexandria, and, according to tradition, became the patron of the translation of the Old Testament Scriptures into Greek. At all events, the Pentateuch was translated in his time, and the translation of the other books followed. This translation is known as the “Septuagint” because of the legend that Ptolemy Philadelphus set 72 men to translate it. By the beginning of the Christian era there were so many Jews in Alexandria that it had become a second Judah.

(12) The Roman Period.—The Romans, upon conquering Egypt, disturbed in no way the internal affairs of the country. They gave it good government and fostered its internal institutions. Many old Egyptian customs persisted among the people; it is in regard to some of these that discoveries of interest to Biblical scholars have been made. From tombs and the places in the dry sands of the desert, where waste-baskets were emptied, many records have been discovered, some of which are translated in Part II, p. 432, ff., 440, ff.

Meantime, a state had developed out of the old monarchy of Nubia, described above, which was ruled by a woman, whose official title was Candace. It was an officer of hers to whom Philip preached, as described in Acts 8:27-39. Recent excavations in Nubia have recovered some of the art of these people, who became Christian in the second or third century, as well as some inscriptions of theirs in a script that is not yet deciphered.

7. Egyptian Discoveries which Bear on the Bible.

(1) Texts Bearing on the Story of Joseph.—A number of texts from the Middle Kingdom and other periods present features similar to parts of the story of Joseph and afford somewhat faint parallels to certain conceptions of the Hebrew Prophets. These are translated in Part II, p. 300, ff., and p. 418, ff.

The name of Joseph’s wife, Asenath (in Egyptian As-Neit,[Pg 34] “favorite of the goddess Neith”), occurs from the eighteenth dynasty onward. Such names as Potiphar, the master of Joseph (Gen. 39:1), and Potiphera, Joseph’s father-in-law (Gen. 41:45), in Egyptian Pedefre, “he whom the god Re gives,” as well as the name given to Joseph, Zaphenath-paneah (Gen. 41:45), in Egyptian De-pnute-ef-‘onkh, “the god speaks and he lives,” are common in Egypt from the beginning of the twenty-second dynasty, 945 B. C.

(2) The Invasion of Egypt by the Hyksos.—This took many Semites to Egypt. The very name Hyksos is held by Breasted to mean “ruler of countries.” It was probably a title by which these kings called themselves, for they evidently ruled a considerable portion of western Asia, as well as Egypt. “Ruler of countries” is just the Semitic-Babylonian and Assyrian shar-matâti, a title which Mesopotamian kings gave to themselves through much of their history. It had been employed by the Sumerians before them, being the familiar Sumerian lugal kurkurra, “king of countries.” If the Hyksos were Amorites, kinsmen of theirs had ruled in Babylonia long before their invasion of Egypt, and that these may have been Amorites is indicated by the name Jacob-her, which was borne by one of their kings. This is an Egyptian form of the Babylonian Yagub-ilu, or Jacob-el, an Amorite name found on business documents in Babylonia three or four hundred years earlier. In the time of Thothmes III this name was, Thothmes tells us, borne by a Palestinian city, to which it had apparently been given by some Amorite from Babylonia. Whether the Hyksos were Amorites or not, a number of Semitic names were given to places in Lower Egypt at the time of their occupation. Such was the name Magdol, or Migdol. The Egyptian name of Tanis was Zar, which Brugsch claims as Semitic. Thakut, an old name of Pithom, is the same as the Semitic Succoth, “booths.”

In the winter of 1905-1906 Petrie, excavating at Tell el-Ye-hudiyeh,[4] about 20 miles north of Cairo, discovered what he believes to have been one of the original encampments of the Hyksos in Egypt. This encampment consisted of a large space, averaging about 1,500 feet in each direction, surrounded by a wall of sloping sand and mud. This wall, varying from 80 to 140 feet wide at the top and from 130 to 200 feet wide at the bottom, presented on the outer side a long slope, and is quite unlike any structure of the native Egyptians. From the nature of the wall and the small[Pg 35] objects found near it, Petrie infers that it was the rampart of a people who defended themselves with bows and arrows. A cemetery of the same level yielded to the explorer a considerable amount of black pottery, not at all like pottery of native Egyptian manufacture, and a number of crude scarabs. These objects Petrie believes are products of the art of the Hyksos before they had been in Egypt long enough to adopt Egyptian civilization. In 1912 Petrie discovered a similar Hyksos camp at the site of Heliopolis, the Biblical On.

It has been held by many that Abraham, Joseph, and Jacob all went to Egypt during the reign of the Hyksos dynasty. It would be natural for Semites to enter such a country, if it were ruled by a dynasty of the same blood as themselves. Egypt has, however, furnished no positive archæological evidence of this view. The Semitic names just alluded to, which are sometimes cited as evidence of it, in reality only prove that many Semites came with the Hyksos. They make it probable, indeed, that some of the Hyksos were Semites, but give us no positive evidence concerning the patriarchs. On the other hand, nothing has been discovered in Egypt to disprove this view.

(3) The El-Amarna Letters.—In the winter of 1887-1888 a native Egyptian woman, according to one account, accidentally discovered some clay tablets in the soil at Tell el-Amarna, about 200 miles south of Cairo on the east bank of the Nile. She is said to have sold her rights in the discovery for about 50 cents. It was thus that nearly four hundred clay tablets, inscribed in the Babylonian language and characters, which opened an entirely unknown vista in the history of Palestine and the surrounding countries, were found. These were letters written to Kings Amenophis III and Amenophis IV, of the eighteenth dynasty. (See § 6 (7).) Seven of them were written by Ebed-hepa, King of Jerusalem, about 1360 B. C., and give us a glimpse of that city more than 350 years before David conquered it for Israel. Others of the letters came from other cities of Palestine and Phœnicia, and reveal to us through contemporary documents the conditions there in the patriarchal age. Some of these are translated in Part II, p. 344, ff.

(4) Period of the Oppression and the Exodus.—The statement in Exodus 1:11 that the Pharaoh who oppressed the Egyptians built the store-cities of Pithom and Raamses, indicates that this Pharaoh was Ramses II, for Naville, who excavated the site of Pithom[Pg 36] (Egyptian Pi-tum, “House of the god Tum”) in 1883, found much work of Ramses II there, including colossal statues of this king, and also found no evidence that there had been any town of importance on the site before.[5] The name of the other city, Raamses, also points to the same king, since Ramses I, the only other king of the name Egypt had known, reigned less than two years—a time insufficient for the building of a city. The Bible evidently refers, then, to Ramses II. Concerning Ramses II and his reign much is now known, as has been pointed out in § 6 (7); (see Fig. 10).

All through the nineteenth dynasty peoples from Syria were employed by the kings on public works. Among these was a people called ‘prw = Aperu or Apuri, which some have thought to be Hebrews. Whether the Hebrews are really mentioned in this way is doubted by others, for references to the ‘prw do not cease at the time the Exodus of Israel must have occurred. They were employed by Ramses IV, of the twentieth dynasty, as late as 1165 B. C.

Much has been learned from archæology about Egyptian brick-making, and it corresponds to the description of it given in Exodus. We have pictures of men at the work. No one thought of burning bricks in Egypt. The clay was moulded and dried in the sun. Straw was mixed with the clay to increase its adhesive quality. Naville says that some of the corners of some of the buildings at Pithom were actually built of bricks without straw. (See Exod. 5:7-18; and Fig. 11.)

The name Pithom continued as one of the names of this store-city or fortress until at least 250 B. C., for it is found on a pillar which Ptolemy Philadelphus set up there, but side by side with this name the place, all through its history, bore the name Thakut, which is philologically the Egyptian equivalent of the Hebrew Succoth. As this was the first station of the Hebrews when they left Egypt (Exod. 12:37; 13:20; Num. 33:5, 6), Naville holds that the Hebrews, after leaving the land of Goshen, must have passed out on the south side of the Isthmus of Suez.

Petrie believes that in the winter of 1905-1906 he discovered the city of Raamses[6] at Tell el-Retabeh, eight miles west of the site of Pithom, on the Wady Tumilat. The objects found here show that the site was occupied in the time of the Old Kingdom and onward, but as Ramses II and Ramses III both set up here statues[Pg 37] of themselves, and erected important buildings, and as the location is the only one that fulfils the conditions of the city Raamses, Petrie feels confident that this was the site. This view receives some confirmation from the title of an officer who served here under Ramses III, and who is called: “Chief archer, keeper of the granaries, keeper of the palace; chief archer, keeper of the granaries of Arabia (or Syria).”

Merneptah, who is generally supposed to have been the Pharaoh under whom the Exodus occurred, was not drowned in the Red Sea, as some have wrongly inferred from Exod. 14:23-28, but was duly buried like his predecessors. His mummy has been found and is now in the Gizeh Museum at Cairo.

Merneptah in the fifth year of his reign set up a hymn of victory on a pillar in a temple erected by his father, Ramses II. This hymn, discovered by Petrie in 1896, is famous as the only writing outside the Bible that mentions Israel by name. A part of it is translated in Part II, p. 311, where its bearing on the Exodus is discussed; (see Fig. 15).

(5) Campaign of Sheshonk I.—The record on a wall of the temple of Karnak in Egypt by Sheshonk I, the Shishak of 1 Kings 14:25, of his campaign in Palestine, confirms the statement of Kings and puts the whole campaign in a new perspective. It is treated in detail in Part II, p. 359, f.

(6) Papyri Discovered at Elephantine.—In recent years papyri discovered at Elephantine, an island in the First Cataract, reveal the existence of a Jewish colony there, which had a Jewish temple on the island. This colony was established there at some time during the twenty-sixth dynasty, and was thus one of the earliest of those Jewish settlements in foreign countries which formed the dispersion. A number of the records of these papyri, which relate the fortunes of this temple, the relations of this colony to their Egyptian neighbors and their knowledge of the law, are translated in Part II, p. 387, ff. The origin of the colony is also discussed there.

(7) The Palace of Hophra.—Hophra, of the twenty-sixth dynasty, was, as noted in § 6 (9), the king who lured Judah to her ruin. Petrie in 1907 discovered his palace at Memphis. The discovery makes Hophra seem a little more real.[7]

(8) The Castle at Tahpanhes.—We learn from Jer. 43:7, 8 and[Pg 38] 44:1 that, after the destruction of Jerusalem, Jeremiah with many other Jews fled to Tahpanhes in Egypt and established a Jewish colony there. Jeremiah, as a symbolical act, was directed to hide some stones in the cement of the tiled area of the court of Pharaoh’s house there (Jer. 43:8). Tahpanhes was the Daphne of the Greeks. It was on the site of the modern Tell Defenneh. This was in ancient times the easternmost city of the northern Delta. A hundred and fifty miles of desert stretched away to the east of it, until one came to the gardens of Gaza in Palestine. Petrie excavated Tell Defenneh in 1883-1884, and discovered the large castle there, which is probably the building in which Jeremiah buried his stones. This was the last act of Jeremiah’s life of which we have any record. He was then an old man and apparently died soon afterward, probably at Tahpanhes, certainly in Egypt.

(9) The Jewish Temple at Leontopolis.—Josephus tells us twice, once in his Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIII, Chapter III, and again in his Wars of the Jews, Book VII, Chapter X, that, when Jonathan, the Maccabee, was made high priest of the Jews, about 153 B. C., Onias, the son of Onias III, the deposed high priest, went to Egypt and obtained a grant of land and permission to build a Jewish temple. This land was in the region of the city of Bubastis, the nome where the cat goddess was sacred, and was accordingly called by the Greeks Leontopolis. There were at this time about as many Jews in Egypt as in Palestine, and doubtless Ptolemy VII thought to keep them more loyal by granting them a temple. He gave to Onias the revenues of a considerable territory for the support of the temple. Josephus tells us that Onias urged as a reason for the construction of this temple that it would be in fulfilment of the prophecy in Isa. 19:19-22. Josephus goes on to say that this temple was built as an exact reproduction of the temple at Jerusalem and that it continued to exist as a place of worship until after the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, when troubles caused by Jewish zealots led the Roman government to close the temple at Leontopolis and discontinue its worship; (see Fig. 12).

The site of this temple was at Tell el-Yehudiyeh, the “Tell of the Jewess,” about 20 miles north of Cairo. This tell was excavated by Petrie in 1905-1906. He found there remains of the Jewish temple, which fully confirm the statements of Josephus. Not only the temple, but the form of the Jewish settlement, was made as far as possible a replica of the city of Jerusalem. One of the[Pg 39] most interesting discoveries was a series of ovens for the roasting of Paschal lambs. Others of a similar character were found higher up in the mound, but this first series was most numerous. Petrie infers that the temple was dedicated by a great Passover Feast, to which Jews came in large numbers from throughout Egypt;[8] (see Fig. 13).

(10) Papyri from Oxyrhynchus.—About 123 miles south of Cairo and nine miles to the west of the Nile lies the town of Behnesa, which the Greeks called Oxyrhynchus, from a sharp-nosed fish which was sacred there. Since 1897 Grenfell and Hunt, two English explorers, have been season after season exploring the rubbish heaps of the old town. The inhabitants committed the contents of their waste-baskets to the sands, and on account of the dry climate these have never decayed. Here were found the “Sayings of Jesus,” some of the documents concerning the Roman census, and some of the letters translated in Part II, pp. 432, ff., 440, ff., as well as many remains of the works of classical authors. Similar documents have been found in other parts of Egypt, but no other site has yielded as many as Oxyrhynchus.

(11) Discoveries in Nubia.—During the winter of 1908-1909 MacIver explored at Karanog in Nubia for the University of Pennsylvania. He found in a cemetery many remains of the civilization of the Christian Nubians. They still called their queen Candace (see Acts 8:27), fed her on milk, and regarded obesity as an attribute of royalty. More will be known of the Nubians of this period when the inscriptions discovered at Karanog and at Shablul, deciphered by Mr. Griffith, have been more completely studied. The explorations of the English at Meroe have afforded a connected view of the development of this Nubian civilization. They found there the remains of an early period extending from about 650-400 B. C., which was followed by about a century when the royal residence was elsewhere, a middle period from 300 to 1 B. C., during the latter part of which Hellenic influences were felt, and a late period, from 1 to 350 A. D., during which Roman forms of art penetrated the country.[9]



[Pg 40]



The Land. The Preservation of Antiquities. The Discovery of Antiquities: By Benjamin of Tudela. By Rich. By Botta and Place. By Layard. By Loftus and Rawlinson. By Oppert and Rassam. By George Smith. By Sarzec. By Peters, Ward, and Haynes. By Koldeway. By Andrae. By de Morgan. By Harper and Banks. By Genouillac. The Decipherment of the Inscriptions: By Niebuhr. By Grotefend, De Sacy, and Rawlinson. Babylonian column. Babylonian-Semitic. Chronology. Outline of the History: The prehistoric period. Sumerians. The Pre-Babylonian period. “Stele of the Vultures.” The early Babylonian period. Kassites. Pashe dynasty. The early Assyrian period. The second Assyrian period. The Neo-Babylonian period. The Persian period. The Greek and Parthian periods. Discoveries which Illumine the Bible.


1. The Land.—The Mesopotamian Valley, as the great region watered by the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers is called, in many respects resembles Egypt, although in other respects it differs strikingly from Egypt. The country is like Egypt in that it is formed by rivers; it differs from Egypt in that it has two rivers instead of one. In late geologic time the Persian Gulf extended far up toward the Mediterranean. All of what was Babylonia has been formed by detritus (silt) brought down by the Tigris and the Euphrates. The process of forming land is still going on. At the head of the Persian Gulf about seventy feet a year is still formed in this way, or a mile in about seventy-five years.

Both the Tigris and the Euphrates rise in the mountainous regions of Armenia, on opposite sides of the same range of mountains. The melting of the snows on these mountains gives both rivers, like the Nile, a period of overflow. As the source of the Tigris is on the south side of the mountains, it begins to rise first. Its rise begins about the first of March, its overflow is at its height in May, and the water recedes in June or July. The Euphrates begins to rise about the middle of March, continues to rise until June, and does not recede to its ordinary level until September. The soil thus formed is of rich materials, and the retreating flood leaves it each year well watered and softened for agriculture. Here, as in Egypt, one of the earliest civilizations of the world developed. [Pg 41]It was quite independent of that in Egypt, and consequently differed from the Egyptian in many respects. Unlike Egypt, Babylonia had a rainy season; nevertheless she was mainly dependent upon the overflow of the rivers for her irrigation and her fertility. As she possessed two rivers, her breadth was greater than that of Egypt, but she lacked the contiguity of protecting deserts, such as Egypt possessed. All through her history her fertile plains attracted the mountain dwellers of the East and the peoples of the West. Subject to frequent invasion by these, Babylonia had no long peaceful development such as Egypt enjoyed before the Hyksos invasion. From before the beginning of written history race mingled with race in this great valley, invasions were frequent, and the construction of permanent empires difficult.


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The breadth of the Mesopotamian Valley affected also the building materials and the character of the art. Stone was much more difficult to obtain than in Egypt. Clay only was abundant. All buildings were consequently of brick. These structures were far less enduring than those in Egypt; their upper parts have disintegrated and buried the lower portions. Babylonian ruins are accordingly all under ground. The abundant clay was also used by the Babylonians as writing material. When baked, it proved far more enduring than the Egyptian papyrus. Thus, notwithstanding the general similarities which the Mesopotamian Valley presents to Egypt, its differences profoundly affected Babylonian history and Babylonian art.

2. The Preservation of Antiquities.—Babylonian cities were usually built on terraces of brick. The walls of the cities and their buildings were constructed of the same material. Refuse from the houses in these towns was always thrown out into the streets, so that, as the centuries passed, the streets were gradually elevated. The walls of the brick houses gradually became unstable in the lapse of time, and as the houses were repaired they were brought up to the level of the street. Consequently even in peaceful times the mounds on which the cities were built gradually grew higher. Most of these cities were at various times destroyed in warfare. Sometimes all the houses would be partially demolished and the site would be for a time practically uninhabited. When at length the place was repeopled, the top of the mound would be smoothed off and taken as the base of a new city. In this way through the many centuries of Babylonian history the sites of her[Pg 42] cities have become great mounds. When these cities finally fell into ruin, the clay of the upper part of the walls gradually disintegrated in the weather and formed a coating of earth over the whole, which preserved the foundations of the walls both of cities and houses, as well as the inscribed clay, stone tablets, and the works of art buried underneath.

Connected with each Babylonian and Assyrian temple was a kind of staged tower, shaped in a general way like the stepped pyramid of Zoser at Sakkarah in Egypt. The Babylonians called these towers Ziggurats. As the bricks of these towers decayed, they formed in connection with the city mound a kind of hillock or peak, which varied in accordance with the height of the tower. The ruin of the Ziggurat at Birs Nimrûd, the ancient Borsippa, is one of the most imposing to be seen in ancient Babylonia; it was long thought to be the original of the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:9). It thus came about that no ancient temple of Babylonia, like some of those in Egypt, has remained above ground. Explorers have had to dig to discover antiquities; (see Fig. 22).

3. The Discovery of Antiquities: By Benjamin of Tudela.—The first man from western Europe who traveled through Babylonia and Assyria and noted their ruins was a Jew, Benjamin of Tudela, in the kingdom of Navarre. Leaving home about 1160 A. D., he traveled through Palestine, crossed the desert by way of Tadmor, visited Mosul opposite ancient Nineveh, and went southward to the site of Babylon. He also saw the ruin of Birs Nimrûd, and believed it to be the Tower of Babel. Between the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries many other travelers visited the Mesopotamian Valley and described what they saw. Some of these, toward the close of the eighteenth century, described curious inscriptions which they had seen there on bricks. This information led the British East India Company in 1797 to instruct its resident at Bussorah, in southern Babylonia, to try to secure some of these inscriptions. This he did, and early in 1801 the first case of inscribed bricks arrived at the East India House in London, where they are still preserved.

By Rich.—Early in the nineteenth century Claude James Rich became resident of the East India Company at Bagdad. In his travels through the region he visited the mounds of Hillah (Babylon), Kouyunjik (Nineveh), and others, where he made some slight excavations, and found many inscriptions. The smaller ones he[Pg 43] added to his collection, but many of them were of too monumental a character to be removed. Through these efforts a wide-spread interest was aroused.

By Botta and Place.—In 1842 the French government created a vice-consulate at Mosul, opposite the site of ancient Nineveh, and appointed to the position Paul Emil Botta, who had served as French consul at Alexandria in Egypt. Botta’s mission was made in part archæological. In December, 1842, Botta began digging in the mound of Kouyunjik, the site of ancient Nineveh. Here he worked for three months. As he found only a few inscribed bricks and the fragments of some bas-reliefs, he became discouraged, and changed the field of his operations to a mound called Khorsabad, situated about fourteen miles to the northeast of Kouyunjik. Here he discovered a palace filled with interesting inscribed bas-reliefs made of alabaster, as well as a city about a mile in circumference. Under the corners of the palace and under the city gates were many inscribed cylinders of clay. This proved to be the palace and city built by Sargon, King of Assyria (722-705 B. C.), as his new capital. He named it Dur-Sharrukin, or Sargonsburgh. His name had so entirely disappeared from ancient literature that only one reference to him has survived, that in Isaiah 20:1, but here was his palace arising from the dust together with abundant annals of his reign. (See Part II, p. 369, ff.)

Botta and his successor, Victor Place, excavated intermittently at Khorsabad for ten years, uncovering the palace and making a plan of it, excavating the city walls and gates, studying the drainage of the ancient town, and fully describing the whole. Although a part of the antiquities found were lost in the Tigris by the wreck of a raft on which they were being floated down the river, a large collection reached France, where they are preserved in the Louvre.

By Layard.—The success of Botta fired the enthusiasm of Austen Henry Layard, a young Englishman of Huguenot descent, who began to excavate in 1845 at Nimrûd, a mound further down the Tigris than Mosul, and the site of the Biblical Calah (Gen. 10:11). His money was at first furnished by a few friends, but as he soon discovered a royal palace there similar to the one Botta had unearthed at Khorsabad, the trustees of the British Museum commissioned him to excavate for them. He thus continued the work intermittently until 1849. During this time he spent most of his energy upon the mound of Kouyunjik, where he discovered[Pg 44] another royal palace. This palace proved to be the work of Sennacherib, the son of Sargon (named in 2 Kings 18:13; Isa. 36), who built the one at Khorsabad, while the palace at Calah was, in its final form, the work of Esarhaddon, the son of Sennacherib. (See 2 Kings 19:37.) The palace at Nineveh had in turn been repaired by Esarhaddon’s son, Assurbanipal.

By Loftus and Rawlinson.—As these excavations progressed, others were stimulated to make minor explorations. Thus in 1850 William Kennett Loftus carried on small excavations at the mound of Warka, the site of the Biblical Erech (Gen. 10:10), in southern Babylonia, from which he recovered important antiquities. From 1851-1855 the oversight of English excavations was entrusted to Sir Henry C. Rawlinson, the British consul-general at Bagdad. Under his direction J. E. Taylor, British vice-consul at Bassorah, made an excavation at the mound of Mugheir, the site of Ur of the Chaldees, where he unearthed important inscriptions. At the same time Loftus was traveling about Babylonia collecting antiquities.

By Oppert and Rassam.—In 1852 a French expedition under the direction of Jules Oppert reached Babylonia. Oppert made important excavations at Hillah, the site of the city of Babylon, and at Birs Nimrûd, the ancient Borsippa. In 1852 Hormuzd Rassam, who had been one of Layard’s helpers, continued under Rawlinson’s direction the excavation at Nineveh. This work continued until 1854; Rassam had the good fortune to find, in a part of the mound previously untouched, still another palace. This was the palace of Assurbanipal, the last of Assyria’s great kings, who ruled from 668 to 626 B. C., and who collected here a great library. This library Rassam discovered, and as it contained every variety of Babylonian and Assyrian literature, including dictionaries and grammatical exercises, it was one of the most important archæological discoveries ever made. During the last part of the time Rassam was succeeded by Loftus. Finally, in the autumn of 1854, Rawlinson himself undertook an excavation at Birs Nimrûd, and unearthed some important inscriptions of Nebuchadrezzar II, King of Babylon, 604-562 B. C. (See 2 Kings 24, 25.)

After this the interest in excavation waned for a time, while scholars were busy reading the tablets already found.

By George Smith.—In December, 1872, George Smith, an employee of the British Museum, announced that among the tablets[Pg 45] from Nineveh he had found an account of the flood which closely resembled that in the Bible. This aroused so much interest that the proprietors of the London Daily Telegraph contributed money to send George Smith to Assyria to explore further the mounds there. George Smith thus led two expeditions of exploration, one in 1873 and the other in 1874. He extended the trenches of his predecessors at Nineveh and discovered many more important inscriptions. In 1876 he was on his way to Mesopotamia for the third time, when he died of fever at Aleppo. The British Museum immediately secured the services of Rassam again, who during that year and 1877 extended the work at Kouyunjik (Nineveh) and also found a palace of Shalmaneser III, King of Assyria, 860-824 B. C., at a mound called Balawat, situated to the east of Kouyunjik.

By Sarzec.—Meantime, the interest of France was again aroused, and in 1877 her consul at Bassorah, Ernest de Sarzec, began the excavation of Telloh, a mound in southern Babylonia, which turned out to be the site of Shirpurla or Lagash, one of the oldest and most important of the ancient cities of Babylonia. Work was carried on at intervals here by Sarzec until his death in 1901, and has since been continued by Gaston Cros. The results have not received the popular acclaim accorded to the discoveries of Botta and Layard, but scientifically they are far more important. Some of the oldest examples of Babylonian art have been discovered, as well as many thousands of tablets. One room alone contained an archive of business documents estimated at thirty thousand. Much of our knowledge of the history of early Babylonia is derived from material found at Telloh.

By Peters, Ward, and Haynes.—In 1884 America began to take an interest in Babylonian exploration. This was due largely to the initiative of Dr. John P. Peters, then Professor of Hebrew in the University of Pennsylvania, now Rector of St. Michael’s Church, New York. Through his efforts Miss Catherine L. Wolfe, of New York, contributed the money to defray the expenses of an expedition to Babylonia for a preliminary survey. This expedition was led by Dr. William Hayes Ward, Editor of the New York Independent. It spent the winter of 1884-1885 in Mesopotamia, made many observations of the various mounds, and collected some archæological material. Dr. Peters continued his efforts, and as a result a fund was raised in Philadelphia to defray[Pg 46] the expenses of an excavation in the interest of the University of Pennsylvania. This expedition set out in 1888 under the direction of Dr. Peters. The site chosen for the exploration was Nuffar, about sixty miles to the southeast of Babylon. The work was continued for two seasons under the direct control of Dr. Peters. After an interruption of three years the work was resumed under the general direction of Dr. Peters, with Dr. John H. Haynes as Field Director. Dr. Haynes, in the most self-sacrificing and heroic manner, continued the work both summer and winter until February, 1896, laying bare many of the features of the ancient city of Nippur, which had occupied the site, and discovering many inscribed tablets. While this work was in progress Prof. Herman V. Hilprecht became nominal head of the expedition on account of the removal of Dr. Peters to New York. A fourth expedition under the guidance of Dr. Haynes began work at Nuffar (Nippur) in February, 1899, and worked until March, 1900. During this work Dr. Haynes discovered a large archive of tablets, the exact number of which is variously estimated. The find was similar to that made by Sarzec at Telloh; (see Figs. 16 and 17).

Nuffar, the ancient Nippur, was one of the oldest centers of Babylonian civilization, and the work of the Americans there is, for our knowledge of the history of ancient Babylonia, next in importance to that done by the French at Telloh. A large number of the tablets discovered at Nippur are now in the University Museum in Philadelphia. Meantime, the Turkish government had undertaken on its own account an excavation at Abu Haba, the site of the ancient Sippar in northern Babylonia. The direction of the work was committed to the oversight of the French Assyriologist Père Scheil, and the work was carried on in the early part of the year 1894. Much interesting material was brought to light.

By Koldewey.—Also during this decade a new Society, the Orient-Gesellschaft, had been formed in Berlin for the purpose of excavation. This Society began in 1899 the excavation of the great mound which covered the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon. The work was committed to the direction of Dr. Robert Koldewey, who has carried it steadily forward until the present time. Koldewey has laid bare at Babylon a number of the great works of King Nebuchadrezzar—the magnificent walls with which he surrounded Babylon, and the palace and temples with which he adorned it. As the work at Babylon has progressed, Koldewey has made a[Pg 47] number of minor excavations in smaller mounds of Babylonia. During the season of 1912-1913 Dr. Julius Jordan undertook, under Dr. Koldewey’s general direction, an excavation at Warka, the Biblical Erech, where Loftus had dug sixty years before. A part of the great temple of Ishtar has been uncovered by Dr. Jordan, together with a portion of the city wall and many houses. Many tablets have also been found, some of them having been written as late as the Seleucid and Parthian periods, 312-50 B. C.; (see Fig. 18).

By Andrae.—While the excavation at Babylon has been in progress, the Orient-Gesellschaft has also conducted another at Kalah-Sherghat, on the Tigris, in ancient Assyria. This is the site of the city of Ashur, from which the country of Assyria took its name. (Cf. Gen. 10:10, 11.) The work has been under the direction of Dr. Andrae and has been in progress from 1902 to the present time. Temples and palaces have been uncovered, and inscriptions from every period of Assyrian history have been found. The latest reports of the work at Ashur tell of the discovery of objects which connect the founding of the city with immigrants from Lagash in southern Babylonia.

By de Morgan.—In 1900 a French expedition began the excavation of Susa, in ancient Elam, the Shushan of the Bible. (See Neh. 1:1; Esther 1:2, etc., and Dan. 8:2.) This work was under the direction of J. de Morgan. While Susa is not in Babylonia, the excavations here added greatly to our knowledge of Babylonian history and life, for during the first two seasons of the excavation, two inscribed stone pillars were discovered, which the ancient Elamites had at some time taken as trophies of war from the Babylonians. One of these was an inscription of Manishtusu, King of Kish, who ruled about 2700 B. C., and the other the pillar which contained the laws of Hammurapi, the most important single document relating to Babylonian life that is known to us. (See Part II, Chapter XIII.)

By Harper and Banks.—During the year 1903-1904 the University of Chicago sent an expedition to Babylonia. The expenses were borne by a contribution from John D. Rockefeller. The late Prof. Robert Harper was Scientific Director of the expedition, and Dr. Edgar J. Banks, Field Director. The work was conducted at the mound of Bismya, which proved to be the site of the ancient city of Adab, one of the oldest Babylonian cities, which seems not to have been occupied since about 2600 B. C. Many[Pg 48] interesting finds were made, including a statue of a king, Lugaldaudu, and many tablets. Friction with the Turkish government brought the expedition to an untimely close, and owing to the same cause the tablets discovered are hoarded at Constantinople and have not been given to the world.

By Genouillac.—During the early part of the year 1914 a French expedition, under the direction of H. de Genouillac, excavated at Ukhaimir, the site of ancient Kish. They have discovered the great Ziggurat of the temple of Zamama, the god of Kish, and are said to have made other important finds, but the details are not yet published.

4. The Decipherment of the Inscriptions.—The task of learning to read the inscriptions of Babylonia and Assyria was much more difficult than the decipherment of the Egyptian hieroglyphs, for no such simple key as the Rosetta Stone was at hand. The key that finally unlocked the mystery came not from Babylonia, but from Persepolis in Persia. When Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon in 538 B. C. the Persians had not developed a system of writing. They accordingly adapted to their language the characters of the Babylonian script. The Babylonian script had begun, like the Egyptian hieroglyphs, as a system of picture-writing, in which each picture represented an idea. These had gone through a long development, in which the original picture-forms had been supplanted by conventional characters derived therefrom. In making these characters on clay, one end of a line was always wider than the other, hence the characters are called “wedge-shaped” or “cuneiform.” In the course of the ages the Babylonians had come to use the characters to express both syllables and whole words, and a scribe might mingle these uses of a sign at will in writing a composition. Many of the signs might also express any one of several syllables. In adapting this complicated system, the Persians had the wisdom to simplify it. They selected or constructed a character for each sound, making a real alphabet. Three of the Persian kings, Darius (521-485), Xerxes (456-465), and Artaxerxes II (405-359), wrote their inscriptions in three languages,—Babylonian, Elamite, and Persian,—employing wedge-shaped scripts for all of them.

By Niebuhr.—In the ruins of the great palace of the Persian kings at Persepolis many of these inscriptions in three languages were preserved. These ruins attracted the notice of many travelers[Pg 49] from the time that Odoric, a monk, saw them in 1320 A. D., and a number of travelers had made copies of some of them and brought them back to Europe. The inscriptions were a great puzzle. After Alexander the Great (331-323 B. C.) Persia had been subject to foreign powers until 220 A. D., when the Sassanian dynasty (220-641 A. D.) made Persia again an independent kingdom. In the revival of Persian letters that occurred in Sassanian times, a form of the Phœnician alphabet was used, because the old characters of these inscriptions had been forgotten. In 1765 Carsten Niebuhr, a Dane, visited Persepolis and made accurate copies of a large number of these inscriptions. The first correct reading of any of these inscriptions was done from Niebuhr’s copies; (see Fig. 20).

By Grotefend, de Sacy, and Rawlinson.—A number of scholars had studied Niebuhr’s copies, but the first to read any of them correctly was Georg Friedrich Grotefend, a German scholar. He began with the assumption that the three groups of lines in the inscriptions contained respectively three languages, and that the first of these was the Persian of Cyrus and his successors. In the years 1787-1791 Sylvestre de Sacy, a French Oriental scholar, had studied and in part expounded some Sassanian alphabetic inscriptions from Persia, which had also long attracted the notice of scholars. These Sassanian inscriptions were many of them cast in the same mould. They ran thus:

“X the great king, king of kings, the king of Iran and Aniran, son of Y, the great king,” etc.

Grotefend had these inscriptions before him, and compared this formula with the inscriptions from Persepolis. He noted that as often as the formula contained the word “king” the inscriptions from Persepolis contained the same group of signs, and that as often as it had “of kings,” they reproduced the group with a different ending. He therefore rightly concluded that these signs were the old Persian spelling of the Persian word for “king” with its genitive plural. Taking from the Sassanian inscriptions the word for king, he proceeded to parcel out its sounds among the characters with which the word was spelled in the Persepolis inscriptions. He also found a king, who was the son of a man not a king. This, he rightly held, could be none other than Darius, the son of Hystaspes. Apportioning the proper groups of signs among the sounds of these names, he obtained still further alphabetical values. Thus a[Pg 50] beginning was made. Grotefend was, however, unable to carry the work far, and in the years that followed Eugène Burnouf, Christian Lassen, Isidore Lowenstern, Henry C. Rawlinson, and Edward Hincks all made contributions to the subject. The honor of having first correctly read and interpreted a long inscription belongs to Rawlinson. Rawlinson was a young army officer, who as a boy had been in India, where he learned Persian and several of the dialects of India. In 1833 he was sent to Persia with other British officers to assist in the reorganization of the Persian army. Here his attention was attracted by the great Persian inscriptions in the mountains near Hamadan, the ancient Ecbatana, and in the intervals of military duties he copied and studied several of them. He was, in the early stages of his work, quite unaware of the work done by Grotefend and others, but hit independently upon the method followed by Grotefend. Owing to the fact that the inscriptions on which Rawlinson worked were longer than those accessible to Grotefend, and also contained more proper names, Rawlinson attained greater success than any of his predecessors. He did not publish his results, however, until he had become thoroughly familiar with all that others had done. It was not until 1846 that he published a full interpretation of the Persian column of the great Behistun[10] inscription of Darius I.

Babylonian Column.—This successful achievement related, however, only to the Persian column. The mysteries of the Babylonian column had not yet been solved. This task, as will be evident from the complicated nature of the writing mentioned above, was a much more difficult one. The decipherment of the Persian had, however, taught the sound of many cuneiform signs. These sounds were carried over to the Babylonian column as a nucleus of information. Excavations were all the time also bringing new material to light, and a comparison of inscriptions, in many of which the same words were written in different ways, sometimes ideographically and sometimes syllabically, helped on the general stock of knowledge. Rawlinson, Hincks, Jules Oppert, and Fox Talbot were the men who at this stage of the work were still wrestling with the problem. Again Rawlinson was the man to achieve the first distinguished success. In 1851 he published one hundred and twelve lines of the Babylonian portion of the Behistun inscription with transliteration and translation, and accompanied the whole with[Pg 51] copious notes in which the principles of the grammar were set forth. A list of the signs and their values was also added. From that day to this the study has steadily gone forward.

Babylonian-Semitic.—The work of Rawlinson and his co-laborers proved that the language of the ancient Babylonians was a Semitic language, closely akin to Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and Ethiopic. Within the next few years after he had found the key to the cuneiform writing, Rawlinson announced that the inscriptions from Babylonia contained material in another and very different language. The researches of later years have fully confirmed this, and scholars call this language Sumerian. The people who spoke it were the inventors of many elements in the civilization of early Babylonia, and for many centuries at the dawn of history divided the country with the Semites.

5. Chronology.—The materials for constructing the chronology of Babylonian and Assyrian history are as follows:

(1) Claudius Ptolemy, an Egyptian astronomer who flourished in the second century A. D., made a list of the kings of Egypt, Persia, and Babylonia back to the accession of the Babylonian king, Nabonassar, in 747 B. C. This list was compiled as an astronomical aid, and is very accurate.

(2) The Assyrian kings kept lists of years and of principal events, to which scholars have given the name “Eponym Lists,” because each year was named after the king or some officer. Tablets containing these lists have been recovered on which we can still read the chronology from 893 to 666 B. C. This list accordingly overlaps the list or “canon” of Ptolemy. Some of these Assyrian kings were also kings of Babylon, and where the lists overlap they agree. One of these lists mentions an eclipse which occurred at Nineveh in the month Sivan (May-June), 763 B. C. This eclipse has been calculated and verified by modern astronomers, so that the chronology covered by these lists rests upon a secure scientific basis.

(3) For dates in Assyrian history anterior to 893 B. C. we have to depend upon incidental notices in the inscriptions. Thus Sennacherib, whose date is fixed by the Eponym Lists as 705-681 B. C., relates that during his reign he recovered from Babylon the images of two gods that had been taken as booty by Marduknadinakhi, King of Babylon, from Tiglath-pileser, King of Assyria, 418 years before Sennacherib brought them back. It follows from this that[Pg 52] Tiglath-pileser I of Assyria and Marduknadinakhi of Babylon were ruling from about 1120 to 1100 B. C.

We also have a long inscription from the Tiglath-pileser mentioned here, who relates that in his reign he restored a temple, which had been built by Shamshi-Adad, ruler of Assyria, son of Ishmi-Dagan, ruler of Assyria, 641 years before the time of Ashur-dan, King of Assyria. Ashur-dan had, he tells us, pulled the temple down and it had lain in ruins 60 years until he (Tiglath-pileser) rebuilt it. By adding these numbers we reach 1819 or 1820 B. C. as the accession of Shamshi-Adad.

Again Sennacherib found at Babylon a seal which bore the following inscription:

“Tukulti-Ninib, king of the world, son of Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, conqueror of the land of Chaldæa. Whoever changes the writing of my name, may Ashur and Adad destroy his name. This seal was presented by the land of Assyria to the land of Akkad” (Babylonia).

To this Sennacherib added the following inscription:

“I, Sennacherib, after 600 years conquered Babylon, and from its treasures brought it out and took it.”

We learn from this that Tukulti-Ninib was ruling in Assyria from about 1300 to 1290 B. C.

Andrae has recently (1914) published an inscription of Tukulti-Ninib in which he states that he repaired a temple which had been built by his ancestor, Ilu-shumma, King of Assyria, 720 years before. Ilu-shumma was, accordingly, ruling in Assyria about 2020 to 2010 B. C.

(4) Among the tablets in the British Museum are two so-called “dynastic tablets” which contain lists of the kings of Babylon from the time that Babylon became the leading city of the country to its capture by the Persians. The kings are divided into eight dynasties, the length of the reign of each king was originally given, and at the end of each dynasty a statement was given of the number of kings in that dynasty and the total length of their reigns. These tablets are unfortunately much broken, so that they afford us little help after the year 1000 B. C. We learn from them, however, that Marduknadinakhi, the king mentioned by Sennacherib as ruling about 1100 B. C., belonged to the fourth Babylonian dynasty, and, if we add together the years given for the previous[Pg 53] dynasties, we are taken back nearly to the year 2400 B. C. for the accession of the first dynasty of Babylon. Evidence has, however, come to light in recent years which proves that the first and second of these dynasties overlapped, one ruling in the north while the other ruled in the south. A reliable chronology cannot, therefore, be obtained by adding these numbers together. In order to correct them recourse must be had to other evidence.

(5) Franz Xaver Kugler, who is both an astronomer and an Assyriologist, has recently shown that an astronomical tablet which was published as long ago as 1870, and which notes for a series of years when Venus was the evening and when the morning star, contains a date formula which fixes its compilation in the reign of Ammi-zadugga, the tenth of the eleven kings of the first dynasty of Babylon. From mathematical calculations of the position of the planet Venus, Kugler is accordingly able to fix the accession year of Ammi-zadugga as either 2040, 1976, or 1857 B. C. As the first of these dates is too early, and the third is, in the judgment of most scholars, too late, it follows that his accession year was in 1976. From the lengths of the reigns of the various kings of this dynasty as given in the dynastic tablets, it follows that the first dynasty of Babylon began its rule in 2206 B. C.

(6) Under Adad-nirari III, King of Assyria (810-782 B. C.), a so-called synchronistic history of Assyria and Babylonia was compiled. It covered about 600 years, beginning with a treaty of peace between Karaindash, King of Babylon, and Ashur-rim-nishishu, King of Assyria. It aids in filling gaps left by breaks in other lists.

(7) A chronological tablet in the Babylonian collection of Yale University contains a list of the kings of Larsa. This city was conquered by Hammurapi, of the first dynasty of Babylon, in the 31st year of his reign. The tablet, therefore, counts Hammurapi one of the kings of Larsa, ascribing to him twelve years of rule. The tablet was apparently compiled in the twelfth year of Samsuiluna, Hammurapi’s successor, to whom twelve years are also ascribed. It gives the total length of the dynasty of Larsa as 289 years. That dynasty, accordingly, began its rule in 2358 B. C.

(8) In a chronological list of the kings of Ur and Nisin on a tablet in the University Museum, Philadelphia,[11] it is stated that the[Pg 54] kings of Ur ruled 117 years and the kings of Nisin 225 years and 6 months. A tablet has now been discovered which shows that the dynasty of Nisin was not overthrown until 2117 or 2116 B. C. Its 225 years, therefore, were all parallel to the time of the dynasty of Larsa. As the dynasty of Nisin rose upon the ruins of the kingdom of Ur, the dates of the kingdom of Ur are, therefore, fixed as 2458-2341 B. C.

(9) A chronological tablet published by Scheil in the Comptes rendus of the French Academy for 1911 gives a list of five early dynasties of Babylonia: a dynasty of Opis, one of Kish, one of Agade, and two of Erech.

(10) A group of chronological tablets in the University Museum in Philadelphia,[12] which assign several dynasties to each of several well-known Babylonian cities, ascribe to their kings incredibly long reigns. One of these is translated in Part II, Chapter IV.

(11) Fragments of a work of Berossos, a Babylonian priest who lived after the time of Alexander the Great, contain a list of Babylonian kings. He based his work on such tablets as those in the University Museum. His statements abound accordingly in incredible numbers.

From these tablets it appears that the dynasty of Ur was preceded by the dynasty of Gutium, which ruled for 159 years; the dynasty of Gutium was preceded by a dynasty of Erech for 26 years; that, by a dynasty of Agade for 197 years; that, by one king of Erech, Lugalzaggisi, who ruled 25 years; he was apparently preceded by a dynasty of Kish for 106 years; that, by a dynasty of Opis for 99 years. These figures take us back to 3070 B. C., though the arrangement for the time before Lugalzaggisi is in part conjectural. Four dynasties of what are known to have been historical kings existed before this time, so that we are led to place the beginning of the historical period in Babylonia about 3200 B. C. or earlier.

(12) Nabuna’id, King of Babylon, 555-538 B. C., states that he found, in repairing the temple at Sippar (Agade), the temple-platform of Naram-Sin, son of Sargon, which no one had seen for 3,200 years. As he made this statement about 550 B. C., it was long supposed that this fixed the date of Naram-Sin as 3750 B. C., and that of his father, Sargon, at about 3800 B. C. These dates[Pg 55] will be found in many of the older books, but they are incredible. They would, if true, leave long gaps in the history that we have no information to fill. Since it has been clearly proved that the dynasties overlapped, it seems that Nabuna’id reached his date by adding together the totals of dynasties, some of which were contemporary. It now seems probable that he placed Naram-Sin about 1,100 years too early.

The sources here enumerated afford us a tolerably accurate chronology back to about 2450 B. C. All dates earlier than this have to be estimated by combining statements of early dynastic tablets with archæological and palæographic considerations.

6. Outline of the History.—The history of Babylonia and Assyria falls into eight different periods. Our information is not yet sufficiently complete to enable us to write the history of any one of them, but we can discern in outline a most fascinating course of events.

(1) The Prehistoric Period, or the period before the rise of written history, during which we can ascertain from various inferences the general course of events. This period must have begun about 4500 or 5000 B. C. and lasted down to about 3200 B. C. The Semites from Arabia[13] were the first to pour into the fertile valley of Mesopotamia. They came up from the south, establishing the city of Eridu on the shore of the Persian Gulf, then the cities of Ur, Erech, Lagash, Nippur, etc. They carried with them the culture of the palm-tree, and learned to raise grain in the alluvial soil of the rivers, but they had no system of writing. The early cities of Babylonia were the fortified residences of different tribes, which were frequently at war with one another. One city would subjugate its neighbors for a time and establish a small empire. As long as it continued to rule, a certain degree of homage was paid to its god by all the cities over which it ruled. In prehistoric times there were kingdoms of this sort ruled at one time by Eridu, at another by Erech, and at another by Nippur, for Ea, the god of Eridu, Anu, the god of Erech, and Enlil or Bel, god of Nippur, were ever after worshiped as the supreme gods of Babylonia.

Sumerians.—At some time before the dawn of history a people whom we call Sumerians moved into Babylonia from the East.[Pg 56] These people spoke a language which possesses some features in common with Finnish and Turkish. They were neither Aryans nor Semites. The Semites wore thick hair and long beards; the Sumerians shaved both their heads and faces. These Sumerians overran southern Babylonia as far north as Nippur and in this region became the ruling race. They grafted the worship of their own gods upon the worship of the deities of the cities which they conquered, but the Semitic elements of these local deities persisted even in Sumerian thought. It thus came about that the bald and beardless Sumerians picture their gods with hair and beards. After settling in Babylonia, the Sumerians developed a system of writing. It was at first hieroglyphic, like the Egyptian system. Afterward the Semites, who still retained the supremacy in the cities of Kish and Agade in the north, and who had probably been reinforced there by fresh migrations from Arabia, adapted this system of writing to their own language. As clay was the usual writing material and it was difficult to make good pictures on it, the pictographic form of the writing was soon lost. The pictures degenerated into those conventional symbols which are today known as the “cuneiform” characters.

(2) The Pre-Babylonian Period of the history includes the period from about 3200 B. C. down to the rise of the city of Babylon, about 2100 B. C. This period, like the preceding, was a time of successive city kingdoms. One city would establish an empire for a while, then another, having become more powerful, would take the leadership. When first our written records enable us to trace the course of events, Lagash in the south and Kish in the north were the rival cities. Lagash was ruled by a king, Enkhegal. A little later Meselim, King of Kish, conquered all of southern Babylonia, including Lagash. After Meselim had passed away, Ur-Nina founded a new dynasty at Lagash and gained his independence. Ur-Nina’s grandson, Eannatum, raised the power of Lagash to its greatest height, conquering all the cities of Babylonia, even Kish. The Elamites were always invading the fertile plains of Babylonia, so Eannatum ascended the eastern mountains and subjugated Elam.

Stele of the Vultures.”—He celebrated his victories by the erection of one of the most remarkable monuments which the ancient world produced, the so-called “stele of the vultures.” From the pictures on the monument we learn that the soldiers of Lagash,[Pg 57] about 2950 B. C., waged their battles in a solid phalanx protected by shields. The Greeks were formerly supposed to have invented this form of attack, but were anticipated by 2,500 years; (see Fig. 19).

Although this dynasty furnished several other rulers, the leadership of all Babylonia was lost after the death of Eannatum. It passed first to Opis and then again to Kish. Lagash continued to flourish, however, during 200 years, while these cities were the overlords of its rulers. Its wars had made it rich, and all the arts flourished there. Our best specimens of terra-cotta and stone work come from this period of this city. Under Entemena, the successor of Eannatum, a silver vase of exquisite workmanship and ornamentation was made; (see Fig. 21). After a century or more of wealth and luxury, during which priests and officials became corrupt, a new king, Urkagina, seized the throne and endeavored to reform the administration. Naturally, his reforms were unpopular with the priesthood and the army, and, though popular with the people, he unintentionally weakened the defensive power of his country.

At this juncture a new ruler named Lugalzaggisi arose in the city of Umma, who ultimately overthrew Lagash and became king of all Babylonia. He made Erech his capital. This was about 2800 B. C. Lugalzaggisi claims to have overrun the country from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. If so, and there is no good reason to doubt his claim, Babylonia and the Palestinian coast-lands were under him brought together for the first time.

After Lugalzaggisi the city of Agade came to the fore. Its great King Sargon about 2775 B. C. founded a dynasty which ruled for nearly two hundred years. The kings of this line were Semitic and resided sometimes at Agade and sometimes at Kish. Sargon conquered Syria and a later chronicle says that he crossed the western sea. As a seal of this dynasty was found in Cyprus, it is possibly true. Naram-Sin, one of the most famous kings of this line, conquered the country of Magan, which some believe to be the peninsula of Sinai, but which others hold was situated in eastern Arabia.

About the time of this dynasty, or a little before, King Lugaldaudu flourished at Adab, the modern Bismya, where Dr. Banks found his statue. In this same general period a king named Anubanini ruled in a city to the northward, called Lulubi.

Perhaps it was under the later kings of this dynasty of Agade, or[Pg 58] under a dynasty of Erech which held sway for a brief period after them, that Gudea flourished at Lagash. This ruler does not claim to be a king, but his city enjoyed great prosperity under him, and he rebuilt it in fine style. He seems to have been on peaceful terms with much of the world, and brought for his structures stone from Magan, cedar wood from Amanus on the Mediterranean coast, and copper from Lebanon. After this time the land was overrun by hordes from Gutium, a region to the northeast beyond the Tigris. They established a dynasty which lasted for 125 (or 159) years.

In 2458 B. C. a dynasty arose in the city of Ur, situated far to the south. These kings were Sumerians and under them a great Sumerian revival occurred. By this time northern Babylonia was called Akkad, from the city of Agade, and southern Babylonia was called Sumir, from a corruption of the name of one of the quarters of Lagash. These kings combined with the title “king of Ur” the title “king of Sumir and Akkad.” Sumir is the Biblical “Shinar” (Gen. 10:10; 11:2, etc.).

Dungi, the second king of this dynasty of Ur, reigned 58 years and established a wide empire, which included Elam and the city of Susa. He established a system of government posts to aid the royal officers of army and state in the performance of their duties.

Upon the fall of the dynasty of Ur, the dominion of Babylonia was divided between two cities, Nisin and Larsa, each of which furnished a dynasty which flourished for more than two and a quarter centuries. Naturally, these kings were continually struggling with each other for the supremacy, and sometimes one city was the more powerful, sometimes the other. The Elamites, who during the whole period had occasionally swooped down into the Mesopotamian Valley, overran Larsa and furnished the last two kings of its dynasty,—Arad-Sin and Rim-Sin. These kings have each been thought by different scholars to be the Arioch of Gen. 14:1. (See Part II, Chapter IX.)

About 2210 B. C. a dynasty of rulers was founded in the city of Babylon that was destined to bring a new era into the history of the country. After a struggle of more than a century Hammurapi, the sixth king of this line, broke the power of Larsa and made Babylon the leading city of the country. Nisin had previously fallen. With the rise of Babylon another period of the life of the country was ended.

The above sketch calls attention to a few only of the more[Pg 59] prominent features and cities of Babylonia. There were many others which participated in her life during the millennium of the pre-Babylonian period. The recovery of more inscriptions will no doubt make this statement more true even than we now dream. Each of these contributed its mite to the progress of civilization in this melting-pot of races in this far-off time.

(3) The Early Babylonian Period began with the reign of Hammurapi and continued till about 1050 B. C. It includes the rule of the first four dynasties of Babylon. The period began gloriously under Hammurapi, who conquered all of Babylonia, and extended his sway also to the Mediterranean. He was as great as an administrator as he was as a conqueror; he codified the laws of Babylonia and inscribed them on a stone pillar, which was set up in the temple of Marduk in Babylon. These laws have been recovered, and are one of the most valuable archæological discoveries of modern times. (See Part II, Chapter XIII.)

Soon after the death of Hammurapi, a revolt occurred under one Ilumailu, who established in the region near the Persian Gulf a dynasty known as the “dynasty of the sea lands,” which was afterward called the second dynasty of Babylon. Down to 1924 B. C. the two dynasties divided the country between them. In that year Babylonia was invaded by the Hittites, who came from the northwest, and the first dynasty of Babylon was overthrown. The Hittites appear to have ruled the country for a short time, when they were driven out by the “dynasty of the sea lands,” which, so far as we know, controlled the country for the next hundred and fifty years.

Kassites.—About 1750 B. C., or shortly before, Babylonia was once more invaded by a race of barbarians from the east of the Tigris, called Kassites or Cossæans. They captured Babylon and founded the third dynasty of Babylon, which ruled for 576 years. The kings of this dynasty gradually absorbed Babylonian culture. Soon after 1700 B. C. they expelled the kings of the sea lands from the south and ruled the whole country.

Assyria, which under the first dynasty had been a Babylonian colony, gained her independence before 1400 B. C., so that after that the independent histories of the two lands run on parallel lines. During the long period of Kassite rule, Babylon experienced many vicissitudes. Assyria was at times friendly and at times hostile. In the reign of Kurigalzu, Elam was successfully invaded[Pg 60] and spoil formerly taken by the kings of Elam was brought back to Babylonia. Kadashman-turgu and Burnaburiash, kings of this dynasty, carried on friendly correspondence with Amenophis III and Amenophis IV, kings of Egypt, 1400-1350 B. C.

Pashe Dynasty.—About 1175 B. C. the Kassite dynasty was superseded by the Pashe dynasty, which ruled the country for more than a hundred and thirty years. The greatest king of this time was Nebuchadrezzar I, who reigned about 1150 B. C. He emulated with considerable success the career of his great predecessor, Hammurapi. After the fall of the fourth dynasty, the country was divided and fell a prey to the Elamites, who overran it about 1050. For the following 450 years Babylonia, though often independent, was of little political importance.

(4) The Early Assyrian Period.—Assyria’s empire grew out of the domination of the city of Ashur, as that of Rome grew out of the domination of the city of Rome. Ashur and Nineveh had been founded by colonists from Lagash about 3000 or 2800 B. C. This is shown by archæological remains found at Ashur, and by the name of Nineveh. We can first trace the names of Assyria’s rulers shortly before the year 2000 B. C. They do not call themselves kings, and were, perhaps, then subject to Babylon.

About 1430 B. C. we learn that Assyria had become an independent kingdom. Her king at that time, Ashur-rim-nishishu, was a contemporary of Karaindash, King of Babylon. Ashur-uballit about 1370-1343 was a contemporary of Burnaburiash, King of Babylon, and shared in the correspondence with Egyptian kings contained in the El-Amarna letters. Shalmaneser I about 1300 B. C. conquered the region to the west of Assyria extending across the Euphrates in the direction of the Mediterranean. Ashur-nasirpal, a later king (884-860 B. C.), says that Shalmaneser “made” the city of Calah[14] as a new capital for his country. His son, Tukulti-Ninib I, turned his arms to the southward and conquered Babylon, which he held for seven years. After him Assyria’s power declined for a time, but was revived by Tiglath-pileser I, who carried Assyria’s conquests again across the Euphrates to the Mediterranean Sea and northward to the region of Lake Van. After the reign of Tiglath-pileser I, Assyria’s power rapidly declined again, and the first period of Assyria’s history was closed. Our sources almost fail us for a hundred years or more.

[Pg 61](5) The Second Assyrian Period.—Assyria slowly emerged from the obscurity into which she had fallen after the death of Tiglathpileser I. The progress went forward through the reigns of eleven different kings. Finally, in the reign of Ashur-nasirpal II, 884-860 B. C., a period of foreign conquest was once more inaugurated. This monarch again carried the conquests of his country northward and also to the Mediterranean. (See Part II, p. 360.) Under him Assyria became the best fighting machine in the ancient world—a machine that was run with ruthless cruelty over all conquered peoples. This king set his successors the example of flaying and impaling numbers of conquered peoples, and of boasting of such deeds in his chronicles. Probably such deeds were not now committed for the first time, but so far as we know they had not been so gloated over.

Ashur-nasirpal’s successor, Shalmaneser III, 868-824 B. C., made, besides campaigns into Armenia and elsewhere, six campaigns against the lands of Syria and Palestine. On his first campaign in 854 he was met at Qarqar by a confederation of kings, among whom were Ahab of Israel and Ben-Hadad of Damascus. (See Part II, p. 360, ff.) On his fourth campaign in 842 B. C. Jehu, who had in that year usurped the throne of Israel, hastened to make his peace with Shalmaneser by giving him a heavy tribute. Thus Assyria gained a right to claim Israel as a vassal state. (See Part II, p. 362, f.)

The next two kings, Shamshi-Adad IV and Adad-nirari IV, controlled Assyria until 783 B. C., and maintained her power. The last-mentioned king made three expeditions into the West, and claims to have received tribute not only from Israel but from Philistia and Edom, but no details of his campaigns have survived.

After 783 the power of Assyria declined again, and the decline lasted until 745, when the reigning dynasty was overthrown, and an able general, whose name was apparently Pul, gained the throne (cf. 2 Kings 15:19), and took the great name of Tiglath-pileser. He reigned as the fourth king of that name. Tiglath-pileser IV was great both as a warrior and as a statesman. He broke for the time being the power of the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia, conquered parts of Media on the east, and also annexed Babylon to Assyria. Babylon during this later Assyrian period had usually been permitted to retain a king of her own, though the kingdom was of little political importance as compared with Assyria.[Pg 62] Tiglath-pileser made his power dominant in Babylonia at the beginning of his reign, and during the last two years of his life actually reigned there as king. The Babylonian scribes did not recognize his high-sounding name of Tiglath-pileser, but still called him Pul.

In the first year of his reign Tiglath-pileser IV inaugurated a new policy with reference to conquered peoples. This was the policy of transporting to a distant part of his empire the wealthy and influential members of a conquered nation, and of putting similar exiles from other lands in their place. Individuals so transported would be unable longer to foment rebellion against him. It was a brutal policy, but it was a measure designed to build up a permanent empire.

Tiglath-pileser made four expeditions to the west, though the first two touched northern Phœnicia only. In 739, when he made his appearance in Palestine, Menahem, King of Israel, hastened to pay him tribute (2 Kings 15:19). Four years later, however, after Pekah had usurped the throne of Israel, that king formed an alliance with Rezin of Damascus for the purpose of throwing off the Assyrian yoke, and tried to force Ahaz of Judah to join in the enterprise. (See Isa. 7:1, f.) This, Ahaz, supported by the prophet Isaiah, refused to do. In 733-732 Tiglath-pileser came again into the West, overran the territory of the kingdom of Israel, deported the chief inhabitants of Galilee to distant parts of his dominions (2 Kings 15:29, 30), and replaced Pekah, who had been killed, by King Hoshea, who ruled over a greatly diminished territory and upon whom a heavy Assyrian tribute was imposed. Tiglath-pileser then turned eastward and conquered Damascus, which his predecessors since the days of Shalmaneser III had been vainly trying to capture. While the Assyrian monarch was at Damascus, King Ahaz of Judah went thither and became his vassal. (See 2 Kings 16:10, f.) Thus Judah also passed under the Assyrian yoke. (See Part II, p. 366.)

Tiglath-pileser IV was succeeded by Shalmaneser V, 727-722 B. C., and soon after the death of Tiglath-pileser, Hoshea of Israel was persuaded to join several petty rulers of Philistia and Egypt in rebelling against Assyria. In 725 an Assyrian army overran Hoshea’s territory, and laid siege to Samaria. The military position of Samaria and its strong walls made it almost impregnable, and the siege dragged on for three years (2 Kings 17:5). Before the city fell, another king had ascended the throne of Assyria.[Pg 63] He was a usurper, a general, who took the great name of Sargon, and who ruled from 722 to 705 B. C. Samaria succumbed in Sargon’s first year and 27,290 of its inhabitants were deported. The discontent of the west was not at once quieted. Other states remained in rebellion and an Assyrian army finally defeated them at Raphia, southwest of Gaza, in 719 B. C. Sargon then turned his arms in other directions, fighting at various times with the kingdom of Urartu in Armenia, overcoming Carchemish, a Hittite kingdom on the Euphrates in 717 (see Isa. 10:9), and making an expedition into Arabia in 715. In 711 Ashdod revolted and Sargon’s Tartan or chief officer came to put the rebellion down (Isa. 20:1).

At the beginning of Sargon’s reign his arms had been defeated in Babylonia, and Merodachbaladan, a Chaldæan (see 2 Kings 20:12), seized the throne of Babylon and held it from 721 to 709. Then he was defeated and Sargon took over the control of Babylonia. Merodachbaladan, however, escaped to the marsh lands at the head of the Persian Gulf, and survived to make trouble later. In 705 Sargon died and was succeeded by his son, Sennacherib, who ruled from 705 to 681 B. C. At the beginning of his reign troubles broke out in Babylonia, which cannot here be followed in detail. They lasted for years, and none of Sennacherib’s measures gave the country permanent peace. At last Sennacherib became so incensed that he destroyed Babylon. Her buildings were burned and battered down, her walls overthrown, and the Euphrates turned through canals into the land on which she had stood, to make it a marsh. One incident in the series of events which led up to this sad climax was the reappearance in 702 of Merodachbaladan, who seized the throne of Babylon and tried to stir up a rebellion against Assyria. He even sent letters to Hezekiah, King of Judah. (See 2 Kings 20:12.) At the beginning of Sennacherib’s reign a number of the petty kings of Philistia had withheld their tribute. Into this revolt Hezekiah, King of Judah, had been drawn. Busied with other wars, Sennacherib was unable to quell this rebellion until the year 701. In that year his army met the forces of the confederated kingdoms at Elteke in the valley of Aijalon and overcame them. Sennacherib then proceeded to Lachish, where he received the submission of the neighboring kinglets. From Lachish he sent a messenger who summoned Hezekiah of Judah to submit (cf. Isa. 36, 37). Hezekiah obeyed the summons and[Pg 64] paid a heavy tribute. Space does not permit us to speak of the wars of Sennacherib against Elam and other countries.

It would seem that after Tirhakah ascended the throne of Egypt in 688 B. C., he persuaded the kingdoms of Palestine to rebel. The Assyrian came west again and threatened to invade Egypt and to destroy Jerusalem. Isaiah then predicted that Jerusalem would be delivered (Isa. 31:5), a prediction which was fulfilled. Sennacherib’s army was attacked by bubonic plague and was compelled to retire.[15]

Sennacherib was assassinated in 681 and was succeeded by his son, Esarhaddon, who ruled till 668. Esarhaddon rebuilt Babylon, which his father had destroyed, and two years before his death conquered all of Lower Egypt and made it an Assyrian province. During his reign a great horde of Scythians poured into Asia through the Caucasus region from southern Russia. The Assyrian army prevented Assyria from being overwhelmed by this horde. The stream of invaders was divided, one part flowing east to Media, the other part westward to Asia Minor.

Esarhaddon’s son and successor, Ashurbanipal, ruled from 668 to 626. His reign was the Augustan age of Assyria. At the beginning he was called upon to put down a rebellion in Egypt, and as trouble there recurred several times, trouble which was fomented by emissaries from Thebes and Nubia, he finally in 661 pushed up the Nile and conquered Thebes and gave it over to plunder. (See Nahum 3:8.) Space does not permit us to follow Ashurbanipal’s wars. About the middle of his reign his brother, Shamash-shumukin, who was ruling Babylon, rebelled along with many other vassals, and although the rebels were finally put down, the seeds of the decay of Assyria’s power were sown. Manasseh, King of Judah, as long as he lived was a faithful vassal of Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal. (Cf. 2 Kings 19:37; 2 Chron. 33.)

The great work of Ashurbanipal was the collection of his library at Nineveh. He sent to all the old temples of Babylonia and had copies made of their incantations, hymns, and epics. These, together with chronicles, medical tablets, dictionaries, etc., he collected in his palace, where they were found by Layard and Rassam, and form the basis of our knowledge of the Assyrian and Babylonian language, literature, and history. With the death of Ashurbanipal,[Pg 65] the last Assyrian period had really closed. Though the kingdom continued for twenty years more, they were but the years of a lingering death.

(6) The Neo-Babylonian Period.—In 625, the year after Ashurbanipal’s death, Nabopolassar, the viceroy of Babylon, who appears to have been a Chaldæan,[16] gained his independence, and established the Neo-Babylonian, or Chaldæan empire. Nabopolassar himself reigned till 604 B. C. During his reign the power of the city of Babylon gradually extended over all southern Babylonia, and up the Euphrates to Carchemish. During these years Assyria was gradually diminishing in territory. As Assyria had declined, Media, which had long been in greater or less degree subject to Assyria, had become free, and Median kings had little by little gained control of the country toward Assyria. Nabopolassar finally made an alliance with the Median king, and together they overthrew Nineveh in 606 B. C.

In 604 Necho of Egypt marched with an army to the Euphrates, and Nabopolassar sent his son, Nebuchadrezzar II, to meet him. Nebuchadrezzar defeated Necho at the battle of Carchemish, and hotly pursued him toward Egypt. (See Jer. 46.) The pursuit was, however, interrupted by the death of Nabopolassar, and the recall of Nebuchadrezzar to Babylon to be crowned as king. The defeat of Necho had made Judah a Babylonian vassal-state. Nebuchadrezzar ruled until 562 B. C., and raised Babylon to a height of power which rivaled that attained under the great Hammurapi. He also rebuilt the city in great magnificence. The palaces, temples, and walls of this period, unearthed by Koldewey, were most magnificent structures. Owing to rebellions, first of Jehoiakim and then of Zedekiah, kings of Judah, Nebuchadrezzar twice besieged Jerusalem, once in 597, and again in 586 B. C., on both occasions capturing the city. In 586 he destroyed it. (2 Kings 24, 25.) Following the Assyrian practice, which had prevailed since Tiglath-pileser IV, he transported considerable numbers of the more influential people of the city each time he took it. These were settled in Babylonia. One colony of them was stationed near Nippur. Among those who were transported in 597 was a young priest, who afterward became the prophet Ezekiel. The colony with which he came was settled by the Khubur canal near Nippur. (See Ezek.[Pg 66] 1:1.) The young king, Jehoiachin, who was also taken captive at that time, remained in confinement during the rest of Nebuchadrezzar’s reign. He was only released by Amil-Marduk, Nebuchadrezzar’s son, who succeeded his father and reigned two years. (See 2 Kings 25:27-30.)

After Nebuchadrezzar the kingdom of Babylon rapidly declined through four reigns. Meantime, Cyrus, who in 553 had overthrown the kingdom of Media and erected the kingdom of Persia on its ruins, had been gradually extending his realm to the Ægean Sea on the west, and to the borders of India on the east. In 538 B. C. Cyrus captured Babylon and overthrew Nabuna’id.

(7) The Persian Period lasted from 538 to 331 B. C. During this time Babylonia was but a province of the Persian empire, though the Persian kings made it one of their capitals. Cyrus reversed the policy of transportation, which had been practised by the Assyrians and Babylonians for two hundred years, and permitted subject peoples to return to their lands and restore their institutions and worship. He sought to attach them to his government by gratitude instead of fear. It was owing to this policy that the Jewish state was once more established with Jerusalem as its capital, though still a Persian colony. Cambyses extended Persian power to Egypt in 525, and Darius I, 521-485 B. C., extended it to India and into Europe. Under Darius the temple at Jerusalem was rebuilt and the Jews there tried unsuccessfully to regain their independence. This they attempted once more under Artaxerxes III about 350 B. C., but his general, Bagoses, put down their rebellion with great severity. During the Persian period life in Babylonia went on as before. The old gods were worshiped, the old culture was continued, the same language was used, and many business documents written in it have come down to us. The earlier Persian kings employed it for their inscriptions, and in a short time the Persians made from it an alphabet of their own.

(8) The Greek and Parthian Periods.—Alexander the Great overthrew Darius III, the last of the Persian kings, in 331 B. C., when Assyria and Babylonia passed under the sway of the Macedonian. When Alexander returned from his conquest of hither India in 325 B. C., he planned to extend his empire westward to the Atlantic Ocean, and to make Babylon its capital. Plans for the enlargement and beautifying of the city, so as to make it a worthy capital for such an empire, were under way when Alexander suddenly[Pg 67] died in June, 323 B. C. In the final division of the world among Alexander’s successors, Babylonia fell to Seleucus, together with all the territory from the Mediterranean to the borders of India. As Seleucus desired a capital on the Mediterranean, so as to watch more successfully the movements of his rivals, he built Antioch on the Orontes and made it his residence. Babylon was, however, made the capital of the eastern half of the empire, and the king’s son, as viceroy, made it his residence.

Soon after 260 B. C. Bactria and Parthia, in the eastern part of the empire of the Seleucidæ, gained their independence. In course of time Parthia absorbed Bactria and became an empire, which lasted till 230 A. D. About 150 B. C. the Parthians conquered Babylonia, which remained with little interruption under their sway till the establishment of the Sassanian kingdom of the Persians in 220 A. D. Babylonia was under the control of this last dynasty until the coming of the Mohammedans in the year 637 A. D. The old culture of the Babylonians, their religion, language, and writing were maintained well down toward the Christian era. Copies of old Sumerian hymns have been found in Babylonia which bear dates as late as 81 B. C., and business documents in Semitic are numerous.[17]

7. Discoveries Which Illumine the Bible.—Discoveries in Babylonia and Assyria which illumine the Biblical narratives are numerous. The sites of many cities, such as Ur of the Chaldees, Erech, Babylon, Ashur, Nineveh, and Calah, have been excavated. The number of documents which have come to light which in one way or another have a bearing on the Bible is too numerous to mention here. An effort has been made in Part II to translate examples of most of them. Indeed, the greater part of the material in Part II was recovered by excavations in these countries.

To Babylonia and to Egypt mankind owes the working out of the initial problems of civilization, the processes of agriculture, the making of bricks, the working of stone, the manufacture and use of the ordinary implements of life, the development of elementary mathematics and astronomy, etc. These problems were by slow processes independently worked out in each country through long ages. The higher spiritual concepts which have now become the heritage of man neither Babylonia nor Egypt was fitted to contribute. These came through the agency of other peoples.



[Pg 68]



A Forgotten Empire. Hittite Monuments: Sendjirli. Boghaz Koi. Other recent excavations. Hittite Decipherment: Sayce’s early work. Peiser. Jensen. Conder. Sayce’s later work. Thompson. Delitzsch. Hittite History: First appearance. Hyksos possibly Hittites. The Mitanni. Kingdom of “Hittite City.” Carchemish. Samal and Yadi. Hamath.


1. A Forgotten Empire.—Among the peoples who are said to have been in Palestine in the Patriarchal age are the Hittites (Gen. 23:10; 26:34, etc.). They are mentioned most often in the list of peoples whom the Israelites drove out of the country when they conquered it: “the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite,” and the man is still living who first suspected that anything more than this could be known of them. This man was Prof. Sayce, of Oxford. In the inscriptions of the Egyptian kings of the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties there is frequent mention of a people called Kheta. In the inscriptions of Assyrian kings there is also frequent mention of a people called Kha-at-tu. Slowly, too, during the nineteenth century rock-carvings, often accompanied by inscriptions in a peculiar hieroglyph, were found scattered through northern Syria and Asia Minor. The figures of gods and men on these carvings usually wore caps of a peculiarly pointed type and shoes turned far up at the toe. In 1876 it dawned upon Prof. Sayce that these were all references to the Biblical Hittites. He proceeded to elaborate this view in two articles published in the Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archæology, Vols. V and VII.

About the same time the Rev. William Wright independently started the same idea, and gave it expression in his book, The Empire of the Hittites, 1884, 2d ed., 1885. At this period it was impossible to discern more than that there had been a widely scattered Hittite civilization, which might have been an empire.

2. Hittite Monuments.—This civilization, it was seen, had left its monuments at Hamath in Syria, at Carchemish on the Euphrates, at various points in ancient Cappadocia, Lycaonia, and Phrygia,[Pg 69] as well as near Smyrna in Asia Minor and on the Lydian mountains to the west of Sardis. In 1891 Prof. W. Max Müller, of Philadelphia, reached the conclusion from a study of the Egyptian inscriptions that the Hittites had come into Syria from the northwest, and that their main strength was in Asia Minor. Among the letters found at El-Amarna in Egypt in 1887-1888 were some from Dushratta, a king of Mitanni. A study of these made it clear that the Mitanni inhabited the region on both sides of the Euphrates north of Carchemish, and that they were of the same stock as the Hittites. Our sources of information indicate that the territory of the Mitanni lay east of the Euphrates, but scattered monuments of the Hittite type are found on the west of that river.

(1) Sendjirli.—From 1888 to 1891 a German expedition excavated at Sendjirli, near the head-waters of the Kara Su in northern Syria, and brought to light most interesting remains of a civilization that was fundamentally Hittite. Inscriptions found here dated in the reigns of Tiglath-pileser IV and Esarhaddon were in Aramaic. By this time there had been an influx of Aramæans, but the art shows that Hittites held the place at an earlier time, and there is reason to believe that one of the kings mentioned here had, about 850 B. C., joined in a Hittite federation.

(2) Boghaz Koi.—Among the monuments known to Prof. Sayce at the beginning of his brilliant studies of the Hittites, were some from Boghaz Koi, in Asia Minor. Different travelers had noted that here must have been a somewhat extensive city, adorned with several large buildings, all of which were ornamented with carvings of the peculiar Hittite type. In 1906 the late Prof. Winckler, of Berlin, excavating here in connection with the authorities of the Turkish Museum at Constantinople, discovered an archive of clay tablets inscribed in Babylonian characters. A group of similar tablets from Cappadocia had been previously purchased by the British Museum. Winckler’s discovery was important because he found some of the tablets inscribed in Hittite written in cuneiform characters. Of those written in the Babylonian language, one contained a copy of the great treaty between Hattusil, a Hittite king, and Ramses II of Egypt. There were also tablets containing Sumerian and Semitic equivalents of Hittite words. Owing to the long illness of Winckler which followed these discoveries, an illness that terminated in death, the results of this discovery are only now being given to the world.

[Pg 70]In 1907 Winckler and Puchstein, in conjunction with Makridy Bey of the Turkish Museum, made a thorough examination of the remains of walls and buildings at Boghaz Koi. The results have since been published in a handsome volume entitled Boghaskoi, die Bauwerke, Leipzig, 1912; (see Figs. 23 and 25).

(3) Other Recent Excavations.—An American expedition consisting of Drs. Olmstead, Charles, and Wrench, of Cornell University, explored in Asia Minor in 1907-1908. The members of this expedition collated all the known monuments of the Hittites, but so far only their collation of the inscriptions has been published.

The Institute of Archæology of the University of Liverpool has also sent one or more expeditions to explore the Hittite country. In 1910 they excavated to some extent at Sakje-Geuze, not far from Sendjirli, but their results are not yet published.

Since 1911 the trustees of the British Museum have had an excavation in progress at the site of ancient Carchemish on the Euphrates. Here most important Hittite remains have been discovered, though again the details of the work have not been given to the public. The expedition has also made some minor excavations at several points in the neighborhood, and find that Hittite remains are numerous in that region. In addition to these places, Hittite remains have been observed at Yaila, Marash, Giaour-Kalesi, Karaburna, Kizil Dagh, Fraktin, Ivriz, Kara-Bel, Mount Sypilus, Tashji, Asarjik, Bulghar-Maden, Gurun, and Kara Dagh. One who will look up these places on a map of modern Turkey will see that Hittite monuments are distributed from near the shores of the Ægean Sea to the Euphrates at Carchemish and to Hamath in Syria. (For addition to this section, see Appendix.)

3. Hittite Decipherment.

(1) Sayce’s Early Work.—Prof. Sayce, whose insight first grasped the significance of the Hittite monuments, was also the first to attempt the solution of the riddle which the inscriptions present. In 1880 he thought he had found a key to the writing, such as the Rosetta Stone had been to Egyptian, in the so-called “Boss of Tarkondemos”; (see Fig. 26). This “boss” consisted of a round silver plate, in form like half an orange, which must have covered the knob of a staff or dagger. This had been described by Dr. A. D. Mordtmann, in the Journal of the German Oriental Society in 1872. The original was then in the possession of Alexander Jovanoff, a numismatist of Constantinople, who had obtained it at[Pg 71] Smyrna. The “boss” bore in its center a figure of the peculiar Hittite form, flanked on both sides by writing in the Hittite characters, while around the whole was an inscription in the cuneiform writing of Assyria. From this Sayce tentatively determined the values of a number of Hittite signs. The results were, however, attended with considerable uncertainty, since the Assyrian characters were capable of being read in more than one way. Using the key thus obtained, Sayce enlarged his list of supposed sign-values and in 1884 and 1885 published as known the values of thirty-two Hittite signs. In the years that followed Ball and Menant took up the discussion of the Hittite signs, but with no decisive result.

In 1889 Winckler and Abel published in one of the volumes of the Royal Museum at Berlin the first instalment of the text of the El-Amarna letters, in which there were two from Dushratta, King of Mitanni, in the native language of that country, though written in Babylonian characters. In the following year, 1890, Profs. Jensen, Brünnow, and Sayce all published in the Zeitschrift für Assyriologie studies of this language, Sayce even venturing a translation of a part of the text. Each of these scholars had worked independently of the others, but none of them seems to have suspected that the language had anything to do with Hittite.

(2) Peiser.—In 1892 Dr. Peiser, then of Breslau University, published his book on the Hittite inscriptions, in which he essayed another method of decipherment. Layard had found four Hittite seals in the palace of Sennacherib at Nineveh. Peiser inferred that these must be seals of four Hittite kings mentioned in the inscriptions of that time, and proceeded to assign each seal to the name of a known Hittite king, and interpret the signs on the seal by the name of that king as spelled out in the cuneiform characters of the Assyrian inscriptions. Having obtained in this way tentative values for several signs, he proceeded by inference to guess at other signs, and so tentatively read some inscriptions.

(3) Jensen.—Prof. Jensen, of Marburg, wrote in that same year an unfavorable review of Peiser’s work. When reading the proofs of his review he added a postscript to say that he believed he had himself discovered the key to Hittite. Two years later, 1894, he published in the Journal of the German Oriental Society his method of solving the problem. Jensen’s starting-point was gained from inscriptions from Jerabis, the site of ancient Carchemish,[Pg 72] Hamath, and other places. He inferred that a certain sign was the determinative for city, and that the names preceding this sign were names of places. Gaining in this way some values for signs, he read the names of some kings. He found that these names had nominatives ending in s and accusative cases ending in m; he accordingly leaped to the conclusion that the Hittite language was a member of the Indo-European group of languages, as this is the only known group of tongues in which this phenomenon occurs. This inference later research has in part confirmed. Jensen, however, went further and endeavored to show that the Hittites were the ancestors of the Armenians of later time. This theory led to the publication in 1898 of his book, Hittiter und Armenier. Of the correctness of this view he has not been able to convince other scholars. By this time Jensen and others had begun to see that the Mitannians and the Hittites were kindred peoples and worshiped the same gods. It is now recognized that Jensen correctly ascertained the value of some signs, though many of his guesses, like those of his predecessors, have proved incorrect.

(4) Conder.—In 1898 Lieut.-Col. C. R. Conder published The Hittites and Their Language, a work in which he presented still another decipherment of the inscriptions. Conder’s decipherment was based on a comparison of the Hittite characters with the Sumerian pictographs on the one hand and the syllabary which was used by Greeks in Cyprus, Caria, and Lydia on the other. He assumed that if a picture had in Sumerian a certain syllabic value, and if the Cypriotic syllabary presented a character somewhat resembling it which had a similar value, the Hittite character which most closely resembled these must have the same value, since the Hittites lived between the two peoples who used the other syllabaries. This system of decipherment has attracted no adherents because it is based on a fallacious inference. It does not follow because a nation lives between two other nations, that its institutions are kindred to those of its neighbors. One could not explain writings of the Indian tribes of Arizona, for example, by comparing them with books printed in English in St. Louis and in Spanish in Los Angeles! In 1899 Messerschmidt, who was collecting in one body all the known Hittite inscriptions for publication, published a study of the language of Mitanni,[18] which advanced our knowledge of the language of the letters of Dushratta.[Pg 73] Messerschmidt’s later publication of the Hittite inscriptions[19] made it far easier for scholars to study the subject.

(5) Sayce’s Later Work.—Stimulated by Jensen’s efforts, Prof. Sayce returned to the study of Hittite in 1903, and published in the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archæology of that year (Vol. XXV) a new decipherment. He followed Jensen’s method, accepting a number of Jensen’s readings as proved, and with the originality and daring that characterize so much of his work, launched many new readings. Some of these have commended themselves to his successors.

In 1909 Ferdinand Bork returned to the problem of the language of Mitanni, and published a pretty complete decipherment of the Mitannian tablets in the El-Amarna letters. In 1911 Dr. B. B. Charles, the philologist of the Cornell expedition to Asia Minor, published as Part II of Volume I of Travels and Studies in the Nearer East, which is to embody the results of the Cornell expedition, his collation of the Hittite inscriptions. This publication added some new texts to those previously known. In 1912 Prof. Clay, of Yale, rendered the subject of Hittiteology a distinct service by including in his volume of Personal Names from Cuneiform Inscriptions of the Cassite Period a list of Hittite and Mitannian proper names, and a list of the nominal and verbal elements which enter into the composition of such names.

(6) Thompson.—The latest attempt on a large scale to unravel the mystery of the Hittite inscriptions is that of R. Campbell Thompson, “A New Decipherment of the Hittite Hieroglyphs,” published in Archæologia, second series, Vol. XIV, Oxford, 1913. Mr. Thompson was a member of the British expedition which excavated Carchemish, and gained the idea which gave him the starting-point for his decipherment from an inscription excavated by that expedition. This inscription contained many proper names, and, after passing it and looking at it every day for a long time, it occurred to Mr. Thompson that a certain elaborate sign which frequently occurred in it might be a part of the name of the Hittite King Sangar, who is frequently mentioned by Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmeneser III of Assyria. In seeking proof for this Mr. Thompson was led into a study of the texts which resulted in a new interpretation of the Hittite signs. His work is logical at every point, he makes no inference without first examining all the occurrences[Pg 74] in the known texts of the group of signs in question, and he tests his inferences wherever possible by the known results of a study of Mitannian and cuneiform Hittite. It is too soon to pronounce a final verdict, but it looks as though Thompson had materially advanced the decipherment of Hittite.

(7) Delitzsch.—After the death of Prof. Winckler, the cuneiform tablets which he had discovered at Boghaz Koi were turned over to Ernst Weidner for publication. That publication is soon to appear, but Prof. Friedrich Delitzsch, under whose general direction Weidner is working, published in May, 1914, a study based on twenty-six fragments of lexicographical texts which are to appear in Weidner’s work. These texts defined Hittite words in Sumerian and in Assyrian. Although the texts are very fragmentary, Prof. Delitzsch has been able to gain in this way a vocabulary of about 165 Hittite words, the meanings of most of which are known, and to ascertain some facts about the grammar of Hittite.

We are, it would seem, just on the eve of a complete mastery of the secrets of the Hittite inscriptions. The more our knowledge of the Hittites grows, the less simple seems the problem of their racial affinities. Some features of their speech clearly resemble features of the Indo-European family of languages, but other features would seem to denote Tartar affinities. In a number of instances the influence of the Assyrian language can clearly be traced. The same confusion presents itself when we study the pictures of Hittites as they appear in Egyptian reliefs. Two distinct types of face are there portrayed. One type has high cheek bones, oblique eyes, and wears a pigtail, like the peoples of Mongolia and China; the other has a clean-cut head and face which resemble somewhat the early Greeks. These may well have been Aryans. That there was a strain in the Hittite composition that came from Turkestan or that came through that country is also indicated by the fact that the Hittites were the first of the peoples of western Asia to use the horse. Evidence of the use of the horse as a domestic animal by the people of Turkestan at an early date was brought to light by the excavations of Prof. Pumpelly[20] in that land, so that the presence of horses among the Hittites naturally suggests some connection with that region. Among the Hittite allies Semitic Amorites are also pictured. These have receding foreheads and projecting beards.

[Pg 75]4. Hittite History.

(1) First Appearance.—The earliest reference to the Hittites which we have in any written record occurs in a Babylonian chronicle, which states that “against Shamsu-ditana the men of the country Khattu marched.”[21] Shamsu-ditana was the last king of the first dynasty of Babylon. His reign terminated in 1924 B. C. Khattu land, as will appear further on, was the name later given to the Hittite settlement in Cappadocia. One would naturally suppose that the name would have the same significance here, but of this we cannot be certain. The tablet on which this chronicle was written was inscribed in the Persian or late Babylonian period, but there is evidence that it was copied from an earlier original. If its statement is true, the Hittites had made their appearance in history and were prepared to mingle in that mêlée of the races which occurred when the first dynasty of Babylon was overthrown. Nothing is said in the chronicle as to the location of the land of Khattu, but there can be no doubt that the Hittites approached Babylonia from the northwest. Their seat must have been in the region where we later find the Hittites, or Mitanni. At what period the Hittites came into this region we can only conjecture. The excavations at Sakje-Geuze reveal a civilization there extending back to about 3000 B. C., which resembled that found at Susa in Elam belonging to the same period. This civilization may not have been Hittite in its beginnings. Mr. Woolley, a member of the British expedition which has excavated at Carchemish, in a study of the objects found in tombs at Carchemish and at other places near by, thinks it possible that the coming of the Hittites is marked by a transition period in the art—a period the termination of which he marks by the date of the fall of the first dynasty of Babylon. It may well be that Indo-Europeans followed by Mongols came about 2100 or 2000 into this region, or that the Mongols were there earlier and that the Indo-Europeans then came. In the resultant civilization it would seem, from the information that we have, that there was a mingling of the two races; (see Fig. 24).

(2) Hyksos Possibly Hittites.—Since the Hittites were able to help overthrow the first dynasty of Babylon, some scholars have recognized the possibility that those invaders of Egypt who established the dynasties called Hyksos may have been Hittites, or may have been led by Hittites. There is much evidence that many[Pg 76] Semites entered Egypt at that time, but as Syria and Palestine were peopled with Semites earlier than this, such an invasion would naturally have had many Semites among its camp followers, if not in its armies, even if the leaders were Hittites. At present, however, this is but a possibility. Some slight evidence in favor of the possibility may be found in the name of the king of Jerusalem who was a vassal of Amenophis IV, and who wrote the letters from Jerusalem which are in the El-Amarna collection. (See Part II, p. 345, ff.) His name was Abdi-Hepa, and Hepa was a Hittite and Mitannian deity. Abdi-Hepa had grown up a trusted subject of the Egyptians. His ancestors must, therefore, have been in Palestine for some time. A settlement of Hittites there in the Hyksos days would account for this. The twenty-third chapter of Genesis represents the city of Hebron as in the possession of the Hittites when Abraham purchased the cave of Machpelah as a place of burial for his dead, and, though many scholars regard Genesis 23, which gives this account, as a late composition, its representation would receive some confirmation from archæology, if the Hyksos were Hittites.

There is a possibility that the Hittites were in southern Palestine earlier than this. Brugsch[22] thought that he found in an inscription in the Louvre, written by an officer of Amenemhet I, King of Egypt, 2000-1970 B. C., a statement that this officer had destroyed the palaces of the Hittites near the Egyptian frontier of Palestine. This reading is still defended by Prof. Sayce,[23] though other Egyptologists, such as W. Max Müller[24] and Breasted,[25] claim that the word that was thought to be Hittites is not a proper name, but a common noun meaning nomads. The text of the passage is uncertain, and no important inference can in any case be made from it.

During the period when we obtain glimpses of the history of the Hittites, they were never united in one empire. Different kingdoms flourished here and there, such as that of the Mitanni in Mesopotamia, the Hittites at Boghaz Koi, the kingdoms of Carchemish, of Hamath, and Tyana. These flourished at different times all the way from 1400 to 700 B. C., and there were doubtless other kingdoms also, for the Hittite sculptures near Smyrna and[Pg 77] Manissia cannot have been made by any of these, unless possibly the great Hittite kingdom at Boghaz Koi may once have extended its power to the Ægean.

(3) The Mitanni.—The earliest of these kingdoms which we can trace is that of the Mitanni. When Thothmes III of Egypt extended his conquests to the Euphrates in 1468 B. C., he came into contact with the Mitanni. The king of the country is not named, but it was claimed that her chiefs hid themselves in caves.[26] There is some reason for believing that their chief city was at Haran[27] in Mesopotamia, the city where Abraham sojourned for a time (Gen. 11:31; 12:4). If this be true, it gives a new meaning to Ezek. 16:3: “The Amorite was thy father and thy mother was a Hittite.” Thothmes evidently touched the kingdom of Mitanni on its western border. He did not penetrate its heart or overcome its king. Although he took tribute, he does not tell us the name of the king of the Mitanni whose armies he fought.

Half a century later the king of the Mitanni was Artatama I. He was a contemporary of Thothmes IV of Egypt, who ruled 1420-1411 B. C. Perhaps it was their mutual fear of the rising power of the Hittite kingdom at Boghaz Koi that led Artatama and Thothmes IV to form an alliance. At all events, such an alliance was made, and Thothmes married a daughter of Artatama, though Artatama’s grandson says that the Egyptian king sent his request for her hand seven times before Artatama yielded to his solicitations. Artatama I was succeeded by Shutarna I, whose reign overlapped a part of that of Amenophis III of Egypt, 1411-1375 B. C. Among the queens of Amenophis III was a daughter of Shutarna I. Before the reign of Amenophis III had ended Shutarna I had been succeeded by Dushratta, who continued the friendly relations with Egypt. Dushratta’s reign also overlapped in part that of Amenophis IV of Egypt, 1375-1357 B. C., and Dushratta wrote several letters to both of these Egyptian kings. It is from these letters that we gain most of our information about Mitanni.

Meanwhile the great kingdom of the Hittites at Boghaz Koi had entered upon its era of expansion under Subbiluliuma, who pushed his conquests first eastward and then southward. Dushratta feared to meet the Hittite in battle and retired to the eastward, allowing much of his country to be overrun. This land Subbiluliuma gave[Pg 78] to one of his allies, and Dushratta was murdered soon afterward by his son, Sutatarra, who usurped the crown. Soon after this the Assyrians invaded the lands of the Mitanni from the east, and the land, already distracted by its internal divisions, was thrown into a worse confusion. At this juncture Subbiluliuma crossed the Euphrates again and entered Mitannian territory. He was accompanied by settlers who brought cattle, sheep, and horses to remain in the country. Advised by an oracle, he deposed Sutatarra and placed upon the throne Mattiuaza, a son of Dushratta, who had been heir-apparent and who had fled when his father was murdered. To Mattiuaza Subbiluliuma gave his daughter in marriage, and Mitanni became a vassal state of the Hittite realm. After this our sources tell us no more of its history.

Near the Mitanni were the Harri, who were probably of the same race, for in the time of Subbiluliuma they were ruled first by Artatama II, a brother of Dushratta, and then by Sutarna II. This state also became a part of Subbiluliuma’s kingdom.

(4) Kingdom of “Hittite City.”—The wave of migration from the northeast which brought the Mitanni into upper Mesopotamia had swept on westward into Cappadocia, where the greatest Hittite state afterward developed. The monuments erected by the Hittites were nearly all of a religious character. In the earlier time they wrote few historical inscriptions. Such inscriptions as we have in Hittite hieroglyphs seem to come from the later periods and to record alliances. It is probable that in the development of the Hittite state in Cappadocia first one city and then another had the upper hand. The Hittite monuments at Eyuk are of a more primitive character than those at Boghaz Koi, and it is natural to suppose that a Hittite state flourished here before the rise of the one at Boghaz Koi. Be that as it may, the most powerful Hittite monarchy of which we know arose at Boghaz Koi, which they called “Hittite City.” This monarchy emerged about 1400 B. C. Its first king was Hattusil I, of whom we know no more than that he was the founder of the great dynasty which ruled from the “Hittite City” for two hundred years.

The king who laid the foundations of the greatness of this dynasty was Subbiluliuma, the next king, whose conquests over the Mitanni and Harri we have already traced. He conquered also a number of neighboring states, and compelled them to sign with him treaties of alliance which made them his vassals. Chronicles of these events[Pg 79] were discovered by Winckler among the clay tablets found at Boghaz Koi. Subbiluliuma also turned his armies southward and conquered Syria down to the confines of Palestine. These conquests were in progress when some of the El-Amarna letters, written to Amenophis IV of Egypt and translated in Part II, p. 344, ff., were written. Here he pursued the same policy that he had pursued in Mesopotamia, and compelled the conquered countries to enter into treaties with him, which subjugated them to his will. Among the kings so treated was the Amorite King Aziru, who at that time ruled Amorites living in the southern part of the valley between the Lebanon mountain ranges and in the region afterward occupied by the tribe of Asher. They also held some of the southern Phœnician cities. This represents the most southerly extension of Subbiluliuma’s power.

Whether Subbiluliuma also extended his conquests to the west of Asia Minor, we have no means of knowing. Some scholars suppose that he had done so before he began the conquest of Mitanni. Certain it is that Hittite rock sculptures of gigantic size exist in the mountains near Smyrna and Manissia, to the west of Sardis. These sculptures represent the great Hittite goddess. Near Smyrna there are also the remains of great buildings. We know of no Hittite monarch who would be so likely to have carried Hittite power to these parts as Subbiluliuma. If he did so, possibly in later time the Hittites here became independent. At all events, some centuries later they were known to Ionian Greeks in this region, for Homer’s Odyssey, Book XI, line 521, records the tradition that some Hittites were killed with Eurypylos.

When Subbiluliuma died he was succeeded by his son, Arandas, whose occupation of the throne was brief, and who seems to have been without effective power. After a short time he was replaced by his brother, Mursil, who appears to have enjoyed a long reign. Subbiluliuma, called by the Egyptians Seplel, was reigning when Amenophis IV of Egypt came to the throne in 1375 B. C., for he sent an embassy to congratulate him, and Mursil appears to have reigned until after the year 1320 B. C. The two reigns, therefore, covered more than half a century. The first years of Mursil’s reign were apparently passed in peace, but soon after 1320 Shalmeneser I invaded the countries in the eastern part of the Hittite confederacy, conquering all the territory east of the Euphrates, and a considerable territory to the west of that river. Meantime, Mursil[Pg 80] had renewed the treaty with the Amorites of Syria, whose king at this time was Abbi-Teshub, or Abi-Adda. Ere long, however, trouble arose for him on his southern border. Seti I of Egypt came to the throne in 1313 B. C., and began a series of vigorous campaigns for the conquest of Palestine. In time he came face to face with the Hittite power in Syria.

At this juncture Mursil died and was succeeded by his son, Mutallu, who soon met Seti I in battle and convinced that monarch that it was unwise to attempt to extend Egypt’s empire in Asia to the Euphrates, as Thothmes III had done. Owing to internal troubles in Assyria the eastern border of the Hittite realm was left undisturbed for a considerable time, during which Mutallu could devote himself to other matters. In 1292 B. C. Ramses II succeeded Seti I as king of Egypt and soon began vigorously to push Egyptian conquests into northern Syria. Mutallu recognized the importance of the struggle and collected a large army from all his allies. These forces were drawn from all parts of Asia Minor; even the countries of the extreme west contributed their quota. Aleppo and states in that region also contributed their share. A great battle was fought at Kadesh on the Orontes in 1287 B. C., in which Mutallu, by surprising his foe, disorganized a part of the Egyptian forces and endangered the life of Ramses himself. By the opportune arrival of reinforcements the Egyptians escaped entire defeat, so that the result was a drawn battle.

The battle had, however, cost the Hittites much. The slaughter of their forces had been enormous. Among the slain were many chieftains, including the king of Aleppo. The Amorites at once threw off their allegiance to the Hittites, and many of the other troops mutinied. Mutallu was assassinated. He was succeeded by Hattusil II, the Khetasar of the Egyptian inscriptions.

Assyria had become weak, so that Hattusil was no longer pressed upon his eastern border. After a little he reduced the Amorites once more to submission, and compelled them to take back their king, Put-akhi, whom they had driven out at the time of their rebellion against Mutallu. He gave Put-akhi a Hittite princess for a wife. Later, about 1271 B. C., Hattusil concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with Ramses II of Egypt. The treaty which guaranteed this alliance has come down to us, and is the first international treaty the details of which are known to us. (See Chapter I, p. 30.)

[Pg 81]Hattusil II must have enjoyed a long reign, but we do not know the date of his death. He had two successors, Dudkhalia and Arnuanta, whose reigns are known to us, and who continued the sway of the dynasty down to about 1200 B. C. They were respectively the son and grandson of Hattusil II. An edict of Dudkhalia concerning the vassal states has survived, in which the name of Eni-Teshub, King of Carchemish, appears. Carchemish would seem to have been the chief of the allied states. Of Arnuanta we have no details, though two fragments of royal edicts and a seal of his have come down to us. He was called “the great king, the son of Dudkhalia.” After him our sources fail, and the story ends in darkness. We know, however, that the days of the power of this dynasty were over. Egyptian sources tell us that tribes from western Asia Minor and from beyond the sea swept over Cilicia and northern Syria soon after the year 1200 B. C., and there was then no Hittite power there to restrain them.

(5) Carchemish.—Of the other Hittite kingdoms far less is known. Carchemish, which, as we have just seen, played an important part in the federation of the great Hittite power, continued its existence for several centuries. In the time of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmeneser III the kingdom of Carchemish entered into alliance with these kings and preserved its existence by becoming their vassal. Judging from the meager reports hitherto published of the British excavation at Carchemish, this was a flourishing period in the history of the city. A hundred years later, in the reign of Sargon, Pisiris, who was then king of Carchemish, defied the Assyrian, who brought the kingdom to an end in 717 B. C. (Cf. Isa. 10:9.)

(6) Samal and Yadi.—When the Aramæans swept westward about 1300 B. C. they apparently dislodged the Hittites from a number of their sites and occupied their country. Among the places so occupied was the site of Sendjirli mentioned above. All the carvings found among its architectural remains reveal the influence of Hittite art, but the inscriptions found there are in Aramaic. These inscriptions show that there were in that region two petty kingdoms named, respectively, Samal and Yadi. The names of several kings of these monarchies who ruled between 850 and 730 B. C. have been recovered. They are all Aramæan.

(7) Hamath.—Farther to the south, at Hamath on the Orontes, a Hittite kingdom existed in the time of David. Its king was then called Toi or Tou, who made an alliance with David (2 Sam. 8:9, f;[Pg 82] 1 Chron. 18:9, f.). This kingdom was probably the outgrowth of the earlier occupation of the Orontes valley, three hundred years before, by the Hittites of the great empire. It continued until the time of Ahab. Its king was then Irhulina, who along with Ahab, Ben-Hadad of Damascus, and several other kings made an alliance to resist the encroachments of Shalmaneser III of Assyria in 854 B. C. (See Part II, p. 360, ff.) Irhulina caused several inscriptions to be made on stone, which survived at Hamath until our time. According to Mr. Thompson’s interpretation of them they are all records of his various alliances. By the next century, however, the Aramæans had captured Hamath, for in the reigns of Tiglath-pileser IV (745-727) and of Sargon (722-705 B. C.) the names of its kings were Semitic. These names were, respectively, Enu-ilu and Yau-bidi, or Ilu-bidi.

We gain glimpses also of a number of other Hittite states. There was, for example, the state of Kummukh, which lay to the west of the Euphrates, and another in western Cilicia, that had its center at Tyana, the modern Bor. These states appear to have reached their zenith after the fall of the great Hittite dynasty which had its capital at Boghaz Koi. Doubtless as time goes on we shall learn of the existence of many other small Hittite kingdoms which flourished at one time or another. At some time, either when the Hyksos were making their way into Egypt or when Subbiluliuma was pushing southward into Syria, the Hittites mentioned in the Old Testament must have made some small settlements in Palestine. Here the Hebrews came into contact with them. They were really an unimportant outlying fringe of the great Hittite people, but they had the good fortune to have their names preserved in the most immortal literature in the world, the Bible, and so their memory was ever kept alive, while that of their more illustrious kinsmen was utterly forgotten. It is only archæological research that has restored something of the original perspective.



[Pg 83]



The Land: Rainfall. Early Exploration: Place names. Early American Explorations: Robinson and Smith. Lynch. American exploration societies. Palestine Exploration Fund: Warren’s excavations at Jerusalem. The survey of Palestine. Exploration of Lachish. Bliss’s excavation at Jerusalem. Excavation at Azekah. At Tell es-Safi (Gath?). Tell el-Judeideh. At Marash (Moresheth-Gath). Gezer. Beth-shemesh. Exploring the Wilderness of Zin. The German Palestine Society: Guthe’s excavation at Jerusalem. Megiddo. Taanach. Capernaum. Jericho. The American School at Jerusalem. Samaria. Parker’s Excavations at Jerusalem. Latest Excavations.


1. The Land.—Palestine is a very different land from either Egypt or Mesopotamia. They are made by the irrigation of rivers. Palestine is fertilized by rain from heaven. In them the scenery is monotonous; they are river valleys each of which was once in part an arm of the sea, but now filled up by the gradual deposit of mud. Palestine was formed in one of the greatest geological upheavals the earth ever experienced. This was nothing less than a great rift in the earth’s crust extending from the Lebanon mountains to the Indian Ocean. The strata on the west side of this rift slipped downward past those on its east side for a mile or more. Those on the west were bent at different points in this long course in different ways, but the result of the rift itself was to form the Jordan valley and the bed of the Dead Sea, the valley which runs from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Akaba, and that deep rift between Asia and Africa which forms the Red Sea itself.

In Palestine the strata on the west of this rift bent up into two parallel ridges, to the west of which a narrow plain of varying width, ancient Philistia, rises from the sea. To the east of this rift the land remained at approximately its old level. The various ridges of the country are, on account of the birth-pangs of their origin, intersected with valleys innumerable, so that in no country of the world can such variety of scenery and climate be found within such narrow limits.

Rainfall.—This land, with all its variety of form, is redeemed from the desert by the moisture which the west winds drive in[Pg 84] from the Mediterranean Sea. These winds in the winter months bring clouds, which, when they come into contact with the colder air over the elevated hills, deposit their moisture in rain. The Jordan valley is so warm that little rain falls upon it, but it drains the water from the rainfall on both sides of it. Just so far back as the clouds reach before their moisture is exhausted, just so far the fertile land extends; beyond that is the Arabian Desert. When the rainfall during a winter is good, bountiful crops are raised the following season; when it is scant, the harvest fails and famine follows. In Egypt and Babylonia a man could water his garden by kicking a hole in a dyke; they were lands which were watered “with thy foot” (Deut. 11:10); Palestine was dependent on heaven for its life, and we cannot doubt that this fact was one of the instruments for the training of the Israelites for their great religious mission. In a land of such variety—a land in which for nine months in the year snow-capped Hermon may be seen from many an elevated point and from the whole stretch of the tropical Jordan valley, where oleanders are blooming and mustard seeds are growing into trees—it was possible to think of God in a way that was at least more difficult in Egypt or in Mesopotamia.

Here in this marvelous land, which formed a bridge between the two oldest civilizations of the world, the men lived to whom God committed the task of writing most of the Bible. This was the earthly home of the Son of God.

Even before the Hebrews came into it, many had crossed this bridge and some had paused long upon it. Living here they had left the remains of their homes, their cities, and their civilizations. Archæology is now recovering these. After the time of Christ various races and civilizations continued to pass over the bridge. Their remains buried those left by earlier men. The story of the recovery of these earlier remains is, accordingly, not only of great interest, but often of great value to the reader of the Bible.

2. Early Exploration.—The misfortunes which overtook Judæa in the years 70 and 132-135 A. D., in consequence of the Jewish rebellions against Rome, led to the paganizing of Jerusalem and the expulsion of the Jews from Judæa. At this period Christianity was a struggling and a persecuted religion, too busy working its way to take an active interest in the land of its birth. When Constantine early in the fourth century made Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire, all this was changed. Both Constantine and[Pg 85] his mother, Helena, took the deepest interest in identifying the holy places in Jerusalem, and a stream of pilgrims began at once to visit the land. The earliest of these to leave us an account of his travels was a pilgrim from Bordeaux who visited Palestine in 333 A. D. As he was anxious to see the principal places hallowed by the bodily presence of Christ and the heroes of Scripture, he visited places in different parts of the country. He was followed by many others. The stream has been almost continuous down to the present time. As the aim of these travelers was devotional and they possessed little scholarly training or critical faculty, their works are of secondary value to the modern student. They did, however, prevent that loss of knowledge of the country to which Babylonia was subjected for so many centuries.

Place Names.—At the very beginning of this period Eusebius of Cæsarea, a contemporary of Constantine, compiled a list of the place names of Palestine which are mentioned in the Bible. The names were arranged in alphabetical order, the events for which the places are celebrated were given, in many instances identifications with places existing in the fourth century were proposed, and the distances from other well-known places mentioned. In the next century this work was translated into Latin by Jerome, who lived many years at Bethlehem and traveled extensively in Palestine, and who died in 420 A. D. It is called the Onomasticon.

3. Early American Explorations.—As the reader approaches modern times he finds the works of some of the pilgrims assuming a more scientific character. To some extent, too, these works were supplemented by those of travelers like Châteaubriand,[28] Burckhardt,[29] and Lamartine.[30]

(1) Robinson and Smith.—The scientific study of the localities and antiquities of Palestine was, however, begun by an American, the late Prof. Edward Robinson, of Union Seminary, New York. Robinson was fully equipped with Biblical knowledge, and was thoroughly familiar with Josephus and other works bearing on his subject. He possessed the critical faculty in a high degree, and combined with it a keen constructive faculty. In 1838 and again in 1852 he traveled through Palestine with Eli Smith, a missionary. They were equipped with compass, telescope, thermometer, and[Pg 86] measuring tape. His knowledge of history enabled Robinson to look beneath many traditions. With keen penetration he discerned under the guise of many a modern Arabic name the form of a Biblical original, and accomplished more for the scientific study of Biblical Palestine than any of his predecessors. As he traveled he also noted and briefly described such remains of antiquity as could be seen above ground. The results of Robinson’s first journey were embodied in his Biblical Researches, New York, 1841. In the second edition, London, 1856, the results of the second journey were embodied, and the number of volumes increased to three. The impetus given to the exploration of Palestine by the labors of Robinson was continued by Tobler, Guérin, Renan, and many others.[31]

(2) Lynch.—Meantime, another American, Lieut. W. F. Lynch, of the United States Navy, rendered an important service by the exploration in 1848 of the Dead Sea. In April and May of that year about three weeks were spent in exploring that body of water. Lieut. Lynch was accompanied by Dr. Anderson, a geologist. The party traversed the sea back and forth in two metal boats that had been launched on the Sea of Galilee and floated down the Jordan. The fact that the Jordan valley is lower than the level of the sea had never been recognized until 1837, and, until the visit of Lynch and Anderson, the depth of the depression was only a matter of conjecture. By this expedition it was scientifically determined that the surface of the Dead Sea is 1,300 feet lower than that of the Mediterranean.[32]

(3) American Exploration Societies.—The work of American exploration was later continued by the American Exploration Society, founded in 1870. Under its auspices, Rev. John A. Paine, of Tarrytown, New York, visited the Holy Land. One of the results of his visit was the identification of Pisgah.[33]

Later an American Palestine Exploration Society was organized. This Society employed Mr. Rudolph Meyer, an engineer, to make a map of Palestine, and from 1875 to 1877 also employed Rev. Selah Merrill, who afterward was for many years the U. S. Consul at[Pg 87] Jerusalem, as explorer. Dr. Merrill gathered much archæological information, especially in the country east of the Jordan.[34]

4. Palestine Exploration Fund.—As a result of the interest engendered by the work of Robinson, Lynch, and others, the Palestine Exploration Fund was organized in London in 1865. By this act a permanent body was created to foster continuously the exploration of the Holy Land, and to rescue the work from the fitful activities of individual enterprise. Such enterprise could supplement the work of the Fund, but could no longer hope to compete with it.

Within six months from the organization of the Palestine Exploration Fund its first expedition was sent out. This was led by Capt., now Gen. Sir Charles Warren, who had just completed a survey of Jerusalem as part of a plan for bringing water into the city. The chief object of this expedition, which was in the field from December, 1865, to May, 1866, was to indicate spots for future excavation. It made a series of sketch maps of the country on the scale of one inch to the mile, studied some synagogues in Galilee noted by Robinson, but not fully described by him, and laid bare on Mount Gerizim the remains of a church built on a rough platform which may once have supported the Samaritan temple.

(1) Warren’s Excavations at Jerusalem.—A second expedition under Lieut.-Col., now Sir Charles Warren, made considerable excavations on the temple-hill at Jerusalem. He sank a remarkable series of shafts to the bottom of the walls enclosing the temple area, and proved that in places these walls rest on foundations from 80 to 125 feet below the present surface. He laid bare solid masonry, which bore what are apparently Phœnician quarry-marks and which he believed to go back to the time of Solomon. On the west side of the temple enclosure he found 80 feet below the present surface the ruins of a bridge, which Robinson had conjectured crossed the Tyropœon Valley from the temple enclosure at this point from an arch, the base of which is still visible outside of the temple wall.[35] Among many other discoveries made by Warren were a part of the ancient city wall south of the temple area and an underground passage leading up from the ancient spring of Gihon,[Pg 88] which was probably the “gutter” (R. V., “watercourse”) of 2 Sam. 5:8.

(2) The Survey of Palestine.—After this the Palestine Exploration Fund undertook a survey of Palestine, the object of which was to make a complete and authoritative map of the country on the scale of one inch to a mile, and also a description of all archæological remains of antiquity which were above ground. The work was undertaken in 1871 and the survey of western Palestine was completed in 1878. Owing to an outbreak of cholera, the work was interrupted from 1874 to 1877. Among those who took part in it were Capt. C. R. Conder (now Lieut.-Col.), who was in charge of the work from 1872 to 1874, and Capt. Kitchener (now Lord Kitchener). The great map was published in 1880, and covers an area of 6,000 square miles, from the Mediterranean to the Jordan and from the Egyptian desert to a point near Tyre. The completion of this map was a monumental accomplishment, and must form the basis for all similar work. The archæological remains noted on the map are described in three volumes of Memoirs, also published by the Exploration Fund.

In 1881 Capt. Conder was sent out to make a similar survey of the country east of the Jordan. He endeavored to work under the old permit from the Turkish government, but to this the Turks objected. After working for ten weeks, during which he surveyed about 500 square miles of territory, he was compelled to desist. The results of his work, however, fill a stout volume entitled The Survey of Eastern Palestine, London, 1889. The work undertaken by Conder has since been carried on by other agencies. Dr. Gottlieb Schumacher, an engineer residing at Haifa, who was employed in surveying the railway to Mecca, has published authoritative volumes on the region to the east of the Sea of Galilee.[36] On a larger scale is the work of Brünnow and Domaszewsky on the Roman province of Arabia,[37] a work which includes ancient Edom as far as Petra. The last-mentioned remarkable city has been described also in two excellent volumes by Gustaf H. Dalman, Director of the German Evangelical Institute in Jerusalem.[38]

In 1873-1874 the Palestine Exploration Fund entrusted an archæological mission of a general nature to the French scholar, Clermont-Ganneau,[Pg 89] who several years before had been French Consul at Jerusalem. Clermont-Ganneau was embarrassed by the failure of the Turkish government to grant him a firman, but made numerous archæological discoveries in the country between Jaffa and Jerusalem. These were published by the Fund in two large volumes,[39] although they did not appear until 1896 and 1899, respectively.

In the winter of 1883-1884, a complete geological survey was made of the valley of the Dead Sea and the region to the south (Wady el-Arabah) by Prof. Edward Hull, who afterward published a volume on the subject.[40] Hull was accompanied by Major Kitchener, who made a complete triangulation of the district lying between Mount Sinai and the Wady el-Arabah.

(3) Exploration of Lachish.—In 1890 the Exploration Fund entered upon a new phase of work or, rather, resumed one that had been interrupted for twenty years,—that of excavation. The services of Prof. Petrie, the Egyptian explorer, were secured and the attempt to wrest from the soil of Palestine some of the buried secrets of the past was renewed. The site chosen was Tell el-Hesy, where stood in ancient times the city of Lachish (Josh. 10:3; 2 Kings 14:19; 18:14, etc.). This mound rose about 120 feet above the bed of an intermittent stream. About 60 feet of this height consisted of accumulated débris of the ancient city. The water in the course of centuries had so exposed some of the potsherds that Petrie was confident before he began digging that rich discoveries awaited him. He worked here only about six weeks, running trenches into different parts of the mound, but he found and classified such a variety of pottery that he felt confident that he had unearthed a city which had been occupied from a time anterior to the Hebrew conquest of Canaan down to about 350 B. C.[41]

In 1892 the work was continued under the direction of Dr. Frederick J. Bliss, who cut away a considerable section from the northeast corner of the mound, and found the stratified remains of eight different cities, one above the other.[42] In the third of these cities from the bottom a cuneiform tablet was found, which mentions one of the men who figure in the letters found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt. This tablet would indicate that this third city was flourishing during the period 1400-1350 B. C.[Pg 90] The two cities below this must, accordingly, belong to an earlier period. Bliss supposed that the first city was built about 1700 B. C. Above the remains of the third city was a bed of ashes of some thickness, which shows, in Petrie’s opinion, that after the destruction of this city the mound was used for a period of perhaps fifty years as a place for burning alkali. Near the top of the débris of the fourth city a glazed seal was found similar to those made in Egypt in the time of the twenty-second dynasty (945-745 B. C.). This city, then, belonged to the early part of the kingdom of Judah. In the seventh and eighth cities pottery of polished red and black types was found. This class of pottery is of Greek origin, dating from 550-350 B. C. These occupations of the mound must, then, be of that period. The fifth and sixth cities would, accordingly, fall between 750 and 550 B. C. This excavation thus shows how the stratification of the mounds of Palestine reveals the march of the peoples across the country; (see Fig. 28).

(4) Bliss’s Excavation at Jerusalem.—From 1894 to 1897 Dr. Bliss was engaged in excavations at Jerusalem.[43] Here he devoted his attention to an endeavor to recover the line of the ancient wall on the south side of the city. This he did, following it from “Maudsley’s Scarp”[44] at the northwest corner of the westernmost of the two hills on which Jerusalem is situated across the slope to the eastward and then across the Tyropœon Valley. This was the wall rebuilt by Nehemiah on lines then already old (Neh. 3-6). It was destroyed by Titus in the year 70 A. D., and afterward rebuilt by the Empress Eudoxia in the fifth century A. D.

(5) Excavation at Azekah.—From 1898 to 1900 Dr. Bliss excavated for the Fund at several sites in the Biblical Shephelah,[45] the low hills which formed the border-land between ancient Judæa and Philistia. The work began at Tell Zakariya, the Biblical Azekah, situated above the lower part of the Vale of Elah. Azekah was fortified by King Rehoboam (2 Chron. 11:5-10). Here an important citadel or fortress was uncovered. While the masonry of the top part was similar to that of Herodian buildings at Jerusalem, the pottery found about the foundations indicated that the beginnings of the structure go back to early Israelitish times. It may well be one of Jeroboam’s fortresses. Underneath it were[Pg 91] remains from late pre-Israelitish times. It appears that the hill was occupied as the site of a city only shortly before the Hebrew conquest. The fortress was not, however, built at the time of this earliest occupation.

(6) At Tell es-Safi (Gath?).—Next the excavation was transferred to Tell es-Safi, which was situated on the south side of the ancient Vale of Elah at the point where it sweeps into the Philistine plain, and which was thought to be the site of the Biblical Gath (Josh. 11:22; 1 Sam. 5:8; 17:4; 2 Kings 12:17). Here in 1144 A. D. the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem established by the Crusaders built a fortress, which they called Blanche-Garde, as an outpost against Ashkelon. It was hoped that the excavation of Dr. Bliss would determine whether or not this was really the site of Gath, but owing to the occupation of the tell by a Mohammedan cemetery and a wely, or sacred building, this was not possible. The outline of the city walls was, however, traced, the foundations of Blanche-Garde examined, and here and there trenches were sunk to the rock. These trenches revealed in the various strata pottery and objects, first, of the period of the Crusaders; secondly, of the Seleucid period (312-65 B. C.); thirdly, of the Jewish period, 700-350 B. C., and two pre-Israelite strata. The mound had, then, been occupied from about 1700 B. C. to the Seleucid times, and again in the period of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The most interesting discovery at Tell es-Safi was that of an old pre-Israelitish high place, which contained three pillars such as are denounced in Deuteronomy. (See Deut. 7:5; 12:3, etc.) At the time of this discovery no similar discovery had been made. The foundations of this high place were near the bottom of the last pre-Israelite stratum, so that it was clearly constructed by the Amorites, or Canaanites, or whoever occupied this city before the Hebrews arrived.

(7) Tell el-Judeideh.—The excavations next moved to Tell el-Judeideh, a mound some distance to the south of Tell Zakariya. Here they traced the outlines of the city wall, found the remains of a Roman villa, and sunk a number of shafts to the rock. From the pottery found in these shafts they inferred that the mound had been occupied in the earliest period, but deserted for a considerable time before the Hebrew conquest. It was then reoccupied in the latter part of the Judæan monarchy, and was finally fortified in the Seleucid or Roman period. It seems to have been deserted[Pg 92] soon after the Roman period. It is not known what was the ancient name of the city that stood there.

(8) At Marash (Moresheth-Gath).—The last mound excavated in this region was Tell Sandahanna, situated a mile to the south of Beit Jibrin. The mound takes its name from a church of St. Anne, the ruins of which may still be seen near by. It occupies the site of the city of Marissa of the Seleucid period, and of the older Jewish Marash. It is probably the site of Moresheth-Gath, the home of the prophet Micah. (See Micah 1:14.) Here considerable portions of the Seleucid stratum of the mound were excavated, and a smaller portion of the Jewish stratum. The Jewish stratum rested directly on the rock; the site seems, therefore, not to have been inhabited in pre-Israelite times.

(9) Gezer.—The next undertaking of the Palestine Exploration Fund was the excavation of Gezer. This work was entrusted to the direction of R. A. Stewart Macalister, who had been Dr. Bliss’s assistant from 1898 to 1900 and who is now Professor of Celtic in the University of Dublin. Work was begun on Tell el-Jazar, about six miles southeast of the town of Ramleh, which Clermont Ganneau[46] had, in June, 1902, identified as the site of Gezer. (Josh. 10:33; Judges 1:27; 2 Sam. 5:25.) It continued, with such interruptions as winter weather and an outbreak of cholera made necessary, until August, 1905. It was renewed in the spring of 1907 and carried on until early in 1909. During this time more than half of the mound was excavated. No other mound in Palestine has been so fully explored. Naturally, therefore, Gezer has furnished us with more archæological information than any other excavation; (see Fig. 30).

The results of this excavation convinced Mr. Macalister that the classification of the strata adopted by the excavators of Lachish and the mounds of the Shephelah was capable of improvement. He found that Gezer had been occupied at first by a non-Semitic people, remains of whose bones indicate that they were about 5 feet 6 inches high, who lived in caves, and whose implements were wholly of stone. He estimated that these people probably occupied the site from about 3000 to 2500 B. C. About 2500 B. C. a Semitic race, probably Amorite, took possession of the city and occupied it to the end of the Hebrew monarchy.

Four periods could be traced in the Semitic occupation, each[Pg 93] represented by differences in walls, implements, and objects used. The first Semitic period ended with the fall of the twelfth Egyptian dynasty, about 1800 B. C. In this stratum scarabs of the period of the Egyptian “middle kingdom” were found. The second Semitic stratum continued until about the end of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, about 1350 B. C. The third Semitic stratum lasted till the establishment of the Hebrew monarchy, about 1000 B. C.; the fourth was contemporaneous with the Hebrew kingdoms, 1000-586 B. C. The mound was again occupied in the Hellenistic or Maccabæan period.[47] After the Maccabæan turmoils the inhabitants seem to have deserted the tell. Under the modern village of Abu Shusheh, on the southwest slope of the mound, a Roman mosaic has been found, but nothing from Roman times was discovered on the mound itself. There were likewise no remains from the period of the Crusaders.

In the course of this excavation many important discoveries were made. Many of these will be mentioned in subsequent chapters. We need only mention here an old Semitic high place, which had its beginnings in the first Semitic stratum before 1800 B. C., and was used down to the end of the fourth Semitic or Hebrew stratum, about 600 B. C. It began with two “pillars,” but others were added as time passed until there were ten in all.[48] In the third Semitic stratum (i. e., the one preceding the Hebrew occupation) a building was found which Mr. Macalister thought might have been a temple. In the middle of its largest hall were some stones which looked as though they might have supported wooden pillars, which, in turn, probably supported the roof. Mr. Macalister thought this was a structure similar to that which Samson pulled down at Gaza[49] (Judges 16:23-30).

One of the most important discoveries was a rock-cut tunnel leading down through the heart of the rock to a spring in a cave 94 feet below the surface of the rock and 120 feet below the level of the present surface of the ground.[50] This was to enable the people of the city to obtain water in time of siege. It was used for some 500 years and was apparently closed up about 1300-1200 B. C. Its beginnings go back accordingly to the first Semitic period. A[Pg 94] palace of the Maccabæan time, apparently built by Simon the Maccabee, 143-135 B. C., was also discovered.[51] (Cf. 1 Macc. 14:34.)

Various walls were discovered, which at different times encircled the city. The most massive of these was apparently constructed during the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, and continued to be the city wall down to the Babylonian Exile. At some time after its construction towers had been inserted in the wall. These towers were shown to be a later insertion by the fact that their stones touched the stones of the wall on each side, but were not interlocked with them. Mr. Macalister thinks that these towers may have been inserted by Solomon when he fortified the city (1 Kings 9:15-19). At some later time the weakness of such a tower had become apparent, and a bastion had been built around it.[52] The excavation at Gezer was fruitful in many directions. Other aspects of it will be taken up in future chapters in connection with other topics.

(10) Beth-shemesh.—The next task undertaken by the Palestine Exploration Fund was the exploration of Ain Shems, the Biblical Beth-shemesh. (See Josh. 15:10; 2 Kings 14:8-14, etc.) Ain Shems, like Gezer, is situated in what was in Biblical times the Shephelah. It is near the station of Der Aban on the railway from Jaffa to Jerusalem. Excavations were carried on at this point in 1911 and 1912 under the direction of Dr. Duncan Mackenzie, who had had ten years’ experience on the staff of Sir Arthur Evans, the explorer of Crete. At the bottom of the mound the remains of a very early settlement were discovered.[53] Above this the ruins of a once prosperous city, which was for that time large, were found. It was surrounded by strong walls and one of its rugged gates was discovered on the south. In the upper strata of this city imitations of Cretan pottery were found. As it is probable that the Philistines came from Crete, or were intimately associated with people who were under Cretan influence, this pottery is doubtless Philistine. The city which was encircled by this wall had passed through two periods of history. The original wall was built before the domination of Palestine by Egypt. As this domination began about 1500 B. C., the earlier fortress of Beth-shemesh belongs to that period. The second period belongs in its earlier[Pg 95] strata to the age of the El-Amarna letters, in which the city is called Beth-Ninib. The upper period of it belongs, as has been noted, to the Philistine period.

This city was destroyed by a siege which resulted in the burning of the city—a burning which left quite a bed of ashes. Dr. Mackenzie thought that this was the siege by which the Israelites gained possession of Beth-shemesh. The city was occupied by the Hebrews apparently until the invasion of Palestine by Sennacherib, King of Assyria, in 701 B. C. At all events, it was in the possession of Judah in the days of King Amaziah (2 Kings 14:8-14). Corresponding to this, Israelitish pottery was found in the stratum above the ashes. Dr. Mackenzie is of the opinion that during this Hebrew period the city was without a wall. Apparently after the time of Sennacherib the site was abandoned for several centuries, for next above the Israelitish stratum the remains of a monastery of the Byzantine period (325-636 A. D.) were found. This monastery apparently was not begun until just at the close of the Byzantine period, for it appears that it was not finished at the time of the Mohammedan conquest.

(11) Exploring the Wilderness of Zin.—The most recent service of the Palestine Exploration Fund was the sending of two explorers, C. Leonard Woolley and T. E. Lawrence, in the winter of 1913-14, to explore the wilderness to the south of Palestine. The results of their work have been published in the Fund’s Annual, Vol. III, under the title The Wilderness of Zin. The explorers identified a considerable part of the “Darb es-Shur,” or the “way of Shur” (Gen. 16:7, etc.). It was the caravan road from Palestine to Egypt. They also adduce strong evidence against the identification of Ain Kades with Kadesh-Barnea (Num. 32:8, etc.), and think that Kossima, which lies nearer to the Egyptian road and is surrounded by much more verdure, may have been Kadesh-Barnea. The identification of Ain Kades with Kadesh-Barnea was made by the late Dr. Henry Clay Trumbull, after a very brief visit to the spot, and it has been accepted by many others.

Between 325 and 636 A. D. extensive settlements and cities of considerable size existed in this wilderness. This was one of the facts that led Ellsworth Huntington to believe that the rainfall in Palestine was much greater at that time. With this view Woolley and Lawrence take issue. They say that where the old wells have been kept open, the water still rises as high as ever it did. They[Pg 96] hold that the cities mentioned were possible because of the great energy and skill of the people of that time in sinking wells.

5. The German Palestine Society.—While the work of the Palestine Exploration Fund, which has been outlined in detail, was going on, other countries were aroused to similar activities. In 1877 a similar Society, the Deutscher Palästina-Verein, was organized to foster the collection of information about the land of the Bible. Accurate scientific research in all branches of knowledge relating to Palestine was contemplated, and the co-operation of travelers and of the German colonies in Palestine was invited. In 1878 this Society began the publication of a journal[54] which has become a repository of information about the Holy Land.

(1) Guthe’s Excavation at Jerusalem.—In 1880 Prof. Guthe excavated at various points on Ophel at Jerusalem, and followed the line of the ancient wall along the east side of the city of David.[55]

(2) Megiddo.—In 1903 this German Society undertook the excavation of Tell el-Mutesellim, the site of the Biblical Megiddo[56] (Josh. 12:21; 2 Kings 23:29, etc.). This work was entrusted to the direction of Dr. Gottlieb Schumacher, of Haifa. Work was begun on the 7th of February, 1903, and continued at intervals until the 30th of November, 1905. In the lowest stratum of the mound Dr. Schumacher found traces of a settlement the houses of which were constructed of mud-bricks. Over the ruins of these a second series of houses had been built of stone. In the same stratum some tombs were found containing skeletons, some pottery of early forms, a bronze knife, and some scarabs set in gold. The walls of the city were in part built of brick. The settlements represented by this stratum antedated 2000 B. C.

In the next stratum a large structure, probably a palace, was found, which had been occupied through the periods represented by the stratum in which its foundations were laid and the stratum next above it. The building was of stone and was large. In one part of it was a “pillar” apparently used for worship. Various types of pottery, knives of flint and bronze, many stone household utensils, an Astarte figure, and some scarabs of the period of the twelfth Egyptian dynasty were found. This stratum, then, belonged to the period 2000-1800 B. C.

[Pg 97]Next above this stratum was one in which types of painted pottery similar to that of the Philistines came to light. In the fifth stratum from the bottom a palace of the Hebrew period was discovered. In this palace a seal was found bearing a lion and the inscription “belonging to Shema, the servant of Jeroboam.” It is impossible to tell whether the Jeroboam who was Shema’s master was Jeroboam I or Jeroboam II. In this same stratum a temple was found containing three “pillars”; (see Fig. 27).

In another part of the mound in a sixth stratum, which seemed to be late Hebrew, three “pillars” were found in an open space near the south gate, a stone religious emblem, and a decorated incense-burner. Elsewhere this sixth stratum yielded a blacksmith’s shop. In a seventh stratum, just under the soil, remains of the Greek period were found, among which was an Athenian coin. This was the last occupation of the tell, and was pre-Christian. At the beginning of the Roman period the town was moved from the high land of the mound down nearer the water supply. On the slope of the hill a native-rock altar was found which had been used in prehistoric times.

(3) Taanach.—In 1899 Prof. Ernst Sellin, of Vienna, visited Palestine and became so deeply interested in its exploration that he induced several Austrian scientific bodies and individuals to contribute a fund for the purpose. The result was an excavation of Tell Taanek, the Biblical Taanach (Josh. 12:21; Judges 5:19), conducted by Sellin in 1902 and 1903. Sellin did not excavate the mound in a systematic way and his results are not very clearly presented in his book.[57] He traced in several places four strata in the tell. An early stratum had its beginnings, he thought, as early as 2500 B. C. This stratum represented probably an occupation of more than a thousand years. In its later parts the remains of a large palace were found, and in a cave underneath it four cuneiform tablets, written in the script of the El-Amarna period. Originally there were more tablets in the archive, but it had been rifled in ancient times. Above this was a stratum in which pottery of the Cypriote and Philistine type was found. Next above this was a Hebrew stratum, which seems to have lasted, judging by objects found in it, down to the time of Psammetik I of Egypt, 663-609 B. C. In this stratum the remains of a high place with its “pillars” were found, as well as a terra-cotta incense-altar of wonderful[Pg 98] construction. Above this there were in places a few remains from the Seleucid period, including some pottery, and at the top of the mound some remains of an Arabic settlement. This last seems to have been established here about the time of the Crusaders. Sellin thinks Taanach was destroyed by the Scythian invasion, about 625 B. C., that in the Seleucid period the main settlement here was not on the mound, and that it was then unoccupied until the time of the Crusaders.

(4) Capernaum.—The Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft, which was carrying on excavations in Egypt, Babylonia, and Assyria, undertook the investigation of the remains of ancient synagogues in Galilee and the Jaulan. Among these they excavated the ruins of the synagogue at Tell Hum on the Sea of Galilee,[58] the probable site of Capernaum. Here they found the remains of a once beautiful synagogue which was probably built in the fourth century A. D. Beneath it is the floor of a still older building. This last is probably the synagogue in which so many of the incidents of the ministry of Christ in Capernaum took place, the one built by a Roman centurion. (See Luke 7:5 and Fig. 32.)

(5) Jericho.—This same Society undertook, in the years 1907-1909, the excavation of Jericho; (see Fig. 29). The work was entrusted to the direction of Prof. Sellin, of Vienna. The digging occupied about three weeks in the spring of 1907, and about three months of the early part of each of the years 1908 and 1909.[59] At the bottom of the mound traces of a prehistoric occupation of the site were uncovered, but as these were under the foundations of a Canaanitish fortress, which were not demolished, nothing further was ascertained about them. Above this prehistoric city were the remains of an Amorite or Canaanite city. A jar handle found in the lower half of this Canaanite stratum was stamped with a scarab of the time of the twelfth Egyptian dynasty, which indicates that this occupation goes back to about 2000 B. C. The walls of this early city were traced on all sides of the tell except the east. On this side, where the Ain es-Sultan is (otherwise called Elisha’s Fountain, from the incident of 2 Kings 2:19-22), the wall had entirely disappeared. This early city was small. The whole of it could have been put into the Colosseum at Rome. All early Palestinian cities were, however, small. In the city was a[Pg 99] citadel with a double wall. Each wall represented a different period of history. Both were built of brick, as were the houses of the time. The outer wall was between four and five feet thick and appeared to be the older; the inner one was about ten feet thick. They were joined here and there by transverse walls; (see Fig. 37). The city had been burned apparently about 1300-1200 B. C., perhaps at the time of the Hebrew conquest.

Above the ruins of this pre-Israelitish city were the remains of the Hebrew town. The earliest of these remains seems to date from the ninth century B. C.; (see 1 Kings 16:34), as it was rebuilt in the days of Ahab; (see Fig. 34). The Israelites, in Sellin’s judgment, made the city considerably larger than it had been in the earlier time. A wall, which he believed to be the wall of the Hebrew period, was found on all sides except the east, considerably outside the older wall. Père Vincent, of the French École Biblique at Jerusalem, believes this wall to have been built in the Canaanite period also, but his reasons do not seem convincing. On the eastern edge of the Israelitish stratum the remains of a large stone building were found. Sellin thinks this may be the palace and fortress built by Hiel in the time of Ahab (1 Kings 16:34). This Israelitish city seems to have flourished only about two hundred years. It was probably destroyed in the time of Sennacherib, about 700 B. C. Sellin thought he found traces of another rebuilding which must soon have followed the destruction, but this Jericho was also destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar in 586 B. C. At some time after the Babylonian Exile the city was rebuilt and flourished until destroyed by Vespasian in 70 A. D. It was rebuilt after 325 A. D. and continued until destroyed by the invasion of the Persian King Chosroes II, in 614 A. D. Some slight settlements have existed on the mound in Moslem times, but the Jericho of today is more than a mile distant.

6. The American School at Jerusalem.—In the year 1900 the American School of Oriental Research in Palestine was opened at Jerusalem under the ægis of the Archæological Institute of America. It is one of the purposes of this school, when its funds will permit, to carry on excavations as well as explorations. Hitherto it has not had money sufficient to enable it to undertake extensive excavations. In addition to the investigation of many matters not strictly archæological, the School has conducted a number of minor explorations. When the present writer was Director, 1902-1903, he cleared the[Pg 100] so-called Tomb of the Judges and found the ruins of a caravansary of the Crusading period near the Damascus Gate. Under L. B. Paton, 1903-1904, an excavation was made on the supposed line of the “Third Wall” of Jerusalem. Under Nathaniel Schmidt, 1904-1905, the Dead Sea was explored and some discoveries made in the Valley of the Arnon and the Wady Suweil.[60] Under D. G. Lyon, 1906-1907, some pre-Israelitish pottery was recovered from tombs of Samieh east of Et-Taiyibeh.[61] Under W. J. Moulton, 1912-1913, some painted tombs of the Seleucid time were explored at Beit Jibrin.

7. Samaria.—Although the American School at Jerusalem has not yet been able to undertake extensive excavations, through the generosity of Mr. Jacob Schiff, of New York, Harvard University was able to excavate at Sebastiyeh, the site of ancient Samaria, during parts of three seasons—1908, 1909, and 1910. During the first season the work was under the direction of Prof. D. G. Lyon; during 1909 and 1910, under the direction of Prof. G. A. Reisner, who has had large experience in such work in Egypt, and who, in addition to many archæological triumphs there, has solved the riddle of the Sphinx. At Samaria[62] a large palace was found built upon the native rock. This is believed to be the remains of the palace of Omri (1 Kings 16:24). Above this were the ruins of a larger palace, the wall of which was faced with white marble. This is believed to have been the palace of Ahab, who is said to have built an “ivory house” (1 Kings 22:39). In a building on a level with this palace a considerable number of inscribed potsherds were found. They were receipts for wine and oil stored there. At the western edge of the hill the old city gate was uncovered. It had been rebuilt at different times. The foundations were clearly laid in the Israelitish period. On these now rests a superstructure of Herodian workmanship. Above the ruins of the Hebrew city were the remains of a city built by the Assyrians. (See 2 Kings 17:24-34.) This was inferred by the character of the building materials employed, and by the fragment of a clay tablet found there. Still above this were remains of a city of the Seleucid time—the city destroyed by John Hyrcanus[63] in[Pg 101] 109 B. C. Still above this were remains of the temple built by Herod the Great, when he rebuilt Samaria and named it Sebaste, the Greek for Augusta, in honor of the Emperor Augustus. This temple had been repaired in the third century A. D.

8. Parker’s Excavations at Jerusalem.—In the years 1909, 1910, and 1911 an English expedition under Capt., the Hon. Montague Parker, a retired officer of the British army, made extensive explorations upon Ophel, the slope of the eastern hill south of the present city walls at Jerusalem. Parker was not an archæologist and the motive for the exploration is not yet disclosed. The party is said to have been abundantly supplied with money, and to have come to Palestine in a private yacht, which was anchored off Jaffa while they were at work. In 1911 the hostility of the Moslems became so excited by the rumor that they had attempted to excavate under the Mosque of Omar that the expedition came to an abrupt close, and the explorers escaped on their yacht. Through the descriptions of two residents of Jerusalem, Prof. Hughes Vincent[64] and Dr. E. W. G. Masterman,[65] we have some knowledge of the value of Parker’s work. He cleared the silt out of the Siloam tunnel so as to reveal its real depth, which seems to have been between five and six feet. It had been so silted up that it appeared to be only about half that depth. He also explored more fully the caves about Ain Sitti Miriam (the Biblical Gihon, 1 Kings 1:33), which had been partially explored by Sir Charles Warren, so that the nature and probable use of these are now known much better. More will be said of this in a future chapter.

9. Latest Excavations.—Within the last few years the Assumptionist Fathers have been excavating on a tract of land purchased by them on the eastern slope of the western hill to the south of the present city wall. They believe that they have discovered the house of Caiaphas, to which Christ was led in the course of his trial (Matt. 26:57; John 18:24). Possibly they have found the house which, after the time of Constantine, was pointed out to Christian pilgrims as that of Caiaphas. However this may be, they have unearthed several streets of Roman and Jewish Jerusalem, and are keeping them uncovered. These streets, like the ruins of Pompeii, disclose pavements and house-foundations that[Pg 102] may go back to the time of Christ. Here, possibly, one may look upon pavements which his feet actually trod.[66]

In 1914 some excavations were made on Ophel at Jerusalem under the direction of Capt. Weil for a Jewish organization, and at the mound Balata, near Nablous, the Biblical Shechem, by the Germans. The work at Balata was under the direction of Prof. Sellin. Both are said to have made discoveries. At Balata it is said that the city gate of ancient Shechem was uncovered. Nothing has, however, been published concerning these, and the great war of 1914 brought all such work to a stop. The preparation of foundations of a new Jewish hospital near the Dung Gate has laid bare the aqueducts which conveyed the water from “Solomon’s Pools” into the city.[67]

In this account only the principal explorations have been mentioned. In all parts of Palestine, and especially at Jerusalem, important archæological discoveries are frequently made when people are digging to lay the foundations of buildings, to construct a cistern, or for other purposes. Other important discoveries, as, for instance, the rock-cut high place at Petra,[68] and the painted tombs at Beit Jibrin,[69] have been made by people traveling through the land. Many discoveries made in this way are recorded in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, the Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins, and the Revue biblique. Lack of space forbids the attempt to chronicle these.[70]



[Pg 103]



The Early Stone Age. The Late Stone Age. The Amorites. The Canaanites. Egyptian Domination: Thothmes III. Palestine in the El-Amarna Letters. Seti I. Ramses II. Merneptah. Ramses III. The Philistines. The Hebrews. Philistine Civilization. The Hebrew Kingdoms. The Exile and After: The Samaritans. Alexander the Great and his successors. The Maccabees. The Asmonæans. The Coming of Rome: The Herods. The destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. Later History.


1. The Early Stone Age.—Palestine appears to have been inhabited at a very remote period. Scholars divide the races of prehistoric men, who used stone implements, into two classes—Palæolithic and Neolithic. Palæolithic men did not shape their stone implements. If they chanced to find a stone shaped like an axe, they used it as such; if they found a long, thin one with a sharp edge, they used it for a knife. Neolithic man had learned to shape his stone tools. He could make knives for himself out of flint and form other tools from stone. The earliest inhabitants of Palestine belonged to the palæolithic period. Unshaped stone implements have been found in many parts of the country. They have been picked up in the maritime plain, in still larger numbers on the elevated land south of Jerusalem, and again to the south of Amman, the Biblical Rabbah Ammon, on the east of the Jordan. The Assumptionist Fathers of Notre Dame de France at Jerusalem have a fine collection of flint implements in their Museum.

These palæolithic men lived in caves in which they left traces of their occupation. Several of these caves in Phœnicia have been explored by Père Zumoffen, of the Catholic University of St. Joseph, Beirut.[71] It has been estimated that these cave-dwellers may have been in Palestine as early as 10,000 B. C.

2. The Late Stone Age.—Of neolithic men in Palestine much more is known. This knowledge comes in part from the numerous cromlechs, menhirs, dolmens, and “gilgals” which are scattered[Pg 104] over eastern Palestine. A cromlech is a heap of stones roughly resembling a pyramid;[72] a menhir is a group of unhewn stones so set in the earth as to stand upright like columns;[73] a dolmen consists of a large unhewn stone which rests on two others which separate it from the earth;[74] and a “gilgal” is a group of menhirs set in a circle.[73] These monuments are the remains of men of the stone age who dwelt here before the dawn of history. They were probably erected by some of those peoples whom the Hebrews called Rephaim[75] or “shades”—people who, having lived long before, were dead at the time of the Hebrew occupation.

Similar monuments of the stone age have been found in Japan, India, Persia, the Caucasus, the Crimea, Bulgaria; also in Tripoli,[76] Tunis, Algeria, Morocco, Malta, southern Italy, Sardinia, Corsica, the Belearic Isles, Spain, Portugal, France, the British Isles, Scandinavia, and the German shores of the Baltic. Some scholars hold that all these monuments were made by one race of men, who migrated from country to country. As the monuments are not found at very great distances from the sea, the migrations are supposed to have followed the sea coasts.[77] Others scout the idea of a migration over such long distances at such an early epoch of the world’s history, and believe that the fashion of making such monuments was adopted from people to people by imitation. Be this as it may, these monuments seem to have been in Egypt and Palestine before the Semites and Hamites developed into the Egyptians, Amorites, and Hebrews, for they were adopted by them as the “pillars” which are so often denounced in the Old Testament, and in Egypt were gradually shaped and prolonged into the obelisks.


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Of the men of this stone age the excavations have furnished us with some further information. At Gezer the native rock below all the cities was found to contain caves,[78] some natural and some artificial, which had formed the dwellings of men of the stone age. They, like men today, were lazy. If one found a cave that would protect him from heat, cold, and rain, he would occupy it and save[Pg 105] himself the trouble of making one. But there were not enough caves to go around, so some of the men of ancient Gezer cut caves for themselves out of the soft limestone rock. It must have been a difficult task with the stone implements at their disposal, but they accomplished it, sometimes cutting stairs by which to descend into them. One such cave seems to have been used by them as a temple. In it were found a quantity of pig bones, which were apparently the remains of their sacrifices. If they offered the pig in sacrifice, they were certainly not Semitic, for Semites abhorred swine. These early men sometimes adorned the sides of their dwellings by scratching pictures on the walls. Several pictures of cattle were found. One cow seemed to have knobs on her horns to keep her from goring! One drawing represented a stag that was being killed with a bow and arrow.[79] These early men burned their dead, and one of the caves in the eastern end of the hill was used as their crematory. Steps in the rock led down to its entrance. The cave itself was 31 feet long, 24 feet 6 inches wide, and the height varied from 2 to 5 feet. Near one end a hole had been cut to the upper air to act as a flue. Below this the fires that burned their dead had been kindled; cinders and charred bones of these far-off men were found as grim tokens of their funeral rites. Shortly after these bones were found the anatomist, Prof. Alexander Macalister, of Cambridge University, father of the excavator, visited the camp at Gezer and made a study of the bones. He found that they represented a non-Semitic race. The peculiar modifications of the bones caused by the squatting so universally practised by Semites were absent. The men whose bones these were could not have been more than 5 feet 6 inches in height, and many of the women must have been as short as 5 feet 3 inches. A pottery head found in one of the caves, which may be a rude portrait of the type of face seen in Gezer in this period, has a sloping forehead, which afforded little brain-space, and a prominent lower jaw. These people used flint knives, crushed their grain in hollow stones with rounded stones, employed a variety of stone implements, and made pottery of a rude type, which will be described in a later chapter.

The city of Gezer in this cave-dwelling period was surrounded by a unique wall or rampart.[80] This consisted of a stone wall about 6 feet high and 2 feet thick, on the outer side of which was a[Pg 106] rampart of packed earth about 6 feet 6 inches at the base and sloping toward the top. This bank of earth was protected by a covering of small stones about 8 inches in depth. This rampart never could have been of much value in warfare, and was, perhaps, meant as a protection against incursions of wild animals.

In the hillsides around Gezer there are many caves which were probably human habitations during this period, but as they have been open during many centuries, traces of their early occupation have long since been destroyed. At Beit Jibrin, six or eight hours to the south of Gezer, there are also many caves in the rock, numbers of which are artificial. At various periods these have been employed as residences. It is altogether probable that the use of some of them goes back to the time of the cave-dwellers of Gezer.

Mr. Macalister has suggested a connection between these cave-dwellers of Gezer and the Biblical Horites,[81] since Horite means “cave-dweller.” In the Bible the Horites are said to have dwelt to the east of the Jordan, and more especially in Edom (Gen. 14:6; 36:20, 21, 29; Deut. 2:12, 22). It seems probable that the reason why the Bible places them all beyond Jordan is that the cave-dwellers had disappeared from western Palestine centuries before the Hebrews came, while to the east of the Jordan they lingered on until displaced by those who were more nearly contemporary with the Hebrews. On the west of the Jordan megalithic monuments were probably once numerous, since traces of them still survive in Galilee and Judæa,[82] but later divergent civilizations have removed most of them. In the time of Amos one of these “gilgals” was used by the Hebrews as a place of worship, of which the prophet did not approve.[83]

It seems probable that there was a settlement of these cave-dwellers at Jerusalem. The excavations of Capt. Parker brought to light an extensive system of caves around the Virgin’s Fountain, Ain Sitti Miriam, as the Arabs call it, which is the Biblical Gihon.[84] These caves are far below the present surface of the ground. It was found, too, that there would be no spring at this point at all, if some early men had not walled up the natural channel in the rock down which the water originally ran. These men, judging by the fragments of pottery and the depth of the débris, belonged[Pg 107] to about the same period as the cave-dwellers of Gezer. They apparently settled at this point because of the water, and one of the caves may have been a sanctuary to their god. A new vista is thus added to the history of that city, which was later the scene of so much Biblical life.

From various archæological considerations Mr. Macalister estimated that the diminutive cave-dwelling men lived at Gezer for about 500 years, from 3000 to 2500 B. C., when they were displaced by a Semitic people.

3. The Amorites.—We are accustomed to call this Semitic people Amorites, and it is probable that this is right. About 2800 B. C., under a great king named Sargon,[85] a city of Babylonia called Uru, or Amurru,[86] and Agade conquered all of Babylonia. The dynasty founded by Sargon was Semitic and ruled Babylonia for 197 years.[87] Even before Sargon conquered Babylonia, Lugalzaggisi, King of Erech, had penetrated to the Mediterranean coast. Sargon and two of his successors, Naram-Sin and Shargali-sharri, carried their conquests to the Mediterranean lands. A seal of the last-mentioned king was found in Cyprus. It is probable that the coming of the Amorites began in the north with the conquests of these kings. To the east of the Lebanon the Princeton expedition found stone structures similar to Babylonian Ziggurats, which they attribute to the Amorites, and hold to indicate the prevalence of Babylonian influence in this region. It is probable that the Amorites slowly worked southward, occupying different cities as they went. Mr. Macalister’s estimate that they reached Gezer about 2500 B. C. is not, therefore, unreasonable, though they may have arrived there a century earlier than that. This was the beginning of that long intercourse with Babylonia which resulted in the employment of the Babylonian language and script for the purpose of expressing written thought in Palestine long after the Egyptians had conquered the country. This intercourse was the more natural because the Semites who came to Palestine were of the same race as those who were dominant in Babylonia.

Meantime, the Egyptians had begun to take notice of Palestine. Uni, an officer of Pepi I of the sixth Egyptian dynasty, relates that he crossed the sea in ships to the back of the height of the ridge[Pg 108] north of the “sand-dwellers” and punished the inhabitants.[88] This refers to the coast of Palestine in the neighborhood of the Philistine cities or Gezer. The time was between 2600 and 2570 B. C. Egypt was at this time only anxious to make her own borders secure; she had no desire to occupy this Asiatic land.

Again, between 2300 and 2200 B. C., a fresh migration of Semites, apparently also of the Amorite branch, invaded Babylonia and in time made the city of Babylon the head of a great empire. This race furnished the first dynasty of Babylon, which ruled from 2210 to 1924 B. C. Its greatest king, Hammurapi,[89] who gave to Babylonia a code of laws in the vernacular language,[90] conquered the “west land,” which means the Mediterranean coast. It was probably under his successor, Shamsu-iluna, but certainly under one of the kings of this period, that a man in Sippar, in leasing a wagon for a year, stipulated that it should not be driven to the Mediterranean coast, because, apparently, travel between that coast and northern Babylonia was so frequent.[91] In this same period there lived in Babylonia an Abraham, the records of some of whose business documents have come down to us.[92] We also find there men who bore the names Yagubilu (Jacobel) and Yashubilu (Josephel), and one who was called simply Yagub, or Jacob. Palestinian evidence from a later time leads us to believe that men bearing all these names migrated during this period to Palestine and gave their names to cities which they either built or occupied.[93]

Egyptians also came to Palestine during this period. The tale of Sinuhe[94] relates the adventures of a man who fled to Palestine in the year 1970 B. C., and who reached the land of Kedem, or the East, which apparently lay to the east of the Jordan.[95] It is referred to several times in the old Testament. (See Gen. 29:1; Judges 6:3, 33; 7:12; 8:10; Job 1:3, etc.) Sinuhe there entered the service of an Amorite chieftain, Ammienshi, married his eldest daughter, became ruler of a portion of his land, and lived there for many years. He finally returned to Egypt and wrote an account of his adventures. This region was also called by Sinuhe[Pg 109] and other Egyptians Upper Retenu, a name which they also applied to all the higher parts of Syria and Palestine. Retenu is philologically equivalent to Lotan (Gen. 36:20, 22, 29; 1 Chron. 1:38, 39) and Lot (Gen. 11:27; 12:4, etc.). When Sinuhe arrived in Kedem he found other Egyptians already there. Ammienshi was well acquainted with Egyptians. There was apparently considerable trade with Egypt at this time. Men from Palestine often went there for this purpose. Such traders are pictured on an Egyptian tomb of this period. Trade with Egypt is also shown to have existed by the discovery of Egyptian scarabs of the time of the Middle Kingdom in the excavation of Gezer, Jericho, Taanach, and Megiddo. As Egypt was nearer and commerce with it easier, its art affected the art of Palestine during this period more than did the art of Babylon, although the people were akin to the Babylonians. In the reign of Sesostris III, 1887-1849 B. C., the Egyptian king sent an expedition into Palestine, and captured a place, called in Egyptian Sekmem, which is thought by some to be a misspelling of Shechem.[96] This expedition probably stimulated Egyptian influence in the country, though the Egyptians established no permanent control over the land at this time.

When the Amorites occupied Palestinian cities they at once erected fortifications. The inmost of the three walls of Gezer is their work. It was a wall about 13 feet in thickness, in which were towers 41 feet long and 24 feet thick and about 90 feet apart. It contained at least two gates.[97] At Megiddo the city was surrounded by a wall, parts of which were made of brick,[98] while at Jericho the older of the walls of the central citadel dates from this time.[99]

4. The Canaanites.—Between 1800 and 1750 B. C. a migration occurred which greatly disturbed all western Asia. There moved into Babylonia from the east a people called Kassites. They conquered Babylonia and established a dynasty which reigned for 576 years.[100] Coincident with this movement into Babylonia there was a migration across the whole of Asia to the westward, which caused an invasion of Egypt and the establishment of the Hyksos dynasties there.[101] As pointed out previously,[102] it is possible that[Pg 110] this movement, in so far as the leadership of the invasion of Egypt was concerned, was Hittite. In any event, however, many Semites were involved in it, as the Semitic names in the Egyptian Delta at this time prove. It is customary to assume that it was in connection with this migration that the Canaanites came into Palestine. This cannot, in the present state of our knowledge, be clearly proved, but such evidence as we have points in this direction. There began at this time a new period of culture at Gezer, which is quite distinguishable from that which had preceded. This indicates the coming of new influences. Moreover, there was apparently an augmentation of the population of Palestine at this time. New cities were founded at Tell el-Hesy and Tell es-Safi,[103] and elsewhere. We thus feel sure that there was an increase of population and, when next our written sources reveal to us the location of the nations, the Canaanites were dwelling in Phœnicia. The Egyptian scribes of a later time called the entire western part of Syria and Palestine “The Canaan.”[104] Probably, therefore, the Canaanites settled along the sea coast. We, therefore, infer that they came into this region at this time. With the coming of an increased population, the Amorites appear to have been in part subjugated and absorbed, and in part forced into narrower limits. A powerful group of them maintained their integrity in the region afterward occupied by the tribe of Asher and in the valley between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains, where they afterward formed a kingdom. Another group of them survived to the east of the Jordan, where they maintained a kingdom until overthrown by the Hebrews. (See Num. 21 and Deut. 1-3.)

After the coming of the Canaanites our information concerning the history of Palestine fails us for nearly three hundred years. All that we know of the history of the country is what can be inferred from the accumulated débris of the “second Semitic” strata of the different mounds that have been excavated. During these centuries Egypt was invaded by the Hyksos, whose course was run, and under the great eighteenth dynasty the Hyksos were expelled, chased into Asia, and the conquest of Asia undertaken.

5. Egyptian Domination.—Ahmose I, 1580-1557 B. C., besieged Sharuhen (Josh. 19:6) in southern Palestine for six years and captured it, while both Amenophis I and Thothmes I between 1557[Pg 111] and 1501 B. C. made raids through Palestine and Syria to the Euphrates. Of their deeds in Palestine no records have survived.

(1) Thothmes III.—It is not until the reign of Thothmes III that detailed information begins. Between 1478 and 1447 B. C. this king made no less than seventeen expeditions into Palestine, Phœnicia, and Syria. At the beginning of his reign this country was dotted with petty kingdoms; before its close he had so thoroughly amalgamated it with Egypt that it remained an integral part of the Egyptian dominion for 100 years. Before his death Thothmes inscribed on the walls of the temple of Amon at Thebes a list of the places in Asia which he had conquered. Many of these were in Palestine and in Syria, and we learn in this way what towns were already places of importance a century or two before the Hebrew conquest. Among places that are mentioned in the Old Testament he names[105] Kedesh (Josh. 19:37), Megiddo, Lebonah (Judges 21:19), Addar (Josh. 15:3), two different cities named Abel; see Judges 7:22 (which mentions one situated in the Jordan valley), and 2 Sam. 20:14 (which refers to one near Dan), Damascus, Hammath[106] (Josh. 19:35), situated on the Sea of Galilee (where there are still hot springs), Beeroth (Josh. 9:17), Sharon, Tob (Judges 11:3, 5), Kanah (Josh. 19:28), Ashtaroth (Deut. 1:4; Josh. 9:20), Makkedah (Josh. 15:41), Laish (Judges 18:7, 18), Hazor (Josh. 11:1; Judges 4:2), Chinneroth (Josh. 11:2), Shunem (Josh. 19:18; 1 Sam. 28:41; 2 Kings 4:8), Achshaph (Josh. 11:1), Taanach, Ibleam (Josh. 17:11; Judges 1:27), Ijon (1 Kings 15:20), Accho, Anaharath (Josh. 19:19), Ophra (Judges 6:11), Joppa, Gath, Lod (Neh. 7:37) or Lydda (Acts 9:32), Ono (1 Chron. 8:12), Aphik (1 Sam. 4:1), Migdol, Ephes-dammim (1 Sam. 17:1), Rakkath (Josh. 19:35), Gerar (Gen. 20:1, etc.), Rabbith (Josh. 19:20), Namaah (Josh. 15:41), Rehob (Josh. 19:28), Edrei (Deut. 1:4; Josh. 12:4), Daiban (Neh. 11:25), Bethshean (Josh. 17:11), Beth-anoth (Josh. 15:59), Helkath (Josh. 19:25), Geba (Josh. 18:24), Zererah (Judges 7:22), and Zephath (Judges 1:17). In addition to these towns which are mentioned in the Bible, the list of Thothmes III contains many other names which we cannot yet identify. Among these are the names of two cities, Josephel and Jacobel, which are discussed in[Pg 112] Part II, p. 300. These names, as already noted, are the same as the names of two Babylonian Amorites of the time of the first dynasty. It seems probable that two important Amorites had migrated to Palestine and had either founded new cities, or had been men of such consequence that their names were attached to cities previously in existence. A parallel to this is found in the name of Abu Gosh. He was a sheik of the nineteenth century, but his name displaced the name of the village previously called Karyet el-Ineb, between Jaffa and Jerusalem, and it is now called Abu Gosh. Conjectures differ as to the part of Palestine in which the cities Jacobel and Josephel were situated. We have in reality no certain clue as to this.

It is probable also that something similar had occurred in the case of Abraham. It has been pointed out previously that Abraham is known to have been a Babylonian name at the time of the first Babylonian dynasty. The Biblical records tell of the coming of Abraham from Mesopotamia (Gen. 11:31-12:5), and the inscriptions of Sheshonk, the Biblical Shishak, tell us some centuries later of the existence of a place, apparently in southern Judah, called “The Field of Abram.” See Part II, p. 360.

(2) Palestine in the El-Amarna Letters.—During the 100 years of Egyptian supremacy in Palestine which Thothmes III inaugurated, the fortifications of certain strategic cities were greatly strengthened. At Gezer, for example, an entirely new wall was built. This was the “outer” wall of Mr. Macalister’s classification, a substantial structure fourteen feet wide, which completely encircled the city. This massive wall remained the city’s defence down to the Babylonian Exile.

From the El-Amarna letters we gain another glimpse of Palestine about a hundred years after the death of Thothmes III. The Biblical cities which are mentioned in these letters are Accho (Judges 1:31), Ashkelon, Arvad (Ezek. 27:8), Aroer (Num. 32:34), Ashtaroth (Deut. 1:4, etc.), Gebal (Ezek. 27:9), Gezer (Josh. 10:33, 1 Kings 9:15, etc.), Gath, Gaza, Jerusalem, Joppa, Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1), Lachish (Josh. 10:3, etc.), Megiddo, Sidon, Tyre, Shechem, Sharon, Taanach, and Zorah (Judges 13:2). One city, called in these letters Beth-Ninib, is, in all probability, Bethshemesh (Josh. 15:10, etc.). Many other towns are mentioned in the letters, but as they are not mentioned in the Bible they are not enumerated here. These letters were written just as[Pg 113] the Egyptian dominion in Asia was breaking up, owing to the fact that King Amenophis IV was much more deeply interested in religious reform than in politics.[107] The disintegration of the empire produced great disorder. The power which Egypt had exerted in the past made the Asiatics still fear to come out openly against her, but the correspondence shows that several petty states were plotting against one another, frequently encroaching upon one another, and yet all the time professing to be loyal to Egypt. The largest number of these states were in the north in Phœnicia. The principal states were the city kingdoms of Gebal, Beirut, Tyre, Jerusalem, and the Amorites.[108] Jerusalem at this time ruled a considerable territory,[109] but its history will be discussed connectedly in a future chapter.[110] The kings of the Amorites during this period were Ebed-Ashera and Aziru. While these small kingdoms of Palestine and Phœnicia were contending with one another, and the king of Egypt was giving no attention to them, the land was invaded from the north by the Hittites under the great King Subbiluliuma,[111] who gradually conquered the Amorites and the Orontes Valley. It was at the same time invaded from the east by the Habiri, who were probably the Hebrews.[112]

With this movement of peoples there came into the west a third wave of Semitic migration, the Aramæan. We hear nothing of the Aramaic-speaking peoples in earlier time, but about 1300 B. C. they are mentioned by both Shalmaneser I, of Assyria, and Ramses II, of Egypt, as though they were in Syria and Palestine. In later time they formed the basis of the population from the east of the Euphrates to the Mediterranean coast and southward to Damascus. In Deut. 26:5 Israelites are told to say “A wandering Aramæan was my father” (R. V., margin). The reference seems to be to Jacob, though possibly Abraham is intended. In either case, it shows that the Hebrews recognized that there was an Aramæan strain in their ancestry. Perhaps the Habiri were Aramæans, or were allied with Aramæans.

At all events, in the struggles that ensued, little by little all allegiance to Egypt was thrown off by the Palestinians. Letters[Pg 114] to Egypt ceased to be written, our sources fail us, and for more than forty years we can only conjecture what was happening in Palestine.

(3) Seti I.—With the accession of Seti I of the nineteenth Egyptian dynasty, who ruled from 1313 to 1292 B. C., some knowledge of events in Palestine begins once more to come to us. Seti in his first year entered Asia, captured an unnamed walled town on the border of the desert, pushed northward and took the towns in the Plain of Jezreel, crossed the Jordan and conquered cities in the Hauran, where he set up a pillar, discovered there a few years since by Principal George Adam Smith; he then turned west and conquered a city on the slopes of the Lebanon mountains.[113] This campaign regained for Egypt all of Palestine and southern Phœnicia. In his third year Seti was again in Asia. On this campaign he overthrew the kingdom of the Amorites in northern Galilee. They occupied the city of Kedesh in Naphtali (Josh. 19:37). This city Seti besieged and took.

(4) Ramses II.—Thus at the beginning of the reign of Ramses II, who ruled from 1292-1225 B. C., all Palestine was subject to Egypt. The practical defeat of Ramses by the Hittites at Kadesh on the Orontes in his fifth year, however, caused all Palestine to revolt, and Ramses was compelled to undertake the reconquest of the land. This he accomplished between his fifth and eighth years, beginning with the Philistine cities and overrunning the whole country to the Hauran, where he set up a pillar, as his father had previously done.[114] So far as we know, Palestine remained quietly under the rule of Ramses during the remainder of his long reign.

Ramses II, like Thothmes III, left on record a long list of cities conquered by him in Asia. Of these the following are Palestinian towns mentioned in the Bible:[115] Hammath (Josh. 19:35), Beth-shean (Josh. 17:11), Beth-anath (Josh. 19:38), and Hadasha (Josh. 15:37). Pella, a town in the Jordan valley not mentioned in the Bible, also occurs in his list, and there is also a possible mention of Jacobel in a corrupted form.

(5) Merneptah.—After the accession of Merneptah, the successor of Ramses II, a rebellion broke out. This was about 1223 B. C. [Pg 115] Merneptah put down the rebellion, but in the struggle caused by it, he was compelled to reduce Gezer by siege. It was on this campaign that he came into contact with Israel and defeated her.[116] Some think the Israelites whom he mentioned were those who more than a century and a quarter before had been battling against Jerusalem; others, that they were those who had just escaped from Egypt.

The reign of Merneptah was followed by some years of unstable government in Egypt, but this does not appear to have been a sufficiently long period for great changes to occur in Palestine. Order was restored in Egypt by Setnakht about 1200 B. C., and his son and successor, Ramses III, 1198-1167 B. C., reasserted his sovereignty over Palestine and Phœnicia.

(6) Ramses III.—Ramses III found himself confronted with a peculiar situation. The Egyptian Delta and the coasts of Palestine were invaded by hordes of people from over the sea. As early as the reign of Ramses II the Egyptians had employed men from the island of Sardinia as mercenaries; there must then have been intercourse with distant islands across the sea.

6. The Philistines.—Now, however, hordes of Sicilians, Danaoi, Peleset (Philistines), Thekel, and many other tribes came from over the sea. These tribes came in part from islands, such as Sicily and Crete, and in part from the coasts of Asia Minor. Ramses III was compelled to fight with them, both in the Delta and in Phœnicia. On the walls of his temple at Medinet Habu he has left us pictures of the Philistines. A remarkable inscribed disc was found a few years since at Phæstos in Crete. It is printed with a sort of movable type, and each character is a pictograph or hieroglyph. Prof. Macalister has shown that it is, in all probability, a contract tablet.[117] When the tablet was first published Eduard Meyer pointed out[118] that a frequently recurring sign, which is apparently the determinative for “man” or “person,” has the same sort of upstanding hair as the Philistines pictured by Ramses III on the walls of Medinet Habu. This tablet, accordingly, was written by Philistines or their near kindred. In this view there is general agreement among scholars. Amos declared that the Lord brought the Philistines[Pg 116] from Caphtor (Amos 9:7). If this disc was written in Crete, it would follow that Caphtor was Crete. It is thought possible by some that the disc was written in Asia Minor, whence it was carried to Crete; in that case Caphtor would be a name for Asia Minor.[119] At all events, this inscription makes it clear that the Philistines came from over the sea, and that their point of departure was either Crete or Asia Minor. Ramses III reveals to us through his inscriptions the Philistines in the act of migrating into Palestine. With them were the Thekel, who afterward were absorbed by the Philistines; (see Figs. 36 and 38).

In his struggle with these tribes Ramses III was compelled to carry the war into Asia, where he overcame and defeated them. In commemoration of this event he has left a list of places which he conquered in Asia. Most of them, so far as they can be identified, were further north than Palestine, but the following are names of places mentioned in the Bible:[120] Seir (Gen. 14:6, etc.), Caineh (Amos 6:2), or Calno (Isa. 10:9), Tyre, Carchemish, Beth-Dagon (Josh. 15:41), Kir-Bezek, probably the same as Bezek (Judges 1:5), Hadashah (Josh. 15:37), Ardon (1 Chron. 2:18), Beer (cf. Num. 21:16), Senir (Deut. 3:9), Zobebah (1 Chron. 4:8), Gether (Gen. 10:23), and Ar (Num. 21:15; Isa. 15:1, etc.).

After Ramses III the Egyptian empire became too weak to interfere in Palestinian affairs. In the chronology followed by many scholars today it was about this time that the Hebrews completed their conquest of the country and the age of the Judges began.

7. The Hebrews.—On their way into Palestine the Hebrews, as already noted, invaded and conquered a kingdom of the Amorites which lay to the east of the Jordan and had its capital at Heshbon. (See Num. 21:21 and Deut. 1:4, etc.). This kingdom was a survival of the ancient Amorite occupation of the land. The Amorites composing it had not been absorbed or displaced by more recent pre-Hebrew invaders.

It is stated in Judges 1:27-36 that there were a number of cities from which the Israelites did not, at the time of their conquest, drive out the inhabitants. The principal excavations in Palestine have had to do with cities which were not conquered by Hebrews at this time—Taanach, Megiddo, and Gezer. We are told in Josh.[Pg 117] 10:33 that when Horam, King of Gezer, came to the aid of the king of Lachish, Joshua “smote him and his people till he left none remaining.” As nothing is said of the capture of Gezer, this must refer only to the force which went to the aid of Lachish. This view is confirmed by the fact that in the time of David, Gezer was in the hands of the Philistines. (See 1 Chron. 20:4.) Gezer did not come into the hands of the Hebrews until the time of Solomon, when Solomon’s Egyptian father-in-law conquered it and gave it to him. Mr. Macalister found evidence that at about this time there was a considerable increase of the population of Gezer, which seems to confirm the statement of Judges 1:29 that Canaanites and Israelites dwelt together there. This evidence consisted in the crowding together of houses, so that, as many new ones were built, they became smaller. New houses also encroached upon the land of the “high place.”[121] There was evidently an increase of the population such as an influx of Hebrews would account for. Evidence of Hebrew conquest seems also to have come to light in the capture and burning of Jericho[122] and Bethshemesh,[123] which the excavations have revealed.

8. Philistine Civilization.—The next source of information which archæology furnishes us concerning Palestine is the report of Wenamon, translated in Part II, p. 352, ff. Wenamon visited Dor and Gebal about 1100 B. C. He found a king of the Thekel established in Dor, so that the Philistines were probably by this time established in the whole maritime plain.

With the coming of the Philistines into Palestine, new influences were introduced into the country. These are most apparent in the pottery that has come down to us. (See Chapter VIII.) The Philistines, whether they came from Crete or from the coasts of the Ægean Sea, had been influenced by those higher forms of art which were in later times developed into the superb Greek forms. Just at the time when history tells us the Philistines came into Palestine, we begin to find in its mounds the remains of a more ornate pottery.

9. The Hebrew Kingdoms.—As the Philistines filled the maritime plain, and began to push into the hill country, the Israelites formed a kingdom by which to oppose them. The kingdom of Saul accomplished little, but that of David, which began about 1000 B. C., overcame the Philistines and all other peoples adjacent to the[Pg 118] Hebrews and established an Israelitish empire.[124] This was possible because just at that time both Egypt and Assyria were weak. Before the end of the reign of Solomon this empire began to disintegrate (1 Kings 11:14-25), and at his death, about 937 B. C., it faded entirely away and the kingdom was divided into the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. The history of these kingdoms is given in outline in the Bible and is probably familiar to every reader of this book.

These kingdoms, frequently at war with each other, were first invaded by Sheshonk (Shishak) of Egypt (1 Kings 14:25), who made them his vassals (see Part II, p. 359, f.), and in later centuries were made subject to Assyria. Israel suffered this fate first in 842 B. C., and Judah in 732. On account of her rebellions, the kingdom of Israel was overthrown by Assyria in the year 722 B. C. After Assyria became weak, Judah was made subject to Egypt in 608 B. C., but passed under the sway of Babylon in the year 604. Because she repeatedly rebelled against Babylon, the prominent Judæans were carried captive partly in 597 B. C. and partly in 586, and in the year last mentioned Jerusalem was overthrown and its temple destroyed.

Excavations have brought to light much evidence as to the houses, high places, and the mode of life of this time,[125] as well as evidence of how Shishak fought against Rehoboam, Shalmaneser III against Ahab and Jehu, Tiglath-pileser IV against Menahem and Pekah, Shalmaneser V and Sargon against Hoshea, and Sennacherib against Judah. It has also told us much about Nebuchadrezzar.[126]

10. The Exile and After.—The Babylonian Exile was brought by Cyrus to a possible end in 538 B. C. This is also illuminated by that which exploration has brought to light.[127] The temple was rebuilt through the efforts of Haggai and Zechariah during the years 520-517 B. C. In 444 B. C. Nehemiah rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem, as related in Neh. 1-7. Thus under the Persian empire Judah was re-established. It consisted of a little country around Jerusalem; it was poor and weak, but was aided by money sent from Babylonia by Jews who were still resident there.

(1) The Samaritans.—In the neighborhood of Samaria was a people who were descended in part from Hebrews whom Sargon did not carry away and in part from the Gentiles whom he brought in. These people worshiped Jehovah. (See 2 Kings 17:24-34.)[Pg 119] When the little Jewish state had been re-established at Jerusalem, they wished to participate in Jewish worship and to be recognized as good Jews. Since they were not of pure Hebrew descent, the Jews would not permit this, so they at last desisted, built a temple to Jehovah on Mount Gerizim (see John 4:20), and became a large and flourishing sect.[128] They based their worship on the Pentateuch, and were so much like the Jews that there was constant friction between them. This friction is reflected in Luke 9:51-54, John 4:9, and in many passages of the Talmud. It was this sect that occupied Samaria in the time of Christ and made it in his day a distinct division of the country.

(2) Alexander the Great and His Successors.—In 332 B. C. Palestine passed from Persian rule to that of Alexander the Great. After his death in 323 it came under the rule of his general, Ptolemy Lagi, who ultimately became king of Egypt. Later, 220-198 B. C., there was a struggle for the possession of Palestine between the descendants of Ptolemy and the house of Seleucus, another general of Alexander, who had established a kingdom with its capital at Antioch. During these wars the Jews suffered greatly. Finally the Seleucid king won, and Palestine passed definitely under the control of Syria. With the coming of Alexander new cultural influences had entered Palestine from the Hellenic world, and down to 168 B. C. such influences were eagerly welcomed by a portion of the Jews.

(3) The Maccabees.—In that year, however, Antiochus IV undertook to forcibly Hellenize the Jews and to blot out their religion. This the more faithful Jews resented, and a great revolt ensued. This revolt had as its first successful general Judas, son of Mattathias, who, because of his victories, was surnamed makkab, or the Hammer; it is, therefore, known as the Maccabæan revolt. With varying fortunes the struggle dragged on for 25 years.[129] It finally succeeded because of civil wars in Syria. On account of these each faction favored the Jews, and Syria became continually weaker. In 143 B. C. the Jews once more achieved their independence under Simon, brother of Judas, whom they ordained should be Prince and High Priest forever.[130]

[Pg 120](4) The Asmonæans.—The attaining of independence was accompanied by a great wave of racial and religious enthusiasm. Not since the days of Ahaz, in 733 B. C., had Judah been free of foreign domination. At the beginning of the reign of Simon, it was still but a small territory around Jerusalem. Hebron and all to the south of it was in the hands of the Edomites, who three centuries before had been driven out of Edom by the Nabathæans Simon began to enlarge their territory. He won Gezer and Joppa. John Hyrcanus, his son and successor, 135-105 B. C., conquered the Edomites, and compelled them to become Jews; he also conquered and destroyed Samaria in 109 B. C. He began the conquest of Galilee. His son, Aristobulus I 105-104 B. C., assumed the title of king. A regal dynasty was thus founded, which is known as the Asmonæan or Hasmonæan dynasty, i. e., the “Simonites” or descendants of Simon.

Alexander Jannæus, 104-79 B. C., completed the conquest of Galilee and the region to the east of the Jordan, and extended the bounds of the kingdom of the Asmonæans to practically the same limits as those of the kingdom of David. The Galileans were also Judaized, as the Edomites had been. This period of Jewish prosperity continued to 69 B. C. Through it all, in spite of the religious zeal of the Jews, Hellenic influences made themselves felt in many aspects of the country’s life.

11. The Coming of Rome.—On the death of Queen Alexandra in 69 B. C., her sons, John Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, both aspired to the supreme power, and till 63 B. C. civil war ensued. In 65 B. C. the Romans had terminated the independence of Syria and made it a Roman province. In 63 B. C. both the Jewish brothers appealed to Pompey, who had come to Damascus. Aristobulus, however, acted treacherously, and Pompey marched upon Jerusalem and took it by siege. Jewish independence was thus forever lost, and Palestine passed under the yoke of Rome. Down to 37 B. C. the country experienced many vicissitudes, as the struggles of the Roman triumvirs were reflected in it. These vicissitudes culminated in the year 40 B. C., when Orodes I, King of Parthia, captured Jerusalem and placed Antigonus, a son of Aristobulus II, on the throne. Antigonus was king and a vassal of Parthia for three years.

(1) The Herods.—In 37 B. C. Herod the Great, whose father had served under the Romans, by the aid of a Roman army[Pg 121] furnished him by Mark Antony, drove Antigonous out and began his notable reign. Herod was a man of great energy, an Edomite by descent, whose ancestors had become Jews by compulsion. While professedly a Jew, he was deeply enamored of the Græco-Roman culture. He wrung taxes from the people in order to beautify Palestine with cities and temples built on Hellenic models. He rebuilt, among other undertakings, the Jewish temple at Jerusalem and the city of Samaria. This last he named Sebaste, the Greek for Augusta, naming it in honor of the Emperor Augustus. He built a heathen temple there, surrounded the city with a colonnaded street, many of the columns of which are still standing, and otherwise adorned it. He built for himself a palace at Jericho, and another on the top of a hill to the southeast of Bethlehem, today called Gebel Fureidis; (see Figs. 31 and 39).

Upon his death, in 4 B. C., his kingdom was divided, Archelaus receiving Judah and Samaria; Antipas, Galilee and Peræa, and Philip, Iturea and Trachonitis. None of his sons was permitted by the Romans to be called king, but all bore the title of “tetrarch.” The rule of Archelaus proved so unbearable that in 6 A. D. Augustus banished him to Gaul and placed Judæa and Samaria under Procurators, who were responsible to the Proconsuls of the province of Syria. Pontius Pilate was the fifth of these Procurators. After the death of Herod Antipas in 39 A. D., the Emperor Caligula made Herod Agrippa I, a grandson of Herod the Great, king of the dominions over which that monarch had ruled. Agrippa assumed control in 41 and ruled till his death in 44 A. D. His death is described in Acts 12:23. After his death the whole country was governed by Procurators.

(2) The Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D.—Roman rule was always distasteful to the Jews, and as the years passed they became more and more restive. These smouldering fires broke into the flame of open rebellion in the year 66 A. D., and after four years of terrible warfare Jerusalem was captured and destroyed in 70 A. D. The temple, also razed to the ground, has never been rebuilt. The country about Jerusalem was peopled by some of the poorer of the peasantry, and the tenth Roman legion remained in the city for a long time to keep order in that region.

12. Later History.—In 132 A. D., in the reign of Hadrian, a man called Bar Chocaba, or the “Son of the Star,” came forward, claiming to be the Messiah, and headed a Jewish revolt. So fiercely did[Pg 122] the Jews fight that the insurrection was not quelled by Rome until 135 A. D. When it was finally put down, Hadrian determined to blot the name of Jerusalem from the map. He rebuilt Jerusalem, making it a Roman colony, named it Ælia Capitolina, and built a temple to Jupiter on the spot where the temple of Jehovah had formerly stood. No Jew was permitted to come near the city. Jerusalem as built by Hadrian continued until the time of Constantine, and the form thus imposed upon it lasted much longer.

When Constantine made Christianity the religion of the empire, both he and his mother began to take an interest in the Holy City and the Holy Land. Other Christians followed them. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was built, and the temple of Jupiter built by Hadrian was turned into a Christian church. Pilgrimages to the Holy Land began, and monasteries, churches, and bishoprics in time sprang up over all the country. Thus for three hundred years the influences which were felt in Palestine emanated from Byzantium or Constantinople. In 615 A. D. the land was overrun by Chosroes II of Persia, who captured Jerusalem and destroyed many of its churches. The Persians held it until 628, when the Byzantine kings regained it. The control of Jerusalem by the Christians was, however, of short duration, for in 636 Palestine was captured by the Mohammedans, and with the exception of 89 years has ever since been under Mohammedan control.[131] During these long centuries the country was ruled by the Caliphs of Medina, Damascus, and Bagdad; by the Buvide Sultans, the Fatimite Caliphs of Egypt, and the Seljuk Turks. The cruelties inflicted by these last rulers upon Christians led to the Crusades, the first of which established the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem,[132] which continued from 1099 to 1188 A. D. This kingdom, organized on the feudal basis then existing in western Europe, extended over all of Palestine and Syria, including Antioch, and for nearly half the time, Edessa beyond the Euphrates. Its existence marks an epoch in the archæology of the country.

Since the fall of this Latin kingdom, Palestine has remained under Moslem control. First the Eyyubide Sultans of Egypt, then the Mamelukes of that same land held sway. In 1517 the Ottoman Turks captured it, and have since inflicted their misrule upon it. What fortunes the great war now raging may bring to this land of sacred associations, we await with intense interest.



[Pg 123]



Their Sites. The Walls. The Stone Work. Houses. Palaces: At Taanach. At Samaria. At Jericho. At Megiddo. Foundation Sacrifices. City Gates. Water Supply: Springs. Underground tunnels. Reservoirs.


1. Their Sites.—The cities of Palestine were usually built on hills. These elevations, surmounted as they were by walls, created a natural means of defence from attack; (see Fig. 33). Even more important than an elevated situation was a water supply, hence all Palestinian cities of importance are near springs. The necessity of being near a spring led, in some cases, to the erection of a city on a level plain. This was the case with Jericho; the only mound at its site is that created by the city itself.

The hills on which the cities were erected varied in height. That at Megiddo rose to a height of but 45 to 90 feet above the surrounding land, but even this elevation was a great protection from the simple methods of attack known to ancient warfare. The hill Ophel, the site of Jebusite Jerusalem, rises today from 60 to 150 feet above the valley of the Kidron, and in ancient times that valley was from 20 to 50 feet deeper than it is now. The same hill was separated from the land on the west by a valley the bed of which in ancient times was from 50 to 100 feet below the top of the hill. The hill on which Samaria was situated rose some 300 feet above the surrounding valley on all sides except the east, and when fortified presented such an impregnable front that it took even an Assyrian army three years to capture it. (2 Kings 17:5.) In the Seleucid and Roman periods, when some cities expanded in size, the hilltops were sometimes abandoned and they spread out over the plain. This was the case with Gerasa and Philadelphia (Rabbah Ammon).[133] But “a city set on a hill” (Matt. 5:14) was a common feature of the Palestinian landscape.

2. The Walls.—The walls by which the cities were surrounded varied according to the advancement of the different periods, and[Pg 124] according to the importance of the place. As has already been pointed out in Chapter V, the first wall at Gezer was but 6 feet high and 2 feet thick, and had a sloping bank of earth packed against it on the outside. This bank was 6 feet 6 inches thick at the base and was covered with a facing of stone. In the Amorite period a wall 13 feet thick was erected at Gezer, in which towers were constructed about every 90 feet. These towers were 24 × 41 feet. Their height is, of course, unknown. This wall was probably built about 2500 B. C. and formed the defense of the city for a thousand years. By that time the tops of the houses probably protruded above the wall, and the population had increased so that more space was needed. This wall was, accordingly, replaced by another built outside of it. Much of the material of which the old wall was constructed went into the new wall, which was approximately 14 feet thick and contained occasional towers. At some time a part of this wall had been destroyed, and then rebuilt. Probably at the time of this rebuilding, additional towers had been inserted at different points. The stones of these towers touched those of the wall without being articulated with them. It has been conjectured[134] that these towers were a part of the repairs made by King Solomon after the town had been captured by his Egyptian father-in-law and presented to Solomon. (See 1 Kings 9:16, 17.) Still later an attempt was made to strengthen the weakness caused by the unclosed seam between the towers and the wall by constructing around the towers rude bastions. (See Figs. 40, 46.) Mr. Macalister conjectures that this was done by the Syrian General Bacchides when he hastily fortified Gezer and occupied it in 160 B. C.[135] (1 Macc. 9:52.)

At Lachish, Petrie found massive city walls, though he did not describe them in detail.[136] At Taanach, Sellin found a strong city wall, but did not attempt to trace it about the tell.[137] Schumacher devoted considerable attention to the city walls of Megiddo, a part of which were built of bricks.[138] At Tell es-Safi (Gath?) the outlines of the city walls were traced, as they were at Tell el-Judeideh.[139] At Samaria a part of the Roman wall of the time of Herod was found; lower down in the mound remains of a Babylonian wall (see 2 Kings[Pg 125] 17:24), beneath which the excavators recognized the Hebrew wall.[140] City walls were found, too, at Bethshemesh,[141] but of especial interest to the student of the Bible are the walls of Jericho. Here, as at Megiddo, the walls were constructed in part of brick. They had an average thickness of 13 feet. The Canaanitish wall was traced around three sides of the mound. It was strengthened by occasional towers.[142] On the east, next to the spring, they had entirely disappeared. This must not be pressed into a confirmation of Josh. 6:20, that the walls fell down flat, for the later Israelitish wall has disappeared on that side of the mound also. Later, when in the days of Ahab the Israelites rebuilt the city (1 Kings 16:34), they did not place the wall on the old line, but enclosed a considerably larger space. This wall was constructed partly of bricks, but mostly of stone.[143] The walls of Jerusalem will be treated in Chapter XIII. At the northwest corner of the Canaanitish wall was a tower enclosed by two brick walls; the outer wall was a little more than 4 feet thick; the inner, about 10 feet.

3. The Stone Work.—The kind of stones used in city walls varied with the circumstances and the degree of civilization. The walls of the stone age were naturally made of small undressed stones. The Amorites began the use of cut stone. Their blocks are often fairly smooth and regular. The Amorite wall of Gezer was made of more regular stones than the wall of the Egyptian period.[144] In the Israelitish and Jewish periods a stone with an embossed edge was often used. It is found in the wall of Nehemiah, excavated by Bliss,—a wall made of stones that some pre-exilic king had used before,—and appears also in the structures of Herod the Great. In the structures of Constantine and later Byzantine builders, this type of stone is replaced by a stone with a perfectly smooth surface—much more smooth than anything found in the early walls. This type of stone work continued through the crusading period; (see Figs. 253, 254.) While these types can be traced, their use was not altogether regular.[145]

The areas of Palestinian cities in the early time were very small. All of Canaanite Jericho could be put in the Colosseum at Rome![Pg 126] Megiddo, one of the largest of these early cities, was built on a mound that contained only about eleven acres, and Jebusite Jerusalem was built on a ridge that in ancient times contained not less than nine or more than thirteen acres.

4. Houses.—Within these small areas the houses were crowded together, as in the modern native villages of Palestine, separated only by narrow, crooked lanes. One may see in Hebron or in some parts of Jerusalem similar conditions to this day. There was no drainage; refuse was thrown into the streets. The cities were ill-smelling places. The wonder is that the mortality was not greater. The houses in the central, elevated portion of Palestine were usually of stone, though at Gezer, Jericho, and places in the lower-lying portions of the country they were sometimes of brick. The walls of the stone houses were constructed of rough stones of a great variety of sizes, from small pebbles to large boulders. Mortar and cement were never used. The stones were set in mud. They were not dressed except with a hammer in the roughest way. The joints between them were wide and irregular. Into the crevices serpents and scorpions might crawl. It was of such a house that Amos says, “a man ... leaned his hand on the wall and a serpent bit him”; (5:19). The bricks were rarely burned; they were simply sun-dried, and had no more cohesion than the earth in which they were embedded. The houses generally had no floor except the earth, which was smoothed off and packed hard. Sometimes this was varied by mixing lime with the mud and letting it harden, and sometimes floors of cobblestones or stone chippings mixed with lime were found. In the Roman period mosaic floors, made by embedding small smoothly cut squares of stone in the earth, were introduced. By employing stones of different colors the mosaics were often worked into beautiful patterns; (see Figs. 35, 42, 43, 44, 47, and 48). Sometimes pictures of birds and animals were formed in the floors.

The doorways were usually simply an opening made by the vertical sides left in the masonry. In the later time they were sometimes lined with standing stones. The doors themselves have long since disappeared, but there is evidence that, like many houses still to be seen in Palestine, they were made fast to a post, the lower end of which was set in a hollow or perforated stone. When the door swung the whole post turned in this stone. Some of these stones were found. In a few houses at Gezer enclosures of stones on end[Pg 127] were sometimes found in the middle or the corners of dwelling houses. Perhaps these were hearths.[146] Some houses built after the time of Alexander the Great had a kind of piazza running along the side. The remains of the pillars which supported the roofs of these were discovered. Beginning with the Hellenistic period, some of the better houses had baths. (On doors, see Figs. 49, 50.)

5. Palaces.—In the excavation of different sites the outlines of several larger buildings or palaces were uncovered. A few of these are of interest to the student of the Bible.

(1) At Taanach.—In the northeast of the mound at Taanach[147] the remains of a building about 75 × 77 feet were found. It was in existence in the fourteenth century before Christ. This building contained several rooms, as the plan will make clear; (see Fig. 45). The remains of the wall still showed one layer of hewn stones, some of which were very large. In a vault underneath the building four cuneiform tablets were found. They had been placed there for safety in time of siege, and these four tablets had been overlooked when the rest of the archive was rifled. These tablets proved to be letters written at the same time as those found at El-Amarna.[148] The building was the palace of a Canaanite king.

(2) At Samaria.—Of especial interest to the student of the Bible are the palaces of the Hebrew period. At Samaria Reisner discovered massive walls, which were probably the remains of the palaces of Omri and Ahab. That of Omri was built of large stones and rested on the native rock. As Omri was the founder of the city (1 Kings 16:24), there can be little doubt that this was his palace. An enlargement of this consisted of walls the construction of which was finer. They were faced with white marble. In this palace an alabaster vase was found, inscribed with the name of Osorkon II, King of Egypt, who was a contemporary of King Ahab. This is, therefore, believed to be the palace of Ahab—perhaps the “house of ivory” which Ahab built (1 Kings 22:39). As the volume on the excavation at Samaria is not yet published, it is impossible to give detailed plans of these buildings. The accompanying picture (Fig. 52) shows some of their walls.

(3) At Jericho.—Another building of this period, which the excavators believed might have been built by Hiel, the rebuilder of [Pg 128]Jericho, in the days of Ahab (1 Kings 16:34), was uncovered by Sellin. It is the most pretentious building of the Hebrew time at Jericho and may well have been the residence of the governor of the place. It consisted of a number of large rooms, and was throughout constructed of fairly large but irregular stones; (see Fig. 51).

(4) At Megiddo.—Another residence of an Israelitish governor was found at Megiddo. This was a large, irregular building, constructed around a courtyard. Some of the work was of dressed stones of considerable size, in every way superior to the stone-work of the earlier buildings of that city. In this palace a seal of a man named Shema was found, which bore the inscription, “Belonging to Shema, the servant of Jeroboam.” We do not know whether this man served under Jeroboam I or Jeroboam II. The fine character of the stone-work leads one to think the reign of Jeroboam II the more probable date; (see Figs. 53 and 27).

One more palace should be noticed, that of Simon the Maccabee (143-135 B. C.), at Gezer. This palace is clearly of the Hellenistic type, and was identified as the dwelling-place that Simon built for himself (1 Macc. 13:48), by the discovery of an ancient curse against Simon’s palace scrawled in Greek on a block of stone. This building was constructed of rather finely cut stone, was of irregular shape (see Figs. 54, 55), had an imposing gate which admitted into a courtyard, and was supplied with a good system of drainage.

6. Foundation Sacrifices.—When a house was built it was customary to consecrate it by a sacrifice. In early times in Palestine this was often a human sacrifice. In Gezer the skeleton of a woman was found built into the walls of a house. Numerous skeletons of children were also found under the corners of houses. Such sacrificial offerings were more often made under the corners of buildings, since the corners were considered sacred. In Babylonia and Egypt the sacrifice was accompanied with the burial under the corner-stone of inscriptions and other deposits, though in Egypt, as in Palestine, the deposit was not always under the corners.[149] Similar sacrifices were found at Taanach[150] and Megiddo.[151] These sacrifices illustrate, some think, 1 Kings 16:34, where Hiel[Pg 129] laid the foundation of Jericho with the loss of his first-born, and set up its gates with the loss of his youngest son; (see Fig. 56).

7. City Gates.—The city gate was in Palestine an important part of the town. Gateways were constructed in different ways at different times. At Gezer the northern gate consisted of a protruding tower, into which one entered at the side, then turned a right angle to gain entrance to the city; (see Fig. 58). Gates of this type are still common in the East. The passageway in this gate at Gezer was 40 feet wide.[152] The southern gate of Gezer consisted simply of a straight passageway, 42 feet long and 9 feet wide, between two brick towers; (see Fig. 61). Often, as in the case of the gate found at Bethshemesh (Fig. 59), there were rooms on each side of the passageway through the tower. One with still more space within its tower was uncovered at Megiddo; (Fig. 57).

The city gates usually remained at the same points in the wall through the successive reconstructions of the city. Thus at Samaria the remains of round Herodian towers which flanked the gateway were found resting on larger square bases of the Seleucid period, beneath which the outline of the earlier Israelitish towers was still visible; (see Figs. 65, 66).

The form of these gates illuminates many Biblical passages. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom (Gen. 19:1). Joab took Abner aside in the gate to speak to him (2 Sam. 3:27). The gate was the place of conference for the elders of a city (Gen. 34:20). To be praised in the “gates,” where the city’s affairs were settled (Prov. 31:31), was to have desired fame.

8. Water Supply.

(1) Springs.—The water supply of Palestinian cities came in part from the never-failing springs near which they were built. This supply was, however, seldom sufficient, so that from the early days cisterns were built to catch the water of the rainy season and conserve it for use during the summer months. These cisterns were often excavated in the solid rock, but sometimes were simple pits in the earth, over the bottom of which a coating of lime or cement had been spread.

(2) Underground Tunnels.—In time of war, when a city might be shut up for years, cities were often compelled to yield for want of water. This was especially the case if the spring lay outside the city walls. In several Palestinian cities means were taken to[Pg 130] secure access to a spring without exposing oneself to the enemy outside the wall. One of the greatest of these undertakings was discovered at Gezer. This was a tunnel cut in the solid rock, which was entered by a long flight of rock-cut steps. At the entrance the rock formed an imposing archway 23 feet high and 13 feet 10 inches broad. These dimensions were maintained throughout about two-thirds of the length of the tunnel. The whole passage was about 130 feet long. The last third of it had to be cut through a much harder rock, where the work was much more difficult, and its workmanship was here not so good as above. The tunnel also became appreciably smaller. The passage terminated in a large cave, in the bottom of which was a spring, and was evidently constructed to enable the inhabitants to reach a water supply in time of siege. The floor of the cave is 94 feet 6 inches below the level of the rock surface under the ancient city. The whole tunnel is a remarkable piece of engineering for an early people; (see Figs. 60 and 62).

The earth with which the mouth of the tunnel was closed contained objects which belonged to the time 1450-1250 B. C. The steps in the passageway had been before this deeply worn by many feet—so deeply worn that Mr. Macalister estimated that they must have been in use for 500 years. For these reasons he supposes that this water-passage was excavated about 2000 B. C. or soon after that date. It had ceased to be used before the Israelites conquered the place.

A similar underground tunnel leading to a spring has been found at El-Gib, Gibeon, (Fig. 63), and one made in Jebusite times also existed at Jerusalem. It is mentioned in 2 Sam. 5:8, and will be described in connection with Jerusalem (p. 188). At Rabbah Ammon an underground passage connected the old city situated on the hill with a large cistern which was roofed over so as to be concealed. To this cistern in time of siege the inhabitants could go through the passage and obtain water. It was this cistern[153] which Joab had captured (2 Sam. 12:27) when he sent to David to come and take the city. Antiochus III of Syria in the same way compelled the city to surrender in the year 218 B. C.,[154] and Herod the Great did the same thing before 30 B. C.[155]

(3) Reservoirs.—Among the sources of water supply for the cities[Pg 131] of Palestine the so-called Pools of Solomon to the south of Bethlehem are unique. They consist of three reservoirs, partly rock-cut and in part constructed of walls of masonry, in the Wady Artas, about a mile and a half to the southwest of Bethlehem. The highest of these pools is 127 yards long and 76 yards wide, and 25 feet deep at its lower end. The central pool is 141 yards long, from 53 to 83 yards wide, and 38 feet deep. The lowest and finest of the three is 194 yards long, 49 to 69 yards wide, and 48 feet at its deepest part. In these reservoirs water from neighboring springs was collected and stored. Two aqueducts at different times conveyed it to Jerusalem as it was needed. These aqueducts are now known respectively as the Low Level Aqueduct and the High Level Aqueduct. The High Level Aqueduct appears to be the older. In recent years the Low Level Aqueduct has been repaired, so that these “pools” still contribute to the water supply of Jerusalem.

There is no evidence that Solomon built these. His name has been attached to them solely on account of Eccl. 2:6: “I made me pools of water.” The whole structure of these and their aqueducts seems rather to be Greek or Roman work; (see Fig. 64).

Evidence for the dates is not conclusive,[156] but there is some probability that the pools were constructed by John Hyrcanus I, 135-105 B. C., who made the High Level Aqueduct, and that the Low Level Aqueduct was constructed by Herod the Great. This is much longer than the High Level Aqueduct, as it makes a detour toward Gebel Fureidis, where Herod constructed a palace, to which he conveyed water. This Low Level Aqueduct is probably the one afterward repaired by Pontius Pilate.[157]



[Pg 132]



Roads: Early paths. Roman roads. Agriculture: Granaries. Hoes and plows. Sickles. Threshing. Winnowing. Grinding. Mortars. Fruits. Vineyards and wine-vats. Olive-presses. The agricultural calendar. Domestic animals. Bees. Birds. Hens.


1. Roads.—From the time cities were established in Palestine there was more or less communication between them. Probably in a small way commerce was carried on among some of them, but no effort was made to construct roads, in the modern sense of the term, until the Roman period.

(1) Early Paths.—Before that time all traveling was done on foot or on the backs of donkeys and camels, and for such travel a simple foot-path, made by continuous use, was all that was considered necessary. The roads constructed by the Romans have long since fallen into a state of utter disrepair, so that, with the exception of two or three roads that have been built in recent years, the simple, rough foot-paths that have existed from time immemorial still suffice for Palestinian travel. These paths are often exceedingly rough. They were never surveyed and never repaired. They were simply devoted to public use by immemorial custom. If a landowner wished to raise grain in a field through which one of these paths ran, he plowed up to the very edge of the narrow path and put in his seed. There were neither fences nor ditches to separate the road from the field. Fields traversed by such roads are still very common in Palestine. It was along such a road that Jesus and the disciples were traveling when they plucked the ears of wheat on the Sabbath (Matt. 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1). It was such a road to which Jesus alluded in the Parable of the Sower: “Some seed fell by the wayside” (Matt. 13:4; Mark 4:4; Luke 8:5). A rough path is shown in Fig. 67.

(2) Roman Roads.—After Palestine passed under the sway of Rome in 63 B. C. a system of roads was built to connect the most important places. We have no definite information about these[Pg 133] from a source earlier than the Onomasticon of Eusebius,[158] which was compiled before 340 A. D., but in all probability those on the west of the Jordan were constructed before the time of Christ. There were three main roads in this part of Palestine.[159] One ran down the sea-coast. Starting at Sidon, it passed southward through Tyre, Sarepta (Zarephath, 1 Kings 17:10; Luke 4:26), Ptolemais (Accho), Dor, Cæsarea, Joppa, Lydda, Azotus (Ashdod), and Askelon to Gaza. A branch road ran eastward from Tyre over the hills of Galilee through Kedesh in Naphtali (Josh. 12:22; 20:7; Judges 4:6), to Cæsarea Philippi (Matt. 16:13; Mark 8:27), which was near the ancient Dan (Judges 18:29).

From Cæsarea, on the sea-coast south of Dor, another branch road ran southeastward through the valley of Aijalon up to the site of Gibeah of Saul (1 Sam. 10:26; 11:4, etc.), where it joined the road along the central ridge of the country; (see Fig. 68).

Starting from Damascus another road ran southward to Hyppos, one of the cities of the Decapolis, which lay southeast of the Sea of Galilee,[160] crossed the Jordan on a bridge below the Sea of Galilee (shown in Fig. 289), passed through Scythopolis, the Beth-shean of the Old Testament (Josh. 17:11; 1 Sam. 31:10), through Sychar (John 4:5), then southward along the central ridge of the country, through Bethel and Ramah to Jerusalem. South of Jerusalem it was continued to Bethlehem and Hebron. Four miles north of Jerusalem it was joined by the road from Cæsarea, so that travelers from the coast and from the north entered Jerusalem over the same road. One can in many places still trace the lines of Roman paving-stones which mark their courses. Thus the juncture of the two roads just mentioned is still visible, and one may stand on the hillside and feel sure that he is looking at the very way over which Paul was taken to Cæsarea by the Roman soldiers the night after his arrest in Jerusalem (Acts 23:23, 24).

From Scythopolis (Beth-shean) another road ran southward through the Jordan valley to Jericho. This was probably continued to Jerusalem. From Sebaste (Samaria) another road ran northwestward through Dothan (Gen. 37:17; 2 Kings 6:13), to Taanach, Megiddo, and the coast.

After Trajan overthrew the kingdom of the Nabathæans, in 106[Pg 134] A. D., he built a road on the east of the Jordan, southward from Damascus to the Red Sea. The Roman government kept these roads in good order. They marked the distances by milestones, some of which have survived to modern times; (Figs. 69, 71).

2. Agriculture was the chief occupation of the inhabitants of Palestine. The cities were throughout its history simply the walled residences of farmers. Such trade as developed at different periods was always subordinate to agricultural pursuits. We cannot expect exploration to furnish us with a complete view of ancient Palestinian agriculture, but such glimpses as it does afford us are most illuminating.

(1) Granaries.—In the excavation of Gezer[161] it was found that granaries formed an important class of buildings. Some of these were connected with private houses and evidently belonged to individuals, but some of them were so large and so much grain was found in them that it was rightly held that they must have been public granaries. Some of these buildings had been destroyed by fire, and the charred grain, retaining its original shape, was easily recognized. Most of the granaries were circular structures, such as are seen today dotting the fields of the maritime plain of Palestine. They varied greatly in size. One was but 2 feet 8 inches in diameter; another was 4 feet 9 inches across and 6 feet 9 inches deep. One granary from the second Semitic stratum (1700-1350 B. C.) was connected with a house, and contained several kinds of grain, each stored in a separate chamber; (Figs. 70, 72).

From such receptacles wheat, barley, oats, and beans were recovered, as well as three varieties of vetch, one of which was probably the “lentils” of Gen. 25:34; 2 Sam. 17:28; 23:11; and Ezek. 4:9. Barley is often mentioned in the Bible; the wheat is usually there called “corn.” Piles of straw and chaff, such as the modern Palestinians call tibn, were also found.

(2). Hoes and Plows.—Naturally, the implements with which the grain was cultivated have nearly all perished. In the first place the ground had to be broken and prepared to receive the seed. Remains of two different kinds of hoes were found at Gezer, though the preparation of a sufficiently large area of ground to bear grain to support cities cannot have been made with such instruments; (see Fig. 73). From an early time the plow, which is frequently mentioned in the Bible (see, for example, 1 Kings 19:19),[Pg 135] was in use in Palestine. A number of plowshares were found at Megiddo in the ruins of a blacksmith’s shop, and a diamond-shaped iron ring, from Gezer, may have been used to attach oxen to a plow, and the points of several ox-goads were found. The ox-goad consisted, as it does today, of a long stick into the end of which a sharp iron point was fixed. It is alluded to in Acts 26:14. As this goad was used in driving the oxen in plowing, it indicates that plows were used. These plows were probably similar to those used at the time in Egypt; (see Figs. 76, 77).

(3) Sickles.—When the grain was ripe it was reaped with a sickle (Deut. 16:9; Jer. 50:16; Joel 3:13). In the earlier periods these were of flint; later they were made of bronze, and iron. Sickles of metal are, however, rarely found. They were expensive, while flint was abundant and cheap. Flint sickle-teeth were numerous, therefore, in all periods. The earliest sickles were flints set in an animal’s jaw-bone, or in a curved piece of wood similar to the Egyptian sickle shown in Figs. 74, 75.

(4) Threshing.—After the grain was cut it was taken to the threshing-floor to be threshed. These floors were often a comparatively level portion of rock which formed a part of a high place or sanctuary. Such was the threshing-floor of Araunah, the Jebusite, in 2 Sam. 24:18. It took several days to complete a threshing, and as no one would think of stealing from a sacred place, the whole community was protected by doing the threshing in its precincts. Sometimes the cattle were driven about over the grain, as in ancient Egypt (see Fig. 79), and as is done in modern Palestine still; (see Fig. 78). This is the kind of threshing contemplated in Deut. 25:4. At other times a kind of sledge drawn by cattle was driven about over the grain. Ornan (Araunah) was threshing with such an instrument (1 Chron. 21:23; 2 Sam. 24:22), and allusion is made to one in Isa. 41:15; (see Fig. 80).

(5) Winnowing.—The grain was winnowed or cleansed of chaff by being thrown up, as in Fig. 79. As it fell the wind blew the chaff away. It is this process that John the Baptist used as an illustration of the purging work of Christ (Matt. 3:12; Luke 3:17).

(6) Grinding.—When the grain was cut, threshed, and winnowed, there were no mills to which it could be taken for grinding. This process had to be done in each home, and the labor of doing it fell to the women of the household. (See Exod. 11:5; Matt.[Pg 136] 24:41.) Grain was reduced to flour either by rubbing or by pounding. The process of rubbing or grinding was accomplished either by a flat saddle-shaped stone over which another was rubbed (see Figs. 81, 84), or by crushing between two stones, the top one of which was revolved somewhat as a modern millstone (Fig. 82). It required two women, as Jesus said, to grind at such a mill—one to feed it, while the other manipulated the rubbing stone. Such stones were made of hard igneous rock procured from the region east of the Sea of Galilee, and are called “querns.” In the different periods of the history of Palestine they varied in size and shape, becoming round in the Seleucid period (323-63 B. C.). The upper stone was apparently rotated by twisting the wrist. It could be thus turned half-way round and then back again. No round millstones, with the topmost of the pair perforated, as in the modern millstone, were found before the Arabic period, 637 A. D. Pictures of modern Syrian women turning this perforated type of millstone do not, therefore, really illustrate, as is often assumed, the women of the Bible as they ground at the mill.

Probably the millstone which crushed the head of Abimelech at Thebez (Judges 9:53) was the upper stone of a “saddle quern.” The importance of these millstones is recognized in Deut. 24:6, which prohibits the taking of a mill or the upper millstone of a poor man as security, on the ground that that was the same as taking a man’s life as security. The lower millstone was always made of the harder stone. Because of this and of the grinding and pounding to which it was subjected it became a symbol of firmness (Job 41:24).

(7) Mortars.—Apparently the grain was also frequently crushed by pounding it with a pestle in a mortar. So many of these made of stone were found at Gezer that it is thought that these may have been used more often than the millstones; (see Fig. 83).

(8) Fruits.—In the course of the excavation of Gezer dried figs, grapes, pomegranates, and olives were found. All of these are mentioned in the Bible, as, for example, in Cant. 2:13; Rev. 6:13; Gen. 40:11; Num. 13:23; Micah 6:15. In one trench what appeared to be a pile of charred pistachio nuts was found. Acorns, terebinth, and apricot seeds were also discovered.[162] Of these fruits, those which left the most archæological evidence of their existence[Pg 137] are just those that are most frequently mentioned in the Bible,—the grape and the olive.

(9) Vineyards and Wine-vats.—The grape is often alluded to in the Bible, and directions are given as to how one may conduct himself in a vineyard (Deut. 23:24) and as to how thoroughly one might glean his vines (Lev. 25:5). The most complete description of a vineyard is in Isa. 5:1-8. The one feature of that description that would survive for an archæologist to discover is the wine-vat. These vats were often cut in the solid rock, and many of them have been found, both in excavating and in traveling over the country. The vats for pressing grapes and other fruits may be distinguished from olive-presses because they lack all arrangements for mechanical pressing. The grapes were trodden with the feet, and as the juice was pressed out it ran down into a deeper portion of the vat. Some of these vats are surrounded by “cup-marks” or hollow places cut in the stone in order to hold pointed-bottomed jars upright. Sometimes the cup-marks are connected with the main vat by tiny channels, through which any of the grape-juice that might drain from the outside of the jar, after the jar had been dipped in the vat, might run back; (see Fig. 87).

(10) Olive-presses.—Similarly, olive-presses are very numerous in Palestine. Presses were found in the stratum of the cave-dwellers of Gezer. The olive industry is, accordingly, very old. Olive-presses comprised, in addition to the vat, an upright stone with a large hole in it. In this hole a beam was inserted. This beam rested on the olives which were to be pressed, extending far beyond the receptacle containing the olives, and weights were hung on the end farthest from the stone; (see Fig. 88). Palestine in ancient times, as now, was covered with olive orchards, many of which had oil-presses. Such an orchard was called a “garden.” The Garden of Gethsemane, the scene of one of the most sacred incidents of the life of Christ (Matt. 26:36; Mark 14:32), was an olive orchard and took its name from the oil-press. Gethsemane means “oil-press.” Wine-vats and oil-presses were of various types, but into their forms there is not space to enter here[163]; (see Figs. 85, 86).

The prominent place held by wine and oil among the agricultural[Pg 138] products of the country is indicated by the receipts for the storage of various quantities of these articles which were found at Samaria.

(11) The Agricultural Calendar.—In the books of the old Testament the names applied to the months are, for the most part, names derived from Babylonia, but it appears that at Gezer they had a series of names for the months based on their agricultural year. In the stratum which contained remains from the time of the Hebrew monarchy, 1000-550 B. C., an inscription was found which, though the end was broken away, contained the following names for the months:

1. Month of ingathering. (See Exod. 23:16; 34:22.)

2. Month of sowing.

3. Month of the late [sowing?].

4. Month of the flax-harvest.

5. Month of the barley-harvest. (See Ruth 2:23; 2 Sam. 21:9.)

6. Month of the harvest of all [other grains?].

7. Month of pruning [vines].

8. Month of summer-fruit [figs].

This calendar, beginning in October, still conforms to the agricultural pursuits of the year. It also gives us archæological evidence of the culture of flax by the ancient Israelites. (See Josh. 2:6; Prov. 31:13; Hosea 2:5, 9.)

(12) Domestic Animals.—The domestic animals of ancient Palestine may be traced in part by their bones found in various excavations, and in part by the pictures of them drawn in caves and tombs. The domestic animals most often mentioned in the Bible are asses, cattle, sheep, goats, and camels. Bones, pictures, or models of these were found in all the strata of Gezer.[164] There seem to have been a variety of cows; the breeds varied in the different periods. No horse bones were found until the third Semitic period (1350-1000 B. C.). It was, perhaps, during that period that the horse was introduced by the Hittites, who appear to have brought it from Turkestan, where its bones have been found in much earlier strata.[165] The ass was, however, the common beast of burden in Palestine, and bones of horses are rare until the Greek period. A number of figures of horses’ heads with their bridles were found, as well as a horse’s bit, and the picture of a horse and his rider. The pig was a[Pg 139] domesticated animal of the primitive cave-dwellers of Gezer, who appear to have offered swine in sacrifice, but pig-bones are rarely found in the Semitic strata. As swine were unclean to all Semites, this is not strange. The dog appears to have been half-domesticated, as the Bible implies, as his bones were employed for making prickers and similar tools, but no pictures or models of dogs are known to the writer. Probably they were of the half-wild pariah type. Certainly they were not held in high esteem. (See 1 Sam. 17:43; 2 Sam. 16:9.) For illustrations, see Figs. 89-92.

(13) Bees.—A number of inverted jars, each pierced with a number of circular holes, were found. It seems probable that these were rude beehives. Before the Israelites settled in Palestine they knew it as “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Exod. 3:8, 17; Num. 14:8; 16:13, 14; Deut. 6:3), and their view was, we are told, shared by others (2 Kings 18:32). It is not surprising, therefore, to find evidences of bee culture; (see Fig. 95).

(14) Birds.—As to birds, it is doubtful whether they had any domesticated ones before the Babylonian Exile. A rude picture of an ostrich painted on a potsherd was found at Gezer, as well as some painted fragments of ostrich-egg shell. The ostrich is mentioned in the Old Testament (Job 39:13; Lam. 4:3), but as a wild bird. The Palestinians knew it as a bird that might be hunted. They sometimes gathered the eggs of wild birds to eat (Deut. 22:6; Isa. 10:14). These were, perhaps, sometimes ostrich-eggs. The modern Arabs make a kind of omelette of ostrich-eggs. The ostrich was certainly not a domestic bird.

At Gezer, too, a clay bird was found, or, rather, a small jar made in the form of a bird. The object was so realistic that holes were left in the clay wings for the insertion of feathers; (Fig. 93). The bird bears some resemblance to a duck, figures of which were found at Megiddo,[166] but the duck may have been wild. One clay head of a goose or swan was also found, but had the bird been domesticated there would probably have been more traces of it.

(15) Hens.—The one domestic bird that can be traced in Palestine is the hen, and hens were not introduced until after the Exile. Hens seem to have been first domesticated in India. They are not mentioned in the Rig Veda, but the Aryans seem to have come into contact with them when they settled in the valley of the Ganges about 1000 B. C. The Yajur and Atharva Vedas mention the cock.[Pg 140] The hen is a domesticated Bankiva fowl, which also exists in a wild state in India. From India the hen was domesticated eastward to China, and westward to Persia. There is a possible picture of a cock on a sculpture of Sennacherib, which would indicate that the bird was known in Assyria at the beginning of the seventh century before Christ. Another is pictured on some Babylonian gems from the time of Nabuna’id, about 550 B. C. Pictures of cocks, three of them somewhat doubtful, are found on Babylonian seals of the Persian period.[167] The domesticated hen, traveling by way of the Black Sea, reached Asia Minor as early as the eighth century B. C.[168]

There is, however, no evidence of the presence of the hen in Palestine before the Greek period. Neither hen nor cock is mentioned in the Old Testament. In a tomb discovered by Peters and Thiersch in 1902, near Tell Sandahanna, the Marissa of the Seleucid period and the Moresheth-gath of Micah 1:14, a number of cocks are pictured; (Fig. 94). The tomb, constructed about 200 B. C., contains a number of Greek inscriptions.[169] In agreement with this evidence is also the fact that at Taanach there was found in a late pre-Arabic stratum the skeleton of a hen with an egg.[170] Before New Testament times, then, the hen had become a domestic fowl in Palestine. Every one would accordingly understand the lament of Christ, “How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matt. 23:37). The cock was so universally kept at this time that one of the divisions of the night was called the “cock-crowing” (Mark 13:35). It was the mark of the progress of the night afforded by the habits of the cock that was used by Jesus in predicting Peter’s denial (Matt. 26:34; Mark 14:30; Luke 22:34; John 13:38), and it was the recalling of this prediction by the crowing of the cock that brought Peter to repentant tears (Matt. 26:74; Mark 14:68, 72; Luke 22:60; John 18:27).



[Pg 141]



Importance of Pottery. Pre-Semitic Pottery. First Semitic Pottery to 1800 b. c. Pottery of Second Semitic Period. Third Semitic Period. Israelitish or Fourth Semitic Period. Hellenistic Period.


1. Importance of Pottery.—In all parts of the world the making of clay jars and receptacles is one of the earliest arts to be discovered, and Palestine was no exception to the rule. In Palestine such jars were particularly useful, as the water for each family had to be carried from the nearest spring to the house. It was natural that, in a country which had so long a history as Palestine, and over which the influences of so many diverse civilizations swept, there should be a considerable variety in the types of pottery in different periods. Indeed, it is now recognized that the differences in these types are so marked that in the absence of other criteria it is possible approximately to date a stratum of the remains of any ancient city by the type of pottery found in it. Since this is so, a brief outline of the different types is not out of place here, although these differences have little or no bearing upon the interpretation of the Bible. Only a brief statement is here attempted. Those who wish to study the subject more fully are referred to more extended works.[171] The classifications of pottery made by the leading experts differ, as they have been written at different times and as the excavations have continually enlarged the material. The classification presented in the following pages is mainly that of Macalister, based on the work at Gezer and on previous excavations.

2. Pre-Semitic Pottery.—There is first, then, the pottery of the pre-Semitic cave-dwellers. This pottery is made out of clay that was in no way cleansed or refined. It was made by hand, the larger jars having been built up little by little. The vessel, after receiving such ornament as the potter desired, was usually fired, though sometimes simply sun-dried. In firing the heat was often[Pg 142] distributed very irregularly, so that the surface was not all of the same color. The jars were of moderate size, flat on the bottom, globular, conical, or cylindrical in shape. They had concave necks and handles. The handles were of two kinds—“ledge” handles and “loop” handles. A “ledge” handle consists of a piece of clay pinched into a flat projecting ledge and then baked hard. A “loop” handle is one fastened to the jar at both ends, similar to the handle of a pitcher. Bowls or saucers were also sometimes made with “ledge” handles; (see Fig. 97).

The most common ornamentation of the pottery of this period was made by combing the clay with wooden combs notched with teeth of greater or less fineness. Sometimes the marks left by the comb were perpendicular, sometimes horizontal, and sometimes diagonal. One other type of ornament was exhibited in the pottery of the cave-dwellers. That was either an incised representation of a rope or cord, or a moulded imitation of one of these. This ornamentation was probably suggested by the ropes or cords which were bound about the vessel before it was fired, to prevent its falling apart. At first the only coloring was a line of brick-red around the rims of jugs and saucers. The most advanced stage is reached in Fig. 96, where a network of red lines cross each other diagonally. The tint of the red varies a good deal, but this may be due to the unequal firing already mentioned.

A few specimens of burnished pottery were found in the caves. This burnishing consisted in rubbing the surface of the vessel with strokes of a smooth bone or stone. In some cases the vessel was dipped in a whitish wash after it was fired. This adhered to it everywhere except on the bottom.

3. First Semitic Pottery to 1800 B. C.—The pottery of the first Semitic period, which terminated about 1800 B. C., is of a finer type. The larger pieces were made on a wheel, as were many of the smaller ones. The wheel was rotated with the left hand, while the potter moulded the vessel with the right. The result was a much more shapely type of work than in the previous period. In the pre-Semitic period limestone clays were employed; in this period, sandstone clays. Many of the objects, like those of the preceding period, were of a drab color, though the tints of some of them ranged from a rich brownish red to orange. The patches of color in these vessels were probably due to unequal heat in firing.

In size and shape the vessels presented a great variety. There[Pg 143] were large jars with flat bottoms, inverted conical bodies, and more or less abruptly rounded shoulders; (see Fig. 100). The mouth was wide and circular and surrounded by a flat, widely expanding rim. These jars averaged about two feet in height. There were many pitchers made in this period. They were large and small and of a great variety of shapes. Such pitchers present similar characteristics, whether found at Gezer or Megiddo; (see Figs. 98, 99). Ledge and loop handles were common on the pitchers of this period, but “pillar” and “button”[172] handles were also sometimes found; (see Figs. 105, 106). The ornamentation of pottery showed some advance over the preceding period. In addition to the rope motifs, decoration formed by combinations of lines was also found. One particularly fine type of pottery belonging to this period was found at Gezer. It was never found in the caves or in the higher strata. Vessels of this ware were usually found in groups, indicating that they were the possessions of the rich. The clay was well cleaned, the shapes distinctive (see Fig. 104), and the ware was always covered with a cream-like coating. Saucers and bowls were common in this period. The comb was still used in ornamenting pottery, though sometimes it produced only a series of dots. All surfaces were usually burnished, though naturally this was much more thoroughly done in the expensive than in the cheaper wares.

4. Pottery of Second Semitic Period.—During the second Semitic period, 1800-1400 B. C., trade was carried on with countries beyond the sea, especially with Cyprus. There was probably also some trade with Egypt and Crete, but the influence of Cyprus was most potent in the pottery. In this period, probably owing to foreign influence, the potters’ wheel worked by foot was introduced. This left both hands of the workman free and resulted in a great improvement of the ware. There was in this period a great variety in the material used. The cheaper vessels were made of a rough clay, full of grits of black colored sand or flints, which burned black in the middle of the clay and a reddish or yellowish drab on the surface. At least seven other finer types of ware were found at Gezer.[173] One of these was a ware made of a brilliant saffron-yellow clay, which was enriched with painted decoration in bold black lines. This was probably of foreign origin. In this period the jar with pointed bottom, long conical body, well rounded[Pg 144] shoulders, short concave neck, continuous circular mouth, with an expanded rim, though much narrower than in the preceding period, is the most common type. Jugs with pointed bottoms also became common, though there was a great variety in the shapes of jugs. Ledge handles had almost entirely disappeared in this period. Jars generally had two loop handles, and sometimes four, though occasionally they had none at all. “Button” handles are comparatively uncommon; the loop handle is the style most generally used. “Ear” handles, both vertical and transverse, are also common; (see Figs. 101-103, and 105).

The most striking feature of the pottery of this period is the increase in the variety of ornamentation and the introduction of the pictures of animals and birds as ornamental motifs. This was due, no doubt, to foreign influence. The best specimens of this type of ornamentation so far published are from Gezer, though it is found elsewhere.

All kinds of vessels were made of clay during this period: jars, jugs, pitchers, bowls, saucers, drinking-cups, etc., etc. Many of the potters signed their work with a peculiar mark. This mark was sometimes an impression of the potter’s finger, sometimes linear devices of various kinds scratched on the handle, and sometimes the impression of an inscribed Egyptian scarab, usually of the period of the Middle Kingdom or the Hyksos time. Jar handles marked with scarabs were also found at Jericho; (Figs. 118, 119).

5. Third Semitic Period.—The third Semitic period, 1400 to 1000 B. C., while its wares sometimes differed in form from those of the preceding period, is mainly marked off from the second period by a general degeneration in style. No great differences are noticeable in the kinds of clay employed. The jars have, as a rule, a less pointed bottom than in the preceding period; (Fig. 110). The combed decoration is rare, and the burnishing of the jars is both less frequent and less skilful than in the preceding period. There is an increase in the tendency to use painted ornamentation, which frequently consists of zigzag lines. Rough, conventionalized representations of palm trees are also common. In the last part of the period Cretan influences are traceable. This was probably due to the coming of the Philistines.[174] Potters’ marks continue, but scarabs are less often used in making them than in the preceding period. The various kinds of vessels made seem to have been as great[Pg 145] as in the preceding period. A clay funnel or bottle-filler was also found in this period; (see Fig. 114).

6. Israelitish or Fourth Semitic Period.—In the fourth Semitic, or the Israelitish period, 1000-600 B. C., the method of manufacture remained the same as before, and but little difference can be discerned in the clays employed. There seems, however, to have been a steady decline in excellence. The large jar with pointed bottom is still found, but there is a tendency to broaden the bottom, while retaining the convex form. Thus toward the close of the period a type of jar, conical in form, but with the apex of the cone at the top instead of at the bottom, is found. The types of pottery of this time may be seen by examining the forms found in the Hebrew stratum at Jericho (Figs. 107, 112, 113), and from a temple at Megiddo of the same period. (Fig. 111.) The forms and kinds of vessels found in this period are numerous. Painted ornamentation consists, as a rule, merely of rings around the vessel, though sometimes zigzags made very carelessly are also found. Bird ornamentation, so frequent in the third period, entirely disappears in this. The potters still employed marks. These are of the same general character as in the earlier period, though the scarab stamp entirely disappeared from Gezer and the use of other seals became common. These were most often a simple device of stars, or names written in the old Hebrew script. At Jericho the scarab stamp was still employed; (see Figs. 115, 117).

Some jar handles inscribed with Hebrew letters were found at Gezer in a stratum that was pre-exilic. A series of them was also found at the tells excavated by Bliss and Macalister in the Shephelah in the years 1898-1900—Es-Safi, Judeideh, and Zakariyeh. These handles, in addition to the impression of a seal, contained the words, “to the king,” in Hebrew letters, and the names of the cities, Hebron, Socho, Ziph, and Mamsheth. The first three of these are well-known Judæan towns; the last is unidentified. Sir Charles Warren found some similar stamps near the temple area at Jerusalem. There has been much discussion as to the date of the handles bearing these stamps. Since nothing of the kind was found at Megiddo and Taanach, it has been inferred that this kind of jar handle came into existence after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel in the year 722 B. C. It may be that the “king” referred to is the king of Judah, and that these stamps come from the last days of the kingdom of Judah.[Pg 146] Scholarly opinion is, however, divided, some authorities contending that they come from the time after the Exile. The date is not entirely certain; (see Fig. 116).[175]

7. Hellenistic Period.—In the time after the Exile there is not much change in the character of the pottery until after the conquest of Alexander the Great. The influx of influences from the Græco-Macedonian world affected the whole life of the land, and was reflected also in its pottery. As in the second and third Semitic periods, there were importations of pottery from abroad, though at this time the importations were from regions affected by Greek art. The Palestinian potters of this period had, therefore, the best models. The use of the potters’ wheel was all but universal, and the wares were burned hard. A pile of these potsherds, when struck with a stick, emits a distinct musical “clink,” which is not the case with potsherds from the earlier periods. The clay employed was the finest and most homogeneous of any used in Palestinian pottery, and there is a general tendency, especially in the cities near the coast, to follow classical models; (see Figs. 122, 125).

Jars have rounded or bluntly pointed bases, vertical sides, flattened or oblique shoulders, and round mouths. There are two loop handles just under the shoulders. Another form, probably suggested by Rhodian amphoræ, has a long, tapering base; (see Fig. 120).

It is impossible in the space that can be devoted to this topic to enumerate all the kinds of vessels that were made in this period or the variety of their forms. Only a few characteristic features can be noted. The cooking pots of this time have a very distinctive form. They have a globular base, globular body, short, wide neck, and a rounded continuous mouth; (see Fig. 1225a). The body of the vessel is often ribbed with horizontal flutings. Small jugs and vases were very common; some of them had very characteristic forms. Jugs of this period found at Jericho had a funnel at the side through which liquid could be poured into them.

As in the preceding period, jar handles were frequently stamped with the mark of the potter. These were now often Greek letters, though those so stamped were apparently imported from foreign countries. At Jericho ten jar handles were found stamped with the[Pg 147] name “Jah” and three stamped with the name “Jahu.”[176] Both Jah (see Psa. 68:4) and Jahu are abbreviations of the name Jehovah, and probably are so to be understood here. They often formed part of a personal name—thus Elijah, “My God is Jah.”

From the second Semitic period onward, filters were made by piercing the bottom of a jug with holes. These became more common in the third Semitic period, but this sort of device reached its full development in the Hellenistic period, which we are now considering. Various forms of strainers were found, as shown in Fig. 123, and one very elaborate filter; (see Fig. 121).

With the coming of the Romans in 63 B. C., new influences were introduced into the civilization of Palestine. In time these influences modified the pottery, but it is doubtful whether they had an appreciable effect until after the New Testament times. Pots from the Roman period found at Gezer (see Fig. 124) differ from those of the Hellenistic period chiefly in having bottoms that are more nearly flat. By the time of the Emperor Constantine a change can be noted, so that pottery of the Byzantine period (325-637 A. D.) has characteristics of its own. That period, however, lies beyond the range of Biblical history.

In the study of pottery one of the most interesting topics is the evolution of the lamp. The earliest lamps were simply wicks stuck into a saucer of oil and ignited. Of course, the wick would easily fall down into the oil and the light would be extinguished. The earliest device to prevent this was to make the saucer of irregular shape, with a slight notch in one side in which the wick could lie. (See the right-hand lamp in Fig. 127.) As time went on this resting-place for the wick developed more and more into a spout. (See Fig. 126 and the left-hand lamp in Fig. 127.)

This form of lamp was known as early as the first Semitic period, and persisted with slight development down through the Israelitish time; (see Fig. 128). Its development was not, however, uniform in all parts of the country. Israelitish lamps found at Jericho appear to be simply saucers with two or more indentations in the rim; (see Fig. 132). Perhaps in these more than one wick was used. In the Hellenistic period two improvements in the making of lamps occurred. The first consisted in a still further development of the spout until its sides almost met and formed nearly a closed vessel. The second improvement was, perhaps, due to[Pg 148] outside influences. It consisted in making the saucer small and covered. In the middle of the cover was a small round hole into which the oil was poured; at one side a spout protruded and the wick came out through this; (see Fig. 131). The top of such lamps was ornamented with various designs.

In the Byzantine and Arabic periods the same general style of lamp was used, but the shape and ornamentation of each period were different, so that they can easily be distinguished; (see Fig. 129). After the country became Christian the ornamentation on the lamps was often made with Greek letters. These were made in ornamental forms and usually expressed some Christian sentiment. One of the most popular legends for these Christian lamps was: “The light of Christ shines for all”; (see Fig. 130).

It was lamps such as these, probably of the Hellenistic type, to which Christ alluded in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matt. 25:1-12). Such a lamp would not contain oil enough to burn all night, so that to carry it to a prolonged wedding-feast without a supply of oil was a powerful example of improvidence.



[Pg 149]



Utensils: Ovens. Baking-trays. Bowls, etc. Feeding-bottles. Glassware. Spoons. Forks or Flesh-hooks. Needles. Spinning “Whorls.” Lamp-stands. Keys. Knives. Saws. Chisels. Awls. Axes. Adzes. Whetstones. Files. Hammers. Nails. Baskets. Arrows. Spears. Swords. Fish-hooks. Styli. Seals. The “Pipe.” Harps. The Dulcimer. Lyres. Children’s toys. Personal Ornaments: Combs. Perfume-boxes. Spatulæ for eye-paint, etc. Fibulæ. Beads. Necklaces. Bracelets. Anklets. Rings.


1. Utensils.—The term “utensil” is of wide application. The utensils of agriculture and the hand-mills for grinding grain have been described in Chapter VII. Among the devices used in connection with Palestinian houses one of the most important was the oven.

(1) Ovens.—The ovens of ancient Palestine were of the same kind as those used by the peasantry of that country today. Each consists of a cylinder of baked earth about 2 feet in diameter and 1½ inches thick. It is closed by a cover of the same material, in which a stone or lump of clay has been embedded as a handle. There is rarely any bottom except the bare earth. The loaves, which were flat discs, were usually placed inside, either on the ground covered with clean pebbles or on a baking-tray. Sometimes the loaves were plastered over the outside of the oven. In this case the fire was built inside and might consist of grass (Matt. 6:30; Luke 12:28). The fire was usually heaped about the outside of the oven, and often consisted of dried manure. It is this use of manure as fuel that is alluded to in Ezek. 4:12-15—a passage that has sometimes been greatly misunderstood. Such ovens were frequently found in all the strata. In Fig. 133 two varieties of ovens are shown. The one at the left hand is made of plain tile; the other is covered over with potsherds, to make it retain the heat longer. Sometimes in large houses groups of several ovens were found together.

Ovens are frequently referred to in the Bible, sometimes as symbols of things that are hot. (See Lev. 11:35; 26:26; Psa. 21:9;[Pg 150] Hosea 7:4, 6, 7.) Once a much-used oven is a symbol of blackness (Lam. 5:10).

(2) Baking-trays, consisting of discs of baked clay about 10 inches in diameter, were also found. These were usually turned up at the edges, and frequently perforated in order better to admit the heat to the under side of the loaf. One specimen was found burnt through with constant use. These trays were most numerous at Gezer in the second and third Semitic periods. They were found at Jericho in the Jewish stratum; (see Fig. 134).

(3) Bowls, etc.—In Chapter VIII, under the head of Pottery, the jars, pitchers, clay bowls, saucers, and cups which were used about Palestinian homes have already been described. Bowls and saucers of stone were also employed from the earliest times. They were far less fragile, though more expensive. Probably the dishes used by the common people were in all periods made of clay. After the introduction of metal, however, the wealthy often had dishes of bronze (see Fig. 135), and sometimes of silver. A Philistine grave at Gezer yielded some silver dishes of beautiful workmanship; (see Figs. 137, 141).

(4) Feeding-bottles.—A number of curiously shaped jars with spouts were found at Gezer; (see Fig. 139). Mr. Macalister was at a loss to explain their use unless they were feeding-bottles. The only other suggestion that he makes is that they were lamps, but they are so different from the lamps of the time, that that possibility seems to be excluded. Sellin thought similar objects found by him were vessels for pouring oil. This may have been their purpose.

(5) Glassware.—Vessels of glass are very rare in Palestine until Roman times. In the remains of the third Semitic period at Gezer fragments of ornamented glass vessels, which had been imported from Egypt, were found. The ornamentation consisted of zigzag lines. Clear glass first appears in the Israelitish period, but it was rare and inartistic. After the coming of the Romans it became more common. For examples of its use, see the ointment vessels in Fig. 138.

(6) Spoons.—The spoons of the poor were in all periods apparently adapted from shells, as shown in Fig. 136, but the more wealthy, especially when under the influence of more artistic foreigners, had ladles of metal that seem very modern; (see Fig. 141). These objects are from a Philistine tomb.

[Pg 151](7) Forks or Flesh-hooks.—Forks were in existence, as shown in Fig. 140, but were used not to eat with, but to handle meat when it was cooking. The one with three prongs in Fig. 143 reminds one of the “flesh-hook of three teeth” that the servant of Hophni and Phinehas, sons of Eli, thrust into the caldron of seething sacrificial flesh, in order to obtain the priest’s portion (1 Sam. 2:13, 14).

(8) Needles, both of bone and bronze, were found. They were employed from the earliest times in such sewing as was necessary. The way the eyes were made may be seen in Fig. 142. These give vivid reality to the saying of Christ “It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25).

(9) Spinning “Whorls.”—Spinning in ancient Palestine, as now, was done in the simplest possible manner. A tapering spindle was made of wood. To this was attached a “whorl”—either a stone or a lump of baked clay—in order to give the spindle momentum when whirled. The wool was held in the hand, a bit of it twisted into a thread with the fingers and attached to the spindle. Then more of the wool was pulled out and held in the hand while the spindle and whorl were given a twist with the other hand and allowed to twist the wool into thread. The process was repeated again and again. The writer has seen women in the East spinning while on a journey. Many of the spindle whorls, made both of stone and of clay, have been found by excavators; (see Figs. 144, 145).

(10) Lamp-stands.—In one of the palaces at Megiddo a number of bronze tripods of various sorts were found; (see Fig. 148). The tallest of these were 13¼ and 14 inches in height. They were intended to support either bowls or lamps. They are the kind of “stand” mentioned in Matt. 5:15 (R. V.—the King James Version called it a “candlestick”), on which men, when they lighted a lamp, placed it so that it might “give light to all that are in the house.” Probably the poor had some less expensive form of lamp-stand.

(11) Keys in Palestine were often large, clumsy affairs. They were probably most often made of wood, and were much better fitted to be carried on the shoulder, as a wood-chopper often carries his axe, than to be carried in a pocket. This is why Isaiah (22:22) speaks of laying the key of the house of David on the shoulder of Eliakim. Of course, all wooden keys of the Biblical[Pg 152] time have decayed. Iron keys from the Hellenistic time were found at Gezer, two of which are shown in Figs. 146, 147.

(12) Knives.—One of the first implements made by man as he emerges from savagery is the knife. The earliest knives of Palestine were of flint, which is in that country very abundant. Flint knives are made by taking a cone of flint that will easily flake, and skilfully striking the top of it such a blow that a ribbon having a sharp edge is split off. At Gezer one of these cones, left by an ancient flint knife-maker, was found; (see Fig. 154). After the introduction of bronze in the first Semitic period, 2500-1800 B. C., knives were often made of that; (see Fig. 151). When, about 1000 B. C., iron came in, it, too, was employed for knife-making; (see Fig. 150). Flint knives were always cheaper than those of metal and were probably always employed by the common people. Knives are referred to in the Bible as the implements for slaying sacrifices (Gen. 22:6, 10), and in various other connections. (See, for example, Ezek. 5:1, 2.) Flint knives were preferred for the rite of circumcision (Exod. 4:25 and Josh. 5:2, 3); (see Fig. 149).

(13) Saws.—Ribbon-flint knives easily pass into saws when the edge is irregular. A number of these came to light in the course of the excavation of Gezer. Saws are referred to in 2 Sam. 12:31 and in 1 Kings 7:9. Saws made of thin, flexible strips of metal existed. These were set in wooden frames. Very meager fragments of these have been found.

(14) Chisels were fairly common at Gezer in all strata after the introduction of bronze. They were made usually of bronze, even after the introduction of iron, although iron chisels were found. As the chisel is one of the most necessary tools of a carpenter, our Lord must often have used one in the days before his ministry; (see Fig. 152).

(15) Awls.—The awl is also a very useful tool. In ancient Gezer they were often set in bone handles. Modern Palestinian carpenters employ a heated awl to make a hole in timber without splitting it. As ancient carpenters probably had the same custom, the awl was also one of the implements often used by Christ; (Fig. 157).

(16) Axes were found from the second Semitic stratum onward. Those from the earlier time were made, of course, of bronze; the later ones of iron. In a few the butt of the axe-head was perforated to receive a thong to lash it to the helve. How necessary this was is shown by such passages as Deut. 19:5 and 2 Kings 6:5. A[Pg 153] bronze double-edged axe was also found in the second Semitic stratum; (see Fig. 160).

(17) Adzes.—A few specimens of the adze were also found; (see Fig. 161). One of these was of bone.

(18) Whetstones.—Tools, of course, needed sharpening, and various specimens of whetstones were found; (see Fig. 158). It is difficult to distinguish these from “rubbing-stones,” which were used when bathing to rub hardened skin from the body. The same stone may at times have served both purposes.

(19) Files.—A bronze file was made by perforating a tube of bronze with holes and leaving the rough edges made in the perforation protruding; (see Fig. 153). These were probably used, however, for crumbing bread, and not for sharpening tools.

(20) Hammers.—Many stone hammers from every period of Palestinian history have been found. The stone hammer seems to have persisted even after the introduction of metal. Bronze hammers are rare. Probably the hammer with which Jael killed Sisera (Judges 4:21; 5:26) was of stone; also the one referred to in Jer. 23:29; (see Fig. 155).

(21) Nails have been found in profusion, made both of bronze and of iron; (see Fig. 159). As soon as iron was introduced into the country it was generally employed in making nails. Christ, as a carpenter, must have employed a hammer, and often have driven nails.

(22) Baskets are used in Palestine, as in other countries, for all sorts of purposes. They are frequently referred to in the Bible. (See Deut. 26:2, 4; 28:5, 17; Judges 6:19; Amos 8:1, 2.) The basket of the modern Palestinian peasant is usually made by sewing together a coil of rope made of straw or reeds. After the mat thus formed has become large enough for the bottom of the basket, it is given an upward turn to form the sides. In excavating the water-passage at Gezer interesting evidence came to light of the existence of such baskets in ancient times. One of them had been left on some soft earth in the tunnel, and, although the basket itself had long ago decayed, the form of it was still visible on the hardened clod on which it had rested; (see Fig. 163).

(23) Arrows.—Of implements of warfare some portions have survived. One of these was the arrow, which is mentioned more than fifty times in the Bible, and is employed in many metaphors. Arrows were made of a light perishable shaft to which an arrowhead[Pg 154] of flint or bronze was attached. This head terminated in a point, which inflicted the wound. Arrow-heads were found in the Palestinian strata later than the cave-dwellers; (Figs. 164, 165, 166).

(24) Spears.—The spear consisted of a long shaft with a metal head, that could be thrown at an enemy. It is often called a javelin. Such weapons are alluded to in the Bible almost as often as arrows. The excavations have yielded a good variety of bronze spear-heads; (see Fig. 167).

(25) Swords.—The swords of ancient Palestine were used for thrusting rather than for cutting. (See 1 Sam. 31:5; 2 Sam. 2:16.) The blades are, therefore, short and pointed; (see Fig. 166). Sometimes the edges are actually thickened. A fine scimitar, found in a tomb in which other objects revealed Mycenean influence, is a great exception to the ordinary form of sword found in Palestine; (see Fig. 162).

(26) Fish-hooks.—Spears and arrows could, of course, be used in hunting as well as in war, but a fish-hook found at Gezer (see Fig. 156) is of especial interest to the student of the Bible, since some of the most prominent apostles, Peter, Andrew, James, and John, were fishermen. The fishing on the Sea of Galilee seems to have been done usually with nets. Nevertheless, perhaps even there a hook was sometimes employed.

(27) Styli.—The implements of the scribe which have survived are all specimens of a stylus for writing on clay or wax; (see Fig. 178). The usual length of these styli was 3½ to 4½ inches. In the Hellenistic stratum at Gezer, however, one was found as short as 2½ inches; also one as long as 12 inches. It was a stylus of the average kind found at Gezer that Isaiah was directed to use as recorded in Isa. 8:1.

(28) Seals.—Closely connected with the work of the scribe are the seals which are found wherever a mound is thoroughly excavated. These were sometimes Egyptian scarabs, but more often, especially in the later periods, various figures and devices carved on a stone; (see Fig. 175). They might or might not contain the name of the owner. The famous seal of Shema, mentioned on p. 97, contained his name, but often they appear simply to have been a kind of mark of their owners. They might be impressed on clay or wax, and, as we have seen (p. 144), potters used them to identify their work. If the writing was on a clay tablet the seals were rolled over its edge (see Job 38:14), or over any[Pg 155] unwritten portion of its surface. This took the place of the signature of the writer. On the use of seals in Bible times, see 1 Kings 21:8.

(29) The “Pipe.”—The people of Palestine have always been fond of music, though in modern times their music is of a rude and primitive sort. Probably in ancient times it did not rise to anything like modern standards. At least one musical instrument has been brought to light by the excavations. It is a part of a stone whistle or “pipe” found in the third Semitic stratum—the period just before the coming of Israel. It is conical in shape, and about 4 inches long, 1⅛ inches wide at one end, and about ½ inch wide at the mouthpiece. It was perforated at the side by two holes; (see Fig. 168). Probably a mouthpiece of reed was fitted into it. It was possible to make several notes on it. This is probably a rude example of the “pipe,” said to have been invented by Jubal (Gen. 4:21), and often mentioned in the Bible. (See 1 Sam. 10:5; 1 Kings 1:40; Isa. 5:12; 1 Cor. 14:7.) The Hebrew word for pipe means “a pierced” or “perforated thing,” and this stone whistle answers the description well.

(30) Harps.—Other musical instruments were not made of material that could survive; nevertheless from the Babylonian, Assyrian, and Egyptian sculptures we have some idea of their form. Of these, the harp is mentioned more than forty times in the Bible. For the forms of ancient harps, see Figs. 169-172.

(31) The Dulcimer.—This musical instrument is mentioned in Dan. 3:5, 15. An Assyrian dulcimer is shown in Fig. 174.

(32) Lyres.—A kind of lyre is pictured on certain Jewish coins; (see Fig. 173).

(33) Children’s Toys.—A touch of nature that links the ancient world with ours is found in the toys of children. Both from Babylonia and Palestine clay rattles have been recovered. A series found at Gezer is shown in Fig. 179. In addition to these rattles many grotesque animal figures came to light through the various excavations; these figures were probably made for children to play with. One or two had a hole drilled through a leg, apparently for the insertion of a string by which a child could drag it. The workmen who removed the earth sometimes begged for permission to take them home for their own children to play with[177]; (see Fig. 177).

[Pg 156]2. Personal Ornaments.

(1) Combs.—Of toilet articles the most universal is the comb. These were made of bone or ivory. They were both straight and curved, ornamented and unornamented. A fragment of one from Gezer is shown in Fig. 176.

(2) Perfume-boxes.—The ancients were fond of perfume. “Perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant” is a Hebrew poet’s description of an elegantly dressed man. (See Cant. 3:6.) Perfume-boxes, in which the various kinds of perfume were kept, frequently are found in excavating; (see, for example, Fig. 180). Women’s perfume-boxes are denounced in Isa. 3:20.

(3) Spatulæ for Eye-paint, etc.—Little spatulæ, or tools for lifting small quantities of cosmetics, were also found; (see Fig. 183). These were probably most often used to apply kohl to the eyelids—a practice that was thought to enhance the beauty of women (see Ezek. 23:40) and which is still followed in the East.

(4) Fibulæ.—Another article of the toilet which is found in abundance in all ancient excavations was the fibula—a rude kind of safety-pin. The garments were held together by these. They consisted of a kind of perforated bow through which a pin could be thrust. In the earlier periods the bow and the pin were not fastened together.

The dress of the ancient Palestinians was much like that of the modern peasants of the country. It was not, however, made of materials that would last when buried in a mound. All that has survived of it are some articles of personal adornment.

(5) Beads were highly valued from the earliest times and are found in all strata. In the earlier periods they were made of various colored stones; it is only in the later strata that some glass beads are found.

(6) Necklaces.—Beads, cylinders, and irregularly shaped pendants were strung so as to form necklaces. One found at Jericho is shown in Fig. 181. They are called “chains” in Isa. 3:19; Prov. 1:9, and “strings of jewels” in Cant. 1:10.

(7) Bracelets and armlets have been found in abundance from nearly all periods. They were made of bronze, iron, ivory, glass, silver, and gold. For some of their forms, see Fig. 182. They are frequently mentioned in the Bible. (See, for example, Gen. 24:30; Exod. 35:22; 2 Sam. 1:10; Ezek. 16:11.)

[Pg 157](8) Anklets of bronze and silver have also been found in various places. They are like bracelets, only larger. In a country where the ankles were usually left bare, it was as natural to wear ornaments on them as on the arms. These, too, are denounced along with the other ornaments of women in Isa. 3:18.

(9) Rings, too, of various kinds have been found in profusion. Most of the finger rings were simple circles of metal; usually they were of bronze; sometimes of iron. Silver and gold rings were comparatively few in number and of small size. Several signet rings were found at Gezer. Finger rings are not often mentioned in the Bible. (See, however, Num. 31:50.) They evidently were highly regarded by well-to-do people, for in the Parable of the Prodigal Son Jesus tells us that the father “put a ring on his hand” (Luke 15:22). Signet rings were the possessions of the great and of kings. (See Gen. 41:42 and Esther 3:10, 12, and Fig. 184.)



[Pg 158]



Measures. Weights. Inscribed Weights. Money: Who invented coinage? Darics. Maccabæan coins. Asmonæan coins. Herodian coins. Roman coins. The Widow’s Mite. The Piece of Silver. Coinage of the Revolt of 66-70 A. D.


1. Measures.—The Hebrew units of dry measure were: 1. The Homer (or Cor), which contained 10 Ephahs (Ezek. 45:11, 14). 2. The Ephah, which contained 3 Seahs (Isa. 40:12) or 10 Omers (Exod. 16:36) or 18 Cabs (2 Kings 6:25, and Josephus, Antiquities, IX, iv, 4).

Corresponding to these were the units of liquid measure: 1. The Homer (or Cor), which contained 10 Baths (Ezek. 45:11, 14). 2. The Bath, which, according to Josephus and Jerome, contained 6 Hins (see Exod. 29:40). 3. The Hin, which contained 3 Cabs, or, according to the Talmud, 12 Logs.

These two systems have the Homer as their major unit. The Homer had the same capacity in each system. The Ephah of dry measure equalled the Bath of liquid measure, and the Cab was the same in each. If, then, the capacity of one unit in either measure could be determined, we should know the capacity of all the others.

It has been the custom of archæologists to strike a kind of average of the confused statements of Josephus and Epiphanius[178] and correct these by estimates based on Babylonian measures.

Calculations based on this method will be found in recent works on Hebrew archæology and dictionaries of the Bible. It has been impossible, however, to reach certainty. Three systems will be found in the books referred to: one based on the supposition that the Log = 9⁄10 of a pint; one based on the supposition that the Log = 91⁄100 of a pint; the third on the supposition that the Log = 1 pint. The estimates of the Homer vary accordingly from 80 gallons to 81.25 gallons, and 89.28 gallons.[179]

[Pg 159]Under these circumstances some discoveries of the Augustinians of the Assumption, in the grounds of their monastery in Jerusalem, appear to be of importance.[180] They found at various times in excavating for building purposes four vessels, which seem to have been a series of measures. Taking the larger one as the unit, the capacity of the one next smaller is three-quarters of the capacity of the first; the third was just half the first; the fourth, a quarter of it. These vessels all appear to have been in a building which had a Hebrew inscription over its door. Although the inscription was broken, the word “Corban”[181] was still legible. Père Germer-Durand assumes, accordingly, that the building was used as a place where temple tithes were paid, and that this series of vessels were standard measures employed in collecting tithes. The quantities of material contained by these vessels are as follows:

Largest, 21.25 litres or 19.6 quarts.
Second, 15.937 litres or 14.7 quarts.
Third, 10.625 litres or 9.8 quarts.
Fourth, 5.312 litres or 4.9 quarts.

Père Germer-Durand thinks from a study of Josephus and Epiphanius that the largest of his vessels represents the Ephah of dry measure or the Bath of liquid measure. If this assumption is right, it gives a series of measures which are each about 7⁄12 smaller than the smallest of the series referred to above.

On this basis Hebrew dry measures become:

Homer or Cor = 196 quarts or 6 bushels and ½ peck.
Ephah = 19.6 quarts or 2 pecks, 3.6 quarts.
Seah = 6.533+ quarts.
Omer = 1.96 quarts.
Cab = 1.888+ quarts.

Liquid measure becomes:

Homer or Cor = 196 quarts or 49 gallons.
Bath = 19.6 quarts or 4.9 gallons.
Seah = 6.533+ quarts.
Hin = 3.266+ quarts.
Cab = 1.888+ quarts.
Log = .272 quarts or approximately ½ pint.

[Pg 160]It is not certain that the vessels found by the Augustinians represent the measures that Germer-Durand supposes, but it is as likely that they do as that the confused statements of Josephus and Epiphanius afford an accurate basis for calculations.

It is probable that in actual business there was in ancient times a great deal of variation allowed from the ordinary standard of measures. We know of no rigid regulation of the matter by a central authority.

2. Weights.—The two weights most often mentioned in the Bible are the talent and the shekel. The Bible nowhere tells us of how many shekels a talent was composed. In Babylonia the talent consisted of 60 manas,[182] and each mana of 60 shekels, so that the talent consisted of 3600 shekels. The Phœnicians divided the mana into 50 shekels, and it is thought by scholars that the Hebrews did the same, though we have no positive evidence on the point. Manas are not mentioned in the Bible, unless in Dan. 5:25.[183]

In the course of the excavations by Bliss in the Shephelah a number of weights were found, some of which were inscribed. Macalister also found a large number of weights at Gezer, a few of which bore inscriptions. Some others have been found by natives and purchased by travelers. The writer had the pleasure of discovering two weights in this way.

3. Inscribed Weights.—These inscribed weights are of the greatest interest to the students of the Bible. Five weights are known that are inscribed in old Hebrew characters with the word neseph, “half”; see Fig. 186. These are undoubtedly half-shekels. Two of the three are broken, and one is perforated. The other two weigh, respectively, 157.56 grains and 153.6 grains. The average of these is 155.5 grains, which would make the shekel 311 grains.

Another weight, said to have come from Samaria, was described some years ago by Dr. Chaplin. It bears the inscription roba neseph, “the quarter of a half,” and weighs 39.2 grains. Another weight from Samaria is in the possession of Mr. Herbert Clark, of Jerusalem. It is made in the form of a turtle and bears the inscription homesh, “a fifth,” and weighs 38.58 grains. Probably it was intended as the fifth part of a shekel.

[Pg 161]Another series of inscribed weights, of which three examples are known, bears the inscription beqa. The word comes from a root that means “cleave” or “split.” This word occurs twice in the Old Testament, in Gen. 24:22 and Exod. 38:26. In the passage last mentioned it is defined as half a shekel; (see Fig. 188).

A third variety of weight bears the inscription payim. The first of these to be discovered was found by the writer in the hands of a dealer in Jerusalem. On one side it bore the word payim and on the other lezekaryahu yaer, “belonging to Zechariah son of Jaer.” This weight is cubic in form (see Fig. 187) and weighs 117.431 grains.[184] Macalister found another of similar shape, which bore only the inscription payim. It weighed 114.81 grains. The word payim is very puzzling. It has been interpreted by Clermont-Ganneau as meaning “two-thirds,” and as designating two-thirds of a shekel. Possibly this is right. This weight is mentioned in 1 Sam. 13:20, 21, and its discovery has explained a Hebrew phrase which has puzzled all translators. We now know that these verses should be rendered: “But all the Israelites went down to the Philistines, to sharpen every man his plowshare, and his axe, and his adze, and his hoe, and the price was a pim (or payim) for the plowshares, and for the axes, and for the three-tined forks, and for the adzes, and for the setting of the goads.” The name of the weight here expresses the price, just as shekel, the name of another weight, does elsewhere.[185] One bronze weight found at Gezer bore words meaning “belonging to the king,” but it is not clear to what king it referred.

A glance at the weights here described makes it evident that the standards of the ancient Hebrews were not exact. If these are representative weights, the shekel must have varied from 200 to more than 300 grains Troy. This is what one acquainted with the Palestine of today would expect. The peasants still use field-stone as weights, selecting one that is approximately of the weight they desire. Even among the merchants of modern Jerusalem, where[Pg 162] one would expect more exact standards than among the peasantry, odd scraps of old iron are used for weights.[186]

A large number of uninscribed weights of the same general size and shape of those described[187] were found at Gezer. Whether larger weights or multiples of a shekel were discovered is uncertain. A number of stones might have been used for weights, but they were not inscribed and may have been used for other purposes. A large bronze weight found at Tell Sandahanna is just sixty times the weight of a 311-grain shekel, and may be a mana.[188]

Where weights and measures differed so, the words of Amos (8:5), “making the ephah small and the shekel great,” gain an added significance, and we understand why the wise man denounced “false balances” (Prov. 11:1; 20:23). Indeed, of the weights found at Gezer so many were under the average standard, and so many above it, that the inference lay close at hand that many men had one set of weights by which to purchase and another set by which to sell.[189]

4. Money.—Down to the seventh century before Christ money was not coined. Whenever it was employed as a medium of exchange, it was weighed. In western Asia and Egypt our sources show that in the period from 1500 to 1300 B. C. gold and silver were prepared for commercial use by being formed into rings.[190] These rings were of no standard weight; they were weighed in the mass by scales. Probably the rings were small, so that the weight could, at the will of the merchant, be increased by very slight amounts. The ring-form was probably selected because this shape would present no corners that would rapidly wear away. This type of commercial ring can be traced in the inscriptions of Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria,[191] 884-860 B. C. It was used, then, in Egypt, Syria, Phœnicia, by the Hittites, the Aramæans, and the Assyrians.

(1) Who Invented Coinage?—The oldest coins yet found were made by the Lydians, and on this account it is usually said that the Lydians were the first to coin money. The date of these coins is uncertain. They bear the name of no king, but are usually assigned to the seventh century B. C. Mr. Head, of the British Museum,[Pg 163] dated them tentatively at 700 B. C. They probably were made under the Lydian dynasty founded by Gyges in 697 B. C., the last king of which, the famous Crœsus, was overthrown by Cyrus the Great, in 546 B. C. It is improbable that these coins were invented earlier than the reign of Gyges, and they may not have been put into circulation until he had been some years on the throne. It is recognized that the weight of these coins conforms to a Babylonian standard.

There seems to be evidence that coined money was employed by the Assyrians in the reign of Esarhaddon. None of the coins have been found, but a series of loans and payments, dated in the years 676-671 B. C., designate the amounts of money in “shekels of silver-heads of Ishtar.”[192] As has been noted by Menant and Johns, this can hardly mean anything else than silver made into coins of the value of a shekel and stamped with the head of Ishtar. As Gyges was a contemporary of Esarhaddon, it seems probable that Lydia borrowed the idea of coinage from the Mesopotamian Valley.

Be this as it may, the coinage of money was a great step forward. To have the value of a piece of metal determined beforehand and guaranteed by an official stamp greatly facilitated the transaction of business. It eliminated the delays incident to weighing the metal, and the disputes that were sure to ensue as to the correctness of the weights which were put into the balances.

(2) Darics.—The invention of coined money first affected Palestine during the Persian period. Darius I of Persia, 521-486 B. C., organized the coinage of that realm. The gold coins issued by him were of the weight of a Babylonian shekel. They weighed from 125 to 130 grains Troy. One in the British Museum weighs 129 grains. They bore on the face a picture of Darius with a bow to the left; (see Fig. 189). Because of this picture they were called “darics,” just as the French 20-franc piece is called a “napoleon.” The daric is mentioned in several Biblical books that were written after the beginning of the Persian period. (See 1 Chron. 29:7; Ezra 2:69; 8:27; Neh. 7:70-72.) It is wrongly translated “dram” in the Authorized Version.

After the Persian period the coinage of all the nations to whom the Jews became subject circulated in turn in Palestine. Foreign coins also found their way into the country. Many of these[Pg 164] ultimately were lost and buried in the soil, so that many, many coins have been brought to light by archæological research. We have space here to mention only those that are of the greatest interest to students of the Bible.

Palestine passed under the sway of Alexander the Great in 332 B. C., and after his death in 323 it was attached to the territory of Ptolemy Lagi of Egypt and his successors. In 199 B. C. Antiochus III wrested it from the Ptolemies and the Jews passed under the sway of the Syrians. During this time the coins of these rulers circulated in the country and are still frequently dug up there, although they are not mentioned in the Bible. Samples of these coins are shown in Figs. 190, 195. Not until the Jews had gained their independence under Simon the Maccabee, in the year 143 B. C., did they issue any coinage of their own. Indeed, it now seems clear that no coins were issued by Simon until after the year 139-138 B. C., when the Syrian king by an especial grant accorded him that liberty. The coins then issued appear to have been made of bronze only.[193] A silver coinage formerly attributed to Simon the Maccabee is now regarded as belonging to the time of the Jewish revolt of 66-70 A. D.

(3) Maccabæan Coins.—The coins of Simon consist of bronze half-shekels and quarter-shekels all dated in the year four. Antiochus VII of Syria apparently prevented the issue of others during the reign of Simon. His coins bear on their face the picture of a citron between two bundles of twigs. Around the border runs the inscription in old Hebrew characters, “year four; one-half.” On the other side is a palm-tree with two bunches of fruit between two baskets filled with fruits, and around the border runs the inscription, “belonging to the redemption of Zion;” (see Fig. 192). The weights of these coins vary from 232.6 to 237 grains. The lighter ones are considerably worn.

The quarter-shekels have on one side two bundles of twigs, around which run the words, “year four; one-fourth.” On the other side is pictured a citron with the stalk upward, around which runs the inscription, “belonging to the redemption of Zion.” The weights of the known coins of this denomination vary from 113.7 to 192.3 grains. The form of the letters on these coins shows that they are older than other Jewish coins.

(4) Asmonæan Coins.—There are many coins from the reign of[Pg 165] John Hyrcanus, the son and successor of Simon, but they are all of copper; (see Fig. 193). They bear on their face the inscription: “Johanan, the high priest and the congregation of the Jews”; on the reverse is a poppy head between two cornucopias. Similar coins were issued by the other Asmonæan princes.

(5) Herodian Coins.—As Herod the Great was a vassal of Rome, he was permitted to issue copper coins only. These exist in considerable variety. Figure 198 shows one, the face of which is stamped with the image of a vessel with a bell-shaped cover, above which are two palm-branches; on the reverse the words meaning “of King Herod” run around the edge, while a tripod occupies the center. At the left of the tripod is an abbreviation for “year 3”; at the right is a monogram. Several other patterns are known.

Coins of Archælaus, Antipas, Herod Philip (Matt. 14:3; Mark 6:17; Luke 3:19), and of Herod Agrippa I are known. One is shown in Fig. 200.

(6) Roman Coins.—The most common silver Roman coin was the denarius, rendered in the Authorized Version “penny” and in the Revised Version “shilling.” Its weight varied at different times. In the time of Christ it weighed about 61.3 grains Troy, and was worth 16⅔ cents of American money. As the ministry of Christ occurred in the reign of Tiberius, the tribute money shown to Christ (Matt. 22:19; Mark 12:15-17) was probably a denarius of Tiberius, such as is shown in Fig. 196. The denarius was so named because it originally was equivalent to ten asses or small copper coins, but the as was afterward reduced to 1⁄16 of the denarius. The as is mentioned in Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6, where A. V. renders it “farthing” and R. V. “penny.” It was worth about a cent. The Roman coin quadrans, or the fourth part of an as, worth about ¼ of a cent, is mentioned in Matt. 5:26; Mark 12:42. It is translated “farthing”; (see Fig. 199).

(7) The Widow’s Mite.—Another coin, translated “mite,” is in Greek lepton, “the small one” or the “bit.” It was two of these that the widow cast into the treasury, Mark 12:42,[194] where it is said that two of them equaled a quadrans. The “mite” was, then, of the value of ⅛ of a cent. It was doubtless the smallest coin in circulation, but it has not yet been identified with certainty with any coin that archæology has discovered.

(8) The Piece of Silver.—In Luke 15:8 the Greek drachma is[Pg 166] mentioned. It is translated “piece of silver.” The drachma corresponded roughly in value to the denarius. Drachmas had been issued by many different cities and many different kings, and were still in circulation in Palestine in the time of Christ. One still sees in that country today coins of the first Napoleon, and of many other sovereigns who have been long dead, passing from hand to hand as media of value; (see Fig. 194).

(9) Coinage of the Revolt of 66-70 A. D.—Two silver coins, a shekel and a half-shekel (see Fig. 201), were formerly attributed to Simon the Maccabee. The shekels weigh 212.3 to 217.9 grains and bear on their face above a cup or chalice the legend “shekel of Israel” and a numeral. The numeral stands for the first year. Examples are known which carry the enumeration up to the year “five.” On the reverse a triple lily is pictured, and in similar Hebrew characters the words “Jerusalem, the holy” are inscribed. The half-shekel is smaller and has the same markings except that the legend on its face is simply “half-shekel.” On the coins issued after the first year a Hebrew sh precedes the number of the year. The sh is an abbreviation of the Hebrew word shana, year. For various reasons the consensus of expert opinion now is that these coins were issued during the Jewish war of 66-70 A. D., which, according to Jewish reckoning, extended into the fifth year.

Coins of the Roman Emperors, Augustus and Claudius, are shown in Figs. 195, 197.



[Pg 167]



A Sanctuary of the Pre-Semitic Cave-dwellers. A Rock-altar at Megiddo. A Rock-altar at Jerusalem. High Place at Tell Es-Safi. High Place at Gezer: Choice of site. Child-sacrifice. Corrupt worship. At Taanach: Pillars. An altar of incense. High Places at Petra. A Supposed Philistine Temple. At Megiddo: A Hebrew temple. A palace chapel. Another chapel. The Temple to Augustus at Samaria.


1. A Sanctuary of the Pre-Semitic Cave-dwellers.—The oldest sanctuary which we can trace in Palestine appears to have been one of the caves at Gezer. This cave was 32 feet long, 20 feet broad, and 7 feet 11 inches at its maximum height. There were two entrances: one on the east, a tall, narrow doorway, was approached by a passage sloping downward; the other, on the west, was a low, narrow passage, just wide enough to admit a person. At the northern end there was a projection in the form of an apse, the floor of which was about 2 feet higher than that of the rest of the cave. In the roof of this apse there was an opening, about 1 foot wide at the bottom, leading to the upper air. The rock of the roof here was 3 feet 5½ inches thick. This opening was 2 feet 8 inches in diameter at the top, and a channel 4 feet 6 inches long cut in the surface of the rock was connected with it. On the surface of the rock above the cave and about this channel there were a number of “cup-marks” similar to those found near ancient sacred places. Some of these were, perhaps, intended for places to set jars, but some of them were connected with the channel which emptied into the opening in the roof of the cave[196]; (see Fig. 202).

The suggestion which the excavator, Prof. Macalister, makes is that this was a sanctuary of the cave-dwellers, that they killed their victims on the surface of the rock above, and let the blood run through the channel and the opening into the cave underneath, where their deity was supposed to dwell. They lived in caves themselves, and it was natural for them to think their deity did the same.[Pg 168] This suggestion received some confirmation from the fact that on the floor of the apse under this opening there were found, upon removing a layer of earth, a number of pig bones. The presence of these might be accounted for on the supposition that they were offered in sacrifice by the cave-dwellers to their deity. Swine were unclean to all Semites, and, no doubt, the later Semitic inhabitants would have thrown the bones away, if they had ever cleaned out the cave sufficiently to discover them.

2. A Rock-altar at Megiddo.—Another rock-altar of high antiquity was discovered on the slope of the mound of Tell el-Mutesellim, the ancient Megiddo.[197] It was situated on the slope of the tell, about half-way down. Its surface was covered with “cup-marks,” like those on the altar at Gezer, and an opening about 2½ feet wide at the top and 1½ feet wide at the bottom made it possible for blood to trickle down through 3 feet of rock into a cave below. This cave contained several rooms, the largest of which was about 18 feet 6 inches long, 7 feet 8 inches wide, and 8 feet 6 inches high. In the most northerly of the rooms were found various implements of black flint, potsherds, coals of a wood-fire, the bones of sheep and goats, olive-stones, and ashes. In the midst of the central room there lay a heap of human bones, the skulls of which were badly destroyed. These human bones show that after the cave had been used as a sanctuary it was employed as a sepulcher. The same thing happened at Gezer and elsewhere; (see Fig. 205).

3. A Rock-altar at Jerusalem.—We are told in Gen. 22:2 that Abraham went to the land of Moriah to offer up Isaac, and in 2 Chron. 3:1, ff. that Solomon built the temple on Mount Moriah on the threshing floor which David acquired from Ornan (Araunah) the Jebusite. Just to the east of the site of Solomon’s temple in the open court where the altar of burnt-offering stood, there was a rock surface similar to the two rock-altars described above. It is still visible in Jerusalem and is now enclosed in the Mosque of Omar. The Mohammedans regard it as a sacred rock. One can still trace on it the channels which conducted the blood to an opening which in turn conducted it to a cave underneath. This cave is still regarded by the Mohammedans as sacred. There is little doubt that the sacrificial victims offered in the temples of Solomon and Herod were slain on this stone, and that that part of the blood not used in sprinkling drained into the cave underneath.[Pg 169] This rock-altar is on the hill to which we are told Abraham came for the sacrifice of Isaac[198]; (see Fig. 208).

4. High Place of Tell es-Safi.—In the Old Testament the “high place” is frequently mentioned as a place of worship. (See 1 Sam. 9:12, f.; 1 Kings 3:2; 2 Kings 23:5, 8, etc.) It follows from 2 Kings 23:14 that these high places contained “pillars” and “asherim.” The pillars were made of stone, and the asherim of wood.

Recent exploration has brought to light a number of these high places, and the revelations made by these discoveries greatly illuminate the Old Testament narrative. The first of these was discovered by Bliss and Macalister at Tell es-Safi.[199] The high place was enclosed by walls, but, as the upper courses of these had been destroyed, the original height of the walls could not be determined. Within the largest enclosure stood three monoliths or “pillars.” These rested on bases of stone. The pillars themselves were, respectively, 5 feet 10 inches, 6 feet 5 inches, and 7 feet 1 inch high. One of them was pointed, and one of them almost flat on the top. No tool-mark was discernible on any of them. All showed signs of having been rubbed. The fat and the blood of sacrifices were smeared over such stones, and the rubbing was probably produced by this. The walls enclosing these pillars formed an approximate square 30 feet from east to west and 32 feet from north to south. On the north a fairly large room was walled in, as shown in Fig. 212, and on the south three smaller rooms. In the wall to the north of the three pillars was a semicircular apse. Facing this apse was a low semicircle of stones 3 feet 7 inches in diameter, which is situated much nearer the “pillars.” The purpose of this semicircle is unknown. In the east wall of the court of the high place there was a “skewed” opening, or an opening which ran diagonally through the wall. The purpose of this is obscure. It has been suggested by Prof. Macalister that it was made to permit the rising sun to shine on a certain spot of the interior on a certain day of the year, but of this there is no proof.

5. High Place of Gezer.—The foundations of this high place were in the second stratum below that which contained Israelitish pottery. It was one of the high places of the Canaanites, therefore, or of one of the tribes that were in Palestine before the coming of[Pg 170] Israel. This is the most interesting of the high places which have been discovered in Palestine.[200] It contained ten monoliths or upright “pillars,” the tallest of which was 10 feet 9 inches in height, and the shortest 5 feet 5 inches. These pillars ran in a curved line the general direction of which was from north to south. This was in striking contrast to the high place of Tell es-Safi, where the line of pillars ran from east to west. The center of the curved line of the pillars of Gezer was toward the east. All of these pillars except one were of the kind of stone abundant about Gezer. They had been found near by. None of them bore the mark of a tool. They had not been shaped by working. One of them (the one that was the sacred stone, as the smooth spots on it showed) was a different kind of stone—the kind found at Jerusalem and elsewhere, but not near Gezer. There were on it traces of an indentation, as though a rope for dragging it might have been fitted around it; (Fig. 206). As Mesha, King of Moab, tells us twice in his inscription that he dragged altar-hearths of other deities away from their original locations into the presence of his god Chemosh,[201] it seems likely that this stone was dragged to Gezer from some other sanctuary—possibly from Jerusalem. Perhaps it was its capture that first suggested to the inhabitants of Gezer the establishment of this high place. The other stones of the series were erected to keep this one company and to do it honor. These were probably not all set up at once. They were added from time to time by different rulers of Gezer, and we have no means of knowing when the latest of the pillars was erected; (see Fig. 204).

(1) Choice of Site.—Judging from the scarabs found about the foundations of the high place, its beginnings date from 2000 B. C. or earlier, and it continued in use down to the Babylonian Exile. Curiously enough, this high place is not situated on the highest part of the hill. The land is higher both to the east and to the west of it. It is situated in a sort of saddle to the east of the middle of the mound. Why was this spot chosen for it? Two considerations, perhaps, led to the choice of the site. A great ramifying cave on a higher part of the hill had already been appropriated by Semites as a sepulcher, and was, therefore, unclean. The cave which the earlier inhabitants had used as a crematorium was for the same reason unacceptable. Why the high place was not built near the cave that[Pg 171] the cave-dwellers had used as a temple, we cannot now conjecture. Perhaps in some way the memory that that had been a sacred spot had faded from men’s minds. Macalister thinks that the choice of the site was determined by the presence at this point of the two caves shown in Fig. 203. These caves had been dwellings of cave-men in the pre-Semitic time. They were now connected by a narrow, crooked passage, so that they could be utilized for the giving of oracles. Macalister conjectures that a priest or priestess would go into one, while the devotee who wished to inquire of the god was sent into the other, and that the inquirer would hear his oracle through this passage. This theory is plausible, though incapable of full proof.

Just back of one of the pillars a square stone was found with a deep hole cut in its upper side; (see Fig. 209). Several theories as to the use of this have been put forward; the most probable one is that it was a laver.

The area of the high place seems to have been approximately 150 feet from north to south and 120 feet from east to west. Some few walls were found of the same date as the high place, but it was impossible to tell their purpose. There seem to have been no buildings that could be regarded as a part of the sanctuary. It seems to have been entirely open to the air. Two circular structures, one at the north and the other to the south of the sacred stones, were found. The one at the south was badly ruined; that to the north was in a good state of preservation. This structure had a pavement of stones on a level with the bottom of the sacred pillars. It was entirely surrounded by a wall 2 feet thick at the bottom and 1 foot 6 inches thick at the top and 6 feet high. There was no doorway. The wall leaned outward. The diameter of the structure was 13 feet 8 inches at the bottom and 16 feet 6 inches at the top; (see Fig. 207). On the pavement in this enclosure were the fragments of many clay bowls, of a type found in Cyprus, but common at Gezer from 1400-800 B. C., and among these fragments a brazen serpent, evidently the model of a cobra. This discovery suggests the possibility that the structure may have been a pen in which sacred serpents were kept. The practice of venerating serpents as sacred is found in many parts of the world.[202] This brazen serpent reminds one of Nehushtan, the brazen serpent worshiped by the Judæans until it was destroyed by King Hezekiah. (See 2 Kings 18:4, and Fig. 219a.)

[Pg 172](2) Child-sacrifice.—The whole area of the high place was found to be a cemetery of new-born infants. These were in all probability first-born children who had been sacrificed to the deity of the high place. Two of them displayed marks of fire, but most of them had been simply enclosed in large jars. The body was usually put in head first. Two or three smaller vessels were put in with them. These generally included a bowl and a jug. They were usually inside the jar between the body and the jar’s mouth; sometimes they were outside near the mouth of the jar. That these were sacrifices is shown by the fact that they were children. It was not, therefore, a general place of burial. Indeed, had these children not been sacrificial, they could not have been buried in the sanctuary, as dead bodies were unclean.

The Semites generally believed that the first-born were sacred to deity and must be sacrificed to it. This sort of human sacrifice persisted for a long time among the Phœnicians. It was said that God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, and that he then permitted him to offer a ram instead (Gen. 22). The law provided for the redemption of Hebrew first-born by the sacrifice of a lamb (Exod. 34:20), but in the time of King Manasseh the old custom was revived and men “made their children pass through the fire.” (See 2 Kings 21:6; 23:10; Jer. 7:31; 32:35.) The gruesome discoveries of this high place have made very real these horrible practices and the inhuman fate from which Isaac and other Hebrew children were delivered.

With the exception of a little unhewn stone about 18 inches square, found in one of the caves connected with the high place, and which might possibly have served as an altar, no altar was found. Possibly none was needed in the rites practised there, but it is more likely that the altar was simply a mound of earth such as is prescribed in Exod. 20:24—a mound which could not be distinguished, in excavating, from the common earth.

(3) Corrupt Worship.—Of the nature of some of the services that went on in this high place in the name of Ashtoreth eloquent testimony was borne by unnumbered Ashtoreth-plaques that had been presented as votive offerings by the worshipers. These varied in form and in artistic merit, but were all designed to foster in the worshiper that type of debasing service described in Isa. 57:3, ff., as Fig. 214 shows. Symbols of this nature were abundant during all the period while the high place was in use. No one who was[Pg 173] not, like the writer, at Gezer during the excavation, can realize how demoralizing the whole atmosphere of such worship must have been. Archæology has here revealed to us in a most vivid way the tremendous power of those corrupting religious influences which the Hebrew prophets so vigorously denounced. These practices were deeply rooted in the customs of the Canaanites; they were sanctified by a supposed divine sanction of immemorial antiquity, and they made an all-powerful appeal to the animal instincts in human nature. We can realize now as never before the social and religious task which confronted the prophets. That Israel was by prophetic teaching purged of this cult is due to the power of God!

6. At Taanach.

(1) Pillars.—Sellin[203] discovered two monoliths which he believed to be the pillars of a high place. These stones had, however, been hewn, which does not accord with the general Semitic requirement that no tool should be lifted up upon such stones; (see Fig. 211). However, the indentation in one of the sacred stones of Gezer, apparently made to keep a rope from slipping, shows that exceptions to the rule against cutting a sacred stone were allowed. The two pillars at Taanach were situated over a cave and figures of Ashtoreth were found in connection with them, so that they probably constituted another high place. The stratum in which this was found proves that it belongs to the same period as the high place at Gezer. In connection with this high place an interesting libation bowl was found which is shown in Fig. 213.

(2) An Altar of Incense.—In another part of the mound at Taanach Sellin discovered a remarkable incense altar of terra-cotta, 3 feet in height, and 18 inches in diameter at the base, adorned with protruding animal heads, which remind one of shortened gargoyles. On one side of it was the figure of a palm-tree, with two ibexes descending a mountain. Part of an Ashtoreth figure and fragments of another altar were found near. Sellin thought that the building that contained these was a private house, and, if so, we have in these objects some of the implements of private worship employed by Israelites; (see Fig. 210).

7. High Places at Petra.—One of the most interesting high places is cut out of the solid rock at Petra. Petra may possibly be the Sela of 2 Kings 14:7, since Sela means “crag” or “rock” in Hebrew, and Petra has the same meaning in Greek. The identity[Pg 174] of Petra with Sela is not, however, certain. Petra lies in the southeastern part of ancient Edom, and was, before the end of the fourth century B. C., occupied by the Nabathæans, a Semitic tribe. These Nabathæans established a kingdom which continued until 106 A. D. One of its kings, Haretat IV, is called Aretas in 2 Cor. 11:32.[204] When the Roman Emperor Trajan overthrew this kingdom he organized its territory into the Province of Arabia, and the beautiful buildings, the remains of which make Petra such an interesting ruin today, date mostly from the Roman period of its history. During the Nabathæan period of Petra they constructed three high places, which are high places indeed, since they are perched on ledges of rock above the ancient town. The largest of these high places is still in an excellent state of preservation. It is a little to the north of the citadel on a ledge which rises about 700 feet above the town. The ledge is 520 feet long by 90 feet wide; it runs nearly north and south with a slight inclination to the east.[205] The principal features of this ancient place of worship are an altar on the west side of the ledge, a platform immediately south of this, a large sunken area directly in front of the altar, and a little to the south of this area a vat or laver.

This high place is approached by a flight of steps cut in the solid rock; (see Fig. 215). The main area, which corresponds to the enclosure of the high place at Tell es-Safi, is 47 feet 4 inches long, 24 feet 4 inches wide, and 15 to 18 inches deep, though this depth is not uniform. In some parts it falls to 10 inches. About midway of the length of this area and 5 feet from its west side, there is a rock platform 5 feet in length, 2 feet 7½ inches wide, and 4 inches high. It has been suggested that this platform was intended for the offerer of a victim to stand upon, in order that he might be distinguished from other worshipers who were crowding the area. Another possible view is that the sacred “pillars” stood upon this platform. No pillars were found in connection with it. Probably such pillars were not cut out of the solid rock, but were, like the sacred stone of Gezer, brought from elsewhere. The arrangement of other high places would indicate that they stood on or near this platform. As this high place was not buried, but exposed on the[Pg 175] mountain top, such pillars have in the course of the ages disappeared. The altar is separated from the adjoining rock by a passageway which was cut on its north, south, and west sides. It is of the same height as the adjoining rock. On the east the ledge has been cut down to the level of the foot of the altar. The altar is 9 feet 1 inch in length from north to south and 6 feet 2 inches wide. It is 3 feet high at its highest point. On the top of the altar is a hollow pan, perhaps to receive the fire. This is 3 feet 8 inches long, 1 foot 2 inches wide, and 3½ inches deep. Ascent to the altar was made by a flight of steps leading up to its top on the east side. The top step is wider than the others and forms a platform on which the officiating priest might stand; (see Fig. 217).

Just south of the altar and separated from it by the passageway was the place where the victims were slain. This has been called the round altar; (see Fig. 218). This consists of a platform 16 feet 6 inches long from east to west, 11 feet 9 inches wide. It is approached by a flight of steps. Near its center are two circular and concentric pans, the larger 3 feet 8 inches in diameter with a depth of 3 inches, the smaller 1 foot 5 inches in diameter with a depth of 2 inches. From this inner basin a conduit 3 feet 2 inches long, 2 inches wide, and 3 inches deep conducted the blood to the edge of the platform. This platform was undoubtedly intended for the place of slaughter. The Samaritans, when they assemble on Mount Gerizim for the celebration of the Passover, still dig a round hole in the turf, over which to slay the victim. This hole is about 18 inches in diameter and 10 inches deep. From it a conduit is dug, through which the blood flows off to be absorbed by the earth.[206]

The supposed laver at Petra is to the south of the area of the high place. It is 9 feet 9 inches in length and 8 feet 6 inches in width. It is now partially filled with earth, and has above the earth an average depth of 3 feet.

The remains of three other supposed high places have been found at Petra, but lack of space forbids their description here.[207] The pillars supposed to have been connected with one of them are shown in Fig. 219.

8. A Supposed Philistine Temple.—Turning now to Palestinian temples: Macalister discovered the remains of a building at Gezer[Pg 176] which he thinks may have been a temple.[208] This building belonged to the third Semitic stratum; in other words, to the period just before the coming of the Israelites. A general plan of its walls is shown in Fig. 220. In a court in one part of the structure were five pillars which may have had the same religious significance as the pillars of the high place. The two circular structures f f remind one of the circular structures of the high place of Gezer. These were filled with the fragments of the bones of sheep and goats. As these bore no marks of cooking, they could not have been mere domestic ash-pits, and it is plausible to think of them as receptacles for the bodies of slaughtered victims. In a forecourt of the structure a line of bases, apparently intended for the support of columns, was found. Macalister conjectured that these supported a roof over a part of the portico, and it reminded him of the story of Samson in the temple of Dagon. (See Judges 16:23-30.) It is quite possible that the feast of Dagon described in Judges 16 may have been held in a structure similar to this, that the lords of the Philistines may have been gathered in such a porch, and that Samson may have pulled such pillars as rested upon these bases from under the roof that sheltered them, and caused their destruction and his own death. It is all possible, but conjectural.

9. At Megiddo.

(1) A Hebrew Temple.—In the course of the excavation at Megiddo a temple was found concerning the sacred nature of which there can be no such doubts as in the case of the building just mentioned[209]; (Fig. 222). This temple was in the Israelitish stratum, and so is of especial interest to the students of the Bible. It was situated in the highest part of the city. The whole space was not excavated, but the portion uncovered was 131 feet long and 115 wide. It was of the same period as the palace in which the seal of Shema the servant of Jeroboam was found, and contained more drafted stones than the walls of that palace. In one of the rooms of the temple stood two stones that were certainly “pillars” such as are denounced in Deuteronomy. One of these was 7 feet 8 inches high; the other, 7 feet high. The room in which these pillars stood was 30 feet long and 10 feet 7 inches wide. In building the wall of this temple a stone was used that had once formed the voluted capital of a column; (Fig. 224). Probably this stone was taken from an earlier Philistine building.

[Pg 177]In the grounds of the temple, which were once regarded as holy, several jars containing the skeletons of children were unearthed. These had apparently been offered in sacrifice and buried like those found in the high place of Gezer.

While the walls of this temple were built of larger and more carefully cut stones than most of the other walls in the city, no effort seems to have been made to give the temple a definite architectural plan. Large towers were found near it, but, as the temple was at the east end of the city, these formed part of fortifications. The fortifications and other buildings crowded upon the temple, so that, had an effort been made to make it architecturally imposing, the effect would have been lost.

(2) A Palace Chapel.—The people of Megiddo seem to have been particularly fond of the type of worship represented by this temple, for in a room to the east of the palace of the Hebrew governor was a room containing three “pillars,” in which the remains of a number of terra-cotta goddesses were found.[210] This was apparently the private chapel of the palace. This room was almost 40 feet long and 32 feet 10 inches wide; (Fig. 223). Its beginnings antedate the Israelitish period, since they come from the stratum before the conquest.

(3) Another Chapel.—What seems to have been still another place of worship equipped with the necessary “pillars” was found in the Hebrew stratum between the governor’s palace and the southern gate of the city.[211] It would appear from the connecting walls that this sacred place may also have been intended for the special use of the occupants of the palace. This room was not quite 30 feet long and a little less than 20 feet wide. It contained six stones which Dr. Schumacher took to be “pillars.” Like those at Petra and Taanach, they had evidently been shaped with tools. They did not stand in a row or in any regular relation to one another. This might throw some doubt upon the religious significance of the stones. Could they not have been columns used in supporting the roof of the building? Since a small stone object that had religious significance in the high places was found in this room, together with a most remarkable incense burner, it is probable that these were religious “pillars” and that the room was a little chapel. The object was of limestone and about 7 inches long. It was lying at the foot of one of the “pillars.” The incense burner was made of a greyish soft limestone. It was a little over 9 inches in height.[Pg 178] The diameter of the bowl was 6⅜ inches. The stone was cut so that the bowl rested on a pedestal, which was divided by rings into two portions, each of which was cut so as to represent a circle of overhanging leaves; (see Fig. 225). The whole was decorated with reddish-brown and cobalt-blue paints. The decoration of the rim of the bowl is a geometrical design, that on the bowl itself represents a sort of conventionalized lily blossom, while the leaves suggest those of the palm.

These discoveries make it plain that the Canaanite temples of Palestine, which the Hebrews took over, were simply high places in miniature, enclosed in walls and probably roofed over, though the roofs have disappeared. The feeling that led to the change from the open air high place was the same as that underlying the saying of David: “I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwelleth within curtains” (2 Sam. 7:2).

10. The Temple to Augustus at Samaria.—The excavations at Samaria[212] have brought to light the foundation of the temple erected by Herod the Great in honor of Augustus.[213] This was a temple of a very different type. It was patterned on Græco-Roman models and everything was done to make it architecturally impressive. Unfortunately, the results of the Harvard expedition have not yet been given to the public in detail, but from the imposing stairway, discovered during the first season of the excavation, together with the partial plan of the building as then uncovered, and the outlines of its walls as a later season’s work disclosed them, one can form some idea of the imposing appearance of this structure. A massive stairway led up to a large platform surrounded by large pillars. This formed the portico. Back of this stretched the walls of the temple. The general form of the building seems to have been similar to that of the large temple at Jerash, which will be described in Chapter XIV.[214] At the foot of the stairway leading up to the temple was found a large altar, and near this a fallen statue of Augustus. For outlines of the temple, see Figs. 216 and 221.

These ancient places of worship which archæology has brought to light are eloquent witnesses of the pathetic way the men of Palestine “felt after God, if haply they might find him” (Acts 17:27), and the pathos is not lessened by the fact that they thus continued to grope, even after the clearer light was shining about them.



[Pg 179]



Burning the Dead. Cave Burials. Cistern Burial. Burial under Menhirs. Earth-graves. Rock-hewn Shaft Tombs. Doorway Tombs. Tombs with a Rolling-stone.


1. Burning the Dead.—As noted in a previous chapter,[215] the cave-dwellers of Gezer burned their dead. The Semitic inhabitants of Palestine did not follow this custom, but buried theirs. At Gezer the caves that had formed the dwellings of the first inhabitants were put by the Semites to various uses. Sometimes they, too, lived in them; sometimes they made cisterns of them; and sometimes they utilized them as places of burial for their dead.

2. Cave Burials.—A cave that became a tomb after the Semitic occupation was the one that had been the crematorium of the pre-Semitic inhabitants.[216] All over the floor of the cave above the burned bones was another stratum of bones that had never been burned. These were scattered over the floor of the cave, and, although they had been much disturbed by rats, it appeared that they belonged to that early type of burial in which the body is placed on its side with the knees drawn up toward the chin. These bodies had apparently been deposited in all parts of the cave. Ranged around the sides of the cave was a series of enclosures marked off from the floor by lines of stones. In these, portions of various skeletons were found. These enclosures seem to have been reservations made for persons of distinction. For a time, therefore, the cave seems to have been used as a general place of burial. In some of the other caves of Gezer evidence was found that they had been used as tombs.[217] Beautiful pottery and alabaster vessels were found with the bones. Wine and possibly food for the dead had been placed in these. Underneath the pottery in one cave a considerable number of scarabs were found, some of them mounted in[Pg 180] gold. This must have been, accordingly, the burial place of persons of comparative wealth. Similar cave burials were found by Mackenzie at Beth-shemesh.[218]

Such cave burials as these at once recall Abraham’s purchase of the cave of Machpelah as recorded in Gen. 23. The kind of burial presupposed in that chapter is just that found at Gezer. The mouth of the cave could be closed up and opened at will for later burials. (See Gen. 50:13.)

The custom of placing food or drink or both in the sepulcher was all but universal in Palestine. It is silent testimony to a faith in a kind of after-life. That that life as they conceived it was of a shadowy and an unsatisfactory nature is shown by the references to it in Isa. 14:9-11 and Ezek. 32:22-32.[219] Nevertheless, these evidences that the mourners who stood by every ancient tomb provided food for their loved ones to eat in the after-life is eloquent testimony to the fact that even in that age the loving heart found it impossible to believe that the life of its dear ones had been altogether terminated.

3. Cistern Burial.—Another burial at Gezer that must have been connected with some unusual circumstance led to the deposit of fifteen bodies in a cistern,[220] and a number of spear heads were found with them. The skeletons were all males except one, which was that of a girl about sixteen years old, whose spine had been severed and only the upper part of the skeleton deposited in the cistern; (see Fig. 229). The cistern is too deep to favor the supposition that the bodies had been deposited at successive times. Macalister hazards the conjecture that the men died of plague and that the girl was offered as a sacrifice to propitiate the deity. A plague, however, would have attacked women as well as men. Perhaps the men were slain in defending Gezer from the attack of an enemy that had succeeded in severing the body of the girl. The real cause of the tragedy is, however, unknown to us.

4. Burial under Menhirs.—A very old form of burial, still practised by the half-nomadic tribes east of the Jordan, is to place the dead in the earth within one of the prehistoric gilgals or menhirs. How old this form of burial is, it is impossible to tell. It is assumed[Pg 181] by some writers that it was practised by the neolithic people who erected these monuments, and who are believed by such writers to have been ancestor worshipers. If, however, these neolithic men were akin to the neolithic cave-dwellers of Gezer, they burned their dead. Another explanation is, accordingly, more probable. All through the history of Palestine the sanctity of certain spots has persisted. A place once considered as holy, if not so regarded by the next wave of conquerors, nevertheless often has enough sanctity clinging to it to make it taboo. No thief will disturb objects left within its precincts, lest the spirit of the place bring disaster upon him. It seems probable that the wandering tribes on the border of the Arabian Desert have utilized the sacred places of these prehistoric men for the burial of their dead, in order that the fear of violating the taboo pertaining to these places may secure the bodies from disturbance. Whatever the reason may be, they still bury their dead in such precincts and place their tribal wasms or marks on such stones.[221]

5. Earth-graves.—The simplest form of burial was to place the body in the ground without accessory of any kind. In the course of the excavation of Gezer a few burials of this sort came to light.[222] The skeleton was in these cases stretched out; sometimes it was lying on its back; sometimes on its side. As these bodies were buried without accessories, so contrary to the custom of the Palestinians who placed food or drink by the dead, the excavator thought that they were probably the graves of murdered persons, who had been hastily concealed in the earth.

Another form of burial, when the interment occurred within a city, is illustrated by the five “Philistine” graves found at Gezer.[223] These graves were excavations in the earth, lined with cement, and, after the interment, covered with four or five massive stones and earth; (Fig. 226). In these graves the usual deposits of food and drink had been made in beautiful bronze and silver vessels, which show kinship to the art of Cyprus; (see Fig. 137). They are probably, therefore, Philistine.

6. Rock-hewn Shaft Tombs.—A form of tomb of which many examples are to be found in all parts of Palestine is the rock-hewn tomb. The limestone of the country is easily cut, and lends itself[Pg 182] readily to the construction of this kind of burial-place. Such tombs are of two kinds—“shaft” tombs and “doorway” tombs.

The structure of a shaft tomb is as follows:[224] The tomb chamber or chambers are cut in the rock and are approached by a perpendicular rock-hewn shaft, which is usually rectangular. This shaft is closed at the bottom with slabs and then the shaft is filled with earth. Such tombs are usually constructed in ledges covered over with soil, so that, when the hole leading to the rock-cut shaft is filled, the tomb is effectually concealed. Such tombs are very numerous all the way from pre-Israelitish times to the Greek period. For a plan of one, see Fig. 228.

7. Doorway Tombs.—The “doorway” tombs are sometimes cut in a ledge that is altogether under ground. In that case a flight of steps is excavated leading down to the door; (Fig. 232). Often the tomb is cut in a ledge on the slope of a hill, so that the doorway is approached from the level of the ground; (see Fig. 227). Doors were, no doubt, fitted into the doorways. The places cut in the rock for the latches or bars of such doors are sometimes still visible. These tombs consisted sometimes of one room, sometimes of several. Sometimes the bodies were laid on the floor of the tomb; sometimes elevated benches or shelves were cut in the rock on which bodies might be placed. Quite as often shafts or niches were cut into the rock, into which a body or a sarcophagus could be shoved endwise. Such a shaft is called technically a kôk, in the plural, kôkim. For examples of them, see Figs. 233, 237. The date at which this kind of tomb was introduced has not been satisfactorily determined.

Sometimes numerous small tombs, each one resembling somewhat a kôk, were cut in a hillside. Archæologists call such a group of tombs a “columbarium”; (see Fig. 230).

In the Hellenistic and Roman periods efforts were made to give adornment to such tombs. The so-called “Tombs of the Judges”[225] near Jerusalem, of which the writer was the first to make a scientific examination, is a good example of this kind of tomb[226]; (see Fig. 231). This tomb consisted of three rooms in its upper level and three in its lower level; (see Fig. 235). The ledges and kôkim in it made provision for seventy bodies, and a rough chamber opening out of[Pg 183] room D was evidently used for the deposit of the bones of those who had been long dead, when a niche or kôk was needed for the reception of another body. Sometimes the pillars of a porch were carved out of the solid rock. A number of such tombs are to be found near Jerusalem. There is one in the Kidron Valley near Gethsemane, cut wholly out of the rock and finished to a spire at the top. This is the so-called “Absalom’s pillar.”

In the time of Christ the tombs of Israel’s heroes were adorned and venerated. Jesus alludes to this in Luke 11:47, 48. Elisha must have been buried in a doorway tomb, into which by opening the door the body of a man could be easily thrown. (See 2 Kings 13:20, 21.) It was, no doubt, the memory of such narratives as this that led to the reverence paid to the tombs of the prophets in the time of Christ.

Another tomb at Jerusalem, called the “Tombs of the Kings,” has a large open court cut down into the rock, from the different sides of which entrances lead to the other tomb chambers. This tomb was built for Queen Helena of Adiabene, the ancient Assyria, who, in the days of Herod the Great, was converted to Judaism and removed to Jerusalem. She died and was buried there.[227]

Sometimes in the Seleucid period the interior of the tombs was also made very ornate. Such were the tombs, discovered in 1902,[228] of some wealthy Greek-speaking citizens of Marissa. A plan of one of them is shown in Fig. 234, and examples of its inner ornamentation in Fig. 236. These tombs were also adorned with pictures of vases, trees, animals, etc.; (see Fig. 239). The figures, as well as the interior generally, were decorated with red, yellow, and brown paints. One of them was that of Apollophanes, chief of the Sidonians at Marissa. Over the different niches in the tombs the names of the persons buried were inscribed in Greek letters.

Rock-cut tombs, whether large or small, were regarded as important possessions, and the people who might be buried in them were frequently carefully specified by their builders. An example of this may be found in Part II of the present work, p. 442.

8. Tombs with a Rolling-stone.—One other type of tomb must be noticed even in this hasty sketch. To close a “doorway” tomb securely must always have been a matter of difficulty in Palestine.[Pg 184] It was not easy with the kind of locks they had to keep intruders out of tombs. This led to the cutting of a large groove by the side of the doorway into which a rolling-stone was fitted. When it was desired to open the tomb, the stone could be rolled back. The stones were too heavy to be easily disturbed. It was in a new tomb of this type that the body of Jesus was laid, and it was such a stone that the women found rolled away on the resurrection morning. (See Matt. 28:2; Mark 16:3, 4; Luke 24:2; John 20:1, and Fig. 238.)



[Pg 185]



Situation. Gihon. Cave-dwellers. The El-Amarna Period. Jebusite Jerusalem. The City of David: Millo. David’s reign. Solomon’s Jerusalem: Site of Solomon’s buildings. Solomon’s temple. Solomon’s palace. From Solomon to Hezekiah. Hezekiah. From Hezekiah to the Exile. The Destruction of 586 b. c. The Second Temple. Nehemiah and the Walls. Late Persian and Early Greek Periods. In the Time of the Maccabees. Asmonæan Jerusalem. Herod the Great: Herod’s palace. Herod’s theater. Herod’s temple. The Pool of Bethesda. Gethsemane. Calvary. Agrippa I and the Third Wall.


1. Situation.—Since 1867 excavations have been made at Jerusalem from time to time. The most important of these were mentioned in Chapter IV. An attempt will be made here to set before the reader the growth and development of Jerusalem from period to period, as that growth is now understood by foremost scholars. Our knowledge of the situation and form of the city in the different periods is based partly on formal excavations, partly on remains that have been accidentally found, and partly on a study of the references to Jerusalem in the Bible and other ancient writings. These references are interpreted in the light of the topography and of the archæological remains.

Jerusalem is situated on the central ridge of Palestine, where the ridge broadens out to a small plateau. The plateau at this point is approximately 2,500 feet above the level of the Mediterranean Sea. In a narrower sense the site of the city is two rocky promontories which run south from the plateau with the valley El-Wad (in Roman times the Tyropœon) between them. On the north these promontories merge into the plateau, but on the east, south, and west the valleys of Hinnom and the Kidron sharply separate them from the surrounding land. The steep sides of these valleys made fortification easy in ancient times. The highest point of the western hill is about 400 feet higher than the bottom of the Kidron valley, which in ancient times was 20 to 40 feet deeper[Pg 186] than now; (see Fig. 240). Indeed, the position was almost impregnable. Only on the north was the city vulnerable.

West of the city hills gently rise to a slight elevation and shut out the view. The easternmost of the two promontories is lower than the western, which in its turn slopes to the east. Just south of the Mount of Olives, to the east of Jerusalem, there is a rift in the hills through which the distant mountains of Moab can be seen. From elevated buildings in the city the Dead Sea is also visible. The slope of the hills of Jerusalem and her broader outlook to the eastward are significant of the influences that moulded her earlier history. During the centuries that Israel was an independent nation the Philistine plain was nearly always in the hands of a hostile people. Jerusalem was thus cut off from influences that might otherwise have reached her from across the Mediterranean, and was shut up to influences that reached her through kindred tribes and nations to the east. Thus in intellectual kinship, as well as in physical outlook, the gaze of Jerusalem was directed toward the Orient.

All Palestinian cities of importance were situated near perpetual springs. There are at Jerusalem but two unfailing sources of water—the Ain Sitti Miriam (the ancient Gihon) and the Bir Eyyub (Biblical En-rogel). These are both in the Kidron valley, the former just under the brow of the eastern hill some 400 yards from the southern point of the hill, the latter at the point where the valley of Hinnom and the Kidron unite. Of these two sources of supply, the Gihon is pre-eminently fitted to attract an early settlement. It is almost under the hill, whereas the other is out in the midst of the open valley. Gihon, too, is at the base of a hill that can be defended easily on three sides, whereas a town built on a hillside above En-rogel, as the modern Silwan is, could be easily attacked from above. These conditions determined the situation of the earliest settlement, which was near Gihon.

2. Gihon.—The Parker expedition of 1909-1911 revealed by its excavations the fact that the source of the spring of Gihon is a great crack in the rock in the bottom of the valley far below the present apparent source.[230] This crack is about 16 feet long, is of great depth, and runs east and west. The western end of it just enters the mouth of the cave where the apparent source is today, but the eastern end passes out into the bed of the valley. All the[Pg 187] water would discharge into the valley but for a wall at the eastern end of the rift, built in very ancient times, which confines the water and compels it to flow into the cave. This wall was constructed by some of the earliest inhabitants of the place. The spring thus produced is intermittent. Its flow is not ceaseless. The water breaks from the hole in the rainy season, three to five times a day; in the summer but twice a day; and after the failure of the spring rains, less than once a day. This fact indicates that the waters collect in some underground cavern from which they are drained by a siphon-like tunnel. The “troubling” of the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:4) is thought by some scholars to have been due to the action of such a siphon-like spring.

3. Cave-dwellers.—About this spring the Parker expedition found large caves and rooms excavated in the rock, and indications that these had once been inhabited. A great deal of pre-Israelite pottery was also found around the spring. These indications seem to show that the site was inhabited for at least a thousand years before David, and perhaps for two thousand, and that its first inhabitants were cave-dwellers. One naturally thinks in this connection of the cave-dwellers of Gezer. It is possible that the first Jerusalemites belonged to the same period and were of the same race. One thinks, too, of the sacred cave and the stone altar on the next peak of the eastern ridge to the north, where the temple afterward stood, and wonders whether it may not have been the sanctuary of this early cave-dwelling race. A definite answer cannot be given to this question. One can only recognize that it may possibly be true.

4. The El-Amarna Period.—The next knowledge we have of Jerusalem comes from the letters of Ebed-Hepa, which were written to Amenophis IV of Egypt between 1375 and 1357 B. C. At that time it was already a walled city, for Ebed-Hepa speaks of “throwing it open.”[231]

The fortified city of Ebed-Hepa was, no doubt, identical with the later Jebusite city. It was situated on the eastern hill just above the spring of Gihon. Probably in the period just before this time it had, like Gezer, been surrounded by a massive wall. In connection with this fortification the rock near Gihon had been scarped (cut to a perpendicular surface) in order to increase the difficulty of[Pg 188] scaling the wall.[232] As the wall of Gezer lasted for a thousand years, so this Egyptian wall continued to the reign of David.

It is privately reported that Weil in his excavation in 1913-14 found on the eastern hill remains of a wall with a sloping glacis similar to that belonging to the earliest period of Megiddo. This would not only confirm our inference that Jerusalem was a walled city in the time of Ebed-Hepa, but indicate that its wall had been built at a much earlier time. It was also in the fourteenth century B. C. the capital of a considerable kingdom which Ebed-Hepa ruled as a vassal of the king of Egypt. This kingdom extended as far west as Beth-shemesh and Keilah (1 Sam. 23:1), including, perhaps, Gezer. Aijalon seems to have been included in it on the north, and Carmel in Judah (1 Sam. 25:2) on the south.

When the letters of Ebed-Hepa were written, his kingdom was being attacked and apparently overcome by the Habiri, a people who may have been the first wave of the Hebrew conquest.[233] The letters of Ebed-Hepa cease without telling us whether or not the Habiri captured his city. If they did and they were really Hebrews, they did not hold it long, for, when the Biblical records lift the veil that hides so much of the past, Jerusalem was in the hands of the Jebusites. (See Josh. 15:63; Judges 1:21.)

5. Jebusite Jerusalem.—The Jebusites held it all through the period of the Judges (Judges 19:10, 11). Israel did not capture it until the reign of David. (See 2 Sam. 5:6-8.) At some earlier period of the history of Jerusalem an underground rock-cut passage similar to the one at Gezer[234] had been made, so as to permit the inhabitants in case of siege to descend to the spring for water without going outside the walls; (see Fig. 241). The natural slope of the hill had been reinforced at this point by the escarpment of the rock, and the Jebusites felt so secure that they taunted the Hebrews from the top of the walls. Joab, however, discovered the way to this underground passage through the cave back of the spring, Gihon, and, leading a band of men up through it, appeared suddenly within the city, taking the Jebusites by surprise, and captured it.

6. The City of David.—David then took up his residence at Jerusalem, thus making it the capital of the kingdom of Israel. Thus the city of the Jebusites, situated on the eastern hill, which was called Zion, became the “city of David.”

[Pg 189]A few modern writers still insist that the “city of David” was on the western hill, which since 333 A. D. has been called Zion. This, as most scholars have seen, is an impossible view. Solomon built a palace for Pharaoh’s daughter near his own on the temple hill, and, when she moved into it, she went up out of the city of David (1 Kings 9:24). As the western hill is higher than the eastern, she must have gone from a point on the eastern hill lower than the temple. When the temple was completed, Solomon brought the ark up from the city of David to the holy of holies in the new temple (2 Chron. 5:2). Scripture thus confirms the inferences from the pottery and the water supply, that the “city of David” was on the eastern hill, and that that hill was Zion. It was a small town, since the space it could occupy was not more than thirteen acres, and may have been less.

(1) Millo.—After occupying his new capital David “built round about from Millo and inward” (2 Sam. 5:9). What was Millo? This is a great puzzle, and there are many varying opinions about it. The word literally means a “filling,” and is employed in Assyrian for the building up of a terrace on which a building may be erected. It may have been a “filling” on the line of the valley that separated the hill of the citadel of David from Moriah or the temple hill. It would seem to have been on the edge of the city, since David built from there “inward.” Some have supposed it to be a fortress, and the Septuagint translated it by “akra,” which means “citadel.” Some have thought of it as a fort, others as a solid tower. If on the line of the valley mentioned, it may have been at the northeast corner, or at the northwest corner of the town. Some have supposed that it was at the southern end of the eastern hill in order to protect a pool there. Just below the southern end of the eastern hill in the valley of the Kidron lay the “King’s Gardens,” and just across the valley, the village of Siloah. In 2 Kings 12:20 it is said that Joash was killed in Millo, leading down to Silla. We know of no Silla. Is it a corruption of the Hebrew word for “shade” or is it a corruption of Siloah? In the former case the reference might be to the King’s Gardens, in the latter to the village of Siloah. Either of these suppositions would favor a site for Millo at the south end of the hill, but the words “leading down to Silla” may have had quite a different origin and meaning.[235] [Pg 190]We must, therefore, confess that the location of Millo cannot at present be determined.

(2) David’s Reign.—As David’s reign advanced and his success in war compelled neighboring nations to pay tribute, probably the population of Jerusalem increased. Such an increase would naturally lead to the erection of houses outside the walls, as it has in recent times. It is altogether probable that a settlement on the western hill was thus begun in the reign of David. There is no hint, however, that he took any steps to enclose such a settlement within a wall. The phrase “the way of the gate” in 2 Sam. 15:2 implies that there was still but one gate in the walls. This is in striking contrast to the number of gates in later times. The only record that we have of further action on David’s part that affected the future growth of Jerusalem refers to the way in which he took over the rock on Mount Moriah and the sacred cave under it and made a sanctuary to Jehovah. (See 2 Sam. 24.) This action, at a later time, determined the site of the temple.

7. Solomon’s Jerusalem.—David left Jerusalem a military fortress; Solomon transformed it into a city with imposing buildings. This creation of a more imposing city was in accord with the general character of Solomon’s reign. He established a large harem, made marriage alliances with many neighboring kings, maintained such an establishment that it was necessary to make a regular levy on a different portion of the country each month for supplies, and endeavored to make his capital as splendid as the capital of a rich commercial Phœnician monarch. Such a policy necessitated, probably, the enlargement of Jerusalem. David, who began life as a shepherd-boy, was content to live the simple life to the end; Solomon, born to the purple, desired to surround himself with a pomp befitting his rank. The Biblical writers were more interested in the construction of the temple and of Solomon’s palace than in any other phase of his work, but they have left us some hints of his activities in other directions.

They tell us that he “built Millo and the wall of Jerusalem” (1 Kings 9:15), that he “built the wall of Jerusalem round about” (1 Kings 3:1), and that he “built Millo and repaired the breach in the city of David, his father” (1 Kings 11:27). Evidently Millo had fallen into disrepair since David rebuilt it, and the walls of the city of David on the eastern hill were also in need of repairs. These repairs he made, but did he go further? It is intrinsically[Pg 191] probable that he did. The king who fortified Hazor in Naphtali, Megiddo, Gezer, Beth-horon, Baalath, and Tamar would hardly leave a large suburb of his capital on the western hill unfortified. The statement that he “built the wall of Jerusalem round about,” while it does not clearly state that he did more than fortify the “city of David” on Zion, seems to imply that he did. This view is strengthened by Bliss’s discovery on the western hill of some walls that connected once with a great fortress at the southwest corner of the western hill, which he believed to be the work of Solomon.

The site of this fortress is now occupied by “Bishop Gobat’s School,” an English foundation for the education of native boys. When the school was rebuilt in 1874 Mr. Henry Maudsley examined the surface of the rock, which is escarped, or cut perpendicularly, for about 100 feet to the southeast of the school and 43 feet north of it. The scarp is about 40 feet high at the highest point; (Fig. 242). The school is built on a large projection of the scarp 45 feet square and 20 feet high. The surface of the rock under the school bears unmistakable signs that there was once an ancient tower there. To the eastward of this Bliss discovered the foundations of an ancient tower. Beyond this to the east there was a deep rock-cut ditch. The tower on its northeast corner fitted into another rock-scarp which ran northward into land on which they could not excavate.[236] The deep rock-cut ditch or moat at the east of the scarp suggests that at the period of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1188 A. D., this fortress formed the fortification of the southwest corner of the city, from which the wall ran off sharply in a direction a little east of north. This view is confirmed by the discovery which Bliss made of a wall, apparently built by the Crusaders, that ran in a north-easterly direction by an irregular course along the high part of the western hill toward the temple area. As this wall rested on remains of the Roman time it cannot well have belonged to a time earlier than the crusading period. May not, then, Maudsley’s scarp itself have been cut by the Crusaders who were most energetic and masterly builders? This seems hardly probable, for Josephus, in describing the course of the wall on the west side of the western hill, says that beginning at Herod’s palace (the modern Turkish fortress) the wall ran southward through a place called “Bethso.”[237][Pg 192] Bethso is a corruption of Beth-zur, which means rock-fortress—an apt description of the tower on Maudsley’s scarp. As Josephus makes no mention of the construction of a fortress at this point by Herod, it was probably built at an earlier period. The writer holds with Bliss that it is probable that the original fortress on the site of Bishop Gobat’s School was constructed by Solomon and that he enclosed the top of the western hill with a wall. Whether that wall simply enclosed the top of the hill and followed something of the same course as the wall of the Crusaders mentioned above (so Bliss thinks), or whether it ran down the eastern slope of the western hill to the southern point of the “City of David,” it is impossible now to determine.

The view that Solomon extended the city to the western hill cannot be proved, since there is no definite reference in the Bible to the western hill in the time of Solomon, and there is no inscription on the masonry found definitely to connect it with him. In consideration of all the conditions it seems probable that Solomon enclosed a part of the western hill. If so, the wall built by Solomon on the north side of the western hill was probably on the line of what Josephus called the “first wall.” This wall, was rebuilt from time to time. The débris of a part of it seems still to be in place at the east end of “David Street” in modern Jerusalem. A short street, high above the surrounding levels, now runs on the top of this débris.[238]

(1) Site of Solomon’s Buildings.—Concerning the building of Solomon’s palace and the temple there can be no doubt, for the Bible contains accounts of the construction of these. Their general location is also well known. They were across the little valley which separated the part of Zion called Ophel (where the city of David was situated) from the part sometimes called Moriah.[239] This hill-top included the threshing-floor of Araunah, the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24), and Solomon now enclosed this with a wall. Sir Charles Warren believed that he found portions of this wall at the southeast angle of the ancient temple area, 80 feet below the present surface of the ground. During his excavations in the years 1867-1870 he sunk at this point a shaft to the native rock, from the bottom of which a tunnel was carried inward to the base of the wall. He[Pg 193] found twenty-one courses of drafted stones below the surface at this point, and the stones in the lower courses bore quarry marks which resemble old Hebrew or Phœnician characters.[240] The lower courses of stones were from 3 feet 6 inches to 4 feet 3½ inches in height. Some of the characters were cut in the stones; some painted on them. It is most probable that these were remains of the work of Solomon; (see Figs. 244, 245, and 246).

The enclosure of this hill-top with a wall set it apart from the rest of Jerusalem. It was a kind of separate fortress. At the time it emphasized the majesty of Solomon—his apartness from his people. This separate enclosure of the temple hill was perpetuated through the whole history of Jerusalem and is maintained today. In all periods the temple hill has been a fortress that could be defended apart from the city.

(2) Solomon’s Temple.—Of the form and situation of the buildings of Solomon on the hill that was enclosed by this new wall, there is a wide diversity of opinion. This diversity arises in part from the fact that some scholars take at their face value statements of Josephus, the Talmud, and other late sources concerning Solomon’s temple, while others attribute less weight to the statements of those sources which were written long after this temple was destroyed, and base their views rather on the earlier documents. The last is the only sound method of study, and is the course followed here. We shall take as evidence of the plan and situation of the buildings the Biblical writers who had seen them.

We are at the start confronted, however, with a difficulty, since no Biblical writer has given us an exact statement as to what part of the hill Solomon’s temple occupied. Most modern scholars hold, nevertheless, that it was built at the highest point of the hill just west of the sacred cave, which has already been mentioned,[241] and the old rock-altar above it. This view is confirmed by Josephus[242] and is undoubtedly correct, although three or four modern scholars have doubted it. The temple would naturally be built near the spot where the angel is said to have appeared to David (2 Sam. 24:16), and as angels are frequently represented in the Old Testament as appearing upon rocks (see Judges 6:11, f.; 13:19)[243] it is altogether probable that the appearance to David was on the rock-altar[Pg 194] at the top of the hill. On this rock the animals for sacrifice were slain, as the conduits for blood still visible on its top indicate. Near it, then, or on it the altar of burnt-offerings stood. We learn from Ezekiel, who had served as a priest in the temple of Solomon, that the temple faced the east, that it stood to the west of the altar, and that there was room between the temple and the altar for twenty-five men. (See Ezek. 8:16.) The temple was a rectangular building with its greatest length running east and west. Its measurements were 124 feet for the length, 50 for the breadth, and 55 for the height. It was constructed of stones and cedar beams. The outer temple, afterward called the holy place, was 70 feet long, 34½ feet wide, and 52 feet high. Back of it was the holy of holies, where the ark was placed. It was a cube 34½ feet each way. Apparently there was a chamber above it.[244] This room was adorned with carvings of cherubim, palms, and open flowers (1 Kings 6:29, 32, 35). It had no window. According to 2 Chron. 3:14, it was separated from the holy place by a veil. The holy place contained the table of show-bread and ten golden lamp-stands (1 Kings 7:49).[245] The lattice work high up in the walls of this room (1 Kings[Pg 195] 6:4) can have admitted only an uncertain light. The building was richly adorned with cedar and gold. It consisted of three stories, and the walls were of varying thickness, since ledges were built in them to receive the beams of the different stories. Each story contained a series of chambers for storage or the use of the priests. Those of the first story were five cubits wide, those of the second six, and those of the third seven; (see Figs. 247-249).

In front of the temple was a porch of unknown height, and before this were two bronze pillars with ornamented tops, named Jachin and Boaz. A little to the southeast of the temple in the open air was a brazen laver supported by twelve brazen oxen (1 Kings 7:23-26, 39). Before the temple Solomon also placed a brazen altar (2 Chron. 1:5, 6; 2 Kings 16:14). Another article of temple furniture is described as a “base.” It was apparently a portable holder for a laver. It was made of bronze, provided with wheels, and ornamented with figures of lions, cherubim, and palm-trees (1 Kings 7:27-37); (see Figs. 251, 252).

It is clear that the temple was not, like a modern church, intended for the accommodation of the people. It was simply Jehovah’s dwelling. Hither the priests might come to bring the offerings of the people, and to propitiate him. Solomon surrounded the temple with a court enclosed by a wall of three courses of hewn stones and cedar beams (1 Kings 6:36). This court became in later time the auditorium of the nation. Outside of this was a larger court with walls of similar construction (1 Kings 7:12); (see Fig. 243).

(3) Solomon’s Palace.—Just to the south of the temple court, separated from it only by a wall, was a middle court in which was Solomon’s own palace and the palace of Pharaoh’s daughter (1 Kings 7:8). These palaces were a little lower down the hill than the temple, and Solomon had a private “ascent” by which he could go up into the temple (1 Kings 10:5). The royal palaces were so near that a shout in the court around the altar could be heard in the palace (2 Kings 11:12, 13). These palaces were built of hewn stone and cedar. South of this court was still another, separated from it by a wall. In this most southerly and lowest of the courts stood the hall of state, in which was the throne room, where Solomon sat in judgment. This hall was paneled with cedar from floor to roof. The throne was of ivory, was approached by six steps, and flanked on each side by lions (1 Kings 10:18-20). South of this and[Pg 196] probably intended as its vestibule was the “porch of pillars,” 86 by 52 feet (1 Kings 7:6). Still south of this stood the “house of the forest of Lebanon” (1 Kings 7:2), so called because its four rows of cedar pillars were poetically suggestive of a Lebanon forest. This was the largest of all the buildings, being 172 feet long, 86 feet wide, and 52 feet high. There seem to have been two stories, the uppermost of which was supported by 45 pillars in three rows. Josephus says that the upper room of this hall was designed to “contain a great body of men, who would come together to have their causes determined.”[246] He may have been influenced, however, in making the statement by the customs of his own time.

As one went northward, then, up the hill from the “city of David,” he passed through a gateway into the large court. In this court he came first to the “house of the forest of Lebanon.” Beyond this he would enter through the “porch of pillars” into the splendid hall of judgment with its imposing throne. If he were a favored servant or an honored guest of the king, he might be admitted to the inner court, in which case he would behold the imposing palaces of Solomon and his principal queen. A passageway to the eastward of this more private court led the person not so favored to the sacred court about the temple.

In the construction of these buildings Solomon employed Phœnician architects and workmen. His buildings were, therefore, more imposing than those ordinarily erected in Palestine. The Phœnicians were the intermediaries of the ancient world, and were the recipients of influences from Babylonia, Egypt, the Hittites, Cyprus, and the Mycenean world. Through them something of the world’s architectural culture touched the buildings of Solomon.

8. From Solomon to Hezekiah.—Between the time of Solomon and Hezekiah, the Bible furnishes us with but little information about Jerusalem. One topographical fact is given us in the narrative of the war between Amaziah of Judah and Jehoash of Israel, before 782 B. C. After Jehoash had been victorious in the battle at Beth-shemesh, he came up to Jerusalem and “brake down the wall of Jerusalem from the gate of Ephraim unto the corner gate, four hundred cubits” (2 Kings 14:13); (see Fig. 304). This wall was afterward repaired by Uzziah, who strengthened it with towers.

[Pg 197]Indeed, it seems probable that Uzziah’s work was more extensive and that, in order to render the city more impregnable, he added a second wall on the north. Certainly a wall existed here before the Exile, for when Nehemiah rebuilt the walls, this wall joined the temple area at its northwest corner, and we know of no king after Uzziah who would be likely to construct such a defence unless it was Hezekiah. As the city easily withstood the attack of Pekah and Rezin in 735 (Isa. 7:1, ff.), it seems probable that Uzziah was the builder.

This wall by whomsoever it was built was in all probability on the line of the so-called “second wall” of Josephus. As to just what its course was we cannot now tell, further than that it started from near the Corner Gate, near where the modern Turkish fortress now stands, and terminated at the temple area. Some have supposed that after leaving the Corner Gate it ran as far northward as the line on which the northern wall of the modern city runs, then eastward from there to a point near the present Damascus Gate, and then turned southward to the temple area. This seems improbable, however, since in the time of Zechariah the tower of Hananel, which stood near the northwest corner of the present area of the Mosque of Omar, was the most northerly point of the city. It is thus possible that this second wall may have run south of the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Its whole course accordingly lies underneath the present city. None of this has been excavated except a short part of the course near the ancient Corner Gate. In 1885, when digging was in progress for the foundations of the Grand New Hotel, just inside the Jaffa Gate and north of the Turkish fortress, a course of large Jewish stones was laid bare which the late Dr. Merrill and others believed to be a part of this second wall. The nature of the digging did not, however, disclose its course for any great distance; the part revealed ran nearly north and south.

Unless Solomon built the wall which ran from Maudsley’s scarp at the northwest corner of the western hill eastward down the slope of that hill to the southern point of the eastern hill, it must have been built by some king of this period. No hint is given us as to who built this wall. It may have been done in the reign of Jehoshaphat, which was a period of prosperity and expansion (2 Kings 3:4-12), or in the reign of Uzziah, which was also a very prosperous time. The need of stronger defenses created by the advance of[Pg 198] the Assyrians into western Asia in the ninth and eighth centuries B. C. makes it probable that Uzziah was the builder. At all events it was accomplished by the time of Hezekiah.

In the reign of Ahaz there was a conduit (Isa. 7:3) leading from the “upper pool,” or Gihon, to a lower pool, which probably lay somewhere near the mouth of the Tyropœon valley. This conduit has been discovered. It was designed partly to conduct water from Gihon out into the valley of the Kidron for the irrigation of the king’s gardens, and partly to fill the lower pool so that cattle could come and drink. Isaiah refers to the waters of this conduit as “the waters of Shiloah that go softly” (Isa. 8:6). Of course, this conduit was in Isaiah’s time an old one. It is impossible to tell when it was first constructed. It may have been made as early as the time of Solomon or David, or even in Jebusite times.

In the reign of Ahaz a change was made in the nature of the altar of burnt-offerings in the temple. When Ahaz went to Damascus to do homage to Tiglath-pileser IV of Assyria, he saw an altar that pleased him, and sent a pattern of it home to the high priest, Urijah, with directions to have one made like it for the temple. This Urijah did. This altar was apparently constructed of stone. It displaced the brazen altar of Solomon, which was henceforth kept for the king’s private use (2 Kings 16:10-16). It is thought by some that the measurements of this stone altar are reproduced in Ezekiel 43:13-17. The brazen altar had always been out of accord with the Hebrew law. (See Exod. 20:24-26.)

9. Hezekiah.—Apart from his reform (2 Kings 18:1-6) and the invasions of Sennacherib (2 Kings 18:9, ff.), the event of especial interest mentioned in connection with Hezekiah is that “he made the pool and the conduit and brought the water into the city” (2 Kings 20:20). Scholars are agreed that this refers to the rock-cut aqueduct in which the Siloam inscription was found.[247] This was for the time of its construction a notable engineering achievement, though recent exploration of the tunnel shows that the workers frequently went astray and cut in directions that they did not intend. Indeed, it is probable that the great bends in the tunnel were made on account of such mistakes and not as Clermont-Ganneau formerly thought in order to avoid the tombs of the kings. Up to the present,[Pg 199] search for these tombs has been vain. They must have been somewhere on the eastern hill, but there is no reason to believe that they were at the great depth at which this tunnel was cut through the rock.

If the supposition made above as to the walls of Uzziah is correct, it was Hezekiah who built the first wall across the mouth of the Tyropœon valley so as to enclose within the city his new pool. This wall was found by Bliss. It formed the dam of the pool. It was strongly buttressed and had been rebuilt from time to time. Bliss detected five periods in its history.[248]

10. From Hezekiah to the Exile.—After Hezekiah, the general features of Jerusalem remained the same down to the time of the Babylonian Exile in 586 B. C. We hear of a Fish Gate, probably where it was at a later time, at the north of the city in the wall built by Uzziah. Zephaniah mentions in connection with it “the second quarter” of the city (Zeph. 1:10), which was probably the part of the town between the north wall of Uzziah and the older north wall of Solomon on the western hill. The prophetess Huldah lived there in the time of Josiah (2 Kings 22:14). Zephaniah also mentions a part of the city called Maktesh or the Mortar (Zeph. 1:11). This was a part of Jerusalem occupied by Phœnician traders and craftsmen. It was probably in the hollow between the two hills, i. e., in the Tyropœon valley.

In the reign of Manasseh we hear of the sacrifice of children. For this purpose a pit was excavated on the floor of the valley of Hinnom, to the south of the city, and arrangements were made to burn the victims. This was called Topheth (Jer. 7:31). Later it was defiled (2 Kings 23:10), and to perpetuate the defilement refuse from the city seems to have been burned there. The valley of Hinnom is in Hebrew gai hinnom. Later generations conceived that the heavenly Jerusalem had also its valley of Hinnom for the consumption of its refuse, hence gai hinnom is used in the New Testament in the form Gehenna as a name of hell. (See Matt. 5:29; 10:28.)

11. The Destruction of 586 B. C.—Toward the end of the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadrezzar in the year 586 it is said that the men of war fled by the way of the gate between the two walls which was by the king’s garden (2 Kings 25:4). This was evidently a gate by the Pool of Siloam, where the two walls of the eastern hill and[Pg 200] the wall which came down the western hill and crossed the mouth of the Tyropœon valley all came together.[249]

In August of the year 586 B. C. Jerusalem was destroyed by Nebuchadrezzar. The temple, the royal palace, and the residences of the principal men were burned and the walls of the city were broken down (2 Kings 25:9, 10). All that was combustible was burned, including the city gates (Neh. 1:3). All portable things of value were carried away. Jerusalem now entered on a period of desolation. The city was probably not entirely deserted. Some of the poor who still managed to extract a subsistence from the desolate hills still found shelter in her ruins. All the well-to-do inhabitants were transported to Babylonia.

It is often assumed that the site of the temple was unused during the Exile and that no offerings were made there, but Jer. 41:4, 5 shows that this was not the case. Probably an altar was repaired very soon, and the poor people still went through their most indispensable religious ceremonies amid the desolation, for men came from Samaria two months after the destruction of the city to celebrate there the Feast of Tabernacles.

This destruction of the city and the deportation of its population made a very deep impression on the Jews. How their affections clung to the desolate and defaced city is touchingly depicted in the book of Lamentations and in the 137th Psalm. Indeed, the destruction of the real Jerusalem was the beginning of that ideal Jerusalem which has been so influential in the religious history of the world.[250]

12. The Second Temple.—Beyond the erection of an altar, already mentioned, the first steps toward the rebuilding of the temple were taken, so many scholars think, in the second year of King Darius of Persia, i. e., in 520 B. C. Eighteen years earlier Cyrus had made it possible for this to be done,[251] but for various reasons it had not been undertaken.[252] The man whose preaching moved the people to begin the rebuilding was Haggai, and the circumstances under which he did it are recounted in his book. Haggai’s persuasion was later seconded by the efforts of Zechariah. Through four[Pg 201] years the house slowly rose, and was finally completed in March of the sixth year of Darius (516 B. C.), five months less than 70 years after it was destroyed.

There is no doubt that the second temple was built on the lines of the first, which were probably still traceable in the débris. It was also constructed of stone which still lay about the top of the hill—stone that had been used in the work of Solomon. It was not because it was smaller than the first temple that old men who had seen that wept as they looked on the new one (Ezra 3:12), but because it was less ornate. It was probably without ornament. Josephus (Contra Apion, i, 22) says that the temple court was enclosed by a wall a plethra in length and 100 Greek cubits in breadth, i. e., 485½ by 145½ feet. It was not, then, very large. It is uncertain whether there was at this time more than one court; 1 Macc. 4:48 speaks of “courts,” but Josephus tells[253] how the people pelted Alexander Jannæus with citrons while he was officiating at the altar during the Feast of Tabernacles, so that it is probable that the courts were not separated by a wall, but by a difference of elevation. The inner court was probably higher than the other, as it is around the Mosque of Omar today.

Within this court was an altar of unhewn stones. The temple itself consisted as before of the holy place and the holy of holies. Before the holy place was a porch, and around the building there were many small chambers as formerly. The holy of holies was separated from the holy place by a veil (1 Macc. 1:22), but now it contained no ark of the covenant, as that had been lost in 586 B. C. The holy of holies in the second temple was empty except for the “stone of foundation” on which the high priest placed his censer on the day of atonement.[254] In the holy place the table of show-bread stood in front of the veil. Instead of the ten golden lamp-stands of Solomon’s temple there now stood there the lamp with seven branches (see Zech. 4). A golden altar of incense replaced it (1 Macc. 1:21) in the time of the Maccabees, though it may not have been placed there before the time of Ezra.

Such was the temple as reconstructed after the Exile. In one important respect its perspective was changed. The royal palace and the administrative buildings, which before the Exile had shared the crest of the northern spur of Zion with the temple, were not[Pg 202] rebuilt. The temple stood there alone. Little by little the part of the hill to the south of the temple was cleared of the débris and the ground became a temple court. This was significant of the religious condition of the post-exilic time. Kings had vanished; the worship of Jehovah held the supreme place in the thought of the people.

13. Nehemiah and the Walls.—For seventy-two years after the temple was rebuilt, the walls of the city still lay in ruins. That they were at last restored was due to the patriotism and energy of a noble young Jew, Nehemiah, who had been a cup-bearer to Artaxerxes I of Persia. The story of how he obtained the royal permission to return to Jerusalem as governor, with authority to rebuild the walls, how upon his arrival he traced by their ruins the lines of the old walls, with what energy and amid what difficulties he pushed their rebuilding to completion in the course of three months in the year 444 B. C., is told in detail in Nehemiah 1-7 and need not be repeated here.

At the northwest corner of the western hill there was placed in the wall at this time a gate called the Valley Gate (Neh. 3:13). This was the gate discovered by Bliss[255] a little to the east of the old fortress on Maudsley’s scarp. When the wall was completed, a ceremony of dedication was held. At this festival two processions started from this Valley Gate; one of these went around the south side of the city, the other around the north side (Neh. 12:31-40). They met at the temple. The procession that went around the south side of the city passed by the Dung Gate, which was situated in the southern wall well down the hill, then by the Fountain Gate, near the Pool of Siloam, then up the “ascent of the wall” by the stairs of the “City of David,” and passed the Water Gate somewhere above the spring of Gihon. Still above this, probably just to the east of the temple area, was the Horse Gate (Neh. 3:28). The other company, starting from the Valley Gate at the southwest corner of the city, passed northward by the “Tower of the Furnaces” unto the broad wall, above the Gate of Ephraim, by the Old Gate, and by the Fish Gate, past the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of Hammeah, unto the Sheep Gate. This description, together with the line of the previous wall, enables us approximately to determine the outline of post-exilic Jerusalem; (see Fig. 305). The one point of doubt has to do with the line of the second wall on the north of the city, laid out probably by Uzziah. As that line is directly[Pg 203] under the present city it has never been possible to follow it by excavations. We can only conjecture what its course may have been. The towers of Hananel and Hammeah were clearly north of the temple area. They probably fortified the wall along the edge of a shallow valley which separated Moriah from the hill north of it. This hill was later called Bezetha.

14. Late Persian and Early Greek Periods.—After the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, we have no clear topographical references to Jerusalem until the second century B. C. It seems probable that Jerusalem and Judah rebelled against one of the later Persian kings and that the city suffered.[256] We hear that Ptolemy I of Egypt also captured Jerusalem,[257] but whether these experiences led to any modification in the form of the city, we do not know. The Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach, often called Ecclesiasticus, which was written about 180 B. C., indicates that Jerusalem was a carefully organized city. Many professions and much commerce were represented in it, as well as many human sins and foibles.[258] The author declares[259] that a high priest, Simon, the son of Onias (probably Simon II, 218-198 B. C.), repaired the temple and fortified the city. What the nature of either work was, we do not know. So far as can be ascertained, he confined himself to the strengthening of old defenses, and did not change the topography.

In the early part of the reign of Antiochus IV, while many Jews were kindly inclined to Greek culture and to Greek ways, an outdoor gymnasium was established in Jerusalem.[260] This was in a hollow just above the Tyropœon valley to the west of the south end of the temple enclosure.[261] Josephus calls it the Xystus, a Greek name that reveals its character. Some reminder that it was once a gymnasium perhaps lingers in Maidan, the modern Arabic name for the locality, which means hippodrome, or place of combat.

15. In the Time of the Maccabees.—In the Maccabæan period the city was divided into three parts—the city proper, the temple, and the Akra or citadel. As to the situation of the Akra, there is a wide difference of opinion. Into the different theories it is impossible to go.[262] The writer agrees with George Adam Smith,[Pg 204] that in all probability the Akra was the “City of David” of the earlier time, as 1 Maccabees states (1:33; 7:32, 33; 14:36). We first hear of this Akra in 198 B. C., when an Egyptian garrison held out in it against Antiochus III.[263] It was so shut off from the rest of Jerusalem that, though, after the onslaught of Antiochus IV on the Jews in 168 B. C., Judas Maccabæus recovered the city and temple as early as 165 B. C., the Syrians kept possession of the Akra for twenty-three years more, until they were finally dislodged by Simon the Maccabee in 142 B. C.[264]

16. Asmonæan Jerusalem.—During the Asmonæan dynasty which grew out of the Maccabæan struggle,[265] three new features were added to Jerusalem. One was a castle, to the northward of the temple area built by John Hyrcanus I, 135-105 B. C.[266] This was known to Greek-speaking Jews as Baris, which is a corruption of the Hebrew Birah, a fortress. Its walls are massive and high. It commanded the approach to the temple area from the north, and greatly strengthened the effectiveness of the temple fortification.

One of the Asmonæans, probably John Hyrcanus I, built a palace in Jerusalem.[267] This palace apparently stood on the site now occupied by the Synagogue of the German Jews in Jerusalem.[268] It was connected with the temple area by a bridge,[269] of which a remnant of the easternmost span, now called “Robinson’s Arch,”[270] is still visible on the western wall of the temple enclosure. This bridge was destroyed by Pompey when he captured Jerusalem in 63 B. C.,[271] and its remains were found by Warren in the bottom of the Tyropœon valley, 80 feet below the present surface of the ground.[272] As the Asmonæans were high priests as well as kings, this bridge gave them easy access to the temple from their palace. The palace itself, situated on a part of the western hill that overtopped the temple hill, was so placed that the royal priest could sit in his palace and watch what was transpiring in the temple courts and in the valley below.

[Pg 205]The third accomplishment of the Asmonæans was probably the construction of Solomon’s Pools and the High Level Aqueduct by which the water was brought into Jerusalem.[273] This work appears also to have been accomplished by John Hyrcanus I, for Timarchus, the biographer of Antiochus VII, who was a contemporary of Hyrcanus I, says of Jerusalem that “the whole city runs down with waters, so that even the gardens are irrigated by the water which flows off from it.”[274] Such a description would be quite unfitting, if all the water had been supplied by Gihon, En-rogel, and the cisterns about Jerusalem. It implies that a perpetual stream of water, such as came through one of the aqueducts, flowed into the city.

One other structure is attributed to an Asmonæan. Alexander Jannæus was very unpopular with the Pharisees, and once, as already noted, he was pelted by the people with citrons. He thereupon erected a wooden barrier around the temple and the altar, thus excluding the laity from a close approach to the temple,[275] and creating a court for the priests alone.

Jerusalem suffered from four sieges in the troublous days when the Asmonæan power was waning and that of Rome was being established. The first was by Haretat, King of the Nabathæans, in 65 B. C., but was lifted without result.[276] The second was that of Pompey in 63 B. C. It resulted in the capture of the city and in considerable damage. The bridge across the Tyropœon to the royal palace was broken down.[277] The third was that of the Partisans in 40 B. C., when they captured the city and placed Antigonus, son of Aristobulus II, on the throne.[278] The fourth was that by which Herod the Great became master of Jerusalem in 37 B. C. At this time a part of the two northern walls were broken down.[279] The topography of the city was in no way changed until after the conquest by Herod, who changed the face of Jerusalem in many ways.

17. Herod the Great.—The first work of Herod was to rebuild and strengthen the fortress to the north of the temple. This he did at the beginning of his reign while Mark Antony was still in power in the East. He accordingly renamed the castle Antonia.[280][Pg 206] Herod also rebuilt and strengthened the walls which he had battered down in taking Jerusalem, adding towers to make them more impregnable. At the southwest corner of the city he erected three new towers,—Hippacus, Phasael, and Mariamne.[281] These all probably stood in or near the space now covered by the Turkish fortress at the Jaffa Gate. Hippacus was apparently the northwest tower of the present citadel, Phasael the easternmost of the towers in the same structure, which still bears the name “Tower of David”; Mariamne lay to the east of these. Hippacus was 80 cubits high, Phasael 90, and Mariamne 50. On the north of these, perhaps near the point where the northwest corner of the present city wall is, stood Psephinus, an octagonal tower 70 cubits high.

(1) Herod’s Palace.—In connection with the towers Hippacus and Phasael and on the site of the present Turkish citadel, Herod built a new and splendid royal palace.[282] Its walls on the west and north were the same as the old city walls; on the east and south, walls of the same massiveness were erected. It contained two halls, each the size of the sanctuary, with couches within for a hundred guests. There were many other richly furnished chambers. The towers and the palace were faced with marble. Stretching to the southward, of the palace were colonnades which bordered on open courts, in which shrubberies, fountains, and long walks abounded. These fountains were fed by the High Level Aqueduct.

This palace commanded the highest point of the southwestern hill. Its construction finally transferred the controlling power to the western hill, or as Josephus calls it, the “Upper City.” Ever after this the western hill was the seat of political power. When Procurators ruled Judæa this palace became the prætorium.[283] It was to this castle that our Saviour was brought to be tried by Pontius Pilate. It was to its entrance, probably on the east, that Pilate brought Jesus and offered to release him, when the people cried: “Away with this man ... crucify him” (Luke 23: 18, 21). This palace, built by one of the ablest and most unscrupulous of men, is thus associated with one of the most sacred and tragic moments of history. From that day to this it has remained the seat of political authority in Jerusalem. Its presence on the western hill has gradually drawn the name Zion from the original city of David[Pg 207] to the western hill, and so distorted the Old Testament traditions that even several modern scholars[284] still refuse to give credence to the clear voice of the Old Testament as to the site of the original Zion. The palace, battered down and rebuilt again and again, still retains in its walls many of the massive stones of Herod. This palace was completed about 23 B. C.

(2) Herod’s Theater.—About 25 B. C. Herod founded an athletic gathering to be celebrated every five years in honor of Augustus.[285] Josephus, in speaking of this fact, says that Herod built a theater in Jerusalem, and also a very great amphitheater in the plain. If he actually built a theater in the city, all traces of it have disappeared. To the south of the city on a hill considerably beyond the Valley of Hinnom, the remains of a great theater were discovered some years ago by the late Dr. Schick.[286] This theater faced the north, its diameter was more than 130 feet, and spectators seated in it could see Jerusalem in the distance. It is thought by some scholars that this is the theater to which Josephus alludes, as Herod would hardly have ventured to outrage Jewish feeling by placing such a structure in the sacred city. If the discovery of Dr. Schick represents Herod’s theater, it is quite unknown where the “amphitheater in the plain,” to which Josephus makes reference, was situated.

(3) Herod’s Temple.—When the palace of Herod was completed, the splendid structures of Antonia and the palace quite overshadowed the old dingy temple. The temple had frequently been repaired by the high priests, and perhaps during the Maccabæan time had been somewhat embellished, but it nevertheless remained essentially as it had been rebuilt after the Exile. Herod had built Sebaste on the site of ancient Samaria in 27 B. C., and began about 22 B. C. to build Cæsarea. In these and other cities he had erected splendid temples to heathen deities; naturally he desired to make the temple of his capital city worthy to stand beside them. He had difficulty in persuading the Jews to let him touch the sacred house, but yielding in many things to their scruples, work was finally begun in the year 20-19 B. C. Some of the priests became carpenters and stone-cutters, so that no profane hands need touch the sacred shrine.[287] The old temple was taken down and the[Pg 208] new one erected in the space of eighteen months. But much remained to be done and the work dragged along until after Herod’s death. In the time of Christ “forty and six years was this temple in building” (John 2:20), and it was not then completed. It was finished only in 64 A. D., six years before it was finally destroyed.[288] The temple itself occupied the site of its predecessor, and was of the same plan and dimensions. These Herod did not dare to change. They were consecrated by nearly a thousand years of sacred associations. If he could not enlarge it, however, he could make it higher, and he made its elevation a hundred cubits or 172 feet. He also enlarged the porch, making it 120 feet broad. The whole was built of huge blocks of white stone, with plates of gold upon the front.[289] The holy of holies consisted, as before, of a dark, empty room, 35 feet in each dimension. It was separated from the holy place by curtains, an outer and an inner, which were a foot apart. The holy place was still 40 by 20 cubits, but was now made 40 instead of 30 cubits high.[290] Its furniture was the same as in the second temple: the table of show-bread, the altar of incense, and the lamp with seven branches; (Fig. 250). The entrance to the holy place, 15 cubits wide and 70 cubits high, was not closed by doors. Josephus declares that it was left open to set forth the “unobstructed openness of heaven.”[291]

On the top of the temple, spikes with sharp points were arranged to prevent birds from lighting upon it and defiling it. Twelve broad steps led down from the temple to the court of the priests.[292] These steps occupied nearly all the 22 cubits of space between the porch and the altar. Not far from the steps at the south stood the great laver, which had replaced the brazen sea of Solomon’s temple. The altar of unhewn stones rose upon the sacred rock—sacred since the days of the Jebusites (and possibly since the stone age), to which it was fitted by masonry. The base of the altar was 32 cubits square and 1 high. On this rose a structure 30 cubits square and 5 cubits high. On this was a ledge 1 cubit broad, to which the horns of the altar were attached. Not far above was another ledge, also a cubit broad, on which the officiating priests might stand. Above this was the altar hearth itself, which was 24 cubits square. South[Pg 209] of the altar was a structure of masonry on which priests could stand; north of it, the place for the slaughter of the victims. Here the victims to be slain were tied to rings in the pavement. There were tables of marble on which they could be washed and flayed. Beams supported by pillars also contained hooks on which they could be hung for quartering. Herod, as noted above,[293] probably constructed the Low Level Aqueduct. By means of this he brought a larger supply of water into the temple area, so that there was an abundance of water with which to flush the holy place, and wash away the blood and refuse with which the place must often have reeked, especially on festal days.

A low wall a cubit in height marked off the court of the priests from the court of Israel. Accounts differ as to whether this wall was on the east only or whether it ran around the whole temple. The court of Israel lay to the east of the court of the priests. Again our sources of information differ as to its exact size. Here the “congregation of Israel” could assemble to witness the sacred sacrifices. To the east of the court of Israel lay the court of the women. These were separated by a wall, but, owing to the downward slope of the hill, the court of the women was fifteen steps lower than that of Israel. Indeed, the level of the court of Israel was only maintained by a series of arches which supported a pavement. Perhaps the idea of a court for the women had been a gradual development of the post-exilic time, in which they had been permitted to watch the sacrifices from a definitely defined position in the rear of the men. At all events, this court became a prominent feature in the temple of Herod, and from elevated seats on its eastern side women could still watch the sacred ceremonies of the temple. With the exception of this gallery, the court of the women was open to men. It was 135 cubits square and so was relatively large. Apparently the temple treasury was situated in this court, together with the money boxes, for women had access to these. Here probably Christ was sitting when he saw the poor widow cast into the treasury her two mites (Mark 12:41, f.; Luke 21:1, f). Around these courts ran a wall 43 feet high. This wall was pierced by nine gates, four on the north, four on the south, and one on the east. A gate also separated the court of the women from the court of Israel. Either the gate that opened out of the court of the women to the eastward, or the one between the court of the women and the court of Israel (it[Pg 210] is uncertain which one) had been given by one Nicanor and was of fine Corinthian bronze. It was sometimes called “the gate beautiful” and sometimes “Nicanor’s gate.” It was by this gate, and so near the treasury where people were devoting their money to religion, that Peter and John found the lame man begging (Acts 3:2, f.).

Outside all these courts lay the court of the Gentiles. This was separated from the courts described above by a Soreg or ritual wall, which no Gentile might pass. Herod placed inscriptions in Greek at the various gates in this ritual wall, which warned Gentiles on pain of death not to enter. The court of the Gentiles surrounded the other courts on the north, east, and south; it was, however, most extensive on the east and south; (Fig. 257). To obtain a greater area for this court on the south, Herod extended the level of the hill by erecting great arches which supported a pavement. This structure still remains; it is now called “Solomon’s stables”; (Fig. 258). In the Crusading period horses were stabled there. Around the court thus enlarged ran a beautiful colonnade. The pillars for this and for Herod’s palace were quarried from the rock around Jerusalem. One pillar which had a defect and was accordingly never moved from the quarry was found a few years since in front of the Russian cathedral north of the city.

Although the temple has passed away and other sacred buildings have since the second century been erected in succession near its site, the expanse of the court of the Gentiles remains, and as the devout Christian visits it he seems almost to hear the footfalls of Christ and of Paul!

18. The Pool of Bethesda.—Another spot connected with the life of Christ lay not far from the temple on the north; it was the Pool of Bethesda. It was situated near the Sheep Gate, which was just northeast of the temple. Since the thirteenth century the Birket Israin[294] which lies between the temple area and the modern St. Stephen’s Gate has been identified by some with Bethesda. Since 1889 it has been thought by many that two pools discovered in that year, now far under ground, in the land of the Church of St. Anne, just north of St. Stephen’s Gate, constituted the Pool of Bethesda; (see Fig. 259). It is really impossible to decide between the two possibilities on the evidence we have. Both are in the region where we should look for the Pool of Bethesda.

19. Gethsemane.—Two other spots near Jerusalem are of the[Pg 211] deepest interest to the Christian student—the Garden of Gethsemane and Golgotha. The fact is certain that the Garden of Gethsemane lay on the western slope of the Mount of Olives. (See Luke 22:39; John 18:1; Mark 14:26, 32.) Since the sixteenth century the Roman Catholics have shown a little garden, which lies just above the Kidron, as the Garden of Gethsemane. More recently the Russian Church has walled in the space next above it as the real garden. There is no certainty that the garden was on either site. To the Jews of the first century a garden was not a place for flower-beds, but an olive orchard, and such an orchard may have extended widely over the hillside. We cannot now identify the spot made sacred by the Master’s agony, but we know as we look at this hillside that it was somewhere on it.

20. Calvary.—The site of Calvary or Golgotha is not so easily discerned. Since the year 326 A. D., when Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, visited Jerusalem, there has been a continuous tradition in favor of the site on which the Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands. We know from Hebrews 13:12 that the crucifixion took place outside the city walls. Unfortunately, we cannot tell whether the second wall of this period ran north or south of the spot on which the Church of the Holy Sepulcher stands, for the whole region lies under the modern city, where excavation has been impossible. If the second wall turned eastward before it had gone as far north as this spot, it may well be that the crucifixion occurred where the church now stands. Pilate condemned Jesus at the palace of Herod near the gate Gennath at the northwest corner of the city of that day. Doubtless the mob swept along with Jesus through the gate Gennath to the spot called Golgotha. If the Church of the Holy Sepulcher was on that spot, the walk was not a long one; (see Fig. 260).

In 1849 Otto Thenius suggested that the hill north of the modern Damascus Gate above “Jeremiah’s Grotto” was the real Golgotha; (Figs. 261, 262). This was also suggested by Fisher Howe in 1871, and advocated by Gen. C. E. Gordon in 1881. Near it is a garden in which is a rock-hewn tomb; (Figs. 263, 264). Since the days of Gordon a kind of Protestant tradition and cult has grown up about this spot that in certain quarters evokes some of the devotion called forth among Catholics and Oriental Christians by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It must be said that the tomb in the garden is, like many similar tombs in the[Pg 212] neighborhood, probably not earlier than the third or fourth century A. D., and there is really no more reason for regarding this spot as Golgotha than any other hill-top near the city. The exact spot where our Lord suffered is not certainly known.

Ecclesiastical tradition has fixed upon many other spots in Jerusalem as the places where certain events in the life of Christ occurred, but none of these has a sufficient degree of probability in its favor to merit a mention in an archæological work.

21. Agrippa I and the Third Wall.—In the reign of Herod Agrippa I (41-44 A. D.), Jerusalem was again enlarged. Agrippa built a third wall on the north. Its course is described by Josephus,[295] but as most of the landmarks mentioned by him are unknown, opinions differ as to its course. It is certain that it started at the tower Hippacus and went northward to the tower Psephinus, that it enclosed the hill Bezetha, and that it ran along the edge of the Kidron valley to join the old wall. Some scholars suppose that it ran about on the line of the present northern Turkish wall of the city; others, as Robinson and Merrill, thought it ran much further north so that its northeastern corner was near the “Tombs of the Kings.” While there is not decisive evidence in the matter, the first view, that the third wall ran near the line of the modern wall, seems the more probable. This wall was begun by Agrippa, who did not dare to finish it lest Claudius should suspect him of an intention to rebel. It was, however, completed by the Jews before the last tragic struggle of the years 66-70, and formed one of the features of Jerusalem when Paul made his later visits to the city.

We have not space to follow the fortunes of Jerusalem further. The history of the “Virgin Daughter of Zion” since 70 A. D., when the walls were broken down and the temple destroyed never to be rebuilt, has been no less checkered and tragic than in the centuries that preceded,[296] but the hearts of all Christians as well as of Jews and Mohammedans turn to her with sympathy and affection, because of their debt to the holy men who at various times, from David to Paul, lived in her and walked her streets, and because of her tragic associations with the life and death of One who was more than man.



[Pg 213]



Origin. Damascus. Scythopolis. Cities East of the Sea of Galilee. Gadara. Pella and Dion. Gerasa. Philadelphia. Jesus in the Decapolis.


1. Origin.—Three times in the Gospels the Decapolis is mentioned: Matt. 4:25; Mark 5:20 and 7:31. Decapolis is a Greek name and means “the ten city” (region). The ancient writers who mention it agree that it originally consisted of ten cities in which Greek population was dominant and which were federated together. Pliny[297] gives the ten cities as Damascus, Philadelphia, Raphana, Scythopolis, Gadara, Hippos, Dion, Pella, Gerasa, and Kanatha. Ptolemy, the astronomer and geographer, in the second century A. D. enumerated eighteen cities as belonging to it. In the time of Christ it probably consisted of but ten. The Decapolis apparently was created by the Roman General Pompey, when he conquered this region for Rome in 65-63 B. C. These cities with Greek populations appear to have appealed to him and he granted them certain privileges, including a degree of autonomy. They were, however, subject to the Legate of Syria. Hippos, Scythopolis, and Pella were released by him at this time from the Jewish yoke.[298] Josephus, at the end of the first century A. D., does not reckon Damascus in the Decapolis, but before the time of Paul, Damascus had been captured by the Nabathæans or Arabians, and may not, when retaken by Rome, have been again accorded the privileges of the cities of the Decapolis.

2. Damascus, which is mentioned in the annals of Thothmes III before 1447 B. C., and in the accounts of Abraham (Gen. 14:15; 15:2), has been continuously in existence as a city ever since, and is one of the most flourishing cities of Syria at the present time. It was occupied in the thirteenth or fourteenth century B. C. by Aramæans who held it all through the Old Testament period. Kings of Damascus frequently fought with Israel. From the time of Alexander the Great it came under Hellenic influences. After[Pg 214] his death it was first possessed by the Ptolemies of Egypt, but was taken by the Seleucid kings of Antioch before 261 B. C. It is situated in one of the most fertile oases of the world—an oasis that Arabian poets delighted to compare to Paradise. Probably Alexander’s successors, who, as we shall see, built many Hellenic cities, beautified this oasis with one of them, but as the site has been occupied continuously, no buildings from this time remain. One feature at Damascus that still recalls Biblical times is the street called Straight, which runs westward from the eastern gate into the heart of the city. It was in a house on the ancient forerunner of this street that Paul first lodged at the time of his conversion (Acts 9:11); (see Fig. 265).

One other part of Damascus recalls a Biblical narrative. This is the river Barada which still runs through the heart of the city. It is the river called Abana in 2 Kings 5:12, and was said by Naaman to be “better than all the waters of Israel”; (see Fig. 266).

3. Scythopolis was the only one of the cities of the Decapolis west of the Jordan. It was on the site of the Beth-shean of the Old Testament (Josh. 17:11; 1 Sam. 31:10, 12; 2 Sam. 21:12; 1 Kings 4:12). Beth-shean was already a city at the time Palestine was conquered by Thothmes III[299] and there has apparently been a town near this spot ever since. It seems to have been called Scythopolis by the successors of Alexander the Great, probably because a group of Scythians had taken the city and settled there. When it came into the possession of Scythians we can only conjecture, but it was probably at the time of the great Scythian invasion of Palestine, about 625-615 B. C. This invasion called forth the dark prophecies of the book of Zephaniah. Scythopolis appears from certain coins[300] to have become a Hellenic city in the time of Alexander the Great. In the time of Ptolemy Euergetes I, 247-222 B. C., it was subject to Egypt,[301] but it passed to the dominions of the Seleucidæ of Antioch in 198 B. C. Upon the break-up of the Syrian empire in 65-63 B. C., Pompey made it one of the cities of the Decapolis.

The remains of the Hellenic city have now entirely disappeared with the exception of the great stone amphitheater. This may still be seen[302] in the valley on the south side of the mound which covers[Pg 215] the ruins of the ancient Beth-shean, where it is overgrown with briers. The name Scythopolis has long since disappeared, and the old Hebrew name for the place still survives in the name of the modern town Beisan. This modern town is situated on the south side of the valley mentioned above, a little distance from the mound which covers the ancient city. Scythopolis was situated at the point where the plain of Jezreel or Esdraelon joins the Jordan valley. In the time of Christ the Jews from Nazareth and its vicinity, when going to the three annual festivals at Jerusalem, came down the plain and then followed the Jordan valley down to Jericho (see Luke 19:1), in order to avoid going through Samaria. From the time that Jesus was twelve years old he must, therefore, have often passed by Scythopolis on his way to Jerusalem. As it was a Gentile town, however, neither he nor his companions would enter it on such occasions, as they would thereby be rendered unclean.

4. Cities East of the Sea of Galilee.—To the east of the Sea of Galilee lay three of the cities of the Decapolis. Hippos was comparatively near the sea, where Susiye now lies. The Jews of the Talmudic period called the place Susitha.[303] Hippos is the Greek for horse. Susitha is a Hebrew translation of this and Susiye is an Arabic corruption of the Hebrew. All traces of the ancient Hippos except the name have disappeared.

Where Raphana was situated has not yet been definitely determined. It is probably the same as Raphon mentioned in 1 Macc. 5:37, which was near to Ashteroth-karnaim[304] (Gen. 14:5). Ashteroth-karnaim was situated either at Tell Ashtara or at Tell Ashary, both of which are between twenty and twenty-five miles east of the Sea of Galilee. Raphana, then, probably lay about twenty miles due east from Hippos.

Still eastward of this lay the city of Kanatha, though scholars are divided in opinion as to whether its site is to be identified with El-Kerak or with Kanawat. If its site was at El-Kerak it was about forty miles east of the Sea of Galilee; if at Kanawat it was about fifty-five miles distant from the sea. As there are at Kanawat abundant ruins of a beautiful Hellenic city,[305] Kanatha was probably situated here rather than at El-Kerak. This was the Kenath of Num. 32:42.

[Pg 216]5. Gadara.—A little to the south of the southern end of the Sea of Galilee on the east of the Jordan and south of the Yarmuk lay the city of Gadara, another member of the Decapolis. Its site is now marked by the ruins of Umm Keis or Mukês. Here ruins of the Hellenic city are still to be seen, including a great theater cut out of the black basaltic rock. Gadara was a strong fortress as early as the time of Antiochus the Great in 218 B. C.,[306] and was afterward besieged by Alexander Jannæus,[307] 104-79 B. C.

6. Pella and Dion.—On the east of the Jordan, a little further south than Scythopolis or Beth-shean, but in the deep depression of the river valley, Pella, another city of the Decapolis, was situated. The site now bears the name Fahl. The city is mentioned in the list of Thothmes III, 1503-1447 B. C., as Pahul. Pella is a Greek form of this name. The Greek city of Pella is said by Stephen of Byzantium[308] to have been founded by Alexander the Great. In the Talmud it is called Pahal,[309] and the modern name Fahl is an Arabian form of this. Extensive ruins of the Hellenic city are still visible at Fahl.[310]

Dion is also said to have been founded by Alexander the Great and was apparently not far from Pella. It is thought by Merrill[311] and G. A. Smith to have been situated on the site of the modern Eidun, about twenty miles east of Pella, though this is doubted by others.[312] If Dion was at this point few, if any, antiquities remain to bear witness to the fact.

7. Gerasa, the modern Jerash, lay on one of the tributaries of the Jabbok about fifty miles southeast of Pella. We do not know what the name of the place was in Old Testament times. It is first mentioned in the time of Alexander Jannæus (104-79 B. C.).[313] It was then called Gerasa and was probably already at that time a Hellenic city. By whom it was built, we do not know, but it was probably one of the early Ptolemies of Egypt. From 100 B. C. till the Mohammedan conquest in 637 A. D., it flourished as a beautiful city, and later it was a city of some importance. It probably was overtaken by some calamity and the site of the Hellenic city[Pg 217] abandoned soon after the year 637, as there are no Arabic remains above the Græco-Roman material. In the year 1121 Baldwin II, of the Latin kingdom of Jerusalem, made a campaign against Gerasa, where the ruler of Damascus had caused a castle to be built. In the next century the Arabian geographer, Yakut, describes it as deserted. It appears to have been ruined by an earthquake.

Apparently the Hellenic city at Gerasa lasted longer than any of the other cities of the Decapolis unless it be Kanatha. One can, accordingly, gain from the ruins of Gerasa an excellent idea of the general appearance of one of these cities.[314] The writer has never seen more beautiful ruins than those at Jerash except the ruins at Athens. As one approached the site from the south he faced a beautiful arched gateway. After passing this gateway one looked northward down a long colonnaded street, which at a little distance from the gate broadened out into a circular forum. At distances approximately equal from one another this main street was crossed by other colonnaded streets. A number of these columns are standing in different parts of the town. The remains of two imposing temples, of two theaters, of a large Christian basilica, and of various other buildings, impress one with the former glory of the city. A number of the buildings at Gerasa were built in the second century A. D. in the reign of the Antonines; (see Figs. 268, 269).

8. Philadelphia, the most southerly of the cities of the Decapolis, was on the site of Rabbah Ammon (Deut. 3:11; Josh. 13:25; 2 Sam. 11:1, etc.). This was situated on the upper Jabbok about twenty miles east of the Jordan valley, where Amman now lies. The Hellenic city here was built by Ptolemy Philadelphus of Egypt, who reigned from 283-247 B. C. It was named Philadelphia from him. In 218 B. C. the city was taken by Antiochus III, who captured the cistern to which in time of siege the Philadelphians went for water by an underground passage,[315] after which thirst compelled them to surrender. Joab centuries before had captured the city for David by the same method,[316] and in 30 B. C. Herod the Great again took it in the same way.[317] The remains of the Hellenic[Pg 218] temple, of the theater, and of other buildings, including a Christian basilica, are still to be seen at Amman.[318] In the fourth century A. D. Philadelphia was one of the prominent cities of the Roman province of Arabia; (see Figs. 270, 271).

These cities of the Decapolis appear to have been built on a similar plan. Each had a colonnaded street through the center of the town, each had at least one temple and one theater, and some of them more. All were architecturally beautiful. They all possessed a similar government also, and each appears to have controlled the villages in its district.

9. Jesus in the Decapolis.—The prevailing influences in the Decapolis were pagan, and yet there were Jews living in it, for multitudes of them from the Decapolis followed Jesus (Matt. 4:25). On at least two occasions our Lord himself went into the territory of the Decapolis. We read in Mark 5:1 that Jesus and his disciples “came to the other side of the sea to the country of the Gerasenes.” The Authorized Version reads “to the country of the Gadarenes.” The country to which Jesus came at this time cannot have been that of the Decapolitan city Gerasa, for, as we have seen, that lay far to the south. It was in a direct line nearly fifty miles from the Sea of Galilee. Neither can it have been to the region of Gadara that he came, for Gadara lay at least five miles to the south across the deep valley of the Yarmuk. There was, however, on the east shore of the Sea of Galilee a town called Gergesa, the modern Kursi. This place was near the city of Hippos, and possibly one of the towns subordinate to Hippos. As Jesus and the disciples walked back from the sea they met the demoniac, whom Jesus healed. It was in connection with this healing that the herd of swine was destroyed—an incident that could happen in no part of Palestine except Decapolis or Philistia, for swine were unclean to Jews and they never kept them. The demoniac, when cured, went and preached Jesus in the Decapolis (Mark 5:20).

Again, toward the end of the ministry of Jesus, after he had withdrawn for a time to Phœnicia, he returned by crossing the high lands of northern Galilee and coming down east of the Jordan “through the midst of the borders of Decapolis” (Mark 7:31).



[Pg 219]



Athens. Corinth. The Churches of Asia: Ephesus. Pergamum. Thyatira. Sardis. Philadelphia. Smyrna. Laodicea.


The greater part of Biblical history was enacted in Palestine and the great valleys of Mesopotamia and the Nile. The Apostle Paul, however, broke the Jewish bonds of primitive Christianity and carried the Gospel to the coasts of the Ægean Sea. In cities of this region he spent years of his active missionary life; to churches of this region most of his epistles were sent, and to churches of this part of the world the seven messages to the churches were addressed. We cannot, therefore, conclude this sketch of what archæology has done to throw light upon the Bible without saying a few words concerning exploration and excavations in certain parts of Greece and Asia Minor. It will be impossible for lack of space to go thoroughly into the history of this region, but as these lands were not, like Egypt, Babylonia, Assyria, and Palestine, closely connected with Biblical history for a long period, detailed history of them before the Apostolic age will not be missed by the student of the Bible.

The results of scattered discoveries at Thessalonica and elsewhere will be presented in Part II, Chapter XXVII. At this point attention will be directed to a few important cities.

1. Athens, the chief city of Attica, one of the least productive parts of Greece, is the far-famed mistress of the world’s culture and art. Emerging from obscurity in the seventh century before Christ, gaining a position of leadership in the Persian wars after 500 B. C., Athens established a considerable empire. In this period fell the age of Pericles, 460-429 B. C., when the artistic and literary genius of Athens reached a height never equaled in human history. Socrates was born here in 469 and lived till 399 B. C. Here Plato, who was born about 428, became a pupil of Socrates and afterward taught. Hither came Aristotle, after the year 367, to sit at Plato’s feet. Here from the age of Pericles the acropolis was crowned with[Pg 220] those architectural creations that are at once the admiration and the despair of the world; (see Fig. 277). It stirs the imagination to think of Paul in such a city.

In the time of Paul, Athens was a Roman city, though still one of the great artistic and philosophical centers of the world. At a little distance from the acropolis on its northern side, a forum of the Roman period was laid bare in 1891; (see Fig. 272). Possibly this is the market-place in which Paul, during his stay there, reasoned every day with them that met him (Acts 17:17), though of this we cannot be certain, for, while this was a market-place in the Roman period, the older market of the Athenian people lay to the westward of it.

To the west of the acropolis lies the old Areopagus, or Mars’ Hill (Fig. 273), from which it was long supposed that Paul made the address recorded in Acts 17:22-31. Ramsay,[319] following Curtius, has made it probable that the address was delivered to the city-fathers of Athens, not because they were putting Paul to a judicial trial, but because they wished to see whether he was to be allowed to teach Christianity, which they took for a new philosophy, in the university of Athens—for Athens itself was a kind of university. It seems probable that the meetings of the city-fathers, who were collectively called the Areopagus (Acts 17:22), were held not on the top of the rock, but in the market-place. The Athenian altar “to an unknown god” is treated in Part II, Chapter XXVII, § 2.

2. Corinth.—From Athens, Paul went to Corinth, where he spent a year and a half (Acts 18:1, 11). Corinth was one of the old cities of Greece. In Homeric and earlier times it appears to have been subject to Argos. Situated on the isthmus between northern Greece and the Peloponnesus, the sea-trade of Corinth made it an important city. It rose to prominence in the seventh century before Christ. At some early time foreigners from the east, probably Phœnicians, had settled in Corinth and established the worship of the Semitic goddess Astarte on Acro-Corinthus, a hill that rises some five hundred feet above the city. The goddess was here known as Aphrodite,[320] and the debasing character of her worship tended to foster that lack of sensitiveness in matters of social morality with which Paul deals in his First Epistle to the Corinthians. The trade of Corinth made it rich and its riches excited the enmity[Pg 221] of Rome. It was accordingly destroyed by the Romans in 146 B. C., but a century later was rebuilt by Julius Cæsar. Ancient Corinth has now entirely vanished.

Excavations were begun at Corinth by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens in 1896 under the direction of the late Prof. Rufus B. Richardson. The work has been carried forward season by season ever since.[321] Although there were no topographical indications to help the excavators at the start, the theater, the Agora or market-place, a Roman street, the road to Lechæum, and the temple of Apollo have been discovered; (Figs. 274, 276).

Of greatest interest to the student of the Bible is a stone discovered in 1898 on the Lechæum road near the propylæa, or gateway leading to the market-place. This stone once formed the lintel of a door and bore an inscription in Greek letters. Although the beginning and the end of the two words written on it are broken away, it is clear that the inscription was “Synagogue of the Hebrews.”[322] The cutting of the letters was poorly done, and the block was a second-hand one, adapted from some other use. It seems probable, therefore, that the Jewish community at Corinth was not wealthy. The block was of considerable size and so was probably found not far from where the synagogue stood. If so, this synagogue, which is probably identical with the one in which Paul preached (Acts 18:4), stood on the Lechæum road not far from the market-place. Other discoveries in the neighborhood indicate that this was a residence quarter of the city, and we learn from Acts 18:7 that the house of Titus Justus, where apparently Paul organized the first church in Corinth, “joined hard to the synagogue.” The house of Justus must, then, have been here, and the Lechæum road often echoed to the footsteps of Paul. Probably the judgment-seat to which the Jews dragged Paul for the hearing before Gallio (Acts 18:12) was in the market-place, so that the excavations have revealed to us the parts of Corinth of special interest to a reader of the Bible.

3. The Churches of Asia.

(1) Ephesus was situated on the Cayster river in western Asia Minor, about three miles from the sea, but in ancient times the sea was navigable up as far as the city. Cities which form the point of[Pg 222] contact between land and sea traffic become in most countries populous and wealthy. In western Asia Minor four cities, situated at the mouths of the four river valleys through which caravans could proceed into the interior, became populous and important. These were Miletus (see Acts 20:15, 17, f.) at the mouth of the Mæander, Ephesus at the mouth of the Cayster, Smyrna at the mouth of the Hermus, and Pergamum on the Caicus. In the earliest times known to us Ephesus was eclipsed in importance by Miletus, but before the beginning of the Christian era Ephesus had outstripped her rival. This was due to several causes, one of which was the partial silting up of the harbor of Miletus. In Roman times Ephesus lay on the great line of communication between Rome and the East in general.[323] In later centuries the harbor of Ephesus was in its turn silted up, and the site is now deserted except for a neighboring wretched Turkish village.

In Homer’s Iliad[324] the Carians are called the “barbarous-speaking Carians.” This would indicate that they were not Greek, and it is thought by some that they may at this time have been of Hittite stock. Miletus was in Caria, and at that time Ephesus also. It is certain that the earliest inhabitants of Ephesus were not Greek, but of Asiatic origin. They established here, either on a mountain top about five miles from the sea, just above the modern railway station of Ayassuluk, or on a mountain a little to the south, the worship of an Asiatic goddess, probably Hittite. Later, in the seventh century before Christ, the Ionian Greeks came and settled among the Asiatics. They identified the goddess with their own Artemis (Authorized Version, Diana), and moved her temple down into the plain,[325] where it continued to stand far into Christian times. In the sixth century B. C. Ephesus was conquered by the Lydians, and then by the Persians. In later centuries it passed under the control of Alexander the Great, of the Seleucidæ of Syria, and of the kings of Pergamum. In 133 B. C. it passed with the rest of the kingdom of Pergamum into the hands of Rome and became a part of the Roman Province of Asia. Because of its situation it quickly became the most important city of the province. It was noted for its wealth and its commerce. Rome became the patron of Hellenic culture in the East, so Ephesus was, of course, made an architecturally beautiful city.

[Pg 223]At first Pergamum was the capital of the Province of Asia. In the second and third centuries of the Christian era Ephesus had become the capital. Buchner[326] thinks that this transfer was made in the reign of Claudius, 41-54 A. D. If this were true, Ephesus was the capital of the province at the time of Paul’s residence there, but there is considerable doubt about the facts, and in the beginning of the second century A. D. Pergamum still ranked as the official capital.[327]

The temple of Artemis lay about two miles to the northeast of the ancient city. Its site was determined in 1869 by the English explorer, J. T. Wood, who partially excavated it (1869-1874).[328] Wood brought to light various marble fragments which are preserved in the British Museum, but he was more interested in making conjectural restorations of the temple than in telling what he found. As he was not an expert in ancient architecture his work is, accordingly, unsatisfactory. In 1904-1905, the British Museum employed Mr. Hogarth to complete the excavation of the site. Hogarth carried the excavation down to the virgin soil, and, being a skilled archæologist, he was able to reconstruct the history of the building.[329]

There seems to have been a small tree shrine on the site of the temple before the Ionians came. Between the seventh century and the fifth, three different structures were erected on the spot. The last of these was called the temple of Crœsus, because this king of Lydia presented some beautiful columns to it, though the structure was not completed till a century after his time, or 430 B. C. This structure was burned in 356 B. C. on the night that Alexander the Great was born. Later a larger temple, 425 by 220 feet, was built on the site, with the help of contributions from the whole of Asia. This was standing until long after Paul’s time. It was very beautiful. Some of the porphyry columns now in Santa Sophia at Constantinople are said to have been taken from it. It has been thought by some that this beautiful temple suggested to Paul his figure in 1 Cor. 3:10-17, since the words were written from Ephesus.

This temple was venerated over all of western Asia Minor. To it came many pilgrims every year, to whom Ephesian silversmiths sold little replicas of the temple. It was because Christianity became so popular through the preaching of Paul that the profitable[Pg 224] sale of these shrines was interfered with, that the riot in Ephesus occurred as described in Acts 19:23-41.

Before Mr. Wood had discovered the site of the temple he had discovered the theater within the limits of the ancient city. This has been examined more thoroughly by the Austrian, Dr. Wiberg, who, beginning in 1894, conducted excavations at Ephesus for many years. All the lower parts of this theater still remain (see Figs. 280, 281) and bring vividly to the imagination the assembly held in it on the occasion of the riot just referred to. (See Acts 19:29-41.) The Austrians have also laid bare a considerable part of the central street of the Ephesus of Roman times; (see Fig. 278).

A little to the north of the theater is the ancient stadium. Some scholars think that when Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:32, “If after the manner of men I fought with beasts at Ephesus,” he is speaking of an incident that literally occurred, and suppose that he was actually condemned to be thrown to the beasts in the stadium, to make a spectacle for the Ephesian populace, and that in some way he escaped alive. It is possible that this may be true. If so, this stadium (see Fig. 282) presents to the eye a spot which is of great interest to every Christian.

Ephesus, as the mother-church of the churches of Asia, is the first one to which in the book of Revelation a letter is addressed. By the time Revelation was written the first glow of Christian enthusiasm had worn off, gnostic heresy had found a place in the Church, and its “first love” was gone.

(2) Pergamum, the modern Bergama, lay in the valley of the Caicus in Mysia, about fifteen miles from the sea. The city was built on a hill about three miles north of the river. It was apparently a place of some importance at a comparatively early date, but its chief importance began with the reign of Philetærus, who made it an independent kingdom and ruled it from 284-263 B. C. Philetærus had been a trusted servant of Lysimachus, King of Thrace, one of the trusted generals of Alexander the Great. Under the dynasty founded by Philetærus, Pergamum became one of the chief seats of Hellenic culture. Eumenes I (263-241 B. C.) endeavored to make Pergamum a rival of Alexandria as a literary center, and when the king of Egypt forbade the exportation of papyrus in order to check the literary aspirations of Pergamum, the servants of Eumenes invented a prepared kind of skin on which to write. It was called pergamena, but time has corrupted it to “parchment.”

[Pg 225]In the course of the second century before Christ the kingdom of Pergamum included all of western Asia Minor north of the Taurus. When in 133 B. C. Attalus III, the last of the kings of Pergamum, died, he left his kingdom by will to the Roman republic, with which Pergamum had long been in alliance. Rome thus came into possession of her Province of Asia, the first of her Oriental provinces. Pergamum was its capital, certainly until the reign of Claudius, and probably until the second century A. D. The Romans regarded themselves as the patrons of Hellenic culture in the East and for centuries kept Pergamum the beautiful city which the Pergamene kings had made it. Bergama, the squalid modern Turkish city, lies apart from the splendid ruins of the ancient town; (see Fig. 283).

More than thirty years ago the Germans began to explore and to excavate at Pergamum,[330] and the Museum at Berlin is enriched with many beautiful objects found there. The visitor to Pergamum may still see, however, the great gymnasium with many graceful columns still standing. Above it, on a higher slope, are the sites of theaters and temples, and the great altar of Zeus. Farther up the hill stood the temple of Athenæ Polias, which was also a library, and above this the temple of Rome and of Augustus.

In Rev. 2:13 the church at Pergamum is said to dwell where “Satan’s throne is.” Interpreters have been divided in opinion as to whether this is a reference to the worship of Æsculapius, or to the presence of the great throne-like altar of Zeus, or to the fact that Pergamum was the seat of the worship of the Roman emperor.[331] On the whole, it seems probable that “Satan’s throne” is a reference to the fact that Pergamum was the seat of the government and of the worship of the emperor of Rome. When Augustus inaugurated emperor-worship in order to give the empire a bond of common sentiment, the first temple of the cult was erected at Pergamum. This was in 29 B. C. Under Vespasian and his successors it became a test of one’s Christianity whether he would or would not[332] offer incense to the statue of the emperor, and Christians were often persecuted because they would not. It is probable that in the[Pg 226] remains of the temple to the emperor archæologists have brought to light Satan’s throne. If, however, that throne were the altar of Zeus, it has nevertheless been brought to light.

(3) Thyatira, the modern Ak-Hissar, lay in a valley which joined the valley of the Hermus to the valley of the Caicus. The general direction of this valley was north and south. It was made an important city by Seleucus I of Syria (312-282 B. C.) in the latter part of his reign. Before this it had been an obscure village. Josephus declares[333] that Seleucus made Jews citizens of the cities which he founded in Asia, and apparently Thyatira was one of these, for there appears to have been a flourishing Jewish colony there. A little later than Seleucus, Thyatira became a city of Pergamum, and passed in 133 B. C. with the territories of that realm under the dominion of Rome. Thyatira was noted for its dyeing. Madder root, with which they dyed a Turkey-red, grows abundantly in the neighborhood.[334] As the ancients employed the names of colors with great laxity, this was often termed purple. Lydia, an enterprising seller of this purple, a Jewess from Thyatira, was present at Philippi when Paul and Silas preached there (Acts 16:14). Lydia was converted, and perhaps it was she who carried the Gospel back to Thyatira. Nothing has been discovered at Thyatira that throws light on the message to its church in Rev. 2:18-29.

(4) Sardis was one of the oldest cities of western Asia. It is situated on the south side of the great valley of the Hermus, just at the point where the river Pactolus issues from the Tmolus mountains. Pottery found in the course of excavations there carries its history back to sub-Mycenæan, if not to Mycenæan, times.[335] It was the seat of the worship of Atys or Cybele, a goddess that seems to have been kindred to the mother-goddess of the Hittites. It is probable that, could we penetrate back far enough, we should find that the place was once occupied by Hittites. Herodotus traces the descent of the first dynasty that ruled over the country to the goddess just mentioned.[336] Following this dynasty was, he says, another of twenty-one kings who ruled before the dynasty founded by Gyges. The Lydian kingdom of which we know began with Gyges in 697 B. C. and ended with Crœsus in 546 B. C. Lydian inscriptions found at Sardis are written in the same alphabet as Etruscan inscriptions[Pg 227] found in Italy. This indicates that the Lydians and Etruscans were closely akin, but, as the inscriptions have not yet been deciphered, they do not throw much light on either people.[337] It is possible that both peoples were related to the Hittites, but that is at present only a hypothesis.

The mountains to the south of Sardis are composed largely of gravel deposits left there by the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last glacial period. From these gravels the Pactolus brought down gold in ancient times. This was one of the sources of the wealth of the Lydian kings, and contributed to those riches which are still celebrated in the saying: “As rich as Crœsus.”

The Lydian kingdom fell when Cyrus captured Sardis in 546 B. C. With the fall of the Persian empire the city passed into the hands of Alexander the Great, and subsequently into the hands of his general, Antigonous, then to the Seleucidæ of Syria, then to the kings of Pergamum, and so to the dominion of Rome.

In 17 A. D. Sardis was shaken by a great earthquake which nearly destroyed the city. A mass of gravel and conglomerate rock was then hurled from the hill of the Acropolis of Sardis down into the city toward the temple, where the work of the excavator shows that it still lies.[338] A part of the city must have been buried under it. The city recovered from this disaster and by the end of the first century a Christian church existed there (Rev. 3:1-6). Sardis continued to be a city of importance until 1400-1403 A. D., when the Tartar conqueror, Timur or Tamerlane, swept over the country destroying everything before him. From this destruction Sardis never recovered. Two or three tiny wretched Turkish villages are now all that occupy the spot.[339]

The Acropolis of Sardis was composed of gravel and a comparatively soft conglomerate rock. It looks imposing and in ancient times looked far more imposing than now. It has been gradually crumbling away through the centuries. Ramsay thinks that this instability on the part of the city itself is alluded to in the words, “thou hast a name that thou livest, and thou art dead” and in the exhortation to be watchful and to strengthen the things that remain, which follows it (Rev. 3:1, 2); (see Fig. 284).

Excavations were begun at Sardis by Princeton University under[Pg 228] the direction of Prof. Howard Crosby Butler in 1909, and the digging continued for five seasons until interrupted by the great war.[340] The work began at the point where two columns of the ancient temple of Cybele were still protruding from the soil. The temple has been cleared and a considerable area around it has been examined. It appears that the temple was built in the fourth century B. C., that it suffered greatly in the earthquake of 17 A. D., and never was as splendid afterwards, though it was still in use in the second century A. D.[341] Many objects have been discovered which throw light upon the history and art of Lydia, and two bi-lingual inscriptions, one Lydian and Aramaic, the other Lydian and Greek, were found. These may afford the key to the decipherment of both Lydian and Etruscan. Jewelry resembling Etruscan jewelry found in Italy was also discovered.[342]

To the student of the Bible the most interesting discovery at Sardis was a little Christian church built at the southeast corner of the temple.[343] The entrance to this church was from the temple platform itself. The structure was entirely of brick and was in a remarkably good state of preservation. The building had apparently lost only its wooden roof. The apse of the church was toward the east, and still contained its primitive altar. It is uncertain at what date altars became a part of Christian worship. Origen in the third century A. D. admits the charge of Celsus that the Christians had no visible altar,[344] but Eusebius[345] in the next century speaks as though altars existed throughout the Christian world. This church at Sardis was built after the temple of Cybele had fallen into disuse, and even if not earlier than the fourth century of our era, this little structure is evidence that the name of the church had not been blotted out of the book of life (Rev. 3:5), but that it had rather appropriated to itself the once splendid precincts of the ancient heathen goddess.

(5) Philadelphia was situated twenty-eight miles east of Sardis, and lay in the valley of the Cogamis, a tributary of the Hermus. It is still a flourishing city of about 15,000 inhabitants. It is now called Ala-Sheher.[346] It is not to be confounded with the Philadelphia of the Decapolis in Palestine.[347]

[Pg 229]Philadelphia was founded by Attalus II, King of Pergamum, 159-138 B. C., who was called Philadelphus because of his devotion to his predecessor and brother, Eumenes II. Hence the city was named Philadelphia. It was founded for the purpose of spreading Hellenism in the eastern part of Lydia, and so was a missionary city from the first. With the other Pergamene territories it became a dependency of Rome in 133 B. C. In 17 A. D. it suffered severely from the same earthquake that destroyed Sardis. Indeed, at Philadelphia the quakings were even more severe. The trembling of the earth lasted for a long time. When Strabo wrote in 20 A. D. earthquake shocks at Philadelphia were an every-day occurrence. Few people lived in the city; most of the inhabitants spent their time outside.[348] Allusion to this is, perhaps, made in Rev. 3:12: “he shall go out thence no more.”

After the earthquake the city appealed to Rome for help. Tiberius granted it and also permitted the city to change its name to Neocæsarea, or the city of the young Cæsar.[349] This, too, seems to be alluded to in Rev. 3:12, where another new name is to be conferred.

At Ala-Sheher a part of the city wall of Philadelphia may still be traced, and the sites of the acropolis, the theater, and the stadium may also be seen, as well as the ruins of an old Christian church.[350]

(6) Smyrna, at the mouth of the Hermus, is one of the very old cities of Asia Minor. A colony of Æolian Greeks founded a city here more than a thousand years before Christ. A little later the place was captured by Ionian Greeks, who held it till about 600 B. C., when it was conquered by the kings of Lydia and destroyed.[351] For three hundred years the name designated a district rather than a city. Lysimachus, the general of Alexander the Great who became king of Thrace (301-282 B. C.), refounded Smyrna as a Greek city about three miles southwest of the old site, and it has continued ever since to be an important seaport of Asia Minor. It passed with the other cities of the region successively under the sway of the kings of Syria, the kings of Pergamum, and of Rome. Smyrna is today one of the largest cities of the East with a population of between two and three hundred thousand.

Smyrna claimed to be the birthplace of Homer. Ælius Aristides (born 117 A. D.), who lived at Smyrna, several times likens the city[Pg 230] to a crown, and apparently the crown was in some way associated with Smyrna; (see Fig. 287). The goddess of the place, who was a kind of Cybele, is pictured as wearing a crown.[352] This is, no doubt, the reason why in Rev. 2:10 a crown of life is promised to the church of Smyrna if she is faithful. No excavations have been made at Smyrna, but above the city the tomb of Polycarp,[353] said in tradition to have been a disciple of the Apostle John, is shown. Polycarp was martyred in 155 A. D. in one of those times of tribulation predicted in Rev. 2:10.

(7) Laodicea is situated a hundred miles east of Ephesus, in the valley of the Lycus, where the Lycus empties into the Mæander. It was founded by Antiochus II of Syria, 261-246 B. C.,[354] and named for his wife. Like Philadelphia, it was designed to be a missionary of Hellenism to the country of the region. Like the other Hellenic cities it was beautified with temples, theaters, and colonnaded streets. Later Laodicea passed under the control of Pergamum, and with that kingdom fell to Rome in 133 B. C. An influential element in its population was Jewish, and before Paul’s imprisonment in Rome a Christian church had been founded there (Col. 4:13). The city of Laodicea appears to have been devoted to commerce and to material things. In Rev. 3:15 its church is said to have been lukewarm. Except that its lukewarmness may have come from its commercial spirit, there is nothing in the history or archæology of the city that illustrates the letter[355] to it in Rev. 3:14-22.

The site of Laodicea is now almost deserted. Only the wretched Turkish village of Eski Hissar represents habitation, but hundreds of acres are covered with the ruins of the once splendid city. For hundreds of years the villagers of neighboring hamlets have used the place as a quarry, but nevertheless its ruins are impressive. Two theaters are in a fairly good state of preservation; the seats are still in place.[356] The stadium is in a similar condition of preservation. Its aqueduct and its gates are still imposing in their dilapidation, but the desolation of Laodicea recalls the words: “I will spew thee out of my mouth” (Rev. 3:16); (see Fig. 288).



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As noted in the Preface, the inferences drawn by different scholars, when they compare the Bible with the records brought to light by exploration, diverge according as their critical and theological views differ. In the comments made throughout Part II, as in Part I, the writer has endeavored to maintain a neutral attitude and impartially to report in each case the principal inferences drawn by the most important groups of scholars, that the reader may know something of the latitude of opinion that prevails. To have recorded every opinion would have expanded the work far beyond the limits prescribed, and would have burdened the reader with many views that are mere vagaries. The temptation is always strong to declare that the interpretation of an ancient record which accords with one’s own views must be right, but unfortunately problems in ancient history that are thus dogmatically settled do not remain settled. A deeper faith, confident in the ultimate triumph of truth, patiently awaits further light.

[Pg 234]



[Pg 235]



Text of the Epic. Comparison of the Epic with the First Chapter of Genesis. The Epic and Other Parts of the Bible.


I. Text of the Epic.

Tablet I

1. Time was when above heaven was not named

2. Below to the earth no name was given.

3. Then the primeval Abyss their begetter,

4. The roaring Sea who bore them,—

5. Their waters together were mingled;

6. No field had been formed, no marshland seen.

7. Time was when gods had not been made,

8. No name was named, no destiny [determined];

9. Then were created the gods in the midst [of heaven].

10. Lakhmu and Lakhamu were formed [together].

11. Ages multiplied, .......................

12. Anshar and Kishar were created, and over them ......

13. Days were prolonged, there came forth ......

14. Anu, their son ...................................

15. Anshar and Anu ...................................

16. And the god Anu ..................................

17. Nudimmud whose fathers, his begetters ....................

18. Abounding in wisdom, understanding ...............

19. He was strong exceedingly ................................

20. And he had no rival ......................................

21. They were established and ................................

22. In confusion were T[iâmat and Apsu][358] ...................

23. They were troubled .................................

24. In sin (?) .........................................

25. Apsu was not diminished ............................

26. Tiâmat roared ......................................

27. She smote and their deeds ..........................

[Pg 236]28. Their way was not good; they themselves prospered.

29. Then Apsu, the begetter of the great gods,

30. Cried to Mummu, his minister, and said,

31. O Mummu, my minister, who delightest my heart,

32. Come, unto Tiâmat [let us go].

33. They went, before Tiâmat they lay down,

34. A plan they formed against the gods [their offspring].

35. [Apsu] opened his mouth, [he said to her],

36. Unto Tiâmat, the brilliant, a word he spoke:

37. “[Intolerable to me] is their advancement,

38. By day I have no rest, at night, no peace.

39. But I will destroy their way, an end will I make.

40. Let there be a cry, then we may be at peace!”

41. When Tiâmat heard these words,

42. She was angry and spoke against them [a curse];

43. [She was] grievously [pained] she raged ....................

44. A curse she let fall, unto [Apsu she spoke]:

45. “What are we that we [should perish]!

46. Let their way become difficult.” ...........................

47. Mummu answered, Apsu [he counseled]

48. .... not favorable was the counsel of the Roarer:

49. “Their way is strong, but do thou confound [it],

50. By day thou shalt be calm, by night thou shalt lie down.”

51. Apsu heard and his face brightened,

52. [Since] he planned evil against the gods, his sons,

53. ............... [clasped his neck],

54. [He took him on] his knees and kissed him.

55. [They undertook the evil which] together they had planned.

56. .................................. they ....................

57. ............................................................

58. A cry; a cry ........ in stillness they sat

59. ............................................................

60. Ea the wise went up, he saw their horrors (?),

(More than thirty lines here are too broken for connected translation.)

93. ....................... thy ......... they subjugated,

94. ....................... weeps (?) and sits wailing.

95. .................................. of fear,

96. ..................... not shall we ourselves rest.

97. ......................... Apsu laid waste,

98. He and Mummu who were bound in ............

99. .................. quickly thou shalt go

100. ....................... we ourselves may rest.

101. ..........................................................

102. ..................... we ourselves may rest.

103. ..................... their mercy avenge!

104. ................................ to the storm .............

105. ..................... the word of the bright god,

106. .................. what thou givest, we will indeed do!

107. ..................... the gods in .........................

108. ............................... the gods [she] created.

109. They separated themselves, to the side of Tiâmat they came;

110. They raged, they planned, they rested not night or day.

111. They prepared for battle, fuming, raging;

[Pg 237]112. Their assemblage was formed and they began war.

113. Mother Khubur, who formed all things,

114. Made unrivaled weapons, spawned great serpents,

115. Sharp of tooth, unsparing of fang;

116. With poison instead of blood their bodies she filled.

117. Fierce dragons with terror she clothed,

118. Luster she made abundant, to loftiness made them equal.

119. Whoever beheld them, terror (?) overcame him;

120. Their bodies they reared up without turning their breast.

121. She established vipers, serpents, and Lakhami,[359]

122. Hurricanes, raging hounds, scorpion-men,

123. Mighty storms, fish-men, and rams (?);

124. They bore merciless weapons, fearless of battle.

125. Her behests were mighty; without rival were they.

126. Moreover eleven such as these she created.

127. Among the gods, her firstborn, who at her side gathered,

128. She exalted Kingu, made him great in their midst,

129. To march before the forces, to lead the host,

130. To raise the conquering weapon, to lead the attack,

131. To direct the battle, as commander-in-chief;

132. To him she entrusted it, made him sit in purple (?):

133. “Thy spell I have uttered; in the assembly of gods I have made thee great.

134. The sovereignty of all the gods, I have placed in thy hand

135. Surely thou art exalted, my only spouse!

136. May they magnify thy name over all the Anunnaki.”

137. She gave him the tablets of destiny, on his breast she laid them:

138. “Thy command shall be unalterable, established, thy word.”

139. Now Kingu was exalted, he received the highest rank,

140. Among the gods, his sons, he fixed fate:

141. “The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire-god;

142. Who so is exalted in excellence, let him increase in might.”


Tablet II

1. Tiâmat made mighty her work

2. [Evil] she cherished against the gods, her offspring.

3. [To avenge] Apsu, Tiâmat planned evil.

4. Her [forces] how she joined, to Ea was divulged.

5. Ea [hearkened] to this thing,

6. He was thrown into [great] straits, he sat in silence.

7. [The days] went by; his anger was appeased,

8. [To the place] of Anshar, his father, he proceeded.

9. [He went] before the father who begat him, Anshar,

10. [All that] Tiâmat had planned he repeated unto him.

11. “Tiâmat, our mother, has come to hate us;

12. Her assembly is set; with rage she is hot;

13. Turned unto her are the gods, all of them,

14. With those ye created, they walk at her side.

15. They have separated themselves; at the side of Tiâmat they go;

16. They rage, they plan; they rest not day or night.”

(Lines 17-48 continue the literal repetition of lines 109-142 of the first tablet which was begun in lines 15, 16. After this the narrative continues:)

[Pg 238]49. [When Anshar heard how Tiâmat] was greatly in disorder,

50. [He smote his breast], he bit his lip,

51. [His mind was disturbed], his heart was not at rest,

52. ................................ his cry was wrung from him.

53. [Away Ea, my son, go forth to] battle!

54. ............................ my work (?) thou shalt establish!

55. [Mummu and] Apsu thou hast already struck down.

56. [Kill also Kin]gu who comes up before her

57. ................................ deliberation.

58. ............................ gods Nudimmud.

(A break of ten or twelve lines occurs at this point in the tablet.)

72. [Anshar] spoke to his son [a word]:

73. “Thou, this [son of mine], my warrior,

74. [Whose strength is mighty], whose attack irresistible,

75. [Go], stand before Tiâmat,

76. [That] her wrath [may be appeased], her heart softened,

77. [But if] she will not hearken to thy word,

78. Our [word] shalt thou speak to her, that she may be appeased.”

79. [He heard] the utterance of his father Anshar,

80. He took the straight path to her, he entered the way.

81. Anu [drew near], he beheld the terror (?) of Tiâmat,

82. [He did not ascend to her presence], but turned back,

83. [Then turned he to Ea and called] him, he, Anshar,

84. [Opened his mouth] and spoke to him,

85. [“Hateful are the ways of Tiâmat] to me.”

(Some twenty lines here are too fragmentary for translation.)

108. [Ea opened his mouth (?)] and spoke to him:

109. [“Marduk, my son, hear the word of] thy father.

110. Thou art he, my son, who canst enlarge his heart.

111. ................................ to the battle draw nigh,

112. ............................ [to] Emarukka[360] give peace.”

113. Then the lord rejoiced at the words of his father;

114. He drew near and stood before Anshar.

115. Anshar beheld him and his heart was filled with joy,

116. He kissed his lips and his fear departed from him.

117. ............ is not hidden; open thy lips.

118. Verily I will go, I will attain the wish of thy heart.

119. .......... is not concealed; open thy lips.

120. Verily I will go, I will attain the wish of thy heart.

121. Who is the man, who would bring thee out to his battle?

122. [And now] shall Tiâmat, a woman, come against thee with weapons?

123. ................................ rejoice and exult;

124. On the neck of Tiâmat thou shalt shortly tread.

125. ................................ rejoice and exult;

126. On the neck of Tiâmat thou shalt shortly tread.”

127. “My son, who knows all wisdom,

128. Tiâmat pacify with thy pure incantation.

129. Thy way speedily take;

130. .......... thou shalt not fear, thou shalt use a spell afterward.”

131. Then the lord rejoiced at the word of his father,

132. His heart exulted and to his father he spoke:

[Pg 239]133. “O Lord of the gods, fate of the great gods,

134. If I accomplish your preservation,

135. Take Tiâmat captive and save your lives,

136. Appoint an assembly, make my fate strong, let it come in.

137. In Upshukkunnaku seat yourselves joyfully together,

138. The word of my mouth shall determine fate instead of you.

139. Let there not be changed whatever I create,

140. May the command of my lips not be altered or opposed.”


Tablet III

1. Anshar opened his mouth and said,

2. [To Gaga] his [messenger] a word he spoke:

3. “[O Gaga, thou messen]ger, thou rejoicest my heart.

4. [To Lakhmu and Lakh]amu will I send thee;

5. [The desire of my heart] mayest thou attain.

6. ................................ bring (?) before me.

7. [May there come] the gods, all of them,

8. [Let them prepare for converse], at banquets let them sit,

9. [Bread may they eat], wine may they prepare,

10. [For Marduk], their [avenger], let them decree the fate.

11. [Go, Ga]ga, before them stand,

12. [And all that] I tell thee repeat unto them

13. [Anshar], your son, hath sent me,

14. [The purpose of his heart he] hath disclosed to me,

15. [Saying]: Tiâmat, who bore us, hates us,

16. An assemblage is appointed, angrily she rages,

17. Turned to her are the gods, all of them,

18. With those whom ye created, they march at her side,

19. They are rebellious, at Tiâmat’s side they come,

20. They rage, they plot, they rest not day nor night,

21. They prepare for battle, fuming and raging,

22. An assembly is made, they start a revolt.

23. Mother Khubur, who formed all things,

24. Has made weapons without rival, has spawned monster-serpents,

25. Sharp of tooth, unsparing of fang,

26. With poison like blood their bodies she has filled;

27. Fierce dragons with terror she has clothed,

28. Luster has made abundant, to loftiness made equal.

29. Whoever beholds them, terror (?) overcomes him.

30. Their bodies they raise up without turning their breasts.

31. She has established vipers, serpents, Lakhami,

32. Hurricanes, raging hounds, scorpion-men,

33. Mighty storms, fish-men, and rams;

34. They bear merciless weapons, fearless of battle.

35. Her behests are mighty, without rival are they.

36. Moreover eleven such as these she has created.

37. Among the gods, her firstborn, who are gathered at her side,

38. She has exalted Kingu, made him great in their midst,

39. To march before the forces, to lead the host,

40. To raise the conquering weapon, to lead the attack,

41. To direct the battle as commander-in-chief;

42. To him she has entrusted it, made him sit in purple, [saying,]

43. ‘Thy spell I have uttered, in the assembly of gods I have made thee great,

[Pg 240]44. The sovereignty of all the gods I have placed in thy hand,

45. Surely thou art exalted, O my spouse!

46. May they magnify thy name over all the Anunnaki.’

47. She has given him the tablets of destiny, on his breast has laid them, [saying,]

48. ‘Thy command shall be unalterable, established be thy word.’

49. Now Kingu has been exalted, has received highest rank,

50. Among the gods, her sons, he fixes fate, [saying]:

51. ‘The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire-god,

52. Whoso is exalted in excellence, let him increase in might.’

53. I sent Anu; he had no power before her,

54. Nudimmud feared and turned back,

55. Marduk has set forth, the leader of the gods, your son,

56. As a foe of Tiâmat his heart prompts him to go.

57. He opened his mouth and spake to me, [saying]:

58. ‘If I accomplish your preservation,

59. Take Tiâmat captive, and save your lives,

60. Appoint an assembly, make my fate strong, let it come in.

61. In Upshukkunaku seat yourselves joyfully together,

62. The word of my mouth shall determine fate instead of you.

63. Let there not be changed whatever I create,

64. May there not be altered or opposed the command of my lips.’

65. Hasten, therefore, and quickly decree your fate,

66. That he may go and fight your strong enemy.”

67. Then Gaga went, his way he pursued,

68. To the place of Lakhmu and Lakhamu, the gods, his fathers;

69. He kissed the ground at their feet,

70. He bowed himself; he stood up, he addressed them, [saying]:

71. “Anshar, your son, hath sent me,

72. The purpose of his heart he has disclosed to me

73. Saying: Tiâmat, who bore us, hates us;

74. An assemblage is appointed, angrily she rages,

75. Turned to her are the gods, all of them,

76. With those whom you created, they march at her side,

77. They are rebellious, at Tiâmat’s side they come.

78. They rage, they plot, they rest not day nor night,

79. They prepare for battle, fuming and raging,

80. An assembly is made, they start a revolt.

81. Mother Khubur, who formed all things,

82. Has made weapons without rival, has spawned monster-serpents,

83. Sharp of tooth, unsparing of fang,

84. With poison like blood their bodies she has filled;

85. Fierce dragons with terror she has clothed;

86. Luster has been made abundant, to loftiness made equal.

87. Whoever beholds them, terror (?) overcomes him.

88. Their bodies they raise up without turning their breasts.

89. She has established vipers, serpents, Lakhami,

90. Hurricanes, raging hounds, scorpion-men,

91. Mighty storms, fish-men, rams;

92. They bear merciless weapons, fearless of battle.

93. Her behests are mighty, without rival are they.

94. Moreover eleven such as these she has created.

95. Among the gods, her firstborn, who are gathered at her side,

96. She has exalted Kingu, made him great in their midst,

97. To march before the forces, to lead the host,

[Pg 241]98. To raise the conquering weapon, to lead the attack,

99. To direct the battle as commander-in-chief;

100. To him she has entrusted it, made him sit in purple, [saying]:

101. ‘Thy spell I have uttered, in the assembly of the gods I have made thee great;

102. The sovereignty of all the gods I have placed in thy hand

103. Surely thou art exalted, O my spouse!

104. May they magnify thy name over all the Anunnaki.’

105. She has given him the tablets of destiny, on his breast has laid them, [saying]:

106. ‘Thy command shall be unalterable, established be thy word.’

107. Now Kingu has been exalted, has received highest rank,

108. Among the gods, her sons, he fixes fate, [saying:]

109. ‘The opening of your mouth shall quench the fire-god,

110. Whoso is exalted in excellence, let him increase in might.’

111. I sent Anu, he had no power before her,

112. Nudimmud feared and turned back,

113. Marduk has set forth, the leader of the gods, your son,

114. As a foe of Tiâmat his heart prompts him to go.

115. He opened his mouth and spake to me, [saying:]

116. ‘If I accomplish your preservation,

117. Take Tiâmat captive and save your lives,

118. Appoint an assembly, make my fate strong, let it come in.

119. In Upshukkunaku seat yourselves joyfully together,

120. The word of my mouth shall determine fate instead of you,

121. Let there not be changed whatever I create,

122. May there not be altered or opposed the command of my lips.’

123. Hasten, therefore, and quickly decree your fate,

124. That he may go and fight your strong enemy.”

125. Lakhmu and Lakhamu heard, they cried aloud;

126. The Igigi, all of them, wailed bitterly, [saying:]

127. “What has changed that they should desire to take us (?)

128. We do not understand what Tiâmat has done.”

129. Then they massed themselves together, they went,

130. The great gods, all of them, who decree fate.

131. They entered in before Anshar, they filled, [Upshukkunaku].

132. Brother kissed brother in the assembly .................

133. They prepared for converse, sat down to the banquet,

134. Bread they ate; wine they prepared.

135. The sweet drink confused their minds (?),

136. Drunk were they with drink, their bodies were filled (?),

137. They became very unsteady, their hearts were exalted,

138. For Marduk, their deliverer, they decreed the fate.


Tablet IV

1. They prepared for him a princely chamber:

2. In the presence of his fathers for sovereignty he became mighty. [They said:]

3. “Thou art most honored among the great gods,

4. Thy destiny is without rival, thy command is Anu’s!

5. O Marduk, thou art most honored among the great gods,

6. Thy destiny is without rival, thy command is Anu’s!

7. From today without opposition shall be thy command;

8. To exalt and to abase is verily in thy power;

[Pg 242]9. Established is thy utterance, irresistible thy command.

10. None among the gods shall invade thy province.

11. Sustenance, the desire of shrines of the gods,

12. While they are in need, shall be certain in thy sanctuary!

13. O Marduk, thou art the preserver of our lives!

14. We give thee sovereignty over the totality of all the world.

15. Sit thou in the assembly, thy word shall be exalted!

16. Thy weapon shall never be o’ercome, may it destroy (?) thy foe!

17. O lord, he who trusts thee—his life save!

18. But the god that is wed to evil, its life pour out!”

19. Then they placed in the midst a garment,

20. And unto Marduk, their firstborn, they spoke,

21. “Thy fate, O Lord, let it be first among the gods!

22. To destroy and to create—speak, let it be established!

23. At thy command let a garment perish!

24. Again at thy command let the garment re-appear!”

25. Then he spake with his mouth, the garment perished;

26. Again he commanded and the garment was recreated.

27. As the utterance of his mouth the gods, his fathers, saw,

28. They rejoiced, they uttered blessing: “Marduk is king!”

29. They bestowed upon him the scepter, the throne, and the battle-axe;

30. They gave him an unrivaled weapon, which turns back (?) the foe.

31. “Go, Tiâmat’s life cut off;

32. May the winds bear her blood to secret places!”

33. When the gods, his fathers had fixed Bel’s fate,

34. The way of prosperity and success they caused him to take.

35. His bow he prepared, his weapon he chose,

36. A spear he bound on him at his waist,

37. He raised the heavenly weapon, with his right hand grasped it,

38. His bow and quiver at his side he hung,

39. He placed the lightning before his face,

40. With quivering flame his body he filled.

41. He made a net to enclose Tiâmat’s body,

42. He caused the four winds to seize so that nothing of her could escape;

43. The south wind, the north wind, the east wind, the west wind,

44. He brought to the side of the net, the gift of his father Anu,

45. He made the evil wind, the bad wind, the tempest and the hurricane,

46. The four winds, the seven winds, the whirlwind (?), the unhealthy wind;

47. He brought forth the winds which he had made, the seven of them,

48. To trouble the inward parts of Tiâmat, they came after him.

49. The lord raised up the tornado, his mighty weapon,

50. As a chariot, a storm unrivaled for terror he mounted,

51. He harnessed for himself and attached to it four steeds,

52. “Destroyer,” “Unmerciful,” “Overwhelmer,” “Fleet-footed.”

53. [Foam-covered (?)] were their teeth, filled with poison,

54. Skilled were they [to run down], taught to destroy.

55. ................................... mighty in battle,

56. Left and right they opened (?) ...............

57. His garment was [rage], with terror was he clad,

58. With his overpowering brightness his head was crowned.

59. He made straight the way, he took his path,

60. To the place of Tiâmat, the raging (?), his face he set.

61. With his lip .............................. he cursed (?),

62. A plant of magical power (?)—he seized with his hand.

63. On that day they exalted (?) him, the gods exalted (?) him;

[Pg 243]64. The gods, his fathers, exalted (?) him, the gods exalted (?) him.

65. The lord approached, the waist of Tiâmat he scanned,

66. Of Kingu, her spouse—he beheld his terrifying-glance (?).

67. As Marduk gazed, Kingu’s progress was impeded,

68. Destroyed was his purpose, frustrated his deed,

69. And the gods his helpers, who marched at his side,

70. Saw the warrior and leader; their look (?) was troubled.

71. Tiâmat perceived it (?); she did not turn her neck.

72. With proud (?) lips she uttered words of defiance:

73. “Who decreed (?) that thou shouldst come as lord of the gods?

74. Have they assembled from their places, are they to serve thee?”

75. The lord raised the tornado, his mighty weapon,

76. [Against] Tiâmat who was raging, thus he spoke:

77. “[Why hast thou] made thyself great? Exalted thyself on high?

78. [Why does thy heart] prompt thee to battle (?)

79. [How can thy helpers] defy (?) the gods, their fathers?

80. [Why] dost thou hate their [command], their ru[le despise]?

81. [Why hast thou exalted Kingu] to be thy spouse?

82. [Hast given] him the functions of deity?

83. [How] canst thou seek after evil?

84. [And against] the gods, my fathers, thy evil plan devise?

85. [Let] thy forces be joined, girded on thy weapons!

86. Stand! I and thou—come let us fight!”

87. Tiâmat, when she heard this,

88. Was like one possessed; she lost her reason.

89. Tiâmat cried out vehemently with high voice,

90. Like roots divided in twain her legs trembled.

91. She uttered an incantation, she cast a charm,

92. And the gods of battle demanded their weapons.

93. Then took their stand Tiâmat and the leader of the gods, Marduk;

94. For the fight they approached, for the battle they drew near.

95. The lord spread out his net and enclosed her,

96. The evil wind from behind he thrust into her face.

97. As Tiâmat opened her mouth to its full extent,

98. The evil wind he drove in, so that her lips could not close.

99. With the mighty winds he filled her belly;

100. Her courage was taken away, and she opened her mouth.

101. He let fall the spear, he burst open her belly,

102. He cut through her inward parts, he pierced her heart,

103. He bound her and her life destroyed;

104. Her body he cast down, upon it he stood.

105. After Tiâmat, the leader, he had slain,

106. Her army he broke, her host was scattered,

107. And the gods, her helpers, who marched by her side,

108. Trembled, feared, they turned their backs;

109. They sought an exit, to save their lives;

110. With a cordon they were encompassed; escape was not possible.

111. He caught them, their weapons he broke,

112. Into the net they fell, in the snare they remained.

113. All quarters of the world they filled with lamentation.

114. His wrath they endured; they were held in bondage.

115. And the eleven creatures, whom she had filled with terribleness,

116. The troop of demons who marched as her helpers (?),

117. He threw into fetters, their power he [broke];

118. Along with their opposition he trampled them under his feet.

[Pg 244]119. And Kingu who had been exalted over them,

120. He took captive, as the god Dugga he counted him.

121. He took from him the tablets of destiny, not rightly his,

122. He sealed them with a seal, in his own breast he laid them.

123. After his enemies he had seized and destroyed,

124. His arrogant foe had completely humiliated (?),

125. The triumph of Anshar over the foe had fully established,

126. The wish of Nudimmud had accomplished, Marduk, the warrior

127. Over the bound gods strengthened his hold,

128. Unto Tiâmat, whom he had bound, he turned back.

129. The lord trod upon Tiâmat’s feet

130. And with his unsparing weapon crushed her head.

131. He cut through the veins of her blood,

132. He caused the north wind to bear it to secret places.

133. His fathers saw it; they rejoiced, they exulted,

134. Gifts and presents they brought unto him.

135. Then the lord rested; he gazed upon her body,

136. The flesh of the monster he divided; he formed a cunning plan.

137. He split her open like a flat fish into two halves,

138. One half of her he established and made a covering of the heavens,

139. He drew a bolt, he established a guard,

140. And not to let her waters come out, he commanded.

141. He passed through the heavens, he surveyed the regions,

142. Over against the deep he set the dwelling of Nudimmud.

143. The structures of the deep the lord measured,

144. As a palace like unto it he founded Esharra.

145. In the palace Esharra which he built in the heavens,

146. He caused Anu, Ellil, and Ea at their stations to dwell.


Tablet V

1. He [Marduk] ordained the stations of the great gods;

2. As stars their likenesses as constellations of the zodiac he placed.

3. He ordained the year, into parts he divided it,

4. For the twelve months he established three stars.

5. After the days of the year he had fashioned as images,

6. He founded the station of Jupiter, to determine their bounds;

7. That none might go wrong or err,

8. The station of Bel he established, and Ea by his side.

9. He opened gates on both sides.

10. A lock he made strong on the left and the right,

11. In the midst thereof he placed the zenith;

12. The moon-god he caused to shine; the night he entrusted to him.

13. He appointed him a being of the night, to determine the days;

14. Monthly, without ceasing, into a crown he made him, [saying:]

15. “At the beginning of the month shine upon the lands,

16. Horns exhibit, to determine six days;

17. On the seventh day let the tiara disappear;

18. On the fourteenth day thou shalt stand over against the [two] halves.

19. When the sun-god on the horizon ........... thee,

20. Thou ......... to be resplendent, and thou shalt turn (?) backward (?)

21. [Fourteen days] unto the path of the sun-god thou shalt approach,

22. [On the 28th day] thou shalt approach the sun-god ...........

23. .............................. signs (?), seek (?) her way!

24. ................ approach ye and judge justice!

[Pg 245]25. .................................... to destroy,

26. ........................................................ me.”

(Some lines are lost at this point. It is estimated that forty of them are lacking.)

67. After .................................

68. In Esagila[361] .................................

69. To establish ................................

70. The station of .............................

71. The great gods ................................

72. The gods ...........................

73. He received .........................

74. The net which he had made the [great] gods saw,

75. Saw the bow, how skillful [its workmanship];

76. The work which he had done, they [loudly] praised.

77. Then arose Anu in the assembly of the [great] gods,

78. The bow he kissed it .............................

79. “Long-wood shall be one name, and a second .................

80. Its third name shall be Bow-star in the heavens.”

81. He fixed its position [unto distant days].

82. After the destiny of ..............................

83. [He set] a throne ......................................

84. ......................... in the heavens ...................

(Practically all the remainder of Tablet V is as yet undiscovered. From a very broken fragment, preserved in the British Museum, it appears that when the gods saw the work of Marduk in adorning the heavens with constellations, they broke into rapturous praise of him. It is these words to which reference is made at the beginning of Tablet VI.)


Tablet VI

1. Marduk, the word of the gods, when he heard it,

2. His heart was stirred, he formed a brilliant plan.

3. He opened his mouth, to Ea he spoke,

4. What in his heart he had conceived he made known to him:

5. “My blood will I divide, bone will I [fashion],

6. I will make man, yes, man ...................

7. I will create man who shall dwell on the [earth];

8. Truly shall the service of the gods be established—of them and their shrines.

9. I will alter the ways of the gods, and will change [their paths],

10. Together shall they be honored, and unto evil shall [they]” ......

11. Then Ea answered him and said:

12. ........ the ......... of the gods have I changed,

13. ................... one .....................

14. ........ shall be destroyed, and people will I .............

15. ............. and the gods ................

16. ........... give and they ..............

17. ......... shall assemble (?) and the gods .............

18. ............................................................

[Pg 246]19. .............. the gods ................................

20. .................. the Anunnaki ..................

(The rest of Tablet VI is still unrecovered, except a few lines at the end.)

140. When ......................................

141. They rejoiced ....................................

142. In Upshukkunnaku they set [their assembly].

143. Of their heroic son, their savior they [cried]:

144. “We whom he succored.” ..................

145. They seated themselves, in the assembly they named him ........

146. They all cried aloud (?), they exalted him ..........


Tablet VII

1. “O Asharu, bestower of harvests, founder of agriculture,

2. Creator of grain and plants, who made green herbs to grow,

3. O honored Asharu, revered in the house of counsel, rich in counsel,

4. Whom the gods honor, fearing [laid hold upon them]

5. O honored Asharu, powerful prince, the light [of the fathers who begat him],

6. Who directs the decrees of Anu, Bel, [and Ea].

7. He was their preserver, who ordained ..........

8. He whose provision is abundance, he goeth forth ..........

9. Tutu, the creator of their renewal is he.

10. If their want be pure, then are [they satisfied];

11. If he make an incantation, then are the gods [appeased];

12. Should they attack him in anger, he will repulse their array;

13. Let him therefore be exalted in the assembly of the gods.

14. None among the gods is like unto him!

15. Tutu-Ziukinna is the life of the host of the gods.

16. Who established for the gods the bright heavens.

17. Their way he received, [their path] ordained.

18. Never forgotten among men shall be his [mighty] deeds.

19. Tutu as Zi-azag thirdly they named, bringer of purification,

20. God of the favoring breeze, the lord who hears and is merciful,

21. Who creates fulness and plenty, who establishes abundance,

22. Who turns whatever is small into something great.

23. “In sore distress we caught his favoring breeze,”

24. Let them honor him, praise him, bow humbly before him.

25. Tutu as Aga-azag may the mighty ones praise,

26. The lord of the pure incantation, who makes the dead to live,

27. Who to the captive gods showed abundant compassion,

28. The oppressive yoke he laid upon the gods, his enemies,

29. For their[362] release he created mankind,

30. The merciful one, with whom is life!

31. Established and never forgotten be his word

32. In the mouth of the black-headed race,[363] whom his hand created.

33. Tutu as Mu-azag, fifthly, his pure incantation may their mouth proclaim,

34. Who through his pure incantation destroys all evil ones,

35. Shagzu, who knows the hearts of the gods, who sees through the innermost parts.

[Pg 247]36. The evil doer he permits not to go out with him (?).

37. Founder of the assembly of the gods [who gladdens] their heart.

38. Who subdues the disobedient ..........

39. Director of righteousness ......

(The tablet is too broken for connected translation, until nearly the end, where it continues:)

107. Truly he holds their beginning and ending ..........

108. Saying, “He who passed through the midst of Tiâmat [without resting],

109. Let his name be Neberu, who seizes the midst,

110. Who the stars of heaven—their ways he upholds;

111. As a flock verily the gods pasture, all of them.”

112. He bound Tiâmat, her life he apportioned, he ended.

113. In the future, people, old in years,

114. Shall renew unceasingly, “let him be lord forever!”

115. Because he created the places and fashioned the fastnesses

116. “Lord of countries” Bel, his father, named him.

117. The names the Igigi named, all of them,

118. Ea heard, and his heart rejoiced:

119. “He whose name his fathers have magnified

120. He, even like me, shall be named Ea.

121. The binding of all my commands shall he control,

122. All my decrees shall he proclaim!”

123. By the name “Fifty” did the great gods

124. His fifty names make known, they made his path pre-eminent.

125. May they be held fast and the first men reveal them,

126. The wise, the understanding shall consider them together;

127. May the father repeat them and the son lay hold upon them,

128. So that shepherd and herdsman may open their ears,

129. And may rejoice in Marduk, the lord of the gods,

130. That his land may be fertile, that he may have prosperity.

131. His word is established, his command unfailing,

132. The word of his mouth, no god hath annulled.

133. He casts his glance without turning his neck,

134. When he roars, no god can face his anger.

135. Wide is his heart, great his goodness;

136. The sinner and transgressor in his presence ..........

137. They received instruction, they spake before him.

(The concluding lines are too broken for connected translation.)

2. The First Chapter of Genesis and the Foregoing Creation Epic.

The Babylonian Creation Epic, in the form in which we know it, took shape in the city of Babylon. Naturally, therefore, the god Marduk is made the central figure. It is he only who was sufficiently powerful to overcome the primeval dragon, it was he who created the heavens and the earth, it was he whom at the end gods and men adored.

A Babylonian priest, Berossos, in a work composed after the time of Alexander the Great, gives an account of Babylonian ideas of the creation of the world, which is but the tradition of the epic[Pg 248] in a slightly different form. A neoplatonic philosopher, Damascius, who lived about 560 A. D., has also preserved a part of the tradition in a form almost identical with that of the epic.

Scholars of all shades of opinion agree that there is some connection between this Babylonian tradition and the first chapter of Genesis, though they differ as to whether the Biblical writer was acquainted with the Babylonian tradition as we have it in the epic, or whether he knew an earlier form of the story.

The points of similarity which have been urged between Genesis and the Babylonian epic are the following: 1. They begin somewhat similarly, Genesis with the words “In the beginning,” the epic with the words:

“Time was when above heaven was not named;
Below to the earth no name was given.”

2. Both accounts assume that primeval chaos consisted of a mass of waters, and to this mass of waters they give the same name. The Hebrews called it tehōm, “deep”; the Babylonians, Tiâmat. These are really the same word in the two closely related languages, just as day and Tag are the same word in an English and a German form. In Genesis we are told that “The Spirit of God moved (R. V. margin, was brooding) upon the face of the waters”; in the Babylonian epic, the waters, which were thought to be of two genders, were embosomed. In both the result is the beginning of the creative process.

The two accounts agree that the heavens and the earth were created by the division of the primeval ocean by a firmament (the Babylonian calls it a covering), which held up a part of the waters, so that the earth could be formed beneath. They accordingly agree in the conception that there is a super-celestial ocean, i. e., “the waters which are above the firmament” (Gen. 1:7).

Another striking similarity is found in the arrangement by sevens: the Babylonian epic is arranged in seven tablets, or cantos, the Hebrew account, in seven days. The Babylonian series culminates in the praise of Marduk by all the gods; the Hebrew, in the institution of the sabbath. The two series agree in connecting the heavens with the fourth epoch of creation, and the creation of man with the sixth.

In other respects the order differs. In the Babylonian account the moon and stars are created on the fifth day, instead of on the[Pg 249] fourth. As Marduk is identified with the sun, that orb is assumed; its creation is not described. The creation of animals is not described in any text which we can attach to a definite tablet of the Babylonian series. It is, however, given in a fragment which reads as follows:

1. When the gods in their assembly had made [the heavens],

2. The firmament had established and bound [fast],

3. Living things of all kinds had created,

4. Cattle of the field, beasts of the field, and moving things of the city.

5. After .......... unto all kinds of living things ..........

6. [Between beasts] of the field and moving things of the city had divided...

7. .......... all creatures, the whole creation ..........

8. ............ that which in the whole of my family ..........

9. [Then arose] Nin-igi-azag, two small creatures [he created],

10. In the assembly of the beasts he made [their form] brilliant,

11. .......... the goddess Gula ..........

12. ................ one white and one black ..........

13. ............ one white and one black ..........

The Babylonian account, then, contained somewhere the story of the creation of the animals, though, like the other parts of the Babylonian account, its order and atmosphere differ widely from the Biblical narrative.

Some of these resemblances are of no great significance. The fact that the two accounts are arranged by sevens may be due simply to the fact that that number was sacred among both peoples. It is thought by some scholars that its use in Genesis was consciously adopted in order to lead up to the sabbath and glorify it. This might be true, even if the writer of the chapter knew of the Babylonian arrangement by sevens.

The features of the two narratives, which have convinced some scholars of all shades of opinion that there is a real kinship between the two accounts, are their agreement as to the nature of primeval chaos, and the division of the primeval ocean by a firmament for the creation of the heavens and the earth. Both writers had, so to speak, the same raw material of objective conceptions.

The differences between the accounts are, however, most marked. To speak first of that which is least important, the Hebrew order is in many respects different from the Babylonian. In the Babylonian the gods are generated in the first tablet, the world is not created till the fourth, and the creation of all other things is told in tablets four, five, and six. In other words, creation is divided into two parts, each of which is told in three tablets. The first three[Pg 250] tablets deal with gods, the second three with the world and living things.

This twofold division is found in the first chapter of Genesis. Here the creative process is divided into two stages, each embracing four works, and occupying three days. The distribution of these works is strikingly different from the Babylonian. On the first day, light and darkness were created; on the second, the firmament; on the third, the earth and vegetation; on the fourth, the heavenly bodies; on the fifth, fishes and birds; on the sixth, animals and men. The first series of three days prepared the heavens and the earth; the second series studded the sky with orbs and the earth with living beings. There is a striking parallelism between the two series. The first begins with the creation of light; the second, with light-giving bodies. To the third and sixth days two creative acts each are assigned. On the second day the seas are isolated; on the fifth they are stocked with fishes. On the third day dry land emerges, on the sixth terrestrial animals are made. On the third also herbs began to grow; on the sixth they are assigned to animals and men for food. The classification of the acts of creation in Genesis is clear and consistent, and thoroughly independent of that in the Babylonian account.

A more important difference lies in the religious conceptions of the two. The Babylonian poem is mythological and polytheistic. Its conception of deity is by no means exalted. Its gods love and hate, they scheme and plot, fight and destroy. Marduk, the champion, conquers only after a fierce struggle, which taxes his powers to the utmost. Genesis, on the other hand, reflects the most exalted monotheism. God is so thoroughly the master of all the elements of the universe, that they obey his slightest word. He controls all without effort. He speaks and it is done. Granting, as most scholars do, that there is a connection between the two narratives, there is no better measure of the inspiration of the Biblical account than to put it side by side with the Babylonian. As we read the chapter in Genesis today, it still reveals to us the majesty and power of the one God, and creates in the modern man, as it did in the ancient Hebrew, a worshipful attitude toward the Creator.

3. The Babylonian Creation Epic and Other Parts of the Bible.

The Babylonian poem, crude though it seems to us, had a powerful fascination for the imagination. With more or less distinctness parts of it seem to have been known to various Hebrew writers,[Pg 251] who, attributing to their own God, Jehovah, the rôle ascribed in the epic to Marduk, used these stories as poetic illustrations. At least this is the view of a considerable group of scholars. Some object that, if this were true, it would degrade Jehovah to the level of Marduk, but the objection does not seem well founded. The Hebrews might well have been such ardent monotheists as to believe that each and every mighty manifestation of power had been the work of Jehovah, without in any way lowering Jehovah to the level of a heathen god. The most important parallels which have been cited are here given, so that the reader may judge for himself as to which view is the more probable.

In Job 9:13, 14 we read:

God will not withdraw his anger;
The helpers of Rahab do stoop under him.
How much less shall I answer him,
And choose out my words to reason with him?

Rahab is believed by many to be here an epithet of Tiâmat. It means “the one who acts boisterously” or “proudly.” Those who thus think believe the lines in Job to refer to the overcoming of Tiâmat’s helpers in Tablet IV, lines 105-118, of the Babylonian creation epic, which read as follows:

After Tiâmat the leader he had slain,
Her army he broke, her host was scattered,
And the gods, her helpers, who marched at her side,
Trembled, feared, they turned their backs;
They sought an exit, to save their lives;
With a cordon they were encompassed, escape was not possible.
He caught them, their weapons he broke,
Into the net they fell, in the snare they remained.
All the quarters of the world they filled with their lamentation.
His wrath they endured, they were held in bondage.
And the eleven creatures, whom she had filled with terribleness,
The troop of demons who marched as her helpers,
He threw into fetters, their power he broke;
Along with their opposition he trampled them under his feet.

This would seem to suit the reference in Job, and to give point to Job’s words. As our Saviour used stories in his parables, so this poet may have used this well-known story to illustrate his point.

Again Job 26:12, 13 reads:

He stirreth up the sea with his power,
And by his understanding he smiteth through Rahab.
By his Spirit the heavens are garnished;
His hand hath pierced the swift serpent.

[Pg 252]Four of the ancient versions of the Old Testament, with a very slight change in the Hebrew letters, read Job 26:13:

The bars of heaven fear him;
His hand hath pierced the swift serpent.

Into comparison with v. 12 and the last line of 13, scholars have brought Tablet IV, line 93, ff., which runs:

Then took their stand, Tiâmat and the leader of the gods, Marduk;
For the fight they approached, for the battle drew near.
The lord spread out his net and enclosed her,
The evil wind from behind he thrust into her face.
As Tiâmat opened her mouth to its full extent,
The evil wind he drove in, so that her lips could not close.
With the mighty winds he filled her belly.
Her courage was taken away, and she opened her mouth.
He let fall the spear, he burst open her belly,
He cut through her inward parts, he pierced her heart,
He bound her and her life destroyed;
Her body he cast down and stood upon it.

Into comparison with the first line of v. 13, as the versions give it, scholars have brought line 135, and ff., of the same tablet:

Then the lord rested, he gazed upon her body,
The flesh of the monster he divided; he formed a cunning plan.
He split her open like a flat fish into two halves;
One half of her he established and made a covering of the heavens.
He drew a bolt, he established a guard,
And not to let her waters come out, he commanded.

With the passages quoted above Psa. 74:13, 14 has also been compared:

Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength:
Thou brakest the heads of the sea-monsters in the waters.
Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces;
Thou gavest him to be food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.

Verses 16, 17 of the same Psalm continue the theme with the words:

The day is thine, the night also is thine:
Thou hast prepared the light and the sun.
Thou hast set all the borders of the earth:
Thou hast made summer and winter.

The theme is the same as that of the epic, viz.: the creation of the world. It would appear from v. 14 that as the Hebrews called[Pg 253] Tiâmat Rahab, so they called Kingu leviathan. Those who so think find another reference to the Babylonian creation epic in Job 3:8:

Let them curse it that curse the day,
Who are ready to rouse up leviathan.

Apparently there were magicians who professed to be able to arouse such a monster.

Other references to leviathan are thought to employ the same illustrative material. Thus in Isa. 27:1 we read:

In that day Jehovah with his hard and great and strong sword will punish leviathan the swift serpent, and leviathan the crooked serpent; and he will slay the monster that is in the sea.

In Job 41 there is a long description of the crocodile under the name leviathan. In verses 19-21 some things are said of him that do not suit a real crocodile, and some scholars have thought that the language was influenced by the Babylonian material. These verses are:

Out of his mouth go burning torches,
And sparks of fire leap forth.
Out of his nostrils a smoke goeth,
As of a boiling pot and burning rushes.
His breath kindleth coals,
And a flame goeth forth from his mouth.

Other references to Rahab, which have been thought to use the same illustration, are Psalm 89:10:

Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces as one that is slain;
Thou hast scattered thine enemies with the arm of thy strength.

Also, Isaiah 51:9:

Is it not thou that didst cut Rahab in pieces,
That didst pierce the monster?

As to whether these sacred writers really employed the material of the Babylonian epic to give force to their illustrations, the judgments of men will differ in accordance with their views of what is possible for an inspired writer.

In the following passages Rahab is used to denote Egypt as a[Pg 254] proud and imperious country. These uses are clearly figurative and metaphorical.

Isa. 30:7:

For Egypt helpeth in vain and to no purpose:
Therefore have I called her Rahab that sitteth still.

Psa. 87:4:

Rahab and Babylon I proclaim my votaries.

A fragmentary account of an Assyrian version of the creation epic has been found. It agrees with the Babylonian account in beginning with Tiâmat, though the course of creation appears to have been different. The tablets known to us present it, however, in a form too fragmentary for us to follow the course of the narrative.



[Pg 255]



Text of the Account. Comparison of it with Genesis 2.


1. Text of the Account.

1. A holy house, a house of the gods, in a holy place had not been made;

2. No reed had sprung up, no tree had been created.

3. No brick had been made, no foundation had been built,

4. No house had been constructed, no city had been built;

5. No city had been built, thrones had not been established;

6. Nippur had not been constructed, Ekur had not been built;

7. Erech had not been constructed, Eanna had not been built;

8. The deep had not been formed, Eridu had not been built;

9. The holy house, the house of the gods, the dwelling had not been made,—

10. All lands were sea,—

11. Then in the midst of the sea was a water-course;

12. In those days Eridu was constructed, Esagila was built,

13. Esagila where, in the midst of the deep, the god Lugal-dul-azaga abode,

14. (Babylon was made, Esagila was completed).

15. The gods and the Anunaki he made at one time.

16. (The holy city, the dwelling of their hearts’ desire, they named as first),

17. Marduk bound a structure of reeds upon the face of the waters,

18. He formed dust, he poured it out beside the reed-structure.

19. To cause the gods to dwell in the habitation of their hearts’ desire,

20. He formed mankind.

21. The goddess Aruru with him created mankind,

22. Cattle of the field, in whom is breath of life, he created.

23. He formed the Tigris and Euphrates and set them in their places,

24. Their names he did well declare.

25. The grass, marsh-grass, the reed and brushwood (?) he created,

26. The green grass of the field he created,

27. The land, the marshes, and the swamps;

28. The wild cow and her young, the wild calf; the ewe and her young, the lamb of the fold;

29. Gardens and forests;

30. The wild goat, the mountain goat, (who) cares for himself (?).

31. The lord Marduk filled a terrace by the seaside,

32. ............ a marsh, reeds he set,

33. .................. he caused to exist.

34. [Reeds he creat]ed; trees he created;

35. In their ........... in their place he made;

[Pg 256]36. [Bricks he laid, a founda]tion he constructed;

37. [Houses he made], a city he built;

38. [A city he built, a throne] he established;

39. [Nuppur he constructed], Ekur he built;

40. [Erech he constructed], Eanna he built.

(At this point the tablet is broken. When it again becomes legible, it is in the midst of an incantation.)

2. Comparison with Genesis 2.

This account of the creation has sometimes been compared with Genesis 2:4, ff., which describes a time when there was no grass or vegetation on the earth, and then goes on to describe the creation of man and animals, speaking of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

In this account of the creation it is stated (line 21) that the goddess Aruru with Marduk created mankind.

In another Babylonian poem, the Gilgamesh epic, which contains the Babylonian story of the flood, there is an account of the creation of man which accords much more closely with Gen. 2:7 than that which we are considering. It runs:

The goddess Aruru, when she heard this,
A man like Anu she formed in her heart.
Aruru washed her hands;
Clay she pinched off and spat upon it;
Eabani, a hero she created,
An exalted offspring, with the might of Ninib.

Here is clearly a tradition, similar to Genesis, that God formed man from the dust of the ground. The allusion to Aruru indicates that this formed a part of the early Babylonian tradition. There is considerable evidence that in an earlier form of the Babylonian account Marduk had no place. He was introduced into it later by the priests of Babylon. Aruru was in that earlier form the creator of man, and probably was said to have formed him from clay, as in the Gilgamesh epic.

While these points of likeness are evident, there are great differences between the two narratives. The Babylonian account speaks not only of grass and reeds as non-existent, but of cities and temples also, which, it tells us, were created later. It has no picture of Eden; its thought centers in well-known Babylonian cities. While Marduk appears as supreme in the Babylonian poem, the gods and Anunaki, or spirits of earth, are recognized, so that the polytheistic view is not entirely absent. In the Biblical picture, on the other[Pg 257] hand, Jehovah is supreme. Opinions of scholars differ as to whether there was any real connection between the two narratives. Whatever opinion one may hold on this point, there can be no question but that the second chapter of Genesis is dominated by those religious conceptions which were so uniquely manifested in Israel, while they are absent from the Babylonian narrative.

(For a new Babylonian account of the creation of man, see Appendix.)



[Pg 258]



Feast of Marduk and Zarpanit. A Day Called Shabatum. A Day in Some Tablets at Yale.


1. Feast of Marduk and Zarpanit.

The seventh day is the feast of Marduk and Zarpanit. It is an evil day. The shepherd of the great people shall not eat flesh cooked on the coals which is smoked. The garment of his body he shall not change; a clean one he shall not put on. A sacrifice he shall not offer. The king in a chariot shall not ride. In triumph he shall not speak. In the secret place a seer shall not give an oracle. The physician shall not lay his hand on the sick. It is not fitting to utter a malediction. At night before Marduk and Ishtar the king shall bring his offering; a libation he shall pour out. The lifting up of his hands shall then be pleasing to the gods.[365]

This passage occurs in a tablet which describes the nature of all the days of a month. The same prohibitions are recorded for the fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days. The tablet has often been brought into comparison with the Hebrew sabbath, partly because the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth days are involved, partly because the prohibitions remind the reader of Exodus 20:8-11 and Deut. 5:12-15.

Exod. 20:8-11. Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Deut. 5:12-15. Observe the sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord thy God commanded thee. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And thou shalt remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt,[Pg 259] and the Lord thy God brought thee out thence by a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.

In reality the Babylonian prohibitions apply to certain classes of people only, and not to the whole population. A study of the contract literature shows that there was no cessation of business upon these days of the month, so that resemblance to the Hebrew sabbath is really quite slight.

2. A Day Called Shabatum.

These days were not, so far as we know, called shabatum, but another tablet[366] tells us that the fifteenth day of each month was so called. Shabatum is etymologically the same as the Hebrew sabbath. As the Babylonian months were lunar, the fifteenth was the time of the full moon, so that in Babylonian the day denoted the completion of the moon’s growth. In the Old Testament “sabbath” is sometimes coupled with “new moon,” as though it may also have designated a similar day. (See 2 Kings 4:23; Amos 8:5; Hosea 2:11; Isa. 1:13; 66:23, and Ezek. 46:3.) This Babylonian shabatum can, in any event, have no direct relationship to the Hebrew sabbath as a day of rest once a week.

3. A Day in Some Tablets at Yale.

A series of tablets in the Yale Babylonian Collection, a portion of which has been published by Prof. Clay,[367] shows that special sacrifices were offered on the seventh, fourteenth, twenty-first, and twenty-eighth of each month. These sacrifices show that these days were thought to have some peculiar significance, but, whatever that significance may have been, the evidence cited shows that it was not the same as that of the Hebrew sabbath.



[Pg 260]



Comparison with Genesis 3. The Adapa Myth.


Four fragments of the Adapa myth have been found. They really present but three parts of the story, as two of them cover the same ground. These three parts of the story are translated in this chapter. It will be noted that the fragments do not present the entire story. Between fragments I and II, as well as between fragments II and III, some lines have fallen out, and the last fragment is broken away before the end of the account is reached. Nevertheless, from the parts which we have it is clear that the Babylonians shared with the Hebrews some of the traditions recorded in the third chapter of Genesis.

1. Comparison with Genesis 3.

In the first place, Adapa, like Adam, had gained knowledge. This knowledge carried with it a power hitherto regarded as an attribute of divinity. It enabled Adapa to break the wing of the south wind; it tempted Adam and Eve “to become like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5). As in Genesis, knowledge did not carry with it immortality. Ea, the god who had permitted Adapa to become wise, feared that he might gain immortality, as Jehovah thought that Adam might “put forth his hand and take of the tree of life and eat and live forever” (Gen. 3:22). (For Babylonian and Assyrian conceptions of the tree of life, see Figs. 291, 293.)

Ea accordingly told Adapa a falsehood when he was about to go into the presence of the supreme god, Anu, in order to prevent him from eating the food that would make him immortal; Jehovah drove man from the garden where the tree of life grew. The two accounts agree in the thought that immortality could be obtained by eating a certain kind of food. The lines at the end of the Adapa story are much broken, but they make it clear that as a punishment for what he had done, Adapa was subjected to sickness, disease, and restlessness. This corresponds to the toil inflicted upon man (Gen. 3:17-19), and the pangs of childbirth imposed upon woman (Gen. 3:16). It appears also that as Adam and Eve were clothed with skins in consequence of their deed (Gen. 3:21), so Adapa was clothed by Anu in a special clothing.

[Pg 261]These similarities indicate that the Babylonians possessed the same general ideas of the connection of increasing knowledge, with the attributes of divinity on the one hand, and with suffering and clothing on the other, which are presented in Genesis. An increasing number of modern scholars regard the Babylonian story as an earlier form of a narrative which the Hebrew writer took and purified. Others hold that it is a somewhat degenerate form of the Biblical narrative. In any event, the Babylonian story proves the Biblical conceptions to be very ancient, and, by its contrasts to that of Genesis, it exhibits the dignity and religious value of the Biblical narrative. In the Babylonian myth, the gods, Ea and Anu, are divided and work at cross purposes; Ea tells a falsehood to accomplish his end. Genesis, while it represents Jehovah as feeling and acting in a much more human way than some parts of the Bible do, still portrays him as a consistently righteous, omnipotent God, who demands obedience, and whose punishments are the reasonable recompense for transgressions. The superiority of the Old Testament stands out in striking contrast.

2. The Adapa Myth.[368]


1. He possessed intelligence ..........

2. His command like the command of Anu ..........

3. Wide intelligence he (Ea) made perfect for him, the destiny of the country to reveal.

4. Unto him wisdom he gave; eternal life he did not grant him.

5. In those days, in those years the wise man of Eridu,—

6. Ea as a chief (?) among men had created him,—

7. A wise man whose command no one could restrain,

8. The prudent, the most wise among the Anunnaki was he,

9. Blameless, clean of hands, anointed, the observer of divine commands,

10. With the bakers he made bread,

11. With the bakers of Eridu he made bread,

12. The food and water of Eridu he prepared daily,

13. With his clean hands he prepared the table,

14. And without him the table was not cleared.

15. The ship he steered; fishing and hunting for Eridu he did.

16. Then Adapa of Eridu,

17. While Ea lay upon a bed in a chamber (?),

18. Daily the closing of Eridu he made right.

19. At the pure quay, the quay of the new-moon, he embarked upon the ship,

20. The wind blew, his ship sailed,

21. With the rudder he steered the ship

22. Upon the broad sea.


 [Pg 262]


1. ....................................

2. The south wind [blew and capsized him],

3. To the house [of the fishes] it made him sink,

4. “O south wind [increase] thy rage as much as [thou art able],

5. Thy wing I will break.” As he spoke with his mouth,

6. The wing of the south wind was broken, seven days

7. The south wind blew not on the land. Anu

8. To his messenger, Ilabrat, said:

9. “Why has the south wind not blown upon the land for seven days?”

10. His messenger Ilabrat answered him, “My lord

11. Adapa, the son of Ea, the wing of the south wind

12. Has broken.” Anu, when he heard this,

13. Cried “Help!” He ascended his throne: “Let some one bring him to me.

14. Likewise Ea, who knows the heavens, summon him,

14a. To King Ea to come.”[369]

14b. To him he caused word to be borne,

14c. .......... To him, to King Ea,

14d. He sent a messenger.

14e. He is of great understanding, he knows the hearts of the great gods,

14f. .......... of the heavens, he establishes it.

15. [A soiled garment he made] him wear; with a mourning garment clad him,

16. He clothed him and gave him counsel,

17. Saying: “Adapa, into the presence of Anu, the king, thou art going,

18. Fail not the order, my word keep,

19. When thou goest up to heaven and approachest the gate of Anu,

20. At the gate of Anu, Tammuz and Gishzida

21. Stand, they will see thee, they will ask: ‘Lord,

22. For whose sake art thou thus, Adapa? For whom

23. Art thou clad in a mourning garment?’ ‘In our country two gods have vanished, therefore

24. Am I thus.’ ‘Who are the two gods who in the land

25. Have vanished?’ ‘Tammuz and Gishzida.’ They will look at one another and

26. Be astonished. Favorable words

27. To Anu they will speak. A joyful countenance of Anu

28. They will reveal to thee. When thou standest in the presence of Anu,

29. Food of death they will offer thee to eat;

30. Thou shalt not eat. Water of death they will offer thee to drink;

31. Thou shalt not drink. A garment will they show thee;

32. Put it on. Oil they will set before thee; anoint thyself.

33. The command which I give thee, forget not. The word

34. Which I have spoken hold fast.” The messenger

35. Of Anu came: “Adapa of the south wind

36. The wing has broken. Into my presence bring him.”

37. The road to heaven he made him take and to heaven he ascended.

38. When to heaven he ascended, when he approached the gate of Anu,

39. At the gate of Anu, Tammuz and Gishzida were standing.

40. When they saw him they cried: “Adapa, help!

41. Lord, for whose sake art thou thus?

42. For whom art thou clad in a mourning garment?

43. In the country two gods have vanished; therefore in a mourning garment

44. Am I clad. Who are the two gods who from the land have vanished?”

[Pg 263]45. “Tammuz and Gishzida.” They looked at one another and

46. Were astonished. When Adapa before Anu the king,

47. Approached, Anu saw him and cried:

48. “Come, Adapa, why of the south wind the wing

49. Hast thou broken?” Adapa answered: “Anu, my lord,

50. For the house of my lord in the midst of the sea

51. I was catching fish. As I was midway of the voyage

52. The south wind blew and capsized me;

53. To the house of the fishes it made me sink. In the anger of my heart

54. [The south wind] I cursed. At my side answered Tammuz

55. And Gishzida: ‘The heart should be toward Anu.’

56. They spoke, he was appeased, his heart was won (?).

57. “Why has Ea, to impure man, of the heavens

58. And the earth revealed the heart?

59. Strong (?) has he made him (Adapa); a name he has given him.

60. We—what can we do to him? Food of life

61. Bring him, that he may eat.” Food of life

62. They brought him; he ate it not. Water of life

63. They brought him; he drank it not. A garment

64. They brought him; he clothed himself. Oil

65. They brought him; he anointed himself.

66. Anu looked at him; he wondered (?) at him.

67. “Come, Adapa, why dost thou not eat nor drink?

68. Now thou shalt not live; men are mortal (?).” “Ea my lord

69. Said: Thou shalt not eat, thou shalt not drink.”

70. Take him and bring him back to earth.

71. ............ looked upon him.



1. ........................

2. He commanded him and he ...........

3. The garment, he commanded him and he clothed himself.

4. ...... Anu wondered greatly at the deed of Ea.

5. The gods of heaven and earth, as many as there are: “Who is thus mighty (?)?

6. His command is the command of Anu. Who can surpass [him]?”

7. As now Adapa from the horizon to the zenith of the heavens

8. ...... looked, he saw his terror ...... (i. e., the terror he inspired)

9. [Which] Anu concerning Adapa upon him ...... had placed.

10. [The service (?)] of Ea he made his satisfaction.

11. Anu fixed as his lot his lordship in brilliance to the distant future.

12. .......... Adapa, the seed of mankind,

13. [Who] victoriously broke the wing of the south wind,

14. And to heaven he ascended. “Thus let it be!”

15. ...... that which he in evil ways imposed on the people,

16. .......... sickness which he placed in the bodies of people.

17. ........ Ninkarrak appeased.

18. Sickness [shall co]me, his disease be violent,

19. .......... destruction shall fall upon him,

20. [In] good sleep he shall not rest,

21. .... shall overturn (?) the joy of people’s hearts.

(The remainder is broken away.)



[Pg 264]



Babylonian Long-lived Kings. Comparison with Genesis 5. Comparison with Genesis 4. Comparison with the List of Berossos.


A Biblical narrative that challenges attention is that in Genesis 5, which contains the list of long-lived patriarchs who flourished before the flood. This narrative finds a striking parallel in the following tablet which tells of long-lived kings who are said to have ruled in ancient Babylonia. The beginnings of all the columns of the tablet are broken away.[370]

1. Babylonian Long-lived Kings

Column I

2. ...... ruled 900 (?) years;


7. Galumum

8. ruled 900 (?) years;

9. Zugagib

10. ruled 840 (?) years;

11. A-ri-pi, son of Mashgag,

12. ruled 720 years;

13. Etana, the shepherd,

14. who ascended to heaven,

15. who subdued all lands,

16. ruled 635 years;

17. Pilikam,

18. son of Etana,

19. ruled 350 years;

20. Enmenunna

21. reigned 611 years;

22. Melam-Kish,

23. son of Enmenunna,

24. ruled 900 years;

25. Barsalnunna,

26. son of Enmenunna,

27. ruled 1200 years;

28. Mes (?) zamu, son of Barsalnunna,

29. ruled ...... years;

30. ...... son of Barsalnunna;


Column II


1. from Kish

2. the kingdom

3. passed to Eanna.

4. In Eanna

5. Meskingashir,

6. son of Shamash,[371]

7. as lord,

8. as king,

9. ruled 325 years.

10. Meskingashir

11. entered into

12. and went out from ......

13. Enmeirgan,

14, 15. son of Meskingashir,

16. king of Erech,

17. the people of Erech

18. strengthened,

19. as king

20. ruled 420 years.

21. Lugalbanda, the shepherd,

22. ruled 1200 years.

23. Dumuzi, the hunter[372] (?),

24. Whose city is among fishes,

25. ruled 100 years.

26. Gilgamesh,

27. whose father

28. was lord of Kullab,

29. ruled 126 years.

 [Pg 265]

Column III

(The kingdom)

1. of Erech

2. passed to Ur.

3. In Ur

4. Mesannipada

5. was king;

6. he ruled 80 years.

7. Meskiagnunna,

8. son of Mesannipada,

9. ruled 30 years.

10. Elu ........

11. ruled 25 years.

12. Balu .......

13. 36 years.

14. 4 kings

15. ruled 171 years.

16. As to Ur

17. the kingdom

18. passed to Awan.[373]


Column IV[374]

1. ruled 21 years.

2. Ishme-Dagan,

3. son of Idin-Dagan,

4. ruled 21 years.

5. Libit-Ishtar,

6. son of Idin-Dagan,

7. ruled 11 years.

8. Ur-Ninib,

9. son of Im .......,



Column V

1. Total 51 kings—

2. their years were 18000 ...+

3. 9 years ....... months .......

4. Four times

5. in Kish:

6. total 22 kings—

7. their years were 2610+

8. 6 months, 15 days.

9. Five times

10. in Erech:

11. total 13 kings—

12. their years were 396—

13. ruled.

14. Three times

15. in Ur:

16. total 3 kings—

17. their years were 356—

18. ruled.

19. Once

20. in Awan:

21. total 1 king—

22. his rule was 7 years.

23. Once

24. in[375] .......


Column VI

1. (total .......) kings—

2. (their years) were 196—

3. ruled.

4. Twice in Agade:

5. total 21 kings—

6. their years were 125 years

7. 40 days—ruled.

8. Once

9. in the people

10. of Gutium:

11. total 11 kings—

12. their years were 159 years—

13. ruled

14. in Isin (?).

15. Eleven

16. royal cities

17. ruled.

18. Total 134 kings.

19. Grand total 28876+

20. years,

21. ...... months.[375]

This interesting document does not stand alone. Three other tablets published in the same volume[376] contain similar material, though all that would have a bearing on our present topic is too[Pg 266] broken for connected translation. It is clear from the translation here given that the Babylonians ascribed to some early kings reigns as long, and even longer in some cases, than those ascribed to the antediluvian patriarchs in Genesis 5.

The peculiar spelling of Galumum and Zugagib in the Babylonian characters, together with the meaning of the words, shows that they are animal names. Zugagib means “scorpion” and Galumum, “lamb.” In the lines which preceded, probably similar animal names were recorded. Perhaps this expresses the idea that animals were made before men, as is stated in Gen. 1:24-26.

2. Comparison with Genesis 5.—The next name, Aripi,[377] may also have been read Adimê, and perhaps was so read by the Sumerians themselves. If it came to the Hebrews in this form they would naturally equate it with the Hebrew Adam, which means “man.”

Etana, the shepherd, is said in this list to have gone to heaven. This at once suggests the fate of Enoch, who “was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:24). In the Sumerian the words “to heaven” are AN-ŠU, which may also be read AN-KU. If these words were not fully understood by the Hebrews, to whom Sumerian was not only a foreign language but a dead language, they might easily be mistaken for a proper name, and would in Hebrew give us Enoch.[378] Another suggestion as to the method of borrowing is also possible. Later traditions cherished the name of a king, Enmeduranki, whom they called a king of Sippar or Agade.[379] Enmeduranki means “the hero who binds together heaven and earth.” Etana is in our list of kings called a king of Kish, but in later times kings of Kish were also called kings of Agade. It is altogether probable, therefore, that the “hero who binds together heaven and earth” is simply another designation of Etana who went to heaven. The last two syllables of Enmeduranki, i. e., AN-KI, “heaven and earth,” would, if taken over into Hebrew, also give Enoch. If we assume that[Pg 267] Etana and Enoch are the same, we may at a later point be able to determine by which of these processes the name is most likely to have come into Hebrew. In an old poem, fragments of which have been found on some broken tablets from Nineveh, the fortunes of Etana were given in detail. He is said to have been carried to heaven on the back of an eagle. If he be really the prototype of Enoch, this lends a touch of realism to the narrative.

The Sumerian name Enmenunna means “exalted hero” or “exalted man.” A natural translation of this into Semitic Babylonian about 2000 B. C. would be Mutu-elu,[380] or, in one word, amelu, and an equally natural translation of this into Hebrew would give us Enosh.

Pilikam,[381] the next name, means in Sumerian “with intelligence to build.” In Babylonian Semitic it would be literally Ina-uzni-erêšu, or, rendered in one word, ummanu, “artificer.” The Hebrew translation of this is Kenan, which means “artificer.” Melamkish gives us the Hebrew Lamech by the simple elision of the first and last consonants. All people are lazy and words sometimes wear away both at the beginning and at the end.[382]

Barsalnunna, translated into Semitic Babylonian, becomes Shitḫu-elu.[383] Seth may well be a transfer of a part of this name to Hebrew. The final radical of the first part of the name may have worn away or have been accidentally omitted.

Meskingashir is resolvable into four elements, MES-KI-INGA[384]-SHIR,[385] “the hero” or “man who is great” or “exalted.” Translate this into Semitic Babylonian and it becomes Mutu-ša-elu, which is almost exactly Methuselah.

Enmeirgan becomes when translated into Semitic[Pg 268] Mutu-šalal-eqla,[386] and Mahalalel is a much closer transfer of the first two elements of this to Hebrew than are Sennacherib, Esar-haddon, Merodach-baladan, and Evil-merodach of the names Sin-akhi-irba, Ashur-akhi-iddina, Marduk-apal-iddin, and Amel-Marduk. Finally Dumuzi means “son of life,” or “living son,” and Jared[387] means “descendant.”

The equivalent of Noah does not appear in this list, but there is no doubt that he was Ziugiddu, otherwise called Ut-napishtim, of the Babylonian accounts of the flood.

We have then the following equivalents, four of which are Hebrew translations of Sumerian names; three, transfers into Hebrew of the whole or of parts of Semitic Babylonian equivalents of these Sumerian names, two of which are transfers to Hebrew of portions of a Sumerian original, and one of which, Noah, is still unexplained.

Sumerian   Semitic Babylonian   Hebrew
Adimê       Adam
Barsalnunna   Shitḫu-elu   Seth
Enmenunna   Mutu-elu (or amelu)   Enosh
Pelikam   Ina-uzni-ereshu (or ummanu)   Kenan
Enmeirgan   Mutu-šalal-gan   Mahalalel
Dumuzi   Apal-napišti   Jared
Etana       Enoch
Meskingashir   Mutu-ša-elu   Methuselah
Melamkish       Lamech
Ziugiddu       Noah

Of course, it may be objected that our list of kings did not furnish the originals of these patriarchs, since there are more kings than patriarchs, even though some of the names of kings have been lost by the breaking of the tablet. In this connection, however, one should remember that in 1 Chron. 1-9, many names which appear in the earlier books of the Bible are omitted, and that in Matt. 1:8, three kings—Ahaziah, Joash, and Amaziah—are omitted from the genealogy of Christ. (Compare 2 Kings 11-15.) It appears, then, that Biblical writers did not always copy a full list.

It thus seems that the tablet translated above may be related to the text of Genesis 5 in the names of the patriarchs as well as in the matter of their ages. When we recall that the tablet was apparently written in the year 2170 B. C., it seems probable that it may be a source from which the Biblical names came.

[Pg 269]3. Comparison with Genesis 4.

But our examination of the matter cannot stop here. In Gen. 4:16-23 there is a list of the descendants of Cain strikingly similar to the list of the descendants of Seth in Genesis 5. If the names of Adam and Abel be supplied from Gen. 4:1,2, the two lists appear as follows:

Genesis 4   Genesis 5
Adam   Adam
  | |
   Abel   Seth   Seth
Cain (Hebrew קין)   Kenan (Hebrew קינן)
Enoch   Mahalalel
Irad (Hebrew עירד)   Jared (Hebrew ידד)
Mehujael   Enoch
Methushael   Methuselah
Lamech   Lamech

The close parallelism of these two lists of names is really greater than it appears to the English reader to be. Cain, which means “artificer,” is in Hebrew the same word as Kenan, lacking only one formative letter at the end. Irad and Jared differ in Hebrew only by the wearing away of one consonant. Mehujael is as much like Mahalalel, and Methushael as much like Methuselah as the Assyrian name of Tiglath-pileser, Tukultu-apal-esharra, is like Tiglath-pileser, while Enoch and Lamech are the same.

The importance of this likeness arises from the fact that the so-called critical scholars claim that these two lists of names are in reality the same original list as it came through two lines of tradition and was worked up differently by two writers. This view has been vigorously opposed by some conservative scholars, notably by the late Professor Green, of Princeton.[388]

Between rival critical hypotheses it is not the function of archæology to decide. It must be admitted, however, that the names of the descendants of Genesis 4 can be equated with those of our Babylonian kings, as well as those of Gen. 5. Adam, Seth, Enosh, Cain, Enoch, Mehujael, and Methushael would be derived exactly as it has been explained that the corresponding names of Genesis 5 could be derived. It only remains to explain the names Abel and Irad. It will be noticed that Abel occupies in the list a position next to[Pg 270] Adam and Cain; Abel is also said to have been a shepherd. In the list of Babylonian kings Etana the shepherd comes in between Adimê (Aripi) and Pilikam, the equivalent of Cain. It is probable, therefore, that Etana is the king that corresponds to Abel. Etana is described in the Sumerian as “the shepherd who went to heaven,” SIBA LÙ AN-ŠU NI-IB-E-DA. If the two words SIBA LÙ became detached and misunderstood as a proper name, the s at the beginning, according to a well known phonetic law, could become h and give us the Hebrew Abel. Irad may also be ir-tu, a corruption of ZI-IR-TU, a name of the mother of Dumuzi, who may at times have been referred to as the son of ZI-IR-TU.[389] These possibilities are not proof that the names arose as suggested, but are not without weight.

If Abel arose from the traditions of Etana and Enoch did also, and if the names of Genesis 4 are derived from the list of Babylonian kings, then Etana figures twice in the fourth chapter of Genesis. If Enoch is a fragment of the name Enmeduranki, a possibility already recognized, it is not difficult to understand how Etana came into the tradition twice.

4. Comparison with the List of Berossos.

Another list of names awaits comparison. Berossos, a Babylonian priest who died about 260 B. C., compiled a list of kings who lived before the flood, and attributed to them incredibly long reigns. His work has not survived, but his list is quoted by two early Christian writers, Eusebius and Syncellus, and Hommel[390] and Sayce[391] have claimed that his names are, many of them, identical with the patriarchs of Genesis 5.

The list of Berossos is as follows:

Kings   Length of reign
Alorus   36,000 years
Alaparos   10,800 "
Amēlon   46,800 "
Ammenon   43,200 "
Megalaros   64,800 "
Daonos or Daos   36,000 "
Euedorachos   64,800 "
Amempsinos   36,000 "
Otiartes   28,800 "
Xisouthros   64,800 "
Total   432,000 years.

[Pg 271]It has long been recognized that Amēlon is the Semitic Babylonian word amelu, “man.” It is a Babylonian synonym of Mutu-elu, the equivalent of Enosh, and is also a translation of Enmenunna. Ammenon has also been recognized as the Semitic Babylonian ummanu, “artisan.” It is a translation in one word of the Sumerian Pilikam.

Daonos or Daos has, too, been seen to be the phonetic transliteration into Greek letters of the Sumerian Dumu, the first part of the name Dumuzi.

Euedorachos has also been thought to be the Sumerian Enmeduranki, whom we have recognized as another name for Etana. Four of the names of Berossos are thus easily connected with names in the new list of kings.

The fifth one, Megalaros, might be a corruption either of Mutu-shalal or of Mutu-ša-elu, and so go back ultimately either to Enmeirgan or to Meskingashir. Xisouthros is clearly the same person as Ziugiddu. He had no connection with this list of kings, but is, like Noah in Genesis 5, attached to it on account of the flood. Hommel long ago saw that Otiartes is the same as Ubara-tutu, who is said in the account of the deluge which was found at Nineveh to have been the father of Utnapishtim, the hero of the deluge.[392] Berossos has, accordingly, not only added the hero of the deluge, but has displaced one of the names from the king list in order to find a place for the father of Xisouthros.

The other names are puzzling. Poebel has suggested[393] that Alorus may be a Greek corruption of the Sumerian name Laluralim, who is said to have been a king of Nippur. An old text which contains this name[394] is accompanied by a gloss zugagib, “scorpion,”[395] and the first king in the list translated above is Zugagib. If, therefore, this suggestion is true, the name may go back to the same source as the others, after all.

Amempsinos has been thought by some to be a corruption of the well known Babylonian name Amil-Sin. There was an Amil-Sin in the first dynasty of Babylon, but why the name should be inserted here cannot at present be explained; nor has a satisfactory explanation been suggested for Alaparos.

[Pg 272]The above discussion may be summed up in a few words. The Babylonian list of kings with which this chapter begins makes no reference to the flood, neither does the fourth chapter of Genesis. All the names in Genesis 4 may be found in the Babylonian list, though Etana seems to have been inserted twice under different names. As Genesis 5 omits Abel, it has Etana only once. All the other names of Genesis 5, except Noah, are found in the Babylonian list. Noah has been added to connect the list with the flood. The ages of the patriarchs in Genesis 5 correspond approximately to the general lengths of the reigns assigned to the kings in the tablet. Berossos seems to have exercised much greater freedom, inserting several names, the origin of some of which cannot now be made out. He also greatly exaggerated the lengths of the kings’ reigns.

These correspondences are simply noted. It is but a few months since the writer discovered them, and he was the first to do so. It is too early to correctly estimate their ultimate significance. It should, however, be observed that the Biblical numbers (Gen. 5) lack the gross exaggerations of Berossos, and that, if the correspondences here pointed out are real, the tradition embodied in Genesis is carried back to a time from 800 to 1000 years earlier than Moses.



[Pg 273]



Translation of the Text. Comparison with Genesis 6-9. Another Babylonian Version.


1. Translation of the Text.

1. Gilgamesh said to him, to Utnapishtim, the far-away:

2. “I look upon thee, O Utnapishtim,

3. Thy appearance is unchanged; thou are like me;

4. Thou art not at all different, thou art like me.

5. Thy courage is unbroken, to make combat,

6. On thy side thou liest down—on thy back.

7. [Tell me] how hast thou advanced and in the assembly of the gods hast found life?”

8. Utnapishtim spoke to him, to Gilgamesh:

9. I will reveal to thee, O Gilgamesh, the secret story,

10. And the decision of the gods to thee will I relate.

11. Shurippak, a city which thou knowest,

12. Is situated on the bank of the Euphrates.

13. That city was old and the gods in it—

14. Their hearts prompted them—the great gods—to make a deluge.

15. [There drew near] their father Anu,

16. Their councillor, the warrior Ellil,

17. Their herald, Enmashtu,

18. Their hero, Ennugi.

19. The lord of wisdom, Ea, counselled with them;

20. Their words he repeated to the reed-hut:

21. “O reed-hut, reed-hut, O wall, wall,

22. O reed-hut, hearken; O wall, give heed!

23. O man of Shurippak, son of Ubaratutu,

24. Pull down thy house, build a ship,

25. Leave thy possessions, take thought for thy life,

26. Leave thy gods, thy life save!

27. Embark seed of life of all kinds on a ship!

28. The ship which thou shalt build,

29. Measure well its dimensions,

30. Make to correspond its breadth and its length;

31. Upon the ocean thou shalt launch it.”

32. I understood and spoke to Ea, my lord:

33. “[I understand], my lord; what thou hast thus commanded

34. I will honor and will do.

35. [But] what shall I say to the city, the people, and the elders?”

36. Ea opened his mouth and spake,

[Pg 274]37. He said unto me, his servant:

38. “Thus shalt thou say unto them:

39. Know that me—Ellil hates me.

40. I may not dwell in your city,

41. On Ellil’s soil I may not lift my face.

42. I must go down to the ocean with Ea, my lord, to dwell.

43. Upon you will he (Ellil) then rain abundance—

44. [A catch] of birds, a catch of fishes,

45. ................ a rich (?) harvest.

46. [A time Shamash[397] appointed, at evening] the senders of rain

47. [Shall rain upon] you a mighty rainstorm.

48. When the grey of dawn brightens,

(Lines 49-55 are broken away.)

56. The strong ...... brought what was needed.

57. On the fifth day I raised its frame.

58. According to its plan (?) its walls were 120 cubits high;

59. 120 cubits correspondingly was the extent of its roof.

60. I laid down its hull; I enclosed it.

61. I constructed it in storys, up to six;

62. I divided it [without (?)] into seven parts.

63. Its interior I divided into nine parts.

64. .......... I fastened in its midst.

65. I looked out a rudder, and prepared what was necessary.

66. 6 sars of bitumen I poured over its outside (?);

67. 3 sars of bitumen I poured over its interior.

68. 3 sars of oil the people who carry jars brought.

69. Besides a sar of oil which was used as a libation,

70. 2 sars of oil the ship’s captain stowed away.

71. For the people I slaughtered bullocks.

72. I slaughtered lambs daily.

73. Must, beer, oil, and wine,

74. I gave the people to drink like river-water.

75. I made a feast, like a new year’s festival.

76. I opened (?) [a box of ointment]; I put ointment in my hand.

77. [By the setting] of great Shamash, the ship was finished.

78. [To move it from the stocks] was difficult.

79. The men cleared the ship’s ways above and below.

80. .............................. two-thirds of it.

81. With all that I had I laded it (the ship);

82. With all the silver I had I laded it.

83. With all the gold I had I laded it.

84. With all the living things I had I laded it.

85. I embarked on the ship all my family and kindred.

86. Cattle of the field, beasts of the field, craftsmen, all, I embarked.

87. A fixed time Shamash had appointed, [saying]:

88. “When the senders of rain shall rain upon you a mighty rainstorm at evening,

89. Embark upon the ship and close thy door.”

90. The appointed time approached,

91. The senders of rain sent at evening a heavy rainstorm.

92. I observed the appearance of the day,

93. The day was terrible to look upon.

[Pg 275]94. I embarked upon the ship, I closed my door.

95. To the master of the ship, to Puzur-Amurru, the sailor,

96. I entrusted the structure together with its contents.

97. When dew-dawn began to brighten,

98. There arose from the horizon a black cloud;

99. The god Adad thundered in its midst,

100. While Nebo and Sharru marched before;

101. They went as heralds over mountain and country.

102. Nergal tore away the anchor,

103. Enmashtu advanced, the floods he poured down;

104. The Anunnaki raised their torches,

105. At their brightness the land trembled.

106. The raging of Adad reached to heaven;

107. All light was turned to darkness

108. .......... the land like ...............

109. One day [raged the storm (?)]

110. Swiftly it raged [and the waters covered] the mountains,

111. Like a battle array over the people it swept.

112. No one could see his fellow;

113. No more were people recognized in heaven;

114. The gods were frightened at the deluge,

115. They fled, they climbed to the highest heaven;

116. The gods crouched like dogs, they lay down by the walls.

117. Ishtar cried like a woman in travail,

118. Wailed the queen of the gods with her beautiful voice:

119. “Those creatures are turned to clay,

120. Since I commanded evil in the assembly of the gods;

121. Because I commanded evil in the assembly of the gods,

122. For the destruction of my people I commanded battle.

123. I alone bore my people;

124. Like spawn of fishes they fill the sea.”

125. The gods along with the Anunnaki wept with her,

126. The gods bowed, sat as they wept;

127. Closed were their lips; [silent their] assembly.

128. Six days and seven nights

129. Blew the wind, the deluge the flood overpowered.

130. When the seventh day approached, the deluge was prolonging the battle

131. Which, like an army, it had waged.

132. The sea calmed, the destruction abated, the flood ceased.

133. I looked upon the sea, the roaring was stilled

134. And all mankind was turned to clay;

135. Like logs all were floating about.

136. I opened the window, the light fell on my cheek;

137. I was overcome, I sat down, I wept;

138. Over my cheek streamed the tears.

139. I looked in all directions—a fearful sea!

140. After twelve days an island appeared;

141. Toward mount Nizir the ship stood off;

142. Mount Nizir held it fast, that it moved not.

143. One day, two days, mount Nizir held it that it moved not,

144. Three days, four days, mount Nizir held it that it moved not,

145. Five days, six days, mount Nizir held it that it moved not,

146. When the seventh day approached,

147. I brought out a dove and let her go;

[Pg 276]148. The dove went out and returned;

149. There was no resting-place and she came back.

150. I brought out a swallow and let it go;

151. The swallow went out and returned.

152. There was no resting-place and it came back.

153. I brought out a raven and let it go;

154. The raven went out, the diminution of the waters it saw;

155. It alighted, it waded about, it croaked, it did not come back.

156. I disembarked [all]; to the four winds I poured a libation.

157. I appointed a sacrifice on the top of the mountain peak;

158. Seven by seven I arranged the sacrificial vessels;

159. Beneath them I piled reeds, cedar wood, and myrtle.

160. The gods smelled the savor,

161. The gods smelled the sweet savor,

162. The gods above the sacrificer collected like flies.

163. When at length the queen of the gods drew near,

164. She raised the great bows (?) which Anu at her wish had made.

165. “O ye gods, as I shall not forget the jewel of my neck

166. These days I shall not forget—to eternity I shall remember!

167. Let the gods come to the sacrifice,

168. But let Ellil not come to the sacrifice,

169. For he was not wise; he sent the deluge,

170. And numbered my people for destruction.”

171. When at last Ellil drew near,

172. He saw the ship, Ellil was angry,

173. His heart was filled against the gods and the Igigi.[398]

174. “Who then has come out alive?

175. No man must escape from destruction.”

176. Then Enmashtu opened his mouth and spake,

177. He said to the warrior Ellil:

178. “Who but Ea accomplished the thing?

179. Even Ea knows every undertaking.”

180. Ea opened his mouth and spake,

181. He said to the warrior Ellil:

182. “O thou, leader of the gods, warrior,

183. How, how couldst thou without thought send a deluge?

184. On the sinner let his sin rest,

185. On the wrongdoer rest his misdeed.

186. Forbear, let it not be done, have mercy, [that men perish not].

187. Instead of thy sending a deluge

188. Had the lion come and diminished the people!

189. Instead of thy sending a deluge

190. Had a wolf come and diminished the people!

191. Instead of thy sending a deluge

192. Had a famine come and the land [depopulated!]

193. Instead of thy sending a deluge

194. Had a pestilence come and the land [depopulated!]

195. I have not divulged the decisions of the great gods.

196. I caused Adrakhasis to see a dream and the decisions of the gods he heard.

197. Now take counsel concerning him.”

198. Then went Ea on board the ship,

199. He took my hand and brought me forth,

200. He brought forth my wife and made her kneel at my side;

[Pg 277]201. He turned us toward each other and stood between us; he blessed us:

202. “In former time Utnapishtim was a man;

203. Now let Utnapishtim and his wife be like gods—even like us;

204. Let Utnapishtim dwell afar off at the mouth of the rivers!”

205. He took me and caused me to dwell afar off at the mouth of the rivers.

2. Comparison with Genesis 6-9.

The above account of the deluge so closely resembles that in the Bible (Gen. 6:9-9:19), that nearly all scholars recognize that they are two versions of the same narrative.[399] In each case there is a divine revelation to the hero of the deluge that a catastrophe is coming of which every one else is ignorant. They both relate the building of the vessel, the “pitching it within and without with pitch,” the embarkation, the flood in which other men are destroyed, the resting of the ship on a mountain, the sending out of the birds, the disembarkation, the sacrifice, and the intimation that in future a deluge shall not be.

When the Babylonian account is compared with the Biblical, there are two striking differences. 1. The Babylonian story makes the flood local; the Biblical, general. 2. The Babylonian story, fascinating poetry though it is, has a conception of deity in strong contrast with the dignity of the Biblical monotheism. The Babylonian gods disagree; they blame each other; they crouch with fear like dogs; they come swarming about the sacrifice like hungry flies! Nothing could more strikingly illustrate the inspiration of the Biblical story than to measure it against the background of this Babylonian poem, which is clearly a variant version of it.

3. Another Babylonian Version.

From the library of Ashurbanipal there has come another version of the deluge, which represents the purpose of its coming as different. According to this version, men had sinned and had been afflicted with famine, after which they reformed for a time. The famine was removed, but soon, apparently, they sinned again. Pestilence was then sent upon them. An appeal brought mitigation of their sufferings, but soon they plunged into sin again. This time they were punished with unfruitfulness of the land and of their race, but soon sinned as before. When all other punishments had failed, as a last resort the flood was sent.

As this account does not so closely resemble that in Genesis, it is not translated here. Those who wish to read it are referred to Rogers, Cuneiform Parallels to the Old Testament, New York, 1912, p. 114, ff.



[Pg 278]



Translation. Comparison with the Other Version.


1. Translation.

This tablet was published by Dr. Arno Poebel, of Breslau. It was apparently written in the time of the dynasty of Nisin, but at any rate not later than the period of the first dynasty of Babylon. Only a part of the tablet has been found, so that the narrative is incomplete both at the beginning and at the end. Possibly the remaining portion may some time be found in the museum at Constantinople. The tablet is inscribed on both sides, and there are three columns to the side. The portions that are still extant read as follows:[400]


Column I (about three-fourths of the column missing)

“My human-kind from its destruction I will [raise up];
With the aid of Nintu my creation .......... I will raise up;
The people in their settlements I will establish;
The city, wherever man creates one—indeed its protection—therein I will give him rest.
Our house—its brick may he cast in a clean spot!
Our places in a clean place may he establish!”
Its brilliant splendor, the temple platform, he made straight,
The exalted regulations he completed for it;
The land he divided; a favorable plan he established.
After Anu, Enlil,[401] Enki,[402] and Ninkharsag
The black-headed[403] race had created,
All that is from the earth, from the earth they caused to spring,
Cattle and beasts of the field suitably they brought into being.

[Pg 279]Here the first column ends. The passage opens in the midst of the speech of some deity—perhaps Ninkharsag (a Sumerian name of Ishtar) or possibly Enlil, the god of Nippur. First the deity tells how mankind, which has been overthrown, shall be raised up again. Then we are told how he perfected plans for the accomplishment of this purpose, and lastly how four deities called into being men and animals.


Column II (about three-fifths of the text is missing)

................. I will ...............................
............. I will turn my eye upon him .............
The ......... creator of the land ...............................
................ of royalty ......................
................ of royalty by him was determined;
The exalted palace of the royal throne was by him set apart,
The exalted precepts .......... he made perfect,
In clean places .......... cities .......... he founded,
Their names were named, they were allotted to guardian-spirits (?)
Of these cities Eridu—the chief command to Nudimmud he gave,
Unto the second the nisag-priests of Umma (?) he gave,
Thirdly, Larak to Pabilkharsag he gave,
Fourthly, Sippar as the dwelling of Shamash he gave,
Fifthly, Shurippak unto Lamkurru he gave.
Their names were assigned; to guardian-spirits (?) they were allotted;
Its rampart (?), a wall (?) he raised up, he established;
Small rivers, canals (?), and water-courses (?) he established.

The last part of this column relates how five cities were established by some deity. Of what the first part treated we cannot make out from the few fragments of lines that are still legible.


Column III

The land the sway of Anu ..................
The people ....................
A deluge ........................
Their land (?) it entered ....................
Then Nintu [cried out] like [a woman in travail] ..........
The brilliant Ishtar [uttered] a groan on account of her people.
Enki with himself held communion in his wisdom;
Anu, Enlil, Enki, and Ninkharsag,
The gods of heaven and earth, invoked the names of Anu and Enlil,
At that time Ziugiddu was king, the priest of ..........
The chief deity he made of wood ..........
In humility prostrating himself, in reverence ..........
Daily at all times was he present in person ..........
Increasing dreams which had not come [before],
Conjuring by the name of heaven and earth ..........

[Pg 280]In this column the narrative has passed to the story of the deluge. The gods have determined to send a deluge; Ziugiddu in consequence constructed an idol from wood (compare Isa. 40:20), and earnestly worshiped it, seeking oracles for his guidance.


Column IV

For the settlement (?) the gods a wall (?) ..........
Ziugiddu stood by its side, he heard ..........
“At the wall at my left side stand ..........
At the wall I will speak a word to thee
O my brilliant one, let there enter thy ear ..........
By our hand a deluge .......... will be sent.
The seed of mankind to destroy ..........
Is the momentous decision of the assembly (of the gods);
The words of Anu and Enlil ..........
Their kingdom, their rule ..........
To them ....................”

It is clear from these fragmentary lines that Ziugiddu is being informed of the approaching deluge. It is also clear that some of the elements of the narrative are identical with some of the elements of the one discussed in Chapter VI. Ziugiddu is commanded to stand by a wall, where some deity will speak to him. This appears in the other version in the form:

“O reed-hut, reed-hut, O wall, wall,[404]
O reed-hut, hearken; O wall, give heed!
O man of Shurippak, son of Ubartutu,
Pull down thy house, build a ship,” etc.

In that account, too, the assembly of the gods is also referred to in line 120, ff. These are examples of the way the same theme, differently treated, turns up in different forms.


Column V

The evil winds, the wind that is hostile, came; all of them descended,
The deluge .......... came on with them
Seven days and seven nights
The deluge swept over the land,
The evil wind made the huge boat tremble.
Shamash[405] came forth, on heaven and earth he shone;
Ziugiddu the ship at the top uncovered,
The peace of Shamash, his light, entered into the boat.
Ziugiddu, the king
Before Shamash bowed his face to the earth.
The king—an ox he sacrificed, a sheep offered as oblation.

[Pg 281]In this column we have a fragment which relates some details similar to those told in lines 128, 129, and 136-138 of the account given in Chapter VI.


Column VI

By the life of heaven and the life of earth ye shall conjure him,
That he may raise up from you;
Anu and Enlil by the soul of heaven and the soul of earth ye shall conjure,
That they may raise up from you
The curse that has come upon the land, that they may remove it.
Ziugiddu the king
Before Anu and Enlil bowed his face to the earth.
Life like a god’s he gave to him,
An immortal spirit like a god’s he brought to him.
Then Ziugiddu the king,
Of the seed that was cursed, lord of mankind he made;
In the fruitful land, the land of Dilmun .......... they made him dwell

At this point the last column is hopelessly broken. It is clear, however, from the part which remains that Ziugiddu is in this narrative translated to the Isle of the Blest as was Utnapishtim in the account translated in Chapter VI, lines 202-205.[406] Indeed there is reason to believe that the two accounts of the flood are divergent versions of the same story. In addition to the likenesses already mentioned, the names of the two heroes, though they appear so different, are the same in meaning. Utnapishtim (or Unapishtim) means “day of life,” or “day-life,” while Ziugiddu means “Life-day prolonged.”

2. Comparison with the Other Version.

Although this tablet is much broken, so that we have not the whole of the story, it is clear from the parts that we have that in this version preserved at Nippur the story was much shorter than in the form translated in Chapter VI, which was preserved in the library of Ashurbanipal. It was also combined with a briefer account of the creation than that translated in Chapter I from Ashurbanipal’s library.

Of this Nippurian version of the creation story we have in this tablet only the small fragments preserved in Columns I and II. It is, however, probable that the Nippurian version of the creation was in its main features similar to that preserved in the library at Nineveh, only more brief.

If this be so, the conquest of the dragon Tiâmat is here attributed to Enlil of Nippur, as in the other version it is attributed to Marduk of Babylon, and as in Psa. 74:13, 14, it is attributed to Jehovah.[Pg 282] This older account from Nippur agrees in one respect more nearly with the Biblical account than the one from the library at Nineveh does, for it represents Ziugiddu as a very pious man, who was apparently saved from destruction on account of his piety, and in blessing him God removed the curse as Jehovah did in Gen. 8:21.



[Pg 283]



Translation. Comparison with Biblical Material.


This tablet begins with a description of a place the name of which is not identified; it is, accordingly, indicated in the translation by X. Possibly it was Eridu; possibly Dilmun.

1. Translation.

Column I[407]

1. They that are lofty, they that are lofty are ye,

2. O X, pure;

3. They that are holy, they that are lofty are ye.

4. O X, pure,

5. X is pure, X is bright,

6. X is splendid, X is resplendent.

7. Alone were they in X; they lay down.

8. Where Enki and his consort lay,

9. That place is splendid, that place is pure.

10. Alone [in X they lay down].

11. Where Enki with Ninella lay down,

12. That place is splendid, [that place is pure].

13. In X the raven cried not,

14. The kite gave not his kite-call,

15. The deadly lion destroyed not,

16. The wolf a lamb seized not,

17. The dog the weak kid worried not,

18. The ewes the food-grain destroyed not,

19. Offspring increased not ..........

20. The birds of heaven their offspring ..... not;

21. The doves were not put to flight (?).

22. Of eye-disease, “it is eye-disease,” one said not;

23. Of headache, “it is headache,” one said not.

24. To a mother, “mother,” one said not,

25. To a father, “father,” one said not.

26. In the holy place a libation was poured not; in the city one drank not;

27. The river-man “cross it?” said not;

28. Fear one’s couch troubled not;

[Pg 284]29. The musician “sing,” said not;

30. The prince of the city spoke not.

31. Ninella to her father Enki said:

32. “A city thou hast founded, a city thou hast founded, its destiny thou hast fixed;

33. In X a city thou hast founded,

34. .......... thou hast founded a city,

35. ............ a canal there is not

36. .............. thou hast founded a city.”

The rest of the first column is broken away; probably about nine lines are missing.

All the first column is descriptive of a place inhabited only by a god and goddess. Many activities are absent, because there is no one there to carry them on. Lines 16-21 remind one a little of Isa. 11:6-9.

After the break the text continues:

Column II

1. “From the bright covering of thy great heaven may the waters flow,

2. May thy city be refreshed with water, may it drink,

3. May X be refreshed with water, may it drink,

4. May thy well of bitter water flow as a well of sweet water.

5. May thy city be a resting, an abode of the people,

6. May X be a resting, an abode of the people.

7. Now, O sun-god, shine forth,

8. O sun-god, stand in heaven;

9. Bring the festal-grain from its place

10. [And] fish, O moon-god, from the water.

11. Along the face of the earth on the road with earth’s sweet water come.”

12. From the bright covering of the great heavens the waters flowed,

13. His city was refreshed with water, it drank;

14. X was refreshed with water, it drank,

15. His well of bitter water became a well of sweet water.

16. The fields and meadows with moisture caused grain to sprout (?);

17. His city was a resting, an abode of the people;

18. X was a resting, an abode of the people.

19. Then the sun-god shone forth; this verily was so,

20. The brilliant one, creator of intelligence.

21. To Nintu, the mother of the people

(Lines 22-30 describe with a frankness common among primitive people a marital union of the god and goddess. In many parts of the world it has been thought that acts of creation proceed from such unions.)

31. Enki, the father of Damgalnunna, his word spoke.

32. Ninkharsag flooded the fields,

33. The fields received the waters of Enki.

34. It was the first day whose month is first;

35. It was the second day whose month is second;

36. It was the third day whose month is third;

37. It was the fourth day whose month is fourth;

[Pg 285]38. It was the fifth day whose month is fifth;

39. It was the sixth day whose month is sixth;

40. It was the seventh day whose month is seventh;

41. It was the eighth day [whose month is eighth];

42. It was the ninth day whose month is ninth, the month of fertility.

43. Like fat, like fat, like abundant sweet oil,

44. [Nintu], mother of the land,

45. .......... had brought them forth.

In the first part of the above column the description of the city is continued. As a consequence of the union of the gods, water flowed to irrigate the land. Lines 34-42 tell in a quaint way how the waters continued to come for nine months and nine days.

Column III

1. Ninshar on the bank of the river cried (?):

2. “O Enki, for me are they filled! they are filled!”

3. His messenger, Usmu himself the word repeated.

4. The sons of men his favor did not understand,

5. Ninshar his favor did not understand.

6. His messenger, Usmu himself, answered;

7. The sons of men his favor did not understand,

8. Ninshar his favor did not understand.

9. “My king, a storm-cloud! A storm-cloud!”

10. With his foot on the boat he stepped,

11. Two strong men as watchers he stationed,

12. The command they received, they took.

13. Enki flooded the fields,

14. The fields received the waters of Enki.

15. It was the first day whose month is first;

16. It was the second day whose month is second;

17. It was the ninth day whose month is ninth, the month of the height of the waters.

18. Like fat, like fat, like abundant sweet oil,

19. [Ninshar] like fat,

20. Ninshar had brought them forth.

21. Ninkurra[408] [on the bank of the river] c[ried (?)]

22. “O Enki, for me they are filled! they are filled!”

23. His messenger, Usmu, the word repeated.

24. The sons of men his favor did not understand,

25. Ninkurra his favor did not understand.

26. His messenger, Usmu himself answered;

27. The sons of men did not understand,

28. Ninkurra did not understand.

29. “My king, a storm-cloud! A storm-cloud!”

30. With his foot on the boat he stepped,

31. Two strong men as watchers he stationed;

32. The command they received, they took.

33. Enki flooded the fields

34. The fields received the waters of Enki.

[Pg 286]35. It was the first day whose month is first;

36. It was the ninth day whose month is ninth, the month of the height of the waters.

37. Like fat, like fat, like abundant sweet oil,

38. Ninkurra like fat had brought them forth.

39. The god Tagtug and his wife she received;

40. Ninkurra to Tagtug [and his wife] spoke:

41. “Verily I will help (?) thee, my upright one, ..........

42. With favorable words I speak ..........

43. One man for me shall be counted ..........

44. Enki for me shall ..........

The rest of the column, consisting of two or three lines, is missing. The repetition in this column is characteristic of early poetry. Primitive peoples are fond of iteration, and in the description of the way the waters came it was to them very effective.

Column IV (about twelve lines are broken from the tablet at the beginning)

13. [To Tagtug and] his wife spoke ..........

14. ........................................

15. ......................................

16. ................ in the garden ....................

17. ........................................

18. [Eba]raguldu let him found,

19. Erabgaran let him found,

20. At the temple let my fettered oxen stand,

21. For Enki let my fettered oxen be sacrificed,

22. Let two strong men pour out water,

23. Abundant water let them pour out,

24. Reservoir-water let them pour out,

25. The barren land let them irrigate,

26. As gardeners for the little plants let them go forth,

27. On the bank, along the bank let them (i. e., the plants) extend.

28. Who art thou? The garden ....................

29. For Enki the gardener ............................

(Five lines are here broken away.)

35. Ebaraguldu he founded,

36. Erabgaran he founded, on its foundation he set it.

37. Enki turned his eyes unto him; his scepter he lifted up;

38. Enki to Tagtug directed the way.

39. At the temple he cried: “Open the door, open the door;”

40. “Who is it that thou art?”

41. “I am a gardener, with gladness ..........

42. With .......... the price (?) of milk will I present thee.”

43. Tagtug with joyful heart at the temple opened the door,

44. Enki spoke to Tagtug and his wife,

45. With joy his possessions he gave to him;

46. That Ebaraguldu he gave him;

47. That Erabgaran he gave him.

48. Tagtug and his wife bowed down; with the left hand they covered the mouth; with the right they did obeisance.

[Pg 287]From the parts of Column IV, which are still legible, it appears that the messenger was revealing to Tagtug the secrets of agriculture. This corresponds to the statement in Gen. 9:20, that “Noah began to be a husbandman.”

At the beginning of Column V some seven lines have crumbled away, and the beginnings of eight more have also become illegible.

Column V



8. [The .......... plant] was green,

9. [The .......... plant] was green,

10. [The .......... plant] was green,

11. [The .......... plant] was green,

12. [The .......... plant] was green,

13. [The .......... plant] was green,

14. [The .......... plant] was green.

15. “O Enki, for me they are counted,”

16. His messenger, Usmu himself, the word repeated;

17. “Plants I have called forth, their abundance ordained,

18. The water shall make them bright, the water shall make them bright;”

19. His messenger, Usmu himself, answered:

20. “My king, as to the woody plants,” he said,

21. “He shall prune, he shall [eat].”

22. “As to the tall plants,” he said,

23. “He shall pluck, he shall eat.”

24. “My king, as to the .......... plants,” he said,

25. “He shall prune, he shall eat.”

26. “As to the plants of the watered garden (?),” he said,

27. “He shall pluck, he shall eat.”

28. “[My king], as to the .......... plants,” he said,

29. “[He shall prune], he shall eat.”

30. “[My king, as to the .......... plants],” he said,

31. “[He shall pluck, he shall eat].”

32. [“My king, as to the .......... plants”], he said,

33. “[He shall prune, he shall] eat.”

34. [“My king, as] to the cassia plant,” he said,

35. “He [shall pluck] ........ he shall eat.”

36. [“Enki] for [me] the plant of his wisdom has plucked, his heart has spoken.”

37. Of Ninkharsag the name Enki uttered in curse:

38. “The face of life when he dies he shall not see.”

39. Then Anunnaki in the dust sat down.

40. The rebellious one to Enlil said:

41. “I, Ninkharsag, brought forth for thee people; what is my reward?”

42. Enlil, the begetter, answered the rebellious one:

43. “Thou, Ninkharsag, hast brought forth people,”

44. “‘In my city let two creatures be made,’ shall thy name be called.”

45. As a dignitary his head alone he exalted,

46. His heart (?) alone he made impetuous,

47. His eye alone he filled with fire (?).

[Pg 288]Langdon takes the portion of the narrative which we find in this column to be an account of the fall of man, since line 36, as he rendered it, speaks of Tagtug’s plucking and eating, and the next line speaks of the uttering of a curse. This view the writer does not share. If the above translation is correct, there is no allusion to anything of the kind.

Column VI (perhaps five lines are broken away)

6. .......... the lord Enlil ..........

7. ........ the lord of life ..........

8. To .......... they went, ..........

9. To .......... they went, the lord of the gods ..........

10. Spoke to him, the water of life ..........

11. ..............................

12. Ninkharsag ....................

13. ..............................

14. ..................................

15. ..............................

16. ..........................

17. ............................

18. Ninkharsag ....................

19. Enlil ...... his .......... they founded,

20. Priests (?) they ordained,

21. Fate they determined,

22. With power established it.

23. Ninkharsag in her temple granted his life to him:

24. “My brother, what of thee is ill?”

25. “My herd (?) is ill.”

26. “The god Absham have I brought forth for thee.”

27. “My brother, what of thee is ill?”

28. “My herd is ill.”

29. “The goddess ‘Queen of the herd’[409] have I brought forth for thee.”

30. “My brother, what of thee is ill?” “My face is ill.”

31. “The goddess Ninkautu have I brought forth for thee.”

32. “My brother, what of thee is ill?” “My mouth is ill.”

33. “The goddess ‘Queen who fills the mouth’[410] have I brought forth for thee.”

34. “My brother, what of thee is ill?” [“My ...... is ill”].

35. “The goddess Nazi have I brought forth for thee.”

36. “My brother, what of thee is ill?” “My hand [is ill.”]

37. “My goddess ‘Living hand’[411] have I brought forth for thee.”

38. “My brother, what of thee is ill?” “My health is ill.”

39. “The goddess ‘Queen of health’[412] have I brought forth for thee.”

40. “My brother, what of thee is ill?” “My intelligence is ill.”

41. “The god who makes the intelligence clear[413] have I brought forth for thee.”

42. “Grandly are they brought forth, they are created.

43. Let Absham be lord of vegetation,

44. Let Nintulla be lord of Magan,

[Pg 289]45. Let Ninkautu choose Ninazu as a spouse,

46. May Ninkasi be the full heart’s possession,

47. May Nazi become mistress of weaving (?),

48. May Dazima the house of strong life take,

49. May Nintil become mistress of the month,

50. May Enshagme become lord of X.

51. Glory!”

2. Comparison with the Bible.

Here the tablet concludes. This last column, which tells how the goddess Ninkharsag came to favor the hero and to create a number of divine helpers for him, has no parallel in the Biblical account. As Tagtug received the especial protection of Ninkharsag who created for him all these divine helpers, it seems certain that this tablet had no reference to the fall of man, as Langdon supposes. It appears rather to be a mythical account of the beginnings of agriculture and the medicinal use of plants in Babylonia. Agriculture implies irrigation. “From the first day whose month is first” to the ninth month, is the period when Babylonia is watered. The Tigris begins to rise in March, the first month, the overflow of the Euphrates does not subside till the sixth month, and the winter rains are at their height in the ninth month.

As Adam was driven from Eden to eat of the fruits of the earth (Gen. 3:18, 24; compare Gen. 1:29), and Noah became a husbandman (Gen. 9:20), the story of Tagtug presents a remote similarity to both of them. Langdon[414] compares the list of divine beings with which the tablet ends with the antediluvian patriarchs of Gen. 4 and 5, and suggests the possibility that here we have the original names of those patriarchs. Beyond the fact that Absham somewhat resembles the name Abel and was, like Abel, an agriculturist, there is no apparent connection. The names in no way correspond. It is more probable that we have the names of those patriarchs in the list of kings translated in Chapter V.



[Pg 290]



Abraham Hired an Ox. Abraham Leased a Farm. Abraham Paid His Rent. Who Was This Abraham? Travel between Babylonia and Palestine. Hammurapi, King of the Westland. Kudur-Mabug. Kings Supposed by Some to be those of Genesis 14.


Archæological investigation has brought to light a number of texts believed by scholars to illumine the Biblical accounts of Abraham. It is the purpose of this chapter to translate and discuss these.

The documents which naturally attract us first are some contracts from Babylonia in which an Abraham was one of the contracting parties. They are as follows:

1. Abraham Hired an Ox.[415]

1. One ox broken to the yoke,

2. an ox from Ibni-Sin, son of Sin-imgurani,

3. from Ibni-Sin

4. through the agency of Kishti-Nabium,

5. son of Eteru,

6. Abarama, son of Awel-Ishtar,

7. for one month has hired.

8. For one month

9. one shekel of silver

10. he will pay.

11. Of it ½ shekel of silver

12. from the hand of

13. Abarama

14. Kishti-Nabium

15. has received.

16. In the presence of Idin-Urash, son of Idin-Labibaal,

17. in the presence of Awêlê, son of Urri-bani,

18. in the presence of Beliyatum, scribe.

19. Month of the mission of Ishtar (i. e., Ulul), day 20th,

20. The year Ammizadugga, the king (built)

21. the wall of Ammizadugga, (i. e., Ammizadugga’s 11th year).

22. Tablet of Kishti-Nabium.

This tablet shows how Abarama (Abraham), a farmer, hired an ox for a month. The tablet, as the last line shows, is the copy made[Pg 291] for Kishti-Nabium, the agent. In such business transactions three copies were often made, one for each of the contracting parties and one for the scribe. The date of this tablet is 1965 B. C. Ammizadugga was the tenth king of that first dynasty of Babylon, of which Hammurapi was the sixth.

2. Abraham Leased a Farm.[416]

1. To the patrician

2. speak,

3. saying, Gimil-Marduk (wishes that)

4. Shamash and Marduk may give thee health!

5. Mayest thou have peace, mayest thou have health!

6. May the god who protects thee thy head in luck

7. hold!

8. (To enquire) concerning thy health I am sending.

9. May thy welfare before Shamash and Marduk

10. be eternal!

11. Concerning the 400 shars of land, the field of Sin-idinam,

12. which to Abamrama

13. to lease, thou hast sent;

14. the land-steward (?) and scribe

15. appeared and

16. on behalf of Sin-idinam

17. I took that up.

18. The 400 shars of land to Abamrama

19. as thou hast directed

20. I have leased.

21. Concerning thy dispatches I shall not be negligent.

It appears from this document that Abamrama, who is none other than a Babylonian Abraham, was a small farmer, who leased a small tract of land.

3. Abraham Paid His Rent.[417]

1. 1 shekel of silver

2. of the rent (?) of his field,

3. for the year Ammizadugga, the king,

4. a lordly, splendid statue (set up),

5. brought

6. Abamrama,

7. received

8. Sin-idinam

9. and Iddatum.

10. Month Siman, 28th day,

11. The year Ammizadugga, the king,

12. a lordly, splendid statue (set up).

(This was Ammizadugga’s 13th year.)

[Pg 292]This document, dated two years after that in which the ox was hired, shows how Abamrama (Abraham) paid a part of his rent.

The name Abamrama (Abraham) occurs in two other documents published in the same volume (no. 101, and no. 102), where, in defining the boundaries of other fields of Sin-idinam, they are said to be bounded on one side by the field of Abamrama. As these documents mention the name of Abamrama only incidentally, they are not translated here.

4. Who Was This Abraham?

These documents, which relate to the business of a Babylonian Abraham, come from Dilbat, about eight miles south of Borsippa, which was just across the Euphrates from Babylon. It is clear that this Abraham was a small farmer, who hired a tract of land from a larger land-owner. He also hired an ox wherewith to work his land, and paid the rent of the land and the hire of the ox as a good citizen should. This Abraham was not the Biblical patriarch. The patriarch’s father was Terah and his brother Nahor; the father of this Babylonian Abraham was Awel-Ishtar, and his brother Iddatum (ibid., no. 101, 9). The Abraham of the Bible was a monotheist according to Genesis; the ancestors of the Babylonian Abraham worshiped the goddess Ishtar, who corresponded to the Canaanitish Ashtoreth. The Bible connects the patriarch with Ur and Haran; this Abraham lived about half-way between these two cities.

Up to the present time this Babylonian Abraham is the only person known to us other than the Biblical patriarch, who, in that period of history, bore the name. He is the only one known to us outside the Biblical record.[418] The only other occurrence of the name outside the Bible is in the name of a place in Palestine, probably near Hebron, which Sheshonk I, the Biblical Shishak, calls “The Field of Abram.”[419] As Shishak lived much later (945-924 B. C.), being a contemporary of Rehoboam the son of Solomon, this Egyptian place name is not so significant. The Babylonian Abraham mentioned in the documents just translated is welcome proof that Abraham was a personal name in Babylonia near the time in which the Bible places the patriarch. With these documents Gen. 11:27-25:10 should be compared.

Another Babylonian contract is of interest in connection with the migration of Abraham.

[Pg 293]5. Travel between Babylonia and Palestine.

1. A wagon[420]

2. from Mannum-balum-Shamash,

3. son of Shelibia,

4. Khabilkinum,

5. son of Appani[bi],

6. on a lease

7. for 1 year

8. has hired.

9. As a yearly rental

10. ⅔ of a shekel of silver

11. he will pay.

12. As the first of the rent

13. ⅙ of a shekel of silver

14. he has received.

15. Unto the land of Kittim

16. he shall not drive it.

17. In the presence of Ibku-Adad,

18. son of Abiatum;

19. in the presence of Ilukasha,

20. son of Arad-ilishu;

21. in the presence of Ilishu ..........

22. Month Ululu, day 25,

23. the year the king Erech from the flood

24. of the river as a friend protected.

The date of the above interesting document has not been identified with certainty. It is thought by some to belong to the reign of Shamsu-iluna, the successor of Hammurapi. The writing clearly shows that at any rate it comes from the period of this dynasty. That is, it comes from the period to which Gen. 14 assigns the migration of Abraham. Kittim in the contract is the word used in the Hebrew of Jer. 2:10 and Ezek. 27:6 for the coast lands of the Mediterranean. It undoubtedly has that meaning here. This contract was written in Sippar, the Agade of earlier times, a town on the Euphrates a little to the north of Babylon. It reveals the fact that at the time the document was written there was so much travel between Babylonia and the Mediterranean coast that a man could not lease a wagon for a year without danger that it might be driven over the long route to Syria or Palestine. Against such wear upon his vehicle the particular wagon-owner of our document protected himself.

When, therefore, Abraham went out from his land and his kindred, he was going to no unknown land. The tide of commerce and of emigration had opened the way. Apparently it was no more[Pg 294] remarkable for him to do it than for an Irishman to come to America half a century ago, or for a south European to come today.

6. Hammurapi, King of the Westland.

It is thought by many scholars that Hammurapi was the Amraphel of Genesis 14. The following inscription[421] relates to this king:

1. To [Shar]ratum,

2. the bride of Anu

3. who has come to lordship,

4. lady of strength and abundance,

5. of the mountain-temple,

6. faithful lady, of exalted counsel,

7. lady who binds the heart,

8. who for her spouse

9. makes favorable her open oracle;

10. to his lady,

11. for the life of Hammurapi,

12. king of the Westland (MAR-TU),

13. Ibirum ..........

14. governor of the river-[district] ..........

15. son of Shuban ...........,

16. a guardian-deity appropriate to her divinity,

17. in the land which she loves,

18. for her service (?)

19. before her beloved temple has set up.

This inscription is quoted here for two reasons: 1. It was erected “for the life of Hammurapi,” who is supposed by many to be the Amraphel of Gen. 14:1. Amraphel is supposed to be a corruption of Hammurapi, thus Amrapi. The final l of Amraphel is a difficulty. While many Assyriologists, from Schrader onward, have recognized the equivalence, it is now seriously questioned by Jensen and Eduard Meyer, and absolutely rejected by Bezold. It must be said that, if Amraphel is intended for Hammurapi, the name had undergone corruption before it was placed in the Biblical record.[422] 2. In this inscription Hammurapi is called “king of MAR-TU,” or the Westland, a name by which the Babylonians often designated Syria and Palestine. MAR-TU simply means “sunset,” but was used like the Arabic magrib as the designation of a region. There is no reason to doubt that here it designates Syria and Palestine,[Pg 295] so that, if Amraphel is Hammurapi, this is confirmatory of his connection with the West.

7. Kudur-Mabug.

The following inscription[423] has also often been brought into the discussion of Genesis 14:

1. To Nannar,

2. his king,

3. Kudur-Mabug,

4. “Father” of the Westland (MAR-TU),

5. son of Simti-shilkhak,

6. when Nannar

7. his prayer

8. had heard,

9. Enunmakh,

10. belonging to Nannar,

11. for his life

12. and the life

13. of Arad-Sin, his son,

14. king of Larsa,

15. he built.

This inscription has often been brought into connection with Abraham, partly because some have seen in Kudur-Mabug the Chedorlaomer of Gen. 14:1, and partly because Kudur-Mabug in it calls himself “Father” or governor of the Westland. If, however, Kudur-Mabug was intended by the name Chedorlaomer, the name had been corrupted beyond all recognition in the Biblical tradition before Gen. 14 was written. In reality there is no reason to suppose that Kudur-Mabug and Chedorlaomer are the same. As to the term “Westland,” it probably does not here designate Palestine, but either the western part of Elam or the southern part of Babylonia. Babylonia lay to the west of Elam, and Kudur-Mabug placed on the throne of Larsa, a city of South Babylonia, first his son, Arad-Sin, and then his son, Rim-Sin, and apparently maintained an over-lordship over both of them. “Westland” accordingly means in his inscription, not Palestine, but Babylonia. One of Kudur-Mabug’s sons calls his father “Father” (or governor) of Emutbal, a region of Elam. It is a mistake, therefore, to bring Kudur-Mabug into connection with Abraham and Gen. 14.[424]

[Pg 296]8. Kings Supposed by Some to be Those Mentioned in Gen. 14.

Some fragmentary tablets from the Persian period, not earlier than the fourth century B. C., contain references which have been brought by some scholars into connection with Abraham and the fourteenth of Genesis. The texts read as follows:


1. ....................

2. ..............................

3. .................... his work not ..........

4. .................. su-ḫa-am-mu ..........

5. ................ before the gods the creation of ..........

6. ............ day .......... Shamash, who illumines ..........

7. .......... the lord of the gods, Marduk, in the satisfaction of his heart,

8. .......... his servant, the region, all of it, a counsel not fulfilled,

9. .......... by force of arms he overthrew. Dursirilani, son of Arad-Malaku (Eri?-..aku)

10. ............ goods (?) he carried off, took as spoil, waters over Babylon and Esagil

11. ........ his with the weapon of his hand like a lamb he killed him,

12. .......... spoke to her, father, and son; with the weapon

13. [Great] and small he cut off, Tudkhula, son of Gazza ..........

14. ...... goods he took as spoil, waters over Babylon and Esagil

15. ...... his son with the weapon of his hands upon him fell.

16. ........ of his dominion before the temple of Annunit ..........

17. ........ Elam, the city Akhkhi to (?) the city Rabbatu he spoiled.

18. ...... like a deluge, he made the cities of Akkad, all of Borsippa (?)

19. ...... ended.[426] Kukukumal, his son pierced his heart with a girdle-dagger of iron.

20. ........ the enemy took and the destruction of these kings, participators in wrong (?),

21. .......... bondage for which the king of the gods, Marduk, was angry with them

22. .......... with sickness their breast was oppressed ........

23. ........ unto ruins were reduced (?). All of them to the king, our lord

24. ...... knowing (?) the hearts of the gods, the gracious Marduk, for the commemoration of his name

25. ........ and named Esagil—to his place may he return.

26. .......... thy ...... may he make. This, O king, my lord we ......

27. .......... his evil his heart the gods, his fathers ..........

28. ............ a participator in sin shall not be (?).



1. ..................... gods (?) ..........

2. .......... in the city feared day (?) [and night (?)]

3. .......... Larsa (?), the bond of heaven which unto the four winds ....

[Pg 297]4. he decreed them the park (?) which is in Babylon, the city of [his] majesty (?);

5. he decreed them the possessions of Babylon, small and great.

6. In their faithful counsel unto Kukukumal, King of Elam,

7. they established the fixed advance which to them [seemed] good.

8. In Babylon, the city of Karduniash, kingship he assumed ..........

9. In Babylon, the city of the gods, Marduk set his throne (?),

10. All, even the Sodomites of the plundered temples, obeyed [him].

11. Ravens build nests; birds dwell [therein];

12. The ravens croak (?), shrieking they hatch their young [in it].

13. To the dog crunching the bone the lady .......... is favorable.

14. The snake hisses (?), the evil one who spits [poison].

15. Who is the king of Elam who the great building of Esagil de[stroyed],

16. which the Babylonians made, and their work was ..........?

17. This is what thou hast written, saying: “I am a king, the son of a king” ....

18. Who is the son of a daughter of a king, who on the royal throne will sit? ...

19. He is Dursil-ilâni, son of Arad-Malkua, who the throne ..........

20. on the royal throne he sat and before his warriors [he marched].

21. Now let the king march who from ancient days .........

22. has been proclaimed lord of Babylon; the work of ........ shall not endure.

23. In the month Siman and the month Tammuz in Babylon there was done ..........

24. the work of the son of the magician. The bull (i. e., warrior) who devastates the land ..........

25. The elders in their faithful counsel ..........

26. [gave] the son of the magician the place instead of his father

27. ................. 1 maid ....................

Two other similar fragmentary texts belonging to the series are published as noted above, but it is unnecessary to quote them here. The two fragments which we have translated contain the most important references, and are sufficient to enable the reader to make up his mind as to the bearing of these texts upon the fourteenth of Genesis.

Pinches and Sayce read the name of the Elamite king, Kukukumal, Kudurlakhmal, and identify it with Chedorlaomer. Pinches so reads it, hesitatingly; Sayce, confidently. There is no reason for so reading it, except the desire to discover Chedorlaomer. The first three syllables are represented in the cuneiform by the same sign—a sign the most frequent value of which is ku. It does sometimes have the value dur, but never lakh. King reads it Kukukumal, and there is really no reason for reading it otherwise.

Another name which occurs twice is written in the two places with a slight difference of spelling. It is according to the most natural reading of the signs, Arad-Malkua, or Arad-Malaku. Sayce and Pinches read Eri-eaku and identified him with “Arioch, king of Elassar,” (Gen. 14:1). While this is a possible reading, it is only[Pg 298] secured by giving to the signs their Sumerian, instead of their Semitic values, and, as the documents are in Semitic, this is probably wrong. The name is to be read Arad-Malkua. Another name, Tudkhula, which occurs in the first document, has been identified by the same scholars with “Tidal, king of the nations” (Gen. 14:1), but in this text there is no evidence that Tudkhula was a king at all, and the identification is purely fanciful. It should be noted also that Arad-Malkua, the supposed Eri-eaku, does not himself take any part in the wars here recorded; it is his son, Dursil-ilâni, who is represented as a contemporary of Kukukumal, the supposed Chedorlaomer.

It should be further noted that these documents represent a complete conquest of Babylon by Elam—a conquest in which Babylon itself is laid desolate. It is not certain just what part Dursil-ilâni played in the story. He may have been a vassal king under Kukukumal, or the Babylonian upon whom the hopes of the people centered, to free them from the yoke of Elam. It is clear, however, that the events mentioned in these documents are not in harmony with the supposition that these monarchs acted as allies of Hammurapi in the invasion of Palestine. Hammurapi is excluded from the account. Kukukumal conquered and desolated the very city in which Hammurapi had his throne. Kukukumal must, accordingly, have lived at some other period of the history, and the supposed confirmation of the account of the fourteenth chapter of Genesis has not yet been found.

As already stated, these tablets are not earlier than the fourth century B. C. The events which they record were probably much later than the time of Abraham. Babylon is called by its Cassite name, Kar-duniash, a name which it did not bear until some hundreds of years after the time of Hammurapi. Many times in the course of Babylonian history was the country overrun by Elam, and there is no real reason to suppose that the war here referred to belongs to the age of Hammurapi.



[Pg 299]



Appearances of these Names in Babylonian and Egyptian Records. “The Tale of the Two Brothers”; Its Bearing on the Story of Joseph in Genesis. Letters to a Ruler Like Joseph. The Seven Years of Famine. Inscription Showing Preparation for Famine.


1. Jacob.

Three different men in Babylonia at the time of the Hammurapi dynasty bore the name Jacob-el. Thus, in the reign of Apil-Sin, the fourth king of the dynasty (2161 to 2144 B. C.), two witnesses, Shubna-ilu and Yadakh-ilu gave their father’s name as Yakub-ilu, or Jacob-el.[427] In the same reign a witness to another document, one Lamaz, had a Jacob-el as his father.[428] In the reign of Sin-muballit, the next king, a witness named Nur-Shamash was also the son of a Jacob-el.[429] In the reign of the great Hammurapi, the next king, a witness named Sin-erbiam gave his father’s name simply as Yakub,[430] or Jacob. This last is clearly a shortening of Jacob-el. These men all lived from 75 to 190 years before the Babylonian Abraham, whose documents are discussed in Chapter IX.

In connection with these names it should be noted that Thothmes III of Egypt, who made extensive conquests in Asia between 1478 and 1446 B. C., records the name of a city which he captured in Palestine as Ya-‘-k-b’-ra, the Egyptian equivalent of Jacob-el.[431] It does not seem a rash guess to suppose that in the period when intercourse between Babylonia and Palestine was frequent and immigration from the former country to the latter was in progress, some Babylonian bearing this name migrated to Palestine, settled there and that a city was named after him. Many parallels to this may be found in the names of places in the United States and Canada. That this place name in Canaan had some connection with the name of the Patriarch Jacob is probable, though just what that connection was it is impossible in the present state of our knowledge to say.

[Pg 300]2. Joseph.

A Babylonian business document of the time of the first dynasty of Babylon has among its witnesses a man named Yashub-ilu, or Joseph-el.[432]

In the list of places which Thothmes III of Egypt conquered in Palestine there is one Ya-sha-p’-ra, which many scholars have taken to be Joseph-el, though Prof. W. Max Müller[433] thinks it rather is equivalent to Yesheb-el, meaning “where God dwells.” In view of the clear Babylonian equivalence, however, it seems probable that it is Joseph-el. If so, it probably became a place-name in Palestine because some important Babylonian who bore the name settled there, just as we have supposed Jacob-el did. Some scholars hold that it is connected with the name of the Patriarch Joseph in some way, but what that connection was, we cannot now say.

3. The Tale of the Two Brothers.[434]

Once there were two brethren, of one mother and one father; Anpu was the name of the elder, and Bata was the name of the younger. Now, as for Anpu, he had a house, and he had a wife. But his little brother was to him, as it were, a son; he it was who made for him his clothes; he it was who followed behind his oxen to the fields; he it was who did the plowing; he it was who harvested the corn; he it was who did for him all the matters which were in the field. Behold his younger brother grew to be an excellent worker; there was not his equal in the whole land; behold the spirit of a god was in him.

Now after this the younger brother followed his oxen in the daily manner; and every evening he turned again to the house, laden with all the herbs of the field, with milk and with wood, and with all things of the field. And he put them down before his elder brother who was sitting with his wife; and he drank and ate, and he lay down in his stable with the cattle. And at the dawn of day he took bread which he had baked, and laid it before his elder brother; and he took with him his bread to the field, and he drave his cattle to pasture in the fields. And as he walked behind his cattle, they said to him, “Good is the herbage which is in that place”; and he listened to all that they said, and he took them to the good place which they desired. And the cattle which were before him were exceeding excellent, and they multiplied greatly.

Now at the time of plowing his elder brother said unto him, “Let us make ready for ourselves a goodly yoke of oxen for plowing, for the land has come out from the water; it is fit for plowing. Moreover, do thou come to the field with corn, for we will begin the plowing in the morrow morning.” Thus said he to him; and his younger brother did all things as his elder brother had spoken unto him to do them.

And when the morn was come, they went to the fields with their things; and their hearts were pleased exceedingly with their task in the beginning of their work. And it came to pass after this that as they were in the field they stopped [Pg 301]for corn, and he sent his younger brother, saying, “Haste thou, bring to us corn from the farm.” And the younger brother found the wife of his elder brother, as she was sitting tiring her hair. He said to her, “Get up, and give to me corn, that I may run to the field, for my elder brother hastened me; do not delay.” She said to him, “Go open the bin, and thou shalt take to thyself according to thy will, that I may not drop my locks of hair while I dress them.”

The youth went to the stable; he took a large measure, for he desired to take much corn; he loaded it with wheat and barley; and he went out carrying it. She said to him, “How much of the corn that is wanted, is that which is on thy shoulder?” He said to her, “Three bushels of barley, and two of wheat, in all five; these are what are upon my shoulder:” thus said he to her. And she conversed with him, saying, “There is great strength in thee, for I see thy might every day.” And her heart knew him with the knowledge of youth. And she arose and came to him, and conversed with him, saying, “Come stay with me, and it shall be well for thee, and I will make for thee beautiful garments.” Then the youth became like a panther of the south with fury at the evil speech which she had made to him; and she feared greatly. And he spake unto her, saying, “Behold thou art to me as a mother, thy husband is to me as a father, for he who is elder than I brought me up. What is this wickedness that thou hast said to me? Say it not to me again. For I will not tell it to any man, for I will not let it be uttered by the mouth of any man.” He lifted up his burden, and he went to the field and came to his elder brother; and they took up their work, to labor at their task.

Now afterward, at eventime, his elder brother was returning to his house; and the younger brother was following after his oxen, and he loaded himself with all the things of the field; and he brought his oxen before him, to make them lie down in their stable which was in the farm. And behold the wife of the elder brother was afraid for the words which she had said. She took a parcel of fat, she became like one who is evilly beaten, desiring to say to her husband, “It is thy younger brother who has done this wrong.” Her husband returned in the even as was his wont of every day: he came unto his house; he found his wife ill of violence; she did not give him water upon his hands as he used to have, she did not make a light before him, his house was in darkness, and she was lying very sick. Her husband said to her, “Who has spoken with thee?” Behold she said, “No one has spoken with me except thy younger brother. When he came to take for thee corn he found me sitting alone; he said to me, ‘Come, let us stay together, tie up thy hair’: thus spoke he to me. I did not listen to him, but thus spake I to him: ‘Behold, am I not thy mother, is not thy elder brother to thee as a father?’ And he feared, and he beat me to stop me from making report to thee, and if thou lettest him live I shall die. Now behold he is coming in the evening; and I complain of these wicked words, for he would have done this even in daylight.”

And the elder brother became as a panther of the south; he sharpened his knife; he took it in his hand; he stood behind the door of the stable to slay his younger brother as he came in the evening to bring his cattle into the stable.

Now the sun went down, and he loaded himself with herbs in his daily manner. He came, and his foremost cow entered the stable, and she said to her keeper, “Behold thy elder brother standing before thee with his knife to slay thee; flee from before him.” He heard what his first cow had said; and the next entering, she also said likewise. He looked beneath the door of the stable; he saw the feet of his elder brother; he was standing behind the door, and his knife was in his hand. He cast down his load to the ground, and betook himself to flee swiftly; and his elder brother pursued after him with his knife. Then the younger brother cried out unto Rā Harakhti,[435] saying, “My good lord! thou art [Pg 302]he who divides the evil from the good.” And Rā stood and heard his cry; and Rā made a wide water between him and his elder brother, and it was full of crocodiles; and the one brother was on one bank, and the other on the other bank; and the elder brother smote twice on his hands at not slaying him. Thus did he. And the younger brother called to the elder brother on the bank, saying, “Stand still until the dawn of the day; and when Rā ariseth, I shall judge with thee before him, and he discerneth between the good and the evil. For I shall not be with thee any more forever; I shall not be in the place in which thou art; I shall go to the valley of the acacia.”

We need not follow the story further. Those who wish to do so are referred to Petrie’s Egyptian Tales. From this point onward, it contains many mythological features.

This story, in the form in which we have it, was written for Seti II (1209-1205 B. C.) of the nineteenth Egyptian dynasty, while that monarch was still crown prince. Scholars of all shades of opinion have recognized in it a striking parallel to the story of Joseph in the house of Potiphar, in Genesis 39:1-20. Joseph, like the younger brother of this tale, was trusted with everything about his master’s place; Potiphar’s wife, like the sister-in-law of the tale, tempted Joseph; Joseph, like the younger brother, resisted temptation; and Potiphar’s wife, like the sister-in-law, charged him with the crime which he had been unwilling to commit.

Scholars of the critical school regard this as the original of the story in Genesis. While they recognize that it is a theme which is not confined to Egyptians and Hebrews (compare for other parallels Lang, Myth, Ritual, and Religion, II, 303, ff.), the fact that the theme of the Biblical story is laid in Egypt leads them to think it extremely probable that there is a connection between the two.

Conservative scholars on the other hand hold that in all probability there was more than one such scandal in Egypt, and account for the likeness by the similarity which would naturally present itself in such cases, holding that the Egyptian tale has no bearing on the credibility of that in Genesis.

4. Letters to a Ruler Like Joseph.

Among the letters in the Babylonian language and script found at El-Amarna in Egypt in the winter of 1887-1888,[436] many of which were written to Amenophis III and Amenophis IV, Kings of Egypt, 1411-1357 B. C., by Egyptian vassals in Palestine and Syria, there are two which were written to a Semite named Dûdu (David), which show that this Semite held at the Egyptian court a position[Pg 303] analogous to that which Joseph, as ruler of Egypt, is said to have held (Gen. 41:39, f.; 50:26). These letters are as follows:


1. To Dûdu, my lord, my father,

2. speaks Aziru, thy son, thy servant:

3. at the feet of my father I fall.

4. Unto my father may there be health!

5. O Dûdu, truly I have given (i. e., done)

6. the wish of the king, my lord,

7. and whatever is the wish

8. of the king, my lord, let him send

9. and I will give (do) it.

10. Further: see, thou art there,

11. my father, and whatever is the wish

12. of Dûdu, my father, send it

13. and I will indeed give (do) it.

14. Behold, thou art my father and my lord

15. and I am thy son. The lands of the Amorites

16. are thy lands, and my house is thy house,

17. and whatever thy wish is,

18. send, and I

19. shall behold, and verily will give (do) it.

20. And see, thou in the presence of

21. the king, my lord, sittest.

22. ............ enemies

23. words of slander

24. before my father, before

25. the king, my lord, have spoken,

26. but do thou not count them just!

27. And behold thou in the presence

28. of the king, my lord, as a dignitary (?)

29. sittest ....................

30. and the words of slander

31. against me do not count true.

32. Also I am a servant of the king, my lord,

33. and from the words of the king, my lord,

34. and from the words of Dûdu, my father,

35. I shall not depart forever.

36. But when the king, my lord, does not love me,

37. but hates me,

38. then I—what shall I say?



1. To Dûdu, my lord, my father,

2. speaks Aziru, thy servant:

3. at the feet of my lord I fall.

4. Khatib has come

5. and has brought the words

6. of the king, my lord, important and good,

[Pg 304]7. and I am very, very glad,

8. and my land and my brethren,

9. the servants of the king, my lord,

10. and the servants of Dûdu, my lord,

11. are very, very glad,

12. when there comes

13. the breath of the king, my lord,

14. unto me. From the words

15. of my lord, my god, my sun-god,

16. and from the words of Dûdu,

17. my lord, I shall not depart.

18. My lord, truly Khatib

19. stands with me.

20. I and he will come.

21. My lord, the king of the Hittites

22. has come into Nukhashshi,

23. so that I cannot come.

24. Would that the king of the Hittites would depart!

25. Then truly I would come,

26. I and Khatib.

27. May the king, my lord, my words

28. hear! My lord, I fear

29. on account of the face of the king, my lord,

30. and on account of the face of Dûdu.

31. And now by my gods

32. and my angels verily I have sworn,

33. O Dûdu and nobles

34. of the king, my lord, that truly I will come.

35. And so, Dûdu

36. and the king, my lord, and the nobles,

37. “Truly we will not conceive anything

38. against Aziru that is unfavorable,”—

39. even thus may ye swear

40. by my gods and the god A!

41. And truly I

42. and Khatib are faithful servants of the king.

43. O Dûdu, thou shalt truly know

44. that I will come to thee.

The Aziru of these letters was the chieftain or petty king of the Amorites, who were living at the time to the eastward of Phœnicia, between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains. The way in which he addresses Dûdu is significant. Dûdu is classed continually with the king. Aziru fears to offend Dûdu as he fears to offend the king; the words of Dûdu are of equal importance with those of the king. Dûdu clearly occupied a position of power with the king of Egypt similar to that ascribed to Joseph in Genesis 41. Moreover, Dûdu is a Semitic name; vocalized a little differently, it becomes David.

The king to whom this letter was written was Amenophis III or[Pg 305] Amenophis IV, in whose reigns Semitic influence was especially strong in Egypt. Amenophis III took as his favorite wife a woman named Tiy, daughter of Yuaa and Tuau, whose mummies, discovered a few years ago, show, some think, that they were Semitic. Queen Tiy was very influential during the reign of her son, Amenophis IV, and was in part the cause of the remarkable religious reform which he undertook (Part I, Chapter I, § 6 (vii)). It is not, accordingly, strange to find that the chief minister of one of these kings was a Semite. Of course, Dûdu cannot be identified with Joseph, but his career shows that such careers as that of Joseph were not impossible at this period of Egyptian history.

5. The Seven Years of Famine.

The following inscription was found cut on a rock between the island of Elephantine and the First Cataract, and was first published by Brugsch in 1891. It is written in hieroglyphic characters, and was apparently inscribed in the reign of Ptolemy X, 117-89 B. C. It relates how King Zoser, of the third dynasty, who began to reign about 2980 B. C., nearly 2,800 years before the inscription was written, appealed to Khnum, the god of Elephantine, because of a famine. The part of the text which interests us is as follows:[439]

“I am very anxious on account of those who are in the palace. My heart is in great anxiety on account of misfortune, for in my time the Nile has not overflowed for a period of seven years. There is scarcely any produce of the field; herbage fails; eatables are wanting. Every man robs his neighbor. Men move (?) with nowhere to go. The children cry, the young people creep along (?). The aged heart is bowed down; their limbs are crippled; they sit (?) on the earth. Their arms are ........ The people of the court are at their wits’ end. The store-houses (?) were built, but .......... and all that was in them has been consumed.”

As Brugsch[440] saw, this inscription gives a graphic account of the suffering caused by seven such years of famine as are said to have occurred in the time of Joseph (Gen. 41:30, 54, ff.). It cannot be the same seven-year famine as that referred to in Genesis, as it is placed several centuries too early to coincide with the time of Joseph. As the inscription is about 2,800 years later than the event it describes, its historical accuracy might be questioned, but it is probable that it was a renewal of an earlier inscription. But even if its historical accuracy be impugned, it witnesses to a native Egyptian tradition that such famines were possible.

[Pg 306]6. Inscription Showing Preparation for Famine.

Inscription of Baba of El-Kab[441]

“The chief at the table of the sovereign, Baba, the risen again, speaks thus: I loved my father; I honored my mother; my brothers and sisters loved me. I went out of the door of my house with a benevolent heart; I stood there with refreshing hand; splendid were my preparations of what I collected for the festal day. Mild was (my) heart, free from violent anger. The gods bestowed upon me abundant prosperity upon earth. The city wished me health and a life of full enjoyment. I punished the evil-doers. The children who stood before me in the town during the days which I fulfilled were—great and small—60; just as many beds were provided for them, just as many chairs (?), just as many tables (?). They all consumed 120 ephahs of durra, the milk of 3 cows, 52 goats, and 9 she-asses, a hin of balsam, and 2 jars of oil.

“My words may seem a jest to the gainsayer, but I call the god Mut to witness that what I say is true. I had all this prepared in my house; in addition I put cream in the store-chamber and beer in the cellar in a more than sufficient number of hin-measures.

“I collected corn as a friend of the harvest-god. I was watchful in time of sowing. And when a famine arose, lasting many years, I distributed corn to the city each year of famine.”

The Baba who wrote this inscription lived under the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty, about 1500 B. C., or a little before. Brugsch pointed out many years ago that Baba’s concluding statement forms an interesting parallel to the conduct of Joseph as told in Gen. 41:47-57. Baba claims to have done for his city, El-Kab, what Joseph is said to have done for all Egypt. His statement affords striking evidence of the historical reality of famines in Egypt, and of such economic preparation for them.



[Pg 307]



The Tale of Sinuhe. Communication between Egypt and Palestine.


1. The Tale of Sinuhe.

In the year 1970 B. C., when Amenemhet I died and was succeeded by Sesostris I, an Egyptian of high rank, named Sinuhe, for some reason now unknown to us, fled from Egypt to Asia. The details of his escape from Egypt are not of interest to the Biblical student, but his description of the hardships encountered in the desert and of his experiences in eastern Palestine are of great value, as they afford us our earliest description of that country outside the Bible. The following extract begins just after Sinuhe had told how he escaped the guards in the fort which stood at the eastern frontier of Egypt.[442]

I went on at the time of evening,
As the earth brightened, I arrived at Peten.
When I had reached the lake of Kemwer,[443]
I fell down for thirst, fast came my breath,
My throat was hot,
I said: “This is the taste of death.”
I upheld my heart, I drew my limbs together,
As I heard the sound of lowing cattle,
I beheld the Bedawin.
That chief among them, who had been in Egypt, recognized me.
He gave me water, he cooked for me milk.
I went with him to his tribe,
Good was that which they did (for me).
One land sent me on to another,
I loosed for Suan,[444]
I arrived at Kedem;[445]
[Pg 308]I spent a year and a half there.
Emuienshe,[446] that sheik of Upper [Ru]tenu,[447] brought me forth
saying to me: “Happy art thou with me,
(for) thou hearest the speech of Egypt.”
He said this (for) he knew my character,
He had heard of my wisdom;
The Egyptians, who were there with him, bare witness of me.

The Amorite chieftain then questioned Sinuhe concerning his flight. He gave evasive answers, merging with his reply a long hymn in praise of the king. After this Emuienshe said to him:

“Behold, thou shalt now abide with me;
Good is that which I shall do for thee.”
He put me at the head of his children,
He married me to his eldest daughter,
He made me select for myself of his land,
Of the choicest of that which he had,
On his boundary with another land.
It was a goodly land, named Yaa;[448]
There were figs in it and vines,
More plentiful than water was its wine,
Copious was its honey, plenteous its oil;
All fruits were upon its trees.
Barley was there and spelt,
Without end all cattle.
Moreover, great was that which came to me,
Which came for love of me,
When he appointed me sheik of the tribe,
From the choicest of his land.
I portioned the daily bread,
And wine for every day,
Cooked flesh and fowl in roast;
Besides the mid goats of the hills,
Which were trapped for me, and brought to me;
Besides that which my dogs captured for me.
There was much—made for me,
And milk in every sort of cooked dish.
I spent many years,
My children became strong,
Each the mighty man of his tribe.
The messenger going north,
Or passing southward to the court,
He turned in to me.
For I had all men turn in (to me).

The tale goes on concerning the personal prowess of Sinuhe, who, in his old age, returned to Egypt and made his peace with the king.

[Pg 309]2. Communication between Egypt and Palestine.

This document from the early patriarchal age reveals a close relationship between Egypt and Palestine. There was frequent communication between Kedem and Egypt; messengers went to and fro. The Egyptian language was understood at the court of the Amorite chieftain. These conditions throw light on the narratives of the descent of Abraham and Jacob to Egypt. Sinuhe’s description of his life necessarily reminds one of the description of Palestine so often met with in the Pentateuch, Joshua, and the prophets, “a land flowing with milk and honey.” (See, for example, Exod. 3:8, 17.)

(For an addition to this chapter, see Appendix.)



[Pg 310]



The Legend of Sargon of Agade; Its Resemblance to the Story of Moses. The Pillar of Merneptah; The Only Appearance of the Name “Israel” Outside of the Bible.


1. The Legend of Sargon of Agade.

The following legend[449] contains a story of the exposure of an infant on a river, strikingly like that told of Moses.

1. Sargon, the mighty king, king of Agade am I,

2. My mother was lowly; my father I did not know;[450]

3. The brother of my father dwelt in the mountain.

4. My city is Azupiranu, which is situated on the bank of the Euphrates.

5. My lowly mother conceived me, in secret she brought me forth.

6. She placed me in a basket of reeds, she closed my entrance with bitumen,

7. She cast me upon the river, which did not overflow me.

8. The river carried me, it brought me to Akki, the irrigator.

9. Akki, the irrigator, in the goodness of his heart lifted me out,

10. Akki, the irrigator, as his own son ...... brought me up;

11. Akki, the irrigator, as his gardener appointed me.

12. When I was a gardener the goddess Ishtar loved me,

13. And for four years I ruled the kingdom.

14. The black-headed[451] peoples I ruled, I governed;

15. Mighty mountains with axes of bronze I destroyed (?).

16. I ascended the upper mountains;

17. I burst through the lower mountains.

18. The country of the sea I besieged three times;

19. Dilmun[452] I captured (?).

20. Unto the great Dur-ilu I went up, I ..........

21. .......... I altered ..........

22. Whatsoever king shall be exalted after me,

23. ..............................

24. Let him rule, let him govern the black-headed peoples;

25. Mighty mountains with axes of bronze let him destroy;

26. Let him ascend the upper mountains,

27. Let him break through the lower mountains;

28. The country of the sea let him besiege three times;

29. Dilmun let him capture;

30. To great Dur-ilu let him go up.

[Pg 311]The rest is too broken for connected translation.

It is thought by some scholars of the critical school that the parallelism between the secret birth, the exposure, the rescue and adoption of Sargon, and the account of the secret birth, exposure, rescue, and adoption of Moses in Exod. 2:1-10 is too close to be accidental. Conservative scholars, on the other hand, hold that, if the legend of Sargon is historical, it merely affords an example of a striking coincidence of events in two independent lives.

2. The Pillar of Merneptah.

In the fifth year of King Merneptah, who ruled from 1225-1215 B. C., and who is thought to be the Pharaoh of the exodus, he inscribed on a pillar an account of his wars and victories. The inscription concludes with the following poetic strophe:[453]

The kings are overthrown, saying: “salaam!”
Not one holds up his head among the nine bows.[454]
Wasted is Tehenu,[455]
Kheta[456] is pacified,
Plundered is the Canaan[457] with every evil,
Carried off is Askelon,
Seized upon is Gezer,
Yenoam[458] is made as a thing not existing.
Israel is desolated, his seed is not;
Palestine has become a widow for Egypt.
All lands are united, they are pacified;
Every one that is turbulent is bound by King Merneptah, who gives life like Rā every day.

This inscription contains the only mention of Israel in a document of this age outside the Bible. It is, for that reason, of great importance. It should be noted that Israel is mentioned along with peoples and places in Palestine and Phœnicia. The Israel here referred to was not, accordingly, in Egypt. Israel, on the other hand, may not have been more than a nomadic people. The Egyptians used a certain “determinative” in connection with the names of settled peoples. That sign is here used with Tehenu, Kheta, Askelon, Gezer, and Yenoam, but not with Israel.

As Merneptah has been supposed by many to be the Pharaoh in whose reign the exodus occurred, the mention of Israel here has[Pg 312] somewhat puzzled scholars, and different explanations of the fact have arisen. At least one scholar holds that the exodus occurred in Merneptah’s third year, and that he afterward attacked the Hebrews. Others have supposed that not all the Hebrews had been in Egypt, but only the Joseph tribes. Still others have thought that the Leah tribes had made their exodus during the eighteenth dynasty, and that it was these with whom Merneptah fought, while the Rachel tribes made their exodus under the nineteenth dynasty. Opinions vary according to the critical views of different writers. All scholars would welcome more information on these problems.



[Pg 313]



The Text of the Code; Resemblance to and Contrast with the Mosaic Code. The Mosaic Code Not Borrowed from the Babylonian; Different Underlying Conceptions.


1. The Text of the Code; Comparison with the Mosaic Code.

The following code of laws was inscribed by order of Hammurapi, of the first dynasty of Babylon (2104-2061 B. C.), on a block of black diorite nearly eight feet in height and set up in Esagila, the temple of Marduk, in Babylon, so that the people might have the laws in the mother-tongue. As this last statement implies, the laws are written in Semitic Babylonian; before the time of Hammurapi the laws had been written in Sumerian. At some later time an Elamite conqueror, who was overrunning Babylonia, took this pillar away to Susa as a trophy. In course of time the pillar was broken into three parts, which were found by the French expedition under de Morgan in December, 1901, and January, 1902, while excavating at Susa. As the code is the oldest known code of laws in the world, being a thousand years older than Moses, and as it affords some interesting peculiarities as well as some striking parallels to the laws in Exodus 21-23 and in Deuteronomy, a translation of it, with some comparison of Exodus and Deuteronomy, is here given:


Against Witches

§ 1. If a man brings an accusation against a man, that he has laid a death-spell upon him, and has not proved it, the accuser shall be put to death.[459]

§ 2. If a man accuses another of practising sorcery upon him, but has not proved it, he against whom the charge of sorcery is made shall go to the sacred river; into the sacred river he shall plunge, and if the sacred river overpowers him, his accuser shall take possession of his house. If the sacred river shows that man to be innocent, and he is unharmed, he who charged him with sorcery shall be killed. He who plunged into the sacred river shall take the house of his accuser.

[Pg 314]With these laws we should compare Exod. 22:18, which imposes the death penalty upon witches, and Deut. 18:10, ff., which declares that there shall be no sorcerer, diviner, magician, or charmer in Israel and promises a line of prophets to render these unnecessary. Magic is banished from Israel; its presence in Babylonia is taken for granted, and only some of its exercises, which were supposed to be especially deadly, were forbidden. In § 2 the man accused of sorcery is to be tried by ordeal. He is to plunge into the river and if he can swim in its current, he is innocent. Trial by ordeal is found but once in the Hebrew laws (Num. 5:11-28). There both the crime and the ordeal are very different from this.

Note that in these sections the false accuser suffers in just the way he has tried to bring suffering to the other. This is the law of retaliation, which appears in Deut. 19:16-21, where it is applied to false witnesses in the same way as here. It will be found underlying many of the penalties of this code.


Laws Concerning False Witness

§ 3. If in a case a man has borne false witness, or accused a man without proving it, if that case is a capital case, that man shall be put to death.

§ 4. If he has borne witness in a case of grain or money, the penalty of that case he shall himself bear.

Hebrew law was similar; a false witness was to be visited with the penalty which he had purposed to bring upon his brother (Deut. 19:18, 19).


Against Reversing a Judicial Decision

§ 5. If a judge has pronounced a judgment, made a decision, caused it to be sealed, and afterward has altered his judgment, that judge they shall convict on account of the case which he decided and altered; the penalty which in that case he imposed he shall pay twelvefold, and in the assembly from the seat of his judgment they shall expel him; he shall not return; with the judges in a case he shall not sit.

Hebrew law presents no parallel to this.


Against Theft

§ 6. If a man steals the goods of a god (temple) or of a palace, that man shall be put to death, and he by whose hand the stolen goods were received shall be put to death.

§ 7. If a man purchases or receives on deposit either silver, gold, man-servant, maid-servant, ox, sheep, ass, or anything whatever from the hand of a minor or a slave without witnesses or contracts, that man is a thief; he shall be put to death.

[Pg 315]§ 8. If a man has stolen ox, or sheep, or ass, or pig, or a boat, either from a god (temple) or a palace, he shall pay thirtyfold. If he is a poor man, he shall restore tenfold. If the thief has nothing to pay, he shall be put to death.

§ 9. If a man, who has lost anything, finds that which was lost in a man’s hand, (and) the man in whose hand the lost thing was found says: “A seller sold it; I bought it before witnesses”; and the owner of the lost thing says: “I will bring witnesses who know that the lost thing is mine”; if the purchaser brings the seller who sold it to him and the witnesses in whose presence it was bought, and the owner of the lost thing brings the witnesses who know that the lost thing is his, the judges shall examine their testimony. The witnesses before whom the purchaser purchased it, and the witnesses who know the lost thing, shall give their testimony in the presence of a god. The seller is a thief; he shall be put to death. The owner of the lost thing shall take that which was lost. The purchaser shall take from the house of the seller the money which he had paid.

§ 10. If the purchaser does not produce the seller who sold it to him and the witnesses before whom he bought it, and the owner of the lost thing produces the witnesses who know that the lost thing is his, the purchaser is the thief; he shall be put to death. The owner of the lost thing shall take that which he lost.

§ 11. If the owner of the lost thing does not bring the witnesses who know that the lost thing is his, he is one who has attempted fraud; he shall be put to death.

§ 12. If the seller has died, the purchaser shall recover from the house of the seller the damages of that case fivefold.

§ 13. If that man has not his witnesses near, the judges shall set an appointed time within six months; and if, within six months, his witnesses he does not produce, that man is a liar; the penalty of that case he shall himself bear.

The Hebrew laws comparable to these are found in Exod. 22:1-4, 9, and Lev. 6:3-5. Exodus directs (v. 1) that, if a man steals an ox or a sheep and kills it or sells it, he shall restore live oxen for an ox and four sheep for a sheep. In case it is not sold he shall restore double (v. 9). No highly organized courts appear in the Biblical codes. The thief was brought before God and his guilt determined by some religious test. The law of Leviticus required a man guilty of theft to restore the lost property, adding to it a fifth more, and to offer a ram in sacrifice. (See Exod. 18:13-26. Cf. 2 Chron. 19:5-7 with 1 Chron. 23:4 and Deut. 16:18-20.)

The Babylonian laws presuppose a much more highly organized social community than the Hebrew.


Against Stealing Children and Slaves

§ 14. If a man steals the son of a man who is a minor, he shall be put to death.

§ 15. If a man causes a male or female slave of a palace, or the male or female slave of a workingman to escape from the city gate, he shall be put to death.

§ 16. If a man harbors in his house either a male or a female slave who has escaped from a palace or from a workingman, and does not bring him out at the summons of the officer, the owner of that house shall be put to death.

[Pg 316]§ 17. If a man finds in a field a male or a female slave who has escaped and restores him to his owner, the owner of the slave shall pay him 2 shekels of silver.

§ 18. If that slave will not name his owner, he shall bring him unto the palace and they shall investigate his record and restore him unto his owner.

§ 19. If he shall detain that slave in his house and afterward the slave is found, that man shall be put to death.

§ 20. If the slave escapes from the hand of his captor, that man shall declare it on oath to the owner of the slave and shall be innocent.

These laws are analogous to Exod. 21:16 and Deut. 23:15. The former inflicts the death penalty for stealing a man and selling him, and the latter prohibits one in whose house a fugitive slave has taken refuge from returning the slave to his master. Slavery was not in Israel such a firmly established institution as in Babylonia. (See Exod. 21:2-6; Deut. 15:12-18; Lev. 25:25-46.)


Housebreaking and Brigandage

§ 21. If a man breaks into a house, before that breach he shall be put to death and thrown into it.

§ 22. If a man practices brigandage and is caught, that man shall be put to death.

§ 23. If the robber is not caught, the man who is robbed shall declare his loss, whatever it is, in the presence of a god, and the city and governor in whose territory and jurisdiction the robbery was committed shall compensate him for whatever was lost.

§ 24. If it is a life, that city and governor shall pay to his relatives 1 mana of silver.[460]

Hebrew law presents an analogy to the last of these sections in Deut. 21:1-9, though in Israel no compensation was offered to the heirs of the man who was slain, but a sacrifice was performed by the elders of the nearest city, to purge it of innocent blood.


Stealing at a Fire

§ 25. If a fire breaks out in a man’s house, and a man who has come to extinguish it shall cast his eye upon the furniture of the owner of the house, and the furniture of the owner of the house shall take, that man shall be thrown into that fire.


The Duties and Privileges of Soldiers, Constables, and Tax-collectors

§ 26. If a soldier or a constable[461] who is ordered to go on a journey for the king does not go, but hires a substitute and dispatches him instead, that soldier or constable shall be put to death; his hired substitute shall appropriate his house.

§ 27. If a soldier or a constable is detained in a royal fortress and after him [Pg 317]they give his field or garden to another and he takes it and carries it on, if the first one returns and reaches his city, they shall restore to him his field and garden, and he shall take it and carry it on.

§ 28. If a soldier or a constable who is detained in a royal fortress has a son who is able to carry on his business, they shall give to him his field and garden and he shall carry on the business of his father.

§ 29. If his son is small and not able to carry on the business of his father, they shall give one-third of his field and garden to his mother and she shall rear him.

§ 30. If a soldier or a constable from the beginning of his appointment neglects his field, garden, and house and leaves them uncared for, another after him shall take his field, garden, and house, and carry on his business for three years. If he returns and desires his field, garden, and house, they shall not give them to him. He who has taken them and carried on the business shall carry it on.

§ 31. If he leaves it uncared for but one year and returns, they shall give him his field, garden, and house, and he shall carry on his own business.

§ 32. If a merchant ransoms a soldier (?) or a constable who, on a journey of the king, was detained, and brings him back, to his city, if in his house there is sufficient ransom, he shall ransom himself. If in his house there is not sufficient to ransom him, by the temple of his city he shall be ransomed. If in the temple of his city there is not a sufficient ransom, he shall be ransomed by the palace. His field, garden, and house shall not be given for ransom.

§ 33. If a governor or a magistrate harbors a deserting soldier or accepts and sends a hired substitute on an errand of the king, that governor or magistrate shall be put to death.

§ 34. If a governor or a magistrate takes the property of a soldier, plunders a soldier, or hires out a soldier, has defrauded a soldier in a suit before a sheik, or takes the present which the king has given to a soldier, that governor or magistrate shall be put to death.

§ 35. If a man buys the cattle or sheep which the king has given to a soldier, he shall forfeit his money.

§ 36. One shall not sell the field, garden, or house of a soldier, constable, or tax-collector.

§ 37. If a man has bought the field, garden, or house of a soldier, constable, or tax-collector, his tablet shall be broken, he shall forfeit his money; the field, house, or garden shall return to its owner.

§ 38. A soldier, constable, or tax-collector shall not deed to his wife or daughter the field, house, or garden, which is his perquisite, nor shall he assign them for debt.

§ 39. A field, garden, or house which he has purchased and possesses he may deed to his wife or daughter, or may assign for debt.

§ 40. A priestess, merchant, or other creditor may purchase his field, garden, or house. The purchaser shall conduct the business of the field, garden, or house which he has purchased.

§ 41. If a man has bargained for the field, garden, or house of a soldier, constable, or tax-collector and has given sureties, the soldier, constable, or tax-collector shall return to the field, house, or garden, and the sureties which were given him he shall keep.

No such officers as these are mentioned in the laws of the Old Testament, though some of them appear in earlier times in the records of Babylonia. The tax-collectors mentioned here remind us of Solomon’s tax-collectors mentioned in 1 Kings 4:7, ff.

 [Pg 318]

Laws of Agriculture

§ 42. If a man rents a field for cultivation and produces no grain in that field, they shall call him to account for doing no work in that field, and he shall give to the owner of the field grain similar to that of adjacent fields.

§ 43. If he does not cultivate that field and neglects it, he shall give the owner of the field grain similar to that of adjacent fields, and the field which he neglected he shall break up with mattocks, he shall harrow, and return it to the owner of the field.

§ 44. If a man rents an uncultivated field for three years for improvement and neglects its surface and does not develop the field, in the fourth year he shall break up the field with mattocks, he shall hoe and harrow it, and return it unto the owner of the field, and for every Gan of land he shall measure out 10 Gur of grain.

§ 45. If a man lets his field for pay on shares to a farmer and receives his rent, and afterward the storm-god inundates the field and carries off the produce, the loss is the farmer’s.

§ 46. If the rent of his field he has not received, and he has let the field for one-half or one-third (of the crop), the farmer and the owner of the field shall divide the grain which is in the field according to agreement.

§ 47. If the farmer, because he has not in a former year received a maintenance, entrusts the field to another farmer, the owner of the field shall not interfere. He would cultivate it, and his field has been cultivated. At the time of harvest he shall take grain according to his contracts.

§ 48. If a man has a debt against him and the storm-god inundates his field and carries away the produce, or if through lack of water grain has not grown in the field, in that year he shall not make a return of grain to his creditor; his contract he shall change, and the interest of that year he shall not pay.

§ 49. If a man borrows money from a merchant, and has given to the merchant a field planted with grain or sesame, and says to him: “Cultivate the field and harvest and take the grain or sesame which it produces”; if the tenant produces grain or sesame in the field, at the time of harvest the owner of the field shall take the grain or sesame which was produced by the field, and shall give to the merchant grain for the money which he borrowed from the merchant with its interest, and for the maintenance of the farmer.

§ 50. If the field was already planted [with grain or] sesame, the owner of the field shall receive the grain or the sesame which is produced in the field, and the money and its interest he shall return to the merchant.

§ 51. If there is not money to return, he shall give to the merchant [the grain or] sesame for the money and its interest which he had received from the merchant, according to the scale of prices fixed by the king.

§ 52. If the farmer does not produce grain or sesame in his field, he shall not alter his contract.

§ 53. If a man the side of his strong dyke has neglected and has not strengthened it, and in his dyke a break occurs, and the water destroys the farm-land, the man in whose dyke the break occurred shall restore the grain which was destroyed.

§ 54. If he is not able to restore the grain, they shall sell him and his possessions for money, and the owners of the fields whose grain was destroyed shall share it.

§ 55. If a man has opened his sluice for watering and has left it open and the water destroys the field of his neighbor, he shall measure out grain to him on the basis of that produced by neighboring fields.

[Pg 319]§ 56. If a man opens the water and the water destroys the work[462] of a neighboring field, he shall measure out 10 Gur of grain for each Bur of land.

§ 57. If a shepherd causes his sheep to eat vegetation and has not made an agreement with the owner of the field, and without the consent of the owner of the field has pastured his sheep, the owner of the field shall harvest that field, and the shepherd who without the consent of the owner of the field caused his sheep to eat the field, shall pay the owner of the field in addition 20 Gur of grain for each Bur of land.

§ 58. If, after the sheep have come up out of the fields and are turned loose on the public common by the city gate, a shepherd turns his sheep into a field and causes the sheep to eat the field, the shepherd shall oversee the field which he caused to be eaten, and at harvest-time he shall measure to the owner of the field 60 Gur of grain for each Bur of land.

The Hebrew land laws are found in Exod. 22:5, 6; 23:10, 11; Lev. 19:9, and Deut. 24:19-22; 23:24, 25. An examination of these passages reveals a wide difference between Babylonia and Israel. In Babylonia it seems to have often been the rule that a landlord let out the fields to tenants to work; among the Hebrews the law presupposes that each man shall work his own land. Many of the Babylonian laws are designed to secure the respective rights of landlord and tenant. Naturally, there is nothing in the Old Testament to correspond to these. Hebrew law (Exod. 22:5), like the Babylonian, provides that one who causes a neighbor’s crop to be eaten shall make restitution, but the regulations are of the most general character. In Babylonia a larger social experience had made much more specific regulations necessary.

The characters of the respective countries are reflected in the dangers from which crops might be threatened. In waterless Palestine a fire started by a careless man might burn his neighbor’s crop (Exod. 22:6); in Babylonia, where irrigation from canals was conducted to fields lower than the surface of the water, one might flood his neighbor’s field and destroy his crop by carelessly leaving his sluice open.

The Hebrew legislation presupposes a poorer community. It provides that the land shall lie fallow, and whatever it produces shall belong to the poor (Exod. 23:10, 11). At harvest-time, too, one must not reap the corners of his field; that was left to the poor (Lev. 19:9). If one forgot a sheaf in his field, he must not return to take it; that should be left to the poor (Deut. 24:19). Rich Babylonia made no such provision for the poor; it felt no such social sympathy.

[Pg 320]Again, even these agricultural laws show that commerce was highly developed in Babylonia, with its necessary concomitant, the right to charge interest for money. The uncommercial Hebrews regarded interest as unlawful (Exod. 22:25), and it was Hillel, the contemporary of Herod the Great, who invented an interpretation known as the Prosbūl, which practically did away with this law and permitted Jews to take interest.


Horticultural Laws

§ 59. If a man shall cut down a tree in a man’s orchard without the consent of the owner, he shall pay ½ mana of silver.

§ 60. If a man gives a field to a gardener to plant as an orchard, the gardener shall plant the orchard and cultivate it for 4 years. In the fifth year the owner of the orchard and the gardener shall share it together. The owner of the orchard shall mark off his share and take it.

§ 61. If the gardener in planting does not complete it, but leaves a part of it waste, unto his portion they shall count it.

§ 62. If the field which is given to a gardener he does not plant, if vegetation is the produce of the field for the years during which it is neglected, the gardener shall measure out to the owner of the field on the basis of the adjacent fields, and shall perform the work on the field and restore it to the owner of the field.

§ 63. If the field is [left] waste land, he shall perform the work on the field and shall restore it to its owner, and 10 Gur of grain for each Bur of land he shall measure out.

§ 64. If a man lets his orchard to a gardener to manage, as long as the gardener is in possession of the garden he shall give to the owner of the garden two-thirds of the produce; one-third he shall take himself.

§ 65. If the gardener does not manage the garden and diminishes its produce, the gardener shall measure out the produce of the orchard on the basis of adjacent orchards.[463]

§ 66. If a man has received money from a merchant, and his merchant puts him under bonds and he has nothing to give, and he gives his orchard for management unto the merchant and says: “The dates as many as are in my orchard take for thy money,” that merchant shall not consent; the owner of the orchard shall take the dates that are in the orchard and the money and its interest according to the tenor of his agreement he shall bring to the merchant. The remaining dates from the orchard shall belong to the owner of the orchard.

As in Palestine, there was no system of rental; the Bible contains almost no horticultural laws. “Orchards” in Babylonia were, as the last section shows, date orchards. The corresponding fruit in Palestine was the grape. Hebrew laws deal with vineyards as with fields. If a man destroys the crop in another’s vineyard, he is to give the best of his own (Exod. 22:5). He is to leave his crop unpicked every seventh year for the poor (Exod. 23:11). He is not, when he gathers it, to glean it carefully, but leave some for the[Pg 321] poor (Lev. 19:10). When one goes into his neighbor’s vineyard, he may pick what he wishes to eat, but must carry nothing away. Horticulture among the Hebrews was not so highly developed as in Babylonia.

Five columns of writing have been erased after § 65 from the column on which the laws are written. This erasure was probably made by the Elamite conqueror, who carried the column as a trophy to Susa, in order to inscribe his own name on it, but unfortunately, if that was the intention, it was never carried out. We are accordingly in ignorance of his name. It is estimated that 35 sections of laws were thus lost. As already noted, one can be supplied from a fragment found at Susa, and from other tablets fragments of two or three other sections can be made out. One of these incomplete fragments refers to the rights of tenants of houses. It reads:

[If] a man rents a house for money, and pays the whole rent for a year to the owner of the house, and the owner of the house orders that man to vacate before the expiration of his lease, the owner of the house from the money that he received shall ............

Unfortunately, the tablet is broken and the penalty for breaking the lease is unknown. It is interesting to know that Babylonian tenants were protected from avaricious landlords, even though no parallel law exists in the Old Testament.

Two other sections of laws that once stood in this lacuna can now be supplied from a considerably defaced tablet from Nippur in the University Museum in Philadelphia, which once contained a part or all of the code of Hammurapi. These sections are as follows:


A Bankrupt Law[464]

If a man borrows grain or money from a merchant and for the payment has no grain or money, whatever is in his hand he shall in the presence of the elders give to the merchant in place of the debt; the merchant shall not refuse it; he shall receive it.


A Partnership Law[465]

If a man gives money to a man for a partnership, the gain and profit that accrue are before the gods; together they shall do business.

The phrase “before the gods” means that the division shall be made on oath. Commercial life was not sufficiently developed[Pg 322] among the Hebrews so that they needed such a law, consequently the Pentateuch contains no parallel to this.

After the erasure of five columns the laws have to do with agents or traveling salesmen.


Agents and Merchants

§ 100. [If an agent has received money from a merchant, he shall write down the amount and the amount of] the interest on the money, and, when the time has expired, he shall repay the merchant as much as he has received.

§ 101. If where he goes he does not meet with success, the agent shall double the amount of the money he received and return it to the merchant.

§ 102. If a merchant gives money to an agent as a favor, and where he goes he meets with misfortune, he shall restore the principal unto the merchant.

§ 103. If on the road as he travels an enemy robs him of anything he carries, the agent shall give an account of it under oath and shall be innocent.

§ 104. If a merchant has given to an agent grain, wool, or oil, or anything whatever to sell, the agent shall write down the price and shall return the money to the merchant. The agent shall take a receipt for the money which he gives to the merchant.

§ 105. If the agent is careless and does not take a receipt for the money he gave the merchant, money not receipted for shall not be placed to his account.

§ 106. If an agent receives money from a merchant and has a dispute with his merchant about it, that merchant shall put the agent on trial on oath before the elders concerning the money he received and the agent shall pay the merchant three times as much as he received.

§ 107. If a merchant lends to an agent and the agent returns to the merchant whatever the merchant had given him, if the merchant has a dispute with him about it, that agent shall put the merchant on trial on oath in the presence of the elders, and the merchant, because he had a dispute with his agent, whatever he received he shall give to the agent six times as much.

The Hebrews of the Old Testament time were not a commercial people and had no such laws. Men today are inclined to think that the drummer, or traveling salesman, is a modern invention, but these laws show that he was an old institution in Babylonia four thousand years ago.


Wine Merchants

§ 108. If a woman who keeps a wine-shop does not receive grain as the price of drink, but takes money of greater value, or makes the measure of drink smaller than the measure of grain, that mistress of a wine-shop they shall put on trial and into the water shall throw her.

§ 109. If the mistress of a wine-shop collects criminals in her house, and does not seize these criminals and conduct them to the palace, that mistress of a wine-shop shall be put to death.

§ 110. If the wife of a god (i. e., a consecrated temple-woman), who is not living in the house appointed, opens a wine-shop or enters a wine-shop for a drink, they shall burn that woman.

§ 111. If the mistress of a wine-shop gives 60 Qa of sakani-plant drink on credit at the time of harvest, she shall receive 50 Qa of grain.

[Pg 323]The Old Testament affords no parallel. There were no wine-shops in Israel so far as we know, and such consecrated women were prohibited by Deut. 23:17.


Deposits and Distraints

§ 112. If a man continually traveling has given silver, gold, precious stones, or property to a man and has brought them to him for transportation, and that man does not deliver that which was for transportation at the place to which it was to be transported, but has appropriated it, the owner of the transported goods shall put that man on trial concerning that which was to be transported and was not delivered, and that man shall deliver unto the owner of the transported goods five times as much as was entrusted to him.

§ 113. If a man has grain or money deposited with a man and without the consent of the owner he takes grain from the heap or the granary, they shall prosecute that man because he took grain from the heap or the granary without the consent of the owner, and the grain as much as he took he shall return, and whatever it was he shall forfeit an equal amount.

§ 114. If a man does not have against a man [a claim] for grain or money and secures a warrant against him for debt, for each warrant he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of money.

§ 115. If a man holds against a man [a claim] for grain or money and secures a warrant against him for debt and the debtor dies through his fate in the house of the creditor, that case has no penalty.

§ 116. If the debtor dies through violence or lack of care, the owner of the debtor shall prosecute the merchant; if it was the son of a man, his son shall be put to death; if the slave of a man, he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of money, and whatever [the debt] was, he shall forfeit as much.

Among the Hebrews, as among other ancient peoples, the poor at times deposited their valuables with the more powerful for safekeeping. This was natural before the invention of banks and safe deposit vaults.

The Hebrew law in Exod. 22:7-10 provides that if goods are given to another man to keep and are stolen out of his house, the thief should, if found, restore double the amount taken. If the thief was not found, the owner of the house should be brought to God (so American R. V.)[466], i. e., to the temple, where in some way (probably by lot) it was determined whether he was guilty. If guilty, the owner of the house had to restore twofold.

Somewhat parallel to the Babylonian laws which permit the imprisonment of a debtor in one’s house is the Hebrew law that a poor debtor might become a slave for six years (Exod. 21:2-6; Deut. 15:7-18). The Old Testament laws are not quite uniform. In reality it is only that of Deuteronomy which contemplates slavery in consequence of indebtedness; Exodus speaks as though[Pg 324] the slave might not be bought in any way. The important point is that in Babylonia a man might be imprisoned for debt; in Israel he might become a temporary slave.

As to the deposit of valuable property with a creditor for security, the Hebrew law, while it shows that there were other kinds of pledges (Deut. 24:10, ff.), mentions but one kind. This was in the case of a man so poor that he had to give his outer garment as security. The law provided that this should be returned to him at night, since the poor peasants had no other blankets than these garments. A hard-hearted creditor might, by keeping the garment at night, risk the life of the debtor (Exod. 22:26, 27; Deut. 24:11-13).



§ 117. If a man is subjected to an attachment for debt and sells his wife, son, or daughter, or they are given over to service, for three years they shall work in the house of their purchaser or temporary master; in the fourth year they shall be set free.

§ 118. If he binds to service a male or a female slave, and the merchant transfers or sells him, he can establish no claim.

§ 119. If a man is subjected to an attachment for debt and sells a maid-servant who has borne him children, the owner of the maid-servant shall pay and shall release his maid-servant.

These laws are quite similar to Exod. 21:2-11 and Deut. 15:12-18.

The main differences are that the Hebrew law contemplates that a man may enter slavery himself; the Babylonian only that he shall permit his wife, son, or daughter to do it. The Hebrews released such slaves at the end of six years;[467] the Babylonians at the end of three. Hebrew law recognized, too, that a man might sell his daughter into slavery (Exod. 21:7-11), but it stipulated that her treatment should be different from that of men. It recognizes that either her master or his son would be likely to make her a real or a secondary wife. She was not to be released at the end of seven years, but in case her master did not deal with her in certain specified ways she regained her freedom regardless of her period of service.


Storage of Grain

§ 120. If a man has stored his grain in heaps in the building of another and an accident happens in the granary, or the owner of the building has disturbed the [Pg 325]heap and taken grain, or has disputed the amount of grain that was stored in his building, the owner of the grain shall give an account of his grain under oath, the owner of the building shall double the amount of grain which he took and restore it to the owner of the grain.

§ 121. If a man stores grain in a man’s building, he shall pay each year 5 Qa of grain for each Gur of grain.

These laws have no Biblical parallel.


Deposits and Losses

§ 122. If a man gives to another on deposit silver or gold or anything whatever, anything as much as he deposits he shall recount to witnesses and shall institute contracts and make the deposit.

§ 123. If without witnesses and contracts he has placed anything on deposit and at the place of deposit they dispute it, that case has no penalty.

§ 124. If a man gives to another on deposit silver or gold or anything whatever in the presence of witnesses and he disputes it, he shall prosecute that man and he shall double whatever he disputed and shall repay it.

§ 125. If a man places anything on deposit and at the place of deposit either through burglary or pillage anything of his is lost, together with anything belonging to the owner of the building, the owner of the building who was negligent and lost what was given him on deposit shall make it good and restore it to the owner of the goods. The owner of the house shall institute a search for whatever was lost and take it from the thief.

§ 126. If a man has not lost anything, but says he has lost something, or files a claim as though he had lost something, he shall give account of his claim on oath, and whatever he brought suit for he shall double and shall give for his claim.

There is no mention in the laws of the Old Testament of this kind of deposit, though, as already noted, it probably was sometimes practised.


Against Slandering Women

§ 127. If a man causes the finger to be pointed at the woman of a god or the wife of a man and cannot prove it, they shall bring him before the judges and they shall brand his forehead.

The nearest parallel to this in the Old Testament is in Deut. 22:13-21, which is really quite a different law, for it applies only to cases where men, when just married, slander their wives by charging them with previous impurity. The Hebrew law provides a method of trial, a punishment for the man, if guilty, and a much severer one for the woman, if the charge is true. The two codes belong to quite a different legal development, as is shown by the fact that the Babylonian law refers to “a woman of a god,” i. e., one of the temple-women who, under certain religious rules, represented in a concrete way the procreative power of the god.

[Pg 326]This code recognizes several classes of these, as will appear later, but Hebrew law forbade the existence of such women in Israel (Deut. 23:17).


Chastity, Marriage, and Divorce

§ 128. If a man takes a wife and does not execute contracts for her, that woman is no wife.

§ 129. If the wife of a man is caught lying with another man, they shall bind them and throw them into the water. If the husband of the woman would let her live, or the king would let his subject live, he may do so.

§ 130. If a man forces the betrothed wife of another who is living in her father’s house and has not known a man, and lies in her loins and they catch him, that man shall be put to death and that woman shall go free.

§ 131. If the wife of a man is accused by her husband, and she has not been caught lying with another man, she shall swear her innocence and return to her house.

§ 132. If the finger has been pointed at the wife of a man because of another man and she has not been caught lying with the other man, for her husband’s sake she shall plunge into the sacred river.

§ 133. If a man is taken captive and there is food in his house, his wife shall not go out from his house, her body she shall guard, into the house of another she shall not enter. If that woman does not guard her body and enters into the house of another, that woman they shall prosecute and throw her into the water.

§ 134. If a man is taken captive and in his house there is no food, and his wife enters into the house of another, that woman is not to blame.

§ 135. If a man is taken captive and there is no food in his house and his wife has openly entered into the house of another and borne children, and afterwards her husband returns and reaches his city, that woman shall return to her husband and the children shall follow their father.

§ 136. If a man deserts his city and flees and after it his wife enters into the house of another, if that man returns and would take his wife, because he deserted his city and fled, the wife of the fugitive shall not return to the house of her husband.

§ 137. If a man sets his face against a concubine who has borne him children or a wife that has presented him with children, to put her away, he shall return to that woman her marriage portion, and shall give her the income of field, garden, and house, and she shall bring up her children. From the time that her children are grown, from whatever is given to her children, a portion like that of a son shall be given to her, and the husband of her choice she may marry.

§ 138. If a man would put away his spouse who has not borne him children, he shall give her silver equal to her marriage gift, and the dowry which she brought from her father’s house he shall restore to her and may put her away.

§ 139. If she had no dowry, he shall give her one mana of silver for a divorce.

§ 140. If he belongs to the laboring class, he shall give her one-third of a mana of silver.

§ 141. If the wife of a man who is living in the house of her husband sets her face to go out and act the fool, her house neglects and her husband belittles, they shall prosecute that woman. If her husband says: “I divorce her,” he may divorce her. On her departure nothing shall be given her for her divorce. If her husband does not say: “I divorce her,” her husband may take another wife; that woman shall dwell as a slave in the house of her husband.

§ 142. If a woman hates her husband and says: “Thou shalt not hold me,” they shall make investigation concerning her into her defects. If she has been discreet and there is no fault, and her husband has gone out and greatly [Pg 327]belittled her, that woman has no blame; she may take her marriage-portion and go to her father’s house.

§ 143. If she has not been discreet, and has gone out and neglected her house and belittled her husband, they shall throw that woman into the water.

§ 144. If a man takes a priestess and that priestess gives a female slave to her husband, and she has children; if that man sets his face to take a concubine, they shall not favor that man. He may not take a concubine.

§ 145. If a man takes a priestess and she does not present him with children and he sets his face to take a concubine, that man may take a concubine and bring her into his house. That concubine shall not rank with the wife.

§ 146. If a man takes a priestess and she gives to her husband a maid-servant and she bears children, and afterward that maid-servant would take rank with her mistress; because she has borne children her mistress may not sell her for money, but she may reduce her to bondage and count her among the female slaves.

§ 147. If she has not borne children, her mistress may sell her for money.

§ 148. If a man takes a wife and she is attacked by disease, and he sets his face to take another, he may do it. His wife who was attacked by disease he may not divorce. She shall live in the house he has built and he shall support her as long as she lives.

§ 149. If that woman does not choose to live in the house of her husband, he shall make good to her the dowry which she brought from her father’s house and she may go away.

§ 150. If a man presents his wife with field, garden, house, or goods, and gives to her sealed deeds, after her husband’s death her children shall not press a claim against her. The mother after her death may leave it to her child whom she loves, but to a brother she may not leave it.

§ 151. If a wife who is living in the house of a husband has persuaded her husband and he has bound himself that she shall not be taken by a creditor of her husband; if that man had a debt against him before he took that woman, the creditor may not hold that woman, and if that woman had a debt against her before she entered the house of her husband, her creditor may not hold her husband.

§ 152. If they become indebted after the woman enters the man’s house, both of them are liable to the merchant.

§ 153. If a woman causes the death of her husband on account of another man, that woman they shall impale.

§ 154. If a man has known his daughter, the city shall drive out that man.

§ 155. If a man has betrothed a bride to his son and his son has known her and he afterward lies in her loins and they catch him, they shall bind that man and throw him into the water.

§ 156. If a man has betrothed a bride to his son and his son has not known her and he lies in her loins, he shall pay her half a mana of silver and restore to her whatever she brought from the house of her father, and the man of her choice may marry her.

§ 157. If a man after his father’s death lies in the loins of his mother, they shall burn both of them.

§ 158. If a man after his father’s death is admitted to the loins of his chief wife who has borne children, that man shall be expelled from the house of his father.

§ 159. If a man who has brought a present unto the house of his father-in-law and has given a bride-price looks with longing upon another woman, and says to his father-in-law: “Thy daughter I will not take,” the father of the daughter shall keep whatever was brought to him.

[Pg 328]§ 160. If a man brings a present to the house of a father-in-law and gives a bride-price, and the father of the daughter says: “I will not give thee my daughter,” whatever was brought him he shall double and restore it.

§ 161. If a man brings a present to the house of his father-in-law and gives a bride-price, and his neighbor slanders him, and the father says to the groom: “Thou shalt not take my daughter,” whatever was brought he shall double and restore to him.

These Babylonian laws present numerous points of contact and of divergence, when compared with the Biblical laws on the same subject. There is no Biblical parallel to § 128. The law (§ 129) which imposes the death penalty upon a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife and upon the woman, finds an exact parallel in Lev. 20:10 and Deut. 22:22, though the Biblical law, unlike the Babylonian, provides no way in which clemency could be extended to the offenders.

The laws in §§ 130, 156, concerning the violation of betrothed virgins, are in a general way paralleled by Lev. 19:20-22 and Deut. 22:23-26, though there are such differences that, while the underlying principles are the same, it is clear that there was entire independence of development. A religious element enters into Leviticus that is entirely absent from the Babylonian code. The Bible contains two laws on this subject that are without parallel in the Babylonian code. These are found in Exod. 22:16, 17 and Deut. 22:28, 29, and impose penalties for the violation of virgins who were not betrothed. In both codes the principle is manifest that the loss of a girl’s honor was to be compensated by money, though Deut. 22:28, 29 recognizes that it has a value that money cannot buy.

The laws relating to a wife whose fidelity is suspected (§§ 131, 132) find a general parallel in Num. 5:11-28. The provision at the end of § 132 that the wife should plunge into the sacred river is in the nature of trial by ordeal. The law in Numbers imposes on such a woman trial by ordeal, though it is of a different sort. She must drink water in which dust from the floor of the sanctuary is mingled—dust surcharged with divine potency—and if she does not swell up and die, she is counted innocent.

The laws which provide that a wife may present her husband with a slave-girl as a concubine (§§ 137, 144-147) are without parallel in the Biblical codes, but are strikingly illustrated by the patriarchal narratives. Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham (Gen. 16); Rachel and Leah gave Bilhah and Zilpah to Jacob (Gen. 30:1-13).[Pg 329] The law (§ 146) which deals with such a slave-girl who would rank with her mistress is closely parallel to the story of the treatment of Hagar in Gen. 16:5-7 and 21:9, 10.

The laws on divorce (§§ 138-141) are really in advance of the one Biblical law on the subject (Deut. 24:1-4). The law in Deuteronomy permits a husband to put away a wife, who in any way does not please him, without alimony, while to the wife no privilege of initiating divorce proceedings is granted at all. The Babylonian laws secure to the divorced woman a maintenance, and, while by no means according her equal rights with the man, provide (§ 142) that she may herself initiate the proceedings for divorce. The ordeal must have been an unpleasant one, but in Israel’s law a woman had no such rights.[468]

The law concerning adultery with a daughter-in-law (§ 155) is identical in purpose and severity with Lev. 20:12. The laws in §§ 157, 158, which prohibit immorality with one’s mother or the chief wife of one’s father, just touch upon the great subject of incest and the prohibited degrees of marriage which are treated at considerable length in Lev. 18:6-18; 20:11, 19-21, and Deut. 22:30. The Babylonian laws touch but two specific cases, which may be said to be covered by Deut. 22:30, while the laws of Leviticus treat the whole subject of the prohibited degrees of marriage in a broad and comprehensive way. The main idea pervading Leviticus is holiness. Israel is to be kept free from the pollution of incest in any form. The religious motive exhibited here is foreign to the Babylonian code.



§ 162. It a man takes a wife and she bears him children and that woman dies, her father may not lay claim to her dowry. Her dowry belongs to her children.

§ 163. If a man takes a wife and she does not present him with children and that woman dies; if his father-in-law returns unto him the marriage-settlement, which that man brought to the house of the father-in-law, unto the dowry of that woman her husband may not lay claim. Her dowry belongs to the house of her father.

§ 164. But if his father-in-law does not return the marriage-settlement unto him, he shall deduct from her dowry the amount of the marriage-settlement, and then return the dowry to the house of her father.

[Pg 330]§ 165. If a man has presented to his son, the first in his eyes, field, garden, or house, and written for him a sealed deed, and afterward the father dies; when the brothers divide, he shall take the present which his father gave him, and over and above they shall divide the goods of the father’s house equally.

§ 166. If a man takes wives for the sons which he possesses, but has not taken a wife for his youngest son, and afterward the father dies; when the brothers divide, for their younger brother who does not have a wife they shall present over and above his portion money for a marriage-settlement, and shall enable him to take a wife.

§ 167. If a man takes a wife and she bears him children and that woman dies, and after her he takes a second and she bears him children, after the father dies, the children shall not share according to their mothers. They shall receive the dowries of their respective mothers, and the goods of their father’s house they shall share equally.

§ 168. If a man has set his face to cut off his son, and says to the judges: “I will cut off my son,” the judges shall make investigation concerning him; if the son has not committed a grave crime which cuts off from sonship, the father may not cut off his son from sonship.

§ 169. If he has committed against his father a grave crime which cuts off from sonship, he shall pardon him for the first offense. If he commits a grave crime the second time, the father may cut off his son from sonship.

§ 170. If a man’s wife bears him children and a slave-girl bears him children, and the father during his lifetime says to the children which the slave-girl bore him: “My children,” and counts them with the children of the wife, after the father dies the children of the wife and the children of the slave-girl shall divide equally the goods of their father’s house. The sons that are sons of the wife shall at the sharing divide and take.

§ 171. But if the father during his lifetime has not said unto the children which the slave-girl bore him: “My children,” after the father dies the children of the slave-girl shall not share with the children of the wife. The slave-girl and her children shall be given their freedom; the children of the wife may not put a claim upon the children of the slave-girl for service. The wife shall receive her dowry and a gift which her husband gave her and wrote upon a tablet and may dwell in the dwelling of her husband as long as she lives and eat. She may not sell it. After her it belongs to her children.

§ 172. If her husband has not given her a gift, they shall restore to her her dowry and she shall receive from the goods of the house of her husband the portion of one son. If the children abuse her in order to drive her from the house, the judges shall investigate concerning her and if they find the children in the wrong, that woman shall not go from the house of her husband. If that woman sets her face to go out, she shall leave with her children the gift which her husband gave her; the dowry from the house of her father she shall receive and the husband of her choice may take her.

§ 173. If that woman, where she has entered, bears children to her later husband, after that woman dies the children of her first and her later husband shall share her dowry.

§ 174. If she did not bear children to her later husband, the children of her first husband shall receive her dowry.

§ 175. If a slave of the palace or the slave of a workingman takes the daughter of a patrician and she bears children, the owner of the slave shall have no claim for service on the children of the daughter of a patrician.

§ 176. But if a slave of the palace or the slave of a workingman takes the daughter of a patrician, and when he takes her she enters together with the dowry from her father’s house into the house of the slave of the palace or the [Pg 331]slave of the workingman; if after they are united they build a house and acquire property and afterward the slave of the palace or the slave of the workingman dies, the daughter of the patrician shall receive her dowry and they shall divide into two parts whatever her husband and herself had acquired after their union. Half the owner of the slave shall take, and the daughter of the patrician shall receive half for her children. If the daughter of the patrician had no dowry, whatever her husband and herself had acquired after their union they shall divide into two parts. The owner of the slave shall take half and the daughter of the patrician shall receive half for her children.

§ 177. If a widow whose children are minors sets her face to enter the house of a second husband, she shall not do it without the consent of the judges. When she enters the house of a second husband, the judges shall inquire into the estate of her former husband, and the estate of the former husband they shall entrust to the second husband and to that woman, and shall cause them to leave a tablet (receipt). The estate they shall guard and rear the minors. The household goods they may not sell. The purchaser of household goods belonging to the children of a widow shall forfeit his money. The goods shall revert to their owners.

§ 178. If there is a wife of a god, priestess, or sacred harlot, whose father has given her a dowry and written her a record of gift, and in the record of gift he has not written, “after her she may give it to whomsoever she pleases,” and has not given her full discretion; after her father dies her brothers shall take her field and garden, and according to the value of her share they shall give her grain, oil, and wool, and shall content her heart. If her brothers shall not give her grain, oil, and wool, according to the value of her share, and shall not content her heart, she may let her field and garden unto any tenant she pleases and her tenant shall maintain her. Her field, garden, or whatever her father gave her she may enjoy as long as she lives. She may not sell it for money or transfer it to another. Her heritage belongs to her brothers.

§ 179. If there is a wife of a god, priestess, or sacred harlot, whose father has given her a dowry and written a record of gift; and in the record of gift he has written, “after her she may give it to whomsoever she pleases,” and has granted her full discretion; after her father dies she may give it after her to whomsoever she pleases. Her brothers have no claim upon her.

§ 180. If a father does not give a dowry to his daughter, a priestess living in the appointed house, or a sacred harlot, after the father dies she shall receive from the goods of her father’s house the same share as one son, and as long as she lives she shall enjoy it. After her it belongs to her brothers.

§ 181. If the father of a priestess, sacred harlot, or temple maiden gives her to a god and does not give her a dowry, after the father dies she shall receive from the goods of her father’s house a third of the portion of a son and shall enjoy it as long as she lives. After her it belongs to her brothers.

§ 182. If a father does not give a dowry to his daughter, a priestess of Marduk of Babylon, and does not write a record of gift for her; after her father dies she shall receive from the goods of her father’s house one-third of the portion of a son, and shall pay no tax. A priestess of Marduk after her death may leave it to whomsoever she pleases.

§ 183. If a father presents a dowry to his daughter who is a concubine, and gives her to a husband and writes a record of gift; after the father dies she shall not share in the goods of her father’s house.

§ 184. If a father does not present a dowry to his daughter who is a concubine and does not give her to a husband; after her father’s death her brothers shall give her a dowry according to the value of the father’s estate and shall give her to a husband.

[Pg 332]In comparison with these Babylonian laws of inheritance those in the Old Testament are comparatively simple. We learn from Deut. 21:15-17, that a man’s firstborn son received a “double portion” of his father’s estate, i. e., twice as much as any other son. The inference is that the other sons shared equally. This law also provides that, when a man has two wives, the sons of the favorite wife shall have no advantage as to inheritance over the sons of the less loved wife. In Num. 27:8-11 it is provided that if a man has no son, his estate (i. e., real estate) may go to his daughter; if he has no daughter, it may go to his brothers; if no brothers, it goes to his father’s brothers. If his father has no brothers, the estate is to go to the next of kin. In Num. 36:2-12 the law that a daughter may inherit her father’s estate is supplemented by the provision that such a daughter must marry within the tribe, so that the landed property may not in the next generation pass out of the tribe.

Such were the Hebrew laws of inheritance. They apply to a much less complexly organized society than the Babylonian.

§§ 168, 169 of Hammurapi’s code deal with the cutting off of a son. This is paralleled in Deut. 21:18-21, though punishment inflicted by the law in Deuteronomy is quite different from the Babylonian, since the Hebrew boy, whose parents have proved him before the elders to be unworthy of sonship, was not cast out and sent away, but stoned to death. Another form of this law appears in Exod. 21:17.



§ 185. If a man takes a young child in his name unto sonship and brings him up, one may not bring a claim for that adopted son.

§ 186. If a man takes a young child unto sonship, and when he has taken him he rebels against his [adopted] father and mother, that foster-child shall return to his father’s house.

§ 187. One may not bring claim for the son of a temple-servant, a palace guard, or of a sacred harlot.

§ 188. If an artisan takes a son to sonship and teaches him his handicraft, one may not bring claim for him.

§ 189. If he does not teach him his handicraft, that foster-son may return to the house of his father.

§ 190. If a man does not count among his sons a young child whom he has taken to sonship and reared, that foster-child may return to his father’s house.

§ 191. If a man who takes a young child to sonship and rears him and establishes a house and acquires children, afterward sets his face to cut off that foster-son, that son shall not go his way. The father who reared him shall give him from his goods one-third the share of a son and he shall go. From field, garden, or house, he shall not give him.

[Pg 333]In the codes of the Old Testament there are no laws of adoption. The story of the adoption of Ephraim and Manasseh by Jacob in Gen. 48 shows that the idea was not unknown to the Hebrews, among whom the ceremony of adoption would seem to have consisted of the act of acknowledging the children as one’s own by placing one’s hands on their heads and giving them a paternal blessing.


Renunciation of Sonship

§ 192. If the son of a temple-servant or the son of a sacred harlot says to the father that brought him up or to the mother that brought him up, “Thou art not my father,” or, “Thou art not my mother,” they shall cut out his tongue.

§ 193. If the son of a temple-servant or the son of a sacred harlot has identified his father’s house and hated the father who brought him up or the mother who brought him up and goes back to his father’s house, they shall pluck out his eye.

The Old Testament has no laws with which to compare these. The two classes of persons whose children are mentioned were banished from Israel by Deut. 23:17, 18.


Wet-nurses or Foster-mothers

§ 194. If a man gives his son unto a nurse and his son dies in the hands of the nurse and the nurse substitutes another child without the consent of the father or the mother, they shall prosecute her; because she substituted another child without the consent of his father or his mother they shall cut off her breast.

This law also is without Biblical parallel.


Assault and Battery

§ 195. If a son strikes his father, they shall cut off his hand.

§ 196. If a man destroys the eye of the son of a patrician, they shall destroy his eye.

§ 197. If he breaks a man’s bone, they shall break his bone.

§ 198. If one destroys the eye of a workingman or breaks the bone of a workingman, he shall pay 1 mana of silver.

§ 199. If one destroys the eye of a man’s slave or breaks the bone of a man’s slave, he shall pay half his value.

§ 200. If a man knocks out the tooth of a man of his own rank, they shall knock his tooth out.

§ 201. If one knocks out the tooth of a workingman, he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of silver.

§ 202. If a man shall strike the private-parts of a man who is of higher rank than he, he shall receive sixty blows with an ox-hide scourge in the assembly.

§ 203. If a patrician strikes the private-parts of a patrician of his own rank, he shall pay 1 mana of silver.

§ 204. If a workingman strikes the private-parts of a workingman, he shall pay 10 shekels of silver.

§ 205. If the slave of a patrician strikes the private-parts of the son of a patrician, they shall cut off his ear.

[Pg 334]§ 206. If a man strikes a man in a quarrel and wounds him, he shall swear, “I did not strike with intent,” and shall pay for the physician.

§ 207. If from the stroke he dies, he shall swear [as above], and if it was a patrician, he shall pay ½ mana of silver.

§ 208. If it was a workingman, he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of silver.

§ 209. If a man strikes a man’s daughter and causes a miscarriage, he shall pay 10 shekels of silver for her miscarriage.

§ 210. If that woman dies, they shall put his daughter to death.

§ 211. If through a stroke one causes a miscarriage of the daughter of a workingman, he shall pay 5 shekels of silver.

§ 212. If that woman dies, he shall pay ½ mana of silver.

§ 213. If one strikes the slave-girl of a man and causes a miscarriage, he shall pay 2 shekels of silver.

§ 214. If that slave-girl dies, he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of silver.

These laws are strikingly parallel to Exod. 21:18-27, to which Exod. 21:12-14 should be prefixed. The Babylonian code, like the Hebrew, imposes the death penalty for wilful murder. Both codes provide that one who is an accidental homicide shall escape the penalty, but they do it in different ways. Hammurapi provides that the killer may take an oath that he did it without intent to kill. Exod. 21:13, 14 provides that the homicide may find sanctuary at the altar of God. In place of this Deut. 19:4, ff., provides that he may flee to a city of refuge.

If a man injures another in a fight, the Bible (Exod. 21:18, 19) provides that he shall pay for the lost time and, as does Hammurapi, the cost of healing the injured man. Exod. 21:22 provides, as does Hammurapi, for the payment of a fine for causing a woman to miscarry, but Exodus does not, like the Babylonian code, fix the amount of the damage; that is left to the judges. In the laws concerning the injury of slaves the two codes differ. Exodus provides (21:20, 21, 26, 27) for cases in which owners injure or kill their own slaves; Hammurapi, for cases in which the injury is done by others. A mere reading of the penalties imposed by the parts of the Babylonian code translated above impresses vividly upon the mind the fact that underlying many of them is the principle so forcibly expressed in Exod. 21:21-25: “life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” The details of application are different, but the principle is the same. Many of the differences were caused by the more complex nature of Babylonian society, in which three classes, patricians, workingmen (or semi-serfs), and slaves, existed. Hebrew law recognizes but two classes—freemen and slaves.

 [Pg 335]


§ 215. If a physician operates upon a man for a severe wound with a bronze lancet and saves the man’s life, or if he operates for cataract with a bronze lancet and saves the man’s eye, he shall receive 10 shekels of silver.

§ 216. If it is a workingman, he shall receive 5 shekels of silver.

§ 217. If it is a man’s slave, the owner of the slave shall give the physician 2 shekels of silver.

§ 218. If a physician operates upon a man with a bronze lancet for a severe wound, and the man dies; or operates upon a man with a bronze lancet for cataract and the man’s eye is destroyed, they shall cut off his hand.

§ 219. If a physician operates with a bronze lancet upon the slave of a workingman and causes his death, he shall restore a slave of equal value.

§ 220. If he operates for cataract with a bronze lancet and destroys his eye, he shall pay ½ his price.

§ 221. If a physician sets a broken bone for a man or has cured of sickness inflamed flesh, the patient shall pay 5 shekels of silver to the physician.

§ 222. If he is a workingman, he shall give 3 shekels of silver.

§ 223. If he is the slave of a patrician, the owner of the slave shall give 3 shekels of silver to the physician.

§ 224. If an ox-doctor or an ass-doctor treats an ox or an ass for a severe wound and saves its life, the owner of the ox or the ass shall pay to the physician ⅙ of a shekel of silver as his fee.

§ 225. If he operates upon an ox or an ass for a severe wound and it dies, he shall give unto the owner of the ox or the ass ¼ of its value.

These laws about physicians have no parallel in the Old Testament, the laws of which did not take account of the existence of doctors. They are of interest, since they show the antiquity of physicians in Babylonia, not only for men, but for animals. They also reveal the fact that the practice of medicine in Babylonia was attended by some risks!

Herodotus (I, 197) declares that the Babylonians had no physicians, but brought their sick out into the streets and asked of each passer-by whether he had had a like sickness and what he had done for it. Possibly, as among ourselves, there were many who did not wish to incur the expense of a doctor, and who did as Herodotus reports, but these laws, and the existence of physicians at Nineveh at the time of the later Assyrian kings, make it probable that Herodotus was wrong as to their non-existence at Babylon in his day.


Laws of Branding

§ 226. If a brander without the consent of the owner of a slave cuts a mark on a slave, making him unsalable, they shall cut off the hands of that brander.

§ 227. If a man deceives a brander and he brands a slave with a mark, making him unsalable, they shall put that man to death and cause him to perish in the gate of his house. The brander shall swear: “I did not brand him knowingly” and shall go free.

[Pg 336]These laws have no parallel in the Old Testament. Evidently the simpler organization of Hebrew society made them unnecessary.


Responsibility of House-builders

§ 228. If a builder builds a house for a man and completes it, he shall give him as his wages 2 shekels of silver for each Shar of house.

§ 229. If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make its work strong and the house which he made falls and causes the death of the owner of the house, that builder shall be put to death.

§ 230. If it causes the death of the son of the owner, the son of that builder shall be put to death.

§ 231. If it causes the death of a slave of the owner of the house, a slave like the slave he shall give to the owner of the house.

§ 232. If it destroys property, he shall restore whatever was destroyed, and because he did not build the house strong and it fell, he shall rebuild the house that fell from his own property.

§ 233. If a builder builds a house for a man and does not make his work strong and a wall falls, that builder shall strengthen that wall at his own expense.

These laws have no parallel in the Bible. Among the agricultural population of Palestine builders were not a separate class. The penalties inflicted by the Babylonian code were severe, and yet, if modern legislators would put upon the house-builders of our time a similar responsibility for good work, fewer lives would be sacrificed by falling buildings.


Responsibility of Boatmen

§ 234. If a boatman builds a boat of 60 Gur for a man, he shall give him 2 shekels of silver as his wages.

§ 235. If a boatman builds a boat for a man and does not make his work sound and in that year the boat is sent on a voyage and meets with disaster, that boatman shall repair that boat and from his own goods shall make it strong and shall give the boat in sound condition to the owner of the boat.

§ 236. If a man gives his boat to a boatman for hire and the boatman is careless and sinks or wrecks the boat, the boatman shall restore a boat to the owner of the boat.

§ 237. If a man hires a boatman and a boat and loads it with grain, wool, oil, dates, or any other kind of freight, and that boatman is careless and sinks the boat or destroys its freight, the boatman shall replace the boat and whatever there was in it which he destroyed.

§ 238. If a boatman sinks a man’s boat and re-floats it, he shall give money for ½ its value.

§ 239. If a man hires a boatman, he shall give him 6 Gur of grain a year.

The Hebrews were not a maritime people, and had no such laws as these or the following.

 [Pg 337]

The Collision of Ships

§ 240. If a boat that is floating downstream strikes a boat that is being towed and sinks it, the owner of the boat that was sunk shall declare in the presence of a god everything that was in that boat and [the owner] of the boat floating downstream, which sunk the boat that was being towed, shall replace the boat and whatever was lost.

There is, naturally, nothing similar to this in the Old Testament.


Laws Concerning Cattle

§ 241. If a man levies a distraint upon an ox as security for debt, he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of silver.

§ 242. If a man hires for a year, the wages of a working ox is 4 Gur of grain.

§ 243. The hire of a milch cow, 3 Gur of grain for a year he shall give.

§ 244. If a man hires an ox or an ass and a lion kills it in the field, the loss falls on the owner.

§ 245. If a man hires an ox and causes its death through neglect or blows, he shall restore to the owner an ox of equal value.

§ 246. If a man hires an ox and crushes its foot or cuts the cord of its neck, he shall restore to the owner an ox of like value.

§ 247. If a man hires an ox and destroys its eye, he shall pay to the owner of the ox money to ½ its value.

§ 248. If a man hires an ox and breaks off its horn, or cuts off its tail or injures the flesh which holds the ring, money to ¼ of its value he shall pay.

§ 249. If a man hires an ox and a god strikes it and it dies, the man who hires the ox shall take an oath in the presence of a god and shall go free.

§ 250. If an ox when passing along the street gores a man and causes his death, there is no penalty in that case.

§ 251. If the ox of a man has the habit of goring and they have informed him of his fault and his horns he has not protected nor kept his ox in, and that ox gores a man and causes his death, the owner of the ox shall pay ½ mana of money.

§ 252. If it is the slave of a man, he shall pay ⅓ of a mana of money.

§ 253. If a man hires a man and puts him over his field and furnishes him with seed-grain and intrusts him with oxen and contracts with him to cultivate the field, if that man steals the seed-grain or the crop and it is found in his possession, they shall cut off his hands.

§ 254. If he takes the seed-grain, but enfeebles the cattle, from the grain which he has cultivated he shall make restoration.

§ 255. If he shall let the cattle to a man for hire, or steal the seed-grain so that there is no crop, they shall prosecute that man, and he shall pay 60 Gur of grain for each Gan.

§ 256. If he is not able to meet his obligation, they shall tear him in pieces in that field by means of the oxen.

The Biblical legislation corresponding to this is found in Exod. 21:28-35, but it covers only a portion of the cases of which the Babylonian law treats. It provides that, if an ox gores a man or a woman to death, the ox shall be stoned. If the ox was wont to gore and the owner had not kept it in, but it had been permitted to kill a man or a woman, the owner as well as the ox should be stoned. At the discretion of the tribunal a fine or ransom might be laid on[Pg 338] the owner. In case the ox gored a slave, the owner of the ox was to pay 30 shekels of silver and the ox was to be stoned. If a man opened a pit and a neighbor’s ox or ass fell into it, the digger of the pit must make good the loss to the owner of the animal, and the dead beast became the property of the digger of the pit. If one man’s ox killed the ox of another man, the two men were to sell the live ox and divide the price. If it were known that the ox was wont to gore in the past, and its owner had not kept it in, he was to pay ox for ox, and the dead animal should be his.

It thus appears that the exigencies of Hebrew agricultural life were different from those of Babylonia, and were naturally met in different ways.


Wages of Laborers

§ 257. If a man hires a field-laborer, he shall pay him 8 Gur of grain per year.

§ 258. If a man hires a herdsman, he shall pay him 6 Gur of grain per year.

Hebrew law did not regulate wages.


On Stealing Farming-tools

§ 259. If a man steals a watering-machine from a field, he shall pay to the owner of the watering-machine 5 shekels of silver.

§ 260. If a man steals a watering-bucket or a plow, he shall pay 3 shekels of silver.

As the Hebrews did not systematically irrigate their land, the Old Testament contains no similar laws.


Laws Concerning Shepherds

§ 261. If a man hires a herdsman to tend cattle or sheep, he shall pay him 8 Gur of grain per year.

§ 262. If a man, oxen, or sheep ..............

(The rest is broken away.)

§ 263. If he loses an ox or a sheep that is intrusted to him, he shall restore ox for ox and sheep for sheep.

§ 264. If a herdsman who has had cattle or sheep intrusted to him receives his full pay and is satisfied, and he causes the cattle or the sheep to diminish in number or lessens the birth-rate, he shall give increase and produce according to his contracts.

§ 265. If a shepherd to whom cattle or sheep have been given to tend is dishonest and alters the price or sells them, they shall prosecute him, and he shall restore to their owner 10 times the oxen or sheep which he stole.

§ 266. If in a fold there is a pestilence of a god, or a lion has slain, the shepherd shall before a god declare himself innocent, and the owner of the fold shall bear the loss of the fold.

§ 267. If the shepherd is careless and causes a loss in the fold, the shepherd shall make good in cattle or sheep the loss which he caused in the fold and shall give them to the owner.

[Pg 339]The nearest approach in the Old Testament to laws of this character is in Exod. 22:10-13, which provides that, if a man deliver to his neighbor an ox, or ass, or sheep, or any beast to keep, and it dies, or is injured or is carried off when no one sees the deed, the oath of Jehovah shall be between them that the keeper has not put his hand to his neighbor’s goods. The owner was to accept this, and no restitution was necessary. If the animals were stolen from the keeper, he must make restitution. If they were torn in pieces by beasts of prey, he must bring the pieces for witness, and need not make restitution.

The same general principles of the limits of responsibility underlay the two codes in these cases, though they differ in details. In Israel the shepherding of the flocks and herds of other people was not, as in Babylonia, a distinct occupation.


On Wages of Animals and Men

§ 268. If a man hires an ox for threshing, 20 Qa of grain is its hire.

§ 269. If he hires an ass for threshing, 10 Qa of grain is its hire.

§ 270. If he hires a kid for threshing, 1 Qa of grain is its hire.

§ 271. If he hires cattle, a wagon and a driver, he shall pay 180 Qa of grain per day.

§ 272. If a man hires a wagon only, he shall pay 40 Qa of grain per day.

§ 273. If a man hires a field-laborer from the beginning of the year until the fifth month, he shall pay him 6 She of silver per day; from the sixth month to the end of the year, 5 She of silver per day he shall pay.

§ 274. If a man hires an artisan, he shall give per day as the wages of a ..... 5 She; as the wages of a brick-maker, 5 She of money; as the wages of a tailor, 5 She of silver; as the wages of a stone-cutter, ...... She of silver; ............ She of silver; ............ She of silver; ............ of a carpenter, 4 She of silver; as the wages of a ...... 4 She of silver; as the wages of a ...... She of silver; the wages of a builder, ...... She of silver.

§ 275. If a man hires a boat (?) to go upstream (?), its hire is 3 She of silver per day.

§ 276. If he hires a boat to float downstream, he shall pay as its hire 2½ She of silver per day.

§ 277. If a man hires a boat of 60 Gur burden, he shall pay ⅙ of a shekel of money per day.

There are no parallels to these laws in the Bible, as the Old Testament does not attempt to regulate prices. When one considers the customs of trade all over the Orient, and the time fruitlessly consumed in making bargains, one does not wonder that the practical sovereign of a great commercial people, such as the Babylonians were, should regulate prices by law. As a rule, to this day, a purchaser begins by offering only a fraction of what he is willing to give, and the seller by asking at least twice as much as he is willing[Pg 340] to take. A long psychological battle follows, during which there are many victories and capitulations on each side. This law was designed to put an end to this time-consuming custom.


When the Sales of Slaves are Void

§ 278. If a man buys a male or a female slave and before a month is past he has an attack of rheumatism (?), he shall return to the seller, and the purchaser shall receive back the money that was paid.

§ 279. If a man buys a male or a female slave, and another has a legal claim upon him, the seller shall be responsible for that claim.

§ 280. If a man, while in a foreign country, purchases a male or a female slave of a man, and, when he returns home, the former owner of the male or the female slave recognizes his slave, if that male or female slave is a native of the land, he shall give it its freedom without recompense.

§ 281. If they are natives of another country, the purchaser shall declare in the presence of a god the price that he paid, and the former owner of the male or female slave shall pay the price to the merchant, and shall receive back his slave.

No laws similar to these are found in the Old Testament.


The Penalty for Renouncing a Master

§ 282. If a slave shall say to his owner: “Thou art not my owner,” they shall make him submit as his slave, and shall cut off his ear.

This penalty reminds one of the boring of a slave’s ear (Exod. 21:6; Deut. 15:17) in token of perpetual slavery.

2. The Mosaic Code not Borrowed from the Babylonian; Different Underlying Conceptions.

A comparison of the code of Hammurapi as a whole with the Pentateuchal laws as a whole, while it reveals certain similarities, convinces the student that the laws of the Old Testament are in no essential way dependent upon the Babylonian laws. Such resemblances as there are arose, it seems clear, from a similarity of antecedents and of general intellectual outlook; the striking differences show that there was no direct borrowing. The primitive Semitic custom of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth (Exod. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21) is made the basis of many penalties in the Babylonian code. (See §§ 196, 197, 200, 229, 230, etc.) The principle underlying it is found also in many other sections. These similarities only show that Babylonia had a large Semitic element in its population. Again, Hammurapi pictured himself at the top of the pillar on which these laws are written as receiving them from the sun-god (Fig. 292). The Bible tells us that Moses received the[Pg 341] laws of the Pentateuch from Jehovah. The whole attitude of the two documents is, however, different. Hammurapi, in spite of the picture, takes credit, both in the prologue and in the epilogue of his code, for the laws. He, not Shamash, established justice in the land. Moses, on the other hand, was only the instrument; the legislation stands as that of Jehovah himself.

This difference appears also in the contents of the two codes. The Pentateuch contains many ritual regulations and purely religious laws, while the code of Hammurapi is purely civil. As has been already pointed out, the code of Hammurapi is adapted to the land of the rivers, and to a highly civilized commercial people, while the Biblical laws are intended for a dry land like Palestine, and for an agricultural community that was at a far less advanced stage of commercial and social development.

Religion is, however, not a matter of social advancement only. In all that pertains to religious insight the Pentateuch is far in advance of Hammurapi’s laws.



[Pg 342]



The Text of the Carthaginian Law. Comparison with the Levitical Law.


1. The Text of the Carthaginian Law.

Temple of Baal[zephon], Tar[iff of d]ues, which [the superintendents of d]ues fixed in the time [of our rulers, Khalas]baal, the judge, son of Bodtanith, son of Bod[eshmun, and of Khalasbaal], the judge, son of Bodeshmun, son of Khalasbaal, and their colleagues.

For an ox as a whole burnt-offering[470] or a prayer-offering, or a whole peace-offering,[471] the priests shall have 10 (shekels) of silver for each; and in case of a whole burnt-offering, they shall have in addition to this fee [300 shekels of fle]sh; and, in case of a prayer-offering, the trimmings, the joints; but the skin and the fit of the inwards[472] and the feet and the rest of the flesh the owner of the sacrifice shall have.

For a calf whose horns are wanting, in case of one not castrated (?), or in case of a ram as a whole burnt-offering, the priests shall have 5 shekels of silver [for each; and in case of a whole burnt-offering they shall have in addit]ion to this fee 150 shekels of flesh; and, in case of a prayer-offering, the trimmings and the joints; but the skin and the fat of the inwards and the fe[et and the rest of the flesh the owner of the sacrifice shall have].

In case of a ram or a goat as a whole burnt-offering, or a prayer-offering, or a whole peace-offering, the priests shall have 1 shekel of silver and 2 zars for each; and, in case of a prayer-offering, they shall [have in addition to this fee the trimmings] and the joints; but the skin and the fat of the inwards and the feet and the rest of the flesh the owner of the sacrifice shall have.

For a lamb, or a kid, or the young (?) of a hart, as a whole burnt-offering, or a prayer-offering, or a whole peace-offering, the priests shall have ¾ (of a shekel) and ...... zars of silver [for each; and, in case of a prayer-offering, they shall have in addition] to this fee the trimmings and the joints; but the skin and the fat of the inwards and the feet and the rest of the flesh the own[er of the sacrifice] shall have.

For a bird, domestic or wild, as a whole peace-offering, or a sacrifice-to-avert-calamity (?) or an oracular (?) sacrifice, the priests shall have ¾ (of a shekel) of silver and 2 zars for each; but the f[lesh shall belong to the owner of the sacrifice].

For a bird, or sacred first-fruits, or a sacrifice of game, or a sacrifice of oil, the priests shall have 10 g[erahs] for each; but ......................

In case of every prayer-offering that is presented before the gods, the priests shall have the trimmings and the joints; and in the case of a prayer-offering ....

[Pg 343]For a cake, and for milk, and for every sacrifice which a man may offer, for a meal-offering[473] ..........

For every sacrifice which a man may offer who is poor in cattle, or poor in birds, the priests shall not have anything ..........

Every freeman and every slave and every dependent[474] of the gods and all men who may sacrifice .........., these men [shall give] for the sacrifice at the rate prescribed in the regulations ..........

Every payment which is not prescribed in this table shall be made according to the regulations which [the superintendents of the dues fixed in the time of Khalasbaal, son of Bodtani]th, and Khalasbaal, son of Bodeshmun, and their colleagues.

Every priest who shall accept payment beyond what is prescribed in this table shall be fi[ned] ............

Every person who sacrifices, who shall not give ............ for the fee which ..............

2. Comparison with the Levitical Law.

This document is not earlier than the fourth or fifth century B. C. The Carthaginians, from whom it comes, were an offshoot of the Phœnicians, who were, in turn, descended from the Canaanites. They were accordingly of kindred race to the Hebrews. One can, therefore, see from this document something of how the Levitical institutions of Israel resembled and how they differed from those of their kinsmen. It will be seen that the main sacrifices bore the same names among both peoples. We find the “whole burnt-offering,” the “peace-offering,” and the “meal-offering.” The Carthaginians had no “sin-offering,” while among the Hebrews we find no “prayer-offering.” The ways of rewarding the priests also differed with the two peoples. The Hebrews had no such regular tariff of priests’ dues as the Carthaginians, but parts of certain offerings and all of others belonged to them. Leviticus assigns from the peace-offering the “heave-thigh” and the “wave-breast” to the priests (Lev. 7:14, 34; Num. 5:9, 10; 31:29, 41). Meal- or flour-offerings belonged to the priests (Lev. 5:13; 7:9, 10), as did the sin- and trespass-offerings (Lev. 6:18, 29; 7:9, 10). Of the burnt-offerings the priests had the skin (Lev. 7:8).

The interesting thing is that in the ritual, as in the social laws, we find that the heathen Semites had a considerable number of regulations similar to those of the Hebrews.



[Pg 344]



Letters of Rib-Adda of Gebal. Of Ebed-Hepa of Jerusalem. Their Light on Conditions in the Period of the Egyptian Domination of Palestine.


Many of the El-Amarna[475] Letters were written from Palestine and Phœnicia. Some scholars think these letters come from the Patriarchal period; others hold that they are contemporary with the Hebrew conquest, and give us additional information concerning it. Some of those who hold this last view believe that the conquest of Palestine by the Hebrews was not made all at once. They think that the tribes descended from Leah entered the land before those descended from Rachel. Such scholars hold that these letters give us contemporary evidence of the wars of the Leah tribes. Whichever view one takes, the letters are most interesting, as they open to us a previously unknown chapter in the history of Jerusalem.

1. Some Letters of Rib-Adda of Gebal.[476]


To the king, my lord, the king of the countries, speak, saying, Rib-Adda, thy servant, the footstool of thy feet; at the feet of the sun, my lord, eight times and seven times I prostrate myself. Again, there is clear to the king, my lord, the deed of Ebed-Ashera, the dog, when all the lands of the king, my lord, are made over unto him and are subservient to his land. And now behold the city of Sumur has been won over—a fold of my lord and a temple of his shrine—to him, and he has encamped in the temple of my shrine and has opened the place of the curse of my lord and won it. What is he, a man ......... and dog that he should judge? Again, when men say in the presence of the king, my lord: “Learn that Gebal is ..........,” then know that he has not taken Gebal ............... and it is difficult for the lands of the king, my lord. Again, let the king, my lord, send his inspector who may judge ................ and may protect the city of the king, my lord. And I ........ and will serve my lord, the king of the lands. And may my lord send people and let them bring whatever belongs to my .............. into the presence of the king, my lord, and let not that dog take anything that belongs to thy gods. And is it clear now that he would take Gebal? See, Gebal is like Memphis, loyal to the king. A second time, see Ebed-Ninib, the man whom I sent with Buhiya, is a .......... So [Pg 345]send unto thy servant. Again see, Ummahnu is a maid-servant of the Baal-goddess of Gebal; her husband is Ishkur .......... send! ..........

(The tablet is broken off at this point.)



To the king, my lord, my sun, say: Rib-Adda, thy servant; at the feet of my lord, my sun-god, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself. May the king, my lord, listen to the words of his faithful servant! It is going very hard for me! The hostility has become strong. The sons of Ebed-Ashera have become great in Amurru; theirs is the whole land. The city of Sumur and the city of Irkata are left to the princes. And behold in Sumur I am strong. When it was difficult for the princes on account of the enmity, I left Gebal and ........ Zimridda and .......... Yapa-Addi ........ with me. Behold, then wrote the prince unto them; but they did not hearken unto him. And may the king, my lord, hearken to the words of his faithful servant! Send aid very quickly unto the city Sumur for its protection until the arrival of the mercenaries of the king, the sun. And may the king, the sun, drive out the enemy from his land. Again may the king, my lord, hearken to the word of his servant and send men as guards to the city of Sumur and to the city of Irkata, in case that all the guards flee from Sumur. And may it seem good to my lord, the sun of the countries, to give to me 20 pairs of horses. And may he send help very quickly to the city of Sumur to guard it. All the guards who remain are in straits and few are the men in the city. If mercenaries thou dost not send, then there will be no city remaining to thee. If there are mercenaries, we will take all the lands for the king.

These letters mention a certain Ebed-Ashera and claim that his sons are gaining possession of all the land of Amurru. If the “Ebed” were dropped out of the phrase, “sons of Ebed-Ashera,”[479] there would remain “sons of Ashera,” or, “sons of Asher.” The “land of Amurru,” or, “land of the Amorites,” lay, at the time these letters were written, in the later home of the tribe of Asher, and a little to the north of it, between the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon mountains. Some scholars hold that we have in these letters references to the coming of the “sons of Asher,” or the tribe of Asher into this region, but it is a theory which in the present state of our knowledge we can neither prove nor disprove. If it should prove to be true, these tablets would reflect a part of the Hebrew conquest of this region.

2. Letters of Ebed-Hepa of Jerusalem.


[To the king, my lord, speak, saying, E]bed-H[epa thy servant—at] the feet [of the king, my lord,] seven times and seven times [I prostrate myself]. Behold [Pg 346]I am not a [prefect]; a vassal am I unto [the king, my lord]. Why did not the king, [my lord], send a messenger [quickly]? In similar circumstances sent Ienhamu .................. I. [May] the king [hearken unto Ebed]-Hepa, his servant. [Behold] there are no mercenaries. [May] the king, my lord, s[end a governor] and let him take [the prefects] with him .......... lands of the king ......... and people .......... who are .......... [and Addaya], the governor of the king [has] their house .......... So may the king care for them and send a messenger quickly. When ..........



To the king, my lord, speak, saying, Ebed-Hepa, thy servant—at the feet of my lord, the king, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself. What have I done to the king, my lord? They slander and misrepresent me before the king, my lord, [saying]: Ebed-Hepa is disloyal to the king, his lord. Behold I—neither my father nor my mother set me in this place; the arm of the mighty king caused me to enter into the house of my father. Why should I commit rebellion against the king, my lord? As long as the king, my lord, lives I will say unto the governor of the king, my lord: “Why dost thou love the Habiri and hate the prefects?” But thus he misrepresents me before the king, my lord. Now I say, “Lost are the lands of the king, my lord.” So he misrepresents me to the king, my lord. But let the king, my lord, know (that) after the king, my lord, set guards, Ienhamu took them all .................... Egypt .......... of the king, my lord; [there are no] guards there. Then may the king care for his land! May the king care for his land! Separated are all the lands from the king. Ilimilku has destroyed all the country of the king; so may the king, my lord, care for his land! I say: “I will enter the presence of the king, my lord, and I will behold the eye of the king, my lord,” but the enemy is more mighty than I, and I am not able to enter into the presence of the king, my lord. So may it seem right to the king .......... may he send guards, and I will enter in and will behold the eyes of the king, my lord! And so long as the king, my lord, lives, so long as the governors are withdrawn, I will say: “Perished are the lands of the king.” Thou dost not hearken to me! All the prefects have perished; there is left no prefect to the king, my lord! May the king turn his face toward mercenaries, so that there may come forth mercenaries of the king, my lord. There are no lands left to the king, my lord. The Habiri plunder all the countries of the king. If there are mercenaries in this year, then there will be left countries of the king, my lord. If there are no mercenaries, the countries of the king will be lost. Unto the scribe of the king, my lord, saying: “Ebed-Hepa, thy servant. Take beautiful words to the king, my lord! Lost are all the lands of the king, my lord.”



[To the king, my lord, [speak,] saying, Eb]ed-Hepa, thy servant. [Unto the feet] of my lord seven [times and seven times I prostrate myself]. [I have heard all] the words [which the king, my lord,] has sent to me .......... Behold the deed which .......... has done .......... Copper .......... word ........ He has brought [into the city Keilah]. [Cf. Josh. 15:44.] May the king know that all the lands are gone and there is enmity against me. So may the king care for his land! Behold the land of the city Gezer, the land of the city Askelon and the city of Lakish have given them food, oil, and all kinds of herbs. So may the king give attention to the mercenaries! May he send mercenaries against the people who commit outrages against the king, my lord! If there are in this [Pg 347]year mercenaries, then there will remain lands and prefects to the king, my lord. But if there are no mercenaries, there will be no lands and prefects to the king. Behold this land of the city of Jerusalem—neither my father nor my mother gave it to me; the mighty hand, the arm of the king gave it to me. Behold this deed; it is the deed of Malkiel and the deed of the sons of Labaya, who have given the land of the king to the Habiri. Behold, O king, my lord, right is on my side as regards the Kashi-people. Let the king ask the governors whether that house is very mighty and they have committed a grievous, a great sin; they have taken their weapons and have cut off the horsemen (?) .......... And may he send into that land .......... who .......... with .......... servants. May [the king] care for them ................ the lands in their hands [and] may the king provide for them much food, much oil, much clothing until Paru, the governor of the king, comes up to the country of the city of Jerusalem. Gone is Addaya, together with the guards of the vassals whom the king appointed. Let the king know that Addaya said to me: “Behold, I am going away; do not thou abandon it” (the city). This year send me men as guards and a governor, O king! Send us .......... I have sent to the king, my lord .........., people, five thousand .......... three hundred and eighteen porters for the caravans of the king. They were indeed captured in the fields near the city Aijalon. (Cf. Josh. 10:12.) Let the king, my lord, know that I am not able to send a caravan to the king, my lord. Indeed thou knowest it. Behold the king has set his name in the country of the city of Jerusalem forever and he ought not to abandon the lands of the city of Jerusalem.

To the scribe of the king, my lord, has Ebed-Hepa, thy servant spoken, saying: At the feet I, thy servant, prostrate myself. Take beautiful words to the king, my lord! A vassal of the king am I, exceedingly loyal (?) as regards thee. Also an evil deed has been done against me by the men of Kashi. I was all but killed by the men of Kashi in my house. May the king make investigation concerning them. Seven times and seven times, O king, justice is on my side.



To the king, my lord, my sun-god, speak, saying, Ebed-Hepa, thy servant. At the feet of the king, my lord, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself. Behold the king, my lord, has set his name at the rising of the sun and the setting of the sun. It is slander which they have multiplied against me. Behold I am not a prefect; a vassal of the king, my lord, am I. Behold I am a shepherd of the king and one who brings tribute to the king, am I. Neither my father nor my mother, but the arm of the mighty king set me in the house of my father ........ There came unto me ....... I gave 10 slaves into his hand. Shuta, the governor of the king, came unto me. Twenty-one female slaves and eighty prisoners I gave into the hand of Shuta as a present to the king, my lord. Let the king take counsel for his land! Lost is the land of the king. All of it is taken from me. Enmity is against me. As far as the lands of Seir and as far as Gath-Carmel there is peace among all the prefects, but enmity against me is practised. When I sent a man, then he said: “I do not see the eyes of the king, my lord, for hostility is against me.” I set once a ship on the sea when the mighty arm of the king took Naharina and Kapasi, but, behold the Habiri take the cities of the king. There is no prefect to the king, my lord; all are lost. Behold Turbazu was killed in the city gate of Zilû and the king is inactive! Behold Zimridda of Lakish; his servants were enraged at him; he adhered to the Habiri. Yapti-Adda was killed in the city gate of Zilû and there is no action! Concerning it the king makes no inquiry! Let the king care for his land and let the king turn his face [Pg 348]to mercenaries for the land of tribute! For if there are no mercenaries in this year, lost, perished are all the lands of the king, my lord. Let not one say in the presence of the king, my lord, that the land of the king, my lord, is lost and all the prefects are lost. If there are no mercenaries in this year, then let the king send a governor to bring me and my brothers unto thee and we will die with the king, our lord.

To the scribe of the king, my lord, saying, Ebed-Hepa, thy servant. At thy feet I prostrate myself. Bring beautiful words to the king. Emphatically thy servant and thy son am I.



To the king, my lord, speak, saying, Ebed-Hepa, thy servant. At the feet of my lord I prostrate myself seven times and seven times. Behold Malkiel, he has not separated himself from the sons of Labaya and from the sons of Arzaya that they may seek the hand of the king for themselves. A prefect who has done this deed—why does not the king call him to account? Behold Malkiel and Tagi—the deed which they have done is this: formerly they took Rabuda and now they seek Jerusalem. If this land belongs to the king, why is it oppressed? Gaza has sided with the king. Behold the land of Gath-Carmel belongs to Tagi and the people of Gath are on guard in Beth-shean, and verily it will happen to us when Labaya and the land of Shechem have been given to the Habiri. Malkiel has written to Tagi and his sons: “Let our two forces grant all their desire to the people of Keilah.” Shall we indeed throw open Jerusalem? The guards, whom thou didst send by the hand of Haya, son of Miare, Addaya took, stationing them in his house in Gaza and twenty men has he sent to Egypt. Let the king know that there are no royal guards with me! It is so as the king lives! Verily Puru is beaten. He has gone from me and is in Gaza. May the king remember it and may the king send fifty men as guards to protect the land! All the lands of the king are in revolt. Send Yinhenhame and let him care for the land of the king. To the scribe of the king, my lord, say: Ebed-Hepa, thy servant. Beautiful words give to the king. Ever emphatically am I thy servant.



To the king, my lord, speak, saying, Ebed-Hepa, thy servant. At the feet of the king, my lord, seven times and seven times I prostrate myself. Behold the deed which Malkiel and Shuardatu have done against the country of the king, my lord! They have won over the soldiers of Gezer, the soldiers of Gath, and the soldiers of Keilah; they have seized the country of the city of Rubute. The country of the king is fallen away to the Habiri. And now also a city of the country of Jerusalem (its name is Beth-shemesh),[486] a city of the king, has gone over to the men of Keilah. May the king hearken unto Ebed-Hepa, thy servant, and send mercenaries that the land of the king may remain unto the king. If there are no mercenaries, lost is the land of the king to the Habiri. This is the deed which Malkiel and Shuardatu have done .......... May the king care for his land!

3. Their Light upon Conditions in the Period of the Egyptian Domination of Palestine.

These letters are among the most interesting of the many fascinating documents which have come to us from ancient times. They[Pg 349] give us our first historical glimpse of Jerusalem, giving us a view of it 350 years before its capture by David. At this time its ruler was one Ebed-Hepa, a vassal of Amenophis IV, King of Egypt. Jerusalem was at the time the capital of a considerable territory. If the places mentioned have been rightly identified by scholars, its dominion extended to Mount Carmel on the northwest and as far as Rabbith in Issachar on the north. At the time these letters were written, Jerusalem was hard pressed by some invaders called Habiri, and Ebed-Hepa again and again appeals to the Egyptian king to send mercenaries in that year or all the territories of the king would be lost. Already the Egyptian army was composed in part of hired soldiers. We know from Egyptian sources that Amenophis was much more interested in religious reform than in statecraft. The desired troops were not sent, and apparently Ebed-Hepa was overcome, for his letters cease.

The condition of Palestine, as revealed by these letters, is the same as that of Phœnicia as revealed by the letters of Rib-Adda. Egyptian authority was breaking up; each ruler was doing his best to look after his own interests; while invaders were overrunning the country.

Who was Ebed-Hepa? All that we know of him is told in these letters. Hepa was, however, the name of a Hittite and Mitannian goddess. It has, accordingly, been inferred that Ebed-Hepa belonged to that race. Ezekiel long afterward in speaking to Jerusalem said: “The Amorite was thy father and thy mother was a Hittite” (Ezek. 16:3, 45). If this first ruler of Jerusalem known to us was a Hittite, as seems probable, it would be a striking confirmation of Ezekiel’s statement. Another interesting question is: Who were the Habiri who were invading Palestine when these letters were written? The answer to this question is not certain. Four different views have been held:

1. They have been thought to be the same as the clan Heber which was afterward a part of the tribe of Asher, and which is also mentioned in connection with Malkiel in Gen. 46:17; Num. 26:45, and 1 Chron. 7:31. The objection to this view is that the Habiri seem far too powerful in these letters to be simply the ancestors of such a clan.

2. It has been held that the Habiri were a branch of the Hittites. This view is based upon the fact that among the tablets found by Winckler at Boghaz Koi a list of Hittite gods was headed “gods of[Pg 350] the Habiri.” This is, however, not decisive, as the gods may have been Semitic gods, whom, after the fashion of antiquity, the Hittite scribe had identified with the deities of his own country.

3. It has been held that the Habiri were Hebrews, and that we have here contemporary records of their wars of conquest.

4. Some scholars maintain that it is impossible to tell who the Habiri were.

The writer is inclined to hold that the Habiri were Hebrews, though this view is not without difficulty. The indications of the book of Exodus point to Ramses II as the Pharaoh of the oppression and to Merneptah as the Pharaoh of the Exodus. These kings belonged to the nineteenth dynasty, while Amenophis IV, to whom Ebed-Hepa wrote his letters, belonged to the eighteenth. How then could Hebrews be already in Palestine struggling to conquer it? The view has been held by a number of scholars that the Hebrew conquest took place in two parts, one of which was under the eighteenth and the other under the nineteenth dynasty. The view is not without its difficulties, but it may prove to be true. If the Habiri were Hebrews, it seems necessary to suppose that it is true. Perhaps further discovery will throw more light upon it.

The following letter, found in 1892 at Tell el-Hesy (Lachish) in Palestine, belongs to the same period as the preceding letters.[487]

To the chief officer speak, saying: Pabi—at thy feet I prostrate myself. Thou shouldst know that Shiptibaal and Zimrida are conspiring together and Shiptibaal has said to Zimrida: “My father of the city Yarami has written to me: ‘Give me six bows and three daggers and three swords. If I go out against the land of the king and thou wilt be the breath of life to me, then I shall surely (?) be superior to it and shall subdue it.’ He who makes this plan is Pabu, so send him to me.” Now I have sent thee Raphiel. He will bring to the chief officer news of this matter.

Another letter from Taanach belongs to the same general period. It is one of four found by Sellin in 1903. It is as follows:[488]

To Ishtarwashur speak, saying, Ahijah[489]—may the lord of the gods protect thy life! Thou art my brother and love is in thy bowels and in my heart. When I was detained in Gurra a workman gave to me two knives and a lance and two baskets (?) for nothing. As the lance was broken, he will repair it and send it by the hand of Buritpi. Again: is there lamentation over thy cities, or hast thou indeed put thyself in possession of them? Over my head is one who is over the [Pg 351]cities. Now let us see whether he will do good to thee. If his countenance is favorable there will be great destruction. Further: let Ilurabi enter Rahab and either send my man to thy presence or give him protection.

This letter is chiefly interesting for the name Aḫi-ya-mi, which is probably the Babylonian equivalent of Ahijah or Ahi-Yahweh. If this is so, and, while not certain, there is considerable collateral evidence in its favor,[490] the divine name, Yahweh (Jehovah), was already known in Palestine.

Another phrase in this letter which has recalled to some a Biblical phrase is “the lord of the gods.” This has been compared with Baal-berith (i. e., lord of the covenant), Judges 9:4, who is later called El-berith (god of the covenant), Judges 9:46. Such a comparison is, however, somewhat fanciful.



[Pg 352]



Report of Wenamon. Its Illustration of Certain Points of Biblical History about the Time of Deborah or Gideon. Reference to the Philistines.


The following vivid story of adventure dates from about 1100 B. C. and throws a vivid light on the condition of the coast-lands of Palestine and Phœnicia about the middle of the period of the Judges.

1. Report of Wenamon.[491]

Year five, third month of the third season (eleventh month), day 16, day of departure of the “eldest of the hall,” of the house of Amon, the lord of the lands, Wenamon, to bring the timber for the great and august barge of Amon-Re, king of the gods, which is on the river .......... called: “Userhet” of Amon.

On the day of my arrival at Tanis at the palace of Nesubenebded and Tentamon, I gave to them the writings of Amon-Re, king of the gods, which they caused to be read in their presence; and they said: “I will do it, I will do it according to that which Amon-Re, king of our gods, our lord, saith.” I abode until the fourth month of the third season, being in Tanis.

Nesubenebded and Tentamon sent me with the ship-captain, Mengebet, and I descended into the great Syrian sea, in the fourth month of the third season, on the first day. I arrived at Dor, a city of Thekel [a people kindred to the Philistines], and Bedel, its king, caused to be brought for me much bread, a jar of wine, and a joint of beef.

Then a man of my ship fled, having stolen:

.. [vessels] of gold, [amounting to]   5  deben
4 vessels of silver, amounting to   20  deben
a sack of silver   11  deben
[Total of what] he [stole]   5  deben of gold.
    31  deben of silver.

In the morning then I rose and went to the abode of the prince, and said to him: “I have been robbed in thy harbor. Since thou art the king of this land, thou art therefore its investigator, who should search for my money. For the money belongs to Amon-Re, king of the gods, lord of the lands; it belongs to Nesubenebded, and it belongs to Hrihor, my lord, and the other magnates of Egypt; it belongs also to Weret, and to Mekmel, and to Zakar-Baal, the prince of Byblos” [Gebal]. He said to me: “To thy honor and thy excellence! but, behold, I know nothing of this complaint which thou hast lodged with me. If the thief belonged to my land, he who went on board thy ship, that he might steal thy treasure, I would repay it to thee from my treasury till they find thy thief by name; but the thief who robbed thee belongs to thy ship. Tarry a few days here with me, and I will seek him.” When I had spent nine days moored in his harbor, I went to him and said to him: “Behold, thou hast not found my money, [Pg 353]therefore let me depart with the ship-captain, and with those who go .......... the sea. He said to me: “Be silent ..............” .......... the harbor ................ [I arrived at] Tyre. I went forth from Tyre at early dawn .......... Zakar-Baal, the prince of Byblos [Gebal].

.......... the .......... I found 30 deben of silver therein. I seized it, [saying to them: “I will take] your money, and it shall remain with me until ye find [my money. Was it not a man of Thekel] who stole it, and no thief [of ours]? I will take it .......... They went away, while I .................. [I] arrived .......... the harbor of Byblos [Gebal]. [I made a place of concealment, I hid] “Amon-the-way,” and I placed his things in it. The prince of Byblos sent to me, saying: “Betake thyself from my harbor.” I sent to him, saying, “................ if they sail, let them take me to Egypt.” .......... I spent nineteen days in his harbor and he continually sent to me daily, saying: “Betake thyself from my harbor.”

Now, when he sacrificed to his gods ......., the god seized one of his noble youths, making him frenzied, so that he said: “Bring [the god] hither! Bring the messenger of Amon who hath him. Send him and let him go.”

Now, while the frenzied youth continued in frenzy during this night, I found a ship bound for Egypt, and I loaded all my belongings into it. I waited for the darkness, saying: “When it descends, I will embark the god also, in order that no other eye may see him.”

The harbor-master came to me, saying: “Remain until morning by the prince.” I said to him: “Art not thou he who continually came to me daily, saying, ‘Betake thyself away from my harbor’? Dost thou not say, ‘Remain in the [land’], in order to let depart the ship that I have found? thou that mayest come and say again, ‘Away’? He went and told it to the prince, and the prince sent to the captain of the ship, saying: ‘Remain until morning by the king.’”

When morning came he sent and had me brought up, when the divine offering occurred in the fortress where he was, on the shore of the sea. I found him sitting in his upper chamber, leaning his back against a window, while the waves of the great Syrian sea beat against the ........ behind him. I said to him: “Kindness of Amon!” He said to me: “How long is it until this day since thou camest away from the abode of Amon?” I said: “Five months and one day until now.”

He said to me: “Behold thou art true, where is the writing of Amon, which is in thy hand? Where is the letter of the High Priest of Amon, which is in thy hand?” I said to him: “I gave them to Nesubenebded and Tentamon.” Then he was very wroth, and he said to me: “Now, behold, the writing and the letter are not in thy hand! Where is the ship of cedar which Nesubenebded gave to thee? Where is its Syrian crew? He would not deliver thy business to this ship-captain ........ to have thee killed, that they might cast thee into the sea. From whom would they have sought the god then? And thee, from whom would they have sought thee then?” So he spake to me. I said to him: “There are indeed Egyptian ships and Egyptian crews who sail under Nesubenebded, (but) he hath no Syrian crews.” He said to me: “There are surely twenty ships here in my harbor, which are in connection with Nesubenebded; and at Sidon, whither thou wouldst go, there are indeed 10,000 ships also which are in connection with Berket-el and sail to his house.”

Then I was silent in this great hour. He answered and said to me: “On what business hast thou come hither?” I said to him: “I have come after the timber of the great and august barge of Amon-Re, king of gods. Thy father did it, thy grandfather did it, and thou wilt also do it.” So spake I to him.

He said to me: “They did it, truly. If thou give me (something) for doing it, I will do it. Indeed my agents transacted the business; the Pharaoh, ...... sent six ships, laden with the products of Egypt, and they were unloaded in their [Pg 354]storehouses. And thou also shalt bring something for me.” He had the journal of his fathers brought in, and he had them read it before me. They found 1,000 deben of every (kind of) silver, which was in his book.

He said to me: “If the ruler of Egypt were the owner of my property, and I were also his servant, he would not send silver and gold, saying: ‘Do the command of Amon.’ It was not the payment of tribute which they exacted of my father. As for me, I am myself neither thy servant nor am I the servant of him that sent thee. If I cry out to the Lebanon, the heavens open, and the logs lie here on the shore of the sea.”

A long speech of Wenamon follows, in which he claims Egypt as the home of civilization, and claims Lebanon for Amon. He then continues:

“Let my scribe be brought to me, that I may send him to Nesubenebded and Tentamon, the rulers whom Amon hath given to the north of his land, and they will send all that of which I shall write unto them, saying: ‘Let it be brought,’ until I return to the south and send thee all thy trifles again.” So spake I to him.

He gave my letter into the hand of his messenger. He loaded in the keel, the head of the bow and the head of the stern, with four other hewn timbers, together seven; and he had them taken to Egypt. His messenger went to Egypt, and returned to me, to Syria in the first month of the second season. Nesubenebded and Tentamon sent:

Gold: 4 Tb-vessels, 1 K’k-mn-vessel;
Silver: 5 Tb-vessels;
Royal linen: 10 garments, 10 ḥm-ḫrd;
Papyrus: 500 rolls;
Ox-hides: 500;
Rope: 500 (coils);
Lentils: 20 measures;
Fish: 30 measures;
She[492] sent me:
Linen 5 ......, 5 ḥm-ḫrd;
Lentils: 1 measure;
Fish: 5 measures.

The prince rejoiced, and detailed 300 men and 300 oxen, placing overseers over them, to have the trees felled. They spent the second season therewith .... In the third month of the second season (seventh month) they dragged them [to] the shore of the sea. The prince came forth and stood by them.

He sent to me, saying: “Come.” Now, when I had presented myself before him, the shadow of his sunshade fell upon me. Penamon, a butler, he stepped between us, saying: “The shadow of Pharaoh ........, thy lord, falls upon thee.” He was angry with him, saying: “Let him alone!” I presented myself before him, and he answered and said unto me: “Behold the command which my fathers formerly executed, I have executed, although thou for thy part hast not done for me that which thy fathers did for me. Behold there has arrived the last of thy timber, and there it lies. Do according to my desire and come to load it, for they will indeed give it to thee.”

“Come not to contemplate the terror of the sea, (but) if thou dost contemplate the terror of the sea, thou shalt (also) contemplate mine own. Indeed I have not done to thee that which they did to the messengers of Khamwese, when they spent seventeen years in this land. They died in their place.” He said to his butler; “Take him, and let him see their tomb, wherein they sleep.”

[Pg 355]I said to him: “Let me not see it! As for Khamwese, (mere) people were the messengers whom he sent unto thee; but people ......... there was no [god among] his messengers. And yet thou sayest, ‘Go and see thy companions.’ Lo, art thou not glad? and dost thou not have made for thee a tablet, whereon thou sayest: ‘Amon-Re, king of gods, sent to me “Amon-the-way,” his [divine] messenger, and Wenamon, his human messenger, after the timber for the great and august barge of Amon-Re, king of gods? I felled it, I loaded it, I supplied him (with) my ships and my crews, I brought them to Egypt, to beseech for me 10,000 years of life from Amon, more than my ordained (life), and it came to pass.’ Then in future days when a messenger comes from the land of Egypt, who is able to write, and reads thy name upon the stela, thou shalt receive water in the west, like the gods who are there.” He said to me: “It is a great testimony which thou tellest me.”

I said to him: “As for the many things which thou hast said to me, when I reach the place of the abode of the High Priest of Amon, and he shall see thy command in thy command, [he] will have something delivered to thee.”

I went to the shore of the sea, to the place where the timbers lay; I spied eleven ships, coming from the sea, belonging to the Thekel, saying: “Arrest him! Let not a ship of his pass to Egypt!” I sat down and began to weep. The letter-scribe of the prince came out to me, and said to me: “What is the matter with thee?” I said to him: “Surely thou seest these birds which twice descend upon Egypt. Behold them! They come to the pool, and how long shall I be here, forsaken? For thou seest surely those who come to arrest me again.”

He went and told it to the prince. The prince began to weep at the evil words which they spoke to him. He sent out his letter-scribe to me and brought me two jars of wine and a ram. He sent to me Tento, an Egyp