From The Alpha and the Omega - Chapter Four
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved
"Discovery of Sargas, Sa.gaz, Sargon, King Scorpion of Predynastic times,
and Abram the Hebrew - Gen. 14:12-13"
The above subject is found in Volume I, Chapter Four Section "C", page 469-470.
Gen. 14:13 And there came one that had escaped, and told Abram
the Hebrew [(Yod Resh Veth Ayin He) H(aw) A(ih)V(uh)R(ee), Hebrew, Hebrews (he’-broo) - Heb. ‘Ibriy, ib-ree’, or ‘Ibri, patron from Heb. ‘Eber, ay’-ber, same as Heb. ‘eber, ay’-ber, from Heb. ‘abar, aw-bar’, root, to cross over, properly a region across, but used only adv. (with or without a prep.) on the opposite side (especially of the Jordan, usually meaning the east), against, beyond, by, over, passage, quarter, (other, this) side, straight, thus an Eberite (i.e. Hebrew) or descendant of Eber (Heber), although traditionally considered designated for Abram and his descendants, especially through Jacob which is equal to Israelites.
There is the possibility, however, that in OT times that the names "Hebrew," "Habiru," "Khapiru," "Apiru," and "pr" were forms of the same word (equivalent to the Akkadian SA.GAZ), a designation without nation significance. Rather, they indicated wandering peoples greatly restricted as regards financial means and without citizenship and social status. Ancient records show the "Habiru" to be scattered over western Asia for centuries until about 1100 B.C. Nomadic peoples, mostly Semites -- sometimes raiders, sometimes skilled artisans -- they frequently offered themselves as mercenaries and slaves, with individuals occasional rising to prominence.
Of much interest is the word in Sumerian sa-gaz; sag-gaz, means highway robber (‘head’ + ‘to smash’).
It is noteworthy, that, in taking oaths, the Habiru swore by "the gods of the Habiru," similar to Exodus 3:18, 5:3, 7:16 "the God of the Hebrews." Hebrew and Habiru were terms used prior to the name "Israel."
Etymologically, it has been debated whether "Hebrew" is to be traced to Eber, the father of Peleg and Joktan (Gen. 10:24-25, 11:12-16) or is derived from the Hebrew root "to pass over" and has reference to "a land on the other side," as the dweller east of the Euphrates might think of Canaan. Habiru as to Hebrew, the Hebrew are "those who crossed over" in the sense of trespassing, "trespassers."
The focus is in the line of the Promised Redeemer. Eber, the ancestor of the Hebrews, means "the other side, across," and is usually explained as denoting those who have come from "the other side of the River (the Euphrates)," that is Haran (Josh. 24:2,3). The connection, if any, of the Hebrews with the Habiru (‘Apiru), who play a curious role in cuneiform documents of the nineteenth and eighteenth centuries as well as in Nuzian, Hittite and Amarna documents of the fifteenth and fourteenth centuries, still remains obscure.]
for he dwelt (who was living) in the plain (by the oaks) of
Mamre [See notes Gen. 13:18 Heb. Mamre’, mam-ray’.] the Amorite [see notes in Gen. 14:7 for Amorites, who was allied with Abram (Gen. 14:13, 24). Mamre is a place a few miles north of Hebron where oak trees grew. Abram lived by the "great trees of Mamre" (Abram in Gen. 13:18, and Abraham in 18:1). This place derived its name from the Amorite above who lived there. The burial cave in the field of Machpelah is described as located before Mamre (23:17, 19, 25:9, 35:27, 49:30, 50:13).
The modern name of the site is Ramet el-Khalil which can be viewed as Herodian ruins.]
brother of Eshcol [(Lamed Caph Shin Aleph) A(eh)Sh(uh)K(oh)L, Eshcol (esh’-col) - Heb. ‘Eshkol, esh-kole’, the same as Heb. ‘eshkowl, probably from Heb. ‘eshek, eh’-shek, bunch together, a bunch of grapes or other fruit, thus cluster (of grapes), an Amorite who lived in Hebron and who helped Abram defeat King Kedorlaomer and his forces and bring back Lot and his family.]
and the brother of Aner [(Resh Nun Ayin) A(aw)N(ay)R, Aner (a’-ner) - Heb. ‘Aner, aw-nare’, probably for Heb. na’ar, nah’-ar, from Heb. na’ar, naw-ar’, root, to growl, thus a boy, child, lad, servant, young (man), Aner, a brother of Mamre the Amorite, Abram’s ally in Gen. 14:13, 24.]:
and these were confederate (allies of) with Abram.
(See note later in Gen. 15:2 about the above three allies and the connection with Eliezer or 318).
See next page for information on Mari, Nahor, Nuzian, Amarna and Ugaritic texts.
Begin page 470
Gen. 14:12-13, the connection of the Hebrew
From "Archaeology and the Old Testament" by Merrill F. Unger page 123-124 regarding Abraham and the Discoveries at Mari.
Mari an ancient city on the middle Euphrates is represented today by Tell Hariri about seven miles north of modern Abou Kemal. Excavations by Andre Parrot since 1933 have brought to light more than twenty thousand tablets from the archives of the royal palace and uncovered a temple of Ishtar and a ziggurat. In the time of Abraham (c. 2100 B.C.) Mari was one of the most flourishing and brilliant cities of the Mesopotamian world, and the patriarch Abram and his father, Terah, must have passed through it on their way to Haran.
The large number of the tablets discovered represent diplomatic correspondence between Zimri-Lim, the last king of Mari, with his ambassadors and agents and with Hammurabi, king of Babylon (c. 1728-1686 B.C.).
Assuming Abram’s or Abraham’s migration from Ur took place 400 years before the period of the Mari letters and the reign of Zimri-Lim, based on Biblical chronology. This would place "the region about Haran probably under control of Mari."
The city of Nahor (Gen. 24:10) is mentioned quite frequently in the Mari letters. Nahor remained in Haran in Gen. 12:4, and later Abraham in Gen. 24:4 sent for a wife for Isaac at this spot.
Abram was the first person in the Bible to bear the name Hebrew, ‘Ibri, (Gen. 14:13), the occurrence of the term "Habiru" is in:
The Mari letters (eighteenth century B.C.);
And earlier in the Cappadocian texts (nineteenth century B.C.)
As well as in the later Nuzian, Hittite, Amarna and Ugaritic texts (fifteenth-fourteenth centuries B.C.) is significant, since the philological equation Hebrew-Habiru seems assured.
The wide occurrence of the term Habiru (the ‘Apiru’ of the Egyptian sources) show that the term: is not an ethnic designation, for the Habiru are of mixed racial origin (Semitic and non-Semitic elements), meaning "wanderers," "those who pass from place to place."
The famous Amarna Letters (1400-1366 B.C.), sports these invasions and has been known since their discovery in 1866. These invaders, called Habiru, are etymologically and actually equitable with the Hebrews, still scholars are divided on the matter. J. W. Jack believed that these were the invaders (Hebrews) of southern and central Palestine.
Abdi-Hiba, governor of Jerusalem, wrote numerous letters to the Pharaoh Akhnaton (1387-1366 B.C.) beseeching Egyptian aid against the encroaching Habiru, if the country were to be saved for Egypt:
The Habiru plunder all lands of the king.
If archers are here
this year, then the lands of the king,
the Lord, will remain; but if the archers are not here,
then the lands of the king, my lord, are lost.
From Samuel A. B. Mercer, The Tell El-Amarna Tablets (Toronto 1939), Vol.
II, no 287, lines 56-60.
Amarna, Tell El (the hill of amarna) is a mound of ruins in Egypt, halfway between Memphis and Luxor. It is the modern name for the ancient capital of Amenhotep IV (c. 1387-1366 B.C.). Excavated by Sir Flinders Petrie, yielded 320 clay tablets with cuneiform writing on both sides. They have aided in establishing the Egyptian vowel system. It confirms certain biblical facts and adds light on the early activities of Joseph in Egypt.
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