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Ancient Amorites (Amurru)

Overview: The Amorites were members of an ancient Semitic-speaking people who dominated the history of Mesopotamia -- Syria -- Palestine from about 2000 to about 1600 BC. In the oldest cuneiform sources the Amorites were equated with the West; although their true place of origin was most likely Arabia -- not Syria. They were troublesome nomads and were believed to be one of the causes of the downfall of the 3rd Dynasty of Ur ...

Selected Excerpt on the Amorites

Excerpts and Definitions and Addendums:

Abram (Abraham) the Hebrew (Habiru) reckoned Amorite groups as his confederates. Without regard to the date reflected in this tradition we may be justified in concluding that it reveals conditions of times long since passed when there existed friendly relations between the Habiru/Hebrews and the Amorites. It also reveals conditions prevailing during that time when local Amorite centers -- not to say kingdoms -- existed in Palestine. This is by no means astonishing for there is also in late tradition a clear consciousness of the fact that the Amorites were an important ethnic group merging into the Israelite people once upon a time (Ezekiel 16:1-3).

16:1 Again the word of the LORD came unto me saying:

16:2 Son of man cause Jerusalem to know her abominations

16:3 And say "Thus saith the Lord GOD unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an AMORITE and thy mother an Hittite"

This of course is implying that the Hebrews were defiled in the process of conquering -- assimilating -- propagating (and thus becoming what were called Israelites) with these Canaanite idol worshippers and their abominations in the sight of the Lord. In Genesis X:15-16 the "Amorite" is said to be a son of Canaan ...

10:15 And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn and Heth

10:16 And the Jebusite and the AMORITE and the Girgasite

In Genesis X:6 of the same chapter Canaan is said to be the youngest son of Ham ...

10:6 And the sons of Ham; Cush and Mizraim and Phut and Canaan

Hammurabi -- Sixth King of the Amorite Dynasty of Old Babylon -- Stele Featuring Hammurabi Coming Before the God Shamash If we were to take such genealogical statements literally the Canaanites should be regarded as a younger branch of the Hamites and the Amorites as a younger branch of the Canaanites. However there is practically general agreement that the Old Testament genealogies are to be considered aspects of relations between peoples different from those of modern anthropology. Geographical neighborhood or cultural connections for instance might be reasons why the ancestors of two peoples were considered to be genealogically related.

According to Old Testament tradition there were a number of local Amorite Kingdoms in Palestine and Syria during the second millenium BC. In some passages of the Bible there is a clear distinction between Amorites and Canaanites; in others the two terms would seem to overlap. But the usages of the two terms are not consistent nor the general view of the character of the Amorites. The main groups of the Semites are the following ...

East Semites: Akkadians / Assyrians / Babylonians

West Semites: Amorites / Canaanites / Hebrews / Aramaeans / Phoenicians

South Semites: North Arabs / South Arabs / Ethiopians

Since modern anthropological research has revealed the fact that racial distinctions are hardly possible in prehistoric and early historic times the various semitic branches are distinguished solely by their languages. It was only after the "Amorite" language had been recognized that the discussion of Amorite history began ...

Reference: Who Were the Amorites (1971) Alfred Haldar (University of Uppsala)
Monographs of the Ancient Near East #1 (Library of Congress # DS 72.5 H35)

The History of the Ancient Near East Electronic Compendium