Patriarchal Palestine eBook

Archibald Sayce
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 240 pages of information about Patriarchal Palestine.

The Girgashite is named after the Amorite, but who he may have been it is hard to say.  In the Egyptian epic composed by the court-poet Pentaur, to commemorate the heroic deeds of Ramses ii. in his struggle with the Hittites, mention is twice made of “the country of Qarqish.”  It was one of those which had sent contingents to the Hittite army.  But it seems to have been situated in Northern Syria, if not in Asia Minor, so that unless we can suppose that some of its inhabitants had followed in the wake of the Hittites and settled in Palestine, it is not easy to see how they could be included among the sons of Canaan.  The Hivites, whose name follows that of the Girgashites, are simply the “villagers” or fellahin as opposed to the townsfolk.  They are thus synonymous with the Perizzites, who take their place in Gen. xv. 20, and whose name has the same signification.  But whereas the Perizzites were especially the country population of Southern Palestine, the Hivites were those of the north.  In two passages, indeed, the name appears to be used in an ethnic sense, once in Gen. xxxvi. 2, where we read that Esau married the granddaughter of “Zibeon the Hivite,” and once in Josh. xi. 3, where reference is made to “the Hivite under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh.”  But a comparison of the first passage with a later part of the chapter (vv. 20, 24, 25) proves that “Hivite” is a corrupt reading for “Horite,” while it is probable that in the second passage “Hittite” ought to be read for “Hivite.”

The four last sons of Canaan represent cities, and not tribes.  Arka, called Irqat in the Tel el-Amarna tablets, and now known as Tel ’Arqa, was one of the inland cities of Phoenicia, in the mountains between the Orontes and the sea.  Sin, which is mentioned by Tiglath-pileser iii., was in the same neighbourhood, as well as Zemar (now Sumra), which, like Arvad (the modern Ruad), is named repeatedly in the Tel el-Amarna correspondence.  It was at the time an important Phoenician fortress,—­“perched like a bird upon the rock,”—­and was under the control of the governor of Gebal.  Arvad was equally important as a sea-port, and its ships were used for war as well as for commerce.  As for Hamath (now Hamah), the Khamat and Amat of the Assyrian texts, it was already a leading city in the days of the eighteenth Egyptian dynasty.  Thothmes iii. includes it among his Syrian conquests under the name of Amatu, as also does Ramses iii.  The Hittite inscriptions discovered there go to show that, like Kadesh on the Orontes, it fell at one time into Hittite hands.

Such then was the ethnographical map of Palestine in the Patriarchal Age.  Canaanites in the lowlands, Amorites and Hittites in the highlands contended for the mastery.  In the desert of the south were the Amalekite Beduin, ever ready to raid and murder their settled neighbours.  The mountains of Seir were occupied by the Horites, while prehistoric tribes, who probably belonged to the Amorite race, inhabited the plateau east of the Jordan.

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Patriarchal Palestine from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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