See “Which Picture Is the Israelites?” (with responses from Anson F. Rainey [“Rainey’s Challenge,” BAR 17:06] and Frank J. Yurco [“Yurco’s Response,” BAR 17:06]).


In the early second millennium B.C. in the Mari texts, we can actually follow the course of negotiations between two kings (for example, of Babylon and Eshnunna). The negotiations, tablets Nos. 372 and 469, are published by D. Charpin in Archives Royales de Mari, XXVI/2 (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1988), pp. 144, 179–182, 393–395. When two kings wished to make a treaty, one would send the other a “draft document,” a so-called “little tablet” in their terminology. The recipient would then decide what modifications were desired, and send back his counter-proposals in another draft-document or “little tablet.” Once both parties agreed on final terms, full oaths were sworn, and copies of the final, definitive text, the so-called “large tablet,” were exchanged.


Almost as brief are the preamble and prologue of a treaty between the Hittite king Mursil II and Niqmepa of Ugarit, in about 1300 B.C.: “Thus speaks the Sun, Mursil the Great King, King of the Hittite land”; and then, “As for you, Niqmepa, even as I have [reconciled] you and your equals, and have sought to ensure your installation as king on your father’s throne, so you and your people are now my subjects.”


The Book of Joshua contains a highly abbreviated account: first, a short preamble (Joshua 24:2b); second, a wide-ranging historical prologue (24:2c–13); third, stipulations/commands, involving a general call for the obedience of the people (24:14–24); fourth, the deposit of the text, with Joshua writing his work “in the book of the law of God” (24:26); fifth, the setting up of a great stone at the tabernacle sanctuary as a witness (24:26–27); and last, blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience, implicit in Joshua 24:20.
Compare the long narrative prologue in the Sinai Covenant and the Book of Joshua to the recently published treaty of Tudkhalia IV and Kurunta, engraved on a splendid bronze tablet (H. Otten Die Bronztafel aus Bogazkoy—Ein Staatsvertrag Tudhalijas IV [Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1988], pp. 10–19).


In the long but still incomplete series of kings of Elam, the element Kudur or Kutir (Biblical Chador) occurs with Kutir-Nahhunte I (c. 1720 B.C.), Kutir-Shilhaha I (c. 1630 B.C.), Kutir-Nahhunte II (c. 1500 B.C.), Kutir-Nahhunte III (c. 1150 B.C.) and Kutir-Nahhunte IV (c. 692 B.C.), and the latter’s non-reigning grandson Kudur (c. 650 B.C.). See W. Hinz, Das Reich Elam (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer, 1964) pp. 150–152; and J. Boardman, I.E.S. Edwards et al. (eds.), Cambridge Ancient History (Cambridge Univ. Press) 3rd ed. II/1, 1973, 272, 820–821; II/2, 1975, 1041; and III/2, 1991, 748.


During the full span of the Middle Bronze Age (roughly 2000–1600 B.C.), most of our limited archaeological evidence for Western Asiatic people in Egypt comes from the East Delta, not beyond it; compare the rich archaeological evidence from Tell el-Dab‘a found by the Austrian expedition led by Manfred Bietak. For a convenient introduction, see Manfred Bietak, Avaris and Piramesse, 2nd ed. (London: Oxford Univ. Press/British Academy, 1986), pp. 238–268, 294–295. Evidence from elsewhere is very thin indeed at present, even though Egyptian slaves traveled all over the region. See William C. Hayes, A Papyrus of the Late Middle Kingdom (Brooklyn: The Brooklyn Museum, 1955).


The Hyksos Dynasty in Egypt (c. 1648–1540 B.C.) were a line of rulers who arrived from Canaan and took control of Egypt, probably by coup. They were mainly of West Semitic origin, to judge by their names.



Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels, 6th edition (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1927), p. 316; reprinted as Prolegomena to the History of Ancient Israel (New York: Meridian Books, 1957).


See John Bright, A History of Israel (London: SCM Press, 1972), pp. 76 ff.


See Thomas L. Thompson, The Historicity of the Patriarchal Narratives (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1974); John Van Seters, Abraham in History and Tradition (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1975); and Donald B. Redford, A Study of the Biblical Story of Joseph (Leiden: Brill, 1970).


For a summary, see Isaac Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1949), p. 117. For detailed commentaries, see A. Falkenstein Die neusumerische Gerichtsurkunden 1 (Munich: Beck, 1956), pp. 88–90; and D.O. Edzard, Sumerische Rechtsurkunden des III. Jahrtausends (Munich: Beck, 1968), p. 87.


For the Laws of Hammurabi, sections 116, 214 and 252. For Mari, see G. Boyer, Archives Royales de Mari VIII (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1958), p. 23; and M. Van De Mieroop, Archiv für Orientforschung 34 (1987), 10, 11.


See Barry L. Eichler, Indenture at Nuzi (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1973), pp. 16–18; and Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East, p. 118.


For Assyria, see C.H.W. Johns, Assyrian Deeds and Documents 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1924), pp. 542–546. For the Neo-Babylonian and Persian periods, see Bruno Meissner, Babylonien und Assyrien 1 (Heidelberg: Winter, 1920), pp. 365–366; and his Warenpreise in Babylonien (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1936), pp. 35–36. See also, Mendelsohn, Slavery in the Ancient Near East, p. 117; and Muhammed Dandamaev, Slavery in Babylonia, from Nabopolassar to Alexander the Great (626–331 B.C.) (DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois Univ. Press: 1984), pp. 195–206.


For Tell Leilan and its archives, see J. Eidem, Annales Archéologiques Arabes de Syrie 38/39 (1987–1988), pp. 110–127; and Eidem’s contribution in Revue d’Assyriologie 85 (1991), pp. 109–135. For the Treaty of Till-Abnu of Leilan with Assyria, see Eidem in D. Charpin and F. Joannes, eds., Marchands, Diplomates et Empereurs (Paris: Editions Recherche sur les Civilisations, 1991), pp. 185–207. For more information on Mari treaties, see in Marchands, Diplomates et Empereurs, D. Charpin, pp. 139–47 and F. Joannes, pp. 167–70 and 176–77; see also J.M. Durand in L. de Meyer, H. Gasche and F. Vallat, eds., Fragmenta Historiae Elamicae (Paris: Editions Recherche, 1986), pp. 111–28. Fuller publication of the Tell Leilan texts is awaited.


See Kenneth A. Kitchen, “Genesis 12–50 in the Near Eastern World,” in R. Hess et al., eds., He Swore an Oath, Biblical Themes from Genesis 12–50; Studies for D.J. Wiseman (Cambridge: Tyndale House, 1993), pp. 74–77.


The essential facts are set out in Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament (London: Tyndale Press, 1966), pp. 90–102; The Bible in Its World (Exeter: Paternoster Press, 1977), pp. 79–85; and “The Fall and Rise of Covenant, Law and Treaty,” in Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989), pp. 118–135. See also J.H. Walton, Ancient Israelite Literature in Its Cultural Context (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989), pp. 95–109. The supposed “historical prologue” in the Assurbanipal-Qedar treaty is, given its position, not a prologue at all; the only blessing in the first millennium group (Sfire I) relates to respect for the actual stela, not for the treaty provisions.


James B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, third edition (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969), p. 628.


See Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, pp. 45ff.; for more details, see D.O. Edzard, Die “Zweite Zwischenzeit” Babyloniens (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1957), pp. 105–108, 121, 155–160, 181–182.


Lists of cities, areas and rulers are provided in Albrecht Goetze, Kleinasien (Munich: Beck, 1957) pp. 75–76; and L.L. Orlin, Assyrian Colonies in Cappadocia (The Hague: Mouton, 1970), pp. 73–113.


See Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, pp. 43–47.


Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, pp. 46, 73.


See, for example, John Bright, A History of Israel, p. 7.


P. Kyle McCarter, “The Patriarchal Age,” in Hershel Shanks, ed., Ancient Israel (Washington, DC: Biblical Archaeology Society, 1988), p. 11.


See Kitchen in J. Amitai, ed., Biblical Archaeology Today, 1990 (Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993), pp. 45–46, 20–28.


See Kitchen, Ancient Orient and Old Testament, pp. 48–49; “Historical Method and Early Hebrew Tradition,” in Tyndale Bulletin17 (1966), pp. 68–69; and The Bible in Its World, p. 68.


See text in Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, second edition (1955), pp. 159–161; the most recent translation is by H. Lutzmann in O. Kaiser, ed., Texte aus der Umwelt des Alten Testaments (Gutersloh: Mohn, 1982) I/1, pp. 23–31.


For Hammurabi, see Laws of Hammurabi section 170; for Mari, see G. Boyer, Archives Royales de Mari, 8, Text No. 1; for Nuzi, see E. A. Speiser, Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research 10 (1930), pp. 8, 35, 39; and for Neo-Babylonian laws, see Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p. 198.


For a more detailed presentation, see Kitchen, The Bible in Its World, pp. 59–65.


The Ugaritic texts are published in M. Dietrich, O. Loretz and J. Sanmartin, eds., Die Keilalphabetischen Texte aus Ugarit (Neukirchen-Vluyn: Butzon-Bercker Kevelaer, 1976), p. 119, No. 1:113. For a full translation and commentary see Kitchen, “The King-List of Ugarit,” in Ugarit-Forschungen 9 (1977), pp. 131–142.


See A. Malamat, “King Lists of the Old Babylonian Period and Biblical Genealogies,” in Journal of the American Oriental Society, 88 (1968), pp. 163–173.


See G. A. Gaballa, The Memphite Tomb-Chapel of Mose (Warminster, England: Aris & Phillips, 1972).


Published by D. A. Lowle, Oriens Antiquus 15 (1976), pp. 91–106; for a recent translation and commentary, see Kitchen, Ramesside Inscriptions Translated and Annotated (Oxford: Blackwell, 1993), pp. 265–267, 221–225.


The Egyptian Story of Sinuhe is set about 1940 B.C., and we have manuscripts from the 19th/18th centuries B.C., as well as later manuscripts. One Ramesside manuscript (c. 1250 B.C.) substitutes the “new” Semitic loanword yam (meaning “sea”) for the old word nwy—which dates that manuscript, but not the original story (John W. B. Barnes, The Ashmolean Ostracon of Sinuhe (Oxford: Griffith Institute, 1952).)


See Kitchen in J. Amitai, ed., Biblical Archaeology Today, 1990 (Israel Exploration Society, 1993), pp. 34 ff.