E.g., Genesis 15:19–21; Numbers 23:29; Deuteronomy 7:1, Joshua 3:10; 24:11. See E. A. Speiser, “Man, ethnic divisions of,” The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1962), K-Q, pp. 235–42.


Numbers 13:29. Arad, Gezer, Dor, Megiddo, Taanach, Beth-Shan, En-Dor and Hazor are among those cities designated as Canaanite. Eglon, Lachish, Hebron, Jarmuth, Jerusalem, Ai and Heshbon are described as Amorite. Jerusalem is called Amorite in Joshua 10:3 while in Joshua 15:8, 63 and II Samuel 5:6 it is said to be inhabited by Jebusites. As pointed out below, since “Amorite” could sometimes be used as a general term to cover a number of other groups (presumably closely related), it is possible that the Jebusites were simply one tribal group included in the more general term Amorite.


In Genesis 13:7, 34:30 and Judges 1:4–5 the pre-Israelite peoples are designated simply as Canaanites and Perizzites. Ezekiel, in describing Jerusalem’s origins, says, “Canaan is the land of your ancestry and there you were born; an Amorite was your father and a Hittite your mother.” (Ezekiel 16:3. See also Ezekiel 16:45.) Thus, it would seem that in varying traditions either Amorite or Canaanite could be used as a designation for the entire Semitic element of Palestine while Perizzite or Hittite could be used for the non-Semitic groups.


Others may regard this passage as belonging to “J”. The Prophet Amos characterizes the owners of the land before the arrival of the Hebrews as Amorites (Amos 2:9), while Obadiah considered the land as belonging to the Canannites (Obadiah 20).


Or the Intermediate Early Bronze–Middle Bronze Period, according to Kathleen Kenyon’s suggested terminology.


For the most recent detailed defense of the Amorite hypothesis, linking it to the MB I Period, see, William G. Dever, “The Peoples of Palestine in the Middle Bronze I Period,” Harvard Theological Review, 64 (1971), pp. 197–226. See also W.F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday Anchor Books, 2nd ed., 1957), pp. 163–66; E. Anati, Palestine Before the Hebrews (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1963), pp. 364–65; R. de Vaux, “Les patriarches hebréux et l’histoire,” Revue Biblique, LXXII (1965), pp. 5–28; K. Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land (New York: Frederick Praeger, 1960), pp. 159–61. The only significant challenge to this identification in recent years has been by Paul Lapp who had been Director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem when, in 1970, he tragically drowned while swimming off the coast of Cyprus. See The Dhahr Mirzbaneh Tombs (New Haven: American Schools of Oriental Research, 1966), pp. 86–116. According to Lapp, the MB I invaders were not the Amorites, but rather were related to the Kurgan culture in Southern Russia. Although this view has not won many adherents, it nevertheless does direct attention to the significant problems with the identification of these MB I invaders as Armorites, as we shall see.


(London: The British Academy, 1966), pp. 1–52.


J. Bottéro, “Syria During the Third Dynasty of Ur,” Cambridge Ancient History (3rd ed., Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1971—hereafter cited as CAH3), I, part 2, pp. 562–66. The Sumerian name is Martu.


Lapp, op. cit., cited in fn. 5, p. 93.


G. Buccellati, The Amorites of the UR III Period (Naples: Istituto Orientale de Napoli 1966), pp. 235–52. Bottéro, CAH3, pp. 559–66. The location of the land of the Amorites soon led the Mesopotamians to extend the term Amurru to mean “all land to the westward” or “west” in general. The evidence indicates that the contacts of these Amurru with Mesopotamia were sporadic and that their immigration into the Tigris-Euphrates valleys was a slow movement of small groups of people until the end of the third millennium. Bottéro, CAH3, p. 563. Buccellati, op. cit., pp. 125–85. H. W. F. Saggs, The Greatness That Was Babylon (New York: Hawthorn Books, 1962), p. 60.


See, for example, “The Admonitions of Ipuwer,” iii, 1 in J. B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament (2nd ed., Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1955—hereafter cited as ANET), p 441.


See, e.g. ANET, pp. 227–28.


G. Posener, “Syria and Palestine During the Twelfth Dynasty,” CAH3, pp. 537–47.


These texts consist of magical curses on actual or potential enemies of Egypt. They were inscribed on objects which were then ritually smashed to insure by sympathetic magic that the power of the individuals named would likewise be broken. There are two groups of these texts from the Middle Kingdom: (1) a number of bowl fragments (now in Berlin) published by K. Sethe in Die Aechtung feindlicher Fürsten, Völker und Dinge auf altägyotischen Tongefässscherben des mittleren Reiches (Berlin: Berlin Akad. Abhandlunge No. 5, 192,6) and (2) a group of inscribed figurines (now in Cairo and Brussels) published by G. Posener in Princes et pays d’Asie et de Nubie (Brussels: Fondation Egyptologique Reine Elisabeth, 1940). For translations of a few of these texts see ANET, pp. 328–29.


E.g., K. Kenyon, “Syria: the Sites,” CAH3, pp. 592–94.


See the references given in ANET, p. 328 as well as J. Van Seters, The Hyksos (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1966), pp. 78–80 and Posener, CAH3, pp. 540–41. (Sen-Usert = Sesostris III). Earlier, Albright had dated one set of Execration Texts to the 20th century B.C.


W.F. Albright, “The Eighteenth-Century Princes of Byblos and the Chronology of Middle Bronze,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 176 (1964), pp. 38–46.


ANET, p. 230.


W. G. Dever, “The ‘Middle Bronze I’ Period in Syria and Palestine,” in J. A. Sanders, ed. Near Eastern Archaeology in the Twentieth Century (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Co., 1970), pp. 142–44.




Kenyon, CAH3, pp. 583–89; Amorites and Canaanites, pp. 27–52.


Detailed comparisons between the decoration on the “caliciform” pottery of Syria and MB I pottery from Tell Beit Mirsim were made by Albright, “The Excavation of Tell Beit Mirsim, Ia: The Pottery of the Fourth Campaign,” Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 13 (1933), pp. 55–127.


See Lapp, op. cit., footnote 5, pp. 89–90.


Bottéro, CAH3, pp. 560–61.


I. J. Gelb, “The Early History of the West Semitic Peoples,” Journal of Cunieform Studies, XV (1961), pp. 40–41. Bottéro, CAH3,pp. 565–66, Lapp, op. cit., p. 97.


See, for example, C. F. Jean, Archives Royales de Mari (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1950), II, p. 37 (letter 13, line 29), p. 65 (26:10), p. 149 (78:37–38), p. 223 (135:12). These documents are from the eighteenth century B.C.


Kenyon, Amorites and Canaanites, pp. 53–60 and Archaeology in the Holy Land, pp. 164–67. Van Seters, The Hyksos, pp. 20–26. While the Palestinian MB II material is most closely paralleled by objects found at coastal Syrian sites, connections with the interior of Syria also exist. For material at Alalakh Hama and Qatna which is related to Palestinian MB II wares, see C. L. Woolley, Alalakh: An Account of the Excanations at Tell Atchana in the Hatay, 1937–1949 (Oxford: Society of Antiquaries of London, 1955), objects from Level IX in pls. CIX:5, CX: 21a, 23a & pl. CXXII:137; E. Fugmann, Hama, Fouilles et Recherches 1931–1938: L’Architecture des Périodes pre-Héllenistiques (Copenhagen: Copenhagen Nationalmuseet, 1958), pp 69ff.; and R. du Mesnil du Buisson, Les Ruines d’el-Mishrifé au Nord-est de Homs (Emèse) (Paris: Paul Geuthner, 1927), 1, pp. 43–44 and pls. VIII–XIII See also the parallels between Palestinian MB II and Mesopotamia cited by Kaplan, JNES, 30 (1971), pp. 293–307.


The use of Amurru to refer to all or part of Syria continued into the period of the Assyrian Empire. For examples of the use of this term in Egyptian and Hittite texts of the Late Bronze Age see ANET, pp. 256 and 319, and for Assyrian texts of the Early Iron Age, see ANET, pp. 275 and 228.


Because of this a few scholars have straddled the fence by applying the evidence to both periods, referring to the MB IIA invaders as a later wave of Amorites supplementing the earlier Amorite groups of MB I. See W. Dever, op. cit., n. 18, p. 140 and G. E. Wright, ed., The Bible and the Ancient Near East (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1961), p. 88. However, this group of scholars must minimize the radical break in material culture between MB I and MB II if they are to accept any correlations between archaeological remains and ethnic movements. Paul Lapp has stated that the relation of both periods to Amorite incursions “involves oversimplification, if not contradiction.” (Lapp, op. cit., p. 94.)


N. Glueck, Rivers in the Desert (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Inc., 1959), pp. 60–110.


Albright, “Abram the Hebrew: A New Archaeological Interpretation,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 163 (1961), pp. 36–54.


R. de Vaux, “Les patriarches hebreux … ,” Revue Biblique, LXXII (1965), pp. 5–28.


See Genesis 12:9; 13:3; 20:1; 21:14, 20.


Shechem—Genesis 12:6, 33:18; 34, 35:4; 37:12–14; Bethel—Genesis 12:8; 13:3; 28:19; 31:13; 35:1–4, 6, 15; Gerar—Genesis 20:1–16; 26:1–22, Hebron (or Mamre)—Genesis 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; 23:2; 17, 19; 35:27.


See Lapp, The Dhahr Mirzabaneh Tombs, p. 114 and Y. Aharoni, “The Negev,” in D. Winton Thomas, ed., Archaeology and Old Testament Study (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1967), p. 387.


See J. Bright, A History of Israel (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1959), p. 72.


ANET, pp. 219 and 482.


Kenyon, Amorites and Canaanites, pp. 58–59; “Palestine in the Middle Bronze Age,” CAH3, fascicle 48 (1966), pp. 11–12.


Kenyon, Amorites and Canaanites, p. 49; CAH3, pp. 590–91.


Scarabs and cylinder seals which have been dated to the beginning of Dynasty XIII in Egypt (the early eighteenth century B.C.) (See Albright, “The excavation of Tell Beit Mirsim, Ia…,” p. 74, Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land, p. 164) were found with bronze pins, torques, axes, daggers and spearheads like those common in Syria and Palestine in MB I along with two metal bowls (one silver and one copper), which appear to be prototypes of the MB II carinated pottery bowls (See P. Montet, Byblos et L’Egypte; quartre campagnes de fouilles a Gebeil, 1921–24 (Paris: Paul Geuthner, 1929), pls. LXLX–LXXI; Kenyon, Amorites and Canaanites, p. 49 and pls. X–XIV).


O. Negbi and S. Moskowitz, “The ‘Foundation Deposits’ or ‘Offering Deposits’ of Byblos,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 184 (1966), pp. 21–26.


Unfortunately the stratigraphic context of these deposits cannot be determined with sufficient accuracy to resolve this disagreement. Kenyon, CAH3, I, pt. 2, p. 589.


Speiser, “Man…,” Interpreter’s Dict. of the Bible, K–Q, p. 238.


Kenyon, Archaeology in the Holy Land, pp. 195–97. Some foreign people such as the Hurrians do seem to have entered Palestine-Syria during the MB II–LB Period, but their numbers were probably small and they had little effect on the material culture of the area. For arguments that the bichrome designs on LB I pottery are Hurrian in inspiration and indicate their arrival in Palestine see C. Epstein, Palestinian Bichrome Ware (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1966), pp. 153–166. For evidence of the arrival of small groups of Cypriots in southern Palestine in MB II C, see W. Stiebing, “Another Look at the Origins of the Philistine Tombs at Tell el-Far’ah (S),” The American Journal of Archaeology, 74(1970), pp. 141–143. The influx of foreigners during MB II most commonly acknowledged, that of the Hyksos invasion, is probably a myth! See J. Van Seters, The Hyksos and W. Stiebing, “Hyksos Burials in Palestine: A Review of the Evidence,” The Journal of Near Eastern Studies, 30 (1971), pp. 110–117.


In the Amarna letters there are eleven occurrences of a place name KinahÉhÉi, KinahÉna and only one use of the gentilic KinahÉayu. In the Alalakh texts its use is also primarily geographic. See Speiser, op. cit., p. 238.


Speiser, “The Name Phoinikes,” Language, XII (1936), pp. 121–26; Kenyon, Amorites and Canaanites, p. 59 and A. Haldar “Canaanites,” Interpreter’s Dict. of the Bible, A–D, p. 494.


See Isaiah 23:8 (describing Tyre “whose merchants were princes and her traders [Canaanites] the most honored men on earth”); Pr. 31:24; Ezekiel 17:4; Hosea 12:8; Zephaniah 1:11; Zechariah 11:7; 11; 14:21. In the account of a Palestinian campaign of Amenhotep II (c. 1447–1421) the following occurs:

“List of booty: maryanu [chariot warriors, aristocracy]: 550; their wives: 240; Canaanites: 640; princes’ children: 232; princes’ children female: 323; favorites (?) of the princes of every foreign country: 270 women, in addition to their paraphernalia for entertaining the heart, of silver and gold, (at) their shoulders; total: 2,214 [sic].” (ANET, p. 246)

The context would seem to indicate that the Canaanites here are a class rather than an ethnic group, and the Old Testament passages make it likely that merchants are meant.