“I am Idrimi, the son of Ilimilimma, the servant of … Ishtar, the Lady of Alalakh.” So begins the Hurrian inscription on the statue above, found in 1939 at Tell Atchana, ancient Alalakh, in Syria. The inscription covers the front of the figure, with a short postscript appearing on Idrimi’s beard and whiskers. In the following passage, Idrimi tells of his family’s fall from grace, his exile in Canaan, and his reinstatement as king of Alalakh by the early 15th-century B.C.E. Mittani king Parrattarna:

“An evil deed happened in Halab [present-day Aleppo], the seat of my family, and we fled to the people of Emar, brothers of my mother, and we lived (then) in Emar. My brothers, who were older than I, stayed with me but none of them had the plans I had. I (said to) myself: “Whoever owns the seat of his family is a … (while) who does not is but a slave in the eyes of the people of Emar!”

“(So) I took with me my horse, my chariot, and my groom, went away and crossed over the desert country and even entered into the region of the Sutian warriors. I stayed with them (once) overnight in my … chariot, but the next day I moved on and went to the land of Canaan. I stayed in Ammia in the land of Caanan; in Ammia lived (also) natives of Halab, of the country Mukishkhi, of the country of Ni’ and also warriors from the country Ama’e. They discovered that I was the son of their overlord and gathered around me.

“There I grew up and stayed for a long time. For seven years I lived among the Hapiru-people. (Then) I released birds (to observe their flight) and looked into (the entrails of) lambs (and found) that after seven years Adad had become favorable to me. So I built boats, made … soldiers board them, approached the country Mukishkhi via the sea and reached shore below Mt. Casius. I went ashore and when my country heard of me they brought me cattle and sheep. And in one day, and as one man, the countries Ni’, Ama’e, Mukishkhi and my city Alalakh turned to me. My brothers had heard (about this) and they came into my presence. As soon as they had become reconciled with me, I established my brothers as such.

“However, for seven years, Barattarna [Parrattarna], the mighty king, the king of the Hurrian warriors, treated me as an enemy. In the seventh year, I sent Anuanda (as messenger) to King Barattarna, the king of the (Hurrian) warriors, and told (him) about the services of my forefathers when my forefathers had been in their (the kings’) service and (when) what we had said was pleasing to the king of the Hurrian warriors, and (that) they had made an alliance based on a solemn oath among themselves. The mighty king heard of our former services and the oath they had sworn to each other—they had read the wording of the oath to him, word by word, as well as (the list of) our services. He accepted my messenger (lit: greeting). I increased the gifts indicating my loyalty, which were heavy and returned to him (his) lost household. I swore him a mighty oath as to my status as a loyal vassal.

“And (so) I became king in charge of Alalakh.”

Trans. A. Leo Oppenheim, in Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, ed. James B. Pritchard (Princeton: Princeton Univ., 1969), pp. 556–558.