From The Alpha and the Omega - Volume III
by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1/25/1999, all rights reserved
" Ebla (Tell Mardikh)"
an ancient city that flourished
between 2700 and 2200 B.C.
in what is now northern Syria.

    In 1964 Italian archaeologists directed by Paolo Matthiae of the University of Rome excavated a mound in northern Syria known as Tell Mardikh.  In 1968, Matthiae and his team uncovered ancient Akkadian inscriptions of King Ibbit-Lim.   In this text the king identified himself as the ruler of Ebla.   During excavations in 1974 and 1975, public and royal archives containing over 15,000 clay tablets came to light.   The Eblaite scribes recorded information on clay tablets, inscribed in cuneiform, as developed by the Sumerians, which was found in the ruins of the royal palace in 1974 A.D.  
Clay Tablet found at Ebla
Clay Tablet from Ebla
    The people of Ebla were Semites, and spoke a Semitic language that resembled ancient Hebrew.  These 15,000 clay tablets are one of the most important archaeological discoveries in our times, yet they have not even been deciphered, translated or published complete due to political/religious boundary issues.   The most likely date of these archives is about 2500 B.C.

    Some scholars have tried to propose a birth-date for Abram at 2166 B.C., because his father Terah was documented to have migrated from Ur to Haran (Gen. 11:31).
    As seen in The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 449-453, Genesis Hebrew Translation - Gen. 11:26-32; Gen. 12:1-6 we find the following excerpt link regarding Gen. 11:31 Terah took Abram from Ur of the Chaldees and then went into the land of Canaan.
    Since Haran was only 150 miles from Ebla, this promoted the posture that the Ebla text preceded Abram by 300 years.   If Abram was 75 years old when he departed from Haran and went to Canaan (Gen. 12:4), it is assumed that he must have lived in Haran around 2100 B.C.
    Abram is assumed to have learned Sumerian and Old Akkadian languages while in Ur (of Chaldees - Heb. Uwr Kasidy, associated with Kesed [as seen in the above link]) before leaving it.   And if he moved to Haran then he would have adopted Amorite, a language more similar to Canaanite and Hebrew.
    Emphasis mine: This complies to the Biblical text in that between Gen. 12 Abram built an altar at "Shechem," passed by "Bethel," and "Haion" (Ai, an Early Bronze Age city destroyed in about 2300 B.C.); then he went to the Negev, then with Sarai he went to visit the Pharaohs (Heb. paroh, Egyptian "Per-o") of Egypt (Mizraim) but it is unknown whether before or after the Union of Upper and Lower Egypt in 3100 B.C.
    In Genesis 13 he returned to Canaan and was a cattle herder (pastoralists lifestyle) with Lot along with the Canaanites and the Perizzites, where remains of a temple at Megiddo were found dating between 2500-1850 B.C. [see link below] along with other temples in the city of Beth Shan which dates back to 3500 B.C.   In Gen. 13:18 he went to live in the plain (by the oaks) of Mamre, the Amorite, and his brother Aner, and Eshcol who were allies with him later in Gen. 14:13, 24.
    In Genesis 14 he experienced the four kings that invaded Canaans cities of the plain, before their destruction in Genesis 19.
    The following note was found on the website of Gary D. Thompson under:
"Appendix 4
    Recent (2010) archaeological finds in the northern Jordan Valley indicate that the ancient site of Pella was a formidable city-state and urbanised (a massive mega-city) circa 3600 BCE until civilisation there abruptly stopped circa 2800 BCE (due to possibly a devastating earthquake and climate change)".

    The following is an excerpt from The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 448, leading to the subject of "Abram the Hebrew," in Genesis 14:13.
continued overview
Gen. 14:13 one of the escapees came and told
    Abram the Hebrew (traditionally considered designated for Abram and his descendants, especially through Jacob which is equal to Israelites.   There is the possibility, however, that in OT times that the names "Hebrew," "Habiru," "Khapiru," "Apiru," and "pr" were forms of the same word (equivalent to the Akkadian SA.GAZ), a designation without nation significance.   Rather, they indicated wandering peoples greatly restricted as regards financial means and without citizenship and social status.   Ancient records show the "Habiru" to be scattered over western Asia for centuries until about 1100 B.C.  Nomadic peoples, mostly Semites sometimes raiders, sometimes skilled artisans they frequently offered themselves as mercenaries and slaves, with individuals occasional rising to prominence.
    Etymologically, it has been debated whether "Hebrew" is to be traced to Eber, the father of Peleg and Joktan (Gen. 10:24-25, 11:12-16) or is derived from the Hebrew root "to pass over" and has reference to "a land on the other side," as the dweller east of the Euphrates might think of Canaan.   Habiru as to Hebrew, the Hebrew are "those who crossed over" in the sense of trespassing, i.e., "trespassers."
    Since Lot and Abram separated, in Gen. 13:18 he went to live in the plain (by the oaks) of Mamre (Heb. mamre, strength), the Amorite.  Mamre is a place a few miles north of Hebron where oak trees grew (Abram in Gen. 13:18, and Abraham in 18:1).   The burial cave in the field of Machpelah is described as located before Mamre (23:17, 19, 25:9, 35:27, 49:30, 50:13).   The modern name of the site is Ramet el-Khalil which can be viewed as Herodian ruins.
    Mamre was the brother of both:
    Eshcol (Heb. eshkol, cluster) an Amorite who lived in Hebron and who helped Abram defeat King Kedorlaomer and his forces and bring back Lot and his family.
    Aner (Heb. aner) a brother of Mamre the Amorite, Abrams ally in Gen. 14:13, 24.
    (See note in Gen. 15:2 about the above three allies and the connection with Eliezer or 318).
    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 469-470 covers Discovery of Sargas, Sa.gaz, Sargon, King Scorpion of Predynastic times, and Abram the Hebrew - Gen. 14:12-13 a detailed continuation of the above overview.

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 471-472 covers The Significance of 318 - Gen. 14:14-17 for those of you who enjoy Gemetria take a look.

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 479-483 for Gen. 15:1-12 encompasses the mystery of Eliezer of Damascus, 318 Servants, and future Servant, the Ram and Heifer, the Hawks, Falcons and Kites and can be found at Gen. 15:1-12 The Mystery of Eliezer of Damascus, 318 Servants, three hundred and eighteen.

    The language of the Ebla text has been described as "Proto-Canaanite," and allows that Haran also shared the same language.   So in Abrams migration he learned the Canaanite dialects (including "Hebrew").  Giovanni Pettinato, the major decipherer and translator of the Ebla inscriptions, has suggested that there is a connection between the name of the Eblaite king Ebrium (some sources Ebrum) and the word "Hebrew."

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Table of Nations, page 237 in Gen. 10:16, is the description of the Amorite.
    Also from The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 486-487 covers The Ten Canaanite Tribes Gen. 15:19-21 specifically Gen. 15:21 on page 487, subject Amorites.
    In the future Volume III, I will pursue a connection of Sumerian words with the constellations.    Here is a sample of this concept as it relates to the Amorites:
    Sumerian lMAR-TU[-KI]: Amorite - Semitic nomad of the western desert (mar 'wagon' + tu 'to be born').    As to Amorite = Amuru, Muru : Sumerian g, g, e: n., irrigation ditch; boundary canal/dike/levee. v., to water; to speak, say (e = sing. mar, plural hamtu, and plural mar; cf., dug4, also di); to do (as auxiliary verb preceded by a noun). demonstrative pron., this one; in the immediate vicinity; suffixed to ergative agent.
    Sumerian ANSHE.KUR.RA, Akk. sis, "The Horse," Pegasus, Sum. kur, mountain, nether-world, kurra, mountains.    Kur also called Syria, were "... the peoples who lived to the west of Sumer, the barbarous, illiterate, and savage tribes (Sumerian view point) who inhabited the Syrian and Arabian deserts, were generally called Martu.    They were the ancestors of the Amuru who ranged across much of the northern, central, and eastern Arabian deserts."    (Note: Muru = Amorite, Heb. emori).

    The Amorite of the Bible arrived in Palestine about 2300 B.C. as nomads and destroyers of the existing civilizations was popularized by Kenyon in her Schweich Lectures of 1963, from her excavations at Jericho and other sites.   By 1900 B.C. the Canaanites and Amorites around Byblos had influenced most of Palestine.   Dever promoted that the urbanized Amorite arrival as the Middle Bronze Age II A period (2000-1800 B.C. - Ur III period), which is different than the semi-nomadic Amorites of the Early Bronze IV - Middle Bronze I period (2100 B.C.).
    The Bible clearly states that the origin of Abram was Ur ? to Haran, then he left Haran for Canaan by way of Damascus (Gen. 11:31; 12:4-6; 15:2).   Haran is on the Upper Balikh river where it served as a major route for east-west trade, only 130 miles southwest to Aleppo.
    The Aleppo to Damascus route passes through the city of Ebla, thus the possibility that Abram and his family stopped there.

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume II -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Five, page 39 which comments on the subject of Ebla and Abram dating.
    Until recently it was commonly felt that Abraham lived in the Middle Bronze Period (c. 2000-1500 B.C.), but an electrifying new discovery in northern Syria in 1974 at Tell Mardikh (Ebla) has caused Noel Freedman to place him in the Early Bronze Period (2950-2000 B.C.) at a time when Ebla was at its height of power and influence.   A royal library was found here consisting of 20,000 clay tablets, 80 percent of which were written in Sumerian and the rest in an unknown Semitic language akin to Hebrew that is now called Eblaite.  Located halfway between modern Aleppo and Hama, at the top of the Fertile Crescent, the city was in the heart of Abrahams ancestral home territory of Haran and flourished in c. 2200 B.C.  Names like David, Micah, Jerusalem, Sodom, Gomorrah, Haran, and Ur appear in the texts.   The Ebla tablets as seen in Chapter Four of this book are a geographic Atlas of the area identifying the ruins of Bub edh-Dhra as Sodom and the ruins of Numeria as Gomorrah.   The city of Ebla was destroyed around 2250 B.C.
    If you have been grasping what this book is stating about Abram and Abraham, you can see the dilemma of recent scholars and archaeologists in that they are in conflict with dates.   Abraham seems to be dated in the Early Bronze period and is also around in the Middle Bronze Period even though he was reported biblically to have only lived for 175 years, "...and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years..."

    Some sources have tried to equate Eber (Gen. 10:21) with Ebrum, king of Ebla in 2300 B.C.  The connections with "Abram the Hebrew" to the term for early semi-nomads the "Habiru, " is still uncertain.   Although some suggest these comparisons:
epru - "dusty ones"
epe,,ru; pr - "providing/receiving subsidies"
apr - "transferred, without a stable habitat"
ebru - "confederates"
ewri - Hurrian "lord," or possibly "one who passes through, crosses territory"
ebe,,ru - a stranger who has left his country and crossed a frontier or "one who seeks a new means of existence after having lost his place in the old order of things."  This one agrees with the Septuagint interpretation of Genesis 14:13.
    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I, -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Table of Nations, page 247 in Gen. 10:24, and page 263 in Gen. 11:14, subject Eber and Ebrum, a definite area which is suspect of the missing generation of Cainan of Luke 3:36.
    The publication of the cuneiform texts from Tell Mardikh (Ebla), as stated by Matthiae:
Mardikh II B 2 period covered 2250-2000 B.C.,
Mardikh III A period is 2000-1800 B.C..
   Which period did Abram or Abraham visit?  When did the Amorites extend their influence?  These questions are still up for dispute.
    Ebla is a period (2500 B.C.) which predates the Amorite influence.
    The texts contain itineraries, lexical lists, commodities transactions, and similar information and which mention Canaan and Canaanite cities.   The patriarchal stories make their reference to Canaan, a geographic name, first attested at Alalakh, hundreds of years after the patriarchs.   One Ebla tablet describes the preparation of a white statue as a gift for "the lord of Canaan" (dbe k-na-na-im), a reference which antedates Alalakh by a millennium!   More particularly of interest are the references to cities such as Byblos, Ashdod, Jaffa, Akko, Sidon, Beirut, Alalakh, Megiddo, Lachish, Damascus, Homs, and Hama, many of which are mentioned in the Old Testament.

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Table of Nations - Noahs descendants page 219, regarding Gen. 10:6 descendants of Ham, specifically here Canaan.
    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 488-490 for Gen. 16:1-16 can be found at Hagar the handmaid, The Birth of Ishmael Gen. 16:1-16
which leads to the "twelve princes" of Gen. 17:20, or twelve sons of Ishmael
    The above link is an excerpt from Volume I, Chapter Four Section "C", page 488, subject here regarding Gen. 16:3 as Abram "dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan."

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 473-478 covers The Mystery of Melchizedek the priest of the Most High God
Gen. 14:18-24, was Melchizedek a Samaritan high priest?

    The following is an excerpt from Volume I, Chapter Four Section "C", page 478, in regard to the subject of Megiddo and Canaanite Temples, as to Gen. 14:18-24, mystery of Melchizedek

    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 486-487 covers The Ten Canaanite Tribes Gen. 15:19-21
    The Ten Canaanite Tribes are: Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaim, Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites. The following is an excerpt from Volume I, Chapter Four Section "C", page 487, subject Gen. 15:21, Amorites and Canaanites
    To return to the above subject of the influence of the Amorites.

    The cities of the plain promotes a connection between Abram and Lot in Genesis 14 (Abram with Amorite allies battling the four kings of the East) and then later in Genesis 18-19 as Abraham and Lot (as to the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah [note amorah]).
    Noel Freedman claims that Pettinato in 1976 revealed a tablet from Ebla which listed the cities that Ebla had commercial transactions with.   The five cites of the plains were in the same order as found in Genesis 14:2, but in their cuneiform syllabic form:
    From The Alpha and the Omega, Volume I -- by Jim A. Cornwell -- Chapter Four Section "C", page 461-468 which covers The Kings of Canaan Gen. 14:1-11 but here we review Volume I, Chapter Four Section "C", page 462-463 mentioned in Gen. 14:2 the five cities of the plain.
    Open this link for a Volume III list of cities that Ebla had commercial transaction with.

    The Eblaite names are phonetic equivalents of the names in Hebrew.
    Since then Pettinato, has disclaimed his conclusion because of the realities of modern Middle Eastern politics, specifically from the Syrian government (location of the site of Tell Mardikh), and allowing his continued work on the excavation.   This relationship between Genesis and the Ebla texts may lend support to the antiquity of the Hebrew people and possibly to the claims of Israel on certain parts of the Arab world.
    Excavation of sites near Lisan, the peninsula in the southeast part of the Dead Sea has made scholars such as Albright, to associated it with Bronze Age towns buried beneath the shallow waters of the south end of the Dead Sea.   Their destruction in the Early Bronze Period coincided with that of the biblical cities.   The abandonment of the principal site, Bb edh-Dhra', must be dated according to Albright sometime before the foundation of Jericho IV, the Middle Bronze town, or about 1800 B.C.
    Recent scholars such as Rast and Schaub are promoting new excavation of Bb edh-Dhra' and Numeira has resulted in pushing its date of destruction to about 2350 B.C.   If the cities of the plain are mentioned in the Ebla archives (2500 B.C.) and if they are to be identified with Bb edh-Dhra', Numeira, and the other three Dead Sea sites (es-Safi, Feifeh, and Khanazir), all of which were destroyed no later than 2200/2150 B.C., a dilemma has occurred.

    These revisionist implications, now thwart some historians to change Abram from Late Bronze and move him back a thousand years.   Freedman, stated that "the reason that the story has never been located historically is that scholars, all of us, have been looking in the wrong millennium.   Briefly put, the account in Genesis 14, and also in chapters 18-19, does not belong to the second millennium B.C., still less to the first millennium B.C., but rather to the third millennium B.C."
    If Bb edh-Dhra' and the other sites are to be identified with the biblical cities of the plain as to a date of 2067 for the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (2150 according to Rast and Schaub) and it certainly is early enough to permit the names of the cities to appear in the Ebla archives.
    Is 2067 too early to allow for Abraham to have participated in the early stages of the Amorite movement?
    All this can be possible if one accepts the view that Abram and Abraham are two different individuals or the same individual transferred by supernatural means 954 years into the future.
    Return to the Home Page - Chapter Four content or
check out Overview of Abram's transformation to Abraham for more about the variable years.
    This file was updated on 10/23/2014.
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