Tuesday, April 22, 2014

About Ahab, Labaya, Mesha and the Amarna era.

I agree with Velikovsky's argument on Jehoshaphat as Ebed-Tov/Abdi-Heba King of Jerusalem and Mesha King of Moab with the Mesh of the Amarna letters. The Amarna letters also list 3 of the Captains of Jehoshaphat from II Chronicles 17:14-19. Addudani/Addadani=Adna and Ada-danu mentioned by Shalmaneser in 825 BC, "Son of Zuchru" = "son of Zichri", Iahzibada=Iehozabad/Jehozabad.

One objection to the proposed model is that during the Amarna period Burnaburiash, king of Karduniash and Assur-uballit, king of Assyria, are already identified as Burnaburiash II, a Kassite king, and Assur-uballit I, King of Assyria, who lived in the 14th century. Unfortunately, this synchronism is just coincidental and has hampered the uncovering of the true situation. The identification Of Burnaburiash as a Kassite has great difficulties. Amarna Burnaburiash, proclaimed himself to be a 'Great King', and claimed Assyrians were his subjects (Letter 9). Burnaburiash II, the Kassite king, never ruled over Assyria nor referred to himself as 'Great King'. The identification of Amarna Assur-uballit has equal difficulties. The Armana Assur-uballit's father was Assur-nadin-ahhe but no ancestor of King Assur-uballit I of Assyria was known by that name. Furthermore, Assuruballit's role as spoiler of Shuttarna II, the Mitanni King is doubtful. The Mitanni king forced his vassals to pay him tribute to give to an unnamed Assyrian king.  According to Roux "Without shooting an arrow, Assur-uballit I not only freed his country from the Mitanni domination but brought about the downfall of the kingdom to which his fathers had paid tribute" [Roux, G. p260]. History shows that Assur-uballit I was a vassal of the Hurrians who ruled Nuzi and Arraphka only a few miles from Asshur. His inscriptions never mentioned any tribute from Khanigalbat, nor did he use the title 'Great King' or 'King of the Universe' as his Amarna namesake did. Gadd has to admit that it is strange history to receive rewards for rebellion -"the wealth, the princes and even the territory of his former sovereign" - instead of punishment [Gadd, 1975, p. 27].

Who, then, is Burnaburiash? The Burnaburiash of the el-Amarna letters ruled Babylon sometime in 910-880 RC. When Babylonian king, Nabu-apla-iddina, died about 910 BIC, his son, Marduk-zakir-shumi, ascended the throne. His brother Marduk-Bel-usate rebelled against him and he was forced to call on Shalmaneser III to help him. Shalmaneser defeated Marduk-Bel-usate and then "joined Babylonia and Assyria together". Thus, Shalmaneser III was the king of Babylon during the Amarna era. This agrees with Velikovsky's identification [Velikovsky, 1952]. Many kings who conquered foreign lands took another name. It is possible that Shalmaneser took the name Burnaburiash as king of Babylon. Shalmaneser III also took the titles 'Great King', 'King of the Universe' [Oppenheim, 1969a, p.233]. Thus he meets the conditions necessary for the Amarna king, Burnaburiash.

A seal of Kidin-Marduk, son of Sa-ilima-damqa, 'the Great Official of Burnaburiash', the 'King of All', was found in Mycenaean strata at Thebes Greece [Bacon, 1971, p.87]. This stratum is Mycenaean. Its Burnaburiash belongs to the Amarna era and per RC must be Shalmaneser III. Archaeologists found lapis lazuli and agate cylinder seals in the same strata [Platon, N. 1964. p.859-61]. The seals were classified as Mycenaean, Kassite/Babylonian of the 14th century and older Babylonian. One was classified as Mitannian and another was Syro-Hittite. According to the RC model, the Mitannian, Syro-Hittite and Mycenaean era is the 10th and 9th century but the Kassite and older Babylonian seals are dated to the 14th and 15th century. But, Sa-ilima-damqa is a very rare name. It is found in Assyria during only one reign, that of Assurnasirpal. He is the eponym for year 880 GAD. His son Kidin-Marduk is the same generation as Shalmaneser III. Thus, the Kassite and older Babylonian seals are not a product of 14th century Babylon but the 9th century.

In Shalmaneser's 6th year, he faced a coalition of forces headed by a commander named Biridri. The coalition included Aduni and Matinu-Baal and the Prince of Asu [Oppenheim, 1969a]. Velikovsky identifies Biridia in the Amarna period as the Commandant of Meggido. He notes a King Aduni mentioned in Letter 75; a Mut-Baal sender of Letter 255; and in Letter 150, Abimilki, King of Tyre, mentions Uzu [Velikovsky, 1952, pp. 310-11]. Hittite King, Suppilulimas I wrote a congratulatory letter to Pharaoh Tutankhamun who could be Saplel, King of Hattina, mentioned in Shalmaneser's annals [Oppenheim, 1969b] These Syrian rulers appear both in the Amarna letters and the 9th century annals of Shalmaneser III. Lastly, in Letter 55 to Akhenaten, Abimilki, king of Tyre, refers to himself three times as the "servant of Shalmatiata". The fall of Tyre to Shalmaneser in year 18, 897 BIC, agrees with the date of the Letter 155 in the reign of Akhenaten is 898-882 RC.

Burnaburiash's Amarna (Letter 9) complained of Egypt's reception of the Assyrian king because he had asked Egypt to stop trade with him in a prior letter [Oppenheim, 1967, p. 116]. Burnaburiash's claim that Assyrians were his subjects and his objection to Egypt's recognition of the Assyrians are consistent only if Assyria was in revolt against him at that time. It was led initially by Assur-danin-apli, son of Shalmaneser. Shalmaneser was forced to seek refuge in Babylon. After his death, his son, Shamsi-Adad V, fought for several years to quell the rebellion. During that time, a non-canonical Assur-uballit could have claimed the throne of Assyria, as 'King of All'.

I agree about the Habiru being bandits or mercenaries, not an ethnic term.

In an earlier post I said I disagreed with Velikovsky's identification for the Northern Kingdom ruler and went along with many others who insist Labaya must be the Northern Kingdom ruler. But I've gone over the arguments again and changed my mind.  Gubla is used of Byblos but also of other cities too. So now Rib-Addi king of Sumur and Gubla the Northern Kingdom Omrid ruler of Jezreel and Samaria I do agree with.

But I disagree on that being Ahab, since the Rebellion of "The people of Mesh" (Mesha and his Moabites) is going on right from the beginning of this period, we're in the reign of Jehoram not Ahab.

The whole Jezebel-Nefertiti connection suggested by SpecialtyInterests I don't like.

Who is Labaya then?

Labaya and his questionable behavior seems to have some link to the "people of the rebel Mesh".  2 Chronicles 20 says Ammonites were allied with Mesha's rebellion.  "It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle".  Shalmaneser records that at the Battle of Qargar "King Ba'asa, son of Ruhubi, of the land of Ammon sent 100 soldiers."  Note, "son of Ruhubi" here could mean "House of Ruhubi".  Labaya's son Mutbaal ruled in the Transjordan region, the geographical clues for Labaya himself are unclear and possibly misleading, Shechem was not his Capital as some have assumed for example.

On the other hand Labaya's role seems too duplicitous to be an obvious ally like the Amonites.   But I'm still leaning towards a Transjordan location.

On further thought I feel that's unlikely to.  Those who want to make Labaya a northern Kingdom ruler like to minimize the references to Shechem in the Labaya letter, saying they don't make Shechem his capital city but only that he's responsible for it.  But in my current view, I'm coming to think Maybe this is simply telling us Labaya is a governor entrusted with the city of Shechem, and maybe also areas around Shechem like Mount Gerizim and Ebal.

Velikovsky did NOT believe in the infallibility of Scripture. Which of course is an assumption many critics of revised chronology make about all revised chronologists. This fact about him is most apparent in the part of Ages in Chaos about the Death of Ahab. He takes it from what he saw as a contradiction between this verse.

The Tel Dan Stele discovered since Veilikovsky's time confirms Jehoram existed, but creates other confusion.

II Kings 1:17 "So he died according to the word of the LORD which Elijah had spoken. And Jehoram reigned in his stead in the second year of Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah; because he had no son."

And these two verses.

II Kings 3:1 "Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years."

II Kings 8:16 "And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign."

There is no contradiction here however, he'd have known this if he'd studied Ussher's chronology. Jehoshaphat made his son a co-ruler for the latter years of his reign, this is why the 18th year of Jehoshaphat can also be the second year of Jehoram.

As for the fact that Ahab did Repent after Elijah rebuked him over the Naboth business. That was negated when Ahab sinned again believing the False Prophets over Micaiah.

But Velikovsky creates a whole convoluted theory that Ahab survived the battle of Ramoth-Gilead and lived another 9 years.

Mesha of Moab's rebellion was right after Israel's defeat at Ramoth-Gilead, Velikovsky sees the Moabite stone documenting this event as saying it was in the Middle of Ahab's reign, not after he died. First off the stone sounds like Mesha's relating a Prophesy made by a Prophet of Chemosh, who's Prophecy may have came true but not completely accurately. But also if it was made immediately at the start of the rebellion he may not have heard of Ahab's death yet.  At any rate Ahab is not named on the Stone.

Regardless of those arguments, not all readings of the Mesha Stele even agree with the one Velikovsky used to support his theory.

As for his argument that Rib-Addi refers to himself as an old man?  Solomon is called an old man when he died, but he never lived to see 60.  We don't know how old Jehoram was when he took the throne, but I think it likely all three of Ahab's named children where born before Omri died.  The context of the letter is mainly that he was in too poor health to travel to visit Pharaoh.  He could have been lying/making excuses and just didn't want to go to Egypt, or he could have had any number of illnesses or injuries.

As for his argument about there being not even enough time according to the Assyrian inscriptions of the reign of Shalmaneser between Qarqar (where an Ahab of Israel or Jezreel is mentioned) and when Jehu gave his tribute.  A few possibilities.

1. The two inscriptions could have been counting his reign differently, his becoming King of Babylon presents one excuse for different starting points.

2. Some have argued that Jehu is just an incomplete inscription of Jehoram.  Based on Jehu not being a son of Omri as the inscription says, and a purely conjectural opinion that Jehu wouldn't give tribute to Shalmaneser.  The latter argument however is a naive interpretation of Jehu's character.  And for the former, the Assyrians called the Northern Kingdom in general the "House of Omri" well after his dynasty ended.

3. The leaders Shalmaneser fought at Qargar he refers to in general as Sars (princes) and refers to no individual one by a specific title.  The Bible in this period uses Sars frequently of City governors, Assyrians never used Sar this way strictly, but this refers to foreign leaders here, who knows how accurate their info on their enemies even was.

Ahab had at least 70 sons we're told, only two are named, and probably neither of those even included in the referenced 70 who Jehu massacred at Jezreel.  Kings especially back then usually named at least one son after themselves.  And when you have that many your bound to run out of original ideas.  So I think the Ahab at Qarqar may actually have been a brother of the reigning King and son of Ahab who was appointed Sar of Jezreel and entrusted with some key military authority and thus also been the General sent to command Israel's contribution to the Qargar war.

Or maybe this Israelite Sar was simply refereed to as "Ben Ahab" (Son of Ahab)  but some poor communication caused the Assyrian record to only hear the Ahab part.

But also, I don't think Jehoram was that king's original birth name, Jezebel would not likely have given her Son a Yahweh theophoric name.  We are told Jerhoram broke with her Mother's religion and returned to the religion of Jeroboam (which I believe was never a non Yahweh religion, but simply worshiped him in an Idolatrous fashion).  So he may have taken the name Jehoram when he did that, but was at birth Ahab II.

Leaving Amarna now, lets go to other Egyptian material from the same period.

Shasu is a term used in the Soleb Temple built by Amenhotep III and latter copied by Seti I and Ramesses II.  The 19th Dynasty Pharaohs may not have accurately known what the various Shasus originally refereed to.

They're all in the Transjorabn region, the list mentions six groups of Shasu: the Shasu of S'rr, the Shasu of Rbn, the Shasu of Sm't, the Shasu of Wrbr, the Shasu of Yhw, and the Shasu of Pysps.  And there are also refrences elsewhere to a Shasu of Edom,  Since Seir was the holy mountain of Edom they're likely the same group.  The Shasu of Rbn I think is likely the tribe of Reuben.

 The "Shasu of Yhw" is popularly speculated as having something to do with the Biblical YHWH, and I indeed believe there were Yahweh worshipers in the Transjordan region at this time.  But this would be the only occasion where the name after Shasu refers to a deity they worship rather then a tribal or regional name.

I then thought, "Yhw is just as similar to Yhwo (Jehu) as it is to YHWH".  And Jehu was in Rammoth-Giliead, a Transjordan region, before he was anointed King and given his mission to overthrow the Omrids.  Maybe the Shasu of Yhw are the Shasu of Jehu, maybe Jehu was not his personal name but the name of a Clan he was the leader of?

For a different perspective you can read Amarna Names.  The least credible claim made there is Labaya as Mesha, but the argument for the name actually meaning "The Moabite" is interesting.  Now I have agreed here that Labaya was in cahoots with Mesha.  Maybe he was called the Moabite because he was ethnically Moabite or half Moabite?

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