Habiru

Amarna Letter EA68

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, the mayor of Byblos warns pharaoh that the city of Sumur will be lost to the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos (Gebal): King of all countries, Great King Pharaoh: The war of the Habiru forces is extremely severe, do not neglect Sumur lest all be joined to the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[R]ib-Hadd[a sa]ys to his lord, [king] of all countries, Great King: May the Lady of Gubla grant power to the king, my lord. 7–11 I fall at the feet of my lord, my Sun, 7 times and 7 times. May the king, my lord, know that Gubla, the loyal maidservant of the king, is safe and sound. 12–18 The war, however, [o]f the ˓Apiru forces [aga]inst me is extremely severe, and so may the king, my lord, not ‹ne›glect Ṣumur lest ever[yo]ne be joined to the ˓Apiru forces. 19–26 Through the king’s commissioner who is in Ṣumur, Gubla is alive. Paḫa[mna]ta, the commissioner of the king who is in Ṣumur, knows the straits: ma-na-AŠ (?) that Gubla is in. 27–32 It is from the land of Yarimuta that we have acquired provisions. The w[a]r [agai]nst us is extremely severe, and so may the king not [ne]glect his [ci]ties." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 68)

 

Amarna Letter EA76

Storyline: Rib-Hadda's warning went unheeded and Sumur is lost to the Hebrews and begs for pharaoh to send archers to help defend the city.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos (Gebal): Sumur, your garrison-city, have joined the Habiru, and you have done nothing. Send a large force of archers."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Rib-Hadda says to the king of all countries, Great King, King of Battle: May the Lady of Gubla grant power to the king, my lord. I fall at the feet of my lord, my Sun, 7 times and 7 times. 7–16 May the king, my lord, know that the war of ˓Abdi-Aširta against me is severe. [H]e wants to take [for himself] the two cities that have remained to me. [Mo]reover, what is ˓A[bdi]-Aš[ir]ta, the dog, that he strives to [ta]ke all the cities of the king, the Sun, [fo]r himself? Is he the king of Mittana, or the king of Kaššu, that [h]e strives to take the land of the king for himself? 17–29 He has just gathered together all the ˓Apiru against Šigata [and] Ampi, and [h]e himself has taken these two cities. [I s]aid, “There is no place where [me]n can enter against him. He has seized [ … ] … .,3 [so] send me [a garris]on of 400 men a[nd x pairs of h]orses [with all speed."It] is [thus that I keep writing to the pal]ace, but [you do not rep]ly [to m]e. 30–37 [ … ] … For years archers would come out to inspect [the coun]try, and yet now that the land of the king and Ṣumur, your garrison-city, have been joined to the ˓Apiru, you have done nothing. 38–46 Send a large force of archers that it may drive out the king’s enemies and all lands be joined to the king. Moreover, you are a great lord. You must not neglect this message." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 76)

 

Amarna Letter EA71

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns of a non-Hebrew traitor named Abdi-Aširta, who is working against pharaoh's interests in Canaan and helping the Hebrews. A request for 100 horses and 200 troups is made of pharaoh in Egypt to help.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos (Gebal): Abdi-Aširta is a servant & dog who takes the king's land for himself. Through the Habiru his auxiliary force is strong! Send 100 horses and 200 men that I may resist Abdi-Aširta."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[To] Ḫaya, the vizi[er]: Message of Rib-Hadda. I fal[l] at your feet. May Aman, the god of the king, [ylour lord, establish2 your honor in the presence of the king, your lord. 7–16 You are a wise man; the king knows (this) and because of your wis‹d›om he sent you as commissioner. Why have you been negligent, not speaking to the king so he will send archers to take Ṣumur? 16–22 What is ˓Abdi-Aširta, servant and dog, that he takes the land of the king for himself? What is his auxiliary force that it is strong? Through the ˓Apira his auxiliary force is strong! 23–27 So send me 50 pairs of horses and 200 infantry that I may resist him in Šigata until the coming forth of the archers. 28–35 Let him not gather together all the ˓Apiru so he can take Šigat[a] and Ampi, and [seize … ] … What shall I be able to d[o]? There will be no place where [men] can enter against [him]." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 71)

 

Amarna Letter EA73

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns that the traitor named Abdi-Aširta, is telling the people of each city to rise up and kill their city mayor and become allied with the Hebrews. In this case pharaoh is warned that the town of Ammiya, near Byblos, is at risk of such an insurrection.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos (Gebal): Abdi-Aširta sent a message to the men of Ammiya, ‘Kill your city mayor and join the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To Amanappa, my father: Message of Rib-Hadda, your son. I fall at the feet of my father. May the Lady of Gubla establish your honor in the presence of the king, your lord. 6–11 Why have you been negligent, not speaking to the king, your lord, so that you may come out together with archers and fall upon the land of Amurru? 11–16 If they hear of archers coming out, they will abandon their cities and desert. Do not you yourself know that the land of Amurru follows the stronger party? 17–25 Look, they are not now being friendly to ˓Abdi-Aširta. What will he do to them? [And so] they are longing2 day and night for the coming out of the archers, and ‹they say›, “Let us join them!"All the mayors long for this to be done to ˓Abdi-Aširta, 26–33 since he sent a message to the men of Ammiya, “Kill your lord and join the ˓Apiru."Accordingly, the mayors say, “He will do the same thing to us, and all the lands will be joined to the ˓Apiru."33–38 Report this matter in the presence of the king, your lord, for you are father and lord to me, and to you I have turned. 39–45 You know my conduct when you were in [Ṣ]umur; I am your [l]oyal servant. So speak to the king, [your] lord, that an auxiliary force be [s]en‹t› t[o] me with all speed." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 73)

 

Amarna Letter EA74

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns of a non-Hebrew traitor named Abdi-Aširta has successfully convinced the townsfolk of Ammiya to kill their mayor and join the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "Abdi-Aširta said to the men of Ammiya, ‘Kill your leader and live in peace like us’ They were won over & the entire country joined to the Habiru. I am very, very afraid, since no one will save me from them. I, Rib-Hadda, am like a bird in a trap in Byblos."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Rib-Hadda says to [his] lord, king of all countries, Great King, King of Battle:2 May [the Lady] of Gubla grant power to the king, my lord. I fall at the feet of my lord, my Sun, 7 times and 7 times. 5–10 May the king, the lord, know that Gubla, the loyal maidservant of the king since the days of his ancestors, is safe and sound. The king, however, has now withdrawn his support of his loyal city. 10–12 May the king inspect the tablets of his father’s house (for the time) when the ruler in Gubla was not a loyal servant. 13–19 Do not be negligent of your servant. Behold, the war of the ˓Apiru against ‹me› is severe and, as the gods of y[our] land [are ali]ve, our sons and daughters (as well as we ourselves) are gone since they have been sold in the land of Yarimuta for provisions to keep us alive. “For lack of a cultivator, my field is like a woman without a husband.”6 19–22 All my villages that are in the mountains: ḫa-ar-ri or along the sea have been joined to the ˓Apiru. Left to me are Gubla and two towns. 23–30 After taking Šigata for himself, ˓Abdi-Aširta said to the men of Ammiya, “Kill your leader and then you will be like us and at peace."They were won over, following his message, and they are like ˓Apiru.8 30–38 So now ˓Abdi-Aširta has written to the troops: “Assemble in the temple of NINURTA,10 and then let us fall upon Gubla. Look, there is no one that will save it from u[s]. Then let us drive out the mayors from the country that the entire country be joined to the ˓Apiru, … to the entire country. Then will (our) sons and daughters be at peace forever. 39–45 Should even so the king come out, the entire country will be against him and what will he do to us?"Accordingly, they have made an alliance among themselves and, accordingly, I am very, very afraid, since [in] fact there is no one who will save me from them. 45–50 Like a bird in a trap: ki-lu-bi (cage), so am I in Gubla. Why have you neglected your country? I have written like this to the palace, but you do not heed my words. 51–57 Look, Amanappa is with you. Ask him. He is the one that knows and has experienced the stra[its] I am in. May the king heed the words of his servant. May he grant provisions for his servant and keep his servant alive so I may guard his [lo]yal [city], along with our L[ad]y (and) our gods, f[or you]. 57–62 May [the king] vis[it] his [land] and [his servant]. [May he] give thought to his land. Pac[ify yo]ur [land]! May it seem go[od] in the sight of the k[ing], my [lo]rd. May he send a [ma]n of his to stay this time so I may arri[ve] in the presence of the king, my lord. 62–65 It is good for me to be with you. What can I do by [my]self? This is what I long for day and night." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 74)

 

Amarna Letter EA121

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns of a non-Hebrew traitor named Abdi-Aširta, is about to attack Byblos and is telling everyone that Rib-Hadda is no one to be feared!

Paraphrase of Tablet: "Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos, (Gebal) to king of all countries, Great King: Abdi-Asirta has said to the Habiru ‘Who is this Rib-Hadda?’ Pharoah, please send archers!"

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Rib-Hadda w[rit]es to his lord, king of all countries, Great King: May the Lady of Gubla grant power to the king, my lord. I fall at the feet of my lord, my Sun, [7] times and 7 times. As to the king, my lord’s, writing me, 8–17 “Guard yourself,"what is to g[uar]d [me]? Consider that with my ancestors there was a garrison of [the king], and pro[visions from the k]ing were at th[eir] disposal, but in my case, [there are no pro]visions (or) garrison of the king for [me. 18–25 And] as the war against ‹me› is very severe, the sons of ˓Abdi-Asirta have said to the ˓Apiru and the men who have [jo]ined them, “What is there [wit]h Rib-Hadda?"[So give thou]ght t[o] your [ser]vant and let me tell my [lord] 26–4041–49 [I wr]ote to [the king, my lord, “S]end [archers]."Did they [no]t take [in a day] the lands for the k[ing, your father]? Now, may the king [heed] the words of [his] serva[nt] and send archers to ‹ta›[ke] "the land of the king for the king, 50–53 that you may give p[ea]ce in the lands to the [king’s] mayors. Have they not been [ki]lled like [do]gs, and you have done nothing? 54–59 Moreover, … 60–64 [S]end … [ … ] If [the king, my lord], love[s] his servant, [then may he fetch his servant] to himself [ … ]." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 121)

 

Amarna Letter EA88

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns that a non-Hebrew traitor named Abdi-Aširta, will capture the entire promised land from Byblos down to the Wadi El-Arish (border of Egypt).

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos (Gebal): But if the king does not give heed to my words, then Byblos will be joined to Abdi-Ašrati, and all the lands of the king, as far as Egypt, will be joined to the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[Ri]b-Had[da s]ay[s to his lord: Be]fore the king of all countries, [Great King], a[t the feet of my lord], my Sun, I fall [7] times and 7 times. I have w[ritten] 5–12 repeatedly to y[ou, “The war is against] Ardat, against Irqat, and agai[nst …, an]d Am‹mi›y[a and Šigat]a, loyal [ci]ties of the king”, [but the king], my lord, [has done nothing]. Moreover, what is [he, ˓A]bdi-Ašrati, the servant (and) dog, that he has a[ct]ed as he pleased in the lands of my lord, [and yet] the king, my lord, has done nothing for [his] servant? 13–21 [Moreov]er, I sent my messenger (each time) that [he too]k my cities and moved u[p aga]inst me. [N]ow he has taken Baṭruna, and he has moved up against me. [Behlold the city! He has … the entrance of the gate of Gubla. How long has he not moved from the gate, and so we are unable to go out into the countryside.4 21–28 Moreover, look, he strives to seize Gubla!6 And [ … and] may the king, my lord, give heed t[o the words of] his [ser]vant, and [may] he hasten [with] all speed chariots and [troops]8 that they may gu[ard the city of the king], my lord, and [ … until] the arr[iva]l of the king, [my] lor[d]. 28–39 For my part,) I will [no]t neglect the word of [my] lord. But i[f the k]ing, my lord, does [not give heed] to the words of [his] ser[vant], then Gubla will be joined to him, and all the lands of the king, as far as Egypt, will be joined to the ˓Apiru. Moreover, should my lord not have wor[d] brought to hi[s] servant› by tablet,
with all speed, then … the city to him and I will request a town from him to stay in, and so I will stay al‹iv›e. 40–51 [Moreov]er, may the king, my lord, hasten the troops (and) chariots that they may guard the city of the king, my lord. Look, Gubla is not like the [other] cities; Gubla is a loyal city of the king, [my] lo[rd], from most ancient times. Still, the messenger of the king of Akka is honored more than [my] messeng[er], f[or they fur]nished [h]im with a horse. [May he furn]ish him (my messenger) … with 2 horses. May he not come out [empty-handed]." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 88)

 

Amarna Letter EA77

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns that Byblos will be lost to the Hebrews and he is afraid for his life from his own townsfolk who might rise up and kill him!

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos: If no archers come out, all lands will be joined to the Habiru. I’m afraid the residents of Byblos will strike me down."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To Ama[nappa, my father]: Message of [Rib-Hadda, your son]. I fall [at your feet]. May [Aman, the god of the king], your lord, and [the Lady of Gu]b[la] establi‹sh› your hon[or] in the presence of the king, [your] lord. As to 7–15 your writing me f[or] copper and for sinnu, may the Lady of Gubla be witness: there is no copper or šinnu of [cop]per available to me or [to] her unjustly treated ones. Milkayu5 overlaid one with … [ … ], but I gave his šinnu to [the ruler] of Tyr[e f]or [my] provisions. 15–25 [Y]ou yourself [should] know [the straits I am i]n … Wh[y have you been neg]ligent? … who [m]oves [agains]t the country. You do not spe[ak t]o your lord so he will send you at the head of the archers to drive off the ˓Apiru from the [m]ayors. 26–37 If t[hi]s year no [ar]chers come out, then all lands will be joi[ne]d t[o the ˓Apir]u. If [the king, my lor]d, is neg[ligent] and there are no [archers], then let a ship [fetch] the men [of Gubla], your [me]n, (and) the g[ods] (to bring them) all the wa[y to you so I can abandon Gubla. Look], I am afraid the peasa[ntry] will strike m[e] down." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 77)

 

Amarna Letter EA90

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns that a non-Hebrew traitor named Abdi-Aširta has captured all the nearby cities and aligned themselves with the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "King, the war is severe. Abdi-Aširta has taken all my cities; Byblos alone remains to me. You yourself have been negligent of your cities so that the Habiru takes them."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[S]ay [t]o the king, my lord: Message of Rib-Hadda, [your] se[rvant]. I fall at the feet of my lord, [my] Su[n, 7 times and 7 times]. Be informed [that] the war aga[inst me] is severe. [He has taken] all my cities; [Gubla] alone rem[ains] 8–12 to me. I was in Šigata and I wr[ote] to [y]ou, “Give thought to [your] city lest ˓Abdi-Aširta take it."13–19 [But] you did not listen to m[e. Then fr]om Baṭruna I wr[ote to yo]u, “Send men to ta[ke the ci]ty for you."[My] words went [u]nheeded, [and]3 they were [no]t taken to heart. Now they have [ta]k[en] my cities. 19–28 Moreover, that [do]gis [i]n Mittana, but his eye is on [Gu]bla. What can I do by myself? You yourself have been [neg]ligent of your cities so that the ˓Apiru [dog] takes them. It is to you that I have tu[rn]ed.6 Moreover, all the [mayors] are at peace with ˓Abdi-A[širtal. 29–3536–47 [Ou]r [sons], [our daughters, the furnishings] of the houses are gone, since they have been so[ld in the land] of Yarimuta «[fo]r» for provisions to keep [u]s alive. Li[k]e [a bird] in a tr[ap], s[o am I] in (Gub]la. “For lack of a cultivator my fie[ld] is [l]ike a woman without a [hus]band."Moreover, … [ … ], and send [x m]en and 30 pairs of [h]ors[es] that [I] may g[ua]rd the city for yo[u]. 48–56 [And] yo[ur] me[ss]engers send …, and if you do not send a garrison, [then] … I am afrai[d] for my life. [And] al[l] messenger[s that] were b[ou]nd have been rele[ased]. … 57–62 Do not be negligent. Send ar[chers that they may ta]ke the land of [Amurru]. Day and night [everyone awaits the coming forth of the ar]ch[ers]. I have been plundered of [my grain, and] it is [to you] that I have tur[ned]." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 90)

 

Amarna Letter EA118

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, informs pharaoh that both the cities of Sidon and Beirut have been lost to the Hebrews and that Byblos may be next!

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Rib-Hadda mayor of Byblos (Gebal): Sidon and Beirut don't belong any longer to the king, Look, if the residents abandon Byblos the Habiru will seize the city."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say to the king, my lord: Message of Rib-Hadda, your servant. I fall at the feet of my lord 7 times and 7 times. 6–15 May the Lady of Gubla grant power to the king, my lord. I keep writing like this to the pala[ce], … [ … ] the war against me, and so may the king give a garrison to his servant. Moreover, I have litigation. Send the commissioner, let him hear my case, 16–23 and give me [m]y due, or, on the other hand, let the king take from the mayors anything of mine for himself. Moreover, the war [again]st me is severe, and so there are no provisions [for] the peasantry. 24–33 Look, [th]ey have [gone off] to the sons of ˓Abd-Aširta, to Si‹do›n and Beirut. As the sons of ˓AbdiAširta are hostile to the king, and Sidon a‹nd› Beirut do not belong (any longer) to the king, send the commissioner to take them, 34–44 lest I abandon the city and go off to you. Look, if the peasantry goes off, the ˓Apiru will seize the city. Seeing that my only purpose is to serve the king in accordance with the practice of my ancestors, may the king send archers and pacify them. 45–56 As for the mayors, since the cities are theirs and they are at peace, they do not keep writing to the king. It is against me and against Yanḫamu that there is war. Look, previously the commissioner at Ṣumur would [d]ecide between us, but now no mayor listens to hi[m]! The king has no servant like Yanḫamu—a loyal servant!" (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 118)

 

Amarna Letter EA82

Storyline: Rib-Hadda, mayor of Byblos, warns that a non-Hebrew traitor named Abdi-Aširta is strong and that Byblos will fall in two months if archers are not sent from Egypt to help.

Paraphrase of Tablet: ""Are you unable to rescue me from Abdi-Aširta? All the Habiru are on his side & he is strong. If within two months there are no archers, then I will abandon Byblos."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say to Am[a]nappa, my father: Message of Rib-Hadda, your son. I fall at the feet of my father. 5–13 I have said to you again and again, “Are you unable to rescue me from ˓Abdi-Aširta? All the ˓Apiru are on his side, and as soon as the mayors hear anything, they write to him. Accordingly, he is strong."14–22 You ordered me again and again, “Send your man to me at the palace, and as soon as the request arrives, I will send him along with an auxiliary force, until the archers come out, to protect your life."But I told you, “I am unable to send ‹him›. 23–30 Let not ˓Abdi-Aši[rta] hear about it, or who would rescue m[e] from him?"You sa[id]2 to me, “Do not fea[rl!"You ordered me again and again, “Send a ship to the land of Yarimuta so silver and clothing can get out to you from them."31–41 All the men whom you gave me have run off. The (legal) violence done to me is your responsibility, if you neglect me. Now I have obeyed. Is it not a fact that I sent my man to the palace, and he gave orders to a man and he attacked me with a bronze dagger. I was stabbed 9 times!5 He is strong through this crime, and from another crime what could rescue me? 41–46 If within two months there are no archers, then I will abandon the city, go off, and my life will be safe while I do what I want to do. 47–52 Moreover, do not you yourself know that the land of Amurru longs day and night for the archers? Has it not been distressed : n-aq-ša-pu (have they not been angry)? So tell the king, “Come with all haste.”" (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 82)
Mayor abandons Byblos!

 

Amarna Letter EA148

Storyline: Abi-Milku, mayor of Tyre warns that the mayor of Sidon the mayor of Hazor are both traitors who have joined the Hebrews in spite of any message they send that they area still loyal!

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abi-Milku Mayor of Tyre: To the king, my lord, my god, my Sun: The Mayor of Sidon raids your land. The Mayor of Hazor has aligned himself with the Habiru. These are treacherous fellows. They have taken over the king's land for the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To the king, my lord, [m]y god, my Sun: Message of Abi-Milku, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. 4–17 The king, my lord, has written for glass. I give to the king, my lord, what I have on hand—100 (units) in weight. May the king, my lord, give his attention to his servant and give Usu to his servant so he can drink a jug: a-ku-ni of: mi-ma (water). May the king, my lord, give 10 palace attendants to guard his city in order that I may enter and see the face of the ki[ng], my lord. 18–26 My presence will be as pleasing to the king, my lord, as when the king, my lord, charged me with the guarding of his city. I write to the king, my lord, because every day the king of Sidon has captured a palace attendant of mine. 26–34 May the king give attention to his servant, and may he charge his commissioner to give Usu to his servant for water, for fetching wood, for straw, for clay. 34–40 Since he has acted hostilely, has he not violated the oath? There is not another palace attendant. The one who rai[d]s the land of the king is the king of Sidon. 41–47 The king of Ḫaṣura has abandoned his house and has aligned himself with the ˓Apiru. May the king be concerned about the palace attendants. These are treacherous fellows. He has taken over the land of the king for the ˓Apiru. May the king ask his commissioner, who is familiar with Canaan." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 148)

 

Amarna Letter EA189

Storyline: Etakkama, mayor of kadesh informs Pharaoh that Biryawaza, mayor of Damascus was a traitor and the city was lost to the Hebrews, but Etakkama, then recaptured Damascus!

Paraphrase of Tablet: "Etakkama mayor of Qadesh to Pharaoh: Biryawaza mayor of Damascus, allowed all the cities to go over to the Habiru but I went, and with your gods and your Sun leading me, and recaptured the cities from the Habiru and disbanded the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To the king, my lord: Message of Etakkama, your servant. I fall at the feet of my lord, my Sun, 7 times plus 7. My lord, I am your servant, but the wicked Biryawaza has gone on defaming me in your sight, my lord, and when he was defaming me in your sight, then he took my entire paternal estate along with the land of Qidšu, and sent my cities up in flames. 13–20 But, I assure you, the commissioners of the king, my lord, and his magnates know my loyalty, since I said to the magnate Puḫuru, “May the magnate Puḫuru know that [ … ] … " (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 189)

 

Amarna Letter EA215

Storyline: Bayawa begs pharaoh to send Yanhamu, an Egyptian ambassador or provincial overseer, to help within the year or the entire land of Canaan will be lost to the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "Bayawa, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, my Sun, my god, 7 times and 7 times, on the stomach and on the back. Should Pharaoh’s district overseer, Yanhamu not be here within this year, all the lands are lost to the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To the king, my lord, my Sun, my god: Message of Bayawa, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, my Sun, my god, 7 times and 7 times, on the stomach and on the back. 9–17 Should Yanḫamu not be here within this [year, a]ll the lands are [lo]st to the ˓Apiru. So give life to your lands." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 215)

 

Amarna Letter EA243

Storyline: Biridija, mayor of Megiddo claims to be loyally protecting the city from the unceasing attacks of the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Biridija mayor of Megiddo: I am guarding Megiddo, the city of Pharaoh, day and night, as the warring of the Habiru in the land is severe."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[Say] to the king, [my l]ord and my Sun and [my] go[d]: Message of Biridi[ya], the loyal servant of the king. I f[a]ll at the feet of the king, [my] lord and my Sun and my god, 7 times and 7 times.
8–22 I have obeyed the orders of the king, my lord and my Sun, and I am indeed guard[ing] Magidda, the city of the king, my lord, day and night: l[e-l]a. By day I guard (it) [f]rom the fields with chariots, and by n[ight]2 on the wall[s of] the king, my lord. And as the warring of the ˓A[pi]ru in the land is seve[re], may the king, my lord, take cognizance of his land." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 243)

 

Amarna Letter EA246

Storyline: Biridija, mayor of Megiddo, warns pharaoh that the two sons of Labayu, mayor of Shechem, are traitors who have joined with the Hebrews and the mercenary army (fight anyone for pay) known as the Suteans.  

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Biridija, mayor of Megiddo to Pharaoh: The two sons of Labayu (mayor of Shechem) have given money to the Habiru & the Suteans to wage war against me."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say to the king, my lord and my Sun: Message of Biridiya, your loyal servant. I fall at the feet of the king, m[y] lord and my Sun, 7 times and 7 times.
8–9 I have heard the mes[sage] o[f] the ki[ng … ] …
Rev. 1–11 and [ … ], and indee[d … ] you ar[e … ]. May the king, my lord, know. The two sons of Lab˒ayu have indeed gi[v]en their money to the ˓Apiru and to the Su[teans in ord]er to w[age war again]st me. [May] the king [take cognizance] of [his servant]." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 246)

 

Amarna Letter EA254

Storyline: Labayu, mayor of Shechem, received a letter from pharaoh who wanted to know why his two sons were traitors. This incredible series of correspondence starts with EA246 where Biridija, mayor of Megiddo, "rats out" his sons. Now in this third letter, Labayu defends himself from Biridija's charges by saying that he was not aware that this sons had crossed over to the Hebrews side.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "Labayu mayor of Shechem to king I am a loyal servant of the king! I am not a rebel and I am not delinquent in duty. Moreover, the king wrote about my son. I did not know that my son had joined with the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To the king, my lord and my Sun: Thus Lab˒ayu, your servant and the dirt on which you tread. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord and my Sun, 7 times and 7 times. 6–10 I have obeyed the orders that the king wrote to me. Who am I that the king should lose his land on account of me? 10–15 The fact is that I am a loyal servant of the king! I am not a rebel and I am not delinquent in duty. I have not held back my payments of tribute; I have not held back anything requested by my commissioner. 16–29 He denounces me unjustly, but the king, my lord, does not examine my (alleged) act of rebellion. Moreover, my act of rebellion is this: when I entered Gazru, I kept on saying, “Everything of mine the king takes, but where is what belongs to Milkilu?"I know the actions of Milkilu against me! 30–37 Moreover, the king wrote for my son. I did not know that my son was consorting with the ˓Apiru. I herewith hand him over to Addaya. 38–46 Moreover, how, if the king wrote for my wife, how could I hold her back? How, if the king wrote to me, “Put a bronze dagger into your heart and die”, how could I not execute the order of the king?" (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 254)

 

Amarna Letter EA299

Storyline: Yapahu, mayor of Gezer warns Pharaoh that the war with the Hebrews is intense and begs pharaoh to send help and save him!

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Yapahu mayor of Gezer to Pharaoh: my god, my Sun, the Sun from the sky: The Habiru are stronger than we, send help and save me from the Habiru lest the Habiru destroy us."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"To the king, my lord, my god, the Sun, the Sun [f]rom the sky: Message of Yapaḫu, the ruler of Gazru, your servant, the dirt at your feet, the groom of your horses. Truly I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, my god, my Sun, the Sun from the sky, 7 times and 7 times, on the stomach and on the back. 12–21 I have listened to the words of the messenger of the king, my lord, very carefully. May the king, my lord, the Sun from the sky, take thought for his land. Since the ˓Apiru are stronger than we, may the king, my lord, ‹g›ive me his help, and may the king, my lord, get me away from the ˓Apiru lest the ˓Apiru destroy us." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 299)

 

Amarna Letter EA298

Storyline: Yapahu, mayor of Gezer warns Pharaoh that his younger brother had defected to Hebrews and sought sanctuary in the city of Muhhazu. (unknown city)

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Yapahu mayor of Gezer to Pharaoh: May the king, be informed that my younger brother, having become my enemy, entered Muhhazu and pledged himself to the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[T]o the king, my lord, my god, my Sun, the Sun from the sky: Message of Yapa[ḫ]u, the ruler of Gazru, your servant, the dirt at your feet, the groom of your horses. I prostrate myself at the feet of the king, my lord, the Sun from the sky, 7 times and 7 times, both on the stomach and on the back. 14–19 Whatsoever the king, my lord, has said to me, I have listened to very carefully. I am a servant of the king and the dirt at your feet. 20–33 May the king, my lord, be informed that my younger brother, having become my enemy, entered Muḫḫazu and pledged hi‹m›self to the ˓Apiru. As [Ti]anna is at war with me, take thought for your land. May my lord write to his commissioner with regard to this deed." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 298)

 

Amarna Letter EA271

Storyline: Milkili, mayor of Gezer warns pharaoh that both he and Shuwardata, mayor of Hebron, are under attack of the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Milkili, mayor of Gezer. King, the war against me and Shuwardata, mayor of Hebron is severe, save your land from the power of the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say to the king, my lord, my god, my Sun: Message of Milkilu, your servant, the dirt at your feet. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. 9–16 May the king, my lord, know that the war against me and against Šuwardata is severe. So may the king, my lord, save his land from the power of the ˓Apiru. 17–27 O[th]erwise, may the king, my lord, send chariots to fetch u[s] lest our servants kill us. Moreover, may the king, my lord, ask Yanḫamu, his servant, about what is bein[g] done in his [l]and." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA271)

 

Amarna Letter EA366

Storyline: Shuwardata, mayor of Hebron, informs pharaoh that all his brothers have defected to join the Hebrews and that only he and Abdi-heba, mayor of Jerusalem remain.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From  Shuwardata, mayor of Hebron: all my brothers have abandoned me. Only Abdi-heba, mayor of Jerusalem and I, have been at war with the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say to the king, my lord, my Sun, my god: Message of Šuwardata, your servant, the servant of the king and the dirt at your feet, the ground you tread on. I prostrate myself at the feet of the king, my lord, the Sun from the sky, 7 times and 7 times, both on the stomach and on the back.
11–19 May the king, my lord, be informed that the ˓Apiru that rose up: na-aš-ša-a against the lands, the god of the king, my lord, gave to me, and I smote him. And may the king, my lord, be informed that all my brothers have abandoned me. 20–28 Only ˓Abdi-Ḫeba and I have been at war with (that) ˓Apiru. Surata, the ruler of Akka, and Endaruta, the ruler of Akšapa, (these) two also have come to my aid: na-az-a-qú (have been summoned to help) with 50 chariots, and now they are on my side in the war. 28–34 So may it seem right in the sight of the king, my lord, and may he send Yanḫamu so that we may all wage war and you restore the land of the king, my lord, to its borders: up-sı́-ḫi." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 366)

 

Amarna Letter EA286

Storyline: Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem, informs pharaoh that he is the last city mayor standing that hasn't been captured by the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem to king Pharaoh: "The king has no lands. The Habiru has plundered all the lands of the king."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say [t]o the king, my lord: Message of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your servant. I fall at the feet of my lord, the king, 7 times and 7 times. 5–15 What have I done to the king, my lord? They denounce me: ú-ša-a-ru (I am slandered) before the king, my lord, "˓Abdi-Ḫeba has rebelled against the king, his lord."Seeing that, as far as I am concerned, neither my father nor my mother put me in this place, but the strong arm of the king brought me into my father’s house, why should I of all people commit a crime against the king, my lord? 16–21 As truly as the king, my lord, lives, I say to the commissioner of the king, [my] lord, “Why do you love the ˓Apiru but hate the mayors?"Accordingly, I am slandered before the king, my lord. 22–31 Because I say, “Lost are the lands of the king, my lord,"accordingly I am slandered before the king, my lord. May the king, my lord, know that (though) the king, my lord, stationed a garrison (here), Enḫamu has taken i[t al]l away. [ … ] … 32–43 [Now:], O king, my lord, [there is n]o garrison, [and so] may the king provide for his land. May the king [pro]vide for his land! All the [la]nds of the king, my lord, have deserted. Ili-Milku has caused the loss of all the land of the king, and so may the king, my lord, provide for his land. For my part, I say, “I would go in to the king, my lord, and visit the king, my lord,"but the war against me is severe, and so I am not able to go in to the king, my lord. 44–52 And may it seem good in the sight of the king, [and] may he send a garrison so I may go in and visit the king, my lord. In truth, the king, my lord, lives: whenever the commissioners have come out, I would say (to them), “Lost are the lands of the king,"but they did not listen to me. Lost are all the mayors; there is not a mayor remaining to the king, my lord. 53–60 May the king turn his attention to the archers so that archers of the king, my lord, come forth. The king has no lands. (That) ˓Apiru has plundered all the lands of the king. If there are archers this year, the lands of the king, my lord, will remain. But if there are no archers, lost are the lands of the king, my lord. 61–64 [T]o the scribe of the king, my lord: Message of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your [ser]vant. Present eloquent words to the king, my lord. Lost are all the lands of the king, my lord." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 286)
Jerusalem alone!

 

Amarna Letter EA287

Storyline: Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem, informs pharaoh that the Hebrews are now attacking Jerusalem and that Gezer Ashkelon and Lachish are all allied with and supplying the Hebrews oil and food.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem to king Pharaoh: They are now attempting to take Jerusalem. Pharaoh has placed his name in Jerusalem forever, he cannot abandon the land of Jerusalem. "Gezer, Ashkelon, and Lachish have given oil, food & supplies to the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[Say to the kin]g, m[y] lord: [Message of ˓Ab]di-Ḫeba, yo[ur] servant. [I fall at the feet] of my lord 7 t[imes and 7 times. 4–9 Consider] the entire› affair. [Milkilu and Tagi brou]ght [troop]s into [Qiltu] against me. [Consider] the deed that they did [to your servant]. Arrow(s)4 [ … ] … 10–19 [ … ] they brought into [Qilt]u. May the [kin]g know (that) all the lands are [at] peace (with one another), but I am at war. May the king provide for his land. Consider the lands of Gazru, Ašqaluna, and L[akis]i. They have given them food, oil, and any other requirement. So may the king provide for archers and6 send the archers against men that commit crimes against the king, my lord. 20–24 If this year there are archers, then the lands and the mayors will belong to the king, my lord. But if there are no archers, then the ki[ng] will have neither lands nor mayors. 25–32 Consider Jerusalem! This neither my father nor m[y] mother gave to me. The [str]ong hand: zu-ru-uḫ (arm) [of the king] gave it to me.) Consider the deed! This is the deed of Milkilu and the deed of the sons of Lab˒ayu, who have given the land of the king ‹to› the ˓Apiru. Consider, O king, my lord! I am in the right! 33–42 With regard to the Kašites, may the king make inquiry of the commissioners. Though the house is well fortified, they attempted a very serious crime. They [t]ook their tools, and I had to seek shelter by a support for the roof: ga-ag-gi. A[nd so i]f he is going to send [troop]s into [Jerusalem], let them come with [a garrision for] (regular) service. May the king provide for them; [all] of the land might be in dire straits on their account. 43–52 May the king inquire about the[m. Let there be] much food, much oil, much clothing, until Pauru, the commissioner of the king, comes up to Jerusalem. Gone13 is Addaya together with the garrison of soldiers [that] the king [prowided. May the king know (that) Addaya [sa]id to me, “[Beh]old, he has dismissed me."Do not abandon it, [and] send this [year] a garrison, and send right here15 the commissioner of the king. 53–59 I sent [as gift]s to the king, my lord, [x] prisoners, 5000 … [ … ],17 [and] 8 porters for the caravans of the k[ing, my lord], but they have been taken in the countryside: ša-de4-e of Ayyaluna. May the king, my lord, know (that) I am unable to send a caravan to the king, my lord. For your information! 60–63 As the king has placed his name in Jerusalem forever, he cannot abandon it—the land of Jerusalem.
64–70 Say to the scribe of the king, my lord: Message of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your servant. I fall at (your) feet. I am your servant. Present eloquent words to the king, my lord: I am a soldier of the king. I am always yours.
71–78 And please make the Kasites responsible for the evil deed. I was almost killed by the Kašites [i]n my own house. May the king [make an inquiry] in the[ir] regard. [May the kin]g, my lord, [provide] for th[em. 7 t]imes and 7 times may the king, my lord, [provide] for me." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 287)

 

Amarna Letter EA288

Storyline: Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem warns Pharaoh that all cities except his are lost to the Hebrews. He asks why pharaoh allowed Zimredda of Lachish and Yaptiḫ-Hadda of Shiloh (Silu) to be killed without taking any action. Zimredda is a traitor! The Hebrews killed Zimredda of Lachish, even though he had supplied them with oil and food.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem to king Pharaoh: The Habiru have taken all the cities. Not a single mayor remains. Turbazu & Yaptih-Hadda were slain in the city gate of Silu (Shiloh). Habiru killed Zimredda of Lachish The king did nothing. Why?"

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Say [t]o the king, my lord, [my Su]n: [M]essage of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your servant. I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. 5–10 Behold, the king, my lord, has placed his name at the rising of the sun and at the setting of the sun. It is, therefore, impious what they have done to me. Behold, I am not a mayor; I am a soldier of the king, my lord. 11–15 Behold, I am a friend of the king and a tribute-bearer of the king. It was neither my father nor my mother, but the strong arm of the king that [p]laced me in the house of [my] fath[er].3 16–22 [ … c]ame to me. … [ … ]. I gave over [to his char]ge 10 slaves. Šuta, the commissioner of the king, ca[me t]o me; I gave over to Šuta˒s charge 21 girls, [8]0 prisoners, as a gift for the king, my lord. 23–28 May the king give thought to his land; the land of the king is lost. All of it has attacked me. I am at war as far as the land of Šeru and as far as Ginti-kirmil. All the mayors are at peace, but I am at war. 29–33 I am treated like an ˓Apiru, and I do not visit the king, my lord, since I am at war. I am situated like a ship7 in the midst of the sea. 34–40 The strong hand (arm) of the king took the land of Naḫrima and the land of Kasi, but now the ˓Apiru have taken the very cities of the king. Not a single mayor remains to the king, my lord; all are lost. 41–47 Behold, Turbazu was slain in the city gate of Silu. The king did nothing. Behold, servants who were joined to the ˓Api[r]u smote Zimredda of Lakisu, and Yaptiḫ-Hadda was slain in the city gate of Silu. The king did nothing. [Wh]y has he not called them to account? 48–53 May the king [pro]vide for [his land] and may he [se]e to it tha[t] archers [come ou]t to h[is] land. If there are no archers this year, all the lands of the king, my lord, are lost. 54–61 They have not reported to the king that the lands of the king, my lord, are lost and all the mayors lost. If there are no archers this year, may the king send a commissioner to fetch me, me along with my brothers, and then we will die near the king, our lord. 62–66 [To] the scribe of the king, my lord: [Message] of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, (your) servant. [I fa]ll a[t (your) feet]. Present [the words that I hav]e offered to [the king, my lord]: I am your servant [and] your [s]on." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 288)

 

Amarna Letter EA289

Storyline: Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem, warns pharaoh that Shechem is soon to be given to the Hebrews.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem to king Pharaoh: As for Jerusalem, the king's land, are we to give the land of Shechem to the Hapiru?"

Full text translation of Tablet:
"[Say t]o the king, my lord: Message of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your servant. I f[all] at the feet of my lord, the k[ing], 7 times and 7 times. 5–10 Milkilu does not break away from the sons of Lab˒ayu and from the sons of Arsawa, as they desire the land of the king for themselves. As for a mayor who does such a deed, why does the king not ‹c›all him to account? 11–17 .Such was the deed that Milkilu and Tagi did: they took Rubutu. And now as for Jerusalem, if this land belongs to the king, why is it ‹notof concern to the king like Ḫazzatu? 18–24 Gintikirmil belongs to Tagi, and men of Gintu are the garrison in Bitsanu. Are we to act like Lab˒ayu when he was giving the land of Šakmu to the Ḫapiru? 25–36 Milkilu has written to Tagi and the sons ‹of Lab˒ayu›, “Be the both of you a protection. Grant all their demands to the men of Qiltu, and let us isolate Jerusalem.”4 Addaya has taken the garrison that you sent in the charge of Haya, the son of Miyare; he has stationed it in his own house in Ḫazzatu and has sent 20 men to Egypt. May the king, my lord, know (that) no garrison of the king is with me. 37–44 Accordingly, as truly as the king lives, his irpi-official, Pu˒uru, has left me and is in Ḫazzatu. (May the king call (this) to mind when he arrives. ) And so may the king send 50 men as a garrison to protect the land. The entire land of the king has deser[ted]. 45–51 Send Ye«eh»enḫamu that he may know about the land of the king, [my lord]. To the scribe of the king, [my lord: M]essage of ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, [your] servant. Offer eloq[uent] words to the king: I am always, utterly yours. I am your servant." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 289)

 

Amarna Letter EA29

Storyline: Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem, begs Pharaoh to send archers or all the land will lost.

Paraphrase of Tablet: "From Abdi-Heba, mayor of Jerusalem to king Pharaoh: A town near Jerusalem has deserted. Without archers, all the king's land will be lost to the Habiru."

Full text translation of Tablet:
"Sa]y [t]o the king, my lord: Message of [ ˓Abdi]-Ḫeba, your servant. I fall at the feet [of the kin]g, my lord, 7 times and 7 times. 5–13 Here is the deed against the land that Milkilu and Šuardatu did: against the land of the king, my lord, they ordered troops from Gazru, troops from Gimtu, and troops from Qiltu. They seized Rubutu. The land of the king deserted to the Ḫapiru. 14–21 And now, besides this, a town belonging to Jerusalem, Bit-dNIN.URTA by name, a city of the king, has gone over to the side of the men of Qiltu. May the king give heed to ˓Abdi-Ḫeba, your servant, and send archers to restore the land of the king to the king. 22–30 If there are no archers, the land of the king will desert to the Ḫapiru. This deed against the land was [a]t the order of Milki[lu and a]t the order4 of [Suard]atu, [together w]ith Gint[i]. So may the king provide for [his] land." (The Amarna letters, W. L. Moran, introduction, 1992 AD, EA 290)

Index