All the Land of the Hittites

February 26, 2014

Following the death and 30-day period of mourning for Moses (Deut. 34), Yahweh spoke words of encouragement to his successor, Joshua:

After the death of Moses the LORD’s servant, the LORD spoke to Joshua son of Nun, who had served Moses: “Moses My servant is dead. Now you and all the people prepare to cross over the Jordan to the land I am giving the Israelites. I have given you every place where the sole of your foot treads, just as I promised Moses.  Your territory will be from the wilderness and Lebanon to the great Euphrates River– all the land of the Hittites— and west to the Mediterranean Sea” (Joshua 1:1-4, CSB).

Holman’s Christian Standard Bible (Study Bible) has the following notation regarding the expression, “land of the Hittites”:

The land of the Hittites seems not to refer to the Hittite Empire of modern Turkey but the Egyptian and later Assyrian usage of this term to describe the region controlled by the Hittites in the western part of modern Syria. These lands and boundaries identify Canaan as it was known both to the Bible (Gn 10:19; Nm 13:17,21-22; 34:3-12) and to Egyptian writers of the second millennium B.C.

In numerous passages the Hittites are mentioned as one of several groups populating the land of Canaan. For example, Joshua told the Israelites, “You will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites” (Joshua 1:10; cf. Gen. 15:20; Deut. 7:1, and etc.).

The Ankara (Capitol of modern Turkey) Museum is of international renown for its collection of Hittite artifacts. The relief below shows three Hittite warriors.

Hittite Warriors. Ankara Museum. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

Hittite Warriors. Ankara Museum. Photo ©Leon Mauldin.

The accompanying placard entitled The Warriors  says, “Three figures with curly hair, and dressed in long tunics with wide belts. The figure at the front holds a spear, which is broken at one end, in his left hand and a leafed tree branch in the right. The figure in the middle clenches his left fist and holds up a tool at head level in his right hand. They are followed by a figure that carries a staff in the left hand. All three wear long swords at the waist.”

The Bible is not a book of fiction. When it mentions people, they were real people, living in real places, participating in real events as recorded in Scripture.

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