The Amarna Letters
I begin this section by stating without hesitation that I absolutely love to read "The Amarna Letters". My wife at one point became frustrated as she witnessed my copying one of the books in my library word for word on the computer. This in order to be able to recall the material. But the reason I love to read these letters is they are like reading portions of of the books of Chronicles and Kings in letter form between the kings of Canaan/Syria and two of the kings of Egypt. We are so privileged they have come down to us through time.
(Keep in mind that secular historians are not able to place their time in history.)
At the same time, I find it exceedingly difficult to present the material in a clear, concise manner. Without going into much detail, it can be difficult to associate the letters with the Biblical text.
For those who would like to gain a greater insight, three books are recommended. Of the three, Ages in Chaos provides the most [Biblical] understanding.
Mercer, Samuel A. B., and Frank Hudson Hallock. The Tell El-Amarna Tablets, Vol. I & II. Toronto: Macmillan, 1939.
Moran, William L., The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1992.
Velikovsky, Immanuel, Ages In Chaos. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1952.
The El-Amarna letters (cuniform tablets) were a series of letters between two kings (pharaohs) of Egypt and a number kings from Canaan/Syria. The two kings from Egypt are recognized as being Nimmuria (the throne name for Amenhotep III) and Naphuria (the throne name for Amenhotep IV, also known as Akhnaton). These were kings of the 18th Dynasty.
The kings from Canaan were subject to the kings of Egypt while the kings from the north (Syria) were not subject to the kings of Egypt. The names of the kings from Canaan/Syria present a greater challenge. Two cities from Canaan are easily understood. Urusalim is easily understood as Jerusalim. Sumur (also Sumura) is easily understood as Samaria.
During the period these letters were written, if our chronological understanding is correct, the kings of Canaan would have been King Jehoshaphat of Judah (who ruled from Jerusalim) and King Ahab of Israel (who ruled from Samaria/Jezreel). With this understanding, Biblical understanding assists us in placing the names of the kings from the north (Syria/Assyria) as well as the kings of the east (Ammon/Edom).
What is also fascinating is that certain Egyptian officials are also named. During this time period, Canaan would have been under the scepter of Egypt; having been conquered by Shishak (Thutmose III). These Egyptian officials would have been regional officials appointed by the kings of Egypt.
NOTE: Our understanding of the time frame represented in the El-Amarna Tablets is confirmed by more evidence than the Biblical record alone. The time frame is also confirmed by the Stele of King Mesha of Moab and the inscriptions of King Shalmaneser III of Assyria.
NOTE: The El-Amarna Letters correlate with 1 Kings 16-22; 2 Kings 1-10; and 2 Chronicles 16-22.
More to follow...
© 2012 Gregory Drake