Ever wonder about all of the different types of people mentioned in the Bible? Here are 13 things about one of the groups---the Hittites.
1. The Hittites were and ancient people who lived in Anatolia, an area with the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea, the Aegean Sea, and Asia as boundaries. The word Anatolia has its roots in the Greek language and means literally “land of the sun rise” or simply “the east”.
2. The word Hittite taken from the Hebrew Bible means “children of Heth”. This is the same Heth identified as the son of Canaan.
3. The Hittites referred to their land as the ‘land of Hatti”
4. Their religion and mythology was influenced by Mesopotamian mythology.
5. They are thought to have had the first constitutional monarchy, and the Hittites produced the Hittite laws which rarely used death as a punishment. Many sources state the Hittites were the first group of people in the area to smelt iron ore successfully.
6. Historians and Archeologists aren’t really sure how the Hittites came to live in Anatolia, but they are fairly certain they adopted the laws, religion, and the literature of the Old Babylonians thus continuing the long heritage of Sumerian culture.
7. Yesterday I posted an image of the Kadesh Treaty, and early agreement between the Hittites and the Ancient Egyptians. Pharoh Ramses II referred to the Hittites as barbarians and used the Egyptian word humty to describe them which meant “women-soldiers.” This was due to the fact that the Hittite men grew their hair very long.
8. There are not many instances of the recorded history of the Hittites so it is very hard to truly know their culture, however, they had a rather large empire and their primary activity was commerce since they traded with all the civilizations and peoples of the Mediterranean. Some scholars believe the Hittites were primarily responsible for the movement of Mesopotamian thought, law, political structure, economic structure, and ideas around the Mediterranean, from Egypt to Greece.
9. When the Hebrews, led by Moses, migrated to Canaan they found a people there who were largely Mesopotamian…This was due to the Hittite influence.
10. Women played a prominent role in Hittite society. The wife of Hattusilis III, Pudupepa, carried on correspondence with foreign kings and queens and participated in treaty negotiations.
11. The Hebrew Bible refers to the Hittites in several passages from Genesis, Ezra, and Nehemiah. They are mentioned in Genesis 10 in the Table of Nations where they are linked to Heth, a descendant of Ham through his son Canaan.
12. King David had certain Hittites serving as high military officers in his army. Many times the Hittites are seens as living among the Israelites. Abraham purchased the Patriarchal burial-plot of Machpelah from Hittites in the area. There is, however, a scholarly debate regarding whether the Hittites of the Bible included the original Hittites of ‘Hatti’ or a group of conqueors of Anatolia that took and retained the name “Hatti”. Some believe the Canannite group may or may not have been related to the Anatolian groups.
13. The Hittites were eventually conquered by the Assyrians and others around 717 B.C.
There are many online sources to discover more about the Hittites including this site.
Read my other 13 lists here.
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