The earliest known historical figure connected with Elam, is Enmebaragsei, the penultimate king of the first Dynasty of Kish who reigned over much of Sumer, possibly as late as circa 2615 to 2600 BCE. The Sumerian King List says he reigned nine hundred years [divide by 60 unconventional chronology derives 15 years]. Enmebaragesi is a key figure as he bridges the divide between myth and history. He is the earliest ruler to be evidenced directly from archaeology. Four inscriptions have been found with his name. En is an honorary title and not part of his original name. Me means ‘crown’, bara means ‘ruler’ and si ‘to fill’.
Enmebaragsei fought a successful campaign against Elam, capturing Uruk, confiscating their weapons and imposing his kingship – he “who made the land of Elam submit.” He preceded the Old Elamite period dated circa 2600 to 1500 BCE, which broadly incorporates three main dynasties from approximately the end of his reign. The Awan I & II era circa 2600 – 2300 BCE and 2300 – 1930 BCE consecutively, the Shimashki [Simaski] era circa 1955 – 1840 BCE and the Sukkalmah era circa 1840 – 1500 BCE. It is the end of the 1st dynasty and the beginning of the 2nd with which we are primarily interested.
The Awan or Avan II dynasty was contemporary with the Mesopotamian emperor Sargon I or the Great of Akkad, reigning from 2224 to 2169 BCE. He defeated the 12th Awan king Luh-Ishshan circa 2194 – 2169 BCE and subjugated Susa. Historical sources concerning Elam now become more frequent, as the Mesopotamians had developed an interest in their resources, such as wood, stone and metal from the Iranian plateau; thereby encouraging more frequent military excursions to the region.
Though the foreign Guti Dynasty [refer Chapter XXIII Aram] had been ruling in Sumer since 2088 BCE, it was in 2039 BCE that Akkad fell to the Gutians and with it, the final and 11th king of the Dynasty of Akkad – Shu-Dural or Shu-Tural – was ended. The Gutium also spoke an agglutinative language isolate like Sumer and Elam. The Gutian’s ruled Sumer and Elam until 1991 BCE. The last king of nineteen, Tirigan, had only reigned for 40 days, when Utu-hengal [1995 – 1988 BCE] of the 5th Dynasty of Uruk defeated him, thus ending the Gutian Dynasty.
Now, Utu-Hengal was the father of Ur-Namma the 1st King of the Ur III Dynasty [1988 – 1970 BCE] and he in turn is the father of King Shulgi [1970 – 1924 BCE].
These names are mentioned as there is a lot more to say about Ur-Namma as we progress, who was concurrent with King Kutik-Inshushinak of Elam the next to last king before Chedorlaomer; as well as Shulgi the 2nd King of Ur, who was a contemporary of the Elamite King Chedorlaomer, as well as the Patriarch Abraham.
Elam declared independence under the supposedly last and 17th Awan king, Kutik-Inshushinak or Puzur-Insusinak who reigned from 1980 to 1955 BCE, throwing off the Akkadian language and promoting the Linear Elamite script in the process. Kutik-Inshushinak conquered the future principal Elamite cities of Susa and Anshan. The Shimashki dynasty arose at the tail end of the Awan Dynasties as there is an unnamed king from 1955 to 1930 BCE, so that there was a crossover of some twenty-five years. Elam endured continual threat of attacks from the Sumerians and the Gutians. The Elamite empire state of Shimashki at this time extended into northern Iran and as far as the Caspian Sea.
A century later in 1882 BCE, the Elamites allied with the city of Susa and led by their king Kindattu or Kindadu [1892 – 1872 BCE], the 10th king of the Shimashki Dynasty sacked Ur in Sumer with the first Akkadian King of Isin [Issn], Ishbi-Erra [1895 – 1862 BCE] and defeated the 5th and final king of the Ur III Dynasty, the great grandson of Shulgi, Ibbi-Suen who reigned twenty-four years beginning 1906 BCE.
The succeeding Sukkalmah dynasty [1840 – 1500 BCE], is so named after the ‘Great or Grand regents’, the title borne by Elamite rulers. It was also called the Epartid dynasty after the name of its founder Eparti II – Ebarti or Ebarat who reigned circa 1840 – 1820 BCE – and was concurrent with the Old Assyrian Empire and the Old Babylon period in Mesopotamia. Eparti II was a contemporary of Iddin-Dagan, 1842 to 1822 BCE – the grandson of Ishbi-Erra and 3rd King of the Isin Dynasty in Akkad – marrying his daughter.
A ruler named Silhaha – or Shilkhakha, 1820 to 1800 BCE – who described himself as ‘the chosen son of Ebarti’ is also credited as the founder of the dynasty. Ebarti II appears as the founder of the dynasty according to building inscriptions, but later kings, refer to the second ruler Silhaha, Eparti’s son, in their filiation claims. Possibly, Silhaha won out over a brother; as there was an Eparti III before Shilhaha. Both their names as the founding members of the Sukkalmah Dynasty, have been found on the Gunagi silver vessels, inscribed in the Linear Elamite script. The Gunagi vessels were discovered only recently in 2004.
Notable Eparti dynasty rulers in Elam during this time include the 12th king Siruk-tuh 0r Shirukduh circa 1660 to 1640 BCE, who entered various military coalitions to contain the power of the southern Mesopotamian states; 14th ruler and a son of Siruk-tuh, Siwe-Palar-hupak [circa 1615 – 1595 BCE], who for some time was the most powerful ruler in the region, respectfully addressed as ‘Father’ by Mesopotamian kings such as Zimri-Lim of Mari.
The 16th king Kutir-Nahhunte I – Kedor-nakhunta, circa 1560 to 1530 BCE, exacted revenge and plundered the temples of southern Mesopotamia, as the north was under the control of the Old Assyrian Empire. In fact, Kutir-Nahhunte dealt so serious a defeat to the Babylonians that the event was remembered nearly one thousand years later in an inscription of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal, when he conquered Susa in 660 BCE.
Trade between the Indus Valley Civilisation and the cities of Mesopotamia and Elam have been deduced from numerous Indus artifacts; particularly in excavations in Susa, showing the origination of the post-diluvian society in the east and the subsequent migration west to the plains of Mesopotamia. Objects made with shell species that are characteristic of the Indus coast, such as Trubinella Pyrum and Fasciolaria Trapezium, have been found in the archaeological sites of Mesopotamia and Susa dated circa 2500 – 2000 BCE. Carnelian beads from the Indus were found in Susa in the tell of the citadel excavation.Exchanges seem to have waned after 1900 BCE, with the eventual demise of the Indus valley civilisation.
It is to this backdrop that we read of an extraordinary account in Genesis chapter fourteen. For a Biblical account, it is remarkably detailed and it comprises two parts. A war between a confederacy of Southern Mesopotamian kings against vassal Canaanite kings to the southwest, which we will look at now and an amazing rescue operation of Lot by the patriarch Abraham which we will study later in Chapter XXVII Moab & Ammon.
English Standard Version
In the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of Goiim [or Nations], 2 these kings made war with
Bera king of Sodom, Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar).
3 And all these joined forces in the Valley of Siddim (that is, the Salt Sea) [the north of the present day Dead Sea].
4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but in the thirteenth year they rebelled [1907-1895 BCE].
5 In the fourteenth year [1894 BCE] Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him came and defeated the Rephaim in Ashteroth-karnaim, the Zuzim in Ham, the Emim in Shaveh-kiriathaim,
6 and the Horites in their hill country of Seir as far as El-paran on the border of the wilderness. 7 Then they turned back and came to En-mishpat (that is, Kadesh) and defeated all the country of the Amalekites, and also the Amorites who were dwelling in Hazazon-tamar.
8 Then the king of Sodom, the king of Gomorrah, the king of Admah, the king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) went out, and they joined battle in the Valley of Siddim 9 with Chedorlaomer king of Elam, Tidal king of Goiim, Amraphel king of Shinar, and Arioch king of Ellasar, four kings against five. 10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits, and as the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah fled, some fell into them, and the rest fled to the hill country [Seir].
11 So the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way.
The five kings of the Plain, happen to represent the exact same five cities that the Angels of the Lord came to destroy sixteen years later and in the process, dramatically rescue Abraham’s nephew Lot, for the second time in his life. The references to the Repha-im, Zuz-im and Em-im are all clans of Nephilim offspring. In fact, the Horites and Amalekites are also included with these mysterious tribes. We will discuss these peoples in depth in Chapter XXII Alpha & Omega and Chapter XXXIX Esau.
Though Chedorlaomer I of Elam is listed third – he is placed first in verse nine – Chedorlaomer is the leader of the northern confederacy. The only king not stated is that of Bela [Zoar]. This city and its people were the only one of the five that were not destroyed in the Creator’s wrath during the time of Lot.
The timeframe is particularly critical, as this battle would need to have taken place between Abraham’s birth in 1977 BCE and his death in 1802 BCE. This would align with the end of the Awan II Dynasty and beginning of the Shimashki.
Head of Chedorlaomer [Height 34.3 cm] in Arsenical Copper from Iran [circa 2000 BCE]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1947
Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary defines Chedorlaomer as: a roundness of a sheaf. Smith’s Bible Dictionary as: a handful of sheaves. The full name Chedorlaomer, is not known outside the Bible, although the name is genuinely Elamite. It is composed of two elements, which do appear separately in Elamite sources. ‘Laomer’ is apparently a divine name whose Elamite form is Lagamar. ‘Chedor’ is derived from the Elamite Katir or Kutir, meaning ‘servant.’ We have seen its use in the name of the 16th Sukkalmah Dynasty King Kutir-Nahhunte. The name could also mean ‘servant of the god Lagamar.’
Easton’s Bible Dictionary – emphasis & bold mine:
‘Many centuries before the age of Abraham, Canaan and even the Sinaitic peninsula had been conquered by Babylonian kings, and in the time of Abraham himself Babylonia was ruled by a dynasty which claimed sovereignty over Syria and Palestine. The most famous king of the dynasty was Khammu-rabi [Hammurabi],who united Babylonia under one rule, and made Babylon its capital. When he ascended the throne [1894 BCE UC], the country was under the suzerainty of the Elamites, and was divided into two kingdoms, that of Babylon (the Biblical Shinar) and that of Larsa (the Biblical Ellasar).
The king of Larsa was Eri-Aku (“the servant of the moon-god”), the son of an Elamite prince, Kudur-Mabug [or Durmah-ilani] who is entitled “the father of the land of the Amorites.”
A recently discovered tablet enumerates among the enemies of Khammu-rabi, Kudur-Lagamar (“the servant of the goddess Lagamar”) or Chedorlaomer,Eri-Aku or Arioch, and Tudkhula or Tidal. Khammu-rabi, whose name is also read Ammi-rapaltu or Amraphel by some scholars, succeeded in overcoming Eri-Aku and driving the Elamites out of Babylonia.’
After the Valley of Siddim campaign, Hammurabi – Amraphel, King of Shinar and – King of Babylon chose to go against his three former allies and circa 1893 BCE he also rebelled. We have the four Northern kings confirmed as well as a credible time frame for events. I propose Hammurabi was born in 1912 BCE UC [unconventional chronology] and ascended the Babylonian throne in 1894 BCE, at the age of 18, after the abdication of the 5th king of the Amorite Dynasty, his father Sin-Muballit, who ruled for nineteen years from 1913 BCE.
There is fevered debate over when Hammurabi of Babylon lived. This is convenient for scholars, in that it neatly throws a spanner in the works for conclusively supporting the Biblical account as accurate. Hammurabi is a colourful and prominent king in ancient history and thus for detractors it is problematic to have such a clear sign of the authenticity of the Biblical account; which in turn underpins the veracity of the existence of Abraham and his nephew Lot, who both fathered peoples who are key modern nations today.
An excellent paper: Abraham and Chedorlaomer Chronological, Historical and Archaeological Evidence by Gérard Gertoux, provides comprehensive research in presenting the evidence for Chedorlaomer’s identity and his place as a legitimate historical figure. Where we firstly and slightly disagree, is in the chronology by sixty years; for he has I presume, dated the Exodus in the early sixteenth century, circa 1507 BCE as opposed to the middle of the fifteenth century in 1446 BCE [UC]. Secondly, he has adopted the most recent academic opinion regarding the time frame for Hammurabi’s rule, some 200-150 years later than I suggest under the unconventional chronology. He says, bold mine:
‘The only way to assess the veracity (historical truth) of this event is by determining its exact chronology (“the backbone of history”). Foremost one should know that until now Babylonian chronology, which is the best known, has not been yet fixed since Oppert (1863) made the start of the reign of Hammurabi in 2394 BCE, Thureau-Dangin (1927) lowered this date to 2003 BCE and Gasche proposed (1998) lowering it again to 1696 BCE. Hammurabi has rejuvenated about 700 years during the 20th century!
When T.G. Pinches (1856-1934), lecturer in Assyriology at University College, London and at the University of Liverpool, published the Spartoli tablets he made a link between the biblical names: Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer and Tidal (Genesis 14:1) and Hammurabi, Eri-e-Aku, Kudur-lahgamal and Tudḫula.Unfortunately this deduction has three major errors: 1) Hammurabi (1697-1654) reigned three centuries after the events, 2) his name is very different from that of Amraphel and 3) the reading “laḫ” of the sign KU [for Chedorlaomer] is not documented.’
These three reasons are flimsy at best and are really no more than excuses. The dating conflict regarding Hammurabi’s timeline, means it has to be reconciled with other documents to understand when he truly lived. As we will find that Hammurabi was indeed a contemporary of Chedorlaoamer, Arioch and Tidal, it is fitting to parallel his timeline with them. This then resolves the dates for Hammurabi’s life.
Some scholars have made the connecting link between the names Hammurabi and Amraphel. That aside, it is not unusual for people and places to have more than one name. Amraphel may have been his given name. As he was only eighteen when he ascended the Babylonian throne after Sin-Muballit and then ruled for a lengthy forty-two years. A new name may have been chosen as monarchs have done up until our recent history. The Bible possibly records his name as Amraphel as he had just ascended the throne and was in his very first year of his reign. An accurate record, no less than his being subsequently known after his exploits as Hammurabi and recorded as such in future histories.
Etymology shows the lah is actually part of Chedorlaomor’s name, though regardless, the Kudur-…gamal is still strong evidence for the correlation with his identity. Gertoux mixes Akkadian and Elamite together, to show the kudur is Akkadian and la(h)gamal is Elamite. The Akkadian actually says: kudur-lagamar and the Elamite says: kutir-lagamol. The Greek Septuagint refers to him as Chodol-logomor and it is synonymous with the aforementioned as well as the Hebrew name: Kdorla’omer.
Gérard Gertoux – emphasis & bold mine:
‘Ku-du7-[ur-La-ga-mar] (line 13) reigned 36 years (line 14) over Akkad as king of Awan I (Elam). King List WB 444 (Weld-Blundell Prism) dated c. 1800 B.C. Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (number: AN1923.44). Kudur-Lagamar’s name is located in a part of the prism which is unfortunately very damaged but three important data have been preserved: a mighty king of Elam at the end of the 3rd millennium BCE, whose name was Kudu[-], died without a successor.
A chronological reconstruction based on synchronisms shows that among the dynasties from Sumerian lists the third and last Elamite king of the Awan I dynasty was Kudur-Lagamar.’
‘The three Elamite kings of the dynasty of Awan I (Puzur-Insusinak [Kutik-Insusinak 1980 – 1955 BC], [-]-lu [1955 – 1930 BC], Kudur-Lagamar [1929 – 1893 BC]) were regarded as genuine kings of Akkad in parallel with the Sumerian kings of the dynasty of Ur III (Ur-Nammu, Sulgi). Besides they used Akkadian in their writings, in place of Elamite, and they quoted Mesopotamian gods rather than their Elamite divinities.’
The Northern kings listing in Genesis fourteen verse one could be geographical in orientation, as Larsa is south of Babylon and Elam is south of Ellasar. Some researchers believe Tidal, King of Nations refers to a very northwesterly position and the peoples of Hatti, or later the Hittites in Anatolia. This would not fit with the cluster of powers in lower Mesopotamia. Nor would assigning all four kings as Assyrian kings as at least one researcher has proposed. I believe the Gutians, to the direct north of Elam and northeast of Shinar are the fourth power in the alliance. We will look at the Gutium in more detail when we study Shem’s fifth son Aram in Chapter XXIII.
The three main regions of Shem’s children in Mesopotamia were the states of Assyria, then the Land of Shinar and thirdly, Elam. As we have learned, the land of Shinar was split into north and south. The north was known as Akkad – Akkadia or Accadia – and in time as Babylonia after its main city and the south was known as Sumer. These two regions within Shinar, were the combined offspring of Shem’s son Arphaxad.
Arphaxad had two great grandsons, Peleg and Joktan. These two sons of Eber were the forefathers of a major split in the family line which we will study – and are confirmed in the super sub-Haplogroup split of R1 into R1a and R1b. I believe there is good reason to consider Peleg’s descendents comprised the northern territory of Akkad and Joktan’s children were located in Sumer. This would explain why two separate, yet closely related cultures arose though still under the banner of the Land of Shinar. Today, the same scenario has occurred with two distinct, yet adjacent regions of eastern and western nations within Europe.
In the British Museum there are artefacts mentioning three of the four northern kings at the Battle of the Valley of Siddim. The first two accounts record Chedorlaomer leading a rebellion with Tidal and Arioch’s son Dursrilani, a co-regent perhaps, against the king of Shinar at Babel circa 1929 to 1909 BCE, prior to the Valley of Siddim battle in 1894 BCE. The unnamed king of Shinar then strikes back. This king would have been from the Amorite Dynasty, the same as Hammurabi, the 6th king. The two possible kings are the 4th king, Apil-Sin [1930-1913 BCE] or the 5th king, Sin-Muballit* [1913 – 1894 BCE]. Each are viable as Apil-Sin is Hammurabi’s grandfather and Sin-Muballit, his father. A clear and reasonable motive for Hammurabi’s later actions against Chedorlaomer, suddenly becomes apparent – revenge.
The first artifact is British Museum #BM 35404 – sp II.987 and it says:
“The property and the possessions of Babylon, small and great, in their faithful counsel to Chedorlaomer [Ku-der-lah-ga-mal], king of the land of Elam”… I am a King, the son of a king… the son of a daughter of the king who on the throne of dominion have sat…
Dur-sir-ilani the son of Arioch [Eri-ekua] who with the spoil of the throne of dominion sat, and with the sword was killed.”
The second artifact is British Museum #BM 34062 – sp.158 & SPII.962 and states that Chedorlaomer the king of the Elamites, turned against the king of Shinar and attacked his cities at Babil and Borsippa:
“The enemy, the Elamite, multiplied evils against Bel and Babil [Babel] which he planned evil against… there he set his mind on destroying the temple… the enemy, the Elamite, took its goods… He decreed it’s destruction… he showed his dislike for and barred the people of Bel of Ezida… the road to Sumer. Who is this Chedorlaomer [Ku-der-lah-ga-mal], the maker of this evil? He has also gathered the Unman-Manda, and the people of Bel he has ruined… the Elamite caused his yoke to be directed down to Borsippa. He set his face against and he traversed also the road of darkness, the road to Mesku. This wicked man the Elamite, destroyed its palace, the princes he subdued with the sword, and from all the temples he carried off their goods as spoils of war, and he took them back to Elam.”
Notice Babylon is referred to as its original name of Babel – prior to the Tower of Babel incident. Chedorlaomer was a formidable opponent and had subdued a future threat in Babylon and the king – either Hammurabi’s father or grandfather – before amalgamating the states into a powerful coalition.
Abraham and Chedorlaomer Chronological, Historical and Archaeological Evidence, Gérard Gertoux adds:
‘The Spartoli tablets (c. 650 BCE) describe [the] famous attack of Babylonia by a coalition of evil kings named Kudur-KUKUmal, [ku.ku means: carrying no mercy]king of Elam, Tudhula, king of Gutium,and Eri-Aku [king of Larsa]. This coalition of kings (Sumer, Larsa, Gutium) united under Kutur-Lagamar is quite likely, because all these kings were vassals or allies of the king of Elam (and Akkad) at that time, moreover, they came from neighbouring regions. Chedorlaomer’s route and the description of his actions show that this king came to this region near Egypt in order to maintain control over this new land trade route.
This ambitious project had to have worried Amenemhat I (1975-1946) because southern Canaan was a big source of supply. In order to protect Egypt, Amenemhat I built the “Walls of the Ruler”. One can notice that the area of Sodom is called Sutu(m) in execration texts (then Moab after 1800 BCE) [Moab as a son of Lot, lived where Lot had previously dwelt].
Thus the kings of Sumer [Ur] were oppressed on two occasions: once by Kudu[Lagamar] [1909 BCE]* king of Awan, and once by Kindadu [1882 BCE], king of Simaski. These two kings of Elam left a bad unforgettable memory in Sumerian annals. After the destruction of Ur the kings of Elam were blackened because they were charged with all misfortunes that occurred in the land of Sumer.’
The Pharaoh mentioned by Gertoux, Amenemhat I [1677-1647 BCE], was actually a Pharaoh while Joseph and the other sons of Jacob were living in Goshen, the Nile delta region in Lower Egypt – some three hundred years after Gertoux’s orthodox, though inaccurate dating. The wall he built was to the east of the delta region, to protect the eastern Egyptian frontier from the inhabitants of the Sinai Peninsula. As relations with the Israelites were still favourable at this time, it would seem a benevolent act and not an insidious one to contain the prospering sons of Jacob within Egypt’s boundary; though this cannot be ruled out as a partial motive. There is only one possible Pharaoh who ruled between 1929 – the ascension of Chedorlaomer to the Elamite throne – and 1907 BCE, the first year of enforced tribute of the Transjordan City-States, that would have been concerned with the growing strength of Chedorlaomer.
The 3rd Pharaoh of the 1st Dynasty Djer, was the the son of Hor-Aha. Prominent during Djer’s reign was his grandmother, Queen Neithhotep. Cemetery evidence confirms that she lived during the reign of Hor-Aha and succeeded him into Djer’s rule. Neithoptep had been the wife of the 1st Pharaoh, Narmer also known as Menes. The First Dynasty of Egypt is incorrectly dated as beginning circa 3100 BCE. We will return to the dating and accurate sequencing of the Egyptian dynasties in the unconventional chronology. Djer ruled Lower and Upper Egypt from 1922 BCE for fifty-four years until 1868 BCE. What is interesting about this Pharaoh is that it was Djer, that met Abraham and Sarah in 1902 BCE, during the 20th year of his reign while there was a famine in Canaan. We will return to this story in Genesis chapter twelve, when we study Abraham in Chapter XXVII.
The third artifact is British Museum #BM 35496 – sp III.2. A new king of Shinar [Akkad] , namely Hammurabi [Amraphel] attacks Dursirilani, Tidal and Chedorlaomer:
“Samas [Babylonian sun god] the illuminator of… Merodach [chief Babylonian god]… the rulers who were not nourishing… he caused to be slain. Dur-sir-ilani, the son of Arioch [Eri-ekua]…his goods he carried off to the waters of Babylon and back to the temple of Esaggil… his son, with the weapon of his hands, like a lamb he was slaughtered… the child he cut off… Tidal [Tu-ud-hul-amar] son of Gazza… his goods he carried off to the waters of Babylon and to the temple of Esaggil…
His son, with the weapon of his hands, fell upon him… of his dominion, before the temple of Annunit… Elam, the city of Ahhe to the land of Rabbatu, he spoiled in ruins, he set the fortress of Akkad, the whole of Borsippa…ended Chedorlaomer [Ku-der-lah-ga-mal], his son, and with the steel sword he pierced his heart… his enemy. He took the will of these kings, the lords of sin… their rebellions… who the chief of the gods, Merodach, brought his anger against.”
This was a series of bloodbath battles over a number of years imposed by the king of Shinar, violently slaughtering the other three kings and their families and in the process… ending three separate dynasties. The artefacts confirm the names of Dursirilani, Tidal, and Chedorlaomer. Possibly, Arioch was the one kingly casualty in Abraham’s raid and this is why his son, Dursirilani is listed as king of Ellasar [Larsa] at the time of Hammurabi’s betrayal and revenge. Alternatively, Dursirilani is a co-regnt with his father Arioch.
It was after the Battle of the Valley of Siddim that Hammurabi rebelled and slaughtered his once allies, now enemies, beginning in 1893 BCE. It may now explain why Amraphel is listed first in the Genesis account. Ultimately, he killed his three rivals, powerful rulers of southern Mesopotamia and as the King of Babylon and Akkad, added the kingship of Sumer while subjugating both the lands of Elam and the Gutium.
Regarding Chedorlaomer, the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, on British Museum Sp. II 987 and Sp. III, 2:
‘… refers to the bond of heaven extended to the four regions, and the fame which Merodach set for the Elamites in Babylon, the city of his glory. So the gods, in their faithful or everlasting counsel, decreed to Kudur-lahgumal, king of Elam their favor. He came down, and performed what was good to them, and exercised dominion in Babylon, the city of Kar-Dunias (Babylonia). When in power, however, he acted in a way which did not please the Babylonians… [between 1929 – 1894 BCE].
The less perfect fragment (Sp. III, 2) contains, near the beginning, the word hammu, and if this be, as Professor F. Hommel has suggested, part of the name Hammurabi (Amraphel), it would in all probability place the identification of Kudur-lahgumal with Chedorlaomer beyond a doubt.’
This would cement an already compelling argument for the veracity of the king of Shinar’s identity being Hammurabi, who as Amraphel was a contemporary of and briefly allied – when he came to the throne in 1894 BCE – with Chedorlaomer and then in turn, rebelled against Chedorlaomer, killing him in 1893 BCE for the humiliation perpetrated against probably his father, Sin-Muballit or possibly his grandfather, Apil-Sin.
Hammurabi and the Babylonian Empire, Dr Joshua J Mark, 2018 – emphasis & bold mine:
‘Hammurabi (also known as Khammurabi and Ammurapi… assumed the throne… and expanded the kingdom to conquer all of ancient Mesopotamia. The kingdom of Babylon comprised only the cities of Babylon, Kish, Sippar, and Borsippa when Hammurabi came to the throne but, through a succession of military campaigns, careful alliances made and broken when necessary, and political manoeuvres, he held the entire region under Babylonian control by [his death].
According to his own inscriptions, letters and administrative documents from his reign, he sought to improve the lives of those who lived under his rule. He is best known in the modern day for his law code which, although not the earliest code of laws, came to serve as a model for other cultures and is thought to have influenced the laws set down by Hebrew scribes, including those from the biblical Book of Exodus.
The fifth king of the dynasty, Sin-Muballit… successfully completed many public works projects but was unable to expand the kingdom or compete with the rival city of Larsa to the south. Larsa [Ellasar] was the most lucrative trade center on the Persian Gulf and the profits from this trade enriched the city and encouraged expansion so that most of the cities of the south were under Larsa’s control. Sin-Muballit [1913-1894 BCE] led a force against Larsa but was defeated by their king Rim Sin I [1924-1865 BCE]. At this point it is uncertain what exactly happened, but it seems that Sin-Muballit was compelled to abdicate in favor of his son Hammurabi. Whether Rim Sin I thought Hammurabi would be less of a threat to Larsa is also unknown but, if so, he would be proven wrong.
The historian Durant writes: ‘At the outset of [Babylonian history] stands the powerful figure of Hammurabi, conqueror and lawgiver through a reign of forty-three years. Primeval seals and inscriptions transmit him to us partially – a youth full of fire and genius, a very whirlwind in battle [akin to Alexander the Great], who crushes all rebels, cuts his enemies into pieces, marches over inaccessible mountains, and never loses an engagement. Under him the petty warring states of the lower valley were forced into unity and peace, and disciplined into order and security by an historic code of laws.’
The alliances [Hammurabi] made with other states would repeatedly be broken when the king found it necessary to do so but, as rulers continued to enter into pacts with Hammurabi, it does not seem to have occurred to any of them that he would do the same to them as he had previously to others.
A technique he seems to have used first in this engagement would become his preferred method in others when circumstances allowed: the damming up of water sources to the city to withhold them from the enemy until surrender or, possibly, withholding the waters through a dam and then releasing them to flood the city before then mounting an attack.’
In 1866 BCE, the undefeated Hammurabi had turned against Rim-Sin I because he had refused to support Hammurabi in his ongoing war against Elam despite pledging troops. Hammurabi with extra troops from Mari, attacked Mashkan-shapir located on the northern edge of Rim-Sin’s realm. Hammurabi’s forces reached Larsa with alacrity and after a six-month siege the city of Larsa fell. Rim-Sin I escaped the city but was soon found and taken prisoner and died thereafter in 1865 BCE. Rim-Sin I was the 14th and last king of the Larsa Dynasty that had begun in 2128 BCE.
In 1864 BCE Hammurabi defeated a coalition that stood against him comprising Elam, the Gutium and the Marhashi kingdom in Iran. The following year, he defeated Zimri-Lim the King of Mari, an Amorite kingdom northwest of Babylon and his former ally. Hammurabi not only broke his alliance with Zimri-Lim but also for the first and only time, completely destroyed Mari rather than conquering it. Hammurabi would subdue cities, absorb them into his kingdom, repair and improve them. Scholars have debated his reasons and believe Mari’s great wealth was too threatening and too close to Babylon’s designs on being the greatest city in Mesopotamia. After Mari’s destruction, Hammurabi marched on Asshur, took the region of Assyria and finally Eshunna, so that by 1857 BCE – five years before his death at age sixty – he ruled all of Mesopotamia.
‘A popular title applied to Hammurabi in his lifetime was bani matim, ‘builder of the land’, because of the many building projects and canals he ordered constructed throughout the region. Documents from the time attest to the efficacy of Hammurabi’s rule and his sincere desire to improve the lives of the people of Mesopotamia. These letters and administrative works (such as directives for the building of canals, food distribution, beautification and building projects, and legal issues)
His law code is not the first such code in history (though it is often called so) but is certainly the most famous from antiquity prior to the code set down in the biblical books. The Code of Ur-Nammu… which originated with either Ur-Nammu or his son Shulgi of Ur, is the oldest code of laws in the world. Unlike the earlier Code of Ur-Nammu, which imposed fines or penalties of land, Hammurabi’s code epitomized the principle known as Lex Talionis, the law of retributive justice, in which punishment corresponds directly to the crime, better known as the concept of ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, made famous from the later law code of the Old Testament…
By [1857 BCE]… Hammurabi was old and sick. In the last years of his life his son, Samsu-Iluna [1852-1815 BCE], had already taken over the responsibilities of the throne and assumed full reign in [1851 BCE].
The conquest of Eshnunna had removed a barrier to the east that had buffered the region against incursions by people such as the Hittites and Kassites. Once that barrier was gone, and news of the great king weakening spread, the eastern tribes prepared their armies to invade.
The vast kingdom Hammurabi had built during his lifetime began to fall apart within a year of his death, and those cities that had been part of vassal states secured their borders and announced their autonomy. None of Hammurabi’s successors could put the kingdom back together again, and first the Hittites… then the Kassites invaded. The Hittites sacked Babylon and the Kassites inhabited and re-named it. The Elamites, who had been so completely defeated by Hammurabi decades before, invaded and carried off the stele of Hammurabi’s Law Code which was discovered at the Elamite city of Susa in 1902 CE.’
Gérard Gertoux summary:
‘Kedor-Lagomer corresponds to Kudur-Lagarma which is an Akkadian transcription of Kutir-Lagamal “bearer (servant) of Lagamal”. According to the biblical text (Genesis 10:10), Shinar was a region south of Mesopotamia composed of at least three major cities: Babylon (Babel), Uruk (Erech) and Aggad (Akkad). In time the name Babylon came to mean the whole of Babylonia (Daniel 1:2). A coalition of kings (Sumer, Larsa, Gutium) united under Kutur-Lagamar is quite likely to be, because all these kings were vassals or allies of the king of Elam, moreover, they came from neighbouring regions. During the period [1988-1894 BCE] the two main actors in the Mesopotamian world were the kings of Ur III and the kings of [late] Awan I [/II and early Shimashki].
The power of these two empires [Ur and Elam] depended on trade and therefore control of trade routes. They earned money through vassal kings who levied customs duties on traders passing through their territories and had to pay to their “emperors” for ensuring their security (by means of military force). Kudur-Lagamar probably wanted to create a new major trade route from Susa to Egypt. The route taken by Abraham and that one followed by Chedorlaomer are in agreement with the major communication routes of the time.
In this context, the capture of the goddess Nanaya [in 1909 BCE] served to justify the westward expansionist projects of Kudur-Lagamar. Indeed, change in titulatures confirm his new role of “king of Akkad”. The complete titulature of the kings of Awan I, as the one of Puzur-Insusinak, was as follows: governor (ENSI) of Susa, viceroy (GIR.NITA) of Elam and king (LUGAL) of Awan.
Abram…at that time… lived in Ur… he must have learned that Chedorlaomer had confiscated the statue of the goddess Nanaya [Inana or Ishtar, a Queen of Heaven]. [As the Assyrian king] Ashurbanipal refers exactly [c. 660 BC] to Ku-du[r-Lagamar], king of Awan I, in Sumerian royal lists and as the Spartoli tablets describe the attack of Babylonia by the king of Elam named Kudur-KUKUmal, this king of Elam must have been Chedorlaomer.
Prior to [1909 BC] relationships with the kings of Elam remained cordial… From this date Kutur-Lagamar behaves as “King of Akkad” and, in the same way as Sargon of Akkad, he chose to open a new trade route to the west as far as Egypt. Titulary of Ur… kings changed… [from] King of Sumer and Akkad… [to] King of the 4 corners (of Universe) [an indicative title of the later Mede and Persian (Elam) empire], indicating that Akkad was no longer under full control of the king of Ur…
[In summation]: King Kudur-Lagamar [1929 – 1893 BCE] alias Chedorlaomer, actually existed since he was the third and last king of Awan I, the only Elamite dynasty mentioned in Sumerian lists. His two main actions that have passed to posterity were the capture of Uruk’s goddess (Nanaya) and [the] looting of the city of Sodom.’
The timing of two years – as deduced from Gertoux’s chronology – prior to the beginning of the tribute being exacted on the Canaanite cities in 1907 BCE, means King Chedorlaomer of Elam with his allies, Tudhula, king of the Gutium, and Eri-Aku king of Larsa would have fought both the kings of Babylon [Akkad] and Sumer [Uruk] to gain control of the land of Shinar. This was twenty years after Chedorlaomer came to the throne of Elam and thus gave him ample time to consolidate his power, build his military capability and win or subjugate the necessary allies.
This means, we now know which king he fought against in Babel; it would have been Hammurabi’s father, Sin-Muballit [1913-1894 BCE] – 5th king of the Amorite Babylonian Dynasty and in Ur, King Shu-Suen [1915-1906 BCE] the grandson of Shulgi, the son of Ur-Nammu – the founder of the Ur III Dynasty. This explains the abdication of Sin-Muballit in favour of his son, Hammurabi who was probably chosen by Chedorlaomer as a puppet king. A role that the young Amraphel spectacularly did not follow.
Hasting’s Dictionary of the Bible, C H W Johns & James Hastings, 1909:
‘Arioch king of Ellasar was allied with Chedorlaomer in the campaign against the kings of the plain (Genesis 14:1). He has been identified with Rim-sin, king of Larsa, and consequently Ellasar^ is thought to be for al-Larsa, the city of Larsa. Larsa, modern Senkereh in Lower Babylonia on the east bank of the Euphrates, was celebrated for its temple and worship of the sun-god Shamash.’
The meaning of Ellasar is very close to the meaning of Nimrod, who we will study in detail. Ellasar in Hebrew means ‘rebellious God’ or ‘onto rebellion’ from the word ‘el, God or denoting motion toward and the verb sarar, ‘to be rebellious’ or ‘stubborn’, though more in attitude rather than revolt. The city of Ellasar,^ is believed by most scholars to be the same city identified as Larsa. Some place it far north where the Hurrians dwelt, though this would not fit with the cluster of the other three in southern Mesopotamia. Larsa is located southeast of the very ancient city of Erech [Uruk], from which Iraq derives its name and northwest of Ur – where Abraham’s family originated.
Tudhula of the Gutium [Tidal King of nations] is reputed to have ruled approximately from 1909 – 1864 BCE. Support for these dates, is that Tidal may have come to power due to Chedorlaomer’s politicking and thus as one of his allies, assisted in the defeat of Babylon and Ur in 1909 BCE. Plus, Tidal if still king would have died when Hammurabi defeated his coalition with Elam in 1864 BCE.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia – emphasis & bold mine:
‘ERI-AKU er-i-a-koo’, e-ri-a-ku’: This is the probable Sumerian reading of the well-known Babylonian name written with the characters for “servant” (Sem wardu or ardu) and the group standing for the Moon-god Sin* (written En-zu = Zu-en), otherwise Aku, the whole meaning “servant of the Moon-god.” This ruler, who was king of Larsa [Ellasar], is generally identified with the Arioch of Genesis 14:9. Eri-Aku belonged to an Elamite family which held the throne of Larsa, a state which, in common with Babylonia itself, acknowledged the suzerainty of Elam… it may be noted, that the expression adda, “father,” probably means simply “administrator.”’
Gérard Gertoux adds:
‘The Akkadian name Warad-Sin, king (LUGAL) of Larsa, is written Eri-Aku (e-ri-a-ku) which is a transcription of the Sumerian name IR-AGA “servant of the lunar disc” translated into Akkadian as (u)-ar-du-a-gu Warad-Agu, an equivalent of Warad-Sin “servant of the Moon* (god)”.’
What is interesting here is that Rim-Sin I was the final king of the Larsa Dynasty [1924-1865 BCE] and he is identified with Arioch of Ellasar or Eri-Aku of Larsa. Yet Gertoux says Warad-Sin is also Eri-Aku, or Arioch. In the king lists, Warad-Sin was the brother of Rim-Sin I and supposedly ruled for twelve years prior to his brother from 1936 to 1924 BCE and as a co-regency with his father, Kudur-Marbuk. Arioch, may then be a family name, a title or even a description.
For we learn more about Eri-Aku in the Targum of Palestine account of Genesis 14:9, in that Eri-Aku was a giant. He was called Arioch due to his great height. Arioch is derived from Arik which means ‘tall among the giants’. Even compared to other giants, Arioch was impressive and intimidating. This is an interesting piece of information, as the Northern confederacy fought against Nephilim descended giants before turning around literally, to go against the five Canaanite kings.
Picking up the story from Genesis Six Giants website, emphasis & bold mine:
‘Of course, no ancient records exist that tell us how many giants served under Chedorlaomer. He may have had only Arioch, or that towering king plus a few others, or he may have had many such men in his service. In any event, the results of their opening battle with the Jordanian giants clearly show that he commanded a far superior force. Sweeping down the valley, his army quickly laid siege to Ashteroth Karnaim. This chief city of the Rephaim lay in the district of Bashan, about six miles northwest of Edrei. These giants worshipped Astarte, the goddess of the crested* moon.
They were greatly decimated. Continuing along what the ancients called the King’s Highway, a trade route that ran the entire length of the Trans-jordanian plateau to the Gulf of Aqabah,Chedorlaomer and his confederate kings next fell upon the enormous Zamzummim people at Ham. Some archaeologists identify this city with modern Ham, which is located in eastern Gilead, about four miles south of Irbid.
After this, the kings from Elam and Mesopotamia attacked and cut off the terrible Emim giants at nearby Shaveh Kiriathaim.These people, described as “great and many and tall,” occupied the land that the Moabites later took.Sodom and Gomorrah, at the [northern] tip of the Salt Sea, stood next in line. They quickly got ready to defend themselves, expecting the worst. But to their amazement the invaders passed them by. Pressing on southward into the rough mountain range of Seir, Chedorlaomer waged war instead against the giant Horites.’
The land of Canaan was infested with Nephilim descended Elioud and was literally the land of the giants. In verse seven of Genesis chapter fourteen, just after the Horites are mentioned, we read about the defeated Amalekites.
This shows that the Amalekites existed before Esau had a future grandson called Amalek, some one hundred and twenty years later. Esau was to marry into and live with the Nephilim related Horites. The Amalekites of the Bible are identifiable in secular sources under a different name, which we will study. The link in Genesis fourteen between the Horites and Amalek and then Esau marrying into the Horites and naming a grandson called Amalek is not only, not a coincidence, but rather significant. The Amalekites were also giants and related to the Horites.
‘He also conquered the Negev to eliminate any threat from that quarter. Having thus neutralized all the country round, he finally turned his attention upon the rebellious Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors. Giving up whatever security their fortified walls afforded them, “the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zeboiim and the king of Bela (that is, Zoar) came out,” notes Moses; “and they arrayed for battle against them in the valley of Siddim,against Chedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goiim and Amraphel king of Shinar and Arioch king of Ellasar – four kings against five.”’
The Book of Jasher 10:25-27, adds regarding these ‘Canaanites’.
25 And four men from the family of Ham went to the land of the plain; these are the names of the four men, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboyim. 26 And these men built themselves four cities in the land of the plain, and they called the names of their cities after their own names. 27 And they and their children and all belonging to them dwelt in those cities, and they were fruitful and multiplied greatly and dwelt peaceably.
Recall, the original inhabitants of Canaan, were the peoples descended from Canaan – the son of Ham [refer Chapter XII Canaan]. The Nephilim arrived after the Canaanites and dwelt amongst them. The Book of Jasher claims Nimrod was the king of Shinar. We have learned that Hammurabi is undoubtedly the king in question. It is some 5,000 years since Nimrod and the Tower of Babel incident and though longevity was on his side, it would be unlikely he was still living at this time. Such a powerful figure such as he was, he would have been still ruling and making his presence known if alive. His inferred demise points to when the Tower was destroyed.
‘This bold strategy to meet the invaders in the open field was decided by the surrounding treacherous terrain. Many slime pits, dug to obtain pitch or mortar for building, transversed the area.While most English translations simply describe the Valley of Siddim as being “full of slime pits,” the force of the original Hebrew language, according to Speiser, conveys to the reader a picture of “one bitumen pit after another.” The locals were most familiar with the locations of these pits. The invaders were not. They were also accustomed to the foul-smelling, boiling waters on whose surface floated lumps of asphalt or bitumen the size of bulls.
The enemy, they hoped, would be at least a little disconcerted by the unfamiliar terrain and terrible odor and afraid of falling into the boiling waters. But the pits failed to deter the invaders. Indeed, they soon turned them to their own advantage. In the resulting warfare, many in the defenders’ ranks saw death. Alarmed by the way the battle was progressing against them, the five local kings and their armies panicked and attempted to flee the field. The slime pits, however, made retreat difficult. In the confusion, two of the fleeing kings – and presumedly many men with them – fell into the tar pits. Those who escaped fled into the mountains.
For a time some scholars disbelieved this Genesis story, labeling it a fiction. But evidence dug up by archaeologists in recent years verifies that in Abraham’s time a great destruction came upon the very places mentioned in Chedorlaomer’s invasion. Dr. Nelson Glueck, whose work in this area extended from 1932 until 1947, when it was halted by the Israeli-Arab disturbances, reports that the highly developed civilization which flourished here during the Middle Bronze I period (c. 2100-1900 B.C.) came to an abrupt and savage end [1894 BCE].
This well-known archaeologist found that not only the cities mentioned in Genesis but also many villages – beginning with Ashtaroth-Karnaim and proceeding south through Transjordan and the Negev to Kadesh Barnea in the Sinai – were systematically gutted. “From southern Syria to central Sinai, their fury raged,” he writes. “A punitive expedition developed into an orgy of annihilation. I found that every village in their path had been plundered and left in ruins, and the countryside laid waste. The population had been wiped out or led away into captivity. For hundreds of years thereafter, the entire area was like an abandoned cemetery, hideously unkept, with all its monuments shattered and strewn in pieces on the ground.”’
Flying Serpents and Dragons, R A Boulay, 1990, Page 148:
‘The power of the invading kings, numbered as 800,000 according to the Haggadah, must have been overwhelming indeed, for they not only crushed these fortified cities but they never were rebuilt and the land remained unoccupied for a thousand years.’
Some will always take an opposing view and there will always be those who do not see what is in plain sight, but we have detailed verification of the Biblical account of a devastating war that is documented as historically authentic. The four northern kings are real personages and led the ancient coalition comprising Elam, Akkad, Sumer and Aram. Acadia represented by Peleg and Sumer by Joktan – both from Shem’s son Arphaxad and collectively the land of Shinar – and with Elam and Aram they exacted terrible revenge for disobedience by the southern kings of Ham and the Elioud giants. The modus operandi of devastating destruction rings true, as we have learned how both Chedorlaomer and Hammurabi were both uncompromising in their style of warfare. Possibly, a further reason why Amraphel is listed first; with his blitzkrieg style he likely took the lead in the actual obliteration of the opposition forces and the desolation of their land.
“Look,” says the Teacher, “I have discovered this by adding one thing to another to find out the explanation…”
Ecclesiastes 7:27 Christian Standard Bible
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