The Hurrians (Genesis 34)

The Hurrians entered northern Mesopotamia, apparently from the Caucasus region, during the third millennium B.C. and scattered across the ancient Near East. They were well established in the area by the eighteenth century B.C. and created the kingdom of Mitanni in the northern territory between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers by the mid-sixteenth century B.C. This kingdom became a major international player during the mid-second millennium B.C., but its location between the areas inhabited by he Egyptians, Hittites and Assyrians rendered it vulnerable to attack. By about 1250 B.C. Mitanni had ceased to exist as a kingdom.

Little is known about the Hurrian language because most of the documents these people left behind are in Akkadian rather than in their own language. It is certain, however, that the Hurrians were not Semitic.

In Nuzi, a Hurrian city east of the Tigris River, archaeologists have discovered an archive of cuneiform texts that reveal much about ancient Mesopotamian culture. The Hurrians worshipped such deities as a storm god, a sun god and a moon god in Mesopotamian temlpe/pantheon (temple dedicated to multiple gods). Excelling in metallurgy and glassmaking, they also were known for an intricately decorated pottery now called “Nuzi ware”. Some scholars have suggested that the Biblical Horites (Genesis 36:20-21, 14:6) were Hurrians, but this is most likely incorrect. The Horites were a late third millennium tribal group indigenous to the region of Seir, south of the Dead Sea, whereas the Hurrians were a people who entered northern Mesopotamia from the north during the second millennium.

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