Emarite: A Late Bronze Akkadian language/dialect

by koot van wyk    Seoul  South Korea  7 November 2008


In another writing "Scribal practices at 13th century BCE Emar" this author has given extensive detail regarding the connection of Emar and the book of Ruth on inspiration of an article by Akio Tsukimoto on the role of "Emar and the Old Testament" (1989). This writer was trying to look at slips of the hand, ear, eye, mind and tongue in his short notes. Tsukimoto focussed on many cultural aspects similar in Biblical texts of the Old Testament.

In the Lake Assad Region is Tell Meskeneh and it is here that a French team found on the 20th of November 1972 tablets (RA 67 (1973): 191.

1. The tablets dates to the LB period (some correspond with the Middle Bronze Alalakh IV period).

2. The language is a West Peripheral Akkadian of the kind that was also found at Rash Shamra (Ugarit) and Boghazkoy (the Hittite stronghold) and some North Syrian letter at El-Amarna.

3. The scholar Daniel Arnaud worked on these tablets (D. Arnaud, "Les Textes d' Emar et La Chronologie de la Fin du Bronze Récent," Syria 70 [1975]: 87-92). He was not the only one. Other scholars were: J. Huehnergard (1983); M. Sigrist (1982); J. -W. Meyer and G. Wilhelm (1983); G. Beckman (1988) and many tablets published by Akio Tsukimoto of Rikkyo University in Japan.

4. The date proposed by Arnaud is between 1310-1187 BCE. Tsukimoto in 1989: 3 indicated in a footnote that D. Arnaud suggested a date from the "second half of the thirteenth century B. C. to the destruction of the city by the Sea People in 1185 B.C." This would place the period between 1250 to 1185 BCE.

5. The Sea Peoples were settlers so that one can see them arriving in waves of years in between so that every site may have a different "slipping" date for their arrival as one goes further from the point of origin of these peoples.

6. There was a decline in Egyptian power after Queen Tausert (Deir Alla) 1192 BCE and also a decline of Mycenean Culture on the Greek Mainland. However an increase of Mycenean III C 1b pottery is experienced in Palestine sites for a period of 40 years (A. Mazar, Qedem 20: 120). Around 1152 BCE the Philistine bichrome ware showed up from the 8th year of Rameses III and also during the time of Rameses IVth at Batash V, Qasile XII, Gezer XII, Beth Shemesh III, Ashdod XII, Tell Jemneh, Tel elll Farah, Tell Jerisheh, Qasile X, Aphek in pits and Azor in a cemetery.

5. If his dating is reliable it covers the period just after Ehud's rest period 1346-1266 BCE (Judges 3:30; 4:1). The time of Jabin's oppression 1266-1246 BCE (Judges 4:3) may indicate a starting point. Deborah and Barak 1246-1206 BCE (Judges 5:31) were during this time. The Midianite oppression 1206-1199 BCE (Judges 6:1) and part of Gideon as a judge 1199-1159 BCE (Judges 8:28) are people and events from the same period. These calculations are all mathematical following strictly the Masoretic Text chronology with 1 Kings 6:1 as the reference point.

6. The book of Ruth is closely tied up to this site. Ruth lived ca. 1170 BCE and their parents and grandparents all lived during the time of the Emar texts. Tsukimoto has given some good examples of cultural comparisons in this regard for the abandoning of the legal right by pulling off the sandal and imprint the bare sole in clay at Emar (see Ruth 4:8 and other texts by Tsukimoto; A. Tsukimoto, "Emar and the Old Testament - Preliminary Remarks-" Annual of the Japanese Biblical Institute XV [1989]: 3-24).

7. One can also see the principle of double name spellings between Ruth and Emar: compare Ruth 4:6, 20 and 21.