Archaeology Odyssey 5:1, January/February 2002

Warriors of Hatti

The rise and fall of the Hittites, Turkey’s splendid Bronze Age civilization

By Eric H. Cline

Just who were the Hittites?

When this question began to be asked a little more than a century ago, our only knowledge of the Hittites came from the Hebrew Bible.1 Abraham buys a burial plot for his wife Sarah from “Ephron the Hittite” (Genesis 23:3–20). King David falls in love with Bathsheba, the wife of “Uriah the Hittite,” as he watches her bathe (2 Samuel 11:2–27). David’s son Solomon chooses “Hittite women” to number among his wives (1 Kings 11:1).

Perhaps the most famous biblical reference to the Hittites comes in Exodus, when God appears to Moses in the burning bush and declares:

I have come down to deliver them [the Israelites] from the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the country of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites (Exodus 3:7).

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