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).