Geopolitical Situation of El Amarna fits C9th BC
Damien F. Mackey
“This, a geopolitical structure quite reminiscent of that of the Divided Monarchy, is
exactly what one might expect from Velikovsky’s relocation of [El Amarna]”.
On the hotly debated matter of whether or not the geopolitical structure of the El Amarna [EA] period can be properly matched with that to be found in the C9th BC Divided Monarchy period, I wrote as follows in my postgraduate thesis:
A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah
and its Background
At this early stage in my discussion I must briefly mention, and attempt broadly to answer, a general objection that has been raised against any possibility of locating the EA era in the C9th BC. Conventional scholars have objected that the geopolitical situation at the time of Abdi-hiba of EA does not fit at all that of king Jehoram of Judah’s day, but is more appropriate in the context of the small states of the second millennium as reconstructed on the basis of second millennium Assyrian sources. Also crying out for an explanation, seemingly, is why rulers of Syro-Palestine at the time might have had Hurrian/Hittite elements in their names. Though, I think that our detailed discussion in the previous chapter of the first wave of ‘Indo-European’ peoples into the region would now go a long way towards accounting for this situation. Furthermore, in Chapter 4 (on p. 108) I shall be introducing a view according to which there is some doubt anyway as to whether the name of EA’s king of Jerusalem really should be read as the Semitic-Hurrian combination, Abdi-hiba; a strange mix, somewhat like ‘Abdi-Zeus’ would be.
But let us firstly address that general objection regarding Velikovsky’s location of EA.
Day, for instance, has argued for the division of the land into small states at this time: ….
The fundamental objection … is that the El Amarna letters clearly presuppose a time when Palestine was divided into a number of city states, each with its own king, whereas in the time of Jehoshaphat and Ahab to which Velikovsky assigns the El Amarna letters, there were simply two kingdoms, Israel in the North and Judah in the South.
While Sieff will, in support of Velikovsky, respond at some length to Day’s objection … I shall simply quote here from Cook - with some further, though unintended, support, later, from Aharoni - wherein are described from a conventional viewpoint the duplicitous tactics of Abdi-Hiba of Urusalim, “full of complaints against Labaya and other anti-Egyptian leaders”, but denounced by Shuwardata of Keilah as “another Labaya”, showing that the king of Jerusalem was under assault from the very same opposition as we are going to find in the next chapter James gives as having menaced Jehoram: ….
… we may recognize Jerusalem as an influential city with extensive interests, exposed to the attacks of hostile neighbours in the west and the north – corresponding to the Philistines and (north) Israelites of a later [sic] time – and
ready to seize any opportunity to extend its influence.
This, a geopolitical structure quite reminiscent of that of the Divided Monarchy, is
exactly what one might expect from Velikovsky’s relocation of EA.