Outbreak of Absalom’s Rebellion & Ambitious Princes Among the Hittites

I think Absalom has something up his sleeve, does he?

Yazılıkaya (inscribed rock) was a sanctuary of Hattusa, the capital city of the Hittite Empire, today in the Çorum Province, Turkey.

This was a holy site for the Hittites, located within walking distance of the gates of the city of Hattusa.

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Piyusti or Piyušti was a king of Hattusa during the 17th century B.C.

He is mentioned in the Anitta text as being defeated by Anitta on at least two occasions.

Anitta and Piyusti

In the second encounter, Piyusti and his auxiliary troops were defeated at the town of Šalampa.

Later, Anitta was able to storm the city of Hattusa at night after its defenders were weakened by famine.

Anitta utterly destroyed and cursed the Hatti capital.

The later Hittite kings had to completely rebuild the city.

“And it came to pass after this, that Absalom prepared him chariots and horses, and fifty men to run before him.

And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate: and it was so, that when any man that had a controversy came to the king for judgment, then Absalom called unto him, and said, Of what city art thou? And he said, Thy servant is of one of the tribes of Israel.

And Absalom said unto him, See, thy matters are good and right; but there is no man deputed of the king to hear thee.

Absalom said moreover, Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!

Termessos was a Pisidian city built at an altitude of more than 1000 meters at the south-west side of the mountain Solymos in the Taurus Mountains (modern-day Antalya province, Turkey).

It lies 30 kilometres to the north-west of Antalya.

It was founded on a natural platform on top of Güllük Dağı, soaring to a height of 1,665 meters from among the surrounding travertine mountains of Antalya, which average only 200 metres above sea level.
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Mursili I was a king of the Hittites ca. 1556–1526 B.C., and was likely a grandson of his predecessor, Hattusili I.

His sister was Ḫarapšili and his wife was queen Kali.

Mursili is credited with the conquest of the kingdom of Yamhad and its capital, Aleppo, in northern Syria. Ca. 1531 BC, Mursili led an unprecedented march of 2000 km south into the heart of Mesopotamia where he sacked the city of Babylon, bringing an end to the Amorite dynasty of Hammurabi.

This raid did not result in any Hittite control over Babylonia, but did result in the emergence of the Kassites as the rulers there.

And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

And it came to pass after forty years, that Absalom said unto the king, I pray thee, let me go and pay my vow, which I have vowed unto the Lord, in Hebron.

For thy servant vowed a vow while I abode at Geshur in Syria, saying, If the Lord shall bring me again indeed to Jerusalem, then I will serve the Lord.

And the king said unto him, Go in peace. So he arose, and went to Hebron.

But Absalom sent spies throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, As soon as ye hear the sound of the trumpet, then ye shall say, Absalom reigneth in Hebron”  (2 Sam 15:1-10). 

Absalom took 200 men out of Jerusalem with him and they had no idea what he was doing.  Absalom then sent for David’s counselor, Ahithophel, while he was offering sacrifices. 

The amount of people that Abasolom managed to trick to fall into his conspiracy continued to grow.

 “And one told David, saying, Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom. And David said, OLord, I pray thee, turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.

And it came to pass, that when David was come to the top of the mount, where he worshipped God, behold, Hushai the Archite came to meet him with his coat rent, and earth upon his head:

Unto whom David said, If thou passest on with me, then thou shalt be a burden unto me:

The Alexander Sarcophagus is a late 4th century B.C.

Hellenistic stone sarcophagus adorned with bas-relief carvings of Alexander the Great.

The work is remarkably well preserved and has been celebrated for its high aesthetic achievement.

It is considered the outstanding holding of the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.

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Hattusili I was a king of the Hittite Old Kingdom.

He reigned ca. 1586–1556 B.C.

He used the title of Labarna at the beginning of his reign.

It is uncertain whether he is the second king so identified, making him Labarna II, or whether he is identical to Labarna I, treated as his predecessor in Hittite chronologies.

During his reign, he moved the capital from Neša (Kaneš, near modern Kültepe) to Ḫattuša (near modern Boghazkoy), taking the throne name of Ḫattušili to mark the occasion.

He is the earliest Hittite ruler for whom contemporary records have been found. In addition to “King of Ḫattuša”, he took the title “Man of Kuššara”, a reference to the prehistoric capital and home of the Hittites, before they had occupied Neša.

A cuneiform tablet found in 1957 written in both the Hittite and the Akkadian language provides details of six years of his reign.

In it, he claims to have extended Hittite domain to the sea, and in the second year, to have subdued Alalakh and other cities in Syria.

In the third year, he campaigned against Arzawa in western Anatolia, then returned to Syria to spend the next three years retaking his former conquests from the Hurrians, who had occupied them in his absence.

But if thou return to the city, and say unto Absalom, I will be thy servant, O king; as I have been thy father’s servant hitherto, so will I now also be thy servant: then mayest thou for me defeat the counsel of Ahithophel.

And hast thou not there with thee Zadok and Abiathar the priests? therefore it shall be, that what thing soever thou shalt hear out of the king’s house, thou shalt tell it to Zadok and Abiathar the priests.

Behold, they have there with them their two sons, Ahimaaz Zadok’s son, and Jonathan Abiathar’s son; and by them ye shall send unto me every thing that ye can hear.

So Hushai David’s friend came into the city, and Absalom came into Jerusalem” (2 Sam 15:31-37).

And when David was a little past the top of the hill, behold, Ziba the servant of Mephibosheth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and an hundred bunches of raisins, and an hundred of summer fruits, and a bottle of wine.

Medusa, in Greek mythology was a monster, a Gorgon, generally described as having the face of a hideous human female with living venomous snakes in place of hair.

Gazing directly into her eyes would turn onlookers to stone.

Most sources describe her as the daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, though the author Hyginus interposes a generation and gives Medusa another chthonic pair as parents.

Medusa was beheaded by the hero Perseus, who thereafter used her head as a weapon until he gave it to the goddess Athena to place on her shield.

In classical antiquity the image of the head of Medusa appeared in the evil-averting device known as the Gorgoneion.

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Lydia arose as a Neo-Hittite kingdom following the collapse of the Hittite Empire in the twelfth century B.C.

According to Greek sources, the original name of the Lydian kingdom was Maionia.

Herodotus relates that that the “Maiones” were renamed Lydians after their king, Lydus, son of Attis, in the mythical epoch that preceded the rise of the Heracleid dynasty.

And the king said unto Ziba, What meanest thou by these? And Ziba said, The asses be for the king’s household to ride on; and the bread and summer fruit for the young men to eat; and the wine, that such as be faint in the wilderness may drink.

And the king said, And where is thy master’s son? And Ziba said unto the king, Behold, he abideth at Jerusalem: for he said, To day shall the house of Israel restore me the kingdom of my father.

Then said the king to Ziba, Behold, thine are all that pertained unto Mephibosheth. And Ziba said, I humbly beseech thee that I may find grace in thy sight, my lord, O king”(2 Sam 16:1-4).

When David came to Bahurim, Shimei came out of Saul’s house cursing and throwing rocks at David and everyone with him.

“And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial:

The Lord hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the Lord hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.

Then said Abishai the son of Zeruiah unto the king, Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head.

And the king said, What have I to do with you, ye sons of Zeruiah? so let him curse, because theLord hath said unto him, Curse David. Who shall then say, Wherefore hast thou done so?”  (2 Sam 16:7-10).

“David then told Abishai and his men that Abasolom was out to kill him, but for them to leave him alone because God had bidden him.  And as David and his men went by the way, Shimei continued to curse and throw stones.

And Absalom, and all the people the men of Israel, came to Jerusalem, and Ahithophel with him.

And it came to pass, when Hushai the Archite, David’s friend, was come unto Absalom, that Hushai said unto Absalom, God save the king, God save the king.

Myra is an ancient Greek town in Lycia, where the small town of Kale (Demre) is situated today in present day Antalya Province of Turkey.

It was located on the river Myros (Demre Çay), in the fertile alluvial plain between Alaca Dağ, the Massikytos range and the Aegean Sea.

Historical Evidence
Although some scholars equate Myra with the town Mira in Arzawa, there is no proof for the connection.

There is no substantiated written reference for Myra before it was listed as a member of the Lycian alliance (168 B.C.– 43 A.D.); according to Strabo (14:665) it was one of the largest towns of the alliance.

The Greek citizens worshiped Artemis Eleutheria, who was the protective goddess of the town.

Zeus, Athena and Tyche were venerated as well.

The ruins of the Lycian and Roman town are mostly covered by alluvial silts.

The Acropolis on the Demre-plateau, the Roman theatre and the Roman baths (eski hamam) have been partly excavated.

The semi-circular theater was destroyed in an earthquake in 141, but rebuilt afterwards.

Telipinu was a king of the Hittites ca. 1460 B.C.

At the beginning of his reign, the Hittite Empire had contracted to its core territories, having long since lost all of its conquests, made in the former era under Hattusili I and Mursili I – to Arzawa in the West, Mitanni in the East, the Kaskians in the North, and Kizzuwatna in the South.

Telipinu was a son-in-law of Ammuna and brother-in-law of Huzziya I as a husband of Ammuna’s daughter Ištapariya.

During Telipinu’s reign, Huzziya and his five brothers were killed.

He was able to recover a little ground from the Hurrians of Mitanni, by forming an alliance with the Hurrians of Kizzuwatna; however, with the end of his reign, the Hittite Empire enters a temporary “Dark Ages”, the Middle Kingdom, lasting around 70 years, when records become too scanty to draw many conclusions.

Telepinu is perhaps most famous for drawing up the Edict of Telepinu which dictated the laws of succession for the Hittite throne.

It was designed to stop all the royal murders which had taken place in the previous decades, which had destablised the empire and reduced the empire to only its heartland.

And Absalom said to Hushai, Is this thy kindness to thy friend? why wentest thou not with thy friend?

And Hushai said unto Absalom, Nay; but whom the Lord, and this people, and all the men of Israel, choose, his will I be, and with him will I abide.

And again, whom should I serve? should I not serve in the presence of his son? as I have served in thy father’s presence, so will I be in thy presence.

Then said Absalom to Ahithophel, Give counsel among you what we shall do.

And Ahithophel said unto Absalom, Go in unto thy father’s concubines, which he hath left to keep the house; and all Israel shall hear that thou art abhorred of thy father: then shall the hands of all that are with thee be strong.

So they spread Absalom a tent upon the top of the house; and Absalom went in unto his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.

And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days, was as if a man had enquired at the oracle of God: so was all the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom”  (2 Sam 16:15-23).

Ambitious Princes
Among the Hittites

Hattuşaş was the capital of the Hittite empire from 2000 to 1180 B.C.

The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1986.

The Kralkapi or King’s Gate is the best-preserved city gate at Hattusas.

There are two towers on two sides that have both an inner and outer portal.

You will find a model of the relief of the Hittite God of War, the original of which is in the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara.

King Pithana was a Hittite Bronze Age king of the Anatolian city Kussara.

Pithana reigned during the 17th century B.C.

During his reign he conquered the city of Kanesh, heart of the Assyrian trading colonies network in Anatolia, and core of the Hittite-speaking territories.

He was succeeded by his son, Anitta, who is best known for conquering Hattusa, the future Hittite capital, and memorializing his achievement using the Hittite language.

Expunging the bloodline of one’s opponent was common practice in ancient monarchies.

The decree of the Hittite King Telipinu describes the political upheaval that often ensued as a throne changed hands.

This document provides a historical account of the succession of Hittite kings from the 17th-14th centuries B.C.

At the outset succession was orderly, and the land prospered. Soon, however, the princes’ servants (often family members) in a lust for power began to conspire against their lords.

A series of palace intrigues ensued, during which a relative of the king would rise up, kill his master and assume control.

He would exterminate all of descendants so that no threat to his rule remained.

Eventually one of his family members, sometimes his own son, would rebel against him, and a new cycle of regicide would begin.

Telipinu was the first Hittite king to attempt to end such bloodshed.

Having exiled the monarch who had tried to elimi­nate him, Telipinu himself became king, but he treated the family of his predecessor kindly.

He then established rules of succes­sion and proclaimed that future kings were to unite the royal family rather than to splin­ter it by murderous intent.

Finally, he decreed that anyone conspiring to kill members of the royal family would be executed, even if that individual were a prince himself.

The problem of palace intrigues and dynastic succession had its parallels in Israelite society.

Like Telipinu, the Biblical David demonstrated that he would not con­done the murder of his rival’s family.

When a young man claimed to have slain King Saul and two others reported that they had killed Saul’s son, David had them executed for their purported treacherous deeds.

He went on to seek out Saul’s living relatives for the purpose of showing them kindness, to the extent of pro­viding personal care and protection to Saul’s lame grandson, Mephibosheth.

David’s own family, however, was not im­mune from the pattern of the surrounding cultures.

His son Absalom attempted to usurp the throne and to kill his father in battled When Absalom himself was killed; David grieved so profoundly that the victory cele­bration was overshadowed by his mourning.