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Amorite

The Amorites may also have been giants. Amos 2:9-10 says, “the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars,” and Og was also an Amorite (Deuteronomy 3:8).

The Amorites were an ancient Semitic-speaking people who emerged in western Mesopotamia (modern-day Syria and Iraq) at the end of the third millennium BCE. They played a significant role in the history of the region during the early 2nd millennium BCE. Here are some key points about the Amorites:

Origins and Expansion

The Amorites originally inhabited the Syrian desert. They began to migrate into Mesopotamia around 2100 BCE, a period marked by political instability in the region. This migration led to their dominance over several important city-states.

Babylonian Empire

Perhaps the most famous Amorite contribution to history is the founding of the first Babylonian Empire by Amorite dynasties. The most notable Amorite ruler was Hammurabi (reigned c. 1792–1750 BCE), known for the Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest and most complete written legal codes.

Cultural Influence

The Amorites significantly influenced the cultural and political landscapes of Mesopotamia. They were responsible for a number of advancements in areas such as law, literature, and statecraft.

Language

While the Amorites spoke a Semitic language, their language has not been preserved in extensive written records. However, their linguistic influence is evident in the Akkadian language, which was used extensively in Mesopotamia.

Decline and Assimilation

After the reign of Hammurabi and his successors, the power of the Amorite dynasties began to decline. They were gradually assimilated into the cultures and societies of Mesopotamia and the Near East.

In the Bible

  1. Genesis 15:16: In this passage, God tells Abram (Abraham) that his descendants will return to Canaan in the fourth generation because “the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
  2. Exodus 3:8, 17: The land promised to the Israelites, described as “flowing with milk and honey,” includes the land of the Amorites, among other peoples.
  3. Numbers 13:29: The Amorites are mentioned as living in the Negev, the southern region of Canaan, encountered by the Israelite spies.
  4. Numbers 21:21-31: This section describes Israel’s conflict with Sihon, king of the Amorites. The Israelites requested passage through his land, but Sihon refused and was defeated in battle.
  5. Deuteronomy 1:44: In this passage, Moses recounts how the Amorites living in the mountains came out against the Israelites and chased them like bees.
  6. Deuteronomy 3:2-11: Details the defeat of Og, king of Bashan, one of the last of the Rephaim, who is described as an Amorite.
  7. Joshua 10:5-6, 12-14: The Amorite kings of Jerusalem, Hebron, Jarmuth, Lachish, and Eglon united against the Israelite Gibeonites, leading to a significant battle in which Joshua famously commanded the sun to stand still.
  8. Judges 1:34-36: The Amorites are mentioned as pressing the tribe of Dan into the mountain, for they would not allow them to come down to the plain.
  9. Ezekiel 16:3, 45: Refers metaphorically to Jerusalem, saying its father was an Amorite and its mother a Hittite.
  10. Amos 2:9-10: God reminds Israel of the destruction of the Amorites, described as tall as cedars and strong as oaks, before the Israelite conquest of Canaan.

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