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        Israel and Syria appear to have been originally inhabited by
        three different tribes. (1.) The Semites, living on the east of
        the isthmus of Suez. They were nomadic and pastoral tribes. (2.)
        The Phoenicians, who were merchants and traders; and (3.) the
        Hittites, who were the warlike element of this confederation of
        tribes. They inhabited the whole region between the Euphrates
        and Damascus, their chief cities being Carchemish on the
        Euphrates, and Kadesh, now Tell Neby Mendeh, in the Orontes
        valley, about six miles south of the Lake of Homs. These
        Hittites seem to have risen to great power as a nation, as for a
        long time they were formidable rivals of the Egyptian and
        Assyrian empires. In the book of Joshua they always appear as
        the dominant race to the north of Galilee.
        Somewhere about the twenty-third century B.C. the Syrian
        confederation, led probably by the Hittites, arched against
        Lower Egypt, which they took possession of, making Zoan their
        capital. Their rulers were the Hyksos, or shepherd kings. They
        were at length finally driven out of Egypt. Rameses II. sought
        vengeance against the "vile Kheta," as he called them, and
        encountered and defeated them in the great battle of Kadesh,
        four centuries after Abraham. (See JOSHUA T0002114.)
        They are first referred to in Scripture in the history of
        Abraham, who bought from Ephron the Hittite the field and the
        cave of Machpelah (Gen. 15:20: 23:3-18). They were then settled
        at Kirjath-arba. From this tribe Esau took his first two wives
        (26:34; 36:2).
        They are afterwards mentioned in the usual way among the
        inhabitants of the Promised Land (Ex. 23:28). They were closely
        allied to the Amorites, and are frequently mentioned along with
        them as inhabiting the mountains of Israel. When the spies
        entered the land they seem to have occupied with the Amorites
        the mountain region of Judah (Num. 13:29). They took part with
        the other Canaanites against the Israelites (Josh. 9:1; 11:3).
        After this there are few references to them in Scripture.
        Mention is made of "Ahimelech the Hittite" (1 Sam. 26:6), and of
        "Uriah the Hittite," one of David's chief officers (2 Sam.
        23:39; 1 Chr. 11:41). In the days of Solomon they were a
        powerful confederation in the north of Syria, and were ruled by
        "kings." They are met with after the Exile still a distinct
        people (Ezra 9:1; compare Neh. 13:23-28).
        The Hebrew merchants exported horses from Egypt not only for
        the kings of Israel, but also for the Hittites (1 Kings 10:28,
        29). From the Egyptian monuments we learn that "the Hittites
        were a people with yellow skins and 'Mongoloid' features, whose
        receding foreheads, oblique eyes, and protruding upper jaws are
        represented as faithfully on their own monuments as they are on
        those of Egypt, so that we cannot accuse the Egyptian artists of
        caricaturing their enemies. The Amorites, on the contrary, were
        a tall and handsome people. They are depicted with white skins,
        blue eyes, and reddish hair, all the characteristics, in fact,
        of the white race" (Sayce's The Hittites). The original seat of
        the Hittite tribes was the mountain ranges of Taurus. They
        belonged to Asia Minor, and not to Syria.
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Hittites' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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