For some time many argued that the Old Testament description of the Hittite people (said to be living around 1600 BC) was a mistake. The Old Testament refers to the Hittites in several passages. In the book of Genesis (15:20) they inhabited the land of Canaan. In Judges (3:5) the Hittite people lived among the Israelites, and were also a people with their own kingdoms outside of Canaan (2 Kings 7:6). In 1 Kings (10:29) they purchase chariots and horses from King Solomon. Any reader of the Old Testament would come away thinking that the Hittites were a people who actually lived in history.
However, the uncovering of valuable archaeological evidence has established that these people existed. At the beginning of the 20th century Hugo Winckler discovered a vast ancient library of 10 000 clay tablets inscribed in cuneiform Akkadian (1). These tablets make helpful mention of the Hittite Empire, a fact that would render some truth on the biblical references. According to scholar Patrick Zukeran, “Winckler’s excavations uncovered five temples, a fortified citadel and several massive sculptures. In one storeroom he found over ten thousand clay tablets. One of the documents proved to be a record of a treaty between Ramesses II and the Hittite king… Other tablets showed that Boghaz-koy was the capital of the Hittite kingdom. Its original name was Hattusha and the city covered an area of 300 acres. The Hittite nation had been discovered!” (2)
It was also found that a text on a monument at Bogazkoy matches the style of the hieroglyphics found at Aleppo and Hamath, two cities in Syria. The word “Hittite” is believed to be the civilization uncovered at Bogazkoy, in the northern part Syria. Further archaeological evidence for Hittite people was found inscribed on tablets at the Assyrian colony of Kültepe. These tablets provide information on the trade between Assyrian merchants and the “land of Hatti.” With this plethora of archaeological evidence, the British historian Fred Wright concludes, “Now the Bible picture of this people fits in perfectly with what we know of the Hittite nation from the monuments. As an empire they never conquered the land of Canaan itself, although the Hittite local tribes did settle there at an early date. Nothing discovered by the excavators has in any way discredited the Biblical account. Scripture accuracy has once more been proved by the archaeologist” (3).
1. Kurkjian, V. 2014. The Hittite Armenia.
2. Zukeran, P. 2000. Archaeology and the Old Testament.
3. Wright, F. 1995. Highlights of Archaeology in the Bible Lands.