The loss of Canaan and the fall of the Babylonian empire seem to have been due to the conquest of Babylon by a tribe of Elamite mountaineers. The Babylonians of Abraham's age were Semites, and the language they spoke was not more dissimilar from Canaanitish or Hebrew than Italian is from Spanish. But the population of the country had not always been of the Semitic stock.
The Elamite king Chedor-laomer, or Kudur-Lagamar, as his name was written in his own language, must have been related to the Elamite prince Kudur-Mabug, whose son Arioch was a subject-ally of the Elamite monarch. Possibly they were brothers, the younger brother receiving as his share of power the title of "father" not "king" of Yamutbal and the land of the Amorites.
They brought with them their own more convenient form of writing, and, when the country had once been finally subdued, the subject Elamite princes adopted the foreign system of writing and language from their conquerors for memorial and monumental inscriptions.
This short text affords a good example of one class of votive inscriptions from which it is possible to recover the names of Elamite rulers of this period, and it illustrates the uncertainty which at present attaches to the identification of the names themselves and the order in which they are to be arranged.
Some scholars see in them Elamite marauders who followed the march of the Babylonian armies to Syria. But all such identifications are based upon the supposition that "Khabiri" is a proper name rather than a descriptive title. Any band of "Confederates" could be called Khabiri whether in Elam or in Palestine, and it does not follow that the two bands were the same.
Since the extinction of the race of Nebuchadrezzar I. Babylon had been a prey to civil discord and foreign invasion. It was a period of calamity and distress, during which the Arabs or the Arameans ravaged the country, and an Elamite usurper overthrew the native dynasty and held authority for seven years.
It is in this phonetic character that the so-called "Anzanite" texts of the later Elamite princes were composed. *We have assumed that both inscriptions were the work of Karibu-sha-Shushinak. But it is also possible that the second one in proto-Elamite characters was added at a later period.
Sin-idinnam was restored to his principality, and we now possess several of the letters written to him by Khammurabi, in which his bravery is praised on "the day of Kudur-Laghghamar's defeat," and he is told to send back the images of certain Elamite goddesses to their original seats. They had doubtless been carried to Larsa when it fell into the hands of the Elamite invaders.
But Rîm-Sin was only crippled for the time, and, on being driven from Ur and Larsam, he retired beyond the Elamite frontier and devoted his energies to the recuperation of his forces against the time when he should feel himself strong enough again to make a bid for victory in his struggle against the growing power of Babylon.
And the emblems of the god Ningirsu, and of the two great goddesses, Ninâ and Ninni, he installed before them in their shrines. Then Gudea sent far and wide to fetch materials for the construction of the temple. And the Elamite came from Elani, and men of Susa came from Susa, and men brought wood from the mountains of Sinai and Melukh-kha.