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The cuneiform tablets of Tel el-Amarna, in the closing days of the eighteenth dynasty, represent the Hittites as advancing steadily southward and menacing the Syrian possessions of the Pharaoh. Disaffected Amorites and Canaanites looked to them for help, and eventually "the land of the Amorites" to the north of Palestine fell into their possession.

THE HITTITES. Recent explorations have shown that the Hittites of Scripture were families, or smaller communities, in Palestine, of a people whose proper seat was in northern Syria, especially the country lying along the Orontes; their territory being bounded on the east by the Euphrates, and extending westward into the Taurus Mountains.

And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

As, therefore, the Babylonians had included all the inhabitants of Syria and Palestine, whatever might be their origin, under the general name of Amorites, the Assyrians included them under the name of Hittites. Even the Israelites and Ammonites are called "Hittites" by an Assyrian king.

There is the letter of the King of Jerusalem, where Melchizedek reigned in the times of Abraham; and they tell of rebellions against the fading power of Egypt, and of the fear of the advancing Hittites.

In the letters there is a remark of the king of Alashia recommending Pharaoh to exchange no more gifts withthe kings of the Hittites and of Shankhar.” Mitani is, perhaps, here named Shankhar from its dependencies in Asia Minor, or we may suppose it to have been the name of Tushratta’s residence.

They are celebrated on account of their wars against the Assyrians and Egyptians, who call them the plague of Khati. Their name is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures as Hittites.

The letters from Canaan, more especially those from the vassal-king of Jerusalem, show that the power of Egypt in Asia was on the wane. The Hittites were advancing from the north, Mitanni and Babylonia were intriguing with disaffected Canaanites, and the Canaanitish governors themselves were at war with one another.

Their rôle was that of intermediaries only. Obscure as was the part played by the Phoenicians in the early origins of art in Greece and the islands, there was another channel through which Eastern influences came to bear on its development, which is even more uncertain. To the west of Chaldea and north of Syria, dwelt a race of which little is known, the Hittites.

Egyptians and Babylonians, Hittites and Mesopotamians mingled with the earlier races of the country and obliterated the older landmarks. Before the Patriarchal Age came to an end, the ethnographical map of Canaan had undergone a profound change. It is in the cuneiform records of Babylonia that we catch the first glimpse of the early history of Canaan.