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Abdi-Heba (Abdi-Kheba, Abdi-Hepat, or Abdi-Hebat) was king of Jerusalemmarker (called Urusalim at that time) during the Amarnamarker period (mid-1330s BC). Abdi-Heba's name can be translated as "servant of Hebat", a Hurrian goddess. Some scholars believe the correct reading is Ebed-Nob. Whether Abdi-Heba was himself of Hurrian descent is unknown, as is the relationship between the general populace of pre-Israelite Jerusalem (known as Jebusites in the Bible) and the Hurrians.



Also unknown is whether he was part of a dynasty that governed Jerusalem or whether he was put on the throne by the Egyptians. Abdi-Heba himself notes that he holds his kingdom not through his parental lineage but by the grace of Pharaoh, but this might be flattery rather than an accurate representation of the situation. At this time his entire kingdom may have had a population of fifteen hundred people and Urusalim would have been a 'small highlands stronghold' in the fourteenth century BCE with no fortifications or large buildings.

Correspondence with Egypt

During Abdi-Heba's reign the region was under attack from marauding bands of Apiru. Abdi-Heba made frequent pleas to the Pharaoh of Egyptmarker (probably Amenhotep III), for an army or, at least, an officer to command. Abdi-Heba also made other requests for military aid in fighting off his enemies, both Canaanite warlords and bands of Apiru:

As a result, conspiracy charges are made against Abdi Heba, who defended himself strenuously in his correspondence with Pharaoh.

In later years Abdi-Heba appears to have reconciled with the Apiru, or at least certain bands of them, and hired mercenaries from among their ranks. Indeed, though he earlier complained about the depredations of Labaya, Shuwardata, king of the Canaanite town of Keilah as well as other places in the Judeanmarker highlands, refers to him as a "new Labaya":

Abdi-Heba's ultimate fate is unknown.

List of Abdi-Heba's 6 letters to Pharaoh

Abdi-Heba was the author of letters EA 285-290.
#EA 285—title: "The soldier-ruler of Jerusalemmarker"
#EA 286—title: "A throne granted, not inherited"
#EA 287—title: "A very serious crime"'
#EA 288—title: "Benign neglect"
#EA 289—title: "A reckoning demanded"
#EA 290—title: "Three against one"'


References

  1. Finkelstein, Israel and Silberman, Neil AsherThe Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts, 2001, The Free Press, New York City, ISBN 0-684-86912-8 p. 239
  2. EA 179. Scholars refer to the Amarna letters by a number system prefixed with "EA" for "El Amarna".
  3. EA 179-183.
  4. EA 182
  5. EA 179.
  6. Moran, op. cit., pp.325-334


Resources

Sources

Translations adapted from
  • Moran, William (ed. and trans.) The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1992.

Other works

  • Baikie, James. The Amarna Age: A Study of the Crisis of the Ancient World. University Press of the Pacific, 2004.
  • Cohen, Raymond and Raymond Westbrook (eds.). Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.



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