(Abdi-Kheba, Abdi-Hepat, or
Abdi-Hebat) was king of Jerusalem (called Urusalim at that time) during the Amarna period
Abdi-Heba's name can be translated as
"servant of Hebat
", a Hurrian goddess
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
, 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
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 Egypt (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
bands of Apiru:
As a result, conspiracy charges are made against Abdi Heba, who
defended himself strenuously in his correspondence with
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 Judean 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.
285—title: "The soldier-ruler of Jerusalem"
- #EA 286—title: "A throne granted, not
- #EA 287—title: "A very serious crime"'
- #EA 288—title: "Benign neglect"
- #EA 289—title: "A reckoning demanded"
- #EA 290—title: "Three against one"'
- 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
- EA 179. Scholars refer to the Amarna letters by a number system
prefixed with "EA" for "El Amarna".
- EA 179-183.
- EA 182
- EA 179.
- Moran, op. cit., pp.325-334
Translations adapted from
- Moran, William (ed. and trans.)
The Amarna Letters. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press,
- 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.