On Genesis, Part 17: The Shemites
In our recent discussion of the Hamites and the description of Nimrod and the first Adamic empire, of which ancient Akkad was a part, we had discussed the first Akkadian empire and the presence of a historical Cush in Mesopotamia in the 3rd millennium BC. Then in our separate discussion of the accursed tribes of the Canaanites, we had described the rise of several Canaanite empires in the early 2nd millennium BC, namely the Babylonian Empire of the Amorites, the Hittite Empire, and the Mittani Kingdom of the Hurrians. These Canaanite empires were relatively short-lived, as compared to those of Egypt and Assyria, but it is quite possible that they were not the only Canaanite empires which existed in ancient history.
For example, there is ancient Ebla, the importance of which was not even discovered until the site of the city was excavated after its discovery in 1964. Evidently, Ebla had dominated what is now northwestern Syria from the mid-to-late 3rd millennium through most of the 2nd millennium BC. Ebla was about 34 miles southwest of Ḥalab, or Aleppo, which is said to have been the seat of another kingdom, Yamhad, although it is apparent that the empires of Yamhad and Ebla had each covered the same general territory at the heights of each of their power, along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in modern northwestern Syria. As a digression, in this sense an empire is only a city-state which subjects to itself other city-states within a particular region, whose inhabitants were not necessarily of the same tribe, and these empires were quite small compared to the empires of later history.
In an example of this, Yamhad is mentioned in an inscription which recorded a letter by an unnamed king of Assyria which is addressed to Zimri-Lim, a king of Mari in the 18th century BC where we read in part that “Moreover, with regard to what my lord wrote here to the kings, saying, ‘Come to the sacrifice in honor of Ishtar,’ I gathered the kings to Sharmaneh and conveyed this message to them: ‘There is no king who is strong just by himself. Ten (to) fifteen kings are following Hammurabi the man of Babylon; so, too, Rim-Sin the man of Larsa; so, too, Ibal-pi-el the man of Eshnunna; so, too, Amut-pi-el the man of Qatanum; (and) twenty kings are following Yarim-Lim the man of Yamhad.’”