Prepare Ye the Way
1900 - 1800 BC, the Middle East
By 1900 BC, Egypt was re-asserting its control of Canaan. The Amorites dominated Mesopotamia. Mari became the nucleus of a powerful kingdom as the nomads acquired the civilization of the people they ruled. Other cities also had Amorite rulers. In the general disorder, Elam had re-established its old kingdom and controlled the southern Mesopotamian city of Larsa.
The restless peoples of the world continued to grow. The Indo-European Hittites were settling into Anatolia; Assyria was re-establishing itself as a commercial power. The Jurrians drifted southward from Armenia into the fringes of the ancient civilized centers. Although the sea kindgom of Minoa controlled the Mediterranean, the Achaean Greeks barbarians were battling their way into the Greek peninsula.
A new factor was about to change the patterns of the world. On the uncivilized steppes of Asia to the north and east, a new weapon of war was being developed. This was the war chariot turning on a fixed axle and the short compound bow. (The heavier, longer bows were too awkward to use in a cramped, jolting vehicle.)
The Haran area was a crossroads fo many cultures. The very names Abraham and Jacob are Amorite. The Patriarchs carried with them elements of Mesopotamian history (Noah, the Tower of Babel). Yet many of their customs were remarkably similar to those of the Hurrian peoples: the custom permitting a barren wife to raise a concubine’s child as her own (Sarah, Rachel), the custom of legally adopting a wife as a sister as well (which got Abraham and later Israel into trouble), the custom of giving an irrevocable deathbed blessing and inheritance to sons, even passing over the firstborn (Jacob and Esau, laer Ephraim and Manasseh).