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Hammurabi the Great King of Babylon was King Solomon
Damien Mackey, February 11, 2009
Codex Hammurabi
Hammurabi Deutsch
Events Maps Plus more
Solomon King
Queen of Sheba
Thutmoses III
Rescuing Solomon
Solomons Temple
Preface Senenmut: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Hammurabi's Origins
Hammurabi's Code of Laws
The Epilogue
Early Conclusion
Some Questions
The King's Wisdom
Not A Code of Law but a ...
More Than a Law-Giver
Hammurabi's Legacy
The City of Hazor
A Prized Find
Verdict of Ancient Israel
Hammurabi's Successors Possible Identifications
Chart of the Reign of Hammurabi
Chart of the Reign of Omri
The Reign of Hammurabi
Notes & References
David & Abishag
EA Letters
The 21st Dynasty
The Israelite Sanctuary


Previously (see my article, "Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of David and Solomon", I have, using a vastly revised chronology based on Dean Hickman's suggestion in his "The Dating of Hammurabi" [5], identified:

(i) the mighty Amorite king, Iarim-Lim, as the biblical king, Hiram, ally of David and Solomon; and
(ii) Zimri-Lim of Mari as Solomon's foe, Rezin/Rezon; and
(iii) Zimri-Lim's father, Eliada, as Rezin's father, Iahdulim.

Now I seek to propose a biblical identification for the greatest of all kings of this supposedly c. C19th-18th's BC era (revised to c. 1000 BC): Hammurabi of Babylon.[15]


There has been a great deal of divergence of opinion over the years as to the date to be assigned to Hammurabi, so much so that Courville, who radically revised Hammurabi down to c. 1400 BC, wrote in 1971 of Hammurabi as "floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea" [20]. According to Kevin Knight in his New Advent offline article, entitled "Hammurabi".[25]:

The King-lists would suggest 2342 B.C. as the date of [Hammurabi's] accession; but it is now commonly believed that these lists need to be interpreted, for from the "Chronicles concerning early Babylonian Kings", published by L. W. King (1907), it appears that the first and second Babylonian dynasties were not successive, but in part contemporary; the first kings of the second dynasty (that of Shesh-ha) ruled not at Babylon, but on "the Sea-country". Other indications furnished by Nabonidus, Assurbanipal, and Berosus lead us to lower the above date. Thureau-Daugin and Ungnad place the reign of Hammurabi between 2130 and 2088 B.C.; Tofteen adopts the dates 2121-2066 B.C.; King suggests 1990-1950 B.C.; Father Scheil, O.P., says 2056 B.C. is the probable date of the king's accession, which Father Dhorme places in 2041. [End of quote]

In other words, the conventional chronologists have really had no idea in which era to place the great Hammurabi.

Hammurabi is currently dated by mainstream scholars, but with a degree of variation, to the C18th BC. Amalia Giokaris for instance, in "Hammurabi, King of Babylon)", October 13, 1999, attributes to Hammurabi the dates of 1792-1750. But other time reconstructions can make his governance as late as 1728-1686 BC. And Horne, for his part, gives 1795-1750 for Hammurabi's reign when introducing us to Hammurabi and his law in the following offline piece Hamcode:

Ancient History Sourcebook:

Code of Hammurabi, c. 1780 BCE
Charles F. Horne: The Code of Hammurabi: Introduction

"[Hammurabi] was the ruler who chiefly established the greatness of Babylon, the world's first metropolis. Many relics of Hammurabi's reign ([1795-1750 BC]) have been preserved, and today we can study this remarkable King....as a wise lawgiver in his celebrated code. . ."

"[B]y far the most remarkable of the Hammurabi records is his code of laws, the earliest-known [sic] example of a ruler proclaiming publicly to his people an entire body of laws, arranged in orderly groups, so that all men might read and know what was required of them. The code was carved upon a black stone monument, eight feet high, and clearly intended to be reared in public view. This noted stone was found in the year 1901, not in Babylon, but in a city of the Persian mountains, to which some later conqueror must have carried it in triumph. It begins and ends with addresses to the gods. Even a law code was in those days regarded as a subject for prayer, though the prayers here are chiefly cursings of whoever shall neglect or destroy the law. The code then regulates in clear and definite strokes the organization of society. The judge who blunders in a law case is to be expelled from his judgeship forever, and heavily fined. The witness who testifies falsely is to be slain. Indeed, all the heavier crimes are made punishable with death. Even if a man builds a house badly, and it falls and kills the owner, the builder is to be slain. If the owner's son was killed, then the builder's son is slain. We can see where the Hebrews learned [sic] their law of "an eye for an eye." These grim retaliatory punishments take no note of excuses or explanations, but only of the fact--with one striking exception. An accused person was allowed to cast himself into "the river," the Euphrates. Apparently the art of swimming was unknown; for if the current bore him to the shore alive he was declared innocent, if he drowned he was guilty. …. Yet even with this earliest set of laws, as with most things Babylonian, we find ourselves dealing with the end of things rather than the beginnings. Hammurabi's code was not really the earliest. The preceding sets of laws have disappeared, but we have found several traces of them, and Hammurabi's own code clearly implies their existence. He is but reorganizing a legal system long established." [End of quote]

Later I shall be looking at a more recent view of things according to which Hammurabi's Code is not in fact an actual code of law.

The implications of all this, false as I believe, dating, is that the famous Hammurabic Code, which - as we shall find - has likenesses to the Torah of Moses, is considered to have been the inspiration for the presumably later Mosaïc Law of the Hebrews. According to the Hickman-based reconstruction, however, Hammurabi came on the scene about half a millennium after Moses. Thus in reality, if Hickman is right, it would have been Moses who had influenced the Hammurabic Code. By the same token, Hammurabi can no longer be the biblical Amraphel of Shinar (Genesis 14:1), contemporary of Moses' predecessor Abram, as was thought for so long. {I concur with David Rohl (The Lost Testament, pp. 119, 132-133) that this Amraphel was the same king as Amar-Sin of the Ur III dynasty}. But what may still hold good is the long-held view that the names 'Hammurabi' and 'Amraphel' may be equated, as here explained by Knight (op. cit.):

Schrader proposed, in 1887, to identify this prince [Hammurabi] with Amraphel, King of Sennaar, mentioned in Genesis 14. That Senmar (Hebr. Shin'ar) corresponds to Shaanhaar, an Assyrian name for Babylonia, is beyond dispute; that the two names Hammurabi and Amraphel are phonetically identical, most scholars readily admit … the identification of Hammurabi and Amraphel is, to say the least, very probable [sic].

If the name, 'Hammurabi', is the same as the name, Amraphel, then it would be of very Hebrew-like meaning, "The Mouth of God [El] has spoken" (amra-pi-el) (cf. Exodus 19:8); a name perhaps being Solomon's justification for ruling (especially when confronted by the rebellion of his brother, Adonijah. 1 Kings 1:5-53; 2:13-25). Compare this to Hammurabi's Epilogue: "Hammurabi, the king of righteousness, on whom Shamash has conferred right (or law) am I"; as well as Hammurabi's Preface: "…then Anu and Bel called by name me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, who feared God, to bring about the rule of righteousness in the land …".

Charles Pellegrino is wrong on both counts of 'who-influenced-whom', I think, when he writes: "Like the story of the baby Sargon [of Akkad] being sent downriver in a reed basket, Hammurabi's laws foreshadow the biblical Moses". [100] More interestingly, Pellegrino tells of the following likenesses between Moses's and Hammurabi's respective mode of reception of their covenants (ibid.):

As with Moses, Hammurabi receives the laws by divine revelation (they are communicated to him in a covenant with the Sun-god Shamash). As with the Mosaic laws, they are engraved on a sacred stone tablet, and although the penalties for crimes may sometimes differ, there are instances in which Moses echoes [sic] Hammurabi with such spine-chilling fidelity that it is easy to believe the Hebrew tribes heartily absorbed Amorite Canaanite culture [sic], even as they strove to displace it.

… Hammurabi wrote, "If a seignior's ox was a gorer and his city council made it known to him that it was a gorer, but he did not pad its horns or tie up his ox, and that ox gored to death a member of the aristocracy, he shall give half a mina of silver …." More than three hundred years later Exodus 21:29 echoed [sic], "But if the ox has been accustomed to gore in the past, and its owner has been warned but has not kept it in, and it kills a man or a woman, the ox shall be stoned and its owner also shall be put to death".

"If a seignior has destroyed the eye of a member of the aristocracy, they shall destroy his eye", proclaims the Hammurabi stone, and, "if he had broken another seignior's bone, they shall break his bone". In Exodus 21:23-25 we read, "You shall give life for life eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, bun for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe".

For a more detailed comparison between these two famous codes, see Comparing the Codex Hammurabi with the Mosaic Law",

Historians would, I think, find even more compelling a comparison between Hammurabi's Code and Solomon's Moses-based one, both temple orientated, as opposed to the original Law of Moses, which pertained more to a semi-nomadic people with no temple at that stage. Knight has partly perceived this:

As to the [Law of Moses], its older part, the Code of the Covenant (Exodus 21:1-23:19), is intended for a semi-nomadic people, and therefore cannot depend on Hammurabi's enactments. Both codes derive from a common older source, to be sought in the early customs of the Semitic race, when Babylonians, Hebrews, Arabs, and others were still forming one people. The work of the Hebrew lawgiver consisted in codifying these ancient usages as he found them, and promulgating them under Yahweh's authority. The early Israelite code may, perhaps, seem imperfect in comparison with the Babylonian corpus juris, but, whilst the latter is founded upon the dictates of reason, the Hebrew Law is grounded on the faith in the one true God, and is pervaded throughout by an earnest desire to obey and please Him, which reaches its highest expression in the Law of Deuteronomy. [150]

Hammurabi's Origins

Apparently these were Amorite, or Aramaean, not Babylonian. In Knight's article (op. cit.), for instance, we read (emphasis added):

"The origin and etymology of Hammurabi's name are somewhat puzzling, for this name does not appear to be distinctly Babylonian. Later scribes regarded it as foreign and translated it Kimta-rapaashtum, `great family', a fairly good rendering of Hammu-rabi in the S. Arabian dialect. It is noteworthy that, with only two exceptions, the names of the kings of that so-called Babylonian dynasty are likewise best explained from the Arabic. This fact gives much weight to the hypothesis, first suggested by Pognon in 1888, of the Arabic or Aramean origin of that dynasty."

"All scholars seem to agree that the nationality of these rulers must be sought in the `land of Amurru', whereby the Babylonians designated all the regions lying to the west (N. and S.) of their own country.

Though Wikipedia's "Hammurabi" gives this different view of the king's name: "Hammurabi (Akkadian from Amorite Ammurâpi, "the kinsman is a healer," from Ammu, "paternal kinsman," and Râpi, "healer"….".

Unfortunately we do not at this stage have much information at all about the pre-Hammurabic kings of the so-called 'First Babylonian Dynasty", presumed to have been Hammurabi's forefathers. These were, according to the Babylonian King List A:

Sumu-abum or Su-abu
Sabium or Sabum

According to Wikipedia, for instance, "First Babylonian Dynasty:

The actual origins of the Dynasty are rather hard to pinpoint with great certainty simply because Babylon itself, due to a high-water table, yields very few archaeological materials intact. Thus any evidence must come from surrounding regions and written records. Not much is known about the kings from Su-abu through Sin-muballit. What is known, however, is that they accumulated little land. When Hammurabi ascended the throne of Babylon, the empire only consisted of a few towns in the surrounding area: Dilbat, Sippar, Kish, and Borsippa.

I shall return later to consider at greater length how king Hammurabi's presumed fellow dynasts in the "First Dynasty of Babylon" may relate to him.

According to Wikipedia again, Hammurabi's Babylonian Code was most like that of the Hebrews (though chronological reasons would prevent Wikipedia, and others of a conventional persuasion, from recognising any dependence of the Code upon the Hebrew version):

"Of all the ancient legislations, that of the Hebrews alone can stand comparison with the Babylonian Code. The many points of resemblance between the two, the Babylonian origin of the father of the Hebrew race, the long relations of Babylon with the land of Amurru, have prompted modern scholars to investigate whether the undeniable relation of the two codes is not one of dependence. …. Needless to notice that Hammurabi is in no wise indebted to the Hebrew Law [sic]."

Knight regards the Code as both sophisticated and superior in part to later Roman Law (op.cit.):

"Hammurabi's Code cannot by any means be regarded as a faltering attempt to frame laws among a young and inexperienced people. Such a masterpiece of legislation could befit only a thriving and well-organized nation, given to agriculture and commerce, long since grown familiar with the security afforded by written deeds drawn up with all the niceties and solemnities which clever jurists could devise, and accustomed to transact no business otherwise. It is inspired throughout by an appreciation of the right and humane sentiments that make it surpass by far the stern old Roman law."

Further here we read, along the lines of what we had earlier read from Pellegrino:

"A carving at the top of the stele portrays Hammurabi receiving the laws from the god Shamash, and the preface states that Hammurabi was chosen by the gods of his people to bring the laws to them. Parallels to this divine inspiration for laws can be seen in the laws given to Moses for the ancient Hebrews."

That Moses and the tradition he fostered was utterly essential to the young Solomon, and that the latter had been prepared by his father, king David, to live by Moses' laws and statutes, is apparent from these words of counsel given to him by his aging father (1 Kings 2:2):

'Be strong, be courageous, and keep the charge of the Lord your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statues, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the Law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn'.

Rit Nosotro in an article also entitled "Hammurabi", reiterates the parallels between the Scriptures and the Law of Hammurabi:

Solomons court of law "There are also some interesting speculations showing some parallels between the Bible and the life and laws of Hammurabi. One theme concept in both the Levitical law and the Code of Hammurabi that repeat themselves again and again are, namely: "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise." (Exodus 21:24-25). Although Hammurabi did not know it, the principles in his laws reflected the Biblical principle of sowing and reaping as found in Galatians 6:78 and Proverbs 22:8: "Do not be deceived, God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows." (Galatians 6:7)[200]. "He who sows wickedness reaps trouble." (Proverbs 22:8a).

Of course, if Hammurabi were Solomon, the author of many, many proverbs, then of course he probably 'did know it', to paraphrase Nosotro, as far as Proverbs 22 goes. Thus there may in fact be a direct connection between certain Hammurabic principles and the above-mentioned Proverbs 22. Indeed, Hammurabi-as-Solomon would have been most acutely aware of the biblical Proverbs, since he was the very author, or compiler, of so many of them. For: "[Solomon] composed three thousand proverbs, and his songs numbered a thousand and five." (1 Kings 4:32).

Likewise we read in the Book of Ecclesiastes of king Solomon (12:9-14):


Besides being wise, the Teacher [Qoheleth] also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. [255]

The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd. Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

The end of the matter: all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil. [Eccl. 12:10-14]

Now Hammurabi's Code too, just like Solomon's Ecclesiastes, starts with a Preface (similarly the Book of Proverbs has a Prologue) and ends with an Epilogue, in which we find an echo of many of Solomon's above sentiments, and others, beginning with Hammurabi as wise, as a teacher, and as a protecting shepherd king. These common 'buzz words', that I shall identify as we go along, in fact clinch - as far as I am concerned - the fact that, in Hammurabi and Solomon, we are dealing with one and the same person. Let us consider firstly Hammurabi's Epilogue, in relation to Solomon's (Ecclesiastes') Epilogue above (buzz words given in italics):

Translated by L. W. King


LAWS of justice which Hammurabi, the wise king, established. A righteous law, and pious statute did he teach the land. Hammurabi, the protecting king am I. I have not withdrawn myself from the men, whom Bel gave to me, the rule over whom Marduk gave to me, I was not negligent, but I made them a peaceful abiding-place. I expounded all great difficulties, I made the light shine upon them. ... I am the salvation-bearing shepherd . . .

Wisdom 1:1: "Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth …"
Ecclesiastes 9:1: " … how the righteous and the wise … are in the hand of God."
1 Kings 4:29: "God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding, as vast as the sand on the seashore."

As we are going to find, Solomon was not shy about broadcasting his wisdom and the fact that he had exceeded all others in it.

For example (Ecclesiastes 1:16): "I said to myself, 'I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has great experience of wisdom and knowledge'."

Similarly, Knight writes of Hammurabi: "The conclusion of the inscription sounds like a hymn of high-keyed self-praise". Indeed, that Hammurabi had no doubt in his own mind that he was the wisest of all is evident from this next statement (Epilogue): "… there is no wisdom like unto mine …"

However, just as Solomon, in his 'Prayer for Wisdom' (Book of Wisdom 7:15-17), had attributed his wisdom to God:

"May God grant me to speak with judgment, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received; for He is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. For both we and our words are in His hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts. For it is He who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists …"

So did the by now polytheistic Hammurabi attribute his wisdom to the Babylonian gods (Epilogue):

"… with the keen vision with which Ea endowed me, with the wisdom that Marduk gave me, I have … subdued the earth, brought prosperity to the land, guaranteed security to the inhabitants in their homes; a disturber was not permitted. The great gods have called me …"

"I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem applied my mind to seek and search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven …." Eccl. 1:12.

"I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness." Eccl. 7:25.

Solomon too, like Hammurabi, exhorted other kings and officials to follow his way. Compare for instance Wisdom 6:1-9:

Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans. Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God, he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places. For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested. For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, or show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty. To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.

with these parts of Hammurabi's Epilogue:

In future time, through all coming generations, let the king, who may be in the land, observe the words of righteousness which I have written on my monument; let him not alter the law of the land which I have given, the edicts which I have enacted; my monument let him not mar. If such a ruler have wisdom, and be able to keep his land in order, he shall observe the words which I have written in this inscription; the rule, statute, and law of the land which I have given; the decisions which I have made will this inscription show him; let him rule his subjects accordingly, speak justice to them, give right decisions, root out the miscreants and criminals from this land, and grant prosperity to his subjects.

And, more threateningly:

If a succeeding ruler considers my words, which I have written in this my inscription, if he do not annul my law, nor corrupt my words, nor change my monument, then may Shamash lengthen that king's reign, as he has that of me, the king of righteousness, that he may reign in righteousness over his subjects. If this ruler do not esteem my words, which I have written in my inscription, if he despise my curses, and fear not the curse of God, if he destroy the law which I have given, corrupt my words, change my monument, efface my name, write his name there, or on account of the curses commission another so to do, that man, whether king or ruler, patesi, or commoner, no matter what he be, may the great God (Anu), the Father of the gods, who has ordered my rule, withdraw from him the glory of royalty, break his scepter, curse his destiny. May Bel, the lord, who fixeth destiny, whose command can not be altered, who has made my kingdom great, order a rebellion which his hand can not control; may he let the wind of the overthrow of his habitation blow, may he ordain the years of his rule in groaning, years of scarcity, years of famine, darkness without light, death with seeing eyes be fated to him; may he (Bel) order with his potent mouth the destruction of his city, the dispersion of his subjects, the cutting off of his rule, the removal of his name and memory from the land. May Belit, the great Mother, whose command is potent in E-Kur (the Babylonian Olympus), the Mistress, who harkens graciously to my petitions, in the seat of judgment and decision (where Bel fixes destiny), turn his affairs evil before Bel, and put the devastation of his land, the destruction of his subjects, the pouring out of his life like water into the mouth of King Bel.

And in the same fashion Hammurabi goes on and on, before similarly concluding:

May he lament the loss of his life-power, and may the great gods of heaven and earth, the Anunaki, altogether inflict a curse and evil upon the confines of the temple, the walls of this E-barra (the Sun temple of Sippara), upon his dominion, his land, his warriors, his subjects, and his troops. May Bel curse him with the potent curses of his mouth that can not be altered, and may they come upon him forthwith.
End of This Section

It needs to be noted that, with Hammurabi of Babylon, we are largely (though not entirely) dealing with a king who - if he is Solomon - was now well beyond the stage of his earlier pure monotheism, having by now loved and married "many foreign women …his wives turned away his heart after other gods; and his heart was not true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of his father David." (1 Kings 11:1, 4). This was the Solomon we generally meet in the person of Hammurabi, now in the second half of a four-decade reign. For, as Wikipedia tells it:

"In Hammurabi's thirtieth year as king he really began to establish Babylon as the center of what would be a great empire. In that year, he conquered Larsa from Rim-Sin, thus gaining control over the lucrative urban centers of Nippur, Ur, Uruk, and Isin. In essence, Hammurabi gained control over all of south Mesopotamia. [310]

Early Conclusion

In Hammurabi we thus have a great king of approximately 40 years of reign, of western semitic (possibly Aramean) origins, a wise and pious law or judgment giver who dominated his era, whose codex resembles the Hebrew Torah, and who received this covenant from the hand of [the] god, just like Moses did.[315]

Moreover he is, according to my chronological reconstructions, a contemporary of King Solomon of Judah (with his father, Sin-muballit being a contemporary of Shamsi-Adad I = Hadadezer, David's foe, hence, of course, of the great king David himself).

Some Questions

First and second questions (third question here):

(a) But, if Hammurabi were King Solomon, as I am proposing, how did he get to rule Babylon and its environs with such apparent total domination?
(b) And, if Solomon had in fact so ruled Babylon, then why doesn't the Bible make any mention of this extraordinary fact?

The answer to the first question is: Due to the alliance between David (then Solomon) with the mighty king Hiram. The power of Hiram, as Iarim-Lim, extended from Phoenicia (Lebanon) all the way through Babylonia, to Elam. In Chapter Two of my post-graduate thesis, "A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah and its Background, I wrote concerning this:

… what may perhaps help us to gain some real perspective on potential range of rule at this approximate time in ancient history are the geographical terms of a recorded message from Iarim-Lim - whom we met as a powerful (older) contemporary of Hammurabi - to the prince of Dêr in Babylonia, whom, incidentally, Iarim-Lim calls 'brother' [cf. 1 Kings 9:13].

Kupper tells of it:

"In this message, Iarimlim reminds his 'brother' that he had saved his life fifteen years before, at the time when he was coming to the help of Babylon, and that he had also given his support to the king of the town of Diniktum, on the Tigris, to whom he supplied five hundred boats. Outraged by the prince of Dêr's ingratitude he threatens to come at the head of his troops and exterminate him."

".... Whatever the circumstances of the [Babylon] expedition were, it says a great deal for the military power of Iarimlim, who had led the soldiers of Aleppo as far as the borders of Elam [modern Iran]."

According to a report of the day (Mari Letters), Iarim-Lim's (Yarim-Lim's) status was greater than that of Hammurabi (presumably early in his reign) [390]:

"… there are ten or fifteen kings who follow Hammurabi of Babylon and ten or fifteen who follow Rim-sin of Larsa but twenty kings follow Yarim-Lim of Yamkhad." [392]

Now that was all going to change!

In the same Chapter Two, I had reproduced Courville's argument that Iarim-Lim had conquered Alalakh from the Philistines, and he (his dynasty) had ruled there (Alalakh Level VII) for about half a century, before the Philistines resumed their former occupation there. [455]

The obvious conclusion was that the people of Yarim-Lim (Amorites) had conquered this city and probably also the surrounding territory, ruling it for a period estimated to have been about 50 years. At the end of this time, the original inhabitants were able to re-conquer the site and reoccupy it.

It is perhaps this half century or so of Amorite dominance, extending as far as Elam, as we saw, that pertains also to the time of the "First Dynasty of Babylon". This is such an obscure dynasty prior to Hammurabi that we cannot say so very much about its origins. But Herb Storck has helped to ease this situation somewhat in his fine article [485] in which he is able to show a link between the earliest Assyrian kings and the early Hammurabic dynasty, thus concluding [486]: "Nine of the 17 tent-dwelling [Assyrian King List] kings can reasonably be identified with GHD [Genealogy of the Hammurapi Dynasty] ancestors of Hammurapi." One of these possibly is Zuabu (Assyrian King List) with Su-abu or Sumu-abum (GHD), the apparent founder of the "First Babyonian Dynasty". There is also a Sumu'epuh, very similar to this name, Sumu-abum (Su-abu), preceding Iarim-Lim. [490] And, most interestingly, the name Iarim-Lim here is followed by the name, Hammurabi. This may of course be a different Hammurabi. {In fact there was at the time of Hiram and Solomon a similarly named Huram-abi, a master-craftsman, 1 Kings 7:13, who has become the key figure in Freemasonry, as Hiram-abiff. Though it would be almost certain that the uxorious Solomon would have married a daughter of his great ally, Hiram. In this case, the "First Babylonian Dynasty", as we have it, could perhaps have been a blending of Judah-ite and Hiram-ite lines, both western Semitic. Solomon's own father of course was king David himself, so if the former were Hammurabi, whose father was Sin-muballit (presuming that we have read the inscriptions aright), then Sin-muballit has to be also the great David of the royal line of Judah.[502]

For, as Hammurabi specifically tells us in his Epilogue, he himself was the "successor of Sumula-il; the mighty son of Sin-muballit; the royal scion of Eternity …." King David was in turn, according to my article, "House of David", the "Pharaoh king of Egypt" (1 Kings 9:16), who had captured sacked Gezer: namely, pharaoh Thutmose I of the 18th Dynasty. This pharaoh had also warred against Mitanni, which would be the same as David's wars against Hadadezer (= Shamsi-adad I) of Syria/Assyria. It would be perhaps during this phase of eastern extension that David had, as Sin-muballit, first absorbed Babylon into the realm of the western Amorites.

It is interesting that Hammurabi refers here to Sumula-il, given as the second name in the King List A (as Sumu-la-El), while Sin-muballit is listed as fifth and so, presumably, was not the immediate son of this Sumula-il.

"The First Dynasty of Babylon" would not generally have been located at Babylon, therefore, but in the west. Unfortunately we cannot really test this archaeologically, because, as we have already been informed: "The actual origins of the Dynasty are rather hard to pinpoint with great certainty simply because Babylon itself, due to a high-water table, yields very few archaeological materials intact."

In relation to Babylon specifically - but perhaps also generally speaking - Hammurabi is by far the most important member of this dynasty, with this Amorite influence over Babylon thought to begin to peter out even at a point during the reign of his own successor.

Hiram and Solomon, therefore, were not only carving up Syro-Palestine for themselves, though not always with full agreement (see 1 Kings 9:13), but they also ruled over Egypt and Ethiopia (see "House of David"), for king Solomon was the mighty Senenmut (= pharaoh Thutmose II), consort of Hatshepsut, daughter of Thutmose I. In fact the 18th dynasty of Egypt was basically Judah-ite, with the hired use of Phoenician craftsmanship and maritime expertise (Hiram's hire).

This biblical coalition, including king David at an earlier phase, must also have wrested control of Mitanni and Babylon from Shamsi-Adad I's dynasty, and from Rim-Sin of Larsa, and largely controlled these vast regions through their brilliant organisational skills and networking. This 'coalitional' explanation might 'free up' Solomon from having had to station himself permanently at Babylon, or at Thebes in Egypt. Indeed, one of the reasons for his creation of his famous Babylonian stele appears to have been that the Babylonians could come before this representation of him, with the real person absent, as if to consult his wise judgment. Though, as with Senenmut (Solomon's persona in Egypt), Hammurabi is thought to have been very much a 'hands-on' type of ruler. Thus we read, in another Internet article entitled Hammurabi.":

"Hammurabi personally supervised such state details as navigation, irrigation, agriculture, tax collection, erecting temples, and adjusting the calendar. He and his son, Samsu-iluna, who succeeded him in 1750 BCE [sic], led Babylonian civilization to its zenith in culture and politics."

In fact an idiosyncratic feature of the kingship of Solomon, compared to Hammurabi, was that the king frequently emphasized his role as a shepherd king, shepherding his people. I shall have more to say on this later. Of course this was also a feature of David's kingship; a shepherd-king serving 'The Lord who was their Shepherd' (e.g. Psalm 23). Solomon's youth, too, seems to have involved the pasturing of his flocks (Song of Songs 1:7).

Given the nature of his inquiring mind, as Solomon, the king would want to observe as much first-hand as he possibly could. But he could not of course be in Israel, Egypt and Babylonia all at once. He had his agents in the region and relied on the infrastructures already in place; just as David would have done in Egypt, thereby perhaps explaining why a monotheistic king such as the latter (and also Solomon in his early years) would not interfere with Egyptian protocol even though it was polytheistic. Though I have also argued that, at this time, certain monotheistic tendencies can be observed in that country. Though Solomon became polytheistic as he grew old, it is noticeable in Egypt at this time that Amon-Ra was being exalted to supreme god in the Egyptian pantheon of so many gods. Correspondingly, Marduk was thus exalted in Babylon at the time of Hammurabi. We should, though, expect a devolution in monotheism from the time of David (Thutmose I) and early reign of Solomon (Thutmose II), with Hatshepsut, to the later time of Solomon's apostasy from monotheistic worship for a good portion of his life. [533]

Solomon supplied the money and he had vast labour gangs to do the building work. Building is also one of the things for which he is most famous: as Solomon, in Israel; as Senenmut in Egypt (he was Hatshepsut's architect), and as Hammurabi in Babylon.

Hammurabi, the prince, called of Bel am I, making riches and increase, enriching Nippur and Dur-ilu beyond compare, sublime patron of E-kur; who reestablished Eridu and purified the worship of E-apsu; who conquered the four quarters of the world, made great the name of Babylon, rejoiced the heart of Marduk, his lord who daily pays his devotions in Saggil; the royal scion whom Sin made; who enriched Ur; the humble, the reverent, who brings wealth to Gish-shir-gal; the white king, heard of Shamash, the mighty, who again laid the foundations of Sippara; who clothed the gravestones of Malkat with green; who made E-babbar great, which is like the heavens, the warrior who guarded Larsa and renewed E-babbar, with Shamash as his helper; the lord who granted new life to Uruk, who brought plenteous water to its inhabitants, raised the head of E-anna, and perfected the beauty of Anu and Nana; shield of the land, who reunited the scattered inhabitants of Isin; who richly endowed E-gal-mach; the protecting king of the city, brother of the god Zamama; who firmly founded the farms of Kish, crowned E-me-te-ursag with glory, redoubled the great holy treasures of Nana, managed the temple of Harsag-kalama; the grave of the enemy, whose help brought about the victory; who increased the power of Cuthah; made all glorious in E-shidlam, the black steer, who gored the enemy; beloved of the god Nebo, who rejoiced the inhabitants of Borsippa, the Sublime; who is indefatigable for E-zida; the divine king of the city; the White, Wise; who broadened the fields of Dilbat, who heaped up the harvests for Urash; the Mighty, the lord to whom come scepter and crown, with which he clothes himself; the Elect of Ma-ma; who fixed the temple bounds of Kesh, who made rich the holy feasts of Nin-tu; the provident, solicitous, who provided food and drink for Lagash and Girsu, who provided large sacrificial offerings for the temple of Ningirsu; who captured the enemy, the Elect of the oracle who fulfilled the prediction of Hallab, who rejoiced the heart of Anunit; the pure prince, whose prayer is accepted by Adad; who satisfied the heart of Adad, the warrior, in Karkar, who restored the vessels for worship in E-ud-gal-gal; the king who granted life to the city of Adab; the guide of E-mach; the princely king of the city, the irresistible warrior, who granted life to the inhabitants of Mashkanshabri, and brought abundance to the temple of Shidlam; the White, Potent, who penetrated the secret cave of the bandits, saved the inhabitants of Malka from misfortune, and fixed their home fast in wealth; who established pure sacrificial gifts for Ea and Dam-gal-nun-na, who made his kingdom everlastingly great; the princely king of the city, who subjected the districts on the Ud-kib-nun-na Canal to the sway of Dagon, his Creator; who spared the inhabitants of Mera and Tutul; the sublime prince, who makes the face of Ninni shine; who presents holy meals to the divinity of Nin-a-zu, who cared for its inhabitants in their need, provided a portion for them in Babylon in peace; the shepherd of the oppressed and of the slaves; whose deeds find favor before Anunit, who provided for Anunit in the temple of Dumash in the suburb of Agade; who recognizes the right, who rules by law; who gave back to the city of Ashur its protecting god; who let the name of Ishtar of Nineveh remain in E-mish-mish; the Sublime, who humbles himself before the great gods … the mighty monarch, the sun of Babylon, whose rays shed light over the land of Sumer and Akkad; the king, obeyed by the four quarters of the world; Beloved of Ninni, am I." [End of Quote]

Solomon, along similar lines, boasts in Ecclesiastes 2:4-10:

"I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees [cf. the irrigation channels in Babylon]. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem.
I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines. So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them …"

Now, the reason why the Bible does not mention any of these extraordinary matters is because the biblical scribes were just not interested in empires. Hiram is simply designated "King Hiram of Tyre" in the Bible (e.g. 1 Kings 5:1), even though Tyre may not have been the greatest city over which he ruled; just the major one in closest proximity to Israel. The Bible gives no real details of the great extent of Hiram's power and influence.
David's rule over Egypt, too, is only subtly suggested, with his designation as "Pharaoh of Egypt", as noted earlier, being the only direct (though still subtle) indication that David ruled Egypt. And, while there is plenty in the Bible to indicate the greatness of king Solomon himself, the sacred scribes completely lose interest in him at that point in his reign when he apostatized from worshiping the One God and became an international entrepreneur. And it is at this very point when Solomon really starts to get going internationally as a trader and businessman, with a fleet of Phoenician built ships at his disposal and the cruel corvée established in Israel. {I have argued in 'House of David" that Solomon, as Sennemut, was also in charge of the corvée in Hatshepsut's Egypt}.

Claude Johns tells, in regard to Hammurabi' Law, that: "The state demanded men for the army and the corvee as well as dues in kind." [540]

I should not expect to find the same sort of archaeological presence for Hammurabi as with Nebuchednezzar II 'the Great' of similar reign length who actually dwelt largely at Babylon. What we have for Hammurabi appears to be abundant documentary evidence. Thus C.H.W. Johns again:

"The material for the study of Babylonian law is singularly extensive without being exhaustive. The so-called "contracts," including a great variety of deeds, conveyances, bonds, receipts, accounts and, most important of all, the actual legal decisions given by the judges in the law courts, exist in thousands. Historical inscriptions, royal charters and rescripts, despatches, private letters and the general literature afford welcome supplementary information. Even grammatical and lexicographical works, intended solely to facilitate the study of ancient literature, contain many extracts or short sentences bearing on law and custom. The so-called "Sumerian Family Laws" are thus preserved. The discovery of the now celebrated Code of Hammurabi (hereinafter simply termed the Code) has, however, made a more systematic study possible than could have resulted from the classification and interpretation of the other material. …."

Third question (first & second question here):

(c) Then, if Hammurabi were Solomon, why was he not just called 'Solomon', even as ruler of Babylon?

For a start, Solomon was not always called 'Solomon', even in Israel. He is reputed to have had about seven names, including Jedidiah (= "Beloved of the Lord"). Moroever, following a principle, the Addu-principle [ADP] noted by Lisa Liel, "(What's in a Name?") kings who ruled over a wide area would alter at least the theophoric (god) part of their names according to geography: thus, in Phoenicia, a king might use Baal; in Israel, Jeho; in Assyria, Assur. Thus the wide-ranging Solomon, especially if combined with Hammurabi, might have had - apart from his various Hebrew names - a number of different, foreign names, from Egypt (where I have identified him with both Thutmose II and Senenmut) through to Persia (Elam). The name 'Hammurabi' may have been just one of these other names. Perhaps some of the various proposed names for Solomon might interconnect, while others may not. For instance, in my post-graduate thesis I have identified the ubiquitous biblical 'Syrian' king, Ben-Hadad [I], with, e.g.:

(a) (following Velikovsky) Abdi-ashirta, Ammurite king of el-Amarna;
(b) Tushratta (or Dushratta) of Mitanni (these last two italicised names, Abdu-ashratta and Dushratta, I believe to be actually the same);
(c) Ashurnasirpal II of Assyria;
(d) Kadashman-Enlil of Babylonia; and
(e) Yuya of Egypt.

Only two of these names, it seems, may possibly be the same. Where there is a consistency, perhaps, is in the type of the person bearing these many names. And person-type, not name, may also be the connecting factor between Solomon and Hammurabi.

The King's Wisdom

"Solomon is known as chacham mi'kol ha'adam, "wisest of all the men".

"Men of all nations came to hear Solomon's wisdom, as did all the kings of the earth who had heard of his wisdom." (1 Kings 4:34).

Solomon, too, was renowned as a wise lawgiver, and in this regard I have also identified Solomon with Solon, a later Greek version of Israel's wise king. Solon's laws are in fact considered by Cyrus Gordon to have been of Jewish origin (basically Nehemiah-an) in character.

Solomon's degree of knowledge was encyclopaedic. Similarly, Knight tells of the extensive range of subject matter covered in Hammurabi's Code alone (op. cit.):

An idea of the comprehensiveness of the Code may be gathered from the enumeration of the legal matters, both civil and criminal, dealt with in it.

It opens with two laws concerning: ban and witchcraft (§§ 1, 2),
two dealing with false witnesses (§§ 3, 4), and
one on prevaricating judges (§ 5).
The next laws treat of theft (§§ 6-8),
stolen property found in another's hand (§§ 9-13),
kidnapping (§ 14),
escape and kidnapping of slaves (§§ 15-20),
burglary and brigandage (§§ 21-25).

Others are devoted to

feudal relations to the king (§§ 26-41);
the relations between landowner and cultivator (§§ 42-52),
responsibility for damages caused to crops by careless farmers (§§ 53-56) and
shepherds (§§ 57, 58),
enactments concerning orchards (§§ 59-65).

Among the laws chiselled off, three have been recovered by Fr. Scheil from mutilated copies of the Code: they deal with loans and house-renting. Following the blank space are:

provisions touching the respective rights of merchants and agents (§§ 100-107) and
the policing of wine-shops (§§ 108-111),
appropriation of consignments (§ 112),
debts (§§ 113-119), and
deposits (§§ 120-126) are also treated of.

These are followed by laws treating of the family.

Slander against a woman, either dedicated to a god or married, opens the series (§ 127); then,
after having defined the position of the woman (§ 128),
the Code deals with adultery (§ 129),
violation of a married virgin (§ 130),
suspicion of unchastity (§§ 131, 132),
separation and divorce (§§ 133-143),
taking a concubine (§§ 144-149),
women's property (§§ 150-152),
various forms of unchastity (§§ 153-158) and
the customs regarding the purchase price for, and the marriage portion of, the bride (§§ 159-164).

Inheritance laws come next;

they define the rights of children, wives, concubines (§§ 165-174),
slaves (§§ 175-176),
widows (§ 177), and
non-marriageable temple- and street-girls (§§ 178-184);
provisions respecting adoption and foster-children (§§ 185-193)

conclude this important part of the Code.

Following are various series of

regulations concerning personal damages (§§ 194-214),
fees and responsibilities of physicians (§§ 215-227),
payment and responsibilities of house-builders (§§ 228-233),
ship-builders (§§ 234, 235), and
boatmen (§§ 236-240).

Another set is devoted to agricultural labour:

hiring of domestic animals (§§ 241-249),
injuries caused by goring oxen (§§ 250-252),
the hiring of persons, animals, wagons, and ships (§§ 253-277).
The last regulations deal with slave-trade (§§ 278-281) and
the penalty inflicted on rebellious slaves (§282). [End Quote]

More than anything else, Solomon's name is a byword or wisdom. He was reputed to have been the wisest king and sage of all (1 Kings 4:31); a quality that Hammurabi also reputes to himself. According to 1 Kings 29-31, 33 alone:

God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding as vast as the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon's wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east, and all the wisdom of Egypt. He was wiser than anyone else, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, children of Mahol; his fame spread throughout all the surrounding nations. …. He would speak of trees, from the cedar that is in the Lebanon to the hyssop that grows in the wall; he would speak of animals, and birds, and reptiles, and fish.

But there is still much more (Book of Wisdom 7:17-22):

For it is He who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements; the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternation of the solstices and the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars, the nature of animals and the tempers of wild animals, the powers of spirits and the thoughts of human beings, the varieties of plants and the virtues of roots; I learned both what is secret and what is manifest, for wisdom, the fashioner of all things, taught me.

Solomon early as a king amazed his people with his wise judgment, a legal case, of the two prostitutes arguing over the one child. This is very Hammurabic! Several of his laws (as we can read above) concern the rights of prostitutes, or "street girls" (178-180, 187, 192-193).

King Solomon is also famous for his Temple, and indeed the temple, or temples, occupy the central place in Hammurabi's society. {We considered that, amongst all of Senenmut's (Solomon in Egypt) many titles in Egypt, his most prestigious one was as the "steward of Amon", the chief god.}.

Johns again (op. cit.):

"The temple occupied a most important position. It received from its estates, from tithes and other fixed dues, as well as from the sacrifices (a customary share) and other offerings of the faithful, vast amounts of all sorts of naturalia; besides money and permanent gifts. The larger temples had many officials and servants. Originally, perhaps, each town clustered round one temple, and each head of a family had a right to minister there and share its receipts. As the city grew, the right to so many days a year at one or other shrine (or its "gate") descended in certain families and became a species of property which could be pledged, rented or shared within the family, but not alienated. In spite of all these demands, however, the temples became great granaries and store-houses; as they also were the city archives. The temple held its responsibilities. If a citizen was captured by the enemy and could not ransom himself the temple of his city must do so." [Cf. 1 Kings 8:46-53.]

To the temple came the poor farmer to borrow seed corn or supplies for harvesters, &c.--advances which he repaid without interest. The king's power over the temple was not proprietary but administrative. He might borrow from it but repaid like other borrowers. The tithe seems to have been the composition for the rent due to the god for his land. It is not clear that all lands paid tithe, perhaps only such as once had a special connection with the temple.

Where Solomon and the Hammurabi of the stele really 'meet', then, is with "Solomon's Prayer of Dedication" after having completed the construction of his Temple (1 Kings 8:22-66), beginning with this passage:

"Then Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the assembly of Israel, and spread out his hands to heaven.
He said, 'O Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand."

This is then followed by a series of Hammurabic type laws. Thus verse 31:

"If someone sins against a neighbour and is given an oath to swear, and comes and swears before your altar in this house [Temple], then hear in heaven, and act, and judge your servants, condemning the guilty by bringing their conduct on their own head, and vindicating the righteous by rewarding them according to their righteousness."

It is here I believe, even more than with Moses (though his influence is all-pervasive), that we have the prototype for the codex of Hammurabi, with its identical "If … then …" structure. Thus the precise genre of the latter will need to be reconsidered in the context of "Solomon's Prayer of Dedication". And it seems that scholars are now starting to suspect the inadequacies of the traditional explanation of the Hammurabi Codex. Thus van de Mieroop has written [710]:

Not A Code of Law but a ...

The function of the law code itself has been much debated, but consensus is growing that the modern designation of it is wrong: it is not a code of law but a monument presenting Hammurabi as an exemplary king of justice. The text is best known to us from a 2-meter-high black diorite stele almost fully covered with an inscription ….
Framed between a prologue and epilogue are listed some three hundred statements, all structured on the same pattern: "if …, then …". For example, "If a man commits a robbery and is caught, that man will be killed" (§ 22). While dealing with many areas of life, the entries do not, by far, cover all possible crimes …. Moroever, the many legal documents of the period, including records of law cases, never make reference to the code. Instead of a list of legal precepts, the entire monument is a vivid expression of Hammurabi as a king who provides justice in his land. He said himself:

May any wronged man who has a case come before my statue as king of justice, and may he have my inscribed stele read aloud to him. May he hear my precious words and may my stele clarify his case for him. May he examine his lawsuit and may he calm his (troubled) heart. May he say: "Hammurabi … provided just ways for the land."

To prove his ability to guarantee justice, Hammurabi listed these three hundred-some cases, and urged future kings to study and follow his example.[End of quote]

Perhaps Hammurabi's Code needs to be reconsidered in terms of Hebrew mishlay (translated simply "Proverbs", but also having a wide range of meanings such as: comparison; similitude; parable; saying; gnomic song; satire; by-word), rather than as just basically a legal document.

Here was clearly a shepherd king, concerned for the well-being of his subjects. Solomon is both a lover and a shepherd in the Song of Solomon (Song of Songs). Compare Hammurabi in his Epilogue; a shepherd concerned even for the weak:

The great gods have called me, I am the salvation-bearing shepherd, whose staff is straight, the good shadow that is spread over my city; on my breast I cherish the inhabitants of the land of Sumer and Akkad; in my shelter I have let them repose in peace; in my deep wisdom have I enclosed them.

That the strong might not injure the weak, in order to protect the widows and orphans, I have in Babylon the city where Anu and Bel raise high their head, in E-Sagil, the Temple, whose foundations stand firm as heaven and earth, in order to bespeak justice in the land, to settle all disputes, and heal all injuries, set up these my precious words, written upon my memorial stone, before the image of me, as king of righteousness.

Hammurabi is depicted, like Solomon (1Kings 8:54), with his arms stretched out in an ancient prayer pose to {the} god. "The king … stands facing a seated god, with the emblem of divinity (justice?) in his hand …" [770]. "… [Hammurabi's] raised hand shows that he is praying to Shamash for guidance and wisdom." [775]

More Than a Law-Giver

Like the genius of New Kingdom Egypt, Senenmut, of wide talent, Hammurabi also strongly encouraged astronomy, mathematics, and literature. According to Wikipedia:

Vast numbers of contract tablets, dated to the reigns of Hammurabi and his successors, have been discovered, as well as 55 of his own letters.[17] These letters give a glimpse into the daily trials of ruling an empire, from dealing with floods and mandating changes to a flawed calendar, to taking care of Babylon's massive herds of livestock.[18] ….

Senenmut (Solomon in Egypt) also had a calendar. Had not Solomon boasted of his accurate astronomical ability (Proverbs 8)? It is very unlikey then, I think, given Solomon's above-mentioned "unerring knowledge of what exists, to know the structure of the world and the activity of the elements; the beginning and end and middle of times, the alternation of the solstices and the changes of the seasons, the cycles of the year and the constellations of the stars", that this calendar would be "flawed". More likely misunderstood, and badly misplaced chronologically, by historians or archaeoastronomers who seem so often to be sadly lacking in any degree of real Solomonic wisdom.


We have many images of Senenmut, who, in his old age, developed a rather flabby appearance, a double chin, perhaps from too many comforts over a long period of time. Egyptian sketches seemed to delight in emphasizing this aspect of the man and also his delicate sensitive fingers. Thutmose II is supposed to have been of flabby appearance. Solomon probably wore thin with his beloved people in the end. There would perhaps be nothing more oppressive than an autocrat know-it-all who had lost his earlier benevolence. The images that we have of Hammurabi would be most interesting from the point of view of an IDENTIKIT comparison, by experts, with his alter egos in Egypt.

Hammurabi's Legacy

Johns (op. cit.) tells of the enduring nature of `The Code of Hammurabi':

… The fragments of [the Code] which have been recovered from Assur-bani-pal's library at Nineveh and later Babylonian copies show that it was studied, divided into chapters entitled Ninu ilu sirum from its opening words, and recopied for fifteen hundred years or more. The greater part of it remained in force, even through the Persian, Greek and Parthian conquests, which affected private life in Babylonia very little, and it survived to influence Syro-Roman and later Mahommedan law in Mesopotamia. ….

… The pax Babylonica is so assured that private individuals do not hesitate to ride in their carriage from Babylon to the coast of the Mediterranean. The position of women is free and dignified.

The City of Hazor

The site of Hazor has been fascinating to many interested in archaeology because it is an enourmus and peculiar site, mentioned in the Bible from Joshua 11:1 to Jeremiah 49:33, and in numerous extra biblical writings like in Egyptian execration text judged to be of the 19/18th century BC, which curse Hazor as an enemy of Egypt. At about the same time, they say, a tablet from the royal archive of the Mesoptamian city of Mari notes that Hammurabi, the king of Babylon (1792-1750), had ambassadors residing in Hazor.

Located about 20 miles north of the Sea of Galilee, Hazor, Hazor played an important role in Joshuah's conquest after the Exodus. Consequently, when Joshuah defeated them, he singled out Hazor and burnt it (Joshuah 11:1-13; 12:19; 15:23-25; 19:36). Of course archaeologists had trouble finding evidence for that. Jabin of Hazor also appears in the prose story of the battle between Deborah and Sisera (Judges 4). Excavations have discovered a cuneiform fragment of a royal letter addressed to "Ibni," a name similar in derivation to Jabin. Solomon - our Hammurabi - apparently rebuilt the city (1.Kings 9:15), which finally disappears from the Biblical record after the conquest by the Assyrian Tiglath-pileser III in 732 BC (2.Kings 15:29).

The site contains a wide variety of Canaanite and Israelite structures, including and underground water system, palaces, temples, dwellings, fortifications and administrative buildings. Cuneiform tablets, sculptures and jewelry have also been discovered. In 1999 dig director Amnon Ben-Tor (Hebr. University), who was at odds with Yigael Yadin at Hazor, wanted to further his excavations of the Bronze Age Canaanite palace and fortifications. The site is/was(?) a national park and is/was open to visitors.

A Prized Find

It is still not clear who ruled Abu al-Khazar, in the Jordan River Valley, during the Iron Age. It was probably a local king, though a foreign, particularly eastern influence is obvious in the artifacts that were found there. It was written that one thing is certain: A domestic building within the Iron Age II citadel was destroyed by a fierce conflagration in about 800 BC. It is said that a carved bone handle that survived was of the period. The handle was probably attached to some kind of rod, and has an intact stopper closing its base. It is said, the stopper was probably glued in position with resin. The decoration shows two sphinxes' foreheads: the dowels were probably used to fix a scepter, a fan or a flywhisk to the handle.

The sphinxes' bodies are in profile but their heads are presented frontally - a unique stance in Egyptian and Phoenician art, but typical in Assyrian art. The sphinxes' faces are framed by heavy wigs; curving collars hang below their chins. They are walking on a band decorated with criss-cross lines above the second band with a twisted, rope-like motif. Below that, a third band contains hanging palmettes above another ribbed frame.

The style of this handle is similar to that of objects found in the Burnt Palace in Nimrud, Assyria, and to a handle found at Hazor in Israel. (By Peter M. Fischer, director at the time of excavations at Kharaz.) [BAR, Jan/Feb 1999, p. 56-58.]

We added this information because it could be helpful in widening the available information of Solomon/Hammurabi and perhaps even on Ashurnasirpal/Ben-Hadad described at our website.

Verdict of Ancient Israel

And the verdict of ancient Israel? Well, it was mixed, as we shall see from the two different parts, so to speak, of this assessment by Jesus ben Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) (47:12-22):

After [David] a wise son rose up who because of [David] lived in security: Solomon reigned in an age of peace, because God made all his borders tranquil, so that he might build a house [Temple] in His name and provide a sanctuary to stand forever. How wise you were when you were young! You overflowed like the Nile with understanding. Your influence spread throughout the earth, and you filled it with proverbs having deep meaning. Your fame reached to far-off islands, and you were loved for your peaceful reign. Your songs, proverbs, and parables, and the answers you gave astounded the nations. In the name of the Lord God, who is called the God of Israel, you gathered gold like tin and amassed silver like lead.

But you brought in women to lie at your side, and through your body you were brought into subjection. You stained your honour, and defiled your family line, so that you brought wrath upon your children, and they were grieved at your folly, because the sovereignty was divided and a rebel kingdom arose at Ephraim [Jeroboam's]. But the lord will never give up his mercy, or cause any of his works to perish; He will never blot out the descendants of his chosen one [David], or destroy the family line of him who loved Him. So he gave a remnant to Jacob, and to David a root from his own family.

Solomon, who also boasted of his fine looks (in Song of Solomon) - David's family apparently comprised some individuals of very striking appearance - could well have become, like all long-reigning and opulent kings, plump and flabby in his old age. Indeed this is how the artists, and especially sketch drawers seem to have depicted Senenmut, with wrinkles and a pronounced double chin. Flaccid may also symbolically represent what Solomon's reign had become.

All in all, one wonders what Solomon could have been, had he not fallen away.

Hammurabi's Successors possible Identifications

Ecclesiastes goes on to introduce Solomon's ne'er-do-well son, Rehoboam: "Solomon rested with his ancestors, and left behind him one of his sons, broad in folly and lacking in sense, Rehoboam, whose policy drove the people to revolt." (1.Kings 11:43; Ecc. 4:7) In a Hammurabic context, this son, Rehoboam, should equate with Samsuiluna, presumed son and successor of Hammurabi. However, the Hammurabic succession here of:


does not seem to stack up at all well against Solomon's respective successors in Jerusalem, especially in terms of reign length, beginning with Rehoboam's mere 17 years of reign (1 Kings 14:21) as opposed to Samsuliuna's almost 40. Though it is perhaps possible that the Bible's here specifying "seventeen years in Jerusalem" could allow for the fact that Rehoboam ruled for a longer period elsewhere (perhaps, for instance, as second to Hammurabi in Babylon). Jeroboam I's supremacy over Rehoboam might perhaps explain the drastic curtailment of Samsuiluna's (as Rehoboam) hold over the east; especially given that Jeroboam was an ally of the mighty pharaoh "Shishak", Thutmose III.

Now Thutmose III was a son of Thutmose II via a concubine, Isis. And, since Thutmose II is also, according to my view Solomon, then this brings us to the possible alternative that the Hammurabic line follows, not the Jerusalem rulers, but the defiantly more far-reaching Egyptian off-shoot.

A fine possibility is that, in Samsuiluna, we have, not Hammurabi's son, but Solomon himself. I say that for several reasons (given briefly here, but perhaps to be taken up in later articles): the reign lengths are very similar; there are unresolved enigmas with Samsuiluna's reign that might be resolved if he were Hammurabi; Samusiluna may be a more Solomon-type of name, superficially (like Senenmut), than is 'Hammurabi'; Rim-Sin I, finished in the time of Hammurabi, may re-merge duplicatively [my word] as Rim-Sin II during Samsuiluna's reign. [11th February 2009]

Illustrating the time of the Kings of Mari relative to the time of David and Solomon. 18th Dynasty & Israel
Previous My suggested sequence of the kings of Mesopotamia
The Proposed, Expanding Chronology of El Amarna's Mesopotamians

Notes & References

[005] According to which the era of Hammurabi of Babylon approximated to the time of kings David and Solomon of Judah, with Hammurabi's older contemporary, Shamsi-Adad I being the biblical Hadadezer, Syrian foe of king David.

[015] Ceram wrote, "In 1700 BC Hammurabi, the Babylonian lawgiver, mentioned the Temple of Ishtar around which the city (Niniveh) was built. Yet Niniveh remained a provincial community, while Assur and Kalah had become royal residences." [C.W. Ceram, `Gods, Graves and Scholars', p. 266.] Ignoring the old dating of Hammurabi for the time being, Ceram's other comments are of interest.
"It was Hammurabi of Babylon ... who united the land through a series of political and military coups into a country and culture that could claim the leadership of the Mesopotamian world. Hammurabi was much more than a simple warrior. Once seated on the throne, he had the patience to wait for 25 years until his neighbor and enemy, Rim-Sin of Larsa, had aged enough to be easily struck down." [Ibid., p. 304,305.]

[020] Courville, D., `The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications,' Vol. II, p. 289.

[025] See Knight's offline article on "Hammurabi" at this offline link.

[100] Pellegrino, Charles, `Return to Sodom and Gomorrah,', p. 129.;
Dean Hickman, who has also in his article on Hammurabi re-dated this Sargon of Akkad well downwards on the time scale, has interestingly chosen to identify Sargon with the biblical Syro-Mesopotamian king, Cushan-rishathaim of the Judges period, about a century after Moses. (cmpr. 1.Chr. 15:17)

[150] The Law in the chapters of Deuteronomy was thus expounded by Moses in a sermon to his people Israel. It is not a reiteration by the voice of God of the Law as it was spoken from Sinai.

[200] See giving of the law, Rabbinical Law and EA lawsuit.

[255] Similarly Hammurabi collected and codified "the most just decisions, the wisest, the most sagacious, the most worthy of an experienced ruler."

[310] Wikipedia, the "First Babylonian Dynasty". See also W.T. Pilter, `The Reign of Rim-Sin and the Conquest of Isin', in PSBA, Febr. 14, 1912, p. 41-47,66.

[315] The Codex, inscribed on the great legal stele found at Susa, was nothing but an extension, research has disclosed, of the legal principles and customs of old Sumer. {Ceram does not say what the source(s) of these Sumerian codes are.} The astounding thing about this legal code from a modern point of view is the way it is governed by a clear and consistent concept of guilt. The purely juristic approach is stressed throughout, with consequent suppression of religious considerations. The vendetta, for example, which was an active feature of all later cultures and which continued to play a disruptive role in certain parts of Europe well into this (20th) century, was all but abolished by the Code of Hammurabi. The state - and this is the most modern aspect of the laws inscribed on the stele of Susa - replaced the individual as the avenger of justice. Justice was harsh, and the many cruel physical punishments embodied in the code show all the earmarks of Oriental despotism. No matter, the objective tone of the Hammurabi Code set an example that was reflected in the codes of Justinian and Napoleon.

[390] From the old school we have the following articles: (1) Albrecht Coetze, `Alalakh and Hittite Chronology', Old chronologyBulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, BASOR, No. 146, April 1957, p. 20-26.; W.F. Albright, Further Observations on the Chronology of Alalakh, Ibid., p. 26-34. Albright lists this old chronology.

[392] Professor Donovan A. Courville writes as follows: "The basis for this synchronism is found in the Mari Letters where it is stated that, "... there are ten or fifteen kings who follow Hammurabi of Babylon and ten or fifteen who follow Rim-sin of Larsa but twenty kings follow Yarim-Lim of Yamkhad." Investigations at Alalakh revealed numerous tablets inscribed in cuneiform, most of which are by the third of the three kings of the dynasty, Yarim-Lim by name. He was the son of the first king of the dynasty, who had the name Hammurabi, and who is believed to have been the brother of Hammurabi in Babylon. Since the First Dynasty at Babylon was of Amorite origin, then so also was the Yarim-Lim dynasty of Amorite origin." [Courville, The Exodus Problem and Its Ramifications, Vol. II, p. 233.]

[455] Professor Donovan A. Courville writes as follows: "A solid synchronism is at hand to correlate Level VII at Alalakh with the era of Hammurabi of the First Dynasty at Babylon, whose date by the revision is approximately that of the Conquest.

[485] Storck, Herb, "The Early Assyrian King List, The Genealogy of the Hammurapi Dynasty, and the "Greater Amorite" Tradition, (Proc. 3rd Seminar Catastrophism & Ancient History, 1986, Toronto, pp. 43-50).

[486] Ibid., p. 45.

[490] Van de Mieroop's Yamkhad dynasty (A History of the Ancient Near East ca., op. cit., 3000-323 BC, p. 284).

[502] CIAS Comment: On this topic of Hammurabi see also W.T. Pilter, The Reign of Rim-Sin and the Conquest of Isin' in PSBA, Febr. 1912, p. 41ff. The author concludes that "the taking of Isin in the 17th year of Sin-muballit of Babylon, was the conquest of it by Rim-Sin of Larsa, with Sin-muballit, as his confederate."

[533] Since we determine here that Solomon was Hammurabi, and also that he was Senmut/Senenmut - and the Bible gives more names he was known by - we show the image to compare the likeness between Senmut and Hammurabi and may agree that the likeness is good enough as far as the quality of the images is concerned which was produced by widely separated artists.

[540] Claude Hermann Walter Johns, "BABYLONIAN LAW--The Code of Hammurabi" (from the Eleventh Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, 1910-1911.

[710] See Van de Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC, pp. 106-107.

[770] Seton Lloyd, `The Archaeology of Mesopotamia', p. 171, and his `The Art of the Ancient Near East', p. 130, Pict. 92.; See also Lewis Spence, Myths and Legends of Babylonia and Assyria, 1916, p. 21. Spence is used as source for indicating that Hammurabi set up a royal postal system, a new network of roads, and an effective chain of command for his government officials. Hammurabi organized the laws of Mesopotamia into a simplified written form. ... Modern scholars have acclaimed Hammurabi's Code of Law as `a monument of wisdom and equity.' {Cited in `Bible Almanac', p. 131.}

[775] Tamera Bryant, The Life and Times of Hammurabi, p. 31.

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