This land is noteworthy in the Bible because it was here that the exiles were taken captive after the destruction of Jerusalem. The civilization of Babylonia and Assyria: Its remains, language, history, religion, commerce, law, art, and literature. It was also here that Abraham had lived before he set out to the Promised Land. (New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers University Press.
Although not nearly as popular in the account of the patriarchs as Egypt, Mesopotamia is an important topic for any who undertake research into the historical background of the book of Genesis.
This paper will examine the chronological data known from early Mesopotamia and will attempt to find the historical background of Abraham and the events during his life.
Table 1 presents the traditional chronology of early Mesopotamia from the Hassunah period to the end of the First Dynasty of Babylon when Hammurabi lived.
One should notice that some of these dynasties overlap considerably.
However, the result of recent research is that the chronology of the ancient world is being redated.
Hammurabi now appears to be a near contemporary of Moses instead of Abraham.
Placing Abraham into the Mesopotamian account has had an interesting history.
Before this topic is examined let us briefly look at the chronological history of Mesopotamia as it is understood today by scholars.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries Abraham was considered to be a contemporary or near-contemporary of Hammurabi, the great king of the First Dynasty of Babylon. This depends upon the different interpretations concerning biblical chronology.3 Kenneth Kitchen, for instance, dates the oppression of the Israelites in Egypt from c.
William Petrie, in his book Egypt and Israel (Petrie 1911, p. 1320–1260/1250 and the Exodus around 1260/1250 and uses a 645 year period between Abraham and the Exodus.
Mesopotamia was one of the earliest regions to be inhabited after the great Flood, and it was here that Abraham lived his early life.