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Ancient Mesopotamia
Assyria Nineveh
Arslan Tash Til Barsip
Iran Palace of Darius
Phoenicia Arabia Palmyra
Syrian coast
Ougarit Byblos

Letter from Biridiya, Prince of Megiddo
AO 7098
Sully Levant 
room D showcase 4
This cuneiform tablet,
inscribed in Akkadian, is one of
the letters from the governor
of Megiddo to the pharaoh.

Letter from Biridiya, Prince of Megiddo

This official correspondence sheds light on the international situation in the 14th Century BCE and on the conflicts which were troubling the princes of the Syro-Palestinian region. AE68
One of the interesting aspects of the Amarna letter EA 365 is the indication it gives regarding corvee.  Forced labour here is an Egyptian institution enabling the land belonging to the pharaoh to be farmed. The paradox is that the Israelites had themselves also been reduced to slavery (Exodus 1:11-14).
Corvee labour was the main reason behind the revolt of Jeroboam and the split between the tribes after the death of Solomon. Rehoboam did nothing to alleviate the yoke of work required, and Adoram, in charge of the corvée, was even stoned.
- 1 Kings 11, 12.
 The Amarna letters reveal to us
the situation in the Middle East
at the time preceding the Exodus.

This speaks to their importance
for better understanding
the setting of the Bible.
The Louvre houses
other tablets from this correspondence A282
Jacques Briend
In addition, we can note the similarity between the language of the King of Megiddo and that described as the ‘language of Canaan’ in the oracle on Egypt in Isaiah 19:18 A23
Inhabited since the Chalcolithic age, Megiddo has approximately
26 levels of occupation.
American excavators from the Oriental Institute have worked
since 1925 in the aim of excavating each level in its entirety.
They achieved as much for the first three levels before focusing efforts
on certain portions of the site.


Aerial view of Megiddo    Biblé

The other interesting aspect of this letter is the reference to Megiddo. Both biblical and secular history speaks of the decisive battles fought close to this city due to its strategic position. A284

This was where King Josiah of Judah
died in front of the Egyptian army lead
by the pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 23:29).

It was close to Megiddo that Judge Barak defeated the Canaanite forces of Sisera
(Judges 4:14-16).

defeated an imposing Midianite army not far from there with his small troop of 300 men (Judges 7:19-22).
“Megiddo controlled the major west-east axis of northern Palestine, the section of the Via Maris which leaves the coast and crosses the Valley of Jezreel. It also enabled the effective blocking of the major passing point across
the Mount Carmel range.”
Chaim Herzog, Battles of the Bible

The Amarna letters and Megiddo

The Mongol armies suffered their first setback
in this valley in the 13th Century. Not far from Megiddo, during the First World War,
the English General Allenby defeated the Turks
in what was to be described as ‘one of the
fastest and most comprehensive’ of all
the decisive battles of history.
The history of Megiddo
and its strategic position
may also be considered
with respect to the
symbolic use of this term

 Harmagedon, Mount of Megiddo

A literal interpretation of this unique term in the Bible appears for the first time in a Greek commentary of the Revelation, written in the 6th Century by Oecumenius. However, the history of Megiddo and its strategic position may also be considered with respect to the symbolic use of this term.
The name, Har Megiddo, transcribed from the Hebrew, signifies ‘Mount Megiddo’. This name is directly associated with the ‘battle of that great day of God Almighty’ (Revelation 16:14, 16).

For certain Bible scholars, this symbolic location of a last great conflict could represent the intervention of God in human affairs, and would therefore constitute the final accomplishment of the prayer of Our Father. A285


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