Habiru: Reavers of the Fertile Crescent

‘Joshua at the Battle of Ai Attended by Death’
-John Trumbull

The Israelites are refered to in Scripture as Hebrews on occasion, but the founding Hebrew patriarch Eber predates Israel by many generations, and surely the broader Hebrews must have a history apart from that of Israel. Here we will explore that history and its relevance to Scriptural history.

Throughout the Fertile Crescent inscriptions of the 2nd millennium BC refer to a people known as Habiru or Hapiru. They are described throughout these inscriptions as nomads, pastoralists, mercenaries, brigands and travelling labourers and they seem to typically sit on the fringes of civilized society. There they either lived as reavers or offered their services as mercenaries and labourers to various peoples of the Fertile Crescent.

The earliest references to the Habiru are from Sumer and date from the Third Dynasty of Ur, around 2,000 BC. During this period there was a major expansion of Semitic speaking peoples, mainly Akkadians. Concurrent with this influx of Akkadians the term Habiru begins to appear in Sumerian documents.

The documents show that the Habiru were a new element in Sumerian society. Sumerian records show that the Habiru were active in service in the community, as were the Israelites in Egypt, and later in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.

Excavations at Kultepe and Alishar in Anatolia, uncovered several collections of letters and legal and economic texts from Assyrian trading outposts of the old Akkadian period. Among them was a letter from one Assyrian merchant to another requesting that he seek the release of Habiru men who were imprisoned at the palace of Shalahshuwe, an unidentified neighbour, probably to the North of Alishar.

This land is near the residence of Abraham’s family after they departed from Ur in Mesopotamia. In this letter we find that the Habiru are located in central Anatolia and see the widespread dispersion of the Hebrews before Abraham’s time.

The Hebrews of Scripture were a far-reaching people known for their tendency to explore and travel. The Hebrew patriarch Abraham is called a “wandering Aramaean” (obed (Strong’s H6) Arammi (H761)) in Deuteronomy 26.5 in the Hebrew text.

In Genesis 14.13 in the Septuagint Abraham is called “Abraham the traveller” (perate, from Strong’s G4009). The King James reads “Abraham the Hebrew” as does Sir Lancelot Brenton’s Septuagint translation showing that both Sir Lancelot Brenton and the Septuagint translators understood Hebrew to mean traveller.

His sojourning through Syria, Egypt, Mesopotamia and Canaan with his hundreds of warriors (most likely Hebrews. Genesis 14.14), large caravan, herds and flocks seems quite in line with the mode of living attributed to the Habiru of profane inscriptions.

The Habiru were pastoralists who travelled with their herds and this often contrasted them with their urban Mesopotamian, Hittite and Egyptian neighbours. When performing labour or mercenary services they often recieved their payments in livestock. Likewise the Hebrew patriarchs of Scripture were semi-nomadic pastoralists, a mode of living to which they would later return when they came to be known to history as the Saka.

The ethnonym Hebrew derives from Eber (H5676) which Strong’s Concordance defines as:

“against, beyond, by, from, over, passage, quarter, other,

From abar; properly, a region across; but used only adverbially (with or without a preposition) on the opposite side (especially of the Jordan; ususally meaning the east) — X against, beyond, by, X from, over, passage, quarter, (other, this) side, straight.”

Eber derives from abar (H5674) for which Strong’s provides the following definition:

“alienate, alter, at all, beyond, bring over, through, carry over, overcome on,

A primitive root; to cross over; used very widely of any transition (literal or figurative; transitive, intransitive, intensive, causative); specifically, to cover (in copulation) — alienate, alter, X at all, beyond, bring (over, through), carry over, (over-)come (on, over), conduct (over), convey over, current, deliver, do away, enter, escape, fail, gender, get over, (make) go (away, beyond, by, forth, his way, in, on, over, through)…”

Of course such a name would be very fitting for a people such as the Habiru who spread themselves so far and wide. The Akkadian word eberu means “to cross over”, “to go over to the other side” or “to go through” much like the Hebrew word abar.


Considering that the Habiru were a predominantly Semitic speaking people, a Semitic root shared between these Hebrew and Akkadian words seems a very likely candidate for the origin of the word Habiru.

While it is beyond the scope of this presentation it can be established that the Scythians/Saka were an offshoot of the Habiru/Hebrews. On page 46 of his work Four Old Iranian Ethnic Names Oswald Szemerenye offers the definition of “wanderer” or “vagrant nomad” for Saka stemming from the root sak- meaning “go, roam”. Thus it seems most likely that Saka is an Iranic translation of the Hebrew name Ibriy (H5680) which bears the same meaning.

‘Scythian Origins: the Lost Tribes in Iran, the Steppe and Europe’

Abdi-Heba, Egypt’s apointed ruler of Jerusalem in the Amarna period, wrote a series of letters to the Pharaoh in which he complained about the incursions of the Habiru. He was concerned that the Habiru were plundering the lands of the Pharaoh.

Abdi-Heba asked why Pharaoh allowed them to do so; why was he not sending archers to protect his properties? If he did not send military help the whole land would be given to the Habiru. Abdi-Heba of course recorded the Israelite conquest of Canaan from the Canaanite perspective.

The Edomite Jews occupying Palestine today have a death grip on Levantine archaeology and there are obvious agendas at play. The Jews have found it necessary not only to deceive the Christian world with “Christian Zionism”, but also to distract secular scholarship from uncovering certain truths about the history of Palestine.

‘The Satanic Origins of the Edomite Jews’

The prevailing narrative expressed by the Jewish archaeological authorities before the eyes of the secular world is one that attempts to distort the truth. They would have us believe that the Israelites were but an outgrowth of the indigenous Canaanite populace. Thus they evade further uncomfortable inquiry into their own spurious origins and the fate of ancient Israel.

Many scholars assert that Southern Canaan was not Israelite territory until much later, but the Habiru were active in the region at the time of Joshua’s conquest of Canaan. Chapters 10 to 12 in Joshua records their conquest, with the very names listed in the Amarna tablets, including Lachish, Gezer, Gath, and the king of Jerusalem. A quote from one tablet shows the state of affairs:

“See the deed which Milkilu and Shuwardata have done to the land of the king, my lord! They have the troops of Gezer, troops of Gath, and troops of Qeila. They have seized the land of Rubute. The land of the king has fallen away to the Habiri. And now, even a city of the Jerusalem district, Bit-nin’ib by name, a city of the king, has fallen away to the side of the people of Qeila. Let the king listen to Er-Heba, your servant, and send an army of archers that they might restore the land of the king to the king. For if there is no army of archers the land of the king will fall away to the Habiri.”

The identification of groups of Habiru and the report of their activities correspond perfectly with the conquest of Canaan described in the book of Joshua. This is only one example but the broader biblical narrative of the conquest of Canaan is corroborated by the Amarna letters. Though archaeologists have numbered the letters 1-382 from North to South there is no particular reason to do so other than to veil the fact that these letters validate the biblical account wholly when chronologically ordered South to North.

The Jewish archaeological and linguistic authorities have greatly obfuscated the linguistic history of Canaan. What is commonly called “proto-Canaanite” is actually the language of the Israelites of the Exodus which I would call Terahitic after the forebear of Abraham and Haran the father of Lot. Its writing system is “proto-Sinaitic” whose parent system is Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Descendants include “Biblical Hebrew”, “Edomite”, “Ammonite” and “Moabite”. This raises an interesting question? Why is it named “Canaanite” when none of these tribes are direct Canaanite descendants, but rather descend (paternally at least) from Shemites descended from Terah?

From “proto-Canaanite” comes “Canaanite” and there are two further developments from “Canaanite” identifiable with the Israelites: “Phoenician” and “Biblical Hebrew”. The languages of the Canaanites of Scripture (not as misidentified by Jewish archaeologists) are “Amorite” (perhaps properly proto-Canaanite) and its child “Ugaritic” (perhaps Canaanite).

Little is claimed by experts about “Amorite” beyond defining it as ancestral to “Ugaritic”. Neither language uses any of the “North-West Semitic” alphabets like “proto-Sinaitic”, “Canaanite”, “Phoenician” and “paleo-Hebrew” etc. Rather “Ugaritic” has its own cuneiform derived script.

The linguistic and alphabetical lineage from “proto-Canaanite” to “Canaanite” to “Phoenician” and “Biblical Hebrew” is properly the Israelite linguistic development. Of course if scholars understood this it would prompt a line of questioning which would ultimately descredit Jewry and Zionism.

The Phoenicians of Phoenicia’s maritime golden age were one and the same people as ancient Israel, and they were surely not kin of modern day Jews. Rather they established many important European tribes including Milesians, Carthaginians, Thebians and others.

‘The Israelite Origins of Europa: the Phoenicians in the West’

The movement of Sinaitic speech and script out of Egypt and the Sinai peninsula into Canaan at the time of the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan perfectly matches the biblical narrative as well as the account of the conquest of Canaan in the Amarna letters.

The Exodus of Moses was surely a very real historic event as all ancient writers agreed. The Greeks renowned Moses likening him to famous Aryan leaders and law-givers like Zalmoxis, Midas, Lycurgis and Zoroaster. They would never have held Moses in any esteem if they thought his most famous deeds to be mere fables. The Egyptians themselves had no apparent doubt of the Exodus either, only disputing minor details. Surely these events are historical and the bare evidence proves this though the Jews would prefer if we did not fully explore the matter.


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