Dr. Richard S. Hess

Old Testament Questions from the desk of Dr. Richard S. Hess

Worshiping with Abraham: New Amorite Texts Describe the Religion of the World of Abraham and Sarah

What do the newly discovered Amorite Texts tell us about the religious world of Abraham and Sarah? This lecture by Dr. Hess consists of 5 videos and the accompanying lecture text.

Worshiping with Abraham: New Amorite Texts Part 1

Worshiping with Abraham: New Amorite Texts Part 2

Worshiping with Abraham: New Amorite Texts Part 3

Worshiping with Abraham: New Amorite Texts Part 4

Worshiping with Abraham: New Amorite Texts Part 5

Lecture Presentation

Worshiping with Abraham: New Texts Reveal the Religious World of Abraham and Sarah and Their Family – Richard S. Hess, 2024

Download the PowerPoint


Dating and Provenance

Tablet 1


Tablet 1: Divine Names

  • Dagon (= Dagan)
  • Judg 16:23 Now the rulers of the Philistines assembled to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to celebrate, saying, “Our god has delivered Samson, our enemy, into our hands.”
  • 1 Sam 5:2 Then they carried the ark into Dagon’s temple and set it beside Dagon. 3 When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD!
  • Chemosh (= Kamish)
  • Num 21:29 Woe to you, Moab! You are destroyed, people of Chemosh! He has given up his sons as fugitives and his daughters as captives to Sihon king of the Amorites.
  • 1 Kgs 11:7 On a hill east of Jerusalem, Solomon built a high place for Chemoshb the detestable god of Moab,
  • reshep (common noun)
  • Deut. 32:24 – I will send wasting famine, against them, consuming pestilence and deadly plague; I will send against them the fangs of wild beasts, the venom of vipers that glide in the dust.
  • Ps. 78:48 – He gave over their cattle to the hail, their livestock to bolts of lightning.
  • Song of Songs 8:6 – Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
  • Habakkuk 3:5 – Plague went before him; pestilence followed his steps.
  • Cf. Elamites reaching west across the Euphrates in the 18th century Mari material, and Gen. 14 and Kedorlaomer of Elam
  • Gen 14:1 – At the time when Amraphel was king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Kedorlaomer king of Elam and Tidal king of Goyim,
  • Kedorlaomer king of Elam – Elam was located in Southwestern Iran
  • In the earlier period, the time of Abraham and Sarah (2000-1500 BC) is the only time that Elam could have moved across the ancient Near East. This actually happened in the 18th century BC (letters from Mari up river from Bablyon)

Tablet 1: Blessing

Tablet 2: Sacrifice

Tablet 2 has 25 lines of phrases; cf. lines 22 & 23 here


With their divine names, blessings, and sacrificial terms, here for the first time in common nouns and whole phrases, provide important insight into the religious background of the the world of Genesis 12- 37 of the early second millennium BC.

From these beliefs and traditions, and in distinction from them, would come the faith remembered as part of Abraham and Sarah and their children and grandchildren in Genesis.

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