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Reference: Amorites


A people descended from Emer, the fourth son of Canaan, Ge 10:16. They first peopled the mountains west of the Dead sea, near Hebron; but afterwards extended their limits, and took possession of the finest provinces of Moab and Ammon, on the east between the brooks Jabbok and Arnon, Nu 13:29; 21:21-31; Jos 5:1; Jg 11:13. Moses took this country from their king, Sihon. The lands which the Amorites possessed on this side Jordan were given to the tribe of Judah, and those beyond the Jordan to the tribes of Reuben and Gad. The name Amorite is often taken in Scripture for Canaanite in general, Ge 15:16; Am 2:9. See CANAANITES.

By the expression, "Thy father was an Amorite and thy mother a Hittite." Eze 16:3, God reminds the Jews that they were naturally no more worthy of divine favor than the worst of the heathen Canaanites.

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highlanders, or hillmen, the name given to the descendants of one of the sons of Canaan (Ge 14:7), called Amurra or Amurri in the Assyrian and Egyptian inscriptions. On the early Babylonian monuments all Syria, including Palestine, is known as "the land of the Amorites." The southern slopes of the mountains of Judea are called the "mount of the Amorites" (De 1:7,19-20). They seem to have originally occupied the land stretching from the heights west of the Dead Sea (Ge 14:7. Comp. Ge 13:8; De 3:8; 4:46-48), embracing "all Gilead and all Bashan" (De 3:10), with the Jordan valley on the east of the river (Ge 4:26), the land of the "two kings of the Amorites," Sihon and Og (De 31:4; Jos 2:10; 9:10). The five kings of the Amorites were defeated with great slaughter by Joshua (Jos 10:10). They were again defeated at the waters of Merom by Joshua, who smote them till there were none remaining (Jos 11:8). It is mentioned as a surprising circumstance that in the days of Samuel there was peace between them and the Israelites (1Sa 7:14). The discrepancy supposed to exist between De 1:44 and Nu 14:45 is explained by the circumstance that the terms "Amorites" and "Amalekites" are used synonymously for the "Canaanites." In the same way we explain the fact that the "Hivites" of Ge 34:2 are the "Amorites" of Ge 48:22. Comp. Jos 10:6; 11:19 with 2Sa 21:2; also Nu 14:45 with De 1:44. The Amorites were warlike mountaineers. They are represented on the Egyptian monuments with fair skins, light hair, blue eyes, aquiline noses, and pointed beards. They are supposed to have been men of great stature; their king, Og, is described by Moses as the last "of the remnant of the giants" (De 3:11). Both Sihon and Og were independent kings. Only one word of the Amorite language survives, "Shenir," the name they gave to Mount Hermon (De 3:9).

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An ancient people whose presence can be traced in Palestine and Syria and also in Babylonia. From De 3:9 it appears that their language differed only dialectically from Canaanite, which was Hebrew. This view is confirmed by many proper names from the monuments. They were accordingly of the same race as the Canaanites. Contract tablets of the time of Hammurabi (b.c. 2250) show that Amorites were in Babylonia at that time (cf. Meissner, Altbab. Privatrecht, No. 42). At this period their country was designated by the ideogram MAR-TU. It has long been known that this ideogram stood for Palestine and Syria. At that time, then, the Amorites were already in the West.

Because of the identity of their proper names, it is believed that the Amorites were identical in race with that Semitic wave of immigration into Babylonia which produced the first dynasty of Babylon, the dynasty of Hammurabi (cf. Paton, Syria and Palestine, 25

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A people descended from Canaan, son of Ham. Ge 10:16, They dwelt in the mountains, as their name signifies, and were apparently at times in the mountains both east and west of the Jordan. Nu 13:29; Jos 5:1; Jg 1:34-36; 10:8; 1Ki 4:19. Being the most dominant and the most corrupt people or tribe they sometimes represent the Canaanites generally. Ge 15:16; 1Ki 21:26. When Abraham was at Hebron some confederated with him. Ge 14:13. A remnant out of the Gentile nations was thus associated with the heir of promise, though Lot (a type of Israel after the flesh) had separated from him.

When Israel approached the promised land, they were in the east, and refused to let Israel pass; but they were overcome, their cities taken, and the people slain, with Sihon their king. Nu 21:21-26; De 2:24; Am 2:9-10. Some must have escaped, for we read of them later, and one of the controversies Jehovah had with Israel was for worshipping their gods. Ezr 9:1-2. Solomon made them tributary. 1Ki 9:20-21; 2Ch 8:7-8. The Gibeonites were a remnant of the Amorites. 2Sa 21:2. After this nothing is heard of them. The low state of Jerusalem (Judah) by nature is described by stating her origin, her father being an Amorite and her mother a Hittite, but God in grace had compassion upon her in her degradation, and raised her into great glory; though, alas, she was shamefully unfaithful. Eze 16:3-43.

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AMORITES, the descendants of Amori, or Haemorri, or Amorrhaeus, Ge 10:16, the fourth son of Canaan, whose first possessions were in the mountains of Judea, among the other families of Canaan: but, growing strong above their fellows, and impatient of confinement within the narrow boundaries of their native district, they passed the Jordan, and extended their conquests over the finest provinces of Moab and Ammon; seizing and maintaining possession of that extensive and almost insulated portion of country included between the rivers Jordan, Jabbok, and Arnon. This was the kingdom, and Heshbon the capital, of the Amorites, under Sihon their king, when the Israelites, in their way from Egypt, requested a passage through their country. This request, however, Sihon refused; and came out against them with all his force, when he was slain, his people extirpated, and his kingdom taken possession of by the Israelites. It was subsequently divided between the tribes of Reuben and Gad, Nu 13:29; 21:13,25; Jos 5:1; 11:3; Jg 11:19,22.

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