The Hittites are a Hamitic people. They are the descendants of Heth, Gen 10:15.
Heth means “the father of the Hittites.”
They are called the Hatti (Akkadian term). Their capital was Bogazkuay (Hattusa).
In Abraham’s time, ca. 2000 BC, the Hittites lived in the area of Hebron, Gen 23:1-20.
They were Canaanites who moved to Turkey. The Greek Sea Peoples from Troy pushed them out of Turkey when the Dorians invaded Greece from the north. The Hittites were scattered from Turkey to Hebron. They permitted Abraham to bury Sarah in Hebron. Abraham was well protected because he lived among the Hittites. They had an assembly form of government and establishment principles.
Esau was the father of the Edomites, Gen 26:34.
The Edomites are half— Semitic and half-Hittite. He married two daughters of Hittite families in 1870 BC. This was a degenerate generation of Hittites, Gen 36:2.
In 1440 BC, Caleb discovered Hittites in Canaan. When Moses brought the Jews to Kadesh-Barnea at the entrance of the Land, he sent out a patrol of twelve men to make a reconnaissance and advise him.
Num 13:29 tells us that three of the toughest warlike people lived in the land: the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites. The order given indicates that the Hittites were the toughest and at the height of their power. The Jebusites were a mixture of Hittites and Amorites, and lasted until the time of David. Tudilihas III ruled the Hittites at the time.
The Hittites were indigenous to Canaan in the time between Abraham and Moses, 2000 - 1440 BC, Exod. 3:8, 17, 13:5, 23:23, 28, 33:2, 24:11.
During the forty years of Moses there were two great Hittite kings. Joshua invaded the Land against the Hittites in 1401 BC.
In the days of Joshua, the Hittites of Canaan fought against the Jews but, while they were winning everywhere else in the world, they were not able to defeat the Jews. Joshua was the only man in history who fought against the Hittites, won, and nothing ever happened to him afterward, Josh 9:1, 11:3, 6, 1:4, 3:10, 12:8, 24:11.
Between 1401 and 1361 BC, Joshua fought in the Land. He was not intimidated by the Hittites and their power whether in 1440 BC when he spied out the land, or in 1401 BC when he fought and defeated them.
Judges 1:22-26 refers to the mop-up operations of the Jewish fighting. The greatest king the Hittites ever had was Suppiluluimas, 1375-1335 BC. He was a military and political genius. He conquered the kingdom of Mitanni and extended his empire to Lebanon. The Hittites were the next door neighbors to the Jews. Giants had driven the Hittites out of the area of Hebron. 1361 BC was the height of the Hittite empire.
H. According to 1 Kings 9:20 and Judges 3:5-7, the Jews lived among the Hittites and others who were not conquered, resulting in intermarriage and eventually serving their gods. In this they compromised the plan of God, for God had ordered them not to intermarry.
Social compromise leads to the destruction of the nation. The result was that the Jews never drove the Hittites out of the Land. When those who know God’s will compromise it, they are destroyed.
David’s army had Hittites among them, ca. 1000 BC. When you want good officers, you want someone who has something even higher than battle courage, and that is moral courage. This comes from character of the soul. Two of David’s generals were Hittite, 1 Sam 26:6.
David was interested in the person’s ability, not their nationality. According to 2 Sam 11:3-14, Uriah the Hittite was a general in David’s army. He was a highly principled person, as seen by his refusal to be with his wife as long as his men were still fighting the enemy. He refused to shirk his responsibility. The Hittites lived by principle. Therefore, David recruited them into his army, 2Sam 11:17, 21, 24, 12:9-10; 1 Kg 15:5.
Solomon reigned from 965-926 BC. By this time, the Hittite empire was gone, but there were still Hittite city-states all over the ancient world. According to 1 Kings 10:29, Solomon bought chariots and horses from Egypt and exported them to the Hittites. In return, the Hittites taught the Jews how to use the chariots in their military. According to 1 Kings 11:1, Solomon had Hittite women in his harem.
2 Kings 7:6 is the story of four leprous men who were starving during the siege of Samaria. The Syrians retreated because they were afraid of the Hittites’ deadly use of the chariot. This occurred after their great empire had fallen. The Hittites are compared with Egypt in their greatness. The battle of Kadesh was won by the Hittites over Egypt under Rameses II. The repercussions lasted 300 years.
During Solomon’s time chariots were bought by him from Egypt, 2 Chron 1:17. There were seven Hittite cities. The Hittites were famous for their horse and chariot training. The Amorites, Hittites, and Hurians were the first to use the chariot. A mixture of these three groups formed the Hyksos dynasty which conquered Egypt. These were the same people Joseph dealt with in Egypt. From 1800-1200 BC, the Hittites had the greatest chariot warfare in the world. The Assyrians finally conquered the Hittites in the southern part of their empire. The Great Sea Peoples conquered the northern part.
Canaan is the son of Ham, Ezek 16:3.
Among the sons of Canaan was Heth, from whom the Hittites and the Amorites came.
The land of Canaan was always occupied by the sons of Canaan. This is why there were Hittites, Amorites, and Jebusites (a mixture of Hittite and Amorite) in the Land. Only by the grace of God could the Jews defeat these peoples who had practiced war for 1000 years before the Jews arrived.
The reference in this verse to the Amorite and Hittite is a grace phrase which speaks of the grace necessary to permit the Jews to live in the Land. The Jews could never have defeated the Hittites or Amorites apart from grace.
The Hittites were so great that even adventurers departed from their own land and became pirates roving around the ancient world. So that in Joseph’s days, the Hyksos were partially made up of Hittites.
When Moses first fled from Egypt in 1481 BC, there was a king of the Hittites who codified a system of law similar to the Pentateuch. The only difference between the two systems was the system of punishments.
The Hittites are an amalgamation of several peoples, Gen 9:25-27.
Canaan shall be the servant of Shem and Japheth. This was fulfilled in 2000 BC in the land of Asia Minor. Greeks and Lucians invaded Turkey. One group stopped and formed Troy (city 7a). Others went on to the area of the Hittites (Hatti), a Hamitic people. The Lucians mistakenly are called Hittites by historians. The combination of the Japhetic peoples plus the Hamitic peoples fulfills the prophecy that Canaan would be the servant of Japheth. This is also cursing turned to blessing.
The Japhetic people provided a stabilized form of government which lasted for a 1000 years. The Hittites spoke at least eight languages because of the size of their empire. The Hittite kingdom more closely resembles the United States than any other people in history.
The Hittite empire was unique in the ancient world because it was a constitutional monarchy. Most kingdoms were absolute monarchies. There was a council of nobles which had the final authority.
The social order was the only one in the ancient world that was not rigid, not feudal. Class distinction in a general sense did not exist. Even slaves had the same rights as citizens. There was very little slavery. People sold themselves as slaves.
The Hittites had the most objective system of law up until the time of the Romans. The only difference between Jewish law and Hittite law was that there was no retaliation as in the “eye for an eye” principle of the Jewish law. The Hittites functioned under the laws of establishment which means at some time in their history they were believers.
The Hittite nation had three official languages:
Religious freedom was practiced among the Hittites.
They were the only ancient people to do this. It was called “the land of a thousand gods.” This indicates that there was great freedom.
The Hittites operated under the laws of establishment and became great through the use of their military. They had universal military training.
They had a great economy. They were the first to discover iron, 300 years before the iron age. They used it in their art, their chariot wheels, but not in their weapons. They traded with Assyrian colonies who made weapons of iron.
Their architecture was different from other ancient people who built their cities around the temple. The Hittites built everything around a fort. Their walls and citadels were famous, but little is known as yet.
The Hittites continued over a period of 1000 years and had people who were positive at God consciousness. Abraham’s first converts were Hittites. They were strong militarily, objective in law and social life. But once they became subjective they destroyed themselves. The empire began ca. 2000 BC. In 1200 BC the northern empire was destroyed. Between 1200 and 700 BC, the seven southern city-states continued to remain strong in Syria.