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Letter from Yapahu, 14th century BCE

Letter_from_Yapahu

Yapahu was ruler of the city of Gazru-(modern Gezer) and the author of five of the Amarna Letters. One of his letters, EA 299, “A plea for help,” is a request for help from attaks by a people called the ‘Apiru or Habiru. This was the name given by various Sumerian, Egyptian, Akkadian, Hittite, Mitanni, and Ugaritic sources (dated, roughly, from before 2000 BC to around 1200 BC) to a group of people living as nomadic invaders in areas of the Fertile Crescent from Northeastern Mesopotamia and Iran to the borders of Egypt in Canaan.

The letter reads-

(1-11) “To the king, my lord, my god, the Sun, the Sun [f]rom the sky- Message of Yapahu, the ruler of Gazru-(Gezer), your servant, the dirt at your feet, the groom of your horses. Truly, I fall at the feet of the king, my lord, my god, my Sun, the Sun from the sky, 7 times and 7 times, on the stomach and on the back.

(12-14) I have listened to the words of the messenger of the king, my lord, very carefully,-(MA-GAL, MA-GAL).

(15-21) May the king, my lord, the Sun from the sky, take thought for his land. Since the ‘Apiru are stronger than we, may the king, my lord, (g)ive me his help, and may the king, my lord, get me away from the ‘Apiru lest the ‘Apiru destroy us.”

-EA 299, lines 1-21 (complete)

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