Daily Archives: December 12, 2010

Scholar claims evidence for Toi king of Hamath

King Toi of Hamath is mentioned in two Biblical texts.

Now when Toi king of Hamath heard that David had defeated all the army of Hadadezer, Toi sent Joram his son to King David to greet him and bless him, because he had fought against Hadadezer and defeated him; for Hadadezer had been at war with Toi. And Joram brought with him articles of silver, of gold and of bronze. (2 Samuel 8:9-10 NAU)

See also 1 Chronicles 18:9-10 where he is mentioned under the name Tou.

Prof. Aren Maeir reports on his Gath blog that Prof. Itamar Singer called his attention to an article by “C. Steitler (“The Biblical King Toi of Hamath and the Late Hittite State of ‘P/Walas(a)tin’”. Biblische Notizen 146 [2010]: 81-99) in which the author claims that one can identify the recently identified King Tatais, king of P/Walas(a)tin (from new inscriptions in Syria), with Toi, king of Hamath, mentioned in II Sam 8, 9-10; I Chr 18, 9-10.”

Maeir gives this brief summary of the article:

“David’s alliance with Toi, king of Hamath (2Sam 8,9-10) can be anchored in the historical context of Syria. Recent archaeological and philological studies have demonstrated the continuity between the Hittite Great Empire and the late Hittite kingdom, P/Walas(a)tin, to which Hamath belonged. Based on historical and onomastic analyses, the biblical Toi should be identified with a king of P/Walas(a)tin, Taitas.”

Take a look at Prof. Maeir’s observations here. This will be a great story to follow.

Hamath is associated with the modern city of Hama on the Orontes River in Syria. The city is noted for its norias. These waterwheels were used for several centuries to divert water from the river for agricultural purposes. Today those that remain are mostly decorative.

One of the Norias on the Orontes River at Hama, Syria. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

One of the norias on the Orontes River at Hama, Syria. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.