Last updated on: 5/2/2008 | Author:

The Apiru


This site was archived on Aug. 3, 2021. The two-state solution is no longer the most popular solution among the jurisdictions involved. A reconsideration of the topic is possible in the future.

Wolfram von Soden, the late Professor Emeritus of Ancient Semitic Philology and Ancient Near Eastern Studies at University of Munster, in The Ancient Orient, wrote:

“There were different designations for groups of foreign origin who were not fully assimilated, which naturally often formed elements of unrest. Such was the case as early as the Old Babylonian and even before, but above all in the Amarna Age in Syrian and Nuzi. Among these terms, the word hapiru the basic meaning of which still has not been clarified, has been frequently discussed. The word appears in ancient Egyptian and in Ugaritic as ‘pr, and sounds similar to Hebrew ‘ibri, ‘Hebrew,” although hapiru is certainly not to be equated with ‘ibri. It is impossible to speak in only a few sentences about these and similar, less widespread group designations, since these frequently denote different types of groups, depending on the place and time.”

1985 – Wolfram von Soden    

Chaim Potok, the late author, in his 1978 history of the Jewish people titled Wanderings, wrote:

“Tablets discovered in Mari before the Second World War contain west Semitic names like Abraham and Jacob. They also mention Habiru — or, more correctly, Hapiru — a widespread class of outcasts, belonging to no particular ethnic group, wandering in bands throughout the Near East. Their relation to the Habrews — Hapiru and Hebrew look and sound alike not only in English but also in the original Semitic, and Abraham is called a Hebrew in the Bible — has been a puzzle to scholars for a long time. Are the two identical, or was the term Hebrew attached to the patriarchs because of their incessant wanderings? Is the term ethnic or descriptive? The puzzle has not yet been satisfactorily cleared up.”

1978 – Chaim Potok