According to Archibald Sayce (1915), the Horites have been identified with references in Egyptian inscriptions to Khar (formerly translated as Harri), which concern a southern region of Canaan. More recent scholarship has associated them with the Hurrians, with the biblical name "Hivite" being a reference to this same group.
The first mention of the Horites in the Torah was when they were defeated by a coalition of Eastern kings led by Kedorlaomer of Elam (in modern Iran). These kings had come through the Horite territory to subdue a rebellion by a coalition of other 'kings' of peoples whom they had ruled for twelve years, who were living near the Dead Sea and Sodom and Gomorrah ( ).
The ancestry of Seir the Horite is not specified. Pre-Edomite Horite chiefs, descendants of Seir, are listed in the Book of Genesis ( ) and 1 Chronicles ( ). One of these chiefs, Zibeon, is also described as a Hivite. Esau's wife Oholibamah was his granddaughter (Oholibamah bat Anah ben Zibeon ben Seir; see ). Their three sons all became 'chiefs,' although unlike other sons of Esau, they are not called chiefs "in Edom" (compare ). This may indicate a transition time in which only certain Horite areas were becoming known as Edom.
The chiefs who descended from Esau are listed in. Two of these chiefs would appear to have been female - Timna and Oholibamah.
At some time, certain of these leaders rose to the level of 'kings' over the other chiefs, and the Horite land became known as Edom rather than the land of Seir. One example of these kings is Jobab, son of Zerah, a son of Esau and his wife Basemath, who was Ishmael's daughter ( ). Another is a 'Temanite', Husham ( ), a descendant of Esau's son, Teman ( ).
None of these kings' sons became kings after their fathers died. Apparently, there was nofamilial royal line whereby sons of these post-Horite kings succeeded to the throne, but rather, some other system was in place by which kings were either chosen or won the right to rule ( ).
By the time governance of these peoples had been consolidated under kings instead of chiefs, Horites are no longer mentioned as such. The land of Seir had become known as Edom.
- ↑ Horites at International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
- ↑ James Orr, "Horites", in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (1915) page 1421.
- ↑ Lawrence A. Sinclair (2000). "Horites". in David Noel Freedman. Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible. W.B. Eerdmans. p. 607. ISBN 978-0-8028-2400-4. https://books.google.com/books?id=P9sYIRXZZ2MC&pg=PA607.
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