Picking up a little of this and that from this week’s homework:

1. Cavalry in Ahab’s time would not have been used for frontal charges with swords.  It was mostly recon and mounted archers who would have been used to direct the flow of the battle: approach; shoot; retreat; do it again.  The Assyrians were developing mounted cavalry over the decades preceding Ahab and their mode was two riders, one with a shield protecting both riders and controlling the archer’s horse and the archer himself.  I doubt this is the way Ahab’s would have been employed just a few decades later.  But I also don’t think anyone was yet using them in disciplined attack groups the way they would be used by the Carthaginian’s or the Romans or even the Persians shortly after this.  They did not yet have saddles or stirrups, so could not have effectively wielded weapons that required balance on the back of the horse.

1.a.  Somewhat along these same lines, chariots were still mostly being employed as shooting platforms for archers, and probably as command posts for the commanders.  But they also did not do much in the way of side-abreast linear charges.

2. We need to work together on the geography of the region.  I said earlier BH might have made an incursion into Moab, but that’s unlikely.  Aram lay against Ammon.  If he had any ideas of expanding a greater Aram, it would have been into Ammon.  But, importantly, how and where he would have attacked Ahab would be in large part determined by the terrain, which you are much more familiar with than I am. So before I go spinning off something altogether weird in reference to the countryside, we should put our heads together.

3. As we’ve previously discussed, Ahab, like Omri before him, would have been deeply immersed in Building Back Better.  Archeologists who work on Samaria state categorically that it was the largest palace site in the region and very finely appointed.  And both of them were building infrastructure and fortifications all over their mighty little kingdom.  This would have preoccupied Ahab much of the time.  Along with the commerce the forts protected and the services the roads and cisterns and such were intended to provide.

4. OF SPECIAL NOTE: Mason’s (stone layers) marks have been discovered @ Megiddo, Jezreel and Samaria.  Here’s a tie-in to your goofy little architect who’s restoring Jericho.  Is he the head of the guild that left those marks?  Was he so well respected he was used over and over again?  Just incidentally, there is an architectural style that is something of a trademark of the Omirides that is found at such distant sites as Jahaz and Atarotu.  I believe both are on the Transjordan side of the Jordan river.  That gives you some idea of the extent of control the kingdom exercised during its heyday.

5. I doubt you want to try to work this level of detail in, but it is first during the Omiride building period that we see temples specifically dedicated to YHWH.  And these are often built in the key cities like Samaria and Megiddo.  In some cases they appear to take over earlier cults. Just sayin’ twixt you and me that there is “concrete” evidence of the movement beginning to stir during Elijah’s time.  Personally, I think his significance is that he’s the personification of this new movement as remembered much later by the Deuteronimists.

6.  Importantly for your story, there is strong suggestive evidence that there was a “tripartite tango” going on between the NK, Aram and Assyria.  During the 10th century and large parts of the 9th century when your action occurs, the power of the kingdoms sways back and forth, the alliances ebb and flow and the kings are always checking each other.  This was a real life Game of Thrones with very high stakes.  So I can imagine A and O having grown up with a pretty jaded view of both rival kingdoms.  They may have some pretty salty reference terms for each along with a healthy respect for those adversaries.

Back to point 2, I’m not satisfied I understand the terrain well enough to know if I’ve set up a plausible attack route for BH for the fall offensive.  Need to hear from you if you’re buying it or if we need to dive in deeper.

Steve Abbott
Sent from my iPad


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