I realize and readily admit that I’m not a Bible scholar by any means. I mean for these posts to be more of a “hey, did you notice that?” kind of look at the Bible. I will not be in-depth with commentaries and history lessons, other than what is in the Bible, but if you have more neat facts to add, please don’t hesitate to comment below, or on my Facebook page linked post.
As I was studying last month’s Women of Infertility, the Hittites were mentioned all throughout the stories so I thought I would delve a little deeper into their story this month.
The Hittites were first mentioned as descendants of Ham, the son of Noah. (Abraham was a descendant of Shem). When God spoke of his covenant to Abraham, he mentioned that Abraham’s descendants would get the land of the Hittites.
When Abraham needed to find a place to bury Sarah when she died, the Hittites offered to allow him to bury her in their best tomb because he was a “mighty prince” among them. And Ephron offered to give him a cave and field for free, but Abraham insisted both times that he would pay. He obviously had a great reputation among the Hittites but insisted on keeping himself separate. In the world, but not of it, comes to mind. The next mention of Hittites were Esau’s wives, which I talked about their influence here.
After the Israelites return from Egypt, God says in Exodus 23 that he will wipe the Hittites out, but in versus 29-30, he says, “But I will not drive them out in a single year because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.” And, in the meantime, God warns the Israelites not to follow their practices or their idols. They were to be separate and not allow the Hittites to live in their land because he knew that the “worship of their gods will certainly be a snare to you.” He tells them in Deuteronomy 20:17-18 to completely destroy them or they will teach the Israelites to “follow all the detestable things they do in worshiping their gods”.
But later, in Judges 3, we find out that they did not completely destroy the Hittites. It says in verses 5 and 6 that they lived among them, married their daughters, gave their daughters to marriage, and served their gods. They wanted to fit in, to be a part of the culture. And God’s heart would be broken again and again.
The most famous Hittite to me was Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband. I’ve always known he was Uriah the Hittite, but I never realized the implications.
There is no indication that he followed God’s commands. But he was fighting in their army against the Ammonites in Rabbah (while David stayed in Jerusalem). In fact, he was included as one of David’s “mighty men” in 2 Samuel 23. David knew exactly who Bathsheba’s husband was when he slept with her. When Uriah was called back from the fighting, in hopes that he would sleep with Bathsheba and unwittingly cover up the adulterous pregnancy, he didn’t. He was too committed to the men fighting in the war. He had a sense of integrity and fairness. And David had him killed to hide his own sin. This, the man after God’s own heart.
If I learned anything from this, it’s that life, people, and relationships are complicated. There isn’t a simple answer. Labels don’t work because the truth is that everyone is capable of both good and evil. It’s good to have healthy boundaries so that you aren’t influenced away from God, but that is by pursuing a deeper relationship with God and following his calling in your life, not by putting people in culturally acceptable boxes of good or bad.
Truthfully, I don’t have all the answers. As I’ve written this post, I realize that there are some relationships that are so severely unhealthy that distance is the only answer. And I also realize that there has been so much hurt and hate, that labels feel safe. But I’m convicted that in order to love people, I have to begin by removing the labels, both cultural and my own, trusting that God is in control, and staying obedient to His word and calling in my life, one step at a time.