During most of the OT period Akkadian (sometimes spelt Acadian) was the language of Mesopotamia.
Akkadian is a Semitic language, and became dominant because Sargon king of Akkad was the first Semite to gain ascendancy in the region.
Akkadian speakers soon split with two major centers, Babylon in the south and Assyria in the north. In the time of the patriarchs Babylon flourished, for a couple of centuries, under Hammurabi and his successors (c1750-1550BC).
Akkadian was written in cuneiform and several texts of interest for Old Testament studies are written in Akkadian, perhaps most notable are the Enuma Elish (creation story) and the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Later on Assyria became dominant and the Assyrian empire rivaled Egypt for control of the region during the monarchic period in Israel. During the final period of Assyrian ascendancy Aramaic became the dominant language as it was the mother tongue of many administrators.
This page is part of the Hypertext Bible Commentary - Amos , if you have reached it as a standalone
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© Tim Bulkeley, 1996-2005, Tim Bulkeley. All rights reserved.