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Ancient Bedouin

Historical Overview Section

The Bedouin Qedarite Kingdom was a largely nomadic, ancient Arab tribal confederation. Described as "the most organized of the Northern Arabian tribes", at the peak of its power in the 6th century BCE it had a kingdom and controlled a vast region in Arabia. The earliest extrabiblical inscriptions discovered by archaeologists that mention the Qedarites are from the Neo-Assyrian Empire. Spanning the 8th and 7th centuries BCE, they list the names of Qedarite kings who revolted and were defeated in battle, as well as those who paid Assyrian monarchs tribute, including Zabibe, queen of the Arabs.

The conquest of Adummatu by the Assyrian King Sennacherib in 690 BCE and the capture of a Qedarite queen, Te'elkhunu, who was brought back to Assyria with other loot, including divine images, is also mentioned in the annals of the Assyrian monarchs. Esarhaddon eventually returned the "renewed" images of the Arab gods to Adummatu with Tabua, "who grew up in the palace of Sennacherib," and was appointed Qedarite queen by Esarhaddon to replace Te'elkhunu. However, strained relations between the Assyrians and the Qedarites meant that she ruled for only a brief period, with Esarhaddon recognizing Hazael as the king of Qedar after he increased his tribute to the Assyrian monarch by 65 camels. Esarhaddon then appointed Yauta, son of Hazael, as a Qedarite king, following Hazael's death. That Yauta paid a tribute in the form of 10 minas of gold, 1,000 precious stones, 50 camels, and 1,000 leather pouches of aromatics is also recorded.

The defeat of Ammuladi and Yauta after they mounted Qedarite forces to march against the kings of the Amurru is recorded by Ashurbanipal. Yauta is said to have "roused the people of Arabia to revolt with him." His wife, Adiya, is the only woman mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as both a Qedarite queen and the wife of a Qedarite king, and is thought to be the only woman who was not a ruler in her own right. The inscriptions record how Adiya was sent by Yauta to accompany Ammuladi and the Qedarite forces, and their subsequent defeat and capture in 604 BCE by the forces of Kamushaltu, king of Moab and a loyal vassal of the Assyrian empire. Yauta is said to have "fled to the Nabataeans." His subsequent capture and sentencing in Nineveh are recorded by Ashurbanipal who relates that, "I put a dog chain upon him and made him guard a kennel."

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