Image 1

Image 2

I've seen maps like these online showing what appears to be a vast Hyksos-controlled region in Transjordan and northern Arabia during Egypt's Second Intermediate Period. While these two maps in particular (the only ones which I could find right now) have obvious problems (the date, the two Megiddos, whatever the heck is going in with Upper Egypt), I want to know if there is any truth to this part.

Is there any historical or archaeological evidence of there being a significant Hyksos presence in Transjordan and northern Arabia as shown on these maps? Could their territory have extended that far east? Perhaps these depictions stem from a belief that the Hyksos originated here, which is not in line with the current scholarly view which favors a northern Levantine origin.

If there were Hyksos here, either as natives or as settlers/conquerors, then is it possible that there is a connection between them and the Shutu? According to Wikipedia:

Shutu /ˈʃuːtuː/ or Sutu /ˈsuːtuː/ is the name given in ancient Akkadian language sources to certain nomadic groups of the Trans-Jordanian highlands, extending deep into Mesopotamia and Southern Iraq. Many scholars have speculated that "Shutu" may be a variant of the Egyptian term Shasu.

An Egyptian execration text of the 17th century BCE refers to an "Ayyab" (possibly a variant form of the name Job) as king of the Shutu. Some scholars have tenuously identified the Shutu as the progenitors of the Moabites and Ammonites.


Most scholars claim that the Šu-tu mentioned in execration texts and other Egyptian texts may refer to the land and people of Moab due to the text in Numbers 24:17 which refers to the Moabites as the "sons of Sheth". However, it is also possible that the term Šu-tu may refer to all people living in eastern Palestine, an area ranging from Wadi al-Hassa to Nahr ez-Zerqa, instead of referring exclusively to Moab.

Of course, the Wikipedia article on the Shutu (The first quote is the whole article.) isn't clearly sourced, so I'm not sure how accurate it is. In particular, I haven't been able to verify the claim regarding the Shutu "extending deep into Mesopotamia and Southern Iraq," which may have been taken from this webpage.

TL;DR: Do we have good reason to believe that there were Hyksos in the Transjordan and northern Arabia during the Second Intermediate Period? And if so, then might they be connected to the Shutu, who may have lived in the area at that time?

Edit: The first map can be found on this webpage and doesn't cite any sources. The second map can be found on Pinterest and cites an education website called Mona Shores Online Learning Center. I can't trace them back further than that.

  • Links or other details regarding the sources of the maps would probably help.
    – Brian Z
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 11:05
  • The top one is interesting since it references 1750 AD...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:10
  • But, arce.org/resource/hyksos may prove of some interest...
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Apr 28, 2022 at 19:10
  • This bulged area is (and was) very sparsely populated. An hypothesis I have: They might have painted this area because semitic languages are said to originate from this area (northern Arabian Desert)
    – James
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 19:39
  • I don't understand what "the nature" means here. Aren't maps broadly geographical or political, then perhaps historical? What does "nature" mean here? Commented May 13, 2022 at 19:08

1 Answer 1


There is meager information on both the background of the Šu-tu and the background of the Hyksos, so any attempt at connecting the two would probably be highly speculative.

With that said, it's possible that the maps are (loosely?) based on Manetho as quoted by Josephus:

"...This whole nation was styled Hycsos, that is, Shepherd Kings: for the first syllable Hyc, according to the sacred dialect, denotes a King: as is sos a shepherd: but this according to the ordinary dialect: and of these is compounded Hycsos: but some say that these people were Arabians." (Against Apion I, 14)

According to this, the Hyksos were "Arabians". It should be noted that the terms "Arabian" and "Arabs" at the time of Josephus was used loosely. Josephus also referred to Kharetat (Aretas), king of the Nabateans, as an "Arab" (Antiquities of the Jews XIII, 13:3), and the same goes for Ovdat (Obedas) (ibid. 5).

On the wideness of their territory, it has been suggested in the past that this was more or less the size of their empire, post takeover of Lower Egypt:

"In older scholarship a vast empire of the Hyksos was imagined, since finds with the names of rulers, especially Apophis and Chayran, were known from such far-flung areas as Knossos, Boghazkoi, and Baghdad. Later this distribution was explained as exported art or as war booty. In reality it seems the Hyksos rulers used a special gift culture to retain loyalty through a sort of indoctrination of the elite. This practice is attested by the bronze dagger of Nakhman, the writing palette of Atja (Morenz 1996: 167–70), and various perfume containers. These gifts sometimes bore highly poetic glorifications of the king." (A Companion to Ancient Egypt, p. 105)

Your maps stop short of the edge of Babylon, though.

On a possible connection with the Šu-tu, Lloyd Graham in his essay "Which Seth? Untangling some close homonyms from ancient Egypt and the Near East" suggested etymological connections between "Šu-tu" and the main deity the Hyksos worshipped in Avaris (their capital in Egypt), Set or Seth, the god of foreigners (which is what the Hyksos were in Egypt). However, I don't think there's evidence beyond possible etymology to connect the two. The Bible itself names a great many distinct ethnic groups that all lived at one time or another in the supposed homeland of the Hyksos or in its vicinity.

Side-note: I wonder if the second Megiddo is a misinterpretation of Joshua 12:7 which says: "And the following are the kings whom Joshua and the Israelites defeated on the other side of the Jordan seawards" and then lists the king of Megiddo in verse 21, with seawards maybe being understood as a reference to the Dead Sea?

  • "Seawards" from the Jordan is the Mediterranean. Megiddo is between the two, so it fits
    – Spencer
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 22:45
  • @Spencer I know that. I was raising a suggestion on the Megiddo that's in Transjordan, per the map, because I don't know of any Megiddo located there.
    – Harel13
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 3:29
  • Actually, I think the Youtuber EmperorTigerstar should include these maps in his Horrible Maps series.....
    – Spencer
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 12:27
  • Hi Harel13. Thank you for your answer. I have accepted it and awarded you the 50 point bounty. Have a good day. :) Commented May 7, 2022 at 17:25

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