AMORITE (ăm'ō-rīt, Heb. ’ĕmōrî, mountain dwellers). Although this word in the Hebrew is always in the singular, it is used collectively of that tribe of people who, according to Gen.10.16, descended from Canaan. They probably were east Semites and although not Akkadians were very closely akin to them.

They were a prominent people in pre-Israelite days, for it is believed that at one time their kingdom occupied the larger part of Mesopotamia and Syria, with their capital at Haran. The Mari tablets throw a flood of light on them, and it is now thought that Amraphel of Shinar (Gen.14.1) was one of their kings. When people from the north drove them from this region, they settled Babylonia and brought the entire area under their control, giving to Babylonia one of the richest periods in her history. After several hundred years they were defeated by the Hittites, and they settled throughout a large portion of Canaan. They may even have ruled in Egypt for a time.