Mutbaal (Akk. "man of Baal") was a Canaanite king of the Amarna Period. He is identified in the Amarna letters as a son of Labaya, the ruler of the hill country north of Jerusalem, including the territory in the vicinity of the city of Shachmu (biblical Shechem).
Mutbaal may be the son whose association with the Habiru raiders Labaya denounced in EA 254. He ruled in Pella on the eastern side of the Jordan river. After his father's death at the hands of the citizens of Gina, Mutbaal and his brother continued their assaults on other Canaanite rulers and their holdings, employing Habiru mercenaries. Eventually Biryawaza of Damascus was ordered by the Egyptian court to take armed action against the sons of Labaya. (EA 250)
David Rohl identifies Mutbaal with Ishbaal or Ish-bosheth, the son of the Israelite King Saul, but the chronology that would make this identification feasible is not accepted by the majority of scholars. It cannot be denied that the names have exactly the same meaning, but two people may have the same name and still belong to different time-periods. But of both Mutbaal son of Labaya and of Ishbosheth son of Saul it can be said that, though his father ruled from Shechem, he himself ruled from Pella.
In Rohl's historical view, it would not have been Mutbaal but Jonathan who displeased Labaya by associating with the Habiru. Mutbaal's brother in the post-Labaya period would be David, his brother-in-law.
List of Mutbaal's 2 letters to Pharaoh
- EA 255—title: "No destination too far"–See: Karaduniyash
- EA 256—title: "Oaths and denials".
EA 256 is about Mutbaal, and Pella-(Pihilu); a list of cities in the letter, in the Golan Heights=(Garu)—Udumu, Aduru, Araru, Mešta-(Meshta), Magdalu, Heni-anabi-(Kheni-anabi), Sarqu, Hayyunu, & Yabiluma. People mentioned in this letter include Dadua, Yishuya and Ayab, whom Rohl identifies with David, Jesse, and Joab.
- Moran, The Amarna Letters, pp 308-310.
- Baikie, James. The Amarna Age: A Study of the Crisis of the Ancient World. University Press of the Pacific, 2004.
- Cohen, Raymond and Raymond Westbrook (eds.). Amarna Diplomacy: The Beginnings of International Relations. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.
- Moran, William L. (ed. and trans.) The Amarna Letters. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002.