Sunday, December 21, 2008

Abraham's Horite Mother (‘m)

Alice C. Linsley

Who was Abraham’s mother? Why is she nameless, given that Jewish identity is traced through the mother? Given Abraham’s prominence in Scripture, it seems odd that his mother should not be named or her ancestry more precisely identified.

The BabylonianTalmud says that "Terah took a wife and her name was Amsalai, the daughter of Karnevo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days." Jasher 7:50  This connects her to the Horite caste who maintained a shrine as Karnak on the Nile. It may also explain why she isn't named in Genesis. It was problematic to the rabbis that Abraham's mother was probably the daughter of a Horite priest. We shouldn't be surprised by this. It is a key trait of the Horite marriage and ascendency pattern that Horite men only married the daughters of Horite priests.

Analysis of the kinship pattern of Abraham’s people reveals that her father was Nahor the Elder. She married Terah and named their first-born son Nahor after her father. This means that Nahor was older than Abraham and explains why Nahor inherited Terah's terrritory.

Abraham’s mother and father were the children of Nahor by different wives. Both mothers were daughters of Terah the Elder who was likely a Horite. It may have been during his lifetime that the clans parted ways, some leaving Terah in Canaan (Ex. 33:28-29) for Mesopotamia.

Since both of Nahor’s wives were daughters of Terah the Elder, it is evident that Nahor married sisters who were his cousins. We find this pattern with Jacob and his wives Rachel and Leah. It appears that Terah sought his wives from among his mother’s people, just as Jacob did.

Where would Terah have gone to acquire his wives? He would have gone to his mother's people, to the clan of Terah in the land of Canaan. He would have gone to his Horite kin who lived between Mt. Hor near Petra and Mt. Hor near Sela. This is an important piece of information because it links Abraham’s father to the land of Canaan and identifies him as a Horite. Terah was named after his maternal grandfather Terah the Horite. This means that Abraham's mother was from Canaan.

The difficulty in tracing her line is due to the hidden third, Terah the Elder, Abraham's great grandfather. He represents the third of three earlier patriarchs: Nahor, Haran and Terah. From these three Afro-Asiatic chiefs come the later Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The recurrence of 3 sons is a theme under the surface of Genesis and must be mined. The number 3 represents unity so seeing the bigger picture of Abraham's people requires looking for all 3 sons, one of which is usually hidden. The “Hidden Son” is a Messianic message that runs throughout the Bible. The Hidden Son is now revealed in the divine Person of Jesus Christ and He is shown to be the perfect fulfillment of all Messianic expectations and promises.

We note the persistence of the theme of 3 sons in these listings:
Gen. 4 - Cain, Abel, Seth
Gen. 4 - Jubal, Jabal, Tubal
Gen. 7 - Ham, Shem, Japheth
Gen. 11 - Haran, Nahor, Abraham

Exploring the identity of Abraham’s mother reveals another triad:

Terah the Elder, Joktan the Elder, and Nahor the Elder. These were great Afro-Asiatic chiefs whose territories were probably contiguous.

Abraham’s mother was a daughter of Terah the Elder and likely the sister of Keturah’s mother. (Keturah was Abraham's cousin bride.) If so, we can say that Terah the Elder and Joktan the Elder (Keturah's father) married sisters. We have seen this pattern before. Cain and his brother Seth married sisters, the noble daughters of an African chief named Nok.

The Horites appear to have been a confederation of numerous clans including the House of Sheba and the House of Joktan. They were a caste of ruler-priests as is evidenced by their names.

Horite Names and Roots

Ancient Egyptian priest
One of Abraham's nephews was named Tebah. Tebah is related to the verb to sacrifice and to the noun that denotes the lamb, ram, calf or bull that is to be slaughtered. The verb used for the sacrificial Messianic offering in Isaiah 53:7, and the release of all nations in Isaiah 34:2. A descendant of Tebah served as a Temple gatekeeper according to I Chronicles 26:11.

Another of Abraham's nephews was Tahash.  Exodus 25:5 speaks of "5 rams' skins dyed red, and tahash skins; acacia wood."  This suggests that he was in the priestly caste. These were called sarki in the ancient Afro-Asiatic world. The sarki sacrificed animals and tanned the hides. God acts as the first sarki when He sacrifices animals to make coverings for the man and the woman (Gen. 3:21). Today Sarki live in the Orissa province of India, and as rulers in Orisha, Nigeria. They are also in the Tarai region of Nepal. Sometimes they are called Har-wa which is the ancient Egyptian word for Horite priest. Today the Buddhist priests of central Asia wear attire very similar to the priests of ancient Egypt.

One of Abraham's descendants was Buz, the grandfather of Yeshishai, the Aramaic form of Yeshua/Jesus (I Chronicles 5:14).  This connects Jesus' name with the devotees of Horus. Buz is grouped with the peoples of Dedan and Tema in Jeremiah 25:23. This Horite confederation is identified as Dedan, Tema and Buz. Abraham and his mother spoke languages like ancient Dedanite, the language of the Arabian Kushites.

Dedanite and the other North Arabian dialects have much in common with Old Egyptian. This is evident in the Dedanite and Egyptian use of the root MR. In both languages the word for woman is mr’t. This is related to the Egyptian word mer, meaning love. The word for mother in Egyptian and Dedanite is ‘m . 

Related reading:  Who Were the Horites?; Who Were the Kushites?; The Horite Ethnicity of Abraham and David; The Saharan Origins of Pharaonic Egypt


Anonymous said...

According to the Babylonian Talmud her name was Amsalai (maybe pronounced Amaslai)

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

"Why is she nameless, given that Jewish identity is traced through the mother?"

I have no Talmudic evidence to offer, not even innocuous one, as the above.

I am however pretty sure that Jewish identity was patrilinear for a very long time. Up to Babylonian exile or even up to Greek and Roman Conquests.

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...

"Surely Abraham’s mother must be as important as the mothers of Isaac and Jacob. Then why is she not named?"

Even if she was idolatrous, while her son was Our Father in Faith?

Bible is silent on subject, but Flavius Josephus agrees with Arabo-Islamic tradition insofar that he claims Abram was in his youth idolater, and became a monotheist contender.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Analysis of the kinship pattern of Abraham's people, using the genealogical information in Genesis, reveals that blood line was traced through the mother while social status (caste) was traced through the father. That is why only first-born sons are listed in the Genesis "begats". The ruler's first-born son ruled after him. The first-born son was usually the son of the ruler's first wife who was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham). The other wife was either a patrilineal parallel cousin (as was Keturah to Abraham)or a patrilineal niece (as was Rebecca to Isaac). The cousin/niece bride named her first-born son after her father because that son assumed rule over the territory of his maternal grandfather. This is what Claude Levi-Strauss discovered: that in patrilineal systems the mother and the son do not belong to the same clan.

Alice C. Linsley said...

There is no biblical evidence to support the view that Abraham was an idolater. I've responded to this before:

Hans-Georg Lundahl said...


There is about some of his kin, like Laban, though.

As for what Flavius Josephus and Mahometan tradition have in common, the bridge could be either Jemenite Jews or Ethiopian Christians (who, like Nestorians, were some kind of Judaising gentiles before Christianity arrived - the two communities made war between them in Southern Arabian peninsula in premohametan times). Jemenite Jews of course carry less authority than a Jewish tradition subsumed into even a local Christian tradition. Religiously speaking it is not authority at all.

william sells said...

Thank you for posting your research. Biblical Anthropology is fascinating. While reading I saw the aramaic name for Jesus and it is one of the recurring words in my prayer language. I always wanted to know. Initially, when the Holy Spirit came, there was a loud wind in my ears and the languages flowed from dialect to dialect - African, American Indian and aramaic (I guessed).
Anyway, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Ralph Ellis in Eden in Egypt/Tempest and Exodus wrote tht Hor means "Hewn out" as in 'Cave'. And tht the full word is EL Hor (Hewn out by El). Ths would mean tht Abraham was not just a Canaanite but of the cave-dwelling HAIRY BARBARIANS of Igboland. This explains why Esau his son was a hairy Barbarian. Canaanites were the metallurgists of NsuKKa, where the Igbo God Ele has MOUTH
(An/On/Onu) of his Underground Duat. The word Nile in ancient times might most likely have meant Niger (its Mother River). Nok is a tiny village in Plateau state, NOKWA in Anambra where the Canaanite Awka metallurgists. Emigrated after the Deluge is more likely. Nokwa tradition is matarchal. So is much of Anambra, whose Igbo dialect Abraham spoke.

Yisrael Abshalom said...

How can the Hebrew Lineage pass down from Mother, when all the Chronologies in the Bible are from father to son or sons.

Please explain

Yisrael Abshalom

Alice Linsley said...


Shalom, my friend.

There are two different matters here. Bloodline is traced through the mother. This is because the Messiah is conceived by the Woman without the seed of an earthly father. Messiah's father is the Creator God.

The royal priestly line of descent is traced through fathers because only men served as priests. The genealogies of Genesis are king lists.