Alice C. Linsley
The Greek writer Homer alluded to two Kushite empires, when he wrote "a race divided, whom the sloping rays; the rising and the setting sun surveys." By Homer's time, the Afro-Asiatic Dominion that had been forged by the great rulers of old had become fragmented. These "mighty men of old" were served by warriors, priests, metalworkers, stone masons, vintners, scribes and sages. In ancient texts the ruler-priest caste is known as "Habiru," and the rulers were associated with the seven visible planets. This is evident in the Luo (Nilo-Saharan) word for seven: abiriyo. The word abir is a cognate of ha'biru, and Y is a solar symbol, as in the names of Habiru (Hebrew) rulers: Yaktan, Yishmael, Yitzak, Yosef, Yetro, Yeshua, etc.
Among the Habiru there were many peoples, including the Shasu, the Ainu and the Anakim. The last two words are related. Anak and his people the Anakim dwelt in the region of Hebron, where Sarah resided. They are associated with the Nephilim (Num. 13:33), with the Raphaim (Deut. 2:10) and with the Calebites (Josh.15:13). Supposedly, Caleb drove the Anakim out of the region, but there is much evidence that they remained well established in Canaan after the time of Caleb. Other related peoples are the Zumim and the Emim. Shrine cities, such as Hazor, were governed by Ha'biru, so the attempts of Joshua and Caleb to take these settlements indicates a power struggle between kinsmen rather than strangers. The ethnicity of all these peoples is Proto-Kushite and Kushite.
Homer recognized the Kushite cultural continuity that stretched from the Nile Valley to India. The religion of this ancient world spread through the agency of ruler-priests known as 'Apiru, Hapiru or Habiru (Hebrew). They served rulers who controlled water systems at a time when the Sahara, Mesopotamia, Pakistan and India were wetter.
Some of these ruler-priests were known as "Horites" because they were devotees of Horus, the son of Re. They regarded the sun as the emblem or symbol of Ra and Horus. Ha-biru and Ha-piru are derived from O-piru, meaning house or temple of the sun. The Arabic yakburu means “he is getting big” and with the intensive active prefix: yukabbiru means "he is enlarging." Likely this is a reference to the morning ritual of the Horite priests who greeted the rising sun as it expanded across the horizon.
The Egyptians called the temple attendants ˁpr.w, the w being the plural suffix. The Dravidian east-facing temple was termed O'piru, meaning Sun House.
Many Dravidian settlements and monuments are now submerged under the sea, but originally they were on a land bridge between the Arabian Peninsula and Southern Pakistan. This is sometimes referred to as the "Har-appa" civilization. Har refers to Horus and "appa" is the Dravidian word meaning father. The origin of Dravidian religion was apparently Egypt and ancient Kush.
The oldest known center of Horite worship is Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) in Sudan. Votive offerings at the temple of Horus were up to ten times larger than the normal maceheads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine. Horite priests placed invocatins to Horus at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose.
In the ancient world, a temple was considered the mansion—hâît, or the house—pirû—of the deity. The Creator Râ lived in Heliopolis on the east side of the Delta; Hat-Hor, the virgin mother of Horus had her principal temple in Memphis to the south of Heliopolis and on the west side of the Nile. Horus, who was said to be one with his Father, lived further south in Hierakonpolis and Edfu on the west side of the Upper Nile.
Râ, Hathor-Meri and Horus represent the typical Egyptian triad, but to properly understand the relationship of the three, we must consider the relative locations of the temples. Hat-Hor represents the Feminine Principle, and as such is located to the south (the direction associated with birth). Râ is to the north, and as his symbol is the Sun, his temple is on the east side of the Nile. Horus is to the southwest, the direction associated with the future and with birth. Against those who claim that Abraham's Horite ancestors were polytheists, we must note that only Horus and Hathor-Meri are ever shown in human form, and usually together.
The Horite ruler-priests were kingdom-builders, such as Nimrod, one of Abraham's ancestors. This meant they engaged in war, as did Abraham when he battled the kings who had fought against his Horite people (Gen. 14:6) and taken Lot captive (Gen. 14:12). One of Abraham's nephews was named Thahash or Tahash, meaning skins. Tahash probably tanned the hides of sacrificed animals. Exodus 25:5 speaks of "five rams' skins dyed red, and tahash skins..."
Diffusion of the Horite belief system was driven by three factors: migration out of ancient Kush, commerce, and the marriage alliances of the ruler-priests whereby each ruler had two first-borns sons. The son of the half-sister wife ascended to his father's throne, and the son of the patrilineal cousin bride ascended to the throne of his maternal grandfather. The pattern is one of double descent with bloodline traced through the wives, while the son's status as ruler came from his father.
Consider Abraham's two wives, by which he had seven sons. Isaac and Joktan both became rulers. Isaac ruled over Abraham's territory between Hebron and Beersheba when Abraham died. Joktan ascended to the throne of his mother's father, who was also called Joktan. If each son had two wives, the population of the Horite or Hapiru nobles would have expanded very quickly. Each chief had to locate where he could establish his own territory. Kush's two sons moved east of the Nile. Ramaah established a kingdom in northern Arabia and intermarried with the people of Dedan, where the largest number of Old Arabic texts have been found. These are the Afro-Arabians. Nimrod moved farther east to the region that would become the homeland of the Arameans. This eastward migration of first-born sons drove the expansion of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion.
This is why the Horites and Hapiru were found throughout the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Carol A. Redmont has noted that Hapiru influence was felt "from the Tigris-Euphrates river basins over to the Mediterranean littoral and down through the Nile Valley during the Second Millennium, the principal area of historical interest is in their engagement with Egypt." (See Carol A. Redmount, 'Bitter Lives: Israel in and out of Egypt' in The Oxford History of the Biblical World, ed: Michael D. Coogan, Oxford University Press: 1999, p.98)
In ancient Egypt, some priests were called harwa, a word related to Horus. The Harwa served in the temples and shrines along the Nile. They were clean shaven and lived rather ascetic lives. Moses's two brothers were harwa. Both were named for Horus. Aaron in Arabic is Harum, and Korah means shaved one, indicating that he was a Horite priest of the Nile. Later, both Jews and Arabs used kohen to designate a priest.
It appears that there were orders among the priests, some serving at higher levels than others. Some were called sarki. Sarki still live in the Orissa region of India. They are responsibile for flaying animals before the sacrifice. The word sarki also refers to red ochre which was ground into power and used as a symbol of blood in the burial of nobles as early as 60,000 years ago. Here we find a clear connection between the priesthood and blood, and between blood as a symbol of life and ritual burial. God acts as the first priest when He sacrifices animals to make coverings for the man and the woman (Gen. 3:21).
The work of the priest involved blood sacrifice for atonement. According to priestly law, the blood of a sacrificed animal was to be sprinkled seven places on the altar. Christians note that Jesus Christ bled from seven places and his blood is said to give “life to the world” (John 6:52-56). The Christ is already present in ancient Nilotic mythology which holds that life is in the blood. The priesthood and circumcision also originated among the Nilotic peoples. Abraham's Kushite ancestors were the first to belief the Eden Promise that a woman of their ruler-priest lines would bring forth the Seed who would crush the serpent's head and restore Paradise.
Related reading: Ha'piru, Ha'biru, 'Apiru or Hebrew?; The Re-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Moses' Wives and Brothers; Who Were the Horites?; Who Were the Hapiru?; The Christ in Nilotic Mythology, Christian Faith Emerges from the Faith of Abraham