Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Bible as the Woman's Story


Alice C. Linsley


The Bible is a book for all people, but reading some commentaries one gets the impression that the Bible is about men and the experiences of men. Doubtless this is due to the fact that most commentaries are written by men who tend to filter the material through their male experience. Exposition of the biblical text on the basis of the male experience alone does not render a full picture of God’s work in the world. The masculine perspective may be the loud (sometimes shouting) voice heard in the narrative, but there is also a softer voice speaking under the dominant voice. The relationship is much like the conscious and sub-conscious. The one is dominant during the waking hours and the other during the sleeping hours. To understand the individual, one would need to analyze both conscious and sub-conscious. Likewise, to understand the Bible, we must pay equal attention to the quiet voice of female experience. Failure to do this leads to errors in interpretation. It also distorts the tradition concerning the Son of God which is the central and over-arching message of the Bible.

John 3:16 states that belief in the Son of God is necessary for salvation. Likewise, Peter’s confession “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God” (Mat. 16:16) is the message of the Church. The emphasis on Jesus' sonship must be dominant because He is God. This dominance does not negate the existence of the softer voice narrating the Gospel, however.  There is the Woman's testimony also, given to the servants at the wedding in Cana: "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:5)

When we listen to the quieter voice we hear proclamation that the promise made to “the Woman’ in Eden has been fulfilled (Gen. 3:15). Behold a virgin conceived and brought forth the Seed who crushes the serpent's head and restores paradise. Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of this promise. He explained to his disciples that he was going to Jerusalem to die: unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it cannot give life to the world. (John 12).

Abraham’s ancestors expected the Seed to be born of their priestly bloodlines, which is why the Horite ruler-priest lines practiced endogamy, that is, they intermarried exclusively. This also explains the strict moral code held by the Horite ruler-priests. Many of the rulers attempted to live into the expectation of the Righteous Ruler. Some went so far as to claim that their mothers miraculously conceived while in the temple. One of these was Nimrod, an ancestor of Abraham. His is known in history as Sargon (c. 2300 B.C.) and Sar-gon is a title meaning King of Kings or Most High King.

The female experience as it is presented in the Bible is not well represented. The commentaries written by women tend to be feminist critiques of the patriarchal world in which the women lived. Feminists largely portray the women of the Bible as victims of systematic oppression when, in fact, few are victims and few are oppressed. Many women of the Bible are shown to exercise considerable influence, some for good and some for bad. Most of the women named in the Old Testament are the wives, daughters and daughters-in-law of rulers and priests. This means that they were upper class and rather protected, though not often pampered. The women of the Bible were prophets, judges, witches, queens, wise women, harlots, merchants, seamstresses, and servants of the Most High God. Their stories round out our understanding of the Bible and of the received tradition concerning the Son of God that comes to us from Eden, born of the "Woman" Mary, the daughter of the shepherd priest Joachim. [1]

To understand the received tradition concerning the Son of God we must pay attention to the women in the Bible because among Abraham’s people, as with Jews today, bloodline was traced through the mothers. We see how this is true when we trace Jesus’ ancestry through key women. Consider this telescopic line of descent from A to K. Telescopic means that not all the generations of mothers are listed. If we begin with B – Cain’s wife – we have a depth of 10 mothers, which is the usual number in telescopic lines of descent.[2]

A. The “Woman” of Eden (Gen. 3:15) is not Eve since Eve is not named until verse 20. This woman is the mother of the Son of God. She conceived, according to Horite expectation, by divine overshadowing.

B. The wives of Cain (Gen. 4) and Seth (Gen. 5), daughters of Enoch/Anak. The lines of Cain and Seth intermarried.

C. Naamah, cousin wife of Methuselah (Gen. 4 and 5)and the mother of Lamech the Younger, who she named after her father, Lamech the Elder.

D. Wives of Shem and Ham. We know little about these women. They may have been sisters. The lines of Shem and Ham intermarried, so Abraham is a descendant of both men.

E. Mother of Abraham (Horite wife of Terah)

F. Sarah, Abraham’s half-sister, daughter of Terah. (Terah/Tera means priest.)

G. Rebekah, daughter of a priest

H. Leah, wife of Jacob

I. Tamar, daughter of a priest (She is cast as more righteous than Judah because she made sure the levirate law was fulfilled. The Deuteronomist defines righteousness as the fulfillment of the Law. Faith does not enter into the definition, so justification by faith is not expressed by the Deuteronomist Historian.)

J. Rahab of Jericho, wife of Salmon the Horite (She is cast as a "whore" by the Deuteronomist's shouting voice.)

K. Ruth, descendant of Terah by Lot (Lot is cast as a drunken incestuous father by the Deuteronomist Historian who wanted the Jews to think of the Moabites as their enemies, rather than their kinsmen.)


Explanation

A. The “Woman” of Gen. 3:15 is recognized by the Church Fathers as the Theotokos, or God-Bearer. She is at the beginning of the Messiah’s line as prophesy and she is at the end of Messiah’s line as his virgin mother. She is foreseen in the same way that Levi is said to have existed in the “loins” of Abraham. Hebrews 7:9-10 explains: “And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.” Levi, yet unborn is said to have paid the tithe while still in the loins of his "father" Abraham when Abraham paid the tithe to the priest Melchizedek (Gen. 14:20).

B. Cain and his brother Seth married sisters, the daughters of the African chief Nok. We must trace Jesus' ancestry through Cain's descendant Naamah who married Methuselah and was the grandmother of Noah.

C. Naamah is the daughter of Lamech the Elder and the mother of Lamech the Younger. She was Methusaleh’s cousin bride.

D. Shem’s wife is not named. She was likely his half-sister. Shem and Ham’s lines intermarried according to the pattern of the ruler-priests. So Jesus is descended from both Shem and Ham.

E. Abraham’s mother is not named in the Bible, but according to tradition she was the daughter of a priest associated with the Egyptian shrine of Karnak (Karnevo in the Babylonian Talmud). This shrine was dedicated to Horus, called the “son of God”. The genealogical information indicates that her father was Na’Hor. She named her first-born son Na'Hor, according to the cousin bride's naming prerogative.

F. Sarah and Abraham had the same father, Terah, but different mothers. As a ruler-priest, Terah had two wives. One was a half-sister and the other was a patrilineal cousin.

G. Rebekah was Isaac’s cousin wife. His half-sister wife was the daughter of Abraham by Keturah who dwelt in Beersheba. This explains why Eliezar brought Rebekah to marry Isaac in Beersheba, and not to Hebron.

H. Leah is the mother of Judah. The Son of God would come from Judah by Tamar.

I. Tamar, the Righteous, tricked Judah into impregnating her. When Judah discovered that Tamar was pregnant, he ordered that she be stoned to death. This was the sentence for daughters of priests who committed adultery or harlotry.

J. Rahab was visited by Hebrew spies. She helped them to escape and as a reward her family was spared when the Hebrews attacked Jericho. The sign of her protection was a scarlet cord hanging from her window, a symbol of the Blood of Lamb. This is like the blood on the doorposts in Goshen, and Rahab’s story is a second Passover, a narrative that stresses the heroine. The Exodus story lifts up the hero Moses. Rahab married Salmon, the Son of Hur (Hor). Salmon is called the "father of Bethlehem" in 1 Chronicles 2:54.  Rahab became the grandmother of Boaz who married Ruth. Salmon (also Salma or Solomon) is a Horite name and is associated with Bethlehem (1 Chronicles 2:51).

K. Ruth is the celebrated great grandmother of King David. With Ruth the bloodlines descending from Terah converge. Ruth is the celebrated great grandmother of King David.


NOTES

1. Genesis 2:10-14 says that Eden was watered by four rivers: the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Pishon and the Gihon. Two are in Mesopotamia and two are in Africa. This is the heart of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. This is the place of origin of the ruler-priests and of "him that holds the scepter from the house of Eden" (Amos 1:5). So Eden is not a mythical garden, but a vast well-watered region and the point of origin of Abraham’s ancestors.

The description of Eden as a well-watered region is supported by climate and geological studies. Around 12,000 years ago the Nile river system filled with waters from the Angolan Highlands. Geological uplift tilted the region to create Lake Victoria and direct its excess flow north into the White Nile which provides most of the Nile's water during the dry season. Essentially the entire Albertine Rift was a vast flood plain extending 3,700 miles from Syria to central Mozambique.

The Ethiopians identify the Gihon with the Abay River, which encircles the former African kingdom of Gojjam (where Ge'ez was spoken, the language of the Ethiopian Orthodox church). The Pishon "flows through the whole land of Havilah" (Gen. 2:11). Havilah is a son of Kush (Gen. 10:7) and the "Kushites" lived in the upper Nile region and the Sudan. Kushite kings also ruled in Egypt. These four rivers encompass the heart of the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion which was ruled by a network of ruler-priests. They controlled the major water systems and built shrines along the rivers. The Kushite expansion out of the NileValley continued into the Indus Valley, Bactria, and southern China where they are called the Kushan.

2. One theory holds that the genealogical segments were in groups of 10 because to facilitate the memory of the tribal story teller. While this is certainly possible, it seems more likely that 10 represents the beginning of a new cycle, since the counting system of Abraham’s people used 9 as the base. This would mean that Ruth, descendant of Terah, begins the new cycle and this cycle traces the Son of God through David. This is significant since David’s city was Bethlehem and the “father of Bethlehem” was a Horite. I Chronicles 4:4 lists Hur (Hor) as the "father of Bethlehem". The author of I Chronicles knew that Bethlehem was originally a Horite settlement, less than 10 miles from Mt. Hor.

Related reading:  The Daughters of Priests; Mother and Son Pierced: An image of intimacy; The Virgin Mary's Horite Ancestry; The Question of Patriarchy; The Paradox of Feminism; Rethinking "Biblical Equality"

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your fascinating blog and I have to say there's a lot about Abraham and his ancestors/descendants I may have to unlearn. As you can expect, I'll probably have some questions. I hope you do not mind. I realize your time is valuable, so I'll search your blog before I ask any question. I was wondering if the Rahab in Joshua's story is the same woman Salmon married in Mat 1:5. The two seem to have different names and out of all the references in the Greek NT and LXX (Jos 2:1,3; 6:17,22-23;Heb 11:31;Jas 2:25;Mat 1:5), Matthew's reference is the only one with a different spelling and the missing harlot designation.

Additionally, according to my understanding, Israelites were not to prostitute their daughters (Lev 19:29), priests were not to marry harlot's (sexually immoral) and any of their daughters guilty of harlotry would be burned (Lev 21:7,9). Could we assume Israelite/Horite priests/rulers like Salmon, were also bound to this law? If the woman in Mat 1:5 is the same as the harlot of Jericho, it would seem to violate one or all of these laws. Is it possible for the woman Salmon married to be different than the harlot of Jericho?

Alice Linsley said...

You ask excellent questions! I believe Rahab of Jericho is the same person who married Salmon. We have no solid evidence that she was a harlot. But even if she were, her conversion to the true faith and her spiritual regeneration are evident in her decision to help the spies. She is regarded as a righteous ancestor of David and Jesus.

I believe that the Bible is divinely inspired and the material contained therein has been divinely superintended through the ages. That said, there are political labels attached to people that come from the last hand on the material - the Deuteronomist Historian. This final editor is far removed culturally and historically from the time of the Judges and before, and has a very definite agenda. He wants Jews to agree on who are their friends and who are their enemies; who are kinsmen and who are not, who are Torah-followers and who are not. The Deuteronomist labels people: the Moabites and Ammonites are the offspring of the drunken and incestuous Lot. The Canaanites are cursed by Noah (not even what the Genesis text says). Rahab must have been a harlot to have those men in her house and because - well, we all know (snicker, snicker) that Canaanite women are whores... this is what the Deuteronomist wants the Jews to believe. The reality presented in the Bible is actually quite different. Most of the peoples were kin. Their rulers were related by blood and marriage. The concern about sexually immorality applied to the daughters of priests especially - they were to be burned alive. Why? Because the Horites believed the promise of Genesis 3:15 that a "woman" of their ruler-priest lines would conceive miraculously and bring for the Seed of God who would crush the serpent's head. Therefore sexual purity was very important. The Horites were known in the ancient world as the most pure order of priests, sober and wise. Jesus claimed to be the Seed of Genesis 3:15 when He told his disciples: "Unless a seed falls into the earth and dies, it cannot give life to the world." John 12:24

Anonymous said...

Some say she may have been an inkeeper. A plausible conclusion supported by the Hebrew text, but an inkeeper could also be a prostitute. Furthermore, the Greek term used categorizing her as a harlot [porne-G4204] has only one meaning when used in the context of a female human being (1Co6:16; Jas2:25; Heb11:31).

I would think that if she were a converted prostitute, the author of Hebrews or James, the Lord's brother, would have corrected the objectionable designation.

I actually agree with you. The evidence, both biblical and scientific, suggests the Jews/Israelites are a "mixed multitude".

My DNA results indicate I have Levite ancestry, even though I was born in the Caribbean. I think that links me to the priestly line :). Interestingly, my wife's DNA is linked to Africa (Ham's descendants-no I don't have a second wife:). We were both virgins when we got married at 17. We were Torah observing Christians years before being DNA tested. I know I'm going out on a limb, but I couldn't help wondering if God is continuing a similar pattern of his priestly caste all the way until the Messiah return:

Ex 19:6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

1Pe 2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;

You've given me a lot to think about. Thank you..

Alice Linsley said...

"Royal priesthood" is a historically accurate description of the Horites. Since Abraham's people practiced exclusive intermarriage between the priest lines/divisions, it is possible to speak of the Hebrews as a nation of priests. The reformer Martin Luther didn't understand this and, reacting to Rome, declared that all baptized persons are "priests" based on 1 Peter 2:9, which is directed to Jewish converts. In his 1520 treatise To the Christian Nobility of the German Nation he proposed this innovation: that all baptized Christians are priests. He wrote:

That the pope or bishop anoints, makes tonsures, ordains, consecrates, or dresses differently from the laity, may make a hypocrite or an idolatrous oil-painted icon, but it in no way makes a Christian or spiritual human being. In fact, we are all consecrated priests through Baptism, as St. Peter in 1 Peter 2 says, "You are a royal priesthood and a priestly kingdom," and Revelation [5:10], "Through your blood you have made us into priests and kings."So today there is great confusion about the nature of the priesthood among reformed groups like the Anglicans.

Luther further developed this idea in his treatise On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), in which he wrote:

How then if they are forced to admit that we are all equally priests, as many of us as are baptized, and by this way we truly are; while to them is committed only the Ministry (ministerium Predigtamt) and consented to by us (nostro consensu)? If they recognize this they would know that they have no right to exercise power over us (ius imperii, in what has not been committed to them) except insofar as we may have granted it to them, for thus it says in 1 Peter 2, "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a priestly kingdom." In this way we are all priests, as many of us as are Christians. There are indeed priests whom we call ministers. They are chosen from among us, and who do everything in our name. That is a priesthood which is nothing else than the Ministry. Thus 1 Corinthians 4:1: "No one should regard us as anything else than ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God."

Luther's notion of the priesthood represents a departure from tradition received by Paul and the other apostles from their Horim/Horite ancestors. It is a false picture of the Biblical priesthood and, as with all falsehood, causes division in the Body of Christ.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I'm working on a study titled, "The Mystery of Jacob's Lost Descendants." Utilizing the bible and the sciences, it reveals the identity of modern Jacob's/Israel's descendants and much like your assertion above, it is not who the masses think. Upon its completion, I would be honored if you would be willing to read it and offer your input.

As far as the identity of the woman in Mat 1:5, been reading more of your blog and it sparked a thought. As you assert elsewhere, the Kenites and Israelites were closely related. The name of the woman most believe is named Rahab in Mat 1:5, is actually Rhachab (G4477- ραχαβ). The harlot's name in the Greek and LXX is spelled Rhaab [G4460-ρααβ]. In the English language, these two spellings may have been equally transliterated but from my understanding of the Greek, they are as different as Rachel and Roxanne. As you mentioned the woman in Mat 1:5 was Salmon's wife, but I do not think it was the harlot. Perhaps she was a priestly daughter from the house of Rechab.

The Rechabites descended from the Kenites, both considered descendants of Judah (1 Ch 2:55). A portion of the Rechabites also lived among Naphtali (Jdg 4:11). It would be difficult to fathom Salmon, the priestly Horite, marrying an ex-prostitute. It would seem more plausible for Salmon to marry a Rechabite virgin from Judah named Rhachab, to perpetuate the Messiah's priestly line. Interestingly, these Rechabites were used by God as examples of obedience in a time of the nation's disobedience, which resulted in a blessing (Jer 35:19). This conclusion is supported by the Sages. Gill's commentary says this about the Rechabites:

"Kimchi says that some of their Rabbins asserted that the daughters of these people married priests, and so some of their children's children offered sacrifice on the altar. And if what Eusebius reports from Hegesippus is true, there were priests of this family after the times of Christ." (John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible- Jer 35:19)

Anonymous said...

After proof reading my last post, I noticed an error. The third paragraph should have said, "Salmon to marry a Kenite virgin..", not Rechabite.
Rechabites were descended from Kenites. My apologies.

Alice Linsley said...

Very interesting observations!

There definitely were Horite priests after the time of Jesus. James the Just, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Hari-Mathea are examples. These priests were followers of Jesus who ordained other men as priests. Joseph of Hari-Mathea (the Horite line of Matthew) ordained men as priests in Cornwall, England. He was involved in the old tin trade there and as likely a metal worker by trade, as were the Kenites.

The priesthood of Christ was already in England before 46 A.D. Reacting to the Roman Catholic Church's claim that it planted the priesthood there under the mission of Augustine of Canterbury, Fr. Louis Tarsitano wrote, "The bishops of a five-centuries-old Christian Church met Augustine on the beach."

Priests and bishops were already in England before the episcopacy of Evodius of Antioch (53–69 A.D.) and before the episcopacy of Linus of Rome (67-79 A.D.). According to Gildas's De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae there were already Christians living in Britain in 46 AD. It is likely that these were Hebrew believers who were part of the tin trade and that there were priests among them. Metal working priests were a caste among the Hebrew (Habiru). They continued an ancient craft that was older than even Aaron, the priest who fabricated a golden Horus calf.

I would be delighted to read your book. Contact me through email at
aproeditor-at-gmail-com

James rodriguez said...

Been a while since my last anonymous post above. I decided to unveil my anonymity and reveal my Hori...errrr...Levite identity :). Given my unorthodox circumstances, I can't help but ponder if God, in some way, is still employing the priestly tradition today. BTW..I have updated my book and added sections titled:

-Simon The Canaanite, the Syro-Phoenician Woman, The Centurion
-Naaman The Syrian
-The Widow of Sidon
-The Ninevites
-Returning to God-Act 15:14-19

If you're interested, I'll email you a copy of the new edition. Keep up the good work.