Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Ethnicity of Abraham and David

Alice C. Linsley

Abraham, Moses, Samuel and David were all Horite (Horim) as evidenced by the common marriage and ascendancy pattern of their fathers. Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy structure of their families reveals the distinctive pattern of the Horite ruler-priest caste.

The pattern of Moses' family is identical to that of the Nilo-Saharan rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10 and 11, and to that of Abraham's father Terah and Samuel's father Elkanah."

David's father was a ruler-priest of the Horite city of Bethlehem. It appears that all of these great men were Horites or Horim.

Jews call their ancestors "Horim" which is Horite in English Bibles. Abraham ruled in Edom, the land of the Biblical Horites. Other Horite ruled are listed in Genesis 36, including Seir the Horite, from whom Aram, Moses's father is descended.

At the time that Abraham lived there were no nations in the modern sense. There were peoples, clans, and castes. Ethnic identities aligned with the territorial chief.

Abraham's ethnicity was Kushite and his father was a ruler-priest descendant of Nimrod, a son of Kush. Nimrod was a sent-away son who became a mighty ruler in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. This is why we first meet Abraham in Ur, though his ancestors were cattle-herding Nilo-Saharans.

Abraham was another sent-away son whose territory extended on a north-south axis between his two wives Sarah and Keturah. Sarah resided in Hebron and Keturah lived in Beersheba. Abraham also dug wells in Gerar to the west and had a treaty with the ruler of that region. Likely he also had water rights at Engedi to the east. This means that Abraham's territory was entirely in the region know as ancient Edom. The Greeks called this region Idumea, meaning "land of red people."

Edom is named in the Bible as one of the ancient seats of wisdom. The wisdom of the Horites extended to medicine, astronomy, writing, commerce, navigation, natural sciences, and architecture. The 400-acre Edomite complex at Petra reflects Horite beliefs. This was the home of the red Nabateans. Naba or Nabu was the guardian of scribes and prophets. The cult of Nabu was introduced into Mesopotamia and Babylon by the Kushites. Kushite kings sometimes bore the name Nabu, as with Nabu-shum-libur, an early Kushite king in Babylon and Nabu-aplu-iddina. This is the origin of the Hebrew word nabi, meaning prophet.

The Horites were devotees of the Creator RA and his son Horus, born of Hathor who was divinely overshadowed. The Ra-Horus-Hathor narrative is a primitive form of the Gospel, or the Proto-Gospel.

From Abraham's Horite people receive a long-standing tradition concerning the Son or "Seed" of God (Gen. 3:15). The Horites are the direct ancestors of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-17), and understanding their way of life and religious beliefs helps us to understand who Jesus is.

When someone asks about the ethnicity of a Biblical figure, they usually want to know about that person's appearance. The Bible tells us very little about the physical appearance of most Biblical persons. This is probably because people were less concerned about what we call "racial" distinctions. The genetic mix of the inhabitants of the ancient Afro-Asiatic world was extremely varied. There were black and red Nubians.

Red and black Nubians

The Egyptians were reddish-brown, dark brown and black.  The Edomites were lighter with dark wavy hair and a reddish skin tone. David is described as having a red skin tone, reflecting his connection to the Horites of Edom. The Ainu (Anu) were lighter with a reddish tone and some had green eyes. Ainu rulers wore beards.

Although both Abraham and David are portrayed in films and images as European or Middle Eastern Jews, neither was Jewish. Both lived before a people called "Jews" can be identified. Abraham lived between 980-1200 years before David and about 2200-2400 years before Jesus. (See Thoughts on Calculating the Dates of the Patriarchs.)

This Jewish writer, when asked if David was Jewish, defines Jewishness and then evades the question that must be answered. One is a Jew if his mother is Jewish or if he properly converts to Judaism. David was a Jew if his mother was, yet strangely the Bible is silent about David's mother. Likewise, Abraham was a Jew if his mother was, and the Bible tells us nothing about Abraham's mother.  This is intriguing, given that the Jews are so fastidious about keeping genealogical records. We have good reason to suspect that this information was withheld or deleted at a time after Abraham and David, probably by the Deuteronomist Historian who places great emphasis on Jewish racial purity.

The Horites were a caste of ruler-priests who practiced endogamy. Horites married only Horites, so we can be fairly certain that Abraham's mother was a Horite and so was David's mother. The Bible does not explicity state the ethnicity of the mothers of Abraham and David. However, analysis of the genealogial data clarifies that they were both ancestors of Jesus Christ. Their people lived in expectation of the appearing of the Son of God, according to the promise that was made to their ancestors in Eden (Gen. 3:15). This points to the core family around which the tradition and expectation of the Son of God developed. Research on their identity makes it fairly certain that both women were of the Horite ruler-priest caste. Horite priests married the chaste daughters of Horite priests who maintained shrines along rivers or at wells. This is why so many of the leading figures of the Bible meet their wives at wells.

The Horite priests have been traced back to the oldest know Horite shrine at Neken in the Nile valley. The Hebrew root for Horite or Horim is hr, and this is also a proper name. Hur was Moses' brother-in-law. Moses' family was also Horite, as evidenced by his father's marriage and ascendancy pattern. The name takes many forms including Hur, Haran, Harun (Aaron), Horomo, and Harwa. The Edomite rulers were Horites and the Edomite shrine city of Petra reflects Horite beliefs.

The Horites were ethnically Kushite

Kushite wives are found among the Horite clans and many of the greatest figures of Biblical history married Kushite brides. Abraham and Moses did. Moses' Kushite wife was his first bride and his half-sister. Zipporah was his second wife and his patrilineal cousin. Abraham had two Kushite wives: Sa-ra and Ketu-ra. Their names represent two Horite clans, as evidenced by the Horite name for the Supreme God: Ra.

The ruler-priests of Abraham's people maintained their two wives in separate households on a north-south axis. This is what is revealed by analysis of the kinship pattern of Genesis 4-5 and Genesis 11. I Chronicles 2:13-16 lists David’s siblings, but does not mention that some of these children may be the offspring of Jesse by two wives. Jesse of Bethlehem was a typical Horite shepherd-priest, and Bethlehem was a Horite settlement.

David of the Horite Settlement of Bethlehem

David was born about 1040 B.C. He was the eighth and youngest son of Jesse of Bethlehem, a Horite shepherd-priest.  The settlement was originally known for the sacrifice of sheep and rams.  The meat was distributed to the poor, which is why the settlement was originally called "House of Meat." This meaning is retained in the Arabic name for the town: .  There is no record of David's mother's name. His father Jesse was likely a priest and shepherd and he probably had two wives.[2]  One wife (David's mother) was in Bethlehem and the other wife was probably in Hebron. This would explain why David was anointed first in Bethlehem and later anointed as king of Judah in Hebron (II Samuel 2:1-4). 

We note also that before being anointed as the ruler, David had married two wives following the custom of his ruler-priest ancestors. This parallels Isaac's story, in which Abraham must find his son a second wife (Rebecca) before he dies so that Isaac may become the ruler over his territory.  Rebecca was Isaac's cousin bride. Isaac's half-sister bride would have been living in Beersheba, which is where the servant brings Rebecca to wed Isaac.

David's first two wives are likely a half-sister and a patrilineal cousin.  Ahinoam of Jezreel would have been his cousin bride, as Jezreel is just north of Hebron. Abigail of Carmel was probably his half-sister bride, as Carmel is south of Hebron. [3] She is probably the Abigail named as David's sister in I chronicles 2:16. She had married Nabal who refused to help David when he needed provisions for his men. 

Now the question arises as to the identity of David’s mother. What should this matter? Because according to the custom of Abraham’s people, ethnicity or bloodline is traced matrilineally. Even today Jewish Law defines a Jew as one of three things:

• Someone who is matrilineally descended from Jacob (Israel) by any of his wives
• Someone who has properly converted
• Someone who is matrilineally descended from a proper convert.

The first is the only definition that can be applied to Abraham and David since both men lived before the Babylonian Captivity which marks the beginning of Jewish identity, and among their people ethnicity was traced through the mothers. This being the case, the critical question is what was the ethnic identity of David's mother?

David's Mother

According to the Talmud (a later source than the Bible) David's mother was called Nitzevet (tractate Bava Batra 91a). Her father was Adael. Adael is the masculine equivalent of the name Adah. Adah was the wife of Lamech the Elder, and the mother of Jubal and Jabal (Gen. 4). This is also the name of one of Esau the Elder’s wives. So Adah and Adael is a family name traced back to the lines of Cain and Seth (which intermarried). Both versions of the name are traceable to the Kenites, the descendents of Cain who intermarried with Seth's line.  So David is kin to the Kenites. This explains why David sent the spoils of war to the cities of Judah and to the Kenites (1Samuel 30:29).

We are familiar of the story of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, who killed Sissera by driving a tent peg through his temple while he slept (Judges 4:21).  Here we find a connection between the Kenites and the Hebrews. Heber means friend in Hebrew. It was given to Abraham, the friend of God.

David's ancestry is traced through the following women: Tamar, the daughter of a priest. Tamar, the Righteous, tricked Judah into impregnating her. When Judah discovered that she was pregnant, he ordered that she be burned to death. This was the sentence for daughters of priests who committed adultery or harlotry. The Horites, called Khar by the Egyptians, were ruler-priests who married chaste daughters of priests who ruled over water shrines.

Rahab of Jericho was the wife of Salmon the Horite, 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).  The evidence concerning David's ethnicity points to Kenites and Horites who intermarried.

Abraham's Horite Mother

Abraham’s mother is not named in the Bible, but according to tradition she was the daughter of a priest associated with the Horite shrine of Karnach in ancient Nubia (Upper Nile). This is evident from the name of her father, called "Karnevo" in the Babylonian Talmud. Karnevo would have been a Horite since the shrine of Karnach was dedicated to Horus, son of the Creator.

In the ancient world shrines were places of rituals. Common rituals included baptisms or water cleansing; circumcision, and the removing of front teeth called nak or naak. Kar-nak means place of performing the removal of teeth, a practice found among the ancient Nilotes.

The Genesis text explains that Abraham and Sarah had the same father, but different mothers. Sarah was Abraham's half-sister bride. Keturah was his patrilineal cousin bride.

Related reading: Genesis in Anthropological PerspectiveEndogamy and Jewish IdentityThe Nilotic Origin of the AinuKushite Diversity and UnityWho Were the Horites?; Abraham's Horite Mother Challenge to Shaye Cohen's Portrayal of AbrahamMoses' Wives and Brothers


あじ said...

This is really fascinating stuff. I've always thought it strange that people so easily dismiss the historicity of the OT. It's not like that culture (cultures, really) in any way resembles ours, so how on earth do we think we understand it well enough to dismiss it?

I think you've done a pretty good job showing that both the fundamentalist and the skeptic haven't really done their homework. Both want to take the text at face value according to their own (biased) priorities and it just isn't that simple.

If David's mother wasn't a Jew, that may help to answer why so much of his army wasn't Jewish either (at least when he was running from Saul). But what does the apparently deeply embedded bigamist norm say about New Testament/Apostolic and post-Apostolic Christian views on monogamy?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Only ruler-priests had two wives. This was not the pattern for the common man. The pattern speaks of Christ and His Kingdom. After Christ's appearing the pattern stopped.

Sandra McColl said...

Is it fair to say that, if the Scriptures don't tell us who David's mother was, people in the days before 'the beginning of Jewish identity' weren't as completely fussed with tracing their matrilineal descent from the patriarch Jacob (itself a contradiction), but whether they were matrilineally Horite?

Alice C. Linsley said...

One could conclude that, but I don't think it is so. Matrilineal descent mattered very much, as did patrilineal descent. Blood line- race was traced through the mothers and social status-rule was traced through the fathers. Both mattered very much.

I believe the answer has to do with the final handling of the material by Jews, who after being taken from their land, were determined that their claim on the land should be irrefutable. Zionism isn't a modern development. It began with the return from Babylon. There are other clues as well: the placement of the information about Keturah after the account of Sarah's death and burial. Genesis doesn't actually say that Abraham married Keturah after Sarah died, but the final editor of the material suggests this by the arrangement of the material. This is intended to focus land claims on the person of Isaac, though Abraham had at least 6 other sons, also daughters who intermarried with the people of Sheba. This is why Sheba disputed David's claim to the throne (I KIngs 15).

Anonymous said...

Hi Alice,

I have enjoyed reading thus far, I just wanted to ask about your reference to Sheba's dispute, did you mean 1 Kings 10?

Alice C. Linsley said...

You can read how Sheba attempted to usurp King David and lost his head for it in II Sam. 20:22.

Lydia said...

Alice, why would the marriage pattern stop because of the coming of Christ?
As far as the Jews are concerned they still await the Messiah and the coming of Christ has no meaning for them at all.



Alice C. Linsley said...

The Horite caste practiced clan endogmany among its rulers. They were the people to whom the promise was first made in Gen. 3:1 that the "Seed" of the Woman would come to crush the serpent's head. The Horites intermarried exclusively because they actually believed that a virgin of their ruler-priest caste would bring forth the promised Seed. The pattern I've identified using the Bible can be traced to Jesus' time, but not beyond his time. Perhaps this is because the Jerusalem priesthood was devastated in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the Temple. Or perhaps because the marriage and ascendency pattern of Abraham's people (ancestors and descendants)had served its purpose.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Your friend gives good information! Many groups are called by the area where they reside or have left artifacts and/or skeletal remains, but this is not what the tribes/clans call themselves. This happens in anthropology too. Neanderthals were fully human but were named for the Neander Valley in Germany where the first fossils were identified. The "Badarian" were not a people but a Saharan population whose artifacts were named for where they were first found at al-Badari in Sudan. The same with the Natufians. These were ethnically Kushites but their material culture received the name "Natufian" because that is where their artifacts were first found in Palestine.

There are many place names in India that parallel places in Africa. Orrisa/Orisha is an example. There are also words in Sanskrit that are originally African words, such as "sarki." The Sanskrit word for male human is "manu" which resembles the African word "adamu." The Dravidian "ka ayi" = mother resembles the Hausa/Hahm "eyi" = gave birth. The Hausa/Hahm toro = clean is like the Tamil tiru = holy. All are related to the proto-Dravidian tor = blood. In some Kushitic languages "mtoro" means rain and "toro" refers to God. These are related to the Egyptian ntr = deity, the Pure One.

There are many other examples from linguistics. There is also DNA evidence to trace migrations from Africa to India. You might be interested in this:

vera said...

Hello Alice I really live your humility,,,,what is your take on revelation 1: 14,15 about the black color of Christ,,,,do you have any books in print I would love to be further educated,,,,

Thanks so much

Alice Linsley said...

Vera, You are very kind.

Rev. 1:14 and 15 describes Jesus Christ's appearance in these words:

His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; and his feet like burnished brass, as if burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.

Wooly hair and a burnt skin with eyes the color of gold and white hair describes someone from the Sudan region of the Nile. The word Ham means burnt, not black necessarily, but more likely dark reddish brown, the color of the Beja of Sudan, one of the oldest native peoples of the region. The Beja are metal workers (like Cain and Tubal-Cain). Abra-Ham means "father of the burnt ones." His ancestors came from the Upper Nile region of modern day Sudan. Jesus is a direct descendant of the ruler-priests who originated in the Nile Valley.

In ancient Egypt the Beja were called "Medjayu." These metalworking nomads from the eastern Nubian desert were recognized for their military skills. They served as mercenaries in the Egyptian army and policed the desert in the late Old Kingdom. At the end of Egypt's Second Intermediate Period (ca. 1640–1550 B.C.) they played a role in expelling the Hyksos from the Nile Delta. The Medjayu buried their dead in a distinctive way in circular "pan graves" which they marked with the decorated skulls of bulls, gazelles and goats. These have been found in cemeteries of Upper Egypt and Lower Nubia beginning in the Second Intermediate Period. (Source: Sudan, 2000–1000 B.C., Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. The Metropolitan Museum of Art) They brought gold to Egypt from mines deep in the heartland of Nubia and Kush.

The Beja (Arabic: البجا‎) are Kushitic people who live in parts of Sudan, Egypt and the Horn of Africa. Their name comes from the ancient Egyptian word for meteroric iron - bja (metal from heaven), and they were metalworkers. Beja corresponds to the Sanskrit word bija, meaning semen or seed. Meteoritic iron was used in the fabrication of iron beads in Nubia about 6000 years ago. These beads may have been perceived as seeds from heaven which brought divine power to the wearer. Meteoritic iron was used in the fabrication of crooks and flails, the symbols of the Egyptian and Kushite pharaohs. These symbols were believed to give the ruler powers from heaven.

You can see a photo of the Beja here:

Anonymous said...

So why are Jews "God's chosen people" if Abraham and David are Hoeites?

Alice Linsley said...

The term "chosen people" has a biblical parallel - "treasured people" and has been interpreted different ways. The idea is based on Deuteronomy 14:2, which says: "For you are a holy people to YHWH your God, and God has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth."

The idea comes out of the time after the Babylonian captivity which also marks the earliest time in history that we can speak of a distinct people called "Jews".

Abraham and his ancestors were not Jews. They were known by the terms Habiru (Hebrew), the Shasu of YHWH and Horites (Horim).

Anonymous said...

Both the old and new testaments speak of a New Covenant being made exclusively with Jacob's descendants (Jer 31:31-33; Heb 8:8-10).

With all this race mixing, It would seem that his physical descendants today would consist of people from all ethnic groups and skin colors yet share a common ancestry and beliefs. Is this plausible?

Alice Linsley said...

Abraham is the one to whom God promised a kingdom. This was sealed by God's own action on the mountain at night when the fire passed through the animal parts that Abraham had set out according to divine instruction and the parts were consumed. Some people speak of this as an unconditional covenant; that is, other than sacrificing the animal, Abraham had no role to fulfill in the agreement. The covenant theology to which you point comes much later and is the viewpoint of the Deuteronomist Historian. This is the last set on hands on the Genesis material and is very late.

Abrahan was a Horite whose territory extended on a north-south axis between Hebron (where Sarah resided) and Beersheba (where Keturah, his other wife, resided). It extended on an east-west axis from Engedi to Gerar. This means that God fulfilled the promise to make Abraham into a great people in Abraham's lifetime. All of Abraham's territory was in the region of Edom, much of which was later be called Judah. Other Horite rulers are listed in Genesis 36.

There was not the great mixing of people that you seem to think because the Horite practiced endogamy. That means Horite men only married Horite women. The Horite were a royal-priest caste. Some of Abraham's Horite sons were born of Keturah and they inhabited Southern Arabia. They are called the "Joktanite" tribes/clans. Isaac inherited Abraham's territory. It does not appear that Jacob inherited Isaac's territory. The holdings associated with Jacob are farther north. It appears that Esau did, and Esau is named in the Horite kings lists of Genesis 36. See this:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the response. How would you explain these passages which indicate a much wider area of dispersion where Jacob's descendants are even worshipping other gods?

Gen 28:14 Also your (Jacob) descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Deu 28:64-65 "Then the LORD will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the LORD will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul.

Jer 23:3 "But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.

Jer 31:27 "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man and the seed of beast.

Hos 1:10 "Yet the number of the children of Israel Shall be as the sand of the sea, Which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass In the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people,' There it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.'

Hos 7:8 "Ephraim (10 tribes) has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.

Hos 8:8 Israel [ten tribes] is swallowed up; Now they are among the Gentiles Like a vessel in which is no pleasure.

Eze 4:13 Then the LORD said, "So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them."

Amo 9:9 "For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost.

Alice Linsley said...

Rulers and ruler-priests in the ancient world in Abraham's time and before practiced endogamy. These scripture references all relate to well after Abraham's time and speak of dispersed Jews who married with people other than Jews. This is a historical fact.

Alice Linsley said...

Here is a fuller explanation:

Yemi Tom, I am sorry that you have decided that I am an enemy of the Almighty and a white supremacist. The hateful article you posted on the internet about me is a cause of sorrow because I considered you a very promising future Biblical Anthropologist.

Anonymous said...

Jews are descendants of Yehuda, son of

Alice Linsley said...

Yes, Jews are descendants of Judah, one of Jacob's sons. The clans of Jacob (Israel) intermarried before the exile, so Jews have a mixed ancestry.

The Habiru/Hebrew clans intermarried before the time of Jacob. These included clans of Abraham by his cousin wife Keturah. So Jews also have blood kinship with the Jokanites of Southern Arabia and Yemen.

Anonymous said...

Will someone please explain race, ethnicity and nationality. Abraham was a Horite and Kushite? Is that like
being Native American and African? He was notJewish but what? What does it mean being a Hebrew. Never understood this.

Alice Linsley said...

Race is not a Biblical concept. The term isn't found in the Bible because there is no such thing as "race" in the sense that this term is used today. See this:

Ethnicity has to to with one's family, clan, and tribe. Abraham's ethnicity was Hebrew. Variants spellings of Hebrew in ancient texts include: 'Apiru, Habiru and Hapiru. The Habiru were a caste of people. Many populations of the ancient and archaic world were identified by their castes. The Habiru caste served int he Sun temples and usually were in service to the ruler of the region. The Habiru practiced endogamy, that is, they married within their caste exclusively. See this:

Nationality is not used in reference to ancient or archaic populations because they lived before the time of "nations" as that term is used today. A citizen of France holds French nationality. The ethnicity of the citizen of France many be an ethnicity associated with where his ancestors lived, say Serbia, Anatolia or Ireland. Ethnicity is traceable using genetic testing.

If we go back millions of years, all human ancestors came out of Africa.

This may be of interest also:

Anonymous said...

Dear Alice, thank you so much for your erudite post! I have a question concerning the Ainu you mentioned on your dissertation. is this Ainu people a possible ancestor of or the same as the Ainu found still in Hokkaido, the nortern most island in Japan?. There is a belief that the Japanese may have some Hebrew strain. Again thank ou so much!

Alice Linsley said...

I can't say for sure that the Annu of the Nile are the ancestors of the Ainu of Northern Japan, but there is evidence in various sciences to suggest a connection. See these articles:

oneita ismaeel said...

Alice I have been reading your wonderful, insightful, informative works. I enjoy them so much that I print about five at a time and just read and learn. ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO!!!
I have been told by Rebbe that Abraham and his people come out of the east, not Africa. Hebrews before him are from India. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around this. He also says that most Black Americans are not Israel, they would be more Hamitic,than Sh emetic.
I do know that Israel spread to the East and later to the four corners of the earth, but like you, it all started in central Africa. I trust your thirty fours years of insight and knowledge, please help..........omi

Alice Linsley said...

Abraham's father was Terah, son of Nahor the Elder. Nahor was a son of Serug. Serug was a son of Reu. Reu was a son of Peleg. Peleg and Joktan (Yaqtan) were the sons of Eber. Eber was a son of Selah. Selah was a son of Arpachshad. Arpachshad was a son of Nimrod. Nimrod was a son of Kush (Genesis 10:8). All scholars recognize that Kush is also the name of the Upper Nile. Kush was a son of Ham. Nimrod was a Kushite kingdom builder in the "east" (Mesopotamia). The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried. Abraham is a descendant of both Ham and Shem.

See this: