Dr. Alice C. Linsley
The first person to be explicitly designated as “Hebrew” in the Bible is Abraham and a detailed study of Abraham reveals a great deal about the biblical Hebrew and their Messianic Faith. Sadly, the artificial division of Genesis 1-11 and Genesis 12-50 creates a distorted picture of the Hebrew and the antiquity of the Messianic Faith among Abraham’s ancestors.
The unity of the book of Genesis is evident in analysis of the kinship pattern of the rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. The pattern is identical. All these persons were Hebrew. Abraham is one of their descendants. His Hebrew ancestors lived in the Nile Valley, Canaan, and Mesopotamia. They were a ruler-priest caste that dispersed widely in the service of kingdom builders like Nimrod.
Beginning in chapter 11, Abraham becomes the focal point of Genesis. We are told that he was Hebrew, and he was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold (Gen. 13:2). His high social status is evident in the personal audiences he had with Pharaoh and King Abimelech. Melchizedek, the priest-king of Jerusalem, ministered to Abraham after battle. This involved ritual cleansing from blood. The Hittites (descendants of Heth) recognized Abraham as a "great prince" among them. Abraham’s personal guard consisted of at least 318 warriors trained in his household.
Genesis 13 states that Abraham left Egypt and moved into the Negev (the "south"), a region known for mining and metal work. Abraham had clan and kin there among the Kenites. Likely, it was at this time that he married Keturah of the clan of Sheba. She established their southern settlement at Beer-sheba (the Well of Sheba). From there Abraham moved north to the region of Bethel and Ai/Hai. Eventually, Sarah established her settlement at Hebron. The wives' settlements marked the southern and northern boundaries of Abraham's territory. Bethel and Ai are shown on this map. Hebron and Beersheba are also shown, farther south.
As with the earlier Hebrew ruler-priests Abraham had two wives. The wives' settlements marked the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham's territory in Edom/Idumea. Abraham's father Terah (meaning priest) also had two wives. One wife was the mother of Sarah, and the other wife was the mother of Abraham. Sarah was Abraham's half-sister and the wife of his youth. Keturah was Abraham's patrilineal cousin and the wife of his later years. By his two wives, Abraham had 7 sons and an unknown number of daughters.
Hebrew sons who were not the firstborn sons of the half-sister (principal) wife or the firstborn sons of the cousin (second) wife were sent away. Genesis 25:6 explains that before he died, Abraham "made grants" to his other sons and then sent them away from his proper heir Isaac. This feature of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the early Hebrew drove their expansion out of Africa. However, by Abraham's time the size of the territories of the sent-away sons was relatively small. Abraham was a sent-away son who established his territory on a north-south axis between Hebron and Beersheba (a distance of 27 miles/43 kilometers) and on an east-west axis between Ein Gedi and Gerar (a distance of roughly 94 miles/152 kilometers). His authority in this territory was absolute.
The Horite and Sethite Hebrew were a caste of royal priests who dispersed widely from the Nile Valley where they maintained shrines and temples ("Horite and Sethite Mounds"). The terms "Horite" and "Sethite" do not designate races or ethnicities. They designate a moiety system. Though separate ritual groups or moieties, they shared common religious practices and beliefs, worshiped the same God, and served the same king.
Study of the social structure of the biblical Hebrew indicates that they were a caste. They exhibit all the traits associated with castes: endogamy, membership by birth, hierarchical status, inherited occupation, distinctive physical appearance such as shaved bodies, circumcision, type of dress, and restraints on eating with persons outside the caste. The ancient Egyptian rulers observed restrictions on eating with those regarded as ritually impure (Gen. 43). The practice of not eating with Gentiles continues today among strict Orthodox Jews. The prohibition is meant to discourage social mingling that can lead to marriage outside the caste.
The term “commensality” refers to the positive social interactions that are associated with people eating together. Communal meals encourage conversation, increase familiarity, and can lead to closer social, familial, and marital relations.
Exceptions were made in diplomatic relations. Hebrew rulers feasted with non-Hebrew rulers to formalize treaties and covenants. The feasts usually took place at sacred high places and were accompanied by animal sacrifice. Scholars have learned much about ancient treaties through study of the Mari Tablets (Mesopotamia), the Pact of Esarhaddon (Assyrian), the Amarna Texts (Egyptian), and the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty.
As temple attendants, the Hebrew were responsible for the fabrication of sacred vessels, stone altars, temples, royal tombs, and artifacts pertaining to the ruler's authority (crooks, flails, crowns, etc.). They often used copper and meteoric iron. Later they fabricated sacred objects of bronze, an alloy of tin copper and tin. In their world there was no separation of sacred and secular. The king was the Creator's representative of earth, and the royal priest was the link between the king and the people, and between the Creator and the people.
The ancient priests who served at the sun temples were called 'Apiru, Hapiru or Habiru (Hebrew). These words derive from the ancient Akkadian word for priest: abru.
Purity of life was an essential trait of the Hebrew priest. The Horite Hebrew of Heliopolis (biblical On) were known for their meticulous devotion to the Creator and his son, and for their sobriety and purity of life. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.”
The word "Horite" takes many forms: Har, Harwa, Khar, Khori, Hur, Hurrian, Horonaim, Horoni, Horowitz, Horim, and Hori. Hori was the son of Lotan son of Seir whose descendants were the "lords of the Horites in the land of Seir" according to Genesis 36:20-29 and 1 Chronicles 1:38-42. Lot, Lotan, and Nimlot are Nilotic titles. Nimlot C was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes during the latter part of the reign of his father Osorkon II.
Hathor's animal totem was a cow. She is shown at the Dendura Temple holding her newborn son in a manger or stable. The stable was constructed by the Horite priest Har-si-Atef. Atef was the crown worn by deified rulers. The Arabic word atef or atif means "kind." The ruler who wore the "atef" crown was to embody kindness and he was to unite the peoples.
Horite Hebrew belief in a deified son who would embody kindness and unite the peoples found fulfillment in Jesus Christ, a descendant of the Horite ruler-priests, the divine son of the Virgin Mary, daughter of the priest Joachim of the line of Nathan. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham's Horite ancestors in Eden (Gen. 3:15). This is why Frank Moore Cross cannot avoid the conclusion that the God of Israel is the God of the Horites.
Consider how Horus, the mythical archetype of Christ, describes himself in the Coffin texts (passage 148): I am Horus, the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house of him of the hidden name. My flight has reached the horizon. I have passed by the gods of Nut. I have gone further than the gods of old. Even the most ancient bird could not equal my very first flight. I have removed my place beyond the powers of Set, the foe of my father Osiris. No other god could do what I have done. I have brought the ways of eternity to the twilight of the morning. I am unique in my flight. My wrath will be turned against the enemy of my father Osiris and I will put him beneath my feet in my name of 'Red Cloak'. (Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt by R.T. Rundle Clark, p. 216)
Here we find the words of Psalm 110:1, a messianic reference: The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."
|Horus, son of Ra, was venerated at the Predynastic shrine city of Nekhen.|
Horus, whose totem was the falcon, was known by many titles. He was called the "Son of God," "Horus of the Two Crowns," "Horus of the Two Horizons," and he was associated with the three superior planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Mars was named "Horus of the Horizon" or "Horus the Red." Jupiter was called "Horus Who Illuminates the Two Lands." Saturn was named "Horus, Bull of the Sky." The three superior planets were always depicted with the falcon-head of Horus (Krupp 1979).
|Horus as a falcon on the mast of Ra's solar boat. |
Relief found at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
Hebrew religious ideas spread across the ancient world from the Nile region long before Egypt became a political entity. Abraham's ancestors came from the Nile region. He is descended from Nimrod, a son of Kush (Gen. 10:8). We first meet Abraham in the Mesopotamia that is where Nimrod built a vast kingdom.
Typical of castes, the Horite and Sethite Hebrew intermarried (endogamy). The genealogies of the Bible reveal that intermarriage of the ruler-priests lines continued to the time of Jesus. Jesus is the culmination of His ancestors' expectation of the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise. (Gen. 3:15)
It is from the Horite priesthood that the priesthood of Israel developed. Moses' two brothers, Korah and Aaron, were Horite priests before Judaism emerged as a distinct world religion, even before Israel can be identified as a nation. Horite priests served in the temple in Jerusalem on a rotating schedule. I Chronicles 4:4 lists Hur (Hor) as the "father of Bethlehem". The author of Chronicles knew that Bethlehem was originally a Horite settlement in the heart of Horite territory.
The word Horite is related to the Egyptian word for priest harwa. Another word for priest is korah. One of Moses's brothers was Korah. Korah means "shaved head" The Horite priest was to be purified before entering the temple. The purification ritual involved shaving their heads and bodies. According to Numbers 16:17,18, Korah carried the censor to offer incense before God.
Analysis of the kinship pattern of Moses's family reveals that it is identical to the pattern of the other Horite Hebrew ruling clans.
Josephus calls the descendants of Abraham by Keturah "Horites" and quoting another ancient historian, speaks of them as "conquerors of Egypt and founders of the Assyrian Empire." Doubtless this is a reference to Nimrod, the Kushite kingdom builder, who established a vast empire in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. Josephus failed to note that the Horite Hebrew already existed before Abraham married Keturah. They are Abraham's ancestors among whom the Messianic hope found early expression.
Horite men married only Horite women and according to a pattern which was tied to ancient tradition. It is not a coincidence that Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of "the priest of On" (Gen. 41:45). The exclusive intermarriage between Horite lines requires that we take these words quite literally: "For me you shall be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation." (Ex. 19:6)
Special care was taken in the selection of the wives of the firstborn sons, and each ruler-priest had four firstborn sons. The firstborn son of the half-sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father. The firstborn son of the patrilineal cousin or niece ascended to the throne of this maternal grandfather (as did Nimrod, who ascended to the throne of Nimrod the Elder). Nimrod the Younger was named by his mother after her father. This was done only by the cousin/niece brides, so while Nimrod's father is not known, we know that his mother was the daughter of the Kushite ruler Nimrod the Elder who conquer Nippur in 2340.
The firstborn sons by the ruler's two concubines, and sons by wives who didn't ascend to established thrones, were given gifts and sent away to conquer territories of their own. Sent-away sons include Cain, Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. The biblical data indicates that the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the early Hebrew drove their expansion out of Africa.