Friday, July 1, 2011

The Religion of Tamar of Timnah

Alice C. Linsley

The Romanian anthropologist Mircea Eliade wrote extensively on the ritual nature of archaic societies. He noted that feasts, fasts, ceremonies and the construction of monuments were patterned after celestial archetypes. Religious observances, as well as the arrangement of residences in the village and the division of labor corresponded to events in the heavens such as the daily rising of the sun, the solstices and the equinoxes. Social structures among Abraham’s Kushite ancestors developed according to the celestial archetypes that they observed in the heavens.

The Kushites were great observers of Nature.  They noted correspondences between celestial and earthly phenomena and they believed that heaven and earth were connected.  They looked for evidence of connections. To give an example; serpentine lightening strikes the earth from above and serpents strike upwards from the earth. The point of connection is the sacred center, halfway between heaven and earth. Observed correspondences and connections were taken as facts upon which they could base their understanding of the world. In this sense, the ancient Kushites were quite scientific.

They observed a binary quality in nature, one aspect of which was gender. The binary sets of east-west and north-south were another. They also observed a distinction between ruler and ruled. This means that they saw a hierarchy in Creation. Conceptually, the structure of the world was regarded as triangular. They were fascinated by the geometric properties of the triangle which is evident in the construction of pyramids and ziggurats. Hierarchy is evident also in their multi-tiered cosmology which pictured the Creator at the peak of the heavens. The Apostle Paul refers to this when he relates his experience of caught up by the Spirit and taken to the third heaven (II Cor. 12:2). He explains the supremacy of Christ by saying that he ascended “far above all the heavens.” (Eph. 4:10)

We find the hierarchical concept in the supremacy of humans over animals and the supremacy of the creatures of earth over the plants. These tiers are the "kinds" of which Genesis speaks, each tier reproducing according to its own kind. The Creator's design entails boundaries which are generally recognized in reproductive science.

Seeds produce plants when they fall to the ground. Human semen produces humans. The seed that should fall to the earth is the seed of plants, which spring forth from the earth. The seed of man should fall on his own type (the womb), from which man comes forth. Clement of Alexandria wrote, “Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted” (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 A.D. 191). In the Biblical worldview onanism represents a violation of the divine order in creation.

This takes us to the strange story of Judah and his cousin wife, a daughter of Shua "a Canaanite" (Gen. 38:1-11). Shua's daughter bore Judah two sons: Er and Onan.  The name Onan is Onn (Heliopolis), a Horite shrine on the Nile. Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of the "priest of Onn" (Gen. 41:45). It is likely that Joseph’s brother Judah also married into this prestigious priestly line. The first born of Shua was Er, but Onan was likely the first born of Judah's cousin-wife. If so, she named her firstborn after her father.

Er was married to Tamar, the daughter of a Horite priest, but he "offended Yahweh and Yahweh killed him."  Following the levirate law, Onan then married Tamar to produce an heir for his dead brother.  Here we encounter a clue that this story is a late interpolation intended to slur the Canannites. It falls in the same category as the curse of Ham and the incest of Lot.  It clearly represents a time well after the people named in the story because it fails to recognize that Er already had an heir.

That Er's line continued is evident from the appearance of his name.  One of Joshua's sons was a descendant of Er by Joshua's cousin-wife.

Onan's motivation in not impregnating Tamar appears to be the security of his heir by his sister-wife. Tamar was his cousin/niece wife and her firstborn son would ascend to the throne of her father, who isn't named in the Biblical text. Apparently, Onan's spilling of his seed was motivated by fear of a son who might rule in competition to his heir. At this time Horite land holdings were smaller than those of the great Kushite kingdom builders such as Nimrod (Sargon the Great). Evidently, there was greater competition between ruling sons.

Onan's denial of a son to Tamar was serious because the anticipated "Seed" of Genesis 3:15 might come by a cousin/niece wife.  Indeed David's ancestry is traced to Tamar and Judah as is that of the Son of God.

The key to understanding this story lies with the identity of Tamar's father.  He appears to have been connected to the shrine of Hathor at Timnah. Hathor was the virgin mother of Horus who was called "son of God.'  Here is a celestial archetype to make note of because it is the pattern whereby Abraham's Jewish descendants would come to recognize the identity of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God who was born of the virgin Mary.

Hathor was the patroness of metal workers. Timnah was famous for its copper mines.  It was at the entrance to this shrine that Judah had intercourse with Tamar (Gen. 38:12-30). This strongly suggests that Tamar was the daughter of the Horite ruler-priest at Timnah. This suggestion is strengthened by what happened after Judah discovered that Tamar was pregnant.  He called for her execution according to the law pertaining to the daughters of priests (Lev. 21:9). She was to be burned alive.

Judah is not presented in a positive light in this story, but Tamar is. Judah ends up praising her initiative whereby she fulfilled the requirement of the law. Judah says about her "She was more righteous than I." (Gen. 38:26)

The Horite Shrine at Timnah

Timnah is the site of the world's oldest copper mines. The mines are at least 6,000 years old and there are newer ones as well, totaling about 10,000 shafts. The oldest mines were worked almost continuously by Kushite and Horite metal working clans until the Roman Period. There are ancient rock carvings showing Kushite warriors in chariots, holding axes and shields. A temple dedicated to Hathor was discovered at the southwestern edge of Mt. Timnah by Professor Beno Rothenberg of Hebrew University.

The highlighted circle marks the location of the Hathor Shrine.

The Chalcolithic metal works at Timnah were found at the Wadi Nehushtan in the foothills along the western fringe of the southern Arabah Valley. The smelting works, slag and flints at this site were found to be identical to those discovered near Beersheba where Abraham spent much of his time.  The metal workers of Timnah and the metal workers of Beersheba were kin and the patroness of their mining and smelting operations was the mother of Horus who was venerated or worshipped by the Horites. In other words, these were Horite metal workers. In his book Timna, Rothenberg concluded that the peoples living in the area were "partners not only in the work but in the worship of Hathor." (Timna, p. 183)

So it appears that Judah brought forth twin sons by the daughter of the priest of Timnah, one of the oldest Horite shrines known to exist outside of Kush. She was a woman of high social rank whose people patterned every aspect of their lives on the celestial archetype of Horus, the son of God. They believed that Horus was born at the winter solstice because from that day forward the Sun grows in strength. The ancient Egyptian ritual involved placing a male baby before the image of Hathor (Isis) and the "divine son" was presented with gifts by the priests.

The Horites observed the death of Horus in a 5-day festival. The first 3 days were marked by solemnity (as Plutarch noted in Isis and Osiris, 69). The last 2 days were a time of feasting and rejoicing. Horus is said to have died on the 17th of Athyr. His death was commemorated by the planting of grain. On the third day, the 19th of Athyr, there was a celebration of Horus’ rising. It is no coincidence that Jesus alludes to the Horite narrative when describing his passion and resurrection. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." (John 12:24) He identifies himself as the "Seed" of Genesis 3:15.

The Horites believed in the "second death" (Rev. 21:8) and prayed that this would be avoided. They offered sacrifice for and prepared the bodies of their dead in the hope that their bodies might rise to life at a future time.

Related reading: Timna Valley Mines Linked to House of DavidThe Afro-Asiatic Metalworkers; The Peoples of Canaan; The Bosom of Abraham; Nilotic-Kushitic Celestial Archetypes; The Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative


DDeden said...

Is this the same story using different translations?
from your post:

"Hathor was the virgin mother of Horus who was called "son of God.' ... the pattern whereby Abraham's Jewish descendants would come to recognize the identity of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God who was born of the virgin Mary. "

Dushara (Arabic: ذو شرى‎, "Lord of the Mountain"), also transliterated as 'Dusares', was an aniconic deity in the ancient Middle East worshipped by the Nabataeans at Petra and Madain Saleh (of which city he was the patron). He was mothered by Manat the goddess of fate.[1] In Greek times, he was associated with Zeus because he was the chief of the Nabataean pantheon as well as with Dionysus. His sanctuary at Petra contained a great temple in which a large cubical stone was the centrepiece. (Dushara - wikipedia)

Khaabou has been called by Epiphanius a Virgin that gave birth to Dusares/Dhu Sharaa/DVSARI, the Lord of mount Seir, the God of the Nabataeans equated with Zeus. He records a festival celebrating the birth of Dusares on the 25th of December whereby the Black Stone of Dusares (considered newly born) is carried around the courtyard of the temple seven times. (Khaabou - wikipedia)

Do these tie together?

Alice Linsley said...

The Nabateans lived in what was formerly Horite territory near Jabal Harun (Aaron's Mountain). They were descendants of the Horites and had many of the same beliefs concerning the Virgin Queen who would bring forth the Righteous King who would establish justice. Genesis 36 tells us that Seir was a Horite chief. The land of Seir was also called "Edom" which means red because the people there had a red skin tone.

The Nabateans were the descendants of the Nilotic Ainu who went all the way to Japan. One of their names for the Creator was "Asa" which refers to the rising sun. In Japan, the "Land of the Rising Sun," Asa means morning.