Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Mighty Men of Old


Alice C. Linsley

The "mighty men of old" were a caste of rulers who spread across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion, establishing kingdoms for themselves. They were served by royal warriors, priests, 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 habiru, 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 Habiru, so the attempts of Joshua and Caleb to take these settlements indicates a power struggle between kinsmen rather than strangers.

The Anakim and the Nephilim are linked to the giants, the "sons" of God, and the "powerful ones of old" in Genesis 6:1-4. The clue to understanding Genesis 6 is the word gibbor-iym (powerful ones). This passage is speaking about ancient rulers who were regarded as the "sons of the gods" or deified kings (elohiym). The gibbor-iym, also designated elohiym (deified rulers), comprise the divine council spoken of in Genesis. This is a common theme in Africa, especially among the Buganda of Uganda, the Yoruba, the ancient Kushites and the ancient Egyptians. The idea spread across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.

Anak's father was Arba. Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba. This suggests that he belonged to a larger group known as the Ar clans. They were royal scribes. Dr. Catherine Acholonu connects the Ar of Canaan to the Aro of Nigeria. She writes, "In Nigeria the caste under reference is the Ar/Aro caste of Igbo Eri priest-kings, who were highly militarized in their philosophy."

Genesis 10 speaks of the Ar who controlled the Red Sea and the Mediterranean kingdoms of Tyre and Arvad. This appears to be a 3-clan confederation, consisting of Ar, Arvd and Arkt. The last two clans are called “Arvadites” and “Arkites” in Genesis 10:15-18.
Nok figurine

Apparently, the Anakim were taller than the general Canaanite population and probably wore necklaces. Anak comes from the Hebrew root Anak  'nq (anaq) which means necklace. The word appears in the Song of Solomon 4:9 and Judges 8:26. As a verb, anaq means to serve as a necklace (Ps. 73:6) or figuratively to bestow riches upon someone (Deut. 15:14). Hebrew scholars take the word Anak to be a reference to "people with necklaces" or 'long-necked people."

The Hebrew word for neck is sawwar and may be of Nubian origin. The word is possibly related to the region of Nubia called Wawat. Nubian graves almost always contain necklaces which were regarded as a sign of prosperity.
Karo woman of Ethiopia with necklaces

Excavations in the region of Edom in Jordan have turned up graves containing necklaces. The Edomite shrine city of Petra reflects the pillared architecture of the Horite shrines of the Nile, and Obodas, the first ruler of Petra, took his name from the Edo/Edomite name for ruler which is Oba. Linguist Helene Longpre notes that Demotic Egyptian (7th-5th BC) and Nabatean Aramaic closely correspond to Meroitic or Old Nubian. (Longpre, "Investigation of the Ancient Meroitic Writing System", Rhode Island College, 1999.)

Lists of place names in the Nubian temples of Soleb and Amara West record six toponyms located in “the land of Shasu.” One of the six is found on a monument of Ramesses II that claims he “has plundered the Shasu-land, captured the mountain of Seir” in Edom; a 19th Dynasty letter mentions “the Shasu-tribes of Edom”; Ramesses III declares that he has “destroyed the Seirites among the tribes of the Shasu.” The Egyptians regarded the Shasu as a prominent part of the Edomite population. (Read more here.)


Social organization of the Anakim

The Anakim were organized into three-clan confederations as were many other groups living in Canaan. The three Anakim clans were named for the three highest ranked sons of Anak whose names are Sheshai (Shasu), Ahiman and Talmai (Josh.15:14).

Three-clan Horite confederations included Uz, Huz and Buz and Magog Og and Gog.

Other three-clan confederations listed in Scripture include:

Cain  Abel  Seth (Gen. 4-5)
Ham  Japeth  Shem (Gen. 5-9)
Og  Gog  Magog (Gen. 10; Nu. 21:33)
Haran  Nahor  Abraham (Gen. 11-12)
Ishmael/Yishmael  Joktan/Yaqtan  Isaac/Yitzak (Gen. 16, 21, 25)
Shelah  Perez  Zerah (Nu. 26:20)
Jeush  Jalam  Korah (Gen. 36: 4-18)
Korah  Moses  Aaron (Ex. and Nu.)
Dedan  Tema  Buz (Jer. 25)

In Canaan, the 3-clan Jebusite confederation consisted of Sheba, Jebu and Joktan.

Among the Sara of Chad, Sudan and Somalia the confederation is comprised of the qir ka, the qin ka, and the qel ka. The Sara are descendants of the Sao, an earlier three-clan confederation of warriors and kingdom builders. According to legend, there were giants among them. This connects the Anakim to Sara, Abraham's half-sister wife, who lived in Hebron.

Martin Noth, in his seminal work "The Scheme of the Twelve Tribes of Israel" (1930), showed that the twelve tribes of Israel did not exist prior to the covenant assembly at Shechem described in the book of Joshua. It appears that the older pattern of social organization involved three clans.


Related reading:  The Clans of ArThree-Clan Confederations to Twelve-Clan Confederations; The Nubian Context of YHWHRecovering the African Background of Genesis; Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans; Kushite Kings and the Kingdom of God



2 comments:

DDeden said...

Clan (English) might relate to clal (Hebrew: inclusive), probably links to glue & mongolu/igloo.

I'm wondering if the "hor" of horite/horus is cognate to:
huaca (spiritual shrine of Incas), (h)wakan tanka Lakota: spirit
hol(y)


Alice Linsley said...

More data needs to be gathered, but the Inca solar imagery is suggestive. Unfortunately, the Inca left no written records to consult the way the Hebrews did.

The Lakota may be related to the MicMac (Ainu) of Eastern Canada, in which case their ancestors originated in the Nile Valley. Wa-kan resembles Nilotic words. I also suspect connections with the Na-tchez of Mississippi and Louisiana, but there is so much more research to do (and never enough time to do it!)