Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Abraham's Maternal Line

Alice C. Linsley

Abraham's mother is not identified in the Bible. This seems a strange oversight since Jewish identity is traced through the mother. Perhaps the final editor of Genesis (the Deuteronomist Historian) found this problematic because Abraham's mother was not a Jew, and therefore, Abraham was not the first Jew, as is often claimed. This is one of the many questions that reveals contextual incongruities in the book of Genesis.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Horite Hebrew people indicates that Abraham's mother was his father's half-sister. This means she was Terah's first wife, the wife of his youth. According to Jasher 7:50 her name was Amsalai. This name suggests her high rank. It means the "sweet fragrance of the people." Am refers to people, and salai refers to frankincense derived from the Boswellia serrata, a deciduous tree that grows in dry, mountainous areas. Her people are often referred to as the "hill people" and known by various names: Amurru/Amorite, Edomite/Seir, and Horite.

During the time of Abraham, the Amurru controlled a territory from Mount Hermon to Beersheba in the south, and from Engedi to Gerar in the west.

Jasher 7:50 states, "Terah took a wife and her name was Amsalai, the daughter of Karnevo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days." Kar refers to a high place or a mountain. Nevo is a variant of Nebo, so it appears that Abraham's maternal grandfather ruled a territory from near Kar-Nebo or Mount Nebo, which is הַר נְבוֹ‎ (Har Nevo) in Hebrew. The oldest known settlement in this area is Jericho which had ramparts as early as 4000 BC. The name Jericho is related to the name Jerah, a son of Joktan. Jerah was a grandson of Eber (Genesis 10:26).

Amsalai gave birth to Nahor and Abraham. Abraham was the younger and therefore, not the proper heir to his Terah's throne. He was a sent-away son to whom God gave a kingdom between Hebron and Beersheba, in the ancient land of Edom. The Greeks called this land Idumea, meaning "land of red people."

Note that both Hebron (where Sarah lived) and Beersheba (where Keturah lived) are in Edom. Abraham's territory extended on a north-south axis between the settlements of his two wives and was entirely in Edom.

When Abraham arrived from Mesopotamia he likely visited his maternal uncle and went from there to consult the prophet (moreh) at the great Oak at Mamre, near Hebron. Hebron is about 40 miles (65 kilometers) from Mount Nebo. Mount Nebo and Edom are in the modern state of Jordan. 

This was the land of the Horite Ha'biru (Hebrew) rulers who are listed in Genesis 36. Abraham's mother and father were kin to these rulers. Among Abraham's Horite ancestors (called "Horim" by Jews) ancestry was traced by double descent, along both the maternal and paternal lines. However, the ethnicity of a son depended on the clan of his mother. This is still true for Jews today. One is a Jew by two means: either by proper conversion, or if one's mother is Jewish.

Amsalai and Terah had the same father, Nahor the Elder. Nahor was a ruler in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. He was ethnically Kushite, a descendant of Nimrod, the son of Kush (Gen. 10:8) As the Horite Hebrew practice endogamy, we may assume that they shared this Kushite ethnicity.

Suggestion of avunculocal residence

Abraham's older brother ruled over Paddan-Aram upon the death of Terah. This was the pattern among the Horite Hebrew. The first born son of the half-sister bride was the proper heir. Other sons born to that bride were sent away either to serve in the realms of their maternal uncles, or to establish their own kingdoms. Sent-away sons, like Abraham and Jacob, often lived with or near their maternal uncles. This is called "avunculocal residence" and it appears that Abraham's trip to Mamre and Hebron was directed by his maternal uncle who ruled that territory. From Mount Nebo his sentries would have been able to survey all of Palestine.

A distinctive pattern of marriage and ascendancy

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's people indicates that his mother was his father's half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham). She was of the Horite ruler caste. These rulers have the Canaanite Y, a solar symbol, at the beginning of their names: Yitzak, Yaqtan, Yisbak, Yishmael, Yacob, and Yosef are examples. This solar cradle indicated divine appointment by overshadowing.

These ruler-priests clans intermarried. The women named in Genesis are Horite brides who married Horite rulers. Abraham's father's name was Terah which means "priest" among his Nilotic ancestors. The daughters of priests married the sons of priests, and all are descended from the same rulers named in the Genesis King Lists.

The Horites were  associated with the rulers of Nubia, Kush, Egypt and Edom. Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On or Onn (OXO, Iunu, city of the High God Anu), where the tera ruled. Heliopolis (biblical On) was a very prestigious shrine city in the ancient world.

In the ancient world these ruler-priests were called Ha'piru, Ha'biru or A'piru. They served at the temples in the ancient sun cities. The temples were called O'piru, meaning sun houses. The O symbolizing the sun. My Luo friend and language consultant, John Ogutu, noted a fascinating correspondence with his Luo language. He wrote, "O'mbiru, obiru refers to a small house built like a shrine or as a symbol among the Luo. A man who died before he could build his house would have the mourners erect one before his burial."

Many Hebrew words have a linguistic connection to Luo and other Nilotic languages. We would expect there to be linguistic connections, seeing that Abraham's ancestors were Nilotic ruler-priests.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite Hebrew indicates that Abraham’s mother was a daughter of Terah, a ruler-priest of Kushite ancestry. It is likely that Amsalai was the sister of Keturah's mother who was of the royal house of Sheba (see diagram). This connects Abraham's mother to the line of Sheba. Terah and Keturah's father, Joktan the Younger, appear to have married sisters, a common pattern with among the Horite Hebrew ruler-priest caste.


Steven Levy said...

I would love to talk to you , I strongly disagree with your lineage. Please refer to . The Torah has the right account of the lineage . Abraham, would not allow Ham to affect the genetic code too Moses . This is why he would not allow Issac to get a wife from Canan. There is much more .

Alice Linsley said...


As a biblical anthropologist my primary focus is the Bible, not the Talmud or rabbinic interpretations. I am concerned with investigation of pre-Jewish customs, specifically the customs on the Horite Hebrew (the Horim). Rabbi Stephen F. Wise, former Chief Rabbi of the United States, wrote: "The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism.”

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the biblical Hebrew reveals that the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried, as did the lines of Cain and Seth before them, and the lines of Abraham and Nahor after them. Their marriage pattern, as a caste or ruler-priests, was endogamy.

I refer you to a series on "The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew" - Part 4 is a good place to begin.

Alice Linsley said...

BTW, I read and often comment there.

Isaac's first wife was a half-sister and her home was Beersheba. Isaac was Abraham's proper heir and he ruled over a territory between Hebron and Beeersheba (on a north-south axis) and between Engedi and Gerar (on an east-west axis). This is called Canaan, but it is really ancient Idumea (Land of red people) or Edom.