Alice C. Linsley
In the ancient Egyptian and Ugaritic languages the word "piru" meant house, shrine or temple. The O'piru were Sun temples. The Sun was the emblem of the Creator among the servants of the Sun temples, and these servants were called ha'piru, 'apiru or ha'biru (Hebrew).
There were various castes of people who worked at the east-facing O'piru. These included priests, metalworkers, leather workers or tanners (ta-hash), stone masons, vintners and warriors. By the second millenium B.C. the ha'piru were dispersed throughout the Nile Valley, the ancient Near East, along the Indus River Valley, and in parts of southern Europe along the major water systems. These occupations were in service to the deity and to the king who built the temple. The king often served as the high priest of the temple also. A seated statue that shows Ramses II in the leopard skin of a priest was found at the temple that he build near Cairo. The temple was found in a suburb of Cairo called Ain Shams. "Shams" is the Arabic word for Sun.
The deity to which the temple was dedicated was the deity to which the various Ha'biru were devoted. Abraham is called "Hebrew" (ha'biru) in Genesis 14:13, and as a ruler in Edom, he appears to have been a devotees of Horus. That is why the rulers of Edom are called "Horites" in Genesis 36. Abraham's territory was entirely in the region of Edom (Idumea). He controlled the expanse from Hebron to Beersheba. Sarah, his half-sister wife, lived in Hebron at the northern boundary of Edom.
The ha'piru devotees of Horus represent a very ancient lineage of castes. They can be traced back to at least 5500 B.C. to Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors who were cattle herders. One of their shrines was a Nekhen on the Nile. The temple there is dedicated to Horus.
Another Horite shrine was Heliopolis. The Harris papyrus speaks of 'apriu of Re at Heliopolis, the shrine of the Sun. Joseph married into this royal priest line when he married Asenath, the daughter of the priest of On. On is Heliopolis.
The Horite priests of Heliopolis 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.”
Among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors, Hathor, the mother of Horus, conceived when she was "overshadowed" by the Sun, the emblem of Re. This is the origin of Messianic expectation. This very ancient narrative is the proto-Gospel, the fore-telling of the story of the Virgin Mary who conceived by divine overshadowing, as the Angel Gabriel explained.
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."