Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Jesus Christ in the Hebrew Scriptures


Dr. Alice C. Linsley

Someone observed that the name "Jesus" is mentioned only in the New Testament. In this person's mind that raises doubt about His historicity and the authenticity of the Gospel. 

There are allusions to the Lamb's Blood that saves the Israelites from death, or to the scarlet cord by which Rahab's household is spared from the slaughter in Jericho. The Apostle Paul described the Rock in the wilderness as Christ. Melchizedek is posed as a type of Christ, both High Priest and High King. The New Testament writers certainly found Jesus in the Hebrew and Greek texts of the Old Testament.

Beyond these allusions and typologies, a critical reading of the Old Testament presents an accurate picture of the Gospel as a tradition received from the early Hebrew, Abraham's ancestors.

About one-quarter of Genesis is the story of God’s dealings with Abraham and his ancestors (chapters 1-12). Some of Jesus' ancestors are named in the King Lists of Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. Jesus' eventual victory over sin and death is described in Genesis 3:5. Because this is so, we recognize that the promise concerning the incarnate Seed/Son of God (Gen. 3:15) does not originate with the Jews. It is the much older belief of the Horite and Sethite Hebrew who believed that the Son of God would be miraculously conceived, and that in his repose he would proclaim glad tidings to those in Hades. A Horite Hebrew song found at the royal complex at Ugarit speaks of HR descending to the place of the dead "to announce good tidings." HR in ancient Egyptian means "Most High One".

The Seed of God was expected to crush the serpent's head. This early Hebrew expectation was expressed in the Pyramid Texts, dating to 2200 B.C. "Horus has shattered (tbb, crushed) the mouth of the serpent with the sole of his foot (tbw)" (Utterance 388).

The early Hebrew believed that the Son of God would rise on the third day. A reference to the third day resurrection is found in the Pyramid Texts: "Oh Horus, this hour of the morning, of this third day is come, when thou surely passeth on to heaven, together with the stars, the imperishable stars." (Utterance 667) Jesus' third-day resurrection fulfilled that Hebrew expectation in every detail.

The Messianic reference in Psalm 110:1 - The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet." - is expressed 1000 years earlier 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)

Jesus subdues the Father's enemies so that God's children might live and prosper. This is expressed in Psalm 2:12: "Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him."

The name "Jesus" (Yeshua in Hebrew) is derived from the ancient Egyptian name Yesu (shown above) which is associated with royal authority. The feather represents the letter Y and stands for one who judges, measures, or weights. The next symbol represents horns. The idea of God's presence "between the horns" predates Judaism. Then there is the sedge plant which represents a king, and finally the falcon, the totem of HR (Horus), the patron of kings. HR in ancient Egyptian means "Most High One". (Source: Bill Manley, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, 2012, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London)

In the Egyptian Book of the Dead, Horus is called the "advocate of his father" (cf. 1 John 2:1).

The expectation of the coming of the incarnate Son of God was preserved by Abraham's ancestors to whom the promise was first made in Eden, a well-watered region that extended from the sources of the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates (Gen. 2). Christianity alone preserves that oldest known religious belief.

The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship is at Nekhen on the Nile (4500 B.C.). The Hebrew ruler-priests served at many of the ancient Nilotic Sun Cities. They gave the world the earliest known resurrection texts.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Prestige of Biblical On

Alice C. Linsley

Joseph's elevation to a high position in Egypt and his marriage to Asenath of Heliopolis, a Hebrew shrine city, suggest that he was a rightful heir to something back in Egypt. (See "The Enigma of Joseph".)

Joseph married Asenath, a daughter of the High Priest of On, the capital of the 15th nome of Lower Egypt. On was known to the Greek as Heliopolis, meaning "Sun City" because it was dedicated to the High God whose emblem was the sun. Heliopolis was one of the great Sun Cities of the ancient world that were served by the early Hebrew royal priests.

In ancient Egyptian On was called Iunu (Iwnw) meaning “place of pillars”. In Heliopolitan cosmology the watery realms above and below (the "firmaments") were connected by the massive pillars of the temple of Heliopolis.

Great Hypostyle Hall within the Karnak temple complex.

The complex of the early Sun Temple had many pillars bearing inscriptions to the high king, prayers to the High God and to his son HR. Some pillars depicted great victories in war, the details of treaties, and dedications. Isaiah 19:19 refers to a pillar erected in Egypt as a sign that the Lord will send the Egyptians a savior.

It was common for pillars to be inscribed in memory of holy ancestors, as stained-glass windows in churches are dedicated to "pillars" of the congregation. The entrance pillars of Solomon's temple were named for Boaz, Solomon's holy ancestor on his father's side, and Joktan, a holy ancestor on his mother's side.

The Priests of On

The Harris papyrus speaks of the 'Apriu of Re at Heliopolis. Re in ancient Egyptian means “father”. Re’s son was HR (Horus in Greek). HR in ancient Egyptian means “Most High One”. The ‘Apiru (Abrutu/Hapiru/Habiru/Hebrew) of Heliopolis worshipped God Father and God Son. 

The priests of On were known for their wisdom, purity and sobriety. In his Timoeus, Plato writes: "Tell me of the God of On, which is and never knew beginning." Plato studied under a Nilotic priest at Memphis for thirteen years.

Heliopolis is mentioned in Isaiah 19:18 as one of five Egyptian cities that swore allegiance to the Lord of Hosts.

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 prestige of Heliopolis is evident in the way royal sites were aligned to that complex. The Sun City of Baalbek in Lebanon, with its massive stones, aligned to On (see map above). The pyramids at Giza, Saqqara, and Abusir were aligned to the obelisk at On.

It appears that On eclipsed the prominence of the earlier Horite Hebrew shrine city, Nekhen on the Nile. Nekhen predates the building of the Great Pyramids at Giza and the step pyramid of King Djoser who ruled for 75 years. Djoser inaugurated an era of monumental building in stone which inspired the Great Pyramids. The oldest known tomb, with painted mural on its plaster walls, is located in Nekhen and dates to c. 3500–3200 B.C.

Discoveries at Nekhen (Greek Hierakonpolis) continue to push back the dating of early civilizations. Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim announced the discovery of a Pre-Dynastic tomb that dates to about 500 years before King Narmer of the First Dynasty. 

Archaeologists working at Nekhen discovered a temple with huge cedar pillars. They describe the offerings at the Nekhen as “ten times larger” than the typical mace heads and bowls offered elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine city.

Nekhen had a twin city on the opposite side of the Nile. That sister city was Nekheb (Elkab). The royal tomb of Horemkhawef in Nekhen and the tomb of Sobeknakht in Nekheb were painted by the same artist. Hormose, the chief priest of Nekhen, requested material goods from the temple at Elkab for use at the temple at Nekhen.

One of the more intriguing discoveries at Nekhen was the recovery of an almost complete beard in association with the redheaded man in Burial no. 79. The presence of long wavy natural red hair and a full beard illustrates the genetic diversity that existed in Africa thousands of years ago. The Nekhen News (p. 7) reports, "The vast majority of hair samples discovered at Nekhen were cynotrichous (Caucasian) in type as opposed to heliotrichous (Negroid)."

At Nekhen, archaeologists found hippos buried in the elite cemeteries (Nekhen News, Vol. 25, 2013, p. 20). They also found numerous carved and sculpted figurines of hippos, some with red coloration. They concluded that hippo imagery is "linked to local elites" (Nekhen News Vol. 27, 2015, pp. 8-9).

Cain's brother Seth/Seti is often shown in ancient images as a red hippo. The hippo figurines likely indicate that there were Sethite Hebrew at Nekhen as well as Horite Hebrew.

That Sethites were living among the Horites of Nekhen is not surprising given that these two groups represent a moiety structure of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. The term "moiety" refers to one people organized into two ritual groups. Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the lines of Cain and Seth indicate that their descendants intermarried (endogamy). 

The diagram above shows the pattern of cousin marriage in which the cousin bride names her first-born son after her father. It is likely that Asenath and Joseph were cousins.

Monday, May 22, 2023

The Cosmology of Abraham's People

Alice C. Linsley 

 Anthropologically, the roots of religion are in the primitive soil of man’s most fundamental experience of and response to earthly phenomena. Early man observed distinctions: hot and cold, night and day, east and west, and male and female. These distinctions ordered their world and observing them was essential for survival. 

The ability to determine direction was important when migrating, and to find hunting grounds, and to mark the boundaries of tribal lands. The cardinal poles are important in all tribal religion, and because all peoples were originally tribal, these continue even today to influence our religious ideas. From the binary oppositions of east-west and north-south, archaic man was able to assign names to phenomena that he perceived as belonging to certain quadrants on a sphere. An example is the designation of winds that proceed from directions between the 4 cardinal poles: a southwest wind or a northeast wind. To each wind was given a name indicating a socio-metaphysical meaning. Winds proceeding from the west were regarded as a positive omen. Theophrastus, a 4th century BC scholar wrote, “Zephyros, the west wind, is the most gentle of all the winds and it blows in the afternoon and towards the land, and is cold.” The east wind (called “Sirocco” in Arabic) was less welcome as it brought heat and dust carried on strong winds. 

In the Afro-Asiatic scheme, quadrant 1 would be that space on earth where sunlight falls as the sun makes its journey from east to north (morning). Quadrant 2 would be that space on earth where sunlight is seen as the sun journeys from north to west (afternoon). Quadrants 3 and 4 would be those associated with the sun’s hidden activity from the setting of the sun (quadrant 3) to before the sun’s rising again (quadrant 4). Thus, according to ancient Egyptian hymns, the sovereign Deity was both immanent and transcendent and “double-concealed.” The key reference points in the cosmology are the sun’s arc and the polar star. The polar or North Star never changes its place in the sky. When you face it, you are always facing north. So east and north are the primary astronomical and religious points of reference and are associated with Divine arousal and judgment. 

Among Abraham's people the sun was the emblem of the Creator. Genesis reveals their cosmology. Were the writers of the Bible from the Paleo-Siberian culture, for example, where there are long periods of darkness and long periods of daylight, we would find a different theological perspective, one reflecting that phenomenon. The cosmology that we find in the Bible pertains to the experience of the biblical Hebrew, a ruler-priest caste known for its wisdom and technological prowess.

It is from them that Jews, Christians and Muslims receive the tradition of facing east in prayer. The notion of the shrine of the heart as the sacred place of the indwelling god is evident in Egypt as early as 1200 BC, when personal piety entailed facing the rising sun, thereby inviting the most sovereign Deity to dwell in the person. Even earlier, the Pharaoh was called “son of Re,” the celestial creative principle whose emblem was the sun. Rulers were not chosen based on hereditary bloodline (Egyptian texts never mention an earthly "father of the king"). Kingship was a manifestation of the solar deity’s cultic overshadowing of noble women. The cosmology of the early Nilotic Hebrew is represented in the Ankh. The loop at the top symbolizes the sun. The cross bar represents the sun's daily journey from east to west. The Ankh has affinity to the Agadez Cross of Niger (shown at left) and to the Sign of Tanit of Carthage (shown below at right.) 

A similar image with the TNT inscription was found in the temple of Eshmun near Sidon. It dates to about the 5 century B.C. Assignment of the name 'Tanit' is guess work, however, since no one knows how TNT should be transliterated. All the images shown here have the solar symbol over a horizontal bar representing the east-west movement of the sun. The sun is shown at the mountain top at the sacred center (high noon - as James explains, "In Him there is no shadow..."). 

Mountains were a meeting place between God and man. Consider the many incidents of biblical heroes ascending mountains and there experiencing theophanies. The horned altar is a negative image signifying the same view of God's sovereignty over the earth, only here the circle has disappeared, and God's presence is evident in the negative space (apophatic). The upright horns are similar to those on the Tanit symbol shown at right. 

Interestingly, the metal working Inadan who live in the Air Desert surrounding Agadez, maintain 2 wives in separate households on an north-south axis, as did the chiefs of Abraham's people. They speak a secret language called TeNeT (National Geographic, Aug. 1979, p. 389). 

The binary distinctions, based most fundamentally on the four directional poles, must have impressed upon early humans the reality of their limitations, since they had no power to make the sun follow a different course or to move the polar star. Early man recognized that a greater Power had established night and day, the seasons, and the rising and the setting of the sun. So it is that the great structures of antiquity were oriented to welcome the rising sun, the symbol of the High God. The layout of the Temple in Jerusalem was arranged taking the path of the sun into account, and the great pyramids of Egypt face east. The metal-working Hebrew knew true north because they had discovered the pattern of polarized iron filings. 

The Hebrew ruler-priests maintained two wives in separate households on a north-south axis rather than an east-west axis, out of deference to the Sovereign God, who journeyed daily between his wives: Dawn and Dust. This sheds light on Lamech (Gen. 5) whose 2 wives were settled on an east-west axis. Lamech’s wives’ names were Adah, related to the word “dawn” and T-Zillah, related to the word “dusk.” Lamech either was guilty of claiming equality with God by placing his wives' separate settlements on an east-west axis, God's territory symbolized by the Sun's daily journey. Or, the separate residences of his two wives (dawn and dusk) are meant to speak of the vastness of Lamech's dominion.

It appears that two wives of Hebrew rulers were an essential part of establishing and maintaining territorial boundaries among royal persons. That this practice pertained to exceptionally high-status persons is evident in that the pattern is associated only with rulers such as Abraham, or ruling families such as that of Jesse, the father of King David and the grandfather of King Solomon.

Consider the Song of Songs which speaks of two royal brides. One bride is described as “dark as the tents of Kedar” (1:5) and the other is described as “fair as the moon” (6:10). This is typical of the territorial claims of high kings in the Ancient Near East. The brides represent the east and the west, the territorial boundaries observed by the solar arc, the symbol of the God’s High rule over the Earth. This was a way of identifying the authority of the high king with the authority of the High God.

 It was this mystical symbolism that guided Abraham in deciding what to do after he had been in the land of Canaan for a while. Genesis 12:8 says that Abraham proceeded “to the mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.” Bethel means “House of God” and is associated with the east, the direction of the sunrise. Yet we are told that Abraham pitched his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east

This mysterious orientation appears to present a reversal. The word Ai suggests a mystical explanation. In Jewish mysticism, “Ain soph” is Hidden God and “Aima” is great reproductive Mother. Ain is one with Aima in a mystical union that signals that something new is about to be born. This is the forward motion of Abraham’s life. Now we must remember that Abraham had come into this land as a stranger and did not possess a territory. He was a sent-away son. In this vicinity was the Oak of Moreh near “the navel of the earth” (Judges 9:37). “Moreh” means instructor or diviner. In other words, Abraham went to the Diviner’s oak for guidance about how he was to become established in the land. 

In Jewish mysticism Ain soph is associated with north and the number 1 and represents the Hidden God. Aima is associated with south and the number 3 and represents creative union. In pitching his tent where he did, the house of Ain (Bethel) has moved to the west, which means that south has moved to the position of north. We have a reversal of directional poles that places south in the position of priority. South presents marriage and reproduction. In the very next verse (Gen. 12:9) we are told that Abraham heads south, making “his way stage by stage to the Negev.” The text appears to be telling us that this is when Abraham took Keturah as his second wife. Now with Sarah in Hebron and Keturah in Beersheba, he was able to establish control over a territory on a north-south axis, following the marriage and ascendancy pattern of his Hebrew forefathers. 

We have further confirmation of the association of 1 with north and 3 with south in 1 Kings 7:23-26 and 2 Chronicles 4:1-4. Here we read that the altar in Solomon’s temple was to rest on 12 oxen: 3 facing north, 3 facing west, 3 facing south and 3 facing east. We note that north heads the list, having the position of priority. Then comes west (associated with the numbers 9 and 10) and then in the third position we have south. 

Are the directional poles the “esse” of Christianity? No, but the Hebrew cosmology foretells Messiah's appearing, and the poles remind us that we must face the only Great God who alone can save, the uncreated, preexistent God who stretched out the heavens and made the sun to shine on the wise and the foolish, the same Eternal One who will make the new heaven and earth. Blessed be his Name! 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

New to Just Genesis?


Dr. Alice C. Linsley

If you are new to Just Genesis you may find this INDEX of Topics helpful.

The articles that appear here reflect an empirical approach to the study of biblical populations. The investigation of the cultural context of these populations is called Biblical Anthropology. This science is not to be confused with theological anthropology which is more speculative. 

Archaeology in the Bible lands is called "Biblical Archaeology" and the science of anthropology pertaining to Biblical populations is "Biblical Anthropology". This approach requires thinking empirically about the 66 canonical books from which we draw anthropologically significant data to better understand the social structure and religious beliefs and practices of biblical populations.

In this science assertions must be backed up with data from the biblical texts. Assumptions must be demonstrated to have a basis in the Scriptures. We avoid theological speculation and denominational interpretations.

The 66 canonical books of the Bible are the primary resource used by Biblical anthropologists, but we also look at other books of importance such as the Books of Enoch, Judith, and the Wisdom of Ben Sira (Sirach). These contain valuable anthropological information.

Anthropologists are interested in material culture. We want to know what people made, what materials they used, and what tools they used. We are curious about the things they used in daily life. How did they bury their dead? What did they believe about the creation of the world? What culture traits made their population distinctive? How did they organize for war? Where did the rulers derive their authority?

A central task of Biblical Anthropology is to uncover antecedents. Culture traits, ceremonies, rituals, and religious beliefs do not spring suddenly into existence. They develop organically over time from traditions received from the ancestors. Biblical anthropology provides tested methods and tools to push back the veil of time, to uncover anthropologically significant data that clarifies precedents, etiology, and context. The discoveries made in Biblical Anthropology prove helpful to students, pastors, and academics.

A central task of Biblical Anthropology is to uncover antecedents; something coming before what is described in the text. What events preceded the events recounted? From what earlier context did certain practices develop? What traces of ancient memory can be uncovered? Biblical Anthropology seeks to understand the cultural context of the Bible at the oldest foundations. It is concerned with ancestors and received traditions. Abraham's ancestors lived in the Nile Valley. Abraham was not the first Hebrew. The Hebrew ruler-priest caste from which he received his faith existed at least 2000 years before Abraham's time. That caste believed in God Father and God Son. The faith of Abraham was not Judaism. In Biblical Anthropology a distinction is made between the early Hebrew (4200-2000 B.C.), Jacob's clan of the Exodus called "Israelites" (1500 B.C.), and the Jews whose identity emerged after the Babylonian captivity (597-538 B.C.).

The biblical text always speaks of something older, some prior action that solicits a response from later generations. What Jacques Derrida called the "trace" is always there, and unless one moves toward that presence, the nature of it remains unknown. Even where later sources attempt to efface an earlier account, as happens in Genesis, the trace has a voice. Judaism does not erase the faith of Abraham into which Messiah's followers are grafted. The prior remains evident. There is a subjugated voice or a minority opinion, and those who care about the bigger picture read minority opinions.

David Noel Freedman said: “The Hebrew Bible is the one artifact from antiquity that not only maintained its integrity but continues to have a vital, powerful effect thousands of years later.” Both anthropologists and archaeologists turn to the Bible for clues and data. Very often this has led to wonderful discoveries! Let's use this forum to advance the science of Biblical Anthropology.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Rams, Lions, and Royal Ladies


A tiny golden ram and a stone lion were found in a tomb at the Gonur Depe archaeological site (2400-1600 B.C.) in Turkmenistan. Gonur Depe, a bronze age town, was discovered in 1972.

Among the early Hebrew the sun, copper, coiled snakes, the celestial bull or ram, horns cradling the sun, twin lions, inner sanctums, east-facing temples, solar boats, winged solar orbs, relic boxes such as the Ark of the Covenant, and green stones were associated with the High God and his son HR (Horus in Greek). In ancient Egyptian HR means "Most High One".

Lions were a symbol of royal authority in the Ancient Near East. They often appear on ancient royal steles. Even today lions appear on the heraldry of noble and royal houses. The lion was the totem of the clan of Judah, a son of the Hebrew ruler Jacob, and a lion appears on the Jerusalem coat of arms.

Royal Ladies?

Excavations at Gonur in the ancient delta of the Murghab River revealed a unique polychrome painting at the Bactria-Margiana Archaeological Complex. It was found in an unusual grave at Gonur 20. 

Also found at the site are a group of seated female figures wearing robes of green chlorite or steatite. The heads are of white limestone. Among the dispersed Hebrew, green stones, especially malachite, were associated with the High God and Horus.

Among the Horite Hebrew green malachite represented new life and the hope of resurrection. The land of the blessed dead was described as the "field of malachite." Green stones were associated with Horus, whose animal totem was the falcon. The Book of the Dead speaks of how the deceased will become a falcon "whose wings are of green stone" (chapter 77). The protective Eye of Horus amulet was made of green stone. The Ancient Pyramid Texts speak of Horus as the "Lord of the green stone" (Utterance 301).

Monday, March 27, 2023

The Talmud's Influence on the New Testament Writers

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

The first 12 chapters of Genesis are rich in anthropological data. They speak of the Hebrew ruler-priests who established and expanded their territories, promoted technological advances, controlled river and land commerce, traded with kingdoms far from their own, developed systems of writing, and influenced the religious beliefs of many non-Hebrew populations. 

The Hebrew ruler-priests were the first lords of the earth, the potentates of 6000+ years ago. They believed that their authority was derived from the High God and that they were required to rule according to the sacred law codes of their ancestors. Genesis preserves their king lists in chapters 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. Genesis 36:31 clarifies that these "mighty men of old" (Gen. 6) ruled before there was any king in Israel.

The Hebrew ruler-priests were a caste that preserved their identity and wealth by marrying only within their caste. Among them are Cain, Seth, Lamech the Elder (Gen. 4), Lamech the Younger (Gen. 5), Noah, Ham, Shem, Sheba, Heth, Nimrod, and Abraham the Hebrew. 

Unfortunately, some of these early Hebrew are misrepresented in later writings, especially the Talmud and Mishnah. Though these were codified after 70 A.D. the ideas they contain were well known to the Jewish writers of the New Testament. In the first century there were many sects and schools in Jewish society and the diversity of opinion is expressed in the disputations of the rabbis.

Many Jews believe that the Talmud contains truth of greater authority than the Hebrew Bible. The Talmud itself encourages this. We read this explicit instruction: “My son, be more careful in the observance of the words of the Scribes than in the words of the Torah." (Talmud Erubin 21b)

SUNY professor, Robert Goldberg, has written: “The traditional Jew studies Talmud because it communicates ultimate truth—truth about God, truth about the world, and most important, truth about how God wants the holy community of Israel to live.”

New Testament writers were influenced by the Talmud in the way they present certain Old Testament characters: Cain, Esau, Korah, and Balaam are examples. Cain is remembered as a murderer, but Moses and David are not. Esau is posed as wicked though he forgives the deception of Jacob and welcomes him back to the “land of Seir” in Edom (Gen. 32:3). Moses’ half-brother Korah is remembered only for his challenge to Moses’ authority and not for his ritual purity, and Balaam becomes the archetype of a foolish false prophet.

By the time that Jude wrote his epistle (c. 68 AD) Cain was solidly established as the archetype of an earthly ruler. Jude warns those who might abandon Christ because of their suffering and false teachers that God punishes those who rebel against Him. He uses three men as examples: Cain the ruler, Balaam the prophet, and Korah the priest. These were the three most sacred offices among Abraham’s Hebrew people, and they were often filled by people corrupted by the world.

The pervasive influence of the Talmud on first century Jews makes it more remarkable that the New Testament writers recognized Jesus as Messiah and the Son of God.

Much of the argument developed by the writer of the book of Hebrews relies on rabbinic thought, not on historical realities. In Hebrew 7:14, the writer recognizes that the Messiah is from the clan of Judah and a descendant of David, but he seems unaware that both Judah and David are descendants of an ancient caste of ruler-priests. 

Hebrews 12:16 casts Esau as immoral, yet Esau welcomed his deceiving brother Jacob who sought to return home. Zevachim 14:4 claims that Esau's wives served idols, yet they were the daughters of the Hittite chiefs Elon and Beeri who served the same High God. Esau was Isaac's proper heir and he ruled over Isaac's territory in Edom. The intense dislike of Esau in Jewish writings appears to spring from jealousy.

In Hebrew 7:20-28, the author states that the former priests did not take oaths. However, there are historical documents that attest to oaths among the Horite and Sethite Hebrew priests. These include oaths of office, of loyalty, and of truth telling. The priest took an oath that declared loyalty to the high king who he served, and the oath was declared before the appointed royal official or high priest under whom the priest served.

In an oath taken before a priest of the Temple of Hathor on December 6, 127 B.C., a royal servant Petasatet declared his innocence in the case of cloth theft. Temples played an important role in resolving legal and personal disputes.

An oath was taken as a solemn appeal to divine authority represented by the high king. One type asserts a truth and is by nature a declaration such as that of Petasatet. A second type makes a promise pertaining to future actions. (See John A. Wilson, “The Oath in Ancient Egypt”.)

The writer of Hebrews admits that many of the religious practices of the period of the Exodus are not familiar to him. Of the Ark of the Covenant, the mysterious manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, he explains in Hebrew 9:5 – “Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.” When the details that enable verification of narratives is lacking the reader has reason to question the source.

However, an empirical investigation of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste using the data in Genesis tells us who they were, what they believed, how they dispersed out of the Nile Valley, and that they are the first to hold the Messianic Faith concerning God Father and God Son. Their religion was not Judaism and they would find much of the Talmud confusing and unfamiliar.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Correctly Identifying Biblical Populations


Alice C. Linsley

One of the challenges facing biblical anthropology is the accurate identification of biblical populations. This is difficult because a population may be called by more than one name in the Bible and in ancient texts.

In some texts the Horite Hebrew are referred to as Hurrians, Hivites, and Hittites. E.A. Speiser called attention to Hurrian/Horite personal names associated with Shechem and with locations whose inhabitants the Bible calls “Hivites”. Other examples of the interchange of the terms Hivite and Horite may be found by comparing the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint. The Septuagint reads "Horites" for the "Hivite" of the Masoretic Text in Genesis 34:2 and Joshua 9:7.

The Masoretic Text of Joshua 11:3 described the Hivites as being "under Hermon in the land of Mizpeh." However, the Septuagint reads "Hittites" in place of "Hivites". It is reasonable to assume that Hivite, Hittite, Hurrian, and Horite are closely related terms. It appears that Hebrew priests served the rulers of the peoples called Hittite, Hurrian, and Hivite.

The Hittites were related to the Horite Hebrew. They share a common ancestry traced through Heth/Het (Gen. 23). The Hittite "sons" of Heth were among the clans of Canaan (Gen. 10:15). They recognized Abraham as their kinsmen, addressing him as "a great prince among us" (Gen. 23:6). Esau married Hittite women, the daughters of Hittite rulers named Beeri and Elon (Gen. 26).
The clan of Het lived near Kirtiath-Arba, later called Hebron (Gen. 23:3,7), at the northern boundary of Abraham's territory. This was the location of Sarah's settlement. Here Abraham purchased a cave tomb for Sarah's burial.

In the many scholarly papers published about the Hurrians, we find these variants: Hurri, Hurrites, Horites, and Horim.

The Hebrew

The Hebrew are another population that requires careful investigation. The term "Hebrew" is derived from the ancient Akkadian word “abru”, meaning priest. However, variant spellings include Habiru, Hapiru, ‘Aperu, and ‘Apiru. The Harris papyrus speaks of the 'Apriu of Re at Heliopolis (biblical On/Iunu). The term “pirû” refers to a house, a shrine, or a temple. A temple was the mansion (hâît) or the house (pirû) of the god. Sargon is said to have been born of a virgin queen who was overshadowed by the High God while in the temple. His home city, Azu-pir-anu, was located on the banks of the Euphrates.

The Hebrew/Abrutu in India are called the "Abhiras" in Indian texts such as the Mahabharata and Purana. The word Abhira (अभीर) means “fearless”. The Abhiras are described as warriors, mercenaries, and bandits. Yet they are also recognized as highly skilled and the retainers of traditional wisdom.

The similarities between the Abhira and the Nilotic Hebrew are striking. Sri Rama's son's name was Kush. He expanded the territory of his kingdom westward of India. Nimrod the Kushite expanded his territory in Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia was the natural trade bridge between the Nile Valley and the Indus Valley. Indus seals with Harappan inscriptions have been found in Mesopotamia. Indus pottery and seals have been found along the sea routes between the Indian subcontinent and Mesopotamia. 

The Abhira of the Indus Valley and the Hebrew of the Nile Valley were cattle-herding populations who transported their cows on reed boats.