Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making Sense of Genesis 10

Alice C. Linsley

Genesis 10 is one of the most fascinating chapters of Genesis from an anthropological perspective. It is mistakenly called the “Table of Nations” by Young Earth Creationists who believe that the peoples named here are the first peoples to populate the earth after Noah's worldwide flood.  Rather, we have an account of the dispersion of Nilotic peoples across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion. Among these were the Nilotic Ainu who have been identified through DNA studies as "first nation" peoples.

Genesis 10 provides a picture of how the descendants of Noah were linguistically related people whose point of origin was the Nile valley at a time when the Sahara was wet. All the peoples of Genesis 10 spoke “the same language, with the same vocabulary” (Gen.11:1). These languages are in the Afro-Asiatic group and can be traced back to the Nile Valley. Modern languages developed from the phonemes that were used among these peoples.

DNA studies have confirmed the Kushite migration out of Africa. However, there were already human populations scattered across the earth. Some of those populations resulted from earlier migrations out of Africa. The first took place about 120,000 years ago and the second about 70,000 years ago. The Kushite expansion coincided with the spread of the Horite religion by the Hapiru. In the proto-Saharan languages p is replaced by b so Hapiru also appears as Habiru. Habiru is rendered as "Hebrew" in English Bibles.

Their languages are now largely extinct, but the lexemes can be reconstructed through comparative linguistics. For example, the symbol Y is a solar cradle that represents a whole complex of related ideas including divine appointment, overshadowing, the ruler, the ruler's territory, the ruler's tent, and the ruler's people and herds. This lexeme is reduplicated in the Holy Name YHWH (of Nubian origin).

The linguistic relationship of the clans and castes is evident n the correspondence of their names. So we must look for a third familial phoneme to help us identify units. Consider, for example, this confederation:  Lehab, Lesha  and Letushim (Gen. 25:3). But wait! There may be a fourth: Leummim (Gen. 25:3). Le is a very ancient lexeme. There is also the confederations of Jubal, Jabal and Tubal, and Og, Gog and Magog.

Tsodila Hills of Botswana
Photo credit: S. Coulson
These people comprised a sophisticated network of clans and castes governed by great rulers. They forged the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion which extended from Nigeria to India. Noah descendants did spread out of Africa. Genesis 10:8-12 tells us that Noah's great grandson Nimrod built an empire in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. These rulers were "the mighty men of old" or gibboriym (powerful ones) of Genesis 6:1-4.

Archaic Industry

The evidence of archaic human industry, religion, ritual burial, and domesticity in Africa, Arabia and China creates a more accurate picture of the earlier populations. On the Arabian Peninsula, the Qafzeh population was using tools 125,000 years ago at Jebel Faya.

Humans were making reed mattresses 77,000 years ago in South Africa. That is where the oldest mattress, made from compacted grasses and leafy plants, was discovered at the Sibudu Cave site in KwaZulu-Natal. In this same region a stone carving of a python has been found that dates to 70,000 years.

There is the evidence of mining in South Africa between 80,000 to 100,000 years ago. These are major mining operations that included quarries and tunnels. It is estimated that a million kilos of red ocher ore was excavated from several mines. At one mine half a million stone-digging tools were found. The red ocher was ground to power and was used globally to bury rulers. Anthropologists agree that the red ocher symbolized blood. Apparently, it was connected to the people’s hope or expectation that the ruler might rise from the dead and lead his faithful people to immortality.

The Pengtoushan culture thrived along the Yangtze River between BC. 7500–6100, and the Yangshao culture flourished along the central Yellow River between BC. 5000 and 3000. Yangshao nobles wore silk garments.

About 4000 years before Noah people were using dugouts to navigate the rivers of the Sahara. This is attested by the discovery of an 8000-year old black mahogany dugout in Dufuna in the Upper Yobe Valley along the Komadugu Guna River in Northern Nigeria. At the time when this boat was used the major water systems of Central Africa and the Nile interconnected.

8000 year old dugout found in the Sahara

Cemeteries were established which reveal ritual burial. Paul Sereno unearthed 10,000 year old skeletons at Gobero in Niger. These were buried on the edge of a paleolake on the northwestern rim of the Chad Basin. The Gobero site is the earliest known cemetery in the Sahara and the skeletons found there indicated that some were at least 6 feet tall.

Gobero skeleton (G3B8) measures 6 feet 6 inches
Photo (c) Mike Hettwer, courtesy Project Exploration

At the time of the Gobero populations (9700-4400 years ago), humans were dispersed globally, and during the time of Noah these populations were not destroyed. Consider the following population estimates by urban center between 2400 and 2200 BC, the time when Noah's flood would have occurred:

Memphis, Egypt - 32,000 inhabitants

Lagash, Iraq - 60,000 inhabitants

Mohenjo-daro, Pakistan - 40,000 inhabitants

Mari, Syria -50,000 inhabitants

Baodun settlements, China - Baodun is the largest settlement, covering an area of about 373 miles. There is no evidence of destruction by flooding though all six Baodun settlements straddled the Min River in central Sichuan province. The Min is a tributary of the upper Yangtze River.

There is no evidence that any of these peoples were wiped out by a worldwide flood. The evidence simply does not support the interpretation that all the peoples of the earth were destroyed in a catastrophic global flood and that the earth was repopulated by Noah's descendants.

The Hapiru were a caste of priests who served in the temple. A temple was considered the house or pir├╗ of the deity, so Ha-piru referred to priests who served at the temple or water shrine. In the case of Abraham's people this referred the Horite priests (Horim), devotees of Horus, the "son" or "seed" of the Creator God. His emblem was the sun. The ancient Dravidians referred to their east-oriented temples as Opiru, meaning "Sun House."

Some of these priests were called tera among the Ainu. This is the origin of the name or title of Abraham's father Terah. Among the Ainu of Japan tera refers to a temple. The Ainu people of Japan are in haplotype D (Y-chromosome) and haplogroup X (mitochondrial chromosome). Their elders are bearded and have a red skin tone similar to Abraham's Horite people. Genesis 36 names Seir the Horite as a ruler of Edom = red. The red skin tone Ainu migrated from the Nile to Japan and Eastern Canada, and the dark skin tone Onges and Jarawas (also Haplotype D) migrated to the Maldives, India and parts of Southeast Asia.

Related reading:  From the Nile to The Philippines: Tracing the GurjarsWas the Earth Repopulated After Noah's Flood?; The Nubian Context of YHWY; The Nile-Japan Ainu Connection; The Afro-Asiatic Dominion; Boats and Cows of the Nilo-Saharans; Scientific Verification of the Genesis 10 Dispersion; Noah's Flood: Where and When?


DDeden said...

"The Kushite expansion coincided with the spread of the Horite religion by the Hapiru. In the proto-Saharan languages p is replaced by b so Hapiru also appears as Habiru. Habiru is rendered as "Hebrew" in English Bibles"

My rendering differs from Clyde Winters. Mb (as a single letter) preceded B, P and M which diverged later. So Hambiru preceded both Habiru and Hapiru. Hambiru probably diverged into Ham, Shem(Xyam) and Temple/steeple

Alice C. Linsley said...

If that is the case, what extant language would we find with a parallel? Ha-mbiru would be more likely and this is essentially the same a Ha-biru.

Unknown said...

In the garden of Eden, the Pison river compasses the whole land of Havilah where there is said to be gold. Ophir, according to the Hebrew-Lexicon Concordance is also a region where gold is mined. Intriguingly, two of Joktan the Elder's sons are named Havilah and Ophir. It makes me wonder if Ophir and Havilah are referring to the same place, or a place that's adjacent to one another.

Two of Kush's great-grandsons are named Sheba and Dedan. And consequently, two of the sons by Abraham's son by Keturah, are also named Sheba and Dedan. Does this fit into the cousin-wife naming prerogative? I find it interesting why there is so many repeated names early on... for instance there are three people named Sheba, and another person named Seba, which is quite similar.


Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, Timothy. When we find the same names a generation apart, it usually is an indication of the cousin bride's naming prerogative.