Friday, August 5, 2011

Was the "Land of Nod" Enoch's Territory?

Nok bust with solar symbol on the forehead found near Jemaa, Nigeria.
(Photo credit: Andre Held)

Alice C. Linsley

Analysis of the kinship data in Genesis 4 and 5 reveals that Cain and his brother Seth married the daughters of a chief named Enoch. This Enoch would have been the contemporary of the historical Adam. The daughters named their first-born sons Enoch/Enosh/Enos after their father.

This explains the similarity between the names of their first-born sons' names: Enoch/Enosh. The names are related to the word anochie, which refers to an heir to the throne. This suggests that Enoch was a royal title given to sons who ruled after their fathers.

The linguistic equivalents of Enoch include these variants: Nok, Hanoch, Anoch, Anak, Anoki, and Nakht. Nakht means "powerful" in Egyptian (nkht - ruler of the horizon) and was applied to rulers such as Pepi-Nakht-Heqaib. Enoch is a title referring to the royal first person. It corresponds to the Hebrew first person singular pronoun forms anoki and ani, and to the Akkadian first person singular pronoun anaku. In ancient Egyptian the equivalent pronoun is ink.

The land to which Cain went is called Nod and refers to "wandering." Nod (נוד) is an etymological etiology intended to explain the apparent peripatetic lifestyle of Cain and his metal-working descendants, the Kenites. 

In Hebrew the words Nod נוד and Nok נוך are almost identical. This was recognized in 1984 by the Nigerian philologist Modupe Oduyoye who saw a likely connection between Cain's line and the metal workers of Nok. (The Sons of the Gods and the Daughters of Men: An Afro-Asiatic Interpretation of Genesis 1-11, NY, Orbis Books, 1984, p. 21.) 

The region of Nok was at the confluence of the Niger and Benue Rivers. Archaeologists have found 13 furnaces there used for smelting iron. These date to between 700-500 BC.

If Nod is Nok, it appears that the father-in-law of Cain and Seth lived in what is today Nigeria. The Nok civilization; dates to about 1200 years ago but has earlier antecedents as evidenced by discoveries in an "increasingly larger area" of Nok influence that includes the Middle Niger Valley and the Lower Benue Valley.

This places Cain close to Borno or Benue (Land of Noah) in the region of Lake Chad. This is where Noah probably lived between B.C. 4415-3800 when the Sahara was green and the Chad Basin was prone to flooding. 

Noah was a descendant of Seth and Cain, since the lines of Seth and Cain intermarried (endogamy). The rulers of their lines are listed in the Genesis 4 and 5 lists.

"And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden." (Genesis 4:16)
Nok figurine of a chief

According to Genesis, the Land of Nod is located "to the east of Eden" and Cain went there when he was banished after murdering his brother. Indeed, Cain worried that he would become a wanderer without a homeland of his own, but this did not happen. Instead, Cain married the daughter of a powerful ruler named Enoch and built a settlement significant enough to be remembered as a “city” and named it for the son of his cousin bride (Gen. 4:17). 

Analysis of the kinship pattern of Abraham’s people, reveals that the rulers of territories maintained two wives in separate households on a north-south axis. It is likely that Cain and Seth had two wives and that they ruled over separate territories. One of their wives was the daughter of Enoch. The brides named their first-born sons Enoch/Enosh after their father, according to the cousin bride's naming prerogative. Seth's first-born son was named Enosh (from the Septuagint Enos) which is a variant spelling of Enoch/Hanock/Anoch/Nok/Nakht. This data suggests that Cain and Seth married into a noble house which controlled a territory in the region of Borno/Benue, the only place claimed to be Noah's homeland by the local populations.

To rule a territory, the chief had first to take a second wife. The wives lived in separate households on a north-south axis. Their settlements marked the northern and southern boundaries of the ruler's territory. If Cain and Seth followed the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the biblical Hebrew, they both had two wives. The first wife was a half-sister (daughter of Adam) and the second wife was a daughter of Enoch, Adam's contemporary.

Abraham's two wives lived in separate households on a north-south axis. Sarah resided in Hebron, and Keturah lived in Beersheba, to the south. Terah, Abraham's father, had the same pattern. One wife lived in Haran and the other in Ur, to the south. Terah would have controlled commerce between these two points. Perhaps Cain's territory extended between Kano and Nok on a north-south axis. This would not be east of Eden, however. Cain's movement may reflect the westward migration of Nilotic peoples. 

The Jebusites Unveiled

The Jebusites are one population that was present in Jerusalem, Gilead and Nigeria. Some migrated west along the connected water systems of the Sahara and settled in Nigeria. Here their rulers controlled the major water ways. This was documented as recently as 1892 in the New York Times which reported on the Jebu control of the water ways of the Port of Lagos. The king of the Jebu levied taxes on all products carried through his territory. 

The Jebu also moved east into the land of Canaan where Melchizedek, the ruler-priest of Salem (Jerusalem) lived in Abraham's time (Gen. 14:18). Jerusalem was a Jebusite city when David took control of the oldest and highest areas. 

Dr. Christopher Ehret explains how the climate caused the movement of three groups of people. He writes, "The initial warming of climate in the Bølling-Allerød interstadial, 12,700-10,900 BCE, brought increased rainfall and warmer conditions in many African regions. Three sets of peoples, speaking languages of the three language families that predominate across the continent today, probably began their early expansions in this period. Nilo-Saharan peoples spread out in the areas around and east of the middle Nile River in what is today the country of Sudan. Peoples of a second family, Niger-Kordofanian, spread across an emerging east-west belt of savanna vegetation from the eastern Sudan to the western Atlantic coast of Africa. In the same era, communities speaking languages of the Erythraic branch of the Afrasian (Afroasiatic) family expanded beyond their origin areas in the Horn of Africa, northward to modern-day Egypt. (History in Africa 3-4)

The Jebusites are classified in the second group. The western boundary of the Jebu is marked by a 1000-year rampart that is 70 feet high and 100 miles long. The British archaeologist Patrick Darling (1945-2016) is credited with drawing world attention to the discovery of the Eredo system of walls. He reports, "We are not linking what we found to a city, but to a vast kingdom boundary rampart."

The Eredo walls and ditches are located to the south-west of the Jebu town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state in southwest Nigeria. This is believed to be the largest pre-colonial monument in Africa outside of Egypt. Local people link the Eredo boundary walls to Bilikisu Sungbo, another name for Sheba, according to Patrick Darling. 

Today the Jebu (Ijebu) are classified as Yoruba, but the term 'Yoruba' applied only after the Eighteenth Century. The Jebu identify themselves as distinct from other Yoruba peoples and are divided into two groups, the Nago-Jebu and the Ketu-Jebu. These are the biblical Jebusites.

Study of the living Jebusites enables us to trace the origin of certain enthronement practices, such as the use of palm fronds. The two Jebu in Nigeria have two divisions: Jebu Remu and Jebu Ode. The supreme ruler of both is called "awujali” and he is installed with palm branches.

Jude Adebo Adeleye Ogunade writes in his memoir about growing up Ijebu. He was warned not to touch the leaves of the Igi-Ose tree, because as his Mama Eleni explained: “That tree is the tree whose leaves are used to install Chiefs and Kings of Ijebu and as your grandfather was a custodian of the rites of chieftaincy and kingship you must not play with its leaves.” It is interesting that this plant has been found to be a blood purifier. (The University of Oxford, 1937 Institute Paper, no. 7 on Medicinal Plants; reference HA1k).

Fresh palm tree fronds are used ceremonially at the installation of chiefs and kings and are used to decorate places of worship. The association of palm trees (tamars) with rulers and prophets was common among Abraham's people. Deborah sat under a palm tree as a judge and a prophet in Israel.

When the people used palm fronds to greet Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, they greeted him as one to be enthroned. To this very day, the Jebusites use fresh palm fronds when greeting and installing a ruler or a high priest. This supplies the information we need as Christians to better understand who Jesus Christ is. He is our King and our Great High Priest.