Saturday, September 18, 2010

Giants and Dwarfs in the Bible

Alice C. Linsley
I received these images and a map of the Holy Land marked to show the supposed site of these finds. I was immediately suspicious given the depth at which the bodies were found. They should be at least 8 feet below ground level to fit the period of biblical history they are intended to support. The information comes from here. There is no verification of this in any peer-reviewed journal, and were such a discovery made by Biblical archaeologists you can be sure that they would be shouting about their discovery! It would at least get a mention in Biblical Archaeology Review.

That said, the Biblical account of giants is already verified. The Sara people tell of giants living among them. Sarah, Abraham’s half-sister wife was of the Sara tribe. She dwelt in Hebron and Hebron was called Kiriath-Arba (Arabic name). Old Arabic (Dedanite) is older than biblical Hebrew. The Sara tribe originated in west central Africa. The largest population of Sara lives in Chad (where Noah’s flood took place about 8,000 years ago.). The social organization of the Sara closely resembles the social organization of Abraham’s ancestors. Sara society is organized by patrilineal descent from a common male ancestor. There is a 3-clan confederation such as characterizes Abraham's people.

The qir-ka are the eastern Sara, the qin-ka are those living in central Chad, and the qel-ka are the western groups. The Sara today are descendants of an earlier 3-tribe confederation of warriors and kingdom builders. According to Sara legend, there were giants among them. These are likely the Anunnaki or Anakim, also called Nephilim. They are the gibboriym - mighty ones. The Kushite kingdom builder Nimrod is an example.

Dwarfs were also common among Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors.

 This Bes figurine dates to
between 1070 and 800 B.C.
 Dwarf figurines were popular
in the ancient world.

Yaksha, the dwarf (shown right) was venerated in the area where remains of giant men were found in 1936 in central Africa at Lake El-yasi.  The Sanskrit word "yaksha" is related to the Kushite word "yashi."  In ancient Egypt the dwarf Bes (shown below) was venerated as a semi-divine ruler.

The dwarf figurine was found widely in the ancient world, from the Upper Nile to Turkey. Excavations at Ziyaret Tepe in southeastern Turkey uncovered the body of a man who was buried with a Bes figurine.
At Nekhen in Sudan, many graves of dwarfs have been found. These were buried in such a way as to indicate that they held high rank among the Nilo-Saharans. In the 2012 Nekhen report, we read, "A number of ivory figurines attest to a special interest in dwarfs in Predynastic times, but none have provenance. Better documented are the statuettes from the Early Dynastic temple caches, for example at Tel el Farkha, where 13 little dwarf figurines were found. Although female dwarfs are more commonly depicted in this context, possibly due to an association with fertility, in the court of the Dynasty I kings, it was male dwarfs that were honored by burial amongst the royal retainers and commemorated with high quality stelae, showing that they were valued as personal attendants, just as they would continue to be in the Old Kingdom."  (From here.)

By the time of the First Temple in Jerusalem, dwarfs were not permitted to enter the place of worship. "For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; no man with a crippled foot or hand, or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles." (Leviticus 21:17-20)

The story of Jesus staying in the home of Zacchaeus the dwarf shows that God is not offended by this so-called deformity.

Diversity of Biblical Peoples

It is evident that there was a great diversity of peoples in the time described in Genesis 10.  This includes giants, dwarfs, and black, red and brown Nubians.
Red and black Nubians
(Ippolito Rosellini)
Red and brown Nubians
(Dr. Arthur Brack)

There were also castes and these practiced endogamy (marriage exclusively within the caste). These include the Kenite metal workers, the Horite ruler-priests and the Tahash (Madiga) leather workers. Genetic traits were preserved through the endogamous marriage pattern.


Susan Burns said...

Bes seems to always have a full beard.

Georgia said...

It looks like the 'giants' photo is doctored and spliced together. Notice the unnatural inconsistent light and the shadow and dark straight line at the top of the rib cage of the skeleton?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Yes, all the images I've seen of Bes show a bearded face. I wonder why. Any ideas?

Susan Burns said...

Beards are an interesting subject. Male facial hair seems to originate in racial groups that evolved on the Caucasus steppe.

Susan Burns said...

I missed your reply before and did not mean to ignore it!

Do you think they were always shaven or do you think they would only shave for high holy days? It would be difficult to maintain a hairless state. The Natser would allow his hair to grow whilst he was in his consecrated state. At the end of his ordeal he would shave his face and head (I am not sure about his body.) Sampson derived strength through his hair so maybe that is a clue since he was considered a Natser from birth. Also, the Kabala says that the hair is straw and adsorbs whatever is in the air - be it good or evil.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Very interesting, Susan. I'm not sure asto the role these high ranking dwarfs played in the ancient world, but it is certain that some were regarded with great esteem.