Saturday, January 15, 2011

Who Were the Horite Hebrew?

Image of a Sethite Hebrew priest of the Nile (Flinders Petrie, 1939)

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

The Horite and Sethite Hebrew are the oldest know priest caste. The two groups represent a moiety system of two ritual groups who served at the Sun temples of the ancient world before Abraham's time. 

The first person to be explicitly designated as “Hebrew” in the Bible is Abraham and a detailed study of Abraham reveals a great deal about the biblical Hebrew and their Messianic Faith. Sadly, the artificial division of Genesis 1-11 and Genesis 12-50 creates a distorted picture of the Hebrew and the antiquity of the Messianic Faith among Abraham’s ancestors.

The unity of the book of Genesis is evident in analysis of the kinship pattern of the rulers listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. The pattern is identical. All these persons were Hebrew. Abraham is one of their descendants. His Hebrew ancestors lived in the Nile Valley, Canaan, and Mesopotamia. They were a ruler-priest caste that dispersed widely in the service of kingdom builders like Nimrod.

Beginning in chapter 11, Abraham becomes the focal point of Genesis. We are told that he was Hebrew, and he was very rich in cattle, silver, and gold (Gen. 13:2). His high social status is evident in the personal audiences he had with Pharaoh and King Abimelech. Melchizedek, the priest-king of Jerusalem, ministered to Abraham after battle. This involved ritual cleansing from blood. The Hittites (descendants of Heth) recognized Abraham as a "great prince" among them. Abraham’s personal guard consisted of at least 318 warriors trained in his household.

Genesis 13 states that Abraham left Egypt and moved into the Negev (the "south"), a region known for mining and metal work. Abraham had clan and kin there among the Kenites. Likely, it was at this time that he married Keturah of the clan of Sheba. She established their southern settlement at Beer-sheba (the Well of Sheba). From there Abraham moved north to the region of Bethel and Ai/Hai. Eventually, Sarah established her settlement at Hebron. The wives' settlements marked the southern and northern boundaries of Abraham's territory. Bethel and Ai are shown on this map. Hebron and Beersheba are also shown, farther south.

As with the earlier Hebrew ruler-priests Abraham had two wives. The wives' settlements marked the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham's territory in Edom/Idumea. Abraham's father Terah (meaning priest) also had two wives. One wife was the mother of Sarah, and the other wife was the mother of Abraham. Sarah was Abraham's half-sister and the wife of his youth. Keturah was Abraham's patrilineal cousin and the wife of his later years. By his two wives, Abraham had 7 sons and an unknown number of daughters.

Hebrew sons who were not the firstborn sons of the half-sister (principal) wife or the firstborn sons of the cousin (second) wife were sent away. Genesis 25:6 explains that before he died, Abraham "made grants" to his other sons and then sent them away from his proper heir Isaac. This feature of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the early Hebrew drove their expansion out of Africa. However, by Abraham's time the size of the territories of the sent-away sons was relatively small. Abraham was a sent-away son who established his territory on a north-south axis between Hebron and Beersheba (a distance of 27 miles/43 kilometers) and on an east-west axis between Ein Gedi and Gerar (a distance of roughly 94 miles/152 kilometers). His authority in this territory was absolute.

The Hebrew ruler-priest caste

The Horite and Sethite Hebrew were a caste of royal priests who dispersed widely from the Nile Valley where they maintained shrines and temples ("Horite and Sethite Mounds"). The terms "Horite" and "Sethite" do not designate races or ethnicities. They designate a moiety system. Though separate ritual groups or moieties, they shared common religious practices and beliefs, worshiped the same God, and served the same king.

Study of the social structure of the biblical Hebrew indicates that they were a caste. They exhibit all the traits associated with castes: endogamy, membership by birth, hierarchical status, inherited occupation, distinctive physical appearance such as shaved bodies, circumcision, type of dress, and restraints on eating with persons outside the caste. The ancient Egyptian rulers observed restrictions on eating with those regarded as ritually impure (Gen. 43). The practice of not eating with Gentiles continues today among strict Orthodox Jews. The prohibition is meant to discourage social mingling that can lead to marriage outside the caste.

The term “commensality” refers to the positive social interactions that are associated with people eating together. Communal meals encourage conversation, increase familiarity, and can lead to closer social, familial, and marital relations.

Exceptions were made in diplomatic relations. Hebrew rulers feasted with non-Hebrew rulers to formalize treaties and covenants. The feasts usually took place at sacred high places and were accompanied by animal sacrifice. Scholars have learned much about ancient treaties through study of the Mari Tablets (Mesopotamia), the Pact of Esarhaddon (Assyrian), the Amarna Texts (Egyptian), and the Egyptian-Hittite Peace Treaty. 

The early Hebrew were in the service of the archaic kingdom building "mighty men of old" who controlled the trade routes from the wet Sahara to the Indus River, and from Anatolia to ancient Brittany. These shrine and temple attendants kept records, recorded measurements, and collected taxes on cargo that moved along the trade routes and major water systems. They also married within their clans (endogamy).

As temple attendants, the Hebrew were responsible for the fabrication of sacred vessels, stone altars, temples, royal tombs, and artifacts pertaining to the ruler's authority (crooks, flails, crowns, etc.). They often used copper and meteoric iron. Later they fabricated sacred objects of bronze, an alloy of tin copper and tin. In their world there was no separation of sacred and secular. The king was the Creator's representative of earth, and the royal priest was the link between the king and the people, and between the Creator and the people.

The ancient priests who served at the sun temples were called 'Apiru, Hapiru or Habiru (Hebrew). These words derive from the ancient Akkadian word for priest: abru

The term piru/biru refers to a house or temple. A temple dedicated to the High God whose emblem was the Sun was called Opiru. The Hebrew interceded for the ruler and the people and offered blood and grain sacrifices. Job offered sacrifice daily for the sins of his own family. At the end of the book, God tells Job to pray for his kinsmen Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad. This is reminiscent of Abraham praying for Abimelech and his whole household (Gen. 20:17,18).

Purity of life was an essential trait of the Hebrew priest. The Horite Hebrew of Heliopolis (biblical On) 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.”

Horite names  

The word "Horite" takes many forms: Har, Harwa, Khar, Khori, Hur, Hurrian, Horonaim, Horoni, Horowitz, Horim, and Hori. Hori was the son of Lotan son of Seir whose descendants were the "lords of the Horites in the land of Seir" according to Genesis 36:20-29 and 1 Chronicles 1:38-42. Lot, Lotan, and Nimlot are Nilotic titles. Nimlot C was the High Priest of Amun at Thebes during the latter part of the reign of his father Osorkon II.

The Horite Hebrew kings of Edom are listed in Genesis 36. Here is a diagram of the lines descending from Seir the Horite. Note that there are two men named Esau. Esau, like one of his descendant David, is described has being red. 

Abraham's territory extended between Hebron (Sarah's settlement) and Beersheba (Keturah's settlement). This places his entire territory in the land of Edom, called "Idumea" in Greek. Idumea means "land of red people". 

The Horites were devotees of HR (Hor, Hur or Horus) whose mother Hathor was said to conceive by the overshadowing of the sun, the Creator's emblem. Horus is the archetype by which Abraham's descendants would recognize Jesus as the promised Seed of the Woman (Gen. 3:15). The "Woman" is Mary, the virgin who conceived by divine overshadowing (Luke 1:35).

Jesus' authentication was His rising from the dead on the third day, in accordance with Horite expectation. As St. Augustine noted, the Egyptians took great care in the burial of their dead and never practiced cremation, as in the religions that seek to escape physical existence. Abraham's ancestors believed in the resurrection of the body and awaited a deified king who would rise from the grave and deliver his people from death.

Hathor's animal totem was a cow. She is shown at the Dendura Temple holding her newborn son in a manger or stable. The stable was constructed by the Horite priest Har-si-Atef. Atef was the crown worn by deified rulers. The Arabic word atef or atif means "kind." The ruler who wore the "atef" crown was to embody kindness and he was to unite the peoples.

Horite Hebrew belief in a deified son who would embody kindness and unite the peoples found fulfillment in Jesus Christ, a descendant of the Horite ruler-priests, the divine son of the Virgin Mary, daughter of the priest Joachim of the line of Nathan. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the promise made to Abraham's Horite ancestors in Eden (Gen. 3:15). This is why Frank Moore Cross cannot avoid the conclusion that the God of Israel is the God of the Horites.

Consider how Horus, the mythical archetype of Christ, describes himself 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)

Here we find the words of Psalm 110:1, a messianic reference: The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."

Horus, son of Ra, was venerated at the Predynastic shrine city of Nekhen.

Horus, whose totem was the falcon, was known by many titles. He was called the "Son of God," "Horus of the Two Crowns," "Horus of the Two Horizons," and he was associated with the three superior planets Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Mars was named "Horus of the Horizon" or "Horus the Red." Jupiter was called "Horus Who Illuminates the Two Lands." Saturn was named "Horus, Bull of the Sky." The three superior planets were always depicted with the falcon-head of Horus (Krupp 1979).

Horus as a falcon on the mast of Ra's solar boat.
Relief found at Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Hebrew religious ideas spread across the ancient world from the Nile region long before Egypt became a political entity. Abraham's ancestors came from the Nile region. He is descended from Nimrod, a son of Kush (Gen. 10:8). We first meet Abraham in the Mesopotamia that is where Nimrod built a vast kingdom.

Typical of castes, the Horite and Sethite Hebrew intermarried (endogamy). The genealogies of the Bible reveal that intermarriage of the ruler-priests lines continued to the time of Jesus. Jesus is the culmination of His ancestors' expectation of the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise. (Gen. 3:15)

It is from the Horite priesthood that the priesthood of Israel developed. Moses' two brothers, Korah and Aaron, were Horite priests before Judaism emerged as a distinct world religion, even before Israel can be identified as a nation. Horite priests served in the temple in Jerusalem on a rotating schedule. I Chronicles 4:4 lists Hur (Hor) as the "father of Bethlehem". The author of Chronicles knew that Bethlehem was originally a Horite settlement in the heart of Horite territory.

The word Horite is related to the Egyptian word for priest harwa. Another word for priest is korah. One of Moses's brothers was Korah. Korah means "shaved head" The Horite priest was to be purified before entering the temple. The purification ritual involved shaving their heads and bodies. According to Numbers 16:17,18, Korah carried the censor to offer incense before God.

Analysis of the kinship pattern of Moses's family reveals that it is identical to the pattern of the other Horite Hebrew ruling clans.

Josephus calls the descendants of Abraham by Keturah "Horites" and quoting another ancient historian, speaks of them as "conquerors of Egypt and founders of the Assyrian Empire." Doubtless this is a reference to Nimrod, the Kushite kingdom builder, who established a vast empire in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley. Josephus failed to note that the Horite Hebrew already existed before Abraham married Keturah. They are Abraham's ancestors among whom the Messianic hope found early expression.

Horite men married only Horite women and according to a pattern which was tied to ancient tradition. It is not a coincidence that Joseph married Asenath, the daughter of "the priest of On" (Gen. 41:45). The exclusive intermarriage between Horite lines requires that we take these words quite literally: "For me you shall be a kingdom of priests, a holy nation." (Ex. 19:6)

Special care was taken in the selection of the wives of the firstborn sons, and each ruler-priest had four firstborn sons. The firstborn son of the half-sister wife ascended to the throne of his biological father. The firstborn son of the patrilineal cousin or niece ascended to the throne of this maternal grandfather (as did Nimrod, who ascended to the throne of Nimrod the Elder). Nimrod the Younger was named by his mother after her father. This was done only by the cousin/niece brides, so while Nimrod's father is not known, we know that his mother was the daughter of the Kushite ruler Nimrod the Elder who conquer Nippur in 2340.

The firstborn sons by the ruler's two concubines, and sons by wives who didn't ascend to established thrones, were given gifts and sent away to conquer territories of their own. Sent-away sons include Cain, Abraham, Ishmael, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. The biblical data indicates that the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the early Hebrew drove their expansion out of Africa.

The Horite Hebrew Priesthood

We have no evidence that Horite priests performed the Canaanite practices condemned by the Biblical prophets, who were their descendants. Horite priests were concerned about purity, especially when preparing for their time of service in the temple.

Horite priests were asked to pray for people because they were recognized as especially holy people. Abraham was asked to pray for Abimelech's household and Job was asked by God to pray for his friends. So, the Horite priest's work involved intercessory prayer. That prayer sometimes involved sacrifice. Righteous Job offered sacrifice on behalf of his whole family.

Horite priests are also shepherds. They kept sheep for the sacrifice and maintained shrines at water systems where they could sustain their flocks. This is why the Horite leaders met their wives at wells.

The trial of Job, in which Satan acts as the accuser, parallels Zechariah 3:2-6 where Satan accuses the High Priest Yeshua. In Yeshua's trial, God acquits Yeshua and commands that he be clothed in clean garments and crowned with 2 crowns (ataroth).

The correspondence between the Horus Myth and the story of Jesus can be explained in two ways. Either Christians borrowed the Horus myth or Christianity emerges in an organic way from the belief system of Abraham and his Horite people. If we decide that Christians borrowed the Horus myth, we must explain why they should have selected this particular myth. There are other great world myths that could have served as the pattern for the story of Jesus. I know of no other religions that prefigure Jesus Christ, the Son of God, other than the faith of Israel as it emerges out of the faith of Abraham's Horite people.

Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He will receive an eternal kingdom from the Father. He is the Son of God, the fulfillment of the Edenic Promise of Genesis 3:15. He is able to conquer death and deliver sinners from the curse of death. This is the core of Christian belief. Surrounding this are attendant beliefs which logically follow. One is that to receive eternal life, we must acknowledge our need for mercy, forgiveness and salvation. Another is that God does this for us out of His boundless love. John wrote, "This is the revelation of God's love for us, that God sent his only Son into the world that we might have life through him." (1 John 4:9)

When Abraham arrived in Canaan he did not abandon the traditions of his ancestors. He continued the marriage pattern of his Horite Hebrew people, believing the promise made to them in Eden that the Seed of the Woman would be born of their bloodlines. That is why Abraham married his half-sister (Sarah) and his patrilineal cousin (Keturah), following the pattern of his ruler-priest ancestors. The Horites anticipated the coming of the Son of God to earth and believed that He would be born of their priestly bloodlines. That is why the lines of priests intermarrried exclusively, and why unchaste daughters of priests were burned alive (Lev. 21:9). Sexual impurity was not tolerated.

Joseph, Jacob's first-born son by Rachel, married Asenath, the chaste daughter of a priest of Heliopolis (city of the Sun). Heliopolis, which was called Iunu by the Greeks, was a shrine city of Horus. Iunu means place of pillars because the temple of Heliopolis was constructed with many pillars. Heliopolis was one of the most prestigious Horite centers in the ancient world. The pyramids of Giza, Saqqara and Abusir were apparently aligned to the obelisk at Heliopolis.

The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship in at Nekhen on the Nile (3800 BC). The votive offerings at Nekhen were ten times larger than the normal mace heads and bowls found elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine.

Horite priests placed invocations to Horus at the summit of the fortress as the sun rose. In the morning the priests faced the eastern horizon to greet the rising sun, the emblem of Ra and his son Horus. Prayers were offered at dawn and dusk. The Chief Inspector of the Horite Hebrew priests of Nekhen was Horemkhawef. His tomb has been identified.

Nekhen's sister city was Elkab (Nekheb), on the opposite side of the river. The tomb of Horemkhawef in Nekhen and the tomb of Sobeknakht in Elkab were painted by the same artist. Further, Hormose, the chief priest of Nekhen, was able to request 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 facial hair of the man in Burial no. 79 had been trimmed with a sharp blade. The presence of long wavy natural red hair and a full beard suggests that this individual may be of the same ethnicity as the red haired rulers known as Ur-David (shown below) buried in a pyramid in the Tarim Valley of China.

Note the solar mark on the face of this Tarim Valley ruler.

Related reading: Abraham the HebrewThe Hebrew Hierarchy of Sons; Horite Mounds, Ha'biru, Ha'piru, 'Apiru, HebrewThe Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Moses' Horite Family; Samuel's Horite Family; Sent-Away Sons; Ancient Words for Priests


Unknown said...

Very informative posts which reveal a great deal of research into this field of study.

DDeden said...

Olah is a common Hungarian surname, I was told it means Burnt Offering in Hebrew.

I suspect Hor(-ite) is the root of Hour, the priests were measurers.

Oromo horte of kush said...

Thanks a lot for this article author. I war confused about the 'kalu' or 'qalu' of oromo people. They practise what you said about sucrifice and ever thing they asked for God will be done. Still exercise in borena Oromo tribes. We call our selves 'horte oromo and horte kush' it is amaizing for me that Abraham is from kush. Ever thing u said about the 1st sone is exercised here in oromo tribe. Amaizing i got the answer about my tribal religion

Alice C. Linsley said...

Abraham's ruler-priest ancestors were Proto-Saharan Nilotes. These peoples ranged far and wide and certainly were in the Horn of Africa where the Oromo reside.

Subhashis Das said...

Hello Alice
Thank you for this very brilliant post. I was also reading your interaction with Kelly, which too I found to be very informative and interesting as well.

I am an Individual Researcher working on megaliths and their makers the proto austroloid tribals of India, a country where I reside. There are many proto austroloid tribes in India whose folklores and migration stories I am studying very intensely.

The Santals are the second largest tribe in India and just after them are the Mundas. Strangely these people call themselves Hors. They believe that their original homeland was in Chaldea and Abraham was a Santal.
I strongly feel that there must have been a connection between the present Hors of India and the Biblical Horites.

There are several more significant similarities to support my theory. As several Horite names mentioned in the Old Testament are similar with that of many names of these proto austroloid Hors of our country as Birsa, Lotan, Jibon (Zibeon) Tamar, Ser (Seir) etc.

I have dealt this and many more of these similarities between the Bible and the tribal Hors of India in the second part of one of my books THE UNKNOWN CIVILIZATION OF PREHISTORIC INDIA released in 2014.

Best wishes
Subhashis Das

Alice C. Linsley said...

Brilliant connections here! Thank you, Subhashis Das.

I agree that there is a connection between the present Hors of India and the Biblical Horites. These ruler-priests appear to have been a royal caste. They are mentioned in many ancient texts by different names, but all the names share the HR root, which suggests a link to Horus.

Hurs, Houris, Horite, Hurrian, Horim

Alice C. Linsley said...

At the international Facebook forum The Bible and Anthropology we discuss the Horite Hebrew at greater length. You are welcome to join the group.

Damon said...

So, a few comments.

Firstly, are you familiar with Egyptologist David Rohl, and his New Chronology reconstruction of the early history of Israel - including where to find the Exodus and the conquest of Canaan in history?

Secondly, I don't understand why you're associating Abraham's origins with **Egypt** when Abraham hailed from **Ur of the Chaldees**. And as far as Nimrod goes, there's a lot that can be said about him - including a pagan "father/son" cultic practice - but he was definitely not a Kushite prince! He was a Sumerian!

As Rohl demonstrates, due to an artificially extended Third Intermediate Period, Egyptologists erroneously look for evidence of early Israel's existence and don't find it in the mid 18th dynasty. Rohl explains that the Exodus happened **in the late 13th dynasty**, and gives dozens and dozens of separate proofs showing that everything fits with that chronological reconstruction. (See "Exodus: Myth or History" and his "Legendary Kings" ebook series.) Joseph would have entered Egypt around the mid 12th dynasty, and backtracking from there brings us to the Ur III period for the Tower of Babel and Nimrod.

During the Ur III period, Amar-Sin began a reconstruction project on the ancient ziggurat at Eridu, the first city of Sumer, using a slave force. But, due to the fact that the path of the Euphrates had changed over time, Eridu was no longer close enough to the Euphrates to grow crops, and thus Amar-Sin had to cut his reconstruction project short as he couldn't feed his slave force. The ziggurat at Eridu **was left unfinished**.

Note, this is the ONLY candidate for an "incomplete" "Tower of Babel" from any known period of ancient Sumer.

Damon said...

However, many Biblical scholars believe that the legendary Sumerian king Enmer-kar was Nimrod, the builder of the Tower of Babel, because of the story of "Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta." In that story, Enmer-kar wants to unify Sumer and Aratta so that the whole land would praise the pagan god Enlil "with one language."

So, was Nimrod Amar-Sin, or Enmer-kar?

What if they're actually the same person? Note that the Sumerian prefix "En" can mean "god" or "divine." The suffix "kar" means "hunter" - as in, Nimrod the mighty hunter. "Sin" was the Akkadian name of the moon god of fertility. Finally, the Akkadian "Amar" would be the equivalent of the Sumerian "mer."

So what we have is a "divine" one named "mer" who is the personification of the moon god Sin - who just so happens to be the son of the sky god Enlil. In other words, Nimrod/Amar-Sin/Enmer-kar **was an antichrist, a counterfeit "son of god"**!!!

God originally covenanted with Adam and Eve to "take dominion" over the earth - something they were incapable of doing in their lifetimes as they simply didn't have the manpower to do so. But interestingly enough, we find King David **fulfilling this covenantal command** when he conquers the surrounding nations, putting them to tribute and making them vassal kingdoms, to rule them as a "king of kings."

What Nimrod was doing was perverting this concept of a Kingdom of God on earth, and instead ruling by force, forcing everyone in his kingdom to worship the same pagan god.

In order to understand Abraham, we have to understand Nimrod. Why? Because Abraham hailed from Ur of the Chaldees, **which was a cult center for the fertility moon god Sin**. Then he moved to Haran in Syria, which was ALSO a cult center for the moon god Sin! Abraham was being tempted to give up his faith in God to worship the fertility god Sin instead - and Abraham was pretty much the only faithful one left on earth who worshipped God (knowing what we know about what happened to Nahor's family line, that is) - in order to get an heir from his barren wife. God kept him waiting for a quarter of a century before finally granting Abraham an heir through Sarah - when that was physically impossible - and Abraham maintained his strong faith the whole time.

The Tower of Babel incident was all about forcing people to give up their faith in God in exchange for a false security (and great prosperity, but that's another story). The story of Abraham, on the other hand, was all about being tempted to give up one's faith in God because it seems pointless and hopeless. Different kinds of challenges but the same underlying theme.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Damon, Rohr's chronology is not pertinent to this research on the early Horite and Sethite Hebrew since he appears to be unaware of their roots in the Nile Valley.

If you are interested in learning more, you might consider joining the international Facebook group The Bible and Anthropology where scholars discuss these matters.