Saturday, February 5, 2011

Egypt in the Book of Genesis

Alice C. Linsley

Grieving Egyptian. Note the reddish-brown skin tone

Egypt is mentioned more than 300 places in the biblical narratives. It is often the place to which people escape  trouble: famine, political persecution, and war. What was considered Egypt in Abraham's time has never been established. Egypt's cultural and political influence extended far beyond the borders of present-day Egypt.  

The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) used the Greek term for the Red Sea to encompass the Gulf of Suez, the Gulf of Aqaba, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. This is because he understood that the major bodies of water were controlled by the Hamitic Afro-Arabian and Semitic Afro-Asiatic rulers. These rulers were related by marriage. The water ways were the great highways of that time and it was along these rivers that the Horite priests spread their religious beliefs concerning Horus, who was called "son of God."  Horus is the pattern by which Abraham's descendants recognized the Messianic identity of Jesus of Nazareth. The primitive shape of messianic expectation is found among the Nilotic peoples. Their sea (bahr) was the Nile, the longest river in the world.

As notes Egyptian author Galal Amin:  "... These villages were, by communications standards of that time, very far away from the sea [i.e. Mediterranean, Gulf of Suez and Red Sea]. Their inhabitants still sang the praises of the summer breeze, and went in search of it, finding the breeze that came from the direction of the sea available to them on the banks of the Nile and the many canals that branched out of it. As a matter of fact, when most Egyptians referred to the 'sea,' bahr, it was the Nile and its canals they were talking about. As for the real sea, they called it 'the salty one,' and it was something that inspired great awe, provoked presumably by ignorance of it and a lack of any direct experience with it, and no realistic hope of ever seeing it. (Galal Amin, Whatever Happened to the Egyptians, p. 121)

Amin is describing the average villager, not the rulers whose territories were much vaster than is generally recognized. Abraham's father, for example, controlled almost the entire length of the Euphrates since his principal cities were Haran at its extreme north and Ur at its extreme south.

The Horites and Ancient Egypt

Abraham and his ancestors were Horites, a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of Horus, the Divine Seed of Ra. This is the origin of Messianic expectation. Jesus Christ fulfills the Horus myth. The  oldest Horite shrine was the city of Nekhen in Sudan. Abraham's Nilo-Saharan ancestors appear to have been associated with Nekhen.

It was the Proto-Saharan rulers who first united the peoples of the Upper and Lower Nile. The first Pharaohs were Kushite kingdom builders who venerated of cattle and Hathor-Meri whose totem was the cow. She is the archetype of the Virgin Mary who gave birth in a stable. Hathor was said to conceive when she was overshadowed by the Sun.

According to some stories Horus was killed by his brother and rose again. Horus is said to have died on the 17th of Athyr. His death was commemorated by the planting of grain. On the third day, the 19th of Athyr, there was a celebration of Horus’ rising to life. It is no coincidence that Jesus alludes to the Horite myth when describing his passion and resurrection. “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:24). He identifies himself as the "Seed" of Genesis 3:15.

Horite 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 Crosscannot avoid the conclusion that the God of Israel is the God of the Horites.

Consider how Horus, the 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."


Abshalom Yisrael said...

Shalom Alice,

If the Ancient Egyptians mapped their race and hereditary from the woman or mother, why do you find in the Book of Exodus Chapter 1 Pharaoh commanding the Hebrew Midwives to kill the male children. I have always wondered why he did this, since that would mean even if and Egyptian man had children with a Hebrew Woman, the children would have been Hebrews. Why not kill the Hebrew women.

Help me understand this bizarre command.


15. And the king of Egypt spake to the Hebrew midwives, of which the name of the one was Shiphrah, and the name of the other Puah:

16 And he said, When ye do the office of a midwife to the Hebrew women, and see them upon the stools; if it be a son, then ye shall kill him: but if it be a daughter, then she shall live.

17 But the midwives feared God, and did not as the king of Egypt commanded them, but saved the men children alive.

18 And the king of Egypt called for the midwives, and said unto them, Why have ye done this thing, and have saved the men children alive?

19 And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.



Alice C. Linsley said...

Shalom, Yisrael. May you be blessed, my friend.

Egyptian rulers traced their lineage through both the maternal and paternal lines. Both lines were of royal rank.

The order to kill babies had to do with the fact that only males fought in combat. The Egyptian king was concerned about the growing number of potential future warriors who might rise up against him.

The irony of the story is that his own daughter took as her child the very warrior that God appointed to defy the Pharaoh's power.