Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Abraham, Descendant of Both Shem and Ham

A reader has asked this question: "Alice, I read your post about Horites. Fascinating and very helpful. In my reading, I understand that Abraham is a descendant of Shem (Genesis 11). Can you explain how he is a descendant of Ham?  Thanks!



Francien asks a question which is often posed to me.  He has read Genesis 11 and concluded that Abraham is a descendant of Shem only.  This is a common error.  All the genealogical data in Genesis is related so we must look at all of it, not simply one section.

Abraham's ancestors and descendants were related by both blood and marriage. The Horiete Hebrew clans intermarried (endogamy) and the rulers of the clans married according to a structure which is made evident in analysis of the Genesis King Lists found in chapters 4, 5, 11 and 36 with additional information in Genesis 10 and 22:20-24. Analysis of all the data makes it clear that Abraham was a descendant of both Shem and Ham.

Before Ham and Shem, the lines of Cain and Seth intermarried also. These were ruler-priest lines, so the Genesis King lists speak of the marriage and ascendency structure of the Horites.

Further evidence that the lines of Ham and Shem intermarried is found with the names Lud and Ludim (Ludites). In Genesis 10, Lud is named as a son of Shem, and in Genesis 10:13 the Ludim are said to be of Ham.

The marriage structure of the Horite rulers involved two wives living in separate households. One wife was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the other wife was a patrilineal cousin or niece (as was Keturah to Abraham).

The brides were the daughters of ruler-priests. They contributed the mtDNA and their ruler husbands contributed the Y chromosome since males who share a common patrilineal ancestor also share a Y chromosome, diverging only with respect to accumulated mutations. The distinctive Kohan DNA or "priest marker" is identifiable because Horite priests married daughters of priests exclusively. 

In 1995, Canadian nephrologist Karl Skorecki designed an experiment to find out whether the descendants of the ancient Jewish ruler-priest - kohamim - could be verified by genetics. Skorecki reasoned that Jewish males who claim to be kohanim should have an identical set of marker mutations that trace back to biblical times. So the researchers gathered saliva from 200 Jewish males, a third of whom identified themselves as kohanim, at the Western Wall during the High Holidays. No matter whether they were Sephardic, Ashkenazic, or Oriental Jews, 98.5% of those who said they were kohanim shared a genetic marker for a common male ancestor.

Were the same sort of study done of Arabs who descend from Abraham's Horite Hebrew line by his firstborn son Joktan, it is likely that this same genetic signature would be found in at least 3% of the Joktanite population of Arabia.

In 1996, a more extensive study found a set of marker mutations common to approximately 60% of self-proclaimed kohanim. Using complex mathematical calculations the research team identified the Cohan Modal Haplotype (CMH), a series of six genetic markers common to the kohanim which originated more than 3,000 years ago.

It is evident from Genesis that the Horite Hebrew ruler-priests originated well before 3000 years ago. Aaron and his half-brother Korah were not the first Hebrew ruler-priests. Their father Amram was a ruler-priest and the descendant of a long line of ruler-priests who can be traced to at least 6000 years ago. The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship is at Nekhen (Hierakonpolis) on the Nile and dates to c. 4000 BC.

DNA studies confirm that the Horite Hebrew ancestors of the priests of ancient Israel did marry exclusively within the priestly divisions/lines, which is what analysis of the Genesis genealogical material shows. This is the ancestry of Jesus Christ who was born to Mary, the wife of Joseph, both in the ruler-priest lines.

Related reading:  The Daughters of Horite Priests; Moses' Wives and Brothers


Anonymous said...

Thanks Alice,

Just to clarify, since it's not the priest that gives us the body and blood of Christ, but the power and grace of God.

Hence with a male priest a distinction between mortal flesh and blood, and the blood of Christ can be made.

With a female priest this distinction would be lost.

Is this true?


Alice C. Linsley said...

You are exploring the binary distinctions that underpin biblical faith. However, Christians don't have female priests because it is contrary to received Tradition. Recieved Tradition was what the Apostles themselves received concerning Messiah as our Great High Priest. Blood is the symbol/sign of the Priest. Christ as the Priest is developed in the book of Hebrews. There is no conflict between biblical faith and received Tradition. When a conflict arises, you can be sure it is because somewhere an innovation has been introduced.

Anonymous said...


I understand your point, but often the question posed is that "Why can't a woman priest represent Christ, since we are all equal in God's eyes"?

There has to be a better response than just gender differences.


Alice C. Linsley said...

We are NOT equal in the hierarchy of creation which God established. Indeed, the word "equal" is meaningless in this biblical context. When speaking of the power of the Sun and Moon, can we say they are equal? The Sun is the greater light and the source of light for us on Earth. The moon reflects the Sun's light. The origins of the Priesthood are traced to the ancient people who thought of male and female in this way. That is why we have the account of the Woman coming from the Man's rib.

Contemporary notions of equality of the sexes overthrows the biblical understanding of the Superior's kenotic action whereby He lifts up the lesser. This is a blow to the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, who emptied Himself and took on human form and died that we might be raised up to God. That action is shown also in God's appointment of the lesser - Mary, the Woman of Gen. 3:15. Read the Magnificat.

Anonymous said...


Thank You. Yes, humility is key, but what would you say to people who argue that in this respect women would make better priests since they are better at sacrificing for others than men?


Alice C. Linsley said...

I am becoming an old curmudgeon and care less what people say, especially when they make unsubstantiable claims such as "women make better priests" or "women are better at sacrificing than men" so I would either leave them to their nonsense or I would ask them to substantiate both claims.

Elaine said...

Thank you for an interesting blog. Where did you find Nimrod's wife? Or that Amram had two wives?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Elaine, Using kinship analysis (a branch of cultural anthropology) I have established the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Horite rulers based on the Biblical data. That makes reconstruction of their kinship possible. The cousin wives are especially easy to identify since their named their first-born sons after their fathers. Since you have Lamech the Elder and Lamech the Younger; Enoch the Elder and Enoch the Younger, Esau the Elder and Esau the Younger, Joktan/Yaqtan the Elder and Joktan the Younger, etc.

You may read about the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Abraham's Horite ancestors (Horim) here:

Exeklopman said...

hello Alice,

i found this article particularly interesting. According to the link, 75% to 88% of the Cohan MC belongs in the haplotype J1, which is to say, caucasoid migration that entered the Near East as far as Ethiopia as early as 5500ys ago. Is this the semite background of Abraham?

Thank you!

Alice C. Linsley said...

Exeklopman, Yes, but much earlier his ancestry is found in Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b. See this:

Alice C. Linsley said...

Savvy, See this: