Saturday, April 14, 2012

Esau in Yoruba Tradition

Alice C. Linsley

In Genesis, Esau is the victim of trickery and betrayal by his brother Jacob. When Jacob returns from Paddan-Aram, Esau greets him warmly and offers to help him settle his wives, children and flocks in the land.

In this action, Esau embodies forgiveness. It has been noted that the name Esau is also spelled Issa, which is a variant of the name Jesus.

There are two named Esau in Genesis and both represent respected leaders among their people. Esau the Elder married the daughter of Elon. Their son Eliphaz married a daughter of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36).

Esau the Younger, Jacob's brother, married a high ranking Horite woman named Oholibamah. Her name means Exalted Tent or Most High Tabernacle and she is a type of the Virgin Mary.

According to Yoruba tradition, Esau was a Ketu ruler. This connects him to the Jebusites and the royal house of Sheba.  Abraham's second wife was Ketu-ra and she lived at Beer-Sheba (the Well of Sheba).

Is it possible that Euro-Christian thinking has presented a distorted idea of Esau? Has Esau "been unfairly slandered by overzealous Christians and their sympathizers?"  That is what Remi Oyeyemi argues in this article in Sahara Reporters.

Related reading:  Who Was Oholibamah?; Two Named Esau; Keturah: Wife or Concubine?; Biblical Sheba Linked to East African Settlements; Edom and the Horites; Ido, Edom, Idumea


Adelami said...

The article needs a serious revision as you got it very wrong !
1) The name 'Esu' in Yoruba mythology and the one who was king of Ketu is pronounced as Eshu and means nothing like hairy in Yoruba.

2)'Alaketu of Ketu' is a Yoruba title, not Edo.

3) There are places in West Africa today called Ketu which are acknowledged as Yoruba and not Edo domains.

4) Eshu is cognate with Yeshua, not Esau as 'shu', 'su' and 'sau' have very different interpretations which depends on the various tones. Note that the languages spoken by Abraham's descendants today in West Africa are tonal, with each syllable having a specific meaning/message.

5) Edo people have neither claimed Eshu as their ancestor, nor associated 'Idu' with 'Eshu'.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thank you, Adelami.

I didn't mention anything about Esau being hairy. However that description is found in Genesis which says he was hairy all over. This is also how the Nilotic Ainu and the Ainu of Northern Japan were described.

Ketu is a branch of the Ijebu, if I'm not mistaken. There is reson to believe the Ijebu rulers controlled Jerusalem in Abraham's time.

Unknown said...

Was he the ancestor of the Edomites ? And the ancestor of Herod ?

Alice C. Linsley said...

More than one ruler of Edom (Idumea) had the name Esau. The name is associated with the ancient rulers of Edom. See this: