Saturday, September 28, 2013

Bethlehem in the time of Abraham

Alice C. Linsley

Many people are not aware that there are two settlements in Israel called Bethlehem. One is on the West Bank near Jerusalem and the other is in Galilee, near Nazareth. It is possible that the Bethlehem that Abraham knew was in Galilee. Bethlehem of Galilee was in a fertile region as attested by the book of Ruth. That is why it was called Bethlehem Ephratha, meaning "Bethlehem the Fruitful."

Bethlehem was a Horite Hebrew settlement. It is specifically associated with the Horite Hebrew in I Chronicles 4:4 which names Hur (Hor) as the "father of Bethlehem." Rahab of Jericho was the wife of Salmon, the son of Hur (Horite). Salmon is called the "father of Bethlehem" in 1 Chronicles 2:54. Rahab was the grandmother of Boaz who married Ruth. Salmon is a Horite name associated with Bethlehem in 1 Chronicles 2:51.

Bethlehem means either “House of Bread” or “House of Meat.” Jews give the first meaning, but the Arabic for Bethlehem is Bēt Lahm, meaning "House of Meat." This later interpretation makes sense since Bethlehem had a division of Horite shepherd-priests who took animals from their flocks to sacrifice. The meat was distributed to the needy. In Christian belief, Jesus is the "Lamb of God" who gave his flesh for the life of the world. He is also regarded as the "Bread of Life."

David was anointed first in Bethlehem and later anointed as king of Judah in Hebron (II Samuel 2:1-4). It is possible that his father had a wife in Bethlehem and another in Hebron, according to the practice of Horite shepherd-priests who maintained two wives in separate households on a north-south axis. It is also possible that Jesse's wives lived in Bethlehem of Galilee and Ramah, another Horite settlement.

Rachel was buried at Bethlehem and her grief is associated with Ramah. In Jeremiah 31:15, we read "A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping; Rachel, weeping for her children, refused to be comforted for her children, because they were no more.” Here we see Bethlehem and Ramah are connected.

Rachel gave birth to Joseph who married the daughter of the priest of Heliopolis in EgyptHeliopolis (called On in Genesis 41:45) was a Horite shrine city of great prominence in the ancient world. The great pyramids of Giza, Saqqara and Abusir were aligned to the obelisk at this Ainu shrine city.

Speaking about the recent discovery of a seal in Bethlehem dating to the First Temple, Eli Shukron of the Israel Antiquities Authority said, "This is the first time the name Bethlehem appears outside the Bible, in an inscription from the First Temple period (1006-586 B.C.), which proves that Bethlehem was indeed a city in the Kingdom of Judah, and possibly also in earlier periods."
Figurine found at Hazor

When the Magi appeared before Herod they were told that the Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem. Herod’s men found this in the book of Micah. The Horites believed that the Seed/Son of God was born at the winter solstice (December 24). The infant grew in stature from that day, even as from that day forward the Sun grows in strength as the days lengthen. In an ancient Egyptian ritual a male baby was placed before the image of Hathor-Meri and priests set gifts before the "divine son."

Abraham's Kushite ancestors were the first to unite the Upper and Lower Nile and their influence is seen on the earliest dynasties of Egypt. Kushite rulers were heirs of the Nilo-Saharan rulers who venerated cows. Elements of their religious beliefs and practices were borrowed by the ancient Egyptians. The image (right) of Horus' mother shows her overshadowed by the Sun. The Sun rests in the horns of a cow, a solar cradle (Y). The cow was Hathor's animal totem and she is shown at Nile shrines holding her child in a stable or manger.

Tracing Jesus' Bloodline

As Jews traced their blood lines through their mothers, it was necessary for Joseph to register both he and Mary in Bethlehem. Mary’s full name was "Miriam Daughter of Yoachim Son of Pntjr (Panther) Priest of Nathan of Bethlehem."  Long before the time of the Pharaohs the Horites designated the king ntjr. The name p-ntjr meant "God is King."

Abraham, David, Joseph and Mary were of the Horite ruler-priest lines associated with Bethlehem and Nazareth. Joseph went to Bethlehem to register for the census (Luke 1:26) because he was a descendant of David who was a descendant of Boaz and Ruth.

Bethlehem is where Ruth gave birth to Obed, the father of Jesse, the father of David. Ruth is praised and likened to Tamar who gave birth to Perez and Zerah. Judah gained these righteous sons by Tamar after losing unrighteous sons. His kingdom was amplified through Perez from whom Israel's greatest king and the promised Messiah came.

Bethlehem was King David’s hometown. He tended the sheep of his father, just as Moses tended the sheep of his priest father-in-law, Yetro (Jethro). Jesus comes from a long line of shepherd-priests, on both Joseph's and Mary's sides. Mary’s father Yoachim was a priest who kept flocks, according to the Protoevangelium of James.


Jesus was born in Bethlehem , and grew up in nearby Nazareth of Galilee. His closest followers were from Galilee and it was to Galilee that He returned and met with His disciples after His resurrection. At the Last Supper, He informed his disciples: "After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Matt. 26:32)

In 1962 excavators discovered in the ruins of a Caesarea synagogue a small 3rd to 4th century marble fragment with a list of the twenty-four priestly divisions. This lists names the places where four of the divisions resided, including Nazareth. Until the discovery of this fragment, there was no extra-biblical record of Nazareth's existence before the sixth century A.D and no identification of a priestly division at that town.

There were twenty-four priestly divisions after the construction of the Second Temple. Nineteen of these divisions are listed in Nehemiah 12:10-22. In the Nehemiah list we find these names of particular interest: Yoachim, Yoseph, and Mattenai (also spelled Mattai/Mattan/Matthew). These are the names of priests who married the daughters of priests and from these lines came John the Baptist, Joseph, Mary and Jesus (Yeshua), the Incarnate Son of God. This was the line of Joseph of Hari-mathea, a voting member of the Sanhedrin. He and Nicodemus, another member of the Sanhedrin, buried Jesus’ body in a cave tomb similar to those used by their Horite ancestors in Bethlehem and Hebron. Joseph and Nicodemus experienced first-hand Jesus' death. They buried him and sealed the tomb. They believed that He rose from the grave, and at great personal risk, they testified to His resurrection.

Yoachim is the name of Mary’s father, which is one reason that scholars believe that Mary was the virgin daughter of a priest. Writing in the third century, Hippolytus records that Mary’s mother was a daughter of a priest named Matthan. Mary was clearly of the Horite ruler-priest lines. Even those who hated Mary acknowledged her ruler status, as it is written in the Talmud: “She who was the descendant of princes and governors played the harlot with carpenters.” (Sanhedrin 106a)

According to 1 Chronicles 24:15, Nazareth was the home of the eighteenth priestly division, hapiTSETS (Happizzez). The name is related to the ancient Egyptian word for the life-sustaining Nile which was called Hapi. While in Nazareth, Jesus read from the scroll of Isaiah. He opened to Isaiah 61:1-3 and read about the long-expected Messiah. Then he declared, "Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."


Ramona Gordy said...

Hi Alice
I am really fascinated with your research on the "Horite culture". I watched a show on the History Channel that made mention. Is the Horite culture a "pattern" of worship and obviously a pattern of a royal line of people?
Since you have pointed out attributes of this culture to various men and women and their families well known in the scriptures.
The more I read and learn about this, I feel it is something worthy for me to know, and by knowing, then more is revealed to me concerning God and his purposes for us, in a "big picture" kind of way. I know that all that there is to know, is not all contained in the Hebrew Bible.
Thank you for your work, keep it up.

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks, Ramona.

There is still much to learn about Abraham and his Horite people, but the pieces of the puzzle are falling into place, I think.

The Horites were known by different names: Habiru (Hebrew), the Shasu of YWHY, and Horim. Even today Jews refer to their parents and ancestors as "horim" but some Arabs also have Horite ancestors.

DDeden said...

I think the term bethlehem links to both bread and meat via the Noah commandment (1 of 7) that one shall not eat living flesh, in other words, cut/milled meals only.

And I too laud your research work, (despite our strong differences of opinion on biological interpretation etc.) the thick mists & myths of the past are a little clearer thanks to your dedicated and relentless digging and blogging. By the way, noting your red fox photo, last night here in downtown Miami, I watched a full-grown wolf amble by between a market and a cemetary. I found out it escaped it's pen. I guess its a 1/2 wolf, 1/4 coyote, 1/4 shepherd, collared, it kept its tail down and pounced on a gecko like a wild wolf. Amazing what you see sometimes!

Alice C. Linsley said...

Thanks, DDedan! Your thoughts have likewise been valuable to me.

Alice C. Linsley said...


This morning I saw two red foxes frolicking in the field on the other side of the lake next to my house. They were about 35-40 yards away from me. I wasn't sure what I was seeing at first and I stopped. Then they sensed my presence and took off!