Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rulers of the Ancient World

Alice C. Linsley

The entire scope of biblical history reveals that God is eager to reveal His divine nature and eternal power to us (Romans 1:20). This eagerness is an expression of His infinite love for the whole creation and especially for humanity.

In Genesis, the Creator communes with the humans in the Garden in the cool of the day. This is a picture of Paradise, a Paradise that was lost when sin and death entered the world. However, God did not give up on His creation. He began to show humans His thoughts and plans. He appointed rulers who would listen to Him. He called forth prophets who would declare His Word. He anointed priests to serve the needs of His people.

The focus of this post is the biblical data about the archaic rulers who are listed in Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. They were the rulers over the peoples listed in the so-called "Table of Nations," which is a misnomer since during the period in question - 6000 -2000 BC - there were no nations as we define that term today.

A detailed study of the peoples listed in the Table of Nations reveals that these peoples have a linguistic relationship. All the peoples spoke languages with common roots found in the oldest known language group: the Afro-Asiatic Family. The common roots [radicals] are usually biconsonantal, such as NS, NT, TR, JB, GG, GB, etc.

The rulers of these peoples appear to have common religious practices. They built east-facing temples and shrines. They retained royal priests to serve in their temples. They offered blood sacrifice for sin and oblations of oil, wine, and wheat. They drafted and ratified royal treaties in a similar way. Ancient paintings reveal a common solar symbolism as well.

We note a familial relationship between clans that share certain radicals and sounds [phonemes]. Note the “le” prefix in these clan names: Le’hab, Le’sha, Le’tushim and Le’ummim (Gen. 25:3). The Semitic languages typically have particles that begin with L (le, lu or la). Le is a Hebrew prefix, but it appears in older languages such as Akkadian. (La’baru - pertains to granting long life and is related to the Akkadian word la’biru, meaning old.) There is also linguistic evidence of 3-clan confederations, such as Jubal, Jabal and Tubal, and Og, Gog and Magog.

The society of these ancient populations was hierarchical and highly structured. There were high kings (suzerain), lesser kings (vassals or viziers), clan chiefs, and castes of ruler-priests, and guilds of craftsmen and merchants. This was a period of early kingdom building. The Bible provides a great deal of information about the high kings. In Genesis 6:1-4 they are described as the “mighty men of old, as “heroes” and “men of renown.” They constructed temples, palaces, fortified shrine cities ("high places"), great stone monuments, and pyramids.

Genesis 6 also describes them as gibboriym, meaning “powerful ones.” Nimrod is an example. Genesis 10:8 tells us that he was a Kushite kingdom builder.

Genesis also associates the mighty rulers of the archaic world with the Anakim. The Anakim are the people of Anak and his father Arba. Anak and the Anakim dwelt in the region of Hebron, which was called Kiriath-Arba. This is where Sarah resided. Hebron was at the northern most boundary of the ancient kingdom of Edom. The Greeks called this Idumea, which means “land of red people.” Esau of Edom is described as red and hairy in Genesis 25:25.

The Anakim are associated with the Nephilim in Number 13:33. Unfortunately, many Bibles render the meaning of nephilim as “giants” when it should read “great ones.” Nephilim comes from the same root as the Aramaic npyl (nephil) which means giant as in great. This is equivalent to the Arabic nfy, meaning hunter. It is said concerning Nimrod that he was a “mighty hunter” or a “mighty man” before the Lord.

The archaic kingdom builders, like Nimrod, forged the archaic kingdoms of the Afro-Asiatic world which extended from Nigeria to India and from the Nile to the Orontes River in Turkey. In Genesis, these rulers are described as “men of renown” and “heroes.”

The anthropological study of early biblical populations indicates that God has been working with humans from the beginning to prepare them for the coming of Jesus Messiah. This is evident in the way that God called forth a royal priesthood to serve at the Sun temples that were built by the high kings. These temples are identified in ancient texts as O-piru. The O is a solar image or pictograph, and piru is an ancient word meaning house or temple. In Sumerian and Akkadian texts the royal priests who served at the “sun temples” are called ‘Apiru, Hapiru, or Habiru. The Akkadian word Habiru appears in English as “Hebrew.”

The Habiru were unique among other priests in that they believed in a supreme Creator God who has a son. The Hebrew priests of the Nile called the creator Ra, and his son was called Horus. The Hebrew priests of Mesopotamia called the Creator Anu and his son was called Enki, which means “Lord over all the earth” in Akkadian. Given that many ancient populations believed in multiple gods, the Father-Son belief of the Hebrew priests is truly remarkable.

The wisdom of the Nilotic priests was so extensive that it was unrivaled in the ancient world. Much of the wisdom ascribed to the ancient Greeks was borrowed from the Nilotic Hebrew priests. Plato studied for 13 years with the priest Sechnuphis at the temple in Memphis. He reported that the ancient Nilotes had been keeping records of astronomical events for 10,000 years.

Genesis 36 lists some of the Horite Hebrew rulers of Edom. The prophet Jeremiah refers to Edom and Teman of Edom as seats of wisdom. "Concerning Edom: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Is there no longer wisdom in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom decayed?" (Jeremiah 49:7)

The Hebrew royal priests practiced endogamy, which is to say they married only within their priestly families. We will examine this more next week. Because the lines of ruler-priests married only within their group, geneticists are able to identify the priest gene among 90% of men who self-identify as having Jewish priests as ancestors. This is called the Cohen Modal Haplotype (CMH). These men carry a characteristic Y chromosome associated with Hebrew priests.

This CMH genetic marker also appears in men with no Cohen/Jewish ancestry. That is because the priesthood of Aaron was inherited from his ancestors long before there was a religion known as Judaism. Jesus is associated with the older priesthood in Hebrews 7:1-21, where we read concerning our Lord, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek."

The priesthood of Judaism emerged from the Horite Hebrew priesthood. The word “Horite” appears numerous places in the Bible. I Chronicles 4:4 claims that Bethlehem was a Horite town. The Horite chief Salmon is called the "father of Bethlehem" in 1 Chronicles 2:54. Some of the Horite Hebrew rulers are listed in Genesis 36 (diagrammed below). In Hebrew Bibles the word “Horite” appears as “Horim,” which is what Jews call their ancestors.

The oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship is at the royal city of Nekhen on the Nile (3800 BC). Archaeologists working at Nekhen discovered a temple with huge pillars made of cedar. Later Hebrew temples are patterned on the temple of Nekhen (Hierakonpolis).

Archaeologists describe the offerings at the Nekhen temple as “ten times larger” than the typical mace heads and bowls offered elsewhere, suggesting that this was a very prestigious shrine.

Nekhen had a twin city on the opposite side of the Nile. That sister city was Nekheb (Elkab). The royal tomb of Horemkhawef in Nekhen and the tomb of Sobeknakht in Nekheb 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 illustrates the genetic diversity that existed in Africa thousands of years ago. The Nekhen News (p. 7) reports, "The vast majority of hair samples discovered at Nekhen were cynotrichous (Caucasian) in type as opposed to heliotrichous (Negroid)."

By 3200 BC, Nekhen had a population estimated at 10,000 inhabitants and was the most important settlement along the Nile. The city stretched for over two miles along the edge of the floodplain and was an important commercial center. There were stone masons, weavers, potters, and beer brewers. Metal workers crafted sacred objects of gold and copper. The earliest preserved house in Egypt (3600 BC) was the house of a Nekhen potter. It was preserved when he accidentally burned it down while firing a load of pots.

Related reading: Sun Cities of the Ancient World; Who Were the Horites?; Twin Cities of the Ancient World; An Akkadian Lexicon; Hebrew, Israelite, Jew; Royal Treaties

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