Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Trinitarian Correspondences Between Mesopotamia and the Nile

Image of Enki in the primordial Abzu

In ancient Akkadian the title Enlil refers to the High God who appoints High Kings. En means Lord or Master, and Lil refers to the wind, air, or God's breath (Ruach in Hebrew). Many ancient texts make reference to Enlil's connection to rulers. Here is an example: "Enlil, the Great Mountain, has commissioned you to gladden the hearts of lords and rulers and wish them well." (See section 38-47.)

Enlil's divine appointment of rulers is evident from Sumerian early dynastic royal inscriptions. King Zagesi (Lugalzagesi) of Umma and Uruk was said to be appointed king over all of Mesopotamia by Enlil:
"Enlil, King of all the lands, gave kingship of 'the Land' to Lugalzagesi, pointed the eyes of 'the Land' toward him, set all the lands at his feet, from sunrise to sunset." (G. Magid 2006)

Lugalzagesi conquered the Sumerian city-states and united all of them under his authority. He is believed to be the first to do so and the last emperor of Mesopotamia. Lugalzagesi was the "ishib priest of An," a title which Sargon I also took when he captured Lugalzagesi. The ishib priest is said to perfect the holy vessels used in the temple. 

Enlil appears to be one of the three divine persons in something similar to the Trinity. Belief in the Three-Person God appears to be a core belief of the Hebrew priests who served the early kingdom builders like Nimrod. These are described as "mighty men" and "heroes" in Genesis 6. They built temples and employed priests and temple servants. The Hebrew royal priests were dispersed geographically, but it seems that they promoted their unique understanding of God Father, God Son, and God Spirit wherever they lived. 

Among the Nilotic Hebrew, God Father was called Re (Father). God Son was called Horus (Most High One), and God Spirit was called Akh (Spirit). Among the Mesopotamian Hebrew, God Father was called An or Anu. God Son was called Enki (Lord Over All), and God Spirit was called Enlil (Lord wind/breath). 

That Enki is the son of God is evident from ancient texts such as this one: "Enki, the king of the Abzu, justly praises himself in his majesty: 'My father, the king of heaven and earth, made me famous in heaven and earth." (See section 61-80.)  

In the early 2nd millennium BC version of the Atrahasis Epic, Anu is described as both father and king. “Anu their father was king.” (S. Dailey. Myths from Mesopotamia: Creation, the Flood. Gilgamesh and Others; Oxford University Press. 1989, p. 9.)

Likewise, Horus was said to recognize his father in the king. "Horus is a soul and he recognizes his Father in you..." (Pyramid Texts, Utterance 423)

Even ancient terms for the royal first person are derived from the name of the High God. Examples include anaku, the royal I in Akkadian, and anochi, the royal I in ancient Egyptian.

In Canaan shrines to the Three God were dedicated to Baal Shalisha, literally the Three God, or Masters Three. One such shrine was in the hill country of Ephraim and is mentioned in 2 Kings 4:42 and 1 Samuel 9:4.

Solar Symbolism

The High God's symbol or emblem was the sun. It was a common belief in the ancient world that high kings served by the authority of the High God who shone his light (rays of the sun) upon them. This divine overshadowing is depicted on many ancient stone reliefs and tomb paintings. 

Hathor, the mother of Horus, conceived by divine overshadowing.

If this understanding of divine appointment was spread by the Hebrew ruler-priests it is misleading to speak of the High God as the "Sun God." The Hebrew distinguished between the High God and the solar symbol of the High God. They employed solar imagery such as rays of sunlight and solar crowns to speak of blessings from on high. Malachi 4:2 uses solar language in exactly this way: "But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings (rays)." Likewise, the Psalm 92:2 description of the Lord as “a sun and a shield” is not to be taken literally. 

Psalm 19:1-4 clearly distinguishes between the High God and the sun by asserting that God makes a tent for the sun.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their measuring line goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.

Friday, July 31, 2020

War in the Old Testament

Ramses II at the battle of Kadesh

The Old Testament does not set forth a consistent picture of war or battle. In Genesis, Abraham refuses any personal gain as victor after the battle at Siddim (Gen. 14). He also received what appears to be absolution of blood guilt from Melchizedek, the high priest of Jerusalem.

When Levi and Simeon used the rape of their sister Dinah as an excuse to decimate the male population of Shechem, Jacob objected (Gen. 34:30) and later Jacob pronounced a judgment on their evil deeds. “Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce, and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel” (Gen. 49:7). This judgement on Levi and Simeon removes any ambiguity about their deeds. Their slaughter of the entire male population of Shechem was wrong, and their families suffer the consequences.

Some biblical writers present YHWH as a warrior who fights for Israel to install Israel as a kingdom. This meant uprooting the populations that already lived there and toppling the rulers who controlled Canaan. The accounts vary. In some, all the inhabitants and their livestock are to be destroyed (a holocaust). In some accounts, the women and children are taken captive and only the men are killed. The accounts in the book of Joshua of the Israelite victories are inconsistent. Joshua 11:11 claims that "None of the cities that stood on mounds did Israel burn, except Hazor only; that Joshua burned." However, Joshua 6:24 credits Joshua with burning Jericho, and Joshua 8:28 reports that he also burned Ai.

Israel Finklestein and other archaeologists question the Deuteronomist Historian's claim of the swift invasion of Canaan and the Israelite conquest and destruction of fortified cities such as Jericho and Hazor. The evidence of excavations at those sites does not support the claim. Hershel Shanks has written that archaeology "sometimes provides evidence that seems to refute the Biblical account. That is the case, for example, with the Israelite conquest of the land as described in the Book of Joshua. The various cities that the Israelites supposedly conquered simply cannot be lined up with the archaeological evidence." (BAR, July-August 2013, p. 6)

Related reading: Battles in the Bible; INDEX of Topics at Biblical Anthropology; Understanding the Science of Biblical Anthropology; Does the Bible Advocate Genocide? 

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Heart Scarabs

Scarab found at Mount Ebal in Israel.

The scarab is a stylized dung beetle and a sacred symbol among the ancient Nilotes and the Horite and Sethite Hebrew. It often appears with wings and the sun, symbols of rising to the celestial heights.

The scarab amulet was placed on the chest of the mummy, over the heart area. This represents the hope of bodily resurrection. The ancient Nilotes, especially the priests of Horus and Seth, were famous for their insistence that the body and soul as a unit may enjoy eternal life.

The beetle symbolized the path to immortality since it orients itself by the Milky Way which the ancient Horite and Sethite Hebrew saw as the celestial path to eternal life. In the Ancient Pyramid Texts (2400-2000 BC) there are many references to eternal life among "the imperishable stars" where the righteous king is "exalted" and "shall never perish" (PT, Utterance 464).

Dung beetle on dung ball under the Milky Way
Image: Emily Baird

Not many heart scarabs have been found by archaeologists because they were placed mainly in the tombs of the elite, and many of those tombs have been robbed.

The heart scarab represents the hope that the ruler would rise to immortality and lead his people in his train, a common feature of royal mantles (Ephesians 4:8). The ancient Horites believed that heavenly recognition of a people depended on the righteousness of their ruler-priest. As Plutarch reported concerning the Horite "priests of the Sun" at On (Heliopolis), this caste of priests was distinguished by their purity of life, sobriety, and devotion to the High God Re and his son Horus. Heliopolis is mentioned in Isaiah 19:18 and Jeremiah 43:13, and is referred to as On in Genesis 41:45,50, 46:20 and Ezekiel 30:17.

The ruler-priest was regarded as the mediator between God and the people. If God turned his face away from the ruler, the people suffered from want and war. If the ruler found favor with God, the people experienced abundance and peace. The ruler was to intercede for his people before God in life and in death. The ruler's resurrection meant that he could lead his people beyond the grave to new life. This is why the ruler was not to come into contact with dead bodies, was to avoid sexual impurity, and have his body properly preserved and buried with symbols of eternal life. These symbols included winged scarabs, solar orbs, ankhs, and the Shen symbol (shown above).

This is the seal of King Hezekiah who reigned over Judah from 715 to 687 BC. The seal shows a winged solar orb and the ankh.

Heart scarabs were inscribed with ritual prayers and petitions. These are found in the Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts, and the Book of the Dead.

A heart scarab found at a burial site at Tombos (Sudan) seeks favorable final judgment in these words:
“Oh my heart of my mother! Oh my heart of my mother! … Do not oppose me in the tribunal! Do not show your hostility against me before the Keeper of the Balance! For you are my ka which is in my body, the protector who causes my limbs to be healthy! Go forth to the good place to which we hasten!”

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Touching the Royal Hem

Matthew 14:36 and Mark 6:56 refer to the desire of the sick to touch the hem of Jesus' garment at Gennesaret. “They besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment; and as many as touched (it) were healed.”

The woman who had been sick for twelve years came behind Jesus and touched the hem of his outer garment and was healed (Matthew 9:19-22, Mark 5:25–34; Luke 8:43–48). There is a theory that the woman touched the tzitzit (tassels, fringes) of his robe. For Jews, these indicated a nobleman or a royal person. However, the practice of touching the royal hem is much older than Judaism.

The gesture reflects a very ancient custom, as is evident by the wide geographical dispersion of the practice. It is found in the Ancient Near East, in Asia, India, Persia, and the British Isles.

Allusion to this gesture of supplication for healing is found in Christian prayers such as this one: "Dear God, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I reach forward today, touch the hem of Your garment, and receive my healing. Yes, I want to get well. Give me the faith to walk in freedom and victory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen." (From here.)

It is found also in this Bahai prayer: "I implore Thee to keep safe him who hath held fast and returned unto Thee, and clung to Thy mercy, and seized the hem of Thy loving providence. Send down, then, upon him Thy healing, and make him whole, and endue him with a constancy vouchsafed by Thee, and a tranquility bestowed by Thy highness. Thou art, verily, the Healer, the Preserver, the Helper, the Almighty, the Powerful, the All-Glorious, the All-Knowing." (From here.)

In Buddhism, it is not uncommon for supplicants to kiss the hems of the Buddhist monks.

In his April 1621 letter to the King, Sir Francis Bacon, wrote, "It may please your most excellent Majesty, I think myself infinitely bounden to your majesty, for vouchsafing me access to your royal person, and to touch the hem of your garment..." (From here, p. 29.)

The gesture is mentioned in ancient Akkadian prayers - sissikta ṣabātu, "to seize the hem." (From here, p. 13.)

To touch the hem is an act of supplication of royal persons or ruler-priests. It also indicates devotion to one's king or deity. In a festschrift for Nahum Sarna, Shalom Paul gives parallels from Akkadian and Ugaritic ritual prayers:

[asḫur]ki aš’ēki sissiktaki aṣbat kīma sissikti ilija u ištarija – “I [turned to] you and sought you. I grasped (aṣbat) your hem (sissikta) as if it were the hem of my own god and goddess.”

sissikti ilūtišu rabīti aṣbat ašte’â ašrātešu – “(When Marduk entrusted the rule of Assyria to me), I grasped (aṣbat) the hem (sissikti) of his divine majesty. I sought his shrine.”

sissikti Sin šar ilāni aṣbatma – “I grasped (aṣbatma) the hem (sissikti) of Sin, king of the gods.”

aššum sissikti Marduk bēlija ṣabtākuma Marduk bēlī jâti irammannima – “Because I grasped the hem of Marduk, Marduk, my lord, loves me.”

In Isaiah 6, the hem or train (ve·shu·lav) of God's royal robe is said to fill the temple.

Apparently, the practice of touching the hem of someone with authority was associated with Jews because Zechariah 8:23 says: "In those days ten men from every language of the nations shall grasp (ḫazaq) the hem (kanaph) of a Jewish man, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” 

God is with us. His name is Emmanuel and his identity has been made known: Jesus Messiah.

Related reading: Key to a Grammar of Akkadian (Third Edition) By John Huehnergard; Archaic and Ancient Symbols of Authority

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Borders and Boundaries

Banner of the 2019 American Socialist-Communist Party Convention

Alice C. Linsley

Borders and boundaries in the biblical worldview are a good thing. The Egyptian, Assyrian, and Babylonian imperialism was regarded by the prophets as a painful lesson that Israel should uphold the spiritual boundaries and geographical borders.

Removing ancient landmarks and boundary stones is condemned in Proverbs 22:28, Proverbs 23:10, Deuteronomy 19:14, Deuteronomy 27:17 and Hosea 5:10. 

Today the question of national and symbolic borders is highly politicized and polarizing. Doubtless, some of this heat comes from the on-going conversation among sociologists and anthropologists about the nature of Man. 

Are humans instinctively "tribal" and bound to a region of land? Some Native Americans and African tribal groups believe that the Creator made the first peoples of the soil where their people were to dwell. This is called autochthonous origins, and the idea is found in many cultures. It is expressed in Genesis 2 which speaks of humans coming from or being made of the soil (humus).

According to the Shilluk of the Sudan, the Creator Jo-Uk made white people out of white sand, and the Shilluk of out black soil. When the Creator came to Egypt, he made the people out of the red Nile silt. That is why the Egyptians have a red-brown skin tone.

Winona LaDuke, of the White Earth Anishinabe, points out that “Grassroots and land-based struggles characterize most of Native environmentalism. We are nations of people with distinct land areas, and our leadership and direction emerge from the land up.” (LaDuke, All Our Relations, p. 4)

Many first peoples think of themselves simply as humans. The word Ainu means human. The ancient metal workers of Anatolia called themselves the Nes (NS) which means humans. The ancient priest caste were called Hapiru, which means human in Akkadian. The Inuktitut word Inuit means human. The Athabaskan word for "people" is Dené with variant spellings: Diné (Navajo) and Indé (Apache). Winona LaDuke's Aleutian islanders call themselves Anishinabe, which means First Men. The plural forms Anishinabeg or Anishinaabeg mean "first people."

These populations seek to protect their unique cultural identities and recognize their common humanity. They favor geographical and spiritual boundaries AND affirm common humanity. This expresses a balanced and wholesome mindset.

This idea of land belonging to a people is not popular in our day. It is seen as a primitive mindset that must be overcome for a borderless world to emerge. Until the majority of Earth's inhabitants gain "openness to the world" we will remain in our separate spaces with our individual traditions and customs.

Globalization and corporate land grabs require that people evolve to a state of existential openness to the world. This principle relies on the work of the 20th century German philosopher, Martin Heidegger. He formulated a concept of existence as “being-in-the-world” or Dasein. Dasein involves an existential openness to the world that is constituted by the attunement (Gestimmtheit) of a mood or state of mind. All this to say that the individual’s existence is only as open to the world as the attunement of one’s mood or mind.

We can expect more from the mind-changing forces. How will your thinking change? Will you willingly become a citizen of a borderless world? Or will your mind be formed and informed by the biblical exhortation to guard and defend borders and boundaries?

Related reading: Jostein Gaarder on Reciprocity Across National Borders; Theories of Change and Constancy

Monday, June 22, 2020

Understanding the Science of Biblical Anthropology

Standing stones at the Gezer "high place" in Israel.
(Photo: Dennis Cole)

Alice C. Linsley

The science of Biblical Anthropology is relatively new. It has been developing over the past 40 years and is now producing mature fruit in the form of academic papers, documented blog posts, and group conversations.

Biblical Anthropology is an empirical approach to the biblical texts. Reading Scripture through the lens of cultural anthropology is rigorous because no assumption can stand untested, and no assertion can be made without data.

The 66 canonical books of the Bible are the primary resource for Biblical anthropologists. Biblical archaeologists dig artifacts to better understand the material culture of peoples who lived in the Holy Land. Likewise, Biblical Anthropologists dig anthropologically significant data out of the pages of the Bible to better understand the many biblical populations.

Anthropologists are interested in material culture. We want to know what people made and what materials they used in daily life and in ceremonies. What tools did they use? We explore their beliefs about life after death by investigating burial practices. We want to understand what the different peoples believed about the creation of the world so we examine their creation and origin stories. We want to know how they organized for war, and where the rulers derived their authority. What was the social structure of the biblical Hebrew?

Biblical anthropology also traces the antecedents of practices and beliefs to shed light on why things were done, not simply how they were done. Uncovering antecedents is a central task of Biblical Anthropology. Where did the idea originate that humans were created from the soil? What is the origin of Messianic expectation? Where is the oldest known site of Hebrew worship? What is the significance of the prevalent solar symbolism among biblical populations?

Culture traits, ceremonies, rituals, and religious beliefs do not spring suddenly into existence. They develop organically over time from traditions received from the ancestors. Biblical anthropology provides tested methods and tools to push back the veil of time, to uncover anthropologically significant data that clarifies precedents, etiology, and context.

The discoveries made in Biblical Anthropology prove helpful to anthropology students, academics, clergy, historians, and ethnographers. They dispel false and racist notions. Kinship analysis of the king lists in Genesis 4 and 5 make it clear that these rulers are not the first people living on Earth. Bishop Ussher's timeline is not a reliable way to calculate Earth's age. All the peoples of the Earth did not come from Noah’s three sons. Ham, Shem and Japheth do not represent three races. Skin color and linguistic diversity are not the result of God’s judgment at the Tower of Babel.

After 40 years of pioneering this field, I am sad to say that Biblical Anthropology still is not recognized as a legitimate science, and there are few who are able to contribute to the research. In the hope that more would engage in this work, I set forth the most basic principles of Biblical Anthropology.

Guiding Principles of Biblical Anthropology

These six principles shape the work of Biblical Anthropology.

1. Immersion in the context: Understanding traits of a given culture by viewing them in their own context. For biblical anthropologists this involves immersion in the biblical texts to understand the culture traits of biblical populations. Every person aspiring to do this work should begin by reading the 66 books of the Bible at least 3 times, using different translations. Translations based on the Septuagint (LXX), the Masoretic Text (MT), and the Vulgate do not agree in every detail. The differences are significant.

Biblical narratives are connected to place and time, to environmental conditions, to the rising of rivers, the hewing of local stone, to the expansion of herds, and the threshing of wheat. The narratives speak to us from behind the veil of antiquity, revealing the world of our ancestors.

A good knowledge of the canonical books is necessary to see recurring themes and patterns such as the prevalence of solar symbolism and the consistent marriage and ascendancy pattern of the Hebrew rulers.

2. Impartial observation: Viewing another culture on its own terms as much as possible. Science requires objectivity. In this work, personal preferences and moral judgments are withheld. It is important to know that the Hebrew ruler-priests had two wives. We neither condone nor condemn polygyny.

We do not impose denominational interpretations on the text. The Bible is not used to attack an opponent. Proof texting is forbidden. We do not impose the "Five Solas" of the Reformation on the Bible. We do not view the Bible through the lens of Dispensationalism. We do not use the Bible to support an agenda.

We recognize and accept contextual incongruities as evidence that the biblical texts represent different sources and different times in history.

3. Cross-cultural perspective: Investigating how cultures are interconnected globally. For Biblical Anthropology this requires investigation of the ways in which biblical populations were related, how they influenced one another, and how they dispersed globally.

We correlate the biblical data with DNA studies, linguistics, migration and climate studies, historical records, ancient texts, and archaeology.

4. Holism: Looking at how the parts of a cultural system interrelate. Cultures are like woven fabric. There are many threads and the patterns are often complex. Investigation of the individual threads is necessary if we want to see the whole fabric. Studying particulars comes before conclusions about universals. This method makes it possible to state facts and avoid opinions.

In Biblical Anthropology the most basic threads are those that pertain to family and clan. That is why kinship analysis is the first tool of Biblical Anthropology. Kinship analysis clarifies the historicity of Adam and the rulers of Genesis 4, 5, 10, 11, 25 and 36. It dispels notions of incest that are contrary to the marriage laws of the ancient Hebrew. It clarifies familial and clan relationships. Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy of the biblical Hebrew reveals the continuity of tradition from Adam to Moses and from Moses to Jesus' family.

5. Meticulous dating: To avoid anachronisms and conflation of data, biblical anthropologists must develop a rigorously accurate timeline. For example, we must not confuse the religion of Judaism with the religion of the ancient Hebrews. Even Jews recognize that what Abraham believed and what is believed by Jews today are not the same.

Rabbi Stephen F. Wise, former Chief Rabbi of the United States, explains: "The return from Babylon and the introduction of the Babylonian Talmud mark the end of Hebrewism and the beginning of Judaism.” The Talmud is the primary authority for Jews because it shapes their ethnic identity.

4200 year texts speak of the Hebrew ruler-priest caste. In ancient Akkadian the caste was called "Abrutu" from the word abru, meaning priest. The Hebrew were established in Africa, Southern Europe, the Levant, and Mesopotamia 1800+ years before Judaism.

6. Assessing antiquity: In general, it is true that the more geographically widespread a culture trait the older it is. The 100,000-year custom of red ocher burial is an example. It indicates that the hope of life after death among archaic humans was associated with a symbolic blood covering.

Related reading: Abraham's Faith Lives in Christianity; Biblical Anthropology is the Work of Christians; INDEX of Topics 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Horite Temples

Alice C. Linsley

The priests of the Horite mounds and the Sethite mounds served the same king and worshiped the same God. The temples they built were aligned to the rising sun.

The Shaltout and Belmonte 2005 survey of the orientation of ancient temples in Upper Egypt (Nubia) and Lower Egypt listed the azimuths of axes of symmetry in nearly every temple in the region, including more than 100 entries. They also listed the declinations of astronomical bodies that would be visible at rising or setting along the axes of symmetry. They found a strong cluster of these at declination = −24º, which was the position of the sun at the winter solstice at the time.

They also found a preponderance of axes oriented toward the southeast (azimuth 115º−120º, depending upon latitude), indicating alignment with the rising sun. This is not surprising since the sun was the emblem of the High God for the ancient Nilotes. The priests at the oldest known site of Horite Hebrew worship at Nekhen offered invocations to the High God and his son at dawn.

Archaeological evidence indicates that Horite temples were square with a "holy of holies" at the heart of the larger square. Such sacred spaces have been found at Petra, at Shechem, and near the Amman airport. This temple near the Amman airport was 6.50 meters wide (almost exactly 7 yards) and surrounded by a narrow corridor that was broken into six rooms of equal size. At the very center of the most sacred space was a round stone platform that either served as the pedestal of a stone pillar or as the base of an altar.

Horite Hebrew temples and shrines were located at water sources such as wells or along major rivers like the Nile. Cisterns have been found in many of the ancient temples. Solomon's temple had a cistern that held over 66,000 gallons of water (250 cubic meters). Moses was told to meet the king early in the morning when he went down to the Nile for prayer.

In prehistoric times, regional shrine settlements attracted people from surrounding areas. These settlements were administrated by a "deified ruler" and caste of ruler-priests. The prehistoric shrine settlements were build around a central shrine or temple. There was a stone pillar (bnbn) or an east-facing obelisk. Archaeologists have found large mace heads at these temples.

Typically, the interior floor of the Horite temple was paved and the walls were made of hewn stones. In the Horite temples along the Nile there were many pillars rather than stone walls. The temple at Onn (Heliopolis) is an example. Iunu means "place of pillars."

However, evidence of stone pillars have been found at the temples in Amman and Shechem also. These served both as support for a roof and, in the case of the central area, a symbol of the strength of the Creator who inseminates the earth and by whom all life is generated. Likely the Apostle Paul had this tradition in mind when he wrote to Timothy that the Church of the living God is a pillar (I Tim. 3:15). Pillars in the temple also represented the righteous ones of God. Exodus 24:4 speaks of the twelve pillars in God's house as the twelve tribes upon which God has inscribed the holy Name.

In ancient Egypt such pillars were called bnbn, related to the word wbn, a reference to the rising (swelling) of the morning sun. Bnbn have been found from Nigeria to India. Below is a photo of a bnbn found in Lejja, Nigeria.

Sacred pillars represent the connection between heaven and earth (cf. ladder in Jacob's dream; the Church as pillar). In Horite temples these sometimes stood in the center of an outer courtyard. The foundation stone was about 2 feet 3 inches in diameter (70 centimeters) and the base of the pillar that rested on the stone pier was about 1 foot 4 inches (40 centimeters) in diameter. These smaller pillars were anointed, as Hindus anoint the lingam, an erect stone symbolizing the power of the Deity to generate life. Genesis 28:18 suggests this practice among Abraham's people: "Early the next morning Jacob took the stone he had placed under his head and set it up as a pillar and poured oil on top of it."

In 1931, a structure with the characteristics of Horite temples was discovered by Gabriel Welter on the shoulder of Mount Gerizim at the site of ancient Shechem. That square temple also had a central holy space with a stone podium that possibly served as an altar. This temple was destroyed at the end of the Middle Bronze Age. The central space of the Gerizim temple was about twice as large as the central space in the temple excavated near the airport in Amman in 1955.

Solomon's Temple

Solomon's temple in Jerusalem was built on the pattern of the older Horite temples under the direction of Hiram of Tyre (I Kings 9:11, II Chronicles 2:3). King Hiram and David had a common Horite ancestry, as analysis of the royal names indicates. Hiram I of Tyre also had sent skilled artisans to help David build a palace in Jerusalem.

Variants of the name Hiram include Horam and Harum, and all are related to the names Hur, Hor and Harun (Aaron). According to Midrash, Hur was Moses’ brother-in-law. Hur’s grandson was one of the builders of the Tabernacle. I Chronicles 4:4 lists Hur as the "father" of Bethlehem, also called "the city of David."

Solomon's temple was arranged on an east-west axis as was typical of most Horite temples. The Horites regarded the sun as the symbol of the Creator and Hathor-Meri as the mother of the "seed" of God, Horus. The temple of Hathor at Timna was oriented to the rising sun at the winter solstice. This temple was discovered at the southwestern edge of Mount Timna by Professor Beno Rothenberg of Hebrew University.

The entrance to Solomon's temple was flanked by twin pillars dedicated to his Horite Hebrew ancestors Jachin and Boaz. Jachin was Solomon's maternal great grandfather and Boaz was his paternal great grandfather.

David and Solomon were of the Horite Hebrew lines that can be traced from Genesis 4 and 5 to Joseph who married Mary, the daughter of the priest Joachim. Mary was "Miriam Daughter of Joachim Son of Pa-ntr (Joachim's mother) Priest of Nathan's clan of Bethlehem."

Long before the Pharaohs ruled Egypt the Horites were designated as royal priests. A tera-ntr refers to a priest. Th image above was found in Egypt by Flinders Petrie. It shows a Sethite temple priest among the Nilotic Annu and he is given the title of tera-neter, meaning priest devoted to God.

Related reading: Horite MoundsTemple GuildsOrientations of Nilo-Saharan Monuments; The High PlacesSacred Mountains and Pillars; Prehistoric Shrine Settlement in the Judean Shepalah