Monday, July 20, 2015

Was King Arthur a Horite Ruler?

Alice C. Linsley

In the ancient world, the R1b Annu/Ainu/Anakh dispersed widely. They built their shrines near water on mountains or elevated places. This was true along the Nile, in the Baltic region, in Southern China, Northern Japan and Okinawa, and in Cornwall. The Cornish fortress of Tintagel or Trevena is an example. In Cornish, it is called Tre war Venydh, meaning "village on a mountain."

Remains of Tintagel Fortress

Legend has it that King Arthur was born at Tintagel Castle. The ruins of Tintagel Castle stand on an island dominating the 300 feet (90 meters) high cliffs. Tin (or din) means fortress and tagel refers to a constriction or narrows, as in the neck of an island. Arthur was born into a Christian noble family of Cornwall which exercised influence on Christian missions and the defense of the Faith against Pagans from about 480-530. Christian priests were already well established in Cornwall, Devon and Ireland by 44 AD.

Tintagel Castle and the nearby village are associated with Arthur. It is thought that his name is related to the Brittonic root arto, meaning bear. That is possible, as the Ainu who passed through this region were bear hunters and also venerated the bear as a sacred totem. However, I would like to suggest a different possibility. King Ar-thur might as well indicate a ruler of the Ar clans of Hur, or a Horite ruler. C. S. Lewis regarded Arthur to perfectly fit the pattern of the "righteous ruler" exemplified by the Biblical Horites (Horim). This is why speculation about his miraculous birth and his return to England sprang up.

The Ravenna Cosmography, compiled around 700 AD from Roman material 300 years older, lists a route running westward into Cornwall. On this route is a place then called Duro-cornovio. The Latin Duro-cornovio corresponds to the British Celtic duno-Cornouio-n, which means "fortress of the Cornish people." However, the original name for Cornwall was Kernow, which is related to the words Karnak and Karnevo. Kar is a archaic root that refers to a circular place of ritual. Kar-nak refers to the rite of teeth removal among the ancient Nilotes.

"Terah took a wife and her name was Amsalai, the daughter of Karnevo; and the wife of Terah conceived and bare him a son in those days." Jasher 7:50

The words duno and duro are related to the Ana'kh word dar, which refers to a citadel or a fortress. The Aramaic word for fortress is derived from dar, and the Arabic word dayr means monastery.

The Annu/Ainu/Anakh were known as masters of stone monuments, tombs and mining operations. They built sacred circles in reverence to the Sun, the emblem of the Creator. Ki-kar refers to a circle as in Exodus 25:11: ki-kar za-hav ta-hor, meaning "circle of pure gold." In the Anchor Bible Commentary on Genesis, E.A. Speiser recognizes that kikar refers to a circle.

From 400,000 BC to 200,000 BC, archaeological finds of flint axes and blades indicate that people were living in Devon and moving through Cornwall which was a good hunting ground, as it was too far south to be under the ice sheet. By 40,000 BC settlements dotted South West Britain.

Carn Euny, Sancreed, near Penzance

Carn Euny is an Iron Age settlement consisting of courtyard houses and the remains of round houses. The village dates from the the 1st century BC, though there is evidence that the site had been settled since the Bronze Age. Carn Euny is best known for the well-preserved fogou, a large underground passageway, which is more than 65 feet (20 metres) long. This fogou runs just below the surface of the ground and is roofed with massive stone slabs typical of the tunnels built by the R1b stone masons.

Mining in Cornwall and Devon began in approximately 2150 BC. From that time Horite mining experts were present in Cornwall. In the 1st century AD, one of those experts was Joseph of Ar-Mathea, which means Yosef of the Ar clan of Matthew.

Genetic studies have confirmed that the Horite Ainu dispersed widely across the ancient world. Some migrated to Hokkiado (Northern Japan) and Okinawa. Others came to the British Isles and Scandinavia. From there, some migrated to Greenland, Labrador, and Eastern Canada where they came to be called "Miqmac" by the French. The Ainu have a Nilotic origin and are described as having a red skin tone. Interestingly, an early population living in Cornwall were the Dam-oni, which means “red people.” The word Dam-oni is derived from two words found in the Bible: dam, a reference to red and blood, and oni/On, a reference to the great shrine city of Heliopolis, biblical On (Genesis 41:45). Joseph married the daughter of a priest of On. The Dam-oni may have come from Carnac (Karnac) in Brittany because the stone monoliths in Damnonia are like those in Carnac, though smaller. On the Nile, the ancient shrine at Karnak was built with huge stones by skillful craftsmen, the likely ancestors of these early inhabitants of Cornwall.

In the region where Joseph of Ar-Mathea is said to have visited there are many Hebrew place names like Marazion, meaning "sight of Zion" and Menheniot, which is derived from the Hebrew words min oniyot, meaning "from ships." Menheniot was a center of lead mining.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Danger of Reductionism

"Anthropology is the enemy of reductionism, be it naturalistic explanations of human skin color variation, the ascertainment of human presence via exclusive archaeological arguments or the belief that linguistic classifications are only skin deep."-- German Dziebel

German V. Dziebel

Dr. German Dziebel holds a B.A. in History from St. Petersburg State University (Russia), a Ph.D. in Ethnology from the Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology (St. Petersburg, Russia), an M.A. in Sociology from Central European University (Warsaw, Poland), an M.A. in Anthropology and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Stanford University (Stanford, California). He spent two quarters as an exchange student at the University of Chicago.

I find Dr. Dziebel's work very satisfying. in part, because he is right that anthropology is the enemy of reductionism. That is no less true for Biblical Anthropology. Application of anthropological principles of study to the data found in the oldest layers of material in the Bible has been my focus for over 30 years. This research has rendered significant discoveries and clarified connections between peoples of the archaic world. Indeed, my research, like Dr. Dziebel's, hinges mainly on kinship analysis. His focus has largely been on the peoples of the Americas. Mine on the dispersion of related peoples from the Nile Valley.

I find Dziebel's work fascinating because he is tracing connections from the Americas to the Old World which I believe can be explained by the movement of archaic populations out of the Nile Valley between 20,000 and 10,000 years ago. Dziebel, on the other hand, believes that modern humans originated in the Americas.

Dziebel has stated:

In the study of modern human origins and dispersals, kinship systems and mating patterns play an important strategic role connecting patterns of genetic variation with sociocultural and linguistic systems. While multiple studies have shown that ancient kinship systems and mating patterns likely contributed to the observable regional and global clines of genetic variation, no comprehensive study of worldwide kinship-systemic variation as it relates to genetic variation exists to date. (From here.)

While Dziebel and I might not agree on how to interpret the evidence of connections between people of the New and Old Worlds, we share a conviction that kinship, marriage and ascendancy patterns, molecular genetics, and linguistic studies are essential if we are to develop anything resembling a comprehensive picture of genetic variation worldwide.

We agree also that reductionism always misleads. There are many examples of reductionism among Christians: Luther's interpretation of 1 Peter 2:9 by which he concludes that all baptized people are priests; the Protestant theory of Sola Scriptura, Young Earth Creationism, the belief that all extant human populations are descended from the three sons of Noah, etc.

Secular reductionists attribute religious beliefs to non-religious causes. Some view religious faith as a by-product of human evolution. In this view religion enhances survivability for members of a group and so is reinforced by natural selection. Others reduce the religious impulse to superstition, as a way to explain the inexplicable.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Y-Chromosome Profile of 64% of European Men

About 64% of modern European men (that 2 out of 3) are descended from just three Bronze Age males. That is the finding of a research team from the University of Leicester that looked at the DNA sequences of 334 men from 17 European and Middle Eastern populations.

Professor Mark Jobling from the Department of Genetics at Leicester University said: “The population expansion falls within the Bronze Age, which involved changes in burial practices, the spread of horse-riding and developments in weaponry.

"Dominant males linked with these cultures could be responsible for the Y chromosome patterns we see today."

Read the report here.

The question that needs to be addressed is: Did these three males produced an enormous number of children or does this research confirm the existence of a 3-clan patrilineal confederation which practiced endogamy? If the latter, this is confirmation of the kinship pattern of Abraham's ancestors in the R1b group.

Some who read this article will immediately think of the 3 sons of Noah. However, Shem, Ham and Japheth represent one of many 3-clan confederations mentioned in the Bible. They were Nilo-Saharans, not Europeans. The lines of Ham and Shem intermarried. The Hungarians claim to be descended from Japheth, which is likely since they call themselves "Magyar" and there are Magyar living along the Nile. Noah's three sons lived about B.C. 2438-2275. We cannot identify them as the three Bronze Age chiefs in the report, however, as there were many such confederations between 3200–600 BC in Europe.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Understanding the Bible

Alice C. Linsley

The Bible is really a library. It contains 66 different books. Many of the books had different writers. Some of the writers wrote a great deal. For example, Paul of Tarsus wrote about two-thirds of the material in the New Testament. He was a brilliant man who knew the Hebrew religion of his ancestors (Horim/Horites) and also Greek philosophy. The town where Paul grew up was called Tarsus and there was a famous philosophy academy there.

Most of Paul’s writings are letters written to different churches that were spread around the ancient Near East. He also wrote a very important letter to the Christians in Rome, the capital of the Roman Empire. That book is called Romans. This letter to the Romans has influenced many writers throughout history, including Augustine of Hippo in North Africa. He became a bishop in the early church and is considered a saint.

In the letter to the Christian at Rome, Paul explains that God loves us and we can’t earn God’s love. We can only receive it as a gift and allow God’s love to change our hearts and minds so that we can love others with pure hearts. Paul also explains how Jesus is God’s Lamb sacrificed to cover the sin of the whole world and that is why we do not need to sacrifice animals anymore. Finally, Paul tells the Roman Christians to be strong in their Christian faith because they were going to go through a hard time; that they would suffer. Some died for their faith. Others were put in prison. Some ran away from their homes and never returned. Wherever these Christians went, they told other people about Jesus, God’s gift to the world.

Paul traveled around to many different places telling people about Jesus. Some of his traveling companions were Barnabas and a young man named Mark. In some towns the people welcomed them and they stayed for a while and made good friends with people who wanted to love and serve the Lord Jesus. In other towns, they were badly treated. Once they were put in jail, but God delivered them through an earthquake. They also prayed for sick and injured people and they were healed in Jesus’ name. You can read about their amazing adventures in the book called Acts of the Apostles, of simply Acts.

One of the most important narratives of the Bible concerns a sent-away son named Abraham. When his father died, Abraham's older brother Nahor took charge of their father's kingdom in Mesopotamia. Abraham went where God told him to go and after a time, with God's help, he too became a great ruler in the region of Edom. His first wife was named Sarah and his second wife was named Keturah. Abraham is related to the Horite rulers who are listed in Genesis 36.

Another sent-away son was Moses. He also became a great ruler over his Hebrew (Habiru) people. The Hebrew were a caste of ruler-priests called Horites. Like Abraham, he had two wives. This was the custom for Horite men who became rulers. Moses's Kushite wife was his half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham. The prophet Samuel's father was a ruler-priest with two wives. His name was Elkanah and his wives' names were Penninah and Hannah. Samuel's family was also Horite.

Most to the heroes in the Bible were sent-away sons to whom God delivered a kingdom. This is one of the patterns by which we recognize Jesus, God's son, who comes into the world to save the lost and to receive an eternal kingdom.

Two Related Divisions

The Bible has two main divisions: the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament has material that was translated from ancient languages including old Hebrew, old Arabic, and Aramaic. Aramaic is the language that Jesus spoke. All of these languages are related to even older languages that were spoken along the Nile River and along the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In ancient times, people lived near the great rivers.

In the Old Testament there are creation stories, lists of great kingdom builders, histories of kings and great battles, love stories, law books, poetry, and accounts of great prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah and Amos. Prophets were important people because God sent them to their rulers which a message that the rulers needed to hear. Sometimes the rulers didn’t like what they were told by the prophets and killed them. Sometimes, the rulers listened and did what the prophet said and saved their whole kingdom. That is what happened in the story of Jonah. Even the animals were saved from destruction.

There were men prophets and also women prophets, like Deborah and Huldah. These women were so important that all the people respected them. People came to Deborah when they had serious disputes or arguments to settle. In the book of Judges, chapter 4, verses 4-6, you can read, about how Deborah handled these cases while sitting under a palm tree (called a tamar). Her tree was between the towns of Ramah and Bethel. Huldah was so wise that the king sent his advisers to her for advice. The king trusted her more than his own advisers.

One of the most important prophets of the Bible was Samuel. His father was a ruler-priest in the town of Ramah, not far from where Deborah had lived between the towns of Ramah and Bethel. God told Samuel to anoint the first two kings of Israel: Saul and David. Samuel always did exactly what God asked him to do even though he had no control over how things would work out. He had great trust that God always does what is best, and even turns bad things into good things in the end.

Prophets were important people, and so were priests. There were twenty-four groups or “divisions” of priests who lived in different town spread all over the land of Canaan. They served the people where they lived and they also took turns serving at the temple in Jerusalem. The priests helped the people when they felt guilty because they had done bad things. In ancient times, priests did their work at great stone temples that were built on hills near the great rivers. The priests received gifts of food, wine, oil and sheep, goats and cows from the people who came to the temple to worship God. Sometimes the priests would sacrifice an animal and the blood of the animal was a spiritual covering for the person who did bad things and wanted God to forgive them.

The animals were valuable and nobody likes to kill an animal, so this was done when there was a serious need for forgiveness. Sadly, some priests saw this system as a way to make money and they encouraged the people to brings lots of animals, even for things that were not very serious. This did not please God the Creator and he sent some prophets to tell the priest who controlled the temples and water shrines to stop being so corrupt. Really, we can ask God for forgiveness any time and we don’t need to take the life of animal. But for the really deep problems, we need God’s help, for sure. That help is always there for us, if we ask for it.

In the New Testament, there are letters written to the many new churches that were started by Jesus’ followers. Most of the letters were written by Paul of Tarsus, but there are also letters written by men he knew, including Peter, James and John. These men were born and raised near a big lake. The lake still exists and is so big it is called the “Sea” of Galilee. Peter had a brother named Andrew and they were both fisherman. James and John were fisherman also and their father’s name was Zebedee. Jesus first met Peter, James and John while they were repairing their fishing nets on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

The New Testament also contains four books about the life of Jesus: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These four books are called the “Gospels” and they have many of the same stories, but each book is written from a different perspective.

Matthew is a name that appears often in Jesus’ family and the writer of this book may have been one of Jesus’ relatives. Matthew wrote about how Jesus was not only a fully human man, but also the Son of God, being fully divine.

Mark’s book reveals the influence of ancient Egyptian beliefs about the appearance of a Righteous Ruler who would die and rise to life again and lead his followers to eternal life (immortality). Mark believed that Jesus is the long-expected Righteous Ruler.

Luke was a medical doctor who was highly educated. His account of Jesus was originally written in very high quality Greek. Some of Luke’s story came from Jesus’ mother. Her name is Mary and she is honored by Christians around the world. Sometimes she is called “the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Christ our God.” Luke must have asked her many questions about her son because some of his stories about Jesus had to have come from his mother.

Matthew, Mark and Luke are histories about Jesus’ life. John’s Gospel is different. John wrote about Jesus’ life, but not as a history book. Instead, John explains who Jesus is. Many people think that the first Bible book a person should read is John’s Gospel because it helps us understand about Jesus. John explains that Jesus is the Son of God who came into the world to save sinners and that he came as a gift from God, because God loved the world he made and especially human beings. John understands that Jesus is the “Seed” born to the Woman (Genesis 3:15) who crushes the head of the serpent who hates God. That serpent is a symbol of the evil that is in the world that makes people attack Jesus and his followers. Jesus defeats the evil serpent by dying and rising to life again. He tramples down death by his death and promises eternal life to all who believe in Him. This is called the Resurrection and Christians around the world celebrate Jesus’ resurrection at Easter.

You can read about Jesus’ ancestors in the Old Testament. One of the best books to read is the beautiful love story named for the main female character, Ruth. Ruth was the mother of Obed. Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse was the father of David who became the greatest King in the history of Jesus’ people. He and his ancestors are described as having a reddish brown skin tone and lots of hair. This gives us an idea of how Jesus might have looked.

King David’s father was a ruler-priest who had many sheep. The priests kept sheep for food and also to sacrifice when there was a serious offense committed against God and God’s people. David was the youngest of Jesse’s sons and he often was put in charge of taking care of the sheep. He became a strong young man who was able to defend his sheep from lions and bears. His weapons were a staff and a slingshot. When David was still a young man, he killed a mighty warrior with a single stone that he hurled from his slingshot. You can read about that in I Samuel, chapter 17. The warrior was named Goliath of Gath and he cursed the true God and made fun of David and his people. Goliath’s people, called “Philistines” were trying to take the land away from David’s king whose name was Saul. When Saul died, David became the king.

David’s hometown was Bethlehem, which is where Jesus was born, because Jesus’ mother was the daughter of a ruler-priest of Bethlehem name Joachim (also spelled Yoachim). Bethlehem was the home of the eighteenth division of ruler-priests who were Jesus’ ancestors. This priestly division was called ha·pi·TSETS (Happizzez), a name of Egyptian origin. (Hapi was the ancient Egyptian word for the Nile River.) In 1962 archaeologists discovered a small piece of a list of the twenty-four priestly divisions in the ruins of a synagogue at Caesarea, near Galilee. This old marble fragment had the names of the places where four of the divisions resided, including Nazareth, the residence of Happizzez.

The famous Ark of the Covenant was guarded by the priests of Bethlehem until David was able to move it to "the city of David," a 12-acre ridge south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem (II Samuel, chapter 5, verse 9). This had been a holy place for people in that area since 3200 years before Jesus.

Jesus’ mother Mary was married to a man named Joseph. He was from Nazareth, near the Sea of Galilee. Nazareth was the home of another division of ruler-priests. They raised sheep and were skilled in stone work, mining, and wood work (carpentry). Jesus worked as a carpenter in Joseph’s workshop in Nazareth. Jesus’ closest followers or disciples were from Galilee also. Jesus returned there to meet with them after His resurrection. At Jesus’ “Last Supper” with his disciples, he informed them: "After I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee.” (Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 26, verse 32)

How to Use the Bible

The Bible is as useful as any good library. You can read for fun, to increase your knowledge of the ancient world, or to help you understand God better. You can read it when you are sad or discouraged and it will lift your spirits. If something really bad happens, you can read it for comfort and hope.

Here is a list of readings for different occasions and situations.

When discouraged

Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 42:16 And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

When sad or broken-hearted

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

Revelation 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away."

When confused

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.

Psalm 34:17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.

When joyful and excited

Psalm 5:11-12 Let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.

Psalm 47:1 Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Psalm 63:5-7 My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food, and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips, when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.

Psalm 96:11-13 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Isaiah 12:6 “… Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”

1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

When worried or anxious

John 14:27 Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

I Peter 5:7 Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He [God] cares for you.

Psalm 18:2 The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Miners Venerated Hathor

Copper mine in the Faynan in present-day Jordan, ancient Edom

Mohammad Najjar and Thomas Levy have been excavating at an ancient copper mine site in the Faynan district of Jordan for more than 20 years. Copper has been mined here for 12,000 years, and the copper smelting here has been done since 4,500 years ago.

This area was part of Edom, a land ruled by the Horites listed in Genesis 36. They are described as having a red skin tone and the ancient Greeks called Edom "Idumea" which means "land of red people." Edom was part of the Nabatean kingdom and the Nabatean warriors resembled the red Nubian warriors with their long wavy hair and the wearing of feathers on their legs.

Nabataean warriors had long wavy hair and wore feathers.
They appear to be related to the red Nubian warriors shown below.

The Horites were devotees of Re, Horus and Hathor. Hathor was venerated as the patroness of miners. Petra reflects Horite beliefs.

Faynan’s twin is the site of Timna in the Negev desert of Israel. In 1934 the area was surveyed by the American archaeologist Nelson Glueck. The area was also surveyed by Beno Rothenberg of Hebrew University between 1959 and 1961. Professor Rothenberg discovered a temple dedicated to Hathor at the southwest edge of Mt. Timna. The smelting works, slag and flints at Timna were found to be identical to those discovered near Beersheba where the elderly Abraham lived with his cousin wife, Keturah. In his book Timna, Rothenberg concluded that the peoples living in the area were "partners not only in the work but in the worship of Hathor." (p. 183)

Beersheba is at the southern boundary of ancient Edom. Both Edomite and Midianite pottery have been discovered at Beersheba. A four-horned brazen altar identical in structural to the altar used later by the Israelites was uncovered in 1973. This discovery was made by a team under the direction of Yohanan Aharoni and Ze'ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University. The team first encountered an ancient storage wall that contained the stones of the altar. Three of the stones still had large horns projecting from them, but the horn of the fourth stone had been broken off. Yet still another stone had the carved image of a serpent, probably indicating Kenite construction. The stones, which had been incorporated into a wall, were reassembled to assume their former shape and dated to the time of the Patriarchs. The altar may have been destroyed during Hezekiah’s attempts to eradicate all shrines outside Jerusalem.

Beersheba had strategic importance because it was the largest settlement in the Negev. It guarded the trade routes between Mesopotamia and Egypt and between the Nile Delta and Southern Arabia. Its fortifications in the late Iron Age were impressive and included a moat that encircled the city and a steeply-sloped earthen rampart. Beyond the rampart the city was surrounded by thick stone walls. The gate was a chambered type, and inside the gate archaeologists found an incense altar at the high place, just as described in II Kings 23:8.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Fatted Calf

"Bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat, and celebrate..." - Luke 15:23

John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, "Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world."  John knew that his cousin was born in Bethlehem, the home of an ancient and highly respected line of shepherd priests. Jesus speaks of himself as the "Good Shepherd" in John 10, but he never referred to himself as the "Lamb" of God.

In the Parable of the Prodigal Son, he used the "fatted calf" to speak of Himself as the sacrifice (Θυσατε) and the feast (Eucharist) that come when the Father embraces the repentant sinner. The fatted calf is about sacrifice and the Eucharistic feast, as noted in Clark's Commentary:

The fatted calf, and kill it - Θυσατε, Sacrifice it. In ancient times the animals provided for public feasts were first sacrificed to God. The blood of the beast being poured out before God, by way of atonement for sin, the flesh was considered as consecrated, and the guests were considered as feeding on Divine food. 

Clearly the "fatted calf" is a Messianic reference. The sacrificed red cow was to have been a perpetual sacrifice for the people of Israel. The cow is sacrificed and burned outside the camp and the ashes used for "water of lustration." (Numbers 19:9)

Among Abraham's cattle-herding ancestors the fatted calf was sacrificed and eaten to solemnize covenants, upon resolving disputes over water rights, and when making reconciliation between opposing parties. Clearly, the "fatted calf" is not merely a metaphor of celebration for someone's long-awaited return.

Related reading: Who is Jesus?; Fundamentalism and Syncretism in Hebrew History; Boats and Cows of the Proto-Saharans; Why Cows Were Sacred in the Ancient World; Edo, Edom, Idumea: Land of Red People; The Red Heifer; The Edomites and the Color Red

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Nubian Warriors

Photo by Jürgen Liepe

Armed with bows and arrows, Nubian soldiers from Ta-Seti, the Land of the Bow, are shown marching to war. This wooden model from about 2040 B.C., was found in a tomb in Assiut, Egypt. Hunters using bows and arrows appear in Nubian rock art as early as the Neolithic period and some of Nubia’s most important trade products, like animal skins and ivory, came from the hunt.

Nubian wrestlers
The Nubians were famous for boxing, wrestling, stick fighting and archery. The Greeks learned these skills from the ancient Egyptian and Nubian warriors. They refined these skills through martial sports called Pankrashan, which is Pan Kau Ra/Rau Shen - all encompassing spirit force of Ra.

Ainu warriors were called Yaunguru. The Y is a solar cradle and Aun is a variant of Anu (Ainu). The Sanskrit word guru is a variant of the ancient Egyptian word geru, which means self-mastered or silent. Plato wrote about the balanced judgement or silent (stoic) self-mastery of these warriors. He called it "thymos" in The Republic.

The Nubians served as warriors in the armies of Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Rome. Nubian archers also served as warriors in the imperial army of Persia in the first millennium BC. According to 2 Samuel 18 and 2 Chronicles 14, they also fought on behalf of Israel.

Dr. Hays
According to J. Daniel Hays, the Nubian Kushites’ international reputation as mercenaries explains how a Kushite designated as the king's high ranked official  - Ebed-melech -  in Jeremiah 38:7 came to advise King Zedekiah, playing a pivotal role during the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem from 588 to 586 B.C.

When Jeremiah was condemned and put into a cistern, Ebed-melech convinced King Zedekiah to free the prophet. Here is the passage:

1) Now Shephati'ah the son of Mattan, Gedali'ah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemi'ah, and Pashhur the son of Malchi'ah heard the words that Jeremiah was saying to all the people,

(2) "Thus says the LORD, He who stays in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out to the Chalde'ans shall live; he shall have his life as a prize of war, and live.

(3) Thus says the LORD, This city shall surely be given into the hand of the army of the king of Babylon and be taken."

» (4) Then the princes said to the king, "Let this man be put to death, for he is weakening the hands of the soldiers who are left in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them. For this man is not seeking the welfare of this people, but their harm."

(5) King Zedeki'ah said, "Behold, he is in your hands; for the king can do nothing against you."
(6) So they took Jeremiah and cast him into the cistern of Malchi'ah, the king's son, which was in the court of the guard, letting Jeremiah down by ropes. And there was no water in the cistern, but only mire, and Jeremiah sank in the mire.

(7) When E'bed-mel'ech the Ethiopian, a eunuch, who was in the king's house, heard that they had put Jeremiah into the cistern -- the king was sitting in the Benjamin Gate --

Dr. Hays believes that this Nubian gained the ear of the King of Judah because he was a high-ranking military attaché hired by Zedekiah or dispatched by Egypt.

J. Daniel Hays became interested in the Kushites while in Ethiopia from 1982 through 1987 where he was involved in theological education and water development. He has been on the faculty at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas since 1992. He is the author of entries on Ebedmelech and Zerah in the Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible.

It is interesting to note that Ebed-melech is designated by three terms: Kushite, Nubian and Ethiopian. The term "Kushite" includes many peoples whose point of origin was the Nile Valley.

Beginning in Nubia and Sudan about 10,000 years ago, the Kushites spread across the Levant and Mesopotamia, going as far as Central Asia. They also spread into the interior of Africa along the Shari and the Benue rivers, establishing kingdoms and chieftains as far at Lagos in Nigeria and into the southern Kordafan. They also went west. The Ashante of Ghana were Kushites. Nte means "people of" and Asha is a proper name. The Ashante are the people of Asha, a Kushite ruler who established a kingdom in West Africa.

The name Asha is a priestly name found in the Bible. One of Jesse's grandsons was named Asahel, which means "made by God." The priest Elkanah had a son named Amasi (1 Chron. 2:25, 35), and a Jerusalem priest was named Amashai (Neh. 11:13). This suggests that the origins of the priesthood of Israel are to be traced to the older Kushite civilization. This makes sense, since Abraham's ancestors came from Kush.

Abraham's father was called Terah, an ancient Nilotic word for priest. Terah was a descendant of both Ham and Shem, as the ruler-priests lines intermarried. Among the Nilotic Luo, for example, ter means ritual, especially in reference to cleansing. Below is an image of Tera-neter, the title for a ruler-priest among the Ainu/Anu, devotees of Anu, the Creator. The image is found in Flinders Petrie's The Making of Egypt. Abraham’s father, Terah, bears this title because he is a descendant of these pre-dynastic rulers of the Upper Nile. The Ainu dispersed widely, taking their religious beliefs and practices with them.

The various regions of ancient Kush later came to be called by different names. Nubia was originally remembered as the land of gold. Nub means gold in Ancient Egyptian. In Genesis 2, the region is identified as Ha-vilah, the place where the headwaters of the Nile separate. Later it was called "Aithiopia" by the Greeks. Aithiopia means black. When the Arabs arrived, they translated aithiopia into the Arabic equivalent soudan (Sudan) which means black.

Were all Nubians black?

Petrie's study of ancient images suggested to him that Egypt was the product of racial mixture. He found images of Nubians in which some have black skin, others red skin, and some have brown skin. This confirmed what had been discovered by the 1828 Franco-Italian expedition to Egypt led by Jean-Francois Champollion and Ippolito Rosellini. Below is a detail from one of Rosellini's drawings showing both black and red Nubian warriors who were taken captive by the Egyptians under Rameses II (1279-1213 B.C.).

Anthropological evidence suggests that the range of skin color probably was not due to racial mixture, but existed from the beginning in Africa. Even today it is not uncommon for babies born from the same parents to show different features associated with "racial" types. Here are images of unusual, but not rare, features found within the range of "African" genes.

San (Bushmen) of Botswana

Anthropologists and geneticists know that the greatest genetic diversity is and always has been found in African populations. Populations farther from Africa tend to have the least genetic diversity.

Related reading:  Kushite Gold; Kushite Wives; Kushites in Mindanao; The Kushite-Kushan Connection; Terah's Nubian Ancestors; Plato on Thymos; Nubian Archers; Solving the Ainu Mystery; Biblical Sheba and Nubians Linked