Saturday, August 10, 2019

The Horite Hebrew Wisdom of Elihu

Alice C. Linsley

"There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job..." (Job 1:1)

Job was a Horite Hebrew of the clan of Uz. Uz was a grandson of Seir the Horite ruler of Edom (Genesis 36). Edom was where Abraham the Hebrew settled. Jeremiah speaks of Edom as one of the ancient seats of wisdom.

The divine name YHWH was known among the Horite Hebrew of Edom before the time of Moses. According to Jewish tradition, Moses was born around 1393 BC. However, the name YHWH appears in connection to the Seirites of Edom as early as 1500 BC. Lists of place names in the Nubian temples of Soleb and Amara West record six toponyms associated with the Horites of Edom, “the land of Shasu.” A monument of Ramesses II claims that he “has plundered the Shasu-land, captured the mountain of Seir; a 19th Dynasty letter mentions “the Shasu-tribes of Edom,” and Ramesses III declares that he has “destroyed the Seirites among the tribes of the Shasu.”

The description of Job fits that of the Horite Hebrew ruler-priests. Though accused of being a sinner by his friends, Job was a righteous man who "feared God and shunned evil" (Job 1:1). He rose early to offer prayers and burnt offerings for his children, one by one. He comes to be afflicted by a "ha-satan," the Accuser. Satan's power is limited as he is a creation. He must ask God's permission to afflict God's servant and God puts limits on what Satan may do to Job. The Hebrew did not regard God and Satan as equals. The faith of Abraham was not dualistic.

The trial of Job in which Satan acts as the accuser parallels Zechariah 3:2-6 where Satan accuses the High Priest Joshua (Yeshua/Jesus). In that trial God acquits Joshua and commands that he be clothed in pure garments and crowned with two crowns (ataroth). This points to Jesus who, as the Son of God, would wear a double crown according to Horite Hebrew expectation. The double crown represents how Messiah unites two peoples: the faithful of Israel (Old Covenant) and the faithful of the Church (New Covenant).

Elihu is the last of Job's kin to speak. In Strong's Concordance Elihu is said to mean "He is my God". However, it is more likely that the name relates to God's Word since El refers to God and hu was a Horite word for the divine Word that overcomes chaos. Hu refers to the authoritative word in ancient Egyptian belief and is mentioned in the Old Kingdom Pyramid texts (PT 251, PT 697). There is a close resemblance to the Logos of John's Prologue in that Hu is depicted as the falcon of the Son of God, or the ram, the totem of the Son that overcomes death. (A ram was provided for sacrifice on Mt. Moriah).

Elihu is of the clan of Buz. Buz, Huz and Uz were a three-clan Hebrew confederation. I Chronicles 5:14 tells us that the son of Buz was Jahdo (Hebrew Yahdo), and Jahdo's son was Yeshishai, the Aramaic form of Yeshua/Jesus. With the names Yahdo and Yeshishai we see the initial Canaanite Y that indicates a divinely appointed ruler.

Assuming that Elihu is an historical person, he likely was the brother-in-law of Tamar's son Hezron. (See dark triangle below.) Tamar was the daughter of a shrine priest. This suggests that Elihu lived with his father Barachel in the territory of Buz, but belonged to the household of Elihu, his maternal grandfather, also a priest. Elihu's mother would have been the daughter of Elihu the Elder. In other words, we have further evidence of intermarriage between two Horite Hebrew lines: the ruler-priest lines of Judah and Elihu the Elder.

Evidence of endogamy among the Hebrew Lines of Judah and Elihu (2019)

   Judah                                                    Elihu the Elder
      ∆    =   O Tamar                                                                       ∆
                       Hezron  ∆  =  O Elihu the Younger’s sister                                 O Elihu’s mother
                                                                                                                              Elihu the Younger

Both Elihu the Elder and Elihu the Younger were of the ruler-priest caste and ancestors of King David. Elihu the Younger takes us beyond the wisdom of Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. He moves us from the retributive justice espoused by Job's three friends to the reality that "God is greater than any human being. Why then quarrel with Him for not replying to you word for word? God speaks first one way and then in another, although we do not realize it." (Job 33:12-14 NJB)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Blaming the Evil Canaanites

These standing stone at Tell Gezer date to the period of the standing stones erected on Salisbury Plain in England around 2500 BC. Photo: Dennis Cole

Alice C. Linsley

There were many religious practices among the Canaanites, but most of the shrines and temples were at elevated sites, called "high places" in the Bible. Most of the high places of the Judean and Edomite hills were under Egyptian control from about 2000 to 1178 BC.

In Hebrew, the high places and fortified mounds are called "ophel" (Hebrew עֹ֫פֶל). The root of the word ophel is OP and pertains to a complex of interrelated ideas: seeing (optic); armed guards (opiltes); walled towns (oppida), and sun shrines (O'piru) served by a caste of priests known in the ancient world as Abru, Ha'piru, Ha'biru and 'Apiru. Abru is the Akkadian word for priest, and the English word Hebrew come from the word Habiru.

Through archaeology and biblical anthropology, we have come to know a great deal about the peoples who lived in Canaan. Their shrines were built at high elevations near water systems and they were later fortified. They were masters of stone work and left behind standing stones of monumental proportions such as those at Tell Gezer.

The term "Canaanite" refers to many different peoples, some of whom were ethnically Nilotic. Genesis 10:15-19, traces the Canaanite peoples to an otherwise unknown descendant of Noah named "Canaan."
"Canaan fathered the Sidon his first-born, then Heth, and the Jebusites, the Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites. Later Canaanite clans spread out. The Canaanite frontier stretched from Sidon all the way to Gerar near Gaza and all the way to Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboiim near Lehsa."

There were Horite Hebrew priests at many of the Canaanite shrines long before the Jews returned there from Babylonian exile. The Deuteronomist is a post-exilic source with an agenda. The Deuteronomist Historian presents the Canaanites as decadent, idolatrous, and deserving of being displaced from the land, even exterminated. Doubtless, there were practices surrounding fertility that were contrary to the purity code of the Horite Hebrew. These made it easy to cast all Canaanites as decadent.

The Deuteronomist mentions the destruction of Jericho, a pre-pottery Neolithic (PPN) settlement (10,500 to 9,500 BC) whose prestige as a fortified shrine city surpassed that of Jerusalem. There is evidence of competition here.

The Deuteronomist's main concerns were to establish Jerusalem as the only place of worship for Jews as a way of melding the people into a nation. The Deuteronomist encourages the destruction of all high places except Jerusalem. The targets to be destroyed were the bamot. Bamot is the plural form of the word bamah, meaning high or exalted. The word appears in names like Oholibamah and Obamah.

The Deuteronomist revises the history of Abraham's Horite Hebrew people to present a narrative about Moses and the Law that serves to strengthen Jewish identity.The focus is shifted from the archaic Hebrew rulers and their hope for a Righteous Ruler conceived by divine overshadowing and destined to rise from the grave to centralized worship at the Jerusalem temple. This source is also responsible for reshaping the Passover and Tabernacles into national observances. He promotes the power of the Jerusalem elite, and Israel’s possession of the land. This is the beginning of political Zionism.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Elements of the Messianic Faith in Early Hinduism

Alice C. Linsley

Hinduism has many layers that developed over time. As a religion, Hinduism reached its zenith in the Axial Age (900-200 BC). Today there are at least 10 Hindu schools of thought. However, at the earliest level, the Vedic texts reveals the influence of the Horite Hebrew who moved into the Indus River Valley. The earliest known site of Horite Hebrew worship, Nekhen on the Nile, dates to 3800 BC.

The earliest civilization of the Indus Valley is that of Harappa (2500–1700 BC). In Dravidian Harappa means "Horus is father." This stone relief is at Agkhor Wat. It shows Horus in the form of his falcon totem perched on the mast of Ra's solar boat. The etiology of Anghor Wat is also telling. Wat means village, town, settlement, or shrine. Anghor is ankh-Hor which means "Long live Horus!"

In Mannika's best-known work, "Angkor Wat: Time, Space and Kingship" she argues that the dimensions, alignment, and bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat speak of Suryavarman II as the divinely appointed king.

The idea of a universal king who is divinely appointed to rule is much older than Angkor Wat. It is found in the oldest layers of Hindu thought. The Sanskrit word cakravartin and the Pali word cakkavattin refer to a righteous king who rules over the entire world. His "messianic" rule is called sar-vabhauma. From Africa to Nepal the words sar and sarki refer to rulers and priests. The Akkadian word "sar" means king. This is the root of the royal title Sar-gon, which means High King or King of Kings. Nimrod's Akkadian name was Šarru-kīnu, which is usually translated “the true king.”

Messianic expectation appears to have originated among the Horite Habiru (Hebrew), a priest caste that served in the temples and shrines of the archaic world. The Habiru were in the service of the "mighty men of old" (Genesis 10), the early kingdom builders like Nimrod. Nimrod was a Kushite kingdom builder (Genesis 10:8) and the language of his territory was Akkadian.

At its earliest levels of development, Hinduism is older than Judaism, but not older than the Hebrew faith. The Rig Veda, the oldest Vedic text dates to between 1900 and 1200 BC, after the time of Abraham the Hebrew. Judaism emerges closer to 700 BC. The term "samhita" refers to the most ancient layer of text in the Vedas. Parts of the Vedic Samhitas constitute the oldest layer of Hindu tradition and include material that resembles Horite Hebrew concepts.

In the Rig Veda, for example, the number seven is sacred, and the Word of God is called Speech and is described as "a loving wife, finely robed." She resembles the Wisdom of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), personified as a female (Sirach 24:8). In Sirach, Wisdom declares that she “came forth from the mouth of the Most High” as the first-born before all creatures.

In Srimad Bhagavatam 10:16 we find a parallel to Genesis 3:15 where we are told that the serpent's head will be crushed under the feet of the Woman's Son. The Hindu text reads: "The Ancient Man danced on the serpent, who still spewed poison from his eyes and hissed loudly in his anger, and he trampled down with his feet whatever head the serpent raised, subduing him calmly..." (Cited in Andrew Wilson, Ed. World Scriptures, p. 449.)

The same idea is found in Psalm 91:12-13 - "They will bear you up in their hands, that you do not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread upon the lion and cobra, the young lion and the serpent you will trample down."

However, this expectation was expressed about 1000 years before Psalm 91 in the Pyramid Texts. "Horus has shattered (tbb, crushed) the mouth of the serpent with the sole of his foot (tbw)" (Utterance 388)

Scholars from India acknowledge the Nile-Indus connections. The Indian archaeologist, B. B. Lal contends that the Dravidians came from the Upper Nile (Nubia/Kush). Lal writes:
"At Timos the Indian team dug up several megalithic sites of ancient Nubians which bear an uncanny resemblance to the cemeteries of early Dravidians which are found all over Western India from Kathiawar to Cape Comorin. The intriguing similarity extends from the subterranean structure found near them. Even the earthenware ring-stands used by the Dravidians and Nubians to hold pots were identical."
The Indian historian and anthropologist Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan has written: "We have to begin with the Negroid or Negrito people of prehistoric India who were the first human inhabitants. Originally they would appear to have come from Africa through Arabia and the coastlands of Iran and Baluchistan."

The Indian scholar Malati J. Shendge has concluded that the language of the Harappans of the Indus Valley was Akkadian, the language of the territory of Nimrod the Kushite. The Bible scholar, E.A. Speiser, found that names taken to be Indo-European were often labeled "Hurrian" [Horite] only to be identified eventually as Akkadian. The Horites were widely dispersed and spoke the languages of the people among whom they lived. Thus scholars today use terms like Hurro-Akkadian, Hurro-Urartian, and Canaano-Akkadian.

The Indian linguist Ajay Pratap Singh explains,"Comparisons of Akkadian and Sanskrit words yielded at least 400 words in both languages with comparable phonetic and semantic similarities. Thus Sanskrit has, in fact, descended from Akkadian."

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Who Were the Sumerians?

Alice C. Linsley

The evidence of anthropology, linguistics, DNA studies, and archaeology indicates that the Sumerians were likely dispersed cattle-herding Proto-Saharans who moved into the northern regions of Eden where the climate conditions in this riverine terrain during the African Aqualithic made the land ideal for grazing. The Proto-Saharans moved into Mesopotamia before 7000 BC. They developed a way of life that centered around the water systems of biblical Eden.

In Genesis, Eden is described as a vast well-watered world that extended from the source of the Nile in Ethiopia to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers.

This Eden belt has an arc shape that corresponds roughly with the drought zone of the early 1970s when Lake Chad began to shrink rather dramatically and the smaller lakes of Egypt's desert virtually disappeared. The arc extends in three directions from the southern Sahara near the Benue Trough in Nigeria to the Nile and there bends up-river (south) to the equatorial East African rift valleys, and northeast toward present day Jordan, Israel, Syria, and Iraq.

The height of this ‘aquatic civilization’ came in the seventh millennium BC, when higher rainfall made rivers longer and wider, and caused lakes to burst their basins (Butzer et al., 1972; Zinderen Bakker, 1972).

Around 7000 BC, Lake Chad expanded enormously and overflowed via the Benue and Lower Niger rivers into the Atlantic. In East Africa the small lakes in the Kenya rift valley and in Egypt's desert rose and many of the water systems became connected. This was a time of flooding and we may assume that Noah lived during this time (c. 500-4000 BC) in the area of Lake Chad which is claimed by the natives to be Noah's homeland. Bor-Nu means "land of waters" and "land of Noah."

The Sumerians built fortified cities at high elevation near permanent water sources beginning around 4000 BC. These were royal cities from which the surrounding region was governed by the king or the vassal of a high king. The Sumerian city-states included Eridu, Nippur, Lagash, Kish, Ur and Uruk. These were shrine cities similar to those found along the Nile at Nekhen and Nekheb.

In the time of Abraham, ziggurats began to appear in Mesopotamia. These were the Sumerian counterparts to the pyramids of the Nile. These stepped temples usually had seven tiers. The number seven was a sacred number likely due to astronomical observations and because the number was associated with the oldest known caste of priests, the Horite Hebrew. The connection between the words for priest (abru) and seven is evident in the Nilotic (Luo) word for the number seven, which is abiriyo.

The word "Hebrew" is derived from the Akkadian word abru, meaning priest. Variants spellings include 'Apiru, Ha-biru and Ha-piru. The word refers to priests who served at the temples of the ancient Sun cities. The Sun temple was called O-piru, meaning "house of the Sun." The Habiru were already widely dispersed in the 14th-13th centuries B.C. Their dispersion was driven by a marriage and ascendancy pattern in which some sons were sent away to established their own territories.

One of these sons was the Kushite kingdom builder Nimrod. The language of Nimrod's kingdom was likely Sumero-Akkadian. Nimrod's cultural context is more Kushite than Mesopotamian as he was a son of Kush (Genesis 10:8). He is associated with Calah on the Tigris River, known today as the city of Nimrud. Calah (Akkadian 'Kalhu') appears to have been the northernmost point of his territory in Mesopotamia. Nimrod's territory extended along the Tigris between Calah and Ashur. Likewise, Terah's territory extended between Ur and Haran. We first meet Abraham in Ur because he and his father were descendants of Nimrod the Kushite.

Related reading: The Substance of Abraham's Faith; The Ra-Horus-Hathor Narrative; Sun Cities of the Ancient World

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Aaron Was Buried in Edom

Aaron's Tomb on the summit of Mount Harun in ancient Edom.
(Photo credit: Ferrell Jenkins)

Alice C. Linsley

Aaron (Harun) was a Horite Hebrew priest who led the clan of Jacob from Egypt to the land of Edom, Abraham's territory. It is said that Aaron died on Mount Hor which is situated on the edge of the land of Edom.

The term "Hor" refers to Horite, a caste of Hebrew ruler-priests who were devotees of God the Father and his Son, Horus. In this belief, Aaron was following the Messianic Faith of his forefather Abraham. The Horite rulers of Edom are listed in Genesis 36. Edom was one of the ancient seats of wisdom.

Josephus (Antiquities 4:4:6) identifies Aaron's Mount (Jebel Haroun in Arabic; Har Harun in Hebrew) with a twin-peaked mountain in the Edomite Mountains on the east side of the Jordan-Arabah valley, near Petra. There is a shrine at the summit, the Tomb of Aaron, said to mark Aaron's grave.

King David and King Herod had Edomite blood. For three months the Ark of the Covenant rested in David’s hometown of Bethlehem in the house of Obed-Edom.

The ancient capital of Edom was Boz-Ra, meaning the "sheepfold of Ra."

Friday, July 26, 2019

Ruth at the Threshing Floor

Alice C. Linsley

The book of Ruth is short narrative, but it is rich in anthropologically significant data.

In Ruth we read about a custom involving a blanket that has been observed in various cultures. Boaz has fallen asleep at the threshing floor after a day or hard labor. While he sleeps, Ruth lifts up his blanket and covers herself with it. This is her way of seeking marriage to Boaz, a ruler of Bethlehem.

The photo above, titled "A Sioux Wedding", was taken in 1912 by Julia Tuell. Among the Dakota Sioux it was the custom for the maiden to agree to marriage by stepping into her suitor's blanket. E. Irving Couse's painting "The Wedding" (below) also depicts this custom.

In Ruth 3, we read that Ruth went to the threshing floor where Boaz was sleeping and quietly "uncovered his feet and lay down. In the middle of the night something startled the man; he turned—and there was a woman lying at his feet!" 

Some have interpreted this as a seduction based on the supposition that "feet" is sometimes a euphemism for testicles. However, the plain meaning of the text is that she covered herself at his feet so quietly that Boaz did not wake. A man's testicles are very sensitive and had this been a seduction, he would have awakened. Further, when he wake, he asks, " “Who are you?” Ruth makes her intention clear when she responds:

“I am your servant Ruth. Spread the corner of your garment over me, since you are a guardian-redeemer of our family."

In the ancient world, daily activities like cooking, sowing, harvesting, and threshing grain had religious significance. Threshing floors were associated with the Sun and with solar cycles. They had ritual use as well as practical use. 

Threshing floors were owned by the local chief and were sacred places at high level elevations where the wind could carry away the chaff. Araunah, a Jebusite ruler, sold David a threshing floor upon which David constructed an altar.

The solar symbolism of the ancient Horite Hebrew is evident in the pattern of some of the threshing floors (shown above). There is a connection to the grain that was ground to make bread. The solar image often appears on loaves. This Irish Maslin bread is an example. Maslin bread is the oldest known bread eaten by the Celts. It was the bread of common folks, containing a blend of wheat and rye flours.

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Town Gate

The town gate was a place of significant activity among biblical populations. The gate served as a passageway into the fortified settlement and also as a gathering place. Usually the town's entrance had an outer and inner gate. There was an area between the gates where men gathered to hear the news and deliberate among themselves. This is where the elders heard cases and rendered judgments, and prophets declared the Word of the Lord.

This custom is described in the last chapter of the book of Ruth. At the gate of Bethlehem, Boaz meets with the kinsman redeemer and tells him, “Naomi, who has come back from the plateau of Moab, is putting up for sale the piece of land that belonged to our kinsman Elimelech. So I thought I would inform you. Before those here present, including the elders of my people, purchase the field; act as redeemer. But if you do not want to do it, tell me so, that I may know, for no one has a right of redemption prior to yours, and mine is next.” 

The kinsman redeemer agrees to redeem the property until he learns that he also must act as the "levir" and produce an heir for Ruth's dead husband (levirate marriage). He replies to Boaz, “I cannot exercise my right of redemption for that would endanger my own estate. You do it in my place, for I cannot" (Ruth 4:6).

Here we glimpse the complexity of Horite Hebrew inheritance rights. By levirate marriage a widow was able to retain her deceased husband's holdings.

Because the ruler-priest had two first born sons by his two wives, provision was made for both sons to receive an inheritance. Additionally, grants were made to "sent-away" sons.

Daughters could petition to receive inheritance.

In an extremely archaic practice, inheritance rights were attached to whoever had possession of the clan ancestor figurines (teraphim).

Each of these situations is considered in this article on The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew.