Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Who Were the Hapiru?

Alice C. Linsley

My friend Salamatou Naino Idi has asked if the Hapiru are related to the ancient Hebrews. This is a perfect question for a biblical anthropologist! The short answer is yes. The Ha-piru or Ha-biru are the oldest known caste of  ruler-priests from which emerged the Hebrews. "Hebrew" is the English equivalent of Habiru.

The Hapiru served in the ancient temples and shrines. These were build near major sources of water. A temple was the mansion - hâît, or the house - pirû - of the god, so Ha-piru refers to those who served at the temple or shrine. The word is found among the ancient Dravidians who referred to their East-oriented temples as Opiru, meaning "Sun House."

In the case of Abraham's people ha-biru applied to the caste of Horite priests. Scholars agree that the Hapiru or Habiru are related to the proto-Hebrews or Canaanites who are listed in the Amarna Letters. In these 14th century B.C. letters, written in the language of Nimrod's city of Akkad, the name Habiru is found among the names of other Canaanite peoples. Akkadian is an Afro-Asiatic language and Nimrod was a Kushite kingdom builder. The name Hapiru doesn't designate a tribal group, but rather a caste of priests who were dispersed among Afro-Arabian and Afro-Asiatic peoples.

In the ancient Egyptian nibit piru means lady of the house. However, in the proto-Saharan languages p is replaced by b so that Hapiru also appears as Habiru.

Another explanation involves the predynastic name for the Nile: hapi. Hapi-ru may corresponds to the Egyptian word for the priest who works at Nile temples. The Egyptians called the Hapiru pr.w.  The w represents the Egyptian plural suffix. The priests of Horus (Horites) were hapiru. They spread their worldview and their devotion to Horus, the son of God, across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.  So it is very possible that the priests among Abraham's Horite people were also called Hapiru.

Priests had certain requirements to meet while they were on duty. They wore only linen or clothing made from plants. Clothing made from animals was not permitted. (Here we see another difference between the priest and the shaman.) They shaved their heads and bodies daily. Cold water baths were taken several times a day. They practiced sexual abstinence while performing their duties at the temple.

Because the piru housed the deity, only the high priest was allowed to enter the most sacred area of the temple and approach the statue representing the god. The people prayed at the gate or in the court. They directed their prayers to their ruler who acted as a mediator between his people and the deity.

Related reading:  The Hapiru Were Devotees of HorusWho Were the Horites?; The Afro-Asiatic Dominion; The Spread of the Afro-Asiatic Dominion; Horite Priests and the Hapiru


  1. Hello

    I would like to know your sources. I am a student of the scriptures and looking to learn. I can share what I have found about the name Ebry.
    The name has multiple meanings. your statements about them being priest is a notion I have had for sometime. I would like to find material on the subject. The language itself I believe is a priest constructed language.

    Éber is the root for Ébry(hebrew modern) hebrew is not along the lines of the spelling of the name. Each letter has a meaning ayin, bet and resh. The ayin is an eye or a fountain. Bet is house (building) and Resh is head, captain, leader or first.

    If you look in a concordance, I use strong's, the letters making up Éber, by the meaning of each character and as they apply in scripture, you can understand the principle or philosophy behind it. Leave ayin by itself (strong's H5869) and combine The bet and resh (H1252) you get É-ber. Fountain of purity. Zech 13:1, 51:2-10,Joel3:18, Isaiah1:16-18.
    Another meaning rendered from it is "dark head" combine the ayin and the bet (H5645) leave resh (H7217) by itself. A good example of the meaning darkness in a word is Érab (H6150). The definition is evening. look at the letters you can see the head is surounded in darknes.

    Éber is a descendant of shem. The name sumer could be a very close relative term to shem. There was a group from there in ancient times who called themselves the "black heads". Éber could be of them.
    I have more info about ebry words that I will post on my Youtube channel to share.

    you have an interesting article


  2. Hello, Tauemyah.

    Welcome to Biblical Anthropology.

    Strong's Concordance reflects late rabbinic interpretation of Hebrew words. The Hebrew alphabet, as with the Japanese alphabet, is derived from an older script of the Annu people, a priestly caste originating in the Nile region. The Annu originated in what is today Egypt. You may read about this here:

    You will need to study the ancient Egyptian roots to gain a clearer picture of the etymology of Hebrew/Arabic/Aramaic/Annu. You will find a short Ancient Egyptian Lexicon here:

    As for the word/name Eber, I'm not sure that this is the origin of the word Hebrew. Ancient Egyptian reads from left to right, but Hebrew reads from right to left. This isn't recognized by some translators, the result being that words are sometimes reversed. It is possible that Eber may be related to Ereb or Arab, which means the tribe of Ar. The Ar clans are were a caste of royal scribes. You may read about them here:

    Best wishes to you in the new year!

  3. Why is their absolutely no mention of these priests being gay?

  4. Please do not express your ignorance at this blog.

    Despite what feminists, politically-correct academics, and gay rights activists might say, the ministry of priests in the Church developed organically from the Horite priesthood of Abraham's people and was exclusively the work of a select group of men (a ruler-priest caste) whose devotion to the worship of the Creator involved, by today's standards, extreme asceticism and purity of life. The objection that there were women priestesses in the Greco-Roman world is irrelevant as this is not the origin of the priesthood know by Jesus Christ and his followers.

    Contrary to the position of the Roman Church, Horite priests were married and enjoyed sexual relations with their wives. However they abstained from sex, shaved their bodies, fasted, and entered periods of intense prayer in preparation for their time of service at the temple or shrine.

    In the ancient world Horite priests were known for their purity, sobriety and devotion to the High God whose emblem was the Sun. Plutarch wrote that the “priests of the Sun at Heliopolis never carry wine into their temples, for they regard it as indecent for those who are devoted to the service of any god to indulge in the drinking of wine whilst they are under the immediate inspection of their Lord and King. The priests of the other deities are not so scrupulous in this respect, for they use it, though sparingly.”

    The Horite priests, who are often called "Habiru" (Hebrew) in ancient texts, worshiped the Creator when other peoples were worshiping lesser deities. They anticipated the coming of the Seed of God (Gen. 3:15) and believed that He would be born of their ruler-priest bloodlines. That is why the lines of priests intermarried exclusively and why unchaste daughters of priests were burned alive (Lev. 21:9). Sexual impurity was not tolerated and homosex and onanism were regarded as an affront to the Creator.

  5. Thank you Alice for discouraging nonsensical comments from this blog. Done so decisively and politely. This calls for serious study and your site has brought immense clarity to most puzzling questions I have battled to find answers for. Am a student of Theology who is inquisitive and have had a serious falling out with my teachers with most of the material you tackle.

    It is a treasure trove of information and have opened my eyes to so much truth. Every article bears witness to my arguments. I'll be sharing my find.

    May the Lord bless you ever more.


  6. Thank you, Elisheba (what a blessed name!) May the Lord continue to bless you also.

  7. Hebrew is a spiritual language. The letters are actually spiritual forces, concepts. I am inclined to believe the first explanation, that interpreted it to mean " fountain of purity" both for they eye and mind. This deals with the very fundamental elements of creation and being. The spirit is the source of the impressions that the soul receives, which then affects matter. The Hebrew having the Holy Spirit are the source of God's consciousness.

  8. If Hebrew is a spiritual language, then all languages are spiritual. Your Kabbalistic notions are very popular these days. Many prefer this gnosticism to the truth.

  9. Studied that and was soon led to give it up. You are right Alice, saying Hebrew is spiritual might as well say any language is, which I believe to be the truth. Yeshua said, "The Father is Spirit, they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit n truth."Certainly not in Hebrew or Old Arabic. No wonder heretic teachings flourishes. The Forbidden Fruit of En Gaden? Too sad but true.

  10. Aramaic is actually a holier language than Hebrew. Aramaic was the language of Priests.Aramaic was the language of "Son of man" and Hebrew was the language of men.Kaddish, probably the Holiest prayer in Judaism, is not on Hebrew but Aramaic. The last verse is in Hebrew.

  11. JT, How does one measure the holiness of a language?

    Aramaic and Arabic share common roots. Hebrew has many of the same roots. If the meanings of these roots is interpreted differently, it is because religious texts and languages have been filtered through various agendas.

  12. So interesting to follow your arguments! I wish I joined in this forum long time ago, nevertheless, better late than never. I am doing my research in New Testament, but have big interests in OT too. Right now I am reading Genesis 10 and comes across the spread of Noah's descendants. I hope your blog will have a lot on that chapter as well. I wish you God's blessing

  13. Dr. Mgaya, Genesis 10 should be called the royal clans of the "mighty men of old", and not a "Table of Nations". As with royalty or nobility today, these clans intermarried (endogamy) along patrilineal lines of descent. The cousin wives of the rulers named their first born sons after their fathers. So we have 2 Lamechs: Lamech the Elder and Lamech the Younger, 2 Esaus: Esau the Elder and Esau the Younger, and 2 Joktans: the elder Joktan was Keturah's father, and her son was Joktan the Younger.

    If you are on Facebook, join this group.

    This is where the discussion has gone international.

    God bless you!

    Alice C. Linsley

    1. Thank you Alice! It is nice having people around the world who are engaged in teaching people the truth in whatever media that the world offers.

  14. Olá Alice, eu te incomodando novamente. Vou fazer alguns vídeos alternados (pequenos como sempre) mostrando suas informações. Tu já me autorizou uns 2 anos lembra ??? Conversamos justamente sobre HABIRU. Repito para confirmar, ok ??? Abraço.

  15. Abraço a ti. Visita al grupo en Facebook "The Bible and Anthropology" donde conversamos de estos asuntos.


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