Sunday, June 5, 2011

Moses' Horite Family

Alice C. Linsley

The Horites were part of the larger Kushite civilization.  Biblical Kush included Nubia, Sudan, the area of Lake Chad, Ethiopia and Egypt.

Beginning in Nubia about 10,000 years ago, the Kushites 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 in the Bible. One of Jesse's grandsons was named Asahel, which means "made by God." The priest Elkanah had a son named Am-asi (I Chron. 2:25, 35) and a Jerusalem priest was named Am-ashai (Neh. 11:13). This suggests that the origins of the priesthood of Israel are to be traced to the older Kushite civilization.

Abraham and his people were Horites, a caste of ruler-priests who were devotees of the mythical Horus who was called the "Son of God" and "Horus of the Two Crowns". The Horite conception of the priesthood is the antecedent of the Jewish and later the Christian conception of the priesthood. The Horite worldview is distinctly Nilotic, though the Horites spread across the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.

Horite priests were asked to pray for people because they were recognized as especially holy people.  Abraham was asked to pray for Abimelech's household and Job was asked by God to pray for his friends. So the Horite priest's work involved intercessory prayer, fasting and sometimes blood sacrifice. Righteous Job offered sacrifice on behalf of his whole family.

The men named in Genesis are Horite ruler-priests. The Horites were a caste. One trait of castes is strict endogamy. The Horites exclusively intermarried. These are the rulers who are listed in the Genesis genealogies.

Each ruler had 2 wives at the time of his ascent: one was a half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the other was a patrilineal cousin wife (as was Keturah to Abraham). There are numerous examples of exactly this pattern in Genesis and Exodus. This is the identical pattern of Moses’s family.

The priestly lines are traced through brother patriarchs: Cain and Seth; Ham and Shem; Peleg and Joktan, Na-Hor and Abraham, Aaron and Korah, whose lines exclusively intermarried. In the New Testament we find Nicodemus and Joseph of Hari-Mathea, both voting members of the Sanhedrin and disciples of Jesus. They buried him and thus made themselves “unclean” at the Passover. While most Bibles leave off the initial H, Harimathea is the correct spelling and it represents both the settlement of the priestly division of Matthew (Mattai/Mattan) and the priestly line.

Hari is a Horus name. Horus is said to unite two kingdoms as evidenced by one of his titles Har-pa-Neb-Taui, which means "Horus of the two lands." Horus’ mother is the virgin queen Hat-Hor who is later called Isis (Ishar in old Arabic, the name of Amram’s half-sister bride). Hori-makhet was installed as the high priest in Thebes in 715 BC. Hori refers to Horus, the deity of the Horites. So Harimathea means of the priestly line of Matthew. Clearly, the term Horite can't be taken anachronistically when speaking of Abraham's descendants as late as 700 B.C.

Moses’ Family

Moses’ father was Amram. He had two wives, following the pattern of his Horite forefathers. By Jochebed he had Moses, Aaron and presumably Miriam.  Exodus 6:20 indicates that Jochebed was probably his patrilineal cousin, that is the daughter of his paternal uncle. The Hebrew דדתו dodatho in Exodus 6:20 is sometimes translated "his father's sister." This is not a likely rendering however.

In 1Samuel 10:14 and in Leviticus10:4 דוד dod signifies an uncle. It can also signify an uncle's son: compare Jeremiah 32:8 with Exodus 6:12, where the Vulgate renders דדי dodi by patruelis mei, my paternal cousin. In Amos 6:10, for דודו dodo, the Targum has קריביה karibiah, meaning a near relation. So the evidence supports the view that Jochebed was Amram's patrilineal cousin, and not his aunt. Her name is sometimes spelled Jacquebeth which refers to a homeland in Africa, probably ancient Kush. She was likely a Kushite bride.

Amram's other wife was Ishar.  Her name is related to the name Isis who was earlier called Hat-Hor. Hat-Hor was the virgin mother of Horus who was called "son of God." Ishar was a Horite bride, a descendant of Seir the Horite (Gen. 36). She would have been Amram's half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham).  By Ishar he had Korah the Younger (Numbers 26:59). Korah the Younger is the one who opposed Moses' authority. According to Numbers 26, Korah's claim to be the ruler-priest was support by the Hanochites (descendents of Hanock, the first-born son of Jacob's first-born son, Reuben). As the first-born son of the sister bride Korah was to rule the territory of his father at Amram's death. This may explain why Korah disputed Moses' leadership in the wilderness.

Note that Amram's sister-wife is Ishar, which means Mother (Isis) of Horus. Note also that Isaac's son Esau married a Horite bride.  Since ethnicity is traced through the mother among Semitic peoples, it is evident that Moses' brother Korah was Horite.  Since Amram and Ishar had the same father, they are both descendants of Seir the Horite.  Here is the pertinent segment of Seir's genealogy from Genesis 36:

One's ethnicity was traced through the mother and because Jochebed appears to have been Kushite, Moses would have been Kushite as well.  This was his ethnicity. However his social status, his line of work and the rules governing who he could marry were determined by his caste.  This means that Moses was Kushite who belonged to the Horite caste.

The Pattern of Two Wives

Following the custom of his Horite forefathers, Moses had two wives. The first wife would have been a half-sister, the wife of Moses' youth. It is likely that he married her while in Egypt.  She is said to be Kushite (Numbers 12) and for some reason Moses' siblings didn't approve of the marriage, although the marriage was probably arranged by Amram. The Horites originated in ancient Kush and Moses' mother was probably Kushite, so Moses' marriage to a Kushite isn't surprising.

Zipporah, Moses' cousin bride, is mentioned in Exodus 2:15-16 and in Exodus 18:1-6. Moses met her while she at a well where she was drawing water for her father’s flocks. Priests were also shepherds who maintained shrines near wells, springs or other bodies of water. Zipporah was the daughter of "the priest of Midian".  In other words, her father was a descendant of Abraham by Keturah who bore him a son named Midian.

Moses’ Kushite wife is not named, but she was likely a woman of high rank as the Kushites were part of, if not the majority of, the ruling classes in Egypt. We are told nothing about where Moses met her but she is likely his half-sister, if he married according to the Horite pattern. That would make her the sister of Korah. The first wife was the half-sister (as was Sarah to Abraham) and the second wife was the patrilineal or paternal cousin or niece (as was Keturah to Abraham). Moses likely had children in Egypt by his first wife when he fled to Jethro and married Zipporah. 

The criticism of Moses marriage to the first wife is related in this passage:  “When they were in Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Kushite woman he had married: “He married a Kushite woman!” They said, “Has the Lord God spoken only through Moses? Has God not spoken through us as well?”  (Numbers 11:35-12:2)

We don’t know why Aaron and Miriam criticized Moses for marrying the Kushite woman, but it is was not racially motivated since all these people were descendants of Noah by Kush (Ham's son) and Aram (Shem's son) since the lines intermarried.  Likely, Moses’ siblings were angry that he asserted authority over Aaron, his older brother, by marrying Korah's sister and then marrying a Midianite wife. His marriage to Korah's sister strengthened the alliance with the Kushites and his marriage to Zipporah strengthened the alliance to the Midianites. This led to the formation of a powerful alliance of peoples related by blood and marriage and strengthened Moses' position as ruler.

Related reading:  Hebrew, Israelite or Jew?Who were the Horites?; Who Were the Kushites?; Jesus Christ's Kushite Ancestors


  1. I just don't get it. Josephus talks about Tharbis as a Princess-why doesn't the bible discuss this critical marriage and instead discuss Zipporah's marriage in more detail???

  2. Chelsea, the Bible gives details that can be verified by the sciences. Tharbis (Adonia) is of Talmudic origin and much in the Talmud has not historical basis.

  3. Does anyone know why his wife's name wasn't mentioned in exodus 12:2? Or why it was mentioned period?

  4. Abraham's mother's name wasn't mentioned either. Alice mentioned the political reasons behind that. The Bible is known to follow patterns. So Moses' wife's name not being mentioned is most likely for similar political reasons.

    1. Remember that the material we have in Genesis was written down after the events described. For the people living those events certain things were not mentioned because they were obvious to them. They passed along the pertinent information that Moses's first wife was a Kushite. That would have been his half-sister.

  5. Alice
    Please give the biblical reason/verse for your comment "Amram's sister-wife is Ishar"
    I can not believe your statement otherwise.

    Thank you

  6. Toshio, I appreciate your respect for the Biblical text and the authority of Scripture. I share this with you. I have responded to your concern here:

  7. In this survey of women in Genesis there are 4 categories. These categories apply to all the books of the Bible. Category 1: women who are named. Named women are those of high rank. They are often the bridge between ruler-priest lines that intermarry. Such is the case with Naamah, daughter of Lamech, wife of Methuselah. Category 2: women named but who are voiceless; Category 3: women named and who have a voice (they speak); Category 4: Women who are not named and have no voice.

  8. Dr Bernard LeemanMay 2, 2015 at 5:02 AM

    I agree that Moses was from Nubia/Kush in Sudan but his "Kushite" wife was from northern Yemen next to the mountain named after her father, Jethro, - Jabal an-Nabi Shu'ayb.


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