Monday, April 10, 2017

The Script of Abraham's Territory

Alice C. Linsley

Readers have asked about the language Abraham spoke. Before we can answer that, we must identify Abraham as Hebrew (Habiru) and a Horite ruler. Some Horite rulers are listed in Genesis 36. They ruled over ancient Edom, called "Idumea" by the Greeks.

Abraham's territory was in this region. His territory extended between the settlements of this two wives, Sarah and Keturah. Sarah resided in Hebron and Keturah in the region of Beersheba to the south. The settlements mark the northern and southern boundaries of Abraham's territory.

The Horites were a caste of royal priests in the service of the ancient kingdom builders (the "mighty men of old"). Horite Hebrew (Habiru) were in Africa, Arabia, India, southern Europe, and other parts of the Levant. Some Horite clans were skilled in medicine and some were known for astronomy. Others made a name for themselves as stone masons or metal workers. Some served as purification priests and some offered sacrifices. Some served as scribes who kept royal accounts of tribute owed and payed. Horite priests served at temples along the water ways. They boarded ships to measure cargo and collect taxes. These royal scribes were well versed in the different scripts of the ruler's realm.

One such script was Akkadian, though this was a relatively archaic script by 2000 BC. Here is a timeline that we need to consider. Note that Akkadian was probably not spoken by Abraham though he or his wise men may have read ancient Akkadian texts. Some languages continue to be read long after they are no longer spoken. Biblical Hebrew and Latin are examples.

B.C. 3800-3000 - Nekhen flourished on the Nile, the oldest known site of Horite worship
B.C. 2490-2415 - Noah, lived in the region of Lake Chad when the Sahara experienced a wet period.
B.C. 2438-2363 - Ham, son of Noah
B.C. 2417-2342 - Kush, son of Ham; father of Nimrod and Ramah
B.C. 2290-2215 - Nimrod, ruler in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley
B.C. 2238-2163 - Arpacshad, son by Asshur's daughter
B.C. 2217-2042 - Salah, likely Arpacshad's son by his sister-wife.
B.C. 2196-2121 - Eber, likely Salah's son by his sister-wife.
B.C. 2175-2100 - Peleg, Eber's son. Peleg's brother was Joktan
B.C. 2154-2079 - Reu
B.C. 2133-2058 - Serug, Reu's son.
B.C. 2112-2037 - Nahor, Serug's son
B.C. 2091-2016 - Terah, Nahor's son
B.C. 2039-1964 - Abraham, Terah's son
B.C. 1987-1912 - Joktan, Abraham's firstborn son by his cousin bride, Keturah.

In Abraham's time (c. 2050) and territory between Hebron and Beersheba, the script used resembled Egyptian hieroglyphics. Many Hebrew letters - dating to about 500 years later - closely resemble the Middle Egyptian signs.

This aligns with Sir Alan H. Gardiner's findings. He concluded in 1916 that the Sinaitic signs were derived from Egyptian Hieroglyphic signs based upon their acrophonic valueGardiner’s research established a relationship between the Sinaitic signs and the North Semitic alphabet. So it appears that the Egyptian signs were the basis of a variety of related scripts used from the Nile to the Tigris-Euphrates valley.

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