Monday, June 5, 2023

Ritual Burial Among Archaic Humans


Some H. naledi hands had curative but are unlike ape hands.

Carvings found near Homo naledi graves in the Rising Star cave system are the first evidence of ritual burials (c.250,000 YBP). Homo naledi was human.

250,000 years ago, humans were living and dying in communities, caring for one another, grieving with one another, and burying their dead with respect.

For at least 100,000 years humans buried their dead in red ocher, a symbolic blood covering.

Much was happening with humans before 250,000 years ago.

Evidence of butchering at 3 million YBP

2.5-3.4 million YBP 

Humans were using butchering flints. These were found in Dikika, Ethiopia. This bone shows evidence of butchering.

1.5 million YBP

Stone tools found in Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea from a time when the region was much wetter.

700,000 YBP

Lower Paleolithic Age butchering tools found in Greece.

500,000 YBP

A large assemblage of hand axes excavated at Stratum 4a and 4b at the Kathu complex in South Africa. Large mammal remains have been identified at both strata.

A trove of hand axes found in central Israel at Jaljulya.

Flint tools discovered in the Tunel Wielki Cave in Poland.

Engraved shell found in Java.

Material evidence of Humans as early as 4 million years ago.

When Jeremy DeSilva, a British anthropologist, compared the ankle joint, the tibia and the talus fossils of human ancestors ("hominins") between 4.12 million to 1.53 million years old, he discovered that all of the ankle joints resembled those of modern humans rather than those of apes. Chimpanzees flex their ankles 45 degrees from normal resting position. This makes it possible for apes to climb trees with great ease. While walking, humans flex their ankles a maximum of 20 degrees. The human ankle bones are quite distinct from those of apes.

The discovery of a complete fourth metatarsal of A. afarensis at Hadar that shows the deep, flat base and tarsal facets that "imply that its midfoot had no ape-like midtarsal break. These features show that the A. afarensis foot was functionally like that of modern humans." (Carol Ward, William H. Kimbel, Donald C. Johanson, Feb. 2011

Friday, May 19, 2023

Symbols of Authority Among the Early Hebrew


The WaS scepter is one of the oldest symbols associated with royalty and divine appointment.

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

Among the early Hebrew the authority of the ruler, both male and female, was derived from the High God. They saw themselves as divinely appointed to represent the High God on earth which also meant that they were to govern according to sacred law.

Symbols of royal Hebrew authority appear on ancient images. These include crowns, flails, staffs, arks, horns, the Falcon of Horus, feathers, and the solar orb overshadowing a ruler or chief.

Among the early Hebrew the symbol of male authority was the rod or staff, and the symbol of female authority was the spindle. (See K. Veenhof and P. Sanders onthe spindle in Prov. 31:9 and 2 Sam. 3:29.)

A title for royal ladies who served at Bronze Age water shrines was rabitu. Ra-bitu is from the Akkadian words for water (raatu) and house/shrine (biitu). The emblem of the rabitu was the spindle. In the Ugaritic story of Elimelek, the queen mother holds the title "rabitu" and her emblem is the spindle. Some images of the Virgin Mary show her holding a spindle, as in the image below.

Lions often appear on ancient royal steles. Even today they appear on the heraldry of noble and royal houses. The lion is the totem of the clan of Judah, a son of the Hebrew ruler Jacob, and a lion appears on the coat of arms of Jerusalem.

The Ark was a symbol of royal authority derived from YHWH. That is why it rested for a time in Gibeah, Saul's hometown. After David became king, he brought the ark from the house of Abinadab, that was in Gibeah to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:1-12). For three months the Ark rested in Bethlehem, David’s hometown, in the house of Obed-Edom.

Feathers represent the authority to judge, measure, or weight. The feather was the early hieroglyph for Y, and the symbol appears in the names of these early Hebrew rulers: Yaqtan (Joktan); Yishmael (Ishmael); Yishbak (Ishbak); Yitzak (Isaac); Yacob (Jacob); Yehuda (Judah); Yosef (Joseph); Yetro (Jethro); Yeshai (Jesse), Yonah (Jonah), Yeroboam (Jeroboam), Yosedech (Josedech), and his son Yeshua (Joshua/Jesus) who wore the double crown (Zech. 6:11).

The idea of God's presence "between the horns" predates Judaism. It is evident in the name Yesu which is clearly related to the name Yeshua (Jesus). Yesu is comprised of the following hieroglyphs:

Source: Bill Manley, Egyptian Hieroglyphs, 2012, Thames and Hudson Ltd., London

The feather (letter Y) stands for one who judges, measures, or weights. The next symbol represents horns. The third symbol is the sedge plant which represents a king, and finally the falcon, the totem of Horus, the patron of kings.

Derived Authority, Attributed Authority, and Achieved Authority

The biblical Hebrew recognized three types of authority: derived, attributed, and achieved. The deification of rulers required derived and attributed streams of authority. Because the ruler was seen as God's representative on earth and the one to enforce divine law, his authority was derived from God.

If the ruler proved over time to be just or righteous in his actions and decrees, the priests would attribute deification. This was noted by the SR designation in the ruler's epithet and or royal name. The historical ruler Osiris was deified as is evident in his name O-SiR. Among the Sumerians and Akkadians SR designated a king (šarrum) and a queen (šarratum).

The reigns of rulers were judged after death and the righteous were often deified. Deification or apotheosis was an expression of the flamboyant honor shown to royal masters by their servants. 

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Bronze Age Populations

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

During the Bronze Age (c.3000 B.C. to 1100 B.C.) ancient states emerged along the Nile, the Indus River, and in the Ancient Near East. These were located in ore rich regions near major water systems where early systems of irrigation developed. This was one of the first regions inhabited by humans outside of Africa and also the region connecting Africa and Eurasia. The region’s location at the crossroads of migratory routes contributes to its importance in understanding populations of the Bible. 

"The Bronze Age was a highly dynamic period involving large-scale population migrations and replacements, responsible for shaping major parts of present-day demographic structure in both Europe and Asia." (Population genomics of Bronze Age Eurasia | Nature)

Much has been written about the late "Bronze Age Collapse" which occurred in parts of Eurasia and the eastern Mediterranean, but not in the Nile Valley which was rising to prominence as a unified Egyptian empire. Studies of the Ancient Pyramid Texts (2200 B.C.) reveal a sophisticated social structure and vital economy the length of the Nile. The Egyptians had outposts in Arabia, Canaan, Mesopotamia, and as far north as Mount Silpius in Turkey where they built Meroe (IO) on the Orontes.

Meroe on the Orontes was about 2800 miles from the shrine city of Meroe on the Nile. Both were under the control of the ancient sea-faring Egyptians who built sea-worthy ships. Meroe was the farthest outpost of the Egyptian Empire and at its peak the city would have had Amurru.

Amurru is the name of the northernmost district of Egypt's empire, and it included the coastal region from Ugarit to Byblos. The Orontes marked the northern boundary of Amur-ru. Meroe on the Orontes was one of the northern-most Egyptian outposts.

Most late Bronze Age historians focus on the hypothesized "Sea Peoples" that attacked ancient Egypt and other regions in the East Mediterranean between 1200–900 B.C. In this article we will look at earlier developments such as the dispersal of the early Hebrew, the dispersed descendants of Nilotic rulers, and the significance of the Egypt-Mesopotamia-Dilmun trade.

The Dispersed Hebrew

The prestigious Hebrew ruler-priest caste was in the service of the early lords of the earth, great kingdom builders like Nimrod, the son of Kush (Gen. 10). Before Abrham's time they had already dispersed out of the Nile Valley into Arabia, Canaan, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, Iran, and the Indus Valley. Their influence extended into regions where they traded, even as far as Southeast Asia. 

The practice of sending away non-ascendant sons also drove the dispersion of the early Hebrew. The pattern is evident in Genesis 25:6 where we are told that Abraham gave gifts to all his other sons and sent them away from his proper heir, Isaac. Wherever the Hebrew went they carried their belief in the High God who had a son known as HR in ancient Egyptian, meaning "Most High One".

Early Horite and Sethite Hebrew maintained shrines along the major rivers and controlled trade on their section of the rivers. Their practice of building twin settlements on opposite sides of the river made it possible to assess tariffs on cargo. The Nilotic twin cities of Nekhen and Nekheb, and the twin cities of Pe and Dep are examples. Pe and Dep merged into the city that the Greeks later called Buto.

Ancient trade routes 

The routes of migration were also early trade routes controlled by regional rulers. The Sumerian rulers had a long-established trade with Dilmun (Bahrain) and with port cities in the Indus valley. Ships sailed southeast on the Tigris or Euphrates to the Persian Gulf, making stops at the port city of Dilmun (Bahrain), passing the Oman Peninsula, and entering the Arabian Sea. From there the ships sailed northeast on the Indus River to Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa.

As early as 7000 B.C., the island of Bahrain, identified by the Sumerians as Dilmun, served as a major trade depot with its own commercial seal. Ships coming from Dilmun and ports east traveled to the Sumerian cities of Ur, Erech, and Nippur. The city of Eridu, regarded as the oldest Sumerian city, was an important trade center as early as 5000 B.C. 

Thomas Geoffrey Bibby (1917-2001) lead excavations at Dilmun in the 1950s. Bibby discovered artifacts that show that Dilmun (Bahrain) was the capital of an independent kingdom and the center of trade between ancient Sumeria and the Indus River Valley. The Bronze Age civilization at Dilmun lasted two thousand years.

Genetic Studies 

The Bronze Age has been the focus of numerous DNA studies (Narasimhan et al., 2019), and anthropological investigation of social hierarchies (Luneau, 2010). The western Iron Age nomads (Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sarmatians) are believed to have mixed. This 2018 study found "evidence of a stable shared genetic signature, making the eastern Pontic-Caspian steppe a likely source of western nomadic groups." 

Studies of the DNA of the ancient Egyptians show a closer genetic affinity with ancient people from the Near East and the Levant such as Armenians. This is especially interesting given that the earlier name for the Nile River was Ar, meaning "venerable". The Ar Rulers are evidence of the wide dispersal of kingdom builders who were associated with the Nilotic royal families.  

An international team of scientists from the University of Tübingen and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History in Germany analyzed the DNA of 93 Egyptian mummies dating from approximately 1400 BCE to 400 CE. The evidence from their study reveals a surprising close relation to ancient people of the Near East such as Armenians.

Our analyses reveal that ancient Egyptians shared more ancestry with Near Easterners than present-day Egyptians, who received additional sub-Saharan admixture in more recent times.

We find that ancient Egyptians are most closely related to Neolithic and Bronze Age samples in the Levant, as well as to Neolithic Anatolian and European populations.

A genetics study by Haber et. al (2015) published not so long ago in the Nature’s European Journal of Human Genetics has demonstrated this connection.

We show that Armenians have higher genetic affinity to Neolithic Europeans than other present-day Near Easterners, and that 29% of the Armenian ancestry may originate from an ancestral population best represented by Neolithic Europeans.

Today’s Armenians show genetic affinity to both the ancient Europeans and ancient Egyptians. That there was plenty of contact between ancient Egypt and ancient Armenia is apparent from Egyptian artifacts that were found in ancient Armenian burials.

Consider also this excerpt from a 2015 study:
The Armenians show signatures of an origin from a mixture of diverse populations occurring from 3000 to 2000 BCE. This period spans the Bronze Age, characterized by extensive use of metals in farming tools, chariots, and weapons, accompanied by development of the earliest writing systems and the establishment of trade routes and commerce. Many civilizations such as in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the Indus valley grew to prominence. Major population expansions followed, triggered by advances in transportation technology and the pursuit of resources. Our admixture tests show that Armenian genomes carry signals of an extensive population mixture during this period. We note that these mixture dates also coincide with the legendary establishment of Armenia in 2492 BCE. Admixture signals decrease to insignificant levels after 1200 BCE, a time when Bronze Age civilizations in the Eastern Mediterranean world suddenly collapsed, with major cities being destroyed or abandoned and most trade routes disrupted.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

God's Rightful Anger


Casting out the money changers by Giotto

Alice C. Linsley

Recently someone asked about the idea that God becomes angry. The anger of God is a biblical theme found from Genesis to Revelation. An angry God sends the flood. An Akkadian account from 1646-1626 B.C. gives this description: "The flood roared like a bull, like a wild ass screaming, the winds howled. The darkness was total, there was no sun."

An angry God sends fire from heaven to consume the prophets of Baal. God's wrath is to be poured out from 7 cursing bowls on all the unrighteous.

This theme is especially developed in the Deuteronomistic history in which God’s anger is unleashed against Israel's unfaithfulness and disobedience. God allows the enemies of Israel to overcome them as divine punishment. Those enemies include the Assyrians (721 B.C.) and the Babylonians (586 B.C.).

The wrath of God is shown to the faithless Israelites in the wilderness. "Do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness" (Deut. 9:7).

God's anger is not restricted to the clan of Jacob (Israelites), however. Even the kings of other peoples are held to His higher law. "God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation every day" (Ps. 7:11).

For the biblical Hebrew, the High God is King over the earth and as such expresses a sovereign's rightful anger when the welfare of his kingdom is threatened. His anger is indignation against all who put his realm in peril. The people of Israel were to demonstrate the beauty of God's reign on earth, but they failed. The Temple which was to be a "house of prayer for all nations" had become a marketplace. 

"It was nearly time for the Jewish Passover celebration, so Jesus went to Jerusalem. In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!” (Jn. 2:13-16)

Since God is associated with light, especially the light of the sun, the total darkness that came over Jerusalem on Good Friday is viewed as a sign of God's anger. The darkness expresses God' wrath as in Isaiah 13:9-10:

Look, the Lord’s day of judging is coming— a terrible day, a day of God’s anger.
He will destroy the land
and the sinners who live in it.
The stars will not show their light;
the skies will be dark.
The sun will grow dark as it rises,
and the moon will not give its light.
And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity;
and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease,
and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. 


The Apostle Paul addresses the relationship of God's anger and love. He writes, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! (Rom. 5:8–9).

The bowls mentioned in Revelation 15:7 contain God's wrath. The Greek word for wrath is orge, the same word that appears in Romans 1:18: "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness."

A Common African Theme

The theme of God’s anger is also found in African narratives. The anthropologist Charles Kraft once asked a chief in northern Nigeria, "What did your people believe about God before the missionaries came?" In response, the old chief told this story:

Once God and his son lived close to us. They walked, talked, ate, and slept among us. All was well then. There was no thievery or fighting or running off with another man's wife like there is now. But one day God's son ate in the home of a careless woman. She had not cleaned her dishes properly. God's son ate from a dirty dish, got sick, and died. This, of course, made God very angry. He left in a huff and hasn't been heard from since. (Charles Kraft, Christianity in Culture. Orbis Books, 1990, p. 153)

Some African creation stories speak of a time at the beginning when the sky was low. It was necessary for people to be careful while cultivating or pounding grain to avoid striking God's resting place with their hoes or pestles. The Akan of Ghana tell the story of how God once lived on earth, but an old woman kept striking Him with her pestle. Then one day, God withdrew to the sky. The vertical pestle symbolizes the north-south axis and the heavens-earth-under the earth axis.

Another African story tells how "in the beginning death had not yet entered the world. There was plenty to eat, but a women became greedy and tried to pound more grain that she was allotted. This required using a longer pestle. When she raised it to pound the grain, it struck the sky and God became angry and withdrew far into the heavens. Since then, people must toil the earth, death and disease troubles the people and it is no longer easy to reach God." (Richard Bush, ed. The Religious World. MacMillan Publishers, 1982, p. 38).

 Related reading: Divine Disfavor and Divine Visitation; John Calvin on God's Motive in Creation; The Seven Bowls of Revelation 16; On a Wild and Windy Mountain

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Why Palms on Palm Sunday?


When the Romans invaded Judea in 63 B.C., there were thick forests of date palm trees stretching over a range of 7 miles across the Jordan Valley from the Sea of Galilee in the north to the shores of the Dead Sea in the south. The trees grew to a height of 80 feet and had branches all year round.

In ancient Israel the palm branches were used each year for the festival of Sukkot to make roofing for the booths. Palm branches were used to thatch the roofs of homes and sheep cotes, to create canopies over open market spaces, and for ceremonies like weddings, etc. They were used so extensively that the Judean palms nearly disappeared from the Jordan Valley.

There are efforts to bring back the Judean date palm. In 2005, Dr. Elaine Solowey germinated a 2000-year seed that had been recovered decades earlier from an archaeological excavation at the fortified high place Masada. The "Methuselah Tree" (shown below) is growing in a protected environment in Jerusalem. Genetic tests indicate that the Methuselah Tree is closely related to an ancient variety of date palm from Egypt known as Hayany. The ancient flora and fauna of the Jordan Valley and the Nile Valley are similar.

The Methuselah date palm is now producing dates. These are the kind of palm branches that would have been used to hail King Jesus as he entered Jerusalem.

The Methusleah Tree

When the people greeted Jesus as he entered Jerusalem, they greeted him with palm branches as a king to be enthroned. Ceremonial installation of rulers with palms was an ancient tradition. It had been a practice of the Jebusite people of Jerusalem before David's time. 

Fresh palm branches are still used among many peoples of Central and East Africa at the enthronement of a sovereign and a priest of high rank. Even today, fresh palm fronds are used ceremonially at the installation of Ijebu rulers and to decorate places of worship. Jude Adebo Adeleye Ogunade writes in his memoir about growing up Ijebu. He was warned not to touch the leaves of the Igi-Ose tree because, as his Mama Eleni explained, "That tree is the tree whose leaves are used to install Chiefs and Kings of Ijebu and as your grandfather was a custodian of the rites of chieftaincy and kingship you must not play with its leaves." 

The University of Oxford, Institute Paper, n°7, (1937) on Medicinal Plants lists the leaves of the Igi-Ose as a blood purifier.

Related reading: Trees of the Bible, Tree Grown from 2000 Year Seed Has Reproduced; Jesus Rode on a Donkey; Horticulture in the Ancient World

Monday, March 20, 2023

The Virgin Mary's Life in the Temple Cloister


The Virgin Mary with a spindle, a symbol of feminine authority.

Dr. Alice C. Linsley

Mary was Joseph’s cousin bride, and she was betrothed to Joseph as one dedicated to the Temple. That is why she is designated “almah” in the Scriptures. The Hebrew word almah (עַלְמָה) is derived from a verb meaning “to conceal” or “to hide away”. Temple virgins were “alamot” because they were cloistered until they married.

Their duties including weaving, sewing, drawing water, singing, and playing musical instruments such as the sistrum and the tambourine. In the King James Version, the "alamot" are called “damsels” – “The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.” (Ps. 68:25)

Mary and Joseph had common ancestors as is evident in the repetition of some names in the two New Testament genealogies. Their ancestors intermarried, as was the custom of the Hebrew from before the time of Abraham.

Hippolytus of Thebes records that Mary’s mother Ana was one of three daughters of a priest named Matthan. Variant spellings of Matthan include Matthew, Matthias, Mattha, Matthat, Mattathias, Mattaniah, and Mattai. The name and its variants appear six times in Luke’s list. The name derives from the word “gift” and can refer to the “giving” of Torah. The name Mattaniah is found among the priests in I Chronicles. According to Matthew 1:15, Mary’s husband Joseph was of the priestly line of Mattai.

If Joseph married according to the pattern of his Hebrew ancestors, Mary would be his second wife, the bride of his later years. The brothers and sisters of Jesus mentioned in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3 are the children of Joseph by his first wife. Joseph had been betrothed to Mary for some time before he married her. Until that time, Mary remained a young woman dedicated to the Temple by her priest father, Joachim.

Hebrew sons and daughters were often dedicated to the service of the temple. Samuel, the son of the priest Elkanah and his wife Hannah was dedicated to the temple (1 Sam. 1:11). From a young age, Samuel served Eli, the Ephraimite priest of Shiloh. Samuel later married, and his sons, Joel and Abijah, served as judges in Beersheba (1 Sam. 8:1-9; 1 Chr. 6:28).

Hebrew daughters dedicated to the temple were free to marry. However, depending on the daughter’s initial vow to God, they might remain celibate. Abstinence from sexual relations did not pose a problem for a husband who already had an heir by his first wife. Joseph’s heir would have been one of Jesus’ half-brothers, probably James. In Jewish Antiquities (20.9.1), Josephus describes James as "the brother of Jesus who is called Christ."

According to tradition, the Annunciation took place when Mary was in the Temple spinning purple thread. Some icons and paintings of the Virgin Mary show her holding a spindle and spinning purple thread. Purple thread was used to make the Temple vestments and the garments of high priests.

As the cousin bride, it was Mary’s prerogative to name her only son after her father. However, as was anticipated by his Hebrew ancestors, Jesus was conceived by divine overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (Lk. 1:35) and Mary was to name her son Yeshua, which means “salvation.” The name is related to the ancient Egyptian name Yesu.

The hieroglyphs for Yesu indicate royal authority and show the falcon, the totem of HR (Horus in Greek) who was called the "son" of God.

Saturday, February 25, 2023

The Ar Rulers

A fresco at Erebuni Fortress in Armenia (8th Century BC)

Alice C. Linsley

The original name for the Nile River was Ar, meaning "venerable". The Ar prefix appears in the names of many rulers and ruler-priests, suggesting that these are descendants of rulers who dispersed out of the Nile Valley. Examples include the Sumerian king Arwium of Kish; Artama, Archelaos, Artaxerxes, Ar-Shem, Artix, Areli, Araxes, Arviragus, a Jebusite named Araunah, and Arishen, a Horite who ruled a territory in the central Zagros between 2400-2301 B.C. Ariaramnes was the great uncle of Cyrus the Great. 

More recent historical figures identified with the Ar prefix include King Arthur and Joseph of Arimathea, both connected to the British Isles.

Israelites associated with the Ar patrimony include Aroch (1 Chr 7:39, Ezr 2:5, Neh 6:18, Neh 7:10) and Ariel (Ezr 8:16, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:1, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:2, Isa 29:7). Ariel means “Scribe/Messenger of God.” 

The association of the Ar element with royal scribes is demonstrated by the discovery of multi-lingual scrolls from the satrap Arsames to his Egyptian administrator Psamshek and to an Egyptian ruler named Nekht-Hor (A.T. Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, Chicago, 1948, pp.116-117). The archives of Arsames offer valuable insight into the administration of Egypt at the end of Dynasty 27 (525- 404 BC).

The Arsames communiques tell of tensions between the Jewish priests and the priests of the Ram-headed HR resulted in the destruction of a magnificent Jewish temple at Elephantine in 410 BC, with the approval of the Persian governor Vidranga. In Horite Hebrew religion the Sun rose as a lamb in the east and set as a ram in the west. The solar arc spoke to them of the reign of the High God over earth. Horus was in his lamb state at sunrise and in his ram state as sunset. This symbolically speaks death and resurrection. The YHWH temple at Elephantine represented a different religion in which there was no son of God.

Royal scribes served the great kingdom builders of Genesis chapter 10, and they are to be thanked for preserving some of the oldest anthropological data available today.

The Ar rulers were served by scribes, masons, gardeners, and warriors. The royal metal workers fashioned weapons and symbols of authority such as staffs, crowns, flails, totems, and vellidoids. 

The Ar connection to rulers is reflected in the Arabic word arsh, meaning "throne", and to the word aryeh, meaning lion, the most widespread symbol of kings. A Hebrew ruler was named Areli, meaning "Lion of God".

On ancient monuments and stone reliefs, kings are often shown fighting a lion or subduing serpents. The ancient Egyptian word ar refers to the Sun serpent, the totem of smiths throughout the Ancient Near East. Ancient iconography shows Horus (Most High One) wearing the golden serpent of the Sun on his head. The serpent was a totemic symbol for the royal smiths. That sheds light on the narrative of Moses, the Horite Hebrew leader, who fabricated a bronze serpent and placed it on a staff.

One of the largest copper production sites of the Levant is in the Arava/Arabah region in what is now Israel. This hilltop site was the workshop of ironmongers as evidenced by furnaces and slag heaps. The smiths who worked at the Timna site venerated Hathor, the mother of Horus. 

The smiths were known by different names depending on the location of the kingdom in which they served. The smiths of Anatolia were called Nes. In Igboland, the metal-working priests, often dwarfs, were called Neshi. They are also credited with the early sacred script known to the Cross River indigenes as Nshi-biri (which in Igbo means ‘Written by Nshi’).

The Ar of Genesis 10

Genesis 10 speaks of the Ar who controlled the Red Sea and the Mediterranean kingdoms of Tyre and Arvad. This appears to be a 3-clan confederation, consisting of Ar, Arvd and Arkt. The last two clans are called “Arvadites” and “Arkites” in Genesis 10:15-18. The peoples living in Arvad had serpent imagery in their temples and shrines. 

Deuteronomy 2:9 states that Ar was given to the Moabites, the descendants of Lot whose homeland was in Mesopotamia.

The word “Arvadite” refers to residents of the Mediterranean island-city of Arvad (Arpah or Arphad in some ancient sources). Arvad is an extremely ancient city. Before the time of the Phoenicians, it was populated seasonally by peoples passing from North Africa to central Asia

It is believed that the island state of Arvad was established by the Amorites around 2000 B.C. although its location on an ancient trade route suggests that it was a significant port long before that.

Tuthmosis III took control of Arvad in 1472 B.C. and the Arvadites paid tribute to the Pharaohs for protection from the Assyrians. 

The Philistines invaded the territory and established themselves as a thorn in the side of Abraham’s descendants. An Aramean king attempted to uproot the Philistines in aid of the Ammonites.

David had to contend with the Philistines on the west and the Ammonite-Aramean coalition on the east. Having dealt with the Philistines, David engaged Shoboch, the Aramean general and defeated him. (II Sam.10:18)

Ar Place Names

It was a common practice in the ancient world for a territory to take the name of its king or a name derived from the king's royal titles. The dispersal of Ar rulers may be traced by the identification of toponyms with the Ar prefix. Consider this partial list: Ar in Moab, Arabia, Arabah, Aram, Arvan, Arba, Arses, Arsamea, Arish, Aragon, Arles, Armagh (Ard Mhacha), Ararat, and Armenia. 

Erebuni Fortress in Armenia, known as Arin Berd ("Fortress of Blood") was founded in 782 BC by the Urartian King Argishti I (reigned 785-753 BC). Built on a hill overlooking the Arax River, it served as a military stronghold to protect the kingdom's northern borders.

The dye used in the Erebuni fresco (shown above) is composed of copper obtained from Armenia and which had been used in Mesopotamia since the 3rd millennium BC.

Another example is the place name Arrapha, a center of Hurrian/Horite culture. Ancient Arrapha was a part of Sargon of Akkad's Akkadian Empire (2335–2154 BC). Akkad was one of the principal cities of Nimrod's kingdom (Gen. 10).

Related reading: The Great Kingdom Builders of Genesis 10; Was King Arthur a Descendant of Nilotic Rulers?; The Priesthood in England; Horite and Sethite Mounds; What Abraham Discovered on Mount Moriah; Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b-L151; Y-DNA Haplogroup R2Y-DNA Haplogroup J2; Y-DNA Haplogroup R1b-Z2103