Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Te-hut's Victory over Te-hom

Alice C. Linsley

Te-hom (Hebrew: תְּהוֹם‎), the chaotic deep, and te-hut, divine wisdom and order, represent aspects of the world in which we live.  We observe both daily. When God spoke the creation into being He also ordered the creation by fixing boundaries which those who honor God will observe and not trespass.  When we trespass divinely established boundaries we invite chaos (te-hom) into our lives and into the world.

I learned about te-hom in seminary when we studied Genesis. Te-hom is an ancient concept of a watery and disordered deep which God put in order by His Word (hu or hut). I was never taught that te-hom is related to the Egyptian word te-hut.  Instead my seminary professors insisted that te-hom and Genesis one have a Babylonian cultural context.  This is true to the degree that the Babylonians shared certain Afro-Asiatic beliefs with the ancient Egyptians.

A central experience of ancient Egyptian life was the Nile inundation. As rains fell during the spring in the Ethiopian headlands the Nile River in Egypt rose above its banks, flooding the Nile Valley between June and October. The flooding lasted for 40 days. This turned the valley into large lakes and deposited fertile silt which renewed the earth. As the waters receded, only the highest mounds of earth would been seen at first. Even after the waters crested and began to recede, families didn't return to their homes for another 40 nights. This is the origin of the biblical phrase "forty days and forty nights" and the context is not Babylonian, but Nilotic.

The victory of te-hut over te-hom relates to the annual inundation of the Nile and helps us to understand the Egyptian concept of creation. One of the oldest creation myths of the ancient Egyptians envisioned the first place in the world as a mound emerging from the waters of a universal ocean. Here the first life form was seen as a lily, growing on the peak of the primeval mound. The mound itself was named Tatjenen, meaning "the emerging land".

In Hindu and Buddhist mythology the mound that emerged is called Mount Meru. It emerges from the center of the Cosmic Ocean, and the Sun and 7 visible planets circle the mountain. Mount Meru in Hinduism is a mythological mountain. However, there are 2 mountains called Meru in Africa, one in Kenya and the other in Tanzania.

The name meru is meri in Egyptian and Mary in English.  The Virgin Mary, whose womb swelled with the Son of God, is sometimes portrayed in icons as the mountain of God. The Prophet Daniel saw a mountain, from which a stone was cut by the hand of God (Dan. 2:34, 45).

This conception of Earth emerging from a universal ocean likely originated in the Upper Nile region where stone pillars and mounds of earth were erected. In the Lower Nile region small pyramids were carved from a single block of stone. These were known as a bnbn (benben), from the root, bn, meaning to "swell forth". Benben have been from India to Nigeria. Below is a photo of a benben found in Lejja, Nigeria.

The image of the sun resting at or swelling forth from the peak of the pyramid or mountain is represented in the sign of tnt (tanit) and in the Agadez crosses made by the Inadan metalworkers of west central Africa. The Egyptian word for the rising sun is wbn, which comes from the same root as benben.

Recently discovered tombs of officials from the 4th Dynasty were surmounted by conical mounds that represent the benben. These tombs, along with the royal tombs at Giza, indicate that the ancient rulers hoped to rise from the place of death as the Sun rises.

The Egyptian royal pyramids correspond in form to the number 72, as does Angkor Wat in Cambodia. The number 72 represents the precession of the equinoxes, that is it represents the numerical sequence linked to the earth’s axial precession, which causes the apparent alteration in the position of the constellations one degree every 72 years. It has been noted also that Angkor Wat is located 72 degrees of longitude east of the Pyramids of Giza.

Here we have further evidence of a common worldview and cosmology throughout the ancient Afro-Asiatic Dominion.  This worldview spread with the Horite ruler-priests or Harwa who moved north and east from ancient Nubia.  They were a priest caste who were devotees of Horus, who was called "son of God."  The name Angkor correlates with the ancient Egyptian Anhk-Hor, meaning "May Horus Live".

These are but a few examples of how biblical scholars and seminary professors have neglected the African context of Abraham's Horite people and in so doing have often misrepresented biblical material.

Related reading: Sacred Mountains; Peaks and Valleys; The Nilotic Substrata of Genesis


  1. Does Te-hut also correspond to the Egyptian concept of Ma'at? Is there a biblical equivalency to Ma'at?

  2. The white stork of Africa (Wawbn in Arabic) follow the monsoon rains feeding on frogs and other small animals the water brings to the surface. Waw is symbol for the release of water from the pitcher of the Queen of Heaven and bn is the "swelling forth" or offspring. IMO the waw became the Hebrew Vav and is used in the Genesis text to 'fatten' the consonants.

  3. Excellent, Susan! I think you're right because the W represents the waters above. The M represents the waters below which also can swell. Proverbs 8:29 speaks of when the sources of the deep (te-hom) began to swell.

    Maximus, I don't think that Te-hut and Ma'at are the same. More likely they represent the male and female aspects of the ordering principle. This ould be consistent with the binary opposites of the ancient Afro-Asiatics, where one is always superior to the other. In this case Te'hut is superior to Ma'at because Ma'at was created whereas Te-hut appears to be the generative Word of God. Proverbs 8:22-31 and 9:1-6 appear to be about Ma'at. She says that "Yahweh created me, first-fruits of his fashioning, before the oldest of his works... the deep was not, when I was born..."

  4. Alice, have you ever thought about the phrase "Hail Mary"? When the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary the word "Ave" was spoken. Of course, linguists will say Ave comes from an unknown root but it sounds like Vav. Perhaps the Angel of the Lord said to Mary "swell forth".

  5. Thank you Alice!

    Ha! Susan, that's awesome! Luk 1:29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

    P.S. Do either of you ever visit the Ancient Hebrew Research Center website? It seems right up your alley.

  6. "Ave" also mean bird and you've probably noticed that many icons and paintings of the Annunciation show a dove in the background or hovering over the Virgin. There is a relationship to vav if you consider that the dove is a seed eater (never worms) and when they eat, their stomachs swell as the seed expands. Jesus is called the "Seed" of the Woman in Gen. 3:15.

  7. Maximus, Ancient Hebrew Research Center is a terrific site, very solid. I encourage people to use it and also to purchase Jeff Benner's excellent Hebrew Lexicon. I posted news about it here:


  8. Alice,
    I have looked at their site many times but I must disagree! Waw is not a tent stake. Waw is the 'fattening' of the fruit of the date palm, the swelling of the grape and the heart of lev, Havah and YHWH. It is a direct and open line to the Queen of Heaven and is why the Jews are able to communicate with the patriarchs during Succoth before the 'twinning' of the palm branch. I will explain more fully on my blog.

  9. I agree that the Waw isn't a tent stake, but that is the standard view of Free Masonry which sees these things in terms of mystical construction.

    I will visit your blog asap!

    1. I like your posts. You are very eager to write about ancient peoples of the bible. I want to throw a word in the mix concerning the waw. It is a "hook" which is interpreted as tent stake. The hook joins or ties things together. "binding"

    2. Thanks, Tauemayah. Very good information!

      The vav is also a solar symbol and designates a ruler-priest. That is why some many of Abraham's people have names with an initial Y: Yaqtan, Yisbak, Yishmael, Yacob, Yeshua, etc.

  10. Shalom

    There never is enough words to say how insightful is the work the Lord has wrought through you. Tears are a form of prayer, a form of the gift of Yahwh.

    Am forever indebted.

    Thank you. Only you know the deptht of those two words.

    My love.



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