Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Nebo was a Horite Hebrew Shrine

View from Mount Nebo

Alice C. Linsley

The name YHWH is found on the Mesha Stele (Moabite Stone) inscribed around 860 B.C. in the name of Mesha, the King of Moab. In a military action, Mesha claims to have taken Nebo and carried off the "vessels of YHWH." This indicates that there was a temple or shrine on Mount Nebo.

Nebo is an elevated ridge in the Abarim range in modern Jordan. This land was once part of ancient Edom. Nebo was a Hebrew high place long before the time of Moses. Evidence of human occupation is found in the Bronze Age cave burials in the Nebo hills, and the 18,000-year axes and arrowheads found in the area.

Nebo is also spelled Nevo, and there appears to be a connection to Abraham and Sarah. When the patriarch Terah died, Abraham's older brother Nahor ruled over Terah's holdings in Mesopotamia. Abraham became a sent-away son. Sent-away sons often went to live with maternal uncles, as did Jacob. This is called avunculocal residence. It appears that Abraham's calling to leave his home involved a long-standing tradition.

According to the Talmud, Sarah was the daughter of a ruler named Kar-nevo. Yet, according to Genesis 20:12, Abraham and Sarah had the same father, but different mothers. Sarah’s father was Terah, not Karnevo. However, s often happens in the Bible rulers of places and place names are interchanged and become synonymous. Kar-nevo/nebo is a place name. Kar refers to an elevated site where burnt offerings were made, and Kar-Nevo refers to Mount Nebo. It appears that Abraham and Sarah had an uncle there. Likely, he was a Horite Hebrew priest. Clearly, the name Yahweh was known at that shrine, as it was known among older shrines along the Nile.

This also explains why Moses, a descendant of Seir the Horite Hebrew, spent the last days of his life. Mount Nebo was a Horite Hebrew sacred place, as was Edom, where Aaron was buried.

Related reading: The Social Structure of the Biblical Hebrew; Leaving Haran; Sent-Away Sons; The Substance of Abraham's Faith; Abraham's Maternal Line; Karampetsos, Karambet, Karoutes

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