The Western foundational narrative essentially begins with the story of Abraham and his descendants, this set in dialectic contrast with Homeric epic. It is the intentionally tortured fusion of these two core cultural constructs that has led to the yet unresolved synthesis of the world we have today. Unresolved at least for now, because the global elites’ combined and explicitly stated global ambitions have not been achieved … just yet. As we are told of this agenda in Isaiah 49:6 —
And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
As we’ll see, the Biblical stories seem designed to serve this elite agenda, even “to the end of the earth”; albeit the tales are cleverly disguised to keep their main audience comfortably focused on the otherwise prosaic and seemingly banal aspects. As such, Abraham and his descendants seem to be ordinary nomadic shepherds, whose casually intimate nexus to the divine makes many incredible events seem credible … to the credulous. But, some zany episodes are clearly intended to alert some of us that something deeper is going on below this surface reading. From the artworks shown in this post, one can see that Abraham is not shown as a rude shepherd, but rather as one of a much higher social status. He and his family rub elbows with pharaohs and other kings in rather amazing contexts. The alert reader would see this subtext, while the hoi polloi might only see the simple, yet divinely blessed, shepherd. In this regard, the Bible is like the old cartoons of Rocky and Bullwinkle, sending different messages to both children and adults at the same time, each addressing their own level of understanding.
In any case, here we have a remarkably dysfunctional family, chosen and ‘eternally blessed’ by God to rule over their promised land, and eventually to rule over the world. And yet here we are still dealing with the clearly dysfunctional outcome over 3,000 years later. Today’s situation is not so very much different than with Abraham — with one big exception, namely that the veiled heirs, those ruling in the name of all the ‘Abrahamic’ religions, occupy a much larger amount of global real estate and other assets now. Is this the result of divine will? Or, are certain people, then as now, better at the game (and/or born in better circumstances) than the rest of us? Are they better at the game, perhaps because they have a better contextual understanding of the rules?
Jews, Christians and Islamics can rightly take great pride in their clear advancements in numerous aspects of morality over predecessor societies. However, this begs the question of why the Abramic religions are so tortuously ‘revelatory’. Why didn’t God establish his ‘perfect’ order of societal laws and such intact from the very beginning? Perhaps God is maturing just like his human ‘copies’ do. This is the premise of Robert Wright’s The Evolution of God, but for him it is simply a tongue-in-cheek literary device, as he makes it clear that the collective human understanding of this ‘God’ is what is evolving. Moreover, he states:
the gods that have populated human history— rain gods, war gods, creator gods, all-purpose gods (such as the Abrahamic god), and so on… exist in people’s heads and, presumably, nowhere else.
The authors generally agree, however we claim that this is because certain elite humans are indeed driving this ‘maturation of God’ process as they expediently go along, but ultimately all with a specific end in mind. That is, our human ‘lords’ are evolving their divine avatar, as contingent upon the exigent circumstances found along their geopolitical roadmap. And when ethical ‘improvements’ occur, they must necessarily be in tune with the long term interests of those same elites. Thus the imaginary gods, or God, via their human handlers, reveal that prior religious laws are to be periodically revised – for harmony’s sake. Harmony, that is, after all the evil-doing laggards, zealous conservatives that is, are dealt with.
In stark contrast to Jesus of Nazareth, who is depicted as an exemplar of moral virtue (with the forgivable exception of getting mad at a barren fig tree), Abraham and his progeny are all too human in their guile and lust. The tales are compelling in a lurid manner, like soap operas. Indeed, such wily behaviors were more openly accepted and even appreciated in both the Hebrew and Homeric ages. After all, at some primal level a hunter or warrior must be able to outwit his or her prey or foe to survive if not succeed, the concepts of ‘fairness’ and ‘decent’ behavior only evolving over time per the demands of ‘civilization’. In this context then, Abraham and Moses were among the most wily of their time.
So on the superficial level, and by negative example, hopefully the audience can better learn ethical behavior from the zany moral foibles of these otherwise exalted people. But on a deeper level, the underlying subtext is to establish a modus operandi of justified and providential territorial conquest and geopolitical power insinuations, sophisticated propaganda and other cultural manipulations. Like any good spy novel, there is sexual intrigue as well; all on the yellow brick road to some alleged higher calling. As such, and just as with the gods “that exist in people’s heads and, presumably, nowhere else”, we suggest that all these Old Testament ‘heroes’ are indeed either purely or mostly fictional, and that they must generally be avatars for the real human elites hiding behind their veiling curtains.
Setting the Blessed Stage
With Abraham, the later compilers and redactors of the various texts were dealing with a subject matter that may have been as much as a thousand years before their times. As a result, if nothing else, the finer contextual usage of such matters might be expected to become distorted in various ways — especially when such details might refer to the reviled practices of former neighboring societies, now long distant in time or geographically to the otherwise unaided redactors.
Typically we are otherwise plausibly told that prior to more recent times, oral transmission was the means to explain why such stories had survived so long, supposedly accurately. However, it is hard to believe that mere oral story telling could transmit the level of accurate detail found in the Biblical tales as described above. Moreover, how could such oral transmission also account for the ‘fisherman’s exaggerations’ that we find in Biblical accounts such as of Jonah and the whale? Not to mention the tale of God’s eternal vengeance against the Canaanites in retribution for the odd sin of Ham (the generationally distant, yet key, prequel to Abraham), detailed further below? And why would oral transmission create such a politically charged, ultimately elitist and racist narrative?
Indeed, some indigenous peoples such as nomadic Bedouin tribesmen still use oral transmission. Their stories are believed to be reasonably accurate with respect to contextually valued aspects, although chronological time spans are typically inaccurate. Of course, this explanation is given to us with the underlying expectation that we are to believe that the core of these epic stories are essentially true in the first place. But there may be yet another explanation for these narratives. To wit: that they were fictionally cobbled together, as if in a modern day ‘historical fiction’, for furthering an ambitious and steadfastly deliberate agenda. And this, we claim, is not much different than which happened later with the Flavian gospels – ala Caesar’s Messiah. In fact, we claim these two, time separated, literary projects are intimately connected. And thus, that the ‘Flavian Vanity’ discussed there is likely much broader in context than merely contained to the Flavian ‘branch’ of the larger Sabine family corporation. That is, generally speaking: those including the Roman republican consuls, the imperial Caesars, and the Catholic popes and the ‘traditional’, ethnically ‘non-debased’ Curia. This entire family enterprise was descended from conquering colonists … from the ‘East’, at least if their own legends are to be believed.
As the late archaeologist, Cyrus H. Gordon, showed in his books (specifically, Gordon & Rendsburg, 1998, The Bible and the Ancient Near East): while the Old Testament contains many epic lavish embellishments, at the same time one also finds a wealth of references to details that have been externally confirmed to be rather accurate. The granular level of accurate contextual detail in the finished Judaic narrative would be nearly impossible for a team of isolated scribes and clerics to fabricate out of thin air. On the contrary, they must have been operating with both the imprimatur of, and with the preexisting textual resources of, the political ‘powers that be’ of the day. Such resources would have come from various preexisting regional factions. The job of the ‘redactors’ then was to compile and harmonize these various accounts. Such regional harmonizing must necessarily precede the long and bloody process of global harmonizing. However, whether on purpose or not, the redactors left traces of the original sources within their compilation. Accordingly, we can get a rather good idea of what is really happening by reading between the divine lines.
As the Homeric works literally became a sort of bible for the wider, polytheistic Greek world, the epic stories of the Hebrew patriarchs fulfilled the same function in Judea. Here, Abraham became actively engaged with one particular and uniquely peculiar god who, at some point, gradually began to jealously demand Abraham’s and his descendants’ sole allegiance. This god warns them to ignore all those other silly or evil gods, whose actual existence is not denied at first: this being a transitional phase, called monolatry, on the brutal road to monotheism where the other gods are now denied as being real. With the latter phase, as Jan Assmann and others have noted, such a singular god is necessarily militantly jealous in asserting his sole primacy over his former peers, with social consequences that can be seen as more desirable for efficient political control, … and in setting his chosen faithful profitably apart from the rest of humanity. This more efficient religio-political control is implemented coincident with the nascent rise of imperial expansionism (of the Persians), where the fewer gods to deal with in the newly acquired regions might make for more unity across an empire.
The Abraham cycle is distantly linked to the Creation epic and Adam and Eve by the various genealogies that gradually narrow their focus down to Abraham, who receives the eternal blessing (for global success) from God. Thereafter, this blessing is transferred by hook or crook to various subsequent younger brothers (or half-brothers in some cases). This younger brother motif forms an important metaphor for the underlying reality which we discuss later on.
And like all good dramas, this incredibly valuable blessing is even suspensefully put at risk on many occasions, including by Abraham’s various escapades involving both his wife and son. We assert that these multiple instances of risking of divinely blessed progeny is a clever diversionary ruse to imbue the narratives with ‘common’ human traits that serve to draw away attention from the possibility that much more powerful human sponsorship is involved behind the scenes.
The very beginning of the narrative then is linked to the apparent fall of Sumeria, or Shinar, and the Tower of Babel story, where the people propose to build a city and an imposing structure, so as to ‘make a name for themselves’. Their hubris was offensive to God for some reason back then, but apparently not so much in the last few thousand years. In God’s angry wrath, he destroys the tower and city, disperses mankind, and for good measure confounds their languages.
Out of all this judgmental destruction, and as ‘mitigation’, Abraham is ‘called’ by God and uniquely granted the eternal blessing (to dominate the Earth) for his progeny’s sake, and ultimately for all of our eventual good sakes (so we are told). But, perhaps this blessing can extend to others somehow ‘grafted’ onto the later root (of Jesse that is)? In any case, this fishy blessing is a reversal of not only the Tower of Babel judgement on humanity, but also a reversal of God’s prior global curse on Adam and Eve and their progeny, found in Genesis 3:16-19. So from the time of this blessing, the biblical subtext is that the closer one’s proximity to the blessed family, the better, and conversely the more distant, the worse.
But before we can launch now into the Abraham narrative, we must consider that brief and very odd prequel mentioned earlier:
Noah’s Ham and Wine for Breakfast
Another ironic moral note is that according to the Bible, every man and woman today is descended from the world’s first vintner … and drunkard, though he obviously didn’t have a very large customer base after the Flood.
And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. (Genesis 9:20-27)
In order to justify the Patriarchal narrative of the Hebrew’s displacement of the alleged prior occupants of Canaan, the first order of business must have been to de-legitimize the ‘indigenous’ peoples, by re-contextualizing them. Or in terms of anthropological warfare: to simply make them disappear, in a manner of speaking, from their true role as ancestors of the Israelites. This task was deftly handled, allegedly generations before Abraham’s time, simply by creating the bizarre story that Ham had committed the sin of stumbling upon his naked and fallen drunk father, and then tattling to his brothers about it.
This drunken father was none other than Noah, who had earlier been singled out for a great reward by God, because of Noah’s superior qualities relative to his fellow humanity. Noah’s reward, of course, consisted of receiving a warning to build a huge boat so as to escape God’s genocidal rage against the rest of his defectively degenerate human creations gone awry. After the flood, God gave the rainbow as a token for a covenant that he would never again destroy all mankind (Genesis 9:8-17). However, in making this covenant, God did not mean to stop behaving wrathfully; from then on, his wrath was simply displayed on a tribal basis rather than universal basis.
But it is important to realize here that the new ‘Hebrew’ tribe was in reality a synthetic meta-tribe consisting of numerous pre-existing tribes. And ironically, God would be inflicting most of his punishment on his own Chosen people for centuries, apparently until they had agreed to adopt their new identity, for the most part.
In order to demote the Canaanites, the first step was to claim that they descended from Shem’s brother Ham, rather than from Shem himself. This was sufficient to create a completely distinct ethnic identity, more akin to African blacks who, later, were also considered descended from Ham (to provide the pretext to ‘righteously’ enslave them). Then, punishment for Ham’s awkward, allegedly sinful viewing of Noah was visited on all of Ham’s Canaanite descendants, who were demoted in status to the slaves of Ham’s brothers. Is it too heavy-handed to point out that this is an obvious geopolitically motivated pretext, which also gives divine imprimatur to the unjust theme that the sins of the father should be visited on his sons to the Nth generation? In any case, how convenient considering that the Canaanites were obviously typical Semites, based upon archaeological findings detailed by such as Finkelstein & Silberman (p. 118).
Even before the field work discussed by Finkelstein and Silberman, Gordon mentions emphatically in his books that the Canaanites were indeed stripped of their correct Semitic origins in the genealogies of Genesis. This Biblical dispossession of the Canaanites doubles the dark irony of the extreme Ashkenazi predominance (>90%) amongst today’s Jewry, not only in today’s Israel, but globally – when the very same genealogy explicitly states that the Ashkenazi are not Semitic, i.e. descendants of Shem.
This is reinforced by the metaphoric narrative in Hosea 1, which describes Hosea’s sacred dalliance with the whore, Gomer. The book of Hosea contains internal clues that would date it to the Assyrian conquest of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. However, it may actually come from the later Achaemenid conquest, as it seems to describe the merger of Israel with Judea. Just as Jacob was a metaphoric representation of Israel (father of the twelve tribes) in an earlier phase, so Hosea conceives the next metaphor, his son Jezreel, whose name is a contraction of Judea and Israel.
And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel. And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, .. (Hosea 1:2-7 KJV)
Gomer’s name is recycled from the Genesis 10:2-4 genealogy, where a man of this name was the father of the Ashkenazi, and a son of Japheth. Thus, we have an explanation for the otherwise incomprehensible statement of Hosea 1:10 — “… that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.” The explanation is that the former chosen people of Judea and Israel have been replaced, and shall henceforth consist of a cross-breed of Hebrew and Gomerites, but not necessarily the Ashkenazi – who seem to arrive in the Judaic camp in the late first millenium CE. Both the Assyrians and Achaemenids deported many native Canaanites and replaced them with immigrants. ‘Jezreel’ seems to be a very apt metaphor indeed.
Furthermore, all of these superficially individual names are actually eponyms standing in for pre-existing groups of tribal or ethnic peoples. Therefore, regarding the wife Gomer, the focus should be on the word ‘whore’ as relating that ‘she’ and the related Japhetic ‘children’ are profitably accepting a role in the Semitic narrative as figurative ‘whores’ and not as literal sexual prostitutes. But because of the metaphoric ruse being employed, the normal convention of using only males in the genealogies must be reversed so that Gomer is now awkwardly, and tellingly, made into the very first human transexual. The unusual inclusion of the ‘children’ in this situation is also a clue that the names should be taken as eponyms.
Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah; Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. The sons of Japheth; Gomer, and Magog, and Madai, and Javan, and Tubal, and Meshech, and Tiras. And the sons of Gomer; Ashkenaz, and Riphath, and Togarmah. And the sons of Javan; Elishah, and Tarshish, Kittim, and Dodanim. (Genesis 10:1-4 KJV)
Genesis 10:5 then supports our thesis that the Gomerites and Ashkenazim originated as non-Semitic goyim, albeit we have no way of knowing whether or not the modern day Ashkenazi are one and the same as those mentioned biblically.
By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. (Genesis 10:5 KJV)
Please note (as we discussed in the Intro post) that the term ‘Gentile’ here means the elite aristocracy, and does not refer to the common person. Also note that certain texts of the Dead Sea Scrolls equate the ‘Kittim’ with the Romans, though we assert that the proper identification is more complicated. Finally, note that via the order of listing, the so-called ‘pride of place’, Japheth is the youngest son of Noah, and if staying consistent with the common ‘youngest son’ motif throughout the rest of the OT, then the youngest son is the actual primary line. Interestingly, the related verses contradict the traditional order by explicitly stating that Ham is the youngest son.
If then we are to believe the biblical narrative, then the Ashkenazim, as descendants of Japheth via Gomer, must be considered merely the distant poor cousins of those “dwelling in the tents of Shem”. Or rather, the whorish dupes of the real gentil authors of the narrative. These distant ‘poor cousins’ have now been placed on yet another dubious Zionist pedestal, as per the Christian mandates of Romans 11:22-24 (KJV). Is this a setup for an upcoming apocalypse, or is it a distraction from other global, neo-Hellenizing sleights-of-hand writ large? In any case, the present day occupiers of Israel insist to us that they are indeed Semites despite their own Ashkenazi identification. This is the justification offered for their current presence in Israel, where the land has been taken from today’s so-called ‘Palestinians’. Of course, these Palestinians were likely the actual descendants of the ancient population of Judea (Shlomo Sand, The Invention of the Jewish People). As such, they were the original ‘Jews’ as well as, before that, the original Canaanites.
With such grave aspersions cast upon the identity of the Canaanites, the narrative may be implying some darker sort of untoward filial interaction, besides merely the overtly stated naked viewing. Perhaps the following quote from Leviticus indicates the true gravity of the crime that is being insinuated.
And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:11 KJV
We suggest that this aspersion was part of the long process of convincing some Canaanites that they were really descendants of the fictive conquering Judean Hebrews. At the same time, their northern Canaanite neighbors, the Israelite “Lost Tribe” Hebrews, were conveniently relocated far away by the Assyrians.
A similarly disparaging fictional ploy will be employed with Lot and his alleged descendants, but will later get ameliorated when the politics become expedient. However, with the Canaanites, there was no such rationale to reverse the aspersions: as the ‘Israelites’ had long since forgotten their prior identity as such.
Who’s Dwelling in your Tent Tonight?
In the verses immediately following the episode regarding Canaan’s punishment for Ham’s sin, we are told that for some unknown and unstated reason, that the offspring of Shem’s brother, Japheth, is “dwelling” in Shem’s tents.
And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant. (Genesis 9:24-7 KJV)
Now to fully grasp the magnitude of what is being stated here, one must realize that the Genesis author(s) or redactor(s) are informing us that after the Flood that the world has been divided into three general races of man, to eventually repopulate the entire world over. How this genesis of three races can be accomplished via the offspring of one man is truly a miracle. But more importantly for our purposes is that now we are being told, metaphorically speaking, that one of the three races is now “dwelling in the tents of Shem”, one of the other two races of men, that being the Semites.
Of course, one cannot possibly take this wording literally, because then we would have one man dwelling in an untold number of tents of one of his brothers. All with absolutely no other context being provided as to why and for how long, excepting of course that Japheth shall be “enlarged” by God. As we have just mentioned that the Semites are the ‘race’ of men born from Shem, then just who are the sons of Japheth? It seems that most all commentators agree that Japheth represents the white European or Caucasian race, which may further be identified with the so-called Indo-European language group.
And while some of those commentators suggest that the progeny of Japheth have been “enlarged” by their geographical spread, this is meaningless as just so did the progeny of Shem and Ham spread out from Noah’s ‘tent’. As such, we suggest that Japheth has rather been “enlarged” in power status – via the ruses cleverly and deceptively related within the canonic narratives.
Considering that part of our thesis is that Judea and Israel were placed in an intensive ‘conversion’ process by the surrounding elites and part of the input to that conversion was obviously from an Indo-European source, it is hard to imagine a more incriminating item of evidence than this verse. An otherwise standalone verse that seems to garner little notice as to what it might mean for those who owned the tents. As such, we assert that this verse is another clear indication that a foreign elite has been insinuated into the leadership of the Judean and Israelite polity. In a future post we will discuss just how this was accomplished.
One of God’s Many Prior Names, and What It Means
And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God [bə·’êl] Almighty [šad·dāy or Shaddai], but by my name JEHOVAH [YHWH or Yahweh] was I not known to them. (Exodus 6:3 KJV) For the Hebrew words see here.
According to Exodus (6:3), Abraham did not even know that God’s name was Yahweh. Instead, he was known to Abraham as bə·’êl šad·dāy, which is usually translated to mean “as God almighty.” The word “El” is the name of the god, which is believed to be the Hebrew form of the name of the most ancient proto-Semitic God, and which also has cognates in ancient Ugaritic, Phoenician, and Akkadian.
But we are not convinced that the syllable “ba” means ‘as’. In the verse, bə·’êl appears to be a single word, which is very similar to ba’al, the Canaanite or Phoenician deity. As is well known, vowels were not used in the earliest Hebrew texts. So, in the original (now lost) ancient sources, the names bə·’êl and ba’al may have been one and the same.
Even today, the English refer to their earls and dukes as Lord this, or Lord that. Similarly, in Biblical days, these names of gods, such as El, Ba’al and even Yahweh, were used as titles applied to human leaders. Such generic names were also attached to the names of local and regional patron gods such as Ba’al Hadad. This has the effect of placing the leader’s status and ear close to his god, and even allowing him to speak (to the gullible) as a voice for the god.
And though Shaddai is translated as ‘Almighty’, evidence seems to indicate that this name was originally that of the regional god of the mountains. This is clever obfuscation, like Moses muddying the waters of the Nile by turning it to blood. The intent was to merge many prior gods (including Shaddai) into the new singular god.
The new Judaic god was also known by many other names, about seventy according to some sources. Some of these multiple appellations were originally the names of this rising ‘alien’ god’s former pseudo-siblings within the Ugaro-Canaanite pantheon, while others may have merely been various respective aspects of some particular god. The Lord (Yahweh) Sabaoth (tsba’owt), for instance, is usually watered down today to the ‘Lord of Hosts’ (for example, Jeremiah 43:10, Amos 5:27). However, ‘host’ was a term that meant either an armed group, or one of a multitude of patron angels or stars. Typically, such a patron angel’s human followers were also addressed by the same name; as was the case with King Abimelech’s soldiers, who were referred to as tsbaians (Genesis 21:22).
Inasmuch as the Canaanite religion was resolutely polytheistic, the gods were also referred to collectively as Elohim, the plural form of El. This name occurs frequently in the Hebrew bible, but modern translators and interpreters are reluctant to consider the implications. Thus, today we see confusing claims that the words for ‘God’ and ‘gods’ mean the same thing. That is, in translations, the plural word ‘elohim’ for the prior sibling ‘gods’ is frequently conflated with the singular god name, ‘El’, as it is claimed now that the plural form (as left intact in the Hebrew texts) was always used in context as if it were singular.
According to the widely supported Kenite Hypothesis: the new and improved god, whose name was given to Moses as Yahweh (or Romanized to Jehovah), was indeed an ‘alien’ imported storm god from the northwest Arabian Peninsula, Edom and Midian. This God most likely arrived by means of caravan traders, such as the fabulously wealthy, erstwhile ‘nomadic shepherd’ Abraham. This all ties in with male ‘Yah’ based names which were found on clay tablets around the region of Abraham’s Harran and Urfa, in the correct time frame typically attributed to the narrative.
With Edom and the Kenites, we also have narrative linkages back to Abraham via Esau, the older, red haired and ruddy skinned brother of Jacob who was ‘tricked’ into selling his birthright to the younger brother. Later the Jews force the Edomites to convert to Judaism, and irony of ironies, we find that an Edomite, Herod the Great becomes a ‘hated and feared’ king of the Jews. His descendants become friends and lovers of the Romans, the latter’s elite tribe known as the ‘Sab’ines. Curious indeed.
On the other hand, many scholars (such as, for example, Igor Garshin) have suggested that ‘Yahweh’ stems from the ancient Indo-European root *dyēus or *déiwos, the sky god whose cognates include the Latin Jove, Greek Zeus, and Sanskrit / Avestan Daeva. (This Daeva, after the Zoroastrian reforms, became interpreted by the Persians as a fallen (former) God who had become a demon, or (in English) the Devil — once again emphasizing the intimate theological relation between good and evil, as explained by Isaiah 45:7 – best translated in the KJV). It may be that the Edomites and Midianites somehow borrowed this deity from an Indo-European source, or the Israelites might have borrowed the name more directly from an Indo-European neighbor. Such matters are, of course, very difficult to trace with any certainty. In any case, we assert that the Abraham narrative more than hints that Abraham and his god were indeed such aliens.
The so-called Merneptah Stele in Thebes, dated to 1219 BCE, mentions ‘Israel’ as an apparently Canaanite people and not as a place. Presumably the ‘el’ is appended to ‘Isra’ as a reference to the Semitic chief god, El, and the stele text does not mention Yahweh in association with them. However, it does refer to a ‘Yhw’ (in the land of the Shasu) which appears to scholars to be a place name and not a god, at least as a direct reference. The nomadic Shasu pastoralists are importantly considered to have been from the region of Edom. These peoples are also depicted on the stele as being captured by the Egyptians, presumably to become slaves, thus evoking the later depictions of the Hebrews as becoming slaves in Egypt.
Also, and perhaps importantly, the stele states that Israel’s “seed is not”, implying that the Canaanite populace of Israel has been severely depleted, if not eliminated altogether. Perhaps propagandic over-exaggeration, but this might also explain why the followers of Yahweh end up coming to dominance in polytheistic Canaan proper, and which we assert was done under the sponsorship of the greater powers of the region. Here, imagine the English later placing Englishmen and Lowland Scots Protestants into Northern (once Catholic) Ireland and sardonically calling them Scots-Irish.
Perhaps here is the reason for the later merging of the so-called E and J texts by the redactors with the motive to merge the two differing foundational accounts, and their respective Israelite and Shasu peoples, evidenced by contradictory doublets and more? We say yes. While there is scholarly debate still going on about this, we strongly believe that this is evidence of the redactors using the above as one means of merging two pre-existing gods (the Semitic El and the Indo-European and/or Kenite Yahweh) into one, and thus merging their followers as well. This, in our opinion, is likely to have all happened as late as the time of the so-called Babylonian Exile, and not during the alleged times of Moses and Joshua.
Thus we have an upstart god, from a seemingly rather remote region, taking over a slightly less backwater Judea, interposed between surrounding and much more powerful neighbors. Sounds like a recipe for some propagandic stew. And all done so where it will be an easier process to ‘convert’ the natives, so to speak, via their fewer numbers relative to the larger and more powerful surrounding countries.
A Hittite’s Journey
Before continuing on, we want to explain that we take the agnostic position as to whether such characters like Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar were real people, or just meaningful honorific avatars for what they represent, albeit strongly leaning towards the latter position. The same goes for the rest of the biblical Patriarchs, who are likely avatars for pre-existing peoples or tribes in the case of the sons of Jacob. Thus the dialectic relationships of such as Isaac and Ishmael, and between the various sons of Jacob, may represent the respective underlying political dynamics of the various narratives’ subtext. This subtext then is what is really important for analyzing later historical episodes in Western history.
Having said that, we note that the Old Testament itself provides a significant amount of information that appears to fix Abraham at a particular point in time and space. To begin with we find Abram, as we are told was his original name, beginning his life’s journey leaving Ur for a temporary way station called Harran (Genesis 11:31). It is frequently assumed that this Ur is the once magnificent ancient Euphrates river city of the Sumerians and/or the later Chaldeans, as some translations even embellish this as “Ur of the Chaldees”. But Gordon states that it is much more likely that Abram’s Ur should properly be taken as today’s Urfa in southeastern Turkey. As was frequent then, and even in more modern times, a remote trading outpost of an important city might be named after the sponsoring city, its very name helping to serve somewhat like a modern day billboard does to identify a brand or loyalty.
Urfa, or Şanliurfa, which was also known in Medieval times as Edessa, is also claimed by Muslims as the city of origin of Abraham. (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Şanlıurfa.) During the First Crusade a major contingent headed by Baldwin of Boulogne, who later became king of Jerusalem, made an odd detour to Edessa. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/County_of_Edessa.) It was in Edessa that architecture already existed that became the model and inspiration for the Gothic cathedrals soon sponsored by the Templars in Europe (Adrian Gilbert, Magi, pp. 245-247.) We do not believe any of this is coincidence, but rather we note that Edessa is one of the most ancient and renowned archaeological sites on the planet, if you include nearby Göbekli Tepe, the oldest temple complex known, only a few kilometers to the north. And the Edessa/Urfa area has long been revered among elite occultists, as well as being the seat of several very early Christian Churches outside of Roman orthodox mainstream.
In the seemingly obscure and unrelatable comment of Ezekiel’s, we are left to ponder just who these Amorites are, as the Hittites are relatively better known today as an early expansionist state, perhaps a proto-empire. It seems that these ‘northwest’ Semitic peoples are the connecting historical thread, from which the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Ugarites, and the Canaanites, to name a few, descended.
Fitting with the overt shepherd motif of Abraham, the clay tablets reveal the Amorites as rude pastoral nomads. Yet on the other hand, the some Amorites apparently in amorous conjunction with the Hittites, rise to considerable prominence, most notably Hammurabi who gave us the first known legal code.
From Amos 2:9 they are taken by many to have literally been giants in physical stature, but we assert that this really means that they were metaphorically powerful giants in terms of their geopolitical influence for the day – consistent with our thesis.
They occupied areas southward into Canaan such as Jerusalem and Hebron, the latter of which became the Hittite trading colony.
According to conventional wisdom (that is, Wikipedia), the Hittites are believed to have arrived in Anatolia sometime before 2000 BC, but the Mittani conquered the region around Edessa circa 1500 BC. After the fall of the Mitanni about 1300 BC, it once again became Hittite territory. The Hittites and so-called Neo-Hittites continued to control the region until it fell to the Neo-Assyrian empire around the 9th century BC. Chronological dead reckoning based exclusively on Biblical data gives an estimate that Abraham entered Canaan from Harran in 1921 BC (Floyd N. Jones, Chronology of the Old Testament), which would be consistent with Hittite rule in the region.
Josephus (following Manetho) suggested that the Israelite sojourn in Egypt should be equated with the Hyksos period of foreign rule in lower Egypt. Following that suggestion, Ralph Ellis (in Jesus, Last of the Pharaohs) noted a sequence of (arguably) significant relationships between the names of the Hyksos pharaohs, and the names of the Hebrew patriarchs. For example, Abraham’s name may be compared to the pharaoh now known as Sheshi, whose ‘throne name’ may be read as Mayebra, or perhaps ayebra-M. Sheshi’s grandson was Jacobaam, which is reminiscent of Abraham’s grandson Jacob. If this is correct, Abraham (as Sheshi) would be dated to ~1630 BC according to conventional chronology. If (as commonly held) the Hyksos were Phoenician or Canaanite or Danaanite or other ‘Asiatic’, nevertheless it is possible that their leadership was at least partly Hittite, consistent with the text of Genesis and Ezekiel.
For our analysis (fortunately), the determination of the exact time and place, and the identification of the Biblical characters with archaeologically identifiable situations, is not so important as what we can discern about their political and social intent, simply by reading the text with a critical eye.
Priestly Wizards and Armed Shepherds
As we have noted above, Abraham was not some sheepish ragamuffin on the make as is commonly conceived, but rather he was in command of a large retinue of armed and trained servants. Such servants might also be known as tsabians, tending to the livestock moving along with his caravan, such as those controlled by Abraham’s counterpart, King Abimelech. As noted by regional archaeological finds, this was typical practice in the time attributed to Abraham, in order to protect the herds and caravan from both human marauders and animal predators.
And back in Urfa we are also just a few miles away from Harran, where Abraham is said to have first briefly moved to, along with his father and uncle, before moving onto Canaan. Let’s also pause in Harran to ponder another biblical conundrum, rather akin to pondering the logical absurdities of Adam and Eve’s sons’ curious begetting problem, namely that in having only one woman around to beget with. Here, we are told that Abraham is the ancestral father of the Hebrews and the Arabic Semites, yet he has 318 servants and ‘household’ retainers at his disposal. Typically, a caravan’s retinue is a family affair, or mostly a family affair. What to make of these servants and retainers then? What of their offspring, or are we supposed to believe they were eunuchs? If this is not weighing heavily on you, then …. why not?
We recall that Jesus Christ, the Flavian savior, stated that the ‘truth will set you free’. So in regards to the sab root, we also note that the ‘b’ and ‘v’ letters were cognate. Does it follow that the term ‘savior’ indicates that gaining wisdom or knowledge is the real route to true freedom, as salvation, rather than via slavish blind faith?
In a previous post we related that the secretive Roman Mithraic mystery cult was focused on a zodiacal (starry and planetary) basis and targeted towards a military demographic. (We also mentioned, by the way, the importance of Castor and Pollux as markers of the transition points of the Ages). And doesn’t this evoke such as the Templars, the Knights of Malta, the Jesuits, and even the Freemasons? And here this reminds us that the highly esoteric Shiite sect known as the Ismailis, Nazari or Seveners (Sabiyah), had an elite cadre of black ops wet workers famously known as the Assassins. This name was derived from hashashim, perhaps because of the hashish which they smoked during their famous and murderous training ritual, whose purpose was to help dupe the prospective operative that he would be well received in Heaven by 70 virgins.
The name ‘Nazari’ may be derived from the Nazarene sect of zealous Jews. And to our thesis, the Egyptian root, ‘NZR’ means ‘prince, and thus they all were followers of some (Egyptian?) prince, like their Hidden Mahdi perhaps. In any case, all of these groups have numerous parallels and linkages, with even the Templars having been accused by Christians and Muslims of having covert alliances with the Ismailis during the Crusades.
Perhaps a coincidence, or not: the much later pharaoh Necho II crossed the Euphrates in order to conquer this same Harran, as explained by Wikipedia:
Necho soon captured Kadesh on the Orontes and moved forward, joining forces with Ashur-uballit and together they crossed the Euphrates and laid siege to Harran. Although Necho became the first pharaoh to cross the Euphrates since Thutmose III, he failed to capture Harran, and retreated back to northern Syria. At this point, Ashur-uballit vanished from history, and the Assyrian Empire was conquered by the Babylonians.
Important to our larger thesis, Necho II also fought, seemingly defensively, against Judea’s King Josiah, who reportedly found the ‘missing’ texts from which the religious ‘reforms’ were launched upon the Canaanites cum Jews. Hilariously, the redactors report that Necho tells Josiah that God is with him:
…What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house wherewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroy thee not. Nevertheless Josiah would not turn his face from him, but disguised himself, that he might fight with him, and hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo. (2 Chronicles 35:21-22 KJV)
Needless to say, Josiah didn’t get the message from God (err … uhmm … Necho), and paid the ultimate price, and thus became the trope with which to hang the Judaic so-called ‘reforms’ upon, including the Abraham narrative’s spin. Of course, the faithful say that this was a sinful boast by Necho, but instead it is more likely telling us what really happened when reading between the divine lines, especially since this is the Jewish canon telling us so. In any case, this may be the ultimate example of “No good deed goes unpunished”.
Back with Abraham, the portable princely merchant: after briefly stopping in Canaan, his new base, he takes his caravan on to Egypt. This is perfectly logical for a caravan based operation – given Egypt’s wealth and need for international trade. Once he and his wife arrive, he garners an audience with the conveniently unnamed pharaoh du jour. This might be yet another clue to the alert reader that Abraham is no ordinary piker. Here, while apparently engaging pharaoh in witty repartee, pharaoh espies the effulgent charms of 65-year-old Sarah and decides that she is worthy of adding to his harem of wives and concubines (Genesis 12:10-20.) In the course of such domestic affairs, of course, pharaoh came to know Sarah in the biblical way. Abraham carries away a ton of booty as pimply quid pro quo for sampling Sarah’s booty, and then God inscrutably decides to punish ‘pharaoh’ for such an abomination, which was not his fault by the way. This punishing the innocent seems to be becoming a habit.
But this would not be a quandary if we could believe the stated justification, that Abraham was afraid that ‘pharaoh’ would kill him if he knew that Sarah was his wife. This begs a simple question as well, namely, that if Abraham was aware of such a possibility then why didn’t he simply leave Sarah back at his Canaanite base camp with a few of his ‘household’ retinue? Could it be that he didn’t trust his staff, or Sarah, or both? Or, are we having our legs pulled?
Here, we are also immediately reminded of the later story of King David who desires the beautiful Bathsheba, and thus has her husband, Uriah the Hittite, killed in battle (2 Samuel 11.) Well, with this being the case, maybe one might be inclined to simply say that Abraham’s fears appear to have been justified. But we’re thinking that now it’s even more important to ask: what it is with all these Hittites, and pharaohs, involved in these stories central to Judaism? Later there will even be a priest and a prophet both by this Hittite name, and these professions are involved in the later bloody attempts to convert the hapless Canaanites into Hebrews and Jews. Even earlier than David, Esau marries not one, but two half-Hittite women amongst his at least three wives (Genesis 26 and 36).
With this story, there is also a later sequel, where on a leg of another caravan journey, Abraham admits to the lust besotted king Abimelech of Gerar that old Sarah is indeed both his sister and his wife (Genesis 20:1-16). This was a typical pharaonic marriage practice (along with motherly Oedipastery) whose purpose was to keep the matrilinear bloodline intact. Perhaps the inclusion of this tidbit was included to allow for Judaic denial that this matrilineal practice (that one’s legal ethnic claim to being a Jew descends from the line of the mother – as well as from Shem, who was a … man) did not derive from Egypt, because Abraham was already doing so? Once again, Abraham rides away from this ‘exchange’ considerably wealthier.
Also, before we go further, let’s also remember that Abraham had many concubines, at least by the time of his second wife, Keturah, from whom ol’ Abraham begat even more children (Genesis 25:1-6). The sons of the concubines were kindly given unspecified gifts and sent away from Isaac, to the ‘east’ and thus away from the divine blessing. No wonder conservatives get upset about decaying Family Values.
Lot’s Location, Location, Location
Once back from Egypt, Abraham gets settled, nomadically speaking, into Canaan. Both he and Lot become even more prosperous, the latter from his association with Abraham, who has already received an unconditional blessing from God (Genesis 12:1-3) for his descendants and kin. But, this mutual prosperity is problematic for the uncle and nephew, as their respective herds and people can’t share the same lot (Genesis 13). Therefore, Abraham lets Lot decide what real estate he would prefer to occupy, and Lot thus chooses the otherwise prime land of the well watered Jordan plain, that just so happens to come with the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot thus pitches his tent “towards Sodom”. This is what happens when you don’t employ a good real estate agent, for we think you all know what is to eventually come to pass. Abraham, by the way, chooses to set up conveniently in Hebron, the Hittite trading colony.
One now has to wonder why, if Abraham and Lot could work out their differences so easily, with other heathen peoples’ land: why is it that God, or his angels, failed to warn Lot about the ‘covenants, codes, and restrictions’ that came with this doomed real estate? But obviously, that would interfere with the plot, so to speak.
For some odd reason, with Lot’s mutually agreed geographical separation from Abraham’s blessing, he ‘haplessly’ falls into the middle of an armed rebellion (Genesis 14). Four vassals, including the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah, have joined an uprising against the Elamite king, Chedorlaomer. The rebellion is defeated, hapless Lot is taken hostage by Chedorlaomer, and Abraham must now come to rescue him. After Abraham and his allies defeat Chedorlaomer, and rescue Lot, the king of Sodom tells Abraham that he can take all of Sodom’s goods (which had been taken by Chedorlaomer) and that he only wants his people back. Abraham refuses this gratitude with the excuse that he doesn’t want to later be falsely accused of enriching himself. This an odd claim, especially in light of his adventures with pharaoh and king Abimelech, where he has no such qualms about enriching himself where his wife/sister is ‘involved’.
In consequence, Abraham receives a curious blessing from the apparent priest/king of Salem (Jerusalem), Melchizedek. This act is recorded apparently to retrojectively legitimize Jerusalem’s divine status from the claimed time of Abraham, though why a supposed heathen would be granting such legitimacy is rather curious. Wasn’t God’s later ‘blessing’ enough? Apparently not. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that in Psalms (47:2, 57:2, 78:35, 56) God is addressed as Yahweh Elyon, where we understand that El is the heavenly god of the Canaanite / Ugaritic pantheon, thus the Abraham narrative is being grafted into the Canaanite divine root. This is a hint that the redactors’ audience still understood the existence and function of the prior priest/king Melchizedek.
As we mention later, Lot’s fortune is tied up intimately with his proximity to Abraham’s blessing. After being rescued, he goes to live within the city limits of Sodom, with his ‘interesting’ daughters.
Another Miss Conception?
One of the more curious aspects of the Abraham narrative cycle is the matter of ol’ Sarah being unable to conceive, and thus Abraham must resort to the business of genetic succession via conscripting the ‘unhired’ help. This is another otherwise accurately depicted cultural practice for the period based upon such as the clay tablets found at Nuzu. In this case, he mates with the bonded (slave) Egyptian maid, Hagar (Genesis 16). The elderly Abraham is successful here in siring Ishmael. Only after this is done, God decides to make good on one of his promises to Abraham and thus performs some supernatural wizardry for the 89 year old Sarah to conceive and give birth to Isaac (Genesis 21:1-3), whose son Jacob is later to be called ‘Israel’ (Genesis 32:28).
When told of this absurdly late pregnancy at age 89, both Abraham and Sarah laugh at the suggestion’s seeming impossibility. While Sarah’s sarcastic laughter is taken as a lack of faith by God, for some reason Abraham’s similar reaction passes without note. The motif is completed etymologically with Isaac’s very name, yitzchaq, which means laughter. We can only see a very narrow caste [sic] of characters seeing humor in this, based upon the widespread suffering that has followed.
Given all the odd clues, we are now left to wonder whether it really was Abraham that begot Isaac. Perhaps it was the great Egyptian Pharaoh, either in his own right or via his typological stand-in Abimelech (who claims to have righteously avoided mating with Sarah, in spite of having had every opportunity to do so.) We assert that this is exactly what is implied, and thus that this really cements and/or memorializes a long term geopolitical plan hatched by the Egyptians and the Hittites, who in actuality made amends after the Treaty of Kadesh, including a marriage. Of course, there are huge chronological problems here, and there is no reason to associate the Abraham story with this particular treaty. But some similar sequence of events may be what is hinted at by the claim that Sarah became pregnant at such a late age, and that both Sarah and Abraham laughed at the idea. At least, the hint is that one should not be taking the narrative at face value. As we have learned with such as Caesar’s Messiah, there is no need for absolute, literal chronological accuracy, in either a complete fiction or in ‘quasi-historical propaganda’. Perhaps this is a sign to the alert by the author / redactors that this is all an epic put on.
The proceedings are also marked by the curious change of Abram’s and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah, signifying their new foundational roles, or missionary positions if you will. This last then begs the question of what really were their implied prior roles, as if we need to be informed of this by a change in their names. Here we are hinting at the prequel to the ‘western’ Abraham story that we mentioned before and we hope to address later.
With this scandal, the redactors and their sponsors foreshadow a future of seemingly unending familial enmity between Jews and Ishmaelites, at least. However, they ironically left two glaringly incoherent and contradictory versions in the text, side by side (Genesis 16). The ‘J’ version leaves the Ishamaelites in an unredeemable state of sin, while ‘P’ elevates Hagar from slave/maid status to being a polygamous second wife, with Sarah encouraging the affair. And furthermore, according to ‘P’, Abraham ends up naming the child.
Wright suggests (pg. 365) that the Persian ‘P’ redactors, at the time, were interested in elevating the status of the Ishmaelites with respect to the Judeans, for the sake of harmony in the new Persian empire. We also note that they strangely included the contradictory ‘J’ text as well, perhaps because too many were familiar with it. Muhammad later exploited the contradictory text to further exalt the status of his Arab followers: as Ishmaelites, he argued, they were legitimate heirs to Abraham. That is, as long as they submitted to Allah, and sacrificed a beast at the Eid al-Adha.
Gordon & Rendsburg (p. 130) points out here that the identification of the Patriarchs with Israel is a rather blunt hint that we should take this aspect (if not the entire Abraham cycle) as metaphor, in this case, for the genesis of a future ‘nation’. Which (we suggest) really means the creation of the foundational centerpiece of Western civilization (via human literary artifice and a few pinches of brutality) by a brotherhood of crafty ‘wise men’, trained ‘prophets’ and priests, standing in metaphorically for ‘our Lord(s)’, pharaoh and the Hittite king.
The importance of Ugarit
In 1928 a Syrian peasant plowed into a Mycenaean Greek tomb, and thus the ancient city known from the Amarna Letters was discovered. In 1929, clay tablets were discovered there revealing a previously unknown script. The tablets are discussed in Professor Cyrus H. Gordon’s 1965 book, The Common Background of Greek and Hebrew Civilization, Chapter 5, titled “Ugarit: Link between Canaan and the Aegean”. In this long excerpt Gordon will introduce some bi-directional parallels, that were: “notable overlaps that could not be accidental.”
From pp. 128-131:
Ugarit is of unique importance for reconstructing the origins of Western Civilisation. The reason is reflected in the nature of the discovery that called attention to the site in 1928. A Mycenaean tomb in the vicinity of a Semitic port meant that the area was one in which the people of Canaan and the Aegean had commingled. The archaeological finds at Ugarit brought this out quite clearly, and comparative archaeologists soon used those finds for studies of Mycenaean civilisation embracing Crete, the Peleponnesus and other parts of the Greek sphere. The late Miss H. L. Lorimer, in her notable book, Homer and the Monuments(London, 1950), went further: she drew heavily on the archaeological finds at Ugarit for illuminating problems arising from the text of Homer. However, she did not make a single reference to any of the Ugaritic texts, even though it seems obvious in retrospect that if the art of Ugarit is related to the text of Homer, the epics found at Ugarit ought to be still more directly related to the epics of Homer. The long delay in recognizing this important fact was due to the circumstances that Semiticists, and not Classicists [Gordon was uncommonly both – ed.], deciphered and interpreted the Ugaritic tablets. Those Semiticists were admirably equipped for pointing out biblical parallels, but most of them were unconcerned about the Greek side of the problem.
The scribes of Ugarit required an educational system to train them from the bottom up. The simplest school texts found there are ABC tablets listing the letters of the local alphabet in their fixed, invariable order. The Phoenician alphabet of twenty-two letters is derived from the longer Ugaritic ABC of thirty letters. Contrary to the strict alphabetic principle, the last three letters of the Ugaritic ABC are appendages so that twenty-seven remain for our consideration. Five sounds in the repertoire of twenty-seven came to converge with other sounds because of soundshifts in standard Phoenician. The remarkable fact is that when those five sounds are eliminated, the remaining twenty-two letters appear at Ugarit in precisely the same order as they are still preserved in the Hebrew alphabet. The traditional order of the Greek alphabet reflects its Phoenician origin. The Latin ABC is only a step further removed. Accordingly, whole blocks of letters (such as j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t) appear in the same fixed order in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew alphabets. When an extra letter appears in Ugaritic (as in l, m, d, n) the order of the letters that survive into Hebrew is always the same (for the Ugaritic d is one of the five letters rendered unnecessary by the soundshifts mentioned above.
It stands to reason that the community that provides us with the most primary form of the ABC so far discovered should be of exceptional importance for the study of the cultures associated with the development and use of the ABC in the East Mediterranean. Aegean influences contributed to the Ugaritic ABC. Then the Ugaritic ABC gave rise to the Phoenician-Hebrew ABC, which in turn was borrowed by the Greeks. The centrality of Ugarit in the basic elements of East Mediterranean culture impresses itself on us again and again.
Ugarit was a city in the hands of a West Semitic community. By water, it joined Western Asia to the Mediterranean. It lay between the Hittite Empire and Canaan. It had enclaves of Assyrians, Hurrians, Hittites, Egyptians, Aegean folk and other foreigners. The polyglot nature of the community is mirrored in the vocabulary texts, whereby the scribal students learned to translate Ugaritic words into Sumerian, Akkadian and Hurrian. The two main scripts were the Akkadian syllabary and the Ugaritic alphabet: both written in cuneiform with a stylus on clay. The normal language for business, law, and diplomacy was Akkadian; the normal language for religion, literature, and local administration was Ugaritic. Hurrian was also used not infrequently for rituals and incantations. A few tablets in Cypro-Minoan attest the intimate connections with Cyprus, Egyptian and Hittite hieroglyphs round out the repertoire of scripts found at Ugarit.
The Ugaritic tablets come from the Amarna and Ramesside Ages (ca. 14th-12th centuries B.C.) in which the traditions of both the Hebrew Patriarchs and the Trojan War are rooted. More than any other excavated site, Ugarit was the meeting place Semite and Indo-European; a cosmopolitan city where a literature was produced reflecting the varied heritages of the component parts of the population. Ugaritic literature, therefore, anticipates basic aspects of the earliest Hebrew and Greek literatures, providing a historic backdrop for both, as we shall bring out later in this chapter.
The poetry of Ugarit is so close to Hebrew poetry that it has cleared up a mystery of long standing. It used to be thought that classical Hebrew was linguistically the creation of “primitive” Hebrew tribesmen, and that it was a sort of miracle for such tribesmen to produce a polished literature from the very start. It turns out that the Hebrews found in Canaan a highly polished literary medium, now attested by the Ugaritic myths and epics. The distinctive contribution of the Hebrews is the content of the Bible rather than the literary medium which they found waiting for them upon their advent in Canaan. In the Old testament, the Hebrews never call their language “Hebrew” or “Israelite,” but quite correctly “the language of Canaan.”
It should be noted that Gordon is writing long before the later archaeologists, such as Finkelstein have shown that the Hebrews and Israelites of the OT were indeed Canaanites. That had later been converted through various means, and that there is no evidence for the enslaved sojourn in Egypt and subsequent Exodus, – as recorded at least. Therefore, the import of the last paragraph above is that the redactors of the Hebrew ‘Bible’ were able to make use of pre-existing texts, themes and motifs that were already long existing and polished – just as was the case for the Greeks.
Gordon excerpt from pp. 132-135:
For twenty years after the first discovery of the Ugaritic tablets, a vast number of biblical parallels were pointed out by many scholars in many lands. In comparison, the Greek parallels went virtually unnoticed. Meanwhile, I had been noting literary resemblances between Ugaritic and Greek epic. In the briefest way, I mentioned the relevance of Ugarit for the study of Homer, in a publication of 1941. World War II interrupted my studies, but the break enabled me to return to them in 1946 with a fresh outlook instead of depending on “authoritative” attitudes. In gathering the Homeric parallels to Ugaritic literature, a striking fact impressed itself upon me: there was a notable overlap that could not be accidental. The two-way parallels unmistakably linked Homer and the Bible. The most important of these parallels had to do with the central themes of the Kret Epic. King Kret (named after the eponymous ancestor of the Cretans) had lost Hurrai, his only wife destined to bear him the children who would carry on his line. Accordingly, he mustered an army and marched to the land whee she was being held, and recovered her so that the divine promise of predestined progeny could be fulfilled.
This theme is completely lacking in the older literatures of the ancient East, including the Gilgamesh Epic, and the Middle Egyptian Romances. On the other hand, the Helen of Troy motif is central in Indo-European epic, both in Greece and India. I refer to the hero who must recover his destined wife from here abductors. The divine promise of progeny through the destined wife is central in early Hebrew literature from Abraham and Sarah on, though this too is alien to the older Near Eastern literatures, such as the Gilgamesh Epic or the Egyptian stories. Moreover, the biblical narratives themselves assumed a new aspect because of the Ugaritic parallels. The destined bride of Abraham, was twice wrested from him, once by the King of Egypt and once by the King of Philistine Gerar. (The latter king, or one of his subjects, also came close to wresting Rebecca from Isaac.) But the hero Abraham retrieved the destined mother of his royal line, both times. In other words, the Helen of Troy motif permeates the Patriarchal Narratives of Genesis, but no one noticed it because ingrained attitudes kept our Greek and Hebrew heritages in water-tight compartments. Ugarit, being new and not part of our traditional heritage, was able to bridge the gap between Homer and the Bible. We shall note more of these triple parallels (Ugaritic, Hebraic, and Greek) in this and the following chapters.
I pointed out a group of Ugaritic and other Near East parallels to Greek epic in the American Journal of Archaeology 56, 1952, pp. 93-94. …
As we have already observed, the whole subject of early Greco-Hebrew relations is touchy. While a galaxy of Classicists, Orientalists, and Biblical scholars have understood and elucidated various aspects of the problem, the academic rank and file tend to shun this kind of topic. It would be overoptimistic to expect at this time a universal understanding of the role of Ugarit in linking early Greek and early Hebrew literature. The subject is not for those who have developed a mental block before they examine the evidence. Nor have we any right to demand that every student of antiquity be perceptive in the field of comparative culture.
Note the mention of ‘predestined progeny’ by Gordon, which is the proper contextual usage of the NT term ‘Predestination of the Elect’ where many of today’s Christians all believe that they are all exalted members of the Elect, thus ‘predestined’ to be ‘saved’. This was a major aspect of contention between Protestants and Catholics, all a phony and deceptive argument, but in any case, it really meant that the human progeny of the elite were predestined to thrive over the not so predestined. Caveat Emptor.
Three paragraphs later he goes on regarding the Kret Epic of which was the first known example (at least at the time – maybe so even today?) of the Helen of Troy motif:
The scribes of Ugarit called the text “Kret” after the hero: a king, whose very name shows Cretan affinities. He had betrothed his rightful wife by paying the dowry, but she departed. The word “departed” is never used as a euphemism for “died.” Nevertheless, until I pointed out the Helen of Troy theme in this text, tb(c)t “departed” was taken to mean that Kret’s wife had died, and that the heroine of the Epic was, therefore, another woman. The element of romantic marriage whereby (no matter how polygamous the society, nor even the household of the hero himself) there is only one woman who counts in his life, is generally alien to the earlier literatures of the Near East. It comes in with the advent of the Indo-Europeans and appears at Ugarit and in the Bible (from Abraham to David) as well as in the Iliad.
One should be careful to distinguish between “romantic marriage” and the later courtly “romantic love” which did not enter the mainstream of western culture until the Chivalric Age via the troubadours. With the latter, elsewhere in the book Gordon discusses professional guilds of such singer-musicians and prophets who are ‘called’ to and fro to influence respective cultures. Sound familiar? Such guilds were in parallel with the building craft guilds, such the masons.
We conclude our overview of the Ugaritic texts with this quote from the Kret Epic regarding its Helen of Troy motif:
Sleep overcame him
And he lay down in a deep sleep
And he was disturbed, an in his dream El descended
In his vision the Father of Man
And he drew near while asking Kret:
‘Who is Kret that he should weep?
Or shed tears, the Good One, Lad of El?
Does he desire the kingdom of the Bull, his father,
Or sover[reignty like the Father of Ma]n?
‘Father of Man’, ‘Lad of El’? — Son of Man?
He Walks with Me and He Talks with Me, and …
The very first time that Yahweh interacted with humanity, he ended up evicting the first pair of uppity humans from Paradise for eating some forbidden fruit, albeit they were tempted to do so by a snake. After this, he genocidally wiped most everyone (his defective ‘mistakes’) out, that is, those not allowed onto Noah’s drunken party ark. So much for ‘Right to Life’ and Free Will. (Perhaps ‘Genocide’ is an epithet which only would apply if God were human.)
At a later theophany, God and two of his angels appear at Abraham’s tent during mid-day. This appearance of a god and two attendants is a common device found in Canaanite polytheism, suggesting that the uhmm … initial Canaanite (cum Jewish) audience would find this familiar. Here, Abraham makes a great show of hospitality to the creator of the cosmos and his angels — running around, tasking ol Sarah with baking leavened bread of the finest flour, selecting the proper animal for the feast, and then providing his guests cream and curds typical of a nomad then, and even today (Genesis 18:8, Isaiah 7:21-22).
This in contrast to Lot’s lesser ‘city’ hospitality (Genesis 19) to the same two angels where he miserly serves them unleavened bread, albeit that later that night he does offer up his virgin daughters to the Sodomites to abuse instead of granting the Sodomites’ request to biblically dally perversely with the angels. Not that the angels needed such generosity, as they soon proceed to make Lot’s offer moot by striking the Sodomites blind such that said Sodomites were now unable to even find Lot’s door, despite their best efforts to persist. Somewhere in all of this excitement, Lot’s virgin daughters get married, possibly officiated over by the angels, and here the angels tell Lot that he and his family must leave town. But, the new sons-in-law aren’t very impressed, even after witnessing the blinding of their fellow Sodomites, and thus decided to tragically stay behind.
Everyone knows the story about Lot’s wife not heeding the instruction to not turn around on the way out, and thus she is turned into a pillar of salt. But less commonly told is the story about how Lot goes to live in a cave with his now widowed and yet still virgin daughters, who immediately complain that “there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth.” Their virgin hormones must have been all aflutter from having been the target of such lusts, and then having suffered the immediate losses of their grooms. Accordingly, they decided to get Dad drunk and get themselves with child, not even waiting to mourn for Mom. Nothing is said about what the angels thought of all this, or that they might be bothered to have corrected the daughters’ mis-impressions about the availability of other men. But we can discern indirectly, at least, that God has punished them, and their descendants, by separation from Abraham once more.
However, the authors of the story seem to let us know their opinion, five times, by reversing the standard Semitic patriarchal useage of shakab (lie with). Usually a sober patriarchal man lies with (atop) his woman, but Lot’s daughters lied with him. And then similarly it is noted that the daughters name their resulting children and not Lot, contrary to custom. This episode seems to be a typological parallel with Noah’s strongly implied drunken dalliance with Ham. With both situations, the audience is warned of the need to be fruitful, consistent with good eugenic hygiene and divine order. Ham and Noah’s action had a multiplicative factor less than one, while Lot’s story is a reminder that impertinently hysterical women must not be allowed to assertively take advantage of otherwise good men, including their fathers. Hence those acts being sins. Since the coming conquests did need boots on the ground, family values needed to prevail, thus presaging Christ Augustus’s later Roman edicts.
The fateful offspring become the progenitors of Moab and Ammon. Once again, the sexual misdeeds and the renewed separation from Abraham’s blessing, do not bode well for the future. The tension between urban and rural plays out between Lot and Abraham, somewhat like it did before with Cain and Abel, and later between Joseph and his older brothers. Lot, not descended from Abraham, loses everything when he separates from Abraham, but regains it back whenever rescued by Abraham, who has the blessing. And, similar to the story with Noah and Ham, this narrative’s use of a sexual taboo is intended to reflect the enmity frequently seen in the biblical narratives (also witnessed ‘historically’ by the Mesha Stele inscription) between the new Hebrews and the Moabites and Ammonites. As mentioned earlier, this enmity will be reversed, at least for the Ammonites, once the final redactions are made. These redactions are typically labeled the ‘P’ texts, for ‘priestly’. But we think that maybe a better fitting appellation than ‘priestly’ is that of ‘Persian’, reflecting the latter’s desire for geopolitical harmonization within their nascent expanding empire, when the bulk of the redactions we’re discussing actually take place.
And when thou comest nigh over against the children of Ammon, distress them not, nor meddle with them: for I will not give thee of the land of the children of Ammon any possession; because I have given it unto the children of Lot for a possession. (Deuteronomy 2:19 KJV)
Whoops, what happened to all that incest business?
Furthermore, the lust of the Sodomites for the angels, is a curious typological reversal of the lust shown by the sons of God for the daughters of men found in Genesis 6:1-4. Until the time of the only begotten son of God, Jesus, these other sons of the sole God were the black sheep of the polytheistic family.