Many detractors of Christianity like to slander the Faith with the pejorative “desert religion.” This is quite a display of ignorance on part of our opponents who seem to be oblivious to the nature and history of the Fertile Crescent. Certainly the land of milk and honey (Exodus 3.8, Numbers 13.27, Deuteronomy 6.3) was no desert.
The climate of the Holy Land has changed significantly since Biblical times and large swaths of the region that were once lush and temperate have been subjected to desertification. In addition, invading armies all but entirely depleted the forests of Palestine.
The change in the climate of Palestine and the deforestation of the region has been detailed by Ellsworth Huntington in the Bulletin of the American Geographical Society (vol. 40, no. 9 pp. 513-522). Much of Palestine today has been successfully reforested with indigenous flora, a testament to the fertility of the land.
The Roman author Pliny the Elder remarked upon “Jericho, covered with groves of palm-trees, and watered by numerous springs” as well as “En-Gedi, second only to Jerusalem in the fertility of its soil and its groves of palm-trees” (Natural History 5.15).
The Judean historian Flavius Josephus said of the Galileans that “their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation, by its fruitfulness” (Wars 3.42).
Of Samaria and Judea he tells us that “They have abundance of trees, and are full of autumnal fruit, both that which grows wild, and that which is the effect of cultivation” and “those rivers which they have, all their waters are exceedingly sweet: by reason also of the excellent grass they have, their cattle yield more milk than do those in other places”(ibid. 3.49-50).
Concerning the country about Gennesareth he says that “its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees very well with those several sorts” (ibid. 3.516).
In an ancient Judean prayer called the Song of the Sage (4Q510-511 in the Dead Sea Scrolls) “desert dwellers” are found among a list of demonic entities. Apparently the people of Judea considered the desert an inhospitable or strange environment home to demons and did not regard their own people as desert dwellers.
Forests of the land of Canaan are mentioned throughout Scripture (Joshua 17.15, 1 Samuel 22.5, 2 Samuel 18.6, Ezekiel 34.25, Zechariah 11.2). The Israelites marvelled at the abundance of the land of Canaan when they first sent their scouts into the land (Numbers 13.23-27). Certainly the land of ancient Israel was no desert.
It can be demonstrated that the Ethiopian eunuch baptized by Philip in Acts chapter 8 was a Judaean serving in the Ethiopian court and not ethnically Ethiopian. This man was making a pilgrimage to the temple (vs. 27) where only Judaeans were permitted (Acts 21.28-29, 24.5-6, the Temple Warning inscription) and was in possession of a scroll containing the book of Isaiah (vs. 28). He was also converted before Cornelius and the agreement to convert the nations (Acts 10, 15.7). Judaeans are elsewhere referred to as Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Cretes and Arabians according to their residence and not their ethnicity (Acts 2.5-11) and this is certainly the case with the Ethiopian eunuch. The fact that the Ethiopian eunuch was a Judaean was also known to the early Christian writers Irenaeus and Pontius. Here in his work ‘Against Heresies’ (4.23.2) Irenaeus indicates that the Ethiopian eunuch was learned in the Scriptures:
“2. For this reason, also, Philip, when he had discovered the eunuch of the Ethiopians’ queen … immediately when [Philip] had baptized him, he departed from him. For nothing else [but baptism] was wanting to him who had been already instructed by the prophets: he was not ignorant of God the Father, nor of the rules as to the [proper] manner of life, but was merely ignorant of the advent of the Son of God, which, when he had become acquainted with, in a short space of time, he went on his way rejoicing, to be the herald in Ethiopia of Christ’s advent. Therefore Philip had no great labour to go through with regard to this man, because he was already prepared in the fear of God by the prophets. For this reason, too, did the apostles, collecting the sheep which had perished of the house of Israel, and discoursing to them from the Scriptures, prove that this crucified Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God; and they persuaded a great multitude, who, however, [already] possessed the fear of God. And there were, in one day, baptized three, and four, and five thousand men.”
One might, at a stretch, claim that the Ethiopian eunuch wasn’t necessarily a Judean just because he was familiar with Scripture, but the context provided by the very next passage in Irenaeus’ book (4.24.1) precludes that interpretation:
“1. Wherefore also Paul, since he was the apostle of the Gentiles, says, I laboured more than they all. For the instruction of the former, [the Judeans] was an easy task, because they could allege proofs from the Scriptures, and because they, who were in the habit of hearing Moses and the prophets, did also readily receive the First-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the life of God, — Him who, by the spreading forth of hands, did destroy Amalek, and vivify man from the wound of the serpent, by means of faith which was [exercised] towards Him.”
Another early Christian source (‘The Life of St. Cyprian’ chapter 3) is very explicit that the Ethiopian eunuch was a Judean:
“3. The apostle’s epistle says that novices should be passed over, lest by the stupor of heathenism that yet clings to their unconfirmed minds, their untaught inexperience should in any respect sin against God. He first, and I think he alone, furnished an illustration that greater progress is made by faith than by time. For although in the Acts of the Apostles the eunuch is described as at once baptized by Philip, because he believed with his whole heart, this is not a fair parallel. For he was a Judean, and as he came from the temple of the Lord he was reading the prophet Isaiah, and he hoped in Christ, although as yet he did not believe that He had come; while the other, coming from the ignorant heathens, began with a faith as mature as that with which few perhaps have finished their course.”
Many claim that Simeon “that was called Niger” (Acts 13.1) was so called on account of being a Negroe or otherwise non-Adamic. It is hardly unique for White people to be called black as we see in the use of the term Black Irish or the name Hugh the Black, a Frankish Duke of Burgundy in the 10th century. My own wife’s English maiden name is Black, and I assure you, she is no Negroe. Note that Niger (Strong’s G3526) in this context is a name of Latin origin (Strong’s and Thayer’s s.v.) and it was common for Romans to take the names of colours in reference to their hair colour (e.g. Rufus/red or Flavus/yellow, Oxford Latin Dictionary s.v.). The Roman Emperor Pescennius Niger was so called in reference to his swarthy neck which stood in contrast to the rest of his body (Historian Augusta, Life of Pescennius Niger 6.6).
Nero’s wife Poppaea Sabina was “a religious woman” who procured favour for the Jews (Josephus, Antiquities 20.159). She was buried according to Jewish custom as she wished (Tacitus, Annals 16.6, Histories 1.22) indicating that she was either a Jew, a Jewish proselyte or a “God-fearer” (Gentile supporter of Hellenistic Judaism).
Nero himself showed favour to the Jews expanding the borders of the kingdom of Herod Agrippa II (Josephus, Antiquities 20.159, Wars 2.252) and bestowing Armenia Minor upon Aristobulus, son of the Jewish king of Chalcis (Antiquities 20.158).
Nero is esteemed in the Talmud as an honoured convert to Judaism and the ancestor of the famous Rabbi Meir Baal Haness (Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 59 no. 4, The Emperor Nero in Talmudic Legend, University of Pennsylvania Press p. 321 ff.). It is no coincidence that Nero persecuted Christianity so harshly.
Julian the Apostate was the first pagan Emperor after Christianity was legalized in the Roman Empire. He promised the Jews that he would rebuild the temple destroyed by Christ’s people (Daniel 9.26, Romans 16.20). Apparently he also had no qualms about worshiping alongside Jews.
“Desiring to extend yet further favors to you, I have exhorted my brother, the venerable Patriarch Julos, to put a stop to the collection of the so-called Apostolé [a tax] among you; and henceforward no one will be able to oppress your people by the collection of such imposts, so that everywhere throughout my kingdom you may be free from care … when I return safely from the Persian war, I may restore the Holy City of Jerusalem, and rebuild it at my own expense, even as you have for so many years desired it to be restored; and therein will I unite with you in giving praise to the Almighty.” -The Works of the Emperor Julian, Loeb Classical Library, volume 3, letter 51
‘Parable of the Wheat and the Tares’ -Abraham Bloemaert
It is an established historical fact that the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus I conquered the Edomites in the late 2nd century BC, forcibly converted them to the religion of Judah and integrated the Edomites into the nation of Judah (Josephus, Antiquities 13.257-258, 13.395-397, Strabo, Geography 16.2.34 et al.). The conquest and mass conversion of any people, let alone a cursed and mongrelized people like Edom, was an unprecedented event in Israel’s history which had catastrophic results.
The Jews of today are themselves descended from the Edomites and are thoroughly mixed with them, and therefore they find it necessary to justify and even praise the absorption of the Edomites into the nation of Judah. In the Masoretic Text of Amos 9 we read “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name” (vv. 11-12, King James Version).
The Edomite Jews of course interpret that this refers to the conversion of their ancestors during the reign of Hyrcanus I. There are many points of apparent conflict with other Scriptures in this interpretation (Ezekiel 35, Isaiah 34, Obadiah, Malachi 1.2-4, Romans 9 et al.), but there is a simple resolution. Most modern Old Testament translations are based upon the Masoretic Text of the Jews, but the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament provides a different reading which is certainly more consistent with Scripture.
“11In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and will rebuild the ruins of it, and will set up the parts thereof that have been broken down, and will build it up as in the ancient days: 12that the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the Lord who does all these things.” -Amos 9 (Brenton’s Septuagint)
Where the Masoretic Text has אדום/Edom (Strong’s H123) the Septuagint has ανθρώπων/men (Strong’s G444). This reading gives a very different picture of the prophecy which is much more consistent with the rest of Scripture. It is apparent here that the Septuagint translators read אדם/Adam (H120) where the Masoretes read אדום/Edom. Aside from the vowel markings of the Masoretes, the ו/vav is the only thing to distinguish the Hebrew words אדם and אדום and the addition of a single simple line (ו) to the text transforms the message. Ostensibly this corruption of the text must predate Jerome’s Latin Vulgate translation (late 4th century AD) which has Idumeae/Edom in this verse.
It is evident from the reading of Amos 9.7 in the elder Septuagint, which preceded the Vulgate by over 5 centuries and which was favoured by the early Church, that this prophecy refers to the remnant of Adamic man called back to God through Israel under the New Covenant. It is certainly not a prophecy of the integration of Edom into the nation of Judah. The unchanging God never changed his mind about Edom who has been condemned of God since ancient times, but God has always had a plan for the redemption of the authentic seed of Adam.
Obadiah 1.18 states that “the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau stubble: and they shall be kindled in them, and shall devour them: and there shall be no remains of the house of Esau”. Would the God of Jacob be a God unto “the remnant of Edom” only to later have Israel ensure that “there shall be no remains of the house of Esau”? Why would God annihilate his own authentic followers?
The Kenite, Canaanite and Edomite Jews dread the righteous judgement of our God upon Edom and all the aliens, and this has influenced their textual traditions of the Old Testament in another place; Malachi 4.1. The Masoretic Text reads here “behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble” (King James Version). The Septuagint however, gives a different reading.
“1For, behold, a day comes burning as an oven, and it shall consume them; and all the aliens [αλλογενείς, Strong’s G241], and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that is coming shall set them on fire, saith the Lord Almighty, and there shall not be left of them root or branch. 2But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise, and healing shall be in his wings: and ye shall go forth, and bound as young calves let loose from bonds. 3And ye shall trample the wicked; for they shall be ashes underneath your feet in the day which I appoint, saith the Lord Almighty.” -Malachi 4 (Brenton’s Septuagint)
Here in Malachi 4.1 the LXX translators apparently read a resh where the Masoretes read (or corrupted to) a dalet instead. Thus the Masoretes have zedim (plural of H2086) where the LXX translators read zarim (plural of H2114) and translated αλλογενείς (G241) meaning “of another race” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “sprung from another race” (Thayer s.v.). Compare zedim/זדים and zarim/זרים.
The same scribal error (or corruption) has been noted elsewhere by other scholars. In a note for Psalm 54.3 the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges states that “This verse is repeated almost verbatim in Psalm 86:14 (a mosaic constructed of fragments of other Psalms), with the change, accidental or intentional, of strangers into proud. The consonants of the Heb. words zârîm, strangers, and zêḏîm, proud, are almost identical, and some Heb. MSS. and the Targ. read zêḏîm here; but the rest of the versions support the Massoretic Text”. Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers corroborates this under the entry for Psalm 54.3 stating “This verse, with some variations, occurs again (Psalm 86:14); some MSS. even reading here “proud,” instead of “strangers.””
There are several other examples of dalet/resh confusion evident in a comparison of the LXX and MT. For example at 1 Samuel 22.9 Doeg is called a Syrian in the LXX where the translators apparently read ארמ/Arammiy (H761) instead of אדמ/Edomiy (H130). Another example is Genesis 10.4 where in the MT we have דדנים/Dodanim (H1721) while the LXX translators read רדנים/Rodanim (H7290c) and translated as Rhodians. Other examples can be found.
That the Septuagint reading of Malachi 4.1 is most accurate is evident in the New Testament in Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares when Christ uttered “things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 13.35). In this parable recorded in Matthew 13 Jesus tells us that the weeds sown in the field of wheat were planted by an enemy (vv. 25, 28) who is the devil and whose children are the weeds (vv. 38, 39). Does the devil go about planting evil spirits in vessels created by God? Nay, Satan has no such power over the spirits and bodies that God has created. The children sown by the devil are the same aliens refered to in Malachi 4.1 whose fate is the lake of fire.
At 1 Thessalonians 2.15 the Majority Text, (and therefore the King James Version) describes the wicked Judeans as those “Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own [ιδιους, Strong’s G2398] prophets”. This reading might be taken to mean that the murderers of Christ could call the prophets of God “their own”, which is certainly not the case. Jesus said that “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15.24) and that “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10.27), yet He had also said to his Judean opponents that “ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep” (John 10.26). Why then would the text say that those who plotted against Jesus’ life were lost sheep of the house of Israel to whom were sent the prophets?
All the oldest manuscripts (e.g. the codices Sinaiticus, Alexandrinus, Vaticanus, Claromontanus, Freerianus and 0208) have “the” (τοὺς, G3588) rather than “their own”. That “the prophets” is the correct reading has been noted by other scholars. Metzger’s Textual Commentary states that “The Textus Receptus reads ιδιους προφήτας, following a variety of secondary witnesses … Whether these somehow derived the reading from Marcion, who inserted the word in order to limit the reference to Jewish prophets, or whether they were influenced by ἰδίων in the preceding verse, is immaterial to the present purpose. The shorter reading is decisively supported by the best representatives of several text types …”.
A footnote for this verse in the New English Translation says of the longer reading that “This is obviously a secondary reading. Marcion’s influence my stand behind part of the tradition, but the Byzantine text probably added the adjective in light of its mention in v. 14 and as a clarification or interpretation of which prophets were in view”. It is not only the anti-Christ Jews who have failed to faithfully transmit the text but Christian scribes have also erred in this regard. We must take great care to faithfully examine the Scriptures to obtain the most accurate readings that we might rightly divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2.15).
“8 How do you say: We are wise, and the law of the Lord is with us? Indeed the lying pen of the scribes hath wrought falsehood.” -Jeremiah 8
‘The Meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek’ -Peter Paul Rubens
Many Identity Christians, realizing the continuity between ancient Israel and Western Christian civilization, have seen fit to take up many of the customs of the Law of Moses. While this choice may be inspired by healthy feelings of patriotism and a desire to conform to God’s will, it is certainly misguided. This is a controversial view to hold within Christian Identity, and many would consider mine an anti-nomian position. Hopefully by the end of this presentation it will be clear that this position is not anti-nomian, and that the opposition are in fact continuing in an old heresy which the Apostles themselves contended against: Judaizing.
It is now pertinent to discuss what exactly Judaizing is. The word Judaize (Ioudaizo, Strong’s G2450) only appears once in our New Testament in reference to this heresy (Galatians 2.14). There St. Paul is addressing an error within the early Church and how he corrected it. In Galatians 2 St. Paul recounts how some of the Judeans would not publicly associate with the uncircumcised Greeks, Romans and Syrians in the Church. St. Paul then chastises them for this:
“14But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Judean, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Judeans, why compellest thou the Gentiles to Judaize [ioudaizein]?”
There is one other use of the term Judaize in the canonical books of the Bible; Esther 8.17. While there are disputes both ancient and modern as to the canonicity and historicity of the book of Esther, I do not feel qualified to speak on the matter, but here the Greek text of Esther 8.17 is useful to shed some light on how Judaizing was understood among Judean Grecephones in antiquity. Here in Esther 8 the Persian king declares that the Judeans in his satrapies were to be permitted to exercise their own laws and defend themselves from their oppressors. In fear of the power of the Judeans many are said to have converted to Judaism:
“17In every city and province wherever the ordinance was published: wherever the proclamation took place, the Judeans had joy and gladness, feasting and mirth: and many of the Gentiles were circumcised, and were Judaized [ioudaizon], for fear of the Judeans.”
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines Ioudaizo as “to become a Judaean, i.e. “Judaize””. Judaizers are mentioned once in the work of Flavius Josephus (Wars of the Judeans 2.18.2) where he tells us “when the Syrians thought they had ruined the Judeans, they had the Judaizers in suspicion also … as if they were certainly foreigners”.
The 2nd century Christian writer Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Magnesians, wrote that “It is absurd to profess Christ Jesus, and to Judaize. For Christianity did not embrace Judaism, but Judaism Christianity” (10.3). Christianity was not to be a new sect of ancient Judaism subject to the Judean traditions and clinging to the Old Covenant; rather it was a New Covenant with both the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jeremiah 31.31-32, Hebrews 8.8-9).
From these four ancient sources it can be clearly seen that Judaizing is the adoption of Judean customs. When I call someone a Judaizer or their doctrine Judaizing, I am not slandering them as a lover or follower of the synagogue of Satan which presents itself as Judaism today; rather I am stating simply that they are following in this same ancient error which was recognized by St. Paul. The charge is no more or no less than that.
Now many will undoubtedly be thinking that the Law of Moses was not unique to the Kingdom of Judah or the province of Judea; it was given to the 12 tribes of Israel. It is a part of our heritage. This is true, but just because the Mosaic Law is part of the history of our 12 tribes does not necessarily mean that it is something which binds us to this day. The Law of Moses which was given to our people at Sinai is the body of conditions to the covenant made at Sinai. The Sinaitic Covenant was dependent upon Israel’s obedience to the Law of Moses (Exodus 19.5-6, Leviticus 26.14 ff., Deuteronomy 28.15 ff.) and when we broke the Old Covenant, so did God. Here are a few passages that show that the house of Israel was divorced from God and the Old Covenant:
“10And I took my rod that was called Beauty, and I cut it asunder to make void my covenant, which I had made with all people. 11And it was made void in that day: and so the poor of the flock that keep for me, understood that it is the word of the Lord. 12And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary. 14And I cut off my second rod that was called a Cord, that I might break the brotherhood between Juda and Israel.“ -Zechariah 11
“1Say to your brother, My people, and to your sister, Pitied. 2Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband: and I will remove her fornication out of my presence, and her adultery from between her breasts: 3that I may strip her naked, and make her again as she was at the day of her birth: and I will make her desolate, and make her as a dry land, and will kill her with thirst.” -Hosea 2
“1Thus saith the Lord, Of what kind is your mother’s bill of divorcement, by which I put her away? or to which debtor have I sold you? Behold, ye are sold for your sins, and for your iniquities have I put your mother away.” -Isaiah 50
“6And the Lord said to me in the days of Josias the king, Hast thou seen what things the house of Israel has done to me? they have gone on every high mountain, and under every shady tree, and have committed fornication there. 7And I said after she had committed all these acts of fornication, Turn again to me. Yet she returned not. And faithless Juda saw her faithlessness. 8And I saw that (for all the sins of which she was convicted, wherein the house of Israel committed adultery, and I put her away, and gave into her hands a bill of divorcement,) yet faithless Juda feared not, but went and herself also committed fornication.” -Jeremiah 3
“31Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Juda: 32not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; for they abode not in my covenant, and I disregarded them, saith the Lord.” -Jeremiah 31
Some of the Judaizers within Christian Identity will claim that the Mosaic Law is a primordial code always known to Adamic man and that it was only later codified and written down concisely at Sinai, but this is in direct conflict with Scripture. St. Paul states in Galatians 3 that “the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul” (vs. 17). How could the Law of Moses go back to Adam if the Law of Moses came 430 years after the establishment of the covenant with his descendant Abraham?
Did God cast Adam from the garden for not wearing garments conforming to the Law of Moses? No; Adam had been naked and he was punished for breaking the only law he knew: “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil—of it ye shall not eat”. Were the antediluvian Adamites punished for eating swine? No; they were punished for the same sin as their father Adam. There was no Mosaic Law known to Adamic man before the Sinaitic Covenant.
We know from the records in the Pentateuch that the Mosaic Law and the Sinaitic Covenant indeed came long after the Abrahamic Covenant, and it is clear in the New Testament that the New Covenant is founded on the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant; not the later Sinaitic Covenant which was broken long ago. Here in Romans 4 St. Paul makes this amply clear:
“6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. 9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. 10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. 11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: 12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. 13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: 15 Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. 16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, 17 (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. 18 Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.”
So we see that because Abraham believed, God promised to justify his offspring. If you are of the seed of promise through Isaac and Jacob, you are party to those promises. Clearly the New Covenant and the hope we have in Christ is founded on the promises of the Abrahamic Covenant and not the broken Sinaitic Covenant. Paul affirms the Abrahamic foundation of the New Covenant again in Hebrews 6 where he relates the Abrahamic promise to Christ’s sacrifice and priestly status in the order of Melchizedek:
“13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, 14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee. 15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise. 16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. 17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: 18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”
Here in Luke 1 St. Zacharias, the father of St. John the Baptist, prophecies of his son’s purpose to prepare the way for the Christ who would fulfill God’s oath to Abraham. Like Paul, Zacharias saw the Christ as fulfilling the promises made to Abraham long before the Law of Moses was given:
“67 And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 68 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 69 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 70 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 71 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 73 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 74 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 76 And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 77 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
If the Apostles and saints believed that the Abrahamic Covenant was the foundation of our Christian faith, who is any man today to doubt this? The house of Israel broke the Old Covenant and was divorced by God with the promise of a future covenant to be made “not according to the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day when I took hold of their hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt”. What purpose then could it serve to adopt the Mosaic Law, the conditions of the Sinaitic Covenant? More to the point; is this what Christ and the Apostles taught us to do?
In Acts 15 we see that there was a “sect of the Pharisees” (vs. 5) who had established themselves within the Church and were teaching that the nations had to be circumcised and adopt the Law of Moses. The Apostles took council about this matter and eventually St. James proposed what they ought to decree:
“19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.”
The whole council of Jerusalem agreed and this decree was sent out to the Christians of Antioch (vv. 22-29). If the Apostles thought the Roman world should exclude pork from its diet or that the Greeks should sew fringes to their togas or thought that any other parts of the Law of Moses needed to be upheld by Christians, this would be the time to decree it, but they did not. Rather they provided us with a short and simple set of laws which are similar to laws known in the patriarchal age in our Old Testament (e.g. Genesis 9.3-5, 26.34-35, Hebrews 12.16 et al.). How then can one rightfully reprimand a Christian brother who does not keep the Law of Moses when the council of the Apostles wrote against those Pharisees who compelled Christians to take up the Law of Moses?
There are some who would agree that Christians are not bound to the Law of Moses, but who hold a special contempt for those who eat pork, shellfish or duck etc. and such people often claim that these foods are not in fact considered food in a Biblical context. I would dispute this position. While the Mosaic Law prohibits eating these things, and the Judeans might have considered eating them to be strange, the Greco-Roman world consumed vast amounts of pork, ducks, geese, shellfish and even snails and dormice (John E. Stambaugh, The Ancient Roman City, JHU Press p. 148, Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat, A History of Food, John Wiley & Sons p. 93). Surely that would have been considered by both the Judaizers and by the Apostles when they wrote their letter to the Christians in Antioch.
Before the Law of Moses was given no dietary laws against eating pork or shellfish etc. appear in our Scriptures. Adam and the family of Noah were permitted to eat “every herb bearing seed upon the earth, and all trees that have in themselves seed of their own kind” (Genesis 1.29) and the seed of Noah was also permitted to eat “every thing that moveth and liveth” except of course flesh full of its blood (Genesis 9.3-4). I do not dispute that the dietary rules in the Mosaic Law provide guidance that can benefit our health, but I must strongly oppose insulting or alienating people who do not adhere to them.
Those who would exclude meats prohibited under the Law of Moses from the category of food argue that since certain animals are defined as unclean before the Law of Moses was recieved (Genesis 7.2, 8.20) that those animals were and are always forbidden. This however depends on reading a law into the text where no law is recorded or exemplified. The distinction between clean and unclean in the context of the story of Noah can only be connected with sacrifice (Genesis 8.20) and not with diet.
Many racial universalists will claim that the prohibition against miscegenation and the exclusion of mongrels from the Church is a relic of the Law of Moses which finds no precedent outside the Sinaitic Covenant. This argument is found to be lacking as there are instances where these laws are attested in both the patriarchal and apostolic ages.
In the time of Noah mongrels were excluded from the election. Noah was chosen to preserve the Adamic race because he was “perfect in his race [G1074]”. Genea (Strong’s G1074) means “race, stock, family” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “men of the same stock, a family” (Thayer s.v.). His wife and sons were certainly of the same stock (Tobit 4.12) or the purity of Noah’s race would’ve been for nought. There were no bastards among the Church aboard the ark.
In Genesis 38 we see that Zerah and Pharez contended for the status of firstborn (vv. 27-30) despite the fact that Judah already had a son, Shelah (vv. 1-5). The only possible reason that Shelah was not acceptable as the firstborn of Judah is that he was a mongrel because his mother was “a daughter of a certain Canaanite” (vs. 2). The disinheritance of bastards is a part of God’s law which is transcendent of the Law of Moses.
Zechariah 14 contains a prophecy of the Kingdom of God declaring that the whole Adamic world will know God (vv. 9, 17) and all the enemies of Israel/Christendom will be destroyed (vv. 12-15). In the final verse we read “in that day there shall be no more the Chananite in the house of the Lord Almighty” (vs. 21). There is no place for Canaanite mongrels in the Kingdom of God.
Malachi 4.1 states that “a day comes burning as an oven, and it shall consume them; and all the aliens [Strong’s G241] and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that is coming shall set them on fire, saith the Lord Almighty, and there shall not be left of them root or branch”. Allogenes (Strong’s G241) means “of another race” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “sprung from another race” (Thayer s.v.).
Jesus said that “every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Matthew 15.13). In Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the tares He tells us that the weeds sown in the field of wheat were planted by an enemy (vv. 25, 28) who is the devil and whose children are the weeds (vv. 38, 39). Other parables of Christ reflect a similar theme: the destruction of the mongrel races.
There are several instances in the New Testament where acts of miscegenation are refered to as acts of fornication, and obviously fornication is condemned throughout the New Testament. The mingling of races is a sin under the New Covenant just as it was under the Old Covenant.
St. Paul, as the Apostle to the nations, was faced with the task of trying to protect the congregations which he had established among the nations from the doctrines of the Judaizers. On account of this his letters contain a great deal of information about the heresy of Judaizing. Many Judaizers today reject St. Paul, labeling him a false Apostle. They (correctly) see the Scriptures which Paul authored as an affront to their doctrine and think that, without Paul interfering, they might be able to persuade you to be Judaized. I will not here make any effort to defend Paul as a better scholar has already refuted Paul’s opponents at great length and has left no stone unturned.
Instead I will present some excerpts from St. Paul’s letters which bear witness against the Judaizers. The Galatians were afflicted harshly by the Judaizers and so Paul’s epistle to them largely consists of polemics against these heretics. Here in Galatians 5 Paul admonishes the Galatians to not submit to circumcision or to take up the Law of Moses:
“1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. 2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. 3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. 6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
The “yoke of bondage” here is a reference to the Law of Moses (Acts 15.5-10) with which the Judaizers sought to burden the nations. This is amply clear when Paul goes on to explain that he who gets himself circumcised is indebted to do the whole law. In chapter 6 Paul goes on to declare the vanity of the Judaizers:
“12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13 For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”
In 1 Corinthians 7 Paul writes “Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised”. This is very simple and direct instruction, yet some will perform extraordinary mental gymnastics to deny the obvious meaning. St. Paul never taught that those converting to Christianity from among the nations ought to become circumcised.
Some will undoubtedly argue that the covenant of circumcision was a requirement of the Abrahamic Covenant, however the Abrahamic Covenant was confirmed in chapter 15 of Genesis (vs. 18) and only later in chapter 17 is the condition of circumcision added. (vv. 10-14). Recall now Paul’s words cited earlier: “for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. … Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised” (Romans 4.9-11). The immutable promise of God to Abraham is not dependent upon circumcision.
Those who would have Christians subjected to circumcision will point to Genesis 17.13 where circumcision is refered to as an “everlasting [H5769, G166] covenant”, but the same words (owlam in Hebrew and aionios in Greek) are elsewhere used of Levitical rites (Exodus 27.21, Leviticus 6.22, Numbers 10.8 et al.), some even pertaining to sacrifice. Would the Judaizers have us believe that Christendom is required to have a Levitical priesthood offering sacrifices? Will Christ’s sacrifice and the New Covenant never satisfy them? Owlam may be read as “long time”, “time out of mind”, “lasting” or “long time” (Strong’s s.v.) and aionios is defined as “age-long” (Dodson s.v.) or “lasting for an age” (Liddell and Scott s.v.). That age has surely passed along with a valid Levitical priesthood and the need for circumcision of the flesh.
It ought to be noted here that the ancient Israelite practice of circumcision differed greatly from the later Jewish custom widely practiced in the Jewish, Islamic and American worlds today. I will not get into any grisly details here, but suffice it to say that Jewish circumcision is a horrific mockery of the Biblical rite of circumcision. Perhaps Paul is referring to these disturbed adaptations of the rite of circumcision in Philippians 3.2 where he warns of the Judaizers saying “beware the mutilation”.
In Exodus 17 we read “the child of eight days old shall be circumcised by you … the uncircumcised male, who shall not be circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin on the eighth day, that soul shall be utterly destroyed from its family, for he has broken my covenant” (vv. 10-14). How then can a grown man, or even a child of 9 days benefit from circumcision? It is impossible. Thank God that He has restored us to Israel under the New Covenant and our circumcision is of the heart (Colossians 2.11, Philippians 3.3). Here in Romans 3 Paul speaks of man’s inability to conform to the Law of Moses and how God overcame that.
“19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”
We cannot please God by striving to keep the Law of Moses and we inevitably fail in that endeavour. James 2.10 tells us “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all”. Psalm 130.3 rhetorically asks “If thou, O Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?” The obvious answer is that no man shall stand. No man has kept or ever can keep the whole Law of Moses, and those who try do so in vain. Not only does our sinful human nature prevent us from perfectly fulfilling the Mosaic Law, but there are many facets of the Law of Moses that we simply cannot understand fully today.
There are some laws in the Pentateuch for which there is no certain interpretation; for instance Leviticus 19.27 which reads “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard” (KJV) or “Ye shall not make a round cutting of the hair of your head, nor disfigure your beard” (Brenton’s LXX). There are varied interpretations as to what this passage means and men today can only offer conjecture. Another point of contention is Numbers 15.38 which concerns the fringes which were to be sewn onto garments. How are they to be constructed precisely? Are they to simply be fringes or are tassels to be added to the fringes? If you affix tassles, what length is appropriate? No man knows with certainty and a man can only guess and make a vain display of himself for his trouble.
The people of the Kingdom of Israel had all departed from the Holy Land at least 2,600 years ago, and even before that most of us were pagans already. We lost our oral traditions regarding the proper understanding of all the minutiae of the Law of Moses during our apostasy and captivity. The Kingdom of Judah fared little better leaving behind little of worth for this purpose. What data about the Mosaic Law can be gleaned from sources such as Josephus, Philo and the Dead Sea Scrolls sheds little light and may well reflect errant traditions. No man today can claim complete understanding of the Law of Moses.
In Jeremiah 31.33 in a prophecy of the New Covenant God tells us “I will surely put my laws into their mind, and write them on their hearts”. This is cited twice in Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews (8.10, 10.16). To those who believe and teach that we must take up the Law of Moses, I ask you this: what is written on your heart? Is it how to sew the right type of fringes onto your garments? Is it how to properly circumcise a child? Is it judicial prescriptions? Is it to avoid wearing garments woven of two materials? Or is it written in your heart that thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness, honour thy father and thy mother and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself?
“1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” -Philippians 3
“21 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.
27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband.
28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.
29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.
30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.” -Galatians 4
“11 If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?
12 For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law.
13 For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.
14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood.
15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.
17 For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.
18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
20 And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest:
21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.” -Hebrews 7
There is a certain verse from the Pentateuch which I have been asked about on several occasions, and so I have decided to write a commentary of my own which I hope will clear up any confusion about this topic. Here I will depart from the views of two scholars who I respect very much and cite quite often: Clifton Emahiser and William Finck.
If you have not read their work then you certainly should start reading it. My purpose here is not to attack their teachings concerning this topic; rather it is merely to offer an alternative perspective which I hope my readers will consider. If you have not heard what Emahiser and Finck have to say about this passage then you may want to have a look at the following works.
Emahiser and Finck make the case that Deuteronomy 23.7 contains a scribal error confusing Arammiy (H761) and Edomiy (H130) due to the similarity of the dalet and resh in Hebrew. I however believe that our interpretations of Scripture ought to rely on the assumption of the inerrancy of the extant texts of our Scriptures and I do not believe any interpretation of Scripture ought to rely on a revision of the text.
The Hebrew, Greek and Latin text of Deuteronomy 23.7 all contain the specific word concerned (Ιδουμαίον and Idumeum in the Greek and Latin respectively). Furthermore the Edomites are refered to as brethren of the Israelites on several other occasions (Numbers 20.14, Deuteronomy 2.4, Amos 1.11, Obadiah 1.10) and so I will offer my interpretation based on the premise that Deuteronomy 23.7 rightly contains an instance of Edomiy. In Deuteronomy 23.7 we read that an Edomite is not to be abhorred:
“Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite, because he is thy brother; thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian, because thou wast a stranger in his land.” -Deuteronomy 23.7
This passage confuses many since the prophets are replete with condemnations of Edom. Ostensibly God himself came to abhor these Edomites (Isaiah 34, Malachi 1.2-4, Romans 9.13, Obadiah, Ezekiel 35, 25.13-14, Joel 3.19 et al.). One Scripture even tells us it was a blessed thing for the Israelites to slay the children of the Edomites in the time of David (Psalm 137.9). If God himself despises the Edomites then why was Israel commanded not to abhor an Edomite in the time of Moses?
In the second part of Deuteronomy 23.7 we are also told “thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian” but in later times they are portrayed as an alien people which Israel is chastised for mingling with (Jeremiah 2.16-22, Ezekiel 16.23-26, Ezra 9.1 et al.). In Ezekiel 30.5 the Egyptians are listed among “all the mixed multitude” alongside Ethiopia and Libya. Isaiah 43.3 has Egypt along with Seba and Ethiopia as nations God has forfeit to preserve Israel, these nations having served as a buffer between the non-Adamic sub-Saharan tribes to their South and the Israelites to the North.
It can be demonstrated that Edom suffered a similar fate, as Esau’s offspring all came to be mixed with the cursed nations. Even the first generation of Edomites consisted largely of Canaanite halfbreeds and Esau’s miscegenation was a source of great grief to his parents:
“34And Esau was forty years old; and he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beoch the Chettite, and Basemath, daughter of Helon the Chettite. 35And they were provoking to Isaac and Rebecca.” -Genesis 26
Rebecca was so distraught by Esau’s choice of wives that she saw no worth in her life if Jacob were to marry racial aliens like his brother:
“46And Rebecca said to Isaac, I am weary of my life, because of the daughters of the sons of Chet; if Jacob shall take a wife of the daughters of this land, wherefore should I live?” -Genesis 27
At the behest of his father Jacob went to the house of his uncle Laban (meaning “White”, Strong’s and Gesenius’ s.v.) to find his wives Rachel and Leah who would bear children of the promise.
“1And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, saying: Take not a wife of the stock of Chanaan: 2But go, and take a journey to Mesopotamia of Syria, to the house of Bathuel, thy mother’s father, and take thee a wife thence of the daughters of Laban, thy uncle. 3And God almighty bless thee, and make thee to increase and multiply thee: that thou mayst be a multitude of people. 4And give the blessings of Abraham to thee, and to thy seed after thee: that thou mayst possess the land of thy sojournment, which he promised to thy grandfather. 5And when Isaac had sent him away, he took his journey and went to Mesopotamia of Syria, to Laban, the son of Bathuel, the Syrian, brother to Rebecca, his mother.” -Genesis 28
Many claim that intermarriage between diverse peoples was only forbidden in the Bible on purely religious grounds. The example of Jacob’s imperative to marry a woman of his mother’s tribe refutes this. Laban’s family was actually pagan (Genesis 31.19-35) as their Hebrew forebears were before the time of Abraham (Joshua 24.2, 15). If Jacob’s parent’s only concern was for their son’s religious fidelity they would not have sent Jacob to take a pagan wife. If race was of no concern then Jacob may just as well have married Canaanites like his brother. Ostensibly their concern was for their racial posterity.
Esau had forfeit his birthright and scorned his heritage, but he hoped that he might find redemption in his parent’s eyes by taking a wife of the Ishmaelites (Genesis 28.6-9), a people descended from Abraham and his Egyptian concubine Hagar. In Genesis 28.9 Esau’s Ishmaelite wife is named as Mahalath, but in Genesis 36.3 she is named as Bashemath, the same name as Esau’s Hethite wife mentioned at Genesis 26.34.
Perhaps both women were originally named Bashemath and Esau changed his Ishmaelite wife’s name to Mahalath so as not to have two wives of the same name. Perhaps Esau simply had two Ishmaelite wives, one of whom happened to share a name with his Hethite wife. In any case, it is apparent that Esau had fully Adamic offspring by one of his wives.
I would posit that the Edomite lineage descended from Esau and Mahalath must be the source of the Edomite who is the object of Deuteronomy 23.7. By law a mongrel is excluded from the congregation of the Lord (Deuteronomy 23.2) and so an Edomite line from Esau by a Canaanite woman is precluded from being the object of Deuteronomy 23.7.
Now one might wonder why the Law would not be more specific in regards to which Edomite tribes were acceptable for intermarriage. I would point out however, that Egypt is mentioned in the very same verse, and Egypt was by this time a nation which was largely racially compromised, much like Edom. The Israelites must have been expected to scrutinize the lineage of any Edomite or Egyptian drawn to them to become a proselyte and potentially to exclude them according to Deuteronomy 23.2.
It is apparent elsewhere in the Pentateuch that the Israelites were expected to be able to distinguish alien races from the the other Adamic peoples. In Exodus chapter 12 we read “This is the law of the passover: no stranger [allogenes, Strong’s G241 meaning literally “of another race” i.e. a non-Adamite] shall eat of it.” (vs. 43) A little further on we read “if any proselyte shall come to you to keep the passover to the Lord, thou shalt circumcise every male of him … he shall be even as the original inhabitant of the land” (vs. 48).
These laws offer no further instruction as to how one can distinguish between the licit proselyte and the illicit alien. Ostensibly the Israelites were expected to scrutinize the racial purity of potential converts judging them by their works, countenance and/or genealogical records and this would naturally apply to Edomite and Egyptian proselytes who are mentioned at Deuteronomy 23.7.
Interestingly Yahweh was worshiped in ancient Edom and He is called “Yahweh of Teman” (Teman is an ancient Edomite city) in an inscription at Kuntillet Ajrud (Anthony Bonanno, Archaeology and fertility cult in the ancient Mediterranean, University of Malta p. 238 ff.).
In Genesis 36.3-13 we can trace the sons of Esau by Mahalath/Bashemath through Reuel (“friend of God”, Strong’s and Gesenius’ s.v. Reuwel) down to Zerah, mentioned as an early Edomite duke in vs. 17. Interestingly the line of Esau by his Ishmaelite wife through Zerah is mentioned again in one other place, only found in the ancient Septuagint. There his name is rendered into Greek as Ζαρέ, the same rendering used in Genesis 36:
“17And Job died, an old man and full of days: and it is written that he will rise again with those whom the Lord raises up. This man is described in the Syriac book as living in the land of Ausis [Uz], on the borders of Idumea and Arabia: and his name before was Jobab; and having taken an Arabian wife, he begot a son whose name was Ennon. And he himself was the son of his father Zare, one of the sons of Esau, and of his mother Bosorrha, so that he was the fifth from Abraam. …” -Job 42 (LXX)
Ostensibly these prestigious Adamic Edomite lineages came to be mingled with the corrupted offspring of their father or other cursed tribes, just as the Egyptians mentioned alongside them in Deuteronomy 23.7 also had. God’s promises to tribes depend upon the legitimacy of their seed, and the corrupted seed of Esau surely forsook any favour they once found with God and Israel.
A mural of an Egyptian woman, Deir el-Medina. 20th dynasty.
There is widespread confusion in the world today concerning the racial character of the ancient Egyptians. Largely this is due to the rise of Negrocentric revisionism in recent decades as African Americans desperately seek a cultural identity worthy of pride. There is much to be said of this topic, and interested readers might care to view the following articles.
This album hosts a collection of ancient Egyptian art which depicts the ancient Egyptians. Clearly the Egypt of Mizraim was of Caucasoid stock, generally of the Mediterranean variety. This is affirmed by genetic evidence which shows that the ancient Egyptians were most closely related to ancient Near Eastern populations.
It has been proven by archaeogenetics that the ancient Egyptians had less sub-Saharan admixture than even Egypt’s modern Caucasoid inhabitants which still have fairly little. Most of this admixture was introduced after the Islamic era though some undoubtedly occured in more ancient times.
It can be demonstrated that the Biblical Caphtorim and Philistines (descendants of Mizraim, the Egyptian patriarch) are one and the same people as the Minoans of Crete. Demonstrably these Philistines were Caucasoid Mediterranean stock very similar to their southerly Egyptian cousins.
The Syrians were descendants of Aram, the brother of Arphaxad, the forebear of the Hebrews. The ancient Syrians left behind many funerary reliefs depicting themselves. These clearly display the Europoid features of the offspring of Aram, cousins of the ancient Israelites. The tomb of Rekhmire in Thebes (Theban Tomb TT100) contains murals depicting red haired Syrian tribute bearers. In the Anatolian city of Edessa some funerary mosaics have been discovered which depict pale and sometimes grey-eyed Aramaeans.
Ossipumphnoferu. He was the general of Thutmose III who was probably the Exodus pharaoh.
Three passages in the Pentateuch indicate that the Israelites were physically similar to the Egyptian nobility that ruled when the Israelites dwelt there and could not be easily distinguished from them (Genesis 42.8, 50.1-11, Exodus 2.19). Considering the racially tumultuous history of Egypt, if we want to make use of these clues, it is necessary that we establish when the Israelites lived in Egypt and what race ruled Egypt at that time.
Both the records of Flavius Josephus and an honest study of the chronology of the period attest to us that an 18th Dynasty pharaoh named Thutmose (called Tethmosis by Josephus, Against Apion 1.91-94, most probably Thutmose III) was the pharaoh of the Exodus. Another four pharaohs bearing this name were all related. Hatshepsut was the fifth of the Thutmosid Dynasty, and it is probably she who became Moses’ adoptive Egyptian mother, perhaps giving him a form of her family name. The sixth and eighth pharaohs of the dynasty were Thutmose III and IV. Amenhotep III then reigned until Akhenaten took the throne.
Josephus regarded the Hyksos of Manetheo’s Aegyptica as being the same people as the Israelites (Against Apion 1.91-92, 103-104). While this is only partially correct, Manetheo evidently confusing or conflating the Hebrews and related Asiatic Shemites as the Hyksos in his account, this does help to establish the correct dating of the Egyptian captivity and Exodus to the early-mid 2nd millennium BC. This is the period during which the Hyksos are known to have dwelt in Egypt.
It was during the reign of Akhenaten that the Amarna Letters were written. As I have demonstrated in this essay, the Amarna letters document the Hebrew conquest of Canaan. While his Canaanite subjects begged Akhenaten to send soldiers to halt the Hebrew’s conquest, Akhenaten would not hear their pleas, probably because the Exodus was fresh in his people’s memory.
Here I have gathered some images of 18th dynasty mummies such as Yuya, Tjuyu, Thutmose IV and Ossipumphnoferu as well as the 19th dynasty pharaoh Ramesses II and they are unquestionably Caucasoid with Nordid features and fair blonde, red or sandy brown hair. If Israelites such as Moses and Joseph were blending in among their contemporary Egyptian nobility then they must have had similar phenotypes.
This stock had ostensibly been present to some degree since pre-dynastic times. The Gebelein pre-dynastic mummies all had Nordoid or Nordo-Mediterranean cranial and facial features. All had sandy brown hair, with the exception of their leader, dubbed “Ginger”, who had strawberry blonde hair. Given their very early dating, these were probably among the first Noahite settlers in Egypt.
Of course these Nordoid Egyptians are probably not the original stock of Mizraim. The Hamitic stock of Egypt was certainly generally of the Mediterranean variety which is clear from the art of ancient Egypt, the mummified remains of the Egyptians and the racial types which dominate there today, altered somewhat as they are.
These Nordoid Egyptians probably grew in prevalence with the influx of Asiatic Shemites in the Middle Bronze Age, most probably connected to the migrations of Asiatic chariot warriors such as the Hyksos from the Levant. I have expounded upon this thesis in the following essay near the end of the entry for Arphaxad and sons.
Though the North African Hamitic stock of Egypt would eventually fully reassert itself, casting the Asiatic Shemitic stock of Egypt into obscurity, this fairer stock would persist in small numbers even up until the 7th century BC and the illegal occupation of Egypt by the mongrel Nubians. Even today, occasional throwbacks to Nordoid traits such as hyperdepigmentation, narrow upright noses and tall stature can be observed among some of the inhabitants of Egypt.
At the site of Tell el-Daba (the later Hyksos capital of Avaris) in the land of Goshen in Egypt, there has been a remarkable discovery: the tomb of an Asiatic nobleman containing the remains of a statue, dating to the end of the 12th dynasty. The paint remaining on the statue shows that the owner was a red-haired man who wore a coat of many colours. He held a throw-stick on his shoulder which marks him as a man of authority. His red hair was cut in the “mushroom” style commonly worn by Northern Asiatics like the Syrians (e.g. many of the Syrian tribute bearers painted in TT100, the tomb of Rekhmire). On top of the remains of a modest “mittlesaalhaus” in Syrian style, we find a lavish house of Egyptian construction with 12 pillars in the portico. On the property outside the house are 12 tombs, including the lavish tomb containing the statue.
The connections to the tribes of Israel and Joseph are striking: the location in the later Hyksos capital in Goshen (Genesis 45.10, 47.1-27, 50.8, Exodus 8.22 et al.), the Syrian characteristics of the statue and the original “mittlesaalhaus” construction on the property (Genesis 24.1-10, 25.20, 28.1-5, Deuteronomy 26.5 et al.), the red hair (Genesis 25.25, 1 Samuel 16.12, 17.42, Strong’s and Gesenius s.v. admoniy, Liddell-Scott s.v. purrakes), the coat of many colours (Genesis 37.3-32), the 12 tombs and pillars (Genesis 49.28, Exodus 39.14 et al.), and the fact that the remains of the nobleman were exhumed from the tomb (Genesis 50.25, Exodus 13.19 et al.). If this is not the house and tomb of Joseph son of Israel, then at the very least this gives us an interesting glimpse into the place and time in which the Israelites dwelt in Egypt.
The name Ham (Strong’s H2525) means “hot” or “warm” (Gesenius’ and Strongs’ s.v.) and fittingly his descendants dwelt generally in the Southern reaches of the Adamic world. Many scholars have sought to find an identity for certain of the non-Adamic races among the Hamites on account of the fact that the Hamites had territories established in Northern and North Eastern Africa. This is only a desperate attempt to include all the diverse hominids on the planet in the family of Noah which is not borne out by any honest attempt to identify the Hamites in the historical and archaeological records.
As we will see in this presentation, the Hamites were racially akin to the other descendants of Adam, and their nations, tribes and cities were certainly established by Caucasoid stock. In the time of Noah mongrels were excluded from the election. Noah was chosen to preserve the Adamic race because he was “perfect in his race [G1074]”. Genea (Strong’s G1074) means “race, stock, family” (Liddell and Scott s.v.) or “men of the same stock, a family” (Thayer s.v.). His wife and sons were certainly of the same stock (Tobit 4.12) or the purity of Noah’s race would’ve been for nought. It cannot reasonably be imagined that his son Ham was racially dissimilar to Japheth and Shem.
While many of the Hamitic tribes became mingled with aboriginal races at an early time, it can be demonstrated that the Hamitic nations all originated as Caucasoid stock. Even today their descendants all remain taxonomically Caucasoid and can be found among the peoples of North Africa, the Horn of Africa, Arabia, Syria, the Levant, Anatolia and Greece.
Cush, Seba, Havilah, Sabtah, Raamah, Sabtechah, Sheba and Dedan.
That Cush was the progenitor of the Ethiopians there can be little doubt. Throughout the Septuagint Kuwsh is translated as Αιθιοπία/Aethiopia. Josephus tells us “time has not at all hurt the name of Cush; for the Ethiopians, over whom he reigned, are even at this day, both by themselves and by all men in Asia, called Cushites” (Antiquities 1.6.2).
The river of Pishon in Genesis 2.11 is said to encompass the land of Havilah which can be located in Arabia (Genesis 25.18, 1 Samuel 15.7). The river Hiddekel of Genesis 2.14 “flows forth over against the Assyrians” and is certainly the Tigris while the river Perath is the Euphrates (see Strong’s and Gesenius’ entries for H2313 and H6578). Certainly the geography of Genesis 2 indicates that the Cush of Genesis 2.13 is in Asia and probably it is that domain in Mesopotamia once ruled by Nimrod the Cushite (Genesis 10.8-12).
Herodotus calls Susa in Persia the “city of Memnon”, an Ethiopian king (The Histories 5.53-54) and Memnon was regarded as its founder (Strabo, Geography 15.3.2). Relating a tradition concerning Memnon, Diodorus Siculus has an Ethiopia in Asia sending military aid to the Trojans, including Assyrians and “men of Susiana” (Library of History 2.22.1-5, 4.75.4). Herodotus mentions the “Ethiopians of Asia” (Histories 3.94, 7.70) and likewise Josephus has Ethiopians in Asia (Antiquities 1.6.2). Evidently there were two places known as Cush/Ethiopia in both Scripture and ancient Greek literature.
While Herodotus describes black and wooly-haired “Ethiopians” (Histories 3.101, 7.70) Diodorus Siculus provides a more complete picture of the racial state of ancient Ethiopia. After describing the civilised Ethiopians Diodorus Siculus goes on to describe in contrast the primitive hominids dwelling in Ethiopia and nearby regions. It is apparent here that “Ethiopian” is used here as a loose demonym for a people utterly dissimilar to the civilised Ethiopians Diodorus had described previously.
“1 But there are also a great many other tribes of the Ethiopians, some of them dwelling in the land lying on both banks of the Nile and on the islands in the river, others inhabiting the neighbouring country of Arabia, and still others residing in the interior of Libya. 2 The majority of them, and especially those who dwell along the river, are black in colour and have flat noses and woolly hair. As for their spirit they are entirely savage and display the nature of a wild beast, not so much, however, in their temper as in their ways of living; for they are squalid all over their bodies, they keep their nails very long like the wild beasts, and are as far removed as possible from human kindness to one another; 3 and speaking as they do with a shrill voice and cultivating none of the practices of civilized life as these are found among the rest of mankind, they present a striking contrast when considered in the light of our own customs.” -Library of History 3.8.1-3
When describing the civilized Ethiopians Diodorus makes no mention of their physical characteristics, but when he mentions the savages the first things he notes are their black skin, flat noses and wooly hair. I think that if Diodorus had observed these physical traits among the civilized Ethiopians, he would not have made specific note of them among the savage Ethiopians. It is very doubtful there were any purely Adamic Ethiopians in Diodorus’ time, but certainly there was a remnant of their civilization and blood.
In section 1.23 in the second book of Pomponious Mela’s Chorographia he makes mention of Leucaethiopians or White Ethiopians inhabiting a certain region along the Libyan Sea.
“On those shores washed by the Libyan Sea, however, are found the Libyan Aegyptians, the White Aethiopians, and, a populous and numerous nation, the Gaetuli. Then a region, uninhabitable in its entire length, covers a broad and vacant expanse.”
In section 5.8 of Pliny the Elder’s Natural History we read again of White Ethiopians.
“If we pass through the interior of Africa in a southerly direction, beyond the Gaetuli, after having traversed the intervening deserts, we shall find, first of all the Liby-Egyptians, and then the country where the Leucaethiopians dwell.”
In Isaiah 20 we read “thus shall the king of the Assyrians lead the captivity of Egypt and the Ethiopians, young men and old, naked and barefoot, having the shame of Egypt exposed.” (vs. 4) This prophecy was surely fulfilled when Esarhaddon of Assyria took the Egyptians and Ethiopians captive (Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, The University of Chicago Press vol. 2 sec. 557 ff.). These deportations must be the source of these White Ethiopians as well as the Libyan-Egyptians, also seemingly uprooted from their original homelands, presumably in Egypt. Undoubtedly these deportations contributed greatly to the decline of genuine Cushite blood in Ethiopia.
The 16th century Berber explorer Leo Africanus mentioned the existence of various “white” or “olive” groups and individuals inhabiting the Horn of Africa, comprising much of the population of the Adal Sultanate and Mogadishu Sultanate (The History and Description of Africa, Hakluyt Society pp. 52-53). He further asserts that pockets of other “white” or “olive” skinned residents could also be found on two small islands north of Socotra and in parts of the Zanguebar coast (ibid. p. 88).
Many look at the average Ethiopian, or select tribes of Ethiopia and see that they have dark brown or black skin and often have nappy hair. Some tribes in Ethiopia are in fact negroes (hereafter Congoids, the appropriate racial classification) but these are not autocthonous nor are they the majority. These Congoid populations in the Horn of Africa descend from more recent Nilotic and Bantu migrations alien to ancient Ethiopia. The fact is, that the racial archetype of Ethiopia (Aethiopid) is a subtype of the Caucasoid race and not the Congoid race. Aethiopids are a Mediterranid stabilized with a Congoid element with other Caucasoid influences in certain Aethiopic subtypes.
Aethiopids have large braincases and high vaulted skulls whereas Congoids have smaller braincases and low vaulted skulls. Aethiopids have no protrusion of the jaws as do Congoids and they also lack the large teeth of the Congoid race. The Aethiopid race lacks the rectangular shape of the palate and eye orbit typical of Congoids and the large and round nasal cavity of the Congoid is also absent in the Aethiopid. Unlike the Congoid, the Aethiopid has a prominent nasal spine and a high-rooted nose.
Aethiopids typically have lighter skin than Congoids and sometimes wavy or curly hair. Aethiopids do not exhibit the wide and flat nose of the Congoid race and rather have long and narrow noses. They have limbs of typical Caucasoid proportions which lack the extra length of the Congoid’s limbs. They are by no means Congoid either in their morphology or craniometry. In layman’s terms they appear as if the skin of a Negroe or Mulattoe was draped over the flesh and bone of a Caucasian. The American anthropologist Carleton S. Coon explains the racial state of the Horn of Africa today very well where he states:
“On the basis of these correlations, it is evident that the partly negroid appearance of Ethiopians and of Somalis is due to a mixture between whites and negroes, and that the Ethiopian cannot be considered the representative of an undifferentiated stage in the development of both whites and blacks, as some anthropologists would have us believe. On the whole, the white strain is much more numerous and much more important metrically, while in pigmentation and in hair form the negroid influence has made itself clearly seen.” -Carleton S. Coon, The Races of Europe, Macmillan 9.8
I have collected several photos of Aethiopid examples which my readers may care to peruse. These are contrasted with the most comparable Congoid subtypes I could find. It should be plain to the eye that the Aethiopids have phenotypes which are clearly distinct from those of the Congoid race.
Another matter of anthropological interest to Ethiopia is the fact that Ethiopia is ethno-linguistically Afro-Asiatic. The various Congoid peoples generally speak Niger-Congo or Nilo-Saharan languages which are distinct from the Afro-Asiatic languages spoken by the autocthones of Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa.
Today the autocthonous Afro-Asiatic speakers of the East Africa retain a large portion of identifiable Eurasian genetic markers. The percentage of identifiable Eurasian markers peaks in Semitic and Cushitic speaking populations but also extends into adjacent populations. This is to say nothing of the regionally African genetic markers which cannot be clearly identified with any specific populations and which may be of Caucasoid origin.
To the South of Egypt was the kingdom of Kush in Nubia. It is clear that this kingdom indeed was named for Cush, son of Ham as it bears his name and borders on other Cushite and Hamite territories. Throughout the art of the Egyptians we see clearly that the people of Kush were in fact black. Their black or dark brown skin and protruding jaws clearly marks them as physically Congoid. There is however more to this population than meets the eye. Analysis of the Nubian genome shows that they indeed carried Caucasian DNA and paternal lineages.
The single most frequent paternal haplogroup among the Nubians is the West Asian Caucasoid haplogroup J (44%) followed by the North African haplogroup E1b1b (23%). This indicates substantial Caucasoid gene flow from the Cushite males into a Nilotic female gene pool. In the case of the Nubians it is evident that the Nilotic Congoid phenotype and Nilo-Saharan language prevailed in contrast to the Caucasoid Afro-Asiatic speaking Ethiopians and Somalis etc.
There is some confusion about the meaning of the Hebrew word Kuwsh. Brown-Driver-Briggs offers the definition “black” for Kuwsh, yet this definition appears in no earlier sources and appears to be based on the modern (often derogatory) Jewish usage of Kushi rather than any authentic ancient Hebrew definition. Kuwsh and related words are never used to refer to colours in the Scriptures and no internal Biblical evidence supports the definition of Kuwsh as “black”.
We shall now look to some older Hebrew lexicons to scrutinize this modern Jewish definition for Kuwsh. Gesenius never gives an etymology for Kuwsh and only says it refered to a land “inhabited by black men”. Strong’s likewise offers no etymology for Kuwsh but says it is “Probably of foreign origin” and like Gesenius he offers no meaning aside from a proper name. The only sound conclusion is that Kuwsh has no definite meaning aside from a personal name, ethnonym or toponym.
Strong’s explains the word Aethiop (Strong’s G128) as deriving from “aitho (to scorch) and ops (the face, from optanomai)” and referring to “an Aethiopian”. Liddell and Scott define it as “burnt face” and Dodson defines it as “an Ethiopian, Abyssinian”. It has been imagined that this term originated in reference to the dark face of the Congoid which might be perceived as appearing to be burnt, however this may just as easily describe the scorched face of a Caucasian under the Northeast African sun. Had the Greeks desired to name Ethiopia for a naturally black face they ought to have used any of the Greek words commonly used to refer to dark skin such as melas, melos, kelainos or phaios.
In Biblical times Ethiopia is one of the first Adamic nations to be lost to miscegenation.
“For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.” -Isaiah 43.3
It seems God placed these Hamites between Israel and the non-Adamic sub-Saharan Congoid tribes who had crossed the desert and begun to move into Northern Africa and the Horn of Africa. Ethiopia and Egypt exist as nations (in the deracinated modern sense), but certainly the posterity of the original Hamitic inhabitants has been lost.
Some point to Jeremiah 13.23 as evidence that the Ethiopians originated as a black skinned race.
“23If the Ethiopian shall change his skin, or the leopardess her spots, then shall ye be able to do good, having learnt evil.” -Jeremiah 13
However Jeremiah wrote later than Isaiah who spoke in hindsight of God forfeiting Ethiopia and other Hamitic nations in Africa. Thus we should fully expect many of the Ethiopians of the time of Jeremiah to have been darkened and dissimilar to their original racial state. Nonetheless we need not assume that the darkness of the Ethiopians compared to the Israelites was the product of miscegenation as the Hamites were generally of Mediterranean stock. This can be clearly seen in the art of the Egyptians and the “Minoans” who, as we will see later on, are one and the same as the Biblical Philistines. To the pale Israelites such stock would surely have seemed dark in comparison to themselves and other Semites.
I believe that in light of this evidence the Scriptural narrative and Christian Identity position concerning the Ethiopia of Africa is wholly validated. In Ethiopia we see a land founded by White Hamites grown racially corrupt. After the Nilotic and Bantu expansions out of Central and Western Africa in the 2nd millennium BC and the deportations of the Ethiopians by Esarhadon in the 7th century BC the descendants of Cush in Africa dwindled and darkened.
The names Seba and Havilah occur both in the genealogies of the Cushites and later in the genealogies of the Joktanite Hebrews. This has led to much confusion in regards to the identities of these tribes. While Josephus discusses the Cushite Seba and Havilah identifying them as various Northern, North Eastern African and Arabian tribes, when he discusses the Joktanites he tells us they “inhabited from Cophen, an Indian river [the Kabul river of modern Afghanistan], and in part of Asia adjoining to it.” (Antiquities 1.6.4). The name Seba appears here in Josephus as “Sabeus” and Havilah appears to be “Euilat”. Josephus tells us little else about these Joktanites, but in the last of these essays we will discuss these Hebrews. For now we will continue to seek the Hamites.
Seba corresponds to the Sabean civilization of the Arabian Peninsula centered around Ma’rib in modern Yemen which stood from 1200 BC to 275 AD (see Excavating the Land of Sheba, Archaeology Odyssey, November-December 2001 p. 44). Strabo mentions Sabaeans in company with the Nabataeans of Arabia (Geography 16.4.19-21) which places these Sabeans in Asia. Josephus refers to the Cushite Seba (Saba in the Septuagint) as “Sabas, who founded the Sabeans” (Antiquities 1.6.2).
The Sabeans were well known for their sculptures, particularly in alabaster, many of which survive to this day. These Sabean alabaster figures display distinctive Caucasoid features such as narrow high-rooted noses, orthognathism and long and narrow faces and display none of the features which distinguish the Congoid race. These ancient Sabeans are exemplary representations of the stock of Cush where it was not exposed to non-Adamic Niger-Congo and Nilo-Saharan admixture.
The land of Havilah appears to have been located somewhere in the Arabian Peninsula near the Eastern borders of Egypt (Genesis 25.18, 1 Samuel 15.7). In his entry for Chaviylah (Strong’s H2341) Gesenius identifies Havilah with the Avalitae of Ptolemy and Pliny the Elder (Geography 4.7, Natural Histories 6.28) in the North Western tip of modern Somalia on the coast of the Gulf of Aden.
Josephus writes of Sabta saying “Sabathes founded the Sabathens, they are now called by the Greeks Astaborans” (Antiquities 1.6.2), the Astaborans being a tribe of ancient Ethiopia. In his entry for Cabta (H5454) Gesenius identifies it with ancient Saba on the African coast of the Red Sea near the site of modern Arkiko (Strabo, Geography 16.4.10, Ptolemy, Geography 4.7). We need not seek conflict between these identifications.
In the Septuagint Raamah is translated as Ρεγμά/Rhegma, a town on the Arabian shore of the Persian Gulf (Ptolemy, Geography 4.7). We might also reasonably connect Raamah to the Rhammanitae who Strabo places in Marsiaba/Marib in modern Yemen (Geography 16.4.24), a location well within the apparent domain of the Cushites.
Sabtechah unfortunately eludes me as it has many scholars throughout the ages. No landmarks or tribes seem to retain this name in any recognizable form. While Josephus confidently tells us “Sabactas settled the Sabactens” (Antiquities 1.6.2) no tribe known as Sabactens appears in any other historical source. A similar name, Sabatok, appears in Egyptian records, but unfortunately the location is not certain and therefore cannot be compared to the geographical spread of the other Cushites.
Josephus mentions a city called Saba in the African Ethiopia “encompassed by the Nile quite round, and the other rivers, Astapus and Astaboras” which “Cambyses afterwards named Meroe” (ibid. 2.10.2). Since Josephus identifies Seba with the Sabeans, the Southern Saba may have been established by the younger Sheba, son of Raamah, though this cannot be determined with certainty.
In his entry for Dedan (H1719) Gesenius identifies Dedan with the island of Daden in the Baharein islands of the Persian Gulf (Forster, Geography of Arabia 1.38.63), a probable identification considering the proximity to Rhegma. Some scholars have sought to identify Dedan with the city of the same name, the capital of the ancient Arabian kingdom of Lihyan, but this is more likely the capital of the Shemitic Dedanites (Genesis 25.3, 1 Chronicles 1.32) who seem to have bordered on Edom (Jeremiah 49.8, 25.23, Ezekiel 25.13).
Mizraim, Ludim, Anamim, Lehabim, Naphtuhim, Pathrusim, Casluhim, Philistim and Caphtorim.
There can be no doubt that the Mizraim of Scripture is Egypt. Throughout the Septuagint Mitsrayim is rendered Αιγύπτος/Egypt. Josephus writes “The memory also of the Mesraites is preserved in their name; for all we who inhabit this country [Judaea] called Egypt Mestre, and the Egyptians Mestreans.” (Antiquities 1.6.2).
Mitsrayim (H4714) is the dual form of matsowr (H4693/H4692), meaning “defense” or “fortress” probably in reference to the two regions of Upper and Lower Egypt. Neo-Babylonian texts refer to Egypt as Mizraim and Ugaritic inscriptions refer to it as Msrm. In the Amarna tablets the land of the Pharaohs is called Misri, and Assyrian records call it Mu-sur.
Writing at a time long after the conquest of Egypt by the Nilotic Nubians some ancient Greek historians noted that certain Egyptians had complexions that were “melanchroes” and hair that was “oulotrichos” and many translators over the years have rendered these words into English as “black” and “wooly haired” while others, such as Robin Waterfield and Carolyn Dewald rendered these words as “dark skinned” and “curly haired”.
Oulotrichos literally and simply means “curly (oulo) haired (trichos)” and no component corresponds to the Greek word for wool (erion). Melanchroes refers to any complexion percieved as relatively dark to the ancient Greeks which is evident in one excerpt from Homer’s Odyssey:
“With this, Athena touched him [Odysseus] with her golden wand. A well-washed cloak and a tunic she first of all cast about his breast, and she increased his stature and his youthful bloom. Once more he grew dark of color [melanchroies], and his cheeks filled out, and dark grew the beard about his chin.” -Odyssey 16.172-176
It is clear from the context that Homer is describing a swarthy complexion rather than blackness and intends to describe Odysseus regaining his youthful color. It would be absurd to think that during the process of rejuvenation Odysseus turned from white to black as a Negroe, this despite the numerous ancient artistic portrayals of Odysseus as a typical ancient Greek.
It is most probable that these Classical writers such as Herodotus were describing relatively swarthy and curly haired variants of the Mediterranean race and not black skinned and wooly headed Congoids. Of course at the time of these authors it is entirely plausible that the Egyptians had become mingled with Nubian Congoids like many modern Egyptians, however it is very clear that other ancient writers did not perceive the Egyptians to be homogeneous with the Congoids and Aethiopids dwelling to their South.
Here Manilius states that the Egyptians were not as dark as the Ethiopians having a medium skin tone.
“The Ethiopians stain the world and depict a race of men steeped in darkness; less sun-burnt are the natives of India; the land of Egypt, flooded by the Nile, darkens bodies more mildly owing to the inundation of its fields: it is a country nearer to us and its moderate climate imparts a medium tone.” -Manilius, Astronomica 4.724
Strabo tells us that the people of Northern India looked much like the Egyptians while the inhabitants of Southern India are said to have been dark like the Ethiopians.
“As for the people of India, those in the south are like the Aethiopians in color, although they are like the rest in respect to countenance and hair (for on account of the humidity of the air their hair does not curl), whereas those in the north are like the Egyptians.” -Strabo, Geography 15.1.13
Philostratus informs us here that the Egyptians had a lighter complexion than their southerly neighbours.
“Now the inhabitants of the marches [Nubian-Egyptian borderlands] are not yet fully black but are half-breeds in matter of color, for they are partly not so black as the Ethiopians, yet partly more so than the Egyptians.” -Philostratus, Life of Apollonius 6.2
Egypt was certainly originally a high civilization of a Caucasoid racial character. It is clear from the art of the Egyptians throughout the ages that the general populace of Egypt was always of Caucasoid stock with varying degrees of mongrelization, in many cases none. The only representions of Congoids in ancient Egyptian art depict slaves and foreigners.
Afrocentrists claim that the word Kemet meaning “black land” (the Egyptian’s name for their own land) refers to it being inhabited by Congoids. This however is an erroneous assumption and Kemet certainly refers to the black soil of the Nile Delta and not the skin colour of the inhabitants. The Nile floods enriched the land with rich black soil which distinguished the fertile Kemet (“black land”) from the barren deshret (“red land”) beyond the reach of the waters of the Nile (Barry J. Kemp, Ancient Egypt: Anatomy of a Civilization, Psychology Press p. 21).
Raymond Faulkner translates kmt into “Egyptians” (Concise Dictionary of Middle Egyptian, Oxford: Griffith Institute p. 286) and Alan Gardiner translates it as “the Black Land, Egypt” (Egyptian Grammar: Being an Introduction to the Study of Hieroglyphs (3rd ed.), Griffith Institute, Oxford).
It is now pertinent to discuss attitudes towards race in ancient Egypt for which we will examine some excerpts from Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, James B. Pritchard, editor, Princeton University Press, 1969. First we shall read from page 441 and The Admonitions of Ipu-Wer, dated to approximately 2300-2050 BC:
“A man regards his son as his enemy.…A man of character goes in mourning because of what has happened in the land….Foreigners have become people everywhere….”
A footnote says “The term “men, humans, people,” was used by Egyptians to designate themselves, in contrast to their foreign neighbors, who were not conceded to be real people.”.
On page 366 we read A Hymn to Amon-Re, the original dated to approximately 1775-1575 BC:
“Atum, who made the people, Distinguished their nature, made their life, And separated colors, one from another…”
An introductory note on page 365 says: “Egypt’s world position under her Empire produced strong tendencies toward centralization and unification of Egyptian religion, with universalism and with syncretism of the gods…”.
In the space of a few centuries Egypt had gone from not even regarding foreigners as people to promoting universalism and the cohabitation of the races. This fits well with the Biblical narrative. In the time of Moses the Egyptians were considered good stock, not to be abhorred by the Israelites (Deuteronomy 23.7), but in later times they are portrayed as an alien people which Israel is chastised for mingling with (Jeremiah 2.16-22, Ezekiel 16.23-26, Ezra 9.1 et al.).
In Ezekiel 30.5 the Egyptians are listed among “all the mixed multitude” alongside Ethiopia and Libya. Isaiah 43.3 has Egypt along with Seba and Ethiopia as nations God has forfeit to preserve Israel, these nations having served as a buffer between the non-Adamic sub-Saharan tribes to their South and the Israelites to the North.
It has been proven by archaeogenetics that the ancient Egyptians were genetically akin to Southern European and Anatolian populations and had less sub-Saharan admixture than even Egypt’s modern Caucasoid inhabitants which still have fairly little. Most of this admixture was introduced after the Islamic era though some undoubtedly occured in more ancient times.
Josephus places the Ludim in Libya (Antiquities 1.6.2). Pliny mentions a river called Laud South of the Atlas Mountains not far from the river Phuth (Natural History 5.1.1-2) which is also mentioned by Pliny the Elder (Geography 4.1.3). Phut of course was a brother of Mizraim, the father of the Ludim, and so we should not be surprised to find the names of both Phut and the Ludim in North Western Africa.
The Anamim and Lehabim are quite elusive, and probably for good reason. Josephus lists them among other Egyptian tribes of which he says “we know nothing of them besides their names; for the Ethiopic war which we shall describe hereafter, was the cause that those cities were overthrown” (Antiquities 1.6.2).
The Anamim are refered to in Assyrian records as Anami. The Lehabim are sometimes identified with the Libyans, but this is highly doubtful as the only connection is a phonetic similarity and there are two other nations more plausibly associated with Libya. These will be discussed further on when we get to Phut.
Naphtuhim seems to be a compound name derived from the Egyptian phrase p-t-mhw, consisting of the definite article, a generic name for foreign tribute-bearing countries and a word for the direction “north” giving the meaning “the country of the north”, most likely the delta of the Nile.
Pathrusim is a loan from Egyptian p-t-rsy, of a similar composition to p-t-mhw, but designating “the country of the south”. In the Septuagint Pathrusim/Pathruciy is rendered as Φαθωρής (Ezekiel 29.14, 30.14)/Παθούρης (Isaiah 11.11, Jeremiah 44.1, 44.15)/Pathros. Pathruciy is cognate with Akkadian Paturisi. In Ezekiel 29.14 we read that Pathros is the land of the Egyptian’s nativity.
The Egyptian form of the name Kacluchiym/Casluhim is preserved in the Ptolemaic inscriptions of the Temple of Kom Ombo as the toponym Kasluhet. Also found in this list of names we find Kaptar corresponding to Caphtor. There is little else known of the Casluhim, but there is more to be said of their descendants, the Philistim, and their cousins, the Caphtorim.
Some skeptics of the Bible suggest that the mention of the Philistines in Genesis 21.32-34 and 26.1-18 is an anachronism. They base this on an alleged lack of evidence for a Philistine presence in Canaan. To address this criticism we must first identify the Philistines in the historical and archaeological records. The Biblical record tells us that the Philistines came from the land of Caphtor (Amos 9.7, Deuteronomy 2.23), and that they were “the remnant of the seacoast of Caphtor” (Jeremiah 47.4). We ought then to seek to identify Caphtor in search of the Philistines.
Bryant G. Wood, Ph.D. of the Associates for Biblical Research has written an article entitled “The Genesis Philistines” for the March 2006 ABR Electronic Newsletter investigating the Philistines. There he makes his case that the Philistines have been around as a people for a long time and had ties in ancient Canaan very early in recorded history. Dr. Wood’s article provides archaeological evidence that supports the identification of Crete as Caphtor, the original seat of the Philistines, and the “Minoans”/Cretans as the Philistines themselves.
In his entry for Kerethiy (H3774) Gesenius writes, “Philistine, especially used of the inhabitants of the southern part of Philistia, 1 Sa. 30.14; Eze. 25.16; Zeph. 2.5”. In the Septuagint Kerethiy is sometimes translated as Κρήτας (Ezekiel 25.16)/Κρητών (Zephaniah 2.5)/Cretan. In his entry for Kaphtor (H3731) Gesenius favours the identification of Caphtor with Crete.
Since at least the 19th century Crete has been the favoured location for the Biblical Caphtor, and much earlier the Septuagint translators associated the Philistine tribe of the Cherethites with Crete. Recent genetic studies of Philistine remains from Ashkelon have now left little room to doubt that the homeland of the Philistim and Caphtorim was in the Aegean.
Some have imagined that the Philistines were a bastard race like the Canaanites because Goliath the giant was called a Philistine. Goliath was not actually a Philistine by race, but was only a mercenary in the Philistine army. He was one of the sons of Rapha the Canaanite giant, for which see 1 Chronicles 20.4-8 where it is stated that the giants in Gath, including Goliath, were “of the stock of Rapha”, the progenitor of the Rephaites (Genesis 14.5 and 15.20, 2 Samuel 5.18, 22 and 23.13 et al.).
In Zechariah 9.6 God says, in a curse on Philistia, “a mongrel race [mamzer (H4464) in the Hebrew, allogenes (G241) in the Greek] will dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines”. The implication there is that the Philistines of Ashdod were largely Adamic at this time.
This further explains why God permitted Samson’s marriage to a Philistine woman (Judges 14.4). While the Mizraimites of the South have almost certainly all become mongrelized, the Philistine Mizraimites may not have, and today many modern Greeks have substantial genetic continuity with the Cretans.
There may be an allusion to the Philistines in Egypt before they moved North to Crete where Herodotus writes “Hence they [the Egyptians] commonly call the pyramids after Philition, a shepherd who at that time fed his flocks about the place.” (The Histories 2.128). Some scholars suppose that Philition represents the Philistines in their original habitation among the other Mizraimites.
Put is surely to be found in ancient Libya. Throughout the Septuagint Phut is rendered Λιβύες/Libyans. Josephus writes: “Phut also was the founder of Libya, and called the inhabitants Phutites, from himself: there is also a river in the country of Moors which bears that name; whence it is that we may see the greatest part of the Grecian historiographers mention that river and the adjoining country by the apellation of Phut: but the name it has now has been by change given it from one of the sons of Mesraim, who was called Lybyos.” (Antiquities 1.6.2).
Pliny the Elder and Ptolemy both place the river Phuth on the west side of Mauritania (“the country of Moors” in Josephus), and Pliny also mentions a nearby river called Laud, probably related to the Ludim (Natural History 5.1.1-2 , Geography 4.1.3). Ptolemy also mentions a city called Putea in Libya (Geography 4.3.39). In Coptic Phaiat is a name for Libya Aegypti, North Western Egypt.
Both Puwt and Luwbiy are translated in the Septuagint as Λιβύες/Libyans which raises the question of which of these two nations are the true stock of the ancient Libyans. Josephus’ explanation seems perfectly plausible; that Libya was first populated by Phutites but later named for the descendants of the Mizraimite Libyos, most likely the father of the Biblical Lubim.
Many of the Berbers descend from the ancient Libyans, a clear remnant of a once White North West Africa. The Moors of antiquity and the middle ages who rivaled the powers of Southern and Western Europe were of Berber extraction, especially the aristocracy, and it can be demonstrated that they were predominantly Europoid by race.
Canaan/Kena`an (H3667) derives ultimately from the Semitic root knʿ meaning “to be low, humble, subjugated”. Strong’s says it derives immediately from kana (H3667) meaning “to bend the knee; hence, to humiliate”. Fittingly in Genesis 9 we read:
“25And he said, Cursed be the servant Chanaan, a slave shall he be to his brethren.
26And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Sem, and Chanaan shall be his bond-servant.
27May God make room for Japheth, and let him dwell in the habitations of Sem, and let Chanaan be his servant.”
I will not speak at any length about the nature of Canaan’s sin which caused him to be cursed in such a way. Suffice it to say that when one compares Genesis 9.20-27 with Leviticus 18.7-8 and 20.11 it is apparent that Canaan was born of incest. This is why Canaan was cursed for the sin of his father Ham.
Later on the Canaanites would be found mingled among the Kenites (sons of Cain) and Rephaim (Nephilim giants) and other races of unknown origin such as the Kenizzites, Perizzites and Kadmonites (Genesis 15.19-21). Many times throughout Scripture Israel is chastised for mingling with the Canaanites, and they are regarded as a polluted race.
The Canaanites settled the Levant primarily, the region known by the general North West Semitic name Kana’an. It appears as ki-na-ah-na in the Amarna letters, and knʿn is found on coins from Phoenicia in the last half of the 1st millennium. The name first occurs in Greek in the writings of Hecataeus of Miletus as Χνᾶ and as Χαναὰν in the Septuagint.
Many scholars seek the origins of the Phoenicians with certain tribes of the Canaanites. It can however be demonstrated from a comparison of Scripture and classical histories that the people first known as Phoenicians were not Canaanites. Rather they were primarily Israelites of the tribes of Asher, Zebulon, Naphtali and Dan.
The Phoenicia of early Greek poets and geographers stretched from the edges of the Nile to Northern Syria and included all of the coastland inhabited by the Northern house of Israel. Most biblical maps offered by modern scholars blatantly deny the borders of Israel as described in Scripture in order to accommodate the falsehood that the Phoenicians were distinct from the Israelites.
Scripture clearly describes Israelite territory extending far into the region of Phoenicia and containing the famous Phoenician ports, Tyre and Sidon. Even the region most scholars call Phoenicia does not correspond properly to ancient Phoenicia as the Greeks described it. Rather it corresponds loosely to the Roman administrative region of much later times. Of course any faithful student of Scripture must question this contradiction between Scripture and the agendas of modern scholars.
Later on with the decline of Israelite power in Canaan and the Assyrian deportations of Israel to Media the term Phoenician came to be applied as a catch-all for the inhabitants of Canaan, Israelites or Canaanites. Speaking at such a time and referring to them as Phoenicians Herodotus relates a Persian account of Canaanite origins.
“These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria…” -The Histories 1.1
We might thus conclude that the Canaanites originated on the shores of the Red Sea, a region well within the realm of the other Hamites. Upon migrating to the Levant they began to extend their trade routes to new lands. Most probably they established some of the trade routes later usurped by the Israelites preceding the golden age of Phoenicia. They also must have spread around the Mediterranean Basin with the Israelites.
Despite the Israelite conquest of Canaan, the Jebusites remained among the tribe of Benjamin in Jerusalem (Judges 1.21, Joshua 15.63) along with other Canaanites who either remained or resettled in Judaea (Zechariah 14.21, Susanna 1.56). In Joshua 9.3-27 we read that the Canaanite tribe of the Gibeonites established a covenant of peace with Israel through deception which allowed them to remain in Canaan among the Israelites. In verse 27 we find that they were enslaved for their deception and that “the inhabitants of Gabaon became hewers of wood and drawers of water for the altar of God until this day”. Jesus and the Apostles also allude to the persistence of Canaanite bloodlines in Judaea until their own time.
That the modern Jews descend largely from the ancient Canaanites is now affirmed by genetic data which shows that both Jews and Arabs (particularly Levantine Arabs) share a large portion of Canaanite ancestry.
Josephus refers to “Sidonius, who also built a city of the same name; it is called by the Greeks Sidon” (Antiquities 1.6.2). Strong’s and Gesenius’ entries for Tsiydown (H6721) readily identify him with the historical city of Sidon in modern day Lebanon. While Sidon is commonly thought of as a Canaanite city, and doubtless Canaanite Sidonians always maintained a presence there, it can be established by Scripture that Sidon was a city occupied largely by Israelites in ancient times.
We are fortunate to have ancient Sidonian genetic samples from approximately 1700 BC, before the Israelite conquest of Canaan. The results show that the modern populations of Lebanon are the closest living relatives of the ancient Sidonians followed by Jews and Arabs broadly.
In Scripture the Jebusites were the early inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are refered to in Akkadian as Yabusi’um and are reckoned by the Assyrians as a tribe of the Amorites. Of course Amorite and Canaanite are terms sometimes used interchangeably in Scripture (Genesis 15.16, 48.22, Joshua 24.15, Judges 1.34 et al.) and so it should be no surprise to see that other Near Eastern records regarded the Jebusites as Amorites.
The Amorites are refered to in Akkadian as Amurru, in Sumerian as Mar.tu and in Egyptian as Amar. The Amorites inhabited all the land from West of the Euphrates in Canaan and Syria. They were certainly a powerful people (Amos 2.9) who made various incursions into Southern Mesopotamia. On account of their power exceeding the other Canaanite tribes Amorite is used in Scripture as a word for the Canaanites collectively, much as Judah represents the Southern kingdom of Israel and Ephraim the Northern kingdom.
We read in Deuteronomy that “only Og the king of Bashan was left of the Raphaim” (Deuteronomy 3.11), and so it appears that the Amorites were ruled by a Rephaite king, a giant of the stock of the Nephilim. When Israelite spies were sent to Canaan the Amorites were one of the people groups they saw (Numbers 13.29), and they claimed that “all the people whom we saw in it are men of extraordinary stature.” (Numbers 13.32). Undoubtedly the Amorites mingled extensively with the Rephaim.
The Girgashites are refered to in Ugaritic inscriptions as grgs (Girgash) and bn-grgs (sons of Girgash). In Hittite they are called Karkm and in Egyptian records they are known as the Kirkash. Little is known of them besides their names. The land of the Arkites is refered to in Assyrian records as Irkanat and in the Amarna tablets the Arkites are called Irgata. Their city is known today as Tell-Arqa, known to ancient Egyptian records as Arkanatu. Josephus informs us “Arucas possessed Arce, which is in Libanus.” (Antiquities 1.6.2).
The Sinites are connected to the city of Sinna (Strabo, Geography 16.2.18). St. Jerome also refers to a “civitas Sini” in the same region (Liber Quaestionum Hebraicorum 1). In Akkadian the land of the Sinites is called Siannu and in Ugaritic it is refered to as sn. Aside from the cities named for them nothing else remains of their legacy.
The Arvadites are refered to in the Amarna letters as Arwada and there they are mentioned as allies of the Amorites. The city of Arwad off the coast of Syria still bears their name today. Josephus writes “Arudeus possessed the island Aradus” (Antiquities 1.6.2). In Greek this city was known as Aραδος and in the Septuagint at Ezekiel 27.11 the Arvadites are called υιοί Αραδίων/sons of Arvad. In Ezekiel 27.8 Arvad is rendered Αράδιοι/Arvadites.
The occurrence of the name Zemarite between Arvadite and Hamathite gives a hint as to the locality of the Zemarites and appropriately Zumur is mentioned in the Amarna Letters along with Arwad. The name may survive in the name of Sumra, a village on the seacoast between Tripolis and Arwad. In Akkadian the Zemarites are called Simirra, and in Egyptian they are refered to as Sumur. Josephus tells us “Amathus inhabited in Amathine, which is even now called Amathe by the inhabitants” (Antiquities 1.6.2). This places the Hamathites at modern day Hama in Syria.
The Hivites and Hethites will be the last of the Canaanite tribes to be discussed here as they are to be found generally outside the geographical and cultural realm shared by the rest of the Canaanites. While the bulk of the Canaanites settled in the Levant, it is apparent that two branches extended further North and East.
There is some confusion concerning the Biblical uses of the terms Hivite and Horite. Zibeon is called a Horite in Genesis 36.20-30, whereas in verse 2 the same man had been called a Hivite. The Septuagint text of Joshua 9.7 and Genesis 34.2 reads Horite instead of Hivite as in the Masoretic Text. Despite this confusion, the two names occur both in the Septuagint and the Masoretic Text and therefore ought to be sought in the historical and archaeological records.
The Horites seem to be the Hurrians of ancient Near Eastern records, the name Choriy corresponding to Churri, the Akkadian name for the Hurrians. The ethnonym Hivite is not paralleled clearly in any extant ancient extra-Biblical source, however the Hurrian personal name Ḫu-ú-ia is attested in Akkadian. Most probably Hivite/Chivviy is patronymic from the Hurrian personal name Ḫu-ú-ia denoting a specific branch of the Hurrians
This explains why Hivite and Horite seem to be used interchangeably when comparing the Septuagint to the Masoretic Text. Some scholars have posited that Hivite in all its occurences is actually a scribal error for Horite, the resh being corrupted into a vav. Whether or not this is the case, we can say that in all probability the Biblical terms Horite and Hivite both refer to Hurrians.
In the Amarna letters there is mention of the king of Jerusalem named Abdi-Heba whose name appears to be a theophoric name invoking the Hurrian goddess Hebat (Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, Princeton University Press p. 270). It is thus evident that the Hurrians were certainly present in Canaan proper in the time of Joshua. In the Amarna letters there is mention of the king of Jerusalem named Abdi-Heba whose name appears to be a theophoric name invoking the Hurrian goddess Hebat (Donald B. Redford, Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times, Princeton University Press p. 270). It is thus evident that the Hurrians were certainly present in Canaan proper in the time of Joshua.
While the bulk of the Hurrians were apparently of Canaanite descent, it is evident that the Hurrian elite were generally of a separate ethnic group of Indo-European extraction which exerted great cultural influence in Hurrian society. The Hurrian language itself is considered by some linguists to be a sister language to Indo-European or an Indo-European language proper (see Arnaud Fournet; Allan R. Bomhard, The Indo-European Elements in Hurrian, academia.edu, La Garenne Colombes, Charleston and Arnaud Fournet, PIE Roots in Hurrian, academia.edu). We will not discuss the Biblical origin of this Indo-European aristocracy here, but rather will do so in my next essay concerning the Shemites.
The Hurro-Urartian civilization of Urartu (an Akkadian name which corresponds to the Biblical Ararat) was North beyond the domain of Canaan proper in the Armenian Highlands. This is supported by the long-standing identification of Ararat with a district of Armenia (Jeremiah 51.27, Gesenius’, Brown-Driver-Briggs and Strong’s s.v. et al.). The Urartians remain a substantial ancestral element of the Armenians.
There is no extant traditional identification for the Biblical Hethites in any ancient literature, but in the 19th century archaeologists began to identify them with the land called hatti matu in Assyrian sources. While I am persuaded that the land of Hatti was indeed settled by Hethites, there are some complex issues surrounding the history of this region. The land of Hatti is mentioned in Assyrian inscriptions as early as the late 3rd millennium BC. The inhabitants, called by archaeologists and linguists Hattians, were speakers of the isolate language Hattic, but in the early 2nd millennium BC the land of Hatti was subdued by a group of Anatolian Indo-European speakers.
These conquerors refered to their own empire as the kingdom of Hattusa and their Assyrian neighbours continued to refer to the land as Hatti, both maintaining forms of the Hattian endonym. The Kingdom of Hattusa was very powerful and influential, and with new archaeological discoveries about the kingdom of Hattusa, Biblical scholars found validation of the Biblical account of powerful Hittite kings. While there is no doubt that the Hittites of Judges 1.26, 1 Kings 10.29/2 Chronicles 1.17, 1 Kings 11.1 and 2 Kings 7.6 are identical with the Indo-Europeans of the kingdom of Hattusa, this identification presents another difficulty.
In other places in the Bible the Hittites are portrayed as less powerful hill tribes native to the land of Canaan. They appear already settled in Canaan in the time of Abraham, placing them in a time before the Indo-European Hittites even appear in the archaeological record. There is also a distinct lack of any archaeological evidence for a presence of Indo-European Hittites in Canaan contemporary to the earliest mentions of Hittites in the Old Testament.
Bryant G. Wood, Ph.D. of the Associates for Biblical Research has written an article entitled “Hittites and Hethites: a Proposed Solution to an Etymological Conundrum” where he endeavours to reconcile the Biblical and archaeological records. Wood proposes that the various references to Hittites in the Bible in their varied forms and constructs can be divided into two groups; references to autochthonous sons of Heth (Hethites) and references to the Anatolian Indo-Europeans of Hattusa (Hittites). Wood’s proposal seems to represent the only solution to this conundrum which properly reconciles the Biblical and archaeological records.
While Wood does not offer any conclusion as to the identity of the genuine Hethites, I would posit that they must be identified with Hatti in Anatolia and the autocthonous Hattians. I can think of no other plausible reason that the Hebrews would have associated the Indo-Europeans of Hattusa with the name Heth if not because they had settled the land of Hatti. While Hatti is not very close to the rest of the Canaanite nations, neither is it terribly far, and certainly not much farther from Canaan than the domain of the Hivites/Hurrians. As for the Indo-European Hittites, they are most probably descendants of the Shemitic Lud, the patriarch who sired the other Anatolian speakers the Lydians and Luwians.