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 mark them as physically Congoid. There is however more to this population than meets the eye. Analysis of the Nubian genome shows that the Nubians 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.”
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.”
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.
The notion that the Ethiopians were not Negroes was once common knowledge among mainstream Biblical scholars. In Zondervan’s Bible Dictionary under the entry for Ham we read “he became the progenitor of the dark races; not the Negroes, but the Egyptians, Ethiopians, Libyans and Canaanites”. It cannot be said with certainty whether the author considered these races to have originally been dark or to have degenerated into such a state, but he is certainly correct that the Hamites today are darker than the other tribes which originate from Noah.
Under the entry for Ham, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia describes him as “The youngest son of Noah, from whom sprang the western and southwestern nations known to the Hebrews”. It is clear here that the author did not consider all tribes to be known to the Hebrews and accounted for in Genesis 10. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia further states that “Of the nationalities regarded as descending from Ham, none can be described as really black”.
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 (Σαβά/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.”
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 during 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)/Cretans. 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 Mauretanians and Numidians of antiquity were Berbers and the statuary of these tribes clearly depicts them as racially Europoid. The faces of famous Berbers from antiquity might easily pass as Southern or Western European.
Canaan, Sidon, Heth, Jebusites, Amorites, Girgashites, Hivites, Arkites, Sinites, Arvadites, Zemarites and Hamathites.
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.
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.
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.