bonomarzo.info

First holy communion photo poses


 

 

 

 

 

Finally, after almost two years, this study/book is completed enough to at least post to the site. I fully expect that as time goes by and more archaeology becomes available, information will be added. This book is 268 LibreOffice/PDF document pages (15 mb - be patient for it to load. I suggest DAP, Download Accelerator Plus, minus the speedbit they keep trying to get you to install. It only took me 5 minutes on our sketch remote mountain connection). For this reason, I have created subsection links for easier navigation. I have finally converted this book to a PDF format so that this book is available for free download, retaining its formatting and foreign language fonts. - Kathryn QannaYahu

 

I would like to thank my daughters, Leviyah and Genevieve, for their support, both encouragment and financial so that I could work on this study full time. I would also like to thank the Bozeman Public Library, especially Mary Ann Childs, who handled well over a hundred of my interlibrary loans during these two years.

 

For those of you that would like to donate to this research and further research to be posted, please click the donate button below and thank you.

 

 

 

 

Foreign Language Intro

 

 

Foreign Language Intro

 

This study incorporates many textual elements that need their own introduction because of all the languages presented. For the Hebrew, I use a Hebrew font that you will not be able to view without a download, unless you happen to have the font from another program. If you should see odd letters strung together where a name or word is being explained, you probably need the font. It is provided on my fonts page    . Since Hebrew does not have an upper and lower case, another font used for the English quoting of the Tanak/Bible is the copperplate, which does not have a case. I use this font when quoting portions of the Tanak [Hebrew Bible], to avoid translator emphasis that capitalizing puts a slant on. This font is also on the font page for download. So if you are seeing quoted text in all lower case, you need this font as well. The Greek font is the Windows supplied font called symbol, but in case you do not have it, that is also on the download page.

 

As to the variations in spelling – there are many different groups within Hebrew. The Ashkenaz, predominately originating from north and eastern Europe, use a different pronunciation than the Sephardic Jews, which originated in Spain. For example the word shabbath [shiyn, beth, thau] can be written in the English as shabbath, sabbath, shabbat, sabbat, etc... Add to that the fact that the Hebrew language was a new one in comparison to many of its neighbors archaeologically, and you add to the diversity of the English transliterations. Also, scholars have not come to any standardization as to English transliteration and that adds to the amount of various spelling of the same word. While the Semitic letter Shiyn is traditionally an SH rendering in pronunciation, some scholars render it as an S with a diacritical mark caron or hacek over the S, indicating that it is supposed to be pronounced as SH. Sometimes it appears more semi-circular than v’d. This is not a Windows supplied character in their fonts.  This transliteration situation occurs with Th/T, K/Ch and F/Ph. Vowels are also written and transliterated between the Semitic languages variously. That is why you will see some of the deities names with an A, E and I, when they are basically the same name.

 

While not a foreign language note, it is pertinent to the study and is of the languages of scholars, which to some, may seem a language all itself. Since the dating system of B. C. and A.D. refer to a Christian dating system, many scholars have adopted a less religious dating abbreviation. B.C.E is Before the Common Era, which relates to the time period of B.C., C.E. is Common Era and relates to A.D. I have chosen to follow the scholars dating and use BCE and CE in dating.

 

With that said, I have hoped to avoid as many questions as possible with this study, providing maps and such, but I know there will still be questions, so please do not hesitate to ask.

 

 

 

This study grew out of a need to list the worthless deities mentioned in the Hebrew text of the Tanak/ Hebrew Bible, during my work on the Perpetual Idolatry study. It was originally going to list, for reference purposes, their names, associated cultural pantheon and passages of text that mentioned the deities, or were associated with them prior to the Hebrew text being written. While many Hebraic sects, Christians and Muslims would view themselves as being devout followers of El, Elohey, Eloah, God or Allah – different titles of the Creator, they might be surprised how this study’s ancient deities and their practices are incorporated into modern belief systems, even so far as aspects of our day to day living. In many ways we are no different than the early Canaanites or surrounding nations, though the names we apply to our beliefs have been changed to protect the not so innocent. No sooner had I typed them up and began researching the passages they occur in, did this study explode. This subject was far broader than I had expected. As I have mentioned in the other studies, what began as one study became three simultaneous studies, which are very interconnected – Perpetual Idolatry, and Worthless Deities.

 

The beginning sections of this study examine Proto-Indo-Europeans and the Patriarchy, From Clan Mother to Goddess, Ancestor Worship/Cult of the Dead, Therafiym, the worship of Molech/Melek - King, Nechushthan, Astral Cults and Seal of God and Mark of the Beast; all of which involves far more than most would realize in their current faith and the Bible. The following portion of the study defines the worthless deities, arranges them by cultural pantheon, and includes pertinent associated scripture, as well as personal and city names that reveal their houses of worship. At the end of the deity section there is a map showing city names that deal with a particular deity’s houses of worship that are listed as being the territory of Israel. Lastly, there is a list of reference works I researched, for those of you that would like to look into these matters more fully, hoping that no one takes my word for it. I also cite quotes immediately after the quote, regardless of the “proper” method of footnoting and placing the sources at the end of the page, chapter or book. As a diligent researcher of the footnotes, I hate flipping around in a paper or book for the source, so I write as I would like to read.

 

In my faith with YHWH I was not fond of the issue of idolatry. It was a “necessary evil” to deal with, to prove issues that still continue, even unknowingly, so that we may remove these stumbling blocks. Practices that may have derived from something originally innocent, ended up becoming cultic and idolatrous. “Other activities, which we would tend to describe as being ’magic’ rather than ‘religious’, were also a feature of everyday life in both country and town. Sickness and misfortune, whether due to the anger of the gods or the evil activities of hostile men, were a constant hazard, and to counteract such things elaborate rituals, making much use of ‘sympathetic magic’, were evolved for every purpose from averting impotence to persuading a reluctant deity to return to his shrine.” – The Hittites, Macqueen, pg. 112. This is like the story of the newly wed husband, watching his wife cook for a family get together, he sees her take a ham, cut the end off, placing the rest in the large baking dish. He asks her why she cut the end off and she says that it is what her mother always did. Curious, when the mother arrives, the son-in-law asks her why she cuts the end of the ham off and places the rest in the dish. She answers, that is what her mother did and to ask her when she arrives. When the grandmother arrives, the son-in-law asks her and she states that the baking dish she had was too small for the whole ham, so she would cut the end off so that it would fit in her dish. The daughter and granddaughter did not know the reason for cutting the end of the ham off, but continued the “tradition”, even though they had larger baking dishes that would have accommodated the whole ham. Before anyone jumps to conclusions, we don’t eat pork, I am relaying an old story about traditions. Traditions and rituals are far too easy to begin. In fact, it seems more difficult to avoid beginning them in the first place. Keep this in mind as we deal with the subjects involving the deities.

 

Be aware that a number of deities cross boundaries of nations, which shifted themselves. Baal is Canaanite/Ugaritic, but he is also in the Phoenician pantheon. His counterpart in Assyrian/Babylonian is Tammuz. Also, some deities merged at times, such as the blending of Athene, Anat, Astarte and Ishtar. The Tanak, the bulk of which is a much later writing than any of the Ugaritic texts or other cultural texts, adds the additional problem of inconsistent blending of multiple elements, by the hands of various editors with their own agendas, into one element and then there is the very late dating vowel pointing for pronunciation of the Masoretic Scribes. This can be helpful in showing the different text sources and hands of the different schools of editing.  In the Tanak the lines blur between El and his son Baal. Asherah is the wife/consort of El in Ugaritic texts, but in the Tanak, characteristics of El and Baal are blurred, as well as the pairing of Asherah with Baal in some cases. In some archaeological texts El is the father of Baal and in a smaller portion Dagon is. The debate of El and Baal, whether or not Baal supplanted El as the chief deity, rages in the scholarly circles. It is as though the post-exilic Jewish editors were having their own debate and blended the two in the Tanak, though a careful reading of the Ugaritic text clearly shows that Baal never supplanted El and could make no major decision without the approval of El, even to the building of his own palace. There are also inscriptions that list Baal as a title of El, making them one and the same.

 

 “In not a few instances it has been ascertained that the character of gods was changed after they had been transported to other lands. These changes may have been due to various causes. The deity of the mountains when brought into the plains would gradually lose his mountainous character. A storm-god transported into a rainless land would naturally have other attributes emphasized. If Ea is Amorite, as is claimed, and the ideogram En-ki, ‘lord of the earth,’ is an indication of the nature of the god in the country where he was indigenous, we can only conclude that it was when brought to Eridu in southern Babylonia, a city that had been built on land regained from the sea, that he became a god of the springs and the deep.” The Empire of the Amorites, Albert Clay, pg. 163. What needs to be understood is the synchronization of deities, the migration of peoples taking their deities with them or adopting those of the locals, as well as a newer generation of deities taking on the characteristics of the older ones. Another major aspect to this assimilation is that of the major waves of the Kurgan / Indo-European waves of patriarchy that took over by force, whole territories and re-mythed the locals peoples belief system, taking a clan mother / matron/ earth mother / queen and goddess and usurping her with the patriarchal male deity. Some of these patriarchal takeovers raped, married the ruling goddess, trying to make the takeover legitimate by a marriage, other times the deity simply changed genders to that of male.

 

As societies grew the necessity for more gods grew as well. It became necessary with the ever growing number of deities to give them a hierarchal order, creating a pantheon, mimicking the ever growing family, clans and tribal units they participated in. In speaking of villages growing and merging, becoming larger political units, J. G. Macqueen states, “The separate identity of local divinities was preserved, and the result was a pantheon of increasing size and complexity. Some gods and goddesses emerged as more powerful than others, but the worship of the less powerful continued on the age-old pattern.”, [The Hittites, pg. 110].

 

An important factor in the identity of Israel, that many may not have noticed in the Tanak, is the verse in Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 16:3, “and say, so says adonay YHWH to yerushalem, the place of your origin and the place of your birth is of the land of the kenaaniy [canaanite]. your father, the amoriy [amarru, amorite] and your mother, chiththiyth [female suffix with hittite, basically hittitess].” If you take the word of the post-exilic Jewish editors of the Tanak, then you would get the impression that the Amoriy are a pre-Israelite inhabitant of the land of Kenaan [Canaan]. But the land was not called Kenaan then, it was called the land of the Amoriy / Amurru by the nations surrounding it. A verse in Yahusha [Joshua] 24:15 shows Yahusha reaffirming the covenant with the people and states, “And if it seems evil in your eyes to serve YHWH, choose for you today whom you will serve, whether the elohiym [gods] whom your fathers served beyond the river or the elohey of the Amoriy whose land you are dwelling, but as for me and my house, we will serve YHWH.”  Notice it does not state Canaan and Canaanites, but Amoriy, who were the Amurru.

 

There was a confederacy between the Amorites and the Hittites, as evidenced by a treaty between the two nations, about 1230 BCE  [The Hittites, J. G. Macqueen, 1986, pg. 40]. These good relations are apparent in the book of Bereshiyth [Genesis] in relation to Abraham, the father of our faith, who is an Amoriy. He marries Sarah, who according to the verse in Yechezqel mentioned above, is a Chiththiy [Hittite]. Abraham entered the land of Kenaan from Harran, and later settled in the territory of the Amurru / Amorites, and made an alliance with Mamre, Aner and Eshkol [Bereshiyth – Genesis 14:13]. At the point that Sarah dies, they are living in Hittite territory, of which Sarah is, if you believe the verse in Yechezqel. Abraham secures land from the Hittites, who state that Abraham is a mighty prince among them, with a cave for burial. This becomes the family tomb, explained further on [Ber. 23]. If these Amorites and Hittites were as vile as later biblical editors would have you to believe, then why was the “Father” of this faith “consorting with the enemy” and making covenants with them?

 

At no point in history were all these Amoriy just wiped out or evacuated. Even archaeologically the evidence for this mass exodus from Egypt to Kenaan, with hoards of Israelites taking over land and creating settlements, did not occur. Therefore, it stands to reason, if we are to understand the foundation of the Tanak, that we need to take a look at the nomadic shepherd peoples, the Amoriy, as well as the Luwians / Luvians, Hittites, Hurrians, the Hyksos [a term from the Egyptians], and the Habiru [another term from the Egyptians], to better define the inhabitants of the land of Amurru / Kenaan.

 

There are times in the Tanak where Amoriy is used to represent all of Kenaan, such as Yahusha [Joshua] 7:7. Another verse in I Shmuel [Samuel] 7:14 even includes the Felishthiym [Philistines] in the Amoriy designation. “The following chapters will demonstrate population continuity through successive millennia, and hence justify this assumption: the Canaanites known to the writers of the biblical texts can be seen to be the same people who settled in farming villages in the eighth millennium BC. This is not, in any way, to deny the reality, nor indeed the importance, of external influences on the culture, whether through trade, small-scale infiltration or aggressive invasion. Neither is it to ignore the socio-political constructs that have, at times, subsumed Canaanite identity under other names. Ammonites, Moabites, Israelites and Phoenicians undoubtedly achieved their own cultural identities, and yet ethnically they were all Canaanites.” “After the archaeological record has been surveyed, the most striking feature of all which emerges is the essential cultural continuity of Canaanite civilization from at least the fourth millennium to the time of composing or compiling the biblical texts. In these terms Israel itself has to be seen as a political construct, its culture derived as a sub-culture of the indigenous Canaanite population. The literary traditions of the Old Testament can be expected, therefore, to contain, and do  contain, writings relevant to the sub-set of Israel, but also to the greater cultural heritage of ancient Canaan (as evidenced by the many close parallels with the Ugarit texts). “ Canaanites, Jonathan Tubb, pgs. 13, 14, 20.

 

 

 

This subject is too detailed to be covered here and is not the thrust of this study. Please see the Yisrael’s Origins and the People of YHWH study for further information. There is also the matter that Yahwism borrowed many Canaanite motifs, which will be brought forth here. Below is a general map of the kingdoms from just prior 2000 BCE to nearly 1000 BCE. This is well after the last of the patriarchal waves, which will be discussed further on in this study. What the map cannot show is all the territorial expansion and wars, like the Hittite sacking of Babel and expanding their territory that far east for a period, or the Amurru territory which butted up to the Hittites, extended west, encompassing Harran, Mari and over to Ashur [what became Assyria later], also making conquests of Babel and farther south, for a time. Nations rose and fell or were assimilated. The map is just to give you a general idea of who was where and how that proximity relates to the religions and their influence on what came to be Canaanite/Israelite in the early formative years of this history.

 

 

 

 

 

Philo of Byblos (64 – 141 CE), in copying the works of Sanchuniathon of Berytus [Beirut] (exact dating is not know), wrote, “But the more recent writers on religious matters have from the first rejected what really happened. By devising allegories and myths and by inventing a kinship with cosmic phenomena, they established mysteries and introduced into them tremendous delusion, so that it is not easy for anyone to perceive what truth happened. He (Sanchuniathon) however, came upon the secret works procured from the sanctuaries, composed in the letters of the Ammoneans, which certainly were not familiar to everyone. He pursued the study of all of them, and when he put an end to his work, having removed the original myth and the allegories, he accomplished his aim, until once again the priests who later came on the scene wished to conceal his accomplishment and to restore it to the domain of fable. From that time the practice of mysteries arose, which had not yet reached the Greeks.”...”It is necessary to make a preliminary clarification for the sake of subsequent clarity and for the analysis of particular questions. The most ancient of the barbarians, and especially Phoenicians and Egyptians, from whom the rest of mankind received their traditions, considered as greatest gods those men who had made discoveries valuable for life’s necessities or those who had in some way benefited their nations. Since they considered these men as benefactors and sources of many blessings, they worshipped them as gods even after they had passed on. They built temples and also consecrated steles and staves in their name. The Phoenicians paid great honor to them and instituted magnificent feasts for them. They assigned names chosen especially from those of their kings to the cosmic elements and to some of the recognized deities. Among things of nature they acknowledged as gods only the sun, the moon, the other planets, the elements and their combinations, so that for them some gods were mortal and some immortal.”... “The Greeks, who surpass all men in their natural cleverness, first appropriated most of these tales. They then dramatized them in various ways with additional literary ornaments, and intending to beguile with the delights of myths, they embellished them in all sorts of ways. Thence Hesiod and the highly touted cyclic poets fabricated their own versions and made excerpts of Theogonies and Giants’ Battles and Titans’ Battles, which they carried about and with which they defeated the truth. Our ears have for ages become habituated to and predisposed by their fictions. We preserve the received mythology as a sacred trust, as I said also at the beginning. Assisted by the force of time, it has rendered its hold inescapable, so that truth is regarded as drivel and the bastard tale as truth.” – Philo of Byblos, The Phoenician History, Attridge and Oden, pgs. 29,31,33,61.

 

In many ways, my studies are the same work as that of Sanchuniathon, trying to strip away the many layers of myth and allegory, the fabrications and fictions, so that the received mythology that has been held as a sacred trust, by so many, for generations, will be exposed as the drivel and bastard tales that they are and we can get to the truth for a change.

 

While some of you may feel that in your faith, you are free from any of these “pagan/heathen” influences, I think you will be surprised after reading this research that you’re not. This subject is necessary in to remove these stumbling blocks from our and others paths, and to better understand just who YHWH is, to clearly reveal this relationship with Him. While working on these studies for over a year and a half (2009 and 2010), there were nights that I just wanted to wash my eyes and my mind from all that I had seen in the text. I felt as though I had witnessed it all. It was like that scene in the Matrix, after Neo swallows the pill that opens his eyes to the truth, you can’t go back, no matter how ugly the truth is, there is no pill to make you ignorant again. As betrayed and angry as I felt, I sat there in tears and thought about the years that I have believed the “lying pen of the scribes that has handled His word falsely.” What it must be like for YHWH, who not only sees all of this and knows the hearts and minds of man, but even amongst those that feel they are righteously worshipping YHWH, there are these unrighteous elements that YHWH wants us to remove so that we may have clean hands and a pure heart . Please do not look on these studies as wadding through the trash, which to be honest I have felt like at times, but as a house cleaning, to please YHWH, that we might not offend and thereby achieve a closer relationship with this awesome Creative Force.

 

 

UgaritText Intro

 

Just to give a brief explanation of the Ugaritic texts, which are the primary comparison texts, they date from the 14th century BCE and before. They were discovered in 1928, in Ras Shamra, now called Fennel Hill, in Northern Syria. The following is a list of the Ugaritic text abbreviations. Unfortunately there are different notation systems created by different authors, for the same text.

 

UT = Ugaritic Textbook by C. H. Gordon

KTU = Die Keilalphabetischen Texte aus Ugarit by m. Dietrich, O. Lorentz and J. Sanmartin

CTA = Corpus des tablettes en cuneiformes alphabetiques decouvertes a Ras Shamra-Ugarit de

1929 a 1939 by A. Herder

CAT = The Cuneiform Alphabetic Texts from Ugarit, Ras Ibn Hani and Other Places by M. Dietrich, O.

Lorentz and J. Sanmartin

RS or RIH = La trouvaille epigraphique l’Ougarit, RS is for Ras Shamra and RIH is for Ras Ibn Hani by P. Bordreuil and D. Pardee

 

Comparison to other texts from Hittite, Alalakh, Elba, Emar, Mari, Nuzi, Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Egyptian and Hellenes [Greek] are also necessary. As I stated earlier, these deities cross borders and boundaries, taking beliefs with them, merging and carrying on through time. An example of this is the monotheism of Aten worship in Egypt that some scholars speculate is the basis for the Mosaic monotheism and “exodus” from Egypt. “Monotheism did not sweep the field all at once; it did not suddenly burst upon the religious thought-world of the ancient Near East. Rather, developmental process began, at the latest, at the end of the Bronze Age, gained momentum during the Iron Age, and finally issued it in a practical, and at certain points, even theoretical, monotheism. It seems that particular gods (or better, their priesthoods) gobbled up other gods, so to speak, and so took over their functions and identities. Thus eventuated a monopoly on divine worship – a development that certainly also had something to do with economic and political interests. In Egypt’s New Kingdom, monopolization took place within the cult of the god Amun of Thebes, who was served by a large priesthood in an influential sanctuary. Akhenaten’s reforms included relocation of the royal residence from Thebes to Akhetaten (Tell el-Amarna) and the introduction of a ‘new’ religion – or rather, in reality, the strengthening of one old branch of Egyptian religion.” Prelude to Israel’s Past, Niels Peter Lemeche, pg. 217. The old branch of Egyptian monotheism that Lemeche is referring to is that of the primal creator Ptah, before the later Egyptian trinity was formed and the solar aspects were mainly attributed to Ra, said to be the son of Ptah. We cannot limit our research to one time, one location or one belief; not if we want to find the truth.

 

Hesiod’s Ages of Man

 

Hesiod, a Boeotian [Hellenes] writer in the 8th century BCE, composed a number of works, which have passed to modern readers. They are not epics like Homers works, but deal more with history, astronomy, ethics, genealogies, farming, metal works, etc. In a way, you can get a better idea of the people of that time from Hesiod’s compositions. One particular passage that I would like to share is for the historical application of the Indo-European patriarchal changes that swept so much of the land, but also for the obvious example of yet another assimilation of another cultures writings and beliefs by a patriarchal priesthood scribe for the Bible. This Hesiod writing is important because it actually relates information about the lands and peoples, their state of affairs prior to the patriarchal takeovers that Hesiod relates as the men of bronze, the time of warfare and heroes. Archaeologically, this pattern of events and metal usage is confirmed, though Hesiod would not have had many written records from the golden age, to reference. Since Hesiod is living in the dark ages that were caused by the Proto-Indo-European patriarchal takeovers, he does not have a frame of reference for any pantheon prior to the patriarchal Olympians and therefore, as all new religions do, ascribes beginnings / creations to the newcomers. This patriarchal wave is further explained in the Clan Mother to Goddess section below.

 

The biblical passage is that of Daniel 2, the supposed dream by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babel. The dream is about a statue of various metals on the body parts. Daniel interprets what these metals mean, representing different kingdoms that are, and will come to pass. The problem is, the book of Daniel is set in the time period of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, 605 to 562 BCE, yet the book of Daniel was written much later, about 165 BCE in Aramaic. This is not the study to provide all the linguistic, historical and archaeological evidence to this fact. The book states that the head was gold, representing the Babylonians. The chest and arms were silver, representing the Medes and Persians. The belly and thighs were bronze, representing the Hellenes [Greeks] and the legs of iron and feet mixed of iron and clay, representing a worse, inferior government, strong, crushing and breaking everything. This is the time period the book is actually written and for self preservation, does not name the then current Roman government. In chapter 7, another dream is provided about 4 beasts, each again representing the governments. The 4th beast was more terrifying and frightening, very powerful with large iron teeth that crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot anything that was left.

 

The following Hesiod account, written over 600 years before the book of Daniel, is in Works and Days, verses 106-201, based on the translation by Dorothea Wender.

 

“And now with art and skill I’ll summarize another tale, which you should take to heart, of how both gods and men began the same. The gods, who live on Olympia, first fashioned a golden race of mortal men; these lived in the reign of Kronos, king of heaven, and like the gods they lived with happy hearts untouched by work or sorrow. Vile old age never appeared, but always lively-limbed, far from all ills, they feasted happily. Death came to them as sleep, and all good things were theirs; ungrudgingly, the fertile earth gave up her fruits unasked. Happy to be at peace, they lived with every want supplied, rich in their flocks, dear to the blessed gods.

 

And then this race was hidden in the ground. But still they live as spirits of the earth, holy and good, guardians who keep off harm, givers of wealth; this kingly right is heirs. The gods, who live on Olympia, next fashioned a lesser, silver race of men; unlike the gold in stature or in mind. A child was raised at home a hundred years and played, huge baby, by his mother’s side. When they were grown and reached their prime, they lived brief, anguished lived, from foolishness, for they could not control themselves, but recklessly injured each other and forsook the gods; they did not sacrifice, as all tribes must, but left the holy altars bare. And, angry, Zeus the son of Kronos, hid this race away, for they dishonored the Olympian gods. (This passage represents the Indo-European patriarchal perspective of a matrilineal society, where the children were considered the offspring of the mother and were raised in equalitarian, agriculture societies, not warfare, weaponry training of the hero worshipping PIE cultures. These agriculture cultures, which seemed foolish in PIE eyes, did not worship gods as the PIE cultures did, did not sacrifice to gods, as the PIE cultures did. These cultures were invaded and wiped out or partly assimilated by the PIE cultures bringing the Olympian religion to the Greek territories. An archaeological example of their entering the territory of Kenaan is that of the marked increase in shrines and temples. “In contrast to the Early Bronze Age, which produced very few examples of shrines and temples, the Middle Bronze Age has provided many.” Canaanites, Tubb, pg. 67. This is the same pattern that occurs archaeologically in all these invaded cultures.)

 

The earth then hid this second race, and they are called the spirits of the underworld, inferior to the gold, but honored, too. And Zeus the father made a race of bronze, sprung from the ash tree, worse than the silver race, but strange and full of power. And they loved the groans and violence of war; they ate no bread; their hearts were flinty hard; they were terrible men; their strength was great, their arms and shoulder and limbs invincible. Their weapons were of bronze, their houses bronze; their tools were bronze; black iron was not known. They died by their own hands, and nameless, went to Hades’ chilly house. Although they were great soldiers, they were captured by black Death, and left the shining brightness of the sun.

 

But when this race was covered by the earth, the son of Kronos made another, fourth, upon the fruitful land, more just and good, a godlike race of heroes, who are called the demi-gods – the race before our own. Foul wars and dreadful battles ruined some; some sought the flocks of Oedipus, and died in Kadmus’ land, at seven-gated Thebes; and some, who crossed the open sea in ships, for fair-haired Helen’s sake, were killed at Troy. These men were covered up in death, but Zeus the son of Kronos gave the others life and homes apart from mortals, at Earth’s edge. The whirling Ocean, on the Blessed Isles. Three times a year the blooming, fertile earth bears honeyed fruits for them, the happy ones. And Kronos is their king, far from the gods, for Zeus released him from his bonds, and these, the race of heroes, well deserve their fame.

 

Far-seeing Zeus then made another race, the fifth, who live now on the fertile earth. I wish I were not of this race, that I had died before, or had not yet been born. This is the race of iron. Now, by day, men work and grieve unceasingly; by night, they waste away and die. The gods will give harsh burdens, but will mingle in some good; Zeus will destroy this race of mortal men, when babies shall be born with graying hair. Father will have no common bond with son, neither will guest with host, nor friend with friend; the brother-love of past days will be gone. Men will dishonor parents, who grow old too quickly, and will blame and criticize with cruel words. Wretched and godless, they refusing to repay their bringing up, will cheat their aged parents of their due. Men will destroy the towns of other men. The just, the good, the man who keeps his word will be despised, but men will praise the bad and insolent. Might will be right, and shame will cease to be. Men will do injury to better men by speaking crooked words and adding lying oaths; and everywhere harsh-voiced and sullen-faced and loving harm, envy will walk along with wretched men. Last, to Olympia from the broad-pathed Earth, hiding their loveliness in robes of white, to join the gods, abandoning mankind, will go the spirits Aidos and Nemesis [Righteousness and Shame]. And only grievous troubles will be left for men, and no defense against our wrongs.”

 

According to author Robert Graves (The Greek Myths), the silver race is that of the matrilineal culture; the third race that of the earliest Hellenic invaders who were the Bronze Age herdsmen; the fourth race were the Mycenaean warrior kings and the fifth race were the Dorian invaders of the 12th century BCE, who used iron weapons.

 

Not only does this Hesiod account show a basis for the Daniel passages, but it relates what archaeologists have been uncovering, patriarchal Proto-Indo-European cultures, that came in various waves between 4000 and 2500 BCE, from the western Eurasian Steppe territories and spread west into Old Europe; south, following the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, all the way down to the Harappan territory (modern day northern India), and southwest into ancient Anatolia. While many culture migrations and invasions may not be of interest to readers, at least from a biblical point of view, these invasions and subsequent migrations are very important because they form the patriarchal Proto-Indo-European base that the Tanak (Old Testament) and New Testament are founded on. Yes, the Tanak (Jewish Bible) is a document in a Semitic language, but these invaders adopted the proto writing and scripts of those they invaded, which is why there are so many similarities in Indo-European languages that have very distinctive script styles. On top of this factor, according to the Tanak, the northern and southern tribes of Israel were carted off into captivity by the Assyrians and Babylonian, both of which are Indo-European based invader cultures, smack in Indo-European Aryan territory. Much was assimilated by these Semites in captivity. Then there is the question of the Hebrew tribes origins, which is a whole other study. Proto-Indo-European culture is the patriarchal religious foundation of their religion,  caste systems and laws that are necessary to understanding this book that several major religions hold as the word of God. The scope of this subject is much too large for this particular study, needing to be its own study, but I will try and present, as condensed as possible, the basics of this PIE culture and the ramifications it has on the bible. For those of you who are familiar with your bibles, you will quickly see the origins of many of the accounts in the bible, many of which deal with their deities and mythology.

 

 

 

Before I get into any quotes and information, I want to clarify something right up front, there are some writers, scholars and even archaeologists, when discussing the subject of the Proto-Indo-European culture, especially in light of the invasions on their neighbors, who frequently refer to the neighbors as Goddess cultures, Earth Mother worshippers, etc. There is absolutely no proof, not textually, not archaeologically,  that these cultures which were matrilineal and agriculturally based, worshipped a goddess. This is explained further on in the Clan Mother to Goddess section, but I want to give you a heads up now, when you see these terms and phrases in the quotes, ignore it and read instead – matrilineal agricultural culture.  This will all become clear very shortly.

 

Below is a map, showing the western portion of the Eurasian Steppe territory (modern day Ukraine and southwestern Russia). This territory, east of the Dnieper River, around the Sea of Azov and around the Caucasus Mountains that lie between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea is the birth place of a culture that has come to be called Proto-Indo-European by some archaeologist, anthropologists and linguists. Some archaeologists also called these peoples by various characteristics, such as Kurgans, because of their distinctive kurgan burials or Yamna culture. Some had previously just referred to them as Aryans. Other archaeologists and anthropologists have referred to them by the modern day territorial term of Eurasian Steppe Dwellers or Pontic Steppe Dwellers. Regardless of what they are called, they have a very distinctive culture and religion, which will be explained below.

 

 

 

 

“In Old Europe the physical and cultural disruption of the Neolithic societies that worshipped the Goddess also seems to begin in the fifth millennium B.C.E., with what Gimbutas calls Kurgan Wave Number One. ‘Thanks to the growing number of radiocarbon dates, it is now possible to trace several migratory waves of steppe pastoralists or “Kurgan” people that swept across prehistoric Europe,’ reports Gimbutas. These repeated incursions and ensuing culture shocks and population shifts were concentrated in three major thrusts: Wave No. 1, at c. 4300-4200 B.C.E.; Wave No. 2, c. 3400-3200 B.C.E.; and Wave No. 3, c. 3000-2800 B.C.E. (dates are calibrated to dendrochronology).

 

The Kurgans were what scholars call Indo-European or Aryan language-speaking stock,… In fact, they were not the original Europeans, as they swarmed down on that continent from the Asiatic and European northeast. Nor were they even originally Indian, for there was another people, the Dravidians, who lived in India before the Aryan invaders conquered them.

 

But the term Indo-European has stuck. It characterizes  a long line of invasions from the Asiatic and European north by nomadic peoples. Ruled by powerful priests and warriors, they brought with them their male gods of war and mountains. And as Aryans in India, Hittites and Mittani in the Fertile Crescent, Luwians in Anatolia, Kurgans in eastern Europe, Achaeans and later Dorians in Greece, they gradually imposed their ideologies and ways of life on the lands and peoples they conquered.” The Chalice and the Blade, pg. 44. “The brotherhood of Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus recalls that of the Vedic male trinity – Mitra, Varuna, and Indra – who appear in a Hittite treaty dated to about 1380 B.C. – but in this myth they seem to represent three successive Hellenic invasions, commonly known as Ionian, Aeolian, and Achaean. The pre-Hellenic worshippers of the Mother-goddess assimilated the Ionians, who became the children of Io; tamed the Aeolians; but were overwhelmed by the Achaeans.” The Greek Myths, pg. 43.

 

“Debates have long raged over the precise location of the homeland from which the Indo-Europeans dispersed (for a review of the controversy see Mallory 1973). Over the last two decades, consideration of archaeological evidence has been of prime importance in this debate, as various scholars have sought to match the remains of various peoples of prehistory to that is posited for Proto-Indo-European civilization on the strength of linguistic paleotology. Of the arguments which have been advanced, those which have won the broadest acceptance are those of Marija Gimbutas, who has identified what she calls the ‘Kurgan Culture,’ dating to the middle of the fifth millennium B.C., and located in the land north of the Black Sea, including such groups as the Jamna (also spelled Yamna) culture of the Ural-Volga area north of the Caspian, and the Srednij Stof II culture north of the Black Sea (see Gimbutas 1963, 1970, 1973, and 1974; Mallory 1976-77; Thomas 1982). Here, Gimbutas has located a culture area which very closely parallels the known features of P-I-E society, and she has also suggested that the dispersion of Indo-Europeans into Europe and Anatolia occurred in three great waves of invasions during the fourth and third millennia B. C., through which they overthrew the civilizations which had earlier flourished there (Gimbutas 1977, 1980).” Death, War and Sacrifice, Bruce Lincoln, pgs. 3,4.

 

One of the major characteristics of these Proto-Indo-Europeans is that they are patrilineal and patriarchal in nature. This means that they trace their descent, which is crucial to them, through the patri/pater – father and the form of government is rule by the patri/pater. There are no partnerships, no equalitarian rule, no council of elders. The father is the king, chief warrior and priest of their religion. The Proto-Indo-Europeans languages all stress gender, which is a crucial element to get their gender bias across. This brings us to another major characteristic, that of a warrior society with all the weaponry. The Proto-Indo-Europeans worshipped war and incorporated that into their daily living, which means that “might makes right”. These people were not family oriented, concerned for the welfare of the clan, the community. They were not major artists and craftsmen, nor were they agriculturalists, thinking ahead, saving, storing. They took from others, first tribes directly around them, then other cultures that surrounded them (think Star Trek Borg).

 

“The picture which emerges is one of a semi-settled pastoral people, whose wealth consisted of relatively large herds, including domesticated sheep, pigs, goats, and, most important of all, cattle. Horses were also highly important, especially when yoked to chariots and used in warfare, while cattle remained the normal draft animals for peaceful purposes, the source of most foods, and the measure of wealth. Some agriculture seems to have been practiced, although this was much less important and prestigious an activity than herding or war. The pursuit of warfare, especially the raiding of livestock from neighboring non-Indo-European peoples, was facilitated not only by use of chariots but also by an elaborate weaponry built on a single metal, most probably copper or bronze. 

 

Such weaponry and martial mobility combined to give the Proto-Indo-Europeans military supremacy over most other peoples of prehistory. Their desire for ever larger herds and for more pastureland motivated war and raiding on even larger scales, and ultimately led to the expansion of the Indo-European peoples from the original P-I-E homeland, until Indo-Europeans possessed and ruled over most of the territory from Iceland to India. In Europe, only the Finno-Ugrian peoples (Finns, Lapps (actually they prefer Sami), Estonians, Hungarians) and the Basques were not subjected to Indo-European conquest, while in Asia, the great civilizations of the Ancient Near East- Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and others – were able to resist for the most part, although certain Indo-European groups, most notably the Mitanni and the Kassite’s, were able to establish successful empires for a time. “Death, War and Sacrifice, pgs. 2, 3.

 

The archaeological and genetic evidence shows that these “neighbors” were matrilineal in birth lines (further information in the Mother Creator section). There is no evidence that these agriculture, artist, craftsmen cultures ever had a matriarchy (mother ruled), but rather were equalitarian oriented. The agriculturalists did not build fortified villages and cities. They did not build temples. They did not build funeral tombs or have stelae depicting war victories. These people were primarily peaceful, raised livestock in small amounts, depicted nature in their artwork, were very knowledgeable about the plant life around them, had homes that were equal in structure (there are no homes that stand out as being the homes of those with high status). These agriculturalists had developed weaving, metallurgy, ceramics, etc. “ ‘Old Europeans never tried to live in inconvenient places such as high, steep hills, as did the later Indo-Europeans who built hill forts in inaccessible places and frequently surrounded their hill sites with cyclopean stone walls,’ reports Gimbutas. ‘Old European locations were chosen for their beautiful setting, good water and soil, and availability of animal pastures. Vinca, Butmir, Petresti, and Cucuteni settlement areas are remarkable for their excellent views of the environs, but not for their defensive value. The characteristic absence of fortifications and of thrusting weapons speaks for the peaceful character of most of these art-loving peoples.’ “ The Chalice and the Blade, pg. 13.

 

“Remarkably, archaeological surveys show a blank in the Balkan uplands after this: No permanent settlements can be dated in the Balkans between 3900 and 3300 BC. At Hotnitsa in north-central Bulgaria, the burned houses of the final Copper Age occupation contained human skeletons interpreted as massacred inhabitants. The final Copper Age destruction level at Yunatsite, west of Karanovo, contained forty-six human skeletons, also interpreted as a massacre. Balkan copper mines abruptly ceased production – copper-using cultures in central Europe and the Carpathians switched to Serbian ores about 4000 BC, at the beginning of the Bodrogkeresztur culture in Hungary. Metal objects now were made using new arsenical bronze alloys, and were of new types, including new weapons, importantly daggers. People probably still lived in the Balkans, but herds of sheep grazed on the abandoned tells.

 

In the lower Danube Valley, in contrast, there are many post-Gumelnita sites, but the people of the Cernavoda I culture that appeared after about 4000-3800 BC left only a few female figurines, no longer used copper spiral bracelets or Spondylus-shell ornaments, made relatively plain pottery in a limited number of shapes, did not live on tells, and depended as much on stockbreeding as on agriculture. Metallurgy, mining, and ceramic technology declined sharply in both volume and technical skill. Ceramics and metal objects changed markedly in style. ‘We are faced with the complete replacement of a culture,’ Ecgeni Chernykh, the foremost expert on Copper Age metallurgy, said. It was ‘a catastrophe of colossal scope…a complete cultural caesura,’ according to the Bulgarian archaeologist, Henrietta Todorova.” The Lost World of Old Europe, David Anthony, pg. 48.

 

Some archaeologists and anthropologists have speculated that the reason for mass abandonments of settlements was not due to a Proto-Indo-European culture invasion, but due to climate change, which can be proven through dendrochronology, to have been a wee bit hotter and drier than time periods before and after, but there is more to these major cultural changes than a whole culture just packing it up and moving. “Region-wide abandonments of large settlements have been documented archaeologically in other areas, notably in the North American southwest (1100-1400 AD) and in Late Classic Maya sites (700-900 AD) in Mesoamerica. In both regions the abandonments were associated with intense warfare. The kind of climate shift that struck the lower Danube valley about 4200-3800 BC would not have made tell settlements uninhabitable. But it might have intensified conflict and warfare.

 

Settlements of the Cernavoda I type appeared just after the abandonment of the tells in the lower Danube valley. They contain ceramics that exhibit a mixture of steppe technology and indigenous Danubian shapes, and are ascribed to a mixed population of steppe immigrants and people from the tells. It looks like the tell towns of Old Europe fell to warfare, and the immigrants from the steppes were involved-somehow. But the primary causes of the crisis could have included climate change and related agricultural failures, or soil erosion and environmental degradation accumulated from centuries of intensive farming, or internecine warfare over declining timber and copper resources, or some combination of all of those.” The Lost World of Old Europe, David Anthony, pg. 51.

 

“At the core of the invaders’ system was the placing of higher value on the power that takes, rather than gives, life. This was the power symbolized by the ‘masculine’ Blade, which early Kurgan cave engravings show these Indo-European invaders literally worshipped. For in their dominator society, ruled by gods – and men – of war, this was the supreme power…’The old European and Kurgan cultures were the antithesis of one another. The Old European were sedentary horticulturalists prone to live in large well-planned townships. The absence of fortifications and weapons attests the peaceful coexistence of this egalitarian civilization that was probably matrilinear (lineage follows mother’s line) and matrilocal (families lived at/in clan mother’s location) . The Kurgan system was composed of patrilinear, socially stratified, herding units which lived in small villages or seasonal settlements while grazing their animals over vast areas. One economy is based on farming, the other on stock breeding and grazing, produced two contrasting ideologies. The Old European belief system focused on the agricultural cycle of birth, death, and regeneration, embodied in the feminine principle, a Mother Creatrix. The Kurgan ideology, as known from comparative Indo-European mythology, exalted virile, heroic warrior gods of the shining and thunderous sky. Weapons are nonexistent in Old European imagery; whereas the dagger and battle-axe are dominant symbols of the Kurgans, who like all historically known Indo-Europeans, glorified the lethal power of the sharp blade.’ “ The Chalice and the Blade, pg.48.

 

“Explicit pictorial representations of the Bronze Age gods are extremely rare. While they appear to have existed in both male and female form, the former are less bound by the traditions of the previous era than the latter. Rather, the male gods appear to belong to a new era in which metal and the warrior played a dominant role. The attribution of terracotta figurines to the religious sphere as representations of gods or worshippers must rely on subtle nuances, whereas the religious character of monumental work such as the stelai and menhir statues particularly of southwest Europe and the entire Alpine region is beyond doubt.” “A thematic change implies cultural influences coming from the Balkans and extending progressively to the Alpine regions, France and Spain. Other phenomena taking place in this context include the spread of copper metallurgy, with weapon prototypes originating in eastern Europe, and the introduction of the earliest wheeled vehicles, ox-draen carts of similar origin. The Chalcolithic and Bronze Ages are marked by the emergence of religious veneration of weapons and metal objects, which are depicted with great frequency and possess special significance.” Gods and Heroes of the European Bronze Age, pgs. 133, 134, 143.

 

Below are several images of the weaponry exhibited on stelae and menhirs from a number of territories that began or became Proto-Indo-European cultures.  1. The Kernosovka Stele from the Ukraine territory, about 4500 BCE. 2. The Algund Menhir from Lagunda, Italy, 3500 BCE (line drawing next to photo – notice the chariot below the daggers, being drawn by two stick figure animals) . 3. Arco I Stele from Trento, Italy, 3000 BCE.  4. Solana de Cabanas, Iberia (Southern Spain), 1200 BCE.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

All of these stelae are similar in depicting the warrior chief/king with his weapons and chariots to those in the Mesopotamia and Anatolian areas that occur later, with much more detail and skill, depicting kings slaying enemies and prisoners: the Ur Standard 2600 BCE and the Naram Sin Victory Stele from Susa 2239 BCE.

 

 

 

 

Then in different waves, from 4000 – 2500 BCE, you see archaeological evidence of sudden invasions and occupations of these agriculturalists by the Proto-Indo-European (PIE) cultures. Some of the villages are burned and rebuilt in the fashion of the PIE cultures, with walls, temples and larger structures for the elites. The women and children often are kept alive and used as slaves. “Linguistic evidence for the fact that women were enslaved prior to men is also suggestive: The Akkadian cuneiform sign for ‘female slave’ was ‘woman’ plus ‘mountain,’ which seems to indicate the foreign origin of female slaves. In fact, most of the slaves came from the eastern mountains, probably the area of Subarea. According to one authority, the sign for ‘slave woman’ appears earlier than that for ’male slave’. This would seem to speak for the fact that women, mostly foreign war captives, were enslaved before men.” The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner, pg. 86.  Burial tombs (kurgans) are then found and the weaponry that is so common to the PIE invaders is found in the tombs. Some of the villages show mass graves of the native men, with later generations showing that the genetics of the women were the natives and the men were the PIE invaders. Not all villages were burned and the men killed. Some of them were subjected to PIE rule and became servants. This is another characteristic of the Proto-Indo-Europeans, they have a tripartite caste system: King/Priest, Warriors and Servants/Workers, sometimes a 4 part system where the kings have become a inherited system, second priests, third warriors and finally the native workers . The servant/workers generally come from the native population that they have taken over. In each of these areas that the PIE culture encroached, there is always archaeological evidence for a technical decline, or dark ages following the invasion. After they take over an area, they create a monopoly on the metals necessary to produce their weaponry and wealth. Power to dominate and destroy replaces the aspect of nurturing and support of the community. The details of art then disappear for awhile, since these PIE warriors do not produce the art. Their art is war- raping, pillaging and conquering.

 

An example of this PIE culture, even within the Semitic language base, is that of the Akkadians, mentioned earlier. The Akkadians came and conquered the Sumerian culture to the south. Sargon, king of Akkad, invaded and assimilated the Sumerians in the 2nd millennium BCE. To justify his invading and establishing his kingship over the matrilineal Sumerians, an account of his birth, known as his Birth Legend, was written. Not all the lines of this account survive, but below is enough to give you a taste of the invader, as well as the foundation of the better known biblical account of Mosheh (Moses). “Sargon, the mighty king of Akkade, am I. My mother was an en-priestess (?), my father I never knew. My father’s brother inhabits the highlands. My city is Azupiranu, which lies on the bank of the Euphrates. She conceived me, my en-priestess mother, in concealment she gave me birth. She set me in a wicker basket, with bitumen she made my opening water-tight, she cast me down into the river from which I could not ascend. The river bore me, to Aqqi the water-drawer it brought me. Aqqi the water-drawer, when lowering his bucket, did lift me up. Aqqi the water-drawer did raise me as his adopted son, Aqqi the water-drawer did set met to his gardening. While I was still a gardener, Istar (Ishtar) did grow fond of me, And so for… years I did reign as king, the black-headed people (Sumerians), I did rule and govern. (Goodnick Westenholz 1997, pp. 37, 39)” Creation Stories of the Middle East, pgs. 49, 50. Sargon reigned from 2270 to 2215 BCE, well before the time of an Egyptian born Mosheh (1200 BCE), which by the way is not a Hebrew word, but has always been related as meaning “drawn from the water”. The accounts written in the Tanak, were compiled and edited at various stages, by numerous scribes, but nothing on a birth of Mosheh appears prior to the accounts related by Ezra, a Jewish priestly scribe, who coincidentally led Jewish exiles from Babylon, to Jerusalem in 459 BCE.

 

The religious system of the PIE culture involves a male Sky God, who wields thunderbolts and controls the weather. This PIE deity, was known as dieus phater (sky father). Eventually the father portion of the name was dropped and Dieus became written a variety of ways, depending on the dialect – Dieus, Deus, Dyaus, Siu, Zeus. He is also a solar deity with the association of fire and light. This Sky God is the ultimate father, who gives the authority to the human males to be king, who also become gods when they die.  There are sacrifices necessary to placate the gods, both human and animal and these occur in the kurgan/tomb burials as well. Some of the human sacrifices also include those of a son of the king/chief, a common motif in PIE mythology. Horses, dogs, boar/pig and cattle/oxen are common sacred animals to these pastoralists. Cattle, sheep and cattle thieving are a central element in the PIE mythology, generally involving brothers, often twins. They even excuse their stealing of livestock, by saying that those they stole from did not know how to properly sacrifice, much in the same way that the bible states that the wealth of the wicked will be given to the wise.

 

“The central concerns which are voiced in this myth are the eternal themes of power and wealth. To begin, it is asserted that cattle – which constituted the fundamental measure of wealth, means of production, and unit of exchange in I-E society (Schrader and Nehring 1917-23, 2:254-63) – properly belong to the Indo-European people, falling into the non-I-E hands only as the result of theft. Theft is condemned here, as it consistently was in I-E law, primarily for its reliance on stealth and treachery, and it is set in straight-forward  contrast to raiding, which – far from being condemned – was heartily endorsed. Raiding is presented as a heroic action, sanctioned by divine approval, hedged with ritual, and open in its use of force to regain that which rightfully belongs to the Indo-European warrior and/or his people. Throughout Indo-European history, ‘Third’ and his various reflexes ever remained the model for I-E warriors, who cast themselves in his image – raiding, plundering, and killing their non-I-E neighbors, convinced all the while that they were engaged in a sacred and rightful activity.” Death, War and Sacrifice, pg. 11. “Every warrior needed to act as ‘Third’, fearlessly raiding on all foreign enemies – who were seen as thieves and subhuman monsters like ‘Serpent’ – whom they killed or subjugated, and whose wealth they ruthlessly seized, secure in the belief that no livestock could ever rightfully have belonged to any non-Indo-Europeans but must have been stolen from them.” Death, War and Sacrifice, pg. 12.

 

When the PIE peoples came in contact with horses and they, or another culture that they assimilated, had them tamed, the horse became an excellent method for their raiding, and then the cart was adapted and became their war chariot. As with most things that these Proto-Indo-Europeans came in contact with, they adapted it to a militaristic application. The double headed ax that was common to the agriculturalists and associated with the planting in artwork, as well as with the women, becomes a weapon of war in the male PIE hands. The metal smith god becomes very necessary in their mythology in the production of weapons of war for their conquests, ever in search of increasing wealth and status.

 

The Proto-Indo-European culture involves a very patriarchal government. The ancestral father establishes the line, which is then passed down to the eldest son. The king/priests establish their laws, which are very common in their cultures. Raiding and warfare are glorified and excused by rights. As writing becomes more common, most of which is syllabic (adopted symbols from the invaded cultures), the writing becomes the domain of the priest kings. Other castes are not allowed to be scribes, write or often, to possess the writings, to further control the people, especially the subjugated native workers. The laws are all about extending the domain of the king/chiefs, priests – the upper caste and increasing their wealth. The food that is produced then becomes the property of the king and priesthood, in the form of taxation.

 

Their mythology incorporates the mother elements that it cannot eradicate, but only marginally. They are very much into re-mything (taking an existing history, myth or legend and applying it to themselves), revisionist history, if you will. Where the other cultures had strong women, often depicted as the creators, which is natural if you view that it is the body of a women that gives birth, PIE cultures assimilate the older legends into their own, having the main male warrior killing the mother, sometimes listed as his own, and taking rule. While most of these oldest myths credited the mother with the creation of the alphabets, later it was that of the main god or his son, also a priest. When most of the mother deities are ascribed as being concerned for the welfare of the clan, village, city, even epitaphs such as the caregiver of widows and orphans, later the care of the people is by the main male deity, but not as much for provision as that of protection from other nations in warfare and training them for war.  When the oldest accounts credit the mother as being the mother of crafts and skills, later these skills are parceled out to other male deities. Many of these PIE myths bear witness to the invasion accounts. The rape accounts of a cultures mythology, such as that of the Aegean Sea area with Zeus, are actual accounts of the raping of the agricultural, peaceful cultures when the Indo-European cultures invaded, creating a new pantheon of deities, much as the Olympian gods killing off the Titans or the Aesir attacking the Vanir in the more northern European cultures, with the archaeology bearing witness. Some of the male deities try to assimilate the creator aspect as well, even to giving birth to gods, which goes against nature, such as Athene being born from the head of Zeus. The women in their religions then become violent, whores and prostitutes, diminished, subservient, much as they view women in their culture. And if the women manage to maintain any vestiges of independence, they are made out to be abnormal, sexless, androgynous, warrior goddesses who do the bidding of the patriarch, often portrayed as blood thirsty. Women are no different than animals in PIE cultures, just property, first of the father/master, then the husband/master, to be killed, sacrificed, raped, sold or given at their choosing, whether they are daughters that are born, wives/concubines they take or servants they use.

 

Dating and numerical systems are also a large part of the PIE culture. The importance of the numerals shows in the Indo-European linguistics of a number of the daughter and sister languages, representing chosen one, cattle-tribute, calculation, calendar, arrange, account, explanation. The calculation of time and establishing calendars is representative of the emphasis in the languages need to have a linear reckoning, a sequential order. The kings lists are part of this system, and the begats of Genesis, show not only who begat who, but how much time elapsed between each begetting. Calendar systems were advanced and altered through the kings administrations with the scribes and priests, who also calculated and recorded the tribute due the chief/kings.

 

Guest/host is a frequent relationship that is portrayed in the Tanak. Guest and host are “cognates, derived from one Proto-Indo-European root (ghos-ti-). (A ’ghost’ in English was originally a visitor or guest.) The two social roles opposed in English guest and host were originally two reciprocal aspects of the same relationship. The late Proto-Indo-European guest-host relationship required that ‘hospitality’ (from the same root through Latin hospes ‘foreigner, guest’) and ‘friend-ship (keiwos-) should be extended by hosts to guests (both ghos-ti-), in the knowledge that the receiver and giver of ‘hospitality’ could later reverse roles. The social meaning of these words was then more demanding than modern customs would suggest. The guest-host relationship was bound by oaths and sacrifices so serious that Homer’s warriors, Glaukos and Diomedes, stopped fighting and presented gifts to each other when they learned that their grandfathers had shared a guest-host relationship. This mutual obligation to provide ‘hospitality’ functioned as a bridge between social units (tribes, clans) that had ordinarily restricted these obligations to their kin or co-residents (heros-). Guest-host relationships would have been very useful in a mobile herding economy, as a way of separating people who were moving through your territory with your assent from those who were unwelcome, unregulated, and therefore unprotected.” The Horse, the Wheel and Language, David Anthony, pg. 303.

 

Burials of the PIE cultures show horses, cattle, wheels and chariots, armor, weaponry such as projectile points, daggers, maces, axes and large amounts of precious metals and stones – wealth, all to provide for the chief in the next life. The ceramics included in burials are generally those of the neighboring tribes, until they take an area over and control production of the ceramics. Their graves are not those of a family, but those of the king/chiefs. He will be laid on his side in a flexed position with all of the articles of his wealth. There are a number of these kurgan/tombs that have sacrificed slaves with him as well. This included the women, who were slaves in the PIE culture, not wives of equal status. Some of the burials have had about 40-50 servants sacrificed, mostly women. Red ochre is generally found scattered on the males body. Funeral meals are a large part of the burial process and the son is a key figure in this death culture, maintaining the grave of the father and carrying on his line. Fear of death and death personified is very evident in PIE religion.

 

While some scholars prefer to look at these Proto-Indo-Europeans as being simply migrants who were establishing “cultural bridges” with neighboring cultures and establishing Patron/Vassal relations with them, coincidentally making themselves as the patron in all the cases, I feel that view is sheer bullshit. For a culture to worship warfare, superiority, and violence and just happen to always make themselves as the patron in their so called “relations” is beyond naïve. What group of people would willingly submit themselves to be the oppressed vassals of people, not just once, but in repeated villages and cultures? And I guess those mass graves of the native men were the native men just being overwhelmed with the manly presence of a superior race of men and removing themselves from the gene pool? Yeah, and the Jews of WWII just loaded themselves on to cattle cars and willingly walked into the gas chambers to be agreeable. And the Native Americans all just decided that they preferred being herded onto tiny reservations for a change of pace. Bullshit. Granted, there may be some merging of cultures that was not so violent, conquering and invasive, but I would have to say that by and large, the evidence proves otherwise.

 

A Greek account of an example of this total change in a culture is from the Argonautica (3rd century BCE). Concerning Deucalion’s birth it states, “There (Achaea) is a land encircled by lofty mountains, rich in sheep and in pasture, where Prometheus, son of Iapetus, begat goodly Deucalion, who first founded cities and reared temples to the immortal gods, and first ruled over men. This land the neighbors who dwell around called Haemonia (later named Thessaly).”  This is the pattern of the PIE occupations, conquering, ruling, temple erection. Haemon (meaning bloody and who the land was previously named after) was the son of Pelasgus.  Pelasgus was the eponymous ancestor of the Pelasgians, who established the later worship of the Dodonaean Zeus, Hephaestus, the Kabeiri and other divinities.  Asius of Samos states that Pelasgus was the first man, born of earth, to create a race of men. Perhaps he was the first man born in the territory they conquered from the natives. The Aegimius, Fragment 8: Tribes, Etym. Gen.: “Hesiod (says there were so called) because they settled in three groups: ‘And they all were called the Three-fold people, because they divided in three the land far from their country.’ For (he says) that three Hellenic tribes settled in Crete, the Pelasgi, Achaeans and Dorians. And these have been called Three-fold People.” Zeus, the PIE deity, was mixed with the native mother goddess of the locals, who came to be known as Dione (also associated with Gaia the earth mother) in the territory of Dodona, west of Thessaly. This oracle of Dodona is said to be the oldest Hellenic oracle. Dione is simply the Indo-European female  form of Zeus, meaning deity. Later, in Roman times, the “name” came to be that of Diana. So this earth mother of the territory, became usurped by PIE invaders and the assimilating and naming the mother Dione, added Zeus to the mix, making her his consort. This was the early stages of the PIE religion in the Hellenic territories. 

 

Deucalion’s son was Hellen, where the country name Hellenes (Greece) gets its origin. Thessaly is the site where the great battle between the former group of gods, the Titans, and the newer invading pantheon of gods, the Olympians, was fought, according to Olympian mythology, which is named the Titanomachy. This battle shows a newer wave of an Indo-European system supplanting the prior Indo-European system that had blended with the previous natives, referred to as Pelasgians.  Thessaly took its name from Thessalus the king, a son of Jason (of the Argonauts). The name Thessaly, is of ancient Illyrian origin and of uncertain meaning. Illyrian is an ancient Indo-European language. 

 

Jason was the son of Aeson, the son of Kretheus, the founder of Iolcus, the ancient city of Thessaly. A younger half-brother of Aeson usurps the throne and imprisons Aeson, who sends Jason into hiding to be raised by Chiron. Jason later returns for the throne of his father Aeson stating, “It is not right for us to resort to swords of sharp bronze or spears in dividing the great honors of our ancestors. I leave you the flocks, and the golden herds of cattle, and all the fields, which you keep, having stolen them from my ancestors, feeding fat your wealth; and it does not grieve me that they provide for your household beyond all measure. But as for the royal scepter and the throne, in which Aeson son of Kretheus once sat, and dispensed straight justice for a nation of horsemen: without any distress between us, release these to me, lest some more disturbing evil arise from them." -Pindar, Pythian Odes 4.149.

 

This clearly is an account of the early Indo-European invaders (about to have a civil war with one another), pastoral horsemen, who set themselves up as rulers of men, found cities and build temples to their gods. Thessaly, in Macedon territory, is home to later well known conquerors Philip the II of Macedon (382-336 BCE), the father of Alexander the Great.

 

As I stated, this is a very large subject, covering thousands of years and many cultures. It is difficult to condense down to a very small section of this study. This subject requires its own study (another book), to do it the justice it deserves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me preface this section by stating that I am in no way advocating a goddess religion, as opposed to the biblical patriarchal religion. I am advocating the search for the truth. I am pointing out the PIE elements that created both goddesses and gods; pointing out facts that come into play in the Bible, both portions, involving the aspect of women, either from those that are the mother in a family unit, clan mother, tribe mother or what became goddesses. We can not understand what all is taking place in this book, without the proper foundation, whether that is history, linguistics, archaeology, etc.

 

 

A number of scholars have stated how difficult it is, in prehistory times (recorded history), to determine what was religion, from what was a cultures everyday way of life. When all you have are artifacts, artwork, some symbols, how can you tell if a jar was used daily or if that daily use was also ritual? In most cases, you cant. There are many images that have been found from Old Europe, ancient Anatolia area, the Middle East and the Aegean territories, which predate a written history and do not have inscriptions. These images are of women, particularly women that are pregnant or nursing, women who have borne children and are not so thin and firm anymore. “The pervasiveness of the veneration of the Mother-Goddess in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods has been confirmed by archaeological data. Marija Gimbutas reports that approximately 30,000 miniature sculptures in clay, marble, bone, copper, and gold are presently known from a total of 3000 sites in southeastern Europe alone and that these testify to the communal worship of the Mother-Goddess. Gimbutas shows, by means of archaeological evidence, that the Neolithic cultural symbols survived into the third millennium B. C. in the Aegean area and into the second millennium B. C. in Crete…We find such a figure in the lowest layers of the excavations of Catal Huyuk, at the level of the seventh millennium B. C., in the form of the pregnant, the birthing goddess…Similar figurines have been found in sites in the Dom valley of Russia, in Iraq, Anatolia, in Ninevah, Jericho, and in Southern Mesopotamia.” The Creation of Patriarchy, pgs. 146, 147. “Thus, in surreal assemblages which bring evidence of the world of the imagination, there are ideas of fertility, of maternity, of royalty and of being the mistress of wild animals. Here are all the traits of the Mother-Goddess who dominates the oriental pantheon right up to the time of the male-dominated monotheism of Israel.” The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture, pgs. 29, 31.

 

 Unfortunately, many men (archaeologists, anthropologists, scholars) automatically designated these images as goddesses, as opposed to later images of known male deities with inscriptions and temples. Some of these images were called Venus figurines, after the Roman goddess of love, obviously associating them with fertility. Yet, those images cannot be stated with certainty to be goddesses, as some more modern scholars have conceded and even pointed out. “The term

Paleolithic Venus’ by which the small ancient figurines were first characterized by scholars is obviously an ironic misnomer. ‘Venus,’ commonly understood as the apotheosis of erotic beauty, as personified by the Indo-European Goddess of Dawn and Love, is a concept which by no means fits the prehistoric portrayals of women. Paleolithic as well as subsequent engravings, reliefs, and sculptures frequently represent the female body in forms which seem to us absurdly abstract or absurdly grotesque – so deformed or unrealistically exaggerated as to have been termed ‘monstrous’ by some pre-historians and art historians. Only in the recognition of the presence of a preeminent deity is the class term ‘Venus’ justified.” In All Her Names, Marija Gimbutas, Edited by Joseph Campbell and Charles Muses, pg. 25.  “However, myths as well as names, actions, and functions of different divine forces worshipped by prehistoric people will never be known, regardless of how plausible some ‘interpretations’ might be. Unfortunately, myths of prehistoric societies are often ‘created’ by modern authors. For example, there is almost an obsession with the universality of ‘Mother Goddess’ (Gimbutas 1989) and / or fire/ sun/ fertility (Singh 1993) worship in prehistoric societies. Almost each and every prehistoric artifact which cannot be easily classified as domestic in its function is frequently interpreted in symbolic terms related to religion. …But before we can assume the meaning of prehistoric symbols, many variables, often not related to religion, have to be taken into consideration.” Creation Stories of the Middle East, Ewa Wasilewska, pg. 10.

 

Nor can it be stated that these “goddesses” were in temples or shrines. “In any case, the great majority of Old European figurines have been found in domestic contexts in and around houses. Ordinarily they do not seem to have been separated from the flow of daily activities or segregated in shrines, so looking for shrines is perhaps the wrong way to understand them.” The Lost World of Old Europe, David Anthony, pg. 42. One of the major scholars contributing to the goddess terminology was Marija Gimbutas, an archaeologist, whose works have been quoted by other scholars tremendously. “The term ‘Great Goddess’ does not refer to a female version of the transcendent monotheistic God. Gimbutas defines ‘Goddess,’ in all her manifestations, as a symbol of the unity of all life in Nature. ‘Her power was in water and stone, in tomb and cave, in animals and birds, snakes and fish, hills, trees, and flowers. Hence the holistic and mythopoetic perception of the sacredness and mystery of all there is on Earth.’ The cosmogonic Goddess is ultimately a metaphor, a sacred concept of the immanent Source of all existence rendered, for thousands of years, in female forms.” The Body of Woman as Sacred Metaphor, Joan Marler, pg. 9, 2003. So regardless of Gimbutas intent to find a term or label to apply to these images and cultures, I feel that the term “goddess” did a great disservice to the academic and lay community, by choosing that one. Bear this information in mind when you see the archaeological quotes using the label “goddess”.

 

 

We need to look at these images in a different light, in context with their surroundings, inclusive of the whole culture. Below are some of these pre-history woman images.

 

First Row: France  25,000 BCE (the horn with the 13 marks represents the 13 lunar waxing crescents in the lunar year), Austria 25,000 BCE, Jordan Valley 6000 BCE

Second Row: Catal Huyuk 6000 BCE, Thessaly 5300 BCE, Tisza culture, Hungary 5000 BCE

Third Row: Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, portions of N. Romania, Moldova and part of Ukraine, west  

of the Dnieper River, 5500-3900 BCE

Fourth Row: Romania Neolithic, 2nd and 3rd Vinca culture, in what is Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia, 5000-4500 BCE

Fifth Row: Hamangia Culture, Bulgaria and Romania, 5000-4600, Cyclades, 4500, Sumerian 3600

 

 

   

     

 

 

    

 

        

 

     

 

 

 

As you can see, these common mother images are simple, they are not wearing crowns or with any other imagery that becomes common with the religions shown after the times of the Proto-Indo-European waves, with their establishment of temples and priests. These mother images cover a wide range from Old Europe, through the Aegean Sea area, Ancient Anatolia, down the Jordan Valley and across, down the Tigris/Euphrates area. These territories are not the only ones that have these basic images, but they are the territories that I am dealing with in this study. Whenever a culture evidences the change from the previous native to that of the Proto-Indo-European dominated cultures, these mother images disappear.

 

In dealing with these older cultures, anthropologists have speculated, based on some modern native cultures that were similar, that there was not an understanding that the male had a role in procreation, which has a bearing on how the culture is organized.  “ ‘James Frazer, Margaret Mead and other anthropologists,’ writes Leonard Cottrell, ‘have established that in the very early stages of man’s development, before the secret of human fecundity was understood, before coitus was associated with childbirth, the female was revered as the giver of life. Only women could produce their own kind, and man’s part in this process was not as yet recognized.’

 

According to these authors, as well as many authorities who have written on this subject, in the most ancient human societies people probably did not yet possess the conscious understanding of the relationship of sex to reproduction. Thus the concepts of paternity and fatherhood would not yet have been understood. Though probably accompanied by various mythical explanations, babies were simply born of women.

 

 

If this is the case, then the mother would have been seen as the singular parent of her family, the one producer of the next generation. For this reason it would be natural for children to take the name of their mother’s tribe or clan. Accounts of descent in the family would be kept through the female line, going from mother to daughter, rather than from father to son, as is the custom practiced in patriarchal societies, even today. Such a structure is generally referred to as matrilineal, that is, based upon the mother-kinship. In such cultures (known among many ‘primitive’ peoples even today, as well as in historically attested societies at the time of classical Greece) not only are names, but titles, possessions and territorial rights are passed along through the female line, so that they may be retained within the family clan.” When God Was a Woman, pg. 11,12.

 

“The role of the father in prehistoric antiquity was either not fully understood or not as highly valued as that of the mother. The female body gives evidence of maternity, while the male body does not give evidence of paternity. Further, in many societies females did not mate for life with their male sexual partners. This would lead to an inability to establish paternity, the identity of the exact biological father of a woman’s child. Establishing paternity is one of the cornerstones of the later patriarchal cultures, which insisted on controlling women’s reproductive behavior. This inability to establish paternity has an effect on social structure because, when the biological father cannot be determined, the mother and her kin automatically are the focus of the family, and the family structure is matrilinear.” The living Goddesses, pg. 112.

 

At this point, we need to define three terms that some mistakenly use synonymously: matrilinear, matrilocal and matriarchy. Matrilinear means the ancestry line follows the mater – mother, generally from mother to daughter, which includes inheritance. Matrilocal means that the marriages reside within the mothers kin group or clan, so for the sons to marry, they would leave their mother and be united to their wife’s family. Matriarchy means that the governing is by the mother, as opposed to a patriarchy, where the governing is by the father. You can have a culture that is matrilinear and/or matrilocal, without it being matriarchal. “The case against the universality of prehistoric matriarchy seems quite clearly proven by anthropological evidence. Yet the debate over matriarchy rages on, largely because advocates of the matriarchy as a society where women dominate over men, a sort of inversion of patriarchy, cannot cite anthropological, ethnological, or historical evidence. They rest their case on evidence from myth and religion. Others call matriarchy any kind of societal arrangement in which women hold power over any aspect of public life. Still others include any society in which women have relatively high status. The last definition is so vague as to be meaningless as a category. I think we can truly speak of matriarchy only when women hold power over men, not alongside them, when that power includes the public domain and foreign relations and when women make essential decisions not only for their kinfolk but for the community. In line with my earlier discussion, such power would have to include the power to define the values and explanatory systems of the society and the power to define and control the sexual behavior of men. It may be noted that I am defining matriarchy as the mirror image of patriarchy. Using that definition, I would conclude that no matriarchal society has ever existed.” The Creation of Patriarchy, pg. 31. For all the purposes of this study, my definition of matriarchy is the same as that of Lerner’s above.

 

An example of the origin of the maternal line is in historical accounts of Herodotus. “An Ionian Greek had only to travel down his own coast as far as Lycia to find men reckoning descent through the mother, or to travel back in imagination to the legendary origins of his own people, to find that their pedigrees went often up, not to a god, but to a woman. Olympian society was the same. The consort of Zeus held a very different position from that of the wife in a patriarchal household; and on the Asiatic shore, at least, the gods themselves were traced back to a Mother, not a Father, of them all.” Anthropology and the Classics, pg. 153.

 

There are diverse elements in the bible that point to two different systems, one which has the elements of the mother culture with an equalitarian government – a system where the competent, wise elder ruled, regardless of whether they were a male or female. The other system is the very clear patriarchal Indo-European based system of Father Sky gods, patrilinear lineages, inheritance, and the subjugation of women.

 

This study is not the focus of these two systems (please see the separate study “From Clan Mother To Goddess”), but I would like to point out some very obvious examples so that you will see that there are contradictory elements, that have been edited by numerous scribes, of different beliefs in the bible. Just in the beginning chapters of the book of Bereshiyth [Genesis] we see numerous points. First lets address the aspect of marriage. In a patrilocal system, the man takes a wife and the couple lives within the fathers family unit or at least in a house nearby, if not attached. This is the dominant view of marriage in the Tanak. Yet in Bereshiyth 2:24 states, “therefore, an iysh [husband] will leave behind his father and his mother, and cling to his ishshah [wife]; and they will become one flesh.”  This is the principle of a matrilocal culture that the man leaves his family and is now joined to that of the wife’s clan and tribe. This concept is also affirmed by Yahusha [Jesus] in the New Testament when he is asked about his views on divorce. Matthew 19:4-6, “have you not read that he who created from the beginning, male and female made them? and he said, on this account a man will leave his father and his mother, and will cleave to his wife, and they two will be one flesh. wherefore they were not two, but one body. that, therefore, which elohey has conjoined, man will not separate.”

 

This brings me to the next point, that of creation. In nature, children are born from the woman’s body, but there are patriarchal Proto-Indo-European accounts of creation where the chief male deity takes over the accounts of creation, creating the male first and then the woman. These PIE accounts even have the male gods trying to give birth themselves, such as Zeus giving birth to Athene from his head. In the oldest accounts of creations, later associated with goddesses whose names are variants of mother and grandmother, the creatress (for lack of better words in an Indo-European language that stresses gender) creates pairs of humans from earth, clay, etc, not one gender then another. There are two accounts in Bereshiyth [Genesis]. Bereshiyth 2 gives an account of creation with the man [ha adam] being created prior to the female. The man is created from the dust of the earth. Later, after he has named the animals, YHWH then creates a woman to be a helpmate. This woman is not created from the earth, but from a portion of the man. Chapter 1:26-28, “then elohiym said,  let us make man in our image, according to our likeness;  and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the animals and over all the earth, and over all crawlers  that crawl on the earth.   27 elohiym created the man in his image, in the image of elohiym he created him; male and female he created them.  28 and elohiym blessed them; and elohiym said to them, be fruitful and be many, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over all living, creeping things on the earth.”  In this chapter, the Elohiym creates the man, which reads more like the word mankind because HaAdam is in the plural, not the singular form based on the pronoun associated with it, rather than a single man (other scholars have made this point, that the first uses of HaAdam are more appropriately translated “mankind”. Another example of this usage as mankind, instead of just one man is the Ugaritic Keret epic which refers to El as ab adam, the father of mankind. Male and female He created them and gave them both dominion over all, not just the patriarchal man that the bulk of the Tanak is based on and not the lone man that was placed in a garden to tend it and care for the animals and name them before Chawwah [the female form of the Hebrew word life – chay, Eve] is ever created. Chapter I has the animals created before man and chapter 2 has the animals created after man. One account is patriarchal and the other equal. There are two different accounts here, that have been edited together, but as with the other editings, the seams show.

 

 

While these agriculture cultures were clearly matrilinear and possibly matrilocal as well, there is no evidence that they were matriarchal. The same men that referred to the venus and goddess statues, also blanketly, without evidence referred to the government as being matriarchal, as opposed to patriarchal, but there are other systems of government. It is not an “either, or” option. It is not black or white. Many Native American cultures that are matrilinear and matrilocal have equalitarian rule (both genders jointly). The abundance of these female statues could simply be a representation of the natural life, mother, birth aspect of their society, without them being goddesses or priestesses of a goddess. Unfortunately, there are some women (some of them feminists) frustrated with women being oppressed by thousands of years of patriarchal religion, that have latched on to these figurines and created a whole other religion, where none may exist, as far as a goddess is concerned. These women are part of what is known as the goddess movement. In my eyes, they are just as irresponsible as the men that called these figures goddesses and speculated a matriarchy and priestesses, with no evidence. There are figurines of men in these “mother” cultures, just not as numerous and the males never are exhibiting warfare or domination, no thunderbolt or mace wielding gods. At least, not until the PIE invasion waves.

 

“In Neolithic Europe and Asia Minor (ancient Anatolia) – in the era between 7000 B.C. and 3000 B.C. – religion focused on the wheel of life and its cyclical turning. This is the geographic sphere and the time frame I refer to as Old Europe. In Old Europe, the focus of religion encompassed birth, nurturing, growth, death, and regeneration, as well as crop cultivation and the raising of animals. The people of this era pondered untamed natural forces, as well as wild plant and animal cycles, and they worshipped goddesses, or a goddess, in many forms.” The Living Goddesses, pg. 3.  “We know that art, particularly religious or mythical art, reflects not only peoples’ attitudes but also their particular form of culture and social organization. The Goddess-centered art we have been examining, with striking absence of images of male domination or warfare, seems to have reflected a social order in which women, first as heads of clans and priestesses and later on in the important roles, played a central part, and in which both men and women worked together in equal partnership for the common good. If there was here no glorification of wrathful male deities or rulers carrying thunderbolts or arms, or of great conquerors dragging abject slaves about in chains, it is not unreasonable to infer it was because there were no counterparts for those images in real life.” The Chalice and the Blade, pg. 20. While this quote is truthful about the lack of warfare in these cultures art, prior to the patriarchal Proto-Indo-European invasions, there is no basis to assume goddesses and priestesses, nor to refer to it as goddess centered art; this art was the art of an agriculture, family oriented society.

 

 

“Our cultural programming also leads to the assumption that female representations invariably represent ‘earth as fertility’; therefore all naked female artifacts become ‘fertility figurines’. The Old European cultures certainly cared about fertility. But, as we will see, the wide variety of figurines, and particularly their Neolithic  art forms played a wider religious role…In religious art, the human body symbolizes myriad functions beyond the sexual, especially the procreative, nurturing, and life enhancing. I believe that in earlier times, obscenity as a concept surrounding either the male or female body did not exist. Renditions of the body expressed other functions, specifically the nourishing and procreative aspects of the female body and the life-stimulating qualities of the male body. The female force, as the pregnant vegetation goddess, intimately embodied the earth’s fertility. But the sophisticated, complex art surrounding the Neolithic goddess is a shifting kaleidoscope of meaning; she personified every phase of life, death, and regeneration. She was the Creator from whom all life – human, plant, and animal – arose, and to whom everything returned. Her role extended far beyond eroticism.” The Living Goddesses, pg. 5.  “For here we have a rich technologically and culturally advanced civilization in which, as archaeologists Hans-Gunther Buchholtz and Vassos Karageorghis write, ‘all the artistic media – in fact, life in its totality as well as death – were deeply entrenched in an all-pervasive, ubiquitous religion.’ But in marked contrast to other high civilizations of the time, this religion – centering on the worship of the Goddess – seems to have both reflected and reinforced a social order in which, to quote Nicolas Platon, ‘the fear of death was almost obliterated by the ubiquitous joy of living.’ “ The Chalice and the Blade, pg. 32.

 

This aspect of birth and life is very evident in the art of these non-Indo-European, non-patriarchal cultures. Besides nature being evident in the artwork, there is something else that is evident – no warfare, heroes, torture and afterlife. “Even when there is a written as well as an oral literary tradition, art is a form of symbolic communication. The extensive art of the Neolithic – be it wall paintings about daily life or about important myths, statuary of religious images, friezes depicting rituals, or simply vase decorations, pictures on seals, or engravings on jewelry – tells us a great deal about how these people lived and died. It also tells us a great deal about how they thought, for in a very real sense Neolithic art is a kind of language or shorthand symbolically expressing how people in that time experienced, and in turn shaped, what we call reality. And if we let this language speak for itself, without projecting on it prevailing models of reality, it tells us a fascinating – and in comparison to the stereotype, a far more hopeful – story of our cultural origins.

 

One of the most striking things about Neolithic art is what it does not depict. For what a people do not depict in their art can tell us as much about them as what they do. In sharp contrast to later art, a theme notable for its absence from Neolithic art is imagery idealizing armed might, cruelty, and violence-based power. There are no images of ‘noble warriors’ or scenes of battles. Nor are there any signs of ‘heroic conquerors’ dragging captives around in chains or other evidences of slavery.

 

Also in sharp contrast to the remains of even their earliest and most primitive male-dominant invaders, what is notable in these Neolithic Goddess-worshipping societies is the absence of lavish ‘chieftain’ burials. And in marked contrast to later male-dominated civilizations like that of Egypt, there is here no sign of might rulers who take with them into the afterlife less powerful humans sacrificed at their death. Nor do we find, again in contrast to later dominator societies, large caches of weapons or any other sign of the intensive application of material technology and natural resources to arms.” The Chalice and the Blade, pgs. 17, 18.  “Gimbutas describes the weapons engraved in stone, stelae and rocks in Old Europe, after the Kurgan invasions, “ ‘the earliest known visual images of the Indo-European warrior gods.’ ‘Weapons obviously represented the god’s functions and powers,’ writes Gimbutas, ‘and were worshipped as representations  of the god himself. The sacredness of the weapon is well evidenced in all Indo-European religions. From Herodotus we know the Scythians made sacrifices to their sacred dagger, Akenakes. No previous engravings or images of weapon carrying divinities are known in the Neolithic Alpine region.’ “ Chalice and the Blade, pg. 49.

 

 

“At the core of the invaders’ system was the placing of higher value on the power that takes, rather than gives, life. This was the power symbolized by the ‘masculine’ Blade, which early Kurgan cave engravings show these Indo-European invaders literally worshipped. For in their dominator society, ruled by gods – and men – of war, this was the supreme power…’The old European and Kurgan cultures were the antithesis of one another. The Old European were sedentary horticulturalists prone to live in large well-planned townships. The absence of fortifications and weapons attests the peaceful coexistence of this egalitarian civilization that was probably matrilinear and matrilocal. The Kurgan system was composed of patrilinear, socially stratified, herding units which lived in small villages or seasonal settlements while grazing their animals over vast areas. One economy is based on farming, the other on stock breeding and grazing, produced two contrasting ideologies. The Old European belief system focused on the agricultural cycle of birth, death, and regeneration, embodied in the feminine principle, a Mother Creatrix. The Kurgan ideology, as known from comparative Indo-European mythology, exalted virile, heroic warrior gods of the shining and thunderous sky. Weapons are nonexistent in Old European imagery; whereas the dagger and battle-axe are dominant symbols of the Kurgans, who like all historically known Indo-Europeans, glorified the lethal power of the sharp blade.’ “ The Chalice and the Blade, pg.48.

 

These mothers represent life. They produce life from their bodies, in a flood of birth water (amniotic), which is later carried into the myths of the mother goddesses, the creatresses. These mothers were not just of humans, but animal mothers as well, which later came to be an artistic expression of first the mothers, then mothers with animals around her, including plant life. Nature was surrounding her. “In 1962 James Mellaart described the cultures of 9000 to 7000 BC in his ‘Earliest Civilizations of the Near East’. As I mentioned previously, he pointed out that at that time, ‘Art makes its appearance in the form of animal carvings, statuettes of the supreme deity, the Mother Goddess.’ “ When God Was a Woman, pg. 24. Eventually, the tree came to represent the mother and the female figure was removed from some of the images, especially after the PIE incursions with the male dominance.

 

So here we see mothers of families and mothers of clans, who are probably leading or co-leading in an equalitarian society with the men or elders. Is this equality of the genders a vilified concept as the patriarchal Indo-Europeans would have you to believe? No. Are there examples of this equality in the Tanak? Yes. Let us look to the first woman, Chawwah [the female form of the Hebrew word life – chay, Eve], who was given dominion with her husband. Hawah also means tent, village in Hebrew, the multiplying and assembling of life. Bereshiyth [Genesis] 3:20, “and the man called the name of his ishshah [wife] chawwah, for she became the mother of all life [chay].” This is the common epitaph of all the central mothers that ended up being made into goddesses – the mother of all life. Later you see the patriarchal re-mything of this account and in comes the serpents/dragons, the swords, the expulsion and debasing of the mother, no more equality.

 

Now let us take a look at a woman who led the Israel confederacy as a chief. In the book of Shoftiym [Judges] , chapters 4 and 5, we see the account of Deborah, the wife of Lapiydoth. She is listed as being a prophetess and was judging Yisrael at that time. Before we go any further, we need to define some names and Hebrew words, otherwise you will not see the truth of this account. Deborah [DBWRH] is defined in the Hebrew as meaning bee. It is related to the word dabar [DBR] which means to speak, declare. Supposedly the association with the bee is from the humming sound like that of speaking. But there is a far better association with the bee, and that is a common motif in these ancient mother cultures, the bee as queen of a hive. The H on the end of the name shows that it is female. Now look at the fact that they say that Deborah is a prophetess. What do prophetesses do? They declare, speak, which is the same word as dabar [DBR]. Whether or not her name was actually Deborah or it was a title, she has an association with bees and prophecy, the same as the early mother cultures and the same as the merging of the women that were eventually portrayed as goddesses and priestesses.

 

Next we need to look at her leading Yisrael. The Hebrew word that is now commonly translated as judge, shofet, is originally used for chiefs. When the priestly system overthrew the tribal system of chiefs and elders, the chief term became judge, a function of the priesthood. Deborah is a chief over the confederacy of Yisrael. She ruled under a palm tree, yet another symbol of these mothers to become goddesses. She calls forth a man named Barak and instructs him, according to a word of YHWH, to gather the militia forces of some of the tribes to assemble for war against Siysera, a commander of an army under Yabiyn, who has iron chariots and a huge army. What does Yabiyn sound like with his iron chariots and massive army? A Proto-Indo-European invading force. Deborah is not acting as a judge, she is acting as a chief and prophetess. She even goes out to war and directs the campaign against this army. After the victory, Deborah and Barak sing to YHWH. Chapter 5:7-8, “the ferazun ceased in yisrael; they ceased until i, deborah, arose; i arose as a mother in yisrael.  8 they chose new elohiym; then war was at the gates. neither a shield nor a spear was seen among forty thousand in yisrael.” This passage states a number of principles, Deborah is a mother in Yisrael. They are a people of peace with not a shield or sword between 40,000 men. This is a common description of the non-PIE, mother cultures.

 

Ferazun is from the Hebrew root feraz, which mean open, unwalled. Another description of the mother cultures who did not build walled cities as the PIE cultures did. Ferazun are the leaders, chiefs of these unwalled rural cities. These Ferazun had ceased until Deborah rose up again. The Ferazun leaders ceased because they chose new gods, then war was at the gates. This sounds like the war gods of the PIE culture who either assimilated or destroyed the cities they chose to take. Verse 11, “louder than the voice of the dividers between the watering places there, they will tell of the righteous acts of YHWH, the righteous acts of his ferazun in yisrael. then the people of YHWH went down to the gates.” Here we see that the Ferazun are associated with righteousness and with YHWH. This account, with all its symbolism and linguistics, shouts about these peaceful mother oriented, equalitarian cultures that were attacked by Proto-Indo-European  invaders. And  without gender bias or patriarchal assimilation, one of these shoftiym, ferazun, prophetesses was a woman and a mother of Yisrael.

 

An interesting passage, that some scholars see as an argument between the mother agriculture culture, versus the patriarchal king/priesthood PIE culture that had taken over with its slavery and taxation, is in YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 44:15-19. “then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense to other elohiym, and all the women who stood by, a great assembly, even all the people who lived in the land of mitsrayim, in fathros, answered yirmeyahu saying,  16 as for the word that you have spoken to us in the name YHWH, we will not listen to you.  17 but we will certainly do whatever thing goes out of our own mouth,  to burn incense to the queen of the heavens, and to pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings, and our rulers, in the cities of yahudah and in the streets of yerushalaim. and we had plenty of food, and were well, and saw no evil.  18 but when we stopped burning incense to the queen of the heavens, and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked all things, and have been devoured by the sword and by the famine.  19 and when we burned sacrifices to the queen of the heavens and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes in her image, and pour out drink offerings to her, without our men?”

 

Now here is the big question. Since these mother cultures do not have altars and temples, no evidence of sacrifices and such, did these later cultures actually worship the mother, clan mother, etc as a goddess, or was the aspect of a goddess, and the associated worship created by the PIE patriarchal religion as a means to acquiesce to the natives since they could not totally eradicate the maternal culture? Did the PIE religious system of animal and human sacrifices create the sacrifices that are mentioned in this passage of YirmeYahu? Clearly, these people had a previous lifestyle that was followed throughout that territory. At that time, in their beliefs of this exalted mother and nature system that she represents,  they had plenty of food to eat, were well and saw no evil, but after they stop living this lifestyle and are forced into the patriarchal PIE priesthood system of taxation and slavery, they lack all things and are devoured by the sword, the warfare endemic of the patriarchal PIE culture.

 

This is very similar to the wise women who used herbs to take care of health, treat illnesses and midwife, that were later vilified by the Catholic church in the Middle Ages, just for using plants, as being witches. For hundreds of years in Europe, women were massacred in villages, hunted down, tortured and their whole maternal lines killed, because everyone knows that witches pass this on to their other female family members, not to mention their belief that all the female friends of such a woman were also suspect and killed.  Medicine fell into the dark ages due to the Catholic churches association of herbs with witchcraft. If the PIE patriarchal priests were stopping the agriculture practices of the people, that they felt had any association with the earth, clan, creator mother, however you want to label it, that would seriously curtail the agricultural prosperity that all these cultures had known.

 

In the following section of Ancestor Worship, you will see how a leader, with stories of his heroic accounts, became a legend and eventually a god in the patriarchal Proto-Indo-European cultures. This aspect of legends and deification has always been a part of men’s history. Whether you are looking at a god, in the sense of a deity in the heavens or in the glorification of a man, such as George Washington to the American patriots, it still occurs. Many Tall Tales, the product of American legends, had men that stood out and became larger than life in each retelling of the accounts. Our more current culture does not have kings who became gods when they died, but we had a great lumberjack who took on the character of a giant and then had to have a mount to fit his tall stature and was given Babe the Blue Ox. This is the exact same process that created goddesses and gods from leaders, heroes, people who were extraordinary in some capacity.  A wise and capable mother becomes a head of her clan, to the point that when she dies, she is still held in great esteem, her wisdom is passed on and each time she is spoken of to future generations, the faults are generally forgotten and the attributes are exalted. The work of her hands are associated with creation, her wise words become those of a goddesses,  she is now the mother of not only her direct family, but of all those succeeding generations – all living.

 

The following are a few examples of non-PIE cultures mother “goddesses” that were taken over by a PIE culture and remythed into a patriarchal religious system.

 

 

Hattian – Estan, the mother goddess of Hatti, prior to the Hittites, later became the Goddess of Arinna (Spring fed pool), known as the Sun Goddess of Arinna, a major Hattian city close to Hattusas, which became the Hittite capitol. She is the Mother goddess before the PIE Hittites subjugated them and diminished the mother in their mythology. She is related to the pre-Hurrian HannaHannah  and Khebat. She is called the Mistress of the Hatti lands, Queen of heaven and earth and of all countries. “The mother goddesses were responsible  for the creation of humanity and for birth in general, while the goddesses of fate determined human destiny.” Anatolia section of Religions of the Ancient World, pg. 404. The Hittites later change her to a male and the deity name is then Istanu, the male sun god.

 

“The deities assimilated by the Hittites from the indigenous Hattians are somewhat unclear to modern scholars because of our still scant knowledge of the Hattic language. The Hattian pantheon seems to have been at first a collection of personifications of aspects of nature, such as Estan (‘Sun’ or ‘Day’) and Kasku (‘Moon’), and expressions of life forces represented by mother goddesses (Kattahha; Hannahannah, meaning ‘Grandmother’; Kubaba; and Wurusemu), king-war gods (Wurrunkatte, Zababa, and Kattishabi), and a storm-weather god (Taru). Later deities derived in part from the Hurrians were, for the most part, more endowed with human characteristics, not always noble ones, than those of the Hattians and old Hittites, and were clearly influenced by Mesopotamian deities.” The Oxford Companion to World Mythology, David Adams Leeming, pg. 187.

 

 

Pre-Hurrian – Khepat (Khebat, Hepatu, Hebat, Kheba, Khubaba [later associated with Kybele]),  is called the mother of all living. Another name for the pre-Hurrian mother was HannaHannah (HannaHannas) is the divine ancestress and holy grandmother of the territory that came to be associated with the later Hurrians, who assimilated part of that culture as they left the Caucasus Mountains and moved south. Hannahannah’s special animal is the bee, symbol of hearth and home. The PIE word for grandmother is haen. The following are other Proto-Indo-European languages, that derived from the original PIE, for grandmother. Old High German is ana, Old Prussian is ane (female ancestor), Hittite is hannas, Greek annis, Old Irish ana (mother of the gods), Luvian anna, Lydian ena. You can clearly see that this name is from the PIE stock, but since there is no written, alphabetic name for this grandmother, mother “goddess” of the pre-Hurrians, we are left with what the invaders called her. The Hurrians exhibit elements of the original culture. HannaHannah has associations with the bee, as do many of the ancient Anatolian and Aegean variations.  Hannahannah and the Sun Goddess of Arinna are both from the 2500 BCE time period. Another association is with the later Canaanite Anath and the Aegean, western Anatolian Athene / Athena.

 

 

Sumerian - Inanna is a mother goddess, and is the granddaughter of the Sumerian Creatress goddess Nammu, who created the gods and mankind. Nammu was known as ‘She who gives birth to heaven and earth,’ as well as ‘the mother of all deities. “The Sumerian prima materia (prime/first matter) was personified in the form of a deity as were all other elements of nature. The Sumerian list of deities gives this honor to the goddess Nammu ‘written with the pictograph for primeval “sea,” described [as] “the mother, who gave birth to heaven and earth” (Kramer 1959, p. 83). The other texts call her ‘mother, first one, who gave birth to the gods of the universe’ or as ‘Mother of Everything’ (Leick 1994, p. 13). The Sumerian sign used to describe he is ENGUR. The same sign was used as a synonym of abzu (apsu) which can be translated as ‘the sweet water sea/ ocean’ and ‘the watery deep,’ strongly suggesting the subterranean ocean.” Creation Stories of the Middle East, pgs. 45, 46.

 

The Mes were Tablets of Destiny (Civilization) which were worn around the neck of the Creatress.  In one account the Mes are given by Enlil to Enki, who was a son of Nammu. Enki is later listed as Marduk’s father. Later accounts clearly show that when the mother was killed by the warrior king/son, the usurper took the tablets to rule with. Yet the older system was matrilineal and the Mes would have passed to the daughters. This killing of Nammu (Sumerian) / Tiamat (Akkadian) is later achieved by Enki’s son, Marduk, who takes the Mes from her body.  “Nevertheless, the author succeeded in his goal – Marduk elevated to the role of the leading god. In order to do so, he had to ‘kill’ the female principle, Tiamat, the mother of all, personification of the salt waters.” Tiamat, is a variation of the word tiamutum, which means the sea. In the third century BCE, Berossos, a priest of Bel (Marduk) wrote Babyloniaka, a presentation of the history and culture of Babylonia from creation to his time, based on the earlier myths. Dealing with creation, Berossos refers to the chaos of the darkness and water. This darkness and water was Omorka / Um-ruk - Babylonian /  Tiamat - Akkadian / Thalath – Ancient Greek  / Thallata - Greek. Nammu who represented the water and order, assimilated and changed by the Akkadian invaders to Tiamat, now represents the waters of chaos, needing, according to the PIE beliefs, a man to bring order to the primordial chaos. This life giving water would later be replaced by the rain of the storm gods – their semen/seed, so to speak.

 

In the Sumerian accounts, Inanna asks for the Mes and is denied so she gets her father drunk and he then gives her the Mes, which she takes back to her city of Uruk. This may be a representation of Inanna trying to reclaim what was originally the work and teachings of the mother culture that the patriarchal invaders took and claimed as their labors and inventions. Inanna was associated with the earth, grain groves, wine and love. In the older accounts, Inanna prefers to wed Enkidu a farmer god, but Dumuzi, obviously a Kurgan / Indo-European shepherd deity takes her for his wife. The PIE culture not only kills the revered mother, but forcibly takes the granddaughter for a wife to legitimize their rule. One of the other Sumerian names for Inanna is Iahu, which means, “Exalted Dove”. It is in this form that the legend of Marduk cutting Tiamat in half, in the form of a dove, is represented. This was understood at a Babylonian spring festival when they cut a dove in half, representing Marduk cutting Tiamat in half and establishing his governmental order. Inanna, also spelled Ninanna, Innina and Irnina is also related to the Hattian Arinna mother goddess before the Indo-European Hittites subjugated them and diminished the goddess in their mythology. She is also related to the Hurrian HannaHannah mother goddess of that native culture that the Indo-European Hurrians conquered and assimilated. Later, another PIE culture assimilates Inanna with a later goddess named Ishtar.

 

An interesting note to the Sumerian are the reforms of Urukagina, from about 2300 BCE, after PIE invasions. It showed that the culture was previously communal. They speak of fruit trees and food from temple lands that were for the feeding of those in need, which the later PIE priests were taking. The tablets mentioning these reforms speak of the ways that things were done in an earlier time, using the reform word amargi, which means freedom and return to the mother.

 

Aegean and Western Anatolian - Athene / Athena is a shortened Anglicized version of this woman’s PIE name, a title actually, Athana Potnija, which means Mistress / Lady of Athana, later coming to be associated with the creation of Athens, but this title occurs on Late Mycenaean (a PIE culture that invaded Crete and the Minoans) inscriptions at Knossos, prior to the establishment of Athens as it came to be known. Athana was part of the Minoan culture, which had ties to the western Anatolian culture, prior to these PIE invasions. The character of Athene is very complex and is a very strong bridge between the original mother cultures and the later invading Indo-European cultures. As a result, I am going to have to cover in detail, this personification of the mother, so that you can see all the original elements and how they came to be applied in the Tanak/Bible.

 

Athene preceded the Olympian pantheon and since they could not wipe her out, they re-mythed her to be born from Zeus’ head and made her his daughter, removing the spindle from her hand and replacing it with a spear. The re-mything of her city, Athens, associated with a sacred fresh water spring at the Athenian Acropolis, is very much like the accounts of the sacred spring at Arinna, increasing the connection with the goddess of Arinna. “In her central function, as in the extent and profundity of her worship, Athena  shows marked similarities to an earlier guardian deity, one we have come to know only in recent years, the great Anatolian war-goddess of the second millennium BC, the protectress and champion of the Hittite kings, the widely and intensely revered Sungoddess of Arinna. (note 4 – the Hittite deity also shares Athena’s association with craft: her holy city of Arinna was a centre of metalworking.).” Athena in the Classical World, pg. 349. Linguistic evidence points to the borrowing from the Hattian Arinna, through the Luwian (PIE) Adana to the Mycenaean (PIE) Athana. “It is, finally, of some considerable interest to note that Homer’s Trojans, who quite likely spoke Luwian outside Greek epic, address Athena with a typically Anatolian title: Potni’ Athenaie, using (in Greek) a morphological form shared with – and prominent in Hittite (the adjectival suffix - iya) and a syntactic feature of Luwian syntax being the use of adjectives (in –assa in Luwian) to replace genitive in indicating the relationship of one noun to another.” Athena in the Classical World, pgs. 364, 365. Athene (Hellenes – Classical) = Atana (Mycenaean in Minoan) = astanus (Luwian in Anatolia - sun) = Estan (Hattian in Anatolia).

 

Another example of the origins of Athene in the Anatolian territory is the story of her birth. In the later Greek account, Athene, the prior earth mother that could not be wiped out, is born from the head of Zeus. Zeus’ first wife was Metis, a Titaness. There was a prophecy that a child from Metis would be greater than the father. Zeus, trying to avoid an overthrow by his offspring, as he had done with his father Kronos and he had with his father Ouranos, decides not to swallow the offspring, as his father had done, but to swallow the pregnant mother Metis, after tricking her to change herself into a fly first. After having severe migraines, he tells Hephaestus to crack open his head and Athene, fully dressed and in armor and a spear, leaps out of his head. In much older Hittite accounts, Kumarbi, the son of Anu, the god of heaven, tries to overthrow his father. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off and swallowed the genitals of his father. When he discovered that this had impregnated him, he spat out the semen, but the pregnancy of Teshub, his son, remained and had to be cut out of him. Another account has another deity, Kazal, emerging from his skull. Another example of a PIE’s culture trying to take on the mother roles of childbirth.

 

To make matters even more clear, in the city of Wilusa (later known as Troy,  Hatti territory), on the western portion of Anatolia, the patron deity of the city and the major temple there was Athene. If you look at the symbolism on Archaic Greek pottery associated with Athene and those of Troy archaeology, especially spindle whorls, it is the same. The legend was that the city could not be taken, so long as the image, palladium, of Athene remained in the city. Apollodorus [3.12.3],  “But Ilus went to Phrygia, and finding games held there by the king, he was victorious in wrestling. As a prize he received fifty youths and as many maidens, and the king, in obedience to an oracle, gave him also a dappled cow and bade him found a city wherever the animal should lie down; so he followed the cow. And when she was come to what was called the hill of the Phrygian Ate, she lay down; there Ilus built a city and called it Ilium (Troy). And having prayed to Zeus that a sign might be shown to him, he beheld by day the Palladium, fallen from heaven, lying before his tent. It was three cubits in height, its feet joined together; in its right hand it held a spear aloft, and in the other hand a distaff and spindle.”

 

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 12. 2 : "[The mythical founder of Thebes] Kadmos and the host with him were to make their dwelling [found Thebes] where the cow was going to sink down in weariness. So this is one of the places that they [the Thebans] point out. Here there is in the open an altar and an image of Athena, said to have been dedicated by Kadmos. Those who think that the Kadmos who came to the Theban land was an Aigyptian (Egyptian), and not a Phoinikian (Phoenician), have their opinion contradicted by the name of this Athena, because she is called by the Phoinikian name of Onga, and not by the Aigyptian name of Sais."

In later Ugarit culture, Athene is Anath, the warrior goddess daughter of the male god El. There are bilingual inscriptions from Cyprus (KAI 42) that have Athene in one language and Anat in the other.

 

For much more detailed information, please see Athene under the Aegean Sea / Phoenician / Felishthiym / Carthaginian subsection of the Deities section.

 

 

 

Transformation to Goddess and Consort

 

Concerning the patterns of assimilation by the Proto-Indo-European invaders, Lerner states, “…just as the development of plow agriculture, coinciding with increasing militarism, brought major changes in kinship and in gender relations, so did the development of strong kinships and of archaic states bring changes in religious beliefs and symbols. The observable pattern is: first, the demotion of the Mother Goddess figure and the ascendance and later dominance of her male consort/son; then his merging with a storm-god into a male Creator-God, who heads the pantheon of gods and goddesses. Wherever such changes occur, the power of creation and of fertility is transferred from the Goddess to the God.” The Creation of Patriarchy, pg. 145.  “It is quite ironic that, chronologically speaking, the perception of the origin of the universe has gone through transition from the female element as the only mover (Nammu), then to male and female as a couple (Tiamat and Apsu), and finally to the presence of the only mover – a male (Marduk).” Creation Stories of the Middle East, pg. 51.  “Noah Kramer explains this change in the theogeny as the result of the increasing influence of priests, who are associated with particular temples and particular cities and their rulers. These priests now record the ancient myths in such a way as to serve political ends. Kramer notices the absence from the lists of Namu, the Mother-Goddess, formerly hailed as creator of the universe and mother of the gods. He thinks her powers were transferred  to her son Enki ‘in an apparent attempt to justify this bit of priestly piracy’ “. The Creation of Patriarchy, pg. 153.

 

“In other instances, the Great Goddess herself became transformed. In the earlier period her attributes had been all-encompassing-her sexuality connected with birth, death, and rebirth; her power both for good and evil, for life and death; her aspects those of a mother, warrior, protector, and interceder with the dominant male god. In the later periods her various qualities were split off and embodied in separate goddesses. Her warrior aspect diminished, probably relegated to the male god, and her qualities as a healer were more and more stressed. This does appear to reflect a change in concepts of gender in the societies in which she was worshipped.” The Creation of Patriarchy, pg. 159.

 

 

So what began as a mother, a personification of the natural life, became, especially under the Proto-Indo-European religious systems, a goddess, at first assimilated into their pantheon, by forced marriages and rape as a wife or consort, then further demoted. Eventually her characteristics and abilities are parceled out to male deities and lower divided female deities, meaning where one goddess had been before, that two or more are created with specific attributes associated with each. For example in the Greek, the mother goddess was split into 4 distinct, yet in some older legends overlapping, goddesses: Demeter/Hera the mother, Athene the creator and patron of crafts and skills as well as protectress, Artemis the huntress and Aphrodite the seductress. An Egyptian example is the mother/creatress Au Set, who ends up becoming Isis.  In the 3rd century BCE, as Ra becomes the dominant male deity, a female protectress goddess is created, named Bastet, originally named Ubesti. She is considered the Eye of Ra and is depicted as a lioness. Later, there are two eyes of Ra and Bastet is one, with her sister Sekhmet. Sekhmet becomes the blood thirsty warrior with the lions head, while Bastet is depicted as a domesticated cat and has more qualities of fertility.  In some cultures, the goddess simply had her gender changed and the patriarchal conquest was complete. An example is that of the Hurrian Mother Estan being changed to the male Istanu. Through the patriarchal conquests the Mother with the clan/family government was killed and the Father with the king/priesthood ruled.

 

 

 

 

 

The ancestor cult and cult of the dead is part of the Worthless Deities study because it was believed that the dead became deities of a sort, even if minor ones compared to the later major deities. They were deities that needed to be cared for and appeased, so as to receive their blessings and not their wrath. This will become more evident as you read, but it is important to realize that ancestors and the revered dead, were and still are viewed and treated as deities in some capacity, therefore qualifying as part of this study. Relating to the high number of skulls found at Jericho, “Such ‘headless’ burials have been found at Jericho, Beidha (upper levels) and Tell Eli (Khirbet Sheikh Ali). Sometimes the skull is placed near the body, often it is buried separately or is kept in a room. At Jericho, forty incomplete skeletons, mostly headless, were found below one room. There and at Ramad I and II groups of skulls were found that had the facial features restored in plaster and paint, both red and black. Shells, either bivalves or cowries, were set in the empty eye-sockets… Whether these represent  ancestors or deities  is a moot point; revered ancestors may well have transformed into deities And it is often difficult to draw a sharp dividing line.” The Neolithic of the Near East, pgs. 61,62.

 

The following aspects of Ancestor Worship and the Cult of the Dead are a result of the Proto-Indo-European patriarchal conquering, which came in waves that occurred through much of these territories represented. Since the main Canaanite texts and the Tanak/Bible are patriarchal this is the viewpoint of those patriarchal priesthood teachings. The ancestor worship of the mother is dealt with in the Clan Mother to Goddess section above.

 

Before we begin with the verses, I need to define a few terms from the Hebrew. Moth [Mot – mem thau and mem waw thau] means death/dead, but it is also the name of one of the sons of El in the Canaanite culture. Moth / Mot is the Canaanite/Ugaritic god of death. Mothiym / methiym / metim is the plural of moth and means dead ones. In some cases, these dead ones are followers of ancestor worship or of Moth. In the English translations of scripture we need to look at the context, because often the translators have used the word death or dead ones, instead of the deity or his followers, hiding or masking what is really being written about. A distinction should also be made between funerary rites and mourning rites. Funerary rites can be summed up in the rites of passage of the deceased. Mourning rites are those performed by the living, during the perceived time period in which the deceased passes from this life to the next. Rites may be practices which only occur in a single incident. For example if a person died and the family buried the deceased, making a prayer at the time of burial. That is a funerary rite. But if the grave or tomb is visited, perhaps on a yearly basis, if not more, gifts are brought, prayers made, then that falls into the status of cult. A cult is a system involving practices that are repeated periodically or continue on a regular basis. This does not mean that if something is done only once, at the time of death, that is acceptable in the eyes of YHWH. For instance, if one of your family dies and during the burial you cut yourself in mourning, even if it is only the one time and not a repeated event, it is still an unacceptable practice of ancestor worship/cult of the dead.

 

“Mortuary practices were a means for people to define who they were, or, as Mike Parker Pearson has commented: ‘Where to put the remains of the dead is generally not a matter of functional expediency. The place of the dead in any society will have significant and powerful connotations within peoples perceived social geographies.’ Although the proper interpretation of funerary patterns can be elusive, there can be little doubt that the dead took on new significance for the living as the concepts of mobility and community were redefined in the late seventh and sixth millennia.”  - Archaeology in Syria, Akkermans and Schwartz, pg. 149.

 

The fact that burial was an integral part of these cultures, versus those that followed cremation, open air funeral pyres exposed to the elements and animals is evidenced in the curses of the people, stating that his is what would happen to those that do not follow YHWH. HaDebariym [Deut.] 28:26 states, “and your body will be food to all the birds of the heavens, and to the beasts of the earth; and there will be none to cause them to tremble.” There are examples of prophets prophesying adversely to those that did not follow YHWH. YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 22:18,19, “so YHWH says this concerning yahuyaqim ben yoshiyahu, king of yahudah, they will not mourn for him, saying, my brother. or, sister. they will not mourn for him, saying,  adon. or, his splendor.  19 he will be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn beyond the gates of yerushalaim and thrown out.” Another example is that of the prophesy of Iyzabel’s [Jezebel] death. I Melekiym [Kings] 21:23,24, “and also YHWH has spoken of iyzabel, saying, the dogs will eat iyzabel by the wall of yezreel.  24 he who dies of ahab in the city, the dogs will eat. and the birds of the heaven will eat him who dies in a field.” This was fulfilled in II Melekiym 9:34-37, “and he came in and ate and drank, and said, now look after this cursed woman and bury her, for she is a king's daughter.  35 and they went to bury her, but did not find any of her except the skull, and the feet, and the palms of the hands.  36 and they came back and told him. and he said, it is the word of YHWH that he spoke by the hand of his servant eliyahu the tishbite, saying, in the portion of yezreel, the dogs will eat the flesh of iyzabel.  37 and the carcass of iyzabel will be as dung on the face of the field in the portion of yezreel, so that they will not say, this is iyzabel.”

 

The aspect of burial within a family tomb/grave came to be synonymous with dying/death. This is evident with the uses of such phrases as, “to rest with ones’ fathers” used throughout the books of I and II Melekiym when a king died, and the phrase, “to be gathered to ones people”, as in Bereshiyth [Genesis] 25:8.

 

While the Cult of the Dead and Ancestor Worship are the same at times, they do have some differences. The Ancestor Cult basically involves beliefs and practices that are directed specifically toward the dead predecessors/ancestors and is a lineage cult. The Cult of the Dead, while it can involve ones relatives, is not limited to them, and is directed toward the dead in general.

 

Elizabeth Bloch-Smith analyzed over 850 burials, from more than 60 sites, covering the years 1200-586 BCE. She wrote her results in a book titled Judahite Burial Practices and Beliefs about the Dead. Though not all the grave sites were in the Judah territory, the data helped to explain what was in the Judah territory and give a better picture of what was really taking place religiously, despite biblical editors attempts to intimate otherwise. “Finally, the results of a diachronic study of biblical references to burial and the dead will be considered in conjunction with the southern highland burial remains, and a reconstruction of Judahite mortuary practices will be offered. A picture emerges of a widespread, flourishing cult of the dead, practiced in Jerusalem as in the rest of the country, which persisted throughout the Iron Age. A ‘cult of the dead’ is here taken to mean that the Judahite’s believed the dead possessed powers and acted on that belief.” Bloch-Smith, pg. 23.

 

“The dead were kept within the settlements with their long histories, thus emphasizing the permanency of the bonds between the living and the deceased. The dead were not only remembered but also actively brought back in their new status into the world of the living by complex ceremonies of secondary burial and the keeping and display of the skulls. Occasionally, the ancestral spirits were given faces – realistic or imaginary – by plastering or other elaboration. Many of the figurines and the large statues originally placed in shrines may have served similar purposes. The dead as ancestors were omnipresent and remained active members of society. Whenever the deceased were believed to take an active role in society, the living were obviously concerned with the welfare of these spirits expressed through the rituals carried out at funeral houses and shrines. This care reinforced the communities’ structuring principles and values and was an expression of unity among its members. It helped to control and regulate society. The formal treatment of the dead remained essentially unchanged for thousands of years, which is perhaps not surprising given the ethnographic observation that ‘dead ancestors do not smile on any kind of change in the cultures of their living relatives. Because ghosts are capable of severely punishing an earthly mortal desirous of change, the force for conformity is strong.’ “ - Archaeology in Syria, Akkermans and Schwartz, pg. 98.

 

Biblical verses show, without a doubt, that this cult existed, was widespread and practiced by religious and governmental leaders. Having seen the existence of this belief system just from word studies in the Hebrew text and having seen the movement for the centralization of the Jerusalem temple as well, I was surprised by a passage by Elizabeth Bloch-Smith. As a student of history from all time periods and locations, I have always seen that history truly repeats itself. A person or group establishes themselves, passes laws that will increase their land holdings to support their government and establishes means to divide the previous systems allegiances to strengthen their own. I felt so obtuse that I had not seen this application to the Jerusalem cultic center in some of their laws. Divide and conquer, the age old maxim. This division was of the families and clans. While the ancestor cult and cult of the dead were one form of idolatry, the opposing centralized temple worship with its slavery of the people, both religiously and economically became another. Creating laws to increase a monarch’s powerbase, ascribing it to YHWH for divine authority, is bullshit.  

 

That is no different than the biblical Ahab and Iyzabel [Jezebel] wanting a vineyard that belonged Naboth, his inheritance from his fathers. They contrived false religious accusations against him to have him put to death. In this manner, the inheritance could not pass to the descendants of Naboth, opening the door for Ahab to take possession of what was not rightfully his [I Melekiym (Kings) 21].

 

“Opposition to the cult of the dead involved religious,  political and economic motives. Jerusalem priests and prophets hoped to purify and centralize the Temple cult, resanctify the people Israel and assert their status as faithful servants of Yahweh. In this way they could insure their livelihood as the only acceptable intermediaries of Yahweh and as beneficiaries of the tithe. Curtailing mortuary cults also served the interests of the central government. Breaking down clan fidelities, which were fostered by ancestral cults, would strengthen the central government. Rather than acting in the interests of the clan, individuals would pledge allegiance to the king empowered by the national god.

 

In Judahite culture, the dead were an integral part of the social organization. Individuals believed that their descendants would nourish and care for them following death, just as they had provided for their predecessors. Moreover, the legitimacy of land holdings was validated by the ancestral tomb, and the prosperity of the land may have been thought to be insured or blessed by benevolent ancestors. Disrupting the mortuary cult represented a radical move. Neither the existence of powerful dead nor efficacy of necromancy could be negated. However, in the late eighth-seventh-century BCE Hesekian-Josian reforms, the promulgators of the Deuteronomic and Holiness Law Codes, together with prophets (notably Isaiah), adopted societal regulations and taboos regarding the dead, devised sanctions, and denounced mortuary activities in order to strengthen their own positions. The views which they advocated were designed to preserve the functions and holiness of prophecy and priesthood, and to protect the holiness and current practice in the Temple. According to this reconstruction of the biblical evidence, there was little or no change in attitude or practices among the inhabitants of Judah towards the dead. Rather, the legislation reflects a policy change initiated in the eighth and seventh centuries BCE by the palace and Jerusalem Temple Yahwistic cult authorities.” Judahite Burial Practices and Beliefs about the Dead , pgs. 131, 132.

 

Another aspect of anti-ancestor/cult of the dead laws established by the Jerusalem cultic center is that of expulsion from the community, like excommunication for Catholics.  This “cutting off” is kereth in the Hebrew. But kereth is not just to cut something off, but is also used to cut, as in a beriyth [covenant]. BeMidbar [Numbers] 19:13, “any one who comes against the dead, against the body of man who died, and cleanses not himself, the mishkan of YHWH  he defiles, and that person will be cut off [kereth] from yisrael, for water of separation is not sprinkled on him; he is unclean; his uncleanness,  still on him.” Other examples of this cutting off from the people are Shemoth [Exodus] 30:33 for making the same perfume that the priests used; Shemoth 31:14 for working on the shabbath; Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 17:9 for anyone offering a burnt offering or sacrifice without bringing it to the Ohel Moed [Tent of Assembly] is also to be cut off from his people.  “Krt, literally ‘cut off’ from the religious community, as the consequence for those who consulted media or did not undergo the lengthy purification process following contact with the dead (Num. 19.11-20) was an ingenious punishment. Offenders’ loss of inherited land forbade them (according to their presuppositions) any future contact with their ancestors, thereby incurring ancestral wrath and perhaps vengeance. This sanction also has the similarly ironic effect of precluding the possibility of future nourishment and honor from the offenders’ own descendants.” Bloch-Smith, pg. 147.

 

“A close bond between the living and the dead is also manifest in the skull deposits: while the corpses were buried, their skulls remained in the houses or shrines of the living, as memories of those once alive but now passed on into the community of the dead ancestors. They were sometimes given new faces by means of plastering or other treatment and may have been actively used in some form of the ancestor cult. In view of their common occurrence in excavations, there can be little doubt that thousands of dead people were brought back to the world of the living in this manner, suggesting that the ancestors were crucial in the making and maintenance of the Neolithic communities. It has been proposed that the reason for this could have been a need to recall and demonstrate ancestral genealogies in order to motivate people to live and work closely together, essential in the small communities that became increasingly reliant on farming, where people had to draw on each others labor for survival. It is probably no coincidence that the skull cult emerged within the context of villages where generation after generation lived in the same place, indicative of strong ties to the past.”  - Archaeology in Syria, Akkermans and Schwartz, pg.96.

 

Practices of the ancestor cults and cult of the dead, evidenced in the Tanak, have continued after the exile, through the middle ages and are still practiced. Further in the study I have provided examples of specific acts of the ancestor/cult of the dead from post-biblical Hebrew writings. An example of this is the 10th century writing Sahl ben Mazliah, a Qaraite scholar, “How can I remain silent when some Jews are behaving like idolaters? They sit at the graves, sometimes sleeping there at night, and appeal to the dead: ‘Oh, Rabbi Yose ha-Gelih! Heal me! Grant me children!’ They kindle lights there and offer incense...” The Early History of God, Mark Smith, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Michigan, 2002, pg.171. 

 

In present times, a perfect example is that of the Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, also called “The Rebbe”. He was the 7th leader of the Chabad Lubavitch, a Hasidic sect of Orthodox Judaism. Having moved from Europe during WW II, he settled in Queens, New York with his father in law Yosef Yitzchok Schneersohn, who was head of the Chabad Lubavitch at the time. Schneerson died in 1994 and was buried next to his father in law’s grave, who he frequently visited before he died himself. After Schneerson’s death, an ohel was built over the two graves. Ohel literally means tent in Hebrew, but this is no tent, it is a permanent building over the graves. The ohel is called the Rebbe’s Ohel and The Tziyun [this is explained further on in the Stelae subsection of the Ancestor Cult section.], where pilgrimages are made. Adjacent to the Rebbe’s Ohel, the Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch Center was built. According to their website chabad.org, “The Center is open 24 hours a day, six days a week. It includes a synagogue, library and a comfortable place for people to compose their letters to the Rebbe. Ohel Chabad-Lubavitch also provides prayer books, head coverings, non-leather shoes (see: Appropriate conduct) and light refreshments.”

 

If you view the “appropriate conduct link”, it explains: “Before entering the Ohel, it is customary to write a letter to the Rebbe. When referring to one's own self or mentioning someone else's name in the letter, one should use the name and mother's name (e.g. Isaac the son of Sarah). It is preferable to use one's Hebrew name. It is customary that Gentiles use their father's name. Men should wear a Kippah or a hat. Women should be modestly dressed and married women should cover their hair (shawls, skirts and kerchiefs are available at the Visitor Center). It is customary to wear non - leather shoes at the Ohel. Candles may be lit on the designated shelves in the Ohel's ante-chamber. (Candles are available at the Visitor Center). In The Ohel, there are separate entrances for men and women. Some have the custom to knock on the door before entering, as a sign of respect.  It is customary to verbally read one's letter (albeit quietly), then tear it up and place it in the enclosed area. Customary prayers include the Ma'aneh Lashon and Psalms. Suggested chapters of Psalms include the Rebbe's chapter, Psalm 108, and the chapter corresponding to one's age (e.g. Chapter 31, for someone aged 30). There are Ma'aneh Lashons and books of Psalms in the Ohel's ante-chamber. To see the Ma'aneh Lashon - click here.  As a sign of respect, it is customary to exit the Ohel walking backwards.”

 

On another page of their site, for those that cannot make pilgrimage to the Rebbe’s Ohel, they explain how you can send a letter to the Rebbe. “Today people continue to send letters to be placed at the Ohel for the Rebbe's guidance and intervention On High, in the age-old tradition of written prayer petitions at our holiest sites. Whether referring to one's own self or mentioning someone else's name in a letter, one should always include the name and mother's name (e.g. Isaac the son of Sarah) of both the one(s) who are in need of blessing and the signer. (See Why is a person’s mother’s name mentioned when praying on his/her behalf?) It is preferable to use one's Jewish name. (Customarily gentiles use their father's name.) Letters can be written in any language.” They have a fax number available, an email form letter, as well as a mailing address.

 

Now, I hope that all of you realize that this man died in 1994, is now in a tomb of sorts. They have made this tomb a holy site where people make pilgrimages, perform rituals, offer letters, candles and offerings to this dead man, as though he were capable of answering their prayers. He is viewed as the Messiah.

 

I have provided this modern day example of one instance within Judaism. But this is not a single instance. There are other cases around the world of famous rabbis graves, some having ohels built over them, with followers behaving in the same manner as those of Schneerson’s. And this is not isolated to Judaism, as those of you familiar with Christianity’s history through the centuries are aware. Christianity has thousands of “holy” sites that people make pilgrimages to, with the bodies and bones of saints, where people pray and petition, and make offerings to. Some of the more famous are the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the supposed burial place of Jesus. St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, believed to be the burial place of the apostle Peter. In England, Canterbury Cathedral is a major Christian holy site, established by St. Augustine. Adjacent to this building, St. Augustine built the abbey of St. Peter and Paul, which was later dedicated to St. Augustine and has been used for burials of the successive archbishops. This is also very evident in Islam with their pilgrimage sites, one of which is the Masjid al-Nabawi Mosque in Medina where Muhammad is buried.

 

While I predominately deal with the traditions of Judaism, Christianity and touching on Islam, ancestor and cult of the dead worship continues, just as it has for thousands of years within Asian, Indian, African and Native American cultures, with tables set for the dead, food offerings etc. The only difference with these other cultures and those of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is that the other cultures at least have the decency to call it what it is – ancestor worship. As you read the research in this section, I pray that your eyes will be opened to the fact that this cult is alive and well, even prospering, just as it did in the ancient days. Though food may not be left at graves, flowers, wreaths, flags and all manner of offerings have taken their place. People still regularly visit the dead, which are designated with memorial stones. Candles are still lit. Family members and friends still speak to these dead and offer petitions. The more we know about the origins, the easier it is to see the continued practices, and remove these stumbling blocks from this walk we are on with YHWH.

 

 

Practices of Worshipping the Dead [Mothiym] or Moth [Mot]

 

Below is a points list, most of which will be dealt with further on, in detail. Included with verses from the Tanak will be portions of corresponding Ugarit texts, where applicable, which as mentioned earlier, far precedes the text of the Tanak, for a comparison.  The Biblical verses provided, will not be exhaustive, but a sampling to provide a foundation that these practices were in fact common and being carried out over a long period of time, by the average man, chieftains, religious leaders and kings.

 

·        Cutting and tattooing of skin

·        Making self bald, cutting hair, beards for mourning

·        Tearing garments, mourning clothes

·        Weeping, wailing, howling, and professional mourners

·        Ritual descent to the dead

·        Marzeach feast, offering food to the dead, eating the food of the dead, drinking for/with the dead

·        Tombs, burying with ancestors

·        Other offerings: vessels, jewelry, weapons, idols, clothing, furniture, etc.

·        Remembering the name of the deceased

·        Stele

·        Contacting the dead, using intermediaries to contact the dead

·        Burning incense

 

 

A Son’s Responsibility in the Ancestor Worship/Cult of the Dead

 

In the cult of the dead, it was the responsibility of the living to provide food, offerings and such to the dead ancestors, who in turn, it was believed, did works for the living, such as healing. These dead ancestors were either buried in the houses, often in the basement or in tombs, frequently just translated as graves in the English translations of Bibles, to mask the cult of the dead practices. These dead ancestors are maintained by family members.

 

In the Ugaritic Epic of Aqhat, you see these responsibilities in the ancestor worship. “So will there be a son in his house, one who sets up the stelae of his father’s ancestral spirits [gods], in the holy place, the ztr of his clan; from the earth, one who sends up his smoke, from the dust, one who protects his chapel; who smothers the life force of his detractor, drives off who attacks his abode; who takes him by the hand when he is drunk, carries him when he is sated with wine; consumes his funerary offering in Baal’s house, his portion in El’s house; who plasters his roof when it leaks, washes his clothes when they are soiled.” ANET 150

 

This passage is about the son’s responsibility to set up a memorial stone for the dead, in the house of the dead clan members, which could either be in the house or in a tomb, set up as a house for them. The son is to keep them free from the earth and the dust, as well as kill any enemies or those that would attack their clan’s house for the dead. At the drunken funeral meals, marzeach, explained above, the son will carry the drunken father and he will eat of the funerary meal. The son is to maintain this house of the dead, even washing any funeral clothes when they are soiled, so that the dead ancestors are maintained. If you think that these were strictly Canaanite practices, think again.

 

Cutting and Tattoos

 

The cutting and tattooing verses are not specific about how the cutting was done, just that it is associated with cult of the dead practices and should not be done. In the Ugaritic texts, when Anath [sister and consort of Baal] and El [father of Baal] discover that Baal has been killed by Moth / Mot, they cut themselves in mourning. “She [Anath] cut her skin with a knife, she made incisions with a razor; she cut her cheeks and chin, she raked her arms with a reed, she plowed her chest like a garden, she raked her back like a valley.” “He [El] cut his skin with a knife, he made incisions with a razor. He cut his cheeks and chin, he raked his arm with a reed. He plowed his chest like a garden, he raked his back like a valley.”

 

Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 19:26-28, “do not eat with the blood; do not divine nor conjure spirits of the dead. do not round the side of your head, nor mar the edge of your beard. and you will not make cuttings in your flesh and you will not put any mark or tattoo on yourself, i am YHWH.”

 

Wayyiqra 21:5 of the leaders, “not to make bald their head, and the edges of their beard they will not shave, and in their flesh they will not make a cutting.”

 

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 14:1,2, “sons you are to YHWH your elohey. you will not cut yourselves, nor put any baldness between your eyes for moth [dead].”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 16:6,7, “both the great and the small will die in this land. they will not be buried, nor will men mourn for them, nor cut himself, nor make himself bald for them.  7 nor will anyone break for them in mourning, to comfort him for ones who died. nor will they give them the cup of comfort to drink for the father of one or the mother of one.”

 

YirmeYahu 41:5, “men from shekem [shechem] came from shilo [shiloh], and from shomron [samaria], eighty men, having their beards shaved, and their clothes torn, and having cut themselves, and with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring to the beyth [house] YHWH.”

 

YirmeYahu 48:37, “for every head will be bald, and every beard clipped. on all the hands will be cuttings, and sackcloth on the loins.”

 

 

 

Making Self Bald, Cutting Hair and Shaving Beards for the Dead

 

Please realize that these passages are about mourning practices, not that a person cannot cut their hair nor shave for their personal grooming preferences.

 

Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 19:26-28, “do not eat with the blood; do not divine nor conjure spirits of the dead. do not round the side of your head, nor mar the edge of your beard. and you will not make cuttings in your flesh and you will not put any mark or tattoo on yourself, i am YHWH.”

 

Wayyiqra 21:5 of the leaders, “not to make bald their head, and the edges of their beard they will not shave, and in their flesh they will not make a cutting.”

 

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 14:1,2, “sons you are to YHWH your elohey. you will not cut yourselves, nor put any baldness between your eyes for moth [dead].”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 16:6,7, “both the great and the small will die in this land. they will not be buried, nor will men mourn for them, nor cut himself, nor make himself bald for them.  7 nor will anyone break for them in mourning, to comfort him for ones who died. nor will they give them the cup of comfort to drink for the father of one or the mother of one.” This verse is very interesting because it shows that these practices were being practiced as part of the ancestor cult, but since they are going into exile for their disobedience, none of this will be done for them.

 

YirmeYahu 41:5, “men from shekem [shechem] came from shilo [shiloh], and from shomron [samaria], eighty men, having their beards shaved, and their clothes torn, and having cut themselves, and with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring to the beyth [house] YHWH.” Shekem [Shechem] was a major city of the Northern Kingdom, what came to be called Shomron [Samaria]. Shilo is where the first tabernacle was set up.

 

YirmeYahu 48:37, “for every head will be bald, and every beard clipped. on all the hands will be cuttings, and sackcloth on the loins.”

 

Iyob [Job] 1:20, on hearing of the death of his sons and daughters, “and iyob rose up and tore his robe, and shaved his head. and he fell down on the ground and worshiped.”

 

 

Tearing Garments and Mourning Clothes

 

In the Ugaritic texts of Baal’s death, Anath and El put on mourning garments. “She came upon Baal, he had fallen to the ground. She covered her loins with sackcloth.” “He [El] poured earth on his head as a sign of mourning, on his skull the dust in which he rolled. He covered his loins with sackcloth.”

 

Shaq is the Hebrew for sackcloth, literally sacks.

 

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 37:34,35, “so yaaqob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth [shaq] on his loins and mourned for his son many days.  35 then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. and he said, i am descending to my son in mourning to sheolah [sheol – underworld, netherworld, the grave, of uncertain origin].  and his father wept for him.”

 

II Shmuel [Samuel] 3:30,31, “and yoab and his brother abiyshay killed abner because he had killed their brother ashahel in gibeon, in battle.  31 and dawiyd said to yoab, and to all the people with him, tear your garments and gird on sackcloth [shaq], and mourn before abner. and king dawiyd was following after the bier.”

 

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 22:12,13, “and in that day adonay YHWH tsebaoth called to weeping and mourning; and to baldness, and to girding with sackcloth.  13 then, look, joy and gladness, slaying oxen and slaughtering sheep; eating flesh and drinking wine, saying, eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.  14 and YHWH tsebaoth revealed in my ears, surely this iniquity will not be covered for you until you die, says adonay YHWH tsebaoth.”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 6:26, “daughter of my people, put on sackcloth and roll in ashes. make mourning for yourself, as for an only son, most bitter mourning; for the ravager will suddenly come on us. 

 

YirmeYahu 41:5, “men from shekem [shechem] came from shilo [shiloh], and from shomron [samaria], eighty men, having their beards shaved, and their clothes torn, and having cut themselves, and with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring to the beyth [house] YHWH.”

 

YirmeYahu 48:37, “for every head will be bald, and every beard clipped. on all the hands will be cuttings, and sackcloth on the loins.”

 

Iyob [Job] 1:20, on hearing of the death of his sons and daughters, “and iyob rose up and tore his robe, and shaved his head. and he fell down on the ground and worshiped.”

 

Weeping, Wailing, Howling and Professional Mourners

 

In addition to the standard mourning for a person in grief, there were people, considered professional mourners, who were called on to lament publicly. These professional mourners are attested archaeologically, in many lands.

 

II Shmuel [Samuel] 1:12, “12 and they mourned and wept and fasted until the evening, for shaul, and for his son yahunathan, and for the people of YHWH, and for the beyth of yisrael, because they had fallen by the sword.”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 16:5,6, “for so says YHWH, do not enter into the house of mourning. do not go to weep or moan for them. for i have removed my shalom with loving kindness and compassions from this people says YHWH.  6 both the great and the small will die in this land. they will not be buried, nor will men mourn for them, nor cut himself, nor make himself bald for them.”

 

YeshaYahu 15:2-4, “one goes up to the house, even to dibon, to the high places, to weep. moab will howl over nebo and over medeba; all its heads will be bald, every beard shorn.  3 they will put on sackcloth in the streets; everyone will howl on their housetops and in their plazas, melting in tears.  4 and heshbon and elealeh will cry; their voice will be heard as far as yahaz; so the warriors of moab will shout; his life is broken to him.”

 

Yechezqel 27:30,31, “and will make heard their voice against you, and will cry bitterly, and will cause dust to go up on their heads; they will wallow in the ashes.  31 and they will be bald for you and gird with sackcloth; and they will weep for you with bitterness of soul, a bitter wailing.”

 

YirmeYahu 25:34, “howl, shepherds, and cry, and roll in ashes, leaders of the flock. for the days of your slaughter and of your scatterings are fulfilled, and you will fall like a desirable vessel.”

 

Amos 5:16, “so YHWH, elohey tsebaoth, adonay, says this, wailing will be in all streets, and they will say in all the highways, woe. woe. and they will call the farmer to the mourning, and those knowing wailing to lamentation.”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 9:17-20, “so says YHWH tsebaoth, consider and call for the wailers, that they may come. and send for the wise women, that they may come.  18 and let them make haste and take up a lament over us, so that our eyes may run down with tears, and waters flow from our eyelids.  19 for the voice of lament is heard from tsiyon. how we are ravaged. we are greatly ashamed because we have forsaken the land; because they have thrown down our dwellings. 20 yet hear the word of YHWH, women. and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters a lament, and each one her neighbor a dirge.”

 

In the Talmud, Mas. Nedarim 66a, verse 10, note states that in reference to II Shmuel [Samuel] 1:24, in ancient days women were professional mourners, and chanted dirges in chorus at the bier of the dead. Mas. Sanhedrin 47a discusses the reasons for keeping a body overnight before burying it. One of the reasons is for bringing in professional women mourners. This practice attested to in the Hebrew Bible, continued well beyond the Talmudic period 200 CE -500 CE (AD).

 

 

Rafaiym/Rephaim – Dead Spirits

 

As mentioned earlier, Rafaiym [Rephaim]  are clearly written about as the spirits of dead/departed ancestors. Some Ugaritic scholars believe that they are not just any dead, but the spirits of dead kings or heroes in particular – the powerful dead, the warrior kings. They are also attributed to be healers. It was believed that the deified dead ancestors could heal and therefore needed to be kept on their good side. There is a biblical verse in II Dibrey HaYamiym [Chronicles] 16:12, “and asa was diseased in his feet in the thirty ninth year of his reign, until his disease was severe. and also in his disease he did not seek YHWH, but among the healers [rafaiym].” Most English translators have translated the word healers/Rafaiym as physicians. Such a translation avoids the whole subject of the Rafaiym, negating the idolatry involved.

 

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 14:4-11, “you will lift up this proverb against the king of babel, and say, how the exacter, the gold gatherer, has ceased.  5 YHWH has broken the rod of the wicked, the staff of rulers,  6 who struck the peoples in wrath, a blow without turning away, ruling the nations in anger, dealing out persecution without restraint.  7 all the earth is at rest, quiet; they break forth into singing.  8 yes, the fir trees rejoice over you; the cedars of lebanon say, since you have lain down, no one hewing will come up against us.  9 sheol from below is stirred for you, to meet you at your coming; it stirs up the rafaiym [rephaim - departed spirits] for you, all the he goats of the earth. it has raised all the kings of the nations from their thrones.  10 all of them will answer and say to you, are you also made as weak as we? are you likened to us?  11 your majesty is lowered into sheol; the noise of your harps. the maggot is spread under you; yes, the worms cover you.”

 

YeshaYahu 26:11-14, “YHWH, your hand is high; they do not see; they see and are ashamed of the zeal of the people. yes, the fire of your foes devours them.  12 YHWH, you will ordain shalom for us; for also you have worked all our works for us.  13 YHWH our elohey, masters beside you have governed us; only in you we will mention your name.  14 mothiym [dead ones] do not live; rafaiym [rephaim - departed spirits] do not rise; because of this you visited and destroyed them, and caused all memory of them to perish.”

 

Thehillah [Psalm] 88:4-10, “i am counted with those who go down to the pit; i have been like a feeble man,  5 free among the mothiym [dead ones], as pierced ones lying in the grave, whom you remember no more; yes by your hand they are cut off.  6 you have laid me in the lowest pit, in dark places, in the deeps.  7 your fury has lain hard upon me, and you afflict me with all your waves. selah.  8 you have taken ones knowing me away from me; you have made me a hateful thing to them; i am shut up, i will not go out.  9 my eye mourns because of affliction; YHWH, i have called on you every day; i have spread out my hands to you.  10 for will you do wonders for those mothiym [dead ones]? or will the refaiym [departed spirits] rise and thank you? selah.” 

 

Mishley [Proverbs] 21:16, “the man who wanders out of the way of intelligence, in the assembly of the refaiym, will come to repose.”

 

 

Descending to the Dead

 

One of the aspects of mourning is the 7 day marzeach feast, mentioned above. These also tie into threshing floors, also mentioned above. The following account is that of Dawiyd, when his first son by Bath Sheba, conceived through adultery, is stricken.

 

II Shmuel [Samuel] 12:14-23, “only, because you have made the enemies of YHWH to scorn derisively by this thing, also the son who will be born to you dying will die.  15 and nathan went to his beyth, and YHWH struck the boy whom the former wife of uriyah had borne to dawiyd. and it became sick.  16 and dawiyd sought the elohiym for the boy. and dawiyd fasted a fast, and went in and stayed the night, and lay on the earth.  17 and arose the elders of his beyth up toward him, to raise him up from the earth. but he was not willing; and he ate no bread with them.  18 and it happened on the seventh day, the boy died. and dawiyd's servants feared to tell him that the boy was dead, for they said, look, while the boy was alive, we spoke to him, and he would not listen to our voice.  and how will we say to him, the boy is dead? then he may do harm.  19 and dawiyd saw that his servants were whispering among themselves. and dawiyd understood that the boy was dead. and dawiyd said to his servants, is the boy dead? and they said, he is dead.  20 and dawiyd rose up from the earth, and bathed, and anointed. and he changed his clothing, and came into the beyth of YHWH, and worshiped. and he came to his beyth, and commanded, and they brought bread for him; and he ate.  21 and his servants said to him, what is this thing you have done? you fasted and wept because of the living boy, yet when the boy is dead, you have risen up and have eaten food?  22 and he said, while the boy was alive, i fasted and wept. for i said, who knows? YHWH may pity me and make alive the boy.  23 and now he has died. why this, that i should fast? am i able to bring him back again? i went to him, but he did not return to me.  ”

 

This passage appears like it has been edited, as much of the passages dealing with Dawiyd have been. The 7 day mourning occurs when they die, not before, typically. That does not mean that Dawiyd could not have been petitioning for 7 days, BUT, and this is a big but, there are other factors here that point to a mourning ceremony instead. For one thing, 7 is a big number involving mourning in the Canaanite texts, as well as some other passages in the Tanak. Dawiyd goes out at night, again pointing to the consulting of the dead. He lies on the ground, the earth, not on a floor somewhere. The earth is used in texts to represent the habitation of the departed, the netherworld. Verse 17 says that the “elders” of his beyth/house arose up toward him. How could these “elders of his beyth” rise up toward him, unless they were not “elders of his beyth” but the refaiym, departed ancestors that inhabit the earth/netherworld and rise when called upon. Remember, this is at night and what “elders of his beyth” are still alive and living in his palace? These elders of Dawiyd are not mentioned again, nor before. After the 7th day, Dawiyd stops his mourning. Dawiyd states in verse 23, that he [Dawiyd] went to his son, but the son did not return with Dawiyd. This is indicative of the descent to the netherworld to retrieve the dead, such as the Baal epic, where Anat goes in search of the dead Baal and brings him back and he is made alive again. As to the specific ground that Dawiyd went and laid on, this is purely speculation, because nothing is specifically mentioned, but Dawiyd does have a threshing floor connection. He purchased the threshing floor of Arunah in II Shmuel 24:24,25, “and the king said to araunah, no, for buying i will buy from you for a price, and i will not offer to YHWH my elohey burnt offerings for nothing. and dawiyd bought the threshing-floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.  25 and dawiyd built a sacrificial altar there to YHWH, and offered burnt offering and shalom offerings. and YHWH was entreated for the land; and the plague was stayed from yisrael.”

As shown in other studies, the chronology concerning the events of Dawiyd, is not in perfect order. It is believed that the beyth YHWH [the tent that Dawiyd set up and the ark was housed] was on this threshing floor site.

 

Another example of this view of mourning involves Yaaqob [Jacob] when he is falsely told that Yahusef [Joseph] has been killed by a wild animal. Sheol is the netherworld. Yaaqob is stating that ritually, he is descending to Sheol where his son is now abiding, through the mourning ceremony. The amount of days is not mentioned, just that it is many days. See also the reference under Threshing Floors [above], where Yahusef mourns for Yaaqob at a threshing floor in Atad for 7 days.

 

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 37:34,35, “so yaaqob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth on his loins and mourned for his son many days.  35 then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. and he said, i am descending to my son in mourning to sheolah.  and his father wept for him.”

 

When the men of Yabeysh Gilead heard of the bodies of Shaul and Yahunathan hanging on the wall of the Felishthiym [Philistine] city Beyth Shan, the mighty men went to retrieve the bodies, burned them. Collected the bones and buried them under a tamarisk in Yabeysh. The citizens mourned them for 7 days -  I Shmuel 31:11-13.

 

 

Marzeach Feasts, Offering Food to the Dead, Eating the Food of the Dead, Drinking For/With the Dead

 

Marzeach  Feasts [funeral meal], generally involved a lot of drinking, to the point of drunkenness, according to the Ugaritic texts. Some scholars believe that the extreme drunkenness, to the point of passing out, is the point. The passing out is like death. This pseudo death is the drunken journey to the underworld. These feasts are nocturnal affairs. In the evening the name of the deceased was called and he was invited to come and share of the sacrificial meal that was served. These feasts are listed as lasting 7 days and involve libations [wine] and grain/meal offerings.

 

“But we have extraordinarily ample information for one religious body from Ebla to Palmyra: the marzeach organization. Its echo can be heard in the Eblaite texts (mar-za-u), although its meaning is uncertain. At Emar, also, this West Semitic institution seems to be present in the name of a month (iti.marzahanu) and in the obscure allusion to the ‘men of marzahu from a certain PN’ (LU.MES.mar-za-hu sa mi-KI). In Ugarit, several texts, syllabic as well as alphabetic, provide explicit information on this religious association (again ‘the men of the marzahu’), which owns property (fields and vineyards) and can either hire an apartment for use as a meeting place or obtain one by royal grant. It is quite possible that this organization had a funerary function, and its connection with the consumption of wine is certain. Mrzh came to signify the guild, the sacred meal, and the place where this took place, under the leadership of a rb mrzh (chief of the marzahu).” – Religions of the Ancient World, Sarah Iles Johnston, pg. 316.

 

Another example of the dead eating and drinking is from the Syrian / Aramean inscriptions, the Hadad Panammu inscription. It was found in Zenjirli [also spelled Zincirli], northwest Syria. It is a large statue of Hadad, erected by Panammu at his grave. Panammu Bar Qarli was a king of Samal. On the statue of Hadad is a 34 line inscription, which does have some damage in places, therefore lacks a complete text at times. The inscription is cataloged as KAI 214. The following are lines 1,2 and 14-18 adapted from the transliteration and translation of George Albert Cooke, A text-book of North Semitic Inscriptions, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1903, pgs. 159-162.

 

“I am Panammu Bar Qarli, king of Yadi, who have set up this statue to Hadad in my ? There stood by me the god Hadad and El and Reshef and Rekub-El and Shamash...Hadad gave indeed to...he called me to build and in my? Hadad gave, indeed ? to build, and I built indeed? And set up this statue of Hadad, and the place of Panammu Bar Qarli, king of Yadi, together with a statue...whoever? of my sons will hold the scepter, and sit on my seat and grow strong and sacrifice to this Hadad, and make mention of the name Hadad, or...will say, may the soul of Panammu eat with you and may the soul of Panammu drink with you, will memorialize the soul of Panammu with Hadad...this sacrifice...may he look favorably on him to Hadad and to El and to Rekeb-El and to Shamash.”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 16:5-7, “5 for so says YHWH, do not enter into the house of marzeach [funeral meal]. do not go to weep or moan for them. for i have removed my shalom with loving kindness and compassions from this people says YHWH.  6 both the great and the small will die in this land. they will not be buried, nor will men mourn for them, nor cut himself, nor make himself bald for them.  7 nor will anyone break for them in mourning, to comfort him for ones who died. nor will they give them the cup of comfort to drink for the father of one or the mother of one.”

 

There are other references of offering and eating food for the dead, as well as drinking, that do not mention marzeach by name, nor do they describe all the characteristics of the marzeach. This does not mean that they are not part of the traditional mourning marzeach.

 

Thehillah [Psalm] 106:28, “and they were joined to baal feor [peor] and ate the sacrifices of the mothiym [dead ones].”

 

YeshaYahu [Isaiah]  65:2-5, “2 i have spread out my hands all the day long to a rebellious people who walk in the way not good, after their own thoughts;  3 a people who continually provoke me to my face; who sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on the bricks;  4 who sit among the tombs and lodge in the towers; who eat swine's flesh, and broth of unclean things in their pots;  5 who say, keep to yourself. do not come near me, for i am holier than you. these are a smoke in my nose, a fire burning all the day.”

 

In reference to the tithe, HaDebariym 26:14, “i have not eaten of it in my mourning; nor have i removed any of it away for uncleanness; nor have i given of it to moth.” Most translators write,  “it was not given to the dead”, but there is no article “ha” preceding moth, for the dead, nor is it plural as in most cases of mothiym/methiym for dead ones.

 

In other post-exilic Jewish writings, not included in the Hebrew canon, but are included in the latter Catholic canon, we see these practices still continuing and being written about.

 

Tobit 4:17, “Be lavish with your bread and wine at the burial of the virtuous, but do not share them with sinners.”

 

Wisdom of Ben Sirach 30:18, “Dainties set before one who cannot eat are like the offerings placed before a tomb.”

 

In Elizabeth Bloch-Smith’s book, Judahite Burial Practices and Beliefs About the Dead, she covers articles that were included in the burial sites. The most common articles that accompanied the bodies were eating and drinking vessels. She states on page 108, “Although there are relatively few instances of actual foodstuffs preserved in burials, the ubiquitous jar and bowl indicate that food and liquids were provided for the dead.”

 

A Ugaritic text example of the feeding and providing drink for the gods, which included the divine dead is the Epic of Aqhat, KTU 1.17, “A fifth and a sixth day passed: robed, the gods, Danilu, robed, the gods he fed, robed, he gave the holy ones to drink; Danilu removed his attire, he removed his attire went up and lay down, he removed his attire and fell asleep. And see, on the seventh day, Balu approached in his benevolence:” – Canaanite Religion According to Liturgical Texts of Ugarit, Gregorio Del Olmo Lete, pg. 333.

 

According to Ugaritic texts, threshing floors are the preferred locations for the appearances of the Rafaiym.

 

 

Threshing Floors

 

In the Hebrew, DGN [dagan] means corn or grain. This also happens to be the name of the Canaanite deity  Dagan, whose name means corn or grain and was a fertility deity as far as the grains went. The Hebrew word for threshing floor, where the grain is threshed, is GRN [goren].

 

In the Ugaritic Epic of Aqhat, Aqhat, the son of Danel, is killed by Anath, for not relinquishing his bow to her. When Danel mourns his son’s death, he goes to the threshing floor, a feast is prepared and it says that the Refaiym [Rephaim] went to Danel’s threshing floor and ate and drank for 7 days.

 

The following is a biblical example of a threshing floor practice concerning the dead with a seven day mourning ceremony.

 

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 50:1-14, “1 then yahusef [joseph] fell on the face of his father, and wept over him and kissed him.  2 yahusef commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. so the physicians embalmed yisrael.  3 now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming. and the mitsrayim [egypt] wept for him seventy days.  4 when the days of mourning for him were past, yahusef spoke to the house of faraoh [pharaoh], saying, if now i have found favor in your sight, please speak to faraoh, saying,  5 my father made me swear, saying, look, i am about to die; in my grave which i dug for myself in the land of kenaan [canaan], there you will bury me. now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father; then i will return.  6 faraoh said, go up and bury your father, as he made you swear.  7 so yahusef went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of faraoh, the elders of his house and all the elders of the land of mitsrayim,  8 and all the house of yahusef and his brothers and the house of his father; they left only their little ones and their flocks and their herds in the land of goshen.  9 there also went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company.  10 when they came to the threshing floor of the atad, which is beyond the yarden [jordan], they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father.  11 now when the inhabitants of the land, the kenaaniy [canaan], saw the mourning at the threshing floor of the atad, they said, this is a grievous mourning for the mitsrayim [egypt]. therefore it was named abel mitsrayim, which is beyond the yarden. 12 thus his sons did for him as he had charged them;  13 for his sons carried him to the land of kenaan and buried him in the cave of the field of makfelah [macphelah] before mamre, which abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from efron the chiththiy [hittite].  14 after he had buried his father, yahusef returned to mitsrayim, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.”

 

Another example of the importance in threshing floors is that of I Melekiym [Kings] 22. In this chapter you see Yahushafat [Jehoshaphat], king of Yahudah, meeting with Achab, king of Yisrael, over the Syrian threat. They called for the prophets to seek counsel to go to battle against the Syrians. The prophets numbered about 400. The two kings were at the gate of the entrance to Shomron [Samaria]. Verse 10 states, “and the king of yisrael and yahushafat the king of yahudah each was sitting on his throne having put on their robes, in a threshing-floor, in the entrance of the gate of shomron. and all the prophets prophesied before them.” Why were they at a threshing floor to seek instruction? Perhaps to have the dead hero/king/warrior spirits channel through the prophets about a potential battle?

 

In Shoftiym [Judges] 6:36, we see Gideon seeking counsel as well, by placing the fleece on the floor of the threshing floor.

 

 

Tombs, Burial With the Ancestors

 

Qeber in Biblical Hebrew means tomb or grave from the root qabar to bury. In the ancestral cult, as well as the archaeological record, burials were in tombs, which could be the basement of a house, a room attached to the house, a separate house, like a shrine house, or a tomb carved out of the rocks. Single graves and pit graves were for commoners. “However, archaeology widens the perspective by discovering family tombs in the basements of the houses of Ugarit, following a usage attested in the whole Near East (mainly Mesopotamia and Syria).” – Canaanite Religion According to Liturgical Texts of Ugarit, Gregorio Del Olmo Leto, pg. 40.  In the ancestor cult, it was important for the descendents to be able to locate the burials of their ancestors, if the tomb was not located on ancestral land. There are even cases of someone dying and their bones being taken back to the land and tombs of their ancestors for “proper” burial. According to Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, pg. 111, “Burial in an ancestral tomb served as a physical marker of the family claim to the land. Beginning with the conquest generation, burials were located on the family inheritance (Josh. 24:30; Judg. 2:9). Sometimes burials functioned as territorial boundary markers, as in the cases of Rachel, (‘on the border of Benjamin’), (I Sam. 10:2), and Joshua, (‘on the border of his inheritance’) (Josh. 24:30).”

 

Using the patriarchs as an example, we will see the lengths to which people went for these burials. Abraham entered the land of Kenaan from Harran, and later settled in Mamre, the territory of the Amurru / Amorites [Bereshiyth – Genesis 14:13]. Abraham moves a number of times and at the point that his wife Sarah dies, he is in Makfelah, Hebron with the Chiththiy / Hittites. He buys a field, with a cave on it, from Efron [Bereshiyth 23]. Verse 20, “so the field and the cave that is in it, were deeded over to abraham for a burial site by the sons of cheth.” Chapter 25, Abraham dies and his sons Yishmael [Ishmael] and Yitschaq [Isaac] take his body to the tomb to be buried. 25:8-10, “abraham breathed his last and died in a ripe old age, an old man and satisfied with life; and he was gathered to his people.  9 then his sons yitschaq and yishmael buried him in the cave of makfelah, in the field of efron ben tsochar the chiththiy, facing mamre,  10 the field which abraham purchased from the sons of cheth; there abraham was buried with sharah his wife.”  

 

In the account of the death of Yitschaq does not state that he was buried in the tomb of his father Abraham, another passage does. Bereshiyth 35:27-29, “yaaqob came to yitschaq  his father at mamre of qiryath arba, that is, chebron [hebron], where there dwelled  abraham and yitschaq.  28 now the days of yitschaq were one hundred and eighty years.  29 yitschaq breathed his last and died and was gathered to his people, an old man of ripe age; and eshau and yaaqob, his sons, buried him.”  Bereshiyth 29:33, “then he charged them and said to them, i am about to be gathered to my people; bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of efron the chiththiy,  30 in the cave that is in the field of makfelah, which is before mamre, in the land of kenaan, which abraham bought along with the field from efron the chiththiy for a burial site. 31 there they buried abraham and sharah his wife, there they buried yitschaq and ribqah, his wife, and there i buried leah,  32 the field and the cave that is in it, purchased from the sons of cheth.  33 when yaaqob finished charging his sons, he gathered his feet into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”

 

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 50:1-14, “1 then yahusef [joseph] fell on the face of his father [yaaqob / jacob], and wept over him and kissed him.  2 yahusef commanded his servants the physicians to embalm his father. so the physicians embalmed yisrael.  3 now forty days were required for it, for such is the period required for embalming. and the mitsrayim [egypt] wept for him seventy days.  4 when the days of mourning for him were past, yahusef spoke to the house of faraoh [pharaoh], saying, "if now i have found favor in your sight, please speak to faraoh, saying,  5 'my father made me swear, saying, "look, i am about to die; in my grave which i dug for myself in the land of kenaan [canaan], there you will bury me." now therefore, please let me go up and bury my father; then i will return."  6 faraoh said, "go up and bury your father, as he made you swear."  7 so yahusef went up to bury his father, and with him went up all the servants of faraoh, the elders of his house and all the elders of the land of mitsrayim,  8 and all the house of yahusef and his brothers and the house of his father; they left only their little ones and their flocks and their herds in the land of goshen.  9 there also went up with him both chariots and horsemen; and it was a very great company.  10 when they came to the threshing floor of the atad, which is beyond the yarden [jordan], they lamented there with a very great and sorrowful lamentation; and he observed seven days mourning for his father.  11 now when the inhabitants of the land, the kenaaniy [canaan], saw the mourning at the threshing floor of the atad, they said, "this is a grievous mourning for the mitsrayim [egypt]." therefore it was named abel mitsrayim, which is beyond the yarden. 12 thus his sons did for him as he had charged them;  13 for his sons carried him to the land of kenaan and buried him in the cave of the field of makfelah [macphelah] before mamre, which abraham had bought along with the field for a burial site from efron the chiththiy [hittite].  14 after he had buried his father, yahusef returned to mitsrayim, he and his brothers, and all who had gone up with him to bury his father.”

 

At this point we see that this tomb has been the burial place for at least 3 generations of husbands and wives: Abraham and Sarah, Yitschaq and Ribqah and Yaaqob and Leah. No account states who else was buried in this tomb, but this was a family tomb. Oddly enough, Yahusef is not stated as being buried in this family tomb. His account is listed below. “The underlying premise is this: access to and the presence of the personal gods in sacred building on family land symbolized the divine legitimation of ownership while the location of tombs housing the family ghosts on that same land established the genealogical rights to ownership.”

 

If we look at the land that is listed as being divided between all the tribes when they entered the land of Kenaan, from the exodus, Makfelah is never mentioned, neither is Mamre, which is oriented in connection to Makfelah. In fact, neither are mentioned in the Tanak again. This tomb of the patriarchs is never mentioned in the Tanak again. Why? Later editors write about Mamre, stating, “which is near Hebron”, or in reference to Kiriath Arba, “that is Hebron”. This is one of the signs of an editors hand that the previous name of the city was Kiriath Arba before the conquest, named after Arba, after the greatest man among the Anakites [Yahusha (Joshua) , but is now called Hebron. Yet, The book of BeMidbar [Numbers] 13:22 states about the land when they were spying it out, “... the descendants of anak, lived. hebron had been built seven years before zoan in mitsrayim.”  There are two archaeological accounts that prove Hebron was Hebron way before the time of the exodus, not Kiriath Arba later named Hebron.

 

In the Amarna Letters, dated from 1350-1330 BCE, letter EA # 281, from Shuwardata to the pharaoh, speaks of Hebron, a city he was over. Another account involves topographical lists of cities in what many term Canaan. “However, once again the Egyptian maps come into play, for Rameses III (ca. 1182-1151 BC) ordered that a copy be made of the topographical lists from Rameses II’s list, some whose names had been effaced by modern times. Four cities (numbered 77-80) read: Hebron, Janum, Dbrn, and Apheqah. That corresponded rather remarkably with Joshua 15:52:54, for the Joshua list had Hebron, Janim, and Aphekah.” The Old Testament Documents, Walter C. Kaiser, pg. 107.

 

So if Hebron existed prior to and after the exodus, why state that it was a city by another name, later called Hebron? Why no other biblical accounts for the ancestor tomb of the patriarchs? I mean Hebron is the territory of the tribe of Judah, those responsible for the writing these accounts of the Bible. If they had such a major treasure, surely they would have written about it and boasted about it, as they did other matters, unless the tomb that Abraham purchased and they were all buried in, actually resided in another territory, such as that of the other northern tribes that they were at odds with. A place near a city such as Bethel and Ay, that Abraham stopped at and had set up an altar at and resided at? Just a thought. If you think it beyond late Judaic editors to literally, and by that I mean from a literature perspective, steal a tomb of an ancestor to add weight to your tribes validity, it happened with the tomb of Rachel.

 

Bereshiyth [Gen.] 35:15-20 states, “so yaaqob named the place where elohiym had spoken with him, beyth el [bethel].  16 then they journeyed from beyth el; and when there was still some distance to go to efrathah [ephrathah], rachel began to give birth and she suffered severe labor.  17 when she was in severe labor the midwife said to her, do not fear, for now you have another son.  18 it came about as her being was departing, for she died, that she named him ben oniy; but his father called him benyamiyn.  19 so rachel died and was buried on the way to ephrathah, that is, beyth lechem.  20 yaaqob set up a pillar over her grave; that is the pillar of grave of rachel to this day.” In the tribal listings of land, Beyth El is on the northern border of the territory of Benyamin and Efrayim. Efrathah [Beyth Lechem/Bethlehem is farther south in the territory of Yahudah, the tribe of the writers of the Tanak. This passage clearly states that Rachel died some distance before they arrived in Beyth Lechem, and was buried on the way. I Shmuel 10:2 is an account of the prophet Shmuel speaking to Shaul before he became king. He is telling Shaul of what is going to happen to him and where, on his way home. “as you go from me today even you will find two men by rachel's tomb, in the border of benyamin at tseltsach.” Tseltsach is within the border of Benyamin, as well as Ramah, the hometown of Shmuel, where the conversation takes place. So Rachel’s tomb is not far from Ramah. YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 31:15 states, “so says YHWH, a voice was heard in ramah, wailing, bitter weeping, rachel weeping for her sons; she refuses to be comforted for her sons for they are not.” This passage of text also puts Rachel’s tomb near Ramah. So where do the Jews place Rachel’s tomb? South of Jerusalem, on the outskirts of Bethlehem, well within Yahudah territory. Remember that Rachel is the mother of Benyamin, not Yahudah. This tomb is not just a tomb, it has been housed and has been a major pilgrimage site, considered the 3rd holiest site in Israel.

 

When Yahusef, though living in Mitsrayim [Egypt], is dying he gives this command to his brothers, Bereshiyth 50:24-26, “yahusef said to his brothers, i am about to die, but elohiym will surely take care of you and bring you up from this land to the land which he promised on oath to abraham, to yitschaq and to yaaqob.  25 then yahusef made the sons of yisrael swear, saying, elohiym will surely take care of you, and you will carry my bones up from here.  26 so yahusef died at the age of one hundred and ten years; and he was embalmed and placed in a coffin in mitsrayim.” This was carried out by the descendants at the time of the exodus, Shemoth [Exodus] 13:19, “mosheh took the bones of yahusef with him, for he had made the sons of yisrael solemnly swear, saying, elohiym will surely take care of you, and you will carry my bones from here with you.” Yahusha [Joshua] 24:32 states, “and the bones of yahusef which the sons of yisrael brought up out of mitsrayim, they buried in shekem, in the portion of the field which yaaqob bought from the sons of chamor the father of shekem, for a hundred silver pieces. and they were for an inheritance to the sons of yahusef.” Had Yahusef requested that his body remain there and yet all his descendants leave, there would have been no one to tend to his tomb. For the ancestor cult to be active for Yahusef, it would have been necessary for his bones to be taken with them, which they were.

 

This practice of taking your relatives with you in emergencies or for such a major move is not specific to Yisrael. This was a practice of other cultures surrounding them also. “Merodach-Baladan II gathered the bones of his ancestors from their tombs and took them into exile with him.” Israel’s Beneficient Dead, Brian Schmidt, pg. 253, note 512.

 

Other examples of the necessity of remaining close to your dead relatives is that of Barzillay. The king Dawiyd wished to show favor to Barzillay, who commented in II Shmuel 19:37 (38), “please let your servant return, and i will die in my own city, near the tomb of my father and my mother.” A later example is that of NechemYahu [Nehemiah] 2:3-5, “and i said to the king, let the king live forever. why should not my face be sad when the place of my fathers' tombs, the city, lies waste and its gates are consumed with fire?  4 then the king said to me, for what do you ask? so i prayed to the elohey of heaven, 5and i said to the king, if it please the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you would send me to yahudah to the city of my fathers' tombs, so that i might build it.”

 

An example of burying the dead in the house is in I Shmuel 25:1, where it states that when the prophet Shmuel [Samuel] died, he was buried IN [the Hebrew article be (bay) meaning in, with and on] his house, “and shmuel died, and all yisrael was gathered, and mourned for him. and they buried him in his beyth [house], in ramah.”

 

An example of burying the dead kings in tombs adjoining the temple is in Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 43:6-9, “and i heard one speaking to me from the beyth. and standing beside me was a man.  7 and he said to me, son of man, the place of my throne and the place of the soles of my feet, there where i will dwell among the sons of yisrael forever, even the beyth yisrael [house of israel] will not defile my set apart name any more, they nor their kings, by their prostitution, nor by the corpses of their kings in their high places.  8 in their setting of their threshold by my threshold, and their door post beside my door post, and the wall between me and them, even they have defiled my set apart name by their detestable things that they have done. and i consumed them in my anger.  9 now let them put away their prostitution and the corpses of their kings from me, and i will dwell in their midst forever.  ”

 

The book of I Maccabees 13:25-30, said to be written about 100 BCE, gives an account of the burial of Jonathan [167 BCE], by his brother Simon Maccabaeus. “Simon sent for the remains of his brother Jonathan, and buried him in Modein, the city of his fathers. All Israel bewailed him with solemn lamentation, mourning over him for many days. Then Simon erected over the tomb of his father and his brothers a monument of stones, polished front and back, and raised high enough to be seen at a distance. He set up seven pyramids facing one another for his father and his mother and his four brothers. For the pyramids he devised a setting of big columns, on which he carved suits of armor as a perpetual memorial, and next to the armor he placed carved ships, which could be seen by all who sailed the sea. This tomb which he built at Modein is there to the present day.”  This account is also written in the Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus, Book 13, Chapter 6, “However, Simon sent some to the city Basca to bring away his brother's bones, and buried them in their own city Modein; and all the people made great lamentation over him. Simon also erected a very large monument for his father and his brethren, of white and polished stone, and raised it a great height, and so as to be seen a long way off, and made cloisters about it, and set up pillars, which were of one stone apiece; a work it was wonderful to see. Moreover, he built seven pyramids also for his parents and his brethren, one for each of them, which were made very surprising, both for their largeness and beauty, and which have been preserved to this day; and we know that it was Simon who bestowed so much zeal about the burial of Jonathan, and the building of these monuments for his relations. Now Jonathan died when he had been high priest four years and had been also the governor of his nation. And these were the circumstances that concerned his death.”

 

Access to the ancestors was very important to feed and care for them, to attain their protection. There are also accounts, biblical and archaeological, of the dead being denied burial or removed from tombs, by an enemy, so that they could not be accessed.

 

Yahusha [Joshua] 10:26,27, “and afterward yahusha` struck them [five kings of the amoriy / amurru – amorites], and executed them, and hung them on five trees. and they were hanging on the trees until the evening.  27 and it happened at the time of the going of the sun, yahusha` commanded, and they took them down from the trees, and threw them into the cave where they had been hidden, and put great stones on the mouth of the cave until this very day.”

 

“Assyrian kings were known to desecrate the graves of the enemy royalty. Ashurbanipal carried away the bones of Elamite kings whose descendants he described as ‘the disturbers of the kings my ancestors’.” Israel’s Beneficient Dead, pg. 253.

 

In post-biblical times a tradition developed, perhaps due to the diasporas and the uncertainty of foreign government rules and frequent persecutions, of placing your deceased relatives bones into ossuaries after about a year. Ossuaries are defined as a container or receptacle, such as an urn or a vault, for holding the bones of the dead. Generally these ossuaries are of pottery. Some ossuaries involved two large jars, one at the head and the other over the feet, with the necks broken off, placed together. This is called a double pithos burial, which is common among those that were the Sea Peoples, a practice from their Aegean origin. See Phoenician / Feleshthiym / Carthaginian section for more information. This might have been for convenience, in case of having to flee, to be able to take ones relatives with you. Cemeteries of ossuaries have been found mainly along the coastal strip of Yisrael.

 

In even later times, catacombs were used for burials. Many have heard of the Christian burial catacombs in Italy, but there were Jewish catacombs as well. Six Jewish catacombs were found in Rome, according to Encyclopedia Judaica, under Catacombs, dating by the inscriptions from the first to the fourth centuries CE. These were mainly along the Appian Way road. While the construction of the Jewish and Christian catacombs was similar they did vary in that the Jewish did not have a larger room for religious celebrations. Jewish catacombs have also been found at Sardinia, Sicily, Syracuse, Catania, Malta, Alexandria, Egypt, Cyrene in Libya and Carthage. It is possible that without owning ancestral land, people may have adopted catacombs for tombs.

 

 

Other Offerings

 

Items in the tombs/graves included the eating and drinking vessels mentioned above, but there were also personal items such as lamps, spindles, combs and mirrors, jewelry, special clothing, images/idols, seals, scarabs, furniture, weapons, etc. Warriors being buried with their weapons is even mentioned in Yechezqel 32:27, “and they will not lie with the mighty of the uncircumcised who are fallen, who have gone down to sheol with their weapons of war. and they have put their swords under their heads, but their iniquities will be on their bones, though the terror of the mighty was in the land of the living.” Some of the weapons found have been spear and arrowheads, some of which are engraved, swords, bows and daggers. In a number of graves at Beth Eglaim / Tell- Ajul, the horses of the deceased were buried with them. These items are all to provide the dead with what is perceived to be what they need or wanted, to provide for them in the next life.

 

 

Remembering the Name

 

Another aspect of the ancestor cult is that of the names of the ancestors, the remembering them, so that they are not forgotten, which is part of the reason for stelae / gravestones covered below. For now, I will just deal with the names and remembrance. A further means of remembering the name is the practice of levirate marriage. Levir is a Latin term that means husbands brother. In the Hebrew, the word is yibbim, which means husbands brother/brother-in-law, to marry ones brother widow. Below is the law written into HaDebariym and an example from the book of Ruth, involving Boaz acting as the levir to Ruth, this is accounted the line of King David.

 

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 25:5-10, “if brothers live together, and one of them dies, and has no son, the wife of the dead will not go outside to a strange man; her brother in law will go in to her, and take her to himself for a wife, and will perform the duty of the levirate;  6 and it will be, the first born which she bears will rise up for his dead brother's name, and his name will not be wiped out of yisrael.  7 and if the man does not desire to take his brother's wife then his brother's wife will go up to the gate, to the elders, and say, my husband's brother is refusing to raise up a name to his brother in yisrael; he has not been willing to perform the duty of my levirate [yabbim].  8 and the elders of his city will call for him and will speak to him. and he will stand and say, i have no desire to take her.  9 then his brother's wife will draw near to him before the elders, and will take his shoe from his foot, and spit in his face, and will answer and say, so it will be done to the man who will not build up the beyth of his brother.  10 and his name will be called in yisrael, the beyth of him whose shoe was taken off.”

 

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 48:15,16, “he blessed yahusef, and said, the elohiym before whom my fathers abraham and yitschaq walked, the elohiym who has been my shepherd all my life to this day,  16 the malak who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the youths; and may my name live on in them, and the names of my fathers abraham and yitschaq; and may they grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth."

 

Ruth 4:10, “and also ruth of moab, the wife of machlon, i have bought for myself for a wife, to raise up the name of him who died over his inheritance. and the name of him who died will not be cut off from among his brothers, and from the gate of his place. you are witnesses today.” This is a major aspect of the levirate marriage, to ensure that the property was preserved within the family line and the family line continues.

 

Shemoth [Exodus] 3:15 is an account in which YHWH is speaking to Mosheh [Moses] concerning His name, “and elohiym said further to mosheh, now you say to the sons of yisrael, YHWH, elohey of your fathers, elohey of abraham, elohey of yitschaq, and elohey of yaaqob, has sent me to you. this is my name forever, and this is my memorial/remembrance for generation to generation.”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 11:19, “and i was like a docile lamb being brought to the slaughter; and i did not know that they had plotted schemes against me, saying, let us destroy the tree with its fruit; and let us cut him off from the land of the living so that his name may be remembered no more.”

 

Iyob [Job] 18:17, writes of the wicked, “his memory perishes from the earth and there is no name to him on the face of the street.”

 

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 56:3-5, “and do not let the son of the foreigner speak, he who joins himself to YHWH, saying, separating YHWH separates me from his people; and not do let the eunuch say, look, i am a dried tree.  4 for so says YHWH to the eunuchs who keep my shabbathoth and chooses things i am pleased with, and takes hold of my beriyth.  5 i, even i will give to them in my beyth and in my walls a hand [yad] and a name better than sons and than daughters; i will give them an everlasting name which will not be cut off.” This use of yad is as a memorial stone erected by a persons own hands, not having sons and daughters to do it, such as the one mentioned below for Abshalom. What is important here, is that this passage is speaking about eunuchs that have no offspring, that YHWH is providing a name better than sons and daughters, that will not be cut off. This remembrance of the name is crucial to the ancestor cult.

 

In the book of YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 22, we see passages written against the king of Yahudah KanYahu ben Yahuyaqim [Coniah son of Jehoiakim] 24,25, “as i live, says YHWH, though kanyahu ben yahuyaqim, king of yahudah were the signet on my right hand, yet i would tear you out of there.   25 and i will give you into the hand of those who seek your being, and into the hand of those whose face you fear, even into the hand of nebukadretstsar king of babel, and into the hand of the kashdiym.”  28-30, “is this man kanyahu a despised, broken jar, or a vessel in which is no pleasure? why are they hurled, he and his seed, and are cast into the land which they do not know?  29 earth, earth, earth. hear the word of YHWH.  30 so says YHWH, write this man childless, a man who will not prosper in his days. for not one from his seed will succeed, a man sitting on the throne of dawiyd and ruling any more in yahudah.”  This man was so despised that he was to be written as though he were childless, not to be remembered, not to be succeeded on the throne.

 

As mentioned above, another example of the stele and memorializing the name is from the Syrian / Aramean inscriptions, the Hadad Panammu inscription. It was found in Zenjirli [also spelled Zincirli], northwest Syria. It is a large statue of Hadad, erected by Panammu at his grave. Panammu Bar Qarli was a king of Samal. On the statue of Hadad is a 34 line inscription, which does have some damage in places, therefore lacks a complete text at times. The inscription is cataloged as KAI 214. The following are lines 1,2 and 14-18 adapted from the transliteration and translation of George Albert Cooke, A text-book of North Semitic Inscriptions, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1903, pgs. 159-162.

 

“I am Panammu Bar Qarli, king of Yadi, who have set up this statue to Hadad in my ? There stood by me the god Hadad and El and Reshef and Rekub-El and Shamash...Hadad gave indeed to...he called me to build and in my? Hadad gave, indeed ? to build, and i built indeed? And set up this statue of Hadad, and the place of Panammu Bar Qarli, king of Yadi, together with a statue...whoever? of my sons will hold the scepter, and sit on my seat and grow strong and sacrifice to this Hadad, and make mention of the name Hadad, or...will say, may the soul of Panammu eat with you and may the soul of Panammu drink with you, will memorialize the soul of Panammu with Hadad...this sacrifice...may he look favorably on him to Hadad and to El and to Rekeb-El and to Shamash.”

 

A New Testament application is the Hebrew name of the messiah – Yahusha, which means Yahuweh’s salvation. The Aramaic version is Yeshua. Many Rabbinical sources refer to him as Yeshu though. Most do not realize that YeShU is an acronym for Yemach Shemu Uzekeru – blotted out his name and remembrance. In the Toledoth Yeshu [Generations of Yeshu], a medieval rabbinical anti-gospel account of Jesus, “Jesus original name was Yehoshua (ryedi). Later, when he became a heretic, his name was changed to Yeshu (eyi).” Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, George Howard, pg. 207.

 

 

Stelae

 

There are two words in the Biblical Hebrew that equal a stele [singular of the plural stelae – monument]. The first is matstsebah [plural matstseboth], also written massebah. Matstsebah is defined as a pillar, from the root word natsab – to stand. Translators generally translate this word as standing stones or sacred stones. The second word is tsiyon [ zion ], which means a monument, gravestone or landmark. Remember the modern example of Rabbi Schneerson, with the tombstone over his grave, it is called The Tziyun? This is the same practice and same term.

 

An example of the stele raised by a son is II Shmuel 18:18, “and during his lifetime abshalom had taken and set up for himself a matstseboth, which is in valley of the king. for he said, i have no son for the sake of remembering my name. and he called the matstseboth by his name and it is called yad [arm of] abshalom to this day.”  Contrary to modern translators to translate yad as monument, due to the fact that a matstsebah [pillar, standing stone, sacred stone] was set up, yad does not mean monument in Biblical Hebrew. Yad means arm, hand, which fits contextually because Abshalom set this up, by his own hand, his own strength, so that his name would be remembered. Abshalom did have sons that were born to him, according to II Shmuel 14:27, “and three sons were born to absalom, and one daughter. and her name was tamar; she was a woman of a beautiful form.” No text explains what happened to the sons of Abshalom, nor their names, even though the name of the daughter is listed as Tamar, the same name as his sister that had been raped by their brother Amnon. So either something happened to the sons and they died, or they were killed to make sure they would not try to ascend to the throne. At any rate, at the point that his sons were no longer alive, Abshalom took matters into his own hand, literally, to make sure that his name would not be forgotten, and set up his own stele. Below is the Yad Abshalom, at least from the Second Temple Period.

 

 

II Melekiym [Kings] 23:14, “and he [yoshiyahu, king of yahudah] broke the pillars [matstseboth] in pieces, and cut down the asheriym [plural of asherah], and filled their places with the bones of men.”

 

II Melekiym [Kings] 23:17, “and he said, what is this gravestone/monument [tsiyon] that i see? and the men of the city said to him, the tomb of the man of  who came from yahudah and proclaimed these things that you have done concerning the altar of beyth el.”

 

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 39:15, “and as they pass, those who pass through the land, and any sees a bone of a man, then he will build a monument/gravestone [tsiyon] beside it until the ones burying have buried it in the valley of the multitude of gog.”

 

 

Burning Incense

 

YirmeYahu 41:5, “men from shekem [shechem] came from shilo [shiloh], and from shomron [samaria], eighty men, having their beards shaved, and their clothes torn, and having cut themselves, and with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring to the beyth [house] YHWH.”

 

YeshaYahu [Isaiah]  65:2-5, “2 i have spread out my hands all the day long to a rebellious people who walk in the way not good, after their own thoughts;  3 a people who continually provoke me to my face; who sacrifice in gardens, and burn incense on the bricks;  4 who sit among the tombs and lodge in the towers; who eat swine's flesh, and broth of unclean things in their pots;  5 who say, keep to yourself. do not come near me, for i am holier than you. these are a smoke in my nose, a fire burning all the day.”

 

 

The Living Seeking the Dead

 

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 18:9-12, " when you come to the land which YHWH your elohey is giving to you, you will not learn to do according to detestable things of those goyim.  10 there will not be found in you one who passes his son or his daughter through the fire, one that uses divination, an observer of clouds, or one divining [casting of lots], or a whisperer of spells,  11 or a magic charmer, or one consulting spirits of the dead ancestors, or a spirit knower, or one inquiring of the dead ones.  12 for all doing these things are an abomination to YHWH. and because of these filthy acts YHWH your elohey is dispossessing these nations before you."

 

Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 19:26-28, “do not eat with the blood; do not divine nor conjure spirits of the dead. do not round the side of your head, nor mar the edge of your beard. and you will not make cuttings in your flesh and you will not put any mark or tattoo on yourself, i am YHWH.”

 

YeshaYahu 8:11-19, “11 for so YHWH spoke to me with a strong hand, and taught me against walking in the way of this people, saying,  12 do not say, a conspiracy, to everything of which this people says, a conspiracy. and do not fear its fear, and do not dread.  13 YHWH tsebaoth him set apart, and he will be your fear; and he will be your dread.  14 and he will be for a miqdash [sanctuary], and for a striking stone and a stumbling block rock to the two houses of yisrael; for a trap and for a snare to the ones living in yerushalaim.  15 and many among them will stumble and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.  16 bind up the testimony, seal the thorah among my students.  17 and i will wait on YHWH, who hides his face from the beyth yaaqob; and i will look for him.  18 look, i and the children whom YHWH has given to me are for signs and wonders in yisrael from YHWH tsebaoth, who dwells on mountain tsiyon.  19 and when they say to you, seek to the necromancers, and to the knowers, those whistling imitators and those muttering; should not a people seek to its elohay, than for the living to seek the mothiym [dead ones]?  20 to the thorah and to the testimony. if they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no dawn to them.” 

 

An example of this is attributed to Shaul being so desperate for guidance that he goes to a mistress of owb for guidance. Notice that Shaul goes at night, not out of hiding, but the night is the time to consult the dead. In YeshaYahu 45:19, we see YHWH stating that, once again, He is not as the false deities, “i have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth. i did not say to yaaqob's seed, seek me in vain. i YHWH speak righteousness, declaring right things.”

 

I Shmuel [Samuel] 28:3-15, “and shmuel was dead. and all yisrael had mourned for him, and buried him in ramah, even in his city. and shaul had taken away the owb [spirits of the dead, believed to be ancestral spirits, fathers] and yiddoniym [spirit knowers] out of the land.  4 and the felishthiym [philistines] had gathered and had come in and camped in shunem. and shaul gathered all yisrael, and they camped in gilboa.  5 and shaul saw the camp of the felishthiym [philistines], and his heart trembled and he greatly feared.  6 and shaul asked of YHWH, but YHWH did not answer him, either by dreams, or by urim, or by prophets.  7 and shaul said to his servants, seek out for me a woman, a mistress [baalath feminine of baal – master] of owb [spirits of the dead], and i will go to her and inquire of her. and his servants said to him, look, a woman, a mistress of owb, is in the city of dor.  8 and shaul disguised himself and put on other clothes. and he and two of the men with him went; and they came to the woman by night. and he said, i beg you, divine for me by owb [spirits of the dead], and bring up to me him whom i say to you.  9 and the woman said to him, look, you know that which shaul has done, that he has cut off owb [spirits of he dead, believed to be ancestral spirits, fathers] and yiddoniym [spirit knowers], out of the land. and why are you laying a snare for my life, to kill me?  10 and shaul swore to her by YHWH, saying, as YHWH lives, no evil will happen to you because of this thing.  11 and the woman said, whom will i bring up to you? and he said, bring up shmuel to me.  12 and the woman saw shmuel, and cried out with a loud voice. and the woman spoke to shaul, saying, why have you deceived me? for you are shaul.  13 and the king said to her, do not be afraid. for what have you seen? and the woman said to shaul, i have seen elohiym [gods] coming up out of the earth.  14 and he said to her, what is his appearance? and she said, an old man is coming up, and he is covered with a robe. and shaul knew that he was shmuel. and he bowed his face to the earth, and prostrated himself.  15 and shmuel said to shaul, why have you disturbed me, to bring me up. and shaul said, i am grievously distressed. and the felishthiym are fighting against me, and elohiym has turned from me and has not answered me any more, either by the hand of the prophets, or by dreams. and i called for you to make known to me what i should do.”

 

Some scholars believe that this was not necessarily attributed to King Shaul, but was added by a scribe who was pro-Davidic line, to smear the name of Shaul and justify the usurpation, by Dawiyd, to the throne. Who was the consulter of the spirits of the dead is not important, as is the fact that it was being practiced in Yisrael.

 

 

New Testament Perspective

 

I have found many subjects interesting, when considering the teachings of Yahusha, the Messiah of YHWH. This subject of ancestor cults and cult of the dead is no less interesting. There is a passage in the book of MaththiYahu [Matthew], chapter 8, verses 18-22, where it speaks about following Yahusha as he taught. He explains to them that foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Then an odd verse is recorded, though I think something has been edited or this passage should actually belong somewhere else because it speaks of a student saying that he first needs to go and bury his father. First, if this mans father had just died, what is he doing out there with a crowd when Yahusha was teaching? His family would have been in mourning. If his father had just died, the passage should have recorded a message of his death, as in so many cases of messages. Yet none applies in this case. Regardless of the missing text or placement, the important factor in this case is the response of Yahusha. He states to follow him and let the dead bury their dead. Many have taught that Yahusha meant that the spiritually dead would bury the dead. Whether or not that is the case, Yahusha was not advocating the burial customs of the ancestor cult. To abandon the familial responsibility of mourning and burial, must have flown in the face of tradition, probably angering many, as his teachings frequently did.

 

Another example of a burial and Yahusha is that of his friend Elazar [Lazarus], recorded in the book of Yahuchanan [John], chapters 11 and 12.  When Yahusha hears the report of Elazar’s illness, he does not even go to his friend. He remains where he was for 2 days and then they depart for Beth Anyah [Bethany]. Yahusha is aware that Elazar is dead. When he arrives with his students, Elazar has already been in a tomb for 4 days. You might believe that perhaps these people, being followers of Yahusha, did not practice such things, but the verses state otherwise. The mourners are in the house and when Maryam [Mary] goes to meet Yahusha, the mourners suppose that she is going to the tomb to mourn and follow her. Also, Elazar had been prepared for burial and wrapped in strips of linen, grave clothes, with a cloth over his face. This is mentioned also in the 19th chapter of Yahuchanan, when they bury Yahusha, after he was killed. In 19:39 it states that Naqdiymon brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, seventy five pounds of it and they took Yahusha’s body and wrapped it with the spices, in strips of linen, “in accordance with Jewish burial customs”. So here is another case of Yahusha not advocating the mourning and burial customs of the ancestor cult.

 

I also find it interesting that when Yahusha was buried, he was not buried with his forefathers but in a brand new tomb that had been hewn out and purchased by Naqdiymon for his own use, until his teacher was executed. At least, that is the account passed down.

 

Modern Judaism

 

Modern Judaism does still carry on some of these traditions, as mentioned at the beginning of this study concerning Rabbi Schneerson. Encyclopedia Judaica, under Burial, states, “The more elaborate ancient rituals have either disappeared or been modernized...however, the custom of having musicians (Ket. 46b, torchbearers, and barefooted professional mourners in the funeral procession has been discontinued... The older practice of food offerings to the dead (Deut. 26:14; Tob. 4:17; Ecclus. 30:18), of placing lamps in graves, and of burying the personal effects of princes and notables with the corpse (as were done for Gamaliel I by Onkelos (Av. Zar. 11a)), have completely disappeared.”  I doubt, not being able to be at every burial of a Jew or any other Hebrews death, for the last thousand years, that the entry author can absolutely state that none of this occurs anymore. The fact that certain teachers of Judaism may frown on it, does not make it obsolete.

 

Modern Judaism continues the practice of rending the garments when one hears of a death of a relative, friend or important person. Encyclopedia Judaica, under Mourning, states that the rending of garments may be simply an outlet for pent up emotions, or it may have developed as a symbolic substitute for the mutilation of the flesh. Immediately after the funeral, a mourning period of 7 days begins. This is called shiva, meaning seven. This is the same time period listed in the Hebrew Bible and Canaanite accounts. There are various activities which were forbidden, such as leaving your house, manual labor and business, sex, bathing, cutting the hair (which may be in response to the older form of mourning), wearing of leather shoes, washing clothes and studying Torah. Mirrors are covered. A candle burns continuously, in the house, for the entire 7 days of shiva.

 

While not all the ancient ancestor cult practices are being observed within the Jewish and Hebrew communities, many of them are, even without the modernizations. And this study does not even cover the Yeminy Jews that are not as modernized, nor the Shomroniym [Samaritans], nor any other of the Hebrew tribes descendants, such as the Pathan, all of which live in cultures not under the European and American influences.

 

 

–  Teraphim   The definition of therafiym ( teraphim ) is not known for certain. Unlike many other Semitic words, there is not one that is the same as ThRF (P)  or the plural ThRF (P) YM in the other Semitic languages. Therafiym, always occurring in the plural in the Tanak, are generally defined as small household gods that provided protection and healing. By looking through passages in the Tanak, as well as some archaeology, we might be able to get a better idea of just what therafiym ( teraphim) are.

 

In Bereshiyth [Genesis] 31, we see the first account of therafiym / teraphim, in verses 19, 34 and 35. At no point is a therafiym explained. Please remember that Rachel had been barren and was seeking to have children by any means. She traded a night with Yaaqob for the mandrakes that Leah’s son Reuben found. Mandrakes were and still are reputed to cure infertility. Rachel conceives Yahusef [Joseph]. This needs to be kept in mind as to Rachel’s condition and her frame of mind. Instead of seeking YHWH as to healing her barrenness, she demands children from Yaaqob and seeks other means to achieve supremacy over her older sister. At the point that Yaaqob speaks to his wives and tells them that they are moving and wants to do this discreetly so that his father–in-law Laban cannot interfere, this is where the situation of Rachel stealing her father’s therafiym comes into play.

 

Bereshiyth 31:19-35, “when laban had gone to shear his flock, then rachel stole the therafiym that belonged to her father.  20 and yaaqob deceived laban the aramiy by not telling him that he was fleeing.  21 so he fled with all that he had; and he arose and crossed the river, and set his face toward the hill country of gilead.  22 when it was told laban on the third day that yaaqob had fled,  23 then he took his kinsmen with him and pursued him a distance of seven days' journey, and he overtook him in the hill country of gilead.  24 elohiym came to laban the aramiy in a dream of the night and said to him, be careful that you do not speak to yaaqob either good or bad.  25 laban caught up with yaaqob. now yaaqob had pitched his tent in the hill country, and laban with his kinsmen camped in the hill country of gilead.  26 then laban said to yaaqob, what have you done by deceiving me and carrying away my daughters like captives of the sword?  27 why did you flee secretly and deceive me, and did not tell me so that i might have sent you away with joy and with songs, with timbrel and with lyre;  28 and did not allow me to kiss my sons and my daughters? now you have done foolishly.  29 it is in my power to do you harm, but the elohey of your father spoke to me last night, saying, be careful not to speak either good or bad to yaaqob.   30 now you have indeed gone away because you longed greatly for the beyth of your father; but why did you steal my elohiy [my gods]?   31 then yaaqob replied to laban, because i was afraid, for i thought that you would take your daughters from me by force.  32 the one with whom you find your elohiy [gods] will not live; in the presence of our kinsmen point out what is yours among my belongings and take it for yourself. for yaaqob did not know that rachel had stolen them [plural].  33 so laban went into the tent of yaaqob and into the tent of leah and into the tent of the two maids, but he did not find them. then he went out of the tent of leah and entered the tent of rachel.  34 now rachel had taken the therafiymand put them in the saddle of the camel, and she sat on them. and laban felt through all the tent but did not find them.   35 she said to her father, let not my master be angry that i cannot rise before you, for the manner of women [she claimed to be on her cycle, which is considered unclean for a man to touch a woman or anything that she has touched, in many cultures] is on me. so he searched but did not find the therafiym.

 

 

First, the reader needs to be aware that the reason that Laban did not search the saddle of Rachel was because of cultural prohibitions that state when a woman is on her cycle, whatever she touches becomes unclean and if anyone touches her, they also become unclean and have to go through purification. Rachel knew this and used this taboo to her advantage so that her saddle would not be searched. Second, camel saddles have not changed much in the Middle East. Doing searches for camel saddles, you see a wide range of them, but they are basically similar and have been, according to drawings and images from archaeology. With this in mind, I have provided an image of a smaller saddle, to give you an idea of about what size these therafiym / teraphim could be. Keep in mind, you could easily hide several images the size of a football in a similar saddle.

 

 

Third, Laban refers to the therafiym / teraphim as his gods. From this passage, the only thing that we can gather about therafiym / teraphim is that it was multiple / plural items being spoken of, not just from the word therafiym being the male plural, but the “them” used in connection with what she put into the saddle. In this case, they could not have been that large, but that does not mean that all therafiym are small. And the therafiym / teraphim are likened to gods [elohiym / eliym / ilim depending on your Semitic culture].

 

The next passage dealing with therafiym / teraphim, is that of Miykah.

 

Shoftiym [Judges] 17, “ 1 and there was a man of the hills of efrayim, and his name was miykah [shortened version of name miykayahu mentioned later].  2 and he said to his mother, the eleven hundred pieces of silver which were taken from you, and you uttered a curse, even also speaking in my ear; look, the silver is with me. i have taken it. and his mother said, blessed be my son by YHWH.  3 and he gave back the eleven hundred silver pieces to his mother. and his mother said, i have wholly consecrated the silver to YHWH from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a molten metal image. and now, i am returning it to you.  4 and he returned the silver to his mother. and his mother took two hundred silver pieces and gave them to a refiner. and he made it a carved image, and a molten metal image. and it was in the beyth of miykahyahu.  5 and the man, miykah, had a beyth elohiym house of gods]. and he made an efod, and therafiym, and consecrated one of his sons. and he was a kohen for him.  6 and in those days there was no king in yisrael; each man did the right in his own eyes.  7 and there was a young man of beyth lechem in yahudah, of the family of yahudah; and he was a lewiy. and he resided there.  8 and the man went out of the city, out of beyth lechem yahudah, to live where he might find a place. and he came to the hills of efrayim, to the beyth of miykah, to work his way.  9 and miykah said to him, from where do you come? and he said to him, i am a lewiy of beyth lechem yahudah, and i am going to live where i may find a place.  10 and miykah said to him, live with me, and be a father and a kohen to me. i will give you ten silver pieces for the days, and an order of garments, and your sustenance. and the lewiy went in.  11 and the lewiy was willing to live with the man, and the young man was to him as one of his sons.  12 and miykah consecrated the hand of the lewiy and the young man was a kohen to him; and he was in the beyth of miykah.  13 and miykah said, now i know that YHWH will do good to me, for the lewiy is a kohen to me.”

 

This passage reveals no size or practices associated with them,  but does indicate that it/they were something that was made by Miykah.

 

In I Shmuel we see Shmuel, the prophet and judge, berating Shaul for not killing Agag, the king of Amaleq. I Shmuel 15:23, “for the sin of divination by lots [drawing of lots] is rebellion; and awen [we will get to this shortly] and therafiym are the urging/insisting. because you have rejected the word of YHWH, so he has rejected you from being king.

 

Awen is paired with therafiym / teraphim in another passage in ZekarYahu 10:2, “for the therafiym speak awen, and the diviners by lots have seen a lie and have told false dreams. they comfort in vain. on account of this, they wandered like a flock. they were troubled because there was no shepherd.”

 

In this passage, we see that awen is what the therafiym / teraphim spoke. In these two passages, we see that divination by lots, is paired with therafiym and awen. Both passages also show a situation where instead of seeking YHWH, these forms of getting answers is in contradiction to YHWH. So from this alone, we can see that therafiym / teraphim involves some kind seeking for direction, but not the direction of YHWH. Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 21:21: “for the king of babel will stand at the mother of the way, at the head of the two ways to practice divination. he will shake arrows, he will ask therafiym; he will look at the liver.” From this verse, we again see that therafiym / teraphim are consulted for information. The verse in II Melekiym [Kings] 23:24, is a long list of what was removed in the YoshiYahu [Josiah] reforms and sheds no light on what a therafiym / teraphim is.

 

Now let us take a look at a passage that has caused scholars considerable confusion in trying to interpret what therafiym are. I Shmuel [Samuel] 19 states that Shaul was trying to kill Dawiyd. He sends messengers to Dawiyds house to watch him and kill him in the morning. Verses 11-16, “and shaul sent messengers to dawiyd's beyth to watch him, and to kill him in the morning. and his wife michal told dawiyd, saying, if you do not escape with your life tonight, tomorrow you will be killed.  12 and michal made dawiyd go down through the window. and he went, and fled, and escaped.  13 and michal took the therafiym and laid it on the bed; and she put the quilt of goat's hair at his head place, and covered with a spread.  14 and shaul sent messengers to take dawiyd. and she said, he is sick.  15 and shaul sent the messengers to see dawiyd, saying, bring him up to me in the bed, to kill him.  16 and the messengers came in. and, look, the therafiym was on the bed, and the quilt of goat's hair was at his head place.”

 

Most scholars have stated, in their quest to understand what therafiym / teraphim are in the Tanak, that this passage is an example of the “fact” that therafiym / teraphim could at times be the size of a man, since one was put in the bed to deceive that a man was there. Bullshit. Nowhere does it say that it was man sized. If you look at the word that is translated as a quilt [or net] of goats hair, kebiyr, you will see that the root is kebir, which means to sift. I work with fibers in a lot of forms. I particularly like to work with fibers in the oldest manners known. Hence, I have sheared, carded various fibers. I even spin by drop spindles. The only way that you can make a “quilt” of sifted goats hair is what we call felting, unless you spin the thread and knit or crochet it, which could account for the “netting”, if that is even the proper translation of the word. Felting is sifted hair, which can be produced in any size and can be shaped. Old fashioned hats from many ancient cultures were felted. Why is this important? Because the description of what is placed on the head is the key, even being mentioned twice.

 

To summarize what we know from the Tanak verses, we see that they are the size to be placed in a camel saddle; they are likened to gods; they are made; they are used for divination/consultation/oracles; they supposedly speak; and one was used to represent at least part of a man with some matted/sifted goats hair on the head. Having finished with the known passages from the Tanak, let us now take a look at something from archaeology that fits all these descriptions and does occur in excavations in the territory of Yisrael and surrounding territories.

 

Over 60 plastered skulls have been found at a number of sites in Israel, Palestine, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. First, the skulls had their flesh removed, most had their teeth removed post-mortem. They were then plastered, teeth replaced and eyes created and placed from inside. Some eyes have been made from shells. The plastered skulls have been found in houses on floors and shelves of lime plaster, niches and mortuary centers. The key component in the locations seems to be the lime plaster, which will make sense if you remember the Ugarit text of the duties of a son and the plastered abode that is maintained by the son from leaks. “So will there be a son in his house, one who sets up the stele of his father’s ancestral spirits [gods], in the holy place, the ztr of his clan; from the earth, one who sends up his smoke, from the dust, one who protects his chapel; who smothers the life force of his detractor, drives off who attacks his abode; who takes him by the hand when he is drunk, carries him when he is sated with wine; consumes his funerary offering in Baal’s house, his portion in El’s house; who plasters his roof when it leaks, washes his clothes when they are soiled.” ANET 150

 

“In the earlier part of the Neolithic, the crania were mainly on display on the house floors and in domestic installations. Later in the sequence, the final act of disposal of the relics seems to have changes, since they are often ritually buried in pits, perhaps as a wider trend of bury cult objects. Skulls were also kept in charnel houses, such as at Cayonu in Anatolia, where the so called ‘Skull Building’ contained the crania of many dozens of individuals. The building, about 10 m wide and at least 8 m long, originally consisted of one large room with three subterranean, cellar-like rooms in the back, each covered with large stone slabs. These cellars contained numerous skulls and other human skeletal remains, neatly stacked up to the ceiling. Subsequently, three small interconnected rooms were constructed above the cellars and likewise used for the massive storage of skulls, seventy one in total, including both men and women, adults and children. The remaining large room with its plaster floor and red-painted walls had low benches along the walls and a large flat and carefully polished stone slab on the floor, perhaps as a serving table. On its surface were traces of both human and animal blood, preserved in the form of hemoglobin crystals. The building not only served for the burial of human remains but also was actively and continuously used in cult practices associated with death and the spilling of blood.” – Archaeology of Syria, Akkermans and Schwartz, pg. 92.

 

“Once separated from the body, the skulls sometimes underwent further elaboration. At Tell Ramad, a pit ascribed to layer I contained six skulls, and two pits in a layer II contained three and twelve skulls respectively. Nearly all were remodeled with plaster to produce a lifelike image of the human face, some with traces of red paint. Such plastering of skulls, occasionally with marine shells as eye-inlay, commonly occurred at sites in the southern Levant, such as Jericho, Beisamoun, Nahal Hemar, and Ain Ghazal, but it has rarely been reported from any of the settlements north of Ramad.” – Archaeology of Syria, Peter Akkermans, Glen Schwartz, pg. 91.

 

Another Ugarit text that will shed some light on this subject is that of Anat in the Ugaritic Epic of Aqhat, which has been mentioned previously. Anat desires a bow that was made and given to Aqhat. He refuses to give her the bow. She then threatens to kill him. He still refuses and replies, “Do not invent a story, Maiden, for to a hero your lies are trash. What does a man get as his destiny? What does a man get as his fate? Glaze will be poured out on my head, plaster on my pate. And the death of all men I will die, yes, I will surely die. Also another thing I will tell you, the bow is a bow of warriors. Could women really hunt with it?”  While some of you may not be convinced that Aqhat is speaking of his head being plastered after he dies, what Anat does after she has him killed should.

 

Danel, the father of Aqhat, searches for the body, cutting open many birds to see if his son’s remains are inside, saying, “I will weep and I will bury him, I will place him in the hole of the gods [chthonic - underworld] of the earth.”

 

In a neo-Assyrian text Shamash, the sun deity responsible for bringing the dead to the underworld and taking them up to the living, is invoked: “...May he [Shamash] bring up a dead one from the darkness for me. May he revive into the dead man’s limbs. I call, O skull of skulls. May he who is within the skull answer. O Shamash, who opens the darkness.”

 

Having seen that therafiym teraphim are oracular, used for divination to receive answers, we may be able to determine what their real name was. Numerous scholars have tried to find a logical root to the word therafiym / teraphim. Though some have been, what I would call a stretch or not even applicable dealing with healing, decay, weakness, limpness, etc. There are some scholars that view this word as being a corruption of the text. Where that can happen once, maybe even twice for an accidental scribal error, the fact that each time it is used, the words are all spelled the same, may lead to an intentional scribal corruption. The scribes are notorious for changing what they don’t agree with or trying to hide a practice they did not ascribe to, such as changing vowel points to those of the words bosheth – shame, and shiqquts – abomination, or changing names altogether. One suggestion is that the word Therapiym [ThRPYM thau, resh, fe, yod, mem], should be PThRYM [fe, thau, resh, yod, mem], switching the last letter of the three letter root of ThRP, to the front of the word. This word fathar / pathar means to solve, interpret, especially dreams. Fathariym / Pathariym is the plural form.

 

Pathar does occur in the Tanak. It was used in the book of Bereshiyth [Genesis]. Chapters 40 and 41 are about Yahusef [Joseph], when he worked under Pharaoh of Egypt, in his court. Yahusef was an interpreter of dreams. In BeMidbar [Numbers] 22-24, we see an account of Balaam ben Beor, a seer and diviner, who was called upon to curse Yisrael as they were entering the land. A plastered column was found in Deir Alla, Jordan, recounting a story of Balaam. He was listed, according to the Tanak, as living in Pethor [PThR], the same root Pathar. As I wrote concerning the Balaam Inscription, I believe the name of the village was probably named because a seer, diviner operated out of this village.

 

Another account, which stems from a Proto-Indo-European myth is that of the Norse account of the war between the Vanir, the natives of the land and the AEsir, the invading Indo-Europeans. In the Ynglingasaga, which is the beginning of the Heimskringla (chapters 1, 2, 4, 5), chapter 4 states that Odin made war on the Vanir, but they resisted and defended their land. This long term war devastated the land and did damage to both parties. The Vanir and the AEsir wearied of the war and sought a peace treaty. Hostages were exchanged. The AEsir sent Hoenir and Mimir, supposedly two very great men. Mimir was considered a very wise man. Hoenir, it turns out, was not what he was portrayed to be, speaking only the words that Mimir gave him and the Vanir, knowing they were cheated, slit the throat of Mimir, beheaded him, sending the head to the AEsir. “Odin took it and embalmed it with herbs so that it would not rot, and spoke charms over it, giving it magic power so that it would answer him and tell him many occult things.” Gods of the Ancient Northmen, pgs. 9, 10. While this is not a Semitic account, it is a Proto-Indo-European, which is the same parent invader foundation that began many of the religious practices that are carried in the Bible. What is very important here is that the same situation with the preserved heads and oracular consultation is occurring.

 

 

Perhaps one day archaeology will uncover written texts that clear this quasi mystery that the Jewish scribes have created to hide what these oracular rebellions against YHWH are. But for now, we can only put pieces together to see if we get a true picture of the therafiym / teraphim.

 

 

– means king. Where it is referred to as a deity, in the Tanak, by scribal vowel pointing, [Molech / Molek], the following information will show that this is not a specific deity, but an association with the melek/king who was viewed as a deity on earth and often the high priest to the gods, appointed by the gods. A portion of the Molek/Melek section is in the larger Rule Over Us study, which deals with the whole issue of the people adopting kings to rule over them and act as intermediaries between the gods and the peoples. While the subject of the kings being viewed as minor gods is applicable to this study, it was large enough to become its own study. Please read that study for further information on the king. I leave you with the following general quote on kings and then proceed to debunking the specific subject of Molek as a deity.

 

Please realize that this subject is a major foundation of the subjugating, patriarchal, Kurgan / Indo-European practices, that of conquering a people and setting themselves up as their kings and gods. This is in opposition to the rule of elders, chieftains (men and women).

 

While this quote is from a book, The Hittites, the application is the same in all the other cultures that I have studied and bears quoting for general purposes. “In Hittite eyes the gods were the masters, and the purpose of man was to serve god as a good servant does his master. In return the god, like a good master, provided protection from sickness, famine and enemy action, and punished any bad servant who had neglected his ritual duty. So in effect, as Hittite power grew, an ever-increasing burden was placed on the shoulders of the king. As the gods’ principle servant he was responsible for tending all the duties of his realms, and thus became the key figure in binding the empire into a single unified structure. His primary duty was that of ensuring the favour of the gods by an annual round of visits to their shrines at the seasons appropriate to their festivals, and by what times seems an obsessive concern with the purity of his own person and actions. If he failed in any way to perform his duties, the gods were angry, and it was his responsibility to find the cause of their anger, to make amends, and to request forgiveness. In such a situation it was difficult to discover what precise offence had been committed, for although the gods were conceived in human terms, they did not make themselves immediately manifest to a worshipper in bodily form in order to tell him the nature of his offence. Occasionally, they would speak through the mouth of an ecstatic, more frequently they would pass on a message in a dream; but normally the nature of the offence had to be discovered by resort to divination – by examination of the entrails of sacrificial victims, by noting the flights of birds, or by means of a type of lottery of which the details remain obscure.” – J. G. Macqueen, pgs. 115, 116.

 

I Melekiym [Kings] 11:4-9, “4 and it happened, at the time shlomoh was old, his wives turned away his heart after other elohiym, and his heart was not perfect with YHWH his , like the heart of his father dawiyd.  5 and shlomoh [solomon] went after ashthoreth, goddess of the tsidoniym [sidonians], and after milkom [milcom], the abomination of the ammoniym [sons of ammon];  6 and shlomoh did evil in the sight of YHWH, and did not go fully after YHWH like his father dawiyd.  7 then shlomoh built a high place for kemosh, the abomination of moab, in the hill that is before yerushalaim, and for molek [molech], the abomination of the sons of ammon;  8 and so he did for all his foreign wives, who burnt incense and sacrificed to their elohey.  9 and YHWH was angry with shlomoh, for his heart had bent away from YHWH, elohey of yisrael who had appeared to him twice,”

 

The main thing that needs to be addressed here is the fact that for Shlomoh to have married all those women and then built all these altars for them, he had already gone astray from YHWH. His wives did not lead him astray. He not only built these altars for them, Shlomoh was actually worshipping at them. This involved more than sacrifices and burning incense on altars. The worship of “Molek” involves burning your children in the fire. Please do not whitewash this subject in your minds. It is very important to realize exactly what is going on here. Shlomoh was taking his own flesh and blood and while they were alive, burning them to death. This will be explained further on.

 

This passage has some irregularities. First, Beniy Ammon [Sons of Ammon] and Ammoniym [Ammonites] are the same people. Verse 5 says that Milkom was the abomination of the Ammoniym. Verse 7 says that Molek was the abomination of the Sons of Ammon. Molek and Milkom are the same thing, just as Ammoniym and Sons of Ammon are the same, and I don’t mean that Milkom and Molek are the same kind of deities. They are not deities. In the Hebrew, Milkom is written MLKM [mem, lamed, kaf, mem]. In the Hebrew Molek is written MLK [mem, lamed, kaf]. Milkom has an additional mem at the end of the word, which some scholars believe to be a rendering of malkam – their king. Forget the vowel points that change the vowels. They were not devised until the middle ages, well after the exile with differing schools using different pronunciation based on their location – dialectal differences. After seeing some Ugaritic texts with the title MLK ‘LM, I am wondering if MLKM – Milkom is actually a contraction of MLK ‘LM melek olam, meaning eternal king.

 

Now that Milkom/Molek can be seen to be the same, let us look at the more important matter, that of melek [king] and molek [ king]. To better explain this, lets see this in the Hebrew. By the way, I don’t use final letters in Hebrew. The Paleo Biblical Hebrew did not have them, so when I render the Biblical Hebrew in the modern Squared Aramaic font, I don’t use the modern final letters. Remember, Hebrew is right to left. The first line is the Hebrew. The second line, still from right to left is each letter in the English underneath the Hebrew. Shiyn is an sh and tsadde is ts. The third line is each word transliterated into English, but each word is under the Hebrew, still right to left.  The fourth line is in English.

 

and to the melek, abomination of sons of ammon

 

Next I want to show you Molek and Melek in the Hebrew. The words are identical, except for the vowel points, the dots that occur above and under the letters. These vowel points were part of a system devised by Masoretic scribes, well after the return from the exile, as a way to render pronunciations, since the Hebrew is mostly consonants. The problem is that scribes did not always render exactly and due to time, foreign influences, territorial dialectal differences and different scribal schools, there is no exact rendering.

 

 

Bosheth – Shame

 

Molech has been traditionally rendered as the name of a foreign god, a name meaning king, but the name was intentionally mismarked or vowel pointed using the vowels of the Hebrew word BOSHETH, which means shame. This was not just done with melek, but was also done with some names that had Baal as part of their original names.  Here are some examples where scribes replaced Baal with bosheth in names. II Shmuel 2:10 lists the name of Iyshbosheth, son of Shaul. Yet, I Dibrey HaYamiym [Chronicles] 8:33, in listing the genealogy, cites Gibeon was father to Ner, father to Kish, father to Shaul, father to Eshbaal. There is no Iyshbosheth  listed for all the sons of Shaul. The other sons are Yahunathan [Jonathan] , Malkishua and Abinadab. I Dibrey HaYamiym [Chronicles] 9:39 repeats the same information, listing the 4 sons of Shaul and again, no Iyshbosheth. Another example is the son of Yahunathan [Jonathan], also a son of Shaul. He had a son listed in I Dibrey HaYamiym [Chronicles]  8:34 and 9:40 named Meriyb Baal. II Shmuel lists the name as Mefiybosheth. Mefiybosheth means from the mouth of shame. Meriyb Baal means advocate of Baal.

In the previous account of Gideon/Yerubaal, we see one of his sons Abiymelek. He is mentioned again in the book off II Shmuel 11:21, but here Yerubaal’s name is Yerubosheth.

 

Lets take a look at the other uses for melek/molek.

·        Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 18:21, “21 your seed you will not give to pass them through to melek/molek, nor will you pollute the name of your elohey; i am YHWH.” 

·        Wayyiqra 20:1-5, “and YHWH spoke to mosheh, saying,  2 and you will say to the sons of yisrael, any man of the sons of yisrael, and of the ger who are living in yisrael, who gives of his seed to melek/molek, dying will die. the people of the land will stone him with stones.  3 and i, i will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from the midst of his people, for he has given of his seed to melek/molek, so as to defile my miqdash [sanctuary], and to pollute my set apart name.  4 and if the people of the land truly hide their eyes from that man, as he gives his seed to melek/molek, so as not to put him to death,  5 then i will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all who go whoring after him, even going whoring after melek/molek from the midst of their people.”

 

 

·        During the reforms of the king YoshiYahu [Josiah] it states, II Melekiym [Kings] 23:10, “and he defiled thofeth [topheth] in the valley of the sons of hinnom, so that no man could cause his son and his daughter to pass through the fire of melek/molek.”  This verse is very interesting. If you look at it in the Greek Septuagint, you see that they have spelled Topheth as Tapheth. Is this another case of the vowel points for bosheth? We will see another passage in YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 30 that has a similar situation and discuss Topheth later.

 

·        YeshaYahu 57:9, “the righteous one perishes, and no man lays it on his heart; and men of mercy are gathered, with none discerning that  from the face of evil the righteous are gathered.  2 he will enter shalom; they will rest on their couches, walking in his uprightness.  3 but you, draw near here, sons of sorceress, seed of the adulterer and playing the whore.  4 on whom are you making sport? on whom do you make a wide mouth and draw out the tongue? are you not children of transgression, a lying seed,  5 being inflamed with baalim under every green tree, slaughtering the children in the torrent beds, under the clefts of the rocks?  6 in the torrent's smoothness is your portion; they, they are your lot; even to them you have poured a drink offering; you have offered a food offering. should i be consoled over these?  7 you have set your couch on a lofty and high mountain; yes, you went up there to sacrifice a sacrifice.  8 and you have set up your memorial behind the door and post. for you uncovered yourself from me and went up; you enlarged your couch; and you cut beriyth [covenant] with them; you loved their couch; at a hand you looked.  9 and you went to the melek/molek/king with oil and multiplied your perfume. and you sent your messengers far away, and lowered yourself to sheol.”  Though this passage does not specifically say that the children were burned, it does state they were slaughtered in the torrent valleys and under the clefts in the rocks. It is important to note that while they are sacrificing their children, their seed, YHWH is calling them children of sorcery and seed of adultery, children of transgression and lying seed.

 

The last passage for Melek/Molek is in YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 32:30-35, “for the sons of yisrael and the sons of yahudah [judah] have only done evil in my eyes from their youth. for the sons of yisrael have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, declares YHWH.  31 for this city has been to me a cause of my anger and my wrath from the day that they built it even to this day, that i should remove it from my face;  32 because of all the evil of the sons of yisrael and of the sons of yahudah which they have done to provoke me to anger, they, their kings, their rulers, their kohaniym [priests], and their nebiyiym [prophets], and the men of yahudah, and those living in yerushalaim [jerusalem].  33 and they have turned the back to me, and not the face; though i taught them, rising up early and teaching, yet they have not listened to receive instruction.  34 but they set their abominations in the beyth [house] on which my name has been called, to defile it.  35 and they built the high places of baal in the valley of ben hinnom,  to cause their sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to melek/molek, which i did not command them, nor did it come into my heart, that they should do this detestable thing, to cause yahudah to sin.”  

 

This passage is very important for a number of reasons. YHWH includes the kings in this list of those that are responsible for the evil, causing Him to be angry. There may be an association here that is linking this burning of their seed to Baal, in verse 35, “to cause theirs sons and their daughters to pass through the fire to Melek/Molek.” The most important thing that needs to be addressed here is the statement by YHWH that this was not a command by YHWH, nor did it enter His heart. The reason that I stress this is because of a passage in YeshaYahu that advocates that it is of YHWH in a round about way, which will be dealt with further on.

 

You can see by the passages that the association of melek and this sacrificing is not about an idol. Archaeology has not produced an idol with inscriptions to a deity named Molek. Texts have not been found with lines about a god Molek. Molek is not a god. Molek is Melek – the KING.

 

 

Thafeth/Tophet

 

In YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 30:33, we see a very interesting passage, “for thafethah is ordained from yesterday. also, it is prepared for the melek/king [the previous verses are about the king of ashshur – assyria]; he deepened; he widened its pyre; he makes great with fire and wood. the breath of YHWH burns in it like a torrent of brimstone.” This is the only time this word occurs. First, the use of MLK here is vowel pointed for Melek – king, not Molek, the supposed deity that requires burning children alive. Yet, if you look at the context, it is clearly about an altar for burning. The horrifying thing is that this author associates this as being a good thing and that the breath of YHWH provides the fire. They may be speaking of the melek, as being the king of Assyria being burned up by YHWH, but the author is making an association with thafethah – an altar/pyre for burning. We also see the same bosheth/shame vowel points being used in the place name of Thapheth to Thopheth.

 

So now that we have exhausted the small number of verses involving the supposed deity Molek, we need to look into Thafeth/Topheth.

 

Thafeth/Tophet, in Medieval and Modern Hebrew means hell, hellish, because of the fires that were always burning there. Kleins Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language says that Thafeth is related to shafah – to put over a fire and shafath – to place or put over a fire.  There are only 3 passages that deal with Thafeth. The first is II Melekiym 23:10, which we quoted above with the reforms of king YoshiYahu defiling Thafeth so that no one could cause his son or daughter to pass through the fire to the melek/king.  The last are 2 are passages in YirmeYahu [Jeremiah].

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 7:30-33, “for the sons of yahudah [judah] have done evil in my eyes, says YHWH. they have set their abominations in the beyth [house] on which is called my name, in order to defile it.  31 they have built the high places of the thafeth [thofeth] in the valley of ben hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which i did not command, nor did it come into my heart.  32 so, look, the days come, declares YHWH, when it will no more be called thofeth, or the valley of ben hinnom, but the valley of hahargah [the slaughter/murder]. for they will bury in thofeth from lack of a place.  33 and the bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth; and no one will frighten them away.”

 

YirmeYahu 19:1-15, “so says YHWH, go and buy an earthen jar of a potter, and gather from the elders of the people, and from the elders of the kohaniym [priests].  2 and go out to the valley of ben hinnom by the entry of potsherd gate. and there declare the words that i will speak to you.  3 and say, hear the word of YHWH, kings of yahudah, and those living in yerushalaim [jerusalem]. so says YHWH tsebaoth, the elohey of yisrael, look, i will bring evil on this place by which all who hear it will have tingling ears.  4 because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it to other elohiym [gods] whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of yahudah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents.  5 they have also built the high places of baal,  to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings to baal, which i never commanded nor spoke, nor did it come into my heart.  6 so, look, the days come, says YHWH, that this place will be no more called thofeth, or the valley of ben hinnom, but valley of hahargah [the slaughter/murder].  7 and i will make the counsel of yahudah [judah] and yerushalaim [jerusalem] come to nothing in this place. and i will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their nafesh [being]. and i will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the heavens, and for the animals of the earth.  8 and i will make this city a waste and a hissing. everyone who passes by will be amazed and will hiss because of all its plagues.  9 and i will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters. and they will each one eat the flesh of his friend in the siege and distress with which their enemies and those who seek their life will distress them.  10 and you will break the jar before the eyes of the men who go with you,  11 and will say to them, so says YHWH tsebaoth, even so i will break this people and this city, as one breaks the vessel of the potter that cannot be restored again. and they will bury in thofeth, since no place is left to bury.  12 i will do this to this place, says YHWH, and to those living in it, and give this place to be as thofeth.  13 and the bathey [houses] of yerushalaim and the bathey [houses] of the kings of yahudah will be defiled as the place of thofeth, because of all the roofs of the bathey [houses] on which they have burned incense to all the armies of the heavens,  and have poured out drink offerings to other elohiym [gods].  14 then yirmeyahu [jeremiah] came from thofeth, where YHWH had sent him there to foretell. and he stood in the court of the beyth YHWH, and he said to all the people,  15 so says YHWH tsebaoth, the elohey of yisrael, look, i will bring to this city, and on all its towns, all the evil that i have spoken against it, because they have stiffened their necks in order not to hear my words.”

 

Again, we see the association with the worship of Baal and this burning offspring in the fire, yet this passage does not try to make any association with a made up deity called Molek.  There are a few other points that need to be made here. YirmeYahu makes it very clear that what these people are doing is an abomination in the eyes of YHWH. He [YHWH] states that that this burning of children He did not command, nor speak of, nor did it enter His heart. This is the nature, the character of YHWH. So where did the account of Abraham being told to take Yitschaq [Isaac] and sacrifice him in Bereshiyth [Gen.] 22 come from? That sounds like a major contradiction to me. So lets investigate this account and see if we can find some answers.

 

 

Abraham

 

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 22:1-18, “now it came about after these things, that elohiym tested abraham, and said to him, abraham. and he said, here i am.  2 he said, take now your son, your only [yechiyd] son, whom you love, yitschaq, and go to the land of moriyah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which i will tell you.  3 so abraham rose early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and yitschaq his son; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and arose and went to the place of which elohiym had told him.  4 on the third day abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance.  5 abraham said to his young men, stay here with the donkey, and i and the youth will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.  6 abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on yitschaq his son, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. so the two of them walked on together.  7 yitschaq spoke to abraham his father and said, my father." and he said, here i am, my son. and he said, look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?  8 abraham said, elohiym will provide for himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son. so the two of them walked on together.  9 then they came to the place of which elohiym had told him; and abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son yitschaq and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood.  10 abraham stretched out his hand and took the knife to slay his son.  11 but the malak of YHWH called to him from heaven and said, abraham, abraham. and he said, here i am.  12 he said, do not stretch out your hand against the youth, and do nothing to him; for now i know that you fear elohiym, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."  13 then abraham raised his eyes and looked, and look, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.  14 abraham called the name of that place YHWH yireh, as it is said to this day, in the mountain of YHWH it will be seen.   15 then the malak of YHWH called to abraham a second time from heaven,  16 and said, by myself i have sworn, declares YHWH, because you have done this thing and have not withheld your son, your only son,  17 indeed i will greatly bless you, and i will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed will possess the gate of their enemies.  18 in your seed all the goyiy of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

 

Lets break this down.

1.      Yes, this is Genesis and in the book order Genesis occurs before the book of Jeremiah, but number order has no bearing on the character of YHWH, nor on origination, since we are constantly dealing with various editors through time. The book of Bereshiyth is also one of the books with the most Canaanite practices recorded in it.

2.      Verse 1 states that Elohiym wanted to test Abraham, yet YirmeYahu has YHWH stating that this is an abomination, He never commanded it, nor spoke it, not did it enter His heart.

3.      Verse 2 states that Abraham was to take his son, his only son, Yitschaq. Yitschaq was not Abrahams only son, according to Bereshiyth. Yishmael is recorded as being Abrahams firstborn when he was 86 years old, Ber. 16.

4.      The Hebrew for only son is yechiyd. In the Greek, it is Ieoud. Philo of Byblos records an earlier historical account of Sanchuniathon of Berytus [Beirut], concerning the Phoenicians, “Shortly afterward he says, ‘Among ancient peoples in critically dangerous situations it was customary for the rulers of a city or nation, rather than lose everyone, to provide the dearest of their children as a propitiatory sacrifice to the avenging deities. The children thus given up were slaughtered according to the secret ritual. Now Kronos, whom the Phoenicians call El, who was in their land and who was later divininized after his death as the star [Saturn] Kronos, had an only son by a local bride named Anobret, and therefore they called him Ieoud. Even now among the Phoenicians the only son is given this name. When wars gravest dangers gripped the land, Kronos dressed his son in royal attire, prepared an altar and sacrificed him.’ “ – Philo of Byblos, The Phoenician History, Atridge and Oden, pg. 61, 63. In the Sea Peoples myths, Kronos actually killed more than just his only son. But Sanchuniathon relates that this is an account of El, who is a Canaanite deity, the head of the pantheon in fact, adopted by the invading Sea Peoples when they came to Kenaan and assimilated their accounts. Please see the Phoenician section for further information. Whether this is a Phoenician or Canaanite based practice of the only son, we may not know until more writings become public or are found.

5.      While Abraham is not listed as a king [melek], he is considered a prince among his people and among other tribes around him. Therefore, he is in the appropriate position for offering a son to gain an advantage with the deities.

6.      The Abraham account mentions that a ram was provided in the place of the son, as a substitute burnt offering. Many scholars believe that this portion was added by later editors to explain that they no longer sacrificed children in this manner and used lambs instead. Further in this study, the proof of the Carthaginians using lambs and kids as substitutes for the children will be provided.

7.      On the topic of lambs or kids for substitutes, let us look at the redemption in the law. If a man makes a vow, dedicating an item, the priest makes a valuation and the one who vowed can redeem the vowed item with silver or a lamb, depending on the situation, except for firstborns. This first passage in Shemoth deals with Pesach/Passover. Remember that the supposed last plague was on the firstborn of Egypt. Later accounts of Pesach have that a household shares a lamb or kid or calf, and if that house is too small, to have others join to share in the pesach offering, which by the way, has to be roasted over a fire. Please see the Origins of Pesach study for further information. Shemoth [Exodus] 34:19,20, “the first offspring from every womb belongs to me, and all your male livestock, the first offspring from cattle and sheep.  20 you will redeem with a lamb the first offspring from a donkey; and if you do not redeem it, then you will break its neck. you will redeem all the firstborn of your sons. none will appear before me empty-handed.”  This next example is from Wayyiqra and deals with vows in general. Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 27:28,29, “but any devoted thing which a man devotes to YHWH from all which belongs to him, of man or of animal, or of the field of his possession, it will not be sold nor redeemed. every devoted thing to YHWH is set apart of the set apart.  29 no devoted thing which is dedicated by man will be ransomed, dying it will die.” The Hebrew word for devoted is cherem, devoted to destruction.

 

This is not a misunderstanding that these devoted firstborns of people and animals are being killed and cannot be redeemed. There are other similar passages which reveal the ancient sacrificial practices that occurred during the whole time of the Tanak/Bible. The Romans, when they ruled, put a stop to this practice. So under these “laws”, there is no way that Abraham could have redeemed his “only” son, if he had been an only son, with a ram. Let us take a look at one more example of the ieoud/only child for sacrifice.

 

In the book of Shoftiym [Judges], chapters 11 and 12, we see a man named Yifthach [Jephthah]. He is accounted one of the judges of Yisrael. He was a mighty warrior, a son of Gilead, but by a whore. Gilead’s legitimate sons throw Yifthach out, telling him that he will not inherit. Later the Sons of Ammon fought with Yisrael, causing the elders of Gilead to ironically seek out Yifthach, a warrior, to be their commander. On the condition that if they win, Yifthach will be made their head [rosh] and their commander, everyone agrees. So before the battle with the Sons of Ammon, Yifthach vows [verses 30,31], “and yifthach vowed a vow to YHWH, and said, if you will indeed give the sons of ammon into my  hand,  31 then it will be that anything which comes out from the doors of my beyth[house] to meet me when i return in shalom from the sons of ammon, it will belong to YHWH; and i will offer it a burnt offering.” Yifthach defeats the Sons of Ammon and returns home, to have his, pay attention here, his ONLY child, a daughter, run out to greet him. Verse 34, “and yifthach came to mitsfeh to his beyth. and, look his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels, and with choruses. and she only, she was only [yechiyd]; there was no other son or daughter to him.” He tears his garments and explains his vow to her. She seems to be quite okay with this and tells him what he has vowed he must do, but asks for two months to spend with her friends, lamenting that she will die a virgin. Verse 39, “and it happened at the end of two months, she returned to her father. and he did to her his vow which he had vowed. and she never knew a man. and it is a fixed custom in yisrael,”  Here we see that Yifthach took his only child, yechiyd, and offered her up as a burnt offering.

 

Yet another case in the Tanak of this abominable practice that YHWH did not command, nor speak of, nor did it enter His heart. I hope, that many of you are asking this next question, seeing the progression of this practice into the New Testament. While this is not the place to deal with this subject in its entirety [please see the Origins of Pesach [Passover] study, it is relevant to this continued mindset that a deity demands a human sacrifice, a firstborn or only born, originally male, to right a situation. So does this apply to Yahusha / Jesus? Well, yes it does. The biblical Greek of the New Testament does not use the ancient term ieoud for only offspring, it uses the more modern Greek monogenes, which literally means one and only offspring, mono being one and genos being offspring. This is used of Yahusha in Yahuchanan [John] 3:16, the famous passage stating that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life. You have all the necessary elements of the ancient sacrifice. You have the male deity, the only and firstborn son, the father sacrificing, so that others do not die from some calamity. In this case, the deity is also the father/king. The only thing lacking is the fire, which, as you will remember, the Romans who are ruling at this time, are not allowing, so the sacrifice was applied to the crucifixion execution.

 

     

 

King’s Killing Sons

 

There were specific examples of offspring being sacrificed, besides the generalized accounts of kings building altars. 

 

·        I Melekiym [Kings] 16:34, in the days of Achab [Ahab], the king of Yisrael, “in his days hiel the man of bethel built yericho; he laid its foundation on his first-born abiyram, and he set up its doors on sheguyb his youngest, according to the word of YHWH that he spoke by the hand of yahusha [joshua] ben nun.”  While this technically does not fall under burning, it is what is being called by archaeologist as foundation sacrifices. An example is from Megiddo, where a body of a teenage girl was found in the foundation.

·        Another example is in II Melekiym [Kings] 3:26-27, “and when the king of moab saw that the battle was too strong for him, then he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords to break through to the king of edom. and they were not able.  27 and he took his son, the firstborn who would reign in his place and caused him to go up for a burnt offering on the wall. and there was great wrath against yisrael. and they left him and returned to the land.”

·        II Dibrey HaYamiym [Chronicles] 33:6, of Menashsheh [Manasseh] king of Yahudah [Judah], “and he made his sons to pass through the fire in the valley of ben hinnom, and did magic and divined, and used sorcery, and used mediums and conjurers; he multiplied the doing of the evil in the eyes of YHWH, to provoke him to anger.”

 

Now this may be a real stupid question, but if you were from Yisrael and Yahudah, fighting against the king of Moab and you see him sacrifice his live son in the fire to win a battle, would you just get angry and go home? Why on earth did they just leave? Could it be that by burning his son to death on the wall, the king of Moab raised the stake, stakes that the kings of Yisrael and Yahudah believed in and felt they could not win against and left? “Well I see your firstborn son and add a second born.” That is absurd. There are cases of battles where people had righteous anger over a situation and fought fiercely and won, but this was not one of them. They just left, leaving the king’s burning of his son to win. In the case of Menashsheh, it states he did not do this to just one son, but sons, plural.

 

An archaeological example of this sacrificing when they were besieged is from the Ugaritic text KTU 1.119, “When a strong one attacks your gates, a powerful one your walls, your eyes to Balu shall you lift: Oh Balu, do repel the strong one from our gates, the powerful one from our walls. A bull, oh Balu, we will consecrate, a votive offering, Balu, we shall fulfill, a male [this is human,  firstborn of children or adults] Balu, we will consecrate a sacrifice, Balu we shall fulfill, a banquet, Balu, we shall give. To the sanctuary of Balu we shall go up, the path of the temple of Balu we shall tread. And Balu will hear, yes, your prayer, he will repel the strong one from your gates, the powerful one from your walls.” – Canaanite Religion According to the Liturgical Texts of Ugarit, Gregorio Del Olmo Lete, pgs. 304, 305. Balu is Baal.

 

Miykah [Micah] 6:6-8, “6 with what will i come before YHWH, to bow myself before the loftiness of elohey? will i come before him with burnt offerings, with calves, sons of a year?  7 will YHWH be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of torrents of oil? will i give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my being?  8 he has declared to you man, what is good. and what does YHWH require of you, but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your elohey?” 

 

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 20:21-31, “21 but the sons rebelled against me. they did not walk in my rules, and they did not observe my judgments, to do them, which if a man does them, he will live by them. they defiled my sabbathoth [shabbaths]. then i said i would pour out my fury on them, to fulfill my anger against them in the wilderness.  22 but i withdrew my hand and acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be defiled in the eyes of the goyim [nations], from whom i brought them out in their eyes.  23 and i lifted up my hand to them in the wilderness, to scatter them among the goyim and sow them among the lands,  24 because they had not done my judgments and had despised my rules and had defiled my sabbathoth. and their eyes were after the idols of their fathers.  25 therefore i also gave them rules that were not good, and judgments by which they could not live.  26 and i defiled them by their own gifts, by making all that open the womb to cross the fire, so that i might waste them, to the end that they might know that i am YHWH.  27 so speak to the beyth yisrael, son of man, and say to them, so says the lord YHWH, yet in this your fathers have blasphemed me, by acting unfaithfully in an act of unfaithfulness against me.  28 when i had brought them into the land for which i lifted up my hand, to give it to them, then they saw every high hill and every leafy tree; and they offered their sacrifices there. and they have their provoking offering there. they also made their soothing aroma there and poured out their drink offerings there.  29 then i said to them, what is the high place to which you go there? and its name is called high place to this day.  30 for this reason, say to the beyth yisrael, so says adonay YHWH, are you being defiled in the way of your fathers? and do you go whoring after their abominations?  31 for when you lift up your gifts, when you pass your sons through the fire, you defile yourselves with all your idols, even to this day. and i will not be inquired of by you,  beyth yisrael. as i live, declares the lord YHWH, i will not be inquired of by you.”

 

There are a number of points in this passage from Yechezqel. This writing is set during and just after the time of the exile to Babel. This passing through the fire of children was still going on. While the people may have thought that what they were doing, they could do with YHWH, He obviously, from this passage and all the others, wants no part of this and will not even be inquired of by a people that commit this horrible act. 

 

For further information on the sacrifice of the firstborn, please see the Origins of Pesach / Passover study in the Observe section.

 

Now lets take a wee leap across the Mediterranean Sea here, for a moment. Everything will become clear shortly.

 

Carthage

 

Carthage [Modern Tunisia] was a city founded by Queen Elissar/Elissa [Elishat], according to one legend, in the early 8th century BCE, who fled Tyre [a Phoenician city north of what came to be known as Yisrael], when her husband and uncle, the High Priest of Melqart [means king of the city]  was murdered by her brother Pygmalion, in the temple. Melqart is often called the Baal of Tyre. She flees with followers and treasure on ships, across the Mediterranean Sea, stops at Krete to pick up a priestess, heads to North Africa and establishes Carthage. The patron deity of Carthage was Tanit, a Phoenician lunar goddess. From the 5th century BCE and on, Tanit is partnered with Baal Hammon. There is archaeological evidence and ancient written sources attesting to child sacrifice forming part of the worship of Tanit and Baal Hammon. Plutarch, Tertullian, Diodorus and Cleitarchus, as well as others, had all written about the child sacrifice by fire of the Carthaginians. One such quote is by the 3rd century BCE, Greek writer Cleitarchus/Kleitarchos,  “Out of reverence for Baal Hammon, the Phoenicians, and especially the Carthaginians, whenever they seek to obtain some great favor, vow one of their children, burning it as a sacrifice to the deity, if they are especially eager to gain success.” 

 

 

 

 

 

Though Topheth, in the Bible, is a place outside of Yerushalaim [Jerusalem] where children were burned, the name has been used for other such sites. In Carthage it was used for the area of the temple to Tanit/Anat and the necropolis. Lawrence E. Stager, Professor of Archaeology of Israel and Director of the Semitic Museum at Harvard University, directed excavations of the Carthage Tophet in the 1970’s. Stager and Samuel R. Wolff documented their data in an article titled, “Child Sacrifice At Carthage – Religious Rite or Population Control?” The site was first discovered in the 1920’s. The burials covered a 600 year time period. The archaeologists discovered 9 layers of sacrificial urns, estimated to be 20,000, from 750 BCE – 146 BCE. These urns contained the charred remains of children and animals, mostly sheep [lamb] and goats [kids]. While some have tried to say that these children died of natural causes, Stager had them tested and they were healthy, up to the point of being burned. Also, the fact that animal bones, used for substitutions, are also there, there is no doubt that this was for sacrificial purposes.  Stager states that in the early samples of urns, one out of every three urns contained the charred remains of an animal, usually sheep or goat. But in the samples from the later period of time, only one in ten urns contained the remains of animals, showing that the Carthaginians increased the child sacrifice, not diminished it using animal substitutions as time passed, until the time that the Romans put a stop to it, finding the practice abhorrent. Many of the inscriptions on the urns and monuments describe vows made to the deities, mostly Baal and/or Tanit, by the people. One of the inscriptions for the substitute from a tophet was, “vita pro vita, sanguis prosanguine, agnum pro vikario,” - meaning life for life, blood for blood, a lamb for a substitute.

 

Tophets have also been discovered in several sites in North Africa including Hadrumentum, modern day Sousse, Tunisia; 3 sites in Sardinia – Nora, Sulcis and Tharros; Sant’ Antioco [small island SE of Sardinia], Sicily, Motya, a small island west of Sicily; Pozo, Spain; Tyre and Achzic, south of Tyre and 9 miles north of Acco; Tell el-Fara in Atlit, SE of Gaza and Tell el-Ajjul in Gaza. What do all these places have in common – Phoenicians with the worship of Baal Hammon and Tanit. Modern archaeologists and scholars are now calling the mass burial sites of charred children and animal substitutes - tophets. Whether the original tophet was the act, the altar to burn on or the place that the charred remains were buried, no one knows for certain at this point.

 

The purpose for my including the information about Carthage and the tophet, was to corroborate the little we know from the Bible and shed more light on the situation of what these kings in Yisrael and Yahudah were doing.

 

It is also important to point out that this aspect of sacrificing humans was very much a Kurgan / Indo-European practice, especially for the live sacrifices of wives, children and slaves to be buried with these warrior people, to serve them in the afterlife.

 

Review of Melek/Molek

 

So lets review what we can glean from the passages of the Bible about Melek/Molek, Topheth and the burning of the children.

 

  1. All the passages involving “Molek” can actually be used to refer to a sacrifice of or to the melek/king.
  2. Archaeology has never produced an idol or inscription to “Molek”.
  3. Most passages about the burning of children do not say anything about “Molek.”
  4. Some of the passages associate this practice with the Ammoniym/Sons of Ammon, while it is clearly being practiced by other nations as well, so this burning of children “Molek” is no set patron god of the Ammoniym.
  5. While some kings are recorded as committing this act, whether specifically or generally, other passages attribute it to people or men in general, so it is not specific to melekiym/kings alone.
  6. Some of the passages make an association of this practice with Baal, which is born out by the Phoenician practices archaeologically.
  7. Some of the passages make the associations with first born sons, sons,  and sons and daughters, with no set standard for gender or birth position, also confirmed by archaeology.
  8.  This idolatrous practice was not just adopted by Yisrael [as the northern kingdom], but by Yahudah [southern kingdom] as well. In fact, the major area known as “Topheth” is just outside of Yerushalaim [Jerusalem].

 

 

 

 

Nechushthan is defined as the serpent of brass made by Moses. Nachash – ygp  is a snake, serpent. And nechsheth zygp  is brass or copper. Please remember that in the Hebrew, HA at the beginning of a word is the article “the”.

 

The first account of the Nechushthan is when it is created in BeMidbar [Numbers] 21:5-9, “and the people spoke against elohiym, and against mosheh, 'why have you brought us up out of mitsrayim [egypt] to die in a wilderness? for there is no bread, and there is no water, and our being has been weary of this light bread.'  6 and YHWH sent among the people the fiery serpents [ha nechashiym ha sherafiym], and they bit the people, and many people of yisrael died.  7 and the people came in to mosheh and said, 'we have sinned, for we have spoken against YHWH, and against you; pray to YHWH, and he will turn aside from us the serpent [hanachash];'  and mosheh prayed on behalf of the people.  8 and YHWH said to mosheh, 'make for yourself a sheraf [seraph], and set it on a pole; and it would be, every one who is bitten and sees it, he will live.  9 and mosheh made a serpent of brass [nechash nechsheth], and set it on the pole, and it was, if the serpent [hanachash] had bitten any man, and he looked expectantly to the serpent of brass, he lived.” 

 

The next account is HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 8:14,15, “then it rises up into your heart, and you forget YHWH your elohey who brought you out of the land of mitsrayim [egypt], out of the beyth [house] of slaves;  15 who led you through the great and dreadful wilderness, with burning serpent [nachash sheraf], and scorpion, and thirsty ground where no water is; who brought you water out of the flinty rock;”

 

Even when I was a Christian, I had always had a problem with this passage. If YHWH directed that the people not make any idols/images, why then would YHWH direct Mosheh to make an image of this fiery serpent and put it on a pole for the people to be healed? This scene is outright idolatry in my mind. Then recently I was dealing with the subject of idolatry for the Stumbling Blocks section and decided to list all that was said to be idolatry, which included the Nechushthan. In looking this passage up in the Hebrew, something caught my eye, the word “Sheraf [Seraph]. Some of you may recognize it in the singular, but more of you will recognize it in the plural form – Sherafiym [Seraphim]. That’s right, something associated with one of the classes of “angels”, mentioned in the book of YeshaYahu [Isaiah]. For those of you wondering if it is the same thing, wonder no more, it is.

 

Sheraf  txy  is defined as a serpent, seraph, fiery one, burning one. It comes from the root sharaf, to burn.

 

So lets look at those verses in YeshaYahu [Isaiah] that have sherafiym [seraphim].

YeshaYahu 6:1-7, “1 in the year that king uzziyahu died, then i saw adonay sitting on a throne, high and lifted up. and his train filled the heykal [temple].  2 above it stood the sherafiym. each one had six wings; with two he covered his face; and with two he covered his feet; and with two he flew.  3 and one cried to the other and said, qadosh [holy], qadosh, qadosh is YHWH tsebaoth; all the earth is full of his honor.  4 and the doorposts shook from the voice of the one who cried; and the beyth [house] was filled with smoke.  5 then i said, woe is me. for i am cut off; for i am a man of unclean lips, and i live amongst a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the king, YHWH tsebaoth.  6 then one of the sherafiym flew to me with a live coal in his hand, snatched with tongs from the altar.  7 and he touched it on my mouth, and said, see, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin is covered.”

 

These sherafiym have 6 wings and fly. This is what BeMidbar writes that YHWH directed Mosheh to make and put on a pole, though not necessarily with 6 wings.

 

These fiery flying serpents are not new. Anyone familiar with archaeology from the Near East has seen them many times. In archaeology they are referred to as uraei. Uraeus [singular] is Latin from the Greek, ouraios, which means cobra. Zoologically the uraei are the black necked cobras [Naja nigricollis Reinhardt] who can kill by biting and spitting. The Hebrew name for both the zoological variety and the myths is sharaf – the one that burns. Uraei [plural] are symbols of sovereignty and authority. In the Egyptian legends Wadjet was one of the ancient deities. She was adopted by the pharaohs as a protectress, wearing her symbol on their crowns. She is also represented on their paintings and inscriptions beside the throne, to protect the pharaohs, as well as the banner poles of the deities. Typically, she is represented with two wings. Eventually she was depicted with the head of a woman and then the final transformation was that of a woman with wings.

 

       

 

In the years before the exile, images of serafiym / uraei appear on the seals of the royal court in Yahudah. Below are 3 examples. You can see the two and four winged uraei on the seals.

 

 

 

 

The sherafiym in the book of YeshaYahu [Isaiah] are described with 6 wings, 6 wings to increase the protection and authority of the deity, over the traditional 2 and 4 wings.

 

The next time we see the reference to the Nechushthan is in reference to King ChizqiYahu [Hezekiah]. II Melekiym [Kings] 18:1-4, “and it happened in the third year of hoshea ben elah the king of yisrael, chizqiyahu ben achaz the king of yahudah began to reign.  2 he was a son of twenty five years when he began to reign, and he reigned in yerushalaim twenty nine years; and the name of his mother was abi the daughter of zekaryahu.  3 and he did the right in the eyes of YHWH, according to all that his father dawiyd did;  4 he took away the high places, and broke in pieces the pillars, and cut down the asherah, and beat to bits the bronze serpent that mosheh made, for in those days it was that the sons of yisrael burned sacrifices to it and called it nechushtan.”  Considering the fact that ChizqiYahu had an alliance with Egypt, proven historically and in the Tanak, that archaeologically his seals have Egyptian solar imagery on them, I do not see the reforms ascribed to him as actually taking place, but were more likely those of YoshiYahu [Josiah], which are described in much greater detail. Archaeologically, the four winged seraf never appear in the Northern kingdom imagery, only Yahudah, which again relates to Egyptian imagery due to alliances.

 

What is important to note here, is that a pole with a serpent of some sort on it was in the temple and was being worshipped. It is mentioned as being that which Mosheh made. If the image was Nechushthan and the imagery originated out of Egypt, it was a seraf. I believe the original reference after some left Egypt, was a seraf on a banner pole for divine authority. If, however, the image in the temple was simply a serpent on a pole or tree, the image could be of the Canaanite Asherah whose symbol was a tree or pole with serpents entwined at times. An Asherah was known to be in the temple, as mentioned in the YoshiYahu reforms, according to II Melekiym [Kings] 23:6, “6 and he brought out the asherah from the beyth YHWH to the outside of yerushalaim, to the torrent qidron, and burned it at the torrent qidron, and ground it to powder, and threw the powder of it on the graves of the sons of the people.”

 

Asclepius was a son of Apollo. As his dead mother was lying on a funeral pyre, he was cut from her womb. Asclepius is a god of healing and medicine. Asclepius was killed by Zeus for raising people from the dead. He had a number of sons and daughters whose names involve healing. The Rod of Asclepius, his symbol, is depicted as a rod with an entwined serpent. The cults of Asclepius were popular and spread from 300 BCE on.

 

Healing temples were called asclepions, where non-venomous serpents roamed the floors and dreams were used to help determine what course of healing would be used. Hippocrates is said to have received his training at one of these asclepions (more on that in a moment). The Rod of Asclepius has continued to be an international symbol of healing to this day. In the United States, in the early 1900’s, mistakenly the symbol for Hermes, with the wings was added with the entwined serpent, a caduceus for a medical symbol. The mistake was caught later, but the winged staff with two serpents remained.

 

Hippocrates (460-370 BCE)is referred to as the western Father of Medicine. The Hippocratic Oath, believed to have been written by Hippocrates, is sworn by medical practitioners in some countries. This oath begins, “I swear by Apollo, the healer, Asclepius, Hygieia (daughter), and Panacea (daughter), and I take to witness all the gods, all the goddesses, to keep according to my ability and my judgment, the following Oath and agreement:”

 

While many may think that the association of the serpents with Asclepius was his association, it is not. Apollo had numerous associations with serpents, especially pythons, which were in the temple caves for prophesy, such as Delphi, which he was a patron deity of.

 

 

While some would not think anything about an association with serpent twined rods and the medical association, I am not a big fan of the medical association for many other reasons and have not been to one in a long time. Though the associations with gods and serpent twined rods does not make it any better. I prefer to seek YHWH and the plants that He has created to eat for proper health and healing. That is just my preference though.

 

            

Asclepius with rod                                   caduceus

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Astral cult is one of worshipping the physical bodies in the heavens, the sun, moon, planets, stars and the constellations as representations of deities. I think the following quote best sums up this application of astrology, “The world consists of heaven and earth. The heavens are subdivided into the northern heavens, the zodiac, and the heavenly ocean. The earthly part of the universe also consists of a threefold division, the heaven, the earth and the waters beneath the earth. In this system the signs of the zodiac play the important part, for the planets as they passed through the heavens enabled the astrologers to interpret their will of their deities. Upon these ideas a complete cosmological system is worked out. The heavens, corresponding to the earth, reflect their influence upon it, with the result that everything in heaven has its counterpart on earth. The gods of heaven have dwellings on earth, presided over by earthly kings, who as their representatives of the gods are considered their incarnations. The heavens reveal the past, present, and the future for those who could read them. What occurs on earth is only a copy of what occurred in heaven. Astrology, therefore, was the all-important test and interpreter of ancient history. All ancient nations, including Israel, practiced it or were influenced by it.” Amurru, The Home of the Northern Semites, Albert T. Clay, pg. 15.

 

Since there is no ancient handbook on the development of religions, there is no absolute way to determine how the deities came to be associated with the heavens. Was the basic astronomy that develops from any organized society changed into a personification of what they were tracking in the skies or had the mythology developed first and the astral association of those deities arose later?

Ancient time keeping methods are in evidence, from the tracking of the moon and all its stages, whether carved notches on wood, to quasi “observatories laid out, such as, Stonehenge and Woodhenge in England; the Bighorn Medicine Wheel in Wyoming, USA; Moose Mountain Medicine Wheel in Saskatchewan, Canada; the numerous siting shrines of the Hopi, Zuni, as well as the Anasazi natives that made observation in Chaco Canyon, pyramid temple observatories in Central and South America. Besides the basics of the winter and summer solstices and spring and autumn equinoxes, other days and stars were set up for observation as well. Beyond the repeated observations of these celestial events, the observers were recording these astronomical events and from that derived the calendars to predict what had been observed for centuries.

 

There were 7 objects that were regularly observed with the naked eye and they were called the ‘Wanderers’ – the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus (the morning and evening star), Mars and the not so easily sited Mercury.  “A perusal of nearly any ancient pantheon reveals the obvious: At least some of the gods, often the most important ones, are objects of the sky. The metaphoric reasons are not difficult to understand. The regular motions of celestial objects made them agents of order that helped give meaning to the world below; endless repetition of their appearances and disappearances suggested immortality; their light commanded attention and connoted power. And being in the sky, with such a perspective on earth below, it was only natural to assume that the gods must know all because they could see all:” -Echoes of the Ancient Skies, Edwin, Krupp, pg. 62. As well as a planetary designation, the deities were assigned symbols to represent their astral association. Some of these astral/deity symbols continue with their associations to this day.

 

Some examples of the astral deity symbols are some inscription stones from Mesopotamia below.

The first is an example of the solar aspect of the Assyrian deity Ashshur. You can see the rays in the wheel, as well as in the wings. The Nabonidus stele shows three deity symbols: the crescent moon of Sin and the winged solar circle of Ashshur and the eight pointed star of Ishtar, daughter of Sin. The last example is that of a Kassite stone of King Melishipak, showing the symbols of the eight pointed star of Ishtar, the crescent moon of her father Sin and the solar circle with the wavy rays of Shammash, brother of Ishtar and son of Sin. An interesting aspect of the eight pointed star of Ishtar that I did not find in any of the archaeology books dealing with the deities is why the star has eight points. As I began researching ancient calendars and such for the Observe section, I came across a book on ancient astronomy and found a reference to the eight pointed star of Ishtar.

 

Ishtar was associated with the planet Venus, the morning and evening star. “References to Venus as early as 3000 B.C. are known evidence at Uruk,  an important early Sumerian city in southern Iraq. One clay tablet found at the site says ‘star Inanna,’ and another contains symbols for the words ‘star, setting sun, Inanna.’ Inanna is Venus, known later as Ishtar, and Uruk tablets specify her celestial identity with the symbol for ‘star’: an eight pointed star. At this early stage the symbol seems to carry no more meaning than that, though it eventually evolves, in cuneiform writing, into a sign that means ‘god’ and is placed before actual names of deities. If the relationship between gods and the sky were not already explicit enough, this development in Mesopotamian writing would confirm it... Very direct symbolism in the signs for the sun and the moon and in several other whose meaning is understood tempt a guess that the symbolism in the Star of Ishtar is in some way equally direct. Perhaps the number eight is itself symbolic, for Venus experiences an eight year cycle... To establish the importance of this cycle we must verify that the Mesopotamians were familiar with it and made something special of it. In fact, we know they were well aware of it. Omen texts from the First Babylonian Dynasty (ca 1900-1660 B.C.) confirm that the old Mesopotamian sky watchers understood that Venus as the morning star and the evening star were the same thing. By the Seleucid period (ca 301-164 B.C.), we have a number of late goal-year texts in which the eight year period was used to predict the appearances of Venus.” - Echoes of the Ancient Skies, Edwin Krupp, pgs. 303, 304,306.

 

 

 

    

 

A winged solar wheel of Ashshur           Stele of Nabonidus                   Kassite stone of Melishipak

                                                            

 

Another application of the celestial deities and their associations is that of naming months and weekdays with their patron deity. For example the weekdays: by the later calendar names that we still abide by, Sunday is named for the sun, in Roman – Dies Solis; Monday for the Moon; Saturday for Saturn’s day – Dies Saturni; Tuesday - Dies Martis for Mars; Wednesday – Dies Mercurii for Mercury; Thursday – Dies Iovis for Jupiter and Friday – Dies Veneris for Venus. The later 4 days of the week listed, adopted the Norse gods names that equaled the Roman deities, as the Roman empire made inroads into the Celtic, Germanic, Teutonic territories, Tuesday = Tyr, Wednesday = Woden/Odin, Thursday = Thor and Friday = Frey.

 

In the Ugaritic texts, you see El, who is the Creator of the earth, the Father of the gods [beney El - sons of god] and of mankind, the Father of Years, the Elyon. He is the head of the assembly/council of the gods, which he primarily birthed. In some accounts the beney El are 70 in number. You can see elements of this divine council or heavenly court, stating YHWH as the head, in the Tanak. Over time, and through the hands of the editors, this assembly of gods goes through a transformation. “Just as an earthly king is supported by a body of courtiers, so Yahweh has a heavenly court. Originally, these were gods, but as monotheism became absolute, so these were demoted to the status of angels.” Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, John Day, pg. 22. Instead of pantheons of various deities and their mythologies, you now see writings involving pantheons of angels, their histories, wars, domains, etc. And for any war, you must have an arch enemy, evil personified and thus Satan was born into the astral cult.

 

Studying the post-exilic writings you see a distinct and elaborate system of angelology developing, no different than the previous mythologies of deities. Just as lesser deities held the function of messengers of El, to other deities and to men, you now see angels functioning as mediators of the deity and men. Just as cities and nations had patron deities that they sought, now you have angels in charge of nations and cities. Just as men had patron deities for protection and mediation, now you have guardian angels and messenger angels.

 

This assimilation of astral ideas from Mesopotamia, became part of a latter writing style in the Jewish writings called Merkabah. It begins with the association of the malakiym – messengers of YHWH with beniy elohiym – sons of god. These sons are associated with the Greek term angels. These angels are the heavenly army of “God” that do his bidding, preferably attacking the foreign nations that Judah came to detest. 

 

In the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE [Before the Common Era, BC to religious observers of Christianity] we see a rise in a particular writing motif, merkabah, dealing with the angels of God, often called the Sons of God and the Watchers, who were supposed to watch over mankind. This belief system not only brought about a belief of ministering angels of God sinning in their commission to watch over man, who instead had sexual relations with them and taught them all manner of mysteries [weaponry, cosmetics, medicine, astrology involving a solar calendar of 364 days, etc.] that were supposed to remain the secrets of the heavens, but their offspring with the daughters of men produced an “unholy” union that came to be referred to as giants who became demons. These offspring were called mamzer – bastards. Mankind is now the battleground for all the torments, mischief, evil that these demons can muster. Whatever is evil is now attributed to these demons and fallen angels, including possession for the dispossessed spirits of the giants seeking another body. This is diametrically opposed to the teaching of YHWH, where personal responsibility for you thoughts, your heart, your actions is required in this walk with Him.

 

In the Hebrew, merkabah is defined as chariot, carriage, the chariot in the vision of Ezekiel. The vision that is referenced is in chapter 1 of Yechezqel [Ezekiel] with the 4 wheeled vehicle that bears the throne of God, driven by chayoth, the living creatures described as having 4 faces: man, lion, ox and eagle. It is also referred to as the Throne of Glory. The Account of the Chariot is called the Ma'aseh Merkabah.

 

The book of Yechezqel is set during the time of the captivity to Babel. This is important because of the adoption of Assyrian and Babylonian symbolism and beliefs that have been incorporated into what is thought to be Scripture of God. The 4 faced being described is Ashshur. He is the chief, creator deity, sometimes associated with Marduk. He was the patron deity of Assyria, which bears his name. Ashshur is represented as a dragon slayer and warrior. He is lord of the four cardinal points and is also represented as the god of four faces, one of a bull, an eagle, a lion and a man, with wings. His symbols are the winged disk and the bow and arrow. When Babel conquered Ashshur some of its deities were incorporated with theirs, many were already the same with minor name changes. This is the imagery being presented in this first chapter of Yechezqel and the basis of the Merkabah teachings.

 

The study of Yechezqel 1 and the speculations on the mysteries, secrets of the heavens came to become a body of mysticism writings known as Heykaloth /Heichaloth [Palaces]. During the Talmudic period, this writing flourished. Merkabah literature is defined by a number of teachings:

 

·         Visions and ecstatic states.

·         Detailed descriptions of the concentric layers of heaven, usually 7, paradise and palaces in heaven for those that ascend.

·         Various orders of angels and their dominion, their summoning and controlling of them, including Azzazel/Shatan.

·         Mans mystical ascent to heaven.

·         Numerology and imagery

·         Seeking the underlying meaning and secrets of creation, revelations not to be shared with just anyone.

·         Shekinah, glory, light.

·         Amulets, seals, mystical names, prayers and incantations.

 For further information in the Merkabah writings, please see the study Shatan and Fallen Angels.

The astral cult was certainly not limited to Yisrael, other cultures in Mesopotamia were also going through astral changes. Despite the post-exilic editors of the Tanak removing so many elements that they did not agree with theologically, there remains evidence of the beginnings of the pre-exilic astral cult, as well as the transformation that occurred during and after the exile.  “Mythic texts are nothing other than icons (or else constellations) that have been presented in story form. Myths are able to retreat from the story line at any time and restate the real message depicted on the icon without loosing their identity. The symbol of the battle against the dragon, to take one example, represents the “constellation” of the imminent destruction of whatever threat some evil force poses to that which  is good, resolved by the savior who must intervene. The “constellation” appears repeatedly in many myths and stories that use a variety of different names (Baal and Yamm or Mot; Marduk and Tiamat; Yahweh and Rahab or Leviathan; Persus and the sea monster that tries to swallow up Andromeda; St. George, who slays the dragon and frees the maiden, etc.). This same “constellation” has been used or misused by many different groups in the course of the millennia as a system of orientation and as a model of personal struggles.” - Gods, Goddesses and Images of God in Ancient Israel, by Othmar Keel and Christopher Uehlinger, pg. 13.

 

In the Canaanite myths of Baal, he battles against his two brothers Moth [death] and Yam [sea] for supremacy, position of kingship – Melek. All three are the sons of El. Baal is victorious and is called Baal Shamem, Lord of the Heavens. At a latter point in the Tanak, you start to see a shift in the title associated with YHWH. He is no longer just Adonay YHWH – Lord YHWH, or YHWH Elohay - YHWH God, but He now is given the title Adonay YHWH Tsebaoth. Tsebaoth is from the root word tsaba. Tsaba, the singular, means to wage war, to gather against.  Tsebaoth is plural and means armies, host. It is in this aspect that YHWH is portrayed as the god over all the hosts of the heavens or heavenly hosts, as well as the god that was called upon to defeat the other nations that had attacked Yisrael and Yahudah, as evidenced by the use in the books from the 9th century BCE and onward. So the title YHWH Tsebaoth was the equivalent of Baal Shamem.

 

A prime example of this is in YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 13:1-6, “the burden of babel which yeshayahu ben amoz saw,  2 lift up a banner on a bare mountain; make the voice rise to them; wave the hand that they may enter the gates of nobles.  3 i have commanded my holy ones; i have also called my warriors for my anger, those exultant at my majesty.  4 the noise of a multitude in the mountains, as of a great people. a noise of tumult of the kingdoms of goyim gathered together; YHWH tsebaoth is calling up an army [tsaba] for the battle.  5 they come from a distant land, from the end of the heavens, YHWH and the weapons of his wrath, to destroy all the land.  6 howl. for the day of YHWH is at hand. it will come as a destruction from shadday it will come”

 

“It must be remembered that popular belief had regarded the heavenly bodies as members of Yahweh’s heavenly assembly, that host of angelic beings who did his bidding; introduction of the cults of astral deities would naturally encourage such. One short step, and Yahweh would have become the head of a pantheon, and Israel’s faith would have lost its distinctive character.” – The Anchor Bible, Jeremiah, John Bright, pg. 33.

 

The following passage involves the reforms by the King YoshiYahu [Josiah]. II Melekiym [Kings] 23:4-24, “4 and the king commanded chilkiyahu [hilkiah] the kohen gadol [high priest], and the kohaniy [priests] of the second order, and the keepers of the threshold, to bring out from the heykal [temple of] YHWH all the vessels that were made for baal, and for asherah, and for all the armies of the heavens [tsaba hashamayim]. and he burned them at the outside of yerushalaim, in the fields of kidron, and carried their ashes to beyth el.  5 and he caused to cease the idolatrous kohaniym [priests] whom the kings of yahudah had given place to burned sacrifices in the high places in the cities of yahudah, and in the places around yerushalaim, and those burning sacrifices to baal, to shemesh/shamash [sun god], and to yarach [moon god], and to constellations [mazzaloth], and to all the armies of the heavens [tsaba hashamiym].”  

 

The solar and lunar deities were in existence in their respective nations prior to the astral cult that came to be established. They are defined in the Deities section. I do want to cover here the aspect of the constellations [mazzaloth]. Mazzaloth is a plural form of mazzal, which means constellation, zodiac. In Post Biblical Hebrew it came to mean luck, hence the phrase mazel tov, which literally means good zodiac or constellations. Mazzal is an Akkadian loan word, mazaltu, picked up during the exile, meaning standing of the stars, equated with destiny. This is the only verse this word occurs in the Tanak.

 

Another passage dealing with the zodiac is YeshaYahu 47:13-15, “you are exhausted by your great plans; now let stand up and save you, those dividing heavens, the seers into the stars, making known of the new moons from what is coming on you.  14 look, they are as stubble; the fire burns them; they will not save their being from the flame's hand; there is no coal to warm them; nor fire, to sit before it.  15 so they are to you with whom you have labored, your traders from your youth; each one wanders to his own way; no one saves you.” Dividing the heavens was the zodiac. The Zodiac is defined in astrology, as the band divided into 12 equal parts called signs, each 30° wide, bearing the name of a constellation for which it was originally named but with which it no longer coincides owing to the precession of the equinoxes. The term zodiac derives from Latin zodiacus, from the Greek ζωδιακός κύκλος (zōdiakos kuklos), meaning "circle of animals".

 

A later example of this being practiced by the Jews is a synagogue floor mosaic in northern Israel from the 6th century, Bet Alpha. Another synagogue floor mosaic in Tiberius. You can clearly see the zodiac symbols.

 

 

 

The astral cult is evidenced in another passage of the Tanak, the book of Amos 5:26, 27, “you have lifted up sikkuth [sakkut is the akkadian for saturn], your melek [king], and kiyyun [babylonian for saturn] , your tsalemiy [image], the kokab [star] of your elohiym which you made for yourselves.  27 and i will exile you beyond dammesheq [damascus], says YHWH, elohey tsebaoth is his name.”

 

Sakkut is the Akkadian for Saturn, which the scribes changed the vowels for those of the Hebrew word shiqquts – abomination, creating the word Sikkut. Kiyyun is the planet Saturn from the Akkadian Kaywanu. The Persian was Kaywan. The masoretic scribes vowel pointed it after shiqquts, meaning abomination, making kaywan, kiyyun. This is the only time this word occurs in the Tanak. Kokab means star, which is a general term. Tselem means an image, semblance. Used in Bereshiyth [Genesis] creation account in chapter 1 when it states that El created man in their image [elohiym – plural].The interesting thing here is that it is not just a star that is being spoken about, but Amos is stating that they have made for themselves a star of their elohiym – gods. Remember the astral symbols earlier shown, such as the eight pointed star for Ishtar / Venus? This has nothing to do with YHWH, but is part of the prevailing astral cult. To better understand this verse, we might look at the Amos quote in Acts 7:43, which states from the Greek, “and you took up the tent of Moloch, and the star of your god Remphan, the models which you made to worship them,...” Many times the New Testament quotes of text are from the Septuagint based text. “Yes, you took up the tabernacle of Moloch, and the star of your god Raephan, the images of them which you made for yourselves.” This Septuagint quote of Amos 5:26  is the base for the verse in Acts. Even the Peshitta versions of this verse are based off of the Septuagint text.

 

This is very important that prior to the exile, the prophet Amos is calling the people on the fact that they are worshiping as their king and god, a deity associated with the planet Saturn, using a star as his symbol. There is no deity association in the later Babylonian pantheon with the planet Saturn, which may be why it was chosen to apply to YHWH.

 

Amos 5:8 also mentions Kesiyl, which is Orion and Kiymah, which is Pleiades. In the Mesopotamian culture, the Pleiades were the Seven Gods.

 

Continuing the above passage of YeshaYahu 13, we look at verse 10. Here is another word that in the English is translated as constellations, but is not. “10 for the stars [kokab] of the heavens and their kesiyl will not give light; the sun will be darkened in its going forth, and moon will not reflect its light.” Kesiyl means the specific constellation Orion. Which brings us to the Persian time period and Mithras. Mithras is the Graeco-Roman name, Mithra the Iranian version and Mitra the Indic. Scholars are not certain as to the origin of the Mithras beliefs. Some believe that it originated in Persia and spread from there. Some scholars believe that it originated on the coast of Anatolia [Turkey], based on a comment by the historian Plutarch (46-127 CE), in Plutarch’s Lives – Pompey, section 24, which states that the pirates of Cilicia, on the coastal province of Southeastern Anatolia, were the originators of the Mithraic rituals. Whether it was Persian in Persia proper or possibly migrated to these “pirates” that were operating on the coast of Anatolia, it makes not difference. It was a belief system of solar worship. Ahura Mazda was the uncreated creator who had a son, Mithras, equated with Helios by the later Greeks – the sun god. In some writings an assimilated name appears as Mithra-Helios. Mithras drives a solar chariot, which contributes to the Merkabah teachings. Once the Romans fought the Persians, the warrior aspect of the belief system was transported to Rome and took off. Sculptures of Mithras are predominately the same, for a reason. The Persians, big time astronomers, incorporated their astronomical beliefs into their faith. The sculptures of Mithras are not just a sculpture of a man slitting the throat of a bull, but they are of Orion over Taurus. The other images generally associated with the Mithras statues are the dog – canis major, the scorpion – scorpius, the crab – cancer and the serpent – hydra. The friezes that have been found on walls, often carry more of the constellation motifs than those few that appear with the basic Mithras statues of Orion and Taurus, cancer, scorpius and canis major. Archeo-astronomers have debated the meaning of the ancient placement and what was going on in the sky represented to determine the time period of its origination. Mithraism has played as much a part on Christianity, as it did on the Hebraic faith with the Merkabah writings, but that is another study.

 

  

 

 

 

Regardless of exactly when the astral aspect to the deities began, it happened and it happened within the territory of what came to be known as Yisrael and Yahudah. It operated within the religious systems, within the temple, practiced by the priesthood and the kings. The astral cult did not cease with the exiles, but was carried forth into the book that is considered sacred and holy, the word of God by the Jews and then into the offspring religion of Christianity and its New Testament. The question that needs asking is do you want a religion that worships the created and personification applied to it or to worship the Creator, just as He is, without all the astral application and court men have foisted on Him?

 

For further information on the astral cult applicat and Shatan /Satan, please see the study. 

 

 

 

Count Goblet D’Alviella wrote, “Now nothing is so contagious as a symbol unless perhaps a superstition; they are all the more so when combined together, as they generally were among the nations of antiquity, who scarcely adopted a symbol without attaching a talismanic value to it.” The Migration of Symbols, pgs. 18, 19. This understanding of symbols is very apropos for this section of the study. A major question, as readers of the Tanak/Bible, that we need to ask ourselves, in light of the passages of Yechezqel [Ezekiel] and Revelations, concerning the seal of god and the mark of the beast, is what is the actual difference between the two? Another question would be is what are these seals and marks that are placed on the foreheads and arms? Students and scholars have studied this subject from a theological point of view for thousands of years. Linguistics has been applied, searches into the early church father documents to see what they had to say on the matter (being a little closer time wise, to the composition of the book of Revelations, as well as the Talmud for the passage in Yechezqel. Despite all the searching, people are still at a loss as to what the seal and mark are, though many  have claimed to understand and have the answer as to “who” the beast is, which keeps changing of course (such as Nero, various popes, Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini, Kissinger, Sadat, Hussein),  their prophecy falls to the ground unrealized.

 

I remember in the 70’s and early 80’s some Christian authors and pastors believed the mark of the beast was the charge card. More recently it has been applied to barcodes and RFID chips. While I am not claiming to have all the answers, I am hoping to provide some archaeology and historical texts to the situation, for you to make a better informed decision on the subject, should you feel so inclined.

 

Reasons for marks and seals, historically, have included an association with or ownership by a deity; a talisman (protection to ward off evil) or permanent amulet of their deity; to designate families, clans, or tribes; as well as the later guilds and tradesmen, which was sometimes family oriented; and throughout history, marks and seals have also been used to designate a slave or the disposition of a slave, such as if one tried to runaway; then there is the applications of marks and seals to designate noble birth and caste systems. Tied into a number of these factors is that of ownership, whether that of gods or of personal ownership. While you may be asking what any of this has to do with the biblical passages, bear with me and perhaps it will become as obvious to you as well.

 

An example of the various types of marks and for various reasons is from John Potters Archaeologia Graeca (Antiquities of Greece), “But it must not be forgotten in this place, that slaves were not only branded with stigmata for a punishment of their offences, but (which was the common end of these marks), to distinguish them, in case they should desert their masters; for which purpose it was common to brand their soldiers; only with this difference, that whereas slaves were commonly stigmatized in their forehead, and with the name or some peculiar character belonging to their masters, soldiers were branded in the hand, and with the name or character of their general. After the same manner, it was likewise customary to stigmatize the worshippers and votaries of some of the gods: whence Lucian, speaking of the votaries of the Syrian goddess, affirms, 'They were all branded with certain marks, some in the palms of their hands, and others in their necks: whence it became customary for all the Assyrians thus to stigmatize themselves.’And Theodoret is of opinion, that the Jews were forbidden to brand themselves with stigmata, because the idolaters, by that ceremony, used to consecrate themselves to their false deities. The marks used on these occasions were various. Sometimes they contained the name of the god, sometimes his particular ensign, such were the thunderboltof Jupiter, the tridentof Neptune, the ivyof Bacchus : whence Ptolemy Philopater was by some nicknamed Gallus, because his body was marked with the figures of ivy leaves. Or, lastly, they marked themselves with some mystical number, whereby the god's name was described. Thus the sun, who was signified by the number 608, is said to have been represented by these two numeral letters XH.”- pg. 75. Below is an example of the alphabetical numerical system used.

 

 

 

There are also different types of marks. Some marks are made with materials that can be washed off; then there is the more permanent tattooing, bands or crowns holding a symbol, and branding or scarring. There are also various designations as marks such as a particular hair style or hairlock, cuts or shaving or even the wearing of a particular headdress/turban.

 

Before we get into the Yechezqel passage, which was written during the Babylonian exile to the Mesopotamian territories, lets define some terms that come up in the Tanak, archaeology and history that precedes the time of the exile.

 

Owth is a Hebrew word that means sign, signal, symbol or token. An example of this is the mark/sign of Qayin [Cain] that he received after killing Hebel, his brother. Bereshiyth [Genesis] 4:15, “and to him YHWH said, "all who kill qayin, sevenfold he will be avenged."  and YHWH set a sign [owth] so that no one would kill him, all who found him.” While this mark or sign is not described, most scholars speculate that it was a mark on his body that would be understood to others, therefore, it is also speculated that it was on his head so that it was visible to anyone he came across.  Mind you, what the sign is, is purely speculation.

 

While I do not like to speculate without any other information, and biblically, there is none, having researched the histories and comparative mythology of the early pastoral Indo-European cultures that took over the agrarian (plant oriented) cultures, and established an animal sacrificial system, that in their eyes was required by the gods and definitely more pleasing to the blood thirsty gods, this account seems to be more one of the two different systems, than of real brothers. The Proto-Indo-Europeans conquered the agrarians and subjected them to servitude, which would account for a mark or sign of their slave/caste status.

 

Thawah (tawah) [thau, waw, he] is the term used in Yechezqel for the act of marking. It is used one other time in I Shmuel 21:13, when Dawiyd was trying to act crazy before the Felishthiym [Philistine] king Achish. “and he changed his behavior before their eyes, and pretended himself to be insane in their hand, and marked on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall onto his beard.” Clearly this marking is something visible to our eyes.

 

Thaw (thau) [thau, waw – the spelling of the last Hebrew letter - z] means a mark or sign. Besides the passage in Yechezqel, it is also used only one other time in the Tanak. Iyob [Job] 31:35, “oh that i had one to hear me. see, my mark [thau, waw]. let shadday answer me, and  let the man of my contention write an account.” Unfortunately, this passage does not shed light as to the contextual meaning of the word mark and what kind of visible mark he had on him for others to see.

 

An important point that needs to be made is the type of script being used at the time of the exile (the time period for the writing of the passage of Yechezqel) and what the letter Thau [z]   looked like then. In the Paleo-Phoenician, which Hebrew derived from, the thau from 1000 BCE, until the modern Squared Aramaic looked more like an X. The following are archaeological examples from different time periods: Moabite 9th century BCE -  , Lachish 6th century BCE - , and the older Samaritan script - . This is important because some people believe that the mark was a cross, similar to the cross that they use to represent the crucifixion cross, which is more like a T and therefore the seal of god on the forehead of the believers was a cross, prophetic of the cross of Christ. Not so.

 

Throughout the Tanak, there are examples of practices or rituals that began with just the king or high priest, was perhaps done once a year and then later, came to be applied to a larger percentage of the population or was observed more frequently. For example, Pesach was a once a year observance in the Tanak and even in the gospels of the New Testament. But Christianity took this practice and made it a communion to be taken each week or even more frequently if one went to more services in the week. Another example is that of Yom Kippuriym [Day of Atonements]. This practice began in Babylon with the cleansing of the temple, performed by the high priest of the temple. When adopted by Judaism, it still remained as a practice of the high priest and once a year, but began, during the rise of Rabbinical Judaism (the lay scholars), to be applied to all the priesthood and then to the general population. This applies to a seal and mark.

 

The following subsections are in a basic chronological order according to the archaeology and history for each subject matter, so unfortunately, there will be some unavoidable jumping around as each new subject is dealt with. Primarily, I am dealing with countries who have a similar patriarchal Indo-European base to their beliefs as part of that expressed in the Bible, especially the Mesopotamian and Medo-Persian territories where the Jews were in exile. It is necessary to cover a number of peoples to see the context and potential origins of these practices.

 

 

Gods and Kings

The primary source of seals or marks appears to be that of the gods and originally with the chieftains and later kings of these religions. As explained the Molek/Melek section, many of the chieftains and kings made themselves the representative/high priest of the god(s) and in some cases the gods in the flesh. Later, as the priesthood grew, the deity marks were symbols that they wore as well, to represent their temple service to their patron deity and to designate their status.

 

An example of taking marks for temple service to a god, is by Herodotus (5th century BCE), though the account states that the practice is far older than the historian recording the practice, “Now there was upon the shore, as still there is now, a temple of Heracles, in which if any man's slave take refuge and have the sacred marks set upon him, giving himself over to the god, it is not lawful to lay hands upon him; and this custom has continued still unchanged from the beginning down to my own time.” History of Herodotus, Vol. I, Book II, 113 according to Gutenburg Project, but 112 according to another book.

 

The Jewish Talmud also states that this is a practice among the nations to take a mark of their god.

Makkoth 21a

 

MISHNAH. HE WHO WRITES AN ‘INCISED’-IMPRINT [IN HIS FLESH, IS FLOGGED]. IF HE WRITES [ON HIS FLESH] WITHOUT INCISING, OR INCISES [HIS FLESH] WITHOUT IMPRINTING, HE IS NOT LIABLE: [HE IS] NOT LIABLE UNTIL HE WRITES AND IMPRINTS THE INCISION WITH INK, EYE-PAINT OR ANYTHING THAT MARKS. R. SIMEON B. JUDAH SAYS IN THE NAME OF R. SIMEON [B. YOHAI] THAT HE IS NOT LIABLE UNTIL HE HAS WRITTEN THERE THE NAME, AS IT IS SAID: NOR PUT ON YOU ANY WRITTEN-IMPRINT, I AM THE LORD.

 

            GEMARA. Said R. Aha the son of Raba to R. Ashi: [Does it mean, not] until he has actually inscribed the words, I am the Lord? — No, replied he, it means, as Bar Kappara taught, [viz.:] He is not liable [to a flogging] until he inscribed the name of some profane deity, as it is said: Nor put on you any written-imprint, I am the Lord, [that is,] ‘I am the Lord’ and no other.

 

3 Maccabees, which is an account of the persecution of the Jews under Ptolemy IV Philopator (222-205 BC), has an account of the marking of the Greek god Dionysus, 2.29, “He proposed to inflict public disgrace upon the Jewish community, and he set up a stone on the tower in the courtyard with this inscription: ‘None of those who do not sacrifice will enter their sanctuaries, and all Jews will be subjected to a registration involving poll tax and to the status of slaves. Those who object to this are to be taken by force and put to death; those who are registered are also to be branded on their bodies by fire with the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysus, and they will also be reduced to their former limited status’. In order that he might not appear to be an enemy to all, he inscribed below: ‘But if any of them prefer to join those who have been initiated into the mysteries, they will have equal citizenship with the Alexandrians.’ “

Concerning Philopater, “Philopator, who was no mere reveller but a genuine devotee of Dionysos, caused the Egyptian Jews to be branded with the badge of Dionysos, an ivy - leaf—the ancient tattoo - mark of the initiated stamped on his body in life, and in at least one case, as M. Perdrizet notes, engraved on his tombstone after death. These tattoo marks are of the first religious importance. They seem to have been different for the two sexes. The Thracian women who slew Orpheus were tattooed with the figure of a fawn, that has long been known from red-figured vases. Male initiates were, M. Perdrizet points out, tattooed with an ivy-leaf. The evidence is late but sufficient. The fawn is the theriomorph of the god; the ivy, we have seen, his phytomorph. Egyptian Jews, like modern cattle, might be branded with their owners' mark or crest, to mark them simply as his property, but the ancient significance lay deeper. It is the very keynote of Bacchic religion that you become your god—you become Bacchus. To effect this it is well to carry his symbols, to dance his dances, and, on occasion, to eat him ; but the best and simplest means of all is to be tattooed with his animal or plant figure—then you are him.” – The Classical Review, Volume 24, pg. 246, London, 1910.”

 

Philo, A Treatise on Monarchy, 1.8 writes, “But some men have gone to such a pitch of extravagant madness, that they have left themselves no retreat or way to repentance, but hasten onwards to the slavery and service of images made by hands, confessing it in distinct characters, not written on paper, as is the custom in the case of slaves, but branding the characters deep on their persons with a burning iron, in order that they may remain ineffaceably, for these things are not dimmed or weakened by time.” Lucian of Samosata was an Assyrian writer (125-180 CE) who wrote on Syria, in a writing titled, Concerning the Syrian Goddess. In 5.59, he is discussing the religious pilgrims to the Holy City stating, “And all pilgrims mark themselves, some on the wrist and some on the neck; and for this reason all Syrians bear marks.”

 

Another historical account speaks of a triangular symbol and the gods associated with it, “Inasmuch as amongst them the symbol of Fire (Bramah) is an equilateral Triangle, with the apex pointing upwards, it may be conjectured that the Mithraic  caragma (charagma) was the same simple figure, by which indeed Horapollo informs us the Egyptians symbolized the Moon, and Plutarch that Pythagoras expressed the goddess Athene. (Note: Herself the lunar deity, according to an old tradition preserved by Aristotle.)” The Gnostics and Their Remains, Ancient and Medieval, pg. 140.  Pythagoras was the man who coined the term philosophy, lover of wisdom, already covered in the Athene section of wisdom. He also believed that the sacred number 7 was also attributed to Athene. Interestingly, his Pythagorean theorem in rotation is very much the same as the symbols associated with Athene, the gammadion.

 

 

Archaeology has found in Egypt, a temple brand for the goddess Sekhmet from 1500 BCE. They do not know if it was used for people and/or livestock, but branding of people for various reasons was known in the ancient world. This brand shows Sekhmet’s lion head. Prior to this date, in 2000 BCE, an image from the wall of a tomb in Egypt, also shows the temple branding of livestock.

 

 

 

 

Mesopotamian

 

This section delves into the archaeology of various Mesopotamian kings with a repeated symbol that is important for this section, as well as the parts of their body they are exhibited on – the forehead and arm. Please notice that all three images bear the circular solar symbol. The first is an Assyrian relief of a king, clearly wearing the solar symbol on the wrist and forehead. The second is a seal of the god Marduk, covered in the solar emblems as well as the solar rosettes on his arm and forehead. Other images of him, in the Assyrian section show this is a repeated symbol for him. The third is that of the Assyrian king Tiglath Pileser III (728 BCE), wearing the same pattern on head and arm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harappan and Hindustan

 

From the Late Mature Harappan (about 1900 BCE) civilization of Mohenjo-daro (now in modern Pakistan), a statue, that the archeologists have dubbed as the priest king,  was found. His image is very similar to that of the Akkadian king images, showing bands across his forehead with the circular solar emblem and one tied to his arm. This is another example of the Indo-European solar imagery of their god, tied to the forehead and arm, much as the Jewish phylacteries are tied, which is covered a wee bit further on.

 

 

Amongst the Hindustani is a practice of Tilaka. Tilaka [Sanskrit], also written tilak and tila, means mark. It is said to represent the third eye or minds eye on the forehead. The tilaka is representative of spiritual enlightenment, worn by the gods, priests and worshippers. The oldest textual example is from the Rig Veda [various sections composed between 1700 and 1100 BCE]. The goddess Usha [goddess of the dawn, sometimes written in the plural Ushas], daughter of the sky god [Dyaus Pita – Sky Father] and consort to the sun god Surya, with the golden hair [drives a sun chariot], painted a bright red dot on her forehead to represent Surya, the sun. As the Hindu religion went through its phases, various gods or as some state it, various manifestations of the one god, grew in number and as with the other Indo-European religions, new generations of gods were created and represented. Today, you will see various marks on the foreheads of devotees, made of different materials and in different colors. While this study is not about the modern aspects of Hinduism, suffice is to say, that were you familiar with their culture, you could walk on the streets and easily identify who they worshipped by their tilaka on their foreheads.

 

 

 

Ahura Mazda and Mithras

Zoroastrianism is a religion and philosophy based on the teachings of prophet Zoroaster (also known as Zarathustra, in Avestan) from the Indo-Iranian territories (also an Indo-European religion). It was probably founded some time before the 6th century BCE in Persia (Iran). Zarathushtra was a Persian prophet, a reformer who tried to establish monotheism from the existing polytheism, making Ahura Mazda the supreme god. He was also trying to remove the narcotic drink soma from the practices. The term Zoroastrianism is, in general usage, essentially synonymous with Mazdaism (the worship of Ahura Mazda, exalted by Zoroaster as the supreme divine authority). Zorastrianism use a pinch of ashes from the sandalwood incense and touch it to their foreheads, not in penance, but in worship of Ahura Mazda’s element of fire. Fire represents the eternal flame, especially spiritually. In the Atash Dadgah (lowest fire grade ceremony) the people take a pinch of the ashes and place it on their foreheads.

 

Ahura Mazda and his son, Mithras (Mithra, Mitra), are also solar deities with solar imagery. Early Christianity had serious issues with Mithras worship in the Roman empire, which preceded Christianity by quite a number of centuries and sought to explain away any similarities to their Jesus Christ. Mithras worship involved the marks of Mithras on the foreheads of the follows.

 

Tertullian, Prescription Against Heretics, XL,

CHAP. XL.—No difference in the spirit of idolatry and of heresy. In the rites of idolatry, Satan imitated and distorted the divine institutions of the older scriptures. The Christian scriptures corrupted by him in the perversions of various heretics.

 “The question will arise, By whom is to be interpreted the sense of the passages which make for heresies? By the devil, of course, to whom pertain those wiles which pervert the truth, and who, by the mystic rites of his idols, vies even with the essential portions of the sacraments of God. He, too, baptizes some--that is, his own believers and faithful followers; he promises the putting away of sins by a layer (of his own); and if my memory still serves me, Mithra there, (in the kingdom of Satan,) sets his marks on the foreheads of his soldiers; celebrates also the oblation of bread, and introduces an image of a resurrection, and before a sword wreathes a crown. What also must we say to (Satan's) limiting his chief priest to a single marriage? He, too, has his virgins; he, too, has his proficients in continence. Suppose now we revolve in our minds the superstitions of Numa Pompilius (753-673 BC; king of Rome, 717-673 BC), and consider his priestly offices and badges and privileges, his sacrificial services, too, and the instruments and vessels of the sacrifices themselves, and the curious rites of his expiations and vows: is it not clear to us that the devil imitated the well-known moroseness of the Jewish law? Since, therefore he has Shown such emulation in his great aim of expressing, in the concerns of his idolatry, those very things of which consists the administration of Christ's sacraments, it follows, of course, that the same being, possessing still the same genius, both set his heart upon, and succeeded in, adapting to his profane and rival creed the very documents of divine things and of the Christian saints--his interpretation from their interpretations, his words from their words, his parables from their parables. For this reason, then, no one ought to doubt, either that "spiritual wickednesses," from which also heresies come, have been introduced by the devil, or that there is any real difference between heresies and idolatry, seeing that they appertain both to the same author and the same work that idolatry does. They either pretend that there is another god in opposition to the Creator, or, even if they acknowledge that the Creator is the one only God, they treat of Him as a different being from what He is in truth. The consequence is, that every lie which they speak of God is in a certain sense a sort of idolatry.”

 

 Origen  Contra Celsus VI

CHAP. XXII.

“After this, Celsus, desiring to exhibit his learning in his treatise against us, quotes also certain Persian mysteries, where he says: "These things are obscurely hinted at in the accounts of the Persians, and especially in the mysteries of Mithras, which are celebrated amongst them. For in the latter there is a representation of the two heavenly revolutions,--of the movement, viz., of the fixed stars, and of that which take place among the planets, and of the passage of the soul through these. The representation is of the following nature: There is a ladder with lofty gates, and on the top of it an eighth gate. The first gate consists of lead, the second of tin, the third of copper, the fourth of iron, the fifth of a mixture of metals, the sixth of silver, and the seventh of gold. The first gate they assign to Saturn, indicating by the 'lead' the slowness of this star; the second to Venus, comparing her to the splendour and softness of tin; the third to Jupiter, being firm and solid; the fourth to Mercury, for both Mercury and iron are fit to endure all things, and are money-making and laborious; the fifth to Mars, because, being composed of a mixture of metals, it is varied and unequal; the sixth, of silver, to the Moon; the seventh, of gold, to the Sun,--thus imitating the different colours of the two latter." He next proceeds to examine the reason of the stars being arranged in this order, which is symbolized by the names of the rest of matter.

Musical reasons, moreover, are added or quoted by the Persian theology; and to these, again, he strives to add a second explanation, connected also with musical considerations. But it seems to me, that to quote the language of Celsus upon these matters would be absurd, and similar to what he himself has done, when, in his accusations against Christians and Jews, he quoted, most inappropriately, not only the words of Plato; but, dissatisfied even with these, he adduced in addition the mysteries of the Persian Mithras, and the explanation of them. Now, whatever be the case with regard to these,--whether the Persians and those who conduct the mysteries of Mithras give false or true accounts regarding them,--why did he select these for quotation, rather than some of the other mysteries, with the explanation of them? For the mysteries of Mithras do not appear to be more famous among the Greeks than those of Eleusis, or than those in Aegina, where individuals are initiated in the rites of Hecate. But if he must introduce barbarian mysteries with their explanation, why not rather those of the Egyptians, which are highly regarded by many, or those of the Cappadocians regarding the Comanian Diana, or those of the Thracians, or even those of the Romans themselves, who initiate the noblest members of their senate? But if he deemed it inappropriate to institute a comparison with any of these, because they furnished no aid in the way of accusing Jews or Christians, why did it not also appear to him inappropriate to adduce the instance of the mysteries of Mithras? In a certain sense a sort of idolatry.”

The symbol of a circle with a diagonal cross inscribed within it is commonly found in Mithraea, the temples of Mithras, especially in association with the Leontocephaline figure; and also appears to have been cut into the tops of Mithraic sacramental loaves. Some believe that this has astral representations. The first image is that of the Leontocephaline figure from a mithraeum. You can see that he is standing on the solar circle with the X cross. Beside it is a relief of the Mithraic feast. In front of the table is a stand holding the sacramental loaves of bread that also bear this solar cross on them.

 

 

 

 

Referring to the Roman emperors and their beliefs of the solar deity, in this particular case Mithras worship,  M. J. Vermaseren writes, "on several [ancient] portraits, even on portraits of emperors, these tattoo marks are clearly visible, but on the forehead, in place of the hands."

 

 

 

Indian Buddhism

 

Indian Buddhism [Buddhism began in India, under Siddhartha Gautama (later called Buddha) and spread east, adopted the 8 spoked wheel solar symbol of the Indo-European religion and called it the dharmachakra, wheel of support or sustaining, also associated with a persons righteous duty, which is often translated into the English as law. Buddha did not want any representations of him made, yet many of his followers used the darmachakra, a footprint (often with a suvastika or darmachakra in it) or other symbols, as a representation. They associated the 8 spokes with the 8 fold path to enlightenment. Later, after his death, when images do begin appearing, he is represented with the Indian tilaka on his forehead. Below is an image of the foot prints of Gautama Buddha’s footprints with several darmachakras. Also, there is the darmachakra Buddhist solar wheel and inside it is the same symbol, called the gammadion in the Greek, the oldest name form that we have for it. The Sanskrit Indians called it a suvastika, meaning good or well being. This is where the modern term swastika derives from. This image appears on tattoos and amulets.

 

 

 

 

Ichythus

 

With the Christian adoption of many symbols, previously associated with “pagans”, the alphabetical and numerical mystery associations were also applied to revise ancient deity associations. The solar wheel now became an acrostic, such as the images below from the ruins at Ephesus (In what was western ancient Anatolia, now Turkey, part of the Aegean Sea territories). First you see the 6 sectioned solar wheel, similar to Plato’s description in the Chi Ro subsection below, then you see it with the full solar wheel of 8 sections accompanied with the Greek letters Iota, Chi, Theta, Upsilon, Sigma. Ichthys is the ancient and classical Greek word for fish. Christianity took these letters and made the acrostic Iesous Christos, Theou Huios, Soter – Iesous [Jesus] Christ, Theo’s [God's] son, savior. Each of the Greek letters for ichthys was shown to be in the wheel (highlighted below in red). Sometimes the theta had the central cross piece in the 8 sectioned wheel and other times it was simply represented as the circle without the cross piece for the six sectioned wheel. In modern times the ichthys is shown by a fish outline, not accompanied by the solar wheel.

 


 

The fish symbol originally was associated with several goddesses prior to the assimilation of Christianity. Fish outline is essentially the symbol of the two lunar crescents overlapping, which is also the symbol of the vulva and fertility of women, as depicted in the ancient Athene representation below from a Boetia vase 680 BCE, including the gammadion symbols. Also, the later Syrian representation of the goddess Athargatis (Atargatis) is frequently shown with the lower half of her body as a fish. The second image is a coin from 88 BCE of Dematrius III (front view not shown). This is the reverse side showing Athargatis with the body of a fish, holding the plants, as in other goddess images. The third image is a lead image from the 1st century CE, depicting Athargatis, again holding plants, with animals to her sides, very much as the Boetia vase image, including the solar cross image.

 

 

 

Nordic

Nordic beliefs are also an Indo-European belief system that spread more to the north and west, rather than south, as did the Indo-Aryans. Some of their practices have been incorporated into Christianity, as forced Christianity spread to their realms during the Roman occupations.

 

Ash Wednesday is the first day of a 40 day period of fasting and abstinence, the beginning of Lent, in the western churches and ends with Easter. The ashes are produced from burning the palms from the previous years observances. Mixed with oil, the ashes are made into a paste, which is then used by the priests/ministers to mark the forehead of the followers with a cross. It is also known as the 'Day of Ashes' because on that day the followers have their foreheads marked with ashes in the shape of a cross.


The name 'Day of Ashes' comes from the Latin "Dies Cinerum" in the Roman Missal and is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary. The concept originated by the Roman Catholics somewhere in the 6th century. This practice is believed to originate from the practice of covering oneself in dust and ashes for repentance.

 

Wednesday is the Anglicized name for Wodens Day. Woden is a variation of the Indo-European Nordic god Odin, head of the Aesir pantheon, their first king, much as Zeus was in the Hellenes pantheon. The solar application is carried into the creation accounts of the lights in the heavens (the sun) being created on the 4th day of the week, later named Wodensday/Wednesday. Human sacrifices were required by Wodan/Odin.

 

Nordic Practice of Ashes for Protection

 The practice of putting ashes on one’s forehead has been known from ancient times. In the Nordic pagan religion, placing ashes above one’s brow was believed to ensure the protection of the Norse god, Odin. This practice spread to Europe during the Vikings conquests. This laying on of ashes was done on Wednesday, the day named for Odin (Wodan, Woden, Wotan, Wodanaz), Odin’s Day. One of Odin's names is Ygg (terrible one or terror). The Norse name for the World tree is Yggdrasil (terrible steed), which is the tree that Odin hung himself on for 9 days, piercing himself with his own sword to gain wisdom. Modern day people associate the Ash tree with the Yggdrasil, but the mythology associates it with an evergreen. Some scholars believe this tree is actually a Yew and the old name for Yew is the Neddle Ash, which is where the confusion probably came in. This name Ygg, closely resembles the Vedic name Agni in pronunciation. Agni is a sun god, representing fire and the 7 rays of the sun, as well as the flames necessary for the offerings. Many of the hymns in the Rig Veda are devoted to Agni.

 

The Norse practice which has become known as Ash Wednesday was itself, drawn from the Vedic Indian religion, according to some scholars. Ashes were believed to be the seed Agni , the Indian fire god. It is from this name that we get the Indo-European Latin term used for fire, ignis. It is from this root word that the English language got the words, ignite, igneous and ignition. Agni was said to have the authority to forgive sins. Ashes were also believed to be symbolic for the purifying blood of the Vedic god Shiva, which it is said had the power to cleanse sins. Yet, Nordic religion being an offshoot Indo-European religion and culture from the parent Proto-Indo-European religion could explain why a number of these cultures, such as the Hellenes, Indo-Aryan and Indian, though separate from each other, all have the same similarities in culture, religion and language.

 

In Stephen Flowers book, The Galdrabok, a collection of ancient Nordic and Germanic runic magic, the aegishjalmur is described. The aegishjalmur is translated as the helm or shield of awe or terror. Aegish is from the Proto-Indo-European agh-es (Greek – aegis). Flowers states that the helm of awe was originally a kind of sphere of magical power to strike fear into the enemy. “This object is not a helmet, but more of a general covering that surrounds the ‘wearer’ with an over awing power to terrify and subdue his enemies. The power is concentrated in or between the eyes and is often associated with the power serpents have to paralyze their prey. This is apparently an ancient Indo-European concept, as is shown in the etymology of the Greek drakon – the one with the evil eye. We also think the Gorgons’ ability to paralyze with the gaze of their eyes set in a head surmounted with serpents.” Flowers also states that the helm of awe was made of lead, pressed the sign between the eyebrows and a formula spoken, “I bear the Aegishjalmr [helm of awe] between my brows.”

 

The following image is an aegishjalmur stave. Staves were a rune repeated 8 times, forming the solar symbol for protection.

 

 

 

Jewish

 

In the Jewish Tanak, circumcision is an outward, physical sign [owth] that marked a person, though only for the males of the Hebraic population. Bereshiyth 17:9-11, “elohiym said further to abraham, now as for you, you will keep my beriyth [covenant], you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 this is my beriyth, which you will keep, between me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you will be circumcised. 11 and you will be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it will be the sign [owth] of the beriyth (cut covenant) between me and you.”

 

Circumcision was not exclusive to the Jews or Hebrews though. Egyptian mummies from around 1300 BCE were found to have been circumcised and there is an even older painting on an Egyptian tomb wall of Ankh-ma-Hor that depicts circumcision from 3000 BCE.

 

 

In the History of Herodotus (5th century BCE), Book 2.37, he states that the Egyptian priests were circumcised. Later in the same book, 104 he writes, “But the following is more important: that alone of mankind the Colchians, the Egyptians, and the Ethiopians have circumcised from the first. The Phoenicians and the Palestinian Syrians themselves agree that they learned this from the Egyptians; and the Syrians who live near the Thermodon and Parthenius rivers of the Macrones, who are their neighbors, say that they have learned circumcision from the Colchians – and lately. These are the only people who circumcise, and they clearly do it the same as the Egyptians.” This is not an independent historical reporting that circumcision was the oldest in Egypt and the most common. But to do justice to this particular subject, needs a study all on its own. It is sufficient to show that circumcision, for Judaism, was a sign, a mark on the bodies of the males, connecting them with their deity.

 

 

Another passage in the Tanak, speaks of writing on their hand’s – idedl – Belonging to YHWH. YeshaYahu 44:5, “this one will say, belonging to YHWH I am; and this one will call by the name of yaaqob; and this one will write his hand, belonging to YHWH, and by the name yisrael be named.”

 

 

Concerning the anointing of the Jewish kings and priests in the Talmud, we see the same solar imagery that was used of the Assyrian and Babylonian cultures where the Jews were exiled for many years.

 

Horayoth 12a

Our Rabbis taught: How were the kings anointed? — In the shape of a wreath (circular). And the priests? — In the shape of a Chi. What is meant by ‘the shape of a Chi’! — R. Menashya b. Gadda replied: In the shape of a Greek c .

 

 

Menachoth 75a

Raba explained, Because [Scripture] should not have omitted to state at least once the expression ‘cakes anointed with oil and wafers mingled with oil’. HOW WERE THEY ANOINTED? IN THE FORM OF CHI. What is the meaning of ‘IN THE FORM OF CHI’?-Said R. Kahana, In the form of the Greek letter chi. (This is the same marking of the diagonal cross as the sacramental loaves dedicated to Mithras.)

 

 

Kirithoth 5b

Our Rabbis have taught: In anointing kings one draws the figure of a crown (circular), and with priests in the shape of the letter chi. Said R. Menashia: The Greek-[letter] chi is meant.

 

The reason this is important is because the two symbols combined, the O and the X form the solar symbol used by the kings and priests of the Indo-European cultures that I covered earlier and in the Athene section - . Originally, the king was the high priest and the symbol would not have been fractured, so to speak. Biblically prophecy speaks of this restoration of the kingship and the priesthood.

 

King and Priesthood United

ZekarYahu [Zechariah] 6:9-15, “and the word of YHWH was to me, saying,  10 take from cheldday, from tobiyah, and from yedayah, from the exiles who have come from babel; and in that day you go and enter into the house of yoshiyah ben tsefanyah.  11 and take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set on the head of yahusha`ben yahutsadaq, the kohen gadol [high priest].  12 and speak to him, saying, so says YHWH tsebaoth, saying, look. the man whose name is the branch. and he will spring up out of his place, and he will build the temple of YHWH.  13 even he will build the temple of YHWH; and he will bear the majesty, and will sit and rule on his throne. and he will be a kohen [priest] on his throne; and the counsel of peace will be between the two of them.  14 and the crowns will be to chelem, and to tobiyah, and to yedayah, and to chen ben tsefanyah, for a reminder in the temple of YHWH.  15 and the distant ones will come and build in the temple of YHWH. and you will know that YHWH tsebaoth has sent me to you. and this will be, if listening you will listen to the voice of YHWH your elohey.”

 

Yet another aspect of this continuation of the forehead and hand solar symbols is the tefillin / phylacteries. Thefillah (singular) in the Hebrew means prayer. In the Post Biblical Hebrew, tefillin (plural) came to represent the two phylacteries, one on the forehead and the second on the left arm/hand. Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period describes tefillin as, “(Heb., phylacteries) small leather cases containing passages from Exodus 13:1, 11, and Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 11:13-21, written on parchment. They are worn on the left arm and forehead by adult males in the morning service.”

 

Phylactery - from Ancient Greek phylacterion, form of phylássein, φυλάσσειν meaning "to guard, protect". This is clearly used in a talisman fashion, regardless of what Judaism may say to defend that fact that they have assimilated an ancient practice.

 

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 6:6-9, “and these words which i am commanding you today will be on your heart.  7 and you will teach them to your sons, and will speak of them as you sit in your house, and as you walk in the way, and as you are lying down, and as you are rising up.  8 and you will bind them for a sign [owth] on your hand; and they will be for frontlets [totafoth] between your eyes.  9 and you will write them on the doorposts of your house, and on your gates.” Owth (alef, waw, thau) means  a sign, signal or symbol. This Hebrew word is related to the Aramaic atha and derived from an even older root awayath, which is probably derived from the base awah, which means to sign or mark.   Totafoth  means bands, front bands. This word is only used 3 times in the Hebrew text.

 

The second time is HaDebariym 11:18, just like in the verse I quoted above. The third case is in Shemoth [Exodus] 13:15,16, dealing with redemption of sacrifices, “it came about, when faraoh was stubborn about letting us go, that YHWH killed every firstborn in the land of mitsrayim [egypt], both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. therefore, i sacrifice to YHWH the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons i redeem.  16 so it will serve as a sign on your hand and as a bands on your forehead, for with a powerful hand YHWH brought us out of mitsrayim.”

 

 While Judaism has removed the actual symbol that was worn, they have kept the tying on the forehead and hand, replacing the symbol itself with simply the verses about tying these signs/symbols. This clearly shows that either they lost what the symbol was, which I seriously doubt, when everyone around them still maintained these symbols, or, the editors of the Tanak, sterilized the text to remove the symbols that have always been associated with other sky gods.

 

Chi Ro and Constantine

 

Chi Rho cr (two Greek letters overlaid) has a number of applications. The Chi Ro symbol was referred to as a chreston, which means good omen. A chresterion was the seat of or offering to an oracle.  Chrestes was an interpreter or giver of oracles. Chresterios were those in service to the oracle. Originally the title Chrestus was applied to Apollo, the patron deity of the temple and oracle of Delphi. His followers were called Chresterios and Chrestianos. This is the origin of the term “Christian”, designating a follower of the Christ, later applied to Jesus as the Christ. The Old English is christen, from the Latin christianus, from the Greek christianos.

 

According to Lactantius, On the Deaths of the Persecutors - 44, Constantine, the Roman emperor, dreamt that he was ordered to put a “celestial sign of God” (Latin- coeleste signum dei) on the shields of his soldiers. The description of the symbol Constantine used the next morning, according to Lactantius, closely resembles a Chi Rho, a symbol later adopted by Christianity. That day Constantine's army fought the forces of Maxentias and won the Battle of the Milvian Bridge  in 312 CE, outside of Rome. Later, Eusebius of Caesarea, pulled some revisionist history to make Constantine, the high priest of the cult of Sol Invictus (the invincible sun) a Christian and appropriate the events and symbols for Christianity, stating in his Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine, Chapter XXXI,  “At noon Constantine saw a cross of light imposed over the sun.”

 

Yet, the Chi Ro type symbol existed prior to Constantine and the revisionist history of Eusebius. This image is most familiar in Plato's (428/427 BCE– 348/347 BCE) Timaeus 8, where it is described that the two bands form the world soul (anima mundi) and cross each other like the letter chi (C). “And thus the whole mixture out of which he cut these portions was all exhausted by him. This entire compound he divided lengthways into two parts, which he joined to one another at the centre like the letter X, and bent them into a circular form, connecting them with themselves and each other at the point opposite to their original meeting-point; and, comprehending them in a uniform revolution upon the same axis, he made the one the outer and the other the inner circle.” All it took for later generations to make a Chi Ro out of the already existing solar symbol, was to add a hook, either at the top and outside of the wheel, to hang the amulets from, or to add it to the inside of the circle.

 

 

Trying to explain away the fact that the Chi Ro type symbol existed before the adoption by Christianity, the early church father Justin Martyr (First Apology of Justin, LX), commented on Plato's description of the symbol of the world soul in Timaeus, as the son of god being placed on a cross, but not crosswise as Justin says that Plato was mistaken.  “And the physiological discussion concerning the Son of God in the Timaeus of Plato, where he says, ‘He placed him crosswise in the universe,’ he borrowed in like manner from Moses; for in the writings of Moses it is related how at that time, when the Israelites went out of Egypt and were in the wilderness, they fell in with poisonous beasts, both vipers and asps, and every kind of serpent, which slew the people; and that Moses, by the inspiration and influence of God, took brass, and made it into the figure of a cross, and set it in the holy tabernacle, and said to the people, ‘If you look to this figure, and believe, you will be saved thereby.’ And when this was done, it is recorded that the serpents died, and it is handed down that the people thus escaped death. Which things Plato reading, and not accurately understanding, and not apprehending that it was the figure of the cross, but taking it to be a placing crosswise, he said that the power next to the first God was placed crosswise in the universe. And as to his speaking of a third, he did this because he read, as we said above, that which was spoken by Moses, ‘that the Spirit of God moved over the waters.’ For he gives the second place to the Logos which is with God, who he said was placed crosswise in the universe; and the third place to the Spirit who was said to be borne upon the water, saying, ‘And the third around the third.’ And hear how the Spirit of prophecy signified through Moses that there should be a conflagration. He spoke thus: ‘Everlasting fire will descend, and will devour to the pit beneath.’ It is not, then, that we hold the same opinions as others, but that all speak in imitation of ours. Among us these things can be heard and learned from persons who do not even know the forms of the letters, who are uneducated and barbarous in speech, though wise and believing in mind; some, indeed, even maimed and deprived of eyesight; so that you may understand that these things are not the effect of human wisdom, but are uttered by the power of God.”

 

Below is a coin of Constantine (318), clearly showing the solar symbol on the helmet. Following is the Chi Ro helmet crest that was worn between the eyes, so to speak. Finally, is a later coin showing that the solar symbol of Constantine’s coin, has been altered to form a Chi Ro. This is the symbol that Christianity assimilated, but clearly has older origins with other gods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Families, Clans, Tribes and Caste Systems

Many cultures have symbols that represent their families, which may have originated as a deity symbol, but if a whole family or clan followed it, it could easily have been used as a family representation or crest of sorts. Much in the same way that you can tell the various Scottish clans by their tartans. Another identifier are the various forms and colors of pagri/turbans worn in the Middle East and India; or the fezes of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

 

Throughout these Indo-European cultures, they implemented caste systems, very much as the Indo-European caste system of Hindustan / India. In the Sanskrit, the caste systems are referred to as the varnas, which means color.  In the Ancient Vedic time period, there were only 3 castes: the Kshatriya – the kings and warriors were the first, then the Brahmins – the priests and then vaishya – the merchants, cattle herders, artisans. Later in late Vedic times, the Brahmins supplanted the kshatriya for the first position. Also, a fourth was added, the shudra – the workers, laborers. The first three caste names are Proto-Indo-European, but the 4th, shudra, is not. Then there are those outside of the caste system the outcasts, called the dalits, from the marthi language which means ground, suppressed, crushed. These outcasts do the work of the ritually impure, such as leather work, butchering, waste removal.  Through various time periods and by various methods, the castes were marked, whether by a hair style, hairlock, a sacred rope/thread, color of clothing, or a shudra not being allowed to ride a horse or carriage, the privilege of the upper castes, etc.

Ancient Hellenes states of Sparta and Attic had their own types of castes and the even older Thracians were mentioned by Herodotus as marking their women of the higher castes. History of Herodotus, Book 5 states concerning the Thracian women, “Tattooing among them marks noble birth and the want of it low birth.”

 

 

Guilds and Tradesmen

 

In the ancient Greek religion, Uranus was the patriarchal Sky god. Before the newer Olympian wave or generation of gods, Uranus was the main sky deity. The Kyklops (Cyclops) [round or wheel – eyed] were the sons of this sky god. Before the later Olympian legends of Kyklops having an additional eye in the middle of their forehead, there are accounts of them and artwork to show more of what was really taking place. “The Kyklops seem to have been a guild of Early Helladic bronzesmiths. Kyklops means ‘ring-eyed’, and they are likely to have been tattooed with concentric rings on the forehead, in honour of the sun, the source of their furnace fires; the Thracians continued to tattoo themselves until Classical times. Concentric circles are part of the mystery of smithcraft; in order to beat out bowls, helmets, or ritual masks, the smith would guide himself with such circles, described by compass around the centre of the flat disk on which he was working.” The Greek Myths, pg. 32.  Below is a frieze showing three kyklops smithing with Hephaestus. Athene, goddess of the craftsmen stands behind Hephaestus.

 

 

 

The Jewish Talmud records that tradesmen wearing signs of their trades in their ears. Talmud Shabbath 11b, “But it was taught, A tailor must not go out with a needle sticking in his garment on the eve of the Sabbath just before sunset?-The author of that is R. Judah, who maintained, An artisan is liable [for carrying out an object] in the manner of his trade. For it was taught: A tailor must not go out with a needle stuck in his garment, nor a carpenter with a chip behind his ear, nor a [wool] corder with the cord in his ear, nor a weaver with the cotton in his ear, nor a dyer with a [colour] sample round his neck, nor a money-changer with a denar in his ear; and if he does go forth, he is not liable, though it is forbidden: this is R. Meir's view.”

 

 

 

Slaves

 

In the Laws of Eshnunna (ancient Sumerian city 1930 BCE) there is mention of the slaves hairlock called an abbuttum. Unfortunately, no one knows exactly what this looks like. In the scarce ancient writings, it was not described. In the later Hammurapi Code, begun by Hammurapi, the Amorite king of the Babylonian empire of the time, the slaves hairlock is again, not described.

 

Hammurapi Code (1760 BCE)

226. If a barber, without the knowledge of his master, cut the sign of a slave on a slave not to be sold, the hands of this barber shall be cut off.

227. If any one deceive a barber, and have him mark a slave not for sale with the sign of a slave, he shall be put to death, and buried in his house. The barber shall swear: "I did not mark him wittingly," and shall be guiltless.

“Slave girls were already distinguishable from free women by their hair style and possibly by a brand on their forehead.” The Creation of Patriarchy, pg. 137.

Hammurapi’s Code also describes the case of a female slave who was trying to improve her lot in life by trying to change her slave brand into that of the temple brand. Cattle rustlers of the US history are quite familiar with the practice. Had she succeeded, she would have gained housing, clothing and steady food as a temple servant. By about 1000 BCE, the marks became tattoos or brands, to ensure permanency. Also in the Hammurapi Code, rebellious slaves ears were cut off to mark them.

 

In the text of the Hebrew Tanak, we see the marking of a slave that wishes to remain a slave in his masters house, by the piercing of his ear.

 

Shemoth [Exodus] 21:1-6, “now these are the ordinances which you are to set before them,  2 if you buy an ibriy slave, he will serve for six years; but on the seventh he will go out as a free man without payment.  3 if he comes in with his body, he will go out with his body; if he is the master of his wife, then his wife will go out with him.  4 if his lord gives him a wife, and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children will belong to her lord, and he will go out with his body.  5 but if the slave plainly says, i love my lord, my wife and my children; i will not go out as a freeman,  6 then his lord will bring him to the elohiym, then he will bring him to the door or the doorpost [mezuzah]. and his lord will pierce [ratsa – bore] his ear with a borer; and he will serve him permanently.”

 

The second account in HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 15 is basically the same, except these scribes write that the man is released with provisions, verses 13-15, “and when you send him out free from you, you will not let him go away empty.  14 you will richly adorn him from your flock, and from your threshing floor, and from your winepress, with that which YHWH your el has blessed you, you will give to him.  15 and you will remember that you were a slave in the land of mitsrayim, and YHWH your el redeemed you. on account of this i command you this thing today.”  The word ratsa – bore and martsea – borer are only used two times each in the Tanak, and those two uses are in the above verses.

 

 

Having basically explained the various aspects of marks in the Indo-European religions and cultures, let us look to the main passage in the Tanak that deals with the seal of “YHWH” and the mark of those to be destroyed.

 

Yechezqel

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 9  1 and he cried in my ears with a loud voice, saying, let the overseers of the city draw near, even each with his destroying weapon in his hand.  2 and, look, six men were coming from the way of the upper gate, which faces north. and each had his shattering weapon in his hand. and one man among them was clothed in linen, and an ink horn of a scribe at his loins. and they went in and stood beside the bronze altar.  3 and the honor of elohay  yisrael had gone on, from on the kerub where it was on it, to the threshold of the house. and he called to the man clothed in linen with the ink horn of a scribe at his loins.  4 and YHWH said to him, pass through in the midst of the city, in the midst of yerushalam, and marking [tawah – taw, waw, he] a mark/sign [taw, waw] on the foreheads of the men who are groaning and are mourning over all the abominations that are done in her midst.  5 and he said to those in my hearing, pass over in the city after him and strike. do not let your eye spare, and do not have pity.  6 slay the aged men, the young man, and the virgin, even children, and women, all to destruction. but to every man who has the mark [taw,waw]  on him, do not come near. and begin from my sanctuary. and they began with the aged men who were before the house.  7 and he said to them, defile the house and fill the courts with the dying. go forth. and they went out and killed in the city.  8 and it happened as they struck, and i remained, even i. then i fell on my face and i cried out and said, ah, adonay YHWH. will you destroy all the remnant of yisrael in your pouring out of your fury on yerushalam?  9 and he said to me, the iniquity of the house yisrael and of yahudah is very great, and the land is filled with blood, and the city is full of perversity. for they say, YHWH has forsaken the land; and, YHWH does not see.  10 and even i, my eye does not spare, and i will not have pity. their way on their head, i will put.  11 and, look, the man clothed with linen, with the ink horn at his loins, reported the matter, saying, i have done as you commanded me.

 

Below is the Talmudic explanation of the above passage of Yechezqel.

 

Talmud Shabbath 55a

R. Zera said to R. Simeon, Let the Master rebuke the members of the Resh Galutha's suite. They will not accept it from me, was his reply. Though they will not accept its returned he, yet you should rebuke them. For R. Aha b. R. Hanina said: Never did a favourable word go forth from the mouth of the Holy One, blessed be He, of which He retracted for evil, save the following, where it is written, And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark [taw] (the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet) upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof, etc. The Holy One, blessed be He, said to Gabriel, Go and set a taw of ink upon the foreheads of the righteous, that the destroying angels may have no power over them; and a taw of blood upon the foreheads of the wicked, that the destroying angels may have power over them. Said the Attribute of Justice before the Holy One, blessed be He, ‘Sovereign of the Universe! Wherein are these different from those?’ ‘Those are completely righteous men, while these are completely wicked,’ replied He. ‘Sovereign of the Universe!’ it continued, ‘they had the power to protest but did not.’ ‘It was fully known to them that had they protested they would not have heeded them.’ ‘Sovereign of the Universe!’ said he, ‘If it was revealed to Thee, was it revealed to them?’ Hence it is written, [Slay utterly] the old man, the young and the maiden, and little children and women; but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my Sanctuary [mikdashi]. Then they began at the elders which were before the house. R. Joseph recited: Read not mikdashi but mekuddashay [my sanctified ones]: this refers to the people who fulfilled the Torah from alef to taw. And straightway, And behold, six men came from the way of the upper gate, which lieth toward the north, every man with his slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man in the midst of them clothed in linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side. And they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. Was then the brazen altar [still] in existence? — The Holy One, blessed be He, spake thus to them; Commence [destruction] from the place where song is uttered before Me. And who were the six men? — Said R. Hisda: Indignation [Kezef], Anger [Af], Wrath [Hemah], Destroyer [Mashhith] Breaker [Meshabber] and Annihilator [Mekaleh]. And why   taw? — Said Rab: Taw [stands for] tihyeh [thou shalt live], taw [stands for] tamuth [thou shalt die]. Samuel said: The taw denotes, the merit of the Patriarchs is exhausted [tamah]. R. Johanan said: The merit of the Patriarchs will confer grace [tahon]. While Resh Lakish said: Taw is the end of the seal of the Holy One, blessed be He. For R. Hanina said: The seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is emeth [truth]. R. Samuel b. Nahmani said: It denotes the people who fulfilled the Torah from alef to taw.

 

 

Revelations

 

Revelations 13:16-18 from various translations and languages of the earliest versions.

 

Greek

“and the small and the great and the rich and the poor and the freemen and the slaves, it causes that they give to them all a mark [charamga] on their right hand or on their foreheads, even that not any could buy or sell, except the one having the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man – and its number is six hundred and sixty-six.”

 

Etheridge’s Translation of the Peshitta

"and he caused all, small and great, and rich and poor, and sons of freedom and slaves, to have given to them a signature upon their right hands, or upon their foreheads; as that no man might be able to buy or sell, unless he had the signature of the name of the beast of prey, or the number of his name. here is wisdom. let him who hath mind, calculate the number of the beast of prey; for the number is of man; and his number is six hundred and sixty and six."

 

Beast - literally, (chaivith sheno,) a beast of the tooth, i. e., a carnivorous animal. The same expression occurs throughout. 5 Polyglots. 6 Polyglots.

 

 

Murdock’s Translation of the Peshitta

"and to cause that all, great and small, rich and poor, bond and free, should receive a mark on their right hands, or upon their foreheads; so that no one might be able to buy or to sell, except those who had the mark of the name of the beast of prey, or the number of his name. here is wisdom: let him that hath intelligence, compute the number of the beast of prey; for it is the number of a man: and its number is six hundred and sixty and six."

 

Peshitta from the Hebrew

“and caused all small, and great, and rich and poor and sons of freedom and slaves, to give to them a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads; so that no man might be able to buy or sell, unless he had the mark of the name of the beast of the tearing/torn flesh or from the number of his name. here is wisdom. let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast of the tearing/torn flesh, for from the number belongs that of man, his number is six hundred, sixty and six.”

 

 

TERMS

Now we need to define some of the words that are involved in the these texts. First, lets look at the Greek.

 

Charagma (caragma) means an imprint, mark, character, sign, stamp or inscription that is engraved. The Romans adopted much from the Greek culture and language. When the book of Revelations was written, it was during the Roman occupations. Therefore we need to see how this word was applied in those times. Specifically, it was used not just as the general term, but also for the imperial stamp of the images of names of the emperors on Roman coins, deeds of sale containing the names of the emperors, which included the year of his reign.

 

Just as the book of Daniel, written not during the time in which it is supposedly set, but during the Roman occupation, the writers did not name the images of the dreams with the current Roman government, which would threaten their lives, but with terms of beast. This same beast, though a number of years later in the book of Revelations, was still a beast in the eyes of the occupied peoples. It is also important to understand that just about all of the Roman emperors viewed themselves as gods in the flesh and used such imagery and titles to validate their rule, further associating the roman emperors with a beast in the eyes of the occupied peoples.

 

 

 

 

666 - CxV - Chi, Xi, Stigma are the Greek letters that also represent numbers in the passage of the mark.

Stigma – from stizo, to stick, i.e. prick, a mark incised, or punched (for recognition of ownership), i.e. scar of service. Stigma is an obsolete ancient Ionic Greek letter. It appeared between the 5th and 6th letters. Numerically it was used for 6. Not to be confused with a final sigma. Stigma was a ligature, or combination of two letters – sigma and tau.

 

 Prior to stigma being used for the number 6, another ancient Greek letter, digamma  [derived from the Paleo-Phoenician waw and looks like a capital F], because it looked like two gamma's superimposed. Gamma represented the number 3, so two 3's equaled 6, one of the three numbers needed to flesh out the 24 letter Greek alphabet numerical system. In the 24 letter to numerical system, they were lacking the 6, 90, and 900. Three ancient letters were adopted to represent these numbers. The digamma/stigma for 6, koppa for 90 and sampi for 900. The digamma, as a letter, fell out of use as the w sound disappeared from the Greek language.

 

In the Aramaic and Hebraic Peshitta texts, the following terms are defined.

Teref – tear, torn flesh – used for beast.

Siyman – PBH mark, sign, signal. Mnemonic sign. From siman – to mark. [Denominated from siyman (=sign, mark), or perhaps related to AKKa. Simanu (=fixed date, time) Greek semeion – a sign, mark or token, which a person or thing is distinguished from others and is known. A sign, prodigy, portent, for example an unusual occurrence transcending the common course of nature. Signs portending remarkable events soon to happen.

 

 

Isopsephia, is a system of numerical superstition. It literally means in the Greek, equal pebble, because pebbles were used to calculate and each letter was equal to a number. Gematria is a Hebrew derivation of isopsephia. The earliest cases of letter to number usage are Babylonian, around the 8th century BCE. It crops up under Greek domination around the 5th century BCE and the oldest known usage in the Hebrew culture is around the first century BCE.

 

Isopsephia riddles, abounded in the first few centuries CE, the time period of the writing of the book of Revelations.

"Here is an example of an isopsephia riddle recorded by the Roman historian Suetonius in his account of the Roman Emperor Nero, who reigned from 54-68 AD. Suetonius records the following piece of graffiti was written on the walls of the city after the people learned that Nero ordered the assassination of his own mother (59AD):

Calculate the number
of the letters in the name of "Nero"
and in "killed his own mother"
... the sum is the same!

Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, circa 110 AD

Revelations 7:3,4, “Do not harm the earth, nor the sea, nor the trees, until we seal the slaves of our god [theo] on their foreheads. And I heard the number of those having been sealed: one hundred forty-four thousands, having been sealed out of every tribe of the sons of Yisrael.”  The word slave here is doulos, appearing as far back as the Indo-European Mycenaean inscriptions. It is the opposite of freemen. Interestingly enough, another ancient Greek word for slaves exists, one which denotes a slave of the god, te-o-jo do-e-ro, or any of the later Greek linguistics to show cultic personnel.

 

Revelations 14:1-4, “And I saw, and look, a Lamb having stood on the mount Tsion, and with him an hundred forty-four thousands, having the name of his Father written upon their foreheads; and I heard a voice out of the heaven, as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of great thunder, and a voice I heard of harpers harping with their harps, and they sing, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures, and the elders, and no one was able to learn the song except the hundred forty-four thousands, who have been bought from the earth; these are they who with women were not defiled, for they are virgin (parthenoi – refers to the temple virgins whose duty it was to protect the Parthenon, the temple of Athene Parthenos); these are they who are following the Lamb wherever he may go; these were bought from among men, a first-fruit to God and to the Lamb.”

This passage has some serious problems. First, no where in the rest of the bible is marriage ever a defiling thing. Second, the use of parthenos for these males is incorrect. Parthenos is used of a virgin woman, such as in the case of Miryam [Mary]. This is not just in the case of the Greek Septuagint and the New Testament, but throughout Classical Greek texts. Athene has, as one of her titles, Athene Parthenos – the Virgin. So also does Artemis, the later offshoot of the original mother figures, especially the triad of women stages – the maid, the mother, the grandmother/sage. Artemis was considered the patron goddess of the parthenoi (plural), protecting them until they either married or died as parthenoi (sometimes sacrificed). These supposed males can not be parthenoi – virgin females. Third, this passage is unbelievably misogynistic stating that being with women is defiling, contrary to the anything associated with YHWH or Yahusha, yet very much the party line of the patriarchal Indo-European belief system, especially for Judeo-Christian Gnostics.

Gnostics are not one set group. Gnosticism is rather an application of mystical elements that can be combined with Greeks to form Greek Gnostics, or Jews to form Jewish Gnostics (think qabbalah) or with Christians for Christian Gnostics. Though Greek philosophy is different from Judaism and different from Christianity, they can each add Gnosticism to their beliefs and come up with a different sect, which is what occurred with Gnosticism. There are, however, common elements to Gnosticism, regardless of the original foundation. Numerology, heavy allegory, hidden knowledge, mysticism are all common elements. In addition to these aspects, misogyny, the hating of women, is also common to Gnosticism, the aspect that women are defiling and need to be avoided to be pure. When you look at the book of Revelations, which by the way was not added to the canon for the New Testament until much later and was not included in the canon of the east, you can easily see that the book is a Gnostic writing and needs to be dealt with as such. Otherwise, a person either has to ignore such elements to accept the book to fit with the rest of the New Testament or ignore most of the rest of the Bible to accept all of Revelations.

Woman Riding the Dragon

Revelations 17:3-5, “and he led me into the desert, in the spirit; and i saw a woman sitting on a beast of prey which was red, full of names of blasphemy, and having seven heads and ten horns. and the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and golden with gold  and precious stones and pearls; having a cup of gold in her hand, full of pollutions and uncleanness of her fornications, by which she has polluted the earth. and on her forehead the name was written. sod [council, secret, confide]. babel the great, the mother of the zonah [prostitutes, harlots] and of the abominations of the earth.”

 

In biblical Hebrew, sod is clearly used for council and confidences. But in post biblical Hebrew times ( again, the time of the book of Revelations), sod takes on a more mystical aspect, the hidden secrets that need to be sought out, the deeper truths. Modern translators use punctuation, which did not occur in the older texts, to interpret. So by placing a comma after “written, sod” they make the word sod as one of the words written on the forehead, rather than the period after sod, which would translate “and on her forehead the name was written. Secret truth (now a statement of a name or symbol written on the forehead, not one of the names written on the head)…” Punctuation can seriously alter the meaning of a sentence and when translators add punctuation in, where none was originally, they can seriously change texts.

 

As mentioned in several parts of this study, under the patriarchal religious system of the Indo-Europeans, the mother figure became a dragon and was then slain by the warrior king who became head of the pantheon. In this passage of revelations, this woman is riding the beast. She is the daughter of the mother, the newer generation of the mother just as Tiamat the mother, slain and her daughter Inanna/Ishtar being forced to marry and validate the king. Some of the Mesopotamian titles of Ishtar are the Great Mother, Harimtu [heavenly harlot], Great Harlot, Mistress of all Harlots. The problem here, is our concept of a harlot and those of the Sumerian, Akkadian, Assyrian and Babylonian, where and when the inscriptions to Inanna and Ishtar occur. Modern scholars are seriously questioning the fact that earlier male translations of certain terms, were applied to modern Christianity’s perspective of a harlot. Ancient Semitic terms such as naditu, qadistu and entu have no association with harlotry, they are just different levels of female cultic personnel. Then there are also the followers of Ishtar called ishtaritu. There is one term that many believe is close to our concept of commercial prostitution, at least from the tavern perspective and that is harimtu. Harimtu is the Semitic source for the Arabic word harem. The Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, pg. 453, lists Ishtar as the patroness of prostitutes and other independent women.

 

Clearly, the patriarchal Indo-European system of Christianity was associating the woman on the beast with the mother cultures. Again, with the punctuation, and possible editing, the terms written on her head are a combination of known terms for Ishtar. So instead of “Babel the Great, the Mother of the Zonah…”, it may have been “Babel, the Great Mother, Mother of Zonah, …”, which are known titles of Ishtar.

 

 

Mark Conclusion

 

As shown by numerous examples, there are various forms of marks that identify a person - either by clan/tribe, deity association, caste/slavery or tradesman. There are also a variety of ways that these marks were formed – symbols on bands, amulets, tattoos, branding, scarring, marks that were made with various materials yet could be washed off and marks that were applied during ceremonies, yet not left on permanently.

We have also seen a variety of marks representing various deities. Yet regardless of the marks, the only difference between a seal of god and a mark of a beast is whose side you are on. To those that were polytheistic and tolerated other deities, perhaps acknowledging one as their main patron deity, for another person to bear a symbol of another god was acceptable, unless of course that symbol happened to be of an enemy and therefore enemy deity. At which point, they might liken that enemy as being a beast or some other term to manifest their animosity. To the monotheistic religions (which are generally not really monotheistic, having taken the lesser deities and made them into saints and such, but that is another study) any other deity is an opposition with followers being called pagans, heathens, heretics, unbelievers, etc.

 

Concerning the Jewish Mysticism of the book of Yechezqel, we have no way of exactly identifying what the mark was, that was placed on the foreheads of those that were protected from death, nor exactly the purpose of the Hebrew letter thau, if that is what was really being referred to, though I have provided a strong example of the common solar images that were used. Since the Gnosticism was a varied religion and not many of the earlier writings survive, since they also believed in hidden knowledge and often followers of such religions kept the bulk of their religion secret to the masses and open to their initiates, we may never really know what the exact mark of “the beast” that Revelations was referring to. But, due to the time of the book and the terms for the Roman Imperial stamps and coinage, there is a good chance that the Judeo-Christian Gnostics that wrote the book, were making an association with the Roman system of coinage and taxation. So from the two mystical texts referred to, there is nothing concrete as to a specific “seal” of god that protects.

 

Regardless, of whatever may have been intended by these authors and editors of the similar mystical texts, the application they speak of is talismanic. Which means it is a token of some sort that wards off evil. In my eyes, that is not of YHWH anymore than a talisman to ward off the evil eye. The Creator knows those that there is a relationship with and needs no such designation. As to your identifying another believer of this Creator, is this some secret club that you need a secret handshake or password to recognize one another? Can you not tell by their actions? Or is it simply a means to designate those that will not be slaughtered by you for not believing the same? And if so, who are you that you know every man’s mind and heart and at what stage of their journey is acceptable to you? It seems then to be more of a seal of man, rather than of a god.

 

 

 

 

Below are the deities that are mentioned or referenced in the Tanak. Each section is broken down into their cultural pantheons. The deities are listed, names defined, characteristics listed, passages in scripture that are pertinent, people and city names that show where a beyth/house/temple to that deity was located. Deity names are in the Hebrew, where applicable, but you will need the Hebrew font at my site to view it, available for download, otherwise you will see odd letters in lowercase. The biblical references are in a font called copperplate and mimic the caseless Hebrew, to avoid translator emphasis of capitalization. That is also on the font page for download. As mentioned earlier and in other studies, you need to ignore the vowel points of the later masoretic scribes. When viewed in the Hebrew, you will see, clear as day, the names that in many cases have been hidden by the Medieval scribes vowel points, what they truly are.  

 

Also, when it comes to place names that bear a deity’s name, there is no way to know which culture the name originated from when several cultures share the same deity. For example, Beyth Dagan: Dagan is in the Amorite, Canaanite/Ugaritic, Phoenician, Philistine and Syria/Aramean cultures. So which cultures influence was responsible for the Beyth Dagan? Some of the information to a particular deity is specific to a culture and some of it is general to a number of them, in which case you may see a wee bit of the general repeated, so that you are not having to flip all over a large document to follow the “see this heading” trail. I know that some of you may not want to print this large document out, where flipping between hardcopy pages is far easier than scrolling up and down in a net document. Please remember, these are not complete cultural pantheons either. They are provided to show the influence on the Tanak, either by direct name, assimilation or inference.

 

Another important note is the fact that I have placed the main female goddess names at the top of each cultural grouping. This is due to the fact, as mentioned above in the From Clan Mother to Goddess section, that archaeology, anthropology and history have proven that all these cultures had a main mother – goddess culture, prior to the waves of patriarchal domination that occurred with the Kurgan / Indo-European invasions. These invaders subjected the local peoples to servitude, created caste systems and set themselves up as the king/warrior rulers with their priests in the next caste. These priests set to work, re-mything the existing beliefs of the subjugated peoples. They took the mother goddess, and in many instances had their new male god, kill off the mother (and sometimes her son), then marry the daughter, or they outright raped and married the mother. They then took all of the creation and gifts of civilization aspects of the mother, as well as her stories and attributed them to the new male conqueror deity. Female goddesses were then demoted, demonized, and vilified. Once again, do not mistake the facts of what happened for my advocating a goddess system of worship or a matriarchal government instead of the predominant patriarchal. I do not believe that either the matriarchal nor patriarchal systems are the will of YHWH.

 

 

 

Asratum –  Asratum / Ashratum / Ashratu / Ashirta, also known as Asherah, is the wife of Amurru. She is the mother goddess. The worship of Ashirta was early introduced into Mesopotamia by the Amorites that migrated there. The name in time became pronounced Ishtar in Babylonian and Assyrian, though some forms of Astartu have been found from the time of Esarhaddon. “A Babylonian hymn, rewritten in the Greek period, informs us that in her original home, where her name was Ashrat, and regarded as the ‘goddess of the plain,’ she was the consort of Amurru (Mar-Tu-e) ‘lord of the mountain.’ “The Empire of the Amorites, Albert T. Clay, pg. 173.

 

“Ashirta offers the most complicated and intricate of all problems in connection with the names of the West Semitic deities, the reason being that her worship was spread throughout the Semitic world, that in certain lands her sex was changed; and that her name appears in so many forms.” The Empire of the Amorites, Albert T. Clay, pg. 171. The later writings of this deity from the Canaanite perspective are in that section. Since there is not much documentation for the Amorite culture, I will not add other cultures documentation to this section. The fuller version is obviously in the Canaanite section.

 

City Name: Atharoth, Ashtharoth

 

In an inscription on the walls of the temple of Amun, at Karnak, from a military campaign of Thutmose III, who reigned in Egypt from 1479-1425, there is a listing of cities from the territory of Kenaan. One of which is Ashtiratu. This city is no longer known unless you correlate it with the city of Ashtoreth, which has the same written consonants.

 

Shamash – a solar goddess in the Amoriy culture.  Shapash is the Canaanite solar goddess and plays a large part in the Ugarit texts, especially concerning the Rephaiym and the Baal cycle. Before I came across the Amurru pantheon, while researching the Canaanite, I thought it odd that there were people and place names with Shamash, which is attested in the Assyrian and Babylonian  pantheons. In those cultures though, Shamash / Shemesh is male. Why was there so much correlation to the Canaanite pantheons in the people and deity place names of Israel and Judah, yet not Shapash? Why choose a deity farther away and from a much later time period? Then I came across the Balaam inscription, which involves a solar goddess whose first and last letter is shiyn [Sh] – Sh_Sh, but the middle letter, what they believe is an mem [m], is not distinct. In papers on the translation, it is generally rendered as Shemesh, yet the deity is a solar goddess. Then I came across research on the Amorite deities and Shamash/Shemesh is a female solar deity. Due to the Amurru and Ammonite connection of Shamash, I am including associations of Shapash for comparison.

 

Shapash, as a sun goddess, spends half her time in the underworld, by virtue of her descending there each night. which is where ancients believed the sun went when it set. The following is part of a Ugaritic text praising Shapash for her role in locating and securing the body of Baal, placing it on the back of Anath, who returned it to the land of the living: O Shapsu, may you judge over the heroes, O Shapsu, may you judge over the gods, the divine ones constitute your regular company, look, the dead ones constitute your regular company.

 

Each night she makes her descent to the underworld and was therefore associated with escorting the dead to their abode. One ritual states that Shapash, the Judge, carries those from above to below and from below to above.

 

For the oracle aspect, see Shamash in the Akkadian / Sumerian section.

 

Personal Name: Shamashon [Shimshon/Samson], Shamashriy [pertaining to Shamash],

City: Beyth Shemesh [house of Shamash], Eyn Shamash [eye of Shamash], Iyr Shamash [city of Shamash]

 

Biblical Passages:

Chabaqquq [Habakkuk] 3:11, “shemesh and yarech stood still in their dwelling. at the light of your arrows they go, at the shining of your gleaming spear.”

 

 

Amurru / Uru – Also referred to as Martu in the Sumerian dialect, was the son of the sky god and father of the gods - Anu. He is called the Lord of the Mountain – Bel Shade [Bel Sade], revealing that the Amoriy originally inhabited the mountainous region. Many scholars associate Shade with Shadday, meaning mountain. This gives rise to El Shadday [Bel Shade] as the Mountain One. Though Shadday means breasted one, a later application by a patriarchal culture could associate the male with mountains where before it was breasts from a woman. Another title is Bel Tseri, Lord of the Steppes. Amurru is characterized as a storm god, equal with Adad or Yahweh. According to a Sumerian hymn, Amurru is a warrior god, strong as a lion, using a bow and arrows. Being a storm god, thunder and lightning are also his weapons, giving rise to the title The Thunderer. Amurru is viewed as a shepherd god and is depicted with a shepherd’s staff in his hand, as well as bearing the title Shepherd who treads on the mountains. The curved staff frees from punishment. Viewed as nomadic, Amurru dresses in sheepskins and lives in a tent, having no house and is therefore the patron deity of nomads. He is viewed as a family god by the title God of the father. Later Amurru is often equated with Adad.

 

 

Personal Name: Many Amorite names in the Tanak have been altered by the scribal editors with the vowel points. For example, Amraphel [Bereshiyth (Gen.) 14:1] Alef, Mem, Resh, Fe [Pe], Lamed – AMRPL, is written Amurru-ipal, in the Amoriy and means Amurru has answered. Some scholars view Amurru-ipal as Hammurabi, whose name is sometimes spelled as Hammurapi, depending on the cuneiform dialect. Hammurabi claimed descent from Shamshi-Adad, an Amorite and founder of the first northern Mesopotamian empire [Archaeology in Syria, Akkermans and Schwartz, pg. 288.].

 

City Name: Urushalim [Urusalimmu, Jerusalem] Amurru is appeased or at peace. All the more understandable when you realize that in Yahusha [Joshua] 10:5, Adonitsedeq [Adoni-Zedek] is listed as one of the five Amorite kings and he is king of Urushalim [Jerushalem]. Moriah is a scribal change as well. Bereshiyth [Genesis] 22:2 states, “he [el] said, take now your son, your only son, whom you love, yitschaq [isaac], and go to the land of moriyah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which i will tell you." Mount Moriah is associated with Jerusalem, the site of the threshing floor of Arunah, which became the site for the temple of Shlomoh [Solomon]. II Dibrey HaYamiym [Chronicles] 3:1, “and shlomoh began to build the beyth  YHWH at yerushalaim, on mountain moriah, where he appeared to his father dawiyd [david], in the place that dawiyd had prepared, in the grain floor of ornan [listed in earlier books as arunah] the jebusite.”  If you look at other translations of the Bereshiyth 22:2 verse concerning Abraham and Moriah, you see a different word. The Septuagint and Targum say the land of the Amoriy and the Samaritan Pentateuch and Samaritan Targum refer to Hamor, tying it with Shechem, where Mount Gerizim is, the Samaritan holy mountain and site of their temple, prior to it being destroyed. Whether you are looking at this from a Jewish perspective of Moriah, indicating Jerusalem or a Samaritan perspective of Hamor and Shechem, both territories are ancient Amorite centers of worship and both bear the root of the deity name Amurru.

 

Biblical Passages:

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 14:13, “then a fugitive came and told abram the ibriy. now he was living by the oaks of mamre the amoriy, brother of eshkol and brother of aner, and these were allies with abram.

BeMidbar [Numbers] 13:29, “amaleq [amalekites] is living in the land of the south, and the chiththiy [hittites], and the yebusiy [jebusites], and the emoriy [amurru / amorites] are living in the hill country, and the kenaaniy [canaanites] are living by the sea, and by the side of the yarden.”

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 16:3, “and say, so says adonay YHWH to yerushalem, the place of your origin and the place of your birth is of the land of the kenaaniy [canaanite]. your father, the amoriy [amarru, amorite] and your mother, chiththiyth [female suffix with hittite, basically hittitess].”

 

 

Dagan / Dagaan / Daganu –  An Amorite/Canaanite/Ugaritic/Syrian/Mesopotamian god of fertility. Some scholars believe that Dagan is another name for El. The belief that his name means fish because of the Felishthiym [Philistine] association with the sea is a stretch. The fact that the Semitic word for grain is dagan is more likely. Some scholars question which came first. Did grain come to be called by the deity that he was over or the other way around? Another possible confirmation of that name meaning grain/corn is from an account handed down over many years by several authors. The supposed original author is Sanchuniathon – a Phoenician, who then is translated by Philo of Bylos, who then is copied by Eusebius. The following are the two quotes involving Dagon and grain. “...Dagon, which signifies Siton (grain/corn in Greek)...” and,  “And Dagon, after he had found out bread-corn, and the plough, was called Zeus Arotrius.” The idea that his name is associated with fish has no basis in any Semitic language. It is a later rabbinic tradition that Dagon means fish.

 

In the book, Time at Emar by, Daniel Fleming, the ritual texts dealing with the Zukru Festival have a number of names that bear witness to the fertility aspect of Dagan: Dagan, Lord of the Seed, Dagan, Lord of the Offspring, Dagan Lord of the Firstborn, Dagan, and Lord of Creation. Fleming writes in note 178, pg 90, that the Aleppo citadel stone has an inscription stating Dagan as the Father of Gods. He also sites in the same note that a Mari text A. 1258+ :9 calls Dagan, “the great mountain, father of the gods.” On pg. 91 he states, “Even under the zukru festival’s royal sponsorship, Dagan is not celebrated as the king of the gods but as their parent.” This father of the gods aspect ties in with the fact that the Emar zukru text mention the gods as amounting to 70, just as the number of the offspring of El and Asherah at Ugarit.

 

The name Dagan is frequently a theophoric element in Amorite names from numerous kingdoms. On Hammurabi’s Code, Hammurabi writes that he is a warrior of Dagan. Dagan first appears in 2500 BCE at Mari, in 2300 BCE at Ebla and 1300 BCE at Ugarit. Hammurapi [the Amorite spelling, Hammurabi is the Akkadian], an Amorite, gives credit for the subjugation of the settlements along the Euphrates River to Dagan, his creator. A number of personal names with Dagan as the theophoric element appear in the texts from Mari, an Amorite center. There were major temples to Dagan at four major Amorite cities: Mari, Ebla, Emar and Ugarit. Dagan was the chief god of the Ebla pantheon, also having one of the four gates named for him. He was also the chief deity of Emar where a major festival, similar to Pesach / Passover was performed. The worship of Dagan spread from the east westward, to Syria and through Canaan. At the time of the Ugaritic texts, Dagan was new to the scene and does not appear prominently in their texts, though there is a temple to him there. He was adopted by the Felishthiym [Philistines] and was the patron deity of the city of Ashdod.

 

City Name: Beyth Dagon [House of Dagon]

 

Biblical Passages:

Shoftiym [Judges] 16:23, “and the rulers of the felishthiym [philistines] gathered to sacrifice a great sacrifice to dagon their elohiym, and to exult. and they said, our elohey has given our enemy shimshon [samson] into our hand.”

I Shmuel [Samuel] 5:1-12, “and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it from ebenezer to ashdod.  2 and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it to beyth dagon, and set it near dagon.  3 and the ashdodiym rose early on the next day. and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH. and they took dagon and put it back in its place.  4 and they rose early in the morning on the next day; and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH, and the head of dagon, and the two palms of its hands, were cut off at the threshold. only the flat part had been left to him.  5 on account of this the kohaniy of dagon, and all those coming into the beyth  dagon, do not step on the threshold of dagon in ashdod until this day.  6 and the hand of YHWH was heavy on the men of ashdod. and he wasted them, and struck them with hemorrhoids, ashdod and its borders.  7 and the men of ashdod saw that it was so, and said, the ark of the elohey of yisrael will not remain with us, for his hand has been hard on us, and on our elohey dagon.  8 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym to them, and said, what will we do with the ark of the elohey of yisrael? and they said, let the ark of the elohey of yisrael go around to gath. and they brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael.  9 and it happened after they had brought it around, the hand of YHWH was against the city with a very great tumult. and he struck the men of the city, from the least to the greatest; and swellings broke forth in them.  10 and they sent the ark of the elohiym around to eqron. and it happened as the ark of the elohiym came into eqron, the eqroniym cried out, saying, they have brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael to me to cause me and my people to die.  11 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym, and said, send away the ark of the elohey of yisrael, and let it return to its place, and it may not cause me and my people to die. for there had been a tumult of moth throughout all the city. the hand of the elohiym had been very heavy there.  12 and the men who had not died were stricken with swellings. and the cry of the city went up to the heavens.”

Hoshea 7:14, “and they have not cried to me with their heart, when they howled on their beds. they slash themselves for dagan and thiyrosh; they turn against me. ” Thiyrosh in the Ugarit is Tirsu, the god/goddess of wine, possibly related to the Akkadian beer wine goddess Siras. Another similar aspect is that of the Sumerian Dumuzi (please see the Babylonian/Assyrian section for Tammuz, specifically Dumuzi.) After Dumuzi is bound and dragged to the netherworld in the place of his wife Inanna, one account states that his loyal sister, Gestinanna [Gestinanna of the vine] agrees to share her brothers fate, with the two of them alternating six months each in the netherworld. Dumuzi represents the grain, which became beer and his sister, Gestinanna, the wine.

Hoshea 9:1, “yisrael, do not rejoice for joy, like the peoples. for you have whored away from your elohey. you have loved the whores wage on all threshing floors of dagan.

 

 

 

Adad / Hadad / Addu – a storm, weather, tempest god, whose symbols are lightning and thunderbolts. Adad was also a war deity. Hammurabi called him “the mighty bull who gores the enemy.” He is pictured as resting his foot upon a bull, or standing on it entirely, leading the bull on a leash attached to a ring in its nose. In the same hand he holds a thunderbolt and the other he usually holds against his breast. Originally Hadad was an Amorite, then Syrian / Aramean god called Addu/Haddu in the cuneiform text. Later he was known as Rammanu, the Thunderer, vocalized as Rimmon in the Tanak, a god of thunder and storm. Some texts say he is the son of Dagon. Also known as Baal Hadad. Adad / Hadad was also part of the neighboring Hittite pantheon. The second image is that of Hadad from Hittite territory. You can see the thunderbolts in both images.

 

Ug. V. 3.1-4, “Balu [Baal] sits enthroned, his mountain is like a throne; Haddu the Shepherd; like the flood. In the midst of his mountain, divine Sapan, in the midst of the mount of his victory, seven bolts of lightning he hurls, eight store-houses of thunder. A shaft of lightning he wields in his right hand.”

The third image is that of the Hittite Teshub, also associated with Adad.

 

            

 

Syrian / Aramean inscriptions called the Hadad Panammu inscription was found in Zenjirli [also spelled Zincirli], northwest Syria. It is a large statue of Hadad, erected by Panammu at his grave. Panammu Bar Qarli was a king of Yadi. On the statue of Hadad is a 34 line inscription, which does have some damage in places, therefore lacks a complete text at times. The inscription is cataloged as KAI 214. The following are lines 1,2 and 14-18 adapted from the transliteration and translation of George Albert Cooke, A text-book of North Semitic Inscriptions, pgs. 159-162.

 

“I am Panammu Bar Qarli, king of Yadi, who have set up this statue to Hadad in my ? There stood by me the god Hadad and El and Reshef and Rekub-El and Shamash...Hadad gave indeed to...he called me to build and in my? Hadad gave, indeed ? to build, and i built indeed? And set up this statue of Hadad, and the place of Panammu Bar Qarli, king of Yadi, together with a statue...whoever? of my sons will hold the scepter, and sit on my seat and grow strong and sacrifice to this Hadad, and make mention of the name Hadad, or...will say, may the soul of Panammu eat with you and may the soul of Panammu drink with you, will memorialize the soul of Panammu with Hadad...this sacrifice...may he look favorably on him to Hadad and to El and to Rekeb-El and to Shamash.”

 

 

Personal Name: Hadadezer [Hadad is helper]

 

Biblical Passages:

ZekarYahu [Zechariah] 12:11, “in that day the mourning in yerushalaim will be great, like the mourning of hadad rimmon [like the weeping for baal or tammuz], in the valley of megiddon.”

II Melekiym [Kings] 5:18, “may YHWH pardon your servant for this thing, when my master goes to the beyth [house of] rimmon to bow there, and he is supported by my hand, and i bow myself in the beyth rimmon; when i bow myself in the beyth rimmon, may YHWH pardon your servant in this thing.”

 

 

 

 

There is no fixed order in the Ugarit pantheon. As people migrated, so did various deities and their different traditions of the deities jockeyed for position.

 

 

Asherah / Athirat / Athirath / Ashratu -   dxy`   In the Semitic, Ugaritic/Canaanite/Phoenician pantheon she is the mother goddess, the creatress. She is later married to El and one of her other names is that of Elat [female version of El]. Her symbols are the tree of life, sacred trees or poles, at times with serpents twined on them. She is also viewed as standing on a lion occasionally.  At Ugarit her children are called her pride of lions. Asherah, primarily being the mother goddess is portrayed with suckling breasts and is sometimes viewed in the maternal role of wet nurse, suggesting that kings are made quasi-divine by suckling from the Goddess Athirath/Asherah. In Ugarit she is called the creatress of the gods, and was said to have borne 70 sons [gods]. One of her titles is Lady Asherah. Though the Tanak pairs Asherah with Baal, who is blended with characteristics of El, this did not occur in the Ugaritic texts. Some scholars believe that this was the traditional method of usurping a throne, to take the ruler’s wife, as Dawiyd [David] took King Shaul’s wife while he was still alive; and as Dawiyd’s son Abshalom did with the concubines that Dawiyd left behind in Yerushalem, when Dawiyd was forced to flee the city. But the more likely probability is that later editors chose to pair Asherah, whom they detested with an equally detestable rival to their monotheism, Baal. In some late archaeological inscriptions, she has been paired with YHWH. As explained later, Baal is also a title that is paired with El and also with Dagan, so the biblical references could simply be acknowledging

 

Below are a number of archaeological images of Asherah. These are not the only artifacts of course, but are a sampling chosen to reveal the progression of the Asherah images over time. First you see the goddess alone, holding plants/branches, a sign of her fertility and orientation with nature. Next you see her on a throne, again holding branches with caprids being sustained from them. Then you see her being represented by a stylized tree with the caprids eating from the tree. The next image is from a jar, where you see the stylized tree with caprids on both sides. The following image is a blow up of that section of the jar. As you can see, over time, the tree becomes stylized and begins to resemble the menorah. The next image is a copy of the famous ZekarYahu [Zechariah] vision of the two olive trees on each side of the menorah. The menorah became an accepted image of Asherah as the tree of life and was in the Second Temple. The tree of life image is also a symbol in qabbalah, Jewish mysticism. When you view the older versions of the sefiroth, from the medieval writings, shown after the Zechariah image, you can see, not only the tree representation, but the 7 branched menorah, one of which is included. The modern version of the sefiroth, shown lastly,  has been restructured so that it no longer resembles the stylized tree. So you can see Asherah go from the goddess holding tree limbs, to a stylized tree, to a menorah and sefiroth in more modern times. Contrary to what many may think, Asherah worship is alive and well in modern times.

 

     

 

      

 

 

In Eastern Orthodox (Greek and Russian mainly), there is a hymn called the Akathist Hymn. Akathist means “not sitting”. The history behind this hymn, accepted by the church in 626 CE, is that outside the walls of Constantinople, hordes of “barbarians” which comprised mostly of Avars, began to attack the city. The Patriarch Sergius and his clergy, marched around the wall of Constantinople with an icon of Theotokos. Theotokos means god bearer and is one of the many titles of Mary. Shortly after, a great storm with tidal waves destroyed the enemy fleet, with the remaining retreating. At this point, the hymn, which has been added to over time, had the lines of the Invincible Champion added. As a result of the victory, the faithful of the city filled the Church of Theotokos and prayed all night, sang praised to Mary without sitting, hence the name that came to be attributed to this hymn.

 

The earliest portions of this hymn are quite old and bear a pattern of assimilation from the Asherah motifs. The following are portions of the hymn that are applicable to this point. “Rejoice, star that causes the Sun to appear. Rejoice, womb of the Divine Incarnation. Rejoice, You through whom creation is renewed. Rejoice, You through whom we worship the Creator. Rejoice, Seer of God's ineffable will. The power of the Most High then overshadowed the Virgin for conception, and showed Her fruitful womb as a sweet meadow to all who wish to reap salvation, as they sing: Alleluia. Rejoice, branch of an Unfading Sprout. Rejoice, acquisition of Immortal Fruit. Rejoice, laborer that labors for the Lover of mankind. Rejoice, You Who gives birth to the Planter of our life. Rejoice, You Who makes to bloom the garden of delight. Rejoice, You from whom flows milk and honey. Rejoice, tree of shining fruit, whereby the faithful are nourished. Rejoice, tree of goodly shade by which many are sheltered. “

 

Bear in mind that Constantinople is modern Istanbul, Turkey [ancient Hittite], though the larger Constantinople spread further west in what is now Bulgaria. This city had sea access from the northeast Black Sea and the southwest Mediterranean Sea. Trade routes traded more than just physical goods, they also traded deities. This area is considered where Europe meets Asia, right on the edge of the territory that was home to the myths of Asherah, the bearer of many gods. The ancient Hittite name for Asherah was Asherdu, Ashertu or Asirat. While this is Eastern Orthodox, the motifs attributed to Mary are clearly ancient Asherah motifs that have continued and spread, added to over time like many layers of paint and plaster on old home walls.

 

 

Biblical Passages:

I Melekiym [Kings] 18:19, “and now send, gather all yisrael to me, to mount carmel and four hundred and fifty of the prophets of baal, and four hundred of the prophets of the asherah, who eat at the table of jezebel.”

In these two passages the writer has substituted a common suckling association of Asherah for Tsiyon [Zion – Jerusalem].

YeshaYahu 66:11, “that you may suck and be satisfied with her comforting breasts; that you may milk out and delight yourselves with the fullness of her honor.”

YeshaYahu 60:16, “you will also suck the milk of nations, and you will suck the breast of kings. and you will know that i, YHWH, am your savior and your redeemer, the mighty one of yaaqob.”

 

 

Shapash / Sapsu  - yty   Shapash is the Canaanite solar goddess and plays a large part in the Ugarit texts, especially concerning the Rephaiym and the Baal cycle. While biblical place names in Kenaan do not incorporate Shapash into names, the solar deity Shamash / Shemesh does. While this name is associated with the Assyrian and Babylonian pantheon, whose solar deity was male, I found it hard to believe that all the rest of the Canaanite pantheon was very evident in personal and place toponyms [names], as well as in the Tanak, except Shapash.  Then I came across the Balaam inscription, which involves a solar goddess whose first and last letter is shiyn [Sh] – Sh_Sh, but the middle letter, what they believe is an mem [m], is not distinct. In papers on the translation, it is generally rendered as Shemesh, yet the deity is a solar goddess. Then I came across research on the Amorite deities and Shamash/Shemesh is a female solar deity.

 

Shapash, as a sun goddess, spends half her time in the underworld, by virtue of her descending there each night, which is where ancients believed the sun went when it set. The following is part of a Ugaritic text praising Shapash for her role in locating and securing the body of Baal, placing it on the back of Anath, who returned it to the land of the living: O Shapsu, may you judge over the heroes, O Shapsu, may you judge over the gods, the divine ones constitute your regular company, look, the dead ones constitute your regular company.

 

Each night she makes her descent to the underworld and was therefore associated with escorting the dead to their abode. One ritual states that Shapash, the Judge, carries those from above to below and from below to above.

 

For the oracle aspect of Shapash, see Shamash in the Babylonian / Assyrian section.

 

 

Anath / Anat / Anatu –  zpr  Anath is the daughter of El and Asherah, as well as sister to Baal. Some scholars like to present her as a consort to Baal, that she is a goddess of sexuality as well, but there is too much controversy and not enough textual evidence to support that belief. She is represented as a virgin and one of her titles is that of Maiden Anath. She is also the goddess of war and is a huntress, depicted with a helmet, shield, spear and battle ax. In the role of a violent warrior, one of Anath’s titles is Anath the Destroyer. Please see Athene in the Sea Peoples section for the origins of Anath.

 

  Anath with battle axe, shield and spear, from Tanis, Egypt. The inscription states                        
                                  “Anat, Queen of Heaven, Mistress of the Gods.”

 

Anath is a wee bit different from the other deities, in that she does not abide by social norms, and by norms, I mean the patriarchal societies that dominate most cultures. Anath does not live in the house of her father El, nor does she marry and live in the house of her husband. She speaks disrespectfully to El and threatens his life, saying that she will cause his grey hair to run with blood and his grey beard with gore if he does not grant her requests. In both cases, El simply replies, I know you my daughter, that you are like a man.”  Anath does not respect any authority and seems to do as she pleases, when she pleases. The fact that Anath chooses occupations that are generally considered a man’s occupation, seems to be a great problem, especially for the patriarchal, deuteronomistic writers of portions of the Tanak. There are portions of text about her, but her name has either been removed or was intentionally deleted in an effort to remove anything female from the rising monotheism that they were advocates of. The portrayal of women, that did not conform to the subservient confines of the patriarchal religions, were depicted as aberrant women, out of control without a man to dominate them, unruly.

 

One inscription concerning Anat, states that she is the strongest of the astartes. In this case, astarte is not the female deity, but it is the generalized term for goddess, much as the word goddess is used in English. An actual praise to Anath from the Chester Beatty Papyrus VII: “Anath, the Victorious Goddess, the woman who acts like a warrior, who wears a kilt like men and a sash like women.” It is said that she gets into a blood lust and slays her enemies, wading thigh deep in the blood and gore. One of the passages about her, that is now attributed to YHWH is in the book of YirmeYahu [Jer.] 46:10-12,  " for this is the day of adonay YHWH tsebaoth, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge himself of his foes. and the sword will devour, and be sated, and made drunk with their blood, for there is a sacrifice to adonay YHWH tsebaoth in the north country by the river ferath.11 go up into gilead and take balm, virgin daughter of mitsrayim [egypt]. in vain you will use many remedies; healing is not for you.  12 the goyim have heard of your shame, and your cry has filled the land. for the mighty man has stumbled against the mighty; they have fallen together, both of them." 

 

In the older Egyptian religion, the virgin daughter of Mitsrayim [Egypt] was Bastet, the daughter of Ra, portrayed as a lion headed female. She was considered one of his eyes. She was a virgin warrior goddess, much in the same way that Astarte / Anath were. She was said to have attacked men for their turning away from Ra, to the point that she had a blood lust and had to be stopped to not totally wipe out mankind. She was wading thigh high in blood, which ties into the preceding verse in YirmeYahu about the day of YHWH being a day of vengeance on His foes and His sword will devour till it is satisfied, till it has quenched its thirst with blood. But Ramses II, who ruled Egypt from 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE, adopted Anath as his patron deity. There are a number of stele and inscriptions depicting her and stating that she is the maiden daughter of Ra, just as Bastet was in the older religion. At the time that this passage of the Tanak was written, the virgin daughter of Mitsrayim [Egypt] would have been the Canaanite Anath adopted by the Egyptians, the daughter of Ra. This passage is an attack on pagan deities and what they are known for, but due to translators editing, you miss who this is really about.

 

There was a verse in Shemoth [Exodus] 23:19, 34:26 and HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 14:21, that mentioned not cooking a kid in its mother’s milk. No one knew exactly what that was all about, for hundred and hundreds of years, until the Ugaritic library was uncovered. At that time, they found the inscription on Ugaritic Tablet SS, line 14, about a Canaanite custom of cooking a kid in its mother’s milk, a ritual ceremony to draw the blessing of fertility to the earth. Now, it is understood that the warning was about a pagan fertility practice. In like manner, there are two verses which I believe pertain to Anath. The first, HaDebariym 22:5, usually translated in most English texts as something like this, a woman will not wear the garments of a man, nor a man women’s clothing. This passage always concerned me, due to studying archaeology and seeing paintings on walls and such, the clothing between men and women, regardless of culture, looked pretty much the same. And in these modern times, I love wearing jeans. So on a personal level, I did not want to offend YHWH, but this lone passage caused more questions than it answered and no one seemed to have answers for me. Then recently while doing some other work, I looked the verse up in the Hebrew and saw that it was no where near the typical English translations. “there will not be the thing of a geber [warrior/hero] on a woman, nor will a geber [warrior/hero] put on a woman's mantle/cloak. for whoever does these things is an abomination to YHWH your elohey.” This word geber - warrior/hero, has the Hebrew root word of gabar, which means to be strong, overpower. This is not your typical, general word for man, such as iysh, adam, or enosh. Obviously, we need to understand the context, to better understand what this verse is about. A woman is not to have a thing, which does not specify a garment, but any thing of a warrior on her, which can include armor and weaponry. And likewise, a warrior is not to have a mantle, cloak of a woman. That part is not as specific, but can possibly be figured out, based on cultic context. If we understand the first part of women not dressing and acting as a warrior, such as Anath, then looking to the opposite role for men, it might be applied that warriors were not to dress as women, as the male shrine prostitutes were said to have done. Women who battled were a great source of trouble to patriarchal societies, such as the factual Amazon women warriors to the Greeks. I am not stating that YHWH does not want women to fight, wear armor or brandish weapons. I am simply relaying what patriarchal, deuteronomistic authors have written on the subject and then ascribed to YHWH for authority.

 

Another Ugaritic example connected with Anath is that of Pughat. Danel was a man of the Rephaiym in the Epic of Aqhat. He had no son and prayed for one and was eventually granted one, named Aqhat. Aqhat was given a bow by the gods. Anath coveted the bow and demanded it, threatening him if he refused. Aqhat refused and she sent one of her servants, Yaptan, to kill him. Pughat, the sister of Aqhat, decides to avenge his death. To kill Yaptan, “she washed and rouged herself with rouge from seashells whose habitat is a thousand fields in the sea. Beneath, she put on a warriors garment. She placed a knife in its sheath; she placed a sword in its scabbard. On top she put on a woman’s garment.” In this manner she sought to gain audience as a prostitute, then kill him with the weapons of the warrior.

 

Anath and Astarte were one and the same mother goddess at one time. Then they were separate goddesses, which came to be merged at times, even considering Anath an astarte. There is a late Roman cultic practice of the initiates of Astarte involving the men wearing of women’s clothing. During the rituals, when the initiates were in a frenzy, they would castrate themselves with stone or pottery, no metal was allowed. They would then assume the clothing of women and serve Astarte. With this in mind, the command for men not to wear women’s clothing might stem from the same goddess’s worship. In later Ugarit culture, Anath is associated with Athene, both the warrior goddess daughter of the chief male deity in the pantheon. There are bilingual inscriptions from Cyprus (KAI 42) that have Athene in one language and Anat in the other.

 

 

The other two verses that were oddly placed in a chapter of other miscellaneous warnings of pagan practices deals with the side whiskers and beards. Wayiqqra [Leviticus] 19:27 states, “you will not strike off the side of your head, nor destroy the side of your beard.” And 21:5, “they will not make their heads bald, and they will not shave the side of their beard; and they will not make a cutting in their flesh;” The possibility of these passages being applied to cult of the dead practices exists. The second verse was addressed to leaders and mentions other things that would disqualify them from their positions, but does not specifically mention the cult of the dead. The first verse is in a chapter of mishmashed verses of a wide variety of subjects, but does precede a verse about not making any cuttings in your flesh or tattoos, a verse most English translations associate with the dead, but the word for Moth, nor the dead ones, mothiym, does not occur in this verse. These cuttings and tattoos could simply be the tribal or deity marks of association or ownership.

 

Another warrior/male aspect associated with Anath is that of her shaving her side whiskers and her beard with flint, to mourn Baal when she found his dead body and then went to kill Moth to avenge the death of Baal. This is important, not because she may have been a wee bit hairy, like some photos I have seen of women in Eastern Europe, but because of exactly what she is cutting and why.

If Anath was known to cut the side whiskers on the side of her head and shave her beard, as her father El had done when he heard the news of Baal’s death, this may be an indication of the way a man mourned in the cult of the dead.  Another thought might be the warrior aspect that this is the general appearance of soldiers in some cultures. After doing a brief search through images from archaeology on Canaanites, most of which encompass deities and warriors, you see a pattern of the side burns and sides of the beards being shaven. This occurs in some other cultures as well, so it is not strictly Canaanite. My theory is battle. Alexander the Great, when viewing a battle between his Macedonian soldiers and some Persians, noticed the propensity of the soldiers to grab their enemies  hair and beards, pulling the men in closer to stab them. He decided that if there was nothing to grab, his men would have an advantage, so he ordered that his soldiers shave their faces and cut their hair short as a military tactic. So whether Anath did the shavings as a sign of morning, in a fashion that men would do, or whether it was a warrior trait, possibly as a warfare advantage, Anath, a woman, is following a male practice of shaving the sideburns and sides of the beard, or a patriarchal society is making her more male since they could not wipe her out as a female.

 

Another archaeological find is that of some arrowheads dated to the 11th century BCE. These arrowheads belonged to the warrior class Ben-Anat – son of Anath. One is inscribed with the personal name meaning servant of the lioness, the lioness associated with Anath. Another is inscribed `bdlb’t ben anath, a personal name meaning servant of lioness  + son of Anath. Four arrowheads have the inscription of another personal name beginning with a Chet, Shiyn before servant of the lioness.

 

Please see the Phoenician / Philistine – Sea Peoples section below on Athene / Athena for further information on the Anath connection.

 

Personal Name: Shamgar ben Anath [ben = son of] – a warrior, Shoftiym [Judges] 3:31

 

City: Beyth [house of] Anath, Anathoth

 

Biblical Passages: no direct verses as mentioned above.

 

 

El / Il / Ilu –   l`  In the Semitic, Ugaritic/Canaanite pantheon, as well as the Phoenician pantheon. El is the creator of the earth, who is supreme, Father of the Gods, the Ab Adam – Father of Mankind. He is referred to as the Father of Years, with a grey beard, as the ancient of days and another of his titles is Elyon. In the patriarchal accounts he is married to Asherah/Athirath and begats many gods and goddesses. The symbol for El is that of a bull. He reigned over the assembly of the elohiym [gods] at Mount Hursanu [place of judgment], in the Amanus Range, also written Gavur. CTA 4.IV.20-24, “Then they set face to El at the source of the two rivers, to the midst of the streams of the double deep. They opened the domed tent of El and entered the tabernacle of King, Father of Years.” He is also depicted as a male god, seated on a throne, generally with a palm extended forward. El lived in a tent, not a palace or temple. The tent of El, on his mountain was where the assembly of the gods met. This tent did not have one room, but a number of chamber, as revealed by CTA 3.V.33-35, “El answered from the seventh chamber, from the eighth enclosure.” This is similar to the way the Mishkan was set up with the various courts, with the innermost court being the Holy of Holies.

 

Ugaritic text CTA 10.III.6-7 states, “For our creator is eternal, for ageless is he who formed us.”

CTA 1.III.21-22 states that El, the king, the father of years, which is similar to the phrase used in the book of Daniel of Ancient of Days.

CTA 1.III.21-22 refers to El as the Kindly One, El the Compassionate.

CTA 4.V.65-66,  “You are great, El, yes you are wise; your grey beard instructs you.”

 

 

 

 

Personal Name: Abiyel [my father is El], Daniyel [my judge is El]

City: Beyth El [house of El]

 

Biblical Passages:

Bereshiyth [Genesis] 14:19, 22 “he blessed him and said, blessed be abram of el elyon, creator of heaven and earth;”

Bereshiyth 21:33, “abraham planted an eshel [type of tree] at beer sheba, and there he called on the name YHWH, el olam [eternal el].”

Shemoth [Exodus] 34:6, “then YHWH passed by in front of him and proclaimed, "YHWH, YHWH, el, compassionate and favorable, slow to anger, and abounding in kindness and truth;”

Thehillah [Psalm] 82, “a mizmor of asaf. elohiym [gods] stand in the assembly of el; he judges in the midst of the elohiym [gods] .  2 until when will you judge unjustly, and lift up the faces of the wicked? selah.  3 judge the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy.  4 deliver the poor and needy; save out of the hand of the wicked.  5 they neither know nor will understand; they walk in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.  6 i have said, you are elohiym, and all of you are sons of elyon.  7 but you will die as men, and fall like one of the rulers.  8 rise, elohiym, judge the earth; for you will inherit in all the goyim.” This ties in with a Ugaritic passage about King Kirta, who is ailing and his son, Yassib, gives the following as to the reason why, “You do not judge the case of the widow, nor do you judge the case of the wretched. You do not drive out the oppressor of the poor. You do not feed the orphan before you, nor the widow behind you.” These were all principles of what El judged. This principle is not a new one.

Thehillah 68:5,6, “in his set apart dwelling elohiym is a father of the fatherless, and a judge of the widows.  6 elohiym causes the lonely to live at home; he brings out those who are bound with chains, while the rebellious dwell in a dry land.”

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 10:10-13, “but YHWH is the true elohiym, he is the living elohiym and the eternal king. at his wrath the earth will tremble, and the goyim will not be able to stand his indignation.  11 so you will say to them, the elohay who have not made the heavens and the earth, they will perish from the earth and from under these heavens.  12 it is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and who stretched out the heavens by his understanding.  13 when he utters his voice, there is a noise of waters in the heavens. he causes the vapors to go up from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind out of his storehouses.”

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 14:13, “for you have said in your heart, i will go up to the heavens; i will raise my throne above the stars of el, and i will sit in the mountain of assembly, in the sides of tsafon.”

Hoshea 12:1, “efrayim [ephraim] circles around me with lies, and the beyth yisrael [house of israel] with deceit; but yahudah [judah] still roams with el and is faithful to the qedoshiym [holy ones, often translated as cult prostitutes].”

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 28:2, “son of man, say to the ruler of tsur [tyre], so says the adonay YHWH, because your heart is lifted up, and you have said, el i am , i sit in the seat of elohiym, in the heart of the seas; yet you are a man, and not el, though you give your heart as the heart of elohiym.”

 

 

Dagon / Dagan / Daganupbc pebc  An Amorite / Canaanite / Ugaritic / Phoenician / Felishthiym / Syrian / Mesopotamian god of fertility. Some scholars believe that Dagan is another name for El. IN Ugarit there was a temple to Baal and one to Dagan, but not one to El, that has been found. The belief that his name means fish because of the Felishthiym [Philistine] association with the sea is a stretch (I would say bullshit). The fact that the Semitic word for grain is dagan is much more likely. Some scholars question which came first. Did grain come to be called by the deity that he was over or the other way around? Another possible confirmation of that name meaning grain/corn is from an account handed down over many years by several authors. The supposed original author is Sanchuniathon – a Phoenician, who then is translated by Philo of Bylos, who then is copied by Eusebius. The following are the two quotes involving Dagon and grain. “...Dagon, which signifies Siton (grain/corn in Greek)...” and,  “And Dagon, after he had found out bread-corn, and the plough, was called Zeus Arotrius.” The idea that his name is associated with fish has no basis in any Semitic language. It is a rabbinic tradition that Dagon means fish.

 

In the book, Time at Emar by, Daniel Fleming, the ritual texts dealing with the Zukru Festival have a number of names that bear witness to the fertility aspect of Dagan: Dagan, Lord of the Seed, Dagan, Lord of the Offspring, Dagan Lord of the Firstborn, Dagan, and Lord of Creation. Fleming writes in note 178, pg 90, that the Aleppo citadel stone has an inscription stating Dagan as the Father of Gods. He also sites in the same note that a Mari text A. 1258+ :9 calls Dagan, “the great mountain, father of the gods.” On pg. 91 he states, “Even under the zukru festival’s royal sponsorship, Dagan is not celebrated as the king of the gods but as their parent.” This father of the gods aspect ties in with the fact that the Emar zukru text mention the gods as amounting to 70, just as the number of the offspring of El and Asherah at Ugarit.

 

“The pantheon of 70 gods appears to be a Syrian convention, attested also in the Ugaritic Baal myth as the 70 children of Athirat (KTU 1.4 VI:46).” Time at Emar, pg. 57, note 29. The 70 gods of Emar (pg. 59) not only ties in with the Amorite / Canaanite Ugaritic myth of children born to the Canaanite goddess Athirat / Asherah and El, but also connects with the biblical account in HaDebariym [Deuteronomy]. Chapter 32:8, “when the most high divided to the nations their inheritance; when he separated the sons of adam, he set up the bounds of the peoples, according to the number of the sons of yisrael.” In the Hebrew Masoretic text, it states that the Most High divided the nations into their inheritance and that He set their number according to the beney Yisrael [sons of Yisrael] which is attributed to be 70, according to Shemoth [Exodus] 1:5. Remember, that Yaaqob and Yisrael are the same person.  The Aramaic and Qumran texts of HaDebariym 32:8 have beney elohiym – sons of the elohiym. The Greek Septuagint also uses sons of God in that verse.  So here we see the Amorite 70 gods of the Emar pantheon, the Ugaritic 70 gods born to Asherah / Athirat and El and the 70 sons of Yisrael / Yaaqob, also reckoned as gods in three other language texts of the same passage. This is not a coincidence. To make matters worse, the traditions of Judaism have continued this theme with the 70 elders of Yisrael in Shemoth [Exodus] 24:1.

 

“Although the monumental script on the basalt may tend toward archaized forms, the stone should be from at least the early second millennium, Nergal, Sin, Isharat, and Samas follow Dagan a-bi dingir, (‘the father of the gods’) in a list of curses. Whatever preceded the curses is entirely lost, and what follows is too broken to read. Mari text A. 1258=:9 calls Dagan ‘the great mountain, father of the great gods’ (a-a dingir-gal-gal-e-ne-, a-bi dingir ra-bu-tim]).” Time at Emar, pg. 90, note 178.  “Even under the zukru festival’s royal sponsorship, Dagan is not celebrated as the king of the gods, but as their parent.” Pg. 91. In line 98, pg. 243, of the zukru festival text, Dagan is also called the Lord of Creation.

 

The name Dagan is frequently a theophoric element in Amorite names from numerous kingdoms. On Hammurabi’s Code, Hammurabi writes that he is a warrior of Dagan. Dagan first appears in 2500 BCE at Mari, in 2300 BCE at Ebla and 1300 BCE at Ugarit. Hammurapi [the Amorite spelling, Hammurabi is the Akkadian], an Amorite, gives credit for the subjugation of the settlements along the Euphrates River to Dagan, his creator. A number of personal names with Dagan as the theophoric element appear in the texts from Mari, an Amorite center. There were major temples to Dagan at four major Amorite cities: Mari, Ebla, Emar and Ugarit. Dagan was the chief god of the Ebla pantheon, also having one of the four gates named for him. He was also the chief deity of Emar where a major festival, similar to Pesach was performed. The worship of Dagan spread from the east westward, to Syria and through Canaan. At the time of the Ugaritic texts, Dagan was new to the scene, so it is believed, and does not appear prominently in their texts. He was adopted by the Felishthiym [Philistines] and was the patron deity of the city of Ashdod, according to the Tanak.

 

Another biblical passage that bears mention is that of YeshaYahu 46:1, “bel has bowed; nebo stoops; their idols [images, forms] are for the living being, and for the cattle; your things carried are loads; a burden for the weary.” Bel became basically a title of other deities, like god came to be. Baal was also reckoned the same way. The reason I bring this passage up is that in the Septuagint translation of this passage, it has Dagon instead of Nebo. So in that translation it is Baal and Dagon. Now the Hebrew preposition  l  cane be translated as “for”, “belonging to”, but it is also “of”. If we translate this passage with the Septuagint Dagon and “of”, it looks like this, “baal has bowed; dagon stoops; their images are of the living being, and of the cattle; your things carried are loads; a burden for the weary.”  This is important in a number of ways. First in the second Tanak passage below, I Shmuel, you see an account of the image of Dagon falling to the ground before the ark of covenant, representing YHWH. This account could be likened to “stooping”. There is no account of Nebo doing such. Next, Baal is represented as a bull calf, the son of El, the bull. That is cattle, behemah, which is listed in the YeshaYahu verse. Nebo is never likened to any form of cattle. Dagan and El are likened to be the same deity at times and both are reckoned to be the father of Baal. El is likened as a bull – cattle. One aspect of ancient Hebrew linguistic style is to say the same thing twice, but in two different ways.  “Sayce mentions a cylindrical seal of the seventh century B.C., now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, with the words ‘Baal Dagon’ in Phoenician characters;” – History of the City of Gaza, Martin Meyer, Columbia University Press, New York, 1907, pg. 117.  This seal could be an indicator of the later Sea People assimilation of Dagan and the Tanak passage Phoenician/Philistine influence. If we apply this poetic double principle to the verse, the verse is about Dagan only, referring to him as a title Baal and to his name Dagan, stooping and bowing, an image of a living being and cattle, a load and a burden – 4 poetic doubles. So it seems more probable that this Septuagint version of Dagon is more correct, than Nebo.

 

Please see the study in the Observe section for further information on Dagan.

 

 

City: Beyth Dagon [House of Dagon]

 

Biblical Passages:

Shoftiym [Judges] 16:23, “and the rulers of the felishthiym [philistines] gathered to sacrifice a great sacrifice to dagon their elohiym, and to exult. and they said, our elohey has given our enemy shimshon [samson] into our hand.”

I Shmuel [Samuel] 5:1-12, “and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it from ebenezer to ashdod.  2 and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it to beyth dagon, and set it near dagon.  3 and the ashdodiym rose early on the next day. and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH. and they took dagon and put it back in its place.  4 and they rose early in the morning on the next day; and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH, and the head of dagon, and the two palms of its hands, were cut off at the threshold. only the flat part had been left to him.  5 on account of this the kohaniy of dagon, and all those coming into the beyth  dagon, do not step on the threshold of dagon in ashdod until this day.  6 and the hand of YHWH was heavy on the men of ashdod. and he wasted them, and struck them with hemorrhoids, ashdod and its borders.  7 and the men of ashdod saw that it was so, and said, the ark of the elohey of yisrael will not remain with us, for his hand has been hard on us, and on our elohey dagon.  8 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym to them, and said, what will we do with the ark of the elohey of yisrael? and they said, let the ark of the elohey of yisrael go around to gath. and they brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael.  9 and it happened after they had brought it around, the hand of YHWH was against the city with a very great tumult. and he struck the men of the city, from the least to the greatest; and swellings broke forth in them.  10 and they sent the ark of the elohiym around to eqron. and it happened as the ark of the elohiym came into eqron, the eqroniym cried out, saying, they have brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael to me to cause me and my people to die.  11 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym, and said, send away the ark of the elohey of yisrael, and let it return to its place, and it may not cause me and my people to die. for there had been a tumult of moth throughout all the city. the hand of the elohiym had been very heavy there.  12 and the men who had not died were stricken with swellings. and the cry of the city went up to the heavens.”

Hoshea 7:14, “and they have not cried to me with their heart, when they howled on their beds. they slash themselves for dagan and thiyrosh; they turn against me. ” Thiyrosh in the Ugarit is Tirsu, the god/goddess of wine, possibly related to the Akkadian beer wine goddess Siras. Another similar aspect is that of the Sumerian Dumuzi (please see the Babylonian/Assyrian section for Tammuz, specifically Dumuzi.) After Dumuzi is bound and dragged to the netherworld in the place of his wife Inanna, one account states that his loyal sister, Gestinanna [Gestinanna of the vine] agrees to share her brothers fate, with the two of them alternating six months each in the netherworld. Dumuzi represents the grain, which became beer and his sister, Gestinanna, the wine.

Hoshea 9:1, “yisrael, do not rejoice for joy, like the peoples. for you have whored away from your elohey. you have loved the whores wage on all threshing floors of dagan.

 

 

Baal  / Balu –  lra  In the Semitic languages Baal means master or lord. While Baal was one of the sons of El, baal can be combined with a number of other deity names and came to be used as a general term for deity, much as el and god have. Baal Had or also named Baal Hadad / Adad, he was represented as the storm god and depicted holding lightning bolts. He is also represented as a bull calf. As the storm god, he was also the god of vegetation, since his storms bring water to the vegetation. One aspect of the vegetation is the dying/rising, which is characteristic of Baal, the Canaanite counterpart to the Mesopotamian Dumuzi/Tammuz, who also was over vegetation and died, rising annually. When he was found dead, as mentioned in the Cult of the Dead section, El, his father and Anath, his sister/consort, both gash themselves in mourning. An interesting passage in I Melekiym [Kings] 18:28 associates this gashing with the worship of Baal, “and they called with a loud voice, and cut themselves, according to their way, with swords and with spears until blood gushed out on them.”

 

Baal is called the “Rider on the Clouds”. The aspect of warrior is very much associated with Baal.  He is represented as a bull at times. Some passages mention Baal having played a lyre, in connection with him as Haddu, the shepherd [remember the shepherd David who played the lyre?].  In some texts he is listed as the son of Dagon. Also, in some texts, Asherah becomes the wife/consort of Baal. Baal ruled from Mount Sapan [ Tsafon / Zaphon (Heb.), Hazzi (Hittite), Baalisapuna (Akkadian)] where he had his palace built after his defeat of Yam for kingship. The following images show the weapon in the upraised arm and the vegetation in the lower arm. In the copper statue with the gold overlay, the weapon and plant are no longer there.

 

 

 

Baal contended with his brothers Yam [sea – twisting sea serpent] and Moth [death – dragon (sometimes with 7 heads)]. These battles were for the right to become the MELEK – King. With the concept of a national patron deity, you have a national warrior to defend you/protect you. With the help of his sister/consort Anat, Baal defeated Yam and Moth and became melek – king.

 

Ug. V. 3.1-4, “Baal sits enthroned, his mountain is like a throne; Haddu the Shepherd; like the flood. In the midst of his mountain, divine Sapan, in the midst of the mount of his victory, seven bolts of lightning he hurls, eight store-houses of thunder. A shaft of lightning he wields in his right hand.”

 

KTU 1.3 iii , “In the midst of my divine mountain, Sapan, in the holy place, on the mountain of my possession, in the pleasant place, on the height of my victory.”

 

CTA 19.I.42-46, “Seven years Baal failed, eight the Rider of the Clouds. No dew, nor shower, no surging of the deep, no goodness of voice of Baal.”

 

Personal Name: Yerubaal [foundation of Baal], Eshbaal [man of baal], Abiybaal [my father is baal]

City: Baal Gad, Beyth Baal Meon [house of Baal’s habitation], Baal Chamman [ Baal’s sun pillar – ChMN occurs frequently in Phoenician with ElChamman, BaalChamman and EbedChamman], Baal Feor/Peor [Feor/Peor - to open wide the mouth, gape], Qiryath Baal [city of Baal]

 

Biblical Passages:

Thehillah [Psalm] 18:9-14, “he bowed the heavens also and came down, and darkness was under his feet;  10 and he rode on a kerub [cherub], and he flew; and he soared on the wings of the wind.  11 he made darkness his covering, his pavilion all around him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.  12 out of the brightness before him, his dark clouds passed through, hailstones and coals of fire.  13 YHWH also thundered in the heavens; and elyon gave forth his voice, hailstones and coals of fire.  14 and he sent out his arrows and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings and confounded them.”

Thehillah 68:34, “to him who rides on the heavens of heavens of old; look, he gives forth his voice, a mighty voice.”

Thehillah 48:2, “beautiful on high, the joy of all the earth, mountain tsiyon, yarkethey   tsafon (zaphon), the city of the great king.”  Yarkethey is sometimes translated “on the sides of”, which is not correct. Others translate it as summit, peak. Kleins translates it as hinder part, hinder side, innermost parts, recesses, remote parts. Yet there is no article or preposition attached to it. It is as though another word, dealing with the association of Mount Tsiyon to Mount Zaphon is missing from the text, causing a string of phrases without connectors.

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 14:13,14, “for you have said in your heart, i will go up to the heavens; i will raise my throne above the stars of el, and i will sit in the mountain of assembly [moed], yarkethey of tsafon [zaphon].  14 i will rise over the heights of the clouds; i will be compared to the most high.” Here you can see that the same word, yarkethey is used of Tsafon / Zaphon, which is identified as being the mountain of assembly. You can easily see that the later Jewish editors were either confusing the accounts of El and Baal, or did not know the difference between them for the mount of assembly was the mount of EL, which was Amanus [Hursanu], not the Mount of Baal, Sapan. The assembly of gods always met with El on his mountain, in his tent, according to Ugaritic accounts. At any rate, the YeshaYahu verse sheds some light on the Thehillah 48 verse, which should be viewed as Tsafon, not translated as north, which is derived from the root tsafan which means the hidden or dark region, to hide, conceal, treasured.

 

 

Moth / Mot / Motuzen / zn In the Ugaritic/Canaanite pantheon, Moth/Mot is the god of death and the underworld, which is what the Semitic languages use for the word death. He was one of the sons of El. Symbols associated with Mot are the dragon, including one with seven heads. In Canaanite accounts, Moth battles Baal, being one of the main enemies to the warrior god Baal, with Moth swallowing Baal. Anath, sister and consort of Ball, goes looking for him and slays Moth with a sythe, forcing him to regurgitate Baal, who comes back to life. Moth is also stated to climb through windows to kill, hence Baal would not have any windows in his palace to thwart his enemy Moth. The appetite of Moth was said to be insatiable, with an enlarged appetite and an open mouth, voraciously consuming gods and men, which are often likened to sheep. He is also represented as the summer heat and drought of summer, being called the heat of Moth. Moth is no longer a deity in the monotheism of Yahweh, he is now represented as a demon, evil spirit or angel of death.

 

CTA 5.I.1-5, “When you [Baal] smote Lotana [Yam - this is the same as Lewiyathan / Leviathan - LOThAN, if you associate the “o” pronunciation to the waw that the Hebrew Masoretic scribes used as a consonant.], the primeval serpent. Destroyed the crooked serpent, Silyath with seven heads [Mot]. The heavens wilted, they drooped like the hoops of your garment.”

 

Personal Name: Azmoth [strength of Moth], Meshelmoth [reign of Moth], Mermoth [bitterness of Moth]

City: Chatsermoth [village of Moth], Beyth Azmoth [house of strength of Moth]

 

Biblical Passages:

Iyob [Job] 18:13, “it devours parts of his skin; the firstborn [disease] of moth eats his parts.”

Thehillah [Psalm] 49:14, “like sheep, they are appointed to sheol. moth will reign for them. and upright ones will rule over them in the morning; and their form is for rotting; sheol is home for him.”

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 9:20, “for moth has come into our windows, entering into our fortresses, to cut off the children from the street, the young men from the plazas.”

Hoshea 13:14, “from the hand of sheol i will ransom them; from moth i will redeem them. where are your plagues [deber], moth? where is your ruin [qeteb] sheol? repentance is hidden from my eyes.”

Chabaqquq [Habakkuk] 2:5, “and also, wine indeed betrays a proud man, and he dwells not content; who widens his being like sheol. and he is like moth, and is not satisfied, but gathers all the goyim [gentiles] to himself, and collects all the peoples to himself.

 

This passage does not name Moth directly, it may have originally, but does the kingdom he rules – Sheol.

YeshaYahu 5:14, “so sheol has enlarged its appetite, and opened its mouth without measure, and her honor and her multitude, and her uproar, he who exults in her, will come down in it.”

YeshaYahu 25:6-8, “and YHWH tsebaoth will make a feast of fat things for all the peoples in this mountain; a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, refined wine on the lees.  7 and he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering which covers all people, and the veil that is woven over all nations.  8 he will swallow up moth in victory. and adonay YHWH will wipe away tears from all faces. and he will reprove the reproach of his people from all the earth; for YHWH has spoken.” This verse obviously attacks the characteristics of Moth, saying that YHWH will do to Moth what he is known for doing.

YeshaYahu 28:14,15, “so hear the word of YHWH, scornful men, rulers of this people in yerushalaim.  15 because you have said, we have cut a covenant with moth [mot-death]; and, we have made a vision with sheol, when the overwhelming rod passes through it will not come to us for we have made the lie our refuge, and we have hidden in falsehood.”

 

A New Testament application is in the book of Revelations. Chapter 12 with the enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads that seeks to devour.

 

Another aspect of Moth and frequently paired with Reshef [see below] are two names Deber [pestilence, plague] and Qeteb [ruin, destruction – Post Biblical Hebrew name of a demon of destruction.]. These two are paired a number of times. Some scholars believe that Deber and Qeteb [Qetsib in Ugaritic] are kinsman of Moth, based on some Ugaritic texts. If nothing else, they are at least servants. An example of the pairing is the Hoshea verse above and Thehillah [Psalm] 91, “he who dwells in the secret place of elyon will abide in the shade of shadday.  2 i will say to YHWH, my refuge and my fortress, my el; i will trust in him.  3 for he delivers you from the snare of the fowler, from the plague [deber] of destruction.  4 with his feathers he will cover you, and under his wings you will seek refuge; his truth is a shield and buckler.  5 you will not fear the terror of night, nor of the arrow that flies by day [possibly a reference to reshef, master of the arrows and god of war, plague and pestilence, and gatekeeper of the underworld that moth rules– see below];  6 of the plague [deber] that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction [qeteb] laying waste at noonday.  7 a thousand will fall by your side, and a myriad at your right hand; it will not come near you.  8 only with your eyes you will look, and see the retribution of the wicked.  9 because you, YHWH, are my refuge; you make elyon your habitation,  10 no evil will happen to you, nor will any plague come near your tent.  11 for he will give his malakiy charge over you, to observe you in all your ways.  12 they will bear you up in their hands, that you not dash your foot on a stone.  13 you will tread on the lion and adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample under foot [asherah is depicted as standing on lions and holding serpents, which are her symbols. asherah’s children [the gods] are said to be her pride of lions.].  14 because he has set his love on me, therefore i will deliver him; i will set him on high because he has known my name.  15 he will call on me and i will answer him; i will be with him in distress; i will rescue him and honor him.  16 i will satisfy him with length of days, and will make him see my salvation.”

 

 

Reshef / Resheph / Resep / Rashpu –  tyx  is the god of war, plague and burning [related to fever], pestilence and is generally invoked to end a crisis. In some inscriptions he is referred to as the deer or gazelle god, the sacred animal representing him, whose horns he wears on his helmet.  He is also called Reshef of the Garden and Reshef of the Arrow, known to shoot arrows of disease. For further information on Deber and Qeteb, please see Moth, above.

 

Reshef is the gatekeeper of the underworld. “The mythical terminology masks the concurrence of two astronomical phenomena: an occultation of the sun, eclipse or sunset, and its conjunction with the planet Mars, described by the metaphor of a ‘gatekeeper’ attributed to Rapsu (Mars).” – Canaanite Religion According to Liturgical Texts of the Ugarit, Gregorio Del Olmo Lete, pg. 351.

 

Personal Name: Reshef [I Dibrey HaYamiym (Chronicles) 7:25]

 

Biblical Passages:

Chabaqquq [Habakkuk] 3:5, “deber goes before him, and reshef went forth at his feet.”

Thehillah [Psalm] 76:2,3, “and his abode is in shalem; and his dwelling place in tsiyon.  3 there he broke fiery arrows [reshef] of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. selah.”

Iyob [Job] 5:7, “for man is born to trouble, and the sons of reshef rise, flying upward.”

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 32:22-25, “for a fire has been kindled in my anger, and it burns to the lowest sheol, and consumes the earth and its produce; and sets on fire the foundations of the mountains.  23 i will heap evils on them; i will use up my arrows on them.  24 sucked dry by hunger [possibly moth], and devoured by reshef, and bitter qeteb [see the hoshea 13:14 reference under moth], and the teeth of beasts, with the venom of crawling things of the dust.    25 the sword will bereave from without, and terror from within, both the young man and the virgin, the suckling with the man of gray hairs.”

 

 

Yam –  ni  In the Ugaritic/Canaanite pantheon, Yam, also called Yam-Nahar, is a son of El, which also means sea or ocean and is the god of such. Nahar is the word for river. He is identified as a sea serpent. Baal contended with his brothers Yam [sea – twisting sea serpent] and Mot [death – dragon (sometimes with 7 heads)]. These battles were for the right to become the MELEK – King. With the concept of a national patron deity, you have a national warrior to defend you/protect you.

 

In the Hebrew LWYThN [liwyathan – Leviathan] is defined as serpent, dragon. The root is lawah – to wind, twist, surround, encircle. Thaniyn means sea monster, serpent from the root Thnn, which means serpent in both Hebrew and Ugaritic. In the Ugaritic LThN - lawtan / lotan is another name for Yam. So liwyathan is a contracted name for twisting serpent.

 

CTA 5.I.1-5, “When you [Baal] smote Lotana [Yam - this is the same as Lewiyathan / Leviathan - LOThAN, if you associate the “o” pronunciation to the waw that the Hebrew Masoretic scribes used as a consonant.], the primeval serpent. Destroyed the crooked serpent, Silyath with seven heads [Mot]. The heavens wilted, they drooped like the hoops of your garment.”

 

 

Biblical Passages:

Thehillah [Psalm] 93, “YHWH reigns. he is clothed with majesty; YHWH is clothed with strength; he girded himself; and the world is established; it will not be shaken.  2 your throne is established from then; you are from eternity.  3 the floods have lifted up; YHWH, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods have lifted their roaring waves.  4 YHWH on high is mightier than the voices of many waters, than the mighty waves of yam.  5 your testimonies are very sure; set apartness becomes your beyth to length of days, YHWH.”

Nachum 1:2-4, “el is zealous, and YHWH is avenging, YHWH is avenging and is a possessor of wrath. YHWH takes vengeance against his foes, and he keeps wrath against his enemies.  3 YHWH takes long to anger, and is great of power, and he does not by any means acquit the guilty. YHWH has his way in the tempest and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet.  4 he rebukes yam and makes it dry, and dries up the rivers. bashan and karmel wither, and the flower of lebanon withers.”

YeshaYahu [Isaiah 27:1, “in that day YHWH will visit with his great and fierce and strong sword, the liwyathan, the fleeing serpent; even on the liwyathan, the twisting serpent; and he will slay the monster that is in the sea [yam].  ”

Thehillah [Psalm] 74:14, “you cracked open the heads of liwyathan [lothan/lotan in ugarit]; you gave him to be food for the people of the wilderness.  15 you divided the fountain and the torrent; you dried up mighty rivers.”

Chabaqquq [Habakkuk] 3:8,15, “did YHWH burn against rivers? or was your anger against the rivers? or your fury against yam? for you ride on horses; your chariots of salvation.”  “you trod on yam with your horses, the surging of many waters.”

 

The New Testament application is in the book of Revelation chapter 13 with the beast coming out of the sea serpent, merged with the dragon motif, a blending of the accounts of Mot and Yam, the dragon and the sea serpent.

 

 

Yarich / Yarech / Yarikhgxi  The Amorite/Ugaritic/Canaanite moon god. He is represented by a crescent moon, sometimes referred to as horns. This aspect of the first light of the new moon is called chodesh in the Hebrew Tanak. In the Tanak, the moon is mentioned as being the lesser light in the book of Bereshiyth [Genesis], while the sun is the greater light. In Mesopotamian culture, Sin, the moon god was the greater, with Shamash, the lesser. In the Ugaritic texts, Yarikh has a lesser role to that of Shapash / Shapsu, the sun goddess.

 

Personal Name: Yerach [Jerah],

City Name: Yericho [Jericho]

 

Biblical Passages:

II Melekiym [Kings] 23:5, “and he caused to cease the idolatrous kohaniym [priests] whom the kings of yahudah had given place to burn incense in the high places in the cities of yahudah, and in the places around yerushalaim, and those burning incense to baal, to shemesh, and to yarech, and to constellations, and to all the host of the heavens.

Thehillah [Psalm] 148:1-3, “praise YHWH. praise YHWH from the heavens; praise him in the heights.  2 praise him, all his malakay [messengers]; praise him, all his armies [tsabaoth].  3 praise him shemesh [sun] and yarech [moon]; praise him, all you kokabiy [stars] of light.” Please see Astral Cult section for further information.

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 8:1,2, ”at that time, declares YHWH, they will bring out the bones of the kings of yahudah, and the bones of its rulers, and the bones of the kohaniym [priests], and the bones of the nebiyiym [prophets], and the bones of those living in yerushalaim, out of their graves.  2 and they will spread them before shemesh and yarech and all the armies of the heavens whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshiped. they will not be gathered or buried; they will be dung on the face of the ground.”

Chabaqquq [Habakkuk] 3:11, “shemesh and yarech stood still in their dwelling. at the light of your arrows they go, at the shining of your gleaming spear.”

 

 

Shachar / Shaharu –  xgy The Gracious and Beautiful Gods in the Canaanite pantheon, twin sons of El. Shachar is the god of the dawn, equated with the morning star, twin brother Shalim, god of the sunset. Shachar’s son is Helel, the bright morning star. Another example of later editors blending Canaanite accounts with the Tanak is in the passage below. In the Ugaritic account, when Mot kills Baal, they try to find someone to reign as king. One of the sons of Asherah is chosen, but he is not capable of sitting on the throne of Baal, which was in his palace on Mount Tsafon, and has to come down, his feet cannot even reach the ground. There is a possibility that another account, which has not survived, has Shachar as the son chosen to replace Baal.

 

City: Tsareth HaShachar [splendor of the Dawn]

 

Biblical Passages:

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 14:12-15,  "oh heylel [shining star], son of shachar [morning, dawn], how you have fallen from the heavens. you weakening the goyim, you are cut down to the ground.  13 for you have said in your heart, i will go up to the heavens; i will raise my throne above the stars of el, and i will sit in the mountain of meeting, in the sides of tsafon.  14 i will rise over the heights of the clouds; i will be compared to the most high [elyon].  15 yet you will go down to sheol, to the sides of the pit." 

 

 

Shalim / Shalem / Shalimu –  nly The Gracious and Beautiful Gods in the Canaanite pantheon, twin sons of El. Shalim means dusk, peace, completion and is the god of the sunset, equated with the evening star and twin brother of Shachar the god of the dawn. An altar was built by Gideon and named YHWH Shalim, which editors have tried to explain as fearing not, being the peace of YHWH.

 

Melkitsedeq was listed as king of Shalim/Shalem, Bereshiyth [Genesis] 14:18-20, “and malkiy-tsedeq, king of shalem brought out bread and wine; now he was a kohen [priest] of el elyon.  19 he blessed him [abram] and said, blessed be abram of el elyon, possessor of heaven and earth;  20 and blessed be el elyon, who has delivered your enemies into your hand.  he gave him a tenth of all.”

 

Thehillah [Psalm] 76:1,2, “...elohiym is known in yahudah; his name is great in yisrael.  2 and his abode is in shalem; and his dwelling place in tsiyon.”

 

Personal Name: David named two of his sons with the Shalim root, whose capitol city was also Urushalim. Shalemah [ShLMH - Shlomoh/Solomon] and Abshalim [father of Shalim, though scribes have inserted a waw to make it shalom], Shalem [ShLM - Shillem], Shalemon [ShLM], Shalemnetser [ShLMNTsR – Shalem’s overseer], ShalemYahu [ShLMYHW].

City: Shalem [Melkitsedeq was king of Shalem/Salem], Urushalim [Urusalimmu, Jerusalem] Amurru is appeased, at peace or completed. All the more understandable when you realize that in Yahusha [Joshua] 10:5, Adonitsedeq [Adoni-Zedek] is listed as one of the five Amorite kings and he is king of Urushalim [Jerushalem].

 

 

Gad –  cb  Canaanite god of fortune, similar to Syrian Baal Gad, master of luck. Gad is represented as a lion.

 

While some translators claim that gad can just mean fortune, the Tanak never uses it as a general word, but always as a proper name. In Bereshiyth [Genesis] 30, we see the births and names of the sons of Yaaqob [Jacob]. Verse 9 states that Leah had stopped having children, gave her maidservant Zilpah to Yaaqob and she conceived and bore a son. The Tanak editors explain the child’s name as Leah saying, ”what good fortune,” trying to avoid any connection with another deity’s name, but the fact of the matter is that gad is never used as a general word. Bear in mind that Zilpah’s other son’s name is Asher. If you remove the scribal vowel pointing that makes it an “e” pronunciation, you have the same name as another deity – Ashur. Is that also a coincidence?

 

Personal Name: Gad, Gadiyel [Gad is my El],

City: Baal Gad [master of fortune], Diybon Gad [which was built by Gad – Fortune], Migdol Gad [tower of Gad], Eyn Gadiy [eye of Gad - En Gedi]

 

Biblical Passages:

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 65:11, “but you are those who forsake YHWH, who forget my holy mountain; who array a table for gad, and who fill mixed wine for meni. ”

 

 

 

This section of people is a little more difficult to define than most of the others, so bear with me.

Below is a map of the territories that we are dealing with, from around 1200 BCE. To the left you will see the originating (after the Indo-Europeans attacked and settled the Aegean territories) territories of the Sea Peoples – Achaea, Mycenae, Kaftar, Telchinia, Alashiya,  the Aegean Sea area. The Sea Peoples invaded, in stages, the coastlines from Ilion, south through Lukka, down around Ugarit, the coastline of Kenaan and attacked Egypt, who thwarted the Sea Peoples (at least according to their monument accounts). The Sea Peoples settling south of Ugarit, which was destroyed, but north of Kenaan, came to be called Phoenicians (at least as some scholars can piece together based on wee bits of inscriptions and texts). The Sea Peoples that settled on the coast of Kenaan came to be called Philistines. Later, when a group of the Phoenicians at Tyre break away, they travel west, across the Mediterranean Sea and establish Carthage, shown in a map a wee bit further down. The first wave of invasions from the Indo-Europeans (Hellenes) occurred around 3000 – 2500 BCE. The next wave, referred to as Ionians and Aeolians (Mycenaeans) occurred around 1600-1500 BCE. The third wave, called Dorians, occurred around 1200-1100 BCE.

 

There is an added factor of non-Indo-European refugees from Krete, Alashiya [Cyprus], Telchinia [Rhodes] and other Aegean Sea locations that originally had a clan mother and possibly worshipped an earth mother/creatress, fleeing the Indo-European invasion. These refugees, according to archaeology prior to the invasions, had trade with ancient Anatolia,  Levant coastline and Egypt. When the Indo-European invaders spread south through Thrace, Macedon and Mycenae, the island of Krete (later termed Minoans for king Minos) was able to hold out for a longer period of time than the mainland. After the major volcanic explosion on Thera, destroying a part of that island, you see the incursions by the invaders. Some scholars speculate that a number of these highly civilized mother oriented groups left with their followers, a number of which were highly skilled artisans, to areas that they already had trade with, only to eventually be attacked by the Indo-European Hellenes invaders in the lands they fled to. This is further backed up by the fact that some of their communal cave burial sites, are missing the bones, but grave goods were left behind. Grave robbers don’t take the bones leaving the treasures, but people that believed in their ancestors would not leave them behind. Also, some of the pottery of the refugees turns up in the settled coastal towns of the land of Kenaan, prior to the Sea Peoples invasions.

 

There are some differences between the two groups that can help to differentiate them. The Minoan and similar cultures were mother oriented. They were matrilineal ( family line descended from the mother) and the clan mother figures prominently. They were highly skilled artisans, depicting nature heavily in their work. There was equality in their communities. Communities focused on agriculture and animals, and the homes had hearths and other evidence of domestic skills such as weaving looms (loom weights) and such. The burials were in a communal tomb or cave, showing no preferences, nor titles. The invaders were patriarchal (male ruling) and patrilineal (descent through father. They worshipped weapons, rather than nature. They were not agrarians, focusing on looting and pillaging from those that were. They built fortresses and high fortified walls around their palaces, which the Minoan type cultures did not. They prized metals and sought to control those who had access to it, to limit who could create weapons. They did not have communal burials, they preferred the exalted graves and markers of the dominant warrior males, burying weapons and afterlife items with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We cannot refer to this confederation of Sea Peoples as Greek, that would be a misnomer. The older term was Hellenes.  The Term Greek/Greece does not appear until the 8th century BCE. It was originally used by the Illyrians, modern day Italians, to describe a group of immigrants. The Illyrians called the place that they had immigrated from Graia and the immigrants themselves Graeki. Though no one knows exactly where Graia was, the Latin term stuck and Europeans, as well as Americans, continue the trend. On the island of Kaftar, modern day Crete, a civilization developed that spread. No one knows what these people may have called themselves, but an archaeologist dubbed them Minoans for King Minos. The next civilization was an assimilation of the Minoan by the invading, warlike Mycenaeans. After that we have the Archaic time period. The inhabitants of the Islands that most associate with Greece, call themselves, and have for thousands of years, Hellenes, and the islands and mainland, Hellas. In Homer’s writings (about 750 BCE), the confederation of the Aegean Sea peoples (Indo-European invaders) were called Achaeans, Danaans and Argives, the Archaic time. Next you have the Classical Greek period from 500-323 BCE, the Hellenistic from 323-146 BCE with the takeover by the Romans. So please, don’t think of these Sea Peoples as Greek. There was much back and forth development of culture and religion, between the Anatolian territory and the Aegean Sea territory, for thousands of years, not to mention the originating land of the Indo-Europeans from between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea territory. What we know as Classical Greek Mythology is a late development. 

 

 The coastal land of Kenaan [Canaan] stretched from Gaza in the south, to Lebanon in the north. Some of the oldest writings mentioning this name of Kenaan are the Amarna Letters [1450 BCE] – letters EA #’s 8, 9, 26, 30, 50, 131, 162, 222a and 367. The spellings in the Akkadian cuneiform are kenaani, kinaani, kinahhi and kinahni. The Memphis stele of Amenhotep II [1427-1400 BCE] relating the military campaigns, mentions the Canaanites as Kinanu. One of the Karnak inscriptions of Seti I [1294-1279], relating his military campaigns writes Knn for Kenaan.  These three examples occur prior to the invasion of the “Sea Peoples”, which occurred around 1200 BCE. At no point prior to the invasions, is the name Phoenicia associated with any portion of northern Kenaan, nor is Felishthiym [Philistine], father south on the coastline. It is only after the invasion of the “Sea Peoples” that the people and geography designation of Phoenicia and Felesheth [Philistine] occur in texts and inscriptions.

 

While occupying coastal land and assimilating with the local people, the Sea Peoples came in a mass exodus / migration of sorts, through their navy, conquering and settling on various parts of the western coastline, bringing with them their animals, tools and pottery. In a letter from the king of Ugarit, before their destruction by the Sea Peoples, he states that the enemy lived on boats, that they landed their ships and set fire to the towns in the land. Archaeologically, the evidence shows that these people came, occupied, brought monochrome Mycenaean pottery with them, certain types of kitchenware, special types of loom weights, Aegean – derived hearths, murex shells, characteristic food practices, such as eating pork, metal smithing, as well as burial practices (Sea Peoples and Their World, Finkelstein, pg. 165) . What prompted the exodus, scholars do not know with absolute certainty, speculating that it could have been an attack against them from a neighboring nation, plague, or a natural disaster (such as agricultural failure, prolonged drought), causing them to relocate, not just warriors, but whole families on their ships.

 

Philip Betancourt, in The Sea Peoples and Their World, pgs. 297-301, specifically discusses the  various possibilities. Stating that there is no archaeological record for any plague or epidemic [for example no mass graves], he rules out that option. He also sites that whenever an invading force arrives in an area, such as the Sea Peoples in the Levant, they leave their mark, which does not occur in the Aegean area either, thus ruling out an invading force. He believes that the cause for such a migration / exodus is that of “regional disruption of agriculture”, pointing out that evidence of climate changes do show up at that time period. “Irish oaks have poor growing seasons in the decades at the middle of the 12th century (Baillie 1988a; 1988b). Abnormal fluctuations show up in the Gordion tree-ring sequence from about the same time (Kuniholm 1990:653). The latest ice core from Greenland shows volcanic activity in 1192 and 1190 BCE (Zielinski et al. 1994).” –pg. 300.

 

Itamar Singer, The Sea Peoples and Their World, pgs. 21-29, points out that the archaeological record shows there was a famine in the Hittite and Canaanite land. The availability of grain was seriously reduced and the price for what was available was severe. Texts from Emar show that at the point that the grain prices were the highest, it was the same time that the invaders (Sea Peoples) laid siege to the city. Emar’s fall is dated to around 1185, the same time period as the Sea Peoples invasions.

 

 

Phoenicians

Michael Astour has authored a paper titled, “The Origin of the Terms ‘Canaan,’ ‘Phoenician,’ and ‘Purple’. He writes, “Of all explanations of the Greek Phoinix, ‘Phoenician,’ (plur. Phoinikes) and Phoinike, ‘Phoenicia,’ the most convincing is certainly the derivation from phoinix, ‘purple,’ referring to the characteristic Phoenician trade...If, then, phoinix can no longer be considered a Greek word, its source must be sought, most probably, among the very people who were famous as crimson and purple dyers and whom the Greeks called Phoinikes. Now Hebrew puwwa, Arabic fuwwa, is the name of Rubia tinctorium L., or dyers madder, a herbaceous plant at home in Syria, Palestine and Egypt, one of the most common sources of red dye and imitation purple in antiquity. Pwt appears as early as Ugarit in a context that firmly established its meaning as ‘madder-dyed textile.’...Phoinix is not the only Greek term for ‘purple’ that can be traced back to West Semitic...The establishment of the West Semitic origin of phoinix and, probably, of porphyra, is interesting not only from the etymological point of view. It also serves as another confirmation of steady Greco-Semitic contacts during the Mycenaean Age. It now becomes more difficult to consider the toponyms and personal names Phoinix, Phoinike, Phoinikus as purely Greek, without any relation to the Phoenicians, and to claim that the Greek traditions on Phoenician penetration of the Aegean were based on a misinterpretation of theses names. At the very least, the Greeks must have met the Phoenicians and borrowed from them the word for ‘red dye’ before they could use it in their onomastica.” – Journal of Near eastern Studies, Chicago University Press, 1965, Vol. 24, No.4, pgs346-350.

 

One of the many items found at Sea People sites are murex shells. Christopher J. Cooksey wrote a review for Molecules, an Open Access journal of synthetic organic chemistry and natural product chemistry, published by Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) online monthly. In the 2001 issue, 6, 736-769, he discusses Tyrian or Royal Purple, also known as shellfish purple and Purple of the Ancients – a shellfish dye. He states, “Arguably, it is the oldest known pigment, the longest lasting, the subject of the first chemical industry, the most expensive and the best known. The colour is derived exclusively from marine shellfish of the Muricidae and Thaisidae families.”  These shellfish came mainly from the species Murex (Phyllonotus) trunculus, Murex (Bolinus) brandaris and the Purpura (Thais) haemastoma. Jenny Balfour-Paul writes, in her book, Indigo in the Arab World, “As there must have been innumerable dyeworks throughout Palestine, and the dyeing techniques for the different blue/purple vat dyes were a closely guarded secret, it is hardly surprising that the whole subject of shellfish purple and plant indigo/woad dyes was enveloped in mystique and confusion. Indeed, even today’s sophisticated dyers and dye chemists have not fully worked out the methods used by the dyers of antiquity to produce purple/blue dye from shellfish. Despite all the literary references, in the Classical works and elsewhere, there are still relatively few archaeological  textile samples or other items of evidence, although shellfish purple residue has been found on potsherds thought to have formed dye vessels, and crushed shells have been found on some sites...Shellfish purple became known as ‘Tyrian’ purple because the best quality came from Tyre.” – pg. 5. This purple/red/blue dyeing was a key industry of the invading Sea Peoples, giving rise to the northern Sea Peoples settlers name of Phoenicians.

 

Major Phoenician cities were Byblos, Sidon and Tyre.

 

Felishthiym / Peleset / Philistines

The Name Felishthiym [Hebrew] is attested to on the Medinet Habu or Mortuary Temple of Ramses III (1180-1150 BCE), located in Luxor Egypt. In the inscription, describing the victory over the Sea People confederation, one of the Sea Peoples mentioned are the Peleset. Later in the Assyrian inscriptions we see territory settled by these Felishthiym referred to as Palastu, such as an inscription on a Nimrud slab from Adad-nirari III (811-783 BCE), king of Assyria, stating that he brought them, and other nations from Tyre southward, into submission, and imposed tribute and tax upon them. So the closest time period and the closest neighbor to the invaded territory, who had an established recording history, is that of Egypt. If you reckon the Semitic origin of the word, then the roots are listed as to roll in the dust, to burrow into, also to open through, penetrate, invade. What is not known is if that is the name given by the nations that were invaded or if that was the name that the invaders called themselves and had a different meaning for.

 

As to the invaders settlement in the southern coastal lands, “These flourishing urban centers clearly reflect the Aegean background of the inhabitants as the came into contact with the reality of Canaan, a reality that was by no means monolithic. The three cities (Ekron, Ashdod and Ashkelon - Felishthiym) all reveal similar patterns of settlement, evidence of an impressive urban momentum, or urban imposition (Stager 1995:345), in which the new cities vigorously expanded beyond the confines of the smaller Canaanite cities, and grafted onto these sites urban traditions of the Aegean milieu. They provide evidence of fortification, sophisticated town planning, extensive ceramic production and a distinctive repertoire, metallurgy and glyptics, architectural features such as the adaptation of the megaron plan and the hearth in different configurations such as the cultic and domestic, cult practices, which when taken together, make up the Philistine/Sea Peoples culture.” – The Sea Peoples and Their World, Trude Dothan, pg. 145.

 

The five major Philistine cities were Ashdod, Eqron, Ashqelon, Gaza and Gath.

 

Carthaginians

 

 

As mentioned in the Melek section, some of the Phoenicians split from Tyre, an established Phoenician center, and relocated across the Mediterranean Sea, calling their new city Carthage [modern Tunisia]. The Carthaginians, being Phoenicians relocated, were great seamen and merchants, settled colonies all over the Mediterranean. But common religious practices and deities remain a constant. The Carthaginians established colonies all over the Mediterranean.  A  3rd century BCE Greek writer, Cleitarchus/Kleitarchos,  writes of the Phoenician and Carthaginian connection, “Out of reverence for Baal Hammon, the Phoenicians, and especially the Carthaginians, whenever they seek to obtain some great favor, vow one of their children, burning it as a sacrifice to the deity, if they are especially eager to gain success.” Lawrence Stager writes in his Child Sacrifice at Carthage article, “At Hazor in northern Israel, an amazing discovery paralleling these symbols on the Carthaginian stelae was made. At the center of a group of stelae (masseboth in Hebrew) in a small sanctuary, a 1 ¾-foot high massebah was found carved with a relief of upraised hands and a disk and crescent. Although the Hazor sanctuary predates the Tophet by a thousand years, Yigael Yadin, excavator of Hazor, believes that the hands and the disk and crescent symbolize the same deities – Tanit and Baal Hammon. Yadin concludes that ‘it is quite clear that the Punic culture preserved the elements of the Phoenician culture, and the latter was definitely influenced by Canaanite elements, similar to the ones uncovered in Hazor.’ “

 

 

Assimilated Account of Samson

 

Before going into the deities for this section, I would like to share a prime example of the convergence of the Sea Peoples influence, assimilation with Canaanite cultures of the land and the carrying of this merging into the Hebrew Tanak by its editors – the story of Samson from the book of Judges 13-16.

 

Tribe of Dan

To lay the foundation, we need to take a look at one of the Sea Peoples nations that of the Danaoi. In the Egyptian inscriptions of the Sea Peoples, they are listed as the Danuna and Denyen. In the epic poetry of Homer (about 9th century BCE), the Odyssey and Iliad, the confederation of Mycenaean peoples are called Achaeans, Argives and Danaans. So what does this have to do with Samson? Samson was of the tribe of Dan – Danites. A tribe that is associated with one of the 12 tribes of Israel. Yet Dan is a Sea Peoples tribe. Lets look at the Tanak verses about Dan. In the book of Shoftiym [Judges] 5:17, a part of the Song of Deborah, considered to be one of the oldest fragments of the Bible, mentioning the different tribes, it states, “...and why did Dan stay in ships?” Why would an agrarian / pastoral tribe, which the tribes of Israel are portrayed as being, be on ships?

 

A passage that shows that Dan was outside of some of these “native Israel” tribes is that of Bereshiyth [Genesis] 49, the blessings of Yaaqob [Jacob] chapter. 49:16, “dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of yisrael.” The Hebrew preposition  k  means like or as. In no other verse of the blessings does it state “like or as” concerning one of the tribes of Israel. Clearly Dan was not one of the original confederation of tribes that came to be called Israel.

 

The original territory of Dan was on the coastline, just north of the five major cities of the Felishthiym (Ashdod, Ekron, Gath, Ashkelon and Gaza). According to Shoftiym 1:34, the Amurru/Amoriy pressed the sons of Dan into the hills, not allowing them to come into the valley, so Dan could not hold that territory.

 

The next major move of Dan for territory, is in the book of Shoftiym [Judges] 18, where it states that in those days the tribe of THE Daniy was seeking a possession to inhabit, remember above where the sons of the Amoriy were pressing the Danites, who could not hold that territory. The sons of Dan send out scouts to spy out the land and bring back a report. This part ties in with the account of Miykah [Micah], which I have related under the terafiym section and in the Perpetual Idolatry study, where Miykah has set up his own cult center, appointing his son as kohen/priest, made his idols and such. Then a wondering kohen comes by and Miykah appoints him as priest. Then the Danites come by, ask the kohen to seek the elohiym for them and go on their way with the good report. After reporting, 600 warriors of the Danites arm themselves to attack a certain location and pass by the house of Miykah, forcibly taking all his idols, the priest and belongings, then proceed to attack the city of Laish – a people quiet and secure. The city was named Dan after that. If you look at the deity map, at the end of this study, you can find the original territory of Dan at Yaffo [Joppa], on the coastline. To find the settled territory, go east until you hit the Yarden river, follow that north past the two seas and just north east you will see Layish/Dan, smack in Phoenician territory. Now why would a tribe of Israel with their patriarchal priesthood phobia of “pagan” cultures, move so far away from their “own people” and into the hotbed of “paganism”? I can tell you why. Because if you were a Sea People tribe you were amongst brothers in the invasions of the land of Kenaan, attacking the indigenous Amurru / Canaanites.

 

Another account is in Yahusha [Joshua] 19:47, which states that the border of Dan came out too little for them so the sons of Dan went out to fight against  the people of Leshem, oddly similar to Laish, and they took it, struck it with the sword and possessed it, naming it Dan after their father.

 

A parallel in Homer’s Iliad occurs in Book 20. Dardanus is the son of Zeus, the founder of Dardania, named after him. They settled on the slopes of Mt. Ida, for he was not yet powerful enough to form a settlement on the plain. Ilios [Troy]  was the “holy” city raised on the plain to shelter all the people. This is a strong parallel to the passage stating that Dan was pressed by the Amorites into the hills and could not hold the valley.

 

The next account is in Wayyiqra [Leviticus] 24:10-23, “and the son of a woman of yisrael, and he was a son of a man of mitsrayim [egypt], went out among the sons of yisrael. and the son of the woman of yisrael and a man of yisrael struggled together in the camp.  11 and the son of the woman of yisrael blasphemed the name, and cursed. and they brought him in to mosheh; and the name of his mother was shelomiyth, the daughter of dibriy, of the tribe of dan.  12 and they put him under guard, that it might be declared to them at the mouth of YHWH.  13 and YHWH spoke to mosheh, saying,  14 bring out the curser to the outside of the camp. and all those who heard will lay their hands on his head, and all the assembly will stone him.  15 and you will speak to the sons of yisrael, saying, when any man curses his elohay then he will bear his sin.  16 and he who blasphemes the name YHWH dying will die. all the assembly will certainly cast stones at him. as to the ger, so to a native, when he blasphemes the name, he will die.  17 and a man, when he strikes the being from any man, dying he will die.  18 and he who strikes an animal to death will make it good, being for being.  19 and when a man causes a blemish in his neighbor, as he has done, so it will be done to him;  20 break for break, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. as he has given a blemish to be in a man, so it will be done to him.  21 and he who strikes an animal to death will repay it; and he who strikes a man to death will be put to  death.  22 one judgment will be for you whether a ger or a native; for i am YHWH your elohey.  23 and mosheh spoke to the sons of yisrael, and they brought the curser to the outside of the camp and stoned him with stones. and the sons of yisrael did as YHWH had commanded mosheh.”. This account is ascribed to the time of the Exodus from Egypt. This is important because it ties in with another account of the Danites.

 

The account of the Exodus is roughly the same time period as that of the Sea Peoples invasions, the Danaans being one of the Sea People Confederations. In the Egyptian accounts of the invasion, some of the Sea Peoples were killed, over 9000 were taken prisoner, including the women and children. Some of the prisoners were settled and others were made part of their soldiers. Now let us look at late Greek mythological accounts of a similar situation involving the Danaans. There are a number of accounts that have to be gleaned, but Danaus, the father of the Danaans, is said to be the brother of Aegyptus [Egypt] in some accounts. Danaus has daughters that vary in number, up to 50, depending on which accounts you read. Danaus flees Aegyptus to avoid a battle. Aegyptus, who coincidentally has 50 sons, wants the sons to marry the 50 daughters of Danaus, pursues them and forces a marriage. The daughters, having to capitulate to the patriarchal time, go through with the marriages, but on the night of the marriages, kill their Egyptian husbands. Different accounts say one did not, others that a few more did not. These women then have to flee. Myths have a way of consolidating time and facts. We know there was a Sea People attack on Egypt involving some Danaans with wives and children and prisoners were taken and settled. We know historically there were some disgruntled settlers that left Egypt around this time period. While the account from the Tanak is greatly magnified, as to numbers that do not bear record from Egypt, nor archaeologically in the territory of Israel, the Exodus account has some kernels of truth that have passed down and been through the editors of Judaisms hands.  The levitical account of a Danite woman with a son, whose Egyptian father is not named, because he is not there, may correspond to the late Greek accounts of the fleeing Danaides (daughters of Danaus) who killed their husbands from a forced marriage to Egyptians, as well as the Egyptian historical accounts of the Sea Peoples.

 

 

If you look at the genealogies credited to Dan, you see next to nothing. Bereshiyth [Gen.] 46 says that 70 persons went to Egypt and breaks down who had who. 46:23 states that Dan had Chushiym, that’s it. Then in BeMidbar [Numbers], when they leave Egypt, the editors list that Dan had Shucham [looks like Chushiym transposed?] of the family of Shuchamiy and the total was 64,400. That is the second largest amount of men for all the tribes, yet they only list one person. Where did all those people come from?  The Aegean Sea territory, I would say.

 

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 27:19 states, “dan and yawan [greece] going about gave for your wares, smooth iron, cassia and cane were among your goods.” Yawan was the Hebrew rendering of Ionia, one of the later terms for the Sea People occupied coastal Anatolia [modern Turkey] Yod = Y and I, in Greek and Latin, Waw = W and O , YWN is the same as Greek ION of Ionia. Why would Dan be tied together with the Aegean Ionia, in a chapter about merchant traders, most of which are Sea Peoples: Tyre, Lebanon, Chittim [a city of Cyprus], Sidon, Elishah [Cyprus], Lydia [Anatolia], Tarshish [Tarsus, coastal Anatolia], unless Dan was one of the Sea Peoples?

 

Now, lets take a look at Shimshon [Samson], the Danite. This story is straight out of the Hellenes/Greek mythology of Herakles/Heracles [Hercules Roman], exalting the Indo- European invader / warrior… Othniel Margalith, in The Sea Peoples in the Bible, has a 12 point comparison of Heracles/Samson. I cannot by space and ethics copy all of his writings, so this is the condensed version of sorts with my references and notes. I have checked out and verified the sources, which I have listed, as well as adding pertinent material added for the verification, but the original 12 points, which are underlined, are his.

 

1. The heroes father is a god, making them a demi-god: Herakles father was Zeus, who mated with a mortal woman named Alcmene, disguising himself as her husband.  Manoah’s wife, not named, is barren. She comes in and tells her husband in verse 6 that a man of the Elohiym came in to her and then tells her that she is pregnant. Y’all really need to get the Hebrew text to see and understand this, because English translators have messed this one up. The verb phrase “came into/unto”  is  l` `a (ba el). The verb by itself may mean anything, but it is how it is used in this case and the others that makes it obvious that it is being used for intercourse. Please, those of you with the Hebrew text, check the references for the following other uses of intercourse and see for yourselves. Hagar - Bereshiyth (Gen.) 16:4; Lots daughters - Bereshiyth 19:31-36. Verse 31 states there was no man in the land to “come into” them; Leah – Bereshiyth 29:23; Rachel – Bereshiyth 29:30, Bilhah – Bereshiyth 30:3; Tamar – Bereshiyth 38:8,9, 16-18. These are not all of them, just enough of a sampling to prove that Shimshon’s mother became pregnant when a “god” had intercourse with her.

 

2. Adoption of the son by the father’s wife. Herakles [originally Alcides] was adopted by Hera, the wife of Zeus, taking the name of Herakles, meaning the glory of Hera. Diodorus Siculus: 4. 39, “We should add to what has been said about Heracles, that after his apotheosis Zeus persuaded Hera to adopt him as her son and henceforth for all time to cherish him with a mother's love, and this adoption, they say, took place in the following manner. Hera lay upon a bed, and drawing Heracles close to her body then let him fall through her garments to the ground, imitating in this way the actual birth; and this ceremony is observed to this day by the barbarians whenever they wish to adopt a son.”  While Shimshon was not adopted, his tribe namesake was. Bilhah, the maidservant of the barren Rachel, gave birth on Rachel’s knees, an ancient ceremony of adoption. She gives birth to Dan, Bereshiyth [Gen.] 30:3-6. This ceremony is not mentioned with the other sons of the maidservants of either Bilhah, nor Zilpah.

 

3. Hero with Magical Hair: According to the Shimshon account, Shimshon was a Nazirite (religious vows) and was not allowed that a razor should touch his hair, where his strength came from. When his hair was shaven, his strength disappeared until his hair began to regrow. I will not get into the Nazirite aspect, since it is moot. Shimshon broke so many aspects of the vow of Nazirite that it is a feeble attempt, on behalf of the Judaic editors, to use that as a cover for the mythical base of this story. There is no similarity of Shimshon’s magical hair to the other cultures around Kenaan, except the Mycenaean. Homers Iliad 20.39 calls Apollo [Phoebus – Shining One] “of the unshorn locks”.

 

4. Hero Enslaved by Womanly Wiles: Herakles apparently has the same problem with women that Shimshon does in the book of Shoftiym. For a man who supposedly took a religious vow of a Nazirite, he is sexually involved with Felishthiym women exclusively.

Herakles first wife was Megaera, whom he accidentally killed, along with their children, from a Hera induced post traumatic stress syndrome, mistaking them for enemies.  There are other wives and many other affairs, producing numerous offspring called the Heraclids. Finally, he marries Deianeira, who unwittingly causes the death of Herakles by burning, where he races to Mt. Oeta and sets up a huge funeral pyre and kills himself. After becoming a god, he is then married to Heras daughter Hebe. Now to Shimshon’s account.  First, he marries a Felishthiym woman from Timnah, who is killed, along with her father, by the villagers because of Shimshon’s retaliatory anger; next is the Felishthiym prostitute in Gaza; finally is the account of Deliylah from Shoreq.  Besides the women and dying comparisons here, there is that of the weaving. Herakles was a bonded servant to the Queen Omphale, who made him work with the Ionian girls at weaving and spinning (Ovids Heroids IX 55-118), his hair braided with a woman’s turban, holding the distaff, drawing the coarse threads, using the spindle, women’s work. Deliylah was a weaver and wove Shimshon’s hair into the weft and when she yelled that the Felishthiym were upon him, he jumped up with the pin, the hand loom and the web woven into his hair.

 

5. The Hero with the Club: Herakles first labor was to kill the Nemean lion and bring back his hide. It could not be pierced by bow and arrow, so Herakles pulled up an olive tree to use as a club and defeated the lion, killing it with his bare hands. While Shimshon did not use a tree for a club, he did find a jawbone of an ass and use it as a club to strike the attacking Felishthiym.

 

6. Hero Who Tears His Bonds Apart Like Straw: Apollodorus II.5.11, when Heracles goes to Egypt on one of his labors, he is captured to be sacrificed, “So Hercules also was seized and haled to the altars, but he burst his bonds and slew both Busiris [the king] and his son Amphidamas”. In Shoftiym [Judges] 15:13, Shimshon is bound with two new, thick cords, which were as flax and burned off, enabling him to kill his enemies. Again in 16:11 he tells Deliyah that his strength is undone if he is bound with new ropes which he bursts off as though they are thread.

 

7. The Slayer of the Lion With Bare Hands: As already mentioned in the account of the club, Herakles strangles the Nemean lion with his bare hands. Another account of Herakles killing a lion with his hands is that of the hunt with King Thespius, who beds his 50 daughters with Herakles to have offspring by him (Apollodorius II.4.10). Shimshon, in Shoftiym 14:5,6 came across a young lion and tore it as cleaving a kid, with nothing but his hands.

 

8. Samson’s Foxes: In retaliation for Shimshon’s father in law giving his wife away to another man [Shoftiym 15:4], he takes 300 foxes, pairs them up, tying their tails together with a torch and lights the torches on fire, setting the foxes out in the fields, which burn the Felishthiym grain. Now this is more serious than some of you might think, due to the fact that the Felishthiym made beer with some of the grain. Margalith points out that there are no comparative accounts, in any myths, with this motif. Another matter is that there are no foxes in Kenaan. They do have a related species member the jackal, which does group together and could be caught in groups, while foxes are solitary. Foxes do occur in the Mycenaean territories. Another point and possibly an editors explanation for a foreign loanword is that the word fox in Greek (lampuris), means torchtail. Jackals do not have such tails. Wherever Greek legends use fox, the Canaanite and further east peoples applied it to the jackal.

 

9. Samson’s Riddle: Riddles are very common in the Mycenaean culture and mythology. But the riddle that has been carried forth in the Tanak is not a valid riddle, due to many factors, one of which is that bees would never be in an animal carcass. Hornets would, but hornets do not produce honey. Judaic editors like to remove elements that very much deal with other gods, so this may have gone through editing, removing the necessary elements that make it understandable. There are slightly similar Mycenaean riddles, involving bees, that pertain to sun worship. The original riddle must have been understandable to the Sea Peoples, where it originated.

 

10. Glorification by Fire: In Shoftiym 13:19, 20, is the account of Manoach, the husband of Shimshon’s mother, who builds an altar to sacrifice upon. While he does so, the man of god, no longer appearing mortal to them, goes up to the heavens in the flame, as they were watching. As mentioned in point 4, Herakles is married to Deianeira, who suspects Herakles of infidelity, with very good reason. She uses a centaurs blood that was infected with the venom of the hydra from Herakles arrow, as a love potion, per the instructions of the dying centaur. She places the blood on a requested cloak for Herakles, who cannot remove the cloak and is in agony from the hydra’s venom. Herakles  races to Mt. Oeta and sets up a huge funeral pyre and kills himself in the flames, ascending to the heavens and becoming a full fledged god.

 

11. Portals on the Top of the Mountain: Shoftiym 16:1-3 gives an odd account of Shimshon ripping up the leaves and side posts of the gate of the city of Gaza, in the middle of the night, putting them on his shoulders and taking them to the top of the mountain before Hebron. This is not possible archaeologically. Margalith points out that excavations show, “These gates were all of a distinct pattern: the doors had protrusions at the top and bottom fitting into matching hollows in the lintel and threshold which served as hinges; the lintel and threshold were gigantic monoliths, as were the gateposts into which they fitted. It was impossible to wrest the doors of such a city-gate without smashing either the lintel, the posts, the threshold or the doors, let alone to lift out the latter undamaged.” – pg.113.  Mythologically, after the death of Herakles and his being made a god, he went up to Olympus and was appointed its gate keeper, who stood in the gate, holding it open for the returning gods from the netherworld.

 

12. Hero Clasping Two Pillars: Herakles, in commemoration to his 10th labor of seizing the cattle of the three bodied giant Geryon, set up two pillars at the strait, which many believe to be the Strait of Gibraltar. Shimshon, after being captured and blinded by the Felishthiym, is put to work grinding at a mill. One day he is brought out to mock, his hair has grown back and is set between two pillars that he pushes apart, bringing down the building, supposedly killing more enemies in his death than life.

 

Another author, Ev Cochrane (dealing with myth and archaeoastronomy) , has pointed out several more similarities with Herakles, in another study of Samson. Again, the main points are his and I have filled in the material, adding additional material I thought more pertinent.

 

Hero Shorn of Hair: Herakles, returning from a battle with the Amazons, sees Hesione, a Trojan princess, chained naked to a rock, about to be devoured by a sea monster. Herakles jumps into the monsters throat and takes three days to hack his way out, killing the monster. When he emerges, his head is bald. Shimshon had his head shaved bald by Deliyah to remove his strength. I think another example that I found is more applicable, of the shorn hair removing strength/life, is that of Scylla/Skylla cutting off her father’s, Nisus/Nisos’ lock of hair. “In the war waged by Minos king of Krete against the Athenians, on account of the death of his son Androgeos, Megara was besieged, and it was taken by the treachery of Skylla the daughter of Nisos. This prince had a golden or purple lock of hair growing on his head; and as long as it remained uncut, so long was his life to last. Skylla, having seen Minos, fell in love with him, and resolved to give him the victory. She cut off her father’s precious lock as he slept, and he immediately died: and the town was taken by the Kretans.” – The Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy, Thomas Keightley, Leonhard Schmitz, George Bells and Sons, London, 1877, pg. 342.

 

Woman to Bring the Hero Down: Sophocles 1058-1063, quotes Herakles as saying, “Neither the spear of battle, nor the army of earth-born giants, nor the violence of beasts, nor Greece, nor any place of barbarous tongue, not all the lands I came to purify could ever do this. A woman, a female, in no way like a man, she alone without even a sword has brought me down.”  Shimshon has his strength removed when he tells the truth to Deliyah about shaving his hair from his head. She puts him to sleep on her lap and called for a man to shave his head.

 

Renewed by Spring Water: The Clouds of Aristophanes 1051, “A scholiast upon these words thus discourses : — ‘ Ibycus says, that Vulcan made a gift to Hercules of a bath of warm water, from which some affirm, that warm baths are called Herculean ; but others say that Athena sent up warm baths for Hercules when fatigued with his toils ; Peisander, for example, writes, ' And the blue-eyed Athena made for him, at Thermopylœ, a warm bath, on the shore of the sea.’ ” –Aristophanes, Cornelius Conway Felton, Cambridge, 1858, pg. 206.  Shimshon, in Shoftiym 15:18, was thirsty after slaying the Felishthiym, crying out to YHWH, says that he is dying of thirst. Elohiym opened up a spring and water came out, reviving Shimshon.

 

While a few comparisons could be called a coincidence, I have provided 15 comparisons. The accounts of Shimshon, are obviously taken from the Indo-European Hellenes/Greek myths of Herakles by the Sea Peoples, assimilated into the invaded territory of Kenaan and adopted by Judaism into their bible, a book we are supposed to take as truth. It is as though the Jewish editors were writing an anti-Philistine polemic using the Philistine mythology as the foundation. As an additional note, in the History of the City of Gaza, Martin Meyer, he states that it was probable that Herakles was worshipped in Gaza, being the favorite Ptolemaic hero, that legend has it that Gaza was founded by Herakles son Azon and archaeologically there was a great piece of artwork in the city, which was a central figure of Herakles, as well as coins of Gaza with Herakles (pgs. 121,122).

 

Another quick example is that of the blessings of Yaaqob [Jacob] in the 49th chapter of Bereshiyth [Genesis]. Before Yaaqob dies, he gathers his sons, telling them what will happen in the future. I have always been very perplexed by this chapter, wondering about the symbolism and what it meant. I was especially concerned with the passage about Shimeon and Lewiy, the brothers. I could somewhat understand Yaaqob saying that their swords were implements of violence, slaying men, due to Shimeon and Lewiy killing the men of Shekem, for their sister Diynah being raped by Shekem, after they were circumcised as a condition of the marriage of Shekem and Diynah (Gen. 34). But I could never understand why it was said that they lamed / hamstrung oxen. There is no biblical account for this statement. AQR, the word that most translators use for lame or hamstrung, in the Hebrew, can mean to sterilize, castrate and hamstring, but it also means to pluck up, move, remove, up root, also applied to landing property. Very convenient of the translators to make it sound like the brothers were hamstringing cattle, rather than stealing them. So recently after all this other work and questioning many other passages and assimilations, I did a google search on “brothers + cattle + violence.” Immediately accounts of Kastor and Pollux, the adventurous and violent brothers came up, from late Greek mythology. It appears that the brothers Kastor and Pollux were very close. They had a sister Helen, a very famous sister who came to be known as Helen of Troy, whose abduction and rape sparked the epic battle between Sparta and Troy, which by the way, occurred as part of the Sea Peoples battles. Helen was abducted and raped by Paris. But this is not the original account of the abduction and rape of Helen. When she was younger, she was abducted by Theseus, a great abductor of women, and taken to Athens, leaving her with his mother until she was old enough to marry. Of course the brothers became angry and got her back, taking Theseus’ mother as well, back to Sparta. Now here is the clincher, these two brothers were notorious as cattle thieves. It seems to be a favorite pastime of theirs. In fact, in the second account of the abduction of Helen by Paris, it happens when she is left alone with Paris, while the brothers leave to go out stealing cattle. Now what do these two brothers, Shimeon and Lewiy, do in Chapter 34, after they kill the men of Shekem? They loot the city taking their flocks and herds and donkey, carrying off all the wealth of the city, including the women and children. A very Indo-European theme and re-occurring myth.

 

There are other accounts in Jacob’s Blessings that are of Sea People origin and other Indo-European nations, which may be better suited to a study all its own, for time and space.

 

 

Athene / Athena – Athene / Athena is a shortened Anglicized version of this woman’s PIE name, a title actually, Athana Potnija, which means Mistress / Lady of Athana, later coming to be associated with the creation of Athens, but this title occurs on Late Mycenaean (a PIE culture that invaded Crete and the Minoans) inscriptions at Knossos, prior to the establishment of Athens as it came to be known. Athana or rather Athene, was part of the Minoan culture, which had ties to the western Anatolian culture, prior to these PIE invasions. The character of Athene is very complex and is a very strong bridge between the original mother cultures and the later invading Indo-European cultures views of women and goddesses. As a result, I have to cover in detail, this personification of the mother, so that you can see all the original elements and how they came to be applied in the Tanak/Bible.

 

Athene, “by any other name”, is the central female figure that came to be incorporated into the Greek Indo-European accounts. She was one and was fractured into many female goddesses and demi-goddesses. “Athene had been the Triple-goddess, and when the central person, the Goddess as Nymph, was suppressed and myths relating to her transferred to Aphrodite, Oreithyia, or Alcippe, there remained the Maiden clad in goat-skins, who specialized in war, and the Crone, who inspired oracles and presided over the arts.” The Greek Myths, pg. 99.  The triple-goddess that Robert Graves is referring to is a common belief system that originally represented the three phases of a woman’s life: the young woman, generally sexually charged, yet not having children yet; the mother; and the older wise woman, which the patriarchal culture preferred to diminish and refer to as a Crone, also depicting her as a witch to be feared.

 

Athene preceded the Olympian pantheon and since they could not wipe her out, they re-mythed her to be born from Zeus’ head and made her his daughter, removing the spindle from her hand and replacing it with a spear. The re-mything of her city, Athens, associated with a sacred fresh water spring at the Athenian Acropolis, is very much like the accounts of the sacred spring at Arinna, increasing the connection with the goddess of Arinna. “In her central function, as in the extent and profundity of her worship, Athena  shows marked similarities to an earlier guardian deity, one we have come to know only in recent years, the great Anatolian war-goddess of the second millennium BC, the protectress and champion of the Hittite kings, the widely and intensely revered Sungoddess of Arinna. (note 4 – the Hittite deity also shares Athena’s association with craft: her holy city of Arinna was a centre of metalworking.).” Athena in the Classical World, pg. 349. Linguistic evidence points to the borrowing from the Hattian Arinna, through the Luwian (PIE) Adana to the Mycenaean (PIE) Athana. “It is, finally, of some considerable interest to note that Homer’s Trojans, who quite likely spoke Luwian outside Greek epic, address Athena with a typically Anatolian title: Potni’ Athenaie, using (in Greek) a morphological form shared with – and prominent in Hittite (the adjectival suffix - iya) and a syntactic feature of Luwian syntax being the use of adjectives (in –assa in Luwian) to replace genitive in indicating the relationship of one noun to another.” Athena in the Classical World, pgs. 364, 365. Athena in the Classical World, pgs. 364, 365. Athene (Hellenes – Classical) = Atana (Mycenaean in Krete) = astanus (Luwian in Anatolia - sun) = Estan (Hattian in Anatolia).

 

Another example of the origins of Athene in the Anatolian territory is the story of her birth. In the later Greek account, Athene, the prior earth mother that could not be wiped out, is born from the head of Zeus. Zeus’ first wife was Metis, a Titaness, the previous grouping of deities. There was a prophecy that a child from Metis would be greater than the father. Zeus, trying to avoid an overthrow by his offspring, as he had done with his father Kronos and he had with his father Ouranos, decides not to swallow the offspring, as his father had done, but to swallow the pregnant mother Metis, after tricking her to change herself into a fly first. After having severe migraines, he tells Hephaestus, the smith god, to crack open his head and Athene, fully dressed and in armor, with a spear, leaps out of his head. Yet in previous accounts and art, it is not Hephaestus who helps with the birth, but Eileithyia (Ilithyia), the earlier goddess of midwifery and childbirth (shown below), written in the Linear B of Crete as e-re-u-ti-ja. “J. E. Harrison rightly described the story of Athene’s birth from Zeus’s head as ‘a desperate theological expedient to rid her matriarchal conditions.’ “ The Greek Myths, pg. 46.

 

Midway Hellenes accounts ascribed the paternity of Athene to Poseidon, prior to Zeus and the Olympian cult. Robert Graves writes, “It is plain that the Ionian Pelasgians of Athens were defeated by the Aeolians, and that Athene regained her sovereignty only by alliance with Zeus’s Achaeans, who later made her disown Poseidon’s paternity and admit herself reborn from Zeus’s head.” The Greek Myths, pg. 62.

 

 

In much older Hittite accounts, Kumarbi, the son of Anu, the god of heaven, tries to overthrow his father. When Anu tried to escape, Kumarbi bit off and swallowed the genitals of his father. When he discovered that this had impregnated him, he spat out the semen, but the pregnancy of Teshub, his son, remained and had to be cut out of him. Another account has another deity, Kazal, emerging from his skull. Yet another example of a PIE’s culture trying to take on the mother roles of childbirth.

 

To make matters even more clear, in the city of Wilusa (later known as Troy,  Hatti territory), on the western portion of Anatolia, the patron deity of the city and the major temple there was Athene. If you look at the symbolism on Archaic Greek pottery associated with Athene and those of Troy archaeology, especially spindle whorls, it is the same. The legend was that the city could not be taken, so long as the image, palladium, of Athene remained in the city. Apollodorus [3.12.3],  “But Ilus went to Phrygia, and finding games held there by the king, he was victorious in wrestling. As a prize he received fifty youths and as many maidens, and the king, in obedience to an oracle, gave him also a dappled cow and bade him found a city wherever the animal should lie down; so he followed the cow. And when she was come to what was called the hill of the Phrygian Ate, she lay down; there Ilus built a city and called it Ilium (Troy). And having prayed to Zeus that a sign might be shown to him, he beheld by day the Palladium, fallen from heaven, lying before his tent. It was three cubits in height, its feet joined together; in its right hand it held a spear aloft, and in the other hand a distaff and spindle.”

 

Pausanias, Description of Greece 9. 12. 2 : "[The mythical founder of Thebes] Kadmos and the host with him were to make their dwelling [found Thebes] where the cow was going to sink down in weariness. So this is one of the places that they [the Thebans] point out. Here there is in the open an altar and an image of Athena, said to have been dedicated by Kadmos. Those who think that the Kadmos who came to the Theban land was an Aigyptian (Egyptian), and not a Phoinikian (Phoenician), have their opinion contradicted by the name of this Athena, because she is called by the Phoinikian name of Onga, and not by the Aigyptian name of Sais." In later Ugarit culture, Athene is Anath, the warrior goddess daughter of the male god El. There are bilingual inscriptions from Cyprus (KAI 42) that have Athene in one language and Anat in the other.

 

Mother

Athena is the 4th generation personification of the earth mother. Gaia is one of the older renditions of the mother in the Hellenes culture. She is the earth personified. Gaia gave birth to Rhea, another version of the ultimate mother in a later generation of the goddesses. Rhea gave birth to the titaness Metis, which means wisdom, skill, cunning. Metis was the first wife of Zeus, according to the older accounts. A prophesy was given that the children of Metis would be very powerful. Zeus, who had overthrown his own father, in typical Proto-Indo-European fashion, was the third generation of sons overthrowing their fathers for the throne in the Greek accounts. Zeus did not want to reap what he had sown, so after lying with Metis, he tricked her into changing herself into a fly and when she did, he swallowed her. Metis was already pregnant with Athene, who was then born from the head of Zeus. Athene is the fourth generation of the mother manifestations and the association of wisdom (which is covered further on in this section). Athene originally is listed as a mother, a creatress of humans from clay, as well as being over the crafts and skills. In referring to the title Athana Potnija, John Pinsent writes, “It means ‘the Athenian one’, and refers to another manifestation of the pre-Greek mother goddess worshipped, as she continued to be worshipped, in the Parthenon on the Acropolis at Athens,…” Greek Mythology, pg. 31. “ ‘Lady’,  ‘Mistress,’ and ‘Queen’ are very frequently employed as the titles of those fertility goddesses known as ‘mother goddesses’. For this reason, among many others, it has often been classified that Athena is such a fertility goddess. Her title and depiction as queen, that is refers not only or even primarily to her patronage of the domestic community but rather to her lordship over the surrounding forces of nature.” “Here the terms ‘queen’ (potnia) and ‘mistress’ (desponia) seem to lead naturally in Eurpides’ mind to that of Athena as Mother (mater). Indeed, in Elis, the northwest of the Peloponnesia, where ancient cults had a way of resisting transformation, the goddess was formerly worshipped as Athena Meter (‘mother’), and was said that she was responsible for the great fertility of the men there.” Symbolic Elements in the Cult of Athena, pgs. 136, 137.  The particular quote referenced is from Pausanias, Description of Greece 5. 3. 2 :
"The women of Elis, it is said, seeing that their land had been deprived of its vigorous manhood [following the war with Herakles], prayed to Athena that they might conceive at their first union with their husbands. Their prayer was answered, and they set up a sanctuary of Athena surnamed Meter (Mother)."

 

Another aspect of the mother and queen, especially in western Anatolia, is that of sitting on a throne, which in some ancient writings, the queen mother is simply called the Throne. It was by these women that the later Indo-European kings received their authority. Athene, is originally depicted on thrones, especially with spinning spindle and distaff. Later, as she is made militant by the Indo-Europeans, she is seen standing and bearing a spear and shield. Strabo, Geography 13. 1. 41 : "There are to be seen many of the ancient wooden images of Athena in a sitting posture, as, for example, in Phokaia, Massalia, Rome, Khios, and several other places."  Pausanias, Description of Greece 7. 5. 9 : "There is also in Erythrai [in Lydia] a temple of Athena Polias and a huge wooden image of her sitting on a throne; she holds a distaff and a spindle and wears a firmament on her head. That this image is the work of Endoeos we inferred, among other signs, from the workmanship, and especially from the white marble images of Kharites (Graces) and Horai (Seasons) that stand in the open before the entrance."

 

Part of the Mother aspect of the goddesses was the original connection with the earth and its produce, which was also attributed to Athene before all the militaristic aspects were all they left her with. Suidas s.v. Procharisteria : "Prokharisteria (Thanksgiving) : A day on which all Athenian office-holders used to sacrifice to Athena, with the crops beginning to grow and winter already ending. The name of the sacrifice was Prokharisteria. Lykourgos in the speech On the Priesthood writes : `so the most ancient sacrifice is held because the goddess is coming up; it is named Thanksgiving because the growing crops are sprouting.'"

 

Bird Association

Another aspect of Athene is the association of the birds. Originally, there were a number of birds associated with her, such as the owl, crow, vulture, sea bird. For example, Pausanias, Description of Greece 4. 34. 6 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) : "The statue of Athena also on the acropolis [of Korone Messenia] is of bronze, and stands in the open air, holding a crow (koronis) in her hand." Later, the main association of a bird, is that of the owl. The owl (glaux from the same root as glaukos) is not only depicted with Athene, but is used to represent her, as well as the body of a woman and the head of an owl, sometimes, even having the owl, holding a spindle.  As the Indo-European patriarchal religions dominated, aspects of what were originally the mother Athene, came to be even more fractured. Instead of the generational goddesses, there were now personality goddesses, with a different goddess being over just a few aspects of life, where they had previously been bundled as one personification. As the Indo-European patriarchal culture became more misogynist, at least as far as the goddesses were concerned, this fracturing led to the goddesses being vilified. So what was originally the mother Athene, became the gorgon Medusa, with all the same symbolism. Below are some images of the Mistress of Animals (Potnia Theron), sometimes winged herself, which some claim represents the later fractured goddess Artemis, but as I will prove, is clearly the original Athene.

 

Below is an image from an Attic amphora, dated between 550-525 BCE. The scene on one side of the amphora is that of the birth of Athene from the head of Zeus, mentioned above. Zeus is the one sitting on the throne. Metis, the titaness mother of Athene, that he swallowed when she was in the form of a fly, is depicted under his throne. Notice how she is winged. This imagery repeats in the other winged images of the goddess.

 

 

Below is a necklace of pendants showing the winged Mistress of Animals from Rhodes, dating from 620-600 BCE. Beside it is a close up of the gold pendants.

 

   

 

Below is an amphora from Boeotia dating 680 BCE. I have provided a blow up of the crucial image of the Mistress of Animals, showing her winged arms and bird face. The third image is an aryballos from Boeotia dated to 590 BCE.

 

   

 

 

Below are images from 1. an attic ceramic dated to 570 BCE, 2. Archaic Mistress of Animals, 3. a plate from Rhodes depicting the later myths version of Athene as the Gorgon Medusa (which means guardian, protectress, a characteristic of Athene as a patroness, as well as the snake association). An epithet of Athene is Gorgo Epekoos, meaning Gorgon-like. Later Greek mythology depicts Athene wearing the severed head of the Gorgon Medusa, called the Aegis, on her garment and depicted on her shield.

       

 

 

Below are 3 bird women statues from Boeotia dating from 900-700 BCE.

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So lets take a look at the personification of the woman with the bird heads and at times bodies, from the areas and times of the mother cultures. Below is a small sampling of these personifications as specifically owls, but there are many more, especially in the Troy territory and south central ancient Anatolia, modern day Syria.

 

       

       

 

1. Romanian owl pot 3500 BCE, 2. Hungarian owl vases, 3500 BCE, 3. Crete bird goddess, 1400 BCE, 4.Toad (Troy) owl pot 1300 BCE, 5. Athene owl goddess, Boeotia, 7th cent. BCE.

 

In modern day Tel Brak (Syria), an ancient late Neolithic site, a building was found, that archaeologists dubbed the Eye Temple. The building was built around 3500–3300 BCE and housed thousands of alabaster owl eye figurines. Since there are no inscriptions, no one is certain what they are for or why they are there, though they are strongly believed to be a talisman of sorts. While simplistic, these images carry on a similar theme that is notably associated with a mother goddess, that became Athene, the owl faced goddess.

 

 

While these owl eye images are from 3500 BCE, the design has been carried forth in the weavings of Anatolia for who knows how long. Being a weaver and learning of weaving styles from various countries and times, I have loved the Anatolian kilim weavings probably most of all. Some of the symbolism that is evident of the mother association on ceramics and inscriptions, is also evident in the weavings in a more rectilinear style. Below is such a weaving from the early 1900’s, but the style is much older and the patterns are more ancient, from my weaving research. Tapestries are difficult to preserve over time, so many do not make it from more ancient times. You can clearly see the same type of shape and image as the Tel Brak owl eyes, as well as the Tel Brak monolith beside it. This weaving has the owl/bird symbolism, the mother symbolism, as well as the plant imagery that is often associated with the mother.

 

 

 

 

 

Below are four coins: the first and second - Athens, third – Troy (notice Athene carrying the spindle and distaff) and the fourth – Gaza.

 

  

   

 

 

 

 

 

Another aspect of the bird association, which came to be a further demonization of women in the Semitic culture is that of Lillith. Lilitu / Lilit / Lilith – Lilitu is the later Sumerian handmaid of Inanna, also called the hand of Inanna. I am including this here with Athene, because this woman bird, especially owl, association is very strong in the Aegean and ancient Anatolian culture, more so than in the Assyrian/Babylonian cultures. The Hebrew name Lilith is a loan word from the Akkadian Lilitu. In the later Babylonian accounts, very much due to the established Kurgan, Steppe / Indo-European male dominated influence, that demonizes women, the texts list her as the prostitute of Ishtar, addressed below. In the Semitic languages, laylah, means night. Lilith is the Hebrew variation of Lilitu. Lilitu is depicted as a woman with features of an owl, but this is an older and more western theme that migrated to Sumeria and then Babylonia. “Of greater importance, however, is the sexual aspect of the – mainly- female demons lilitu and (w)ardat lili. Thus the texts refer to them as the ones who have no husband, or as the ones who stroll about searching for men in order to ensnare them or to enter the house of the man through the window.” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, pg. 520. Clearly, as with so many cultures, any woman that did not submit to the invading patriarchal system, who refused to take a husband, became a threat, and was demonized, like the Greek Amazons and Anath of the Canaanites. The patriarchal invaders made women property of their father and then to a husband. Should a husband die, she then became the property of her husbands brother.

 

Some believe Lilith’s name occurs in the Tanak, others that it is just a personification of her. The word liyliyth (lilith) occurs in the following passage with a grouping of other desert animals, some only used once and therefore hard to define. YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 34:14, “the desert creatures will also meet with the howlers; and the shaggy goat will cry to his fellow. the screech owl [liyliyth- lilith] will also settle there, and find a place of rest for herself.”  It is translated as screech owl, a representation applied to her, as a night bird. There are a number of mother goddesses that are also associated with various birds, one especially with the owl, including Inanna, Ishtar and Athene.

Just because a passage of text deals with certain animals, does not mean they are literal animals. I have run into whole passages of text in the prophets that list one, very well known image of the mother goddesses after another. The passages of the curses seemed to be directly attacking the mother goddesses, without directly naming them, by using the animals representation instead. In Judaism’s mythology, Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She refused to submit to his authority, even sexually, refusing to lie beneath him, saying they were both equal, and flew from Eden. She has since then been viewed as a creature of the night, seeking to seduce men and was demonized of course. The ironic part of this mythology is that Lilith stated they were equal, which  is a common pattern amongst cultures that were matrilineal, in contrast to the Indo-European patriarchal system on castes and slavery, even of the native men they conquered.

 

There is an image, called the Burney Relief, after Sidney Burney, a London antiques dealer, who purchased the relief in 1935. It was originally purchased from a Syrian dealer, but the provenance is unknown. Many people associate the relief with either Inanna or Ishtar, due to the figures hands holding the rings of power, which is a Sumerian and Babylonian symbol. But I think that the image is from the Syrian to western Anatolian territory, which also had some similar imagery, but more especially the images of women and owls combined or beside each other. This subject is more fully covered in the Athene section. At any rate, other writes have named the image Lilith because of the associations. There are no inscriptions on the relief to tie it to any one goddess with certainty.

 

 

 

 

Another passage with the woman, wings and wickedness association is ZekarYahu 5:5-11, “then the malak who was speaking with me went out, and said to me, now lift up your eyes and see what this is that goes forth.  6 and i said, what is it? and he said, this is the ephah that goes forth. and he said, this is their form in all the earth.  7 and, look, a lead cover was lifted up, and a woman was sitting in the middle of the ephah.  8 and he said,  this is wickedness. and he threw her into the midst of the ephah; and he threw the lead stone over its opening.  9 and i lifted up my eyes and looked. and, look, two women came out. and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of the stork. and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.  10 and i said to the malak who was speaking with me, where are they going with the ephah?  11 and he said to me, to build a house for it in the land of shinar; and it will be made ready and placed there on its own place.” 

 

The Hebrew for stork is chasiydah. Yes, the root is chasiyd, which means devout. Chasiydah is so named because it is literally the pious, devout bird. According to Klein’s, it is so called in allusion to its love for its young – she that practices maternal care. The nurturing aspect of women and the bird association is one of the mother / creatress / goddess characteristics. This is clearly a patriarchal demonized view of women.

 

Another example is that of a Qumran text that is nearly identical to passages in Mishley [Proverbs], about the Whore, Woman of Folly, etc. The Qumran text was found in cave 4, 4Q184, which some title, the Seductress. Below is a translation of the text. Writing between brackets are projected restorations from corrupted text.

 

4Q184

“[From her mouth] she brings fort vanity and…errors, she seeks continually [to sharpen her] words. And mockingly she flatters / deals smoothly, she insults altogether with [lips] of perversity. Her Heart establishes recklessness and her kidneys… …in perversity they are touched and her hands go down to the pit. Her feet go down to do evil and to walk in guilt [of rebellion]. Foundations of darkness… great are the rebellions in her wings [kanaf].  …eminence of night and her coverings… Her covers are deep darkness of twilight and her ornaments are touched with ruin. Her couches are beds of the pit, from the low places of the pit. From her night huts are beds of darkness and in the midst of [night are her tents]. From the foundations of the deep darkness she pitches dwelling and she sits in tents of silence. In the middle of everlasting fires, not in the middle of all luminaries is her inheritance. She is the beginning of all the ways of perversity. Woe, ruin belongs to all who possess her and destruction to [all] that takes hold of her. For her ways are ways of death and her paths are paths of sin. Her tracks are strayings of perversity and her [byways] are wrongdoings of rebellion. Her gates are gates of death, at the entrance of her house she steps into [Sheol]. [All] who enter, [they will not return] [and look] all her inheritors go down to the pit. And she lies in wait in secret places [near] every [corner… In the broad places of the city she covers herself and in the gates of the city she stations herself. And she has [no repose from walking continually]. Her eyes glance here and there and her eyelids she lifts wantonly. [To look at] a righteous [man] and trip him up and a [might] man she causes him to stumble. Upright men to pervert their way and [prevents] the righteous elect from keeping the commandment. The sustained ones to cause to be foolish with wantonness and those who walk straight to alter their [custom]. To cause the meek ones to rebel from El and to turn their steps from the ways of righteousness. To bring [insolence to their hearts] so that they are not [ordered] on the paths of righteousness. To lead humanity astray into the ways of the pit and to seduce with smooth talk the sons of man.”

 

You will notice toward the end of the first quarter of the text the phrase “great are the rebellions in her wings.” The word wings is kanafiym [plural of kanaf]. Some translators have translated skirts, but this should actually be wings for a number of reasons. Kanaf’s primary definition is wing, according to Klein’s,  not just in Hebrew, but in another of the Semitic languages. Kanaf also means to cover with ones wings. This is a common theme with the mother goddesses, as well as the assimilated passages later ascribed to El or YHWH. Another reason this should be wings, instead of skirts, is the night [liylah] references which have the female ending, as well as other night terms such as darkness and twilight in the same context. These are all male dominated characteristics they have placed on the female goddesses they have vilified. 

 

Of the 109 uses of kanaf in the Tanak, almost all are translated as wings, except where the translators agenda is clearly to remove the obvious assimilation of the mother goddess culture from El or YHWH, such as Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 16:8, now associated with YHWH, “and i passed by you, and i looked on you, and, look, your time was the time of love. and i spread my wings over you and covered your nakedness. and i swore to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares adonay YHWH. and you became mine.”  Other places it is clearly wings and no attempt to hide it was made, the associations were simply assimilated. Malakiy 4:2, “but to you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise up, and healing will be on his wings.” This was an older association with the mother goddesses, which were also solar and healing deities. Thehillah [Psalm] 17:8, “keep me as the pupil, the daughter of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,” Shemoth [Exodus] 19:4, “you yourselves have seen what i did to mitsrayim [egypt], and how i bore you on the wings of eagles , and brought you to myself.” HaDebariym [Deut.] 32:9-11, “for portion of YHWH is his people; yaaqob is the lot of his inheritance.  10 he found him in a desert land, and in the waste, a howling wilderness. he encircled him and cared for him; he guarded him as the pupil of his eye.  11 as the eagle stirs up its nest; it hovers over its young; it spreads out its wings and takes it, and bears it on its wing.”

 

There are a few references in the Talmud to Lilith. Shabbath 151b, “R. Hanina said: One may not sleep in a house alone, and whoever sleeps in a house alone is seized by Lilith.”  Erubin 18b, “R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar further stated: In all those years during which Adam was under the ban he begot ghosts and male demons and female demons (night demons), for it is said in Scripture: And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years and begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image, from which it follows that until that time he did not beget after his own image. An objection was raised: R. Meir said: Adam was a great saint. When he saw that through him death was ordained as a punishment he spent a hundred and thirty years in fasting, severed connection with his wife for a hundred and thirty years, and wore clothes of fig [leaves] on his body for a hundred and thirty years. — That statement was made in reference to the semen which he emitted accidentally.”  Niddah 24b, “Rab Judah citing Samuel ruled: If an abortion had the likeness of Lilith (A female demon of the night, reputed to have wings and a human face.) its mother is unclean by reason of the birth, for it is a child, but it has wings. So it was also taught: R. Jose stated, It once happened at Simoni that a woman aborted the likeness of Lilith, and when the case came up for a decision before the Sages they ruled that it was a child but that it also had wings.” There are two other references in the Talmud, but the verses are unclear as to meaning, other than the notes that Lilith is a night demon – Gittin 69b and Baba Bathra 73a.  Clearly the Talmud reflected the beliefs that Lilith had wings, was a seducer of men, propagated by collecting the seed of masturbating men and was a demon of the night.

 

 

Mistress of Craftswomen and Craftsmen

 

One of Athene’s titles is Athene Ergane (Erganh - worker, craftsman). “The root of the words ergon and Erganh bears another and more primitive meaning than that in the later times usually implied. Ergon is a ‘land’ as well as the result of a craft and Ergane is she of the tilled ground as well as she of the needle and loom, the chisel and hammer. We need go no further than the Erga kai Hmerai of Hesoid and the andrwn piona erga of Homer. This meaning is put second in the lexicon but surely came first to primitive man. The ‘works’ of Ergane changed from the ploughed fields to statues as her worshippers changed from rural labourers to city craftsmen and artists, but even ceirwnax lewV dare not omit from the cultus of Ergane her sacred symbol of the liknon (winnowing basket/cradle): she would remember though they might forget.” The Classical Review, 1894, Jane E. Harrison, pg. 270.  Also, the Chalkeia, a festival to dedicated to Hephaistos (not originally involved) and Athene of artisans, was originally a ploughing festival.

 

In a later Homeric Hymn to Hephaestus XX, (ll. 1-7) “Sing, clear-voiced Muses, of Hephaestus famed for inventions. With bright-eyed Athene he taught men glorious gifts throughout the world, -- men who before used to dwell in caves in the mountains like wild beasts. But now that they have learned crafts through Hephaestus the famed worker, easily they live a peaceful life in their own houses the whole year round.,” Athene was attributed as being the creator of these pairs of humans, their teacher of the skills, later Mycenaeans could not eradicate this belief in the mother and added men such as Prometheus and Hephaestus (an obvious PIE addition – the metal smith that makes weapons for the gods) to share in the earlier attributes to Athene, the earth mother and teacher of men. “Hephaestus and Athene shared temples at Athens, and his name may be a worn-down form of hemero-phaistos, ‘he who shines by day’ (i.e. the sun), whereas Athene was the moon-goddess, ‘she who shines by night’, patroness of smithcraft and of all mechanical arts.” The Greek Myths, pg. 87.

 

One of the earlier mentioned islands of the Aegean Sea, who held to the mother cultures was that of Rhodes, previously known as Telkhinia. The Telkhines were believed to be the original inhabitants of Rhodes, prior to the Hellenic invasions and were replaced by the mythologically younger people referred to as the Heliadai. Telkhines are attributed as being the offspring of Athene, being viewed as having all sorts of magic talents, which were not magic, but simply artisan skills, especially known for their metallurgy. They were cultivators of the soil. Their origins are hard to place, some accounts state they came from Krete to Cyprus to Rhodes or from Rhodes to Krete and Boeotia. All these areas were previously mother cultures with strong artisan communities. It is said that they fore saw the coming flood, and fled to Lycia, north of Rhodes on the mainland, and other locations. The important aspect of the Telkhines is that they were a mother culture of artisans, also considered offspring of Athene, the patron goddess of artisans and the teacher of these skills. All of these locations have artwork depicting Athene and all have a specific symbol and wing imagery associated with her.

 

“The potters feared lesser gods and daemons who might destroy their work. Among the relics of popular poetry preserved in the biography of Homer ascribed to Herodotus there is a Potter’s Song. It begins with a prayer that Athena my hold her hand over the potters’ oven and that the vessels my be well fired, receive a beautiful black color and yield a good profit when they are sold… He uses the common mythology, of course; but it is interesting to note not only that Athena is the potters’ protectress, but also, and especially, that the potters believed in a lot of mischievous goblins which were apt to destroy  their work… In Athens, Athena was the protectress of the artisans. This was quite natural, for she was already so in Homer. She protected the weaving of the women and the art of the gold-smiths and the coppersmiths. An Attic vase shows her in a potters workshop. For the popularity of Athena among the artisans at this time some verses of Sophocles are characteristic: ‘Come out in the street you, all the people of the handicraftsmen, who venerate the daughter of Zeus, Ergane, with sacrificial baskets and beside the heavy anvil, beaten with hammers.’ Evidently Sophocles hints at some popular festival of Athena celebrated by the artisans in the streets of the town. There was such a festival, the Chalkeia. The word signifies the festival of the coppersmiths. It belonged to Athena, but at a later date another god of the Athenian artisans, Hephaistos, was associated with Athena.” Greek Popular Religion, Martin Persson Nilsson, pg. 71.

 

There may be a very good reason for the pairing of the ceramics and metallurgy in the accounts of the mythology, that of the kilns. “Several scholars are convinced that a connection existed between the crafts of ceramics and metallurgy.”

 

Spinning and Weaving

This brings up another very important association with Athene, that of spinning and weaving, which is also older than the Greek and has its origin in ancient Anatolia. She is the patron goddess of these skills and the teacher of them to the crafts women and men. According to Hesiod, Works and Days 60-64, when woman was created by the direction of Zeus, “So said the father of men and gods, and laughed aloud. And he bade famous Hephaestus make haste and mix earth with water and to put in it the voice and strength of human kind, and fashion a sweet, lovely maiden-shape, like to the immortal goddesses in face; and Athene to teach her needlework and the weaving of the varied web;” “In Homer’s Odyssey 7.110-11, it is said that the Phaiakian women ‘are skilled in weaving,’ having been ‘dowered with wisdom bestowed by Athene, to be expert in beautiful work’; later in the same text, Athena is described as the one who instructed the daughters of Pandareos ‘in glorious handiwork’ (Odyssey 20.72). This same sentiment is expressed elsewhere in the Homeric tradition in the Homeric ‘Hymn to Aphrodite,’ lines 10-11 and 14-15, in which we read that ‘pleasure’ for Athena lies ‘in fostering glorious handicrafts,’ so that she ‘taught smooth-skinned palace maidens at work in their quarters to weave bright strands.’ “Asherah, the West Semitic Goddess of Spinning and Weaving?, Susan Ackerman, PDF, pg. 5. Pausanias, a geographer in the 2nd century CE, wrote, “At Erythrse (Erythrae, near Mt. Ida in the Troad, western ancient Anatolia, south of Wilusa/Troy) there is also a temple of Athene Polias, and a huge wooden statue of the goddess seated on a throne, in one hand a distaff in the other a spindle.” Pausanias VII 5.9.

 

Athene, as the patroness of spinners and weavers, later came to be further separated into the personifications of the Moirae (apportioners -  Fates) of Greek mythology. Zeus feared these Moirae, whose number came to be fixed at 3; Klotho (spinner), Lakhesis (allotter – measured the thread), and Atropos (inevitable – cut the thread of life). Curiously the Hebrew word for fear, terror is mora (mem, waw, resh, alef). This fear of death very much ties into the Prot-Indo-European belief system.

 

In the ancient Hellenes culture, there were a number of different priestess positions, three of which dealt with the spinning and weaving. “This can be observed in our very earliest documentation of sacred offices preserved in the Linear B tablets from Pylos. Here we have thirty women’s occupations listed among the workers in service to the goddess. We hear of the wool carders, ‘pe-ki-ti-ra’ (pektriai); spinners, ‘a-ra-ka-te-ja’ (alalateiai); and weavers, ‘i-te-ja-a’ (histeiai).” Portrait of a Priestess, Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece, pg. 9. The spinners and weavers hold a high position, often associated with the mother goddess in many cultures, also feared by the PIE cultures and therefore the spinning and weaving was demonized as the women who excelled in these crafts. In a Hittite text, the throne (the goddess) calls an eagle to fly to the sea and look into the green forests to report what it sees. “And he [the eagle] replies; I looked and the goddesses, the infernal, ancient female divinities are kneeling there. And the throne asks: what are they doing? He [the eagle] answers: she holds a distaff and they hold full spindles and they are spinning the years of the king, and there appears to be no end or limit to them.” On the Trail of the Women Warriors, pg. 123. “The Sheep was the earliest domesticated animal, and the ram in early Neolithic times became a theriomorphic symbol associated with the universal Goddess, together with the wool/fleece symbol associated with her spinning and weaving of the fabric of all forms of life and the universe, together with all their associated tapestries of destiny.” In All Her Names, Marija Gimbutas, pg. 48.

 

 

Below that is a drawing from a Greek terracotta loom weight from the 4th century BCE, depicting the owl, representative of Athene as the patroness of spinners and weavers, holding a distaff and drop spindle. Next is a coin from Troy (notice Athene carrying the spindle and distaff, not the spear and shield of the militaristic, patriarchal PIE Hellenes).

 

 

 

 

 

A weaving account from a Corinthian aryballos jar, dating 600 BCE, depicting the weaving competition of Athene and Arachne.

 

 

In the Hebraic text, there are not as many accounts concerning spinning and weaving, but the few there are, are generally not shown in a good light and associated with prostitution by Hebrew associations and English translators, except those which directly correlate to wisdom, perhaps showing the wise mother roots, as opposed to the patriarchal view of these women and this craft. The Hebrew word, to spin, is tawah (teyt, waw, he). This is important because tawah begins with the Phoenician letter  “teyt”. Paleo-Phoenician letters were symbols with meanings before they came to be used alphabetically. Teyt’s   , meaning was spindle. Which is all the more important, as I get into the older variations of this symbol, archaeologically, further down the study.

 

The first account we see of spinning or weaving in the bible, based on the book order, not oldest textual account, is that of the Shemoth [Exodus] 35:25,26, with the building of the mishkan, the tent of El, “and every wise hearted woman with her hands spun [tawah], and they brought spun yarn, in the blue and the purple and the scarlet material and in fine linen.  26 all the women whose hearts lifted up in wisdom spun [tawah] the goats hair.” These are the only 2 times that tawah is used in the Tanak. Please note that it did not speak of women in general, but of women with wisdom in their heart , chakmath – leb. 36:1,2 has another connection, which may cast some further light on this situation. “now betsalel and ahaliyab, and every wise of heart in whom YHWH has given wisdom and understanding to know how to do all the work of the service of the qodesh [the set apart], will perform in accordance with all that YHWH has commanded.  2 and mosheh called betsalel and ahaliyab [tent of my father] and every wise of heart to whom YHWH had given a heart of wisdom, everyone whose heart lifted him, to come to the work to do it.” This states that YHWH, the deity of this text, is the one giving the knowledge of these crafts, to these people. This is the same belief that Athene gives the knowledge/wisdom of the crafts to those that she favors and it is only through her that any of the artisans have these abilities.

 

The Akkadian word spindle, felek/pelek, is only used once, in conjunction with spinning, in Mishley [Proverbs] 31:19, concerning the virtuous woman, covered below. Likewise the one time the word distaff, kiyshor (Aramaic) is used, it is also in Mishley 31:19.

 

Erag is the Hebrew word, to weave, weaver and weaving.  It is related to the Phoenician word for weaver, by the same three letters (alef, resh, gimel), which coincidentally, or not, is the same root as the title of Athene – Ergane.

 

This is where things get tricky in the Tanak/Bible, concerning weaving and spinning. For an occupation that is so dominant and necessary in a culture, at least for clothing, there are few references to it, especially directly. Aside from the wise women mentioned in Shemoth [Exodus], above and the virtuous woman of Mishley [Proverbs] 31, below (which does not mention weaving and spinning directly, but the spindle and distaff, flax and wool, and making garments – obviously spinning and weaving) the other accounts are associated with prostitutes, who are not really prostitutes, or they associate this craft with the Felishthiym [Philistines], which is just as bad in the eyes of the priestly scribes.

 

Yahusha [Joshua] 2 gives an account of the spies scouting out Yeriycho [Jericho] before they attack it. Verse 1 states, “and yahusha` ben nun sent two men out of shittiym to spy secretly, saying, go look over the land, and yeriycho. and they went and came into the house of a woman, a whore; and her name was rachab. and they lay down there.” Now, I am not fond of the misogynist attitudes of men that call any woman they disagree with a whore. The Hebrew word that the translators use for whore is zonah. Now zonah can mean whore or prostitute, but more commonly means a person that went after other gods – in their eyes, a non-believer. Rachab hides these men, where? On her roof, under stalks of flax. Now why would she have stalks of flax? Flax is the fiber that is used to spin linen. Not something the average person has lying spread out on their roof, but a spinner and weaver would, especially a spinner of the more costly, finer linen. She lets the spies down from her window by what translators call a rope. Tell me honestly, how many women do you know that have coils of rope in their upper floor house? Well, besides me. This word, hebel, meals cord, rope, measuring line. Whether it is rope, as we think of it, cording or a measuring line, all of which would be the tools and product of a spinner and weaver. For her help, she secures a promise from the spies that when they take the city, she and her family will be protected. The sign is a line of scarlet thread (THIS scarlet thread, meaning something they were handling or the same line she let them down by) from the window. The Hebrew word for line is thiqwah, which means a twisted cord, twisted. Chot is the Hebrew for thread. Scarlet is not a common color. It is more costly for dye and therefore not used by commoners, but is yet again, a tool of the spinners and weavers. All of the elements of this woman’s story show her not to be a prostitute, but a spinner and/or weaver.

 

Shoftiym [Judges] 16, we see a woman named Deliylah, who was a weaver, yet many religious leaders and teachers relay this account as her being a prostitute. As mentioned earlier in the Shimshon [Samson] parallel, Deliylah wove Shimshon’s hair into the weft and when she yelled that the Felishthiym were upon him, he jumped up with the pin, the hand loom and the web woven into his hair. Again with the Felishthiym association, we see the spears of two Felishthiym men, Golyath [Goliath] and his brother, whose spear shafts were like a weaver’s crossbeam (Hebrew manor) (I Shmuel 17:7 and II Shmuel 21:19).

 

In II Melekiym [Kings] 23, we see the religious changes enacted by King YoshiYahu [Josiah]. He is purging his territory of anything that is contrary to the temple priestly religion. Verse 7 states, “and he broke down the houses of the qedoshiym [set apart ones] that were in the house of YHWH, where the women were weaving, bethiym for asherah.” This passage is horribly mutilated by translators, in order to hide what is really going on. They translate BThYM (beth, thau, yod, mem) as bethiym - houses, which makes absolutely no sense at all. In the temple of Athene, each year, young girls, daughters called Arrephoroi, between the ages of  7 to 11 years old, were chosen as initiates to weave the peplos garment that would cover the statue of Athene. It took them nine months to weave this sacred garment, which was replaced each year at a special festival called a Plynteria, in honor of Athene.


In the Greek Septuagint of this verse, they state the women were weaving chettiin for the grove. The grove is a common term that translators have used to translate the word asherah, not wanting to acknowledge that she was worshipped in Israel and in the temple, they focus on the tree aspect and apply sacred groves to the asherah. Chettiin should be chiton in the Greek. A chiton is a Greek garment, a tunic. The Greek word chiton actually is borrowed from the Semitic word kithan, for flax. Tunic, in the Hebrew is kethoneth, related to the Aramaic kithonaa, Ugaritic KTN, Akkadian kitintu, which meant a linen garment, Arabic kattan. In modern Squared Aramaic script, the B and K look very similar, as they did even in the 6th century BCE, around the time that these passages were being written and edited. Many a scribe and translator have confused the beth a and the kaf k. So how hard would it be for a scribe to change zpzk to niza changing the ending letters (remember Hebrew is right to left) and making an entirely different word that ignores the fact that an image of Asherah was in the temple, being worshipped and clothed by the sacred weavers? The lying pen of the scribe has handled this text falsely, numerous times before and after.


I have a facsimile (photo pages) copy of the Leningrad Codex. Why is that important? Because it is the oldest complete copy of the Hebrew text, dating to around 1008 CE. Each page has three columns, which were copied from the older scrolls, also having the same columns. This questionable bethiym word, just happens to occur at the end of the line, making it easy for a scribe to change. It would be no trouble to entend the base of the K to make it look like a B, shorten the nun to make it look like yod and change the thau to look like the final mem. Below is a scanned image of the verse in question. I have highlighted the word bethiym in red, to show you its placement in the column, at the end of the line. Below that is an image of the two words and what they look like in the Hebrew, so that you can see, how easy it would be for a scribe to change this word, and still retain position and their letter, word, verse, etc counting system that later scribes were involved with.

 

 

On the third line, I have typed kethoneth in red and overlaid it with the letters, in black, of bethiym, to show you how little a scribe would have to do, in order to change this word and remove the context of what is trully taking place in this sentence.

 

This weaving of garments for the idols is a common practice at many of the temples all around the Aegean,  Anatolia area and Mesopotamia. Why would the Kenaanite Asherah be any different? What translators don’t want you to realize, is that there was an Asherah in the temple (verse 6) and there were women and daughters weaving the garment of Asherah, there in the houses of the temple. Yet there are passages in the prophets that speak of the clothing of the idols. YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 10:8,9 , “but they are at once foolish and animal like; their tree is an instruction of vanities.  9 silver beaten into plates is brought from tharshiysh, and gold from ufaz, the work of the craftsman and the hands of the goldsmith. violet and purple is their clothing; they are all the works of wise ones.” Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 16:17, 18, “and you have taken beautiful things of my gold and of my silver, which i had given to you, and you made images of males, and fornicated with them.  18 and you took your embroidered clothes and covered them. and my oil and my incense you have given to their face.” The women were not weaving houses for the Asherah in the temple, they and the daughters were weaving clothes for the Asherah.

 

Remember the passage above, about one of the aspects of religion, the separating of characteristics of a deity and create newer deities? Remember the passage about the Moirae (apportioners -  Fates) of Greek mythology? These Moirae, whose number came to be fixed at 3; Klotho (spinner), Lakhesis (allotter – measured the thread), and Atropos (inevitable – cut the thread of life). One spun the threads of a persons life, the other measured it with her measuring rod and when it was determined that your life was at an end, the last cut the thread. Your life was woven on a loom, until the time of your death, at which point the weaving was cut off the loom. This is a common PIE mythology element. They were also called the Fates.

 

YeshaYahu the prophet is sent to tell ChizqiYahu [Hezekiah] the king of Yahudah that he is going to die and to get his house in order. ChizqiYahu prays to YHWH, who directs YeshaYahu to return and tell ChizqiYahu that he will have 15 years added to his life. ChizqiYahu writes in YeshaYahu 38:12, “my generation is plucked up and carried away from me, like a shepherd's tent; i have cut off my life like the weaver. he will cut me off from the warp threads; from day to night you will make an end of me.” Iyob [Job] 7:6 states, “my days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle and are ended without hope.” Thehillah [Psalm] 139:13-15, “for you have possessed my inward parts; you wove me in the womb of my mother.  14 i will thank you, for with awesome ways i am distinguished; your works are marvelous, and my being knows it very well.  15 my bones were not hidden from you when i was made in secret; when i was woven in the depths of the earth.” Clearly some of the life weaving beliefs are assimilated into the Tanak/Bible.

 

 

 

Goddess of Wisdom

In dealing with Athene as the goddess of wisdom, and how this relates to the Tanak/Bible, you need to understand the background, or genealogy of Athene. Gaia is one of the older renditions of the earth mother in the Hellenes culture. She is the earth personified. Gaia gave birth to Rhea, another version of the ultimate mother in a later generation of the goddesses. Rhea gave birth to the titaness Metis, which means wisdom, skill, cunning. Metis was the first wife of Zeus, according to the older accounts. A prophesy was given that the children of Metis would be very powerful. Zeus, who had overthrown his own father, in typical Proto-Indo-European fashion, was the third generation of sons overthrowing their fathers for the throne. Zeus did not want to reap what he had sown, so after lying with Metis, he tricked her into changing herself into a fly and when she did, he swallowed her. Metis was already pregnant with Athene, who was then born from the head of Zeus, when Hephaestus cracked open his skull with a double bladed axe (clearly this account is a PIE assimilation of older accounts because Hephaestus was not born until after Zeus took a second wife Hera and Hera had Hephaestus on her own, in retaliation to Zeus “birthing” a child on his own-scribes cant get their own lies straight). Athene is the fourth generation, according to the Hellenes accounts, of the mother manifestation and the association of wisdom. 

 

In the Classical Greek, wisdom is written as sophia. But in the more archaic Greek, sophia is not just wisdom, what most associate with mental functions or intelligence, it is not a separate mental function from that of the hands. A sophist was a person possessing a certain skill or craftsmanship (techne). This is the same belief that Athene was the goddess of wisdom and the giver of it to people that she favored, blessed, they were the craftspeople, the artisans - not the latter groups of men that sat around studying and debating subjects like philosophers (lovers of wisdom).

 

Another aspect of this wisdom is the association with the mind of god, as personified by Athene’s birth from the head of Zeus, the chief deity of the Olympian pantheon. Plato’s (428/427 BCE – 348/347 BCE) Cratylus 407 a and b,

“Hermogenes - Yes; but what do you say of the other name?
Socrates - Athene?
Hermogenes - Yes.
Socrates - That is a graver matter, and there, my friend, the modern interpreters of Homer may, I think, assist in explaining the view of the ancients. For most of these in their explanations of the poet, assert that he meant by Athene "mind" (nous) and "intelligence" (dianoia), and the maker of names appears to have had a singular notion about her; and indeed calls her by a still higher title, "divine intelligence" (Thou noesis), as though he would say: This is she who has the mind of God (Theonoa);- using a as a dialectical variety e, and taking away i and s. Perhaps, however, the name Theonoe may mean "she who knows divine things" (Theia noousa) better than others. Nor shall we be far wrong in supposing that the author of it wished to identify this Goddess with moral intelligence (en ethei noesin), and therefore gave her the name ethonoe; which, however, either he or his successors have altered into what they thought a nicer form, and called her Athene.” Please note that this account of Athene being the mind of God, the wisdom of God was believed and written in the fourth century BCE. This is over 370 years before Philo, the Hellenistic Alexandrian Jew who wrote of the divine wisdom, being the firstborn son of God, the logos (word) made flesh. This is over 400 years before the birth of Yahusha, the messiah and the same attribution in the Gnostic gospel of John.

 

If you think that this association with Athene’s wisdom and the mind of God is my being very farfetched, think again. This is a very old debate that Christianity could not avoid. Justin Martyr lived from 103-165 CE (AD). In his Apology 64.5 he writes, “And in like manner also they craftily feigned that Minerva (the Latin name for Athene) was the daughter of Jupiter (Latin name for Zeus), not by sexual union, but, knowing that God conceived and made the world by the Word, they say that Minerva is the first conception [ e)/nnoia]; which we consider to be very absurd, bringing forward the form of the conception in a female shape. And in like manner the actions of those others who are called sons of Jupiter sufficiently condemn them.” The ironic thing here is that Justin claims the Greeks craftily feigned an account of Athene being attributed to wisdom and the mind of god, yet those accounts are far older than anything that Judaism or Christianity ever wrote by nearly a 1000 years.  Who is borrowing from whom here?

 

Now let us look at the accounts of Gaia and remembering the weaving and spinning of Athene, in comparison with the biblical accounts of a virtuous woman in Mishley [Proverbs] 31 and the accounts of Wisdom, personified as a female [chakmah – wisdom, which has the female gender in the Hebrew].

 

Homer hymn to Gaia, Homeric Hymns, 34 hymns, written about 700-500 BCE. Attributed to Homer, but are a collection.

 

Gaia

XXX. To Earth the Mother of All

 

(ll. 1-16) I will sing of well-founded Earth, mother of all, eldest of all beings. She feeds all creatures that are in the world, all that go upon the goodly land, and all that are in the paths of the seas, and all that fly: all these are fed of her store. Through you, O queen, men are blessed in their children and blessed in their harvests, and to you it belongs to give means of life to mortal men and to take it away. Happy is the man whom you delight to honour! He has all things abundantly: his fruitful land is laden with corn, his pastures are covered with cattle, and his house is filled with good things. Such men rule orderly in their cities of fair women: great riches and wealth follow them: their sons exult with ever-fresh delight, and their daughters in flower-laden bands play and skip merrily over the soft flowers of the field. Thus is it with those whom you honour O holy goddess, bountiful spirit.

 

Hail, Mother of the gods, wife of starry Heaven; freely bestow upon me for this my song substance that cheers the heart! And now I will remember you and another song also.

 

Proverbs 31  from the Greek Septuagint

 

10 Who shall find a virtuous woman? for such a one is more valuable than precious stones.

 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her: such a one shall stand in no need of fine spoils.

 12 For she employs all her living for her husband's good.

 13 Gathering wool and flax, she makes it serviceable with her hands.

 14 She is like a ship trading from a distance; so she procures her livelihood.

 15 And she rises by night, and gives good to her household, and appointed tasks to her maidens.

 16 She views a farm, and buys it: and with the fruit of her hand she plants and a possession.

 17 She strongly girds her loins, and strengthens her arms for work.

 18 And she finds by experience that working is good; and her candle goes not out all night.

 19 She reaches forth her arms to needful works, and applies her hands to the spindle.

 20 And she open her hands to the needy, and reaches out fruit to the poor.

 21 Her husband is not anxious about those at home when he tarries anywhere abroad; for all her household are clothed.

 22 She makes for her husband clothes of double texture, and garments for herself of fine linen and scarlet.

 23 And her husband becomes a distinguished person in the gated, when he sits in council with the old inhabitants of the land.

 24 She makes fine linens, and sells girdles to the Chananites; she opens her mouth heedfully and with propriety, and controls her tongue.

 25 She puts on strength and honour; and rejoices in the last days.

 26 But she opens her mouth wisely, and according to law.

 27 The ways of her household are careful, and she eats not the bread of idleness.

 28 And her kindness to them sets up her children for them, and they grow rich, and her husband praises her.

 29 Many daughters have obtained wealth, many have wrought valiantly; but thou hast exceeded, thou hast surpassed all.

 30 Charms arms false, and woman's beauty is vain; for it is a wise woman that is blessed, and let her praise the fear the Lord.

 31 Give her of the fruit of her lips; and let her husband be praised in

 

Hebrew version of Proverbs 31:10-31, “who can find a wife of virtue? for her value is far above jewels.  11 the heart of her master [baal] trusts in her, so that he has no lack of gain.  12 she deals good with him, and not evil, all the days of her life.  13 she seeks wool and flax, and she works with her hands with delight.  14 she is like the merchant ships, she brings in her food from afar.  15 she also rises while it is still night and gives game to her house, and a portion to her maidens.  16 she has examined a field and takes it; she plants a vineyard from the fruit of her hands.  17 she has girded her loins with strength, and has made her arms strong.  18 she tastes whether her gain is good, her lamp is not put out by night.  19 she has sent forth her hands on the distaff, and her hands have held the spindle.  20 she spreads out her hands to the poor, and she stretches out her hands to the needy.  21 she is not afraid of the snow for her house, for all her house are clothed with scarlet.  22 she makes herself ornamental coverings; her clothing is bleached linen and purple.  23 her master [baal] is known in the gates, when he sits with the elders of the land.  24 she makes fine linen garments, and sells, and she delivers girdles to the merchant.  25 strength and dignity are her clothing, and she will rejoice at the day to come.  26 she opens her mouth in wisdom, and the thorath of kindness is on her tongue.  27 she watches the ways of her house, and does not eat the bread of idleness.  28 her children rise up and call her blessed, her husband also, for he praises her:  29 many are the daughters who act with virtue, but you rise above them all.  30 favor may be deceitful, and beauty vain, but a wife who fears YHWH, she will be praised.  31 give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

 

Hebrew version of  Proverbs 3:13-18, “happy is the man who finds wisdom [hakmah - female gender], and the man who gets understanding.  14 for its profit is better than the gain from silver, and its increase more than fine gold;  15 she is more precious than rubies, and all the things you can desire are not to be compared with her.  16 length of days is in her right hand, riches and honor in her left hand.  17 her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths shalom.  18 she is a tree of life [another mother symbol] to the ones who lay hold on her, and happy are the ones holding her fast.”

 

 

Proverbs 8:1-21, “does not wisdom call? and does not understanding speak?  2 she stands in the top of high places, by the wayside, in the houses of the paths,  3 beside the gates; at the mouth of the city, at the doors, she cries.  4 i call to you,  men, and my voice is to the sons of men.  5 understand wisdom, simple ones; and fools, be of an understanding heart.  6 hear, for i will speak of excellent things, and from the opening of my lips will be right things.  7 for my mouth will speak of truth, and wickedness is hateful to my lips.  8 all the words of my mouth are in righteousness; nothing crooked or perverse is in them;  9 they are all plain to the understanding one; and right to those who find knowledge.  10 receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge, rather than choice gold.  11 for wisdom is better than jewels, and all delights cannot be compared to it.  12 i, wisdom, dwell with sense, and i find knowledge of discretions.  13 the fear of YHWH is to hate evil; i hate pride and loftiness, and the evil way, and the perverse mouth.  14 counsel and sound wisdom are mine; i am understanding; i have strength.  15 by me kings reign [a common theme once the PIE invasions occurred with the men marrying the mother rulers and goddesses to validate their kingship], and leaders decree righteousness.  16 rulers and nobles rule by me, and all the judges of the earth.  17 i love those who love me, and those who seek me early find me.  18 riches and honor are with me;  enduring wealth and righteousness.  19 my fruit is better than gold, and fine gold; and my increase is better than the best silver.  20 i walk in the path of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of justice;  21 to cause those who love me to inherit wealth, and i will fill up their treasuries.”

 

As you can see from these passages, they are very much like the hymn to Gaia and the attributes of Athene, her successor, only in the patriarchal culture, the earth mother and wisdom, was made to be subservient to the husband/mater of the patriarchal system. Quite a number of scholars believe that the personification of Wisdom in the book of Mishley [Proverbs] is a flat out plagiarism of Athene from the Greek’s religion, with good reason. Let us take a look at a few other points of comparison between Wisdom and Athene.

 

Proverbs 8:2,3 states, “she stands in the top of high places, by the wayside, in the houses of the paths,  3 beside the gates; at the mouth of the city, at the doors, she cries.”  Athene’s main temple in Athens was on the Acropolis. Acropolis means highest city in the Greek and generally related to the highest point of the city. Athene is also the one who called out to men to teach them, appear to them in dreams and in disguise, especially from the patriarchal perspective of the heroes, whom she was a patron to and would follow around to aid them on their journeys.

 

Proverbs 8:15,16 states, “by me kings reign, and leaders decree righteousness.  16 rulers and nobles rule by me, and all the judges of the earth.” This was also the position of Athene, who was considered the kingmaker and counselor to kings and judges and also sat in judgment with them in trials.

 

Proverbs 8:30, in relation to creation and the god creating, “then I [wisdom] was at his side, like a master workman;” In the newer accounts of various things being created, including man, the creator is often portrayed as Prometheus or Hephaestus, with Athene at their side. In the case of man, Prometheus created the men out of clay and Athene breathed life into them.

 

Proverbs 24:3-6, “through wisdom a house is built, and it is established by understanding,  4 and by knowledge the inner parts will be filled with precious and pleasant riches.  5 a wise warrior is in strength, and a man of knowledge firms up power.  6 for you will make war for yourself by wise advice, and safety is in the abundance of counselors.” Spoken like a true Indo-European invader making war and amassing wealth. Athene adopted as the goddess of war, but not just any war, the strategy and art of war, versus the blood lust of war which was the domain of Ares. She was the counselor of strategies and protectress of the warriors.

 

I could cite many more examples of the comparisons between Athene and Wisdom, within the biblical text, but that should probably be left for a whole study in itself, being thoroughly documented for those without all the resources of the Greek texts for comparisons. It is much too lengthy to place here.

 

 

Protectress / Evil Eye

Another connection of Athene to the Anatolian territories is that of the evil eye talisman. Athene was considered a protectress and patron of many places and groups of peoples. She is also called bright eyed Athena [Athene Glaukopis, also referring to the owl headed or owl faced], because she had blue/green eyes. Pausanias, Description of Greece 1. 14. 6 :"Above the Kerameikos [in Athens] and the portico called the King's Portico is a temple of Hephaistos. I was not surprised that by it stands a statue of Athena, because I knew the story about Erikhthonios. But when I saw that the statue of Athena had blue eyes I found out that the legend about them is Libyan. For the Libyans have a saying that the Goddess is the daughter of Poseidon and Lake Tritonis, and for this reason has blue eyes like Poseidon." In this aspect, you can see the origin of the blue/green eye beads to protect people from evil. Athene Glaukopis was a title from Troy, the Owl Faced Goddess of Troy. Another account connecting Athene to that of the eye is  from Pausanias, Description of Greece 3. 18. 2 (this may be a latter application to an older name and belief system) : "As you go towards what is called the Alpion [in Sparta] is a temple of Athena Ophthalmitis (Goddess of the Eye). They say that [the historical leader] Lykourgus dedicated it when one of his eyes had been struck out by Alkandros, because the laws he had made happened not to find favour with Alkandros. Having fled to this place he was saved by the Lakedaemonians from losing his remaining eye, and so he made this temple of Athena Ophthalmitis." Another title of Athene is Apotropaia – Averter of Evil.

 

“Beads are found more frequently in burials than any other artifact. They were used for adornment and as amulets. Eye-beads to deflect the ‘evil eye’ are common in Phoenician graves, though less so in Israelite/Judahite ones.”- Life in Biblical Israel, King and Stager, pg. 277. In the excavations of Ashkelon, a major Felishthiym [Philistine] city, these Phoenician evil eye beads have been found.  The evil eye talisman to ward off the evil eye is known in the Mediterranean before 6th century BCE. In the Turkish community the evil eye amulet is called nazar. Turkey is just north of where the major Phoenician cities of Gubal [Byblos], Sidon and Tyre are. Please see the Tanith/Tanit section below for more information on the blue evil eye talismans in connection with the Hamsa, hand talisman.

 

The first two images of beads are ancient Phoenician evil eye beads, the second two are modern beads that are sold everywhere.

 

                

 

 

 

Gammadion Symbol

 

Yet another aspect associated with Athene and especially Ilios/Troy and the Aegean territories, is that of a symbol most know these days as a swastika. The term swastika comes from the Sanskrit Indian for suvastika, which means good or well being, with good reason because this symbol came to represent the sun with its equinoxes and solstices, the 4 cardinal points and the 4 winds. Without those elements, nothing would survive as we know it.  Prior to the adoption of this symbol in ancient India, the oldest forms of it occur in the Old Europe / Aegean / Western Anatolian territory. In the Greek, it was called a gammadion,      for 4 gamma’s, the third Greek letter - G. The gamma would be placed to represent the 4 winds, the 4 cardinal directions, and eventually the wheel. At times this symbol is slightly rounded, as if you have a wheel with 4 spokes, with a small portion of the wheel missing around each spoke, other times it is represented in a squared fashion with parts of the square missing. This symbol is very ancient, older than its adoption by Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Mithraism and Shamanism in the East and far older than the horrible representation of the Nazi’s false Aryan supremacy.  Below are several examples of the gammadion in ancient art and archaeology, showing the variations from the squared base and the circular base.

 

 

While the most dense ancient sources of the gammadion symbol is from the Aegean Sea territory and ancient Troy/Wilusa in western Anatolia, I have found the symbol in an ancient pre-Proto-Indo-European culture dating back to 4500 BCE. The Vinca culture covers Hungary (Tordos), Romania (Turdas) and Bulgaria (Gradeshitsa). Below is a chart involving the symbols used by the Vinca civilization and you can see the gammadion symbol in the 5th row, as well as other variations on that symbol.

 

 

Now you might have a few questions about what this has to do with Athene, why is this symbol important and what does it have to do with the bible. So first, lets look at what it has to do with Athene. If you will look back at the images that I provided there is a common denominator between the majority of them, the symbol that I spoke of earlier that is only applied to her and no other deity – for lack of a better name, we will use the oldest recorded patriarchal name, that of the gammadion.

 

You will notice that on several of the vases depicted in the older artwork, the gammadion is a repeated design on the skirt of her dresses. In the bird imagery subsection, 3 bird women statues from Boeotia dating from 900-700 BCE, the gammadion in on the statues, not just on the dresses, but also on the neck of one. It surrounds the image and is on the dresses of the images of her with the animals as Mistress of Animals. It is also on the Gorgon plate and the owl pot from Troy (as well as many other pots from Troy). Below are a few more examples of the gammadion symbol connected with Athene in ancient Greek pottery. The first is an Attic pot, depicting the slain Athene/Gorgon head on her shield with gammadions on her dress. The second is an Athenian Andokides vase from the 6th century BCE, again showing the gammadion on the skirt portion of the dress. The third is also an Attic amphora from 500 BCE. The fourth is from an Attic amphora from about 525 BCE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now, I will present some examples of the spindle whorls from Hissarlik / Wilusa / Troy, a city dedicated to Athene, which also bear this symbol. Please remember that tawah, to spin, begins with the Phoenician letter  “teyt” and Teyt’s   , meaning was spindle. Just in case there are some of you who do not know what a drop spindle looks like, here is an image. The ceramic, stone or wooden disk at the bottom is called the whorl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see from this small sampling of thousands of whorls, there are a number of variations to this symbol from gammadions whirling in both directions, curvilinear styles, boxed, freeform, circles with dots in the center with legs, circles with the whirling from the center out and crosses with varying or no feet. These variations also show up in the Vinca culture symbols from 4500 BCE and also occur on the body and clothing of the Athene and Gorgon/Medusa images.

 

In the Migration of Symbols, the Count Goblet D’Aliella states that in the earlier graphic representations of the sun, sometimes just a circle, circle with a dot in the center or circle with rays emanating from the circle, the gammadion was clearly  a symbol of the sun, sometimes being represent with the moon and replacing the previous circular representations of the sun. He goes on to state that the legs of the gammadion represent the sun in motion. “Moreover, after having figured the sun in motion, it may have become a symbol of the astronomical movement in general, applied to certain celestial bodies, the moon, for example – or even to everything which seems to move of itself, the air, water, lightning, fire – in as far as it really served as a sign of these different phenomena, which fact has still to be made good.” The Migration of Symbols, pgs. 52-59.  “That ancient mythology the sun was frequently represented as a  wheel is well known…’As far as I have been able to trace or connect the various manifestations of this emblem, they one and all resolve themselves into the primitive conception of solar motion, which was intuitively associated with the rolling or wheel-like projection of the sun through the upper or visible arc of the heavens, as understood and accepted in the crude astronomy of the ancients.  The earliest phase of astronomical science we are at present position to refer to, with the still extant aid of indigenous diagrams, is the Chaldean. The representation of the sun in this system commences with a simple ring or outline circle, which is speedily advanced towards the impression of onward revolving motion by the insertion of a cross or four wheel-like spokes within the circumference of the normal ring.’ “ Ilios, pgs. 348, 353, 354.

 

 

Solar, Sky, War God Symbol Association With Gammadion

 

These obvious solar wheel associations with the earliest known archaeo-astronomy of the Chaldeans come from the times and territories of the patriarchal Indo-European territories, where their chief male deity became the solar god in each of heir cultures and is always depicted with a symbol of the sun. As the Indo-Europeans spread their beliefs, practices and war culture, this symbol came to be associated with the chariot, often solar chariots when deities were involved. The following four images are from Attic pottery dating around 800 BCE. Not only do you see the early form of the chariots, the sun on the shield, but you see the 4 spoke wheels (the earliest rendition of the wheel), the gammadions and the square cross symbols, which was also used for the Archaic Greek letter Theta, equivalent to the Phoenician Teyt. In the Hellenic territory of Boeotia, the letter Theta was shown not just in a circle with the cross as the Phoenician Teyt, but also with the square with the cross in it, just as the earlier versions of the Phoenician Teyt, before the circle became the standard form. In Classical Greek, the Theta removed the second bar of the cross, leaving just the circle and one cross bar - q.

 

 

 

 

 

Another solar chariot image is of a terracotta statue from Cyprus. Here you see the wheels representing the 4 spokes and in between the spokes, there are gammadions. The shield of the warrior has the stylized curvilinear solar symbol.

 

 

Suns in various forms are common on shields of the warriors, as well as solar disks representing the solar, sky, patriarchal gods that throw thunderbolts at their enemies and are a sun to shine on those they favor. The following are a few verses from the Tanak that carry this symbolism.

 

 

HaDebariym [Deuteronomy] 33:26-29, “none is like el yeshurun, riding the heavens for your help, and the clouds in his majesty.  27 el qedom [east-where the sun rises] is a refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms. and he will cast the enemy out from before you, and will say, destroy.  28 and yisrael will live alone in safety; the fountain of yaaqob in a land of grain and wine; and his heavens drop down dew.  29 blessed are you,  yisrael. who is like you? a people saved by YHWH, the shield of your help, and he who is the sword of your excellency. and your enemies will be found liars before you, and you will tread on their high places.”

 

II Shmuel [Samuel] 22:2-20, 29-40, “and he said: YHWH is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer.  3 my el is my rock; i will take refuge in him; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge. my savior, you will save me from violence.  4 i call on YHWH, the one to be praised; and i will be saved from my enemies.  5 when the waves of death surround me, the floods of the wicked terrify me,  6 the cords of sheol are all around me, the snares of death confronted me.  7 in my distress i called on YHWH, and i called to my el. and he heard my voice from his temple, and my cry was in his ears.  8 and the earth shook and trembled, the foundations of the heavens were troubled, and were shaken; for he was angry.  9 smoke rose up in his nostrils, and fire devoured out of his mouth; coals were kindled by it.  10 and he bowed the heavens and came down, and thick darkness was under his feet.  11 and he rode on a cherub, and did fly, and was seen on the wings of the wind.  12 and he made darkness pavilions all around him, the gathering of waters, thick clouds of the skies.  13 from the brightness before him were brands of fire kindled.  14 YHWH thundered from the heavens, and the most high gave forth his voice.  15 and he sent forth arrows and scattered them; lightning, and troubled them;  16 and the channels of the sea were seen; the world's foundations were revealed by the rebuke of YHWH, from the blast of the breath of his nostrils.  17 he sent from above; he took me; he drew me out of many waters.  18 he delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me; for they were stronger than me.  19 they confronted me in the day of my calamity, and YHWH was my support;  20 and he brought me out to a large place; he delivered me, for he delighted in me.”  “29 for you are my lamp, o YHWH; and YHWH will light up my darkness.  30 for by you i have run through a troop; by my elohey i have leaped over a wall.  31 as for elohey, his way is perfect; the word of YHWH is tested; he is a shield to all those who seek refuge in him.  32 for who is elohey except YHWH? and who is a rock except our elohey?  33 the el is my strong fortress; and he sets the blameless free in his way,  34 making my feet like hinds' feet, even causing me to stand on my high places;  35 teaching my hands for battle, so that my hands may bend a bow of bronze.  36 and you have given to me the shield of your salvation; and your affliction has made me great.  37 you have enlarged my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped.  38 i have pursued my enemies and destroyed them; and i did not turn until they were consumed.  39 and i consumed them, and struck them, and they did not rise; but fell under my feet.  40 yea, you girded me with might for battle; you caused those rising against me to bow under me.  ”

 

Thehillah [Psalm] 7:6-13, “arise, YHWH, in your anger; be lifted up at the rage of those distressing me; and awake for me. you have commanded judgment.  7 and the assembly of the peoples will surround you, and over it you will return on high.  8 YHWH will judge the people. YHWH, judge me according to my righteousness, and according to my integrity on me.  9 oh let the evil of the wicked come to an end; and you will establish the just; for the righteous elohiym is a trier of hearts and reins.  10 my shield is on elohiym, who saves the upright of heart.  11 elohiym is a righteous judge; and elohiym is angry with evildoers every day.  12 if he will not turn, he will whet his sword; he has trod his bow, he made it ready;  13 and he has fitted for him instruments of death. he will make ready his arrows for pursuers.”

 

Thehillah 76:1-13, “to the chief musician. for stringed instruments. a mizmor of asaf. a song of praise. elohiym is known in yahudah; his name is great in yisrael.  2 and his abode is in shalem; and his dwelling place in tsiyon.  3 there he broke the fiery arrows [reshef] of the bow, the shield, and the sword, and the battle. selah.  4 you are radiating, more excellent than the mountains of prey.  5 the stouthearted have been stripped; they slept their sleep; and none of the men of might have found their hands.  6 by your rebuke, elohey of yaaqob, both the horse and chariot have sunk into a sleep.  7 you, even you, are terrifying; and who can stand before you when you are angry?  8 you have caused judgment to be heard from heaven; the earth feared and was stilled;  9 when elohiym arose to judgment, to save all the meek of the earth. selah.  10 for the wrath of man thank you; you encircle yourself with the wrath left over.  11 vow and pay to YHWH your elohey; let all that are around him bring presents to the fearful one.  12 he will cut off the breath of rulers; he is feared by the kings of the earth.”

 

Thehillah 84:11,12, “for a sun and shield is YHWH elohiym ; YHWH will give favor and honor; he will withhold nothing good from those who walk in integrity.  12 YHWH tsebaoth, blessed is the man who trusts in you.” Tsebaoth is the Hebrew word for armies, making this very much a martial allusion including the solar shield.

 

Malakiy [Malachi] 4:1-3, “for, look, the day is coming, burning like a fire-pot; and all the proud, and every doer of wickedness, will be chaff. and the coming day will set them ablaze, says YHWH tsebaoth, which will not leave root or branches to them. 2 but to you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise up, and healing will be on his wings [feathers]. and you will go out and frisk like claves of the stall. 3 and you will tread under the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day which i am preparing, says YHWH tsebaoth.”

 

Now, for those of you without a copy of the Tanak in Hebrew or those that cannot read the Hebrew, the word “shield” in each of the above passages is magen. Magen is the term applied with David for the Magen David, which they translate as the Star of David, but star is kokab. They say this because they conceived a six pointed star on the shield. The oldest archaeological use of a star associated with Judaism is that of the Kefar Nachum Synagogue in north Israel.

 

 

This synagogue dates from the 3-4th century CE, very late considering the archaeology that we have been dealing with sometimes dates to 4500 BCE. At any rate, this Magen David is a later rabbinical invention. The term does not appear in the Tanak [Bible], nor does it appear in the Talmud. What is even more important than a 6 sided star at this synagogue is that there are several other “star” motifs at this synagogue ruins, all of which appear in the artwork and shields depicting the sun in Aegean and Mesopotamian art. Yet, Judaism and Christianity would have you to believe that the six pointed star is sacred and they even try to insert it into a time period where it does not actually occur, by associating it with the shields of Solomon and David.

 

 

So let us take a look at another Jewish synagogue, in Chorazin, near Kefar Nachum and also form the 3-4th century CE. At this synagogue ruins you find a chair, that is called the Teachers Seat or Moses Seat. Notice at the back of it you have the 4 spoked solar symbol, just as in all the Aegean patriarchal symbols. Also at this ruin, there is a repeated carving of what the archaeologists call a Medusa, which also appears in the Hellenic artwork and shields.

 

 

 

 

And the third synagogue that we will look at is from the 6th century CE, the Beit Alfa Synagogue, which I covered in the Astral Cult sub-section because of the zodiac floor mosaic. This mosaic has several Aegean solar symbols in it. The wheel has a braided border around the outer and inner circle. This braided border also creates 4 spokes radiating from the inner to outer circle. The artist made a mistake on the top left braid, placing it one image too low. This is the patriarchal solar wheel. In the center of the inner circle is Apollo the sun god with his sun chariot. The 4 winds are depicted as bird women, which will be explained a bit later.

 

 

 

 

 

Below is a mosaic floor, older than the synagogues shown above, dating in the 2nd century CE, on Paphos, Cyprus, a building that has been called the House of Dionysus due to the many depictions of the later cult of Dionysus. As you can see, there are many solar images showing the varied ways they have been depicted over time.

Clearly the Hellenistic patriarchal solar motif continued within the most religious of Jewish circles and was resurrected and alive and well within Judaism today as the Star of David, appearing as a symbol of Judaism itself in many different forms of cultic items, jewelry, artwork, clothing and on printed materials.

 

Returning to the Hellenistic application, there was a town in Thrace, just across from Troy, named Mesambria (Mesembria), which means midday or noon. Some of their coins from the 4th century BCE depict Athena, her head on one side and full view with spear and shield on the other. Another has her helmeted head on one side and a sun with the solar rays on the other. Inside the sun is the older solar symbol the circle with the cross and in each section of the cross are the letters META – which in the ancient Greek usage was mid, in this case, midday. In the Numismatic Chronicle and Journal of the Numismatic Society, 1880, pages 49-61, author Percy Gardner discusses the solar symbols on the coins of Macedon and Thrace. On the top of pg. 60 he gives an example of another coin from Mesambria with a helmeted head on the front and on the back, in between the spokes are the letters MES and then a gammadion symbol, which he writes as .  This clearly shows the solar symbol, but also, another association with Athene, which later became dominated by the patriarchal culture and their symbolism.

 

 

 

But this symbol was associated with the mother culture prior to these patriarchal takeovers, as shown by the examples of Athene and the Vinca culture symbols. There is another example from Hissarlik (Troy) archaeology, with a female image made of lead. She has the triangular pubic area defined and accented. On the triangular portion, there is a gammadion symbol. By associating this symbol with the pubic region, the association is generally that of fertility, generation and motherhood. The fact that this image comes from Troy, there is a strong possibility that it is of Athene, the original mother figure.

 

 

 

So within the mother cultures, this symbol is associated with mothers and the fiber industry by virtue of spinning and possibly, by extension, weaving as well. Therefore, it might possibly be a trademark of sorts, not just of the goddess, but what she represented as patron goddess of these arts within the goddess and god culture. Prior to these deity cultures, such as those of the Vinca culture 4500 BCE, we may never know what that symbol represented.

 

4 Winds Association With Gammadion

 

Now lets take a look at the 4 winds association, connected to the solar application of the turning sun creating winds, represented in the gammadion by the 4 feet from the cross posts. In ancient Hellenic lore, Hera, a mother personification, was originally associated with the winds. The patriarchal cultures took those and later ascribed the winds, 4, as demi-gods that were born, and to Aeolus as the keeper of the winds. Another account shows the mother orientation. When Kronus castrated his father Uranus and threw the genitals into the sea, the drops of blood became the Eumenides, the Kindly Ones. They are also called the Erinyes, the Angry Ones. They are described as being winged with serpents on their arms and at times in their hair (similar to the portrayal of the gorgon Medusa, the statues from Krete where a strong mother culture centered prior to the patriarchal invasion of the Mycenaeans, and with the wings like the earlier Athene and Metis). Originally they were not numbered, but Virgil later places their number at three. They are called the Furies by the Romans. They were born from the murder, in a fertility sense from the castration, and that is one of the aspects of the Erinyes, the condemnation of those that kill their parents. The patriarchal culture made this only applicable to the death of a father, not counting the original application of matricide, which is literally what happened to the mother cultures by the patriarchal cultures.

 

In another account Athene tries to pacify the Erinyes when a court case against Orestes for matricide votes him innocent. The court ruled that his mother was not his mother, but simply a nurse, a common view from the patriarchal Indo-Europeans of mothers to degrade them.  The Erinyes  threaten to let fall drops of their own blood from their hearts, which would make the soil barren and the crops would then be blighted and destroy all the offspring of the city of Athens. Athene intervenes and talks them into settling in a particular grotto, and to receive worship for various aspects of the culture (very minor involvement considering what the previous mother culture had involved)  as well as being responsible for fair winds. That is why the mosaic on the synagogue floor shows winged women for the winds.

 

A similar situation occurs in the Mesopotamian territories. First you have Inanna, the mother goddess who is depicted as winged in the older images. Later she is shown with a bird nearby, named Anzu, who becomes her representation. Then as the patriarchal warriors gain dominance, you see the warrior kings killing the Anzu bird. Then in latter Mesopotamian mythology the Anzu bird becomes the male winged wind god Pazazu, a demi-god demon of the southwestern wind, with 4 wings, and he becomes the keeper of the winds, just as Aeolus did in the Hellenistic culture. Below you will see several images: First, winged Inanna from a Sumerian cylinder seal 3000 BCE; Second, Anzu bird, depicted just as Inanna standing on the backs of lions 2500 BCE and finally, Inanna dewinged and the bird a separate entity from a cylinder seal 2100 BCE.

 

     

 

 

All of the biblical passages that specifically speak of 4 winds, are all late writings, meaning that they were from the time of the exile and later.

 

Thehillah [Psalm] 104:1-7, “bless YHWH, my being. YHWH my el, you are very great; you have put on honor and majesty,  2 covering yourself with light like a cloak, and stretching out the heavens like a curtain;  3 who lays beams in the waters of his upper rooms; setting thick clouds as his chariots; walking on the wings of the wind.  4 he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.  5 he founded the earth on its foundations; it will not be shaken forever and ever.  6 you have covered the deep as with a robe; the waters stood above the mountains.  7 from your rebuke, they flee; from the sound of your thunder, they hurry away.”

 

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 49:35-37, “so says YHWH Tsebaoth [armies], look i will break the bow of eylam, the chief of their might.  36 and i will bring the four winds from the four ends of the heavens on eylam, and will scatter them toward all those winds. and there will be no goy where the outcasts of eylam will not come.  37 and i will cause eylam to be afraid before their enemies and before those seeking their being. and i will bring evil on them, the burning of my anger, declares YHWH. and i will send the sword after them until i have destroyed them.”

 

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 37:9, concerning the valley of dry bones, “then he said to me, prophesy to the wind. prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, so says adonay YHWH, come from the four winds,  wind, and breathe on these slain ones, that they may live.”

 

Daniel 7:2, “daniyel spoke and said, in my vision by night i was looking. and, look, the four winds of the heavens were stirring up the great sea.”  8:8, “then the he-goat became very great. and when he was mighty, the great horn was shattered. and in its place came up four outstanding ones toward the four winds of the heavens.”  11:4, “and when he stands up his kingdom will be shattered and will be divided to the four winds of the heavens, and not to his posterity, nor according to his authority with which he ruled. for his kingdom will be pulled up and given to others besides these.”

 

ZekarYahu, [Zechariah] 2:6, “10 (6) woe. woe. flee then from the land of the north, says YHWH. for i have scattered you as the four winds of the heavens, declares YHWH.  11(7) woe,  tsiyon. escape, you who live with the daughter of babel.”

 

This Hellenistic 4 winds elements continues into the New Testament writings that borrow heavily from these latter post-exilic writings. Revelations 7:1, “and after these things i saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on every tree.”

 

Please see the Seal of God, Mark of the Beast section for the continued solar application.

 

 

 

 

Astarte –  Ashtart / Astarte is the Greek form of the name for the mother goddess figure that dominates the Middle Eastern territory – Asratum, Ashratu, Ashirta, Asherah, Athirat, Ishtar. She like the other goddesses such as Athene, represents the mother goddess / creatress aspect, as well as that of sexuality and fertility. But like Ishtar, she seems to have incorporated some of the warrior goddess aspect as well. She is a lunar goddess. At times, the name Astarte comes to be used as a common word for goddess in general, such as in the Egyptian case where Anath is listed as the strongest of the astartes. Yet in the later assimilation by Egypt, Astarte is also a separate goddess. Both Anath and Astarte are wives of Seth and both are the daughters of Ra. Ramses III called Anath and Astarte his shield. In New Kingdom Egyptian art Astarte is armed and frequently seen riding a horse. She also is viewed as having a helmet with two horns, representing the lunar crescent. She had major cults and temples in the Phoenician cities of Byblos, Sidon and Tyre.

The first image is from Nahariya, 19th century BCE mould which idols were made from and the second image is from Horvat Qitmit, 7th century BCE.

 

In biblical texts she is paired with the name Baal, for El, consistent with that of the Phoenician/Carthaginian culture and inscriptions. She is listed as Ashtoreth, another example of the scribes taking the vowels of the word bosheth [shame] and inserting them in the name. The name is also used in the plural.

 

City Name: Ashtaroth, Ashteroth Qarnayim (plural horns)

 

Biblical Passages:

Shoftiym [Judges] 2:13, “yes, they forsook YHWH, and served baal and the ashtoreths.”

Shoftiym 10:6, “and the sons of yisrael did evil in the sight of YHWH again, and served the baals, and the ashtoroth [pl.], and the elohey of aram [syria], and the elohey of tsiydon, and the elohey of moab, and the elohey of the sons of ammon,  and the elohey of the felishthiym. and they forsook YHWH and did not serve him.”

I Shmuel  [Samuel] 7:3,4, “and shmuel said to all the beyth of yisrael, saying, if you are returning to YHWH with all your heart, put aside the elohey of the stranger from among you, and the ashtoroth. and prepare your heart to YHWH, and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the felisthiym.  4 and the sons of yisrael put away the baals and the ashtaroth, and served YHWH only.”

I Shmuel 31:9,10, “and they cut off his [shaul] head, and stripped off his weapons, and sent into the land of the feleshthiym [philistines] all around to proclaim the news in the beyth [house] of their idols, and among the people.  10 and they put his weapons in the beyth ashtaroth, and they fastened his body on the wall of beth shan.” It is speculated that the reason the weapons of King Shaul were put in the Beyth Ashtaroth [pl.] is because she was a goddess of war as well as sexuality and fertility. This would definitely be the latter blending of the Canaanite Asherah and Anat into Astarte, for Asherah was not a goddess of war and weapons, where Anat was. Another reason to look to this as Astarte, rather than the Canaanite Asherah is that we are dealing with the Felishthiym, one of the Sea Peoples.

I Melekiym [Kings] 11:5, 33 “and shlomoh [solomon] went after ashtoreth, goddess of the tsidoniym [sidonians], and after milcom, the abomination of the ammoniym;” Remember that Tsiydon was a major Phoenician city.

II Melekiym 23:13, “and the high places that were before yerushalaim, which were on the right hand of the mountain of corruption, which shlomoh the king of yisrael had built for ashtoreth the abomination of the tsidoniym, and for kemosh the abomination of the moabiym, and for milkom the detestable thing of the sons of ammon, the king defiled.”

 

 

Dagan / Dagaan / Daganu

Dagan has been covered from various aspects in the Amurru, Canaanite and Syrian / Aramean sections. Please see those for full details. Below is additional information that is specific to the Sea Peoples. Suffice is to say that Dagan was native to the Amurru territories, became Canaanite and when the Canaanites were conquered along the coastline by the Sea Peoples, was adopted by them and became part of their religion. Dagon was listed in the Tanak as a Felishthiym deity with temples there. According to the Commentary on Isaiah by Jerome, 46:1-4, he states that Dagon is the idol of Ashkelon, Gaza and the other cities of the Philistine (Dagon, qui tamen in Hebraico non habetur. Et est idolum Ascalonis, Gazae, et reliquarum urbium Philisthiim.)

 

Besides the Tanak verses below, another biblical passage that bears mention, because of the Phoenician/Philistine implications, is that of YeshaYahu 46:1, “bel has bowed; nebo stoops; their idols [images, forms] are for the living being, and for the cattle; your things carried are loads; a burden for the weary.” Bel became basically a title of other deities, like god came to be. Baal was also reckoned the same way. The reason I bring this passage up is that in the Septuagint translation of this passage, it has Dagon instead of Nebo. So in that translation it is Baal and Dagon. Now the Hebrew preposition  l  can be translated  “for”, “belonging to”, but it is also “of”. If we translate this passage with the Septuagint Dagon and “of”, it looks like this, “baal has bowed; dagon stoops; their images are of the living being, and of the cattle; your things carried are loads; a burden for the weary.”  This is important in a number of ways. First in the second Tanak passage below, I Shmuel, you see an account of the image of Dagon falling to the ground before the ark of covenant, representing YHWH. This account could be likened to “stooping”. There is no account of Nebo doing such. Next, Baal is represented as a bull calf, the son of El, the bull. That is cattle, behemah, which is listed in the YeshaYahu verse. Nebo is never likened to any form of cattle. Dagan and El are likened to be the same deity at times and both are reckoned to be the father of Baal. El is likened as a bull – cattle. One aspect of ancient Hebrew linguistic style is to say the same thing twice, but in two different ways.  “Sayce mentions a cylindrical seal of the seventh century B.C., now in the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford, with the words ‘Baal Dagon’ in Phoenician characters;” – History of the City of Gaza, Martin Meyer, Columbia University Press, New York, 1907, pg. 117.  This seal could be an indicator of the later Sea People assimilation of Dagan and the Tanak passage Phoenician/Philistine influence. If we apply this poetic double principle to the verse, the verse is about Dagan only, referring to him as a title Baal and to his name Dagan, stooping and bowing, an image of a living being and cattle, a load and a burden – 4 poetic doubles. So it seems more probable that this Septuagint version of Dagon is more correct, than Nebo.

 

Biblical Passages:

Shoftiym [Judges] 16:23, “and the rulers of the felishthiym [philistines] gathered to sacrifice a great sacrifice to dagon their elohiym, and to exult. and they said, our elohey has given our enemy shimshon [samson] into our hand.”

I Shmuel [Samuel] 5:1-12, “and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it from ebenezer to ashdod.  2 and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it to beyth dagon, and set it near dagon.  3 and the ashdodiym rose early on the next day. and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH. and they took dagon and put it back in its place.  4 and they rose early in the morning on the next day; and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH, and the head of dagon, and the two palms of its hands, were cut off at the threshold. only the flat part had been left to him.  5 on account of this the kohaniy of dagon, and all those coming into the beyth  dagon, do not step on the threshold of dagon in ashdod until this day.  6 and the hand of YHWH was heavy on the men of ashdod. and he wasted them, and struck them with hemorrhoids, ashdod and its borders.  7 and the men of ashdod saw that it was so, and said, the ark of the elohey of yisrael will not remain with us, for his hand has been hard on us, and on our elohey dagon.  8 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym to them, and said, what will we do with the ark of the elohey of yisrael? and they said, let the ark of the elohey of yisrael go around to gath. and they brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael.  9 and it happened after they had brought it around, the hand of YHWH was against the city with a very great tumult. and he struck the men of the city, from the least to the greatest; and swellings broke forth in them.  10 and they sent the ark of the elohiym around to eqron. and it happened as the ark of the elohiym came into eqron, the eqroniym cried out, saying, they have brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael to me to cause me and my people to die.  11 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym, and said, send away the ark of the elohey of yisrael, and let it return to its place, and it may not cause me and my people to die. for there had been a tumult of moth throughout all the city. the hand of the elohiym had been very heavy there.  12 and the men who had not died were stricken with swellings. and the cry of the city went up to the heavens.”

 

The Septuagint version of verse 4 has, “and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off each before the threshold, and both the wrists of his hands had fallen on the floor of the porch; only the stump of Dagon was left.” Clearly not a fish body as later Rabbis would like people to believe.

 

TsefanYahu [Zephaniah] 1:9, “and i will punish all those who leap above the threshold in that day, who fill the house of their masters with wealth gained by violence and deceit.” This passage is another reference to the practice of not stepping or leaping over the threshold of the temple of Dagan, since the whole first chapter and half of TsefanYahu is about the Felishthiym [Philistines] and their influence on Yahudah. In the Targums version of this verse, it states, “All who walk in the way of the Philistines.”

 

The temple of Dagan is also attested to in the Jewish book of I Maccabees   10:83-87, “The cavalry, which by now was scattered all over the battlefield, fled to Azotus, where they took refuge in the temple of Dagon, their god.84 But Jonathan set fire to the city and to the temple of Dagon, burning to death all those who had taken refuge there. Then he set fire to the surrounding towns and looted them.85 That day about 8,000 were either killed in the battle or burned to death.86 Jonathan left and set up camp at Ascalon, where the people of the city came out to welcome him with great honors.87 Jonathan and his men returned to Jerusalem with large quantities of loot.”

 

 

Adonis –   According to Kleins A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language, adon  means lord, master, possessor, is of Phoenician origin, from Adonis. Adonis is viewed as the dying and reviving god of fertility and vegetation, much as Baal is to the Canaanites and Thammuz to Mesopotamia. As to the origins of Adonis, there is much confusion.

 

Even in the Biblical texts, by translators, there is some confusion as to who is being represented.  The Vulgate [Latin] version of Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 8:14 has Adonis where the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew have Tammuz. Latin – “et introduxit me per ostium portae domus Domini quod respiciebat ad aquilonem et ecce ibi mulieres sedebant plangentes Adonidem” “and he brought me to the opening of the gate of the beyth of YHWH, toward the north. and, look, women were sitting there weeping for tammuz.”

 

Personal Name: Adonay Bazaq [lord of lightning flash] , Adonay Tsedeq [lord of righteousness], Adoniram [lord exalted]

 

 

 

Carthaginian

 

Tanit / Tanith – Tanit was a lunar goddess and the patron goddess of the Carthaginians. She is a later version of the mother goddess Athirat / Athirath / Ashratu / Asherah with ties to Athene and Anath. She was the consort to Baal Chammon, having the epithet Pene Baal [Face of Baal].  Her symbol is a circle inside a crescent, supported by a triangle.

 

If you notice in the images below, they resemble the images of Asherah, with the fertility/plant and animal life to her sides. The grouping of amulets were found in Ashkelon, a Felishthiym [Philistine] city. In Stagers article, Child Sacrifice at Carthage..., showing an ivory plaque, ”Ivory plaque naming ‘Tanit Ashtart,’ found in a small shrine in the industrial quarter of the seventh-century B.C. Phoenician city of Sarepta, eight miles south of Sidon on the Mediterranean coast. Professor James Pritchard of the University of Pennsylvania, who discovered this plaque, only 2 inches long and 1.3 inches wide, thinks that it might have once been attached to a statue. The four line Phoenician inscription reads: ‘The statue which SLM, son of MP’L, son of ZY made for Tanit Ashtart.’”  William Dever, Did God Have A Wife?, pg. 232, writes, “Additional iconographic motifs that can be related to Asherah (Keel and Uehlinger say to ‘the goddess’) later in her history in Israel and Judah include doves. Doves appear frequently in connection with the goddess Tanit, the late Phoenician counterpart of Asherah.”  Early History of God, Mark Smith, pg. 119, mentions a text (KAI 81:1) of Tanit in Lebanon, a Phoenician city. Pg. 122, note 64, provides examples of text, “Tanit, face of Baal”, (KAI 78:2, 79:1, 10-11, 85:1, 86:1, 137:1, 87:1).

 

 

    

 

     

 

Stager also writes, “Tanit was the leading goddess of Carthage; her consort was Baal Hammon, who was probably the Phoenician equivalent of the patriarch of the Canaanite pantheon, El. El appears frequently in the Hebrew Bible as a general term for God, including the Israelite deity.” Just as el is a general term, so is baal, for master. Baal, as a deity, never resided on Mt. Hammon [Amanus]. He resided on Mt. Tsafon/Tsaphon. El resided on Amanus/Hammon.

 

Archaeoastronomists have noted a correlation between a change in the Tanit steles and an astronomical event. In the above stelae, the crescent is below the solar disk. From the time period of 462-145 BCE, the crescent appears above the solar disk, in what some call the “Protective Crescent Avator.”  Below are three stelae showing the protective crescent. On April 30th, 462 BCE, a near total eclipse of the sun occurred over Carthage, with the sun under the moon position. Only speculation can explain the significance to the ancient Carthaginians and how it involved their religious beliefs. Once the Romans conquered Carthage, these stelae stop.

 

        

 

 

A further development of Tanit involved the open hand of blessing, which was also protective. This is evidenced by the following stelae. This hand symbol continues and becomes more dominant, especially in Judaism and Islam.

 

 

 

Within Judaism, the protective, blessing hand is called a Hamesh. Within Islam, it is called the Hand of Fatima, Hamsa / khamsa / chamsa , which is Arabic for five. These amulets are rampant within Judaism and Islam. “A frequent occurrence is a hand inscribed on the paper parchment amulets. Silver amulets made in the form of hands are common and are usually North African in origin and the hand is supposed to ward off the ‘evil eye.’ It is considered by some to be the hand of Fatima, who was Muhammad’s daughter, but hands have appeared on North African amulets since the times of the Carthaginians and these people antedate the Muslim tradition by more than a thousand years. The tradition of using hands on amulets still persists strongly in Morocco, Tunis, and Algeria, as well as throughout the Muslim world.”-Encyclopedia Judaica CD under Amulet.

 

After mentioning a reference in the Talmud, Ber. 55b, about how to avert the evil eye by sticking your right thumb in your left hand and your left thumb in your right hand, then proclaiming who you are, the son of and of the seed of Joseph, Encyclopedia Judaica mentions under the subject of Evil Eye, “The belief in the evil eye and the various means, both sacred and profane, of averting it, were very prevalent among the Eastern European Jews; to this day they exist in many oriental Jewish communities. In modern times the use of blue paint and a metal amulet in the form of a (sp) open palm of the hand are still widespread in oriental communities, “

 

 

              

 

 

Later this hand symbol includes an eye in the center of the hand to ward off the evil eye. 

 

“Beads are found more frequently in burials than any other artifact. They were used for adornment and as amulets. Eye-beads to deflect the ‘evil eye’ are common in Phoenician graves, though less so in Israelite/Judahite ones.”- Life in Biblical Israel, King and Stager, pg. 277. In the excavations of Ashkelon, a major Felishthiym [Philistine] city, these Phoenician evil eye beads have been found.  The evil eye talisman to ward off the evil eye is known in the Mediterranean before 6th century BCE. In the Turkish community the evil eye amulet is called nazar. Turkey is just north of where the major Phoenician cities of Gubal [Byblos], Sidon and Tyre are. Please see the Athene / Athena section for more information on the blue evil eye talismans.

 

The first two images of beads are ancient Phoenician evil eye beads, the second two are modern beads that are sold everywhere.

 

                

 

 

 

Baal Chammon /  Baal Hammon – While the meaning of Chammon/Hammon is uncertain, with some scholars associating it with the sun pillars and some with a brazier for burning, the certainty is not supported with any texts or inscriptions at this time. The possibility of Hammon being associated with the Mountain range Amanus, where El resided is very good. Baal Hammon is represented as the solar disk, over the Tanit lunar symbol. Images are in the Tanit section below. Baal Hammon and Tanit were the Carthaginian patron deities. As explained earlier in the Melek section dealing with the tophets, there are dedicatory inscriptions on the stelae and urns to Baal Hammon and Tanit.

 

Stager (see reference below in Tanit) also writes, “Tanit was the leading goddess of Carthage; her consort was Baal Hammon, who was probably the Phoenician equivalent of the patriarch of the Canaanite pantheon, El. El appears frequently in the Hebrew Bible as a general term for God, including the Israelite deity.” Just as el is a general term, so is baal, for master. Baal, as a deity, never resided on Mt. Hammon [Amanus]. He resided on Mt. Tsafon/Tsaphon. El resided on Amanus/Hammon.  Stager also writes, “During his brief reign, Elagabalus transported his favorite deity’s cult image, a conical ‘black stone’ from Syria, and brought the statue and dowry of the Phoenician goddess Tanit from Carthage. Both were enshrined on the Palantine, and as the divine couple they reigned as the leading deities of Rome. And, of course, therein lies the clue to solving the mystery of the identity of Elagabal; he was none other that Tanit’s spouse in Carthage, the well-known Phoenician (and Syrian) deity Baal Hamon, or ‘Lord of the Mt. Amanus.’ Actually his Latin name Elagabal disguises another valuable clue to his identity, for it is the Latinized form of the Semitic El Jebel, which means ‘El of the mountain.’ “- Ashkelon Discovered, From Canaanites and Philistines to Romans and Moslems, Lawrence E. Stager, pg. 49. Elagabalus (203-222), son of Julia Soaemias (Syrian) and Sextus Varius Marcellus, became the Roman emperor when he was 14 yrs old. He was the priest of El Gabal at Emesa, in Syria. The Syrian is Ilah hag Gabal, God of the Hill/Mountain.

 

 

City: Chammon [sun pillar/brazier in Phoenician, occurs frequently with ElChamman, BaalChamman and EbedChamman], Baal Chammon [master of sun pillar?]

 

 

 

Dagan / Dagaan / Daganu –  An Amorite/Canaanite/Ugaritic/Syrian/Mesopotamian god of fertility. Some scholars believe that Dagan is another name for El. The belief that his name means fish because of the Felishthiym [Philistine] association with the sea is a stretch. The fact that the Semitic word for grain is dagan is more likely. Some scholars question which came first. Did grain come to be called by the deity that he was over or the other way around? Another possible confirmation of that name meaning grain/corn is from an account handed down over many years by several authors. The supposed original author is Sanchuniathon – a Phoenician, who then is translated by Philo of Byblos, who then is copied by Eusebius. The following are the two quotes involving Dagon and grain. “...Dagon, which signifies Siton (grain/corn in Greek)...” and,  “And Dagon, after he had found out bread-corn, and the plough, was called Zeus Arotrius.” The idea that his name is associated with fish has no basis in any Semitic language. It is a rabbinic tradition that Dagon means fish.

 

In the book, Time at Emar by, Daniel Fleming, the ritual texts dealing with the Zukru Festival have a number of names that bear witness to the fertility aspect of Dagan: Dagan, Lord of the Seed, Dagan, Lord of the Offspring, Dagan Lord of the Firstborn, Dagan, and Lord of Creation. Fleming writes in note 178, pg 90, that the Aleppo citadel stone has an inscription stating Dagan as the Father of Gods. He also sites in the same note that a Mari text A. 1258+ :9 calls Dagan, “the great mountain, father of the gods.” On pg. 91 he states, “Even under the zukru festival’s royal sponsorship, Dagan is not celebrated as the king of the gods but as their parent.” This father of the gods aspect ties in with the fact that the Emar zukru text mention the gods as amounting to 70, just as the number of the offspring of El and Asherah at Ugarit.

 

The name Dagan is frequently a theophoric element in Amorite names from numerous kingdoms. On Hammurabi’s Code, Hammurabi writes that he is a warrior of Dagan. Dagan first appears in 2500 BCE at Mari, in 2300 BCE at Ebla and 1300 BCE at Ugarit. Hammurapi [the Amorite spelling, Hammurabi is the Akkadian], an Amorite, gives credit for the subjugation of the settlements along the Euphrates River to Dagan, his creator. A number of personal names with Dagan as the theophoric element appear in the texts from Mari, an Amorite center. There were major temples to Dagan at four major Amorite cities: Mari, Ebla, Emar and Ugarit. Dagan was the chief god of the Ebla pantheon, also having one of the four gates named for him. He was also the chief deity of Emar where a major festival, similar to Pesach was performed. The worship of Dagan spread from the east westward, to Syria and through Canaan. At the time of the Ugaritic texts, Dagan was new to the scene and does not appear prominently in their texts. He was adopted by the Felishthiym [Philistines] and was the patron deity of the city of Ashdod.

 

City Name: Beyth Dagon [House of Dagon]

 

Biblical Passages:

Shoftiym [Judges] 16:23, “and the rulers of the felishthiym [philistines] gathered to sacrifice a great sacrifice to dagon their elohiym, and to exult. and they said, our elohey has given our enemy shimshon [samson] into our hand.”

I Shmuel [Samuel] 5:1-12, “and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it from ebenezer to ashdod.  2 and the felishthiym took the ark of the elohiym and brought it to beyth dagon, and set it near dagon.  3 and the ashdodiym rose early on the next day. and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH. and they took dagon and put it back in its place.  4 and they rose early in the morning on the next day; and, look. dagon had fallen on its face to the earth before the ark of YHWH, and the head of dagon, and the two palms of its hands, were cut off at the threshold. only the flat part had been left to him.  5 on account of this the kohaniy of dagon, and all those coming into the beyth  dagon, do not step on the threshold of dagon in ashdod until this day.  6 and the hand of YHWH was heavy on the men of ashdod. and he wasted them, and struck them with hemorrhoids, ashdod and its borders.  7 and the men of ashdod saw that it was so, and said, the ark of the elohey of yisrael will not remain with us, for his hand has been hard on us, and on our elohey dagon.  8 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym to them, and said, what will we do with the ark of the elohey of yisrael? and they said, let the ark of the elohey of yisrael go around to gath. and they brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael.  9 and it happened after they had brought it around, the hand of YHWH was against the city with a very great tumult. and he struck the men of the city, from the least to the greatest; and swellings broke forth in them.  10 and they sent the ark of the elohiym around to eqron. and it happened as the ark of the elohiym came into eqron, the eqroniym cried out, saying, they have brought around the ark of the elohey of yisrael to me to cause me and my people to die.  11 and they sent and gathered all the rulers of the felishthiym, and said, send away the ark of the elohey of yisrael, and let it return to its place, and it may not cause me and my people to die. for there had been a tumult of moth throughout all the city. the hand of the elohiym had been very heavy there.  12 and the men who had not died were stricken with swellings. and the cry of the city went up to the heavens.”

Hoshea 7:14, “and they have not cried to me with their heart, when they howled on their beds. they slash themselves for dagan and thiyrosh; they turn against me. ” Thiyrosh in the Ugarit is Tirsu, the god/goddess of wine, possibly related to the Akkadian beer wine goddess Siras.

Hoshea 9:1, “yisrael, do not rejoice for joy, like the peoples. for you have whored away from your elohey. you have loved the whores wage on all threshing floors of dagan.

 

 

Hadad / Adad–  ccd  a storm god, whose name means thunderer. Originally Hadad was an Amorite, then Syrian god called Addu/Haddu in the cuneiform text. He was a chief deity. Later he was known as Rimmon, a god of thunder and storm. Some texts say he is the son of Dagon. Also known as Baal Hadad.

 

 

Ug. V. 3.1-4, “Baal sits enthroned, his mountain is like a throne; Haddu the Shepherd; like the flood. In the midst of his mountain, divine Sapan, in the midst of the mount of his victory, seven bolts of lightning he hurls, eight store-houses of thunder. A shaft of lightning he wields in his right hand.”

 

 

Personal Name: Hadadezer [Hadad is helper], Hadad

 

Biblical Passages:

ZekarYahu [Zechariah] 12:11, “in that day the mourning in yerushalaim will be great, like the mourning of hadad rimmon [like the weeping for baal or tammuz], in the valley of megiddon.”

 

 

Rimmon –   penx  also known as Adad Rammon, he was a god of storm and lightning. He is identified with Hadad, the Canaanite/Syrian god of storms.

 

Personal Name: Tobrimmon [good Rimmon - pomegranate]

City: Rimmon, Eyn Rimmon [eye of Rimmon], Rimmon Ferets/Perets [Rimmon separate]

 

Biblical Passages:

ZekarYahu [Zechariah] 12:11, “in that day the mourning in yerushalaim will be great, like the mourning of hadad rimmon [like the weeping for baal or tammuz], in the valley of megiddon.”

 

 

Baal Gad – cb  lra  master of luck or fortune.

 

City :Baal Gad

 

Biblical Passages:

Yahusha [Joshua] 11:17, “from mountain hachalaq, that goes up to seiyr, even to baal gad in the valley of lebanon, below mountain chermon. and he took all their kings, and struck them, and killed them.”

 

 

 

I need to explain this section. Many people use a number of terms synonymously and frequently mistakenly. Please refer to the first map at the beginning of this study, dealing with the ancient nations to see these empires that are discussed. Before Babylon was a major kingdom, there were the southern Sumerian city states, which were assimilated by the Akkadian empire that began in Akkad, in the north. Then the Amurru/Amorite empire made inroads as far south as Babel. A number of Akkadian and Sumerian cities were held as Amurru for a time. Later the northern Assyrian empire rose from Ashshur and conquered Sumeria. Still later, the southern kingdom of Babylon arose from Babel, conquering, absorbing and assimilating Assyria. The empires in this territory kept expanding, conquering their neighbors, absorbing the cultures of those they conquered and assimilated some of their deities and their practices, as well as their languages and script. This is important to understand that what came to be known as Assyrian and Babylonian, had much foundation in the previous three cultures, and therefore, some similarities.

 

Akkadian and Sumerian are also the terms used for the two languages of those territories. So the terms are not just geographical for the empires, but also apply to the linguistics and their cuneiform scripts. Included in this Babylonian and Assyrian section are the Akkadian and Sumerian deities that were assimilated.

 

Inanna – (Lady of the sky) is viewed as a queen of heaven and mother goddess, and is the granddaughter of the Sumerian Creator goddess Nammu, who created the gods and mankind. Nammu is like the later Babylonian mother creatress Tiamat. “Nammu was known as ‘She who gives birth to heaven and earth,’ as well as ‘the mother of all deities.” When God was a Woman, pg. 82.  The Mes were Tablet of Destiny (Civilization) which were worn around the neck of the Creatress. In one account the Mes are given by Enlil to Enki, who was a son of Nammu. Enki is later listed as Marduk’s father. Later accounts clearly show that when the mother was killed by the warrior king/son, the usurper took the tablets to rule with. Yet the older system was matrilineal and the Mes would have passed to the daughters. Ninhursag another earth and mother goddess, also known as Ninmah, is the daughter of Nammu. With the help of her mother Nammu, she creates the first people. It is at this time that Enki has possession of the Mes and is given credit for establishing world order, which is what the Mes are all about. Enki tried to kill Nammu / Tiamat and could not, but he did kill her husband/consort. This killing of Nammu / Tiamat is later achieved by Enki’s son, Marduk, who takes the Mes from her body. In the Sumerian accounts, Inanna asks for the Mes and is denied so she gets her father drunk and he then gives her the Mes, which she takes back to her city of Uruk. This may be a representation of Inanna trying to reclaim what was originally the work and teachings of the mother culture that the patriarchal invaders took and claimed as their labors and inventions. Inanna was associated with the earth, grain groves, wine and love. In the older accounts, Inanna prefers to wed Enkidu a farmer god, but Dumuzi, obviously a Kurgan / Indo-European shepherd deity takes her for his wife.

 

One of the other Sumerian names for Inanna is Iahu, which means, “Exalted Dove”. It is in this form that the legend of Marduk cutting Tiamat in half, in the form of a dove, is represented. This was understood at a Babylonian spring festival when they cut a dove in half, representing Marduk cutting Tiamat in half and establishing his governmental order. Inanna, also spelled Ninanna, Innina and Irnina is also related to the Hattian Arinna mother goddess before the Indo-European Hittites subjugated them and diminished the goddess in their mythology. She is also related to the Hurrian Hannahannah mother goddess of that native culture that the Indo-European Hurrians conquered and assimilated. Arinna and Hannahannah are both from the 2500 BCE time period. Another association is with the Canaanite Anath and the Aegean, western Anatolian Athene / Athena. This is especially obvious when you add Lilitu to the situation.

 

Lilitu / Lilit / Lilith – Lilitu is the later Sumerian handmaid of Inanna, also called the hand of Inanna. In am including this here, between Inanna and Ishtar, because she is an offshoot of the two goddesses. The Hebrew name Lilith is a loan word from the Akkadian Lilitu. In the later Babylonian accounts, very much due to the established Kurgan / Indo-European male dominated influence, that demonizes women, the texts list her as the prostitute of Ishtar, addressed below. In the Semitic languages, laylah, means night. Lilith is the Hebrew variation of Lilitu. Lilitu is depicted as a woman with features of an owl, but this is an older and more western theme that migrated to Sumeria and then Babylonia. “Of greater importance, however, is the sexual aspect of the – mainly- female demons lilitu and (w)ardat lili. Thus the texts refer to them as the ones who have no husband, or as the ones who stroll about searching for men in order to ensnare them or to enter the house of the man through the window.” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, pg. 520. Clearly, as with so many cultures, any woman that did not submit to the invading patriarchal system, who refused to take a husband, became a threat, and was demonized, like the Greek Amazons and Anath of the Canaanites. The patriarchal invaders made women property of their father and then to a husband. Should a husband die, she then became the property of her husbands brother.

 

Some believe Lilith’s name occurs in the Tanak, others that it is just a personification of her. The word liyliyth (lilith) occurs in the following passage with a grouping of other desert animals, some only used once and therefore hard to define. YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 34:14, “the desert creatures will also meet with the howlers; and the shaggy goat will cry to his fellow. the screech owl [liyliyth- lilith] will also settle there, and find a place of rest for herself.”  It is translated as screech owl, a representation applied to her, as a night bird. There are a number of mother goddesses that are also associated with various birds, one especially with the owl, including Inanna, Ishtar and Athene. Please read the Athene / Athena section of the Phoenician / Philistine – Sea Peoples section for more specific information.  Just because a passage of text deals with certain animals, does not mean they are literal animals. I have run into whole passages of text in the prophets that list one, very well known image of the mother goddesses after another. The passages of the curses seemed to be directly attacking the mother goddesses, without directly naming them, by using the animals representation instead. In Judaism’s mythology, Lilith was the first wife of Adam. She refused to submit to his authority, even sexually, refusing to lie beneath him, saying they were both equal, and flew from Eden. She has since then been viewed as a creature of the night, seeking to seduce men and was demonized of course. The ironic part of this mythology is that Lilith stated they were equal, which  is a common pattern amongst cultures that were matrilineal, in contrast to the Indo-European patriarchal system on castes and slavery, even of the native men they conquered.

 

There is an image, called the Burney Relief, after Sidney Burney, a London antiques dealer, who purchased the relief in 1935. It was originally purchased from a Syrian dealer, but the provenance is unknown. Many people associate the relief with either Inanna or Ishtar, due to the figures hands holding the rings of power, which is a Sumerian and Babylonian symbol. But I think that the image is from the Syrian to western Anatolian territory, which also had some similar imagery, but more especially the images of women and owls combined or beside each other. This subject is more fully covered in the Athene section. At any rate, other writes have named the image Lilith because of the associations. There are no inscriptions on the relief to tie it to any one goddess with certainty.

 

 

 

 

Another passage with the woman, wings and wickedness association is ZekarYahu 5:5-11, “then the malak who was speaking with me went out, and said to me, now lift up your eyes and see what this is that goes forth.  6 and i said, what is it? and he said, this is the ephah that goes forth. and he said, this is their form in all the earth.  7 and, look, a lead cover was lifted up, and a woman was sitting in the middle of the ephah.  8 and he said,  this is wickedness. and he threw her into the midst of the ephah; and he threw the lead stone over its opening.  9 and i lifted up my eyes and looked. and, look, two women came out. and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of the stork. and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.  10 and i said to the malak who was speaking with me, where are they going with the ephah?  11 and he said to me, to build a beyth for it in the land of shinar; and it will be made ready and placed there on its own place.” 

 

The Hebrew for stork is chasiydah. Yes, the root is chasiyd, which means devout. Chasiydah is so named because it is literally the pious, devout bird. According to Klein’s, it is so called in allusion to its love for its young – she that practices maternal care. The nurturing aspect of women and the bird association is one of the mother / creatress / goddess characteristics. This is clearly a patriarchal demonized view of women.

 

Another example is that of a Qumran text that is nearly identical to passages in Mishley [Proverbs], about the Whore, Woman of Folly, etc. The Qumran text was found in cave 4, 4Q184, which some title, the Seductress. Below is a translation of the text. Writing between brackets are projected restorations from corrupted text.

 

4Q184

“[From her mouth] she brings fort vanity and…errors, she seeks continually [to sharpen her] words. And mockingly she flatters / deals smoothly, she insults altogether with [lips] of perversity. Her Heart establishes recklessness and her kidneys… …in perversity they are touched and her hands go down to the pit. Her feet go down to do evil and to walk in guilt [of rebellion]. Foundations of darkness… great are the rebellions in her wings [kanaf].  …eminence of night and her coverings… Her covers are deep darkness of twilight and her ornaments are touched with ruin. Her couches are beds of the pit, from the low places of the pit. From her night huts are beds of darkness and in the midst of [night are her tents]. From the foundations of the deep darkness she pitches dwelling and she sits in tents of silence. In the middle of everlasting fires, not in the middle of all luminaries is her inheritance. She is the beginning of all the ways of perversity. Woe, ruin belongs to all who possess her and destruction to [all] that takes hold of her. For her ways are ways of death and her paths are paths of sin. Her tracks are strayings of perversity and her [byways] are wrongdoings of rebellion. Her gates are gates of death, at the entrance of her house she steps into [Sheol]. [All] who enter, [they will not return] [and look] all her inheritors go down to the pit. And she lies in wait in secret places [near] every [corner… In the broad places of the city she covers herself and in the gates of the city she stations herself. And she has [no repose from walking continually]. Her eyes glance here and there and her eyelids she lifts wantonly. [To look at] a righteous [man] and trip him up and a [might] man she causes him to stumble. Upright men to pervert their way and [prevents] the righteous elect from keeping the commandment. The sustained ones to cause to be foolish with wantonness and those who walk straight to alter their [custom]. To cause the meek ones to rebel from El and to turn their steps from the ways of righteousness. To bring [insolence to their hearts] so that they are not [ordered] on the paths of righteousness. To lead humanity astray into the ways of the pit and to seduce with smooth talk the sons of man.”

 

You will notice toward the end of the first quarter of the text the phrase “great are the rebellions in her wings.” The word wings is kanafiym [plural of kanaf]. Some translators have translated skirts, but this should actually be wings for a number of reasons. Kanaf’s primary definition is wing, according to Klein’s,  not just in Hebrew, but in another of the Semitic languages. Kanaf also means to cover with ones wings. This is a common theme with the mother goddesses, as well as the assimilated passages later ascribed to El or YHWH. Another reason this should be wings, instead of skirts, is the night [liylah] references which have the female ending, as well as other night terms such as darkness and twilight in the same context. These are all male dominated characteristics they have placed on the female goddesses they have vilified. 

 

Of the 109 uses of kanaf in the Tanak, almost all are translated as wings, except where the translators agenda is clearly to remove the obvious assimilation of the mother goddess culture from El or YHWH, such as Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 16:8, now associated with YHWH, “and i passed by you, and i looked on you, and, look, your time was the time of love. and i spread my wings over you and covered your nakedness. and i swore to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares adonay YHWH. and you became mine.”  Other places it is clearly wings and no attempt to hide it was made, the associations were simply assimilated. Malakiy 4:2, “but to you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise up, and healing will be on his wings.” This was an older association with the mother goddesses, which were also solar and healing deities. Thehillah [Psalm] 17:8, “keep me as the pupil, the daughter of the eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings,” Shemoth [Exodus] 19:4, “you yourselves have seen what i did to mitsrayim [egypt], and how i bore you on the wings of eagles , and brought you to myself.” HaDebariym [Deut.] 32:9-11, “for portion of YHWH is his people; yaaqob is the lot of his inheritance.  10 he found him in a desert land, and in the waste, a howling wilderness. he encircled him and cared for him; he guarded him as the pupil of his eye.  11 as the eagle stirs up its nest; it hovers over its young; it spreads out its wings and takes it, and bears it on its wing.”

 

There are a few references in the Talmud to Lilith. Shabbath 151b, “R. Hanina said: One may not sleep in a house alone, and whoever sleeps in a house alone is seized by Lilith.”  Erubin 18b, “R. Jeremiah b. Eleazar further stated: In all those years during which Adam was under the ban he begot ghosts and male demons and female demons (night demons), for it is said in Scripture: And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years and begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image, from which it follows that until that time he did not beget after his own image. An objection was raised: R. Meir said: Adam was a great saint. When he saw that through him death was ordained as a punishment he spent a hundred and thirty years in fasting, severed connection with his wife for a hundred and thirty years, and wore clothes of fig [leaves] on his body for a hundred and thirty years. — That statement was made in reference to the semen which he emitted accidentally.”  Niddah 24b, “Rab Judah citing Samuel ruled: If an abortion had the likeness of Lilith (A female demon of the night, reputed to have wings and a human face.) its mother is unclean by reason of the birth, for it is a child, but it has wings. So it was also taught: R. Jose stated, It once happened at Simoni that a woman aborted the likeness of Lilith, and when the case came up for a decision before the Sages they ruled that it was a child but that it also had wings.” There are two other references in the Talmud, but the verses are unclear as to meaning, other than the notes that Lilith is a night demon – Gittin 69b and Baba Bathra 73a.  Clearly the Talmud reflected the beliefs that Lilith had wings, was a seducer of men, propagated by collecting the seed of masturbating men and was a demon of the night.

 

 

 

Ishtar Ishtar is another of those goddesses with composite characteristics as time progressed and nations rose and fell. One of these goddesses that came to be merged with the Akkadian Ishtar is the Sumerian Inanna.  While not directly named in the Hebrew text, there is a reference that could refer to several of the goddesses – Asherah / Ashratu / Ashirta, Astarte and Ishtar, the Queen of Heaven. Ishtar was demoted to the daughter of the Moon god Sin and sister of the sun god Shammash and the wife of Dumuzi/Tammuz in the patriarchal re-mything. In the city of Nimrud she is stated to be the Directress of People. She is characterized as the goddess of sexual love, yet is also a war goddess, much as Anath in the Canaanite lore. She is represented by the planet Venus, the morning and evening star, which accounts for her symbol, the eight pointed star. Astronomers and archaeologists have noted the correlation from ancient texts and stelae between Ishtar and the planet Venus, showing that the ancients kept very good records to record such patterns and associate it numerically with her symbol.

 

“Because some astronomical objects move through the sky in repeated and known intervals of time, the behavior of the celestial gods associated with them ban be symbolized numerically. Ishtar, as the planet Venus, perhaps was handled this way in the eight pointed star that usually stands for her on Babylonian boundary stones...One clay tablet found at the site (Uruk) says ‘star Inanna,’ and another contains symbols for the words ‘star, setting sun, Inanna.’ Inanna is Venus, known later as Ishtar, and the tablets specify her celestial identity with the symbol for ‘star’: an eight-pointed star.” Echoes of the Ancient Skies, Edwin Krupp, pg. 303.  “By the Kassite Dynasty, roughly 1600-1150 B.C., the eight-pointed star had acquired a more specific meaning. It belonged to Ishtar, as Venus, and shows up on numerous kudurru, or boundary stones, which were an innovation of the Kassite kings.” pg. 304. “Perhaps the number eight is itself symbolic, for Venus experiences an eight-year cycle...To establish the importance of this cycle we must verify that the Mesopotamians were familiar with it and made something special of it. In fact, we know they were well aware of it. Omen texts from the First Babylonian Dynasty (ca. 1900-1660 B.C.) confirm that the old Mesopotamian skywatchers understood that Venus as the morning star and as the evening star were the same thing. By the Seleucid period (ca. 301-164 B.C.), we have a number of late goal-year texts in which the eight-year period was used to predict the appearance of Venus.” Pg. 306.

 

Below is first a Babylonian boundary stone, a stelae of King Melishipak and a Kassite boundary stone, each portraying the eight pointed star of Ishtar, the crescent moon symbol of Sin and the solar wheel symbol of Shammash.

    

 

 

Biblical Passages:

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 7:18, “the sons gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for melketh hashamayim [queen of the heavens], and to pour out drink offerings to other elohiym, that they may provoke me.

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 44:16-25, “16 as for the word that you have spoken to us in the name YHWH, we will not listen to you.  17 but we will certainly do whatever thing goes out of our own mouth,  to burn incense to the queen of the heavens, and to pour out drink offerings to her, as we have done, we and our fathers, our kings, and our rulers, in the cities of yahudah [judah] and in the streets of yerushalaim [jerusalem]. and we had plenty of food, and were well, and saw no evil.  18 but when we stopped burning incense to the queen of the heavens, and pouring out drink offerings to her, we have lacked all things, and have been devoured by the sword and by the famine.  19 and when we burned sacrifices to the queen of the heavens and poured out drink offerings to her, did we make cakes in her image, and pour out drink offerings to her, without our men?  20 then yirmeyahu said to all the people; to the men, and to the women, and to all the people who were answering,  21 the incense that you burned in the cities of yahudah and in the streets of yerushalaim, you, and your fathers, your kings, and your rulers, and the people of the land, did not YHWH remember them? and it came into his heart.  22 and YHWH could no longer bear because of the evil of your doings, because of the detestable things you have committed. for this reason your land is a waste, and a horror, and a curse, without one living in it, as at this day.  23 because you have burned incense, and because you have sinned against YHWH, and have not obeyed the  voice of YHWH, in his thorath [teachings], or in his rules; and because you did not walk in his testimonies, therefore this evil has happened to you, as at this day.  24 yirmeyahu also said to all the people, and to all the women, hear the word of YHWH, all yahudah in the land of mitsrayim [egypt].  25 so says YHWH tsebaoth, the elohey of yisrael, saying, you and your wives have both spoken with your mouths, and fulfilled with your hands, saying, performing we will perform our vows that we have vowed, to burn incense to the queen of the heavens,  and to pour out drink offerings to her. lifting up you lift up your vows and performing you perform your vows.”

 

 

Bel –   la is a title meaning Lord, similar to Baal and is not a separate deity. The Babylonians gave the title Bel to Marduk and he was known as Bel-Marduk. Feminine form is Belit.

 

Personal Name: Beletshatsar [Belit protect the king]

 

Biblical Passages:

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 46:1, “bel has bowed; nebo stoops; their idols are of the living being, and of the cattle; your things carried are loads; a burden for the weary.”

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 50:2, “declare among the goyim, and make them hear, and lift up a banner. make them hear, do not hide it; say, babel is captured, bel is put to shame, merodak is broken in pieces, her images are put to shame, her idols are broken in pieces.”

YirmeYahu 51:44, “and i will punish bel in babel, and i will bring forth out of his mouth that which he has swallowed up. and the goyim will not flow together any more to him; the wall of babel will fall.”

 

 

Ashshur –  xy` / xey`    Also written Assur [pronounced Ashur] /  Ashur became the chief, creator deity of the old Assyrian patriarchal pantheon, later associated with Marduk when the Babylonian empire took over the Assyrian. He was the patron deity of Assyria, specifically the town Assur, which was a holy site in ancient times, bearing his name. Ashshur was given the characteristics of the older Akkadian  Ellil and Sumerian deity Enlil, Lord of Wind, god of breath, wind and storms, the head of the ancient pantheon, who stole the Tablets of Destiny. Ashshur is represented as a dragon slayer and warrior. He is lord of the four cardinal points and is also represented as the god of four faces, one of a bull, an eagle, a lion and a man. His symbols are the winged solar disk and the bow and arrow.

 

   

 

 

Personal Name: Ashshurchaddon [Ashshur-aha-iddina – Ashshur has given a brother to me – Esarhaddon], Ashurbanipal [Ashshur creator of an heir – Ashshur-bani-apli, poorly written in the Hebrew text as Osnapper in the book of Ezra]

City: TelAshshur [mound,heap, sometimes hill of Ashshur – steps, success]

 

Biblical Passages:

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 14:25, “to break ashshur in my land, and trample him on my mountains. then his yoke will depart from them, and his burden will depart from his shoulders.”

YeshaYahu 30:31-33, “for through the voice of YHWH, ashshur will be crushed, the rod with which he strikes.  32 and every passage of the appointed staff that YHWH causes to rest on him will be with timbrels and with harps. and in brandishing battles he fights with her.  33 for topheth is ordained from yesterday. also, it is prepared for the king; he deepened; he widened its pyre; he makes great with fire and wood. the breath of YHWH burns in it like a torrent of brimstone.”

YeshaYahu 31:8, “then ashshur will fall by a sword, not of man; yes, a sword, not of man, will devour him. for he will flee from the sword, and his young men will become forced labor. ”

 

 

Marduk –  kcxn  Marduk [ Also called Bel Marduk] became the King of Gods, supreme, in the late Babylonian pantheon. He is represented as the god of storm and lighting, as well as the sun, therefore the fertility god and patron god of Babel. His name in Akkadian is Amar Utu, which means calf of the storm. Many scholars believe that Amar Utu / Marduk originated elsewhere and was adopted by the Mesopotamian groups. This is also believed by Albert Clay, who states that Amar Utu is the Amorite god Amurru / Uru. When the Amorites ruled in that territory, many of their deities were adopted and assimilated.

 

There is a relief that deals with a legend of Marduk slaying the dragon, which has 7 heads, just as the Ugaritic account of Baal and Mot, who was also portrayed as a dragon with 7 heads. This slaying of the dragon is the patriarchal portrayal of the Sumerian primordial mother goddess Tiamat, who gave birth to all the gods and goddesses and was later vilified as a dragon. Tiamat was the creator and possessor of the Mes – Tablets of Destiny (Civilizations), which she wore around her neck. After killing the Mother goddess, Marduk steals the Mes from Tiamat’s body and uses them to build his empire.

 

The characteristics of Marduk were assimilated from the Assyrian Ashshur and the preceding Akkadian and Sumerian Enlil.

 

 

 

Personal Name: Marduk Baladan [Marduk has given a son, Sumerian –Marduk-abal-iddina], Mardakiy [Mordecai]

 

Biblical Passages:

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 50:2, “declare among the goyim, and make them hear, and lift up a banner. make them hear, do not hide it; say, babel is captured, bel is put to shame, merodak is broken in pieces, her images are put to shame, her idols are broken in pieces.”

 

 

 

Nabu / Nebo –  eap  The Babylonian Nabu is the son of Marduk. Originally Nabu was introduced by the Amorites when they made inroads into what became the Babylonian territory. In the Akkadian he is called Nabium. Nabu is the god of wisdom, intelligence and justice and therefore presides over writers and scribes, who viewed Nabu as their patron deity. Prior to the patriarchal subjugation and re-mything, these characteristics were attributed to the Sumerian goddess Nidaba, also called Nanibgal and Nisaba. She is credited with inventing the alphabet, clay tablets, the art of writing and learning. She appears on the scene earlier than any of the male deities that replaced her. Nabu was the messenger of Bel –Marduk, his father. In the Akkadian, nabu means to call, announce, proclaim, the same as it does in the Hebrew naba, Arabic nabaa. This is the same root for the Hebrew word for prophet – nabiy/nebiy. “As scribe, Nabu had access to secrets that others could not read, and so could control religious rites and was regarded as especially wise,...He wrote down the decisions of the gods and was the one who kept accounts, reckoning credit and debit, titled Nabu ‘of accounts’ as a manifestation of Marduk.” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, pg. 608.  Nabu had a tablet of destinies, recording the names of those that god favored or was pleased with, which is similar to the concepts in Shemoth [Exodus] 32:32, “but now, if you will, forgive their sin and if not, please blot me out from your book which you have written.”; Thehillah [Psalm] 69:28, “blot them out from the book of life; and let them not be written with the tsaddiyqiym [upright ones].”; and 139:15,16, “my bones were not hidden from you when i was made in secret; when i was woven in the depths of the earth.  16 your eyes saw my embryo; and in your book all my members were written the days they were formed, and not one was yet among them.” This theme is carried into the New Testament book of Revelations, the Book of Life.

 

Nabu is represented with a winged dragon that he rides on, also with tools of engraving [cuneiform writing].

 

 Nabu depicted in the ancient position of the priesthood with clasped hands.

 

Personal Name: Nabushazban [Nabu delivers me, Nabu-shezib-anni], Nabusharsikiym [Nabu     Nabu-Sharrussu-ukin], Nabuzaradan [Nabu has given seed, Nabu-zer-iddin], Samgar Nabu [be gracious Nabu, Sumgir Nabu], Nabukadnetser [Nabu protect the border, Nabu-kudurri-usur]

 

Biblical Passages:

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 46:1,2, “bel has bowed; nebo stoops; their idols are for the beast, and for the cattle; your things carried are loads; a burden for the weary.  2 they stoop; they bow together; they are not able to deliver the burden; and their soul has gone into captivity.” Please see Dagan, in the Canaanite section, for the Septuagint version of this passage.

 

 

Shamash / Shemesh –   yny  is the sun god and was possibly the deity of fire and prophecy by the name Shahan. Shamash is the son of Sin, the god of the moon, a god of prophecy, the giver and interpreter of oracles. His sister is Ishtar. “Yet again, keeping in mind the 14/15th is the night/day of the full moon and given the relationship that in other texts the gtrm have with the astral deities sps, yrh and kkbm [Shamash (sun), Yarich (moon), Kokabim (stars)] , this epithet could refer to them in the context of divination. In this respect the nature of Sapsu / Samas as an oracle god is well known throughout the ancient Near Eastern literature.” – Canaanite Religion According to Liturgical Texts of Ugarit, Gregorio Del Olmo Lete, pg. 242.

 

Shamash is also the lord of the shades of the dead, whose title is sar etemmi, bel etemmi and bel miti – prince of the dead ones, master / lord of the dead ones, lord of the dead. Shamash is able to bring up a dead one from the dark underworld. He is also viewed as the Watcher who is in charge of the dead gods in the underworld. Shamash has an important role in making sure that the libations and offerings reach the deceased. The libations were crucial to the deceased. One such inscription states that without Shamash the gods of the underworld do not receive the funerary offerings...to curse the dead of an enemy - may Shamash not allow his spirit to receive cold water down below and a new king shows the funerary gifts for his father to Shamash first.

 

Personal Name: Shamashon [Shimshon/Samson], Shamashriy [pertaining to Shamash],

City: Beyth Shemesh [house of Shamash], Eyn Shamash [eye of Shamash], Iyr Shamash [city of Shamash]

 

Biblical Passages:

Thehillah [Psalm] 148:1-3, “praise YHWH. praise YHWH from the heavens; praise him in the heights.  2 praise him, all his malakay [messengers]; praise him, all his armies [tsabaoth].  3 praise him shemesh [sun] and yarech [moon]; praise him, all you kokabiy [stars] of light.” Please see Astral Cult section for further information.

YirmeYahu [Jeremiah] 8:1,2, “at that time, declares YHWH, they will bring out the bones of the kings of yahudah, and the bones of its rulers, and the bones of the kohaniym [priests], and the bones of the nebiyiym [prophets], and the bones of those living in yerushalaim, out of their graves.  2 and they will spread them before shemesh and before yarech and all the armies of the heavens whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshiped. they will not be gathered or buried; they will be dung on the face of the ground.

Chabaqquq [Habakkuk] 3:11, “shemesh and yarech stood still in their dwelling. at the light of your arrows they go, at the shining of your gleaming spear.”

 

 

Tammuz –  fenz  Tammuz was the later name of the 3rd millennium Sumerian god Dumuzi. Tammuz is the Aramaic of the Akkadian Tammuzi. The Sumerian Dumuzi [Dumu zid] means the good son or the right son.  In the Sumerian tradition, Dumuzi is represented as a shepherd, herdsman originally. “Dumuzi’s true nature was always that of the shepherd, best illustrated in the contest between Dumuzi and Enkimdu, in which Dumuzi competes with his animal products against Enkimdu, the farmer, who brings his farm products, in the competition to win the goddess Inanna’s favours as husband.” Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, pg. 829.

 

It is believed that Dumuzi was not originally a god, but a human being that came to be deified, as a number of deities originally were. Early second millennium BCE Sumerian King List, lists two rulers by the name of Dumuzi, one of which was called, “Dumuzi, the Shepherd.” This is a good example of the ruler/king dying and becoming deified, as covered in the Ancestor Cult/Cult of the Dead section. Later, the characteristics of Damu, a vegetation deity, were assimilated to Dumuzi, becoming associated with vegetation.

 

“The god Dumuzi evolved into the most complicated, multi-faceted deity in the Mesopotamian pantheon, becoming a syncretic figure embodying, as Jacobsen observes, the power behind the date-palm (Amausumgalanna), the power of the milk (Dumuzi the shepherd), and the power of the life-giving waters entering the tree sap (Damu).  Dumuzi/Tammuz was the power in the barley seeds planted in the fall, which ultimately would manifest itself in the bountiful harvest of the spring. Thus from the autumn through the first months of spring, Dumuzi – the grain – was growing and prospering. Yet by summer, the fourth month, the grain had been cut down and only the stubble remained – Dumuzi was spent. Thus the summer was the occasion to mourn for the dead Dumuzi, for the power in the seeds and grain which was no more. Jacobsen observes ‘His [Dumuzi’s] death, accordingly, is when the grain is cut at harvest And then brewed into beer which goes into storage underground; that is to say, into the netherworld.’ “ The Cultic Calendar of the Ancient Near East, Mark Cohen, pg. 263.

 

After Dumuzi is bound and dragged to the netherworld in the place of his wife Inanna, one account states that his loyal sister, Gestinanna [Gestinanna of the vine] agrees to share her brothers fate, with the two of them alternating six months each in the netherworld. Dumuzi represents the grain, which became beer and his sister, Gestinanna, the wine. This account is very similar to a verse in the Biblical Hoshea. Hoshea 7:14, “and they have not cried to me with their heart, when they howled on their beds. they slash themselves for dagan and thiyrosh; they turn against me. ” Thiyrosh in the Ugarit is Tirsu, the god/goddess of wine, possibly related to the Akkadian beer wine goddess Siras. Most translators of this verse have grain and wine in the place of the deities names. Why would people slash themselves for grain and wine? Yet accounts prove that slashing and mourning were part of the religious practices for Dagon / Baal / Dumuzi / Tammuz, all of which were associated with grain, which was used in the beer production.

 

“In the early second millennium Mari the fourth month marked the occasion for a cult of Dumuzi which included female mourners. R. Kutscher cites further first millennium evidence as to the annual observance of the festival of Dumuzi: (1) Gilgames VI 46-47: ‘for Dumuzi, the beloved of your youth, you decreed an annual wailing 9ana satti bitakka)’; (2) an incantation against seizure by demons to be performed: ‘in the month Dumuzi when Istar made the people of the land wail over Dumuzi, her beloved.’ “

 

Tammuz, like Baal of the Canaanites, is the dying/rising vegetation deity. He is the brother/lover of Ishtar, much in the same way that Dumuzi and Inanna were of the Sumerians. He also was taken to the underworld and the land mourned when he was gone, which prompted the ritual of the weeping for Tammuz. Ishtar also rescues Tammuz, in the same way the sister/lover Anat did for Baal of the Canaanites. After the harvest, of which he was god of, he would die in winter and was resurrected in the spring.

 

In the Babylonian calendar, they named one of their summer [roughly July: mid-summer] months for this deity. The Hebrews, in exile, adopted the Babylonian month name. Tammuz is the fourth month of the religious calendar, which begins in spring and the 10th month of the civil calendar, which begins in the fall. In the Arabic calendar, Tammuz is the month of July.

 

Biblical Passages:

Yechezqel [Ezekiel] 8:13,14, “and he said to me, you turn back, you will see greater abominations which they are doing.  14 and he brought me to the opening of the gate of the beyth of YHWH, toward the north. and, look, women were sitting there weeping for tammuz.”

 

 

Nergal / Nirgalu –   lbxp  Nergal is the Babylonian god of the underworld, lord of fires and judge of the dead, the god of war and pestilence. He is associated with the sun, Shammash, in the capacity of noontime sun and summer solstice, high heat times, which is representative of the epithet, the burner. He was also viewed as the god of war in earlier myths. He is represented with a sword and the head of a lion, also shown as a winged lion. Ninurta is the older Akkadian/Sumerian deity, that came to be associated with Nergal in the late Babylonian empire.

 

Personal Name: Nergal Sharetser [Nergal protect the king]

 

Biblical Passages:

II Melekiym [Kings] 17:30, “and the men of babel made sukkoth-benoth; and the men of kuth [kuthah] made nergal; and the men of chamath made ashiyma;”

 

 

Meni / Menu –  ipn  Babylonian/Assyrian goddess of fate and fortune. The Akkadian root manu means to count, number, assign.  The mina, a unit of weight and money, was borrowed from the Akkadian and is from the same root of manu. This is where the phrase in the book of Daniel, 5th chapter, originates, 5:25-28, “and this is the writing that was written, mina, mina, theqel, and parsiyn [mene, mene, skekel, parsin].  26 this is the meaning of the thing, mina, eloha has numbered [menah] your kingdom and finished it.  27 theqel [borrowed from the aramaic for weigh, balance - shekel], you are weighed in the balances and found lacking.  28 peras [half mina] your kingdom is divided and given to the maday [medes] and paras [persians].” 

 

Pre-Islam also attests to this goddess, Manah [Manat], the personification of fate and destiny, in the Arabic culture. She was depicted as an old woman. The Arabic maniyya means destiny, from the Arabic root mana – assigned, appointed. The worship of Manat is associated with Al Lat and Al Uzzah, considered sisters, part of pre-Islams history. Muhammad could not eradicate their worship and assimilated it into Islam, calling the three goddesses the daughters of Allah in the Quran.  Later these verses, as well as others, were removed and included in what was called the Satanic Verses – Sura 53:19-23

 

Biblical Passages:

YeshaYahu [Isaiah] 65:11, “but you are those who forsake YHWH, who forget my holy mountain; who array a table for gad, and who fill mixed wine for meni. ” This verse clearly deals with the abandonment of seeking after YHWH for direction, instead they make offerings to Gad [Canaanite/Syrian god of luck/fortune] and Meni [Mesopotamian goddess of fate and fortune].

 

 

 

 

 

Deity City Map

 

The following map is simply to locate the cities which bear the names of the deities, in the above sections, that resided in the territory of Israel. Not all the cities were in existence at the same time. Some of the more popularly known cities or mountains are there to help in locating, not because their name deals with any deity. This is simply to give you an idea of how widespread these beliefs were with just the cities that we know of.

 

 

 

 

 

The following list of books are sources for the above generalized references. I am not going to footnote every book that mentions a particular aspect of El, when so many of them repeat the same information. Besides, I would much rather you read the books, as I have, to get a broader picture of the situation. It is aptly stated by Israel Abrahams, in the English translation by U. Cassuto - in response to the problem of Israel’s already developed literary style, when they emerged from bondage, “Now the problem is easily solved if we assume that the Bible is but a continuation of the Canaanite literature, which antedate the former,...” The Goddess Anath, by U. Cassuto, Translated from the Hebrew by Israel Abrahams, Magnus Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1971, pg. 19. “From all this we are permitted to infer that not just in respect of a few details, but in the entire range of literary language and in all the rhetorical usages commonly employed therein, there existed a tradition that was shared by both Ugaritic and Biblical writings, and it cannot be doubted that in form the two literatures are only two different branches of a single tree. This solves the problem that we raised above, namely, how it was possible to explain the fact that the earliest compositions of Biblical literature already had a perfected form, as though a long process of development lay behind them. In truth, this is the actual case; they had been preceded by a literary evolution many centuries old, even though it took place outside the ranks of the Israelites, or, more precisely, before the people of Israel came into being. The originality of the Scriptural writings is to be found in their content and spirit; in regard to their form, they continue the tradition of the ancient Canaanite literature.” Ibid. pg. 48

 

The following works are in alphabetic order.

 

 

All Color Book of Greek Mythology, Richard Patrick, Octopus Books Limited, London, 1972

 

The Alphabet Versus the Goddess, The Conflict Between Word and Image, Leonard Shlain, Viking Press, 1998

 

Amurru, The Home of the Northern Semites, Albert Clay, The Sunday School Times Company, Philadelphia, 1909

 

The Ancient Gods, E. O. James, Castle Books, NJ, 2004

 

Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, James Pritchard, Princeton University Press, 1969

 

Ancient Records From North Arabia, F. Winnett and W. Reed, University of Toronto Press, Canada, 1970

 

Anthropology and the Classics, Arthur Evans, Oxford At the Clarendon Press, 1908.

 

Archaeology and the Religions of Canaan and Israel, Beth Alpert Nakhai, American School of Oriental Research, Boston, MA, 2001

 

Archaeology of the Land of the Bible, Amihai Mazar, Doubleday, New York, 1985

 

Art of the Ancient Near and Middle East, Carel J. Du Ry, Harry Abrams, Inc. Publishers, New York, 1969

 

Archaeology of Syria, Peter Akkermans and Glenn Schwartz, Cambridge University Press, England, 2003

 

Asherah – Lady of the Serpent, Sacred Trees, get full title from interlibrary loan records

 

Ashkelon Discovered, From Canaanites and Philistines to Romans and Moslems, Lawrence E. Stager, Biblical Archaeology Society, Washington, D.C., 1991

The Assembly of the Gods: The Divine Council in Canaanite and Early Hebrew Literature, E. Theodore Mullen, Jr., Scholars Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 1980

 

Athena in the Classical World, edited by Deacy and Villing, particular section, Chapter 19 by Annette Teffeteller, pgs. 349-365.

 

The Balaam Text From Deir Alla Re-Evaluated, edited by J. Hoftijzer and G. Van Der Kooij, Brill, Leiden, 1991

 

Beyond Babel, A Handbook for Biblical Hebrew and Related Languages, John Kaltner and Steven McKenzie, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia, 2002

 

The Birth of the Gods and the Origins of Agriculture, Jacques Cauvin, transl;ated by Trevor Watkins, Cambridge University Press, UK, 2000

 

The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the World’s Ancient Languages, Roger Woodard, Cambridge University Press, England, 2004

 

Canaanites, Jonathan N. Tubb, British Museum Press, London, 1998

 

Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic, Frank Moore Cross, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1973

 

The Chalice and the Blade, Our History, Our Future, Riane Eisler, Harper and Row, New York, 1987

 

Child Sacrifice At Carthage -  Religious Rite or Population Control?,  Lawrence E. Stager and Samuel R. Wolff, Biblical Archaeology Review 10:01, Jan/Feb 1984.

 

The Creation of Patriarchy, Gerda Lerner, Oxford University Press, New York, 1986

 

Creation Stories of the Middle East, Ewa Wasilewska, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Philadelphia, 2000

 

The Cult of Asherah in Ancient Israel and Judah, Judith M. Hadley, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U. K., 2000

 

The Cultic Calendars of the Ancient Near East, Mark Cohen, CDL Press, Maryland, USA, 1993

 

Cults of the Dead in Ancient Israel and Ugarit, Theodore Lewis, Scholars Press, 1989

 

Development of Religion and Thought in Ancient Egypt, James Breasted, Harper, New York, 1959

 

Dictionary of Ancient Deities, Turner and Coulter, Oxford University Press, New York, 2001

 

Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, Van Der Toorn, Becking, Van Der Horst, Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, Netherlands, 1999

 

Did God Have A Wife, William Dever, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005

 

The Early History of God, Yahweh and the Other Deities in Ancient Israel, Patrick Miller, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2002

 

Ebla, A Revelation in Archaeology, Chaim Bermant and Michael Weitzman, Times Books, New York, 1979

 

Echos of the Ancient Skies, Dr. Edwin C. Krupp, Harper and Row Publishers, New York, 1983

 

The Empire of the Amorites, Albert T. Clay, Yale University Press, London, 1919

 

The Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture, J. P. Mallory and D. Q. Adams, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, London, 1997

 

Excavations at Hacilar, James Mellaart, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1970

 

God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, Phyllis Trible, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1978

 

The Goddess and the Warrior, Nanno Marinatos, Routledge, New York, 2000

 

The Goddess Anath, by U. Cassuto, Translated from the Hebrew by Israel Abrahams, Magnus Press, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 1971

 

The Goddess Anath in Ugaritic Myth, Neal Walls, Scholars Press, Atlanta, Georgia, 1992

 

The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, Marija Gimbutas, University of California Press, Berkley, 1982

 

Gods and Heroes of the European Bronze Age, Demakopoulou, Eluere, Jensen, Jockenhovel and mohen, Thames and Hudson, Great Britain, 1999

 

Goddesses and Trees, New Moon and Yahweh, Ancient Near Eastern Art and the Hebrew Bible, Othmar Keel, Sheffield Academic Press, 1998

 

Gods, Goddesses and Images of God in Ancient Israel, Othmar Keel and Christopher Uehlinger, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1998

 

Gods of the Ancient Northmen, Georges Dumezil, University of California Press, Berkley, 1973

 

Gods of Our Fathers, Richard Gabriel, Greenwood Press, 2002

 

The Great Cosmic Mother, Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor, Harper San Francisco, 1987

 

Greek Mythology, John Pinsent, Paul Hamlyn, New York, 1969

 

The Greek Myths, I & 2, Robert Graves, Penguin Books, New York, 1960

 

Hacilar, James Mellaart, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 1970

 

The Hebrew Goddess, Raphael Patai, Wayne State Universtiy Press, Detroit, Michigan, 1990

 

Hesiod and Theoginis, Dorothea Walker, Penguin Books, London, 1973

 

Historical Dictionary of the Hittites, Charles Burney, The Scarecrow Press, Inc., Oxford, 2004

 

History of Art in Phoenicia and Its Dependencies, from the French of Georges Perrot and Charles Chipiez, translated and edited by Walter Armstrong, Chapman and Hall, London, 1885

 

History of the City of Gaza, From the Earliest Times to the Present Day, Martin A. Meyer, The Columbia University Press, New York, 1907

 

Hittite Prayers, Itamar Singer, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia, 2002

 

The Hittites and Their Contemporaries in Asia Minor, J. G. Macqueen, Thames and Hudson, New York, 1986

 

The Horse, the Wheel and Language, David Anthony, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2007

 

How To Read the Bible, James L. Kugel, Free Press, New York, 2007

 

The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives, Elizer D. Oren editor, The University

Museum, Philadelphia, 1997

 

The Iliad, Homer, translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Group, NY, 1998

 

Ilios: The City and Country of the Trojans, Dr. Henry Schliemann, John, Murray Publisher, London, 1880

 

The Image and the Book: Iconic Cults, Aniconism and the Rise of Book Religion in Israel and the Ancient Near East, Karel Van Der Toorn, Brill, Leiden, 1997

 

In Search of God the Mother, The Cult of Anatolian Cybele, Lynn E. Roller, University of California Press, Berkeley, US, 1999

 

In Search of the Indo-Europeans, J. P. Mallory, Thames and Hudson, London, 1989

 

Indigo in the Arab World, Jenny Balfour-Paul, Curzon Press, London, 1997

 

Israel’’s Beneficient Dead, Brian Schmidt, Eisenbrauns, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996

 

Jeremiah, The Anchor Bible, John Bright, Double Day, 1965

 

Judahite Burial Practices and Beliefs About the Dead, Elizabeth Bloch-Smith, JSOT Press, Sheffield, England, 1992

 

Lectures on the Religion of the Semites, William Robertson Smith, edited by John Day, Sheffield Academic Press, 1995

 

L’Enigme Des Steles De La Carthage Africaine, Leo Dubal and Monique Larrey, Editions L’Harmattan, Paris, 1995

 

 Life in Biblical Israel, Philip J. King and Lawrence E. Stager, Westminster John Knox Press, Kentucky, 2001

 

The Living Goddesses, Marija Gimbutas, edited by Miriam Robbins Dexter after Gimbutas death, University of California Press, Berkley, 1999

 

The Lost World of Old Europe, The Danube Valley, 5000-3500 BC, David Anthony, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2010

 

Magic and Divination in Ancient Palestine and Syria, Ann Jeffers, Brill, Leiden, 1996

 

The Migration of Symbols, Count Goblet D’Alviella, Archibald Constable and Co., Westminster, 1894

 

Minoan Religion, Ritual, Image, and Symbol, Nanno Marinatos, University of South Carolina Press, 1993

 

The Mythology of Ancient Greece and Italy, Thomas Keightley and Leonhard Schmitz, George Bell and Sons, London, 1877

 

Near Eastern Archaeology, Suzanne Richard, Eisenbrauns, Indiana, US, 2003

 

The Neolithic of the Near East, James Mellaart, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1975

 

The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land, 4 Volumes, Ephraim Stern Editor, Israel Exploration Society & Carta, Jerusalem, Israel, 1993

 

The Neolithic of the Near East, James Mellaart, Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York, 1975

 

Old Testament Parallels, Victor Matthews and Don Benjamin, Paulist Press, New Youk, 1991

 

On the Trail of Women Warriors, The Amazons in Myth and History, Lyn Webster Wilde, Thomas Dunne Books, New York, 1999

 

Only One God? Monotheism in Ancient Israel and the Veneration of the Goddess Asherah, B. Becking, M. Dijkstra, M. Korpel, K. Vriezen, Sheffield Academic Press, England, 2001

 

Pagan Rites In Judaism, Theodor Reik, Gramercy Publishing Co., New York, 1964

 

People of the Sea, The Search For the Philistines, Trude and Moshe Dothan, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York, 1992

 

Philo of Byblos, The Phoenician History, Attridge and Oden, Catholic Biblical Association of America, Washington, DC, 1981

 

Phoenicia, George Rawlinson, G. P. Putnams Sons, New York, 1908

 

Portrait of a Priestess, Women and Ritual in Ancient Greece, Joan Breton Connelly, Princeton University Press, New Jersey, 2007

 

Prelude to Israel’s Past, Niels Peter Lemche,  Hendrickson Publishers Inc., Massachusetts, 1998

 

The Religions of Ancient Israel, A Synthesis of Parallactic Approaches, Ziony Zevit, Continuum, London, England, 2001

 

Religions of the Ancient World, Sarah Iles Johnston, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, MA, USA, 2004

 

Sanctuaries of the Goddess, Peg Streep, Bulfinch Press Book, New York 1994

 

The Sea Peoples and Their World: A Reassessment, Eliezer D. Oren editor, The University Museum, Philadelphia, 2000

 

The Sea Peoples in the Bible, Othniel Margalith, Harrassowitz  Verlag, Wiesbaden, 1994.

 

The Search for God in Ancient Egypt, Jan Assmann, Cornell University Press, New York, 2001

 

The Serpent Symbol in the Ancient Near East: Nahash and Asherah: Death, Life and Healing, Leslie Wilson, University Press of America, 2001

 

Stories From Ancient Canaan, Michael David Coogan, The Westminster Press, Louisville, 1978

 

The Swastika, Thomas Wilson, Government Printing Office, Washington, 1896

 

The Syrian Goddess (De Dea Syria), Herbert A. Strong, John Garstang, Forgotten Books, 2007

 

Symbolic Elements in the Cult of Athena, Robert Luyster, History of Religions, Vol. 5, No. 1, 1965, pgs. 133-163.

 

Symbols and Warriors: Images of the European Bronze Age, Richard J. Harrison, Western Academic & Specialist Press Limited, England, 2004

 

A Text-book of North Semitic Inscriptions, George Albert Cooke, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1903

 

Time At Emar, The Cultic Calendar and the Rituals From the Diviner’s Archive, Daniel Fleming, Eisenbrauns, Indiana, USA, 2000

 

Ugarit and the Old Testament, Peter C. Craige, Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983

 

The Violent Goddess Anat in the Ras Shamra Texts, Arvid S. Kapelrud,  Universitets Forlaget, Oslo, Norway, 1969.

 

What Did the Biblical Writers Know, and When Did They Know It? : What Archaeology Can Tell Us About the Reality of Ancient Israel, William Dever, Erdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001

 

When God Was a Woman, Merlin Stone, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Publishers, New York, 1976

 

Women in Scripture, Carol Meyers, with Toni Craven and Ross Kraemer, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2000

 

The World’s Writing Systems, Peter Daniels and William Bright, Oxford University Press, New York, 1996

 

Writings From the Ancient World, Ritual and Cult At Ugarit, Dennis Pardee, Society of Biblical Literature, Atlanta, Georgia, 2002

 

Yahweh and the Gods and Goddesses of Canaan, John Day, Sheffield Academic Press, England, 2000

 

 

 Thank you, Kathryn QannaYahu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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