Sunday, June 9, 2019

Yom Kippur, The Day of Atonement

I want to talk about a few things relevant to what is often considered the Holiest Day of the Year on the Hebrew Calendar, the Tenth Day of the Seventh Month, commonly called Tishri currently but Biblically was Ethanim.

I've touched on my objections to making it a Fast Day before.  But I've come to an even more vital realization.  It outright violates The Torah to Fast on Yom Kippur because Yom Kippur revolves around Sacrifices, the special Sin Offering of Leviticus 16 but also Numbers 29 requires a bunch of other normal Sacrifices.

For every Sacrifice but the Whole Burnt offering, especially the Sin Offerings, eating the meat of the sacrificed animal was part of the ritual, in fact in The Torah eating animals and sacrificing them were inseparable acts.  Part of the point of the Eucharist/Lord's Supper in Christianity is to make it so that the Sacrifice of Jesus is also one we are eating, whether you take the Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant position on that sacrament is irrelevant.

So refusing to eat on Yom Kippur actually violates The Torah.

I've also talked about how Yom Kippur relates to the Jubilee in Leviticus 25 before, but I want to remind people as it could have thematic relevance to where I'll go after this.  The Jubilee Shofar is sounded on Yom Kippur.  But the Jubilee Year doesn't begin then as many wrongly assume, the Jubilee Trumpet is sounded during the 49th year as an announcement that the Jubilee is coming, the Jubilee Year still begins with Aviv and then lasts 12 months like any other.  It is called the Fiftieth Year but it's really the First year of the next Jubilee cycle.

I've spent most of the history of this Blog arguing against Jesus being born on a Fall Holy Day and for him being born around December 25th.  And I'm still leaning that way, but there is one argument for a Yom Kippur Nativity I have recently considered.

Attempts to determine when the course of Abijah served frequently turn to extra Biblical sources, both when arguing for a December Nativity or a Tishrei one.  But I've been considering abandoning all of those assumptions and just going off what we would conclude from 1st Chronicles 24.

First of all the idea that each course served twice a year also seems to be extra Biblical, there is no hint of that in 1st Chronicles 24.  It seems to me pretty logical to assume that 24 courses serving over a 12 month year would simply be two courses a year, 15 days each if we're going by 30 day months.

1st Chronicles 24 verse 10 days Abijah was the Eight course.  So if I ignored extra Biblical sources and when I might personally want to wind up placing the Nativity, this information would make me conclude the source of Abijah was the second half of the Fourth Month.

That would then place when he laid with Elizabeth to conceive John in the Fifth Month.  If the Fifth Month is the first month of Elizabeth's Pregnancy then her sixth month when the Annunciation happened according to Luke 1 would be the Tenth Month which tends to equate to late December and early January.  And if the Tenth Month is the first month of Mary's Pregnancy then her ninth month was the Sixth Month.  But remember the Pregnancy cycle is actually 280 days, or 9 months and 10 days on a 30 day month calendar.  So that makes the Nativity as Yom Kippur awfully attractive (and John's Birth on the 10th of Nisan).

Yom Kippur was not a pilgrimage feast so Joseph being in Bethlehem on that day as Luke 2 records isn't a problem, Bethlehem was close enough that 5 days was more then enough time for him to get to Jerusalem for Tabernacles.  This would place Jesus Circumcision during Tabernacles but Luke has no explicit reference to Joseph being there for that.

The Circumcision being on the 17th can be quite interesting.  Same day of the Month I place the Resurrection, The New Testament compares Baptism to both Circumcision and Resurrection.

However the evidence seems to show in Second Temple times each course was a week and so they did always consistently happen at the same time of year.  Proponents of every model have found a convincing way to make the timing for Abijah's course work for them.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Shinar and Babel

There are a number of theories out there suggesting Shinar isn’t in Mesopotamia, or at least is a part of it that does not include Sumer and Akkad.  Some of these tie into hyper-fringe theories claiming Israel wasn’t in Israel, those can be easily dismissed.

I read one article on Answers in Genesis “Where in The World is The Tower of Babel” suggesting Shinar is in Kurdish Syria by the Habor/Gozan River.  I looked at that theory pretty open mindedly, but their approach to justifying placing Babel somewhere other then the Babylon of Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar was to simply say Babel and Babylon have no relation in-spite of the Hebrew text using the exact same spelling, because they have different meanings.

I’m all for the idea of the Babel of Genesis and the Babylon of the Captivity being different places, but suggesting there is no connection massively damages the symmetry of The Bible.  The Hebrew scribes didn’t have to spell Bab-El as Bet-Bet-Lamed, the natural Hebrew spelling of that would be Bet-Bet-Aleph-Lamed, they chose to drop the Aleph.

Sometimes a name can have conflicting etymologies because of a something called Folk Etymology (for a modern example the word "History" does NOT actually come from "His Story").  In fact most scholars do think the “Gate of god” meaning of Babylon is a folk etymology, though that’s in the context of thinking Babel might not be semitic at all.  But an argument can also be made that Moses was the one changing the meaning to suite YHWH’s message, since the word for Confusion used when explaining the etymology is spelled Bet-Lamed-Lamed, Balal.

The pagan meaning of Bab-El is arguably strongly implied in what the people building the Tower in Genesis 11 wanted to do, they wanted to use it to access Heaven.

This issue isn’t even the main reason I rejected their theory however.  I’ve come to find only one alternative location for Shinar viable, it’s one I came to using Scripture itself.  I’m by no means willing to go all in on it yet however, after all I recently made a post arguing for Babel being Nippur.

There is another Hebrew place name that is spelled very similarly to Shinar in the Masoretic text, that is a name rendered in the KJV as Shenir or Senir.  It’s used in four verses, Deuteronomy 3:9 in the Torah, and then Song of Songs 4:8, 1 Chronicles 5:23 and Ezekiel 27:5.  The only difference in the Hebrew between this spelling and Shinar is this one adds a Yot between the N and the R.  Comparing the Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts to the Masoretic and Samaritan texts reveals that in those places where the Masoretic is using Yot kind of as a vowel the original version didn’t have a Yot there at all.  So really this name is highly likely to be the exact same name as Shinar.

All four Shenir verses link the name to Hermon (bordering Lebanon, Syria and the Golan Heights), it could be the Masoretic voweled them differently because they already thought Shinar should be Mesopotamia.  Deuteronomy 3:8-9 explicitly makes Shenir an alternate name for Hermon, what the Amorites called Hermon.

Genesis 11 does not say Shinar is a plain, it says they came to a plain in the Land of Shinar.  The Hebrew word translated “plain” here really more specifically means valley, it implies being between two mountains or mountain ranges.  It’s possible their initially founding the City in the valley doesn’t rule out the Migdol(Tower) being on one of the mountains.  There are a few different valleys for which the Hermon Mountains was one of their edges.

In Revelation the word “wilderness” appears three times in the KJV, each time it is a translation of a word that is a legit Greek word for “wilderness”, but it happens to also look like how you might spell Hermon in Greek.  That includes it being identified with the location of Mystery Babylon in Revelation 17.

Ararat is implied to be east of where Babel was built.  That word appears four times  in the Hebrew Bible but Genesis 8:4 is the only time it’s in The Torah.  The other three times could be a reference to Uratu or Aratta, but in Genesis I think it’s really just a form of the word Arar Strongs Number 779.  Arar is translated “curse”, “curseth” and “cursed”.  Curse is also believed to be the meaning of the name Hermon.  Some have already argued Hermon is where Noah’s Ark actually landed, but I need to buy the book to get the full details of their argument which might be tied into other stuff I disagree with.

Many ancient Pagan Temples, Shrines and Idols were built on the Mountains of Hermon and in the Valleys beneath them.  And not just by the indigenous population, all of the Empires to conquer this region saw it as an important place to worship the gods.  Eusebius recognized the religious importance of Hermon in his work Onomasticon (probably written in the first quarter of the 4th century), saying "Until today, the mount in front of Banias and Lebanon is known as Hermon and it is respected by nations as a sanctuary".  The Romans built so many Roman Temples over the sacred sites of the Beqaa/Bekaa Valley west of Hermon that no remains of the Pre-Roman structures seem to be left.  The Temple to Jupiter at Baalbek built by Hadrian’s orders by the same architect who built his Temple to Jupiter over in Jerusalem after the Bar-Kochba revolt is the most impressive of them, Ancient Aliens theorists want to deny the existing site there is Roman, Chris White has proven it is in his documentary debunking them, but I do feel the Pre-Hadrian temples may have been no less impressive.

Daniel 1:1-2 is not the same campaign as 2 Chronicles 36:6-7, the latter happened at the end of Jehoiakim’s Reign and the former was in the 3rd year.  So these two places Nebuchadnezzar was taking spoils from Jerusalem do not have to be the same place, he could have seen value in using them to Honor shines at Hermon.  However it’s also possible the name of Shinar moved to Mesopotamia along with the name of Babel.

In Deuteronomy 3:8-9 Shenir is said to be the name the Amorites called Hermon, if Babel and other place names used in the Genesis verses that mention Babel are also Amorite names, then that means those places could have been called different names by the people who called Hermon by other names like Hermon, Sion(Deuteronomy 4:48) and Sirion which the Sidonians called it.

I date Genesis 14 to between 2251-2226 BC and the Seven year Famine of Joseph to about 2036 BC at the latest, but I’m also open to earlier dates.  The Amorites (or at least some of them) migrated to Mesopotamia because of a drought in the Land of Canaan, possibly the same one that brought Jacob’s family (and perhaps also the Cushites) to Egypt.  Their migration is sometimes said to be as early as 2200 BC, but the Amorite Dynasties weren’t set up till around 1900 BC.  There might have been earlier Semitic Migration to Mesopotamia caused by the Famine that brought Abraham to Egypt.

The city that would become Babylon on the Euphrates might have existed before the Amorites arrival, but I’ve seen no proof it already had that name.  The Amorite Dynasty were the first Kings of Babylon, as they also were of Larsa.  It could be after moving to this new land the Amorites made Babylon their new Babel and Larsa their new Ellasar like how American Colonists made a New York and New Orleans

The reference to Baalbek in the Epic of Gilgamesh is not in the original Sumerian Bilgames poems.  The other versions of the Epic are all post-Amorite.  What is said of Baalbek in the epic is often misrepresented by fringe theorists.  What’s important here is that I consider it’s presence evidence the site had been important to the Amorites.

Erech could be an Amorite variation on the name of the city of the Arkite tribe of Canaan, which the strongs says hypothetically would be Erek.  Calneh is mentioned in two other verses, Amos 6:2 and Isaiah 10:9, both contexts make Calneh seem like part of the land of Canaan, closer to Samaria and Hamath then it is to Carchemish and Damascus.

I also think it’s possible the Assyrians (descendents of Asshur) originally lived somewhere else too.  The first 17 Kings of their Kings List are called “Kings who Lived in Tents” implying a nomadic existence, and then 10 who are just ancestors who probably weren’t even really kings but the genealogy of an early King.  The first Assyrian King with a solid dateable Reign was 1927-1906 BC.  It’s possible the Assyrians came to Mesopotamia around the same time the Amorites did.  I also think the Didanu of the Kings who lived in Tents is Dedan son of Jokshan son of Abraham who fathered a tribe of Asshurim.  Nineveh isn’t referred to by that name till Shamshi-Adad I, who was actually an Amorite King of Assyria, and Kalhu is even younger, meanwhile Resen hasn’t been identified at all.

I don’t think the Elam mentioned in Genesis is the Elam of southern Iran either, those people called themselves Haltamti, Elam just happens to resemble the way the Sumerians and Akkadian Butchered that name (like how we refer to Nippon/Nihon as Japan).  I do think some or even most later Biblical uses of this same spelling are about southern Iran.  But I think both of the first two sons of Shem may be who God originally wanted to reclaim the Promised Land from the Canaanites, but after 10 generations they had fallen into Canaanite Paganism and so he called Abraham from among the the descendants of Shem’s third son.  And this Semitic presence is why the Canaanites wound up speaking a Semitic language, which the Haltamti of Iran did not speak.

There is something about Jeremiah 49 that has me thinking the Elam there could be a coded way of referring to Ephraim.  In Ezekiel 40-48’s geography the Temple is north of YHWH-Shammah not in it, at either Shechem, Shiloh or Bethel if YHWH-Shammah is Jerusalem depending on your math.  Fitting Ephraim being where YHWH will place His Throne.  So perhaps Elam in Genesis was in the land later alloted to the sons of Joseph.

On the subject of Genesis 14 geography, I support the view that Sodom and Gomorrah (and the other three cities) were north of the Dead Sea not south of it.

I have a couple of reasons for thinking the three cities Nimrod founded in Asshur could be the area that would be become Jerusalem.  Isaiah links the Tophet to Asshur(The Assyrian) usually explained by saying Ahaz got the idea from something in Assyria on the Tigris, but no proof of that exists.  And one of those cities is being called a “Great City”, a title given to Jerusalem in Revelation but also to GIbeon in Joshua, Gibeon was a city in Benjamin that I have a hunch became the the main city of post-Captivity Jerusalem, I think the Great Stone of Gibeon is the Rock of the Dome of the Rock and the Tabernacle at Nod was where the Second Temple was and/or the Al Aqsa Mosque.  So this trio of cities could be either Gibeah, Gibeon and Jebus or Gibeon, Jebus and Ir-David/Zion.

Where specifically to look for Babel?

Interestingly both the mainstream Tel-Dan site, and the location Immanuel Velikovsky argued was the Dan of Jeroboam, Baalbek, were in Valleys beneath Mount Hermon.  Velikovsky also argued that Baalbek was a sacred site already long before the Danites came there.  It could be the city the Amorites called Babel was called by others Laish, Leshem, Rehob and Baalgad.  Velikovsky cited local oral traditions associating Baalbek with Solomon, well there were also local traditions which associated Baalbek with Nimrod and identified it as the site of the Tower of Babel.  Laurent d’Arvieux, writing in 1660 published in his Memoires in 1735 (2.26, trans. L. Mooyaart).

Bethel was the site of Jacob’s Ladder also called the “Gate of Heaven”.  Maybe both Jeroboam's Idols were built at places viewed as connecting Heaven and Earth?

But that’s just one theory.

Mount/Mountain in the Bible really often means a Mountain Range, as is the case with Hermon.  It’s possible how many mountains the ancients viewed as still part of the Hemron range could have been wider then how we define it.  Joshua 11:3 is possibly defining all of Canaan as being beneath Mount Hermon in some sense.  But more importantly Psalm 89:12 is seemingly defining Tabor as a mountain of Hermon.  And that opens up the possibility that the Valley we are looking for is the Valley of Jezreel.  Perhaps making this Accad a variation on the name of Accho (Acre of the Crusades), and Mount Tabor where Noah’s Ark landed.

The etymology of the name Megiddo/Megiddon is actually a mystery to linguists. Herodotus in his Histories Book II:159 while talking about Necho/Neko/Neco II of Egypt refers to the same Battle of Megiddo where King Josiah was wounded but spells it Magdolos, suggesting that the name is somehow derived from Migdol, the same Hebrew word for Tower used in Genesis 11.  The Wikipedia Page for Tel Megiddo says in the Early Bronze Age section that in the period of 3500-3100 BC Megiddo had the largest Temple in the Near East at that time.

The message to Thyatira in Revelation 3 when compared to Revelation 17 and 18 seems to be symbolically associating the name of Jezebel with the Harlot of Babylon, Jezebel was Queen in Jezreel.  The name of Thyatira comes from the Greek word for Daughter, the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar was sometimes called the Daughter of Babel.  Armageddon is the gathering place of the armies in Revelation 16.

We’ve spent Two Thousand years assuming The Bible agrees with Iraq’s claim to be the Cradle of Civilization.  But doesn’t it make more sense to see Israel’s Bible as claiming Israel is the Cradle of Civilization?  The Bible and Judeo-Christian lore has always treated Israel as the center of the Earth, so it should be from where the nations were dispersed.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Nimrod and Babel.

First I want to quote here the Young's Literal Translation of Genesis 10:8-12.
And Cush hath begotten Nimrod; he hath begun to be a hero in the land; he hath been a hero in hunting before Jehovah; therefore it is said, "As Nimrod the hero in hunting before Jehovah."

And the first part of his kingdom is Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar; from that land he hath gone out to Asshur, and buildeth Nineveh, even the broad places of the city, and Calah, and Resen, between Nineveh and Calah; it is the great city.
The YLT used the same source texts as the KJV, or rather the source texts KJV onlyists keep saying the KJV uses, however these very verses show how the KJV was influenced by the mistakes of the Septuagint/LXX and the Vulgate.  Like verse 11 where all three of those translations imply Asshur founded Nineveh.  Clearly what Asshur founded wouldn't be discussed till we reached Shem's part of the genealogy, this verse is clearly still part of the Nimrod narrative.

There is a claim going around out there that the Book of Jubilees 9:3 supports the LXX version of 10:11, but that is not correct.
"And for Ashur came forth the second Portion, all the land of Ashur and Nineveh and Shinar and to the border of India, and it ascends and skirts the river."
That statement is only saying Nineveh is in the land allotted to Asshur, it doesn't say who founded it.  That sentence can be compatible with either interpretation/translation of Genesis 10:11.  Jubilees doesn't seem that interested in the Nimrod subject, it has no counterpart to these verses but possibly alludes to his daughter marrying Heber/Eder and becoming the mother of Peleg in it's version of Genesis 11.  Josephus isn't quite saying Asshur founded it either, but he is much closer to seeming influenced by the LXX version.

Calah/Kalhu is the city 30 or 40 miles south of Nineveh/Mosul today commonly called Nimrud, but that is a purely modern name for the City, no one in Antiquity called it that, it fits because modern archeologists recognized it as a city associated with Nimrod.  Resen doesn't seem to have been found.  Maybe the failure to find Resen is because people have been assuming "between Nineveh and Calah" means also on the Tigris, maybe it could be a city between them but also further east or west, and that's why it isn't first listed between them?  Erbil/Arbella was considered part of Assyria in antiquity, and it's one of the oldest cities in the region, I have a hunch that maybe it's Resen.
Which of the cities talked about is being called the "Great City"?  At first glance it might seem to be Resen, but given the context of Jonah 1:2, 3:2-3 and 4:11 it's possibly more likely to be Nineveh. 

None of these cities can be identified with the city of Asshur, that city is south of Calah.  So it was probably the city Asshur himself founded, and either he failed to or didn't try to stop Nimrod from encouraging on his territory.  They may have simply came to an agreement, and the people who inhabited these cities were largely Assyrians from the beginning but benefited from living under Nimrod's protection.

In the past I've argued for the Babel of Genesis 10&11 being Eridu and Nimrod being Enmerkar.  I'm still attracted to that theory but have been considering an alternative.  I do absolutely still think the Pre-Flood Eridu is the city of Genesis 4, which again has a translation issue.
Genesis 4:16-18

And Cain went out from the presence of Yahuah, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.  And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he (Enoch) builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son.

And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech.
So the City of Irad is thus Eridu.  Now the Eridu of Post-Flood Mesopotamia may not actually be the same city or on the same location.  But I'm also growing skeptical of the usual assumption that a Global Flood model means no Pre-Flood cities could have left ruins behind.  Mainstream archeologists believe Eridu goes back to 5200 BC, so that's pre even the oldest plausible date for The Flood.

It is a misleading translation that makes people think Genesis 11:4 is about height.  It's about them creating their own Heaven at the top of the Tower, an early form of idolatry.  And the Hebrew word Migdol is sometimes used of some structures we today wouldn't exactly define as a tower.

Here is a Wikipedia page listing various known Sumerian Temples.
 Not all of them have been archeologically found, some may be different names for the same Temple.  Some are thought to have originally been to different gods then they are usually associated with, so what the Temple was called is probably more informative to it's origins.  All of them are named "House of ____" in some way.  The Tower of Babel I would expect to be named "House of Heaven" or something like that.  Eridu's is not, it's instead looking in the opposite direction, the Abyss.  More then two fit such examples exist, but other factors make only two viable.

Uruk's Temple to Inanna is one, and a good theory could be made for making that work with Enmerkar, saying Genesis 11 isn't different cities but rather describing the expansion of what he controlled, fir the Tower, then the City of Erech/Uruk, then Accad, then all of Shinar.

But I'm instead going to consider another city, and that Nimrod is actually Etana who is the first Post-Flood King to rule all of the countries.  The King's List possibly made up all names before Etana, other sources make him seemingly the first King of Kish and of any place after The Flood.  Etana here would be a special Throne name, like many Kings Nimrod likely had many names.

Which leads me first to how Genesis 10:8-12 seems like a short narrative inserted into the Genealogy.  In which context I wonder if Nimrod simply is the same person as a Son of Cush from verse 7?  One of them being the name given at birth and the other a name he became known by latter?  The theory that Ninurta is a later deification of Nimrod is going to be relevant to my theories here quite a bit.  Zababa is a deity who is mentioned rarely and was possibly just another form of Ninurta, one reason being that they had the same wife, Bau.  Zababa could easily be a Sumerian form of one of the names mentioned in Genesis 10:7, Seba, Sebta or Sebtcha.

Alternatively you could argue that Nimrod might not be the immediate son of Cush but a later descendant of his. That is pretty much required for identifying him with anyone later then Enmerkar on the Kings List.  And the fact that Uruk's isn't quite the first Post-Flood dynasty means it might be necessary even for the Enmerkar theory.  Depends on when you date the Flood really, if you're using a Septuagint or Samaritan version of Genesis 11 to support a pre 3000 BC date for the Flood then Enmerkar is not likely to be an immediate son of Cush.

Now the Sumerian Temple I feel most likely to be The Tower of Babel is the E-me-ur-ana (House which gathers the divine powers of heaven) at Nippur.  It seems either archeologists haven't found this Temple or it's another name for the E-Kur. (Or the Temple some maps identify as a Temple of Inanna since was or became the deity of Uruk's "House of Heaven").  The Ekur was also known as the "mooring-rope" of heaven and earth. The statement in some sources that Enmebaragesi was the first to build a Temple to Enlil at Nippur may just mean he was the first to make it a Temple to the Sumerian Enlil, as Babel in Genesis 11 was not originally about a specific deity.

Nippur was the religious capital of Sumer, it never the political capital but control of it was required to claim to be King of all of Sumer and Akkad.

Nippur is a flawed modern transliteration, the ancient name of the city was Nibru or Nibbur.  The Septuagint, Josephus and possibly Jubilees all render Nimrod's name as Nebrod.  This isn't the only place related to Sumerian/Semitic etymology where the letter B and M seem oddly interchangeable, the above Zababa is also spelled Zamma, and in 1st Century Aramaic "bar" is the word for Son but many Assyrian Inscriptions are transliterated as as saying "mar" instead.  Micah refers to a "Land of Nimrod" according to Genesis 10 Shinar was the land of Nimrod starting at Babel and eventually extending to include Assyria.  Nippur was one of the cult centers of Ninurta, but another was near by Marad (which is another purposed as an origin for the name Nimrod via Ni-Marad "Lord of Marad"), the main Temple at Marad had Kalama in the name, a possible origin for Calneh.

Erech is Uruk, that's the one name from Genesis 8:10 that has no mystery to it, except for people who want to remove Shinar from Mesopotamia altogether.

Accad is Akkad, a city known to have existed but archeologists haven't quite found.  But it's also used as the name of a region (Mesopotamia north of Sumer proper but south of Assyria) and of a language.

I think the Language we call Akkadian was originally the Language of Asshur and the Assyrians, that was the language they spoke originally though they switched to Aramaic before Neo-Assyrian times.  Later Assyrian Kings were named after Sargon as if they considered him part of their Heritage.  So basically I don't think the Language being Semitic means Akkad Pre-Sargon was Semitic.  But also speaking a Semitic Language isn't proof of being descended from Shem Biblically either since the Canaanites spoke a Semitic Language, and the Akkadian name for the moon god was Sin, possibly from the progenitor of the Sinite tribe of Canaan.  I also personally believe the Sinim of Isaiah 49:12 is a reference to Mesopotamia not to the Qin dynasty or China.

Before he was a King Sargon was associated with Kish.  That list of Sumerian Temples has only 3 in Akkad and only one in Kish, awfully small for cites that had both been capitals.  Maybe Akkad and Kish were the same city?

The Babylon of Hammurabi and Nebuchadnezzar is described in some texts as being founded by Sargon of Akkad, (which fits other sources dating it's founding to that time period).  Saying he built it "before Akkad" and possibly that it was a re founding of an older city.  That geographical relationship to Akkad makes it look to me like Akkad is either Borsippa or Kish.

If the younger Babylon was a city founded to be a new Babel, it's interesting that it's Nippur who proceeded Babylon as the chief cult enter of Enlil(later replaced by Marduk) the Mesopotamian Zeus analogue.

The name of Kish likely derives from Cush.  The Temple listed as a Temple at Kish is the one for Zababa, and Zababa's only Temple appears to have been the one at Kish.

The theory that "Calneh" is really a phrase meaning "all they of" I consider possible.  I also as said above think it could be related to Kalama, a Sumerian word that seem to mean "land" or "world" and is the name of a few Temples including the ones at Marad and Bad-Tibira.

Ninurta was also worshiped by the Assyrians, one of his major Temple was at Kalhu/Calah, where the name Nisroch might come from an Assyrian name for Ninurta.

Nimrod being the founder of Niniveh is the basis for why Christians in various eras have identified him with the Greek Historiographical figure of Ninus.  Ninus appears to be a composite figure, I definitely do think he's partly a Greek memory of Nimrod, but some ancient statements about when and for how long he reigned (Castor of Rhodes apud Syncellus p. 167) make him seem more like Sargon of Akkad or his grandson Naram-Sin, which given what I talked about above could also fit associating his wife with the founding of the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar.

However the name of Ninus's supposed wife comes from an Assyrian Queen who lived around 800 BC, and that's also about when Herodotus originally placed her.

But in the context of Ninus as Nimrod, I think Belus is really his grandfather Ham rather then his father Cush.  Usually the Greek mythical Belus of Egypt is assumed to be separate from the Belus of Assyria, but both have good reasons to argue they could be Ham.  Aegeyptus son of Belus would be Mizraim and Danaus would be Phut (Diodorus Siculus gives us reasons to suspect the Amazons descended from Phut, and some names of Amazons were also names of Daughters of Danaus).  Agenor is most popularly identified as a brother of Belus but Nonnus and Tzetzes make him a son of Belus, Agenor was the first ruler of Phonecea in Greek mythology so he could be Canaan.  Cepheus could be Cush as the first King of Aethiopia, but perhaps also the Philistines or more Canaanites based on his association with Joppa.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Maybe the Torah's Calendar was never a Lunar or Lunisolar Calendar?

First some terminology clarification.  The traditional Rabbinic Hebrew Calendar we're used to calling a Lunar Calendar is strictly speaking a Lunisolar Calendar, the phases of the Moon come first but synchronization is done with a Solar year so the seasons don't get out of wack.  The same is true of the popular variants I've discussed already like the Samaritan Calendar, the Kariate reckoning and the proposed Lunar Sabbath model.  A strictly Lunar Calendar would be something like the Islamic Calendar which makes no attempt to reconcile and so Ramadan has fallen al over the Gregorian Calendar.

But I've lately been questioning this traditional assumption that the Torah's Calendar is Lunar.

Let's start with the fact that the Torah has completely different words for Month and Moon, that is not what I'd expect from a strictly Lunar month based culture.  Month is Chodesh/Hodesh (Strongs Number 2320) while Moon is Jerah/Yerach (3394).  There are a few places where the latter word is used of a passage of time, but that's because even without a lunar calendar the concept of a month is still tied poetically to the Moon somewhat as it's phases come at least close.

The phrase "Rosh Chodesh" gets translated "New Moon" sometimes because of our traditional assumptions, but Rosh means the beginning or head of something not quite "New".  The Torah never talks about the Full Moon, even in regards to the Holy Days that should happen about then on a Lunar or Lunisolar calendar.  Two verses elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible are often translated as referring to the Full Moon, but those are highly disputable as I've discussed before.

Colossians 2:16 is the one New Testament reference to the Jewish concept of the "Rosh Chodesh", and it again uses a Greek word for Month, not Selene the word for the Moon.

Japan for example had a Lunar Calendar until 1873, and that's why their language uses the same word for both Month and Moon, Tsuki.  That's why in the English version of episode 6 of my favorite Anime, Noir, it sounds weird when Mireille says "so many Months and Years have passed", in a language where all the word "month" means is a fraction of a year my mind goes "why even include months in that expression".  But I'm pretty sure in the Japanese she's saying "so many Tsuki and Hi", Hi being an alternate word for both Sun and Year and sometimes Day.  So a more poetically correct translation would be "so many Moons and Suns have passed" which feels more right even if technically equally as redundant.

And then there is all the evidence that The Bible clearly thinks of a Month as being 30 days not 29 and a half.  It's there when you do the math of the Flood chronology of Genesis 7 and 8 with 5 months being exactly 150 days beginning on the 17th of the second month and ending on the 17th of the seventh month.  And it's also in Revelation with 42 Months, 1,260 days and three and a half years being treated as synonymous time periods.  And then in Daniel 12 1,290 days being that with one more month added, and 1,335 days added another month and a half.

However there is one thing often taken as evidence for a 365 day year in the Torah, and that is how that number happens to be the number of years Enoch lived. But that could be a coincidence.

Genesis 1:14-19 discuses the Sun (greater light), Moon (lesser light) and stars being made for signs and for seasons and for days and for years.  But you'll notice in verse 16 the Sun is made and talked about first, it has priority.  And months are seemingly missing from the discussion.

It is well known that the Hebrew Calendar was influenced by the Babylonian Calendar during the Captivity, the names we're now used to calling the months come from Babylon for one thing.  Well the thing is Babylon had a Lunisolar Calendar, so even that aspect of it could be Babylonian in origin.

Lunar Calendars were more popular with the ancient Pagans then you might expect given the modern popular narrative that Paganism always revolved around Sun worship.  But in fact the most prominent not at all Lunar Calendar used by Pagans in classical antiquity was the Civil Egyptian calendar, but even they originally had a Lunar one which they kept using for ceremonial purposes.  Actually even in Greece the Attic Lunar Calender's main purpose was for how they observed Pagan festivals.

Now as much as we love to see all things Egyptian as bad, it wasn't the Egyptians much of the Torah is telling the Israelite not to be like, it was the Canaanites.  One of the Canaanite tribes was the Amorites, Babylon first became a major player in Mesopotamia under it's Amorite dynasty, so that Babylonian calendar could be Canaanite in origin.  When Jerusalem is derogatorily called "Sodom and Egypt" it's about them being inhospitable to strangers not any particular customs.

There is one indisputable difference between the Torah Calendar and the Civil Egyptian Calendar, and that is when to start it.  Exodus 12 proclaims Aviv (the time of the Barley Harvest, early Spring) to be the first month while the Egyptian Calendar starts near the Autumnal Equinox.

It is a common traditional conjecture that before Exodus 12 the first season was Fall rather then Spring, and that in Exodus 12 YHWH is swapping the First and Seventh months.  I'd been thinking of making a post on how we can't entirely prove that using Scripture alone.  But since they were in Egypt for several generations it's very possible the Egyptian Calendar was their starting point and what month to make the first month was the only change YHWH is making in Exodus 12.  Though different agricultural and climate circumstances in Canaan no doubt brought further differences, the Egyptian Calender was organized around 3 seasons rather then 4 because of how they were ruled by the flooding of the Nile.

In a hypothetical Torah based Solar Calendar the Intercalary month of five or sixth days (if that was the method used for synchronization) would go between Adar and Nisan rather then in September.  (BTW, those 5 days were when the Egyptians observed the birthdays of Osiris and Horus, not anywhere near Christmas.  And the Egyptian new year was September 11th  on our calendar coincidentally enough.)  Or maybe you would try to put them before the Seventh Month to keep Yom Teruah aligned with the Spring Equinox.  Since I view the Trumpet of Yom Teruah as also the Last Trump of Revelation 11, could it be the preceding 6 Trumpets were meant to be associated with the proceeding extra days?

Genesis 1:14 is possibly using Signs in place of Months, I have over the years gone back and forth on the Mazzaroth/Gospel in the Stars theory.  Maybe fellow Mazzaroth proponents like Rob Skiba should consider that the Star Signs can be an alternate to the Moon for how to determine the months of the year.  Josephus did refer to Nisan as being when the Sun is in Aries, in the first century the Sun entered Aries around the Spring Equinox, and that month is indeed when the Barley Harvest happens.  The Romans had a Seven Day Barley Festival similar to Unleavened Bread that was the 12-18th of April, but due to the awkwardness of Caesar's revisions that may be off form when in the Sun's journey it was supposed to be.

It is popular to theorize that Revelation 12:1 is describing some astronomical alignment involving the Moon. If it is it could be an exception and not proof the months are usually defined by the Moon.  But I'm skeptical of that altogether, I think it's probably a purely supernatural vision and not something predictable using Stelarrium.

Now I do believe the Passover through Pentecost of Christ's Passion, Resurrection and sending of the Holy Spirit was based on what the Jews of the time were doing regardless of if it was still accurate.  But it may be it happened to be a year when they did line up, or at least close enough that First Fruits was the right Sunday.  Since I favor 30 AD and a Thursday Crucifixion on the 14th of Nisan followed by a Sunday Resurrection on the 17th of Nisan, I have long placed the Passion on the 6th of April 30 AD.

But maybe not all the Jews were already using the Babylonian Calednar in Christ's time?  Maybe it was originally mainly the Pharisees, who became the only sect to survive the 70 AD war?  It was the Sadducees who actually controlled the Priesthood and The Temple, and according to Josephus they were a Torah only sect.

The Qumran Community who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls also rejected the Lunar Calendar, the Temple Scroll is our main source on their Calendar but it's discussed in other scrolls too.  I don't think that Calendar is right either, like the Lunar Sabbath model it wants to synchronize the monthly and yearly cycle to the weekly cycle by giving every 3rd month an extra day creating a 364 day year.  As I've talked about before the language in Leviticus 23 about Firs Fruits and Pentecost is clearly assuming they won't line up.  They make the first day of the year a Wednesday because that was the day the Sun and Moon were created.  But at least they correctly placed First Fruits and Pentecost on Sundays.  Weeks are not even remotely mentioned in the Genesis 1 account of the fourth day, so they aren't connected to the sun, moon or stars.

The Book of Jubilees was popular with them because it too rejected the Lunar Calendar (Chapter 6 verses 32-37).  Something I bet Rob Skiba didn't notice when using the book for his agendas (The Jubilees Calendar also seems to be endorsed by Enoch 72-82).  But indeed Jubilees has the same problem as the Temple Scroll system.  In fact it's criticism of the lunar system is a little hypocritical since it doesn't line up perfectly with the seasons either, being one day short of a solar year will inevitably create the same issue even if it'd take longer.

The Hebrew Roots movement has a lot of irrational fear of Sun Worship wrapped up into it.  Obviously actually worshiping the actual Sun or Moon or any other inanimate object is idolatry.  But Malachi does call Jesus the Sun(Shamash) of Righteousness, there is no equivalent title making the Moon a symbol of Jesus.  So I have no problem believing Jesus Rose from The Grave at Sunrise on a Sunday Morning, or that he was born on or soon after the Winter Solstice.  I'd rather base my calendar on the astronomical object that is explicitly a symbol of Jesus then one that is not and was frequently the basis for Pagan ceremonial calendars.

You might ask "are you gonna also question if Biblical days begin and end with Sunset?"  Well I did consider it, but I concluded that they do.  Genesis 1 lists them as Evenings and Mornings, and later Torah verses after Exodus 13 do the same, like Exodus 16 which is also the proper origin of the Sabbath.  Instead I'm just going to point out that even that is also determined by the the Sun, when the Sun sets.

I'm not ready to propose a specific calendar model just yet.  I merely want to open up this line of discussion.

Or maybe I am.  But take everything below with a grain of salt, it's all stuff I could easily abandon.  What I've talked about above is the point of this post.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The Tribes of Mizraim

I already announced my abandonment of the Mizraim wasn't Egypt theory.  What I want to get into here is how my research into the Tribes of Mizraim named in Genesis 10:13-14 clearly verify that we are dealing with Norther Western Africa, even if the name Mizraim itself might be difficult to find there.  Plus I still think Khem/Kemet comes from Ham.

Tribes is the term I'm using because strictly speaking Genesis 10 names no sons of Mizraim, they are all tribal designations (the -im suffix) that came from Mizraim.  They could come from names of sons, or names given to regions for other reasons.

I should also add that I don't think Josephus's "Ethiopic War" happened, I think that was a myth he or someone before him imagined because they didn't know where to finds the tribes of Mizraim.

I want to start with Patrhos, it is a well documented name for Upper Egypt, particularly the area around Thebes.  It comes from Egyptian pꜣ tꜣ-rsy "the southern land" (e.g., pBritish Museum EA 10375, line 16; cf. Sahidic Coptic ⲡⲁⲧⲟⲩⲣⲏⲥ and Bohairic Coptic ⲡⲁⲑⲟⲩⲣⲏⲥ.[1][2]).  Isaiah 11:11 lists Pathros between Mizraim and Cush, suggesting that in that context Isaiah is using Mizraim mainly of Upper Egypt.

Caphtor is a complicated subject because of the desire some have to make it Crete or Cyprus or a location in Turkey.  But even Wikipedia ultimately comes down on the side of it being in the Nile Delta region.
The equation of Keftiu with Caphtor commonly features in interpretations that equate Caphtor with Crete, Cyprus, or a locality in Anatolia. Jean Vercoutter in the 1950s had argued, based on an inscription of the tomb of Rekhmire that Keftiu could not be set apart from the "islands of the sea" which he identified as a reference to the Aegean Sea. However in 2003, Vandesleyen pointed out that the term wedj wer (literally "great green") which Vercoutter had translated "the sea" actually refers to the vegetation growing on the banks of the Nile and in the Nile Delta, and that the text places Keftiu in the Nile Delta.[Claude Vandersleyen, Keftiu: A Cautionary Note, Oxford Journal of Archaeology, vol 22, issue 2, 2003]
The Targums and Miamonides refereed to Caphtor as Caphutkia and places it as Damietta, on the eastern edge of the Nile Delta near classical Pelusium.  But the name Caphtor could also be related to Coptos which comes from an ancient name of Memphis which is also the source of the Greek Aegyptos and thus Egypt.

I actually think these two tribes may be enough to account for all of Egypt proper.  Caphtor as Lower Egypt and Pathros as Upper Egypt, Egypt's traditional two great divisions.

The Casluhim are recorded in the inscriptions of the Temple of Kom Ombo as the region name Kasluḥet.  [Archibald Henry Sayce (2009). The "Higher Criticism" and the Verdict of the Monuments. General Books LLC. p. 91.]  Ancient Jewish traditions associated them with Pentapolis aka Cyeneica, suggesting they were the people indigenous to that region before the Greek Colonists came there in Classical times.

As far as the alleged confusion about whether the Philistimes came from Casluhim or Caphtor.  Amos 9:7 refers to their relationship to Capthor as a direct comparison to Israel's relationship with Egypt. So I believe they were Casluhim who had sojourned in Caphtor before eventually settling in the Gaza Strip.

The Lehubim is the name elsewhere contracted to Lubim and the people from who's name comes Libya, a region that at it's broadest Classical Greek definition also included the land of the decedents of Phut, the Berbers in the far west of Africa. 

The three remaining names in Genesis 10:13 I suspect are to be looked for in modern Sudan and Ancient Nubia. 

The Naphtuhim may be the namesake of Napata, and/or perhaps via the tendency of B and P to sometimes become confused in etymology Nobatia and Nubia itself.  The Nubian were originally a distinct ethnic group from the Kushites, they were originally west of the Nile, a people called the Noba, but migrated into and took over the lands of the Kushite Kingdom after it fell to the Aksumites.

I think the name of Anamim/Anemim/Enemim could come from people of Khnum, an Egyptian Deity worshiped on Elaphantine/Syene island near Aswan, but was mythologically viewed as the source of the Nile.  Maybe they were the people of Kerma, or maybe way further source near Tan Kirikos or Lake Victoria.

The Ludim present potential for confusion with the Lud/Lod son of Shem who settled in Turkey commonly known as Lydia (or Lydus in Greek Mythology).  But I think it's the Mizraimite Ludim who are being alluded to in Jeremiah 46:9 and Ezekiel 30:5 with the context there being about Egypt and other nations near Egypt.  Those Ludim are presented as being famed for their Archery which was also the case with the Ancient Nubians.

I think the Mizraimite Ludim were the people of the region known in late Antiquity and medieval times as Alodia which name can be traced back to Ancient Kushite inscriptions as Alut.  Here are some maps of Christian Nubia.
As an extra Biblical Note, I think Makuria is also the land Herodotus knew as Macrobia.

Update: Since I mentioned Phut, Mizraim's brother, above I might as well deal with the documentation on him.

Pliny the Elder Nat. Hist. 5.1 and Ptolemy Geog. iv.1.3 both place the river Phuth on the west side of Mauretania (modern Morocco). Ptolemy also mentions a city Putea in Libya (iv.3.39).  This might be the same river mentioned by other other authors under other names being connected to the Atlas Mountains.

Other references seem to place Phut closer to Egypt.  Putaya was the name of the Persian Satrapy of Libya, Nebuchadnezzar refereed to the Cyrenians as the "Putu Yavan" (Ionians in Libya).  I think this location closer to Egypt is probably where Phut first settled, then they migrated further west and their original settlement was taken over by the Casluhim and Lehubim/Lubim.

The notion that Phut and Lubim became different names for the same place is attested by Josephus in AotJ Book 1:6/2.

Egypt as a major Empire and center of Trade located on the crossroads of two continents had a very diverse population. So none of this means other grandsons of Noah didn't also contribute to ancient Egypt.  I still think the Origins of Osiris and Horus could partly lie in the Horite genealogy of Genesis 36 (thus descent from the Hitties and Hivites), as well as that Seb/Keb/Geb could be partly based on one of the three Sebs who were sons of Cush.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hades and The Sea

I've become a believer in Universal Salvation, and I stress the importance of a Physical Bodily Resurrection.  However I remain undecided on whether or not I think the Soul/Spirit has a concise state between physical Death and Resurrection, i.e. on the issue of Soul Sleep.  No matter what I would say I don't believe in the Platonic notion of the Immortality of the Soul because I don't believe in Pre-Existence.

Those topics bring up discussion of the words translated "Hell" a lot.  Sheol and Hades (which are clearly the Hebrew and Greek counterparts to each other) are sometimes translated Grave, insinuating they can sometimes be an idiom for being buried in the Earth rather then an Underworld where disembodied Souls and/or Spirits reside.  For example the KJV translates Sheol that way a lot, including the first few times it shows up in Genesis, but translates Hades this way only once, in 1 Corinthians 15:55 which is also the only time Paul ever uses the word.

I had been highly skeptical of that ever being a valid translation, especially since there are other words for Graves, Tombs and Sepulchers.  But then I noticed something in Revelation chapter 20 I hadn't before, in verse 13.
"And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:"
The reference to there being dead in the sea here clearly refers to how many people are buried at sea, in Ancient and medieval times when we didn't have modern preservation technology if you died while at sea you were probably buried at sea whether you would have preferred that or not because the body is doing to start to rot.

So that heavily implies "hell" here (which is Hades in the Greek) being used in contrast to that is the location of bodies not otherworldly souls/spirits.

This also makes me start wondering about the Beast rising out of the Sea in chapter 13 (is the same word for sea in the Greek).  Since there is already reason to suspect the beast is subject to an early Second Resurrection, maybe this is an idiom of that.  But I can't right now think of any historical Antichrist candidates who were buried at sea.

This verse certainly further shows that the Resurrection isn't merely Spiritual.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Debates about when to celebrate "Easter".

First, a reminder that "Easter" is a word used only in English and some Germanic Languages.  All of the Greek and Latin speaking ancients I'm about to talk about actually said "Pascha" everywhere modern English discussions of them like Wikipedia says "Easter".

Also, by the First Century the word Peshach/Pascha was being used for all the Nisan Holy Days together and not just one day.  That's why in Acts 12 it's still Pascha after the Days of Unleavened Bread have started.

First I want discuss how the Quartodecimanism debate that went on in the Second Century was not the same thing as the arguments modern Hebrew Roots/Torah Observant Christians have with mainstream Western Christianity, or even the same thing as the debate that was had at the Council of Nicaea.

Both sides of the original Quartodeciman controversy were using the same calendar, and it seems it was a lunar Calendar, if it was exactly the same Calendar the Jews of the time were using or not I don't know for sure but it probably was.  The debate was about whether the main celebration (Feast being the word used) should be on the 14th of Nisan (the position of the Quartodecimans) or the following Sunday which seems to be what most Christians were doing. 

It wasn't a debate between two entirely different methods of when to calculate anything, but a debate about whether the day Jesus was Crucified, or the Day He Rose from the Dead should be the day of the Feast.  Or in the context of Leviticus 23, Exodus 12 and Numbers 28, the day the Passover Lamb is killed or First Fruits, which is always on the day after the Sabbath, Sunday.

Modern Torah observant Christians often assume the Quartodecimans were the ones on their side of the dispute, and anyone who wanted to do anything but hide under their beds on a Sunday must have been closest Pagan sun worshipers.

The truth is both sides of the dispute were adding to the Torah by seeing a full Fast as being required prior to the Feast.  But in the Torah there was certainly no feasting on the 14th, that doesn't begin till the 15th when the Passover Lamb killed on the 14th is eaten.  But also let's read Leviticus 23 more closely, specifically verses 9 through 14 which are about First Fruits.  Verse 14 says.
"And ye shall eat neither bread, nor parched corn, nor green ears, until the selfsame day that ye have brought an offering unto your God: it shall be a statute for this age throughout your generations in all your dwellings."
So, it sounds like a fast of sorts ends on First Fruits.  It's also interesting that Esther's fast was at the time when Passover would normally be celebrated, but it lasted three days trough the 14th and 15h days of the month, leading to her final victory on the 17th.

Interestingly Deuteronomy 26 is about First Fruits, yet modern Jews read it on their Passover Seder on the 15th of Nisan rather then Exodus 12 strangely enough.

Melito of Sardis Passover teaching clearly teaches the Torah being done away with, so no the Quartodecimans were not the Hebrew Roots people of their time.

To Christians the two most important events in history are the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I would argue that the Resurrection is more important, in the Sermon on Mar's Hill in Acts 17 Paul's presentation of The Gospel to a gentile audience does not directly refer to the Death of Jesus at all, but the climax is definitely The Resurrection.  In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul refers to both the Crucifixion and the Resurrection at the beginning, but the rest of the chapter is primarily about the Resurrection.

Crucifixion Day is a day to mourn, The Resurrection is what we celebrate.

Polycrates_of_Ephesus defended the Quartodeciman position by citing the long established traditions of the Churches in Asia.  But I've already talked about how The Bible itself gives us reasons to suspect that region was where things first started going wrong.

The debate about Easter at the Council of Nicaea is also highly misunderstood.  This debate was only about if Christians should use the same Lunar Calendar as the Jews, and then if all Churches should use the same calendar.  There was not even any disagreement that it should be a Lunaisolar Calendar.

The Council's final decision was that it should be determined independent of the Jewish calendar, and that there should be a universal agreement.  But what that final calendar was took a long time to form.

And it wasn't till centuries later that the Roman Church started making a deliberate effort to make sure Christian Passover never lines up with Jewish Passover, doing that is arguably just as in conflict with Nicaea's decision as adopting the Jewish reckoning would be, since that's not a truly independent decision.

Nicaea was addressing a disagreement that began in the late 3rd Century, so it predated Constantine's influence but was still a century after the Quartodeciman controversy.

One of the arguments against the Jewish Reckoning was that it sometimes had Passover happening before the Spring Equinox.  Now that makes it clear to me a form of the modern Rabbinic Jewish calendar is what they were breaking with here, and indeed it seems to have developed at the same time this Christian disagreement started.  The modern Kariate reckoning has if anything the opposite problem, a tendency to happen maybe a little too far after the Equinox.  My current opinion is that Nisan should begin with the Crescent New Moon closest to the Spring Equinox.

Did the Church's developing Anti-Semitism play some factor in why this happened?  Possibly, but just as Anti-Semites criticizing Israel doesn't make criticism of the Israeli Government inherently Anti-Semitic, there is likewise disagreement even among Jews on if the Rabbinic calendar is correct.

I'm not a legalist, I don't think it's a big deal if we're technically observing things on the wrong day.  But I wanted to clarify how neither of these disputes were an Ancient Hebraic Christian practice being suppressed by a Solar Calendar using organized Church.  The origin of the current method the Roman Catholic Church and most Protestant Churches use is much longer and more complicated.