"Deadly Drought, Fatal Flood"
(Noah to Nimrod)
Sin of Commission
Thoth was considered a spirit while he was yet living and active. He was also associated with the "spirits" of the dead. He had perfected the embalmment process, which was an attempt to preserve the DNA or spirits of the deceased. He was Executor of the last will and testament of the gods. He was Executioner of those whom the gods had sentenced to die. His final proclamation was to be one of silence. The rapidly multiplying offspring of the gods with the daughters of men were not to be warned of what was soon to befall them. Through this non-action, the association of Thoth with death was made complete.
Chapter 175 of the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead describes the "Children of Nut" as fractious and guilty of atrocities.1 The Creator asks Thoth what is to be done about it. Thoth urges the Creator to limit their days. The Creator determines to do just that - to destroy them altogether and return the Earth to its primordial flooded state. The gods were getting old and their patience exhausted. New members were not being admitted into the ranks of the immortals to replace them. Even the days of the Great Reckoner Thoth were numbered. The end of an Age was at hand.
Genesis 6:3 (Schocken Bible) reads: "YHWH said: My rushing-spirit shall not remain in humankind for ages, for they too are flesh; let their days be then a hundred and twenty years!" The Hebrew word translated as "rushing-spirit" by the Schocken Bible is ruwach (7307): "wind; by resemblance breath, i.e. a sensible (or even violent exhalation; figuratively life, anger; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions."a The rushing-spirit of the gods was Thoth-Hermes. He traveled widely and quickly in order to carry out their commands. As the senior gods grew old and tired, Thoth became, figuratively speaking, the breath, and literally the voice of the gods. He expressed their wishes and displeasure; he was their heart and their mind.
Thoth was also the mediator of disputes among the gods and among men. The Hebrew word translated above as "remain" by the Schocken Bible and "strive" by the King James Version is duwn (1777), defined as "to rule; by implication to judge (as umpire); also to strive (as at law)."b There had been strife and bloodshed from the beginning, first among the gods and then between gods and men. Alal (Abel) was violently deposed by Anu (Cain). Anu was then wounded by a rival named Kingu, which forced him to yield to his son Enlil (brother of Enoch). Enlil-Shu was in turn defied by his brother Enki-Ptah (Enoch), and was disrespectfully ousted by his own designated heir Geb (Gabriel). Those olden gods, that is the Titans, were next pushed aside by their "human" offspring. The five "mixed" children of Geb by the goddess Nut vied for dominance. First Osiris (Mehujael) and then Horus (Mehushael) was killed by Seth. Re (Irad) was made a fugitive for his role in the death of Osiris. Seth was replaced by Horus the Younger only after decades of further conflict and arbitration on the part of Thoth (Lamech).
The Torah echoes the sentiment found in the Book of the Dead. Thoth and the elder gods were weary of settling disputes between the "Children of Nut" and amongst emerging mankind. However, the wickedness of men, who were the offspring of the gods themselves, was only a partial explanation for the Flood. It was primarily a rationalization. The cataclysm could be predicted, but not prevented, not with prayer or by repentance. The power of the gods was in this case manifested by their ability to keep secret the knowledge of impending doom.
Go West Old Man
Even Ptah had to agree that the new race was behaving badly, but still argued that the solution was not to drown the baby in the bath water.c The Earth, i.e., Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean Basin was going to be repopulated eventually. Should it not be by the descendants of a man who had shown at least some redeeming qualities? As for the gods themselves, they were abandoning that world and going away. Where they went is somewhat of a mystery. Their own days being short, an extensive rebuilding program in the Old World was not a viable option. Instead, it seems they chose to spend the remainder of their "golden years" in the warmth of the Americas - a Netherworld that was evidently not destroyed by the waters of that particular flood. According to Egyptian beliefs, the gods entered the "beautiful West," which was connected to their world, but could only be reached with considerable difficulty and danger. It was the hope of the Egyptian to follow the gods to that place in death.d
Although bound by oath, it was nonetheless the god of the living waters, Ea/Enki, who leaked news of the killing flood to Noah. In the Book of Enoch, God sends his messenger Uriel to advise Noah. Uriel, meaning "Flame of God," is a Hebrew epithet of Thoth and corresponds to his New Testament identity, the Holy Spirit.e The god who sent Uriel/Thoth to help Noah would have been Ea/Enki. Biblical Noah is given boat building specifications, and a final "heads up" only seven days prior to the Flood.f The interval of seven days further points to an intervention by Thoth. In the Mesopotamian account, Utnapishtim also receives a seven days notice. Enki sees to it that Utnapishtim is instructed in building a submersible ship, and also provides him with materials and labor for the effort. The townspeople are told that Enlil had become angry with Utnapishtim, and that he had to leave the land of Enlil and go to the watery realm of his god Enki. With the wine of Utnapishtim flowing freely, his neighbors are more than happy to help him build the boat and make his exodus.
Greek Mythology names the "drunken sailor," Deucalion (Noah), as the grandson of Iapetos [Ea-Ptah].2 The father of Deucalion is named as the king of Crete, Minos ("the moon's creature"), probably the local epithet of Thoth, a moon god in Egypt. In the Gilgamesh Epic, Utnapishtim is named as the son of Ubar-tutu, which is yet another regional identity of Thoth. Ubar-Tutu has been defined as "friend of Tutu." However, this title is better translated as "over-ruler Tutu," i.e., regent Thoth. Thoth was the final god-king of the pre-dynastic period and ruled with Horus as his junior co-regent, and with 30 other "sons" as his ministers. Thoth was likely not the literal son of Ptah. However, he became the vicar of Ptah, as well as all of the other senior gods, including the sun god Re. As such, he assumed many of their attributes and titles.
Noah's Flood may have been confined to the Mediterranean and Middle East. The ancient Sumerians defined the "earth" as being the Fertile Crescent and the four regions or "corners" which framed it. This definition is also implicit in the Bible. However, the Biblical Flood may include elements of a much earlier flood or floods associated with the end of the last Ice Age. The extent of flooding at that time would have been considered worldwide, even by a modern definition. The arrival of the gods coincided with a time of widespread flooding, probably even more extensive than that of Noah's day. The Flood that marked the departure of the gods from the "world" was associated with the eruption of Thera (Santorini), a volcanic island in the Mediterranean Sea.3
Neither the Day Nor Hour
The Thera eruption is estimated to have been up to 100 times more severe than that of Krakatoa in 1883 making it the second largest eruption of all history. Only the 1815 eruption of Tambora on the Indonesian island of Sumbawa was greater. The tidal waves caused by Thera's collapsing shell, and the fallout from spewing volcanic ash resulted in catastrophic loss of life around the Mediterranean, especially on the eastern rim. The great cultural centers on Thera (Santorini) and the nearby island of Crete were swept away. Traditional estimates for the date of the eruption have ranged between 1380 BC and 1500 BC. A modern study based on tree-ring analysis placed the eruption in 1628 BC. However, the way in which tree-ring dating was applied has been contested.g The chronology proposed here (See Charts 5a, 5b, 14, 15 & 16) can support the 1628 BC date, but is more compatible with the 1380 - 1500 BC time frame.
The Thera eruption would surely have had a devastating impact on Mediterranean and Mesopotamia populations. The blast of Thera would in itself have affected weather all over the planet. Yet, it must now be suspected that Thera was not the main event, but only a side effect of a more massive cataclysm. A 2-mile diameter crater has only recently been discovered near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. It was caused by a meteor hit, and may have only been one of many strikes from a meteor shower.4 The preliminary estimate is that it happened about 4,000 years ago. Of course, such an event could well have triggered earthquakes and volcanic eruptions the world over. Convulsive shifting of tectonic plates along the major fault line of the Middle East, that of the Jordan Rift Valley, is known to have occurred in ancient times.
Was a "meteor shower" actually expected by the gods? If so, then it should now be possible for us to predict the same. It does not necessarily require space age technology, but could be deduced from "historical data" of the Earth, the Solar System and its natural cycles. In ancient times, the calendar was the Earth's cyclical precession relative to the night sky over a period of thousands of years. The return of "near earth objects" (NEO's), such as comets and meteors could be anticipated as a function of elapsed time measured on an astronomical scale. Zecharia Sitchin (in his "Earth Chronicles" series) presents evidence from mythology that trouble returns to Earth every 3,600 years due to the highly eccentric and retrograde orbit of a NEO called Nabiru.
If the 1628 BC date of the Flood is correct, then history should have already repeated itself. 1628 BC is now 3,632 years into the past. However, if previous estimates of the Thera eruption date are more accurate, then we may still suffer the "End of the World," and of our "Age" sometime within the next 200 years. Calculating a more precise date for the meteor strike (triggering the Thera eruption) mentioned above is therefore more than of academic importance. We may not be able to determine the day and hour, but it may be possible to know the year of its coming. Considering its location in modern day Iraq, a closer inspection may require a dash of diplomacy. Yet, the insight to be gained more than justifies whatever measures must be taken. It is also necessary to revisit the tree-ring analysis, and correct any flaws in procedure or application to the dating of the Thera eruption.
Every End a New Beginning
As the celestial ark of the gods had earlier searched for a landing place amidst the high waters, so Noah looked for a mount to bring his mystery ship to rest.5 In the Legend of Adapa, the Flood Hero and survivor is called the "model human," as though he were another Adam/Atum.h In a sense of loneliness and innocence, he was. Genesis 8:1 (NIV) states that "God remembered Noah and sent a wind (ruwach) over the earth and the waters receded." In the Sumerian Deluge Epic, Flood hero Ziusudra [Noah] opened a window, and "Utu [Thoth] brought his rays into the giant boat."i After Noah arrived safely on dry land, he built an altar and offered up a burnt sacrifice. Genesis 8:21 continues: "the Lord smelled" (ruwach) the pleasing aroma and made a silent declaration "in his heart." The repeated and varied use of the Hebrew word ruwach emphasizes the perceived role of Thoth in the unfolding drama. Moreover, as mentioned above, Thoth was called the "heart" of the gods.6
The Biblical benediction of Jehovah made through his ruwach (Thoth) is consistent with Mesopotamian myth. In the Gilgamesh Epic, Enlil is at first furious that he had been disobeyed. After a lecture by Enki, he then relents and decides to make Utnapishtim and his wife as the gods.j Likewise, in the Legend of Adapa, Adapa challenges the gods by exercising a "lord-like" ability to command and curse, and thereby defies the Deluge. He was summoned before the great god Anu to give a report. After Adapa humbly apologizes for his anger, Anu poses the rhetorical question: "Why did Ea to a worthless human of the heaven and of the earth the plan disclose?"k Without waiting for the reply, he concedes that there is nothing more to do than offer Adapa immortality. However, as he had earlier tricked Enlil, Ea also tricked Adapa into refusing the "bread of life." The meek one Adapa was granted "mercy," but he did not attain "eternal life."
Whether it was a real event or just another one of man's later "imaginations," the great orator Thoth makes a formal farewell speech in the Genesis text. The best the aging despot could do was to leave his charges with a threat and a promise. Thoth quoted nothing from the elaborate legal codes he wrote during the preceding Golden Age of Strife. Mortal men, left to their own devices, would do well if only to avoid slaking the blood of animals and spilling the blood of their fellows. It is a sad commentary that the gods considered it futile to expect any more from humans than this. Even animals are averse to killing members of their own social units.
In the Book of Enoch, the birth of Noah was looked upon not as a sign of judgment and doom, but of imminent relief from oppressive living conditions. The Flood did come as a punishment to those who perished, but was a godsend for those who survived. With the Flood came a dramatic change in climate. The reappearance of abundant surface water and rainfall abruptly ended a long period of increasing drought. The ground once again could sustain life. The traumatized clan of Noah were comforted with the promise that the Earth would never again be destroyed by the waters of a flood, and to date it hasn't. Nevertheless, promises are only as good and lasting as those who make them. The Mediterranean has continued to be active geologically, and is presently the home of the Earth's most active volcano, Mt. Etna on Sicily. On this, the "Water Planet," two-thirds of the globe is covered by ocean. It is not a matter of if, but when, a major flood will occur. The possible list of causes is great, including eruptions, earthquakes, collapse of a continental shelf or glacier, and especially the rogue asteroid or regular meteor impact. This is the mixed blessing of abundant water.
Covenant Without Kingship
Gen. 9:1 (KJV) states, "And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, 'Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.' " Earlier, in Genesis 1:28, God commanded Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it." Strong's Concordance defines subdue (Heb. kabash, 3533) as "to tread down; hence negatively to disregard; positively to conquer, subjugate, violate:- bring into bondage, force, keep under, subdue, bring into subjection." Adam and Eve were created not only to serve their Creator, but also to attain mastery over the Earth and all life in it. The Bible implicitly confirms the right of their children to rule as god-kings. Likewise, after the Flood, a line of god-kings emerged from Noah. However, the Torah implicitly rejects the authority of that line of kings. As with Adam and Eve, Noah and those with him are told to "be fruitful and multiply." However, the command to "subdue" the Earth is conspicuously absent. There is only the prohibition of drinking the blood of animals and shedding the blood of men. The Torah is either denying that kingship was "lowered from heaven" after the Flood, or claiming that this kingship had been made null and void, because the terms of the "covenant" had been broken.
The author of the Kings/Chronicles history expresses a strong anti-kingship sentiment. 1 Samuel 8:6-22 states, "This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you: He will take your sons ... he will take your daughters ... your fields ... your vineyards ... the tenth of your seed ... your asses ... your sheep ... And you shall cry out ... but the Lord will not hear you." In Kings/Chronicles, the former kingship of the Patriarchs in Egypt is suppressed, however their sovereignty in Palestine is celebrated. The humbled scions of David and Solomon had drunk their fill of world domination. They had lived by the sword and died by it. Ultimately, they all became victims of the traditional royal "smiting scene." No longer were they the oppressors, but the oppressed. Pride in their glorious past was tempered by the decried hardship of their present new beginnings in post-Exile Israel.
The Torah takes this anti-kingship sentiment to the next logical level. In that history the legitimacy of kingship itself is called into question, and the sovereignty of the Patriarchs is completely renounced. Many clues to the royalty of the Patriarchs are carefully interwoven into the text of the Torah, but their kingship is never made explicit, not in Egypt, Palestine or anywhere else. The Torah is the autopsy of a fallen line of autocrats. It is not a "history written by the winners," but by losers. There is a distinct "sour grapes" taste in the vintage Torah narratives. After the Patriarchal line lost its kingship, the institution itself was denounced. The Torah is also a tell-all expose. Discretely, yet fully, the shocking details of ancient royal family life are revealed.
In the time of the gods, the excesses of Seth and his generation led to reforms in the kingship model. Thoth tried to assure an orderly succession through the institution of co-regency. Upon the death of a king, the co-regent would duly succeed him. At the same time, the new king would appoint a co-regent from among his own sons or "brothers." The co-regent was fully a king, but did not hold absolute power. If a co-regent died, a new co-regent would be appointed to replace him. Moreover, if the co-regent was found to be unworthy, his "birthright" could be revoked and given to another. In the reign of Thoth, the co-regent was Horus the Younger. He is not named in the succession list of the Patriarchs. His co-regency was either annulled by the gods, or by the Flood.
Ea/Enki did not accept the decision of Enlil to rid the "world" of all men. He secretly crowned a new "co-regent," one in whom he found no sin. Noah was evidently more of a lover than a fighter. Enki must have hoped that this compassionate, wine-bibbing seaman would replenish the earth with a happy, peace-loving race. After the Flood, Noah put away his sail and was ready to settle down. However, Noah's "youngest son" intended to subdue the earth even as the gods had done before him. To Ham, the complacency of Noah was the greater disgrace.
Boarding the king ship, Noah made a slip.
Warm-hearted tiller harbored a killer.
Noah had new wine alone on his mind.
Ham lusted for fruit of another kind.
A Curse With a Cause is Retracted
Ham repaid his praying father by preying on him. No sooner had big brother Thoth departed, we are told that Ham sodomized Noah and then boasted about it to Shem and Japheth. This heinous act of Ham toward his father indicates that he may not have been a true son of Noah. If he had been, then the seed of Noah would have already resided in Ham. The name Ham suggests that he was of the line or at least of the nature of the god Har (Horus/Heracles). In a primitive ritual, Ham determined to put his seed in Noah, and thereby usurp his station as "father." In the Legend of Adapa, the Flood hero (Noah) justly curses the south wind of the Deluge. Strangely, despite being violated again after the Flood in an equally degrading fashion, Biblical Noah does not curse his southerly son Ham directly, nor all of his descendants.
In Genesis, we are told that Ham was the grandfather of Nimrod, the first great figure of the Post-Flood Age. Nimrod is further named as a son of Cush. This is a true statement, however it is only half the story. The author is deliberately trying to throw the untrained bloodhound off the "grail trail," and he succeeds like a red fox. The author wants very much to disassociate his Semitic ancestors from the great tyrants of the past, and also avoid becoming the quarry of Nimrod's in his present day.
Ham is not specifically cursed. Equally surprising, Shem, the favored son of Noah, is himself not explicitly blessed. More precisely, it is the god of Shem that Noah blesses. The reader naturally assumes that the god of Shem is Jehovah, but that was not strictly the case. In the Legend of Etana,l we learn that the god of Shem was Shamash (a form of Thoth). We can also discern from that same epic something even more profound. Shem and his royal wife could not have children. Therefore, Nimrod was fathered by Cush on the behalf of Shem. By right and by choice, Shem became the legal and spiritual father of the first great king and tyrant Nimrod. For this reason, the Biblical author cleverly removes from Ham the curse and withholds from Shem a blessing.
Through a covenant between Cush and Shem, the "mighty hunter" Nimrod was born. The legacy of both Ham and Shem became twisted together as one. Therefore, the curse with a cause had to be partially undone. However, Nimrod, as the founder of post-Flood kingship, could not be explicitly blessed. Kingship, in the eyes of the Genesis author, was not a blessing. Oddly, only the capable Canaan is consigned to perpetual servitude. The curse had been uttered by Noah. It could not be fully denied, so it was placed on the head of the scapegoat Canaan. The author of Genesis refused to recall any curse on Ham or his son Cush. To have done so would have been tantamount to cursing Shem. (The "sons born to Shem" listed in Genesis 10:21-22 are identified in the following essay.)
House of Eternity
The Gilgamesh Epic informs us that after the Flood Utnapishtim was made to "reside far away, at the "mouth of the rivers."m In the "The Deluge" epic, Ziusudra was "caused to dwell" in the "land of the crossing" or the "land of rule" called Dilmun.n Although these descriptions are not very helpful, we can deduce that Noah lived out his days in Egypt, the place where the spirits of the dead were considered to live on indefinitely through a proper embalming and burial. Noah assumed the Egyptian name or title of Nutjeren or Ny-netjer, which is translated as "belonging to the gods" or "as the gods." The Greek root ny also means "god." Therefore, Ny-netjer would suggest "god (of) gods." Noah did not merely reside or dwell in Egypt. He established his family as the "great house"o of Egypt, the source of all future pharaohs, the god-kings of that land. It is perhaps the name and status of Noah in Egypt that led to the Mesopotamian legends of his deification and attainment of eternal life "as the gods."
Noah was deified in Egypt, as were his leading sons with him. The name of Ham/Khem is also found among the early dynasts of Egypt. The Biblical name is a shortened form of Sekhemwy, who took the throne name of Bau-netjer, "power of the gods to punish and kill."p The favored son of Noah, Shem, can similarly be seen as an abbreviation of his Egyptian name Semerkhet, "thoughtful friend."q Shem took the throne name of Iri-netjer, "eye of the gods," i.e., favored/heir of the gods. However, as indicated in the Bible, the aggressive Ham usurped the place of both Shem and Noah. Upper Egypt fell to Ham's son Cush ("Ethiopia"), who assumed the names of Scorpion and Horus-Aha.7 Lower Egypt became the domain of Ham's son Mizraim ("Egypt"). He was known in that region as Netjer-i-khet ("divine of the body"),r Djoser ("serpent-king")8 and possibly Cobra, which is also one of the king names or epithets of early dynastic Egypt.
The major cities of Mesopotamia were also claimed by these same two sons of Ham. In the Sumerian king-list, Aha (Cush) was called Agga and also Zukakip ("Scorpion"), as in Egypt. Djoser (Mizraim) corresponds to Labasher in the Sumerian king-list.s However, he was best remembered in Mesopotamian lore by the name of Gilgamesh, and his virtues are recounted in the lengthy Gilgamesh Epic. In that tale, the hero Gilgamesh (Misraim) is put forth as the paragon of irrepressible manhood, as his Egyptian name Netjerikhet suggests. Gilgamesh is cut out of the same mold as the earlier Horus action figures. Like Horus the Elder (Adad), Gilgamesh is both "fierce" and "beloved." Like the younger Horus (Greek Heracles), he enjoys the patronage and special favor of Utu-Shamash (Thoth-Hermes). He also strives as Heracles did to win immortality with his mighty labors. Gilgamesh is both athletic and articulate. He gets dirty and dresses dapper. He is honest to the point of irreverence. He is spontaneous and joyful. He is competitive, but not obsessed with winning. He cares more about living than ruling. In pursuit of immortality, a perilous journey is undertaken by Gilgamesh to find "The Faraway" Utnapishtim. Along the way, he is advised by the "scorpion-man,"t who is likely a memory of his brother Scorpion/Horus-Aha.
However, the Epic of Gilgamesh doesn't completely hide the hero's flip side. He is adventurous, but recklessly destructive. He is virile, but also vain. He is a loyal friend, but often also a fiend. He spurns the love of a "goddess," but bursts in uninvited upon ordinary brides. He is capable of deep grief, but is specifically called "the killer." He and his sidekick Enkidu not only slay the "bull of heaven" and the "watchman of the forest," but also the "young lions [i.e., princes] in the mountain passes." It is this last excess that his elders and his brother Agga/Scorpion probably found inexcusable. In the Gilgamesh Epic, the god Shamash (Thoth) also does not condone the killings of Gilgamesh, but he is willing to accept a substitute. Enkidu, the ally and close companion of Gilgamesh, is made to die in his place.
King of the Beasts
What began as a friendly rivalry between Cush and Mizraim eventually turned ugly. It also provided an opportunity for Shem to salvage a measure of honor. The perspective of Shem in this family feud was preserved in the Legend of Etana. Etana (Shem) was declared to be the first king of Kish, and therefore of the "world," following the Flood. As the designated heir of Utnapishtim (Noah), he would have been paired with the preferred female - the fairest of all the fair daughters of men. Nonetheless, as Inanna-Ishtar before her, the wife of Etana could not conceive. (This is an indication of the extensive inbreeding that had already taken place by this time.) In the Legend of Etana, Etana prays daily to his god Shamash for relief, even as his father Utna-pishtim (Noah) had called out to Ea. The "curse" of Etana is not the lack of rain, but a son to carry on his reign. He desperately wants a shumu, which is translated as "name."u In order to get himself this name, he had to have a qualified successor. As the story goes, Shamash finally answers Etana's prayer, probably not directly, but as his "spirit guide."v
The desire of Etana for a royal dynasty arouses suspicious. The renewal of divine kingship after the Flood is in contradiction to the edict of Thoth-Shamash given in the Bible. The sons of Noah were not to assume the power of life and death over their fellow man. Noah and his sons are granted authority over the beasts, but not to kill human beings. However, the prohibition against kingship is circumvented in the Legend of Etana through a subtle ploy. The childless Etana is not named as a ruler over men. Instead, he is called "king of the animals." Included among these so-called "animals" are rival princes. Etana is the only fully human character in the story. This serves both to distinguish him from other contenders and to make his divine pretensions more legitimate. Moreover, the plight of Etana (Shem) was so personal and the might of Agga (Cush) so mitigated that their shared predicament was better told as a fable rather than as literal narration.
In the opening stanza of the Etana Epic we are presented with an image of befuddled Flood survivors. They had not yet collected themselves well enough to establish a king to rule over them. In fact, the "Seven" (Thoth-Shamash, specifically) and the "Anunnaki-Igigi" (the Assembly of the Gods, in general) are seen as actively opposing the return of civilization and kingship. They have even blocked the gates of the cities such that men cannot re-enter them. This probably alludes to drifts of silt from the Flood. Instead, the Great Gods seek only to confirm the "bounds of Shamash." In the Etana Epic, these bounds clearly correspond to the Biblical restrictions given to the clan of Noah against murder and consuming the blood of animals. However, the "goddess Ishtar," i.e., the wife of Etana, is not at all dismayed by the mud and insists upon the renewal of city and court life. Here, as in the Biblical Creation Story, the woman is revealed as the "civilizing influence." In Genesis 3:12 (KJV), Adam says to his God, "the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." The "strong-man" Etana might also have eased his own guilty conscience regarding his kingly ambitions by weakly muttering, "mistress Ishtar made me do it."
In a veiled pursuit of sovereignty, Etana allegorically seeks the help of a condemned "eagle." This eagle had been cast into a pit for slaying the brood of a "serpent." We are told that the eagle and the serpent were once denizens of the same "tree," i.e., shared the same royal lineage. In the Legend of Etana, the eagle logically corresponds to Cush, known in Upper Egypt as Horus-Aha, the "fighting falcon." The serpent represents his sibling and natural rival Mizraim, the "serpent king" of Lower Egypt. In their younger days, the eagle and the serpent form a pact and even help to raise each other's children. But the vain lust of the eagle for glory eventually drives him to murder the children of his brother and ally. In search of justice, the serpent sets a trap for the eagle. He then seizes his former friend and confronts him with his treachery. The eagle cannot bring back the children of the serpent whom he had slain, but he does offer him a bridew with which to start anew. In such a small royal family, there was no more powerful inducement to forgive. Nevertheless, the serpent has nothing but venom for the eagle. Yet, being fearful of Shamash and bloodguilt, he does not kill him. Instead, he throws the ruffed up eagle into a pit and consigns his certain death to the "executioner" Shamash (Thoth).
In desperation, the eagle prays to Shamash, and swears to make him his own personal god in exchange for a pardon. He suggests that Shamash is not aware of all the circumstances that led to his sentencing. Nonetheless, the eagle had done what was expressly forbidden. The text implies that the eagle not only killed the young of the serpent, but also "devoured" them. In other words, this creature was not only a killer of men, but possibly also a cannibal. Shamash remains grieved over his evil, and will not help him directly. However, Shamash does offer the eagle an indirect form of redemption and the possibility for parole. Shamash sends the faithful Etana to obtain from the eagle the "plant of birth." The "plant of birth" is a metaphor for human sperm. In Egypt, there was a type of lettuce with milky excretions resembling semen. These lettuces were part of the regular offerings made to the deity Min, a form of Thoth-Shamash as fertility god. In the "Contendings of Horus and Seth," the semen of Horus was secretly placed on such a lettuce and eaten unwittingly by Seth for breakfast. According to this tale, Horus thereby proved his dominance over Seth and secured the kingship of Egypt.x
Returning to the Legend of Etana, the hero Etana arrives at the pit and offers some food to the languishing eagle. But, before pulling him out, there is a business matter to discuss. Etana minces no words and demands of the eagle, "produce for me a name!" The doomed eagle is naturally overjoyed to comply. Not only does the jailbird offer to give Etana "a human offspring," but promises to forever "sing his praises." In the Bible, barrenness is not only caused but also cured by the gods.y This belief is also reflected in the Legend of Etana. After the eagle is raised from the pit, he proceeds to take Etana to the heavenly abode of Anu. Ostensibly, they are going there to obtain the "plant of birth" with which Etana's wife can become pregnant. However, we are told that Etana had daily made offerings to his own god for this same purpose. Moreover, the eagle already has the live-giving ingredient in his possession. The "plant of birth" is the semen of the eagle. The trip to heaven is only a symbolic gesture to solicit the gods. The literal interpretation of this passage is that of sexual intercourse.
Another clue to the actual history is that Etana (Shem) and the eagle (Cush) do not rise alone. They must be accompanied by the "mistress Ishtar," that is the wife of Etana, who is elevated to the status of a goddess.z Etana has a "fear of flying," at least in the cockpit proposed by the eagle, and he refuses to ascend all the way to heaven. Ishtar had already embraced his desire and his seed to no avail. It would not increase the chances for conception now. It may also have been customary for Etana to establish his dominance by first putting his seed into the eagle, by whatever means. But for Etana (Shem), this wasn't necessary or desirable and his contract didn't stipulate such an act. He chose not to do unto the eagle (Cush) as the eagle's father (Ham) had done unto his father Noah.
It was necessary to take Ishtar with them on their flight into the lofty domain of pleasure. Only "alongside" Ishtar could they ascend. In this way, Etana got his heir and his name. In Hebrew, Shem literally means "name," that is, renown. He was acknowledged by posterity, even "unto distant times," as the father and founder of the post-Deluge dynasty. Mesopotamia was henceforth called "Sumer," and the double crown of united Egypt was called the "Semerty."aa The title sematawy signified "unification of the two lands." The four-month harvest ("dry") season in Egypt was called the shemu or shomu. In the second month of Shemu, the Valley Festival was celebrated during which kingship was reaffirmed.ab It was said that Mizraim (a.k.a. Meshkiaggasher)ac "ascended to the mountains." Cush like Mizraim sought conquest in faraway places, but his most famous exploit was upon Mons Venus. With Ishtar, he achieved even greater heights of fame than did Etana.
Cush, the "eagle" was granted amnesty by substituting his seed for Etana's. The life of Mizraim, the "serpent," was earlier spared, because another was made to die (substituted) on his behalf. It seems that each brother had at least one opportunity to kill the other. However, according to the Epic of Gilgamesh and Agga, the two may have reconciled in the end. In that story, Agga besieges Erech and it is Gilgamesh who becomes trapped like a bird in a cage. With little other recourse, Gilgamesh offers kind words and his submission to Agga. Swearing "before Utu," i.e., Thoth-Shamash, Agga extends mercy to Gilgamesh. The tale concludes with Agga saying to Gilgamesh: "Your praise is good."ad Nevertheless, the next ruler of Erech would not be the true son of Gilgamesh, but that of Agga by the wife of Etana.
What is the lasting legacy of a great person? Is it the bequeathing of genes or adoption of values by future generations? To the ancient kings passed the active traits of Ham, but well remembered were the passive ideals of Shem. Kings were eager to portray themselves as loving shepherds, called from the flocks to lead and care for the people. They wanted to be thought of as meek, tent dwelling men of great learning and meditation. Such rhetoric was also used as royal propaganda to cover their multitude of sins. In times of peace and in tumult, the most daring and deceitful became kings and queens. Losers in this death struggle mourned as a bereaved goose, winners cried tears of the sated crocodile.
The way of Noah and Shem
So often was forsaken
For the road that was taken
In great waste by Cush and Khem.
The Bible calls the son of Cush by the name of Nimrod. In Genesis 10:8-9, he is three times called "mighty," which is very high praise for a grandson of Ham. Nimrod was known by the Sumerian name of En-me-kar or Enmerker.ae However, the Sumerian king-list also names him as Balih(k), the legal heir and successor of Etana. Etana and Balih are not Sumerian names,af but Semitic. The Semitic name Balih(k) conveys "tribute," but also "terror and destruction." The Hebrew word belal denotes "anointing, mingling, and the mixing of self."9 In Nimrod, the royal lines of Ham and Shem were co-mingled. Nimrod was the legal heir of Shem and the natural son of Cush. The Semitic royal line and the Hamitic royal line became one and the same. Future kings were as likely to consider themselves shepherds like Shem as they were hunters like Ham. Strong's Concordance does not attempt to translate the name Nimrod. Although it does not have a direct Hebrew meaning, it is not difficult to translate. In fact, the Bible translates it for us as "mighty hunter."10
The Book of Genesis implies that Thoth had blessed only those aboard the ark on behalf of Ptah and the gods. The rest of the "world" had not been granted a stay of execution. Yet, even in the world of the Middle East, the Flood did not kill every living thing, and not every human being. Nimrod took it upon himself to complete the work of Thoth by exterminating all those who had dared to survive apart from divine intervention. In Egypt, Biblical Nimrod was not known by a Sumerian name Enmerkar, or a Semitic name Balih, but by the "Egyptianized" name of Narmer or Na'rmer (with an "ayin" between the a and r). On the famous Narmer Palette, the victims of this great conqueror are dispatched in a number of ways, including ritual drowning.
Strong's Concordance lists a variant of Nimrod as Namer. Unlike Nimrod, Namer does have a Hebrew meaning, which Strong's Concordance defines as "to spot or stain as if by dripping; a leopard (from its stripes)." The almost identical Narmer is translated by Egyptologists as "striking catfish." This may have been the intended meaning in Egyptian. However, the name of Narmer is best assailed as an adaptation or transliteration of the Semitic word namer, "leopard." After all, Nimrod was at least partly raised in the House of Shem. Certainly Nimrod/Narmer did cut down (Heb. namal) countless victims like a leopard, and their blood dripped and stained (Heb. namer) where it fell. In the form of Na'rmer the root rm, meaning "seize," leaps out. Also, compare the Hebrew word remah (7412) "overthrow" and the Hebrew na'ar (5287) "rustling of the mane (as of a lion when growling), overthrow." Na'ar is also used in Ex.14:27 and Ps. 136:15 to describe the drowning ("overthrow") of pharaoh and his army during the Exodus.
The "Narmer Palette" is one of the very first examples of fine art in Egypt. Its practical purpose was to mix and hold the mascara of the Queen Mother, that of "mistress Ishtar" herself. Incongruently, the beautiful green stone is covered with macabre scenes of human execution. On this palette, the Lady of Etana is no longer compared to the bereft and barren Isis, but to a bloodthirsty Hathor. In Egyptian myth, Hathor once decided to destroy mankind. The gods intervened by getting her drunk on beer, which had been dyed red to look like blood. The wife of Shem and mother of Nimrod was determined to be the Hathor of the New Age - the mother of all living, the mother of both gods and men. The post-Flood nest was to be re-filled with her children. All others were to be mercilessly slaughtered. This is how the gods had ordained it, and there would be no deterring "Hathor" this time.
It had not only been the ambition of Etana, but that of "Ishtar" his wife, to have a son. Etana called for Shamash to make his wife fertile. His wife looked to Gilgamesh. In the Gilgamesh Epic, Ishtar is not able to seduce the wily serpent Gilgamesh. He only derides her vain ambition. Ironically, Gilgamesh did help her by "clipping the wings" of his brother Agga. In the Legend of Etana, he proudly soars again in the aviary with Ishtar. When the most aggressive male of the family was tethered to the dominant female, he eagerly clutched his kismet. Agga and the wife of Etana were both birds of prey. The chick they hatched scratched out both men and beasts. Enmerkar-Bilah (Nimrod) conquered and he killed. He proved that the earth, as it was then defined, could be united under a single king. He set the standard for all fledgling princes to follow.
In the Torah, the knowledge that Nimrod had been a king of any kind is suppressed. The best the author is willing to say is that Nimrod was a "mighty hunter." The Hebrew word for mighty is gibbowr, which is an obvious allusion to "Geb, the heir."ag The text implies that Nimrod was the rightful successor of both Cush and of Shem, but that he had assumed a wrongful office. The gods had blessed the hunting of animals, but not the killing of men. Gibbowr is also a synonym of Nephilim ("giants") and is translated as "giant" in Numbers 13:33 and Job 16:14. This appellation connects Nimrod to the "mighty (gibbowr) men of old" spoken of in Genesis 6:4. These were the god-kings and tyrants from before the Flood, which we are told also endured afterward. Nimrod is likened to his predatory forbears, not only in greatness but also in greediness.
The Nephilim were a mixed race, and Nimrod was of mixed lineage. Hebrew words related to gibbowr ("mighty") are gebuwlah and gabal, which denote "territory" and "twisting." The Hebrew word for "hunter" is derived from tsuwd, "to lie alongside." The two fathers of Nimrod lay alongside Ishtar. This "twisting together" of Cush with Shem and his "barren" wife resulted in the birth of Nimrod and the founding of the Egyptian Old Kingdom. Because of continued infertility due to incest, this form of cooperation became an integral part of the reproductive model for future generations of royalty. The Egyptian New Kingdom was established through an identical covenant between two rival princes (see Chapters 9-12).
Nimrod was the great father of the Semitic peoples and their kings. He could not be cursed, nor could Cush or Ham. Nimrod had cleared the way for the earth to be replenished by the descendants of Noah. In this sense, he fulfilled the "divine mandate" of Shamash/Thoth. However, by assuming the titles of king and pharaoh, he also prepared the way for those same descendants to be brutally oppressed. Possibly, the mandate itself was misguided or had been misconstrued. Ea-Enki had found in Noah the qualities of a concerned neighbor. But, filling the earth with passive people was going to require considerable aggression.
The Genesis author applies a double standard to Narmer/Nimrod. Despite the fact that he was a relentless hunter of men, he was also renowned for establishing the cult of Ptah as supreme in Egypt. Ptah would later become the leading god of the Biblical Godhead, so it is not surprising that the reputation of Nimrod would be salvaged in the Bible. It was Ea/Enki who proved to be the only member of the Elohim that could be fully trusted to protect man. Ea/Enki was the one god who had helped Utnapishtim (Noah) and his clan survive the Flood. It is only to be expected that this god would from that moment be elevated above all others. He was not only their personal savior, but also their patient teacher and proud father. In this early dynastic period, Ptah was hailed as the "First Among the Gods," "Lord of Truth" and the "Only True God."
Together, Narmer and his father Horus-Aha (Menes)11 established a new capital city dedicated to Ptah. The city was called, Inb Hdj, "White Wall." Ptah himself was given the epithet, "He-who-is-south-of-his-wall."ah (Inb Hdj was later called Memphis by the Greeks.) Prior to the Flood, Ptah would have often been found on the sunny side of his temple enclosure making solar measurements. In Memphis, the sun remains in the southern sky year round. However, after the Flood, the above epithet of Ptah takes on a new meaning. From that time forward, Ptah, like the sun, would remain behind the temple enclosure. Consequently, Robert Temple suggests that Ptah was thought of as having been joined with the sun.12
At what juncture after the Deluge did the gods cease to be real and enter into the realm of faith and delusion? Perhaps, they would have tried to find out whether Noah and those with him had indeed survived. Certainly after that, they went missing. It seems that the orphaned family of Noah never did receive a full closure on the matter. There persisted a gnawing paranoia that the gods were not truly dead, but continued to watch over them from a distance. Even in their state of repose, they could still bless and punish. To the Hebrew speaker, the name Inb Hdj, "White Wall," would have sounded like "anab chedai." Anab means "where (is) father?" Chedai provides the answer. It means "at rest."13 By the time of Nimrod/Narmer, the gods, and especially their patron deity Ptah, were presumed to either be dead or gone for good. It was time for a memorial. The White Wall was a wall of remembrance. It was the original "Wailing Wall." The departure of the gods was a mixed blessing. It granted independence to man, but it also meant that mankind was on its own.
In Sumerian tradition, it was the god Enki (Ptah) who had warned Utnapishtim (Noah) of the impending Deluge from the opposite side, i.e., "south," of a temple partition. Enki had sworn before the assembly of gods that he would not warn mortals of the coming Flood. He was not willing to tell Utnapishtim face-to-face, but "hid" himself behind an enclosure (hdj). Although he did not appear to Noah directly, he nevertheless did answer his prayer, and then sent his "spirit" Thoth to help him. "The Wall" becomes a metaphor for the period following the Flood. The human race was now permanently separated from their makers. Nevertheless, Ptah retained a symbolic role, and was called "Ptah-hearer-of-prayers." Ear-shaped votive tablets were found at the Temple of Ptah and elsewhere in Egypt. The supplicant prayed into these ears and believed that Ptah would hear.ai Their savior Ptah would always hear them, especially from behind the wall of his holy shrine.
Nimrod not only brought men into bondage, but also took the gods into custody. It would no longer be necessary to scale the heights of heaven or even take to the hills in order to find them. The king and his subjects could conveniently offer praise, seek favor, or ask forgiveness at the local temple. Mankind had been created, or at least procreated, in order to serve the gods. The "spirits" of the gods were now kept alive in order to meet the needs of man, and especially those of the king. The temple was soon the implement of the state. The physical presence of the gods was replaced by graven images made of stone. Only two generations after the Flood, the great-grandson of docile Noah began capturing, counting and killing men as doves. But, it proved easier for him to bind men than to dispel his fear of the gods, and of the unknown. One must then wonder whether the first monument to Ptah was motivated more out of gratitude or from greed and guilt.
The ancients built white walls for their revered ancestors and told white lies to their beloved children. There is no true security, but children deserve to feel safe and loved. Sadly, we can say little more to our heirs than our ancestors said to theirs. We have re-learned 3500 years later that our hothouse is hurtling through the minefield of space. The turning heavens hold unspeakable horrors, as does the Earth's burning core. Future traumas will be every bit as great and just as unavoidable. How can those who work and pray blame those who only drink and play? If the gods of this age wish to be remembered, let them construct monuments of science that can withstand earthquake, flood and fire. Let them build arks and fill them with families to carry on the cosmic race.
- Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
- James Pritchard, "The Epic of Gilgamesh," Old Babylonian Version, lines 170-175, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p 95.
- Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt, pp 158, 180.
- Flame or Fire is also a metaphor for the "Holy Spirit" of God. It can symbolize grace or judgment. For grace, see: Mt. 3:11/Lu. 3:16, Acts 2:3, Acts 7:30, Heb. 1:7. For judgment see: 1 Cor. 3:13-15, 2 Th. 1:8, Dt. 4:24, Heb. 12:29. The god Thoth was said to preside over the judgment of the dead.
- Genesis 7:4
(The Centuries of Darkness argue that tree-ring dating has been misapplied in the case of Thera.)
- Enki (Ea) continued to have more human children after being restored by Ninhursag. One of the most remarkable was known as "the human offspring, the son of Ea, the capable, the sage, the most wise (attrahasisa), the model of men, Adapa." Like the Biblical Noah, Adapa/Atrahasis was a sailor, and was distinguished among his peers as an exemplary human. He was submerged in his boat by a great storm, and as Noah, Adapa miraculously survived. The Deluge, and the triumph of Adapa over the elements, signaled the end of a time of great affliction upon mankind. They had suffered the ravages of wild beasts, from plague, famine, and finally from the Flood.
- James Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern Texts, p 44, "The Deluge," lines 207-208.
- Ibid., p 95, "The Epic of Gilgamesh," Old Babylonian Version, lines 170-175.
- Ibid., pp 101-103, "The Legend of Adapa."
- An on-line translation is available at: www.gatewaystobabylon.com/myths/texts/classic/mythetana.htm
- "The Epic of Gilgamesh," Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. J. Pritchard, p 95.
- Zecharia Sitchin identified Dilman or Tilman as the Sinai.
- The word pharaoh means "great house."
- For the basis of this definition of bau, see Jan Assmann, The Mind of Egypt, p 145-147.
- Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, p 16. Another Egyptian form of the name Shem may have been "Sma." Sma is a name of the early dynastic period according to Flinders Petrie, The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty.
- Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, p 32.
- For the linguistic association between these two names, see the section "Suffering Serpent" in Chapter 5 and Note 1 of Chapter 5.
- "The Epic of Gilgamesh," Ancient Near Eastern Texts, ed. J. Pritchard, p 88-89.
- According to S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians, p 298, the early Akkadian word shumu is the same as the later Hebrew word shem.
- Alternatively, Shem may have been directed by one of the "gods" in his immediate family, who played the role of Utu--Shamash. Biblical Ham ("warm") is also called Utu ("hot") in the Sumerian king-list, a form of Thoth/Tutu.
- Literally, "a gift befitting a bridegroom."
- Barbara Watterson, Gods of Ancient Egypt, p 195, 107.
- 1 Sam. 1:5, 19
- In the Epic of Gilgamesh, Etana (Shem) is named as a god, along with the father of Gilgamesh, who is called Lugalbanda (Ham). The epithet Lugalbanda may have originally applied to Ninurta (see the "Myth of Zu").
- There are 300 Semitic loan words in the ancient Egyptian language, and about 100 of Hamitic origin. (See, T.G.H. James, An Introduction to Ancient Egypt.)
- Nigel & Helen Strudwick, Thebes in Egypt, pp 78-80.
- See Notes 7 & 8 below, and Chart 13.
- S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians, pp 186-190.
- David Rohl points out that "kar is the Sumerian word [or logogram] for 'hunter' (Akkadian Habilu). Thus we have King 'En-me-ru, the hunter'. " Legend, p 215. The Sumerian word me stands for "divine commandments, powers or virtues." Z.Sitchin, The Wars of Gods and Men, p 239. Nimrod was not only known as a "tracker of truth" and "seeker of knowledge," but also as a "seizer of boundaries." The Indo-European root me signifies "marker of time, distance, etc." The Indo-European root mer signifies "darkness, death, murder, and mooring (of a boat)." The root merg/merk denotes "to mark out a boundary by walking around it, to march, to seize." The American Heritage Dictionary. Also, compare the name Ishkur, an epithet of Adad/Horus the Elder.
- Etana and Balih of the 1st Dynasty of Kish are probably also the Elulu and Balulu of the 1st Dynasty of Ur. (See Sumerian king-list in: S.N. Kramer, The Sumerians, p 329.) In other words, the same father and "son" combination were known by slightly different names in different cities.
- The Egyptian god-king Geb was called Ninurta in Mesopotamia. The name Nim-rod is very similar to Nin-urta. (Nim ~ Nin and urt ~ rut/rod). As a mighty warrior among the gods, Ninurta became a role model for the later Nimrod.
- Barbara Watterson, Gods of Ancient Egypt, p 165.
- Barbara Watterson, Gods of Ancient Egypt, p 169.
Spell 175 of the Book of the Dead begins:
"O Thoth, what is it that has come about through the Children of Nut? They have made war, they have raised up tumult, they have done wrong, they have created rebellion, they have done slaughter, they have created imprisonment, they have reduced what was great to what is little in all that we have made; show greatness, O Thoth! - so says Atum."
"You shall not witness wrong-doing, you shall not suffer it! Shorten their years, cut short their months, because they have done hidden damage to all that you have made."
F.O. Faulkner, The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, p 175.
Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, 39.2, p 146.
In the Boeotian version of the Greek flood myth, the survivor is king Ogygos along with his wife Thebe. The name Thebe means "ark." The capital city of Boeotia was also called Thebes, in apparent honor of the ark and/or the wife of this hero. (Michael Astour, Hellenosemitica, p 212, 213) Similarly, the Hebrew word used to describe the boat of Noah is tebah, meaning "ark, chest." This word is only used in one other context in the Bible, and that is to describe the basket in which the baby Moses was placed to save him from genocide. A Greek (Ptolemaic) Period text states that it was the god Ptah in the form of his heir Khonsu who had cleared the Nile Valley of excess water in order to found the city of Thebes in Egypt. (Religion in Ancient Egypt, p 105-106, Byron Shafer, ed.)
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The Akkadian (Semitic) name of Ptah was E-a, which means "(Whose) House (is) Water." In Greek Mythology, Ptah is known both as the "hurrier" Iapetos (Roman: Jupiter) and Poseidon (Roman: Neptune), god of the seas. A variant of the name Poseidon is Potidan ("father of Dan"). This identifies Iapetos as the father of Greek Dan-el ("Divine Judge"), an epithet of Re son of Ptah. Prometheus was another Greek name or title of Ptah, which was also later assumed by his son Re. Both the Greek Iapetos and Latin Neptune contain forms of the P-t combination found in the Egyptian name Ptah.
There is some consensus among scholars that the Greek name Aegy-ptos ("Mansion of Ptah") derives from Ptah and was later applied by the Greeks to the entire country of Egypt. The name Copt (ka-pt) probably also derives from Ptah, meaning "soul of Ptah." Compare English words, such as pith ("heart, vital force, spine"), python ("enormous but venom-less snake"), and scepter. The was scepter of the pharaohs was that of Ptah (See Note 11).
The Hebrew word used for "heart" (leb) alludes to Uriel ("flame of God"), which is the name of Thoth in the Book of Enoch. Cf libbah (feminine of leb) and labbah, "flame"
Cf lebanah (3842) white, i.e. the moon. Thoth was a moon god in Egypt.
Aha, perhaps pronounced as Akka by some speakers, is the Egyptianized form of the Mesopotamian king name Agga son of Enmebaraggesi (Mesannepadda). Agga and Gilgamesh were rivals in Sumer, as indicated by the Epic of Gilgamesh and Agga. It can now be said that their conflict spilled over into Egypt as well. Kemit was the ancient Egyptian name for Egypt, commonly translated as the "black land" after the dark alluvial soil, but perhaps also named for Ham/Khem. The "Two Lands" of Egypt were divided between Misraim ("Egypt") and Cush ("Ethiopia"), the two leading sons of Ham ("warm") found in Genesis 10. Cush gained control of Upper Egypt (Nubia/Cush). His brother Mizraim held sway over Lower Egypt. See Chart 14a for the chronology of this period.
In Egypt, Agga was called Horus-Aha and Scorpion. The name of "Men" is also probably associated with both Horus-Aha and Scorpion. On the decorated mace of King Scorpion there is a seven-pointed star next to the head of the king along with the picture of a scorpion. As in the headdress of the goddess Sheshat (see Chapter 3), the seven-pointed star associates King Scorpion with the patron god of Thoth-Minh (Men). See Note 11 below regarding Men and the mythical figure of Menes.
The symbol of Horus (Har) was the falcon. Horus-Aha is translated as "Fighting Falcon." Ref: Peter Clayton, Chronicle of the Pharaohs, p 16. Another bird, the vulture, was also a traditional symbol of Upper Egypt.
In the Bible, falcon and eagle are roughly synonymous.
Hebrew racham (7360) raw-khawm'; from 7355; a kind of vulture (supposed to be tender towards its young):-- gier-eagle
racham (7355), raw-kham'; to fondle; by impl. to love, espec. to be compassionate:-- have compassion (on, upon), love, (find, have, obtain, shew) mercy (iful, on, upon), (have) pity, Ruhamah, x surely.
Racham ("eagle") is perhaps a play on words alluding to Ra (god of Egypt) and Ham.
One of the sons of Cush is called Raamah (Gen. 10:7)
The name Aha, like that of Narmer, has meaningful Hebrew connotations. Compare Aha and the following Hebrew words (definitions from Strong's Concordance):
Aha (162) ahahh (a-haw'); appar. a prim. word expressing pain exlamatorily; Oh!:- ah, alas.
Ah (253) ach (awkh); a var. for 162; Oh! (expressive of grief or surprise):- ah, alas
(251) ach (awkh); a prim. word; a brother (used in the widest sense
) Comp. also the prop. names beginning with "Ah-" or "Ahi-"
Ahab (256) brother [i.e., friend] of (his) father
Ahban (257) brother (i.e. possessor) of understanding
Ahijah (281) brother (i.e., worshipper) of Jah
Ahihud (282) brother (i.e., possessor) of renown
(270) achaz; to seize (often with the accessory idea of holding in possession)
Ahaz (271) achaz; possessor
(268) achor; the hinder part; hence (adv.) behind, backward; also (as facing north) the West
(309) achar; a prim. root; to loiter (i.e., be behind); by impl. to procrastinate:- continue, defer, delay, hinder, be late (slack), stay (there), tarry (longer).
"Egypt" can be substituted for "Mizraim" in the Biblical text of Genesis 10. (See notes in the New International Translation.) However, the direct Hebrew meaning of Mizraim is "fortifications," a salient attribute of the Egyptian Delta. In Egyptian the root ms (mose) signified "son of." The name Mizraim would suggest "son of Ra." In the Sumerian language, the root mus means "serpent." The symbol of Lower Egypt was the serpent, or more specifically the cobra (uraeus/wadjet). In Egypt, Gilgamesh was known as the "serpent king" Djoser (Zoser/Zeser/Cobra) and as Netjer-i-khet, meaning "godly in body." The Egyptian word Djeser also means "holy, divine" i.e., godlike. In Mesopotamia, the primary residence of Mizraim/Gilgamesh was at Eanna (Uruk/Erech). In the king-list of Erech (see Chart 13), Gilgamesh is not surprisingly the most prominent king and is given three different names. Like the Biblical name Mizraim, the Mesopotamian names Gilgamesh and Meshkiaggasher contain a word play on the root mus. (Mesh means "safety/security" or "freedom" in Hebrew.) The root lab in the name Lab-asher also connotes serpent as in the Biblical name libhyethen (Leviathan). According to Flinders Petrie (The Royal Tombs of the First Dynasty), Zeser is a name of the transitional period before the 1st Dynasty. (See commentary in Zecharia Sitchin, The Wars of Gods and Men, p 36.) This Zeser has not previously been identified with the Djoser (Zoser) of the 3rd Dynasty for chronological reasons. However, it is now evident that there is considerable redundancy in the first four Egyptian dynasties.>
The Semitic name Balih is related to Hebrew words
balah (1086) consume
balahh (1089) to terrify, trouble
ballahah (1091) alarm; hence destruction:-- terror, trouble
below (1093) excise (on articles consumed):-- tribute
bala (1104) to make away with (spec. by swallowing); gen. to destroy:-- cover, destroy, devour, eat up
Bela (1105) a gulp; fig. destruction:-- devouring, that which he hath swallowed up.
Balaq (1110) to annihilate:-- (make) waste.
Belal (1101) to over-flow (spec.with oil); by impl. to mix :-- anoint, confound, x fade, mingle, mix (self), give provender, temper.
Cf Bel, an epithet of Marduk-Re (and earlier belonging to Ninurta)
Nimrod (5246), "the mighty hunter before the Lord," literally, "strong (rud) seizer (nim)"
The root nim has the meanings (see below) of "number," "quickness/nimbleness" and "seize." The second component of the name Nimrod, rod/rud, means "strong." Therefore, the name Nimrod can be defined as "strong and swift seizer," or more freely, "mighty hunter."
Etymology of "mighty"
Mighty gibbowr (1368) ghib-bore'; intens. From the same as 1397; powerful; by impl. warrior, tyrant:-- champion, chief, X excel, giant, man, mighty (man, one), strong (man), valiant man.
gebuwlah (1367) a boundary, region:-- border, bound, coast, landmark, place.
From gabal (1379) gaw-bal'; to twist as a rope
Cf Egyptian god Geb, "the heir"
From The American Heritage Dictionary (William Morris, editor, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981):
reudh- red, ruddy, hard, strong, robust
ret- rod- cross, rude
reu- reud/raud- bellow, roar
reug- roar, rut, riot
Etymology of "hunter"
Hunter tsayid (6718) tsah'-yid; the chase; also game
from tsuwd (6679) stood; to lie alongside
Extracted from The American Heritage Dictionary:
root Nem (2)
To assign, allot; also to take.
For example, "quick at learning, seizing," from Old English numol
Compare the English word nimble, meaning "quick and clever in action or acumen."
Compare the roots nem and men (see Note 11). Khmenu was the city of Ptah and Thoth worship in Middle Egypt. Khnum was the name of Ptah in Upper Egypt. Nim is a transposition of Men (Minh), an epithet of Thoth, the great reckoner and inventor of mnemonics. The wise king Nemuel of the Book of Proverbs is likely another Biblical memory of Lamech-Thoth.
Narmer (Nimrod), the natural son of Horus-Aha (Cush), shared his father's devotion not only for conquest but also for the god Ptah. There is currently an academic debate regarding whether the legendary warrior Menes was based on Narmer or Horus-Aha. See: Jacques Kinnaer, "Aha or Narmer. Which Was Menes?" KMT Journal, Vol. 12, No. 3, Fall 2001, pp 75-81. The name of Men is found side-by-side with that of Horus-Aha on one artifact found in Egypt. It has been speculated that this indicates Men was one of the royal names or epithets of Aha. Others think that Men could have been the name of his father and/or predecessor, namely Narmer. In the current model, Horus-Aha follows Narmer, however with help from the Bible and the Sumerian king-list it is now clear that it was Narmer who followed Horus-Aha and was his son. Menes of myth was probably a composite of the father and son combination of Aha and Narmer.
Etymology of Menes
manes, Manes (ma'nez, ma'nas)
1. The spirits of the dead, especially ancestors, deified as minor gods. 2. Any revered spirit of one who has died. Used with a singular verb. Compare lemurs. (Latin manes, probably "the good ones," from manis, good. See ma (1)"
Good; with derivatives meaning "occurring at a good moment, timely, seasonable, early."
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language William Morris, editor, published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1981.
The following is condensed from the root etymologies provided in the The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
Root men (1)
Mneumonic, from Gk. mnemon, mindful
Remember, from Latin meminisse.
Spirit, from Gk. menos.
Monument, remind, from Latin monere.
Remember, amnesia (forgetfulness), from Gk. mnasthai, Latin mentio.
Root men (2)
To project, menace, from Latin minae.
Eminent, prominent, from Latin -minere.
Mountain, from Latin mons.
Root men (3)
Remain, manor, mansion, permanent, from Latin manere.
Root men (4)
Rare, sparse, from Gk manos.
Single, sole, from Gk monos.
The equivalence of the words manes and lemurs also strengthens the link between the Patriarch Lamech/Lemek and Min/Thoth. (In Egypt, the god Min is a form of both Ptah and Thoth. This god was especially associated with ancestor worship.)
The Egyptian word men (see form mon above) means monument, as in Akh-menu, "most glorious of monuments." Nigel & Helen Strudwick, Thebes in Egypt, p 55
Hebrew etymology of Menes:
"MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN
This is what these words mean:
Mene: God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. Tekel: You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Peres: Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians."
- Daniel 5:25-28 (NIV)
mene (4484) (Chald.) men-ay'; pass. part. of 4483; numbered:- Mene
men (4482) mane; from an unused root mean. to apportion; a part; hence a musical chord (as parted into strings)
mena/menah (4483) men-aw'; corresp. to 4487; to count, appoint:- number, ordain, set.
manda (4486) (Chald.) wisdom or intelligence:- knowledge, reason, understanding.
manah (4487) maw-naw'; a prim. root; prop. to weigh out; by impl. to allot or constitute officially; also to enumerate or enroll:- appoint, count, number, prepare, set, tell.
manah (4489) mo-neh'; prop. something weighed out, i.e. (fig.) a portion of time, i.e. an instance:-- time.
Menahem (4505) comforter, epithet of the Holy Spirit
minyan (4510) (Chald.) enumeration:- number
menorah (4501) a chandelier:- candlestick
A menorah is a "ceremonial seven-branched candelabrum of the Jewish Temple symbolizing the seven days of the Creation."
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language:
See Exodus 37:17-24
Seven was the number of Thoth.
The Egyptian scepter had two heads (or a head and a tail), which indicates a dual purpose. However, it likely was designed to serve a great many functions. The shaft was curved at one end and held a distinctive faceplate. The opposite end of the shaft (the "tail") was forked. With the forked end pointed up, the scepter crudely resembled the split handle of a shepherd's staff. When cast on the ground, i.e., flipped over, the curved end of the rod became the top. In this orientation, it resembled the head of an animal, especially a dog, donkey, or serpent. A grandson of Ptah named Set became particularly adept at using this scepter. The distinctive features of the curved end of the scepter became known as the Set symbol or "Set animal." In folklore, Set (Satan, the Devil) was depicted as having pointy ears and a forked tail, a personification of his own scepter!
This scepter of Ptah was no shepherd's cane, magic wand or devil stick, but a precision instrument. It was a "101 uses" utility pole. These functions were accomplished with a number of attachments or accessories. In The Crystal Sun, Robert Temple provides new insight into the various staffs/scepters that were used by the gods and later by the pharaohs. The principal function of Egyptian "rods" appears to have been for analyzing sun and moon shadows. Robert Temple explains that the split tail functioned like a pin-hole for sharpening the shadow-tip cast onto a temple floor by a gnomon or obelisk. The point of the shadow needed to be well defined in order to make accurate calculations of the time of day or year. Other probable applications of the scepter would have been in surveying (determining positions through triangulation) and in astronomy (determining the elevation and azimuth of a star or planet in the sky).
A variant of this scepter is found in the Biblical account of Moses. Such was the mighty morphin' rod of god that Moses brought before pharaoh in order to prove his own royal knowledge and confirm his kingly status. As a king, Moses (through Aaron) demonstrated that he knew how to use the scepter, not only for scientific or engineering purposes, but probably also for "shadow art." One can easily imagine how he demonstrated that his mastery of the device excelled that of the Egyptian priests. "Swallowing" their shadows with his own was probably pure showmanship. The truly divine side of human nature demands a bit of fun. The gods, and pharaohs after them, no doubt used these scepters to create a great number of entertaining wall shadows, much as people playfully do today with their hands or other objects using a back light.
The waset scepter was also copper based, which suggests a possible application in dowsing, i.e., as a "divining rod." Ptah was the god of "magic" and renowned for his mischief. To those who did not understand his science and methodology, the scepter of Ptah may have appeared to magically find subterranean water or precious metals. The underlying physics (if any) and especially the knowledge needed to locate hidden resources was itself concealed, or at least not explained to the uninitiated. Ptah was also "god of the pole" in a true or geographic sense, rather than the magnetic pole. This again points to an association with the copper and other metal constituents of the scepter. Copper is alloyed with zinc to make brass. It stands to reason that the scepter was made from essentially the same ingredients that were used by the Biblical Moses to make the "brasen serpent" that was raised upon a pole. It may have been a scepter that was lifted up before the dying people (see discussion on Osiris in Chapter 3). According to Robert Temple, the waset sceptre was also known as the tcham sceptre. He writes, "The word tcham, incorporating the hieroglyph of this same sceptre, refers to an unknown precious metal." (The Crystal Sun, p 388) Temple does not speculate as to the type of metal. However, the "pillars of Solomon" (obelisks or statues) were made of, i.e., plated with, brass. See 1 Kings 7:15; 2 Kings 25:13-16.
an (575) where, whither
ab (1) father
anab, "where (is) father?"
In Hebrew, the word for "white" is laben or laban
The consonants are transposed in the Egyptian as inb
Cf Heb. eben (68/69/70) stone
Cf Egyptian Inb and Hebrew words:
naba (5012) naw-baw' prophesy
naba (5042) naw-bah' gush forth
This connotes that the White Wall of Narmer and Hor-Aha was a "Flood Memorial or Prophesy Wall" Enki-Ptah had predicted ("prophesied") the coming Flood.
chadar (2314) to inclose (as a room)
chedai/chedel (2308/2309) cease, end, rest, i.e., the state of the dead
Compare hdj with the English words hide and hedge.