Living in Truth:
Archaeology and the Patriarchs
Tutorial: Lesson 5, “Sons after the Flood”
(The Scarlet Thread of Kingship in the Land of Canaan)
by Charles N. Pope
Copyright 1999-2007 by Charles Pope
United States Library of Congress
All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions
No Cain, No Gain
In the Book of Genesis, Ham’s youngest son Canaan is referred to four times and put under a curse before he is even properly introduced. His curse is the latest in a sequence of curses that began with Adam and Cain. But the discerning reader need not be deceived by this game of Ham hockey. The name Canaan, although obviously a word play on the earlier Cain, carries with it the extra connotation of “purple”, that is, royal. Related Hebrew words are qanna, “jealous, possessive” and qanah, “procure”. As is so often the case for youngest sons in Genesis, Canaan is made to suffer hardship but ultimately takes hold of the “birthright” symbolizing Patriarchal succession. The belittled becomes Ha-Hanan, “The Favored”.
When Canaan’s namesake Cain entered the world, the emphasis was not on Eve giving (birth) but on getting (a god-man). Cain son of Adam strove with his half-brother Abel, the “son of God”. In retribution for hating and killing Abel, Cain was marked as a fugitive, but his son Enoch was not punished for the sins of his father. Enoch sired as son Irad, who also started an insurrection and was forced into exile. The Great Flood provided another opportunity for the persecuted members of Adam’s male line to throw off the yoke of “the Lord” and his designated successors. Canaan proved to be the greatest grabbers of territory, possessions, and ultimately of glory power. Their descendants were thereafter placed in the position to control and capitalize on the lion’s share of production and reproduction. Yet, it was, as they say, a mixed blessing.
The name Canaan holds the more direct meanings of “trader, trafficker, acquirer, possessor, lowland (river/valley) dweller”. As a son of Ham, covetous Canaan is abjectly cursed. As a son of Cush, he is instead blessed and called by two different names, Havilah and Nimrod. Havilah is a play on the Akkadian word habilu, meaning “hunter”, but is also a variant of habiru, “rebel, cut-throat”. Havilah can also be construed as Ha-Bilah, The Terrorist, and Ha-Balih/Balik, “The Devourer”. Bilah and Balulu are in fact two aliases of Nimrod found in the Sumerian king-list. In the Biblical narrative of Nimrod, a fourth name of this prince is interjected when it states, “"From this land Ashur went forth and built Ninevah" (The Shocken Bible and KJV translations).
In Egypt, Nimrod also adopts a number of identities, such as Qa’a (“Smiter”), Huni (“Striker”), and Narmer (“Fish Killer/Fileter)”. The Hebrew na’ar conveys “overthrow, kill by drowning”. Na’ar also connotes a “youth”, and in the case of Narmer, a youthful champion, such as the later Biblical figures of Joshua and David that were patterned after Nimrod/Narmer. Nimrod/Havilah/Canaan, although little (Heb. nan) in body proved great (Egy. a’a) in soul (Egy. ka), and capable of killing giants in the land. The names Nimrod and Narmer associate closely with another salient figure of the Sumerian king-list and legend, Enmerkar, who conjures up the spirits of “hunting (kar)”, “killing (mer), “possessing/marking off boundaries (merk/merg)”, and “lordship (En)”.
The name Narmer makes for a word play between nar, which in Hebrew can also mean “fish” and the Indo-European root ner, meaning “man” (as well as “sea (god)” and “north”). The Indo-European root mer means “kill”. Therefore, to “Japhethites”, Narmer struck the image of a northern, seafaring “man-killer” or “sea god that kills”. Narmer was young, and became proficient in hunting and killing, not only of fish and game, but especially of human beings. The dual hieroglyphic signs of Narmer were a chisel and a fish. He was obviously “playing God” in culling the gene pool and fashioning the body of mankind as a sculptor. What remained of the population was placed under the rule of the king and his courtiers. The excess was discarded like carp.
The root na’ar/na’am further associates Narmer with Na’amah, “pleasant one”, an epithet of the Great Goddess (Isis) that was passed down as a title among dynastic queens. Another such royal feminine epithet was Maacah, a Hebraized form of the Egyptian title Maatkare used by great queens of Egypt.
Due to his unusual birth, Canaan could be considered a son of Ham because Cush sired him by Maat, one of the nominal wives of Ham. Ham (a.k.a. Horus, son of the elder Horus by his mother Hathor/Ninhursag) and Canaan (a.k.a. Nimrod/Narmer son of Horus-Aha by his own mother Maat/Ninsun/Libya) were both notable by-products of mother-son incest.
Note: Other prominent princesses/queens of the time in Mesopotamia were called Tashmetu, perhaps one and the same as Maat of Egypt; Nin-saba (“Lady/Queen Saba”), corresponding closely with prominent sons of Cush called Seba and Sheba; and Ninshubur, the “Lady-in-Waiting” (read: successor) of goddess Inanna/Ishtar, which Ninsun also appears to have been or become.
Cursed Canaan’s Righteous Rebel Son
First and foremost of Canaan’s sons is Sidon. The city of Sidon in Phoenicia (northern Canaan) was a renowned fishing port on the Mediterranean Sea. The name Sidon is related to the word saida, meaning “hunter, lord”. Thus, the name Sidon implies, “catching fish like men” or “mighty fisher before the Lord”. Greek Poseidon, associated with Ea/Enki/”Joseph”, was a water and ocean god who carried the dreaded trident (three-pronged spear). Sidon son of Canaan son of Japheth was then designated as the heir of Poseidon/Joseph and lord over the oceans. It is a clue that Canaan/Havilah/Nimrod was associated as closely with Japheth as with Ham.
The direct meaning of Sidon is “fortified”, that is, a strategic location jealously defended (Cf tsuwr, “fortress”). And nothing was more carefully guarded than the exalted place of kingship. Consistent with this view, the Don of Sidon should be interpreted as “Lord”; the Si of Sidon as the root si, “side, second, later”. Sidon then is the “Second Lord”, a code name for the “second (later) Adam (Don/Dan)”, called the father of Seth, grandfather of Enosh, and forebear of a second Lamech and Noah. Sidon is not only the leading son of Canaan, he is the only one. The Genesis author leaves no ambiguity regarding the birthright and scarlet thread of kingship.
It has previously been shown that the second Adam is synonymous with the archetypal “chosen one”, Israel (not to be confused with the later Patriarch Jacob). Therefore, it can be said that Canaan became first and foremost father of Israel and the Israelites. And through Sidon/Adam II/Israel, Canaan/Nimrod/Ashur was also considered father/ancestor of any number of other tribal groups (that is, all tribes and nations). A representative list of ten (again symbolizing completeness) such groups follow the discourse on Sidon, but others are also found in the Biblical texts, such as Amalekites (“strivers, miserable/perverse people”), Perizzites (“plains dwellers”), as well as in other sections of the Table of Nations itself. The catch-all nature of the category “Canaanites” is especially borne out in Exodus 3:17.
Note: In Greek memory, Sidon associates with Illyrios/Illyrius an only son born to Cadmus (son of Agenor/Cush) in his old age, therefore a type of new “Benjamin” consistent with the image of “divine Sargon” as a Ben-Yamina/Mar-Yamina, "Son of the South", "Beloved of the South," and "Bitter, Rebellious, Terrifying Lord of the South." The component il or illos in the name Illyrios also implies the status of a god or gods. The name Cadmus (Cf Qadm, “forefront/foremost”; Qa-admu, “The Adam”) carries forward the Adamic typecasting in what became the main line of kings. Adam/Atum signified “totality” of the godhead dwelling in a single person. To wit, as the son of a “new Cain”, Sidon would also have been seen as a “new Enoch” (Joseph). This is reflected in Sargon’s Mesopotamian name Tudiya, “Beloved of Ya”, and his Egyptian name Inyotef, “Born of Yo”. Another name of Sargon, Ningirsu-kiag, “Beloved of Ningirsu/Ninurta” links him to Nimrod (Reuben/Geb II), as does his preoccupation with the centers of Babylon and Agade.
The ten example tribes of “mighty men” related to Canaan include:
1) Hittites or Heth-ites, meaning “terror, terrible (ones)”. (Cf Bilah.) Later in Genesis, Abraham has dealings with the “sons of Heth”, which belies the fact that he was related to them as a fellow member of the ruling family. Hittites and Kittim were both residents of Anatolia/Asia Minor, as well as probably Cyprus and Crete. The western coast of Anatolia was especially a region where Greek and Hittite speaking peoples intermingled.
2) Jebusites, meaning “trodden down”, as by any number of kings, including David. Jebus (the sister cities of Jerusalem in Israel and Thebes of Egypt) was a dual-seat of “Geb kings”, renowned as champions and down-trodders.
3) Amorites, “proud/elevated, mountain” peoples. Abraham’s allies Mamre and Eshcol are called “Amorites”, suggesting that Abraham himself could be considered an Amorite and ruler of Amorites. Amorites are probably also linked to the Joseph/Amram typology, although by a separate (but homophonic) root, amar, “piling high (as in heaps of grain)”.
4) Girgashites, defined as “sojourner with a deity” (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p 654). By implication, Girgashites were “dwelling in the place of deities” and “occupying the place of gods” in ruling over the people as god-kings. The roots gash and ash suggest “upright, agreeable, good, acceptable”, as in Asher/Ashur (Enlil), whose dynasty inevitably became corrupt (“gashing, burning, and killing”). The name Mes-kiag-gasher was associated with Cush.
5) Hivites/Horites, connoting “Saviors” and “Horus-Adad/Mountain Gods”.
Canaanites/Israelites are also associated with Syrio-Lebanese peoples and regions:
The Promisery Land
The “Mighty Men” (Nephilim) before the Flood felled other before themselves falling. Similarly, Nimrod gets qualified, even confused praise as the first mighty man (“Great King”/Geb) after the Flood. On the surface he is lauded for his valor, but implicitly he and his hard-earned gains are damned. Tellingly, blessed Nimrod is not provided with any natural descendants in Genesis. Instead, his sons are credited exclusively to Canaan’s account.
Canaanites are arguably the most numerous and widely distributed of ancient peoples. We are told that they roam and stake their claims as far as Lasha, the legendary springs believed to be the source of the Nile. However, what we are not plainly told is that their ubiquity was due to royal advantage rather than being scapegoats for the sins of Ham. For much of the dynastic era, Canaan remained the primary stomping ground of the royal family. Widely yawning Canaan, once Ha-Na’am, “the pleasant land” of milk and honey came to define “wasteland, trodden down, enslaved, humiliated”, a fiercely contested protectorate inexorably crowned only with thorns (as vividly described in the Book of Judges). Over time, privileged Canaanites displaced the former occupants of the land. In the end, true descendants of “The Striker” replaced commoners as those who were perennially stricken.
Dirty Sons of Japheth
In the Table of Nations, Japheth is also a youngest son, the youngest “son” of Noah. In addition to this, he is a “Joseph figure”. Japheth, “expansions”, is similar in meaning to Joseph, “let him increase”. We should expect then that Japheth too gained the birthright (as Josephs were expected to do), the very one that eventually passed on to Canaan/Havilah/Nimrod (through Cush). Consistent with this, he is listed as one of the sons of Ham named Put/Phut, an abbreviated form Japheth (and/or Potidan, a Greek name for the archetypal god Joseph). However, no offspring are found for Put “son” of Ham. They are instead placed under the rubric of Japheth “son” of Noah. As we shall see, the other “sons” of Ham, namely Cush, Mizraim, and Canaan, are reciprocally made part of Japheth’s genealogy, as is Shem also, but not Ham himself. Japheth is adeptly divorced from Ham’s stigma.
Noah and his other sons Ham and Shem left clear traces in Egypt. Japheth did as well under the name of Peribsen. Peribsen is believed to have traveled/conquered as far as Aswan/Elephantine at the first cataract of the Nile. He is also known to have assumed the curious title: "Conqueror of Foreign Lands". He along with Kha-Sekhemy (Ham/Horus the Younger) subdued Egypt after the Flood, evidently without coming into conflict with one another. Interestingly enough, The Apocalypse of Adam, a Gnostic text, speaks of 12 kingdoms originating from the "seed of Ham and Japheth".
Per in Egyptian means "House", as in the later designation, Per-aa/Pharaoh, "Great House". Per is also a variant of Pel, and more specifically, the Greek name for Japheth, Peleus, “muddy”. The union of Peleus and Amphitrite daughter of Nereus (representing Poseidon or Noah/Adapa) was enthusiastically favored by all the gods and goddesses. The root Pel is also found in the name of a later (Middle Kingdom) Joseph type, Peleg (Cf Greek Pelagos, “sea”, connoting “muddy/dark god”; Pelagon, “of the sea”; Pelasgus, “ancient/seafarer”.). The name Japheth (the first post-Flood Joseph/Ptah) has a secondary meaning of "dark". The Indo-European root per also relates very well to the wayfaring, upright Joseph/Japheth typecasting: www.domainofman.com/forum/index.cgi?read=5452
The equivalence of Put and Japheth however places his true parentage in doubt. That is, was he a true son of Ham, a true son of Noah, or of some other “god”. In Greek myth Peleus is the son of Aeacus, but the protégé of Cheiron. The name Cheiron, meaning "hand", is especially informative. Cheiron is typically shown as extending his hand. The name Judah (Horus the Elder) is derived from a Hebrew root meaning "hold out the hand", as in praise. Aeacus is associated with rain, thunder, and earthquakes, as is the god Adad (Mesopotamian equivalent of Egyptian Horus the Elder). Aeacus is also associated with “militant ants”. In Hebrew, ant is nimalah, which made for a ready word play with Nimrod/Nimlot. Aeacus and Cheiron are then probably one and the same, and Nimrod likely his descendant.
It has already been demonstrated that Ham/Benjamin (Horus the Younger) was the true son of Judah (Horus the Elder). This leads to the conclusion that both champions of early dynastic Egypt were of the natural line of Cain. Furthermore, Greek memory indicates that the next two champions were the sons of Put/Libya (as the incarnation of the Greek god Poseidon/Potidan) through his female counterpart, also called Libya, and were not the true sons of Ham. These princes were Mizraim (Egyptian Cobra/Djoser; Greek Belus) and Cush (Egyptian Scorpion/Horus-Aha; Greek Agenor/Aeacus II/Achaeus).
Note: Compare Acha-eus, Agga/Aha, and achaz (Heb. “possessor”). Compare also Agenor and Aegir (Norse god of the sea).
Note: Belus had a prominent wife Anchinoe, a name of the same form as notable queens and God’s Wives such as Ankhesenamun. Anchinoe would then imply, “Life of Noah” or “She Lives for Noah”.
For further background on Japheth/Put and the Old Kingdom:
Ashers to Ashes, They All Fall Down
The first named son of Japheth is Gomer. Despite being considered a man of the north, the name Gomer connotes “heat”. He corresponds to Ga..ur (Jeshur) the first named king of Sumer after the Deluge. The form Jeshur appears to be an early form of Joshua, and therefore indicates that Gomer should be considered a regional alias of Horus the Younger. Horus the Younger (a.k.a. Lugal-banda, "little big man") was small in stature but mighty in force. He reunited the family Empire, but was unable to produce a suitable heir. In Greek legend his alter ego Hercules killed his sons/heirs. We must suspect that he was too inbred to produce healthy offspring. Consequently, his dynastic hopes were killed with them. Consistent with this, the name Gomer is a variant of garam, “strong, big boned”, which is the adjective used in the description of the tragic/murdered Issachar (the tribal name of Osiris).
The Biblical name Gomer has the more direct meaning of “completion, ending, finished, failing”, which suggests that he identified with Lamech (Thoth) and Mehujael (Osiris), neither of which was succeeded by a natural son. Shem was the heir apparent to the dominant line of Shu-Enlil, which included Osiris-Dumuzi and Thoth-Shamash. This king is much better known by another name found in the Sumerian king-list and in Sumerian legend, Etana “the strong man”, also called Etana “the shepherd”. As Ham did, he would come to identify with Osiris.
Like Ham/Gomer, Shem/Shomer sojourned in Egypt where he was known variously as Shem-Re and Semerkhet. However, his dynastic hopes all but ended when he was unable to produce a qualified heir of his own due to infertility with the leading women of the family. Etana, as the story goes, was a seeker of a name (shem), that is, a royal legacy/line. He eventually obtained it, but only through adopting an heir produced for him by “The Eagle” of Upper Egypt, Horus-Aha (Cush). In this respect, Shem became an “Osiris” and his adopted son Narmer (Canaan/Havilah/Nimrod) became his dynastic “Horus”.
The first named son of Gomer is called Ashkenaz, which contains meanings of “fiery jealousy/possessiveness/covetousness/tyranny”, “spreading like fire”, and even “man-killer”. (Kenaz means, “hunter, possession, jealousy”, while ash signifies fire.) Ashkenaz is then a Japhethite name for the Canaan/Havilah/Nimrod of Ham’s domain. The name Ashkenaz can be more freely transposed as “might (az) of Cush (ashk)”. A later Patriarch of second Adam’s (Sidon’s) line is called Kenan, and who was renowned for commerce and womanizing as his name would indicate.
The second son of Japheth is called Magog, a name that suggests “Good Serpent” and complements Mizraim, Mister “Good Fortresses (from Ma-Tsuwr)” in the Land-o-Ham.
The third son of Japheth is Madai, “middle, measure, mediate”, similar in form to the place name Media. By association he corresponds to the son (or perhaps younger brother) of Cush called Raamah, previously identified as Imhotep, typecast after the great measurer, mediator, and middle-man Thoth.
The fourth son of Japheth is Javan. This name designates him (like his father) as a Joseph type and heir to the title of Joseph. Yet Javan, meaning “effervescing (i.e. hot and active)”, relates as well to the descents of his alias Cush “son” of Ham as it does to the supposedly northern climes of his father Japheth. Besides being linked to Greece and Anatolia (Ionia), Javan corresponds in form and characterization to the more familiar Greek hero Jason. Javan was also a place in Arabia (according to Strong’s Concordance). It might further relate to the region of Lake Van in the mountainous north of Armenia. Finally, Javan is a variant of Jabin, “intelligence, knowledge”, the name of an infamous “King of Canaan” in the Book of Judges.
Only Gomer and Javan are given the honor of having sons of their own in the Japheth genealogy. The leading son of Javan is called Elishah, a variant of Elisha son of Shaphat of Abel Meholah. Meholah is a cognate of Havilah. Elishah is also a variant of the all-conquering Joshua. The name Elishah is then a second clear instance of Canaan/Havilah/Nimrod in the Japheth genealogy.
The fifth son of Japheth is Tubal, which likely provides a matching third instance. Tubal is a truncated form of Tubal-Cain (a name with both Cain/Kenite and Sethian overtones). Tubal-Canaan was the new Vulcan (fashioner of weapons), the Great King, the Khan, the Shah, the Bel and the Baal. He became the prairie dog that hogged all the boroughs in a thousand fields, the bull that horded all the cows and golden calves on a thousand hills.
Japheth, as it turns out, is the true paternal founder of the dynastic line, however in Genesis the evils of kingship are laid upon his brother Ham, a sterling example of ancient “plausible denial”.
Rebels with an Escape Clause
Nimrod is venerated for establishing empire in Mesopotamia, and particularly in Babylon. Babylon was infamous for its Tower of Babel, mankind’s first (recorded) attempt to overthrow established authority. They were led by an earlier son of Anu/Cain, Marduk-Bel-Re. The name Nimrod connotes, “Let us Rebel” (from the Heb. marad). Unlike Anu, Nimrod was not directly punished. Unlike Re-Bel, he was not put down. Babylon, land of rebellion, became center of a new empire, that of the usurper Nimrod and his eventual successor Sidon/Adam II (Sargon). Their self-appointed mission was not merely ownership of the Father Land, but “full-spectrum dominance” over the earth. They declared the right to be masters of every people - settled, migratory, and seafaring - and every region - lowlands, steppes, highlands, lakes, rivers, and oceans. The Table of Nations contains 70 (7 X 10) nations, that is, symbolically, every nation. (The numbers 10 and 7 are both representative of fullness.)
The seven sons/grandsons of Cush lorded over seven tribes of Arabia, and recalling the mythological Shibittu, “the Seven Gods. On an even grander scale, Canaan and his five alter egos over spread the known world: Canaan (Syria, Israel/Palestine, Egypt), Havilah (Africa, Arabia), Ashkenaz (Europe, Armenia), Elishah (Mediterranean Islands, Anatolia, Greece, Italy, Spain), Tubal (Russia, Asia), Nimrod (Mesopotamia, Media-Persia).
Ironically, imposing perpetual and hereditary autocratic rule sentenced all but a miniscule portion of Canaan’s descendants to dispossession. In other words, it dictated that the world would be populated largely by his own progeny, but that those same descendants would be tyrannized - considered no more valuable than sheep and cattle. The generational struggle to play God did not lead to good stewardship over the earth, but to ever greater destruction and impoverishment.
When the Table of Nations was composed, Greek kings were ruling over the Near East and Mediterranean worlds. The Table of Nations patently panders to the dominant Greek culture of that time, and all but requires familiarity with Greek tradition in order to understand its structure and intent.
The emphasis is on Canaan, an amorphous region that took in the regions of Syria-Lebanon to the north of Jerusalem, the center of Seleucid power. Canaan also extended south and east of Jerusalem into the Egypt and Arabia of the Ptolemies. The curse laid on the entirety of “Canaan” and his subjugation to “Japheth” (and his son “Javan”) was created to justify the rule of the so-called Greek kings. The Table of Nations is a very subtly crafted device. The present rulers, the interrelated families of the Ptolemies and Seleucids, are pardoned for the sins of their kingly predecessors, which in fact were their direct ancestors. It effectively distances Greek rulers from those of former times. With a single stroke, their tyranny over the “Holy Lands” is also rationalized. And those who live on the land, due to the same ancestry, are said to deserve no better than slavery! A masterpiece of propaganda.
1st Entry: Hamite Designation
2nd Entry: Japhethite Designation
3rd Entry: King name(s)
Mizraim (“Lower Egypt”)
Raamah ("Arabia", "Amorites")
Cush (“Upper Egypt”)
Sabtecah/Tekoah (“Arabia”, "Hivites/Horites")
Sheba (“Yemen/Arabia”, "Sinites")
Rodanim? (“Rhodes”, "Arkites")
Dedan (“Arabia”) (Dedan is substituted with Rhodes in the Septuagint)
For a more complete mapping of Canaanite tribes to Old Kingdom pharaohs, see:
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© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.