13 January 2004
In a September 22nd, 2002 speech to
visiting Christian Zionists, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
"This land is ours... God gave us the title deeds..."
However, recent scholarly research, including discoveries by an
archaeological team from the University of Tel Aviv, not only
deconstruct the Biblical Old Testament and Torah stories upon which
this claim rests, but grant previously unthinkable credence to an
ancient historian’s claim that the Israelites of Exodus were
actually the Hyksos, and therefore of Asiatic origin.
To trace the foundations of this ongoing Biblical bonfire, we must
go back to 1999.
All hell broke loose in Israel in November of that year when Prof.
Ze’ev Herzog of Tel Aviv University announced:
"the Israelites were
never in Egypt, did not wander the desert, did not conquer the land,
and did not pass it on to the twelve tribes".
Moreover, the Jewish
God YHWH had a female consort - the goddess Asherah!
His conclusion that the kingdom of David and Solomon was at best a
small tribal monarchy, at worst total myth, has made enemies for him
in the camps of traditional Jewish and Christian belief systems. He
asserts: all evidence demonstrates that the Jews did not adopt
monotheism until the 7th Century BCE - a heresy according to the
Biblical tradition dating it to Moses at Mount Sinai.
Tel Aviv University’s archaeological investigation at Megiddo and
examination of the six-sided gate there dates it to the 9th Century
BCE, not the 10th Century BCE claimed by the 1960’s investigator
Yigael Yadin who attributed it to Solomon.
Herzog, moreover, states
that Solomon and David are "entirely absent in the archaeological
In addition, Herzog’s colleague, Israel Finkelstein, claims the Jews
were nothing more than nomadic Canaanites who bartered with the city
The team’s studies concluded that Jerusalem did not have any central
status until 722 BCE with the destruction of its northern rival Samaria.
However, the real bombshell is Herzog’s discovery of numerous
references to Yahweh having a consort in the form of
Inscriptions, written in Hebrew by official Jewish scribes in the
8th century BCE, were found in numerous sites all over the land.
For Yahweh, supposedly the "One God", to have had a female consort and,
of all people, the goddess Asherah, is dynamite of wide ranging
Secret Identity of Yahweh
The use of Yahweh as the name of God has always fuelled speculation
and philosophical argument. YHWH, sometimes pronounced Jehovah, is
taken to mean "I AM" or "I AM WHO I AM".
There is also the puzzle of
the rule that his mysterious real name is not to be spoken.
The identification of the goddess Asherah (Asherat) as
somewhere within the original Jewish faith leads to some explosive
conclusions about the identity of the Jewish/Christian God of the
Cosmos, the one Monotheistic God with whom we are so familiar from
But before looking at Asherah, and what she means to the identity of
Yahweh, it is worth taking a look at another goddess, Ashteroth. Her
significance will become evident a little later.
Referred to as an
"abomination" in 2 Kings, Ashteroth was an important deity in the
Near East pantheons.
To the Sumerians she was
IN.ANNA (Anu’s beloved) and is an important
character in the Sumerian Epics
To the Assyrians and Babylonians
she was Ishtar
Ashtoreth was her name for the Canaanites
Greeks - Aphrodite
The Romans - Venus
The most important
equivalent however is the Egyptian goddess Hathor
Hathor was the wife of Horus, the God of
Hathor is identified with the symbol of the cow, and statues of
her in the 26th Dynasty (572 - 525 BC) in Egypt actually depict her
as a cow.
Asherah, (whose name means "she who walks in the sea") supposedly
consort of the supreme god El, was also referred to as Elath (the
goddess). According to the Ugarit tradition, whose clay tablets
contain the earliest known alphabet, she was consort of El, and
mother of seventy gods. She is also associated with Baal and is
supposed to have interceded to her husband, the supreme god, on
Baal’s behalf, for the building of a palace - in order to grant him
equal status with other gods.
In the cuniform tablets of Ras Shamrah (Circa 1400 BCE) the head of
the Pantheon was El; his wife was Asherat-of-the-sea (Asherah).
After El, the greatest god was Baal, son of El and Asherah.
Curiously, Baal’s consort is his mother, Asherah. In the Lebanon
traditions Baal is equated with Jupiter.
Carvings of Asherah in Syria show her wearing Egyptian head-dress.
She was also referred to later as "the cow" - a reference to her
Significantly, Baalat (an important Goddess at Byblos) is depicted
in carvings as having cow’s horns, between which is a halo. Baalat
is in fact the form of Asherah when she appears alongside Baal.
But what does this say about the identity of Yahweh? The Bible has
always presented a confusing picture of Yahweh. In the light of
Herzog’s discoveries and conclusions that Yahweh’s consort was Asherah, it deserves a closer examination.
Exodus 6:3 states
"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto
Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty (El Shaddai), but by my name "I
AM" was I not known to them."
In the King James Version, "I AM" is
translated as Jehovah (Yahweh) but means the same: "I AM". The use
of "God Almighty" is a traditional translation of Shaddai, thought
to have meant "Omnipotent", but arguably it could be linked to the
Akkadian root word Shadu, meaning literally "mountains".
And El Shaddai is only one of the versions of God described in
El Shaddai literally translated means, "God the one of the
There was also El Olam (God the everlasting one),
El Elyon (God most high),
El Ro’i (God of vision).
The obvious question is, why did YHWH reveal himself to the
patriarchs as El Shaddai?
The answer lies in the religious
traditions of Canaan, where Abraham is said to have lived for a
time, and which were brought to Canaan by the Phoenicians. (In turn,
the root of Phoenician religious tradition is Sumer).
God-the-one-of-the-mountains has a Sumerian equivalent. ISH.KUR, the
youngest son of Enlil, means God the one of the far mountains.
Ishkur was also known as Adad or Hadad in Hebrew, brother of
and was the pre-eminent God of Canaan - El-Shaddai.
According to biblical scholars who focus on the "P Source" for the
old testament, Yahweh as a name is first used with Moses in Exodus,
and is indicative of monolatory (exclusive worship of one of many Gods) rather than monotheism. The name Yahweh can also be translated
as "I am who I am", literally a way of saying "mind your own
business", a way of disguising his true identity.
Yahweh does not
appear until Exodus and, strangely, the god Baal is entirely absent
(El Shaddai is still venerated in
the Jewish faith in the form of the Teffilin, one of two small
leather cube-shaped cases containing Torah Texts, traditionally
to be worn by males from the age of 13. The Teffilin are worn in
a manner to represent the letters shin, daleth, and
together form the name Shaddai.)
In Exodus 33:2 it states,
"And I will
send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the
Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the
Jebusite: 33:3 Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will
not go up in the midst of thee; for thou [art] a stiff-necked
people: lest I consume thee on the way."
This Yahweh is prone to violence and seems to despise his chosen
people. He is a perfect match for ISH.KUR (Hadad), whose land is
occupied by the Amorites and Hittites, and is a known demonstrator
of violence and contempt for his worshipers.
Adad (click image)
ISH.KUR’s image, traits, and symbols match those of Baal. He is also
anti-Babylon and anti-Egypt, as is Yahweh. And like Yahweh’s, the
real name of the Canaanite Baal (Hadad) must not be spoken.
On the basis of Herzog’s discovery, the evidence within the Bible
itself, the Sumerian, Phoenician and Canaanite traditions, the
following is a logical conclusion and solution to the identity of
the Jewish God of the Old Testament:
ISH.KUR = Hadad = El Shaddai =
Baal = Yahweh
(The Canaanite’s Baal was also known as
we will examine later.)
This indicates, as does Herzog’s work, that the Jewish people
evolved from polytheism to monotheism with the promotion of a god
who had been known by a variety of names, into one supreme God,
Yahweh (whose real name must not be spoken), and that they adopted
for this purpose, not the supreme God of the Pantheons, El, but his
son - ISH.KUR, Baal, Hadad, El-Shaddai, an entity who was in open
revolt against his father El, and ultimately aided in this revolt by
his mother and consort, Asherah, (also known as Baalat, Ashteroth,
This female entity was later merged by Greek and Roman traditions
into Aphrodite and Venus, and known earlier to the Egyptians as
Once we understand this, the etymology of the name Israel -
(either Isis or tomb) Ra (Head of the Egyptian Pantheon) El (Lord -
Baal) - makes far more obvious sense than the convoluted "Yisrael" yarn from the Hebrew faith.
But what does all this do to the validity of the "Title Deeds" from
God that Ariel Sharon refers to?
Quite apart from the obvious
conclusion that the god assumed to have given the "promised land" to
his chosen people was just one god from a pantheon and not the
alleged monotheistic only God of the cosmos, Herzog’s findings
corroborate theories that have been "out there" for some time.
Like Herzog, the historian
Josephus (c. 37CE - c. 100CE) denied the
account of the Hebrews being held in captivity in Egypt, but he went
a drastic step further about the racial origins of the Jews, whom he
identified with the Hyksos.
He further claimed they did not flee
from Egypt but were evicted due to them being leprous.
It must be said that Josephus has been vilified over the ages as a
Roman collaborator by both Jewish and Christian scholars who have
argued that the dating of the exodus of the "Hebrews" from Egypt in
the Bible positively rules out their identification as Hyksos.
However, Jan Assmann, a prominent Egyptologist at Heidelberg
University, is quite positive in his writings that the Exodus story
is an inversion of the Hyksos expulsion and furthermore that
was an Egyptian.
Likewise, Donald B. Redford, of Toronto University, presents
striking evidence that the Expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt was
inverted to construct the exodus of the Hebrew slaves story in the
Torah and Old Testament.
His book, which argued this theory, "Egypt,
Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times" was Winner of the 1993 Best
Scholarly Book in Archaeology Award of the Biblical Archaeological
There is irrefutable evidence that the Hyksos, a mixed
Semitic-Asiatic group who infiltrated the Nile valley, seized power
in Lower Egypt in the 17th Century BCE. They ruled there from c.
1674 BCE until expelled when their capital, Avaris, fell to
around 1567 BCE.
The Hyksos in Egypt worshipped Set, who like ISH.KUR they identified
as a storm deity.
Under the "inversion theory", Jewish scholars in the 7th Century BCE
changed the story from "expelled" to "escaped" and as a further
insult to their enemy, Ahmose, changed and miss-spelt his name to
Moses, presenting him as leader of a Hebrew revolt. But there is
also a strong possibility of two separate origins to the "Moses"
character being merged into one, which I will come to later.
Ahmose’s success in 1567 BCE led to the establishment of the 18th
Dynasty in Egypt. ThotMoses III overthrew the transvestite Pharaoh
Atchepsut, and under ThotMoses IV Egyptian conquests extended beyond
the Sinai into Palestine, Syria, reaching Babylonia and included
By the end of this expansion, Amenophis III (1380BCE) ruled an
Egyptian empire whose provinces and colonies bordered what is now
known as Turkey. This empire would have included the regions in
which most of the expelled Hyksos now lived.
Amenophis IV succeeded the throne in 1353BCE. He established a new
monotheism cult establishing "Aten" as the one supreme god and he
changed his name to Akhenaton. Married to the mysterious Nefertiti,
Akhenaton declared himself a god on earth, intermediary between the
one-god Aten (Ra) and humanity, with his spouse as partner,
effectively displacing Isis and Osiris in the Egyptian Enead.
Declaring all men to be the children of Aten, historians suspect
Akhenaton planned an empire-wide religion. He banned all idolatry,
the use of images to represent god, and banned the idea that there
was more than one supreme god.
It is alongside Akhenaten and his father Amenophis III that we find
the second Moses.
An important figure during this period was confusingly called
Amenophis son of Hapu. He was First Minister (Vizier) to both kings.
He is generally depicted as a scribe, crouching and holding on his
knees a roll of papyrus. He more than anyone was responsible for
authoring the religion in which the old gods were merged into one
living god, Aten, who had been responsible for the creation of the
Earth and of humanity.
The symbol of this god, the sun disk, represented Ra, Horus and the
other gods in one. The sun disk, in symbolism, was supported between
the horns of a bull.
The Son of Hapu says this about creation:
"I have come to you who reigns over
the gods oh Amon, Lord of the Two Lands, for you are Re who
appears in the sky, who illuminates the earth with a brilliantly
shining eye, who came out of the Nou, who appeared above the
primitive water, who created everything, who generated the great
Enneade of the gods, who created his own flesh and gave birth to
his own form."
The king’s overseer of the land of Nubia
was a certain Mermose (spelled both Mermose and Merymose on his
sarcophagus in the British Museum).
According to modern historians,
in Amenhotep’s third year as king, Mermose took his army far up the
Nile, supposedly to quell a minor rebellion, but actually to secure gold mining territories which would supply his king with the
greatest wealth of any ruler of Egypt.
Recent scholarship has indicated Mermose took his army to the
neighborhood of the confluence of the Nile and Atbara Rivers and
But who was this Mermose? According to historian Dawn Breasted, the
Greek translation of this name was Moses. Does Jewish tradition
support this identification?
According to Jewish history not included in the Bible, Moses led the
army of Pharaoh to the South, into the land of Kush, and reached the
vicinity of the Atbara River. There he attracted the love of the
princess of the fortress city of Saba, later Meroe. She gave up the
city in exchange for marriage.
Biblical confirmation of such a
marriage is to be found in Numbers 12:1.
"And Miriam and Aaron spoke against
Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he
had married an Ethiopian woman."
The end of Akhenaten’s reign is shrouded
in mystery, scholarship about which is beyond the scope of an
article of this length.
In summary, however, theories span from the
death of Nefertiti from plague - Akhenaten’s own death from plague
or murder - to exile.
On clear record, in contrast, is the return of Egypt to the Enead of
the gods and a systematic attempt to erase all vestiges of Akhenaton
and his cult in Egypt.
Meanwhile, the expelled Hyksos, according to various historians,
have been living in Canaan.
It is here that a solution to the Biblical dating problem of linking
the Israelites to the Hyksos appears.
Using the dating of the Biblical Exodus and comparing it to the
Egyptian dating of the Hyksos expulsion throws up a gap of about 400
years. Using the dating systems of the books of Judges and Samuel,
this gap can extend to between 554 and 612 years.
However, there is clear historical record of post Hyksos Egypt
extending its empire into Canaan, the land into which the Hebrews
entered and lived, according to Biblical sources, for 400 years
before establishing the kingdom of Solomon.
The Hebrews living in Canaan were therefore under Egyptian rule. It
is also here in Canaan that we can make a comparison between Yahweh
and the Canaanite Moloch (Baal) and extrapolate a polemic inversion
of the story of Pharaoh ordering the death of all the "first born"
The worshippers of Moloch
sacrificed their first born children to
their deity through immolation. Worshippers of Yahweh in Canaan were
also known to carry out child sacrifice on occasion, especially in
times of hardship, although immolation (holocaust) was supposedly
frowned upon. Slitting the child’s throat, however, was acceptable.
The sacrifices were carried out and the remains interred at sacred
sites known at Topheth. Sometimes - although rarely, judging by the
vast predominance of infant human bones found at Topheth sites by
archaeologists - animals were sacrificed as substitutes.
Modern historical disciplines studying the biblical era uniformly
conclude that Exodus could not have been written earlier than the
7th century BCE, and certainly not by the Biblical Moses who at best
is a fictional combination of Egyptian personalities.
In Israel itself, 7th Century BCE is the period in which the
archaeological evidence presented by Herzog suggests the emergence
of Jerusalem as a cultural centre occurs.
By all accounts, it is a cultural centre struggling to find an
identity and nationality for itself and, given the discovery of the
Jewish texts displaying Yahweh having a consort in the form of Asherah, it is not difficult to piece this jigsaw together.
In 639BCE, Josiah, king of Judah, is known to have introduced
wide-ranging religious reforms and brought additional areas of
"Israel" under his control.
It is during this period that "polemics" against and "inversion" of
a wide variety of religious and cultural sources are brought
together to form a religious and political unity.
For Josiah’s "inquisitors", where history is unheroic, such as the expulsion from Egypt in the form of the Hyksos, history is inverted.
Where religion is bereft of moral unity, the cult of Aten is
interweaved, satisfying existing belief systems within the region
and bestowing upon the king, Josiah, the position of divine right
through a lineage to Solomon and David - both replacements for Aten’s ancestors and his temple-building reputation.
destroys the Topheth Temple said to have been built by Solomon in
the Hinnon valley just outside Jerusalem, to the south.
Within this unifying mechanism, there are obfuscations to mitigate
existing belief systems, which require the true name of God to be
kept secret, and for which there is precedence in the cults of
and ISH-KUR, all part of the mish-mash of the region, and all
designed to plaster over the holes in the new Yahweh-based system.
An important separation of the identities of Baal-Moloch-Yahweh is
implemented, although the evolution of ISH-KUR to Hadad to Baal to
Yahweh does not remain disguised owing to the later polemic against
Babylon written up as Genesis.
Well known in Egypt, including at the time of the Aten cult was the
following passage from
the Book of the Dead:
I have not robbed. I have not coveted. I have not killed people. I
have not told lies. I have not trespassed. I have not committed
adultery. I have not cursed a god.
Josiah’s unification process takes Moses, an
Ideogram combining the Ahmose who expelled the Hyksos, and the Mermose who led the Egyptian
army to great victories, and credits him with receiving the Ten
Commandments in tablets of stone.
In reality these laws are an
elaboration of the above declaration.
Add to this the fact that the obscure Egyptian king’s "Hymn to Aten"
is almost "word for word" Psalm 104 in the Bible and we have another
These and other "coincidences" apparently convinced the renowned
Psychologist Sigmund Freud, writing in his 1939 book "Moses and
Monotheism", that the Jewish monotheistic faith had its roots in the
Akhenaton cult religion.
Josiah’s unification should of course be applauded. It outlawed the
Moloch cult and emphasized the spiritual morality of the
Commandments. The polemics and inversions adding a heroic slant to
the history of his people are understandable and politically astute.
But beginning c. 200CE, somewhere along the line, and unlike the Aten cult,
supremacy of race is added to the Jewish faith.
In summary, however, it is Herzog’s discovery of Yahweh’s consort Asherah in Jewish texts and his declaration of an
absence of Solomon or David that is the scalpel with which to slice
through all the fictions of the biblical Exodus and its suggestion
of divine right and supremacy. For that reason, Herzog must not be
Even though his scholarship is ignored by the politics of modern day
Israel, it contains a lesson for the rest of the world, and in
particular for those nations who support Israel’s supremacist
Israel, modern, needs to face up to the fact that it has no "divine
right" to the land it occupies. Israel must rely instead upon an
equitable settlement in light of its undeniable modern day
colonization and conquest - a reality its opponents must accept but
without straying outside the boundaries defined by international law
- i.e. the 1967 borders.
It is a realist position, which most modern day western
civilizations have come to terms with without claiming divine right
or racial supremacy.
They have accomplished this by recognition of
human rights and an international standard of law limiting their
behavior (in most cases), reserving instead to a faith in the
democratic institutions upon which their modernity and equitability
Given the religious and cultural battleground upon which Israel is
placed, its absence of recognition of modern reality, and in a world
armed with nuclear weapons, until Israel - armed with those weapons
- separates itself from doctrines of "divine right" and "racial
supremacy", it will continue to be the breeding ground for a fight
against racial and political injustice - at the centre of the
modern-day world’s geo-political processes - which could bring our
entire global civilization to destruction.
That surely, in the name of humanity, is reason enough to bring to
an end such "biblical" fixations and dogmatism. It does not require
us to abandon faith in God in order to do that.
Our intuition of The
Creator is as old as humanity and is not dependent upon a dusty old
tome written by men and in the words of men.