And it came to pass
in the days of Amraphel king of Shin’ar,
Ariokh king of Ellasar,
Khedorla’omer king of Elam,
and Tidhal king of Go’im –
That these made war
with Bera King of Sodom,
and with Birsha king of Gomorrah,
Shinab king of Admah,
and Shem-eber king of Zebi’im,
and with the king of Bela, which is Zoar.
…Thus begins the biblical tale, in chapter 14 of Genesis, of an ancient war that pitted an alliance of four kingdoms of the East against five kings in Canaan. It is a tale that has evolved some of the most intense debate among scholars, for it connects the story of Abraham, the first Hebrew Patriarch, with a specific non-Hebrew event, and thus affords objective substantiation of the biblical record of the birth of a nation.
…For many decades the critics of the Old Testament seemed to prevail; then, as the nineteenth century was drawing to a close, the scholarly and religious worlds were astounded by the discovery of Babylonian tablets naming Khedorla’omer, Ariokh, and Tidhal in a tale not unlike the biblical one.
…The discovery was announced in a lecture by Theophilus Pinches to the Victoria Institute, London, in 1897. Having examined several tablets belonging to the Spartoli Collection in the British Museum, he found that they describe a war of wide-ranging magnitude, in which a king of Elam, Kudur-laghamar, led an alliance of rulers that included one named Eri-aku and another named Tud-ghula – names that easily could have been transformed into Hebrew as Khedor-la’omer, Ariokh, and Tidhal. Accompanying his published lecture with a painstaking transcript of the cuneiform writing and a translation thereof, Pinches could confidently claim that the biblical tale had indeed been supported by an independent Mesopotamian source.
…With justified excitement the Assyriologists of that time agreed with Pinches reading of the cuneiform names. The tablets indeed spoke of "Kudur-Laghamar, king of the land of Elam"; all scholars agreed that it was a perfect Elamite royal name, the prefix Kudur ("Servant") having been a component in the names of several Elamite kings, and Laghamar being the Elamite epithet-name for a certain deity. It was agreed that the second name, spelled Eri-e-a-ku in the Babylonian cuneiform script, stood for the original Sumerian ERI.AKU, meaning "Servant of the god Aku," Aku being a variant of the name of Nannar/Sin. It is known from a number of inscriptions that Elamite rulers of Larsa bore the name "Servant of Sin," and there was therefore little difficulty in agreeing that the biblical Eliasar, the royal city of the king Ariokh, was in fact Larsa. There was also unanimous agreement among the scholars for accepting that the Babylonian text’s Tud-ghula was the equivalent of the biblical "Tidhal, king of Go’im"; and they agreed that by Go’im the Book of Genesis referred to the "nation-hordes" whom the cuneiform tablets listed as allies of Khedorla’omer.
…Here, then, was the missing proof – not only of the veracity of the Bible and of the existence of Abraham, but also of an international event in which he had been involved!
…The second discovery was announced by Vincent Scheil, who reported that he had found among the tablets in the Imperial Ottoman Museum in Constantinople a letter from the well-known Babylonian King Hammurabi, which mentions the very same Kudur-laghamar! Because the letter was addressed to a king of Larsa, Father Scheil concluded that the three were contemporaries and thus matched three of the four biblical kings of the East – Hammurabi being none other than "Amraphael king of Shin’ar."
…However, when subsequent research convinced most scholars that Hammurabi reigned much later (from 1792 to 1750 B.C., according to the Cambridge Ancient History), the synchronization seemingly achieved by Scheil fell apart, and the whole bearing of the discovered inscriptions – even those reported by Pinches – came into doubt. Ignored were the pleas of Pinches that no matter with whom the three named kings were to be identified – that even if Khedorla’omer, Ariokh, and Tidhal of the cuneiform texts were not contemporaries of Hammurabi – the text’s tale with its three names was still "a remarkable historical coincidence, and deserves recognition as such." In 1917, Alfred Jeremias (Die sogenanten Kedorlaomer-Texte) attempted to revive interest in the subject; but the scholarly community preferred to treat the Spartoli tablets with benign neglect.
…Yet the scholarly consensus that the biblical tale and the Babylonian texts drew on a much earlier, common source impels us to revive the plea of Pinches and his central argument: How can cuneiform texts, affirming the biblical background of a major war and naming three of the biblical kings, be ignored? Should the evidence – crucial, as we shall show, to the understanding of fateful years – be discarded simply because Amraphel was not Hammurabi?
…The answer is that the Hammurabi letter found by Scheil should not have sidetracked the discovery reported by Pinches, because Scheil misread the letter. According to his rendition, Hammurabi promised a reward to Sin-Idinna, the king of Larsa, for his "heroism on the day of Khedorla’omer." This implied that the two were allies in a war against Khedorla’omer and thus contemporaries of that king of Elam.
It was on this point that Scheil’s find was discredited, for it contradicted both the biblical assertion that the three kings were allies and known historical facts: Hammurabi treated Larsa not as an ally but as an adversary, boasting that he "overthrew Larsa in battle," and attacked its sacred precinct "with the mighty weapon which the gods had given him."
…A close examination of the actual text of Hammurabi’s letter reveals that in his eagerness to prove the Hammurabi-Amraphel identification, Father Scheil reversed the letter’s meaning: Hammurabi was not offering as a reward to return certain goddesses to the sacred precinct (the Emutbal) of Larsa; rather, he was demanding their return to Babylon from Larsa.
…The incident of the abduction of the goddesses had thus occurred in earlier times; they were held captive in the Emutbal "from the days of Khedorla’omer"; and Hammurabi was now demanding their return to Babylon, from where Khedorla’omer had taken them captive. This can only mean that Khedorla’omer’s days were long before Hammurabi’s time.
…Supporting our reading of the Hammurabi letter found by Father Scheil in the Constantinople Museum is the fact that Hammurabi repeated the demand for the return of the goddesses to Babylon in yet another stiff message to Sin-Idinna, this time sending it by the hand of high military officers. This second letter is in the British Museum (No. 23,131) and its text was published by L.W. King in the Letters and Inscriptions of Hammurabi.
…That the goddesses were to be returned from Larsa to Babylon is made clear in the letter’s further instructions.
…It is thus clear from these letters that Hammurabi – a foe, not an ally, of Larsa – was seeking restitution for events that had happened long before his time, in the days of Kudur-Laghamar, the Elamite regent of Larsa. The texts of the Hammurabi letters thus affirm the existence of Khedorla-omer and of Elamite reign in Larsa ("Ellasar") and thus of key elements in the biblical tale.
…Which is the period into which these key elements fit?
Desert view of ruins of ancient city of Ur, where it is believed Abraham was born.
Some attribute this sculpture to Sargon, the Akkadian King who ruled in UR, the home-place of Abraham.
Harran today, amidst ruins. The city where Abraham and his family migrated from UR, before they continued to Canaan.
Another view of Harran
Taurus Mountains, a crossroads in antiquity, Harran situated at its foothills. The people worshipped Nannar/Sin.
Ancient ruins of Mari, (right) another gateway which was used by Marduk’s emissaries to supply his followers in Babylon, while he was in exile. Marduk was the reason why Abraham hurried to Canaan.
Ruins of Babylon, where Marduk was worshiped.
Bethel, where Yahweh spoke to Abraham. Abraham kept returning to that spot, close to Mount Moriah (Mount of Directing) close to Jerusalem.
Mount Moriah, upon whose Sacred Rock the Ark of the Covenant was placed when Solomon built the Temple of Yahweh.
From Mount Moriah, Abraham went to the Negev Desert, where Canaan and the Sinai peninsula merge…
Abraham was directed to Negev and his focus was Mount Moriah, Mount Zophim and Mount Zion, as the site of Mission Control Center of the Anunnaki: it was the gateway to the Spaceport in the Sinai.
Shalmaneser III, receiving a Babylonian King in Damascus.
Damascus Gate. Josephus records Abraham as having "reigned" in Damascus as a foreigner.
Ancient part of a wall in Damascus.
Abraham arrived in Egypt when it was divided, with Thebes in the south being followers of the god Amun "The Hiding God" Ra/Marduk. Ramasseum Temple dedicated to Ra and Amun, at Thebes. Lower Egypt (northern), were not followers of such god.
Kadesh Barnea (today) the closest spot Man could approach on the way to the Spaceport. Abraham and his army had been commanded to guard it and was able to repel the invaders.
In Egypt, Pharaoh Mentuhotep II, leader of the Theban Princes defeated the northern Pharaohs.
Pharaoh Mentuhotep II
…As historical records have established, it was Shulgi who in the twenty-eighth year of his reign (2068 B.C.) gave his daughter in marriage to an Elamite chieftain and granted him the city of Larsa as a dowry; in return the Elamites put a "foreign legion" of Elamite troops at Shulgi’s disposal. These troops were used by Shulgi to subdue the western provinces, including Canaan. It is thus in the last years of Shulgi’s reign that when Ur was still an imperial capital under his immediate successor Amar-Sin that we find the historical time slot into which all the biblical and Mesopotamian records seem to fit perfectly.
…It is in that time, we believe, that the search for the historical Abraham should be conducted; for – as we shall show – the tale of Abraham was interwoven with the tale of the fall of Ur, and his days were the last days of Sumer.
…With the discredit of the Amraphel-Hammurabi notion, the verification of the Age of Abraham became a free-for-all, some suggesting such late dates that made the first patriarch a descendant of the later kings of Israel… But the exact dates of his time and events need no guessing: the information is provided by the Bible itself; all we have to do is accept its veracity.
Mr. Sitchin at this point goes into great extent researching, comparing his findings with those of other scholars, historians of ancient and later years; he performs a genealogy of kings from King Solomon backwards, reaches the Pharaohs of the times before and during the Exodus of the Israelites, verifies the expulsion of the Hyksos (Asiatic "Shepherd Kings") in 1567 B.C. by the founder of the eighteenth dynasty, and further back until he reaches the birth of Abraham in 2123 B.C. Then Mr. Sitchin continues:
…The century of Abraham – the hundred years from his birth to the birth of his son and successor Isaac – was thus the century that witnessed the rise and fall of the Third Dynasty of Ur. Our reading of biblical chronology and tales puts Abraham in the middle of the momentous events of that time, not as a mere observer but as an active participant.
…In spite of numerous studies concerning Abraham, the fact remains that all we know about him, is what we find in the Bible. Belonging to a family that traced its ancestry to the line of Shem, Abraham – then called Abram – was the son of Terah, his brothers being Harran and Nahor. When Harran died at an early age, the family was living in "Ur of the Chaldees." There, Abram married Sarai (later renamed Sarah).
…Then "did Terah take Abram his son and Lot his grandson, the son of Harran, and Sarai his daughter-in-law the wife of Abram his son; and they left and went forth from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the land of Canaan; and they went as far as Harran, and dwelt there."
…Archaeologists have found Harran ("the Caravanry"). Situated to the northeast of Mesopotamia at the foothills of the Taurus Mountains, it was a major crossroads in antiquity.
As Mari controlled the southern gateway from Mesopotamia to the lands of the Mediterranean coast, so did Harran controlled the gateway of the northern route to the lands of Western Asia. Marking, at the time of the Third Dynasty of Ur, the limits of Nannar’s domains where they bordered on Adad’s Asia Minor, Harran was found by the archaeologists to have been a mirror image of Ur in its layout and in its worship of Nannar/Sin.
…No explanation is given in the bible for leaving Ur, and there is also no time stated, but we can guess the answer if we relate the departure to events in Mesopotamia in general and in Ur in particular.
…We know that Abraham was seventy-five when he proceeded later on from Harran to Canaan. The tenor of the biblical narrative suggests a long stay at Harran and depicts Abraham on his arrival there as a young man with a new bride. If Abraham, as we have concluded, was born in 2123 B.C., he was a child of ten when Ur-Nammu ascended the throne in Ur, when Nannar was favored for the first time with the trusteeship over Nippur. And he was a young man of twenty-seven when Ur-Nammu inexplicably fell from Anu’s and Enlil’s favor, slain on a distant battlefield. We have described the traumatic effect of the event on the people of Mesopotamia, the shock it had given to their faith in Nannar’s omnipotence and the fidelity of Enlil’s word.
…The year of Ur-Nammu’s fall was 2096 B.C., could it not have been the year when – under the impact of the event or as a consequence thereof – Terah and his family left Ur for a faraway designation, stopping off at Harran, the Ur away from Ur?
…All through the following years of Ur’s decline and Shulgi’s profanities, the family stayed on in Harran. Then, suddenly, the Lord acted again:
And Yahweh said unto Abram:
"Get thee out of thy country
and out of thy birthplace
and from thy father’s house,
unto the land which I will show thee…"
And Abram departed as Yahweh had spoken unto him,
and Lot went with him.
And Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Harran.
…Once again, no reason is given for the crucial move. But the chronological clue is most revealing. When Abraham was seventy-five years old the year was 2048 B.C. – the very year of Shulgi’s downfall!
…Because Abraham’s family (Genesis 11) directly continued the line of Shem, Abraham has been considered a Semite, one whose background, cultural heritage, and language were Semitic, as distinct (in scholars’ minds) from the non-Semitic Sumerians and the later Indo-Europeans. But in the original biblical sense, all the peoples of greater Mesopotamia were descended of Shem, "Semite" and "Sumerian" alike. There is nothing in the Bible that suggests – as some scholars have begun to hold – that Abraham and his family were Amorites (i.e., western Semites) who had come as immigrants to Sumer and then returned to their original abode. On the contrary: There is everything to support the image of a family rooted in Sumer from its earliest beginnings, hastily uprooted from its country and birthplace and told to go to an unfamiliar land.
…The correspondence between two biblical events with the dates of two major Sumerian events – and of more to come – must serve as indication of a direct connection between them all. Abraham emerges not as the son of immigrant aliens but as the scion of a family directly involved in Sumerian affairs of state!
In their search for the answer to the question of "Who Was Abraham," scholars have seized upon the similarity his designation as a Hebrew (Ibri) and the term Hapiru (which in the Near East could transform to Habiru) by which the Assyrians and Babylonians in the eighteenth and seventeenth centuries B.C. called bands of pillaging western Semites. At the end of the fifteenth century B.C., the commander of an Egyptian garrison in Jerusalem asked his king for reinforcements against approaching Hapiru.
Scholars have taken all that as evidence for the notion that Abraham was a western Semite.
…Many scholars doubt, however, whether the term denotes an ethnic group at all, wondering whether the word was not a descriptive noun simply meaning "marauders" or "invaders."
The suggestion that Ibri (clearly from the verb "to cross") and Hapiru are one and the same entails substantial philological and etymological problems. There are also chronological inconsistencies, all which gave rise to serious objections to this suggested solution for the identity of Abraham, especially when the biblical data is compared with the "bandit" connotation of the term Hapiru. Thus the Bible relates incidents concerning water wells, which shows that Abraham was careful to avoid conflict with local residents as he journeyed through Canaan. When Abraham became involved in the War of the Kings, he refused to share in the booty. This is not the behavior of a marauding barbarian but rather of a person of high standards of conduct. Coming to Egypt, Abraham and Sarah were taken to the Pharaoh’s court; in Canaan, Abraham made treaties with the local rulers.
This is not the image of a nomad pillaging other’s settlements; it is the image of a personage of high standing skilled in negotiation and diplomacy.
…The Old Testament, in fact (Genesis 17: 1-6), provides us with the time and manner in which Abraham was transformed from a Sumerian nobleman to a west Semitic potentate, under a covenant between he and his God. Amid a ritual of circumcision, his Sumerian name AB.RAM ("Father’s Beloved") was changed to the Akkadian/Semitic Abraham ("Father of a Multitude of Nations") and that of his wife SARAI ("Princess") was adapted to the Semitic Sarah.
It was only when he was ninety-nine years old that Abraham became a "Semite."
…Is it not naive to assume that for the Mission to Canaan, for the birth of a nation, and for kinship over all the lands from the border of Egypt to the border of Mesopotamia, the Lord would choose someone at random, picking up anyone, in the streets of Ur? The young woman whom Abraham married bore the epithet-name Princess; since she was a half-sister of Abraham ("Indeed she is my sister, the daughter of my father but not the daughter of my mother"), we can take it for granted that either Abraham’s father or Sarah’s mother was of royal descent. Since the daughter of Harran, Abraham’s brother, also bore royal name (Milkha – "Queenly"), it follows that it was through the father of Abraham that the royal ancestry flowed. In dealing with Abraham’s family we thus deal with a family of Sumer’s highest echelons; people of a noble deportment and elegant dress as found depicted on various Sumerian statues.
…It was a family that not only could claim descent from Shem but which kept family records tracing its lineage through generations of first born sons: Arpakhshad and Shelach and Eber; Peleg, Re’u and Serug; Nahor and Terah and Abraham, taking the family’s recorded history back for no less than three centuries!
…But of greatest interest, to this very day, has been the meaning of the name Eber and the reason for bestowing it upon the firstborn in 2351 B.C. and from which has stemmed the biblical term Ibri ("Hebrew") by which Abraham and his family identified themselves. It clearly stems from the root word meaning "to cross," and the best scholars had to offer in explanation was to seek the Habiru/Hapiru connection, which we have already mentioned (and discarded). This erroneous interpretation has stemmed from the search for the meaning of the epithet-name in Western Asia. It is our conviction that instead the answer is to be found in the Sumerian origins and the Sumerian language of Abraham and his ancestors. Such a look at the Sumerian roots of the family and the name provides an answer that startles for its simplicity.
…The term Ibri ("Hebrew")… clearly stemmed from Eber, the father of Peleg, and from the root "to cross."
…The biblical suffix "i" when applied to a person, meant "a native of"; Gileadi meant a native of Gilead and so on. Likewise, Ibri meant a native of the place called "Crossing"; and that, precisely, was the Sumerian name for Nippur: NI.IB.RU – the Crossing Place, the place where the pre-Diluvial grids crisscrossed each other, the original Navel of the Earth, the olden Mission Control Center.
…The dropping of the n in transposing from Sumerian to Akkadian/Hebrew was a frequent occurrence. In stating that Abraham was an Ibri, the Bible simply meant that Abraham was a Ni-ib-ri, a son of Nippurian origin!
…The fact that Abraham’s family migrated to Harran from Ur has been taken by scholars to imply that Ur was Abraham’s birthplace, but that is not stated anywhere in the Bible. On the contrary, the command to Abraham to go to Canaan and leave for good his past abodes lists three separate entities:
- his father’s house (which was then in Harran)
- his land (the city-state of Ur)
- his birthplace (which the Bible does not identify)
…Our suggestion that Ibri means a native of Nippur solves the problem of Abraham’s true birthplace.
…As the name Eber indicates, it was in this time – the middle of the twenty-fourth century B.C. – that the family’s association with Nippur had begun. Nippur was never a royal capital; rather, it was a consecrated city, Sumer’s "religious center," as scholars put it. It was also the place where the knowledge of astronomy was entrusted to the high priests and thus the place where the calendar – the relationship between the Sun, and Moon in their orbits – was originated.
…Scholars have recognized that our present-day calendars derive from the original Nippurian calendar. All the evidence shows that the Nippurian calendar began circa 4000 B.C., in the age of Taurus.
…In this we find yet another confirmation of the umbilical cord connecting the Hebrews with Nippur: The Jewish calendar still continues to count the years from an enigmatic beginning in 3760 B.C. (so that in 1983 the Jewish year was 5743). It had been assumed that this is a count "from the beginning of the world"; but the actual statement by Jewish sages was that this is the number of years that had passed "since counting [of years] began." We suggest that it means, since the introduction of the calendar in Nippur.
…In the ancestral family of Abraham we thus find a priestly family of royal blood, a family headed by a Nippurian high priest who was the only one allowed into the temple’s innermost chamber, there to receive the deity’s word and convey it to king and people.
…In this regard the name of Abraham’s father, Terah, is of great interest. Seeking clues only in the Semitic environment, biblical scholars regard the name, as those of Harran and Nahor, as mere toponyms (names that personify places) holding that there were cities by such names in central and northern Mesopotamia. Assyriologists searching the Akkadian terminology (being the first Semitic language) could only find that Tirhu meant "an artifact or vessel for magical purposes." But if we turn to the Sumerian language, we find that the cuneiform sign for Tirhu stemmed directly from that of an object called in Sumerian DUG.NAMTAR – literally, a "Fate Speaker" – a Pronouncer of Oracles!
…Terah, then, was an Oracle Priest, one assigned to approaching the "Stone that Whispers" to hear the deity’s words and communicate them (with or without an interpretation) to the lay hierarchy. It was a function assumed in later times by the Israelite High Priest, who alone was allowed to enter the Holy of Holies, approach the Dvir ("Speaker"), and "hear the voice [of the Lord] speak unto him from off the overlay which is upon the Ark of the Covenant, from between the two Cherubim." During the Israelite Exodus, at Mount Sinai the Lord proclaimed that his covenant with the descendants of Abraham meant that "ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests." It was a statement that reflected the status of Abraham’s own descent: a royal priesthood.
…Votive inscriptions found at Nippur (as those by the archaeological expeditions of the University of Pennsylvania) confirmed that the kings of Ur cherished the title "Pious Shepherd of Nippur" and performed there priestly functions; and the governor of Nippur (PA.TE.SI.NI.IB.RU) was also the Foremost UR.ENLIL ("Enlil’s Foremost Servant").
…Some of the names borne by these royal-priestly VIPs resembled Abraham’s Sumerian name (AB.RAM), also beginning with the component AB ("Father" or "Progenitor"); such, for example, was the name AB.BA.MU of a governor of Nippur during Shulgi’s reign.
…From Hittite friendship (residents of Canaan), who were known for their military experience, may shed light on the question of where Abraham himself had acquired the military proficiency which he employed so successfully during the War of the King.
…Ancient traditions also depict Abraham as greatly versed on astronomy – a knowledge then valuable for long journeys guided by the stars. According to Josephus, Berossus referred to Abraham, without naming him, when he wrote of the rise "among the Chaldeans, of a certain righteous and great man who was well seen in astronomy." (If Berossus, the Babylonian historian, had indeed referred to Abraham, the significance of the inclusion of the Hebrew Patriarch in Babylonian Chronicles far exceeds the mere notation of his knowledge of astronomy).
…All during the ignominious years of Shulgi’s reign, the family of Terah stayed at Harran. Then, on Shulgi’s demise, the divine order came to proceed to Canaan. Terah was already quite old, and Nahor, his son, was to stay on with him in Harran. The one chosen for the mission was Abraham – himself a mature man of seventy-five. The year was 2048 B.C.; it marked the beginning of twenty-four fateful years – eighteen years encompassing the war-filled reigns of the two immediate successors of Shulgi (Amar-Sin and Shu-Sin) and six years of Ibbi-Sin, the last sovereign king of Ur.
…It is undoubtedly more than mere coincidence that Shulgi’s death was the signal not only for a move by Abraham, but also for a realignment among the Near Eastern gods. It was exactly when Abraham, accompanied (as we learn later) by an elite military corps, left Harran – the gateway to the Hittite lands – that the exiled and wandering Marduk appeared in "Hatti land." Moreover, the remarkable coincidence is that Marduk stayed there through the same twenty-four Fateful Years, the years that culminated with the great Disaster.
…The evidence for Marduk’s movements is a tablet found in the library of Ashurbanipal, in which an aging Marduk tells of his erstwhile wanderings and eventual return to Babylon.
…We learn from the balance of the text that Marduk sent from his new place in exile (Asia Minor) emissaries and supplies (via Harran) to his followers in Babylon, and trading agents into Mari, therefore making inroads into both gateways – the one beholden to Nannar/Sin and the other Inanna/Ishtar.
…As on a signal, with the death of Shulgi, the whole ancient world came astir. The House of Nannar had been discredited, and the House of Marduk saw its final prevailing hour approaching. While Marduk himself was still excluded from Mesopotamia, his first born son, Nabu, was making converts to his father’s cause… His efforts encompassed all the lands, including Greater Canaan.
…It was against this background of fast developments that Abraham was ordered to go to Canaan. Though silent concerning Abraham’s mission, the Old Testament is clear regarding his destination: Moving expeditiously to Canaan, Abraham and his wife, his nephew Lot, and their entourage continued swiftly southward. There was a stopover at Shechem, where the Lord spoke to Abraham. "Then he removed from there to the Mount, and encamped east of Beth-El; and he built there an altar to Yahweh and called the name of Yahweh." Beth-El whose name meant "God’s House" – a site to which Abraham kept coming back – was in the vicinity of Jerusalem and its hallowed Mount, Mount Moriah ("Mount of Directing"), upon whose Sacred Rock the Ark of the Covenant was placed when Solomon built the temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem.
…From there "Abram journeyed farther, still going toward the Negev." The Negev – the dry region where Canaan and the Sinai peninsula merge – was clearly Abraham’s destination.
…What was Abraham to do in the Negev, whose very name ("The Dryness") bespoke its aridity? What was there that required the patriarch’s hurried, long journey from Harran and impelled his presence among the miles upon miles of barren land?
…The significance of Mount Moriah – Abraham’s first focus of interest – was that in those days it served, together with its sister mounts Mount Zophim ("Mount of Observers") and Mount Zion ("Mount of Signal"), as the site of Mission Control Center of the Anunnaki. The significance of the Negev, its only significance, was that it was the gateway to the Spaceport in the Sinai.
…Subsequent narrative informs us that Abraham had military allies in the region and that his entourage included an elite corps of several hundred fighting men. The biblical term for them – Naar – has been variously translated as "retainer" or simply "young man"; but studies have shown that in Hurrian the word denoted riders or cavalrymen. In fact, recent studies of Mesopotamian texts dealing with military movements list among the men of the chariots and the cavalry LU.NAR ("Nar-men") who served as fast riders. We find an identical term in the Bible (I Samuel 30:17): after King David attacked an Amalekite camp, the only ones to escape were "four hundred Ish-Naar" – literally, "Nar-men" or LU.NAR – "who were riding the camels."
…The emerging image of Abraham not as a shepherding nomad but as an innovative military commander of royal descent may not fit the customary image of this Hebrew patriarch, but it is in accord with ancient recollections of Abraham. Thus, quoting earlier sources concerning Abraham, Josephus, (first century A.D.) wrote of him:
Abraham reigned at Damascus, where he was a foreigner, having come with an army out of the land above Babylon, from which, "after a long time, the Lord got him up and removed from that country together with his men and he went to the land then called the land of Canaan but now the land of Judaea."
…The mission of Abraham was a military one: to protect the space facilities of the Anunnaki – the Mission Control Center and the Spaceport!
…After a short stay in the Negev Abraham traversed the Sinai peninsula and came to Egypt. Evidently no ordinary nomads. Abraham and Sarah were at once taken to the royal palace. By our reckoning the time was circa 2047 B.C., when the Pharaohs then ruling in Lower (northern) Egypt who were not followers of Amen ("The Hiding God" Ra/Marduk") were facing a strong challenge from the princes of Thebes in the south, where Amen was deemed supreme. We can only guess what matters of state – alliances, joint defenses, divine commands – were discussed between the beleaguered Pharaoh and the Ibri, the Nippurian general. The Bible is silent on this as well as on the length of stay. (The Book of Jubilees states that the sojourn lasted five years). When the time came for Abraham to return to the Negev, he was accompanied by a large retinue of the Pharaoh’s men.
…Abraham went on to the hill country, settling on the highest peak near Hebron, from where he could see in all directions; and the Lord said unto him: "Go, cross the country in the length and breadth of it, for unto thee shall I give it."
Mr. Sitchin at this point researches more dates of events and summarizes on the following chart:
- 2123 B.C. – Abraham born in Nippur to his father Terah.
- 2113 B.C. – Ur-Nammu enthroned in Ur, given guardianship of Nippur. Terah and his family move to Ur.
- 2095 B.C. – Shulgi ascends throne after death of Ur-Nammu. Terah and his family leave Ur for Harran.
- 2055 B.C. – Shulgi receives Nannar’s oracles, sends Elamite troops to Canaan.
- 2048 B.C. – Shulgi’s death ordered by Anu and Enlil. Abraham, seventy-five years old, ordered to leave Harran for Canaan.
- 2047 B.C. – Amar-Sin ("Amarpal") ascends the throne of Ur. Abraham leaves the Negev for Egypt.
- 2042 B.C. – Canaanite kings switch allegiance to "other gods." Abraham returns from Egypt with elite corps.
- 2041 B.C. – Amar-Sin launches the War of the Kings.
…Who were the "other gods" that were winning the allegiance of Canaanite cities? They were Marduk, scheming from nearby exile, and his son Nabu, who was roaming eastern Canaan, gaining supremacy and adherents. As biblical place names indicate, the viewpoint, which compressed the Mesopotamian tales of the gods into a monotheistic mold, it was an unusual war: the ostensible purpose – the suppression of a rebellion – turns out to have been a secondary aspect of the war; the great target – a crossroads oasis in a wilderness – was never reached.
…According to the biblical tale, a place called El-Paran was the real target of the invaders, but it was never reached by them. Coming down Transjordan and circling the Dead Sea, the invaders passed by Mount Se’ir and advanced "toward El-Paran, which is upon the Wilderness." But they were forced to "swing back by Ein-Mishpat, which is Kadesh. El-Paran ("God’s Gloried Place?") was never reached; somehow the invaders were beaten back at Ein-Mishpat, also known as Kadesh or Kadesh-Barnea.
…It was only then, as they turned back toward Canaan, that "Thereupon the king of Sodom and the king of Gomorrah and the king of Admah and the king of Zebi’im and the king of Bela, which is Zoar, marched forth and engaged them in battle in the vale of Siddim."
…The battle with these Canaanite kings was thus a late phase of the war and not its first purpose. Almost a century ago, in a thorough study titled Kadesh-Barnea, H.C.Trumbull had concluded that the true target of the invaders was El-Paran, which he correctly identified as the fortified oasis of Nakhl in Sinai’s central plain.
…But why had they gone there, and who was it that blocked their way at Kadesh-Barnea, forcing the invaders to turn back?
…There have been no answers; and no answers can make sense except the ones offered by us: the only significance of the destination was its Spaceport and the one who blocked the advance at Kadesh-Barnea was Abraham. From earlier times Kadesh-Barnea was the closest place where men could approach in the region of the Spaceport without special permission. Shulgi had gone there to pray and make offerings to the God Who Judges, and nearly a thousand years before him the Sumerian king Gilgamesh stopped there to obtain the special permission.
…The hints in the Old Testament become a detailed tale in the Khedorlaomer Texts, which make clear that the war was intended to prevent the return of Marduk and thwart the efforts of Nabo to gain access to the Spaceport. These texts not only name the very same kings who are mentioned in the Bible but even repeat the biblical detail of the switch of allegiance "in the thirteenth year"!
…As we return to the Kedorlaomer Texts to obtain the details for the biblical frame, we should bear in mind that they were written by a Babylonian historian who favored Marduk’s desire to make Babylon "the heavenward navel in the four regions." It was to thwart this that the gods opposing Marduk ordered Khedorla’omer to seize and defile Babylon.
…The despoiling of Babylon was only the beginning. After the "bad deeds" were done there, Utu/Shamash sought action against Nabu… the gods assembled… Ishtar decreed an oracle, and the army put together by the kings of the East arrived in Transjordan…
…When the invaders… "thereafter, Dur-Mah-Ilani was to be captured and the Canaanite cities (including Gaza and Beer-Sheba in the Negev) were to be punished. But at Dur-Mah-Ilani, according to the Babylonian text, "the son of the priest, whom the gods in their true counsel had anointed," stood in the invader’s way and "the despoiling prevented."
…Could the Babylonian text indeed refer to Abraham, the son of Terah the priest, and spell out his role in turning back the invaders? The possibility is strengthened by the fact that the Mesopotamian and biblical texts relate the same event in the same locality with the same outcome.
…But there is more to it than just a possibility, for we have come upon one highly intriguing clue.
…This is the unnoticed fact that the date formulas for the reign of Amar-Sin call his seventh year – the crucial year 2041 B.C., the year of the military expedition – also MU NE IB.RU.UM BA.HUL "Year [in which] the Shepherding-abode of IB.RU.UM was attacked."
…Can this reference, in the exact crucial year, be other than to Abraham and his shepherding abode?
Mr. Sitchin’s book covers the explanation of a depiction of a possible commemoration of the invasion. "This is a scene carved on a Sumerian cylinder seal."
…Having carried out his mission to protect the Spaceport, Abraham returned to his base near Hebron. Encouraged by his feat, the Canaanite kings marched his forces to intercept the retreating army from the East. But the invaders beat them and "seized all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah" as well as one prize hostage: "They took with them Lot, the nephew of Abraham, who was residing at Sodom."
…On hearing the news, Abraham called up his best cavalrymen and pursued the retreating invaders. Catching up with them near Damascus, he succeeded in releasing Lot and retrieving all the booty. Upon his return he was greeted as a victor in the Valley of Shalem (Jerusalem):
And Malkizedek, the king of Shalem,
brought forth bread and wine,
for he was priest unto the God Most High.
And he blessed him, saying:
"Blessed be Abram unto the God Most High,
Possessor of Heaven and Earth;
And blessed be the God Most High
who hath delivered thy foes unto thine hand."
…Soon the Canaanite kings also arrived to thank Abraham, and offered him all the seized possessions as a reward. But Abraham, saying that his local allies could share in that, refused to take "even a shoelace" for himself or his warriors.
…The attacks on the Spaceport were thwarted, but the danger to it was not removed; and the efforts of Marduk to gain the supremacy intensified ever more. Fifteen years later Sodom and Gomorrah went up in flames when Ninurta and Nergal unleashed the Doomsday Weapon.